HOT SHEET: The real great American debate: Politics or sports?

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: American culture offers a tough choice Tuesday night. Does one fulfill their duties as a citizen and watch the presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden or does one watch the opening game of the baseball playoffs between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees? To this, the typist declines to disclose his choice, but he will note that the late Des Moines Register cartoonist Frank Miller often said it was only an official World Series if the Yankees played.

ITEM TWO: The typist struggles to understand how he missed the first season of Genndy Tartakovsky’s sublime animated series “Primal.” The ol’ Paragraph Stacker loved Tartakovsky’s long-running “Samurai Jack” and his original “Star Wars: Clone Wars” animation told in 3-minute spots. The typist corrected his error Monday evening with a binge of the first five episodes. The series tells the story of a prehistoric man, Spear, who bonds with a dinosaur after predators kill their families separately. The typist knows, of course, that dinosaurs and man did not live at the same time, but this is a show to be watched for the beauty of visceral visual stories told without a single word of dialogue. Each 15-minute episode offers spectacular scenery and violent action endemic to the brutal struggle for survival in the wild. The absence of dialogue means that if you take your eyes off the screen, you’re not just missing part of the story — you’re missing the whole story. The new season of “Primal” begins Sunday, Oct. 4 on [adult swim].

ITEM THREE: The network TV schedule is so dismal they’ve taken to resurrecting game shows. NBC tapped Jane Lynch to host “The Weakest Link,” a game show based on a snarky one-liner because if American needed anything right now, it needed more snark. The far-too-talented-for-this-gig Elizabeth Banks hosts “Press Your Luck,” a game show best remembered for its Noid cartoon animation and the time a guy figured out the randomization pattern and won more money than anyone at the game. The documentary about that incident plays on YouTube and it will likely be more fun than watching this retread.

ITEM FOUR: Unavailable due to COVID-19 quarantine.

ITEM FIVE: Unavailable due to the typist’s mounting midterm exams and coursework.

ITEM SIX: ESPN commentator Alex Rodriguez makes the typist nostalgic for Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck. This is not a compliment.

ITEM LAST: On Oct. 5, county auditors in Iowa may start mailing out absentee ballots. Whether you plan to vote by mail or in person on Election Day, the typist implores you to watch “The Choice: Trump vs. Biden” by PBS’s investigative series Frontline. There is no better primer for the presidential election than this 2-hour documentary. It plays it straight up the middle and will surprise you about both candidates. An uninformed voter is more dangerous than one who doesn’t vote at all. Take time to educate yourself before you fill out your ballot.

Daniel P. Finney is pictured with all his friends. All of them.

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. 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 Comment

  1. droll53 says:

    Since I’m not a faithful fan of any sport, I turned on the “debate.” It was dreadful. It was not a debate. I am not a fan of the rude, domineering shouty man who at no time has a point of argument. Thanks for the reminder about the Frontline show. I watched their excellent primer before the 2016 election, too. I remain surprised at the shocking outcome of the 2016 election.


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