des moines, mental health, Music, News, People, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Hawkeyes, Cyclones win, pierce the gloom of the coming winter of COVID-19

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

ITEM FIRST: Most Iowans interested in football found happiness Saturday. The Iowa State Cyclones bludgeoned Kansas State. The Iowa Hawkeyes mauled Penn State. All was right with the world for a few hours on a late autumn afternoon.

ITEM TWO: Sunday promises to be another excellent day for this pro football fan. His favorite team, the Chicago Bears, will not play, but he fears the Bears are so bad they may find a way to lose without taking the field.

ITEM THREE: The Age of COVID-19 feels like a woolen sweater too tight in all the wrong places. It itches and stifles and never seems to let us breathe no matter how hard we tug and pull. The naturally shortened days of autumn get even shorter when the restaurants lock their doors at 10 p.m. Efforts to curb the virus’ potentially deadly spread curb our abilities to gather in fellowship whether it be to root for a favorite football team, celebrate a holiday or worship our gods. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker called one of his best friends Saturday. She was overwhelmed by the emptiness of it all and despite his silly jokes and empathy, he could not shake even a giggle loose. The miles between us seemed doubled or tripled despite the intimacy of a phone call. He felt the depression from his end of the phone. He had no choice but to let go and hoped her planned passivity would bring what Pink Floyd called comfortable numbness. The typist fared no better on his Saturday. He could have done laundry, but a psychological immobility paralyzed him whenever he gave leaving the house a serious thought. He attempted to watch football games, but the he fell into fitful sleep early in the games. Most of his friends hunkered with their family and the weight of a lifetime of bad choices and failures to grow left the Paragraph Stacker alone in a little apartment surrounded by nothing but entertainment but overwhelmed by the urge to have a beer with a buddy in public. So, he slept, for this is the season of hibernation. And he slept some more because he knew more of this malaise was to come. As the poet songwriter Bob Dylan once sang, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

ITEM FOUR: This blog will become private in a few weeks, which means you’ll have to request access to read the posts. It’ll still be free, but there will be an extra step to reading posts. The easiest way to avoid all that is go to https://paragraphstacker.com/ now and look for the follow button on the left side of the page. Enter your email address and confirm it. You’ll get every post delivered to your inbox.

ITEM LAST: The ol’ Paragraph Stacker makes no secret of his love for classic “Doctor Who.” He relaxes to the infinite stream of 200 episodes on the free streaming service Pluto TV. Saturday evening found him watching the very first “Doctor Who” story he ever watched many moons ago on Iowa PBS: “The Armageddon Factor.” He found a gem of an exchange between the Doctor, as played by Tom Baker, and his companions, Romana, played by Mary Tamm, and his robot dog, K-9, as voiced by John Leeson. It’s as true today as it was in 1979.
THE DOCTOR: Where’s your joy in life? Where’s your optimism?
ROMANA: It opted out.
K-9: Optimism: belief that everything will work out well. Irrational, bordering on insane.
Perhaps that’s a little too dark to end a Hot Sheet. So if it’s insane to be optimistic, perhaps the typist shall lean on a quote from another favorite childhood classic, the 1989 “Batman” film.
BRUCE WAYNE: You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!

Theorizing that one could time-travel within his own lifetime, Daniel P. Finney stepped into the quantum accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appears in the form of a hologram that only Daniel can see and hear. And so Daniel finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.
des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Podcasts, politics, sports

HOT SHEET: Nobody cares what I have to say about the #election2020, but I’m saying it anyway

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

ITEM FIRST: Nobody cares what the typist thinks about the presidential election, but he’s going to talk about it anyway. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker is happy that Joe Biden won the presidency. Donald Trump is a horrible human being who embodied the worst traits of this country and forever lowered the standard of person it takes to occupy the Oval Office. The typist struggles to understand how his fellow Iowans voted so heavily in favor of this person who in every way refutes the image of kindly neighbors Iowans have always sought to project. He will struggle with this as he continues to move forward with life.

ITEM SECOND: Iowa political historians should study the campaign of Theresa Greenfield for the Senate because it was hysterically poor from its media standpoint. If you watched Greenfield’s ads — and if you watched a sporting event live since September, you couldn’t have missed them — her entire campaign centered around how her husband died in a work accident, he once owned a Chevy Nova, she played high school basketball and, most embarrassing of all, she has a twin who thinks her sister would be a good senator. These saccharine confections are the kinds of things that win middle school class presidencies, but not U.S. Senate campaigns. Whoever managed her media campaign should go into hiding for a while.

Even the dark money groups trying to help Greenfield fumbled. They took shots at Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa’s Dollar Store Sarah Palin, because she — GASP! — lives in a $400,000 condo in Washington, D.C. The typist is not one to defend Ernst, but she does work in D.C. and a $400k condo in D.C. is a cheap hole-in-the-wall, not a swank luxury pad. Trying to go after someone for daring to have a residence in D.C. when they’re a senator is almost as dumb as filming an ad with your twin sister and expecting voters to give a flip about it.

ITEM THREE: If anyone is fool enough to think Joe Biden’s presumptive election to the presidency settles anything consider the following: This election was so close it took almost five days to figure out and there are still court cases to go through.

And then consider the cool, calm and even-handed response from the College Republicans at Iowa State, which tweeted “Everybody needs to arm up, expect these people to attempt to destroy your life, the elites want revenge on us.”

The typist won’t bother to try to figure out how Donald Trump, a billionaire by inheritance, con man, philanderer and failure at everything but being a reality TV host, somehow became an avatar for the downtrodden and disrespected.

It does remind the ol’ Paragraph Stacker of how foolish the notion that dangerous and horrible ideologies will not die out generationally.

ITEM FOUR: Withheld to give everybody a chance to count to 10 and settle down.

ITEM FIVE: The Hawkeyes and Cyclones were both winners Saturday. Iowa stomped Michigan State. It’s always fun to see Sparty lose. The Cyclones almost laid an egg against Baylor, but scored 28 unanswered points to earn their fifth win of the season. Iowa State is now 5-1 in the Big 12, the best record in program history and making the Cyclones real contenders for the league title. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker mocked this idea at the beginning of the season, but what the hell does he know?

ITEM SIX: Watch David Chappelle opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live.” I can imagine no better thing to see, laugh at and think about than this.

Daniel P. Finney is still optimistic enough to believe he may one day be in a torrid affair with a celebrity.

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.

Pop Culture, sports, TV

HOT SHEET: Calamity for Hawkeyes, Cyclones; World Series Dad 2.0 jokes; and more jokes to learn and say for trick-or-treat

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: The typist slumped into his over-stuffed recliner shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday with the idea of flipping between the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State game and the Iowa vs. Purdue game.

The memorial service for Grandma Lois earlier that day and the heavy brunch of blueberry pancakes, eggs and bacon at Jethro’s exacted their toll and a deep nap soon swept him away.

The Hawkeyes and Cyclones both lost in his deep slumber and he awoke content, having missed nothing important.

ITEM TWO: The typist and Dad 2.0 used to watch the World Series together in the fall when he was a boy. Many years have passed since the pair last met to do so in person.

The recent deaths of family members and illnesses of friends left the typist in an atavistic mood. He did not wish to risk an in-home visit in the pandemic, so on a whim he texted his father.

Dad 2.0, a retired printer, is a quiet man, but he occasionally unleashes a savagely funny one-liner when the mood strikes him, which it did during the fourth game of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

On the Dodgers’ shaking their hands after a soft base hit, something they call “barrels are overrated,” which means hard-hit balls are overrated:
What’s with the monkey imitations?

On the Aflac duck commercial with Nick Saban:
It’s the beginning of the end when you see the ducks clapping.

On the great baseball name of the Dodgers’ Max Muncy:
That must be his stage name.

On a broken-bat single by one of the Rays:
That bat is coming out of his paycheck.

On Verizon Wireless’ incessant 5G commercials:
That’s too much “G.”

ITEM THREE: Game Four of the World Series provided one of the finest unofficial Fall Classic games the typist had ever witnessed.*
*As every Iowan of a certain age knows from Frank Miller editorial cartoons, an official World Series must include the New York Yankees.

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

Q: Why was the broom late?
A: It over swept.

Q: Where do hamsters go on vacation?
A: Hamsterdam.

Q: How do you communicate with a fish?
A: You drop it a line.

Q: What did the music teacher say when her students asked if they could sing their favorite song?
A: “Of chorus”

ITEM FIVE: The typist can’t stop listening to Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Folklore,” which two readers gifted to the Hot Sheet when it was released.

The album is melancholy and goes places Swift’s previous albums didn’t. Her work enthralls the typist. She’s a good writer and her presentation is perfect.

Swift seems to be genuinely interested in her fans having a good time and communal experience at her concerts. And she shows kindnesses big and small to fans, especially young girls.

The typist is an admitted grouch. Swift’s generally upbeat work would not seem to fit with his daily dourness.

Well, people can surprise you whether they be singers or paragraph stackers.

ITEM LAST: Try to get a nap in today.

Every breath Daniel P. Finney takes without your permission raises his self-esteem.

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, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Will the endless parade of ads for Joni Ernst and Theresa Greenfield end before we all lose our damn minds?

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020

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

ITEM ONE: The Senate race between incumbent Republican Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield could decide the balance of power in the Senate, per CNBC. The campaign packed in the usual cartoonish bitterness. Ads for Greenfield showed alleged Republicans who believe Ernst is a liar. Ernst ads displayed Democrats who believe Greenfield wants to burn down small businesses and end law enforcement testimonies. Both candidates made use of grief porn. Ernst is a domestic abuse survivor, thus she cares about domestic abuse laws. Greenfield’s first husband died in an industrial accident, thus she cares about Social Security. One might argue that a candidate for office could have enough empathy for their fellow humans that they would care about Social Security and domestic abuse without personal experience. One can certainly argue that personal experience with said issues does not necessarily qualify either to be a good lawmaker. That said, in a race that has so much importance, it’s a shame that regardless of who wins, any Iowan with a TV is already sick of both of them.

ITEM TWO: Worth a click: The Omaha World-Herald points out that both Nebraska and Iowa have Republican governors soft on mask orders and restrictions during the pandemic, yet Iowa deaths are 72% higher per capita than Nebraska’s. Give Henry Cordes’ deliciously titled piece “What’s the matter with Iowa? Why COVID-19 deaths east of Missouri River are so much higher” a read.

ITEM THREE: Dark money — political spending by not-for-profit organizations such as special-interest activists — already dominates our state and national politics. The cash now swamps President Donald Trump’s selection for the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Big money has been spent by groups that support Trump, groups who wish abortion to be abolished and groups who fear Barrett’s ascension to the high court will result in abortion’s abolishment. This is gross, but not unexpected. If anything proves true in American politics, it’s that anybody can be bought.

ITEM IV: The reign of Caesar Itemus Aggressivus IV ended after its assault on the cubicle of Item Six failed. Four teenagers and their anthropomorphic dog thwarted Caesar Itemus Aggressivus IV with a half-hour onslaught of frightened running, pratfalls, eating of special snacks and a complex exposition by a girl in an orange sweater. The kid named Fred pulled a rubber mask from the face of Caesar Itemus Aggressivus IV revealing him to be Item Four, who had faked his death by COVID-19 in a grand real estate heist meant to take over the entire Hot Sheet and replace it with a new social media site controlled by the same cabal of algorithms that outlawed bunts and stolen bases in baseball. Item Five, located after a police dragnet, testified as an unindicted co-conspirator to Item Four’s culpability in the scheme. Item Four and Item Five were returned to their regular spots in the Hot Sheet and reprimanded for excessive silliness.

ITEM FIVE: The typist loves free streaming service Pluto TV. It hosts a dedicated channel to classic James Bond movies. The current Bond flick, “No Time To Die,” is mired in pandemic hell with theaters unable to gather the crowds necessary to support true blockbuster franchises. Classic Bond on a loop gives fans a chance to appreciate all the unrealized potential of wristwatches (lasers, grappling hooks, etc.) and the aesthetic masterpieces of underground lairs with great brutalist architecture style combined with the best in mid-century furniture and fur rugs.

ITEM SIX: Congratulations to the Iowa State Cyclones on another victory in the college football season. The typist has no rooting interest in the endless patter about the Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes, however he recants his earlier prediction of misery in Ames.

ITEM SEVEN: They’re playing pro football this Sunday. It should be enjoyable because the Chicago Bears are not playing. The Bears, though 4-1, play the losingest winning football possible.

ITEM EIGHT: The NBA Finals continue today. This is not a misprint. The end of the pro basketball season is in October, but teams in the Big Ten have yet to play a college football game.

ITEM NINE: The Hot Sheet mourns the end of another baseball season, even one as disjointed and bizarre as the 2020 season. The eagle-eyed retired English teachers might point out that the Major League Baseball playoffs continue. This is irrelevant. The typist believes the words of the late, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Frank Miller, who often said a World Series was only official if the Yankees played in it.

ITEM LAST: A former newsman himself, the typist respects the need for news websites to sell advertisements and have them viewed by visitors. However, even when he stacked paragraphs for a local corporate news outlet store, the typist used an adblocker on his browser because news sites were practically unnavigable with the advertisements interrupting text every few sentences. The typist would like to make a deal with news organizations: He will unblock their ads when they find a way to present the news in a way that doesn’t look like a 1996 GeoCities page assembled by a Doctor Who fan who figured out how to get their cartoon TARDIS to spin and play a MIDI file.

Daniel P. Finney fights for your rights in his satin tights.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help Daniel P. Finney cover expenses as he studies to earn his master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.

des moines, humor, Iowa, News, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Football, Busch Light, ranch dressing and other pointless s***

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

ITEM ONE: The Iowa Beef Industry Council selected selected its best burger Iowa. It’s the Who Gives A Shit Just Eat Wherever You Like And Stop Being Such A Goddamn Follower served everywhere. It’s served with Busch Light and ranch dressing because Iowans really like these exceptionally dull things with a pointless fanaticism.

ITEM TWO: The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was pen pals with the director of the Des Moines Metro Opera, reports WHO-TV. As a nation mourns a pioneer for gender equity under the law and one of the most respected jurists of her time, we must also mourn the loss of the loss of the last active pen pals in the nation. Toast their special friendship with a Busch Light and dip something in ranch.

ITEM THREE: Hot Sheet predicts a 4-4 Big Ten season for the Iowa Hawkeyes with losses to Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin. The typist also predicts Hawkeye fans will drink lots of Busch Light and dip lots of things in ranch dressing.

ITEM FOUR: Unavailable due to coronavirus quarantine.

ITEM FIVE: Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos moaned about the tough draw the Cornhuskers received in the Big Ten schedule, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The Bugeaters play five preseason AP Top 25 teams. Ohio State plays one. Nebraska’s schedule is undeniably tough, but if they it can’t all be Busch Light and ranch dressing.

ITEM LAST: Players at 71 courts in Estonia made 114,357 free throws in 8 hours to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark and honor basketball’s 100th anniversary in the nation, the UPI reports. No word on how much Busch Light and ranch dressing was consumed in celebration.

OK. Let’s close the book on this one. Please donate if you can and, as always, behave and be kind. Especially be kind.

Daniel P. Finney shaved Monday and nobody noticed.

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.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Cyclones’ brutal bummer, Democrats caught eating meat, Pizza Hutt woes and COVID playlist

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

ITEM ONE: Iowa State fans should thank their higher power of choice for unanswered prayers. Some 25,000 were to be admitted to Saturday’s debacle in Ames before officials came to their senses and remembered the pandemic. The Cyclones stunk up the joint with dropped passes on offense and a poor showing on special teams and defense. Running back Breece Hall provided the lone bright spot with 103 yards rushing including a touchdown. A reader recently suggested the Cyclones could contend for the Big 12 Championship Game. That’s true in the sense that there are only so many teams in the conference and since they are a member of the conference they are competing for the championship. But based on Saturday’s play, the typist considers that a technicality.

ITEM TWO: Polk County Democrats held their annual steak fry fundraiser in social distance fashion. The event drew no interest from Hot Sheet except for mild surprise there are any Democrats who still eat meat. The typist figured it would all be vegan couscous by now.

ITEM THREE: Hot Sheet admits we make fun of Democrats more often than Republicans. There’s one reason for this: Republicans have lots of guns.

ITEM FOUR: Pizza Hutt closed 15 of its 100 locations Iowa last week, reports KKWL-TV. Hot Sheet fondly recalls birthday parties and after-football gatherings at the Winterset Pizza Hutt as a boy. Corporate owners spared that restaurant, but the typist thinks the Grim Reaper stalks the Hutt. Domino’s nearly doubles the Hutt’s market share, per the consumer tech company Edison. Plus, the last time the ol’ Paragraph Stacker ordered from the local Hutt, he wished he’d just made a salad like a Democrat.

ITEM FIVE: A full 25% of Iowans now take medication to control anxiety, per a recent Iowa Department of Health report. Hot Sheet blames 2020 being leap year. The typist always believed it was unfair that years with a presidential election had an extra day. Throw in the pandemic and delete almost everything fun and suddenly everyone gnashes their teeth and chews their fingernails. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker recommends self care, sleep hygiene and writing to your state lawmakers to urge them to legalize weed.

ITEM SIX: This wretched pandemic finds ways to make even good turns bad. Example: Since losing his job and taking grad school classes online, the typist seldom drives more than once or twice a week. That’s a savings on gas. Alas, his Hy-Vee fuel saver rewards are expiring before he can use them. The COVID gives, the COVID takes. Mostly it takes.

ITEM LAST: Five songs to help you kick the COVID-19 funk:

  1. “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World,” Neil Young
  2. “Land of Confusion,” Genesis
  3. “All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix
  4. “Hound Dog,” Elvis Presley
  5. “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga.

Well, I guess we can close the book on this one.

Remember to listen to our podcasts and contribute if you can through PayPal or you can find me on Venmo and through the mail listed here. The money goes to keep the site running and keep the lights on while the ol’ Paragraph Stacker studies are Drake.

Behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney has a cat on his hat and you don’t.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade.

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.

des moines, humor, Iowa, Media, News, People, Pop Culture, sports

HOT SHEET: Media makes 9-11 anniversary grief porn, the tyranny of consumer ratings, West Des Moines school overwhelmed by COVID-19, and the University of Georgia’s terribly worded sex advice for students

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

ITEM ONE: The typist seldom celebrates his exile from corporate journalism more than on the anniversary of 9-11. Hot Sheet concedes the relatively recent national tragedy deserves remembrance. One might assume a fairly broad line between respectful observation and a blatant exploitation as part of a desperate grab for eyeballs on screens. Alas, the trade is so lost it reflexively pimps suffering. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker still slung sentences at the 10th anniversary of 9-11 and was asked to call the half dozen or so Iowa families who lost loved ones in the attacks. What he was supposed to ask them, the typist did not know. Certainly they felt their grief, some more acutely than others. But after 10 years, some people had made their peace with the loss — only to be hassled about it by the media again because the anniversary had a zero or five at the end. One shudders to ponder the positively pornographic display of grief exploitation the Fourth Estate will put on for the 20th anniversary. The typist can only thank God that he not have to beg the bereaved for another quote.

ITEM TWO: A final 9-11 note: Ask yourselves, fellow media consumers, how many reports so brazenly replaying the World Trade Center collapsing made mention of the fact that the United States is still at war in Afghanistan — and will likely have a troop presence in that country with no end in sight? “Never forget” is the hashtag cry of 9-11, but the typist thinks most Americans have indeed forgotten their warrior class locked in a forever war.

ITEM THREE: Are you sick of being asked to rate every service or phone call you make? The typist called the cable company because of an internet outage. We got not one but two automated calls asking me to review the customer service performance. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker ordered some food delivered by a local restaurant. The delivery company asked us to rate both the delivery driver and the restaurant’s food. Hot Sheet bought a product off an online website and was asked to write a review. Companies? Just stop it already. The typist reviews society only in these columns and suspects most humans have better things to do than give ratings to every damn thing they buy. Dear business owner, you will know if the consumer enjoyed your product and service by whether they order again.

ITEM FOUR: A third of Crossroads Elementary School faculty have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, multiple local news outlets reported. The West Des Moines school district has requested to move to online instruction. The typist wonders if this outbreak could have been prevented or curtailed if Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature had practice a modicum of flexibility on the matter of in-person instruction. Ah, but what is the suffering of teachers against the raw thrill of flexing political power?

ITEM FIVE: Hot Sheet offers its annual admonition against unnecessarily aggressive babble from TV football commentators. Weapons break things and people. Football players run, throw and catch exceptionally well. Football players are humans. Stop calling them weapons because you are not creative enough to describe the game and its great players without cliche.

ITEM LAST: Tyler Blint-Welsh of the Wall Street Journal’s Notes on the News column offers the following tidbit: “The University of Georgia posted guidelines suggesting students wear masks during intimacy, or to prioritize positions that limit face-to-face contact.” This typist has no further comment.

I guess we can close the book on this one. Go forth dear readers. Behave and be kind.

Artist’s rendition of Daniel P. Finney. He is presumed heavily opinionated and annoying. Do not attempt to approach.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade.

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.

Crime and Courts, des moines, Des moines police, humor, Iowa, Media, News, People, Pop Culture, sports, Uncategorized

HOT SHEET: #OldManStudent update, NFL notes, Iowa celebrates small COVID-19 gain, absentee ballot confusion and police success stories

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Precinct Station.

ITEM ONE: Update on #OldManStudent. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker takes all his classes online via Zoom meetings at Drake University. This format works better than anticipated, but there are pitfalls. Example: Your typist’s bathroom is about 12 feet from his computer. Always remember to mute your microphone when you answer nature’s call because mics will pick up certain sounds one would just as soon remain private.

ITEM TWO: Other Zoom meeting notes: No one looks good eating a sub sandwich on camera. If you happen to have the NFL season opener on in the background, mute the TV and make sure the TV is not in direct line of the camera.

ITEM THREE: The NFL season began Thursday. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs beat the Houston Texans. It still feels odd to say “defending champion Kansas City Chiefs,” perhaps the only good thing to occur in 2020. Then again, I’m old enough that it feels weird not to say Houston Oilers. The Bears also did well Thursday evening. The team owes this mostly to not having played.

ITEM FOUR: The typist turns almost all his sporting attention to pro football. His beloved New York Yankees cling to the eighth seed in the American League playoffs. This spot only exists because baseball executives expanded the playoffs to make up for the coronavirus-shortened 60-game regular season. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker questions the wisdom of Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman’s “protect all prospects” approach. The typist grimly notes the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals have won more World Series in the last decade than the Yankees. The Yankee batters may be “savages in the box,” but they’re sad sacks in the standings.

ITEM FIVE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds held a press conference to celebrate Iowa dropping from No. 1 in coronavirus spread to No. 3. Wow. What an accomplishment. What did Reynolds do, bus some people to Missouri?

ITEM SIX: Just a day after Hot Sheet warned of absentee ballot confusion from well-meaning non-profits, two Iowa judges ruled absentee request forms that were pre-filled with the voter’s name and address were improper, per the Associated Press. The county auditors in Woodbury and Johnson counties sent the request forms to make it easier for people to seek absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, the typist supports efforts to increase voter turnout. However, at some point people must take responsibility for themselves — especially in challenging circumstances. To quote retired Drake University professor Herb Strentz, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

ITEM SEVEN: Recommended viewing for the weekend:

  • Louisiana at Iowa State, noon, Saturday, ESPN. The Cyclones are playing without fans in the stands and the Hawkeyes aren’t playing until spring. Regardless of your allegiance in the Cy-Hawk rivalry, you might as well give ISU your eyeballs.
  • Philadelphia Eagles at the Washington Football Team, noon, Sunday, regional coverage. Hot Sheet knows no teams of regional interest play in this game, but we want to see how many times the announcers accidentally say “Redskins” and then fall all over themselves to apologize.
  • The Boys, Season 2, streaming on Amazon Prime: Superheroes with sex, blood and breast milk reheated with heat vision. I’m not making this up.

ITEM LAST: Lest we be cajoled into thinking the local constabulary only makes news in officer-involved shootings or amid racial tensions, Hot Sheet turns your attention to three items of note in the most recent Des Moines city news letter.

  • Chief Dana Wingert promoted Lillie Miller to captain, naming her the first Black female captain in the department’s history. Miller, an officer since 1999, was also the department’s first Black female lieutenant under former chief Judy Bradshaw.
  • Jeff Edwards, a former public information officer and DMPD Medal of Valor recipient also attained his captaincy.
  • Wingert recognized Senior Police Officer Scott Newman, a 21-year veteran and a member of the department’s tactical unit, with the DMPD Lifesaving Award. Newman rescued five people from a burning car wreck on his way home from work early July 5.

The typist takes a lot of heat from liberal extremists for his support of police. That’s fine. Honorable people disagree. And who gives a damn what dishonorable people think? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker recognizes every police department has problems. No one lives in a utopia. But the typist notes that no matter how bad things get, no matter how many people hate them — when the shit breaks bad and the citizenry cries out for help, the police come running.

OK. That’s it. Listen to our podcast. Be careful out there and, as always, donations welcome and appreciated.

Behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney hopes Rick will finally return him to Earth C-137.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way poking fun at the passing parade.

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.

Iowa, News, sports

25,000 maniacs: Cyclones go all in with COVID-19 for the glory of football

Iowa State plans to allow 25,000 people at its home football games this season.

This is great for Cyclone football fans.

This is terrible public health policy.

I want it to work.

I don’t think it will.

Coronavirus cases are spiking in populated counties with big universities — including Story County, home to ISU.

Iowa has the highest per-capita instances of positive tests for COVID-19 in the country, per the New York Times.

Only three other countries in the world have a higher per capita rate than Iowa. Story County has the highest spike in new cases.

Football always makes money. COVID-19 is only fatal sometimes.

I picture ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard grinning ear-to-ear with his palms up like Alfred E. Neuman: What, me worry?

Iowa used to be No. 1 in education, or at least that’s what the told people in the 1970s.

Now we’re No. 1 in coronavirus. It’s not a national championship, but it’s something.

Gov. Kim Reynolds shut down bars and nightclubs. No booze. No music. No strippers.

But the restaurants are still open.

So you can sit at the bar in a restaurant and drink. You just can’t drink at a bar.

ISU struggles with COVID-19 on campus. But at Jack Trice Stadium, some 25,000 are going to practice social distancing.

If that sounds silly to you, I think you might be right.

I’m sure this makes sense to somebody. I’m not that person.

But so what?

America, the richest country in the world, has the most COVID-19 deaths.

The “masks are tyranny” crowd don’t help. But neither do the people yelling at other people to wear a mask.

Everybody is an extremist these days. It’s like living in a country full of suicide bombers.

Americans are not good at patience. We want what we want and we want it now.

We want a COVID-19 vaccine. We want it now.

Alas, science and the law does not work on consumer demand. You have to do the work and meet the standards.

So we take risks we shouldn’t. We play football. That’s a terrible idea in the pandemic.

But, damnit, it’s been a tough year and we need this, football lovers say.

We don’t actually need football. We want it and we want it now.

Thus, we shall have it and the masses may attend their cathedrals.

I’m not going. This doesn’t measure much. I lost my taste for crowds years ago.

But even if I had the desire, I wouldn’t go. I have my parents, both 71, and my grandma, 93, to think of.

At this point, I’m willing to treat football and public events like smoking.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you.

With all the information available to the public on how to contain COVID-19, if you decide to go to a football game with 25,000 people, well, that’s on you.

If you get sick, you knew the risk.

Except … that’s the bitch of this hideous virus. It isn’t just about you. It’s about everyone around you.

Setting aside second-hand smoke, the person playing Russian roulette with their lungs is the smoker.

The football fan takes a power dive into the deep end of the COVID-19 pool.

If they get sick and get others sick, the pandemic drags on and gets worse.

The economy is already choking. A massive shut down like we saw earlier this year could crush a lot of businesses, wipe out scores of jobs and lead to foreclosures and evictions at rates never seen before.

That doesn’t factory in the potential body count.

But, again, I defer to individual choice.

If you wanna risk your health and the health of everyone around you to watch a game that is better on TV, be my guest.

You just can’t be a guest in my home.

Daniel P. Finney covers ear and nose hair 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.

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