I don’t hold babies.  I’m afraid they might poop, afraid I might drop them, see no way to reason with them, think they all look like Winston Churchill.  I’d make a horrible dad.  (Once they’re two, let alone four or five, I make a really good uncle.)

I have also never held a Beanie Baby.  Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever been in the same room with one.

So I might not have been the most likely candidate to read The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, published this week, had it not been written by my pal Zac Bissonnette.

But what a story it turns out to be!

Don’t settle for my blurb (best business bio of the millennium) — here are a couple of others:

“Equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, this accessible work will captivate.”
Library Journal, Starred review

“The spectacular story of the strangest speculative bubble there ever was and the man behind it.  A must-read for anyone looking to understand how manias start and markets go insane.
—LIAQUAT AHAMED, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lords of Finance

Move over, Charles MacKay.


Also just out is Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage.  I love that the two principal blurbs come from George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary — the former head of Goldman Sachs — and Elizabeth Warren, who, shall we say, comes at Wall Street from a different point of view.

“Barney Frank will be remembered as one of the hardest-working, quickest-thinking, most effective — and most quotable — congressmen in our nation’s history. Frank tells his story with characteristic candor, from coming out of the closet and working for LGBT rights to fighting for sensible financial reforms. Frank’s belief that government can improve people’s lives has given passion and energy to every part of his remarkable career in public service.” — Senator Elizabeth Warren

“This is authentic Barney — a compelling narrative because it mixes the personal with the professional and with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor. It’s also an important piece of history by a skilled legislator who has been able to get things done in Washington, D.C., that have made a real difference in all of our lives. I was privileged to work with him.” — Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury

Full disclosure: The photo of Barney and the doe on Fire Island?  (Captioned: “Contrary to some people’s expectations, I did not yell at it, and it did not run away from me.”)  It was taken in Charles’ and my back yard.


Floating around the internet, in case you haven’t already seen it.  (Thanks, Mel!)

A Man Found Two Bear Cubs Beside Their Dead Mother. Words Can’t Describe What Followed.

A naturalist named Casey Anderson stumbled across two grizzly bear cubs nestled beside their dead mother in the wild mountains of Alaska. Casey couldn’t just leave these little guys to die in the wilderness, so he made the brave decision to take them with him. He trains animals for a living, so he knew he would be able to give these cubs a real shot. That simple decision, borne out of grief, turned into one of the most unique and adorable rehabilitation stories we have ever laid eyes on.

Warning: you’ll want to adopt a bear after this. You probably shouldn’t.

Behold the photos.  (And if you’re having fun, skip to the last minute or so of the video, when they really start having fun.)  I like that Brutus (the 800-pound grizzly) was best man at Casey’s wedding.


My pal Jesse Kornbluth reviewed Merchants of Doubt, upon which the documentary I linked to yesterday is based:

This book, written with science journalist Erik Conway, is about the absence of reasoned action — and not just when the issue is global warming. The real shocker of this book is that it takes us, in just 274 brisk pages, through seven scientific issues that called for decisive government regulation and didn’t get it, sometimes for decades, because a few scientists sprinkled doubt-dust in the offices of regulators, politicians and journalists. Suddenly the issue had two sides. Better not to do anything until we know more.

“How do you talk to these people?” he wrote in response to yesterday’s post about Jared.  “Good luck.”

Jim Batterson: “I have known people with whom I share very few views.  A good starting point is the challenge: Let’s see if we can find some issue that we can agree on.  My libertarian friends and I can agree on pro-choice issues, or LGBT rights, or keeping the church out of the government.   Some of my fundamentalist friends share my views on gun control or supporting prison reform.  It’s a start.  Where do your political views overlap with [Jared’s]? There  must be something.”

☞ Yes.  I think that’s an excellent approach.

Manny Sodbinow:  “You asked how we can reach Jared and people like him.  I’m not sure we need to, because it is our experience that we cannot change their minds, even when the evidence solidly suggests they are wrong.  (In fact, the proof that Andrew Wakefield was a fraud made a large segment of the anti-vaccination crowd even more convinced that he was right.) Instead, we should be strengthening the resolve of those who believe as we do, and those who are truly on the fence about various matters.  We need to ensure that their voices are heard more loudly and more consistently, so that we drown out the shouts and echoes of the wrong-headed.  And, of course, we should do this politely.”

☞ Amen.  But I can’t help myself.  I still want to try.  Occasionally, people come around.  Look at George Wallace, who recanted on segregation.  Look at Davd Brock (Blinded By The Right).  Look at this guy (How a Right Wing, Fundamentalist, Conservative Pastor Became a Leftist, Liberal Heathen).  Or this guy (How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative).  Or at the guy who organized a national bus tour against same-sex marriage – who actually drove the bus.  On his tour, he wound up actually meeting gays who were following in protest. Once he came to see them as nice people, with the same kinds of hopes and fears as anyone else, he decided they should have the same rights and respect.

Have a great weekend!  I just may take Monday off.  (National Crabmeat Day.)



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