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Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Good morning to you!

It’s fun for a girl and a boy. Ninety-eight coils of high-grade, blue-black Swedish steel. Yes, the Slinky. In its first 60 years, 300 million were sold. That’s a lot of steel. And a lot of fun.

The Slinky was invented by naval engineer Richard James in 1943 during an experiment with tension coils. He accidentally dropped a spring on the floor and watched as it began to “walk.” Richard and his wife, Betty, formed James Industries and began manufacturing Slinkys and selling them for $1 each. The toy remained modestly priced throughout its history as Betty wanted it to be affordable for all. In fact, a version of the original can be purchased online today for as little as $3.99.

The Slinky was not an immediate hit, though. It wasn’t until 1945 when it was introduced in Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia during the Christmas shopping season that it took off. Richard and Betty were granted permission to set up an inclined plane in the toy section of the store to demonstrate it, and the entire inventory of 400 units sold in 90 minutes.

All this slinkiness apparently didn’t bode well for the James marriage, though. In 1960, Betty filed for divorce. Richard left the company and became an evangelical missionary. Betty died of congestive heart failure in 2008 at age 90 after serving as James Industries' president from 1960-1998. The Slinky was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000 and named to the Toy Industry Association's Century of Toys List in 2003. After some consolidations and acquisitions, the Slinky brand was sold to Just Play in 2020, and kids continue to enjoy it today.

The Slinky can perform a number of tricks, most notably traveling down a flight of steps end-over-end while stretching and re-forming itself — or at least that is what it did in the TV commercials. I was never able to get quite the same experience. You may also remember the Slinky Dog and the Slinky Train. The dog version experienced a comeback in 1995 thanks to the “Toy Story” movies. How about the Plastic Slinky? This apparently came about as kids were inserting the metal Slinkys into electrical sockets. I never tried that. Thankfully.

I do remember the distinct “laser gun” sound I could make with my Slinky. I also used it to try to get better reception from my transistor radio. I had to find some use for the toy after my brother and I stretched it out so much that it wouldn’t compress properly again. Still have a Slinky around somewhere? Not sure what to do with it? I am told that, when mounted on bird feeder poles, a Slinky can deter squirrels. Give that a try.

That catchy jingle for the television commercial that reminds us of the Slinky being “fun for a girl and a boy” was created in 1962 and became the longest-running jingle in advertising history. More than likely, you are singing it right now. “Everyone knows it’s Slinky.”

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.


Clear Mortgage meteorology

Today will be warmer, with an isolated storm chance in the morning and again in the evening. Best chances north of I-80. It starts getting steamy Wednesday. On Thursday, it stays hot, with early morning and again evening storm chances.

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

From the June issue of CITYVIEW 

Farmers fear Koch takeover of Iowa fertilizer plant would boost nitrogen prices

By Douglas Burns

State Rep. J.D. Scholten, D-Sioux City, a vocal opponent of consolidation in agriculture, talks with Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan in Nevada.

Harold Beach, a northeast Missouri farmer who runs a row-crop operation and raises hogs and cattle, traveled to central Iowa recently to urge one of the nation’s top regulators to stop a multi-billion-dollar takeover of a Lee County fertilizer plant he and other rural advocates say will further erode competition in agriculture and increase costs for one of modern farming’s essential inputs, nitrogen.

“I would like you to be fearless and courageous and be a Teddy Roosevelt,” Beach told Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan.


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


Best Local Greenhouse

1. Goode Greenhouses

2. Canoyer Garden Center

3. Piney Ridge Greenhouse

Read all the results now!

Film review

“IF” (in theaters)
It is difficult to guess what this movie is about if you see the trailer or TV commercials. It’s even more difficult to explain what it is about after you’ve seen it. The movie portrays a young girl going through major life issues. She is also able to see other people’s imaginary friends. That’s all I’m going to tell you, because I really want you to see this movie without too much knowledge about the story. What I can tell you is that it is so well done. So well done. Two words sum up this theatrical experience: charming and wonderful. I saw this movie with my 34-year-old son, and we both used the word wonderful to describe it. I can’t wait to see it again. Grade: A

By Michael C. Woody. Woody has been reviewing movies on radio and television since 1986 and can be heard talking movies every Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. on KXn0 106.3 with Keith Murphy and Andy Fales. You can also follow him on Twitter @MrMovieDSM. 


Dispatches from the inflation war. Last year, dining out consumed the highest percentage of Americans’ disposable income since 2005 according to federal data. In the first quarter, the average check for dining out was up 5% compared with the prior-year period and up 36% from 2019. (David Portalatin, food industry adviser at Circana)... During the pandemic, restaurant employment declined by 6 million jobs and lost $300 billion in sales compared to expected levels. (Hudson Riehle, the National Restaurant Association’s senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group)

Tuesday touts. Gabrielle Langholtz's "America: The Cookbook" celebrates the remarkable diversity of American food culture state by state with 768 pages, 800 recipes and 50 essays and menus from 100 top food experts and chefs. This is the first great American cookbook since James Beard's "American Cookery"... Tasty Tacos is more famous for other things but their frijoles are so superior they put beans from other taco chains to shame... Des Moines Metro Opera's "Threads & Trills Costume Show and Luncheon" on Saturday, June 15, brings the extravagant costumes of opera to a fashion show with performances by stars of the upcoming season. 11:30 a.m. at the garden-blessed Des Moines Embassy Club West (520 Market St., West Des Moines). $55.

Deals today. KFC has a Tuesday special of eight pieces of bone-in chicken for $10. They also have a new two pieces dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy and a biscuit for $4.99... Hy-Vee advertises $6 "Tenderloin Tuesdays" with fries... Mickey's in Yale (217 Main St., Yale) offers breaded pork chops specials on Tuesdays only... Mariscos El Pirata (6050 S.E. 14th St., Des Moines) offers $2 off all tacos on Tuesdays. Check their Facebook page for live dance band news... Bianca’s Grill & Vineyard (410 South Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny) offers "family specials" on Tuesday with spaghetti, chicken Alfredo and Cajun Alfredo meals for $25, meatballs extra... Red Lobster (3838 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines) has a Tuesday special of a pound of snow crab, fries and a side for $20... Kid’s meals are half priced all day Tuesday at Machine Shed (11151 Hickman Road, Urbandale) and all you can eat classic fried chicken is offered after 3 p.m.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com

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

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All brick, custom-built 1.5 story is embraced in a forest of trees on a completely privage 3-acre cul de sac lot. Boasting rich millwork, gorgeous windows, grand floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and 360-degree views of trees &and wildlife. 6,00-plus square feet of living and heated four-car garage (fits up to six cars).

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale
SOLD: Featured commercial real estate transaction
2145 N.E. 36TH ST., ANKENY
SALE DATE: 2024-03-25
SALE PRICE: $3,100,000
ACRES: 9.818
From the June issue of Winterset Living magazine

Meet Katie Van Dyke
Enjoys seeing her students’ personalities and skills grow

By T.K. West

Katie Van Dyke lived most of her adult life in the Urbandale, Grimes and Johnston area where she worked in healthcare. However, due to unexpected life events, she decided to relocate with her children to the Winterset community. She began working as a teacher’s associate for the Winterset Community School District in 2019.

“When I started, I had no idea what to expect, as the education field is quite different compared to healthcare. But as I started to learn new skills and began to gain confidence, Winterset and the school district started becoming more and more my new sense of home,” Van Dyke says.



FROM KCCI: 4 Iowa college instructors attacked, stabbed while visiting China

DES MOINES, Iowa — Four eastern Iowa college instructors are recovering following an attack during a trip to China. According to the college, the four instructors from Cornell College were stabbed while visiting a park in Jilin City, China, over the weekend. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Iowa AG officials consider new guidelines for fairs and expos as avian flu cases jump to cattle & humans

IOWA — The growing number of avian flu cases confirmed in Iowa dairy cows has officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture considering new requirements for exhibitors at county fairs and livestock shows, officials said Monday.. ... READ MORE FROM WHO

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: John Deere to pay $1.1M in backpay, interest after hiring discrimination allegations

MOLINE, Ill. — John Deere is set to pay $1.1 million in back wages and interest after alleged hiring discrimination against over 250 Black and Hispanic applicants. ....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Sports headlines
ESPN: Sources: Panthers score four unanswered to claim Game 2 over the Oilers
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:  WNBA Announces Record TV Ratings, Highest Attendance in 26 Years... READ MORE
CBS Sports: NCAA president committed to challenges ahead as pending antitrust settlement paves way for player compensation. ...READ MORE
1963: University of Alabama desegregated. Two African American students, Vivian Malone and James A. Hood, register for classes at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1963, after federalized Alabama National Guard troops force Alabama Governor George Wallace to halt his blockade and submit to a judge’s order ending segregation at the university.  .... READ MORE
1955: Race car at Le Mans crashes into spectators, killing 82. .... READ MORE
1979: John Wayne diesOn June 11, 1979, John Wayne, an iconic American film actor famous for starring in countless westerns, dies at age 72 after battling cancer for more than a decade. ... READ MORE
Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date:Adrienne Barbeau · Diana Taurasi · Graham Russell · Hugh Laurie · Jackie Stewart · Joe Montana · Joshua Jackson • Frank Beard • Claire Holt • Peter Dinklage • Shia LaBeouf

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you call a robot that doesn’t use deodorant? C3-BO! - Gail Tomlinson, Lori Bluml. Or R2-STINK2! - Carolyn Rogers. Other answers from William Snyder, Rex Post.

Today's riddle

What makes Al Gore so robotic?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in the Daily Umbrella or Winterset Living magazine, contact:

Kristine McDonald
Account Executive
Mobile: C: 515-975-3543

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