But first . . .

Mary Black: ‘I filled in the quiz but don’t know how I did. I refuse to get on another list. I know, I know: there was box for ‘do not send,’ but I don’t believe it. I don’t want to give personal information to take a quiz, Democrat or Republican.’

☞ Quite a few of you reacted this way – as I might well have myself. (The truth is, I forgot when I suggested this quiz Friday that it requires an e-mail.) But let me get up on my high horse – never a good perch, but still – and suggest that freedom and democracy do not come cheap. Some of our ancestors paid with their lives, others with severe privation (‘Posterity, who are to reap the blessings, will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors,’ Abigail Adams wrote her husband, John) . . . so if one of our sacrifices is to risk the occasional unsolicited political e-mail, well, I’d rather that than have to spend the winter with neither shoes nor family at Valley Forge.

Toby G: ‘Not everyone wants to register to read web pages, so [your links to Paul Krugman in the New York Times] are not ‘available’ to me. But there’s good news. Someone maintains pkarchive.org, which offers Krugman’s columns in a timely fashion to all, unhindered by registration.’

☞ With a mighty thunder of hooves and a resounding thud as I land back in the saddle . . . is the New York Times not something that we would like to see succeed? Is it not deal enough that we get to read it for free? But Krugman’s columns are so good and important, for the most part, I would encourage you to read them any way you want.

And now . . .

Click here for a remarkable resource I had somehow never seen before. (No registration required.) It covers everything from the current water temperature at the nation’s beaches to zip codes for any address. One of my favorites is its Inflation link. Want to know what the $400,000 in stock option profits I came this close to cashing in at age 22 in 1970 would have been worth in 2003 dollars? Or any other inflation calculation? Click here. (The whole thing went kerplooey and the stock dropped from $140 to $5. But if I had been able to cash in, it would have been the equivalent of $1,898,970 today.)



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