des moines, Iowa, Media, News, People, TV

HOT SHEET: Hey, Finney finally got a job!

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, Paragraph Stacker-at-large, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONLY: I got a job.

The last of the “onboarding” paperwork went through this morning. I start as assignment editor for Local 5 We Are Iowa at 9:15 a.m., Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

This ends an employment drought that dates to May 1 when the local paragraph factory eliminated my job amidst corporate cutbacks during the coronavirus pandemic.

That WOI-TV wooed me back to daily journalism surprises me only slightly more than they convinced me to try a new medium.

I started stacking paragraphs for pay when I was 17. I thought that part of my life was over for good.

But the people at Local 5 seemed to want me at their shop even after I explained that all I know about TV is how to turn one on.

I don’t know what “assignment editor” means yet. I know it means I will be behind-the-camera, which is exactly my preference. I know it involves writing, story idea generating and working with reporters and anchors.

Hell, I’ll get people coffee if the pay deposits on the regular and I can afford to get cortisone shots for my arthritic knees.

I plan to continue my graduate studies at Drake University. I’ve laid out money for next semester already. I will teach someday. As my old friend Don Adams, the retired Drake vice president, always says: “Preserve your options.”

This week, I’m finishing up the semester work. I’m off school until Feb. 1, which means I’ve got two full months to learn my job, get to know people and immerse myself into the new gig’s culture.

Family, friends and readers, I thank each and every one of you for your support of this blog and me personally. This year tested all our souls.

I am blessed to know so many people who showed the love for me even as they carried their own burdens.

I promise to reward your faith in me by being the very best journalist I can be for Local 5. You may not see my byline, but know that I’m there trying my hardest to make sure you know what’s going on in your hometown.

As for this blog, the future is uncertain. I may keep writing. Some topics will be verboten, especially media criticism and politics.

That’s OK. There’s lots of good stuff to type about.

For now, though, I’m going to take a break to finish up the semester and get ready for my new adventure in journalism.

With love and hope,

dpf

Daniel P. Finney works in TV news now is a sentence he never thought he’d type.

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.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, sports, TV

HOT SHEET THANKSGIVING: Where I can say any damn thing I want because I know no one is reading

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, hot seat editor, 24th Street bureau, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM FIRST: Today is Thanksgiving, which is the American festival of its two most sacred traditions: gluttony and football.

ITEM TWO: Friday is Black Friday, which is the celebrates Americas’ other sacred tradition: spending money we don’t have on stuff we don’t need in the name of Jesus, who, as the Bible tells us, loved a good deal.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker spent Thanksgiving morning watching Johnny Carson reruns on PlutoTV. The episode was from the early 1970s during the Energy Crisis. Carson mention gas prices were up to 62 cents. There’s nothing like an old TV show to remind that things can always get worse.

ITEM FOUR: Idea for new late night talk show: “Sitting At Home Waiting for Death.”

ITEM FIVE: COVID-19 is like we’re all living in a hospice — except without the morphine drip.

ITEM SIX: [Insert cliché, perfunctory list of people and things the typist is thankful for here.]

ITEM SEVEN: A turkey is the de facto mascot of Thanksgiving, which seems fine until you consider that it’s the only major holiday to have a mascot that gets eaten as a part of the celebration. That’s dark, America. Very dark.

ITEM EIGHT: BREAKING NEWS … sister station WKRP-AM in Cincinnati reports the Pinedale Shopping Mall has been “bombed with live turkeys.” We will update as more news becomes available.

ITEM NINE: Are you falling asleep during the football game because of the tryptophan in the turkey or because the football game is a turkey? The world may never know.

ITEM TEN: Folks, a lot of us will be traveling this season after enjoying a little or a lot of holiday cheer. So, please, PLEASE, be mindful of your blood-gravy levels.

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.

des moines, humor, Media, mental health, Pop Culture, TV

HOT SHEET: The joys of Carson repeats, pining for Letterman and the reruns that numb the age of COVID

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, hot seat editor, 24th Street bureau, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM FIRST: PlutoTV has added a channel with classic episodes of “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.” Carson also airs at 9 p.m. weeknights on the over-the-air digital-plus network Antenna TV, which is channel 13.3 in Des Moines. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker lived in a house without strict bedtimes, so he watched a lot of late-night TV as a boy. The typist is happy to see the late Corning, Iowa, native on TV and streaming again.

ITEM TWO: The typist enjoyed Carson, but always felt he was a warm-up for “Late Night with David Letterman.” Watching Letterman, especially in his “Late Night” years, felt like you were really getting away with something. He was the guy throwing pencils out the window and invisible glass. He was harassing NBC’s new owners, General Electric. In the early days, he wore jeans and wrestling shoes. The sketches were rickety and bizarre, almost as if they were designed to fail and that failure generated all the fun. Letterman was always there as the too-cool-for-school guy who flippantly thumbed his nose at convention, mocked TV tropes even as he created them and even dared to make both the guests, the audience and certainly himself uncomfortable.

ITEM THREE: The Hot Sheet notes all of this because our burning desire is to relive those memories again. In the early 2000s, NBCUniversal slated “Late Night with David Letterman” episodes on the short-lived cable network Trio. Since then, we’ve been left to grainy VHS clips posted on YouTube. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if NBCUniversal dusted off those masters and started spinning them on one of the digital plus or streaming services again? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s eyeballs would be glued there several hours a day.

ITEM FOUR: The Hot Sheet ran this idea by his buddy and podcast partner Memphis Paul. His response: “We are spoiled for choice these days.”

ITEM FIVE: The typist found the reply someone deflating, but still valued the perspective. Seeing Carson on PlutoTV is like learning someone brought home the best ice cream in town and then complaining that you don’t have hot fudge topping with whipped cream and a cherry.

ITEM SIX: So, in the spirit of enjoying what is rather than wishing for more, the Stacker notes PlutoTV has apparently added a few new stories to its “Doctor Who” channel including at least two Dalek stories. This could be to pump up Dalek excitement for the upcoming “festive season” episode of the revived “Doctor Who” series titled “Revolution of the Daleks.” Streaming Dalek stories is often troubled by rights issues with estate of Terry Nation, the writer who created the creatures. Britain has different copyright laws that give creators much greater ownership than in the United States, where everything a person creates for a company is owned by the company that pays them. Nation’s estate has sometimes been prickly about allowing certain stories, such as the masterpiece, “Genesis of the Daleks,” from streaming. Twitch managed to get rights sorted out when it did a multi-week marathon of every remaining classic “Who” story a few years ago. PlutoTV’s offering has been light on Dalek stories, so it’s a boon to see the tin-plated pepper pots menacing the universe on a free streaming service.

ITEM SEVEN: If this edition seems a bit less newsy than previous Hot Sheets, well, that’s part circumstance and part design. The circumstance is COVID cases are spiking. The typist wants no part of COVID. He survived pneumonia in February and has asthma. So, that means he’s spending a lot of time at home with the TV on. He chooses comforting old series, such as “M*A*S*H,” “Doctor Who” and Carson or live sports rather than news-heavy programing. Besides, do you really need another voice complaining about how divided our politics are, canceled Thanksgivings and other sad-sack stuff of the era? The typist thinks not. The other reason there isn’t a lot of news commentary in these stacks relates to that big announcement that the typist regrets to inform you is still pending. Be patient. He’s anxious to tell you the news nugget, but only when things are final.

ITEM LAST: As a reminder, this blog will be made private sometime in the next few weeks. That means you’ll have to request access to it. To avoid the hassle, go over to http://paragraphstacker.com and find the big “FOLLOW” button. On a desktop, it will be to the right near the top. On a mobile device, such as smartphone or tablet, it will be at the bottom of the page. Enter your email. Respond to confirm and every post lands in your inbox.

Try this for a deep, dark secret: the great detective, Daniel P. Finney? He doesn’t exist. I invented him. Follow. I always loved excitement, so I studied, and apprenticed, and put my name on an office. But absolutely nobody knocked down my door. A female private investigator seemed so… feminine. So I invented a superior. A decidedly MASCULINE superior. Suddenly there were cases around the block. It was working like a charm… until the day HE walked in, with his blue eyes and mysterious past. And before I knew it, he assumed Daniel P. Finney’s identity. Now I do the work, and he takes the bows. It’s a dangerous way to live, but as long as people buy it, I can get the job done. We never mix business with pleasure. Well, almost never. I don’t even know his real name!

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.

comics, des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, Movies, politics, Pop Culture

COVID Kim Reynolds cracks, issues mask order but not before making Iowans look like a bunch of dummies

ITEM FIRST: COVID Kim cracked. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds finally issued a statewide mask order. The long-overdue order came 9 months into a pandemic that has killed more than 2,000 Iowans. It came a day after COVID Kim made national headlines babbling about science on “both sides” of masks for preventive measures against the spread. After all that, COVID Kim bent her knee and issued the order. Who knows what prevented her from doing so earlier? Pride? After yesterday’s laughable assertion that there is science that suggests masks might not help the spread, was she playing to her base — the big dummies who shout “I have a right to breath O2 and not CO2” at Starbucks clerks? Then again, who knows how many lives could have been saved if she’d ordered it back in March when things started to get bad. Even one would have been worth it. Reynolds doesn’t face reelection for another three years. One hopes Iowa voters remember her haplessness and foolishness in times of crisis. She is unfit for office and has made Iowa look like a state governed by morons.

ITEM TWO: Former U.S. Sen. Roger Jepsen died Nov. 13 at 90. The Cedar Falls native had a colorful single term before being ousted by Tom Harkin in 1984. Law enforcement caught Jepsen using the commuter lane in Washington, D.C. Such lanes are meant for carpoolers, but Jepsen didn’t think such things applied to a member of Congress. Jepsen also admitted to using kinky massage parlors while serving as senator. His constituents were not pleased and moderate voters dispensed with Jepsen in favor of liberal street fighter Harkin. Thirty-five years ago, some bad driving and a trip to a “massage parlor” was enough that Iowans sent a politician into the private sector. Today’s Iowa voter gave An 8-point victory to a known philanderer who never knew a rule that applied to him and likes to “grab (women) by the pussy.” Growing up, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker read story after story about the “brain drain” — young, college educated people leaving Iowa for the bright lights and big city. The typist never thought much of it, but between COVID Kim and now living in Trumpistan, maybe this is what happens when most of the smart people leave.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker slurped ice tea over lunch at the bar of a local restaurant when the manager rushed out into the hall and asked everyone to leave the bar area. The word on the street was a restaurant had been fined $500 for not obeying the governor’s new COVID restrictions, which included not having people sitting at bars. What agency levied the fine or where it was laid down, the typist didn’t know. It’s good there’s an effort to put some enforcement teeth in these regulations. Restaurants probably should be closed as should all other non-essential businesses. The typist doesn’t want businesses to suffer any more than they already have, but hard choices need to be made if this pandemic is ever to lift. Of course this would be a lot easier if those greedy, grandstanding hustlers had passed a meaningful stimulus package that would have provided money to soften the blow for businesses and extended unemployment for people displaced by COVID. But of course those fuckers aren’t going to do anything except pound their chests in tribal grunts and nobody wants to interrupt Trump’s golf schedule.

ITEM FOUR: Let’s get to something fun, namely new comics Wednesday recommendations.

  • Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: Defender of the Daleks — The Doctor has been absent from our TV screens for a long time and the hero’s return is welcome in this multimedia event that ponders what would happen if the Doctor turned evil in the Time War.
  • Rick and Morty Presents Vol. 2 — The “Rick and Morty” cartoon on Adult Swim is the best thing ever, but it suffers massive gaps between releases of new episodes. The comics really help with that. These side trips involving ancillary characters such as Unity and Mr. Meeseeks salve the burn for more animated adventures.

ITEM LAST: Rumors suggest Warner Bros. might release potential blockbuster “Wonder Woman ‘84” in hybrid form to theaters and on HBOMax. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker loves the idea of not having to leave the house to see new movies, but he hates the idea that it might drive a stake into what was once a staple of American entertainment. Regardless of what happens, when it comes to “WW84,” take my money and let me see it.

Daniel P. Finney is calm like a bomb.

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.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, People, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: A redesigned website, a job interview, a plea for Twitter followers and suggested new Arby’s-Buffalo Wild Wings-Dunkin’ flavor mashups

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, 24th Street bureau, Des Moines, Iowa.

Been doing the place up a bit.

ITEM FIRST: The Hot Sheet looks different to those who call us up on the web or on mobile. The journalism jargon for this is a “refresh.” The psychological reason for this is the ol’ Paragraph Stacker gets bored sometimes and tinkers with things. Anyway, it looks different now. If you like it, please drop the typist a note. If you don’t like it, be a good person and lie.

Experts say I need to “build my brand” by begging strangers to follow me on social media.

ITEM SECOND: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker is losing followers on Twitter. The reason for this isn’t exactly clear. Maybe he melted some ice chips by writing something that triggered their peculiar sensitivities. I have been more openly critical of President Donald Trump lately. I know that makes some people mad. And I’ve also referred to Sen. Joni Ernst as “Dollar Store Sarah Palin” on more than one occasion. What can I tell you? Sometimes I’m grumpy. Sometimes I say mean things. Anyway, if you’re on Twitter and not following the typist, swing by @newsmanone and gives us a follow. There’s content there that you don’t see here. I admit it. I only want the followers back because I’m insecure and need to be loved by strangers on a social media website.

ITEM THIRD: The typist doesn’t want to jinx anything, but he had a job interview — the first in months — and he thought it went pretty well. He would not be surprised not to get the gig. It’s in a different medium in which he’s never worked. Still, it’s almost too good to be true: Weekend hours and a flexible weekday schedule that would work around his graduate school commitments. Here’s hoping.

ITEM FOUR: The Ivy League — those are the schools for the very smart or very rich and well-connected — canceled their winter sports schedule Thursday. They punted on fall sports and have pushed back spring sports until at least April. The Ivy League could be the canary in the cavern for winter sports. The league was the first to go belly up on fall sports. COVID-19 cases are spiking and experts warning of a brutal winter. Could it be long before other leagues crash and burn in pandemic hell?

Harrison Ford is attached to the part of Daniel Finney in Daniel Finney: The Movie.

ITEM FIVE: The magazine Vanity Fair posts excellent YouTube videos of actors discussing their work in a series called “Timeline of My Career.” They are long watches, in the 20-minute range, but the typist was enraptured by the entry from Harrison Ford, the hero of so many of his favorite films. He suggests giving them a view.

ITEM SIX: Inspire Brands recently announced a deal to purchase Dunkin’, the store that sells coffee and donuts but refuses to acknowledge its delicious donut heritage. Inspire also owns Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, among others. We thought it would be fun for Inspire to consider donut flavors based on the tasty recipes of their sister brands. Here’s 10 we came up with that we’re sure you can’t wait to gobble up.

  1. Salt, Vinegar and Cinnamon Donut
  2. Vanilla Frosted Bismark with Teriyaki Filling
  3. Sweet Barbeque Glazed Old Fashioned
  4. Parmesan Garlic Bearclaw
  5. Smoky Adobo Corned Beef Double Chocolate Donut
  6. Market Fresh Cranberry Deep Fried Turkey Vanilla Frosted Donut with Sprinkles
  7. Jammin’ Jalapeno Blueberry Glazed Donut Holes
  8. Beef ‘n Cheddar French Cruller
  9. Chocolate Frosted French Dip
  10. Caribbean Jerk Glazed Dunkin’ Stick
When naked, Daniel P. Finney looks like a melting clock from Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory.”

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.

comics, des moines, humor, Media, People, politics, Unemployment

HOT SHEET: 3 unsettling thoughts in the age of unease post #election2020 plus new comics recommendations

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, 24th Street Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM FIRST: The major news organizations seem to agree Joe Biden won the presidency in the general election earlier this month.

But do you trust it?

The typist does not.

No, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker does not subscribe to the unfounded claims the election was rigged or interfered with.

He just doesn’t think getting Donald Trump out of the White House will be as easy as voting him out.

Trump demonstrates no respect for norms or even basic human decency. This is a guy who threw paper towels at Puerto Rican survivors of a deadly hurricane.

This is a guy who essentially ordered border patrol to kidnap the children of refugees and then failed to reunite them with their families.

Why would anyone expect him to follow something as beautiful and profound as the peaceful transfer of power?

The typist keeps asking his buddy, a former Army CID man, if Trump can just lob a nuke at some country he has disdain for to bring the whole house down.

The friend of Hot Sheet says the armed services only obey lawful orders.

Are there some Trump loyalists who will try to keep him in power even after all the recounts are done and the lawsuits settle and the Electoral College is certified?

No, the typist does not trust it at all. And he won’t trust it until Biden’s hand is on the Bible and Trump is either going out on Marine One or being dragged away by federal agents.

ITEM TWO: A buddy asked the ol’ Paragraph Stacker if he truly thought Biden will make a great president.

Great? Whose to say? Biden faces a historical clusterfuck. COVID-19. Economic woes. Racial unrest. A world that wonders if America is truly as awful as it has behaved.

The typist looks at like this: For the past four years, the country has been a bus driving down the Rockies in the middle of a blizzard with a guy whose never driven before drunk on whisky and far gone on cocaine at the wheel.

Biden will be a guy with a clean driving record, who keeps his hands at 10 and 2, wears his seatbelt and won’t tolerate any horsing around in the aisles or in the back of the bus.

That’s the minimum one would expect from a bus driver, but compared to the last guy, it’s a dramatic improvement.

His presidency could still be a historic disaster given the issues he faces. But at least he had a concept of how to govern and a plan that doesn’t include cheap red hats and dog whistles to racists.

ITEM THREE: The most pressing issue that faces the lame duck president and Congress is an economic stimulus.

The country is slathered in coronavirus and the winter is expected to be worse yet. States across the country are expecting another shut down.

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell took turns trying to best one another in a grandstanding contest over the stimulus since the first expired in July.

The result is the only person who made a move to help the unemployed since the stimulus was Trump. His assistance wasn’t enough by half and didn’t last long enough, but credit where it’s do, it was something.

That our national legislative bodies are so impotent and callous to the struggles of millions of Americans is almost as shameful as the Trump presidency.

Of course this issue is personal to the ol’ Paragraph Stacker, who lost his job in May in the midst of the pandemic.

To quote Hannibal Smith from an episode of “The A-Team:” “It’s always darkest before it goes completely black.”

ITEM FOUR: Belated new comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • Star Wars Vol 1: The Destiny Path — Marvel Comics are great at telling “Star Wars” stories. They are better at it than Disney is making “Star Wars” movies. Disney owns Marvel. Maybe they should consult. Anyway, “Star Wars” comics have been delightful since the brand returned to Marvel from Dark Horse in 2014. This volume picks up the story of the heroes of the original trilogy moments after the end of events in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Luke is traumatized at losing his hand and learning Darth Vader is his father. Han is gone. Lando is still a mystery. The Rebellion is at a low point. This is rich storytelling ground and Charles Soule is the kind of writer to mine it to maximum potential.
  • Jack Kirby: The Forever People — Jack Kirby is the greatest artist in the history of comics and one of the greatest writers. He co-created with Stan Lee almost every character that eventually became a box office blockbuster. He left Marvel for DC Comics there and told some of the greatest stories of his career, creating a mythos called the Fourth World, home to the New Gods and the DC Universe’s greatest villain, Darkseid. The Forever People shows Kirby tapping into the youth movement of the area, with a group of traveling heroes fighting Darkseid’s effort to expand his tyranny from Apokplipse to Earth. The heroes fall somewhere between the Scooby-Doo gang and the rebels from “Easy Rider.” They can combine their powers to form Infinity Man. The dialogue is dated, but it’s like catching a crazy genre flick at the bottom of one of your Netflix queue. You’ll be surprised by how entertaining it really is.
Major League Wiffle Ball

ITEM LAST: There’s a lot of horrible stuff in the world right now, but the Hot Sheet wants to leave you with a bit of the bright side of life. Few places bring as much instant joy as the short video platform TikTok. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker discovered the account for Major League Wiffle Ball (@mlw_wiffle). Who knew there was such a thing? The highlights are fantastic, heavy on pitchers with crazy arm angles spinning Wiffle Balls in physics-defying arcs that either baffle batters or end up smashed for home runs. The whole thing is delightful and recalls the glory days of childhoods past when the bikes filled driveways and kids batted-in ghost runners and argued balls and strikes until the street lights flickered on and mother’s voices called them home.

There are a million stories in Daniel P. Finney’s baggy khaki slacks. This has been one 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.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Podcasts, politics, sports

HOT SHEET: Nobody cares what I have to say about the #election2020, but I’m saying it anyway

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

ITEM FIRST: Nobody cares what the typist thinks about the presidential election, but he’s going to talk about it anyway. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker is happy that Joe Biden won the presidency. Donald Trump is a horrible human being who embodied the worst traits of this country and forever lowered the standard of person it takes to occupy the Oval Office. The typist struggles to understand how his fellow Iowans voted so heavily in favor of this person who in every way refutes the image of kindly neighbors Iowans have always sought to project. He will struggle with this as he continues to move forward with life.

ITEM SECOND: Iowa political historians should study the campaign of Theresa Greenfield for the Senate because it was hysterically poor from its media standpoint. If you watched Greenfield’s ads — and if you watched a sporting event live since September, you couldn’t have missed them — her entire campaign centered around how her husband died in a work accident, he once owned a Chevy Nova, she played high school basketball and, most embarrassing of all, she has a twin who thinks her sister would be a good senator. These saccharine confections are the kinds of things that win middle school class presidencies, but not U.S. Senate campaigns. Whoever managed her media campaign should go into hiding for a while.

Even the dark money groups trying to help Greenfield fumbled. They took shots at Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa’s Dollar Store Sarah Palin, because she — GASP! — lives in a $400,000 condo in Washington, D.C. The typist is not one to defend Ernst, but she does work in D.C. and a $400k condo in D.C. is a cheap hole-in-the-wall, not a swank luxury pad. Trying to go after someone for daring to have a residence in D.C. when they’re a senator is almost as dumb as filming an ad with your twin sister and expecting voters to give a flip about it.

ITEM THREE: If anyone is fool enough to think Joe Biden’s presumptive election to the presidency settles anything consider the following: This election was so close it took almost five days to figure out and there are still court cases to go through.

And then consider the cool, calm and even-handed response from the College Republicans at Iowa State, which tweeted “Everybody needs to arm up, expect these people to attempt to destroy your life, the elites want revenge on us.”

The typist won’t bother to try to figure out how Donald Trump, a billionaire by inheritance, con man, philanderer and failure at everything but being a reality TV host, somehow became an avatar for the downtrodden and disrespected.

It does remind the ol’ Paragraph Stacker of how foolish the notion that dangerous and horrible ideologies will not die out generationally.

ITEM FOUR: Withheld to give everybody a chance to count to 10 and settle down.

ITEM FIVE: The Hawkeyes and Cyclones were both winners Saturday. Iowa stomped Michigan State. It’s always fun to see Sparty lose. The Cyclones almost laid an egg against Baylor, but scored 28 unanswered points to earn their fifth win of the season. Iowa State is now 5-1 in the Big 12, the best record in program history and making the Cyclones real contenders for the league title. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker mocked this idea at the beginning of the season, but what the hell does he know?

ITEM SIX: Watch David Chappelle opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live.” I can imagine no better thing to see, laugh at and think about than this.

Daniel P. Finney is still optimistic enough to believe he may one day be in a torrid affair with a celebrity.

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.

comics, des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, politics, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: Some more #Election2020 stuff, but it’s mostly just harmless jokes and not anything serious

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

ITEM FIRST: Good news for lovers of political drama, CNN has renewed “The Forever Election” for a four more seasons. New episodes and characters to be revealed soon after the current season wraps Jan. 20.

ITEM TWO: I’ve gotten so many unsolicited texts urging me to vote and telling me who to vote for that I practically teared up when I got an unsolicited text for erectile dysfunction medication.

ITEM THREE: Remember back in January when the Iowa Caucasus were a giant clusterfuck for Democrats and they ultimately couldn’t chose a winner? Boy, we Iowans know how to set a trend!

ITEM FOUR: I received a fortune in a cookie with Chinese takeout that if only President Trump had read, perhaps the year would have gone better. The fortune said: “Avoid compulsively making things worse.”

ITEM FIVE: Belated new comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • Avengers No. 57 Facsimile Edition — The typist has a fondness for these facsimiles because they give you a chance to the old ads that ran in the magazine when kids first handed over 12 cents to the druggist. This issue deals with the costumed adventurer Vision and the reproduction primes interest in the coming Disney+ series “WandaVision.”
  • Venom Marvel Epic Collection: Symbiosis — These are the comics of the typist’s late youth, when dad was gone and mom was on her way out. He spent hours in Mrs. Pope’s art classes at Winterset High School with his buddy Lew trying to mimic the style of Todd McFarlane. The stories are medium at best, but Venom is a fun, original villain.

ITEM LAST: They typist delighted in a video from actors and friends Sarah Michelle Gellar and Shannon Doherty wearing giant bubble wrap balls and smashing into one another on a sunny lawn. Doherty is living with Stage 4 cancer having relapsed after a period of remission. If these two friends can find a way to laugh so hard in desperate times, so too can the rest of us find time for a giggle or two.

Daniel P. Finney just ain’t right.

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.

comics, des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, mental health, Movies, News, Pop Culture, TV

HOT SHEET: Let people have their pineapple on pizza and pumpkin spiced everything; More ways to avoid Election Day blather; and new comics Wednesday recommendations

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

ITEM FIRST: Let’s stop fussing about things that some people enjoy but don’t affect our ability to enjoy similar things. The typist refers to, of course, the great debates of our time: pineapple on pizza and pumpkin spice flavors. This is America. There is room for people who love pineapple on pizza and people who hate pineapple on pizza. Pumpkin spice flavors may seem ubiquitous during the fall, but that is only because lots of people enjoy it and corporate America is not very creative. The only time you have to worry is if somebody tries to require pineapple on every pizza or pumpkin spice in every latte. In other words, friends, live and let live.

ITEM TWO: Today in COVID-19/Election Day survival tips: Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, recommends careful consideration of the comedic stylings of Jerry Van Dyke in “Coach” reruns available in the Des Moines metro on WHO-TV’s digital subchannel 13.3.

The ol’ Paragraph Stacker chips in with his traditional favorites: classic “Doctor Who” and old school James Bond movies, both found on the free streaming service PlutoTV.

At no point should you turn on or read the news. It will only depress you.

ITEM THREE: Unavailable due to the typist’s need for self-care.

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

Q: What building has the most stories?
A:
A Library!

Q: What do you call a grandmother who tells jokes?
A: A gram cracker!

Q: Where should you go if your dog is missing?
A:
The lost and hound.

Q: What has no legs but can do a split?
A: A banana.

ITEM FIVE: New comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN: WHO KILLED JIMMY OLSON — This trade paperback collects all 12 issues of Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber’s Silver Age romp with comics’ most famous newspaper photographer. Need more? There are giant turtles. Giant. Turtles.
  • RED SONJA AND VAMPIRELLA MEET BETTY AND VERONICA, VOL. 1 — These Archie Comics crossovers are always fun. Crossing two of comics’ great sexpots, Vampirella and Red Sonja, with the seemingly sugar-sweet Betty and Veronica might seem like an odd juxtaposition, but remember Archie once hung out with the Punisher.
  • VAMPIRELLA VOL. 1: SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT — The ol’ Paragraph Stacker makes no apologies for his appreciation of Vampirella comics, but the title “Seduction of the Innocent,” a reference to a debunked book that tried to get Congress to censor comics, makes him want this one all the more.

ITEM LAST: At the risk of adding more worry to these anxiety-riddled times, the typist notes the Florida Man website, home to stories of the most bizarre behavior in our wacked-out nation, has not updated with any Florida man fuckery since Sept. 29. Could it be Florida has settled down to be just average? One shudders at the thought.

Daniel P. Finney is the best there is at what he does. What he does is nap.

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.

des moines, Iowa, Media, News, politics, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: Winter squall alert recalls Weather Beacon glories; Trump’s idea of a merry Christmas

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.