Month: June 2011

Fun Facts for the Fourth of July 2011

ON THIS DAY IN 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.  As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.

2.5 million

In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970

311.7 million

The nation’s estimated population on this July Fourth.
Source: Population clock


$3.2 million

In 2010, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags.  The vast majority of this amount ($2.8 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics


Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2010.  Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $256,407 worth.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics

$302.7 million

Annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census data.
Source: 2007 Economic Census, Series EC0731SP1, Products and Services Code 3149998231


$190.7 million

The value of fireworks imported from China in 2010, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($197.3 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $37.0 million in 2010, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($6.3 million).
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics

$231.8 million

The value of U.S. manufacturers’ shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics (including flares, igniters, etc.) in 2007.
Source: 2007 Economic Census, Series EC0731SP1, Products and Services Code 325998J108


Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names.  The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, is Liberty, Mo. (29,149) Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state:  Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names.  The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas (26,248).

Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, Mo. (116,830).

Nine places have “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pa. (4,464).

One place with “patriot” in the name. Patriot, Ind. (209).

Five places have “America” in their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah (26,263).

Source: American FactFinder



Ranking of the frequency of the surname of our first president, George Washington, among all last names tabulated in the 2000 Census.  Other early presidential names that appear on the list, along with their ranking, were Adams (39), Jefferson (594), Madison (1,209) and Monroe (567).
Source: Census 2000 Genealogy


$98.3 billion

Dollar value of trade last year between the United States and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our sixth-leading trading partner today.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics


More than 1 in 4

The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa.  The Hawkeye State was home to 19.0 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2011.   This estimate represents more than one-fourth of the nation’s estimated total.   North Carolina (8.6 million) and Minnesota (7.6 million) were also homes to large numbers of pigs.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

6.8 billion pounds

Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2010.  Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation’s total production.  And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska (4.6 billion pounds) or Kansas (4.1 billion pounds).
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service


Number of states in which the value of broiler chicken production was $1 billion or greater between December 2009 and November 2010.  There is a good chance that one of these states — Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas — is the source of your barbecued chicken.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Over 1 in 3

The odds that your side dish of baked beans originated from North Dakota, which produced 36 percent of the nation’s dry, edible beans in 2010.  Another popular Fourth of July side dish is corn on the cob.  Florida, California, Georgia, Washington and New York together accounted for 68 percent of the fresh market sweet corn produced nationally in 2010.
Source: <>

Please Pass the Potato

Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues.  Approximately half of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2010.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

More than three-fourths

Amount of the nation’s head lettuce production in 2010 that came from California.  This lettuce may end up in your salad or on your burger.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

7 in 10

The chances that the fresh tomatoes in your salad came from Florida or California, which combined accounted for 71 percent of U.S. fresh market tomato production last year.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service


The state that led the nation in watermelon production last year (750 million pounds).  Other leading producers of this popular fruit included California, Georgia and Texas, each had an estimate of more than 600 million pounds.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

81 million

Number of Americans who said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year.  It’s probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on Independence Day.
Source: Mediamark Research & Intelligence, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 1239 # #

Provided by the U.S. Census Bureau News | Facts for Features | May 12, 2011 |

Making choices, right judgment and manufactured housing news

We have all picked up a movie, publication or book that we thought would be good, and turned out disappointed by its contents.

We have all worked with people that we later regretted working with, but hind sight is 20-20.  Looking back, at the time, we may not have known better.

A plumber called out to do a job may have totally different politics than the home owner whose house he is repairing.  Should the plumber be condemned for repairing a problem, even if other problems exist?

Should the auto mechanic who is paid to change the tires refuse the job, because the engine needs a tune up and the interior of the vehicle needs cleaning?

The worker at McDonald’s is not responsible for serving hamburgers that could – if repeated and combined with numerous other food choices – result years later with someone ending up with clogged arteries.

If that McDonald’s employee can get a new job with a quality health food store, terrific!  The health food store manager may shudder at the thought of fast foods.  But if they look past the word McDonald’s on the resume, they might learn that this person did fine work.  Can the experience at McDonald’s be a useful one?


The closed mind by definition can’t learn.

We are all at times branded by a perceived association that may not exist.

If a media outlet is liberal, does it benefit their readers by having a conservative columnist?

I’ve often picked up sound ideas from professionals I disagreed with.

In fact, when I come in to do a turn-around for a client, one of the first things I have to do is observe what is currently being done.  It may be dead wrong!  But by observing (or reading 😉 from others, even if they are wrong about many things, the right approach may come to light.

You may also find some things that were good, even in the midst of chaos and confusion.  Keep what is good, toss out what isn’t.

The mechanic whose job is to change the tires of the car may notice that the engine needs a tune up.  He may offer to do that work, or to clean up and detail the dirty interior of the vehicle.   But if the customer says, ‘No thanks, all I want are those new tires,’ that is what the mechanic does.  We shouldn’t blame the mechanic for doing the job he was hired to do, if that part of the job was well done.

In the manufactured housing news, tips and views business, you shouldn’t check common sense at the door.

There are times when the most interesting commentary on American news comes from a source like the BBC.

Ask questions.

Probe for facts.

Sift past appearances and seek the truth of an issue or idea.

You may or may not like the source of an idea personally.  While understandable, let’s not let the source of a good idea alone blind us.

I do not ask a mechanic about their politics or religious practices or the lack thereof.  What I want to know is, can this person do the job well?

If someone is given the resources and authority needed to do a job and consistently can’t produce results, that is what they should be judged upon.

But the opposite is also true.  When you find someone who manages to advance a cause or effort in spite of a lack of resources or sufficient support, bring that person on!

A look at the person, not some label hung upon a person.

All raw diamonds need cutting and polishing.

An open mind to ideas, even if we question the source.

First impressions may be right or wrong.  The flashy cover on that DVD may conceal a dull video.  The subtle or obscure cover may be hiding a gem. # #

L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, MHM – Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal aka aka

Buggy Whips Bailout News Item, 100 Years Ago Today

Editor’s Note: We recently saw this article, written in 2008 at the time when the auto bailouts were imminent, and found it inspiring and relevant today.

Washington, DC Monday, December 9, 1907

Upon their arrival in the nation’s capitol this blustery December afternoon, the presidents of the three major manufacturers of buggy whips held a joint press conference.

Bailey Farnham, president of Ace Carriage & Buggy Whip Corporation, spoke first, summing up the state of the industry; “We realize that times are changing, and perhaps we’ve been caught a bit off guard, but our designers and engineers are working steadily at new designs and manufacturing techniques to make sure that our products will continue to serve the needs of the public, and our loyal customers.”

“Some have said that the time of the buggy whip has come and gone,” commented William “Rhett” Braxton, director of Braxton Industries’ Whips, Quirts and Crops Division. “We must remind them not to be fooled by fads, or short-term trends,” Braxton added. “The horseless carriage is noisy, nasally repugnant, and unreliable. It may seem like these self-powered hansoms will someday rule the road, but the required fueling infrastructure alone will make wholesale uptake impractical—if not impossible—in the long run. Every family is still going to need one horse and buggy for backup transportation, and yet another animal for rescue missions when the horseless claptrap breaks down.”

“All three of you gentlemen traveled to Washington by virtue of locomotive energy, by rail from your respective states of Indiana, Kentucky, and Minnesota. In velvet upholstered private corporation cars, at that. Do you believe this sends the right message to the public, that not one of the three of you, arriving to make your case before congress, even needed a buggy whip to get here?”

Nervously tapping their cigars, ashes falling to the cement in the chill air outside the capitol, the three whip czars looked at each other.

Arne Jurgens, president and founder of Oshketonka Tack and Tackle Manufacturing Company LTD, tossed his cheroot underboot and stepped forward– “Expedience,” he said, then paused and stared hard at Williams, “…expedience required utmost haste,” he continued drily. “Our industry is at a crossroads. Retooling and redesign will take time, and sacrifice. We’ve put aside our usual competitivity and come to Washington united for the sake of our companies and our workers. You can’t just motorize everything. Our industry just needs a little federal assistance, three small suspension loans to keep us liquid, and we can turn the corner when better times–and wiser heads–prevail again.”

Farnham shouldered his way free of his two fellow manufacturers and waved the buzzing crowd to silence; “A recent issue of Buggywhip Executive—the authoritative journal of our industry—predicts that the number of horseless carriages will never exceed horse-drawn carriages, based on a scientific poll,” he shouted, with an emphatic finger thrust over his head.

A grizzled and gray reporter holding a leather-bound pocket-sized notebook stepped forward and held his notebook up. When the crowd quieted he put the notebook in a jacket pocket, and stood savoring the silence for a moment before sticking a thumb in a wide lapel and speaking; “Jack Collings, editor of Buggywhip Executive magazine. That scientific poll was populated by yourselves, gentlemen—executives in the carriage trade.”

Another voice in the crowd took over… “What makes you think a shorter handle, a braided core–or a dainty pink whip–will turn around your fortunes? You’ve lost touch with your public, your customers. You need a complete turnaround, not a retooling.”

Jack Collings strode into the space they vacated. “We’re offering advertisers a new publication, by the way, first issue January 7.” he called, waving to the crowd… “Horseless Journal.”

Posted by Town Andrews at 9:47 PM, Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Source: file:///C:/Users/TONYKO~1/
Used with permission

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