Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For August 30, 2009

Forty years after the Woodstock music festival glorified and exacerbated the generational fractures in American life, percentage of adults today who say they listen to rock often or sometimes, according to a nationwide telephone survey by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends: 65

Rank of rock and roll among all genres, including country, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, classical, jazz and salsa: 1

Back in 1966, percentage of adults who said they disliked rock and roll: 44

Percentage who said it was their favorite kind of music: 4

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Percentage of people who do not expect their technology devices (mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, printers) to last more than five years, according to a global survey on behalf of Lexmark International Inc: 78

Percentage of respondents across 21 countries who believe the materials used to construct devices could be made of better quality -- suggesting that gadget failures ultimately lead people to abandon brands: 60

Percentage of people worldwide who feel guilty when they dispose of a device rather than seeking repair: 67

Percentage who admit they will trash an out-of-warranty device rather than having it repaired: 48

Source: Lexmark International Inc.

In 2000, percentage of workers who said the Internet had improved their productivity "a lot" or "somewhat," according to annual surveys by the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future: 57

Percentage who shared that opinion in 2007: 71

Source: USC Annenberg School Center.

Percentage of students who said that the price of products was somewhat or very important when choosing a college store, according to a recent survey by NACS OnCampus Research: 93

Average percentage gross margin on new textbooks: 23.1

For every dollar spent on new textbooks, amount made by the college store, the remaining money going toward the publisher, the author and freight expense: 6.3 cents

Source: National Association of College Stores Foundation.

Percentage of drivers who said they feel less safe than they did five years ago, according to the second-annual 2009 Traffic Safety Culture Index by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: 35

Over the past 25 years, number of American lives that have been prematurely, violently and tragically ended in motor vehicle crashes, killing more children, teens and young adults than any other single cause, according to AAA Foundation: 1 million

Source: AAA.

Year in which a Denver restaurant owner, Henry Perky, patented the idea of shredded wheat, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1893

Number of pounds of wheat products each of us eats every year: 134

To satisfy this hunger, number of acres of wheat that are harvested annually by the nation's farmers: 51 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Of the various special things that owners do for their dogs, percentage who say the most common is feeding them treats, according to a survey of dog owners on behalf of ALPO: 79

Percentage who give their dog belly rubs: 73

Percentage who give their dog special treatment by letting them sleep in bed with them: 45

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

With 55.8 million kids enrolled in public and private schools this fall, expected percentage decline in back-to-school spending -- from the $20.42 billion generated in 2008, according to IBISWorld research: 3.4

Projected percentage of sales from the discount-retailer industry that will come from school and office supplies alone: 21.3

Source: IBISWorld.

Percentage of recruiters and hiring managers who said salaries for new employees are falling this year, according to a Dice survey: 57

Percentage who expect them to remain flat with 2008: 35

Source: Dice.

Percentage of American adults who say they have been following very closely or somewhat closely the news about members of Congress holding town hall meetings to discuss proposed health care bills, and the protests taking place at those meetings, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll: 69

Percentage of Americans who said that these town hall meeting protests against the proposed bills have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views: 34

Percentage who have become less sympathetic: 36

Source: Gallup.

Idle Thought

"It is a trick among the dishonest to offer sacrifices that are not needed, or not possible, to avoid making those that are required." -- Ivan Goncharov, novelist

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)