Category Archives: James Garfield for Sainthood

Season’s Greetings, you magnificent bastards.

It’s Christmas!  Which is full of awesomeness and glitter and also a lot of conflicting emotions and sometimes depression, which seems even worse than normal because it’s a day when you’re supposed to be happy.  But that’s okay because it’s just a day, y’all, and I’m giving you full permission to be joyful, or nostalgic, or sad, or to avoid people who make you feel like shit, or to be happy in spite of the fact that the holidays are full of weirdness.  I am glad that you are in the world and I’m toasting you right now from my own quiet house.  It’s a time to be thankful for the things that are going right in the universe and to lock yourself in the bathroom with a small flask of schnapps when things get overwhelming.  It’s a time to dance in your living room to songs that make you happy, or watch zombie movies and eat Chinese food all day.  It’s whatever it needs to be for you.

It’s also a good time to remind ourselves of the awesomeness in the world and I’m doing that starting with a quick recap of the 6th Annual James Garfield Miracle.

jamesgarfieldholiday

(That’s James Garfield, above, in his festive finery.)

This year (in just a little over a week) we collectively gave over $85k to help children.  That includes giving presents to kids who might not otherwise get them, donating to Heifer International, and giving over $30k to Project Night Night, who will use our donation to put a bag with a stuffed animal, security blanket and a book into the hands of 1,200 homeless children.  In the six years we’ve been doing this some of the kids who were helped that first year are now old enough to help others, which makes me feel very proud, happy and also more than a little old.  In the last 6 years more than a quarter of a million dollars has been given by this community to help others.  No sponsors.  No middle-men.  No special recognition or fancy graphics or pleas for help.  Just people directly helping people because it made them happy.

What the shit, y’all?  That’s amazing.  My email has been full of awesomeness (which is a wonderful gift to me because I’ve been fighting off a bit of depression myself) but I thought I’d share this one because it’s one of my favorites:

“I cried every night for a week when I realized that an unexpected bill had decimated the plans I’d made to get my kids presents this year.  I told my kids that there wouldn’t be much for Christmas this year but that our Christmas present was that we had a roof over our heads and that we were together.  They were as understanding as kids could be but I was heartbroken and felt like a failure.  I left a comment on your blog hoping that I could get a warm coat for at least one of them and within a day so many people gave help.  Packages started arriving this week and it made me cry again.  Happy tears. When my youngest  asked why I was crying I told her that I’d gotten a Christmas miracle.  There are two new coats under the tree for my little girls, plus three toys and two books that I can’t wait to read to them.  I was able to thank some people but some of the packages didn’t come with any notes saying who the presents were from so I’m sending you this email so you can maybe pass it on and tell whoever saved Christmas for my girls that they gave me a gift so much bigger than they probably know.  Thank you for this grace, in helping me keep them safe and happy and for reminding me that people care.  Next year when I’m back on my feet I can’t wait to pay it forward.  I will never forget this.”

Ditto.

Thank you, everyone, for another year of craziness and kindness.  You are the best kind of people and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

PS. A special Merry Christmas to my parents, sister, grandparents and all my other family members that I won’t see this Christmas.  I love you guys more than cheese.  We’re with you in spirit.

UPDATED: The Sixth Annual James Garfield Miracle

Did you know it’s December?  Because it is.  And I’m freaking out because where did this year go and what am I doing now that book tour is finally over?  Answer: Feeling a little lost.  Which is the perfect reason to do something awesome and also why we are going to do the 6TH ANNUAL JAMES GARFIELD MIRACLE.

What is the James Garfield Miracle?  It’s a weird thing we’ve done here each year in an effort to get a ferociously jolly taxidermied boar’s head (named James Garfield) recognized as an actual saint.  Every year I say it’ll probably be the last and every year the people who were helped the previous year email me to ask if they can be donors this year to give back what was given to them and then my heart grows eight sizes and doesn’t fit in any of my sweaters and I decide to do it again.  This year is no exception so I’m blaming you for this, wonderful-people-who-remind-me-that-this-has-become-the-truest-way-get-my-cranky-ass-into-the-holiday-spirit.

James Garfield and I love you.

James Garfield and I love you.

So this is how we do it.  If you want to help those who are struggling you can do it in a number of ways, but these are my favorite.  You can donate online to Project Night Night, which is crazy easy.  For $25 they provide a homeless child with a bag containing a blanket, book, and stuffed animal.  It is awesome.  Or you can donate to Heifer, who helps families around the world.  Or you can come here and help anyone in the online community who is having a hard time getting toys for their kids for the holidays.  It’s awesome to get help but honestly it’s even more awesome to help others, so if you need help with a few things for your kids please ask because we have all been there, y’all.  Here’s how it works:

If you need help:  Go to Amazon and create a new wish list.  Name it whatever you want.  Make it “public”.  Go to “view details” and it’ll let you adjust list settings.  This is where you have to add a shipping address for that list or else no one can send you anything.  It’s also where you can add details on the ages, gender and number of kids need a special santa this year.  Find the stuff you want and then add it to your wish list. Here’s my sample list so you can see what it looks like.  Put a link to your wish list in the comments.  No need to use your name or give any personal info but it’s helpful if you just share the ages of the kids.  Make sure you pick stuff that is in stock and it helps if it’s listed as eligible for Prime because shipping is free for a lot of us on Prime stuff.  Good examples of what to put on the list: artscrafts, books, stuffed animals, warm coats, mittens.  Bad stuff to put on the list:  video cameras, live tigers, bags of lice.  I have to approve the comments so if yours doesn’t show up for a bit that’s just because I’m probably busy eating or sleeping.  It’ll show up eventually.  (Also, if you aren’t in America please add that in your comment so that donors in your country can find you.)

If you want to help:  Go to the comment section and click on a wish list.  Buy stuff on the list.  When it asks for the shipping address just choose the person’s name.  It’ll go to that person.  Easy as pie.  (MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE THE PERSONS ADDRESS OR IT MAY DEFAULT TO YOUR ADDRESS.  If they don’t have an address it means they haven’t added one yet and need to go in and add it.)  I have a few things built-in to make sure people aren’t gaming the system, but honestly people don’t really want to game the system over children’s scarves and hot wheels so it’s not much of a worry.  It is the best present ever because it is literally a kindness to a stranger and for a lot of us it’s like going back in time and buying things for ourselves when we were poor kids or struggling parents.  If you want to leave a comment for the person you bought for telling them what you sent and when it’ll be delivered that’s always lovely but not a requirement.

My mind is still mushy from 3 months of book tour so I’m probably missing something important here.  Oh…hang on…I remembered…

Thank you.

Thank you for sharing with others.  Thank you for allowing others to share with you. (The second one is the hardest so double thanks for that.)  And thank you for all of your support this year.  It’s because of your tremendous support this year (for my blog and book) that’s given me the opportunity to be a donor again this year, so even if you can’t help someone else this year know that if you stopped by the blog, or recommended Furiously Happy, or just left a kind word that helped me through a sometimes tough year you are a part of this small miracle.  By the way, I don’t keep great tabs on this stuff and it’s done entirely without sponsors but in the past 5 years we’ve given over a quarter of a million dollars to help children around the world and that’s pretty damn incredible.

As a special thank you to you I just sent Project Night Night packages for 40 children, and donated a live llama and some bees in your honor.  (The llama and bees are for struggling families through Heifer International, not for homeless kids.  Live bees would be a terrible present for kids.  I’m not sure why I’m having to clarify this.)

Comments will stay open until things slow down, or until we all run out of money.  I’ve got several thousand dollars to give that comes directly from the support that you’ve given me this year so I’ll be helping out as long as the money lasts.  I’ll also be randomly picking people to send signed audiobooks to because I just got a big box of them and I hate the sound of my voice, so if you get an email from me, that’s why.  Forgive the typos.  I’m still not totally recovered from travel.

Love.

UPDATED – DAY 2:  It has been a very long and very amazing two days. I’ve seen hundreds of families so happy to be helped, and hundreds of others even happier to be able to help. I’ve gone to buy special requests and found that they were already bought by others who beat me to it. I’ve seen people hurting, and others reach out to remind them how important they are.

I cried a little from joy and also a little from darkness, and then I took a deep breath and said, “That was good.” And it was.

Comments will still be left open and there will be more people who need help and more who will offer. And it never stops, which is something that I find both wonderfully exhilarating and terribly draining and a little symbolic of everything that makes up the world. Thank you for reminding me of the kindness of people. Thank you for letting me see into the background of these small miracles, because the stories you read here are amazing, but the stories I see behind the scenes are even more moving. I don’t know how much was donated to Project Night Night or Heifer yet but I checked the purchases on the first page of comments (before my head got melty from too much math) and I counted $30,000 in donations from strangers to send small comforts to children around the world. I don’t have the energy to add up all the other pages still filled with people giving out help but I know that a lot of people were given the gift of a happy holiday and a lot of people were given the gift of buying presents for a family they got to adopt. And it was amazing.

And now I’ll slip quietly back into the shadows where I feel much more comfortable. Yay for comfort. Yay for miracles. Yay for the fact that all the Doctor Who Christmas specials are streaming on Hulu this week. We win, you guys. And that’s how we take back a little bit of the light. Thanks for letting me see it.

James Garfield for President, y’all.

UPDATED: DAY 3

Hello. It’s me. It’s the end of day 3 and this is the day when things start to get overwhelming. This is when the excited and relieved comments start to come in from people receiving the small things they asked for. It’s when strange little miracles happen. It’s also when things get confusing and you realize that, just as in life, some get more than others and some slip through the cracks. It’s when I finish up my own final purchases ($7k in tiny increments going to children around the world – which comes directly from your support of me through the year so it is a present from you technically). It’s when I tend to slip away a bit because it’s also when a few people will try to mess with the system, and it only takes one or two to make you disheartened in spite of the thousands of others that are helped. I’ve had a few people contact me with concerns that a person might not be trustworthy or that someone is exaggerating or even pretending to be two people to get more gifts, and that will happen. This is the world, after all, and none of us are perfect. But I remind myself of several things. 1) It would be a terrible thing to be so desperate as to take something that would have gone to a child on Christmas or Hanukkah, and if that person is so desperate then they need our care and pity, and forgiving them and helping them is a true act of holiday spirit and generosity. (And that they’ll probably get stabbed with a fork at some time because karma does that.)  2) That regardless of the honesty of the person asking for help, most of the requests are for children’s toys and children deserve to have presents even when the people who love them go about it in not-entirely honest ways. 3) That people giving are kind, but they are also smart, and mostly the gifts given are toys and children’s books and necessities of life that will help a family in need, because most people helping can tell by the list who legitimately needs a small helping hand to make a child smile.

As always, amazing things happened here and so many people were helped in lovely ways and they helped others with their stories. You all inspired me and I thank you so much for this.

I’m going to step out now and stop doing so many checks on people, so that means there is a giant “BUYER BEWARE” after this if you decide you want to look in the comments and help. It’s slowing down and most people have been helped and I’d probably close comments but I sort of like them open because it’s so nice to see people leave comments of happiness as packages arrive.  If I were you and I just found this post and I was looking to help I’d stick with helping people who want a single small toy or children’s book, but it is totally up to you and I know there are a lot of amazing people who are in need of help and a lot of amazing people who specifically are looking to support people who remind them of people they’ve lost. And that’s lovely and the way it should be. Most people are wonderful and in need of help or in need of someone to help and that’s a very happy coincidence.  Also, Project Night Night is a PERFECT way to help a child in desperate need and I cannot recommend it enough.

I think next year if we do this again maybe we’ll just stick with books? No one can say no to a good book and anyone who’d pretend to be two people to get more books for their kid is automatically forgiven in my mind because BOOKS. Remind me of that next year when December rolls around?

Love, love and more love.

PS. If you want to see what the person asking for help has already been sent you can just add this to the end of their wish list. /ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v?reveal=purchased

PPS.  Thank you.  For everything.  Going to pass out now.

UPDATED: DAY FOUR

And on the fourth day there was clarity.  And rest.  And possibly tuberculosis.  Long story.  But to make it short, happy comments from people receiving presents are coming in, and I’m getting sweet pictures of adorable smiling children who are already holding wrapped gifts (which I’m not sharing here because privacy is good thing) and it’s made me feel (for lack of a better term) furiously happy.  This is winding to a close but remember that Project Night Night goes all year long helping children.  Thank you for being awesome and thank you for the love you’ve shared with others.  At last count over $60k was given to help children have a good holiday and I’m sure I’m underestimating that because I stopped counting halfway through after math gave me a headache.  And now I’m off to get tested for TB.  Again.  Long story.  I wish you all a merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and Good Kwanzaa and Jolly Flying Spaghetti Monster Day or whatever else you might celebrate.  High-five, you bad-asses.

 

UPDATED:  DAY…what day is this?

Hey guys. Unfortunately a scammer has found us as of this morning. (I lied about not checking anymore. Sorry. I’m devious that way.). I’m not approving their list so it won’t be seen but now that they know how I found them they could avoid that little trap so right now I’m going to stop publishing any more lists. It’s about time to wrap it up anyway. You can still leave comments and thank yous and all that though. And thank you to everyone!

Also, if you have a fake list you should take down anything on your wish list right now. I don’t want to have to share your information and it’s shockingly easy for me to expose you and I’m sure it would be awfully embarrassing to be identified as someone who would lie for such a terrible reason.  (Fake list = pretending to be more than one person, a list asking for help for made up people.)  There were a few that were iffy before, and some that looked iffy but turned out totally legit, but this was the first that I could definitively prove was a lie so I’m shutting down all further lists as of now.

Sorry to be a downer, guys. Just want to keep this a safe place and I think we’ve mostly done that. Even with the problems that arose this was still worth it for the happy people who were helped.

Also, just as a final housekeeping thing, I’ve gotten a couple of “undeliverable” messages from Amazon because either the shipping address the person gave on their wish list was wrong or the person deleted their info.  I can’t trace who the gifts were supposed to go to because Amazon just says “gifting address hidden for privacy”.  If that happens then any money refunded to me will go to Project Night Night and any gifts forwarded to me (I’m not sure how Amazon handles that yet) will be given to Toys for Tots so that no matter what someone is helped.

Also, I’m getting some messages that are saying “Couldn’t leave your package as there was no safe place to leave it and will try again tomorrow” which is good in a way because I know last year several people never got their gifts because they had their packages stolen off porches but also not good because you may not know that your mail person is having problems delivering your package.  In the past people have left notes to the mailman on the door telling him/her to leave packages in a more hidden location (behind bushes, etc) so that’s an option.  Just wanted to let you all know because inevitably a few things don’t arrive, get lost, etc., and that’s just going to happen, but the more we can head off those issues the better.  :)

UPDATED: DAY…where even am I?

I wasn’t going to update again but I need to because of the email this morning I got from the lovely people at Project Night Night:

“Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. Wanted to give you an update that we have received just over $20,500 since Monday which puts Night Night packages into the arms of 823 children. This is incredible and we are so grateful.”

Me too.  I love y’all.

You are the best Godzilla ever.

Hello!

This is a disjointed post as my is family here for an early Christmas since my dad will be manning his taxidermy shop on actual Christmas.  Because nothing says “Happy birthday, Jesus!” like being elbow-deep in a warm deer.

I just want to say such an enormous thank you to everyone who asked for or offered help this week on our 5th Annual James Garfield Miracle Post.  I’ve lost track but my best estimate is that over $75k has already been donated this week to helping kids have at least one Christmas/Hanukkah present, or giving a security blanket, toy and book to a homeless child, or giving a gift through Heifer to help better the world.   Project Night Night and Heifer have both reached out to say that they are seeing a ton of donations come from here, and the comments of people sending toys and receiving them have given me back my Christmas spirit.

My friend , Joe Baden, surprised me with an amazing illustration he made for me this week:

bloggess joe badon

And it’s perfect because at first I thought it was me fighting Godzilla, but then I looked closer and realized it was more like Godzilla and I are on the same team and he’s totally got my back.   As if I was like, “LET’S DO THIS SHIT.  LET’S SAVE CHRISTMAS AND TURN ALL GUNS INTO CHOCOLATE AND MAKE PAJAMAS FOR COLD SLOTHS!”  And Godzilla was all, “Have you been drinking again?  You’re in your pajamas and you’re armed with a blow-dryer.  And it’s not even plugged in.  Jesus, lady.  JUST LET ME HELP YOU.”

That Godzilla is you.

If you’re part of the community.  If you helped.  If sent a word of kindness.  If you donated, or plan to donate in the future.  (Heifer and Project Night Night always need help.)  If you were humble enough to ask for help, or selfless enough to pass on help to others once your needs were met.  No matter what part you played, you are my Godzilla.

Thank you for being my Godzilla.

PS. If you want to leave comments of thanks you can do that here, but if you’re asking for help, or including a link for help please just leave those comments on the original post so we don’t end up with confusion, okay?

PPS.  For those still struggling to make the holiday special for their children, or those who weren’t able to get their present delivered before Christmas here are a few ideas:

Go on youtube and create an entire playlist for them of songs that remind you of them, or that you know they’d love to hear. I made a playlist for Hailey and she listens to it over and over. It’s like the free mixtape of the future.

Get a pinterest account (it’s free), search it for the cool stuff they love, and pin those things to a board you made just for them. Motivational words, art they’d like, meme’s they enjoy, movies they like. I have one for Hailey and she loves to check it out because it’s all about the Star Wars and Night Vale and Doctor Who and funny animals, and it reminds her that I’m thinking of her.  This is a mirror image of it if you want to see how it works.  I keep the real one marked “private” so I don’t have to worry about her seeing comments 10 year olds shouldn’t read.

Go to the library and get a GREAT book you loved at that age. Then turn off everything but a single lamp and read aloud. Even now I love listening to my mom read.

Do art together. Maybe it’s coloring. Maybe it’s doodling. Maybe it’s getting out your phone or camera to take funny photos.

And remember that, no matter what, if your children have your love they are already ahead of the game.

 ******************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

madebyroundtablecompanies 2

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-awesome:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the creators of THE KEGEL BEAR, an adorable children’s book about vaginal exercise.  That sounds weird, but it’s actually quite genius, as outlined in the video and also makes a fabulous baby shower gift.   No bears or vaginas were harmed in the making of this product.  

UPDATED: If you need help, or if you want to help…

UPDATE! I’ve lost track of where we are but we’d Donated over $10,000 of toys in the first 24 hours & it’s been snowballing since then. My blog only shows 700 comments per page before making you click “newer comments” so here’s a sHortcut: click here for comments 700-1400, here for comments 1400-2100, here for comments 2100-2800, and here for comments after 2800.

Remember in 2010 when I gave out gift cards in the name of James Garfield (the taxidermied boar) to the first twenty people who told me they didn’t know how they were going to afford toys for their kids this year?  And it was awesome until  it became very apparent that there were more people who needed help, but then you guys came to the rescue and suddenly there were $40,000+ worth of donations from strangers to strangers?  That was awesome.  And exhausting.

Then in 2011 we worked together to sponsor Project Night Night Bags (a bag with a security blanket, a book and a stuffed animal) to 750 homeless children.

In 2012 we helped get Project Night Night Bags to 1,000 children who were homeless, or were displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

Last year we donated tens of thousands of dollars of bees, oxen, and llamas around the world, and again supported Project Night Night.

This year I say we do it all.  It’s been a good year for some of us.  A bad year for others.  Give if you really can.  Take if you really need.

You can click here if you want to donate $25 to sponsor a Project Night Night bag for a homeless child.  Or click here to help end world hunger and poverty by buying the ass end of a pig as an honorarium for someone you don’t like.  Because who is going to complain about getting a helpful pig ass in their honor for Christmas?  No one worth going to the mall for, probably.

Or if you are struggling to buy a single present for your child then do this…make a wish-list on Amazon (SEE UPDATES BELOW) and leave a comment below (with the age of your child, a link to your wish list, and anything else you want to share).  I’ve made money this year in affiliate ads because you guys have supported me here, so I’m giving back to help those who need support this year to get by.  So that means that – even if you don’t have the money to donate this year – if you supported this page in any way, then the donations from me are also from you.  Literally.

A few words of warning…I only have a limited amount of money so I can only help a limited amount of people.  If you choose to share your wish-list then gift-givers will be able to see your name and city, but your actual shipping address is kept confidential with Amazon.   Also, if you choose to be a gift-giver and pay for something on someone’s wish-list please know that I can’t verify anyone here so you have to go with your gut.

I’m in the middle of family visits, deadlines, and book edits but I’ll try to keep the comments updated as much as I can.

PS.  I just bought a live sheep and a bunch of Project Night Night bags in your honor.  Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/GoodGravyGiving.  Thank you for letting me be part of such an amazing community.  You have no idea the difference you make.

PPS.  If you’re looking for something wonderful and inexpensive for your child I cannot over-recommend books.  Books were some of my best friends and still are, and they can take you miles away.  If you need suggestions, GoodReads has a great list of 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime.  Some of those books are like coming home again, and all are available for free at your local library.

PPPS.  It seems only fitting to end this with the taxidermied boar who inadvertently started this whole ridiculous thing.

James Garfield and I love you.

James Garfield and I love you.

UPDATED:  I’ve tried to buy several things on several wish lists but keep getting a  message telling me that there isn’t a verified address to send the presents to, so I’m just going to assume that I’m an idiot and instead I’m sending Amazon gift cards to the email addresses as noted in the comments.  Maybe someone smarter than me can tell me what I’m doing wrong.  Also, if you want to leave an email address in your comment you can but I won’t share it unless you actually type it into the comment box.

UPDATED X 2: Make sure you update your amazon profile to have a confirmed shipping address set up for your account.  See the comments for pointers.  So far almost everyone doesn’t so people aren’t able to ship to you.  Giant thanks to those who want to send me money so I can pass it on, but so much would be eaten in fees and taxes so it’s better for you to donate directly.  I’m sending gift cards for now but I suspect people will fix their profiles soon to make it easier.  And thank you for such an amazing response.  I love you guys.

UPDATED X 3: GOT IT!  Okay, the reason why we’re unable to ship to lots of you is because Amazon makes you select a shipping address for your wish list in a really complicated way.   I made a graphic to show how to do it but it’s 1:30am so forgive my typos…

shipping

December 26th update: I’ve lost track but you guys have donated well over $75k to helping struggling families during the holidays, including giving over $32k Night Night bags to homeless children, and donating to end world hunger and poverty.  I don’t even have the words, y’all.

Accidentally doing good things.

You know how every year we do some sort of fundraiser for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa in hopes of getting my taxidermied boar head canonized by the Pope?  Well, I was just thinking that now that we have a new, slightly-less-creepy Pope, James Garfield might finally have a chance at sainthood.  But then I started looking at Hanukkah and turns out it ends day after tomorrow.  I yelled at several Jewish friends for not letting me know this earlier and they apologized, saying “Um…we’re busy with Hanukkah, bitch.  Maybe get a fucking calendar.”  And one of them said something in Yiddish that I think translates to “YOU SHOULD LAUGH WITH LIZARDS“, which is an actual real insult and makes me want to take Yiddish classes.

Regardless, if you’ve been here long enough you probably know all about (or were a part of) The Many Miracle(s) of James Garfield.  The first came in 2010 when we all accidentally came together to raise over $42k to help get presents for kids who would not have otherwise gotten any.  It was awesome, and the next year tons of people who were helped in the past asked if we could do it again because now they were back on their feet and wanted to pass on the gift they’d received, but I couldn’t do it because I was so exhausted from running it that I got really sick.  Sorry.  I’m too shitty to be successfully philanthropic.  So instead, in 2011 we decided to help Project Night Nighta program that donates over 25,000 free packages to homeless children (containing  a new security blanket, a book, a stuffed animal and a tote bag) every year.  With our help they were able to donate the 750 packages they needed to hit all of the kids on their December list.  And in 2012 we donated a shitload of oxen to India (which seems weird, but awesome) and helped Project Night Night hit their goal of getting packages to 1,427 children affected by Hurricanes.

This year we’re going to switch it up and give 1,427 oxen to small children.  Or maybe we’ll just do what we did last year again. Because homeless kids being trampled by oxen seems slightly less festive.

It’s crazy simple to donate.  An entire package for Project Night Night only costs $20.  Plus, you can donate packages as presents in the name of all the people that you don’t want to send real gifts too.  Or you can donate bees in the name of people you don’t like.  For real.  It’s probably the worst present ever.  “For Christmas I bought you a big bag of angry bees.  Happy holidays, asshole.”  Except the bees go to needy people who’ll actual use them for pollination and honey and stuff.  But you could probably put one live bee in the “I donated in your name” envelope if you wanted to.  Or just put poison on the card.  Whatever.  I’m not here to judge you.

Want to donate?  Of course you do.  Just click here and you can donate directly to Project Night Night or here to donate to Heifer.  I’m starting it off by donating a llama in your name.  Yes, you.  I also bought 20 Project Night Night bags in your name in case you can’t afford to donate this year.

PS.  Don’t sweat it if you can’t afford to donate this year.  You can always share the Project Night Night page online or with friends to help spread the word.  Every little bit counts.

PPS.  I’m ccing the Pope on this one.  I’m pretty sure he needs to know about this shit.

James Garfield cannot tell a lie. He's like George Washington, but with his original teeth.

Happy holidays, you guys.  Thank you for being awesome.  You are worth ALL the llamas.

PPPS.  I have a ton of James Garfield holiday cards in my desk.  I’ll pick a bunch of people to randomly send them to in the comments.  Just leave a comment letting me know something nice you’re doing for someone else, if you can.

PPPPS.  Just a small update:  The Project Night Night folks emailed to tell me they received over $12,700 in donations in just the first day this post was up and donations are still flowing in.  They wanted to say thank you and so do I.  I don’t say it enough…I so adore you people.  Thank you for letting me be part of this amazing community.

PPPPPS. Just got an email from the very surprised Heifer people, who said to say thanks and that “the spike in numbers from your website was really impressive to the tune of more than 1K visitors and over $4K worth of bees!”  BEST ANGRY BEE CHRISTMAS EVER!

UPDATED: James Garfield for Sainthood

SEE UPDATE BELOW

Victor:  I bought Hailey one of those shelf-elves for Christmas.

me:  Yeah, I saw that.

Victor:  And now it’s gone.

me:  Yep.

Victor:  I can only assume you’ve done something exceedingly inappropriate with it.

me:  Don’t be ridiculous.  That’s what the cats are for.

Victor:  Then where is it?

me:  On my shelf.  BEING AWESOME.

No hamsters died for this picture. It was already dead of natural causes. Promise.

 

And speaking of the holidays, if you’ve been here long enough you probably know about the Miracle(s) of James Garfield.  One came in 2010 when we all accidentally came together to raise over $42k to help get presents for kids who would not have otherwise gotten any.  It was awesome, and the next year tons of people who were helped in the past asked if we could do it again because now they were back on their feet and wanted to pass on the gift they’d received, but I couldn’t do it because I was so exhausted from running it that I got really sick.  Sorry.  I suck.  So instead in 2011 we decided to help Project Night Night, which is a program that donates over 25,000 free packages to homeless children (containing  a new security blanket, a book, a stuffed animal and a tote bag).  With our help they were able to donate the 750 packages they needed to hit all of this kids on their list for last December.

This year, Project Night Night just sent 1,000 Project Night Night packages to children affected by superstorm Sandy and they need to get another 1,000 to finish the list of homeless children who still need help.  It’s crazy simple to donate.  An entire package only costs $20.  Plus, you can donate packages as presents in the name of your crazy uncle who already has everything, or your insane aunt who was always kind of a bitch to you when you were a kid.  EVERYONE WINS.

Want to donate?  Of course you do.  Just click here and you can donate directly.  I’m starting it off by donating the first 25 bags in honor of you (the internets) for being so incredibly supportive this year.

PS.  Don’t sweat it if you can’t afford to donate this year.  You can always share the Project Night Night page online or with friends to help spread the word.  Every little bit counts.

PPS.  If we actually raise the 1000 bags needed this will be James Garfield‘s 3rd documented miracle and we can then seriously start applying for Sainthood from the Pope.  It’s going to be awesome and/or very offensively ridiculous.

PPPS.  I also bought you a water buffalo.  I hope it’s the right size because I did not keep the receipt.

I'm glad they specify that it's a "full" water buffalo, because there's nothing worse than getting an empty water buffalo (which I assume would be like a sleeping bag with hooves).

Updated 12/17/12:  I just talked to Project Night Night and we’ve raised 826 bags for children in need of comfort.  174 more to go. We can do this.  It’s $20 to fund an entire bag and you can donate right here.

 

UPDATED: Weekly wrap up in the middle of the week

It’s not the end of the week but it feels like it is because Christmas fucks up my biorhythms and so every day feels like a Friday with no weekend in sight.  That’s why today I’m going to do a Sunday wrap-up for no reason whatsoever.

First, a few updates…Remember a few weeks ago when we all got together and tried to save Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and by donating 750 night-night bags for homeless children?

Well guess what?  WE FAILED.

But just barely.

But that means there are only 27 more packages to go.  And this is when I would say “Let’s have a bake-sale and raise that money, y’all!” but I’m too tired to make rice krispie treats so instead I just paid for the last 27 myself.  Done.  High-five, you guys.  Best motherfucking holiday drive ever.  (PS.  I paid for those last 27 out of the proceeds of my online shop (which is funded by you) so technically you paid for them.  Because you’re awesome.)

UPDATED:  

I just got an email from the founder of the Night Night Foundation and I wanted to share it with you guys:

“I’m not sure that I can really convey how much help you have given us this holiday.  Truly.  We had always heard about ‘the power of social networking’ but it never seemed to really work in the nonprofit sphere — until you stepped in of course.  You and your readers are really the most generous folks.  We have been so impressed by the swift action and by the kind words that we keep hearing from them.  Everyone is so sweet to let us know that they read about it on your blog.  We are beyond grateful.  I wish you could know how thankful we are this holiday season.”

They aren’t the only ones who are thankful.  I’m so lucky to be a part of something magical each year and none of this would happen without you.  Thank you for letting me be part of this.  Seriously.  Thank you. 

**********

In non-related news, it’s time for the weekly wrap-up.  Let’s get started, shall we?

What you missed on Ill-Advised:

What you missed on the Houston Chronicle:

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

This week’s wrap-up sponsored by me.  Mostly because this isn’t a real weekly wrap-up.  But a lot of people told me that they’d bought my book as a present for friends and family and then realized that it doesn’t actually come out until April, so then they asked if I could send them something personal that they could print out to wrap up.  I said I would and then promptly forgot about it.  So I’m doing it here.  If you bought one of my books for someone else just print this out and put it in an envelope.  Also it makes the perfect gift for people to buy when they’re too lazy to go to the mall.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

The James Garfield Christmas (And Hanukah) Miracle Returns. Sort of.

This post is going to be crazy-ass hard to follow but it’s probably worth it, so buckle-up, buttercup.

Last year my lovely readers accidentally forced me to save Christmas by making me let them buy Christmas presents for children who might not have had any otherwise.  It’s hard to explain, so instead I’m going to send you to a link explaining how a giant, taxidermied boar’s head (named James Garfield) led to strangers donating over $40,000 to other strangers in what was probably the most baffling and profanity-filled Christmas miracle ever.  It was awesome.

This year I’ve had a lot of people ask if I’m doing the accidental-Christmas-miracle again this year and my first reaction was a resounding, “Oh, hell no.”

And that’s still my reaction.

But here’s the thing…almost all of the people asking if I’m doing the Christmas Miracle again this year are the people who were helped last year.  Except that this year they want to give back, because they were so moved by the way strangers reached out to help them last year that they want to pay it forward.

Holy crap, you people make it difficult to be all hard and grinchy.  And I suppose that’s why I love you. Grudgingly.  And completely.

But here’s the problem:  Last year I was so completely overwhelmed and exhausted that I found myself in a stress-induced rheumatoid arthritis flare-up that made me want to cut off all of my limbs.  And then I’d just be a torso.  No one wants that.

Tons of people have offered to help, but honestly the whole thing sounds suspiciously like a plot to make me lead some sort of annual charitable, good-will organization and I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is a terrible idea.  My skills are much used in buying giant metal chickens, and harassing Nathan Fillion It’s what I do.

So for the last month I’ve been thinking about what I could do to still help people while not actually having to do any work whatsoever.  And I think I have it.  Lightly organized good-deed doing.  Like, almost not organized at all.  Practically chaos, really.  Which is, I think, what you’ll all agree that I excel in.  So here’s how we’re doing The Second (and possibly last) Annual James Garfield Christmas (and Hanukkah) Miracle(s):

Miracle # 1:  Right now there are more more homeless children living in shelters in the U.S. since the Great Depression.  There’s an organization called Project Night Night that donates over 25,000 free Night Night Packages to homeless kids each year.  Each package contains a new security blanket, a children’s book and a stuffed animal, all nestled in a new canvas tote bag.  The organization needs at least 750 bags right now.  They’re $20 each, and you can sponsor a Night Night Package for a child by clicking here.

Miracle #2:  Toys for Tots.  Every year Victor and I donate a shitload of toys in my parent’s name. We take pictures of the donation and then give the pictures to my parents and thank them for teaching me the importance of giving to others.  End result:  Kids get presents and my parents feel awesome for raising me right (even though a horrible side-effect is that they haven’t gotten a proper Christmas present from us in a decade.)  But they’re cool with it because they’re not assholes.  My point is that you should consider doing this for your parents, because if they make you feel crappy about it they’re terrible people and don’t deserve proper presents anyway.  Moving on.

Miracle #3:  The Heifer Project.  Basically it’s about giving livestock and training to families around the world, because llamas are awesome.  Or something.  I don’t know.  I get confused after I see the llamas.  But I do know that they do amazing work and that you can buy a share of a goat for $10.  Which is great because you’re helping a family in need and you also get to tell your horrible aunt Frieda (who made you feel fat when you were 12 and won’t stop asking why you aren’t married yet) that for Christmas you bought a share of a goat in her honor.  The ass end.  Merry Christmas to everyone concerned.

Miracle #4:  This one is closest to last year’s bonanza, but I’m also shining a blinking “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK” sign here because this one takes some trust.  There’s a website called Wish Upon a Hero.  The premise is that anyone can post a wish for something they need.  Sometimes people ask for encouragement, or for cards to cheer up a sick kid, or for clothes, toys, food, whatever.  If you’re someone currently in need of help, sign up and make a wish.  If you want to give help to someone in need then sign up and go here to find the kind of wish you want to grant.   It can be as simple as a word of encouragement or winter coats for children.  Your choice.

Miracle #5:  Just by reading this far you have already donated.  Tonight I’m donating $1,000 to the places above in the name of “You and everyone you know.”  And before you think this is totally selfless, please know that the $1,000 came from my online store, so technically  this money came from you anyway.  That’s why it is entirely ethical for you to tell friends and family that this year instead of giving out gifts you’re just giving to charity.  And that way you can use the money you would have spent on crap-for-people-who-don’t-need-more-crap on something more useful instead.  Like mortgages.  And pie.  And goat asses for bitter aunts who need to learn to mind their own damn business.

The fine print:   If you’re inspired to donate, please feel free to leave a comment telling us what you’re doing.  I loved seeing that stuff come in last year and I know it was inspiring to others as well.

If you leave a comment asking for help you can link to your Wish Upon a Hero post, but please don’t leave your email or contact info in your comment or it won’t get posted.

If you want to share a link of another charity that you love, or links to resources that people can use if they need help please do so.

And finally…thank you.  Thanks for listening, and for caring, and for reading this far.  

We’re all in this together, people.  

UPDATED:  I just bought a llama.  In a shopping cart.  Technology is weird.  And awesome.

It’s a nice day for a (James Garfield) wedding.

If you’re a first-time reader this will all seem incredibly strange and disorienting and you should probably just come back tomorrow, but if you know the mighty saga of  James Garfield then totally stick around.

The glorious taxidermied head of James Garfield has been responsible for a great many unintentional social-media miracles since the day I forced Victor to rescue him from dismemberment (not the least of which was the time when he inadvertently raised $42,000 to help people buy Christmas gifts for their kids and then ended up on Canadian TV for some reason) but today he adds “accidental matchmaker” to his list of accomplishments.

Once, years ago, an adorable man (and dedicated reader) bought a James Garfield holiday card for a beautiful woman (also a long-time reader) with the express intent of catching her attention.  At the time I mentioned to him that sending a mildly profane holiday card with a dead boar head on it was probably the worst seduction plan ever invented, but he was adamant that it would work.   And apparently he was right, because a few minutes ago that same man asked that same woman to be his wife. And she just said “yes”.

Congrats to the bad-ass couple.

This is supposed to be a picture of James Garfield dressed for a wedding. Victor pointed out that James Garfield is a dude so he should be dressed in a tux and top-hat rather than a veil but I don’t believe in gender-sterotyping.  Plus, I don’t have a wild boar tux just laying around the house.

I’m not made of tuxedos, Victor.

MORE GRAVY IN 2011

It’s my birthday in less than two hours and if you follow me on twitter you probably already know that since I just had a long, accidentally confusing discussion there about pony gravy and arthritis and I somehow came to the conclusion that there are a lot of people who have extra gravy but I never have extra gravy and so I came up with my new campaign slogan for the next time that I run for political office.

I'm a little drunk but I'm pretty sure this totally sings.

This probably makes almost no sense even if you’re perfectly sober and actually followed the whole weird thing on twitter but it’s (almost) my birthday so you technically have to say nice things to me.  Unless you comment on this before midnight.  Then you are free to remind me that I really need to stop drunk-blogging.

PS. On an unrelated note, for some reason a ton of church websites apparently just found the James Garfield Miracle post and they somehow came to the conclusion that this is “an inspirational blog” and now all these conservative, religious websites are linking to the front page of my blog which is all “MORE GRAVY IN 2011” and “VAGINA DENTATA“.  I’m probably the only one who finds this amusing.