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Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Good morning to you!

When you write or type a phone number, what format do you use to separate the numerals? Parentheses? Hyphens? Periods? Maybe an occasional slash or a plus sign? Or nothing but numbers, with or without spaces? Who knew a phone number could be so complicated?

A typical U.S. phone number consists of 10 digits. This is the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), a closed numbering scheme used for telephone numbers in countries including the United States, Canada and Jamaica. All countries in the NANP have a country code of 1. The first three digits are the area code that corresponds to a country or a regional service area.

What about calls outside the U.S.? For those, we use the E.164 standard, an open numbering plan that defines the format for international telephone numbers. This standard requires that a telephone number have a maximum of 15 digits, separated with the first one to three digits as a country code and the remaining digits corresponding to the subscriber’s telephone number.

That should be clear as mud. Now let’s get back to the symbols that are used in between those numbers and what we should be using. Get ready for more mud.

The Gregg Reference Manual, a guide to English grammar and style published by McGraw-Hill, states that hyphens are the most common symbols, but parentheses are acceptable, too.

The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications recommends parentheses around the area code with the parts of the local number separated by a hyphen.

Our reference book of choice is the Associated Press Stylebook, which says to use hyphens in all cases. This seems to be the simplest and, as such, the most sensible.

Years ago, when area codes were optional, it was logical to put those digits in parentheses. Today, especially with cell phones, we have to input all 10 numbers. The reality is that most of us rarely write or type phone numbers today, other than the one time we put them in our contacts. In fact, most of us only have a handful of phone numbers memorized today.

Of course, your own systems — and your own habits — may dictate otherwise.

Some of you may have read “The Dash” poem by Linda Ellis. She notes the insignificance of the actual birth and death dates on tombstones and stresses how the dashes — the years spent in between — are the most important. Maybe there is a correlation with phone numbers and the symbols used. Or maybe none of those numbers or symbols are significant, as the person you are calling is all that really matters.

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.


Clear Mortgage meteorology

Snow showers and flurries persist this morning, and it stays windy into this evening. Warming a bit Friday and Saturday, then rain chances return.

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 Chocolate/Candy Store

1. Chocolatarie Stam

2. Chocolate Storybook

3. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Read all the results now!

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

$780,000                                                            5943 Dogwood Ln, West Des Moines, IA 50266

You will definitely be wowed by this beautiful, immaculately well-maintained and updated stunner in Glen Oaks, one of the area's finest communities. And when we say updates, there have been so many. Please ask your Realtor for a list of upgrades to this home. When you approach the home from the secluded cul-de-sac, youll notice the distinctive design featuring lots of stone and brick pavers.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale
From the March issue of Ankeny Living magazine

Trip of a lifetime
Residents share stories of their dreams-come-true vacations.

By Ashley Rullestad

For some people, vacationing is a part of their routine. They plan, take and enjoy numerous trips to see the sights and “get away” from the usual hustle and bustle of life. They enjoy good times and make fond memories. They share photos and stories, but it isn’t long before they are looking forward to their next excursion. For some others, a vacation turns out to be much more than that — it is a dream come true, and, no matter how many vacations may follow, none will ever compare. It is a trip of a lifetime.

Swiss bliss

Leah Sangel’s husband, Toby, travels a lot for work. When he needed to travel to Switzerland, the opportunity arose for Leah and their kids, Jonah, 8, Everly, 7, and Hollyn, 3, to come along, as well as Leah’s parents, Sandy and Dave Gilbertson, and sister, Carlie Gilbertson.

“This trip was truly magical,” Leah says. “Toby didn’t end up working at all, and our trip was pure leisure, and it was amazing.”

Leah’s parents did a lot of the planning, and it took the group nearly a year to work out all the details. They joined social media groups and bought books about Switzerland for their research. Ultimately, they chose what parts of the country they would visit but didn’t plan their days until they arrived and decided what they wanted to do. They booked all the travel and accommodations themselves.


Frog and elk stuff. Europe's hunger for frogs' legs — the continent consumes 2 billion frogs a decade — is pushing numerous frog species to the brink of extinction according to Euro News. Most (80%) dining room frogs are imported from Indonesia, which took up the slack when India and Bangladesh banned exports to keep their legs at home. In my experiences, Kentucky seems to be the American base for frog leg lovers. The Indonesian legs are much bigger than chicken wings and cost about $15 per pound in the U.S.

New York City's popular Frog Club, famous for tutti frutti spaghetti sundaes, has a no-photos policy. As you enter the restaurant, a bouncer places a sticker over your camera lens. Remove it, and you’re asked to leave. There are other ways to get 86'ed — including kissing the Frog Club chef without her consent. (Broken Palate)

Deals of the day. Machine Shed (11151 Hickman Road., Urbandale) offers all you can eat hickory smoked pork ribs today... Kids eat free with every paying adult on Wednesdays at Chuck’s (3610 Sixth Ave., Des Moines)... Today’s chef special at Trostel’s Greenbriar is an elk medallion with sautéed lion’s mane and bear’s tooth mushrooms with demiglace, served on horseradish mashed potatoes...

Use code: FOOL15 for a 15% discount on tickets to "School of Rock" July 12-23 at Des Moines Community Playhouse.  Offer expires April 3 at 11:59 p.m. Cannot be combined with previously purchased tickets. Offer is online only.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Recap: Straw purchases creating headaches for licensed firearms dealers, law enforcement

FORT DODGE, Iowa — Hunter Collier, of Fort Dodge, pled guilty in Federal Court in Sioux City to buying a pistol from the Iowa Outdoor Store in Fort Dodge in July of 2022 and saying he was buying it for himself. He's now convicted of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, something known as a straw purchase. A straw purchase is when an individual buys a firearm at a federally-licensed firearm dealership for someone else — usually someone who is prohibited from owning one....READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Gov. Reynolds signs bill into law that critics say weaponizes religion

DES MOINES, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law on Tuesday at a private event hosted by the Christian organization The Family Leader.... Critics of the law say it allows individuals to weaponize their religion to discriminate against others and allows them to pick and choose which laws they will or won’t follow..READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: One dead, three others injured in overnight shooting in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa — One person is dead after multiple people were shot overnight in Des Moines. Officers responded to the residences of River View complex on SE 1st for a shooting......READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Alec Baldwin, Eddie Murphy, Adam Scott, David Hyde Pierce, Wayne Newton, Rachel Bloom, Jennie Garth, Sam Kiszka, John Mooney, John Thomas Griffith, Picabo Street, Amanda Bynes

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What is the thesaurus’ favorite dessert? SYNONYM BUNS! - Clare Baker, Gail Tomlinson

Today's riddle

What did the alien ask its shipmate that just returned from vacation?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in the Daily Umbrella or Ankeny, Altoona, Bondurant Living magazines, contact:

Angela Ossian
Account Executive
Office: 515-953-4822 ext. 307
Mobile: 515-979-5585

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