HOT SHEET: Theresa Greenfield’s ads stink; State courts put schools in their place; the Bears are doomed this year; And why I’d rather die than pass away

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Station.

ITEM ONE: Someone should tell Theresa Greenfield, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Iowa, that her commercials stink. In one spot, her critique of Sen. Joni Ernst suggests the incumbent gave Iowans “the short end of the stick.” This beyond cliche barb bites with the ferocity of a broken spork. Another Greenfield spot shows the candidate giggling with her twin sister, because a bifurcated zygote obviously qualifies one for high office. A third Greenfield ad claims Washington politicians call Iowa “fly-over country.” Greenfield notes her father flew crop dusters. The latter may be factual but patriarchal agricultural airworthiness is beyond irrelevant. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker has only ever heard Iowans grouse about being “flyover country” a pitiful complaint by an insecure populace. Do you know what other states airplanes fly over? All of them. Why are Iowans taking it so personally? Regardless, the Greenfield campaign attack ads crash and burn under the heavy weight of bad writing — a sin your typist might forgive at the ballot box, but never on the Hot Sheet.

ITEM TWO: To misquote Rod Stewart, it’s early September and Iowa students really ought to be getting back to school. Actually, they must. In separate rulings, a Polk County judge ruled Iowa law grants state control over the time schools must hold in-person instruction. A Johnson County judge ruled the governor has emergency powers under the Iowa Constitution that local school boards don’t. Bottom line: Get the kids back in the classroom at least half of the time or risk being forced to make up virtual days at the end of the school year. Des Moines school leaders plan to stay online as their legal challenge of the Gov. Kim Reynolds’ powers continues. Leaders in several districts wanted all online learning to start the year because of the explosion of COVID-19 cases that limits school officials’ abilities to properly socially distance students, faculty and staff. The typist reminds loyal readers that parents still have ultimate local control: Reynolds’ order allows for parents to request online instruction on an individual basis. Individual action is likely the best and safest way to sidestep the legal wrangling.

ITEM THREE: Fall sports — including football, cross country and volleyball — became the first casualty of this battle between school districts and the state. If you don’t have in-person instruction, you can’t play sports, state authorities ordered. That ruling likely ended sports at Des Moines’ five high schools, two in Iowa City and Ames High School. Student athletes marched to get their ballgames and track meets restored, a move that baffles the typist. The districts fight to keep schools online to avoid coronavirus spread. The students march to swap sweat and spit on the fields and courts of play. The typist throws his hands up in the air and shouts, “ARE THERE ANY ADULTS IN THE ROOM?”

ITEM FOUR: Hot Sheet roots for the Chicago Bears during the pro football season. Alas, all signs indicate another abysmal season for the Mediocre of the Midway. To distract ourselves from the misery, the typist plans to cheer for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski at their new abode with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker choose Brady and Gronk as Bucks to buck the fashionable trend of hating Brady. The desk recognizes the history of shifty stuff surrounding the New England Patriots, but Brady remains the best quarterback of two generations. He ought to be enjoyed more and hated less. Here’s hoping he wins a trophy in a Creamsicle throwback jersey.

ITEM FIVE: On the matter of the upcoming NFL season, the typist ranks his five favorite teams by uniform and logo design:

  1. Miami Dolphins with the helmet of the cartoon dolphin.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the Creamsicle orange and the pirate with a knife in his teeth.
  3. Arizona Cardinals with their angry bird — cardinal red jerseys preferred.
  4. Los Angeles Chargers powder blue ensemble with lightning bolt.
  5. Throwback Buffalo Bills with the red buffalo on royal blue.

Thus the true and terrible tragedy of Bears fandom revealed: One becomes a bigger fan of good graphic design than actual football.

ITEM SIX: Speaking of passing, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker wonders how “passing away” became preferable to “died” in the parlance of obituaries and language. If the Grim Reaper arrives by pass, one hopes said airborne assault is incomplete for as long as possible or even intercepted. Our Christian friends may rely on the Hail Mary of a different stripe. Hot Sheet friend Melissa Myers, a longtime obit writer for the local corporate news outlet store, kept a lengthy list of euphemisms for death — a list Hot Sheet would love to publish. We argue it’s time to euthanize this euphemism. Be advised: Should the typist shuffle off this mortal coil, remember he did not pass away; he died.

ITEM LAST: When he stacked paragraphs for a living (as opposed to those much-appreciated at-will donations) the typist loathed writing weather stories for the newspaper. Could anything be more pointless? The post-Labor Day shift from seasonal high temperatures in the middle 70s on Monday to a decidedly chiller low 50s the next day almost certainly would have inspired an editor to demand sentences be slung in the matter of it being colder one day than the previous. Here at, we practice more sensible craftsmanship and promote the 3-Step Finney Forecast System. Tools needed are a window and a calendar.

  1. Look out the window.
  2. Look at the calendar.
  3. Decide what to wear.

Note: Clear days trip up the uninitiated, but, again, merely need check the calendar. Clear day in July? Skip the coat. But September clearly moves toward regular jacket toting territory.

Daniel P. Finney is not John, but he parked in his space anyway. Take that, John.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit


  1. David Hubbard says:

    wow.Setting the record straight day. First..ok.Corp journalism clear me up…Many take aways heee. Maybe they are stronger in the pocketbook this way…Maybe no other choice.Her it all sounds driven by money and profit journalism,?Sad. They will become losers doing it this way.Check news print per ton prices.Has to be cutting in deeper every year…. You got the ball over the plate on your other items…Right now during pandemic times…. collective word for death could be died….In conversations—pased sounds ok also… Maybe an issue of what nadjective or style choices,,,,..or his time came—God sends his angels when he isn ready…?,,,, I agree with Rod Stewart back in school…By then..they have seen it all for one year…..stay out of the lady political fighs..J Earnet– I dont think she can fight. She can take from the working man like old Terry B and ex senator Bill Dix…I was doing farm labor temp work there,,he didnt know I was REvANA FRIEND. sTUUF WENT DOWN. ,,,,,i SORT OF GOT CALLED IN…oNE DAY DIX LEDFT ME IN A GORD PATCH 3 HOURS NO WATER,, dIDNT COME TO PICK ME FOR DINNER. i WALKED OVER A MILE TO HIS PLACE BACK TO EAT….NEXT DAY–i HAD A DOC APPOINTMENT-HEART-HE ASKED–WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WALKED A MILE…NO KID. jONI WAS SUCKING IN TO NOT GIVE BENFITS TO WORKERS EARLY IN COVID STUFF..SHW Ha changed. BRANDSTAD AND SIX-WORKED QIETLY AND SECRETLY TO KILL THE COLLECTIVE BARGANING ..hOW ELSE NOW CAN WORKERS GER A RAISE. tHEY WILL NEVER WANT TO WORK IN IOWA. dix he tripped up. A littleold time karma- was cecking out ldies in des moines br. A HATER TOOK PICS,THAT DID IT. nEXT DAY OR SO i SAID..HE WENT HOME—IN SHELL ROCK–HAVENT HEARD ANY GUN SHOTS….gOOD D FAM. mY SONS HELPOED TEACH KIDS. sEE dIX OWNS EVERYTHING.DEBT FREE FARMER-CAN YOU BELEIVE.,UNION HATER ,i WAS UNION.. STAY OUT OF THE L LADY FIGHT.jONI HASNRRT THROWN ANY YET.iT WILL GET DIRTY—ROCKY BALBOOEA STUFF….LET YS GO..DOING GOOD PAL.


  2. droll53 says:

    I am really looking forward to these. And your critique of the Greenfield ads was spot on! I will vote for her but it isn’t for her folksy demeanor. Her opponent, Ernst, supports the ACA repeal with no replacement plan ready. That’s murder in my book. Keep those paragraphs coming!


  3. Joyce Schneider says:

    ITEM #6: I hate the word died/dead; too cold! I know death is cold. I’d rather pass away; enter eternity; take Jesus’s hand.


    1. Everybody dies. It’s the one thing that unites us all. Dying, died and dead are for me. Passing away feels like soft-selling what everybody knows happened. Somebody died.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s