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.

des moines, Faith and Values, Iowa, mental health, People

45 years, 45 lessons

Photo by Alexandre Debieve via Unsplash

Today is my 45th birthday. This is older than I ever thought I would be. I’m not maudlin. It’s just that as a boy, I imagined being 16 and getting to drive or 21 and buying beer legally for the first time.

I did not imagine what 45 is like. That’s for the best. Age is a series of increasingly difficult indignities that ultimately result in death.

Our elders can tell us about the aches and pains that pile up with the decades. But when you’re 45, you feel the truth of it.

Innocence is beautiful. That’s an important life lesson.

Here are 45 random nuggets I’ve dug up in 45 years:

  1. The delete key is your best friend. Failure to use it judiciously will lead to some of the worst days of your life.
  2. Never apply for a credit card.
  3. To quote Tom Baker, the fourth actor to portray the lead character in “Doctor Who:” “Growing up is no fun if you can’t be childish sometimes.”
  4. Love people for who they are, not for who you would wish them to be.
  5. Own your mistakes.
  6. You can’t fix everything. You can’t fix most things. Many times, the best thing you can do is shut up and listen.
  7. Avoid gerunds in writing. They make perfectly fine verbs bland.
  8. Everyone with a smartphone should have the Merriam-Webster dictionary and thesaurus app.
  9. Caveat to No. 8: There should be a Constitutional amendment banning stories or speeches that begin “Webster’s dictionary defines …”
  10. Apologies should be offered with sincerity, but without expectation of response or acceptance.
  11. Mrs. Liechty was right: My failure to learn grammar, spelling and syntax did haunt me for the rest of my life.
  12. However, I still haven’t found a use for the geometric maxim “corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent.”
  13. Take care of your health before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
  14. Take care of your mental health before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
  15. Given a choice between content and happy, I choose content. It lasts longer.
  16. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be sad. Life is pretty scary and sad sometimes.
  17. You’re an adult. No one else is responsible for your emotions or attitude.
  18. You never really know what is going on in the houses of your family, friends and neighbors.
  19. You never really know what kind of day someone is having.
  20. It’s OK not to like everyone.
  21. I saw this on a personality test years ago and it has always stuck with me: Love is never enough, but it sure helps.
  22. If you are not religious and someone offers to give you their testimony, try to remember that by their belief system, the kindest thing they can do is tell you about their beliefs.
  23. Never turn down thoughts or prayers.
  24. We are all more prejudiced, sexist and racist than we think we are.
  25. I don’t immediately know what I think about some things and I am suspicious of those who do.
  26. Nobody is all one thing all the time.
  27. Variety may be the spice of life, but it can lead to terrible indigestion.
  28. If Jesus returned to Earth today, I think he would act very much like the late children’s television host Fred Rogers.
  29. Honorable people disagree.
  30. You don’t owe anyone an argument.
  31. This country would be a much better place if people embraced the political philosophy of Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. “Everyone leaves everyone else alone.”
  32. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If you enjoy it and it brings you happiness and it doesn’t hurt anyone, than that’s just pleasure. Like what you like.
  33. I am a lot more sensitive than I care to admit.
  34. I am a lot more selfish than I care to admit.
  35. “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya can hit. It’s about how hard ya can get hit and keep moving forward.” — Rocky Balboa
  36. When you fight a war against yourself, you always end up the loser.
  37. Never apply for a credit card. That’s right. It’s on here twice. Don’t do it.
  38. I am an introvert and that’s OK. I used to go to parties and be miserable. Then I was mad at myself for not enjoying things everyone else seemed to like. Then I learned about introverts. Now I don’t go to parties and I am happier.
  39. “Stay fit. Keep sharp. Make good decisions.” — Louis Tully, “Ghostbusters 2.”
  40. The news media hype stories of fear, anger and tragedy to make you feel weak, sad and, most of all, to keep you watching. Unplug.
  41. Sometimes things don’t work out despite the best intentions and tremendous effort.
  42. However, sometimes they do work out, so go hard on every trip to first base.
  43. The internet and social media aren’t the problem. They’re the megaphone for the ugliness inside our society.
  44. “You need to calm down.” — Taylor Swift.
  45. Default to kindness.

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.