From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Station:
ITEM ONE: Monday marks Labor Day, a day when most Americans are released from work to honor the successes of the labor movement. Unions’ hardscrabble battles against power brokers in the 19th and 20th centuries won more than niceties such as paid holidays, vacation and the 40-hour work week. It helped manufacture the American middle class. Today, the paradigm slashes back across the throats of the middle and working classes. The 10% wealthiest people own about 70% of the nation’s net wealth, a figure that’s on the rise, per the Pew Center. Meanwhile, with 68% of Americans with at least some involvement in the stock market, corporations face America’s collective greed. Companies led by soulless hustlers snuff out jobs, extend workdays and squeeze benefits. Perhaps Labor Day should be less a day to remember yesteryear and more a time to reassert our value as workers for the future.
ITEM TWO: Deflate your rubber duckies and tuck away your floaters and noodles, the pools — the ones that bothered to open in the pandemic — are closed. Your typist notes this with sadness in extremis. The year 2020 has already seemed like a long, dark winter. The unofficial end of summer starts the actual long, dark winter. In the words of Mike Pauly, former Des Moines Register news editor, who closed each night’s final edition with the declaration: “Everybody out of the pool.”
ITEM THREE: Unavailable due to Labor Day holiday.
ITEM FOUR: Nostalgia plays a powerful role in the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s life — sometimes to his detriment. Autumnal thoughts turned to late Grandma Rogers, who often accompanied the typist to Long John Silver’s for “fish and chips” when Parents 2.0 took their annual fall vacation. The typist sampled said fast fish but any hope of an endorphin boost shattered like rose-colored glasses once the gastronomical abomination reached the stomach. Be advised: Any cheerful recollections of LJS should be tempered against the grisly reality. To misquote the Bard: “Out, damned grease!”
ITEM FIVE: Some Twitter users worked themselves up into a frothy lather when Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris wore low-cut Converse Chuck Taylors at a campaign event Monday. This kind of substantive observation is why Twitter is such an excellent medium on which to follow the decline and fall of the American democracy. Forget what Harris’ policy views are. She wears sneakers just like regular folks. A woke warrior might note that comments on women’s fashion in the political sphere trends toward sexist, but those rules tend only to apply to conservatives who make said observations. Worst of all, Converse Chuck Taylors offer almost no arch and heel support, which means a potential veep risks Achilles tendinitis every time she slides on her Chucks. For shame all around.
ITEM SIX: Update on #OldManStudent. As previously noted, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker returned to Drake University to finish his master’s degree and earn teacher certification at age 45. Times change and so too did the back-to-school experience of young Finney before kindergarten in 1980 vs. the middle-aged typist’s return in 2020. The latest example: In school days of yore, it was entirely likely my younger self would have dashed off to school and forgot his lunch. These days, it’s more likely that I’ll fire up my Zoom class meeting without having taken my pills.
ITEM SEVEN: Sue: The T. Rex Experience, a travelling exhibit about the history of prehistoric giant lizards, has returned to the Science Center of Iowa, WHO-TV reports. The report also notes that Sue’s pronouns will use the they/their pronoun alignment because there’s no evidence the fossil construct was male or female. The typist recognizes there is no comment he would make here that won’t result in hues and cries of rage and anguish from at least one group of extremists. So, Hot Sheet says only this: “You’ve given me a lot to think about and I think I’ll stay home and quietly ponder it.”
ITEM EIGHT: Speaking of sues, or lawsuits to be more precise, the Science Center is suing their insurance company over its failure to pay up after a 2018 flash flood destroyed the museum’s IMAX theater. Until repairs are made, Iowans continue to watch boring nature films on Iowa PBS.
ITEM LAST: In response to some reader questions, let’s define terms: A “roll call” is how cops begin shifts — also called watches — every eight to 10 hours. Roll call is also how teachers used to take attendance by calling the name of each student. The 1980s classic cop drama “Hill Street Blues” opened most shows with a roll call. A recent reviewing of all seven seasons by your typist inspired this series of columns. “Typist” and “the ol’ Paragraph Stacker” all refer to yours truly, Daniel P. Finney. I am the one and only author on this site. I am not a true sergeant of any kind, but the “sergeant of the watch” is another term for desk sergeant or the officer who handles the administrative tasks of the officers on patrol that shift. “Roll Call” is officially rechristened “Hot Sheet,” another old cop term for a list of active cases, wanted persons and other topics patrol offers are ordered to keep in mind as they work the streets. Hot Sheet seemed a better name since we weren’t truly taking attendance, but offering items of note. Hot Sheet will not be the only kind of column that appears on paragraphstacker.com. The typist explores writing styles as he learns to teach writing.
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That’s it, my friends. Let’s roll.
And, as always, be kind and behave.
Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy.
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