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Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Good morning to you!

As a younger man, I found few conversations more boring than those about the weather. I just didn’t care. There wasn’t anything I could do about the weather, so why talk about it? Meanwhile, most people did. By the hour. Sometimes by the minute. Admittedly, I find myself talking about the weather quite often today, too.

Too hot. Too cold. Too much rain. Not enough rain. Too humid. Too dry. The conversations really can be exhausting. I often wonder, what exactly is the perfect weather that so many people are apparently seeking? The answer, of course, depends on who you are talking with. My wife likes 95 and sunny. I prefer 72 and cloudy. And, sometimes, we both like 32 and snowing. All of those weather conditions sound a lot like March in Iowa.

Meanwhile, the question remains: why do we talk about the weather so often? I did a bit of informal research, and here is what I found.

1. Weather affects us all in some way. Regardless of our occupation, status, background, age, race or sex, all of us who go outside get wet when it rains.

2. Weather is an easy subject for people who want to talk and don’t have any other subject they know other people will be interested in. Some people call it an ice-breaker. Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde said, “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

3. A weather discussion is generally not controversial, unless, of course, the conversation turns to climate change. This is when I take a page from my mother’s book and blame bad weather on “those damn microwave ovens” and then abruptly walk away.

4. Taking point No. 3 a step further, talking about the weather typically does not end up in a fist fight. It’s relatively safe. The same cannot be said for discussions on politics, religion or even sports.

5. Some say weather discussions are for extroverts who can’t deal with the silence. Introverts, apparently, don’t talk about the weather… or much of anything, really.

So we keep talking about the weather. And talking. And talking. My friend Ian likes to say, “Sure is weather we are having.” I couldn’t agree more.

Did I miss some reasons why we talk about the weather? Send me a note and let me know.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, 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

Cooler weather is ahead today with highs in the 40s. We’ll see a light mix of rain and snow late Thursday into Friday morning. The weekend into next week is more unsettled, with rain and snow from time to time.

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 Coffee/Coffeehouse

1. Smokey Row Coffee Co.

2. Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure

3. Fredrichs Coffee

Read all the results now!

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

$259,900                                                          2127 3323 Rutland Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311

Located on the charming west end of the historic Drake neighborhood, this home built in 1916 exudes character and original charm. The abundance of windows allows for plenty of natural light to filter through, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the house. With four bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, there is space for a growing family or visitors.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale
From the March issue of CITYVIEW

The Iowa Stage’s success recipe for 2024

By John Busbee

The evolution of Greater Des Moines theatre companies is fascinating. Exploring these unique purveyors of community engagement gives cultural adventurers a greater understanding of the cultural icebergs beneath the surface.

One of the longest continually running community theatres in Amerca is the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Surpassing its centennial producing mile-marker a few years ago, its evolution from the Iowa Press and Authors Club to the Kendall Memorial Community Playhouse to its current one-name status as the Playhouse, is filled with great history, including Cloris Leachman.


New York City’s newest round of green laws force pizzerias to considerably reduce emissions from wood and coal-fired ovens. The city already has the world’s most expensive pizza, an average price of $33, and compliance is costing $150,000 or more. (Fox Business)

Kraft-Heinz spent nine years, 185,000 product development hours, 45 iterations, and $1.2 million creating a new version of its plastic bottle cap that looks like the old one. The new cap is made from only one material: mono-material polypropene. The old cap used multiple types, including a difficult-to-recycle silicone material for the valve that controls how much ketchup comes out. (WSJ)

Specials: Wednesday means specials on broccoli chicken, chicken and dumplings, and meat loaf lunches ($8.99 with two sides and biscuits) at Cracker Barrel (11701 University Ave., Clive)... Kwik Star has specials today of $9.99 for eight pieces of fried chicken and $1.69 for pork rib sandwiches... Angry Goldfish Pub & Eatery (2301 SW Ninth St., Des Moines) has a Wednesday special hot beef sandwiches $11.50...Yellow edge grouper, a culinary treat in Gulf Coast Mexican towns, is the Wednesday special at Waterfront (2900 University Ave., West Des Moines).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com

Keep Iowa Beautiful photo contest winners

ABOVE: Iowans in Action, first place: “Exiting the Mines,” by Brandt Culbertson of Dubuque

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.


Celtic Music Association
Taking their name from the Scottish Gaelic word for kinship, Gaelic Supergroup Dàimh (pronounced dive) is a five-piece band based in Lochaber in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland — an area as much renowned for its scenic beauty as for its rich musical and cultural heritage. Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. Franklin Junior High Event Center.
“One of the most exhilarating acoustic bands on the Celtic map.” – IRISH MUSIC MAGAZINE

Call for musicians
Official showcase applications for the 2024 FARM Gathering, taking place Oct. 24-27 in Lisle, Illinois, are being accepted. There will be 14 official showcase artists, and performances will be split between the evenings of Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26. There is only one official showcase happening at a time, and there are no other conference events during the official showcases. In other words, all eyes will be on you when you perform. Deadline to apply is June 3. 

Moberg Gallery. Mixing Metaphors Never Looked So Good: The Ultrasounds of Chris Vance. Through April 6. At the beginning of each year, Chris Vance asks himself what, of the previous year, he wants to comment on. The new works in the exhibit, “Sampled,” are in response to thinking about controversies and conversations around the rise of AI and AI-produced art. For Vance, this relates back to the music of the 1980s, when groups were sampling in their songs, and a shift in how music was made began. 

Olson-Larsen Galleries. Current exhibition “Here & There” through April 13. 

— John Busbee, The Culture Buzz


FROM KCCI: Police officer who found Sabrina Ray's body reacts to abuse case in Zearing

DES MOINES, Iowa — The police officer who first found Sabrina Ray's body in 2017 after she died from starvation is speaking out about the similarities between that case and the most recent case of abuse in Zearing. Josh Sienkiewicz said it is "heartbreaking" to see another case like Ray's happen again in the state. He said there are striking similarities between the two cases.....READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Iowa lawmakers target hemp businesses with new legislation

DES MOINES, IOWA — A bill that local businesses were advocating for, turned into a piece of legislation that could become detrimental to the legal hemp industry. House File 2605 passed the Iowa House last week, with an amendment added to the bill. Originally, the bill would set the legal age to purchase and sell edible products with THC derived from legal hemp, and set criminal and civil penalties...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Mike Simonson wins Des Moines City Council at-large seat with 58% of vote

The special election brought 7,320 voters to the polls on Tuesday......READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Barrett Doss, Bianca Lawson, Brian Mulroney, Cedric Yarbrough, David Thewlis, Hal Linden, Holly Hunter, Ruby Rose, Zonnique Pullins, Trevor Zegras, Julio Macías, Spike Lee, Justin H. Min

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

Which famous magician always wore a multi-color suit on stage? HUE-dini. OR David COLOR-field. - Kris Laurson. Other answers from William Snyder.  Gail Tomlinson, Rex Post.

Today's riddle

What is the name of Audi's new SUV that seats 20?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in the Daily Umbrella or the Grimes/Dallas Center, North Polk and Adel Living magazines, contact:

Dan Juffer
Senior Account Executive
Office: 515-953-4822 ext. 303
Mobile: 515-371-2290

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