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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Good morning to you!

With April Fool’s Day less than a month away, now is the time to start thinking about some good pranks. After all, the best ones take proper planning, and many of the top pranks are devised by teenage boys — and grown men who act like teenage boys — as you will read below.

Do you use those annoying little red packets that require a circular saw to open, only to squeeze out a quarter-ounce of ketchup? They are mostly useless, except for this fun prank. My buddy Matt used to put these under the toilet seats in our high school bathrooms, right on the little plastic nubs that rest on the toilet bowl. When a bathroom occupant would sit down, those ketchup packets would burst onto his exposed calves. The person on the receiving end of this prank rarely found the humor in it. I suspect the janitors didn’t either.

My friend Lonnie used to fall asleep on the lunchroom table most school days and would then sprint away from the table when the bell would go off. One day, I crawled under the table, untied his shoes and then re-tied them to the table leg. When the bell rang, Lonnie sprang up as normal — but took the table with him on this sprint.

While in college and living in the dorms, I thought it would be funny to squirt mustard in my friend Dave’s toothpaste. Rather than using the little packets, I had one of those squeeze bottles with the tapered tip. It fit right into the toothpaste tube and filled it up. I laugh when I think of the visual of Dave squirting that out on his toothbrush. I don’t laugh when I remember how he trashed my dorm room the next night.

If you are doing this prank on April 1, you might be a bit of a procrastinator, but good pranks can be fun anytime. People who put up real Christmas trees each year know the pain of disposing of them, especially if they are too cheap to pay for tags and place them on the curb. My pal Greg had a better solution. A few decades ago, he would place a classified ad in the local paper the week after Christmas, stating that he wanted these Christmas trees and asked people to drop them off in his driveway. The kicker was that he put his neighbor’s address in the ad. He said he would look out his window and laugh as he watched people pile up their trees in the guy’s yard. If social media is good for something today, this has to be it.

A few years back, my friend Steve grew tired of the obsessions of his wife and some of his friends on the number of steps recorded on their Fitbit watches. So, rather than take the ridicule of having the lowest number of steps, he decided to do something about it. He put the Fitbit on his dog that loved to run around the house for hours. Steve’s wife and friends marveled at his increased step count.

Do you have some good pranks to share? Send them my way and I will share some of the best in the mailbag. In the meantime, have a terrific Tuesday, 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 dry day is ahead, and that continues Wednesday and into Thursday morning... then rain chances move back in through Friday evening. The weekend then looks dry again.

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 Burger

1. Lachele’s Fine Foods

2. B-Bop’s

3. Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

Read all the results now!

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

$540,000                                                           3401 S.W. 33rd St., Des Moines, IA 50321

Meticulously maintained 1.5 story home on .5-acre lot backing to trees. Quality built and move-in ready, this home features beautiful woodwork, hardwood floors and solid wood doors. Large windows in the great room overlook the landscaped, wooded yard for year-round enjoyment. Office and formal dining room.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale
From Clive Living magazine

Dog Lovers Club shares passion for pups
Students choose club that suits their interests.

By T.K. West

Once a month, Indian Hills Junior High runs an early-out schedule, using the last 45 minutes of the school day for clubs to meet. All students are required to join a club, and most of the clubs are proposed by and led by students. A variety of topics allow students to sign up for a club they are interested in. One of these clubs, the Dog Lovers Club, began in January 2023 and currently has 16 students participating this school year. The only requirement for students to participate in the club is that they must love dogs.

"These clubs are a great way for all students to get involved at Indian Hills,” says club staff sponsor Tonia Sandersfeld-Miller. “Many students are involved in sports or music, but these clubs give all students a chance to learn about topics that interest them in a self-directed way, while meeting and connecting with other students and staff with similar interests.”


Durian, “the king of fruits” in Asia, is disappearing. Urban sprawl is eating its orchards, and young people don’t want to be farmers in Thailand, durian’s traditional base. Some single fruits sell for as much $700 in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The fruits are very susceptible to flood waters and take 5-10 years to bear a harvest after planting. They are sold at C Fresh (801 University Ave.) in Des Moines. (Asia Insight)

China is the new king of coffee culture. Led by younger generations, the former tea house nation has gone all-in for coffee houses, particularly Starbucks. That company is expanding rapidly in China while most American and European companies are putting expansion there on hold or leaving the country. Starbucks expects to have 9,000 stores there by year’s end, up from 6,243 now. Their income in China increased 46% in the last fiscal year. (CBS, CNN, CNBC, WSJ)

Specials: Kid’s meals are half priced all day Tuesdays at Machine Shed (11151 Hickman Road, Urbandale)... It's all night Happy Hour at Django (1420 Locust St., Des Moines) where a French Canadian dinner is planned for March 9. Squab confit, mackerel pate, venison, and a cheese course are included, $85.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com

Keep Iowa Beautiful photo contest winners

ABOVE: Iowa Landscapes, second place: “Iowa Landscape,” by Adam Orgler of Johnston

Keep Iowa Beautiful has announced the winners of the 14th Annual Keep Iowa Beautiful Photography Contest, aimed at raising awareness of Iowa's natural and environmental beauty.  To see all the winning photos, visit Keep Iowa Beautiful.

Send your photos of beautiful sights in Iowa to tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com.


FROM KCCI: Teen wounded while shielding classmates during Perry shooting speaks out for the first time

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Jan. 4, Corey Hoffman remembers waking up in the hospital feeling safe. "That's how I really felt," said Corey Hoffman, injured in the Perry school shooting. Hoffman does not remember shielding other students from the attack.....READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Plan to convert 15-floors of DSM Financial Center into high-end apartments takes first step

DES MOINES, Iowa — Twenty years ago, downtown Des Moines was filled with companies. Office space was full and employees commuted for work. Today, the model has flipped as some companies have left and locals have embraced living downtown...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: A bill that would require students to watch 'Baby Olivia' video advances to Iowa Senate

Under the bill, a video similar to one made by an anti-abortion rights organization would be shown to students between seventh and 12th grade....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Eva Mendes, Kevin Connolly, Paul Blackthorne, Charlie Reid, Matt Lucas, Michael Irvin,, Amanda Shires, Karolina Wydra, Harry Maguire

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do they call the two guys who lock the cages at the zoo? THE ZOO-KEY-PAIR! Other clever answers from: William Snyder, Gail Tomlinson, Lori Bluml, Mark Arends, Rex Post

Today's riddle

Where do you find a group of gossiping goats?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in the Guthrie City Times, Panora Times, Lake Panorama Times and Guthrie County Times Vedette, contact:

Account Executive
Office: 641-755-2115
Mobile: 515-619-2788

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