The Paragraph Stacker

Uncensored columns from an exiled newsmane

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM FIRST: Folks, we are seven days out from Election Day in America. We need to start thinking about our plans for the event.

Memphis Paul, the typist’s best friend, recommends stocking gin and tonic and the sundry accoutrements. Start drinking at about 5 p.m. and you should be good and sauced by 6 p.m. and passed out well before the results start coming in.

The ol’ Paragraph Stacker plans to take his prescription sleeping medication around 6 p.m., turn off all phones and electronic devices and settle into bed with a big glass of iced tea and a novel by Iowa author extraordinaire Max Allan Collins.

To avoid temptation to check the news, he’ll put the phone, TV remotes and other electronic devices in a time-locked safe set to unlock at 7 a.m. the next day.

This may sound extreme, but his vote has been cast. There’s nothing he can do but get wound up by the TV news coverage heavy on scenarios but light on facts.

It’s best to follow the advice of the Ramones: “I wanna be sedated.”

ITEM TWO: The Peacock Network, NBCUniversal’s streaming network, is reviving 1990s teen Saturday morning staple “Saved By the Bell.” Everything in that sentence makes me question humanity’s right to continue to exist.

ITEM THREE: If “Saved By the Bell” comes back from the dead and “A.P. Bio” doesn’t get a renewal, Peacock deserves to become an endangered species.

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say on Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:

Q: What do you call it when a dinosaur crashes his car?
A:
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks.

Q: Why did the banana go to the doctor?
A:
He wasn’t peeling well.

Q: What did the pancake say to the baseball player?
A:
Batter up!

Q: How do you cut the ocean in half?
A:
With a sea saw!  

ITEM FIVE: Retired World Food Prize President Ken Quinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia and possibly the finest public servant I’ve ever met, contributed the following Beggars’ Night joke:

Q: What do you get when you cross a tiger and a cabbage?
A:
Man-eating coleslaw.

ITEM LAST: As we prepare for our COVID-19-adjusted Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, the Wall Street Journal interviewed psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, a Democrat who is married to a Republican senior editor at the conservative magazine “National Review” on how to talk — or not talk — about politics with people with whom you disagree.

The take away from the Q&A:

WSJ: Is it even possible to change someone’s political opinion?

Safer: No, no and no.

Daniel P. Finney hates the show “Friends.”

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The following Hot Sheet contains language. Reader discretion is advised.

ITEM TWO: This Hot Sheet may be recorded for training and assurance purposes.

ITEM THREE: Watch “Fargo.” It’s the best thing on TV. Also, after you catch up on “Fargo,” can somebody tell me how U.S. Marshal Dick “Deafy” Wickware keeps the carrot sticks he carries around so crisp?

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say on Beggars’ Night:

Q: What do cats eat for breakfast?
A: Mice Krispies!

Q: Why do fish always sing off key?
A: Because you can’t tuna fish.

Q: What kind of horses go out after dusk?
A: Nightmares!

Q: Did you hear about the fire at the circus?
A: It was in tents!

ITEM FIVE: Something you will never hear the ol’ Paragraph Stacker say: “I could go for some more Red Hot Chili Peppers.” That’s true both of the band and in food.

ITEM SIX: The ESPN sports shout show “Pardon The Interruption” recently celebrated 20 years on the air. The show, which stars former Washington Post columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, is the best of its kind. There are many imitators. Almost all of them are terrible. But Kornheiser and Wilbon have stood the test of time. The typist expects ESPN to fire them at any moment in budget cuts.

ITEM SEVEN: The FieldTurf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, is the ugliest in the NFL. It looks like shag carpet from the 1970s, the kind you raked instead of swept.

ITEM LAST: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s beloved Chicago Bears play a pro football contest at the Los Angeles Rams tonight. The Bears are inexplicably 5-1, despite an aggressively mediocre offense. The Rams are 4-2 with flashes of excessive mediocrity as well. It should be a perfect game for a nap.

Daniel P. Finney helped her out of a jam one night but guesses he used a little too much force.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The typist slumped into his over-stuffed recliner shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday with the idea of flipping between the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State game and the Iowa vs. Purdue game.

The memorial service for Grandma Lois earlier that day and the heavy brunch of blueberry pancakes, eggs and bacon at Jethro’s exacted their toll and a deep nap soon swept him away.

The Hawkeyes and Cyclones both lost in his deep slumber and he awoke content, having missed nothing important.

ITEM TWO: The typist and Dad 2.0 used to watch the World Series together in the fall when he was a boy. Many years have passed since the pair last met to do so in person.

The recent deaths of family members and illnesses of friends left the typist in an atavistic mood. He did not wish to risk an in-home visit in the pandemic, so on a whim he texted his father.

Dad 2.0, a retired printer, is a quiet man, but he occasionally unleashes a savagely funny one-liner when the mood strikes him, which it did during the fourth game of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

On the Dodgers’ shaking their hands after a soft base hit, something they call “barrels are overrated,” which means hard-hit balls are overrated:
What’s with the monkey imitations?

On the Aflac duck commercial with Nick Saban:
It’s the beginning of the end when you see the ducks clapping.

On the great baseball name of the Dodgers’ Max Muncy:
That must be his stage name.

On a broken-bat single by one of the Rays:
That bat is coming out of his paycheck.

On Verizon Wireless’ incessant 5G commercials:
That’s too much “G.”

ITEM THREE: Game Four of the World Series provided one of the finest unofficial Fall Classic games the typist had ever witnessed.*
*As every Iowan of a certain age knows from Frank Miller editorial cartoons, an official World Series must include the New York Yankees.

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say on Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:

Q: Why was the broom late?
A: It over swept.

Q: Where do hamsters go on vacation?
A: Hamsterdam.

Q: How do you communicate with a fish?
A: You drop it a line.

Q: What did the music teacher say when her students asked if they could sing their favorite song?
A: “Of chorus”

ITEM FIVE: The typist can’t stop listening to Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Folklore,” which two readers gifted to the Hot Sheet when it was released.

The album is melancholy and goes places Swift’s previous albums didn’t. Her work enthralls the typist. She’s a good writer and her presentation is perfect.

Swift seems to be genuinely interested in her fans having a good time and communal experience at her concerts. And she shows kindnesses big and small to fans, especially young girls.

The typist is an admitted grouch. Swift’s generally upbeat work would not seem to fit with his daily dourness.

Well, people can surprise you whether they be singers or paragraph stackers.

ITEM LAST: Try to get a nap in today.

Every breath Daniel P. Finney takes without your permission raises his self-esteem.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Two dozen of us stood under and around a tent spiked to a hilly expanse at Highland Memorial Gardens to say goodbye to our beloved Lois Newcomb, mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother.

The pastor reminded us Jesus shared our grief. When Jesus went to the tomb of his old friend Lazarus, he saw the sadness in the faces of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus knew he was about to perform the miracle of raising Lazarus. And yet he sanctified grief, expressed in perhaps the greatest sentence ever written: “Jesus wept.”

Family recalled Lois’ open heart, empathy and ability to forgive. Others remember her teaching grandchildren how to drive in the wide lanes of the same cemetery where Lois was laid to rest.

We prayed. A grandson played one of Lois’s favorite songs. We hugged. We shook hands. We cried.

The typist was silent. He saw Grandma Lois as the linchpin that kept a big family together. He hoped her death reminded us we are stronger together than apart and that periodically renewing our shared connection would be the greatest tribute we could pay her.

ITEM TWO: The typist learned late Friday that one of his closest friends has cancer. His wife, a respiratory therapist, contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. It passed to the typist’s friend. His symptoms lingered. Doctors eventually found a mass the size of an orange on one of his kidneys. Treatment includes the loss of a kidney. The prognosis is uncertain.

Again the typist is reminded of how precious life is. We live never really knowing how much time is left on the clock. The typist doesn’t believe in living every day as if it were your last. That would be exhausting.

Instead, look for a moment each day that you can be kind, extend grace and friendship or remind someone they are worthy of dignity and respect. Forgive. Love.

ITEM THREE: Left blank for you to allow readers a moment of peaceful reflection.

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say for Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:

Q: What is a tree’s favorite drink? 

A: Root beer.

Q: What do you call a broken window?

A: A plain in the glass.

Q: Why don’t ducks tell jokes while they are flying? 

A: Because they would quack up.

Q: When does it rain money?

A: When there is a change in the weather.

ITEM FIVE: The maximum age for trick-or-treating is 13 or eighth grade, whichever comes first. High school kids are close enough to jobs and driving that they can get their own candy. Stop begging off the neighbor.

ITEM SIX: Your trick-or-treat mask should be worn over your pandemic mask this year, but you still have to wear your coat over your costume if it’s below freezing.

ITEM LAST: Say thank you. This also applies for anytime someone gives you something or shows kindness.

One day, Daniel P. Finney held aloft his magic sword and said, “By the power of Greyskull …” and after a long pause realized everyone was staring at him, so he put the sword away and went back to eating lunch.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Netflix released the third season of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” earlier this week — and goodness, it is good to see Dave again, even if this series is the most serious to date.

Letterman post-“Letterman” provides a remarkable view of a man confronting the meaning of his life and pushing himself to be more than a retired late night talk show host. This is not to denigrate the unassailable accomplishments of Letterman as a broadcaster, comedian and host. It does, however, suggest that Letterman has seen more to life than the next zippy one-liner for the Top Ten.

He essentially apologized to former President Barack Obama for his ignorance of racial justice issues in the first season of the series in 2018. He travelled to India to illuminate the potential for renewable energy and the challenge faced by the scattershot power grid for a 2016 National Geographic series “Years of Living Dangerously.”

Now, Letterman meets with Kim Kardashian West, where the retired host says he underestimated her intelligence and talents — the kind of thing a man might do as he wrestled with issues of sexism and gender inequity in society. He discusses comedian David Chappell’s raw, powerful special after the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police and delves into the history of the small Ohio town where Chappell lives.

Perhaps Letterman is an avatar for America at the end of another long, punishing election cycle. We’ve been forced to confront a lot of terrible and sad things about our nation’s history and present while the pandemic disrupted nearly every aspect of daily life.

One hopes Letterman represents a generation of Americans who find their country needful of thoughtful consideration and meaningful conversation instead of more rage, anguish and bad craziness in the age of outrage.

Whether that metaphor holds is a matter to be determined, but at any rate, the series is first rate and worth the investment of eyeball time.

ITEM TWO: The New York Times published a thoughtful look into Iowa’s economic struggles in the pandemic despite the lack of a lockdown seen in states with liberal governors. The typist expressed his fears about his beloved neighborhood Jethro’s in previous columns. The pandemic crushed small-concert venue Vaudeville Mews, even though it is allowed open with social distancing protocols.

Hot Sheets belabors the point that an impotent Congress and incompetent White House’s failure to pass a stimulus harms not just the typist and his fellow unemployed Americans, but the economy as a whole. America’s economy is 70% consumption — buying stuff. The pandemic has put a squeeze on discretionary money and with the biggest buying season of the year — Christmas — already underway, a mild or poor holiday shopping season could multiple the business closures exponentially.

Remember this as you vote, friends. Your government failed you. But, in the end, we the people are the government. With the power fo the vote, we can make sure our country does not fail.

ITEM THREE: Purists will always argue the best James Bond was the original, Sean Connery. The typist concedes Connery’s Bond defined the character, but the typist favors Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye” as the best movie in the series if for no other reason than Brosnan’s Bond chased rogue Russian villains with a tank through Red Square.

However, perhaps the most Bond, James Bond film of them all is “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” with the highly criticized George Lazenby in the lead. But the villain’s lair in the Swiss Alps combined with the fantastic ski chase and the tragic death of Diana Rigg’s Contessa make it the typist’s No. 2 despite Lazenby being only slightly off as Bond.

These are the kind things a man considers watching round-the-clock Bond movies on Pluto TV.

ITEM FOUR: Four more silly jokes to learn and say for Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:

Q: Why don’t lobsters share?

A: Because they are shellfish.

Q: What did the horse say when he tripped?

A: Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t giddy-up.

Q: What prize do you get for putting your phone on vibrate?

A: The no bell prize.

Q: Who took the frog’s car?

A: It was toad.

ITEM FIVE: The National Weather Service predicts snow Sunday into Sunday evening with totals up to 6 inches in some areas. One to two inches of snow are expected in the metro. Or, as it will be reported on local television, “THOUSANDS FLEE AS WHITE DEATH FALLS FROM SKY!”

ITEM LAST: The Big Ten makes its return to football competition this weekend. They planned to play in the spring because of the pandemic. Then the schools realized their entire athletic budgets depended on football. So they decided to play a shortened season and at least get some money. The Pac-12, which also cancelled its own cancellation, returns next week.

The typist would just like to point out that of the five power conference involved in the college football playoff system, three of them have numbers in their name: The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12. Of those, only one of those conferences accurately infers the number of teams in the conference. The Big Ten has 14 teams. The Big 12 has 10 teams. Only the Pac-12 actually has 12 teams, though one of them is Colorado and no one is sure if that counts.

It’s a sad state of affairs in American when so many associations of institutions of higher learning can’t fucking count.

Daniel P. Finney was a roadie for Metallica on the Speed of Sound Tour. Buncha assholes.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Remember the game Operation? Players used tweezers to remove plastic organs from the body with tweezers. If the tweezers touched the metal sides of the opening, the patient’s red nose lit up.

It turns out that patient had an official name. According to a new Funko Pop doll released, the patient’s name was Cavity Sam.

Cavity.

Sam.

The typist bets you wish you didn’t know this.

ITEM TWO: Does anyone else find themselves sucking in their gut during Zoom calls?

Destroying baseballs for science is more fun that watching baseball.

ITEM THREE: Almost no one is watching the World Series through the first two games, per Deadline and Yahoo! Sports. So it goes. Baseball’s decline as America’s pastime is documented past the point of anyone caring.

Here at Hot Sheet, we have found the solution: A mad scientist who created a supersonic baseball cannon.

This 23-minute video takes less than a half-inning of a regular baseball game and you just might learn something, which is to be expected from an outfit called Smarter Every Day.

Whether you watch the whole video and take in the science lesson or just skip to the end to watch a baseball travel more than 1,000 mph and shatter like an egg chucked on Halloween, it’s probably more fun than the actual World Series.

Bonus: No Joe Buck.

ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes for Beggars’ Night trick-or-treaters to learn and say for candy:

Q: What is thin, white, and scary?

A: Homework.

Q: What do you call a happy cowboy?

A: A jolly rancher.

Q: What do you call a fancy sea creature?

A: Sofishticated.

Q: Why did the student eat his homework?

A: The teacher said it was a piece of cake.

ITEM FIVE: The Hamburglar remains at-large.

ITEM LAST: This is a test of the Hot Sheet Emergency Management System. In the event of an actual emergency, an official message would have been followed by an earth-shattering ka-boom. This is only a test.

Due to illness, the part of Daniel P. Finney will be played by Daniel P. Finney.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighbored Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The typist doesn’t like to brag, but when he called his insurance company the other day, he was specially selected to participate in a survey after his business was concluded. Things are looking up.

ITEM TWO: The holiday classics “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will not be on ABC-TV this year. Instead, they will be on streaming service AppleTV+.

A couple of thoughts: First, fuck you, Apple. You greedy hustlers didn’t need to shake down parents and kids for $5 a month just so they can see holiday staples. Your company may make pretty things, but you’re still pretentious assholes.

Second, if network TV can’t afford the rights to cartoons that are both more than 40 years old, what the hell is left? There’s only so many rehashed game shows and garbage soft-core porn reality shows — we’re looking at you, “The Bachelor” — humans can take.

At this point, the networks are a football delivery service with a few sitcoms between games.

ITEM THREE: Mark Twain said: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

Millions of us lost our jobs in the pandemic. Our government failed us. They lied to us about compromise and they played us all as pawns in their political power game.

But if these assholes maintain control after the election, our country failed itself and gets the government it deserves.

ITEM FOUR: As a service to the Des Moines metro youths who will brave the COVID-19 wilds of Beggars’ Night, Item Four will publish four jokes for them to memorize and recite in order to receive candy:

Q: What did the egg say to the frying pan?

A: You crack me up.

Q: How do bulls write?

A: With a bullpen.

Q: How do you get an alien baby to sleep?

A: You rocket.

Q: What did the hurricane say to the island?

A: I’ve got my eye on you!

ITEM FIVE: No, it is not too much to ask children ages 5 to 13 to memorize and recite a silly joke like those above. We’re not asking for a tight 5 for the Funny Bone. Tell a riddle. Get some candy. It’s a nice, innocent tradition.

ITEM SIX: New comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • STRANGER THINGS HALLOWEEN SPECIAL — With the pandemic, it may be a while before we see the series again. Enjoy a spooky one-shot for the season that spawned a show with two great seasons and one “meh” outing.
  • SILVER SURFER: BLACK TPB — One of artist Jack Kirby’s trippiest heroes gets a fresh, poppy book that looks like it needs to be read under a blacklight.
  • ARCHIE AND KATY KEENE TPB — Archie Comics committed to fresh takes on their classic characters about the time the CW series “Riverdale” launched. Katy Keene isn’t the brand name that Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty are, but their revised predecessors were good enough to give this a look.

ITEM LAST: This week marked the first days of the reduced schedule at Jethro’s Drake. The restaurant is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Monday was, of course, Monday Night Football. It would’ve been nice to have a beer and watch the game.

Tuesday was the first game of the World Series. Again, a nice barbecue pork sandwich and green beans would have been a fine accompaniment to the Fall Classic.

Alas, yet more dreams snuffed by the pandemic.

The typist is worried. Hot Sheet is told this move is temporary. But not all Jethro’s survive.

The company tried a pizza and Italian joint in Altoona. It crashed and burned. The first sign of trouble was closing on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The idea that replaced it, Bigfoot, similarly struggled and took Mondays and Tuesdays off before actually crashing and burning.

The biggest problem Jethro’s Drake faces is Drake University. COVID-19 put off fall sports at the school. Winter sports are undecided.

People come to Jethro’s Drake because of all the things at the Knapp Center, Harmon Fine Arts Center and so on.

The survival of Jethro’s Drake is symbiotically related to life at and around Drake. With the students going home for good at Thanksgiving, the near future is bleak.

Daniel P. Finney is a bad boy for breaking her heart. He’s free, free falling.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Tuesday’s sign Major League Baseball is almost as dead as the American newspaper: Fox Sports chose all-time great NFL quarterback Tom Brady for the opening narration to Game 1 of the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ITEM TWO: Longtime Dodgers voice Vin Scully is arguably the all-time greatest broadcaster in baseball history. He retired in 2016 and is 92 years old, but he’s not dead — and he’s associated with baseball.

ITEM THREE: An optimist might think Fox didn’t use Scully because they wanted to avoid the appearance of favoritism between the two teams, but when has a Fox broadcasting outlet ever cared about neutrality?

ITEM FOUR: Joni Ernst promised to castrate pigs when she got to Washington, D.C., but we haven’t seen so much as a swine circumcision. Item Four paid for by the Palpatine and Vader Order for American Leadership.

ITEM FIVE: Liberal Theresa Greenfield eats Chinese takeout during riots. Radical Theresa Greenfield. Bad for digestion. Good for MSG. Bad for digestion. Item Five paid for by the Lord Voldemort Committee for Dark Arts in Government.

ITEM SIX: Not to belabor Monday’s minor snow, but can you imagine how giddy TV news teams must have been just to overhype a dusting of snow and some wind? No pandemic. No Trump. No election. Just a regular snowstorm to make it seem like the end of the universe. I bet WHO-TV’s Ed Wilson was practically orgasmic.

ITEM SEVEN: My cousin, the Rev. Robert Boudewyns, died Oct. 17. He was 80 years old. Bobby, as we all called him, possessed the serenity granted a man of his deep faith. Raised in a Catholic family, he served as a Lutheran minister. He taught me about the person behind the collar. He ministered to me after both my mom’s and dad’s deaths. Adept at new technologies, he found ways to keep track of me as I grew up. He emailed and even made video calls over the years. He and his late wife, Jan, brought a welcoming warmth to a world too often unfriendly and cold.

ITEM EIGHT: A private graveside memorial service for my Grandma Lois is scheduled for Saturday morning. She died earlier this month at 93. She, like her daughter Joyce, who raised me after my first set of parents died, possessed an uncanny ability to make people feel relaxed, welcomed and loved. Whatever the state of the world, we need more like Cousin Bobby and Grandma Lois.

ITEM NINE: Apropos of nothing, but it feels like we’ve been staring straight into the world’s asshole for six years.

ITEM LAST: The creators of the Florida Man blog, curators of the most bizarre news from the nation’s weirdest state, have created an adult coloring book based on real news headlines. Adults can sharpen their overpriced colored pencils and bring life to stories such as “Florida man arrested for trying to break into jail to hang out with friends” and “Florida man in bull costume tries to burn down ex-lover’s house with spaghetti sauce.” Remember to ask Santa early as shipping delays are expected due to COVID-19.

Daniel P. Finney just wants to spend about six weeks at a hotel with a swim-up bar.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Monday, Oct. 19, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: At about 11:45 a.m., the National Weather Service in Johnston sent out a warning of a “snow squall” in central Iowa. The bureau predicted hazardous driving conditions for the next hour — as if we needed another damn reason not to leave the house in 2020.

ITEM TWO: The National Weather Service’s warning did not tell us whether or not a tauntaun would freeze before it reached the first marker, but Capt. Han Solo of the Rebel Alliance still went out looking for the missing Rebel Com. Luke Skywalker.

ITEM THREE: All this weather talk reminds the ol’ Paragraph Stacker of two of the capital city’s great and sadly gone weather icons: KCCI-TV weather watcher Connie McBurney, who is retired to New Mexico, and the old KCCI Weather Beacon.

McBurney used to give away a weather radio to the viewer whose guess came closest to the first measurable snowfall of the year.

The Weather Beacon had a famous jingle:

Weather beacon red

Warmer weather ahead.

Weather beacon white

Colder weather in sight.

Weather beacon green,

No change is foreseen.

Weather beacon flashing night or day

Precipitation is on the way.

The Weather Beacon did not have settings for “squall,” “thundersnow” or “derecho.”

ITEM FIVE: As a reminder for the sake of everyone out there, even though the metro is seeing snow today and forecasters predict a high of 75 degrees on Thursday, saying “If you don’t like the weather in Iowa, wait 5 minutes” still makes you a complete fucking bore. Be safe.

ITEM LAST: In a Carson City, Nevada, campaign stop, President Donald Trump noted that everyone is saying “merry Christmas” again thanks to his huge, beautiful effort to restore something that never went away.

The president speaks some truth: The typist will be saying “merry Christmas” to Parents 2.0, both age 71, by a Zoom call thanks to the president’s spectacular handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also: “Happy Halloween,” “happy Thanksgiving” and “happy New Year.”

Daniel P. Finney is now a downloadable player on Final Fantasy VII as a troll who keeps saying, “If it’s a ‘Final Fantasy’ how can there be seven of them?”

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

It's the Great Halloween Candy Podcast and other topics Talking Paragraphs

Memphis Paul and the Ol' Paragraph Stack mash through 10 topics of moderate interest including TikTok of the week and the great Halloween Candy debate. All that and more in Talking Paragraphs. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/support
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