Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For June 12, 2011

Year that the idea of Father's Day was conceived by Sonora Dodd, who wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1909

Year that the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day: 1966

Estimated number of fathers in America: 66.3 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of Americans who agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make, according to a nationwide Pew Research Center survey: 80

Percentage of renters who said they would prefer to one day buy a home: 81

Source: Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends.

Even in the face of rising gas prices, percentage of Americans who drive to work alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 75

Percentage who use public transportation: 5

Percentage of people who use bikes and other means to get to their jobs: 2

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of grooms who do the proposing, according to research by the Travel Industry Association of America: 99

Average length of an American engagement: 14 months

Average cost of the diamond engagement ring: $6,348

During the engagement period, estimated collective amount of money spent on furniture: $4 billion

Source: U.S. Travel Association.

Percentage of CFOs who said lacking attention to detail and presenting sloppy work are the co-worker behaviors that annoy them most, according to a survey developed by Accountemps: 41

Percentage of respondents who said gossiping or engaging in office politics are pet peeves: 23

Source: Accountemps.

Percentage of consumers who said they like to get as much information as possible about an electronic device before they buy, according to the results of PriceGrabber's mobile shopping survey: 66

Percentage who stated they always shop for the best deal in electronics: 48

Source: Experian Consumer Direct.

Percentage of American households that are planning at least one water-related recreational activity this summer such as swimming, boating and fishing, according to a national survey by the American Red Cross: 78

Percentage of Americans who described their swimming skills as fair, poor or nonexistent, including 3 percent who said they were unable to swim at all: 21

Percentage of adults who are unsure what to do if they are caught in a strong current: 18

Source: American Red Cross.

Percentage of emergency physicians responding to a poll who report that the biggest challenge to cutting costs in emergency medicine is the fear of lawsuits, according to a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians: 44

Range of estimates on the annual costs of defensive medicine, which includes the ordering of tests out of a fear of being sued: $60 billion to $151 billion

Source: American College of Emergency Physicians.

Percentage of tablet computer owners who said they use their devices while watching television, according to Nielsen's survey of connected device owners: 70

Percentage of smart phone owners who said the same: 68

Percentage of e-book reader owners who said the same: 35

Source: Nielsen Analytics.

Percentage of respondents who plan to buy a Father's Day gift this year, according to the ultimate "Gift Guy'd," based on a poll from Sears, Roebuck and Co.: 99

Percentage of respondents who said "organizing the tool shed" was the top choice of activity for an ideal Father's Day: 43

Percentage who selected "new tools" as the top choice for the perfect Father's Day gift: 50

Source: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Idle Thought

"Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has and that which he believes he has." -- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, novelist and journalist

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