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 police, News

Dunkin’ vs. Sgt. Parizek and man’s inhumanity to The Man

Photo by Elena Koycheva via Unsplash

I like Sgt. Paul Parizek, the Des Moines police spokesman. He is my friend and I love him. That’s not the kind of thing journalists are supposed to say about police officers.

But I am an independent (read: unemployed) newsman.

That means I can say anything I want and not be required to have a meeting where I’m scolded by a corporate ninny about not upholding the standards of journalism they actively work to destroy on an hourly basis.

So, I admit my pro-Paul bias when I read stories in the local news that he was refused service at an east Des Moines Dunkin’ franchise because he was a police officer.

The corporation quickly fired the two employees involved, but the low-level antics of the junior social justice warriors serves as a sad commentary on interpersonal communication in our age.

Let’s pause, first, to mock Dunkin’ for dropping the word “donuts” from their name. What are we dunking? Scones? Crumpets? Tarts?

No. We are dunking donuts. Donuts are unhealthy. If Dunkin’ drops them from their name, maybe people will be fooled into thinking this is a Whole Foods.  

This is almost as stupid as when Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC. They wanted to disassociate themselves from the word “fried” because fried foods are unhealthy.

If we remove “fried” from the name, people will think KFC stands for “Kale For Children.”

It’s a pointless effort in rebranding that fools no one and changes nothing except the signs and stationery.

Pointless gestures bring us to the Southeast 14th Street Dunkin’ refusing to serve Paul because he’s a cop.

This was a decision made by teenagers who worked at the store. Teenagers have a poor track record on good decision making. This is why we try to keep them away from booze.

But, apparently, there was not one adult on duty at Dunkin’ that day who could explain the basic idea of how service industry jobs work: A customer comes in and orders food. You take their money, give them the food and wish them a nice day.

This is true if the customer is a construction worker, an artist or a ninja.

Now, as an individual, a person who works for a corporation that sells food to people might not like serving ninjas. Ninjas are experts in the dark arts and silent assassinations. These kinds of actions can be offensive to people who read Harry Potter or prefer noisy assassinations.

However, work isn’t the place where you get to carry out your personal prejudices against ninjas. If the ninja puts down $5 for coffee and a double chocolate, you take his money, give him his food and wish him a nice day.

I also would advise against posting on social media something like, “I just served Snake Eyes, that ninja from G.I. Joe, and he was a total douche.”

You can tell that to your other teenage friends over the Busch Light you asked someone to buy for you at the Kum & Go, but that’s about it if you want to keep your job.

Now I don’t know why these young people were uncomfortable around Paul. My guess is they heard Paul was a dirty, lying cop through a friend who once rode in a car with a guy who drove by one of the Black Lives Matters protests.

I’ve seen friends who are active in BLM posted negative things about Paul. I have told those people that Paul is my friend and my experience with him is different.

Few could explain their disdain for Paul other than to say they didn’t like the statements he made about some of the violence and lawlessness that occurred in the vicinity of BLM protests or after the events.

Now, again, I am decidedly pro-Paul, but I think this is a case where people are only going to accept what they want to believe is true regardless of the facts.

Confirmation bias is a powerful thought pattern and it’s hard for people to break it without vigilant practice.

So, if some people who support BLM have concluded that Paul is a bad guy, that’s understandable.

Well, it’s understandable, but still poor behavior.

I wonder what preponderance of evidence on which these youths made the decision that Paul is a bad guy not deserving of coffee and donuts.

I know some people believe all cops are bad. Cops, so the thinking goes, enforce an unjust system that imprisons and kills minorities to the benefit of straight, white men.

Paul is the most visible cop in Iowa. Therefore, he becomes the target of partisan disdain for police in general.

The problem is this judgement is acted upon without knowing Paul as an individual.

Also, refusing service to anyone for almost any reason is a slippery slope to “whites only” lunch counters.

The argument I make, the one I always make, is Paul is a human. Every human deserves to have their dignity respected.

You cannot fight against unequal treatment and injustice by treating people unequally.

That said, one needn’t delve too deeply into the ethics interpersonal codes of conduct to understand what should have happened when Paul tried to order at Dunkin’.

The youths are welcome to their prejudices. When I run into people I don’t like. I operate on a simple philosophy: Get it over as quickly as possible without conflict.

I don’t know how long it took the master race of infants at Dunkin’ to refuse to serve Paul, but I can almost guarantee it took more time than just to have given him some coffee and a donut and send him on his way.

Everyone — everyone — deserves coffee and donuts if they want them.

Daniel P. Finney, independent journalist

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.