The Paragraph Stacker

Uncensored columns from an exiled newsmane

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 …

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Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa. ITEM ONE: A faint knock on the door shook the typist out of a nap inspired by the late afternoon football game. ITEM TWO: The typist found a blue-eyed boy with tousled brown hair …

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From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa. ITEM ONE: Show up. That’s the first lesson of the life of my grandmother, Lois Newcomb. Her lawn chair planted in the grass beside bleachers at uncounted softball and baseball games of her grandchildren and she cheered from …

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From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Station. ITEM ONE: Word reached Hot Sheet early Wednesday that the reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” will end after 20 seasons in 2021. Oh, how one longs for the the halcyon days of yesteryear when all we cared about was …

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My friend Ken Fuson, the greatest writer in the history of the Des Moines Register, died in January. I wrote the news obituary about his death. My first paragraph: “Ken Fuson would have written this better.” I feel the same way as I explore my thoughts about writing and teaching writing as I study at …

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The first week of graduate school is in the bag. It went well. I worry I’m on track to being one of those irritating non-traditional students who talks too much in class. Those people burned me up as an undergraduate. They always did the reading and they were so damn enthusiastic about it. Maybe they …

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I used to ask retired Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy if the times we’re living in were as divided and troubled as when he was a young man. McCarthy served as a Marine in Vietnam. He came up as a Des Moines police officer in a time when the city had as many as 30 …

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Lewis S. Jordan of Winterset is my friend.We were born nine days apart.We were in Cub Scouts together. His dad was den leader. My dad was assistant. We made pinewood derby cars. We made rubber band guns. We put on a skit for the VFW. I spent uncounted afternoons at the Jordans’ house watching cartoons …

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The calendar claims today is Independence Day. I refuse to believe it. This may be July 4, but it’s not a real Fourth of July. If this were a real Fourth of July, my late Grandpa Rogers’ veteran flag would hang in the garage on the opposite wall from his old neighbor, Mr. Arpy. Both …

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The inaugural episode of “The Exile” includes discussion of John Wayne’s racist talk and his stature as an Iowa icon, the bad news of the new baseball season, comics and movies and some frank talk about unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic.