Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For July 19, 2009

Percentage of Americans who agreed that personal style has more to do with being comfortable in your own skin, not about dressing to impress, according to a survey by Old Spice: 66

Source: Old Spice.

Ranks of strategic thinking, leadership, communication, developing direct reports and motivating people on the list of skills that middle managers need to improve, according to ClearRock, an outplacement and executive coaching firm: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: ClearRock.

Age at which Americans ages 18 to 29 believe that the average person becomes "old," according to a Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends survey on aging: 60

Age at which middle-aged respondents put this threshold: 70

Age at which respondents ages 65 and above put this threshold: 74

Source: Pew Internet and American Life.

When asked about their interest in visiting specific regions across the country during the next two years, percentage of leisure travelers who said they'd like to visit the western region of the United States, according to a survey by Ypartnership: 72

Percentage who cited the South: 62

Percentage who said the Northeast: 33

Percentage who said the Midwest: 21

Source: Ypartnership Public Relations.

Ranks of first child (32 percent), meeting partner (13 percent), wedding day (12 percent), buying first house (6 percent) and passing your driving test (5 percent) on the list of happiest events for women, according to research by smile the internet bank from The Co-operative Bank: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ranks of first child (20 percent), meeting partner (13 percent), wedding day (12 percent), passing driving test (8 percent) and sports team victory (7 percent) on the list of the happiest events for men: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: Co-operative Bank.

Ranks of Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks as the most bankable male stars, according to the Ulmer Scale: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Ulmer Scale.

Percentage of Americans who say there is more loneliness in today's society than there used to be, according to research by Kodak: 67

Percentage who feel it is easier to connect with friends and family today than it was five years ago (a result of increased use of e-mail, text and social networks to keep in contact): 80

In spite of this technology, percentage who feel they have fewer meaningful relationships than they did five years ago: 60

Source: Kodak's Worldwide Brand Marketing and Communications.

Percentage of Americans who are closely monitoring their daily family expenditures, saying they are cutting back on their spending, according to a Gallup Poll: 71

Percentage who say they are watching their spending very closely: 88

Percentage of Americans who say they have enough money to satisfy their basic needs: 78

Source: Gallup.

Current teen unemployment rate, according to a study by Employment Policies Institute: 24

Percentage increase from earlier this summer: 12 (and 2.5 times the national unemployment rate)

For every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, the associated percentage decline in teenage employment in small businesses, according to research from the University of Georgia: 4.6 to 9

Source: Employment Policies Institute.

Year that designer Louis Reard had his models display a skimpy, two-piece bathing suit named for a Pacific atoll where atomic bombs were tested -- the bikini, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau: 1946

Number of women's clothing stores, with sales of more than $31 billion a year, that now carry the bikini, once viewed as scandalous and seen as a short-lived fad: 47,000

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Idle Thought

"We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice -- that is, until we have stopped saying, 'It got lost,' and say, 'I lost it.'" -- Sydney J. Harris, journalist

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)