HOT SHEET: Grassley’s pidgin dragnet; Bears’ terrible 2-0; ‘Stumptown’ tragedy; Iowa State students sell used underwear

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

ITEM ONE: Sen. Chuck Grassley, the most popular politician in the history of Iowa, tweeted about a dead pidgin found on his farm. At one point, he apparently assumed it was a deer. It wasn’t. It was a pidgin. If anyone is looking for their pet pidgin, it’s dead in the senator’s yard. The typist has questions, but they’re all about stuff like the Republican party’s blatant hypocrisy on approving Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year. This homespun nonsense is about what the ol’ Paragraph Stacker has come to expect from platinum Trump back-up singer Grassley: pidgin shit.

ITEM TWO: The Chicago Bears are 2-0, but they feel 0-2. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky led a come-from-behind victory in the season opener against the Lions. This week he nearly fell from the front at home against the lowly New York Giants. The Bears built a 17-0 lead at halftime and let the New York Giants chip away in the second half. New York had a chance to win on the final play, but a Giants’ receiver committed offensive pass interference at the goal line. Trubisky threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Running back David Montgomery, a former Iowa State Cyclone, produced 127 yards total offense including 82 rushing yards and three pass catches with a touchdown. I texted a fellow Bears fan about this anxiety-inducing mediocrity. She wrote back, “I’m sitting outside. It’s relaxing. I like the sound of the wind in the tree tops.” One of us has the right idea on how to spend a Sunday afternoon.

ITEM THREE: Terrible news from Tinseltown: The rat bastards at ABC cancelled the typist’s favorite private eye series, “Stumptown” — after renewing the series at the end of last season. The Mouse House plans to shop it to other networks. “Stumptown” and “Emergence” were two of Hot Sheet’s true pleasures from last season. ABC execs snubbed out “Emergence” like a cheap cigarette at the end of its terrific first season with lead Allison Tolman. Now ABC reneges on the promise of a second season of “Stumptown” starring Colbie Smulders. Know this, ABC, fists of rage are shaken in your general direction. Fists. Of. Rage. Shaken.

ITEM FOUR: Unavailable due to coronavirus quarantine protocols.

ITEM FIVE: Some Iowa State University students are apparently selling their used underwear, leggings, stockings and socks online to make extra money, per a report by the Iowa State Daily. “For women, especially, there is still a stigma attached to using your body to earn money. Though sex work, like many other jobs,” the newspaper reports, “requires you to be a smart and skilled individual.” The Hot Sheet has nothing to add.

ITEM SIX: It appears there’s more bad news for law enforcement nationwide. Sources tell Hot Sheet Mayor McCheese is considering firing longtime McDonaldland top cop Officer Mac. Insiders cite Officer Mac’s failure to bring the Hamburglar to justice since being sworn in 1971.

ITEM LAST: Businesses, please be mindful of how terrible your hold music is. The typist recently called the local cable company for an internet problem and, as per usual, the volume of calls was high. The hold music was a shrill version of Muzak, the kind of noise the CIA would use to torture suspected terrorists. By the time the ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s hold ended, he was barely able to form a complete sentence. The company’s agent explained that the typist was in the wrong department and asked if it was OK if she placed me on a brief hold while she connected me with the proper person. The typist replied: “Can’t you just kill me instead?”

Daniel P. Finney covers Canadian tuxedos 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.

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.

Roll Call: Des Moines schools’ fall sports doomed, Iowa State in dire straits, Des Moines cop retires with internal affairs on his tail

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

ITEM ONE: Des Moines school administration’s decision to start the school year online-only placed fall sports in jeopardy. The state associations for girls’ and boys’ athletics ruled if you’re not physically in school, you can’t play football, volleyball or other fall sports. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker remains baffled by Iowa public policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Des Moines school leaders believe it too dangerous to pack 30 kids into a classroom, but somehow finds football games less intimate affairs. The desk concedes it’s easier to socially distance for coaches and those on the sideline, but it’s tough to mount a useful defensive or offensive line when players are six feet apart. The push to both play ball and have students distance learn earns a penalty flag from this typist.

ITEM TWO: Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard warns of a budget shortfall of more than $30 million after pulling the plug on fans at games. Some sports teams could be cut and CY Stephens auditorium could be closed. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker wonders how much money Stephens was losing after Wells Fargo opened in Des Moines. A lot of great concerts and events that once went to Ames now play in Des Moines or at the even bigger CI Health Center in Omaha. The desk would hate to lose Stephens — especially for the support staff who work there — but it may be a facility due for retirement.

ITEM THREE: The Valley and Dowling football game had a shot to be on ESPN, but they couldn’t broker a deal. There’s a lot of bad rumors about why this collapsed. The desk urges everyone to stop assuming bad intentions. Instead, marvel at a time when a high school football game could make it on big cable TV due to the pandemic handicapping an already ailing ESPN’s program schedule. For the record, this typist is an East High Alumni Hall of Famer and has no flips to give for the Valley-Dowling game other than a wish that both teams could somehow lose.

ITEM FOUR: The desk’s beloved New York Yankees made no moves at the trade deadline, proving once again what a dull boy Hal Steinbrenner is. His pop, the late George “The Boss” Steinbrenner, knew how to throw around prospects and cash to bring in free agents and make a winner. Hal acts like an accountant in love with his spreadsheet rather than a baseball owner. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker concedes this frugal attitude has developed fine prospects, but no Yankees fan ever thought they would be envious of the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline. This Yankee inaction proves this typist’s long-held belief that it is better to work for a megalomaniac down the hall than absentee bean counters.

ITEM FIVE: Polly Carver-Kim says she got sacked from her job as spokesman for the Iowa Department of Health because she responded to routine public records requests. She’s suing the state. This surely couldn’t have anything to do with the state government’s epic mishandling of the back-to-school debacle that’s left Iowa with one of the fastest growing per-capita rates of coronavirus infection in the world.

ITEM SIX: Longtime Des Moines cop Stew Barnes hit the retirement parachute just as an internal affairs investigation into his behavior started to simmer. Without official documentation, Roll Call declines to speculate on the rumors other that to note it was not a use-of-force or race-related foul. Barnes had a long career and was a union leader. He was pugnacious and willing to duke it out with administration on behalf of his fellow officers. He once sued former Chief Judy Bradshaw. Based on what the desk has heard, his conduct was unbecoming in extremis, but not duty related. Roll Call issues a general reminder that anyone with a badge needs to be on their best behavior both on duty and off. The political tides are against you and every cop pays full price for not only their mistakes but also for atrocities of officers across the land. This certainly fits with Chief Dana Wingert’s philosophy. Bottom line: Don’t be a dummy.

ITEM SEVEN: An update: Since the last Roll Call, Iowa Workforce Development announced its plans to start paying the extra $300 per week in unemployment insurance for those dejobbed by the coronavirus pandemic. The desk criticized Gov. Kim Reynolds and her buddy in Republican blood red, President Donald Trump. The strike is officially removed. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker grudgingly recognizes that Trump acted when Congress failed to do so. This does not change the desk’s general opinion that the president is just the worst.

ITEM LAST: The pandemic and politics have dialed up social stress way past 11 to the point of breaking the knob off and blowing out the speakers. Let’s all remember a few things as we head into the Labor Day Weekend. 1. Sports are not as important as we think they are. 2. You don’t owe anyone an argument. And, finally, no time is a good time to take and send pictures of particular portions of your personage.

The desk is clear.

Be careful out there.

And behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney has never successfully completed the KXNO Eat The Mic Challenge.

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.