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Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024
Good morning to you!

Welcome to an extra edition of the mailbag where you will find some of the comments, questions and ideas sent recently by subscribers of this newsletter or our publications. They are edited for space and clarity.

“Great editorial commentary this week, Shane. I especially appreciated the national anthem/American flag commentary (Patriotism, Feb. 6, 2024). Patriotism has become a misappropriated word in today's lexicon, and it needs to return to be a term for all who truly embrace and support America's Constitutional ideals.” - John

It seems to me that patriotism should be a basic American value that we should all want, and I simply don’t understand the hatred. Our country is not perfect, but, like most things in life, you choose to be either part of the solution or part of the problem. - Shane

“With one of my career stops with a pro wrestling organization in the Eastern Time Zone, my Senior Vice President of Live Events would ask if anyone had the time, and people would shout out hours and minutes (Yes or no, Feb. 7, 2024). He would rebuff all and say,’ I asked if anybody had the time, not what time it was.’ Something about being an alphabet hole.” - Rex

I think I have been called an alphabet hole before, or something like that. - Shane

“Shane, do you remember the 45 records you could cut off the back of a cereal box (Cereal box prizes, Feb. 12, 2024)? I remember Bobby Sherman had one on the back of Sugar Crisp. My female classmates were all eating Sugar Crisp!” - Kevin

Oh, yes. I remember those wobbling, needle-wrecking records. I couldn’t wait to spin them… on my brother’s record player. - Shane

“Different generation, different pursuits (Cereal box prizes, Feb. 12, 2024). In the mid 1950s, I was all in for small car — 1955 to 1957 Fords mostly — that came in cereal boxes. Kellogg's, I think. These were plastic and about the size of Hot Wheels or Matchbox metal cars that came later. My friends and I were so obsessed with these that one time two of us rode our bicycles over a large section of the metro area in which we lived, seeking these special cereal boxes. In today's RAGBRAI world, that may not seem like a big deal, but in the mid 1950s, 10-year-olds just didn't ride their bikes in places and traffic like that just to get a small toy!” - Chuck

Those were the days of the good prizes, but what did you do with all that cereal? - Shane

Have a thoughtful Thursday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.


Your Clear Mortgage forecast

A cooler day is ahead. Light snow moves in this evening into Friday morning, with accumulations of around an inch in the Des Moines area. The evening looks chillier and breezy.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The results have been tallied and published in the February issue of CITYVIEW and online!


Best Local Vegetarian/Vegan Food

1. Des Fresh

2. Lucky Lotus;

3. Veggie Thumper

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.

1512 Linden Lane, Des Moines, IA 50315

5 bd 3.5 ba 2396 sf, open floor plan, large kitchen with custom cabinets, quartz counter tops, mb has 2 vanities. Walk in shower, whirlpool tub, cathedral ceiling in great room and sun room, gas fireplace in great room and sun room. 16 by 32 inground pool and large patio. Crown molding in many rooms.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale

‘American Fiction’ explores racism, identity and the commodification of Black narratives

By David Rowley

Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut, “American Fiction,” is a delightful movie that transcends conventional storytelling. It’s fueled by an exceptional cast and enriched by its exploration of identity, family dynamics and the challenges faced by Black creators in the creative industry.

Adapted from Percival Everett’s 2001 novel “Erasure,” the screenplay intelligently explores racism, identity and the commodification of Black narratives. Harvard-educated professor and published author, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), is a bitter, prickly man. He can’t find an audience (other than adoring academic critics) for his most recent book, he’s grown tired of the stupidity of the students in his class, and, on top of all of that, he is forced to take a sabbatical after a classroom kerfuffle caused by his students brings him back home to visit his family — a task he dreads more than being forced to spend time with his students and colleagues.

Weekly fuel report

The price of regular unleaded gasoline rose 11 cents, averaging $2.94 across Iowa according to AAA. Prices rose 11 cents from last week’s price and are down 31 cents from a year ago. The national average on Wednesday was $3.26, up 11 cents from last week’s price.

Retail diesel prices in Iowa rose 26 cents this week with a statewide average of $3.80. One year ago, diesel prices averaged $4.14 in Iowa. The current Iowa diesel price is 28 cents lower than the national average of $4.08.

Wholesale ethanol held steady and is currently priced at $2.16.

Propane prices averaged $1.59 per gallon statewide.

Home heating oil prices averaged $3.22 per gallon statewide.

Natural gas prices fell 36 cents at the Henry Hub reporting site and are currently priced at $1.61/MMbtu.


U.S. beef cattle inventory is 28.2 million — the lowest number in 70 years, according to a USDA report. Beef and veal prices rose 9% in the last year. Even with that, many cattle ranchers are culling their herds because they can’t recoup expenses, mainly because drought in the West has reduced grazing pastures, which provide free food.

Steakhouses are back to being as popular as before pandemic shutdowns. However, they are reporting smaller average checks and a 10-20% dip in diners who order steaks. (WSJ)

Thursday brings steak night specials to Front Row (9956 Swanson Blvd., Clive), Sully's (860 First St., West Des Moines) and The Station on Ingersoll (3124 Ingersoll, Des Moines).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: At least 9 children among 22 hit by gunfire at Chiefs' Super Bowl parade; 1 person killed, authorities say

At least nine children are among 22 people who were wounded by gunfire in a shooting at the conclusion of the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade Wednesday, authorities said. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Governor ‘firm’ in her decision not to opt in to federal Summer EBT program

DES MOINES, Iowa — Around a month and a half ago, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced the state would not opt in to the federal Summer EBT program. The program would give $40 per month to each child in a low-income family during summer months. Organizations have been calling on Reynolds to revert course. Earlier this week Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen changed his decision and opted in to the program...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Maryland pulls away in second half to beat Iowa 78-66

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Jahmir Young scored 21 points, Julian Reese added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Maryland rolled in the second half to beat Iowa 78-66 on Wednesday night.......READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Natalie Morales, Amber Riley, Gary Clark Jr., Megan Thee Stallion, Steven Michael, Zachary Gordon, George Russell,  Birdman, Amber Riley, Jane Seymour, Matt Groening, Matt Duffer

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you call an ocean habitat with inhabitants that argue a lot? A QUARREL REEF! - Carolyn Rogers, William Snyder

Today's riddle

What is it called when you store your money from work in a vase?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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