HOT SHEET: The typist is in hibernation until after the election — maybe longer

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

ITEM FIRST: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker has found few things to celebrate in this miserable year, but perhaps the only thing he anticipates with glee is, due to his layoff from the local Gannett outlet store, he will not have to be anywhere near a newsroom — especially a corporate newsroom — on Election Day.

ITEM TWO: The local Gannett outlet store published its last poll before Tuesday’s election. The results of the poll were so depressing to the typist that he has instituted a news blackout beginning at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, until 9 a.m. Wednesday. The smartphone notifications are off. His remote won’t fall on any of the news stations or the local channels during news time.

ITEM THREE: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker is going full bunker mode on Election Day. He’ll call all his friends and family and wish them well by 7 p.m. Then the phone will be turned off and put in a drawer. He’ll close up the laptop and turn off the TV. He would allow himself a few shows on MeTV, but he worries those bastards at parent station KCCI-TV would break in with some election bullshit in the middle of a perfectly decent episode of “Perry Mason” or “The Twilight Zone.” Instead, the typist will hunker down with a stack of comic books, some iced tea and some protein snacks. Whatever happens Tuesday night can wait to be obsessed over until Wednesday.

ITEM FOUR: As previously chronicled, the typist attends graduate school at Drake University in an effort to earn his master’s degree and teacher certification. The semester wanes in the second half, but the intensity mounts. The challenge is the typist is doing the work of an educator for the first time. It has been a long time since he’s been a novice. He knew how to report and write practically any story that landed on his desk by the time the corporate goons wadded up his career and threw it in the trash. But the work of teaching? This is all new. It feels weird to be a rookie and it’s unsettling. It leads to a lot of emotional reactions he didn’t anticipate. Still, he hacks away, trying to new a new professional language and cling to the skin of this little blue-green planet hurtling around the sun at 67,000 mph.

ITEM FIVE: The typist wishes he could assure everyone that things are going to be OK no matter how things go on Election Day. But he does not believe that. He believes everything will be OK for a very small number of people, most things will be OK for some people and a lot of things will remain terrible or get exceptionally worse for too many people.

ITEM LAST: The election stress combined with emotional and financial stresses have taken their toll on the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s mental health. Because of that, this is the last Hot Sheet until after the election, maybe longer. The typist will return. Maybe.

Daniel P. Finney dresses like this to look for a job. On a weekday. 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

HOT SHEET: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are America’s sexy mom and dad now — plus the last of the trick-or-treat jokes for 2020

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

ITEM FIRST: The typist takes a night class on Thursday and missed publishing Thursday’s Hot Sheet. He apologizes to loyal readers who rely on this critical crass menagerie for information and entertainment amidst the daily drudgery of pandemic restrictions and political campaign excesses.

ITEM TWO: Speaking of political campaigns, the long presidential election cycle draws to a close with last fevered pitches to be made over the weekend. It will soon all be over. By this time next week, the entire country could be engulfed in flames, riots and the general destruction of society as we know it. But at least there won’t be any more political commercials during football games.

ITEM THREE: Speaking of commercials, the typist was surprised to see Sarah Michelle Gellar of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame and Freddie Prinze Jr. of “married to Sarah Michelle Gellar” fame starring in a commercial for Cascade dishwasher detergent. The couple traded sweet jokes about “doing it every night,” which of course meant washing dishes with water-conserving Cascade and not that other nasty thing your filthy mind thought about. That’s right Gen Xers, the youngsters once so hip they could play Daphne and Fred in live-action “Scooby-Doo” movies are now playing America’s mom and dad. The typist notes he is older than both Gellar and Prinze Jr. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker feels like time has shoved one of Buffy’s stakes into his heart and he turned to dust and blew away.

ITEM FOUR: Friday is Beggars’ Night in Des Moines, the night the capital city typically sends its children out into their neighborhoods dressed as monsters, superheroes and other characters real and imagined. In eight of the last nine days, the Hot Sheet has published four one-sentence jokes for kids to learn and say, as is also tradition in Des Moines. Due to last night’s absence, the remainder of this edition will be dedicated to silly jokes for Beggars’ Night.

Q: What do you call a sleeping bull?

A: A bulldozer.

Q: What did 0 say to 8?
Nice belt!

Q: What do sharks say when something radical happens?

Q: What kind of music do chiropractors listen to?
Hip hop.

Q: What do you call a baby with a drum?
A baby boomer.

Q: Why was the tomato blushing?
Because he saw the salad dressing!

Q: What to you call a lazy baby kangaroo?

A: A pouch potato!

Q: What did the policeman say to his tummy?
I got you under a vest!

Q: Why did the cookie go to the hospital?
He was feeling crummy.

Q: Why shouldn’t you write with a broken pencil?
Because it’s pointless!

Q: What do owls say when they’re introduced?
Howl do you do?

Q: What’s the best way to carve wood?
Whittle by whittle.

Q: Why was the cat afraid of the tree?
Because of its bark!

Q: What room can no one enter?
A mushroom.

Q: How did dinosaurs decorate their bedroom?
With rep-tiles!

ITEM LAST: Happy Beggars’ Night and happy Halloween everyone. Watch out for cars and pay attention to pandemic procedures.

Q: What’s black and white and read all over? A: Daniel P. Finney’s Paragraph Stacker. 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