What is a peppermint pig?

The candy pigs are a holiday tradition in upstate New York. They are made of peppermint, are about the size of a bar of soap and are sold with a little metal hammer that's used to smash the pig at Christmas. The pigs, which have been around Saratoga Springs since 1988, are considered good-luck charms. With the Internet helping to spread word of the pigs, there are expected to be 1.8 billion of the things made this year.

How strong are labor unions?

Labor unions have been under attack in Michigan and Wisconsin and have lost much of their hold on the American workforce. Just under 12 percent of the workforce was unionized last year, down from 20 percent in 1983, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking membership. Public-sector workers are five times more likely to belong to a union. About 37 percent of the public sector is unionized, compared with about 7 percent of the private sector. New York is the most union-friendly state, the bureau said.

How many games has the NHL canceled?

The National Hockey League is in deadlocked negotiations with players over salaries, forcing the league to cancel 526 games so far, 104 on Tuesday alone. Those cancellations are equal to about 43 percent of the regular season, which was supposed to start Oct. 11. Teams are expected to play at least 48 games this year if an agreement can be reached by late December, but the entire season will be canceled if negotiators can't resolve it by then.