You can learn about as much about the economy from bacon cheeseburgers as you can nonfarm payrolls, the consumer price index or any of the plethora of other reports that come out each month to measure growth.
After all, economists are from Venus and everyone else is from Earth, right?
Well, maybe that's taking it too far, but according to some measures used by market brokerage ConvergEx, there are more ways to skin an economic cat than just the usual ways. Here are a few of it what it calls "Off the Grid Indicators":
America still loves its guns, and folks are choosing to keep themselves armed. Sales are expected to clock—or maybe we should say "glock"—in at 22 million units this year, nearly triple the 8 million or so typical before the financial crisis began in 2008.
Taken together, Colas believes the numbers represent at least on balance a positive view.
"Our 'Off the Grid Indicators' paint a cautiously optimistic picture about the state of the U.S. economy. Most of them are marginally positive," he wrote. "And since the March 9th birthday of the current market rally is still many months away, perhaps the bull market isn't going to die soon."
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox