If you tell people to go fly a kite, they may say they’ve already done so. According to the new edition of the Census Bureau’s annual Statistical Abstract of the United States, 3.5 percent of American adults flew a kite during the 12 months prior to spring 1999. The same part of the report indicates people would rather look at actors than at monkeys, although it’s a close call. While 30.7 million people attended live theater during that 12-month period, 26.9 million went to a zoo. Of course, some were too busy refurbishing their homes to have time for kites, monkeys or actors. Bathrooms stood atop the domestic hierarchy, with 6.2 million householders having remodeled theirs. Kitchens (4.7 million) ran second, followed by bedrooms (3.4 million). About 2.5 million looked to the outdoors (but not very far), adding a deck, porch or patio. Among other tidbits from this statistical mother lode: Per capita consumption of fluid milk declined between 1980 and 1999 (from 27.6 gallons a year to 23.6 gallons), even as consumption of cheese rose sharply (from 17.5 pounds a year to 29.8 pounds). Surely there’s a moral here for distillers, whose own products suffered a decline in yearly consumption from 3.0 gallons to 1.8 gallons: Market whiskey in solid form.
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