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.

HOT SHEET: Only fools watch the debate when the baseball playoffs are on

Item Last!

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met in what was loosely described as a “debate” Tuesday somewhere in America. The typist didn’t watch a frame of it. He watched the New York Yankees defeat Cleveland in the first round of the baseball playoffs. The typist doesn’t understand why any thinking person would watch the presidential debates this election year. Here is the test: If you support Trump, is there anything he could say or do in the debate that would change your mind? Based on his cumulative behavior to this point, it’s hard to imagine anything Trump could do that would alienate his legions of followers. Conversely, Biden could have fallen asleep on his lectern and farted loudly for 15 minutes straight and it would not have cost him any votes. What’s the point? You can watch this low-rent political theater if you want, but in the end there is only one thing any of us can do: vote. Or not. Either way the Yankees are up one game on Cleveland.

ITEM TWO: If you want to duck sports and the campaigns, the typist recommends the Iowa Concert of Hope, a benefit for those in Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha who were battered by the derecho Aug. 10. Mediacom has pledged to air the concert statewide. In Des Moines, the concert is set to air 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday on Mediacom channel 22.

ITEM THREE: Back to baseball: Major League Baseball runs ads throughout the playoffs talking about how the current generation of players are hip, young and flashy. The spots are replete with colorful graphics in the hip-hop style. Yet, when an extra-inning game between the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves was on, ESPN lead blabbermouth Alex Rodriguez groaned because there were no sacrifice bunts. Bunts. What is synonymous with hip and new excitement but a bunt? A-Rod, who made no sac bunt attempts in the last 15 years of his career, would have been better served to say what the teams really needed to do was to have a clubhouse boy shoot them in the butt with steroids before the game to crack more homers in the playoffs.

ITEM FOUR: Unavailable due to COVID-19 quarantine.

ITEM FIVE: A belated happy anniversary to Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder and her husband, Dave, two of the finest humans the typist has ever had the pleasure of knowing.

ITEM LAST: A rare fine arts recommendation: The typist’s East High School classmate, Megan Gogerty, has made a movie for Theatre Cedar Rapids called “Feel Better.” It’s available via the web at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Check out TCR’s website for details. Tickets are $25. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker notes that Gogerty is the funniest, most talented person he’s ever met and easily the best writer he’s ever known.

OK, let’s close the book on this one. Donate if you can. It’s getting tight up in here at the middle of the semester. New podcast coming this weekend. Behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney crosses his arms in a non-verbal attempt to keep people from talking to him. The smile is a lie.

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.

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.