How many faces would you say are lost in this crowd?  Ten thousand?  Fifty thousand?  Ah, the anonymity!  Now put your cursor in the middle someplace and double click a few times until you can see each one clearly.  Anonomity is the state of not being anonymous.


This site offers 30-year time-lapse photography from space.  Skip the preselected locations and use EXPLORE THE WORLD at lower right to type in locations.  “Dubai” and “Las Vegas” are fun.  (You get more control when you type them in yourself.)  Zoom in and watch them grow like crazy.  It seems to work for anyplace on the planet, including your own zip code.  I’m not sure why they don’t let you adjust the speed of the time scale, but it’s free, so how can we complain?  (If you’re quick, you can pause year by year.)

Once you’re done playing, scroll down to peruse the “chapters” that follow.  (Turns out, Charlie Reese notwithstanding, lawmakers have contributed a thing or two over the last century.)  And imagine for a second Columbus or Magellan revivified, being shown this little toy that we get to play with, free.  All just seconds, in cosmic time, after they want plunging into the unknown.


Bill Merkel:  “I, too, am sad for Donald and pray that he gets his clock reset somehow.  That Charlie Reese column makes me so mad I could spit.  For anyone to think that going back to the way it was 100 years ago would fix everything shows the typical depth of the conservative narrative these days.  That you could wish to undo the incredible progress made in the last 100 years (or even the last 20 or 10) just so you wouldn’t have to pay taxes is a view I can’t fathom.  Retirement never worked better than when it claimed Charlie Reese.  Now, about Cal Thomas…”

Joe Devney:  “Mr. Reese lost me with his third sentence: ‘Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?’  We have low taxes (too low in some cases) and modest inflation.”

☞ As outlined at Snopes, Reese first published this in 1985, then updated and re-published it several times.  The tax list at the end, and some other stuff, was added by various posters as they re-launched.  Soon it may include something about Benghazi.  Because — while Reese’s disgust with our government was nonpartisan — I’m pretty sure the people who keep this spinning around the Internet are not.

Janeen:  “I think it was James Carville who once said, ‘I don’t want to live in an economy.  I want to live in a society.’  Taxes are the bedrock of society-making.  It is fair-game to say that some may be regressive, or levied inefficiently, or even laden with oppressive regulations.  But, personally, there are some I get some satisfaction from paying (local property, which supports my schools, hospital, and local government).  And — quite honestly — I wish my state (Iowa) would increase its fuel tax, so we can finally get the road and bridge repairs we so badly need.  I cringed hearing about the ‘good old days’ when ‘mom stayed home to take care of the kids.’  The good old days weren’t so great.  Entire generations of female talent were suppressed.  In an ideal world we would all have more choices and latitude in how we juggle our work and home lives.”


Not you, Alan.  You’re going to pull through, I promise.  Alan Abelson, who died Friday.  (Click the link for the swell New York Times obit.)  Alan was a force.  Brilliant, unstoppable.  He went to the same high school and college as my dad (entering college at 15), but a few years behind, and blew up the company I first worked for out of school, National Student Marketing Corp., with a Barron’s column that sent the stock from 140 down to 6 and, ultimately, its president and a Big Eight accountant to prison (and me to business school).

When I started writing for New York after getting my MBA, my first story was about him:  “The Smartest Man on Wall Street.”  In connection with that, he had me to lunch and introduced me to amazing people to help me get started — a young blind financial analyst who was already something of a legend (she loved to astound cab drivers — and me — by suddenly shouting, a mile from where we had started, “Not here!  Turn on Lexington!“), who remains a friend to this day; and a lovely guy named Ken Smilen, another of the most thoughtful men on Wall Street, who had a signed copy of Rudyard Kipling’s If on his office wall (sadly, long departed, an obituary for another day).

Alan was an institution.  Bitingly funny, yet generous; ramrod straight in his analyses and ethics; and if not the smartest man on Wall Street for each of the 57 years he wrote his column, then surely tied, at all times, for first.



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