Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For June 21, 2009

Projected total consumer spending for Father's Day, according to industry research firm IBISWorld: $9 billion

Projected percentage rise in the sale of pampering services and products this Father's Day -- indicating many dads are going from handyman to dandy man: 35.7

Source: IBISWorld.

Percentage of workers who said a flexible schedule is the summer benefit they would most like to have, according to a survey by OfficeTeam: 38

Percentage who said they'd like to leave early on Fridays: 32

Percentage who look forward to summer activities such as a company picnic, pot luck, etc.: 6

Source: OfficeTeam.

Rank of the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI on the list of best cars for a cross-country road trip, according to the Kelley Blue Book: 1

Rank of the Porsche Cayman S on the list of best cars for a solo flight: 1

Rank of the Ford F-150 on the list of best vehicles for a towing trip: 1

Source: Kelley Blue Book.

Year that one of America's all-time favorite celebrities, Donald Duck, stepped into the entertainment world -- short, both in stature and temper, wears a sailor hat, has a tendency to fly into a squawking rage whenever things don't go just right, and whose long-term living arrangements with his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, was unusual for the day, according to page 306 of "Chase's Calendar of Events 2009": 1934

Percentage of single parents today who are men, compared with 10 percent in 1970, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 16

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Amid concerns about the economy, estimated percentage of students who are looking at entering a different profession than they were before the economic collapse, according to a survey released by Higher One: 20

Percentage who are considering attending graduate school as a result of the economy: 20

Source: Higher One.

Percentage of leisure travelers who now use the Internet to plan some aspect of their travel (compared to 35 percent in 2000), according to the National Travel Monitorism: 66

Percentage who now report making reservations online: 56

Ranks of online travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity (42 percent), Web sites of specific airlines (41 percent), and meta search engines that compare fares (13 percent) on the list of sites that travelers visit first when selecting an airline: 1, 2, 3

Source: Ypartnership Public Relations.

Estimated number of types of food crops there once were, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization: 10,000

Today, number of plant species that feed most of the world's population: 150

Number of crops that provide 80 percent of the dietary energy derived from plants: 12

Percentage of this dietary energy that is provided by rice, wheat, maize and potato alone: 60

Source: FAO.

With the employment market feeling the effects of a global recession, percentage of executives who have updated their profile on a public networking site in the last three months, according to recent research from ExecuNet: 71

Percentage who have updated their resume: 60

Source: ExecuNet.

Percentage of Americans who are getting 30 minutes of exercise five or more days per week, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index: 27

Percentage who report exercising for at least 30 minutes on three or four of the last seven days: 24

Percentage who report exercising for at least 30 minutes less than three days per week: 49

Source: Gallup.

Number of devastating natural disasters, those designated as Category 5 based on their financial and human impact, that occurred in 2008 -- the highest number on record, according to Worldwatch Institute and based on Munich Re's systematic recording of natural perils that began in 1974: 40

Percentage increase in the annual average number of hydrological disaster events occurring since the 1980s: 300

Source: WorldWatch Institute.

Idle Thought

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -- Oscar Wilde, writer

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)