Our Holiday Fundraiser Kicks Off!

[ Posted Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 – 17:36 UTC ]

[Program Note: Instead of our regular article today, we are going to attempt to shamelessly beg money off of you. Just thought I'd warn everyone up front. That's right -- it's that time of year when I tug on everyone's heartstrings in an effort to cover the costs of this site. So be warned -- I am not afraid to deploy the kittens in pursuit of this goal!

The 2011 Holiday Fundraiser should be completely up and running by now, so click on the Holiday Fundraising banner on this page, or any other throughout the holiday season, to take you to the page with instructions on how to donate. My wife mentioned that the actual "Donation" button is kind of hidden over in the right-hand sidebar, so I have included it in the article below, for easy use.]


The 2011 Holiday Fundraising Drive Kickoff

Because last year's fundraising drive was so overwhelmingly successful, we have decided not to mess with a good thing. In other words, to be blunt, there will again be kittens.

I discussed the scientific reasons behind this at some length last year, but this year there's a much better way to put it. I give you the "secret weapon" of Puss In Boots (from the Shrek movie franchise):

I am hoping, once again, that everyone will prove to be powerless when faced with this secret weapon. I admit it right up front, just so there's no confusion later. To drive this point home, here is a quick link to the Donations PayPal page itself, for easy reference:


Your generous donations help keep this site running.
Visa/MC/PayPal accepted.


Of course, there's another way to go about this -- the hard-sell tactic infamously used by National Lampoon magazine with their "If You Don't Buy This Magazine We'll Kill This Dog" cover (I refuse to provide a link -- look it up yourself if you're not old enough to remember it).

I cannot stoop to such methods, however. The closest I would ever come would be:

Now, in this instance, my money is on that kitten over that Dalek. Traditionally, Daleks did not climb stairs or fly around (humph! -- call me a purist if you must), they could be defeated by the simple expedient of knocking them over. And if there's one thing kittens excel at, it is knocking things over. In fact, I think the battle would go something like this:

Dalek: "EX... TER... MIN..."

Kitten: [Whap! Smacks Dalek upside the brain casing, Dalek tumbles off the bed to lie harmlessly on floor. Kitten pursues, to the amusement of all.]

[Note: If you don't know what I'm talking about here, then you should go watch some old episodes of Doctor Who as fast as you can.]

Ahem. Where was I? Oh, right! Kittens! Christmas! Begging!

Let's just get right back to it, shall we?

How can you possibly resist that? You are getting sleepy... sleepy... you are reaching for your checkbook...

Heh. That's about as hard-sell as we get, around here. Well, OK, sometimes we go overboard on the kittens-to-text ratio, and try to cram in as many kittens as possible.

But more seriously... has been up and running since the summer of 2007. This is only the third pledge drive we have ever run, and what astonishes us here at Chris Weigant Global Media Enterprises, Inc., LLC is the fact that this fundraising drive -- like the last one -- was actually demanded by our loyal readers. This is truly, truly overwhelming.

We're going to try something new this year. In the previous two pledge drives, we have privately set our own target for fundraising, and then provided a logo with a thermometer graphic to show how close we've come to that goal. This year, we are going to publicly put a dollar figure on this goal, because we are incurable optimists. Last year, we raised between $600 and $700 (I would have to look up the exact figure), which definitely reached the goal we had set of $500. This year, we're going to set the bar higher -- twice as high, in fact. We're shooting for $1,000 this year, folks!

We may not make this, of course, but we're going to try going public about the actual figures, as an experiment. Operating costs for's website run about $75-80 per month, which works out to over $900 in an average year. This is bare-bones, and doesn't count any extras (such as junkets to Netroots Nation, for instance) -- this is just the cost of doing business and keeping the lights on, in other words. Advertising doesn't bring in much, either, towards paying these bills. So we're going to shoot this year for slightly above the break-even point, because $1,000 is such a nice, round figure.

Sorry, this is getting too wonky, isn't it? OK, how about:

And, for our readers up in Canada, Maine, Montana, and other points north, we even have a special photo for you this year:

OK, that one kinda looks Photoshopped, I admit, but hey....

From now until the end of the year, we will display on our site at the top of every major page our Holiday Fundraising banner logo. The drive may not have officially started until now, but we've already got $50 in "the kitty" (sorry, just could not resist that one), and several very creative "matching pledges" in the comments (and one "I may annoy the heck out of everyone, but I certainly do pay for the privilege" pledge, from a commenter who knows very well who he is). Heh. If you'd like to make such a pledge, please feel free to do so, as we never would have come up with the idea on our own, but we heartily encourage them!

Look deep into the kitten's eyes. Doesn't she seem to be saying: "Have you made a pledge yet?"

Or, perhaps, you'll appreciate the following kittens, who appear to be saying in chorus: "You just pledged how much?!? Wow!!!"

To close on a serious note, I thank all my readers for their support over the last year. Support, to me, means visiting the site and reading my meandering prose on a regular basis. Without such support, I would have quit doing this years and years ago. But you folks stick with me through thick and thin -- and we're definitely in a "thin" period. Regular readers will know that this past August I started a book project. This writing has limited the time I devote to this website, and I am happy to say that the proposal I've been getting together is about 70% done at this point. I have especially been grateful to everyone for not abandoning me while the level of output has dropped.

Such support is what I blog for -- people reading what I write, and the dialog which follows in the comments. This support is worth more than money -- it is, quite literally, what keeps me going. I always feel sheepish (if not downright ashamed) to beg you to donate not only your time and interest here, but also financially. These pledge drives are not easy for me to do, because I still feel it kind of crosses the line of trust between reader and pundit. On the other hand, nobody else is paying me to write, so it can be viewed as "subscribing" to our little pamphleteering press here.

Nah, that's much too serious to close on. Let's end instead with the best motivator we can think of, in this holiday season. Because in December, as we all know, Santa is always watching:


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


21 Comments on “Our Holiday Fundraiser Kicks Off!”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am going to shamelessly cut and paste a post from a day or so ago.. My mind is too invaded with kittens to think clearly.. Let it be known, though, that I like cats. I really do.. They taste like chicken.. :D

    Ooooooo I am gonna burn for that one... :D

    Anyways, it's past my bedtime, so I'll just get on with the cut'n and a paste'n...

    As ya'all have noticed, I have started numbering my posts.. Every 50 posts, I will send a PayPal payment to and annotate same on my post. Those who have pledged to match my donations might want to follow suit. It's easier (at least for me) to send a bunch of $50 payments rather than one big sum..

    Also, I propose that we extend the "Holiday" Fund Drive to 1 Jan 2012, which truly marks the end of the holidays. This gives me an extra week to meet my goal of 500 posts... :D

    Just a thought...

    I also forgot to number my last few posts, so give me a moment here to extrapolate where I am at..

    OK... 12.. add 2, carry the 1, deduct for silly post... No.. ADD 2 for silly post...

    OK, I think I got it...



  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    If anyone is shopping for an Xmas present for me...



  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    That was one rockin' holiday fundraiser kick-off and, may I say, very, very well worth the wait!

    But, this is the third annual Holiday Fundraising Drive!? I can't believe I missed one. :(

    There is simply no way that any self-respecting fan of the Doctor (or Star Trek, Michale) or anyone else for that matter could possibly hope to put up any resistance, whatsoever, in the face of all of those precious kittens. There is just no way - I will see to it!

    I have a sneaky feeling that you're going to exceed your goal ... by a lot - so, let the fun begin!

    P.S. It's great to hear that you're progressing well with your book. That's another important project that will be well worth the wait but I can't wait anyway! I can never read enough history, you know. :)


    You are to be commended for being our fearless leader of the comments, always ensuring a lively debate and keeping us all on the straight and narrow, by comparison. Heh.

    You are certainly leading the way on the third annual Holiday Fundraising Drive and I like your idea of extending it through New Year's Day. Though, I don't think you'll have any problem reaching your 500 comment goal - I'll see to that, and match the contribution, too!

    P.S. I'd happily pick up a six-pack or two of that blue Romulan ale for you because it's very important that you maintain your energy at high levels, especially now!

    But, unfortunately, I can't even get the energy drink in my neck of the woods. Time to move to another hemisphere, or something.

    You can be sure, though, that I'll be raising a glass of some equally potent beverage in your honour - for the holidays and for the success of the third (is it really the third!?) annual Holiday Fundraising Drive. Okole maluna!

  4. [4] 
    Powderhound522 wrote:

    A webcomic that I read recently made some changes to their site that greatly increased their ad revenue. The first was a simply plea to readers to turn off their ad blockers for the comic's domain. The second was to add placeholder images in all the ad spots, so that if you have an adblocker on you see a bunch of images asking you to turn it off and support their work. Pretty smart stuff.

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:


    OK, I think the graphics should be working now, both on the main page and the single-article pages. Clicking on it should bring you to the "2011" fundraising page. I still haven't finished the text on this page yet, but the programmatic stuff should be working now.

    More in a bit...


  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    Technically, it's only the second annual holiday fundraiser, but the third fund drive. The first was to raise money for the inauguration trip. So, no, you didn't miss one!


    More later...


  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Update 2:

    OK, everything should be up and running now. So let me make a few comments.

    The thermometer is currently set at only $50, but tomorrow I'll update it to reflect the "matching" pledges as well.

    Matching pledges (and Michale) -

    If you use PayPal to donate, there is one thing you should be aware of. PayPal takes a cut off the top of donations as a fee. This fee is calculated on a weird scale, which means that very small donations ($5 or less, say) get mostly eaten up in fees. So if you're donating over time, my advice is to save it up, calculate the total, and send it in either in one big payment at the end, or at the very least as Michale suggested, in big chunks. This way more of the funds get to us here, instead of PayPal's pockets.

    This is only really germane for folks who are planning on making multiple payments. Any single payment is gratefully appreciated, no matter what the dollar amount. Even if you donate a single dollar, some of it will make it past the fee structure.

    OK, on to answering the comments so far...

    LizM -

    Do Canucks get Doctor Who? Cool! I guess I should have figured on that. Anyone else still wondering, I would Google "Dalek" to be enlightened.

    OK, the other comment I'm going to answer individually, to make it more visible. I gotta get to sleep soon...


  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Powderhound522 -

    First off, welcome to the site! Your first comment was held for moderation, but all future comments should appear instantly (unless you put two or more links in the comment, which is held automatically to cut down on comment spam).

    That is an excellent suggestion, thanks. But how do you know programmatically (in PHP or HTML) whether the page displayed is on a browser with an adblocker turned on? It seems that you'd have to set it up as an either/or display, and I'm not quite sure how I would go about doing that. If you've got more technical info, please contact me (via Email Chris page, as this likely won't interest others).

    In any case, you've got me thinking about it. Maybe I can make it work. Traditionally, towards the end of the year is when I tweak the way the site looks, so if anyone else has suggestions, now's the time...

    Thanks again, and welcome to the site!


  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:


    Yer the sweetest... :D


    The first was a simply plea to readers to turn off their ad blockers for the comic's domain.

    Damn find idea...


    "Welcome to the party, pal!!!"
    -John McClane, DIE HARD


    If you use PayPal to donate, there is one thing you should be aware of. PayPal takes a cut off the top of donations as a fee. This fee is calculated on a weird scale, which means that very small donations ($5 or less, say) get mostly eaten up in fees.

    That's a good point. One I believe was also raised last year, which I forgot when I made the initial post. My apologies for not remembering..

    That is an excellent suggestion, thanks. But how do you know programmatically (in PHP or HTML) whether the page displayed is on a browser with an adblocker turned on?

    I don't think PH was meaning that you alter your code to address the issue. I think he was saying that you simply ask all readers to turn off their Pop Up Blockers for your site. Every browser has the ability to turn on/off PopUps for specific sites/domains..

    Personally, I think that's a great idea and I have already turned off my blocker for CW.COM..


  10. [10] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    There might be other versions for other browsers but he's talking about ad block plus on firefox. A plugin that checks all external links against a known ad server list that is subscribed to and updated. Anytime a call is made for a banner ad, for example, it's checked against a list and that information is not downloaded. The only way to show an alternate image/ad would be to render it in the pages html/css then replace it with the ad server content. I'm not sure that's possible with how ad services require the html/css to be set up, but it might be.

  11. [11] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Kittens! I like how these kittens say it ...

    Always happy to support good writing. Your articles have always been at the top of my list!


  12. [12] 
    DerFarm wrote:

    I hate kittens. I hate puppies. Flags make me seasick, I'm allergic to apples and don't get me started on my mothers (yeah, plural and no not lesbian).

    Not too fond of blueberries, either.

    Any other dumb questions?

    Bah, Humbug

  13. [13] 
    DerFarm wrote:

    In the "For What Its Worth" department (and its not worth much if recent history is any indication), I have officially made my predictions for Iowa:

    Assuming that Cain implodes to less than 10% I predict

    Newt: 45%
    Romney: 24%
    Paul: 17%
    All else: 14%

    Assuming the "Palin Effect" holds for Cain:
    Newt,Romney,Cain,Paul: 20%

    We'll See in 34 days.

    From Yellow Dog

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:


    Sounds like we have similar view of the holidays.. :D

    I would be perfectly happy to go from 15 Oct to 16 Jan and skip all the stress.. :D


  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    BashiBazouk -

    Hmmm, now you've got me thinking. "Alternate" image... there's already a way to do alternate text, which appears while an image is loading (for slow download computers). Maybe there's an easy HTML way to do an "alternate image" that's already built-in. Programmatically, this would be very easy to do.

    Let me look into it...


  16. [16] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Update -

    OK, thermometer has been updated, to reflect the following:

    new donation arrived - woo hoo!

    The numbers will double, from 0-250 (really 0-500) due to David/akadjian making an extremely generous "matching" pledge.

    I'm not going to add in Michale's and LizM's numbers (both are making pledges based on number of comments between Thanksgiving and the end of the year), because calculating this would be too time consuming. Their numbers will arrive at the end, or will be added in if they make interim payments.

    Michale -

    $50 through PayPal should be fine, it's really only the tiny numbers that are affected. You previously stated that a few smaller $50 donations would be easier on your wallet, so feel free to do it this way. I was mainly suggesting that you didn't, say, send a PayPal every time you made a comment, as that would really have been affected. Whichever way you'd like to do it is fine.

    General comment 1 -

    We here at respect people's privacy. Therefore, no donation will be publicly acknowledged (ie., with a comment here thanking you) unless you specifically OK doing so. In other words, it is entirely up to you whether to "go public" or not. This policy has worked well in the past, so that's how we're going to do it this year.

    General comment 2 -

    I don't want to discourage anyone by the extremely generous pledges made so far. It's a tough economy, and every pledge counts. If you can only donate $5 or $10, PLEASE KNOW that your generousity will be equally welcomed and equally appreciated here. Just wanted to say that. Also, both you and your amount donated will remain private (see comment 1, above).

    General comment 3 -

    Woo hoo! The first official day, and we're almost at 1/4 of our goal!!



  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:


    You realize that now, I might just throw payments your way above and beyond my per post payments, just to see how much the Donationo-Meter moves... :D


  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [17] -

    Well, now, I'm certainly not going to stop you from trying!

    I promise to update the meter as every donation comes in this year, as I notice them, how's that?



  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    I promise to update the meter as every donation comes in this year, as I notice them, how's that?

    Ahhhh I thought it was an auto-updating thingy...

    Oh well, that will be fun too.. :D

    "I... am going to go home and have sex."
    "Harry, yer gonna go home and throw up."
    "Yea.. Well, that'll be fun too."



  20. [20] 
    tinsldr2 wrote:

    Ok Chris,

    Count me in for $50 for every 50 posts I make between now and 1 Jan. So put up some good columns lol. And I will have to respond more here then on yer huffpo page.

    Although with all the responses I generate on Huffpo to get your count up there you should pay me lol (just joking)


  21. [21] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    tinsldr2 -

    Well, thank you for the generousity!

    There is indeed something wrong with the who-pays-who relationship over at HuffPost, but I see it more as between me and them, and having nothing to do with the comments...



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