Percentage of U.S. adults who are optimistic that 2013 will be a better year for them financially than years past, up from 48 percent who said the same at the start of 2012, according to a CouponCabin.com survey: 52
Percentage of U.S. adults who say they plan to overhaul their finances in 2013: 39
Percentage of U.S. adults who have some type of goal that they would like to achieve in 2013, according to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Strayer University: 93
Percentage of adults who have health-related goals, such as being more active, eating more healthily or getting more sleep: 54
Percentage who have a socially oriented goal: 37
Percentage who have a leisure-related goal: 34
Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.
With winter officially under way, the record low winter temperature among continental U.S. cities, held by Bismarck, N.D., according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 44 below zero
Absolute coldest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. in Prospect Creek, Alaska: 80 below zero
To put a different perspective on the word "lowest," record low temperature in Honolulu, Hawaii: 53 degrees
Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
Value of the sapphire-and-diamond pacifier in the classic Princess Diana style that was offered to Kate Middleton and husband Prince William on the same day that Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple were expecting their first child, according to Mead Jewelers: $1.5 million
Source: Mead Jewelers.
Ranks of dentist, registered nurse, pharmacist and computer systems analyst on the list of the best jobs of 2013, classified as such by offering a mosaic of employment opportunities, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job satisfaction: 1, 2, 3, 4
Source: U.S. News & World Report.
Ranks of Sophia, Emma, Olivia and Isabella on the list of the top 100 baby names for girls in 2012, according to Baby Center's annual baby names survey: 1, 2, 3, 4
Ranks of Aiden, Jackson, Ethan and Liam on the list of the top 100 baby names for boys in 2012: 1, 2, 3, 4
Source: BabyCenter LLC.
Percentage of American workers who had not yet taken all of the vacation days allotted to them by their employer, as of the end of November, according to a survey by Adecco: 75
Percentage of workers who are allotted three weeks or more of vacation time annually: 36
Percentage of employees who said they plan to actively look for a new position in 2013, according to a poll of U.S. employees by Right Management: 86
Percentage who said they may do so and are already networking: 8
Source: Right Management.
Percentage of U.S. workers who expect either "weak" or "robust" economic growth in the next 12 months, according to the results of the 2012 Mercer workplace survey: 73
Percentage who anticipate a recession, down from 40 percent a year earlier: 27
Percentage of workers who are still concerned about losing their jobs: 36
Ranks of Bella, Max, Buddy and Daisy on the list of the top 10 dog names of 2012, according to information from the Banfield Pet Hospital: 1, 2, 3, 4
Ranks of Kitty, Bella, Tiger and Max, on the list of the top 10 cat names of 2012: 1, 2, 3, 4
Source: Banfield Pet Hospital.
"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome, humorist and playwright
(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)