des moines, mental health, Music, News, People, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Hawkeyes, Cyclones win, pierce the gloom of the coming winter of COVID-19

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

ITEM FIRST: Most Iowans interested in football found happiness Saturday. The Iowa State Cyclones bludgeoned Kansas State. The Iowa Hawkeyes mauled Penn State. All was right with the world for a few hours on a late autumn afternoon.

ITEM TWO: Sunday promises to be another excellent day for this pro football fan. His favorite team, the Chicago Bears, will not play, but he fears the Bears are so bad they may find a way to lose without taking the field.

ITEM THREE: The Age of COVID-19 feels like a woolen sweater too tight in all the wrong places. It itches and stifles and never seems to let us breathe no matter how hard we tug and pull. The naturally shortened days of autumn get even shorter when the restaurants lock their doors at 10 p.m. Efforts to curb the virus’ potentially deadly spread curb our abilities to gather in fellowship whether it be to root for a favorite football team, celebrate a holiday or worship our gods. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker called one of his best friends Saturday. She was overwhelmed by the emptiness of it all and despite his silly jokes and empathy, he could not shake even a giggle loose. The miles between us seemed doubled or tripled despite the intimacy of a phone call. He felt the depression from his end of the phone. He had no choice but to let go and hoped her planned passivity would bring what Pink Floyd called comfortable numbness. The typist fared no better on his Saturday. He could have done laundry, but a psychological immobility paralyzed him whenever he gave leaving the house a serious thought. He attempted to watch football games, but the he fell into fitful sleep early in the games. Most of his friends hunkered with their family and the weight of a lifetime of bad choices and failures to grow left the Paragraph Stacker alone in a little apartment surrounded by nothing but entertainment but overwhelmed by the urge to have a beer with a buddy in public. So, he slept, for this is the season of hibernation. And he slept some more because he knew more of this malaise was to come. As the poet songwriter Bob Dylan once sang, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

ITEM FOUR: This blog will become private in a few weeks, which means you’ll have to request access to read the posts. It’ll still be free, but there will be an extra step to reading posts. The easiest way to avoid all that is go to https://paragraphstacker.com/ now and look for the follow button on the left side of the page. Enter your email address and confirm it. You’ll get every post delivered to your inbox.

ITEM LAST: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker makes no secret of his love for classic “Doctor Who.” He relaxes to the infinite stream of 200 episodes on the free streaming service Pluto TV. Saturday evening found him watching the very first “Doctor Who” story he ever watched many moons ago on Iowa PBS: “The Armageddon Factor.” He found a gem of an exchange between the Doctor, as played by Tom Baker, and his companions, Romana, played by Mary Tamm, and his robot dog, K-9, as voiced by John Leeson. It’s as true today as it was in 1979.
THE DOCTOR: Where’s your joy in life? Where’s your optimism?
ROMANA: It opted out.
K-9: Optimism: belief that everything will work out well. Irrational, bordering on insane.
Perhaps that’s a little too dark to end a Hot Sheet. So if it’s insane to be optimistic, perhaps the typist shall lean on a quote from another favorite childhood classic, the 1989 “Batman” film.
BRUCE WAYNE: You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!

Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Daniel P. Finney stepped into the quantum accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appears in the form of a hologram that only Daniel can see and hear. And so Daniel finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.
comics, des moines, Faith and Values, humor, Iowa, mental health, News, Pop Culture

HOT SHEET: Connery dead, mask misery, and Christmas cancelled

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

The torsion on this costume is said to have taken seven years off of Sean Connery’s life.

ITEM FIRST: Breaking news bummer: Sean Connery has died. The Scottish actor was best known for playing the Zed in science fiction masterpiece “Xardox,” which popularized underwear with suspenders.

Spider-Man knows his mask isn’t impeding his oxygen levels, but he sure feels that way.

ITEM TWO: After eight months in the pandemic, the typist still can’t get comfortable wearing a mask. He finally understands why Batman left his chin exposed.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker understands wanting to steal the Lincoln head from Mount Rushmore while riding flying bicycles that shoot red lightening bolts. Really, who hasn’t dreamed of that? But the funny book raises another crime quandary — where would the crooks fence it?

The typist was in his late 30s before someone pointed out how gross this photo is.

ITEM FOUR: Rock band the Who offered sage advice in the lyrics of their 1971 hit “Behind Blue Eyes” that can easily be applied to the 2020:

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool.

Tom is the good guy in “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. You have a cat to kill the mice. These are the rules.

ITEM FIVE: It’s Saturday. Remember to take a nap.

Well, this sucks.

ITEM LAST: Mom 2.0 announced the official cancellation of family Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings due to COVID-19.

This is the right thing to do. Parents 2.0 are both 71. Family gatherings are large and crowded. We lost Grandma Lois this year. An uncle struggles with an unknown ailment. We don’t want to have a mini-spreader event.

But when the typist heard the words come out of Mom 2.0’s mouth, he was speechless. It wasn’t the loss of delicious meals or presents that made the ol’ Paragraph Stacker so sad.

No, it was that he know how much those celebrations mean to Parents 2.0. They love nothing more than to be surrounded by family and extended family.

And this goddamn virus robbed them of that. The typist thought this broke his heart. But then Mom 2.0 said: “There’s talk this might go on another year.”

And that was too much to contemplate.

Daniel P. Finney wants you to know he’s a mirrorball.

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.

humor, mental health, People, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

HOT SHEET: 2020 Sadness Machine cranks out two more blows; more jokes to learn and say; and trick-or-treat rules

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: Two dozen of us stood under and around a tent spiked to a hilly expanse at Highland Memorial Gardens to say goodbye to our beloved Lois Newcomb, mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother.

The pastor reminded us Jesus shared our grief. When Jesus went to the tomb of his old friend Lazarus, he saw the sadness in the faces of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus knew he was about to perform the miracle of raising Lazarus. And yet he sanctified grief, expressed in perhaps the greatest sentence ever written: “Jesus wept.”

Family recalled Lois’ open heart, empathy and ability to forgive. Others remember her teaching grandchildren how to drive in the wide lanes of the same cemetery where Lois was laid to rest.

We prayed. A grandson played one of Lois’s favorite songs. We hugged. We shook hands. We cried.

The typist was silent. He saw Grandma Lois as the linchpin that kept a big family together. He hoped her death reminded us we are stronger together than apart and that periodically renewing our shared connection would be the greatest tribute we could pay her.

ITEM TWO: The typist learned late Friday that one of his closest friends has cancer. His wife, a respiratory therapist, contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. It passed to the typist’s friend. His symptoms lingered. Doctors eventually found a mass the size of an orange on one of his kidneys. Treatment includes the loss of a kidney. The prognosis is uncertain.

Again the typist is reminded of how precious life is. We live never really knowing how much time is left on the clock. The typist doesn’t believe in living every day as if it were your last. That would be exhausting.

Instead, look for a moment each day that you can be kind, extend grace and friendship or remind someone they are worthy of dignity and respect. Forgive. Love.

ITEM THREE: Left blank for you to allow readers a moment of peaceful reflection.

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

Q: What is a tree’s favorite drink? 

A: Root beer.

Q: What do you call a broken window?

A: A plain in the glass.

Q: Why don’t ducks tell jokes while they are flying? 

A: Because they would quack up.

Q: When does it rain money?

A: When there is a change in the weather.

ITEM FIVE: The maximum age for trick-or-treating is 13 or eighth grade, whichever comes first. High school kids are close enough to jobs and driving that they can get their own candy. Stop begging off the neighbor.

ITEM SIX: Your trick-or-treat mask should be worn over your pandemic mask this year, but you still have to wear your coat over your costume if it’s below freezing.

ITEM LAST: Say thank you. This also applies for anytime someone gives you something or shows kindness.

One day, Daniel P. Finney held aloft his magic sword and said, “By the power of Greyskull …” and after a long pause realized everyone was staring at him, so he put the sword away and went back to eating lunch.

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, Crime and Courts, des moines, Iowa, mental health, News

HOT SHEET: Help Drake student severely injured in crash

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: Drake University student Morgan Carroll suffered severe injuries in a collision between her car and a semi on Monday evening. The crash occurred on Interstate 80/35 west/southbound lanes between Hickman Road and University Avenue.

Carroll underwent surgery at Methodist Medical Center for a broken leg and “made several signs of improvement such as responding to commands from nurses to move her fingers and her toes” and opening one eye before surgery, per an update by Carroll’s friend Angie Mcmains.

Carroll’s family have started a GoFundMe page to help raise at least $25,000 to assist with Carroll’s medical bills and recovery. For more information, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/n53sg-morgans-medical-bills.

Please support Carroll if you can.

ITEM TWO: Grim economic news continues to flow like sewage from a broken pipe. “Nearly 900,000 people filed unemployment claims last week and public debt is set to hit a record high,” reports Tyler Blint-Welsh of the Wall Street Journal.

President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi play chicken with the American economy. CNN reported Trump and Pelosi have not spoken in more than a year. Very mature.

Millions of people, through no fault of their own, find themselves without work and struggling to get by in the middle of a pandemic. Their country is failing them.

The nation’s leaders adopted the “hold your breath until you turn purple” approach to compromise and meaningful stimulus. Unfortunately, Trump and Pelosi are breathing easy while millions strangle.

ITEM THREE: The kitchy Dogs Playing Poker paintings were part of a series of 16 oil paintings used to sell cigars in 1903. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker owns a copy of the painting titled “A Friend in Need,” which features a bulldog holding an ace under the table.

ITEM FOUR: From the Florida Man blog: A naked man spent 24 hours vandalizing a high school in Miramar. The man wore only a hat and headphones while causing about $100,000 in damage.

The typist wonders how the suspect’s life might have turned out if he had spent 24 hours in school, clothed and when he was supposed to be.

ITEM LAST: The typist is tired from midterms and the ongoing stress of looking for a job in the middle of an apocalypse. He lives with depression and anxiety. The mood disorders are mostly corrected by medicine and behavioral therapy. But these times stress us all.

He tries to be kind. He falls short.

He tries to laugh. It can be hard to laugh especially when things are sad.

He tries to show love. And he tries to accept love when its shown.

These are simple sentences, but that is the only thing simple about them.

Daniel P. Finney will get a tattoo of your face if you pay his rent through 2022.
comics, des moines, mental health, News, politics, sports

HOT SHEET: Drake Jethro’s trims hours, Trump honors Dan Gable, and horse skeleton chicanery

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: Terrible news from the bar at Jethro’s on Forest Avenue near Drake University: The restaurant is closing on Mondays and Tuesdays for at least six weeks. Insiders tell the typist the restaurant has a steady flow of regulars — including this ol’ Paragraph Stacker — but has struggled to lure students from the nearby campus during the pandemic. With reduced capacity due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, all restaurants and public gathering spaces are feeling the pinch. Jethro’s owner Bruce Gerleman, a Des Moines businessman and restauranteur, considers the Drake Jethro’s, his first in a chain of seven barbecue joints around the metro, his personal favorite. He’s spoken to the typist of his loyalty to the neighborhood. Of course, all businesses, no matter how altruistic, face the reality of the bottom line. Jethro’s will keep regular hours Wednesday through Sunday. Let’s hope the shortened week is a temporary taking of the knee during exceptional circumstances and not the beginning of the end at Drake Jethro’s.

ITEM TWO: Whenever possible, drink cold beverages over lots of ice in a glass. Pause before you sip to recall our not-too-distant ancestors lapped water from streams. Now we have uncounted flavors of water and ice on demand. What a time to be alive.

ITEM THREE: President Donald Trump plans to award Dan Gable, perhaps the greatest wrestler of all time, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon citizens, writes Cody Goodwin, the Des Moines Register’s superstar wrestling writer. Whatever one thinks of Trump, it’s a tremendous honor for arguably the finest athlete and coach Iowa ever produced. As a campaign strategy, it isn’t shabby either. Polls have shown Trump dead even or slightly leading in Iowa. Showing some love to a living Iowa legend can’t hurt.

ITEM FOUR: Dedicated to the great state of Florida in all its weirdness: The UPI reports Florida officials seized a package from Hungary containing a full horse skeleton. So for those of you planning on getting a Hungarian horse skeleton for Halloween, remember you need a special agricultural permit.

ITEM FIVE: New Comics Wednesday recommendations:

  • Iron Man 2020: Robot Revolution TPB — The idea of a future with a morally ambiguous Iron Man mercenary first came to be in 1984 created by Tom DeFalco and Herb Trimpe. Now it really is 2020 and things are far worse than Iron Man 2020’s creators envisioned.
  • Rorschach No. 1 — in another case of what’s old is new again, Rorschach, the most interesting characters of the magnificent 1986 Watchman series gets a three-issue DC Black Series run by comics’ best current writer, Tom King.

ITEM LAST: The stress mounts and continues to build as we approach holidays reduced and fall celebrations cancelled by the coronavirus, the most uncivil election in modern memory, an economy on the verge of collapse, joblessness, an impotent Congress and a harmful executive branch. Just remember: You can’t fix it all. All you can do is your best and even then, sometimes you’ll stumble. Take a moment to remind yourself that you are the only one of you in the whole world, a child of God worthy of love, dignity and respect. Then take 10 deep breaths and find one person you love and remind them, too.

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. Daniel P. Finney is controlling transmission.

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, mental health, News

HOT SHEET: Constipated Congress, Moleskine anxiety, CDC gaffes and in praise of profanity

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

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

ITEM ONE: The typist made the mistake of reading the news Monday. He recommends against it — especially if you are prone to anxiety and depression. The stories he perused related to the possibility of a new stimulus package and enhanced unemployment. Both national issues relate directly to the typist, who is unemployed after COVID-19 and corporate hustlers killed his 23-year career in journalism. The news remained grim and stupid. Hot Sheet says “grim” because Congressional leaders and the White House have not even begun resuming talks on the issue despite assurances from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that a deal could happen by the end of September. We write “stupid” because typist finds little hope that our constipated Congress can do anything in the interest of the American people as a whole. An optimist might think both Republicans and Democrats would like to finish their campaigns by pretending they acted swiftly in the midst of a national emergency to help the people they serve. But the typist is not an optimist. He is a romantic who has been exposed to too much reality. Thus, he believes Congress would rather go into the home stretch waggling their fingers against opponents of the opposite party than accomplishing anything.

ITEM TWO: Two lines from “The Big Lebowski,” the typist’s favorite movie:

THE BIG LEBOWSKI: You don’t go out looking for a job looking like that? On a weekday?

THE DUDE: Is this a … what day is this?

ITEM THREE: The last bloom of American innocence fell today when the two people who actually believed Republicans would avoid brazen hypocrisy in the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court justice during a presidential election year fainted. Pity the poor, isolated souls who must now realize that the only thing politicians care about is more power for their team. To rehash, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, nominated Merrick Garland for an opening on the Supreme Court with nine months remaining on his second term. GOP senators refused to hold hearings on the matter because the presidential election loomed. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led the charge saying such filibuster-esque behavior had been the practice of the Senate for 80 years. So, with about nine weeks left before the 2020 presidential election, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. The same Republicans now say they will fast-track any nominee from Republican President Donald Trump. The angry fist-shaking has dominated the social media sphere since it become clear fairness and scruples — even adherence to one’s own bullshit — is not a mark of Republican leaders. Just for local point of reference, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa’s Dollar Store Sarah Palin, is also on Team Fast-Track. The typist wishes we could get either Iowa senator to show as much interest in fast-tracking a stimulus.

ITEM FOUR: Unavailable due to COVID-19 quarantine. Item Four wants the public to know it is asymptomatic and resting comfortably at home.

ITEM FIVE: Hot Sheet’s Reno, Nevada, bureau chief recently sent the typist some school supplies. The package included a Moleskine notebook. Though he joyously received the gracious gift, Moleskine notebooks generate a certain anxiety in the ol’ Paragraph Stacker. Moleskine products rank as the finest stationery stock one can buy. Their books possess such elegance, the typist feels nothing he has to say at that moment is worthy of marring the perfection of the creation. This is why most of the notes he takes in his post-journalism career are on the backs of envelopes.

ITEM SIX: On the matter of office supplies, the typist notes that the box of 50 letter-size envelopes he bought when he was in college has finally been extinguished. If he buys another box of 50, he believes it will last him until the grave.

ITEM SEVEN: The Centers for Disease Control said COVID-19 could be transmitted through the air. The next day officials said it couldn’t. Judas H. Priest on a palomino pony! We are seven months into this pandemic. It would be nice if the one agency who is supposed to know what the fuck is going on actually did. This kind of low-rent bullshit is why some people are running around Wal-Marts screaming about having to wear masks. Get it together, CDC.

ITEM LAST: If it seems like the typist is cursing a lot, it’s true. He is. The typist is angry and profanity is the language of anger. To the typist’s mind, it’s also the language of comedy. Yes, retired English teachers, the typist is smart enough to know other ways in which to express himself. He chooses profanity because he likes it. He is also unemployed. If someone hires him, even part time, he’ll happily use only Sunday school words. But for now? Fuck it.

Daniel P. Finney plays air keyboard to “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams.

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Crime and Courts, des moines, humor, Iowa, mental health, People, sports

HOT SHEET: Typist begs Congress to pass COVID stimulus; an ice cream thief named Fudge; suspect slathered in Crisco; and spider vs. Spider-Man

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

ITEM ONE: The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg brings anxiety to the typist for more reasons than the potential future ideological makeup of the court. The demagoguery and hypocrisy certain to mark the decision to replace Ginsberg before the presidential election will dominate the Senate and further hamper efforts to pass a stimulus bill before the pre-election October recess. The typist is one of 96,500 unemployed Iowans and 13.6 million Americans unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald Trump’s use of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to provide a $300 boost lasted six weeks, but those funds ran out Sept. 14. Congress battled to a standstill before Labor Day recess on a stimulus package. One would hope that even the most brazenly extremist of Congressional leaders would want to brag about passing a stimulus to help struggling Americans during the pandemic. Alas, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker has lost all faith that his elected representatives have anything but petty bickering in their ineffectual repertoires.

ITEM TWO: Seriously Congress, especially Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Reps. Cindy Axne, Abby Finkenauer, Dave Loebsack and Steve King from Iowa, pass a goddamn stimulus. People are hurting out here. The typist is one of them. Get it together and make something happen. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker has never felt so hopeless or helpless in his life – and he lives with chronic depression and acute anxiety. The election is coming. Representatives will be held accountable. The typist regularly refers to Sen. Ernst as “Dollar Store Sarah Palin.” But if she played a role in getting a stimulus passed, the typist could be persuaded to vote her way even if he disagrees with most of her positions. Similarly, Rep. Axne could lose a vote if she isn’t seen to be doing all she can to make the stimulus happen. The typist believes this Congress the most useless assemblage of lawmakers in American history. Prove me wrong.

ITEM THREE: Saturday’s absence of college football games with local or personal interest resulted in viewing experimentation by the typist. To wit, the typist attempted to use YouTube TV’s “Catch Up with Key Plays” option when he tuned in late to the University of Central Florida at Georgia Tech contest. The typist expected a version of the Major League Baseball “condensed game,” which appears on the sport’s app and website soon after completion of a ballgame. Instead, YouTube TV delivered an opening kickoff return by Georgia Tech followed by six consecutive commercials. The commercial wave finally broke only to return to inconsequential plays. The typist gave up on the condensed game and relegated it to the “good idea, bad execution” file.

ITEM FOUR: From 2014. Iowa City police arrested a man stealing $501 worth of cakes, cash and containers of ice cream after hours at a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream store, reports the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The suspect’s name? Conor P. Fudge.

ITEM FIVE: From 2014: Rock Island, Illinois, police arrested a slippery suspect Monday. Officers found the naked man carrying a pair of shorts and covered in Crisco, reports the Quad City Times. The suspect told officers he took off his shorts because they were too big and would not fit. He slathered on the Crisco because “he was looking for a place to party.” A search of the suspect’s shorts produced five grams of what officers believed was methamphetamine.

ITEM LAST: A wolf spider the approximate size of a half dollar made the fatal error of squatting in the basin of the typist’s tub. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker reacted swiftly and smooshed the life out of the creature with a facial tissue and flushed it to oblivion. The typist noted some irony, however, that when he sat down to answer nature’s call, he picked up a Spider-Man comic to read.

Let’s close the book on this one. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and donate if you can. It really helps ease the pain of lost expanded unemployment benefits.

Daniel P. Finney covers confectionary crime for ParagraphStacker.com.

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.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, Faith and Values, humor, mental health, Movies, News, Podcasts, Pop Culture, sports, Unemployment

HOT SHEET: Bye, bye Kardashians; Hawkeyes and Cyclones sports broke; wireless society lies and why Bob Woodward is a shameless self-promoter

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 the ridiculous bullshit spouted by rich dilettantes. The typist admits ignorance that the show remained on a broadcast schedule. That the series finally concludes — hopefully forever ridding our screens of this vapid and indulgent bunch of hedonists — means that there is yet another reason to look forward to 2021.

ITEM TWO: COVID-19 continues to leech the lifeblood from the Iowa and Iowa State athletics. The Big Ten’s decision to move football, the moneymaker for big college athletic departments, forced Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta to cut 40 job and order furloughs for non-contract employees in his department. This follows the ending of the men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams to ease budget woes for the Hawkeyes. The virus similarly saddled the Cyclones, who cancelled plans to admit fans at football games due to the pandemic, with a $30-million budget shortfall that may close CY Stephens Auditorium, cause 10% pay cuts, and potentially cut sports. The typist knows the woes of unemployment in the pandemic and wishes speedy reemployment for all. Brave heart, fellow travelers.

ITEM THREE: When your typist was a young man, the futurists talked of a cashless society. They meant money would eventually be all digital transactions, no paper or coins. Though much has changed, you can still buy a hamburger and fries with a $10 bill and get paper and coin in return. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker notes this because the term “wireless” is recklessly thrown about in the present century. This sounds terrific until we look at the electrical outlets in our houses, cluttered in the extremis with adapters and cords for smartphones, tablets, computers, AirBuds and other essential gadgetry of the age. The cords strangle us as we desperately seek juice for our fading batteries. The desk submits “wireless” is false advertising. They should call it “temporarily un-pluggable.”

ITEM FOUR: The pandemic proceeds as the brutal bummer of the century. This constant state of concern and confusion may induce decidedly darker thoughts as days grow shorter. The desk reminds readers to monitor their depression levels on the DEPCON — that’s depression condition — scale. DEPCON 1 is no depression and DEPCON 5 is hospitalized for suicidal ideation. To combat serious DEPCON, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker has issued a list of movies to distract you based on level of depression.

  • DEPCON 5: “The Big Lebowski”
  • DEPCON 4: “Beavis and Butt-head Do America”
  • DEPCON 3: “Batman” (1966)
  • DEPCON 2: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
  • DEPCON 1: “Airplane”

ITEM FIVE: The desk received his fourth solicitation from the Center for Voter Information in his mailbox containing voter registration information. The Hot Sheet acknowledges the organization means well by encouraging voter registration in the age of COVID-19 and with a president who openly courts Russian interference in the democratic process. Still, the typist worries the multiple mailings might confuse people into requesting an absentee ballot more than once and potentially voting twice. Iowa law classifies this as election misconduct and it’s a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum of a $7,500 fine. Hot Sheet supports all ways to vote — and would go as far as to make Election Day a national holiday and voting a legal requirement of all citizens. But let’s not gum up the works with duplicate paperwork.

ITEM LAST: Wednesday, Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward revealed a recorded interview from February in which President Donald Trump speaks directly to the deadliness of the oncoming coronavirus pandemic. About a month later, Trump downplayed the virus to the public. Social media exploded with the usual rage and anguish upon Woodward’s revelation. The typist is not surprised that the president is a liar. The typist, however, remains baffled that people are still surprised the president is a liar. Hot Sheet instead condemns Woodward for sitting on this definitive confirmation of the president’s betrayal of the American trust until it was time to release his latest book, “Rage.” This reduces Woodward to another shameless profiteer on the misery of his country. Perhaps if the public had heard Woodward’s tape of Trump earlier in the pandemic, they might have done a better job listening to public health officials and ignoring the ignorant hate machine in the Oval Office. Alas, given the state of political discourse and our collective confirmation bias, people trade more in fear and loathing than truth. This breaks the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s heart that such is the state of the republic.

Daniel P. Finney just can’t even right now.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade.

ParagraphStacker.com 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 paypal.me/paragraphstacker.