Category Archives: Uncategorized

Five Fact Friday #10

Five random facts for Friday:

In the United States, the top one percent of households holds $25 trillion of household wealth. The middle class, defined as the middle 60 percent of the usual income distribution, owned just $18 trillion. – Brookings

According to the International Monetary Fund the largest economy in the world, measured by Gross Domestic Product, is the United States at $21.44 trillion. The smallest is the pacific island nation of Tuvalu at $42 million. WikiPedia

In 2018 the United States had 23.5 square feet (SF) of retail space per person. The next most was Canada at 16.8 SF/person, then Australia at 11.2 SF/person  and the UK at 4.6 SF/person. Russia has 1.4 SF/person.  – Statista

According to the Airports Council International, in 2015 there were 17,678 commercial airports in the world. If you count all airports, aerodromes and airfields (civilian and military) the count is 41,788.-

In 2018 there were 129 breweries in North Carolina, up from 32 in 2012.- US Census


Five Fact Friday #9

Five random facts for Friday:

At 5’4″ James Madison was the shortest US President. – Wikipedia

The shortest land border between two sovereign states is a two kilometer stretch between Botswana and Zambia- GeoCurrents

3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school during the 2019-20 school year. 3.3 million from public schools and .3 million from private schools.  – National Center for Education Statistics

The lowest daily total traveler throughput recorded by TSA during the COVID-19 crisis (so far) was 87,534 on April 14, 2020. By comparison the throughput on the same day in 2019 was 2,208,688.- TSA

It takes about 2.6 pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine, which means there are about 736 grapes in a bottle of wine, or about 164 grapes per glass. – The Backlabel


When Perception Matches Reality

Since the COVID-19 crisis began one of the local testing centers here in Winston-Salem, NC has been located on Hanes Mall Boulevard near my home, and I’ve driven past it at least a few times a week throughout the crisis. For much of the first six-ish weeks of the crisis, I would either see no one out there, or just the health workers hanging out waiting for potential cases to drive in. Then a few weeks ago I started noticing cars in line with people waiting to be tested, and then more recently I saw those lines getting significantly longer. It was noticeable enough that I mentioned to Celeste, my better 3/4, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we started to see on the news that there were more cases in Forsyth County. Sure enough, over the last two weeks, we’ve seen a heavy surge in cases and we’re not alone as the entire state of North Carolina has seen an uptick in positive test results and hospitalizations. The following is from the Winston-Salem Journal:

Forsyth County has experienced its largest one-day spike with 97 new cases reported Thursday by the county Health Department. The previous daily high was 61 on May 14. The number of COVID-19 related deaths remained unchanged at nine.

The overall total surged to 1,160, which may signal that Forsyth has surpassed Guilford for having the third-most cases by county. The latest N.C. Department of Health and Human Services update, released at 11 a.m. Thursday, had Guilford with 1,137 cases and 56 deaths.


This is one of those times where I really wish the reality hadn’t matched my perception.

While we’re here I’ll also share that there’s an anomaly that I can’t wrap my head around: while Forsyth County’s case count has been skyrocketing the deaths have remained relatively low when compared to neighboring Guilford County. Forsyth has 1,160 total cases with 9 deaths, for a fatality rate of .775%. Guilford has 1,173 total cases with 56 deaths, for a fatality rate of 4.77%. Given that the two counties abut each other and are similar in so many ways I just don’t understand what can account for such a large discrepancy.

The numbers are tragic no matter how large or small, but it’s discrepancies like this that make me believe that we still don’t have an accurate picture of what this disease is doing to our community. Only time and good public health science will give us a true picture, and I fear that the worst of this picture is yet to be revealed.

Voices from Past Leaders Trump Today’s

Helluva piece from NPRuses the voices from some of our national leaders of the past to highlight the barren voice of today’s “leader” during our current national tragedy:

BROOKS: Yeah, I guess I’d say tragedies touch us at a deeper level than politics. And at these moments, I think, what presidents do when they’re at their best is they step outside their political role, and they just speak to us humans as humans, whether it was Reagan after The Challenger…


PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God…

BROOKS: …Or Obama after the Newtown shooting.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.

BROOKS: And they really come to us as emotive healers. And with President Trump, we have someone who can’t express empathy. He’s reacted to this crisis simply as a political exercise not as a human tragedy.

KELLY: E.J., your thoughts?

DIONNE: We look to political leaders to help us confront the horrors we experience. We don’t want the horror glossed over or explained away glibly. But we do want paths to hope and solidarity and fellowship and, at least, the possibility that we can emerge from tragedy better than we were before. That’s how we keep living.

The audio is definitely worth a listen if you have a few minutes.


Five Fact Friday #8

Five random facts for Friday:

If the National Basketball Association (NBA) is not able to hold its playoffs this year it will be the first time that the NBA Finals have not been played since the league’s inception in 1946. – Wikipedia

Over 54,000 Slazenger tennis balls are used each year for The Wimbledon Championships. Since the tournament was not held in 2020 there’s no word on if the balls were returned to the wild 😉 – Wimbledon Debenture Holders

The largest ball of string on record is one 4.03m (13ft 2.5in) in diameter and 12.65m (41ft 6in) in circumference, amassed by J.C. Payne of Valley View, Texas, USA between 1989 and 1992. – Source: Guinness Book of World Records

In 2016 beer brewers in the United States produced 221 million hectoliters of beer, which is a lot but not as much as China’s 381 million hectoliters.  – Source:

The Pan American Highway is the longest road in the world. It stretches from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Edmonton, Canada. – Source: ListSurge

Five Fact Friday #7

Five random facts for Friday and posted on Saturday this time around:

Mother’s Day is (normally) the busiest day of the year. – National Restaurant Association via Town & Country

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory over France on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. It is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, but has involved into a commemoration of Mexican culture in the United States. (It’s also a great excuse to drink tequila). – Source:

According to the American Kennel Club the most popular dog breed is the Labrador Retriever. The 192nd most popular, of 192 total, are Sloughis. – Source: American Kennel Club

Paid circulation of daily newspapers in the United States was 62,766,000 in 1985 and 28,554,000 in 2018 – Source:

In 1999 the average American man over the age of 20 was 69.2 inches tall (just over 5’9″), weighed 189.4 pounds and had a waist size of 39 inches. In 2016 those numbers had changed to 69.1 inches, 197.9 pounds and 40.2 inches. For American women the 1999 numbers were 63.8 inches (almost 5’4″), 163.8 pounds and 36.3 inches and in 2016 they were 63.7 inches, 170.6 pounds and 38.6 inches.
So if you do the math in less than 20 years adult American men are essentially the same height on average, but are 4.5% heavier and have an average waist size that is 3% bigger. American women are also essentially the same height, are 4.15% heavier and have an average waist size that is 6.3% bigger. – Source: CDC

Five Fact Friday #6

Five random facts for Friday and posted on Saturday this time around:

The most popular baby names in the United States in 1966 were Lisa and Michael. Celeste, my wife’s name, was 356th most popular. Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s a certain someone’s birthday next week and she was born in 1966. – Source: (for the baby name ranking, not my wife’s birthday).

The daily US movie box office sales for March 19, 2020 (day 79 of the year and last day the movie theaters were open during COVID-19 crisis) were $143,641. On day 79 in 2019, March 20 (a Wednesday) sales were $8,995,950. – Source: BoxOfficeMojo

In North Carolina twice as many adults identified as Atheist (2%) than did as Mormon (1%), Jewish (1%) or Orthodox Christian (1%) . – Source: Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. 402 years later Celeste Lowder was born on April 23, 1966. – Source

On April 18, 2020 the average price of regular gas in the United States was $1.821/gallon, down from $2.836 on the same date in 2019. The highest average price ever recorded in the US was $4.114 on July 17, 2008. – Source: AAA

Five Fact Friday #5

Five random facts for Friday and posted on Saturday this time around:

Alcohol sales were up 55% the week ending March 21. – Source Axios via my mom.

Thanks in part to the cancellation of March Madness there is a glut of chicken wings. The price has tanked from $2/lb during the Super Bowl to $1.09 in April, 2020. – Source Marketplace

The state sport of Maryland is jousting. – Source Futility Closet

In 2017, according to the National Confectioners Association, 16 billion jelly beans were bought and consumed by the American people. – Source HelloGiggles

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2016 there were 5.6 million employer firms and 99.7% employed fewer than 500 people, 98.2% employed fewer than 100 people and 89% employed fewer than 20 people. – Source Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Five Fact Friday #4

Five random facts for this Friday:

Roughly 281 billion email messages were sent each day in 2018. That number is expected to increase to over 347 billion daily mails in 2022. – Source: statista

On March 23, 2020 Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times worldwide, up from 2.04 million the day before, according to app tracking firm Apptopia. Two months prior, the app had just under56,000 global downloads in a day. – Source:

Netflix users spend 1 billion hours watching movies weekly. – Source:

There are 6,146 hospitals in the United States. – Source:

The country with the lowest population (799) in the world is Vatican City. The country with the highest population (1.43 billion) is China. – Source:

Five Fact Friday #3

Five random facts for this Friday:

jetBlue has 264 aircraft in its fleet – Source:

New York City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants treat 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater per day – Source: New York City Environmental Protection

In 1985 a first class stamp was 22 cents, which is the equivalent of 54 cents today (currently a first class stamp costs 50 cents). – Source:

As of 2017 there were approximately 500 zoos and aquariums in America (no mention on whether or not the US Congress was included in that count) – Source:

There are 195 countries in the world. 193 are member states of the United Nations and two, The Holy See and the State of Palestine, that are non-member observer states – Source: Worldometer