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Monday, Nov. 20, 2023
Good morning to you!

What’s in a word? A lot, apparently, and seemingly even more so in today’s oh-so-critical world.

I recently heard the song “Money For Nothing” by the British rockers Dire Straits. The 1985 song is a parody on the easy lifestyle of rock and roll band members. “Money for nothing and chicks for free,” the words go. I shook my head and laughed, as I could envision the protests that band members Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers would face today if that word was used in a modern song. Word.

Yes, using the word “chick” wouldn't fly today, unless, of course, it was the name of an all-female band — like The Dixie Chicks. Then chick would be fine, but the word Dixie would have to go, which is exactly why Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer now go by The Chicks. Word.

He. Him. She. Her. They. I get lost in all the pronouns today, and it’s not that I am trying to make a social statement. I’m not. I really don’t care what pronoun you use. But I am a grammarian, and using the word “they” when referring to a singular person is troubling to me. Word.

Growing up watching TV in the 1970s introduced this small-town Iowa kid to people of color. Shows like “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times” and “Sanford and Son” helped me to understand that we all have a lot more in common than we have different. It was during that time when I also began to realize that derogatory terms used to describe people of various races were wrong, regardless of how innocent they seemed. That’s when my young friends and I stopped using racist rhymes from phrases like “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” Meanwhile, I never understood why the term “honky” was deemed acceptable to describe white people. Word.

Comedian George Carlin had a popular routine called “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” In the 1970s, when he first shared these, the words were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast. Today, the words are more common but are still uncomfortable, so much so that I wouldn’t dare list even one here. Word.

While in college, I was introduced to a new world of people who weren’t Irish or German, like most of the people I grew up with. I had a good friend from Vietnam and a roommate with Italian roots. They both explained to me the meaning of racist words used to describe them. I had never heard those words before. But they did, and way too often. Word.

Woke is a word used frequently today to describe what some people feel is an unnecessary sensitivity to societal issues, especially those of racial and social justice. That word, in itself, can get people on both sides of a debate riled up. Word.

Meanwhile, these are all words. Just words. There are more than 550 of them in this column alone. Some have impact. Most don’t. And that’s OK, because they really are nothing more than words. We could all benefit today by heeding the message from another children’s rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me.”

Have a magnificent Monday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman 

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

View Shane Goodman's archived columns from past issues here.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The polls have closed and a record number of readers have cast their votes in the latest CITYVIEW'S Best Of Des Moines readers' poll — the metro's original and largest poll of its kind.
Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of CITYVIEW!

Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Light rain chances continue through the day today. Wind Tuesday, then a breezy Wednesday. Colder air moves in to round out the forecast.

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

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
1020 Winegardner Road
Des Moines, IA 50317
Your Mid-Century Modern dream home awaits! Don't miss out on this stunning, fully remodeled home. Step inside to discover a beautifully open floor plan with refinished hardwood floors and a large fireplace in the living room.
See More Homes For Sale

FROM KCCI: Local Legion Riders deliver Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of veterans in 'Holiday for Heroes' event

In the 12th year of the event, the riders delivered 450 meal boxes to veterans all across Polk County ... READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Iowa State works on new crop for Iowa requiring much less water

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — With the continuing drought in the state, Iowa State University is looking at the prospects for a new crop to grow. According to an ISU news release, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, but these crops are unfamiliar to many Iowa farmers..READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Des Moines community garden working to spread mission, despite pushback from neighbors

In July, The Woodland Realm got a zoning notice for an infrastructure requirement after a neighbor filed a complaint saying it looked like a homeless camp.. ...READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Early Risers
A 5 a.m. friendly “hello”
By Becky Kolosik
Jana Barnard is a morning person. Throughout her IT career at a major insurance/financial company, she says people who arrived at the office early did it for one of two reasons: They were morning people, or they wanted to finish their day earlier.
“Typically, the morning people were friendly and somewhat chatty,” she says, laughing. “I can’t say the same for those who were there to get off earlier.”
Barnard started her career as a computer programmer and eventually moved into management. Every position she held required 24/7 availability in case of emergencies or issues, and, when the company expanded globally, the hours of Barnard’s coworkers in India had minimal crossover with the U.S. teams.
Birthdays and notables!

Happy Birthday Ashlee Herman!

These celebrities were born on this date: Ming-Na Wen, Joe Walsh, Bo Derek, Joel McHale, Dierks Bentle, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Michael Clifford, Jared Followill, Ashley Fink, Josh Turner

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you get if you cross a programmer and a lifeguard? A SCREENSAVER! - Gail Tomlinson. Or A dedicated person who dives into their work and saves both people and data. - Carolyn Rogers

Today's riddle

What do you get if you cross a sports reporter with a vegetable?

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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