HOT SHEET: Outrage over Baby Yoda’s eating disorder, ‘The Unicorn’ is the best kind of OK, and AC/DC rocks in the most unsurprising way

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

ITEM ONE: We thought of all creatures real and imagined, Baby Yoda would escape the wrath in the Age of Outrage.

This was not to be the way. On a recent episode of “The Mandalorian,” the child — colloquially known as Baby Yoda — ate some of the unhatched eggs of a frog creature whose line will die out if she doesn’t reach her husband in time.

Worshippers of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood flipped out because Baby Yoda ate some of the eggs when the frog lady wasn’t looking. “Genocide!” some cried. “Insensitive to people with fertility issues!” others bellowed.

The typist shakes his fist in rage. How dare they mock Baby Yoda’s eating disorder? The child seems to only be able to eat wet, slimy things. You never see him with a bowl of cereal, a PBJ on toast or some Doritos like a normal kid, which can only mean the poor kid has a debilitating gluten allergy. We mock him for eating the only food his little body can process. Baby Yoda clearly has space celiac disease, you smug bastards.

ITEM TWO: Pause for a moment to consider the following: Baby Yoda is a puppet. There are no frog people who need to mate on a nearby planet. In fact, everything in “Star Wars” and its related properties is fiction — what people in a forgotten age called “fun.”

ITEM THREE: Actors Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis have broken up after 10 years together, multiple news agencies have reported, but no, none of us ugly muggles have a chance with either of them.

ITEM FOUR: The Hot Sheet holds little love for romantic comedies or sitcoms, but the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s best buddy, Memphis Paul, convinced him to give CBS-TV’s “The Unicorn” a watch last fall. The typist ended up enjoying the show about a widowed father of two girls whose neighbors try to get him to start dating. The show is sedate and involves adults who are roughly the typist’s age but don’t act like complete idiots. The children aren’t precocious and saccharine — though they can be annoying as children are known to be. The second season debuted last week and it begins with widower Wade (Walton Goggins) having a kismet with his latest potential paramour, Shannon (Natalie Zea). Actors and writers must work very hard to tug at the heartstrings of this grumpy middle-aged former newsman, but the moment when Wade and Shannon finally meet in the final minutes of the second season premiere shook loose enough genuine warmth to recommend folks binge-watch the first season and start recording the second season post haste.

ITEM FIVE: The new AC/DC album, “Power Up,” is unsurprising in every way and that’s what makes it wonderful. Angus Young’s unmistakable shrieking guitar coupled with lead singer Brian Young’s maniacal screams sound like every other great AC/DC album. Hell, it sounds like the crap ones, too. What makes it wonderful is that these rockers aren’t drifting into power ballads or moody poetry to listen to when the rain streaks down a window. This is music you listen to when you grab a plastic cup of keg beer in a room full of drunks and jump up and down and shake your head and act out the wild rumpus. We can’t get into big crowds and do that stuff right now, but it is good to be reminded that such music can tap our wild inside.

ITEM SIX: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker enthusiastically recommends Habaneros, the new Mexican restaurant at 3200 Forest Ave. The restaurant refurbished the dilapidated former KFC/Taco Bell in the same location. The food is terrific. Their salsa is on point. The chips run a little dry, but that’s never stopped the typist from eating a bowl full of them. Recommended dish: Chicken Fajita Nachos.

ITEM LAST: These are unquestionably difficult times. The virus, the economy, the politics. They all suck. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker has no special cure for any of it. All he can do is tell you how he copes: He calls and texts his friends and family almost every day. He enjoys simple pleasures like comic books and James Bond movies. He takes a lot of naps. And he tries, and often fails, to remember that for all the things in this world to be upset about, he is still alive and there are adventures still left to be had. The storm has made the skies black and the water choppy. Set your teeth, friends, and keep both hands on the wheel.

Daniel P. Finney puts ketchup on a hot dog. Fuck you, Dirty Harry.

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.

How’s it going, Dude? Not too good, man. Not too good.

Down, down, down, down, select … no, it’s just down.

I’m exhausted.

This year feels like a rolling fistfight and every day feels like I’m going to go down for the count for good.

I started the year by writing the obituaries for the best teacher I ever had, Drake University’s Bob Woodward, and the best writer anyone ever knew, Ken Fuson.

Then came pneumonia. COVID-19 arrived. The world shut down. The greedy corporate hustlers took away my job and ended my journalism career of 23 years.

That was all by May 1.

It all blends into a fetid soup after that. I continue to look for a job in the pandemic. I failed to find one.

I returned to graduate school at Drake with the idea of becoming a teacher. The classes gave me purpose early on, but the Zoom meetings drain personality out of everyone.

I am surrounded by bright, sharp minds, but the whatever sliver of the brain that craves face-to-face interaction is powerful.

I feel disconnected and estranged from people who are learning the same lessons as me at the same time because of the distance required by COVID.

And then there is the struggle to manage my longtime issues with mood disorders of depression and anxiety.

I take my meds. I meet with my therapist. And I lean, oh how I lean, on my friends.

I call some of them every day. I exhaust some of their patience with my incessant calling.

The impotent Congress, overrun by soulless grandstanders such as Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell, let any effort for a stimulus fail and let people like me and 22 million other Americans twist in the wind.

“Get another job,” the occasional wiseass says to me.

I’d love to. I spent nearly a quarter century doing a thing that is on the verge of being extinct. Since 2001, half of all the journalist in the country have lost their jobs.

I have applied for jobs every week since I lost my job, sometimes multiple jobs a day. I got two callbacks and one interview.

All I do is worry. It eats up my days and keeps me up at night. Will the new Congress get off its fucking ass and pass a stimulus? Will I sell everything I own and end up living in YMCA housing? What if I get the COVID?

And I can’t fight the feeling that I failed.

They tell you it isn’t personal when they lay you off. It’s not about performance.

And I know this. I know it’s about money. I made too much. I worked for 23 years and made a decent living, but my experience would have been worth at least a third more 25 years ago. I was born at the wrong time.

It sure as hell feels personal when they take your job away.

I’m insecure, probably more than most.

I never felt good enough. I always felt like a second-stringer who got a cup of coffee with the big leaguers.

Sometimes I let myself think I was halfway worth a damn, but in the end, I was trashed like a used coffee filter.

And I feel like a failure because I’m still unemployed, living off unemployment.

I know how society looks at people like me. I’m sucking off the government teat. I’m a drain on society. I’m a loser.

And you know what? That’s how I feel, deep down inside. I’m feel like a loser. A broke, 45-year-old loser.

That’s harsh.

And maybe it’s more than a little whiny.

But I’m not a person who does well putting a cork in his feelings. Right now, I feel pretty bad.

I hurt. I’m sad. I’m scared. And I need to get it out. I just want to acknowledge it. This sucks.

Am I gonna be OK?

Sort of.

I’ll get up Monday and go to school. I’ll write my papers. I’ll apply for jobs. I’ll do the best I can to survive and hope one day I’ll be able to relax enough to live.

I’ll be back with the jokes tomorrow.

Daniel P. Finney once wore a kilt to a friend’s wedding. He’s not been the same since.

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.

HOT SHEET: Election Day recommendations; Saved by the Bell reboot and more jokes to learn and say

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

ITEM FIRST: Folks, we are seven days out from Election Day in America. We need to start thinking about our plans for the event.

Memphis Paul, the typist’s best friend, recommends stocking gin and tonic and the sundry accoutrements. Start drinking at about 5 p.m. and you should be good and sauced by 6 p.m. and passed out well before the results start coming in.

The ol’ Paragraph Stacker plans to take his prescription sleeping medication around 6 p.m., turn off all phones and electronic devices and settle into bed with a big glass of iced tea and a novel by Iowa author extraordinaire Max Allan Collins.

To avoid temptation to check the news, he’ll put the phone, TV remotes and other electronic devices in a time-locked safe set to unlock at 7 a.m. the next day.

This may sound extreme, but his vote has been cast. There’s nothing he can do but get wound up by the TV news coverage heavy on scenarios but light on facts.

It’s best to follow the advice of the Ramones: “I wanna be sedated.”

ITEM TWO: The Peacock Network, NBCUniversal’s streaming network, is reviving 1990s teen Saturday morning staple “Saved By the Bell.” Everything in that sentence makes me question humanity’s right to continue to exist.

ITEM THREE: If “Saved By the Bell” comes back from the dead and “A.P. Bio” doesn’t get a renewal, Peacock deserves to become an endangered species.

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

Q: What do you call it when a dinosaur crashes his car?
A:
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks.

Q: Why did the banana go to the doctor?
A:
He wasn’t peeling well.

Q: What did the pancake say to the baseball player?
A:
Batter up!

Q: How do you cut the ocean in half?
A:
With a sea saw!  

ITEM FIVE: Retired World Food Prize President Ken Quinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia and possibly the finest public servant I’ve ever met, contributed the following Beggars’ Night joke:

Q: What do you get when you cross a tiger and a cabbage?
A:
Man-eating coleslaw.

ITEM LAST: As we prepare for our COVID-19-adjusted Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, the Wall Street Journal interviewed psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, a Democrat who is married to a Republican senior editor at the conservative magazine “National Review” on how to talk — or not talk — about politics with people with whom you disagree.

The take away from the Q&A:

WSJ: Is it even possible to change someone’s political opinion?

Safer: No, no and no.

Daniel P. Finney hates the show “Friends.”

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.