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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Debunking an E-mail on Charities

CharityGiven the time of year and knowing that many people will be donating to charities around this time, I figured this was a good time to address this. A friend of mine got an e-mail supposedly listing charities that don't do a good job of spending donations, and other charities that make your dollars go farther. He knew I'd want to see it, so he forwarded it to me. He was right - the e-mail was one that I couldn't pass up.

This e-mail was actually already covered pretty well by Snopes:
Charitable Compensation

And of course, the Mickelson's covered the e-mail pretty well, but I still wanted to add a bit more.

Needless to say, most of the information in the e-mail was wrong or misleading. But what if it wasn't? Several of the supposed facts in this e-mail are about CEO salaries, not overall spending of these organizations. And while a part of us wants everybody involved in a charity to be charitable themselves, the real question is, what's best for the charity? Look at it this way. The Red Cross is a big organization with a big budget. They need someone at the top who knows what they're doing. Now maybe, they could get someone charitable enough to be CEO for a low salary, but what would be the qualifications of that person? Or, they could decide to spend some money and hire the best CEO they can get - maybe not a particularly charitable person, but well qualified. Which would be better for the organization, and which would help them be more efficient overall?

In my mind, the measure of efficiency of a charity should not be how much the top person gets paid, but how much of their money is going into actual charity, not overhead. Luckily, a few organizations have already done the hard work of researching the finances of several charities to come up with this information. The chart below summarizes a few charities - the top 10 by revenue, the other charities listed in the e-mail, and a few that I included just out of personal interest. All of the data for the table below came from Forbes magazine's The 200 Largest U.S. Charities. Clicking on any of the charity names will take you to the Forbes entry for that organization.

Organization Total Revenue, millions Total Expenses, millions Program / Charitable Expenses, millions % Spending on Charitable Expenses
Top 10 Charities by Revenue
Lutheran Services in America $18,310 $17,520 $15,050 85.9%
Mayo Clinic $7,970 $7,430 $7,110 95.7%
YMCA $5,920 $5,670 $4,790 84.5%
Catholic Charities USA $4,670 $4,220 $3,710 87.9%
United Way $4,230 $4,230 $3,600 85.1%
Goodwill Industries International $4,040 $3,820 $3,380 88.5%
Salvation Army $3,750 $3,240 $2,660 82.1%
The Arc of the United States $3,730 $3,610 $3,240 89.8%
Cleveland Clinic Foundation $3,730 $3,450 $3,110 90.1%
American National Red Cross $3,710 $3,350 $3,090 92.2%
Other Charities from E-mail
March of Dimes $218 $206 $155 75.2%
United States Fund for UNICEF $456 $447 $405 90.6%
The Veterans of Foreign Wars $87 $85 $54 63.5%
The Disabled American Veterans $125 $126 $87 69.0%
Select Other Charities
American Cancer Society $956 $951 $681 71.6%
American Heart Association $600 $580 $437 75.3%
Doctors Without Borders $275 $204 $181 88.7%
Susan G. Komen for the Cure $353 $337 $279 82.8%
Data Not Readily Available
The American Legion -- -- -- --
The Military Order of Purple Hearts -- -- -- --
The Vietnam Veterans Association -- -- -- --

Here's another way of looking at the data. I took the last column from the table above, % Spending on Charitable Expenses, and plotted it for the included charities, sorted from highest percentage to lowest.

Charity Spending on Charitable Expenses

I'll add that there are other considerations. For example, in a previous entry of mine, The Salvation Army - To Give, or Not to Give?, I discussed how the Salvation Army spends its money. As it turns out, they spend money on causes that I don't agree with, so I've decided to donate to other organizations that perform similar functions.

What to do with all this information is up to you. It depends on how much overhead you think is an acceptable amount, and whether or not there are any other organizations dedicated to performing the same mission as those charities.

More Info (including links already given):

For anyone interested, the e-mail that prompted this entry is available below the fold.

Image Source: ATR International

Think about these before you donate. As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep these facts in mind:

The American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses

It is called the March of Dimes because only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.

The United Way
President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.

CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE. Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.

CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business. You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT. He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to help anyone!!! Stop giving to this man.
Instead give it to SALVATION ARMY.

The Salvation Army
Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.

The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Military Order of Purple Hearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Vietnam Veterans Association
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

Please share this with everyone you can.
Thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Bible Blogging - Exodus 21 to Exodus 30

This entry is part of a series. For a listing of all entries in the series, go to the Index. Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

BibleChapters 21 through 30 aren't particularly exciting. They cover mostly rules for the Israelites, and instructions on a sanctuary and its accessories for worshiping God.

Exodus, Chapter 21

The Ten Commandments were just given in the previous chapter, and this one continued on with more rules. These included rules on slavery, murder, assault, ox gorings, etc. There were a few passages that stood out.

First were the verses on slavery. Hebrew slaves, at least, were only slaves for a limited term, unless they decided they liked their masters, in which case they could become slaves for life. Their wives and children, on the other hand, if the wives were originally the masters' property, remained the masters' property. There were also guidelines for "When a man sells his daughter as a slave" - she was at least a bit better off than male slaves. There was also a pretty explicit statement that slaves were property, and that it was okay for their owners to beat them, "When a slave-owner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives for a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property." There were some limits to how much a slave could be abused, however. If they lost an eye or a tooth, they were allowed to go free.

Two verses (strangely separated by another verse) showed harsh punishments for disrespecting your parents, "Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death" and "Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death."

There was also a rule that would seem to undermine the anti-choice crowd, "When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine." When killing a person was punishable by death, and even lashing out against your parents could get you executed, saying that causing a miscarriage was only punishable by a fine seemed to indicate that the writers of Exodus didn't consider fetuses to be worthy of the same rights as fully developed people.

Exodus, Chapter 22

More rules. Many of these had to do with livestock and crops, which makes sense considering that most of the Israelites were shepherds or farmers.

Here was one that caught my eye, "When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 But if her father refuses to give her to him, he shall pay an amount equal to the bride-price for virgins." It just reinforces the concept of women as property.

Here are two more, unrelated verses, that stood out, "You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live" and "Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death." God was pretty big on the capital punishment back then.

There were a few good rules in there, too, such as not mistreating resident aliens, widows, or orphans, and not allowing you to keep "your neighbour's cloak in pawn" if it's too cold.

Exodus, Chapter 23

And more rules. And again, lots of rules pertaining to livestock (though not all of them).

The chapter then moved on from the rules back to foretelling of the promised land, taking it over from the current residents. As in other parts of the Bible I've read to this point, there was a passage that seemed to show polytheistic origins, "When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces."

Exodus, Chapter 24

God called Moses and the elders up to Mt. Sinai. But first, Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain and the Israelites offered burnt offerings and a sacrificed ox. Moses took the blood from the ox and spread it several places, including dashing it on the people.

Once they went up the mountain, the elders saw God. He was described in very anthropomorphic terms, even with hands and feet. The continuity became a bit hard to follow at one point, possibly from the blending from different source materials.

Moses was called up to the top of the mountain to get the now famous stone tablets, though he won't get the tablets for a few chapters, yet. God appeared as a cloud, as a fire devouring the top of the mountain, and we were told that Moses was on top of the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Exodus, Chapter 25

God gave Moses many instructions on how to build a sanctuary for the Lord. This chapter and several others that followed were rather boring and tedious. First, Moses was to collect offerings from the people - the resources he would use to make the sanctuary. Then came the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant, which was to be made of acacia wood, covered with gold and with various other details. Then were instructions for a "mercy seat", or cover, with cherubim for the ark. Then came a table, plates, dishes, etc. Next was a gold lampstand, lamps, snuffers, etc.

Exodus, Chapter 26

God continued giving Moses instructions for the sanctuary. This chapter covered the tabernacle and its curtains, the tent and its curtains, and various other details, including how everything should be arranged inside the tent.

Exodus, Chapter 27

More instructions on the sanctuary, including an altar of acacia wood and all the accessories to go with it, a "court of the tabernacle", pillars, and utensils. Also, the Israelites were to bring olive oil to keep the lamps lit, and Aaron and his sons were to tend to the flame in perpetuity.

Exodus, Chapter 28

God gave instructions that Aaron and his sons were to be priests for Israel. Then came instructions on their sacred vestments, "a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a chequered tunic, a turban, and a sash." The instructions were fairly detailed. And to be honest, the vestments sounded a little gaudy - with hanging pomegranates and bells. The reasoning for the bells seemed a bit odd, "Aaron shall wear it when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he may not die." How do the bells protect him? Would he startle God otherwise? There were also instructions for making linen undergarments, "Aaron and his sons shall wear them when they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place; or they will bring guilt on themselves and die." I guess being a priest back then was a little more dangerous than now.

Exodus, Chapter 29

God gave Moses instructions on how to consecrate Aaron and his sons. And of course, it involved offerings and animal sacrifices, and detailed instructions on what to do with the blood, entrails, fat, and various organs. As an example, here's one passage out of many.

You shall bring the bull in front of the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull, 11 and you shall slaughter the bull before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 12 and shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and all the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13 You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and turn them into smoke on the altar. 14 But the flesh of the bull, and its skin, and its dung, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin-offering.

Exodus, Chapter 30

God gave even more instructions on an altar, this one for burning incense, along with the animal sacrifices to go with it.

Next came some odd instructions for taking a census, "When you take a census of the Israelites to register them, at registration all of them shall give a ransom for their lives to the Lord, so that no plague may come upon them for being registered." The ransom was to be half a shekel for atonement.

Then came more instructions on things to build to use for worship - a bronze basin and stand for washing, and a special blend of oils and spices for a holy anointing oil. And God was serious about this particular composition, "It shall not be used in any ordinary anointing of the body, and you shall make no other like it in composition; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an unqualified person shall be cut off from the people.' " Next were instructions for a special incense, with the same type of admonition not to use it for any other purpose.


The first few of these chapters, the rules, were the most interesting, though still not riveting. However, the rules are odd, being particularly harsh for some crimes, while allowing other behaviors (like slavery), that are unthinkable to a modern reader. The chapters on the sanctuary, clothing, and accessories were pretty boring. This isn't beautiful literature.

I was struck by all of the animal sacrifice, and the detail instructions on what to do with the body parts. It seems particularly primitive and barbaric.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brief Thoughts After Watching Life of Pi

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Life of PiOver the weekend, I watched the movie, Life of Pi. I liked it, though it was very sad. I really hadn't known much about the story beforehand, so I didn't realize that there would be so much discussion of religion. Honestly, I didn't think there was anything truly profound about the religious discussions - I thought it was just a part of the story. Perhaps the book was different, or perhaps I missed it, but apparently, the religious aspect was a big part of the story. One critic, Brian Bethune, called the book a "head-scratching combination of dense religious allegory, zoological lore and enthralling adventure tale, written with warmth and grace". Even President Obama said, "It is a lovely book -- an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling."

Now, I'm not completely blind to the religious themes in the movie. In fact, I think it nailed one aspect of religion particularly well, if not necessarily intentionally. [Warning - here come the spoilers]. Pi told two different stories of how he survived on the lifeboat. The first was the fantastic tale that took up most of the movie, where Pi had to share the lifeboat with the Tiger, Richard Parker, and had many improbable experiences. The second was a harsh story of survival, where the ship's cook killed two other people on the lifeboat, and Pi killed him in revenge to be the sole survivor of the ship's sinking. After telling the writer these two different stories, Pi asked him which story he preferred, and the writer chose the story with the tiger. Pi replied, "And so it is with God."

Accepting one story means embracing reality for what it is, no matter what the consequences or how it makes you feel. Accepting the other story means closing your mind to reality, and picking the story that makes you feel better. "And so it is with God" indeed.

To tell the truth, I'm not sure I'm taking away the same message as what was intended. I think the story was supposed to be more ambiguous, and seen in an almost post-modernist light. That is, how can we tell what's true exactly, so why not pick the story that we prefer? Obviously, I disagree with that mindset. Of course, there are limitations to our knowledge - things we don't or even can't know for certain. But there is only one reality. We can't pretend that our limitations in discerning reality mean that we can pretend reality is whatever we want it to be. Our goal should be to narrow those limitations as far as we can, to get our understanding as close to reality as possible.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Bible Blogging - Exodus 11 to Exodus 20

This entry is part of a series. For a listing of all entries in the series, go to the Index. Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

BibleChapters 11 through 20 complete the Passover story and the actual exodus from Egypt. These chapters include some pretty famous stories, such as the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, and the ten commandments.

Exodus, Chapter 11

Although the Lord mentioned killing Pharaoh's first born son in Chapter 4, it's in this chapter that the Lord revealed the extent of the final plague, "Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock.". This type of indiscriminate wrath has been a recurring theme to this point of the Bible.

The Lord also gave the Israelites instructions to ask the Egyptians for gold and silver. And to ensure that the Egyptians would comply, "The Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians." So not just is God going to kill everybody's first born sons, he's going to make them all poor, too.

And even though I've already pointed this out in other chapters, the Lord once again admits to hardening Pharaoh's heart himself.

Exodus, Chapter 12

The Lord gave the Israelites instructions on how to distinguish themselves from the Egyptians to avoid the upcoming massacre. They were to kill a lamb, and spread some of its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses, "when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." The instructions on how to acquire, cook, and eat the lamb were pretty explicit, along with disposing of the leftovers.

This chapter also included instructions on how the Israelites were to celebrate Passover in the future.

When the plague finally came, "there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead." God had killed just as thoroughly as he'd promised in the previous chapter, "from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock." The Egyptians drove the Israelites out of the land, lest they suffer any more. The Israelites left in such a hurry that they didn't have time to let their dough rise, hence the tradition of eating unleavened bread for Passover. And the Israelites took all the gold and silver just as had been instructed.

Exodus, Chapter 13

This chapter started with God claiming all the firstborn of the Israelites as his own, "Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine." The firstborn males of the livestock were to be sacrificed (except donkeys, which could be redeemed with a sheep instead). The firstborn males of the people could also be redeemed without being sacrificed themselves. I know there have been animal sacrifices in the Bible before this point, but it just seems so barbaric, especially here when there doesn't seem to be any good reason for it other than reminding everybody's who's boss.

There was a brief mention that the Israelites had taken Joseph's bones with them, just like he'd requested back in the end of Genesis.

The last few verses told how God was taking the Israelites through the wilderness towards the Red Sea, and how he was leading them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.

Exodus, Chapter 14

God influenced Pharaoh again, to make him chase after the Israelites "so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army." Pharaoh sent all of his chariots and horses along with the army after the Hebrews, and caught up with them on the shores of the Red Sea. In the story that is now so famous, Moses held his hand over the sea and "The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night". The Israelites were able to cross on dry ground. The Egyptians tried following them but were too far behind. Moses held his hand over the sea again, and the waters returned to drown every last one of the pursuing Egyptians.

Exodus, Chapter 15

Most of this chapter was a song praising God and recounting the Exodus from Egypt. There was a verse that caught my eye (not for any profound reason), " Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing." The end of the chapter described how the Israelites set off from the Red Sea, wandering in the wilderness, looking for water. There was a minor miracle where Moses threw a piece of wood into bitter water (salty?), making it sweet (fresh?).

Exodus, Chapter 16

The Israelites continued to wander in the wilderness, and began complaining because they had no food to eat. So the Lord provided. In the morning, "When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground." The Israelites call this food 'manna'. They were given specific instructions on how much to take, and not to save any overnight. Miraculously, no matter how much people thought they had gathered, they were only left with as much as the Lord had commanded. And any amount they tried to save for the next day became rotten and full of worms. However, to keep the Sabbath, on the sixth day they were to gather twice as much as normal, and to save some for the next day so that they wouldn't do any work on the seventh. The extra food from that day did keep. The Israelites continued with this for 40 years while they wandered in the wilderness.

The last verse in the chapter struck me. The measurements of manna in this chapter had been described in terms of 'omers'. The final verse explained, "An omer is a tenth of an ephah." Now, that's pretty minor, and you can see why people who were used to one measurement system would give a conversion for a different system. But for the people who think the Bible is a timeless gift from God, this is a very odd statement. It shows the book of Exodus as a product of its time and place.

Exodus, Chapter 17

After more wandering, the Israelites were again in need of water and complaining about it. Moses performed another miracle, striking a rock with his staff, causing water to flow from it.

Next, someone named Amalek attacked the Israelites. Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battle. Whenever he held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek's forces prevailed. After a while, Moses began to tire out, so two of his men held his hands up for him, allowing the Israelites to win the fight. It seems odd to have enough magic to influence a battle, but not to add some energy to your own arms.

Exodus, Chapter 18

There was an interesting verse near the start of this chapter, "After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro took her back, 3 along with her two sons." There was no mention of his wife leaving him in the earlier chapters. At first, I thought that perhaps he sent her away because he was afraid of the danger she might face during the exodus, but that wouldn't have been showing very much faith. At any rate, Jethro came back in this chapter, bringing Zipporah and her sons with him. When Jethro saw how much Moses was being run ragged by trying to attend to everybody, Jethro suggested that Moses set up a system of trusted counselors, broken down into a hierarchy, to deal with everybody's issues. After that, Jethro returned home.

There was one other verse that caught my eye, when Jethro said, "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians..." This seems to be a vestige from a polytheistic origin.

Exodus, Chapter 19

The Israelites camped in front of Mount Sinai, and Moses went up to see God. This in itself strikes me as a somewhat primitive view - that the gods live up high on mountains.

Previously, I'd noted that Yahweh appeared to be a somewhat provincial god, focusing on the Israelites while ignoring the rest of his creation. Here, there was somewhat of an explanation for this, "Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation."

God told Moses to have the people prepare for an actual sighting of Himself. In addition to their preparations, they were warned not to touch the mountain under penalty of death. On the third day, as promised, God came down on the mountain in fire and smoke, and Moses went to visit with him.

Exodus, Chapter 20

This is one of the most famous sections in all of the Bible - the giving of the Ten Commandments. These are so well known, there's no need for me to even summarize them. Though there was one part that I'd like to note, "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation* of those who love me and keep my commandments." What type of entity would punish children for the sins of the parents?

There was one verse that almost made me think that part of the inspiration for this story could have been a volcano, "When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid* and trembled and stood at a distance..." Though trying to figure out the roots of such an ancient myth is probably pretty difficult.

The chapter closed with more rules - once again prohibiting other gods, and some rules on altars.


I think the thing that struck me the most in these chapters was the magic aspect. Every one of Moses's miracles was accomplished with some sort of talisman or invocation or ritual. Yahweh used blood smeared on a door frame as a sign. For an omnipotent god who created the entire universe with a thought, it just seemed a bit gimmicky.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

War on Christmas 2012

Santa in the CrosshairsThe Christmas season is upon us, which means it's time for us Scrooges to ramp up the war. To tell the truth, after skimming through some of my older entries, I don't have anything new to add. The 'War on Christmas' is a bit silly, considering how Christmas has been treated in this country in the past. The Puritans even outlawed it's celebration (see the first link below). Personally, I'm going to decorate the house, put up a tree, give presents, and just about every other tradition associated with this time of year other than go to church.

Some of the Christmas entries I've written in the past are pretty good. I especially recommend the first three below for information content, and the fourth if you want to support a good cause.

My previous War on Christmas posts:

And of course, other people have created very interesting content in regards to Christmas and the 'war' upon it. Most of the links below are humorous, but the first is a serious look at the Salvation Army, and one more reason why I have trouble supporting that organization despite the good they do in other areas. Though as I wrote previously, if the only way you'd donate at all is by dropping pocket change into the Salvation Army's kettles, then do it. I don't donate to them personally, but I compensate by donating more to other charities.

Related Links to Other Sites:

And to continue with what is now a tradition on this blog, here is a YouTube video of Tim Minchin singing his Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun. And if you missed my previous entry, Buy White Wine in the Sun, Support Autism Society, then let me repeat that if you go and buy the song this month, the proceeds will go to supporting the National Autistic Society.

Buy White Wine in the Sun, Support Autism Society

Cover Art - White Wine in the SunIf you've followed this blog at all, you might have noticed that I began a tradition of posting a YouTube video of Tim Minchin's song, White Wine in the Sun, every year around Christmas (I'll be posting it shortly this year). As described on Minchin's site, "This is a captivating song and a beautiful and intelligent exploration of why Christmas can still be meaningful even without religious beliefs. There's just the right amount of sentiment and some very gentle humour illustrating Tim's feelings about Christmas and the importance of family and home. It is a heart-warming song and may make you a little bright eyed."

Tim Minchin has begun his own tradition, of donating all the proceeds from the sale of the song in the month of December to the National Autistic Society. This year is no exception. And to make it even more attractive this year, he's finally released a studio recorded version of the song. So go buy the song and help support a good cause.

More Info:
White Wine In The Sun [2012] - Now Available on iTunes

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Website Update - Top 10 Page List for November 2012

Top 10 ListNovember's over, so it's time to look at the server logs again and see what pages on this site were most popular. There were no huge surprises. The top four spots remained unchaged from last month. I wonder how long the AutoCAD page will continue to beat out the Autogyro page. One page made the list that had only made it once before about three years ago, the blog entry, Texas Board of Education - Bad Results for Science Standards. Two of my personal favorites just missed making the list, Factoids Debunked & Verified and Ray Comfort - Still Ignorant on Evolution.

Here were the top 10 most popular pages on this site last month.

Top 10 for November 2012

  1. Blog - Running AutoCAD R14 in XP Pro 64
  2. Autogyro History & Theory
  3. Blog - A Skeptical Look at MBT Shoes
  4. Blog - Origin of Arabic Numerals - Was It Really for Counting Angles?
  5. Blog - Response to an Editorial by Ken Huber
  6. Factoids Debunked & Verified, Part II
  7. Blog - Creation Museum/2nd Law of Thermodynamics
  8. Blog - Email Debunking - Tips on Pumping Gas
  9. Programming
  10. Blog - Texas Board of Education - Bad Results for Science Standards

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