The truth is
I don’t stand a chance
It’s something that you’re born into
And I just don’t belong

Weezer’s Beverly Hills has been on the radio often lately. It’s a song I enjoy. Last night, after listening to it, I wondered what it would be like to walk the actual sidewalks of the place that was, in my youth, a metonymy for wealth.

Then it struck me that I could. The magic of Google Maps gives me wings, allows me to flit across the continent like an angel.

Which I did. I used Google Earth to stroll the streets of 90210. I wandered the blocks, dodged the cars, scanned the driveways and doorways.

To be honest, most of Beverly Hills resembles Arlington, Massachusetts, with palm trees.

This is not what Beverly Hills Teens promised me

Certainly there is a great deal of money in Beverly Hills. But there is money in many places, vaster and quieter. That we, when we think of money, are pointed toward Beverly Hills is part of the puzzle.

We must never mistake symbol for fact. Yet we do, frequently.

More on Beverly Hills later.

Before I begin, I want to say I am not an expert in macroeconomics. I’m just one person, trying to attain clarity in my thought by writing it out.


One of the high points of my normal week is my Saturday morning visit to our local coffee shop. I get a cup, read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and generally indulge my inner Mitteleuropan intellectual. Like old Vienna.

Yesterday I went and got my last coffee, to go, for now. The coffee shop is closing as of tomorrow. They tried to keep operating on a takeout-only basis, but it wasn’t enough. Until they can open fully, their doors are shut.

Is this closing temporary or permanent?

That is a very good question.

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From certain upper vantage points in Boston’s Museum of Science, you get an excellent view of the Back Bay skyline. One time I was up there, surveying the towers, and it hit me: money is blood for buildings.

Every office in all those vast assemblages of square footage needs an occupant. If unoccupied, they start to go to seed; if a building starts to lose tenants, it loses the ability to attract tenants. Money is blood. Every office in every skyscraper needs a supply of money to support it, just as every part of every body needs a stream of blood to sustain it. An office without that lifegiving stream starts to rot. If enough buildings rot, the town starts to rot. I’ve seen rotting towns. They’re not pretty.

But for now at least, Back Bay in Boston has all the life-giving money it needs. Somehow.