Tag Archives: Bill Gates

Bill Gates takes on Alzheimer’s disease

I want to take a break from commenting on people for whom I have zero respect and toss a bouquet at someone who has earned tons of gratitude and appreciation.

Bill Gates is the world’s richest human being. He has announced he is going to kick in $50 million — which in reality is essentially walking-around money for someone worth roughly a hundred times that amount — for Alzheimer’s research.

Hey, I am not going to give the Microsoft founder the short shrift on this gift. It’s valuable and it well could lead to a cure for an incredibly cruel and heartless disease.

Gates is giving the money to the Dementia Discovery Fund, based in London. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Its impact affects not just those it robs cognitive skill, but also the loved ones of those who afflicted by this terrible killer.

Disease hits close to the heart

I know of what I speak.

My own dear mother died at the age of 61 in 1984 of Alzheimer’s-related complications. A neurologist delivered the formal diagnosis in the spring of 1980, which she was just 56. In truth, she had been exhibiting signs of behavior change for years prior to the doctor’s grim news.

Believe me when I say this: Watching someone you love lose his or her very being is as painful an experience as one can endure. That’s what happened to Mom. She forgot how to sign her name; she couldn’t dress herself; she couldn’t bathe herself; eventually, she lost her ability to speak.

It’s not pretty.

Bill Gates wants to contribute tens of millions of dollars to help finance research that can lead to a cure for his monstrous killer. It’s the first such contribution that Gates has made to a non-communicable disease; he has been giving money for years for HIV/AIDS research.

I know my and family and are far from alone in this struggle against Alzheimer’s disease. Others have gone through the misery we have suffered. I am quite certain they, too, are grateful for Gates’ contribution to this noble effort.

This man is a champion. I appreciate beyond measure his huge gift.

Here’s a sign of inflation


Some financial wizards are speculating that computer marketing genius Bill Gates could become the world’s first trillionaire.

His net worth today is around $75 billion. He might be able to add another $925 billion to his portfolio by the time he checks out, according to at least one guru.


Whenever I see stories like this, or lists of the world’s richest people, I cannot help but think of this bit of financial trivia that I’ll share with you now.

The Greek shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis died in 1975. At the time of his death he was rated among the top two or three richest men on Earth. He was known actually more for the fact that he married the former first lady of the United States, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy.

He and another Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos, occasionally swapped places annually — kind of in the manner that Bill Gates does today with Warren Buffett or Carlos Slim.

Onassis’s estimated wealth at the time of his death?

Oh, it was about $600 million.

That ain’t chump change as I understand the meaning of the term.

For Gates and some of his other fellow billionaires, though, Onassis’s portfolio comprised, well, walkin’-around money.

Whatever. It’s all way out of my league. As John Wayne said in the film “Big Jake”: Times change.

Wealth measurement changes with times

Warren Buffett is now the world’s second-richest man.

The title used to belong to Carlos Slim. Both of these guys trail Bill Gates by a good bit. Several billions of dollars, I think.


I see these surveys measuring people’s wealth. Gates is worth tens of billions. Same with Buffett and Slim — and whoever else comprises the Top 10 list of richest people on the planet.

Inflation has done a lot of things to the way we measure these matters.

It all reminds me of how much the actual dollar has been devalued over the past, oh, 40 years.

Aristotle Onassis died in 1975. He was a shipping tycoon with merchants ships carrying cargo all around the world. At the time of his death, he was considered one of the world’s top two richest men. I seem to recall it was a see-saw contest between him and a rival Greek shipping magnate, a guy named Stavros Niarcos.

What was Onassis’s wealth at the time of his death? The figure I saw was $500 million.

Good heavens. He was a mere multimillionaire. Onassis’s portfolio amounted to mere chump change when compared to Gates, Buffett and Slim.