Monday, September 29, 2008

Vote for Your Favorite

Impatient about waiting until November to vote? Trip Advisor (which has great hotel reviews written by real travelers) invites you to flex those voting muscles with a worthy election while we wait for that other one in November. Details below (with thanks to Ms. Champion Walker for the tip!).

5 Worthy Causes

TripAdvisor is giving away $1 million to 5 worthy causes. We need your help deciding how much each organization gets.

Vote Now!

Already voted? Tell your friends to vote. We'll add extra votes to the cause you're supporting.

Current Standings

Current Standings

Based on votes received through September 24, 2008.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yummy Surprise

A friend is terribly ill, so I didn’t have the heart to post a video for Dance Party Friday this week. We’re lighting candles, with hopes of dancing in the future. There could not have been a better day to come home to such a nice surprise from Jazzy and her humans. Who knew there was such a thing as an organic lollipop? And how lovely is it to have family who know that a discovery like this had my name written all over it?

Thanks, J, J, and C!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fun With Words

ome of you know that Skeeterbess and I have a Guinness World Record-worthy game of
perpetual Scrabulous. Skeet is in Hawaii, I am in the Upper Midwest, but neither time nor space can keep us from from our appointed rounds: namely, Skeet beating me 9 times out of 10 in online Scrabble! The one-word email notifications when it’s my turn have their own kind of random zen poetry:
Cold pairs.

When I mentioned this to Ms. Skeet she said, “Search my blog for Wordle!” I did,
and now I have yet another word game addiction. Paste text into Wordle (or enter a URL), presto changeo, it’s transformed into word art. Here’s another one from me, using the text of the 19th amendment:

Today’s mitzvah:
Wordle is fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Searching for a Good Cause

How many times do I search the web each day? Several organizations have created web search interfaces that make small contributions for charity every time we use their engines. To date, most of these sites have used Yahoo as their search engine. Yet I recently learned about a newer option,, which uses Google. The upside: a much more powerful search engine, and support for organizations including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Save the Bay. (The downside is that EcoSearch is light on details about how much they contribute per search, how often they make their donations, etc.)

For sheer transparency and accountability (albeit with a Yahoo search engine), I really like iSearch, which is an offshoot of the charitable shopping site, iGive. On iSearch, you choose the charity you want to support, from an extensive list that includes lots of smaller local options. iSearch’s benefits: you can click to see the donations to the charity to-date, your own contributions to the organization — this is the only site I know that allows individuals to track their own contributions — and the date and amount of the last check they set to the organization. And iSearch/iGive mails quarterly for amounts over $25 (other similar sites only mail donations once a year). I’ve included a screenshot above for the group I’m currently supporting, Wisconsin AIDS Network.

Today’s mitzvah: search out EcoSearch or iSearch the next you’re searching the web

Monday, September 22, 2008

Got the Vote?

Are you registered to vote? In some parts of the country, times’s running out! While a few states (yea, Wisconsin!) allow same-day registration at the polls on election day, most states have registration cut-offs in October, as early as October 5th.

The nonpartisan League of Women Voters has a handy page,, that allows you to locate information for your state, including registration deadlines and a direct link to your state’s Board of Elections web site. Most public libraries also have information and voter registration forms. Or just Google “vote” and your state name for information on where to go and what to do. (If you use, you’ll get a Google’s search engine combined with a donation to earth-friendly nonprofits with each search.)

Today’s mitzvah: Register to vote — or if you’re already registered, consider emailing this post to someone who may not yet be registered.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Q: What are pirates’ favorite socks?
A: Arrrrrrrrgyle!

Hee-hee. I love that one.

Can I combine “Talk Like A Pirate” Day and Dance Party Friday? You betcha, matey. Stick with this video for the first couple minutes, after which you’ll see Eric Idle introduce George Harrison — and not the song you expect!

With thanks to our Favorite Person in North Carolina for reminding me of this auspicious day. Avast ye scurvy dogs, back to work!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drilling and Hurricanes, plus Happier Signs

Overshadowed by this week’s continuous stream of scary economic news — and my 401(k) beginning to look more like a 201(k) — on Tuesday the House passed a bill to open up most of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling when the current ban expires on September 30. It’s especially depressing that this was a Democratic introduced and sponsored plan. And just to prove that the world has turned upside down: the GOP opposes the bill (partly because it doesn’t allow drilling within 50 miles of the coast) and its best chance of it not being implemented, ironically, is that the current occupant of the White House may veto it. I don’t even know where to send people for complaints about opening up the coast for drilling, just something to keep an eye on for the post-election season when, possibly, sense will return.

Houston in the wake of Hurricane Ike also doesn’t seem to be generating much national news coverage. But the two people I know in Houston, who have sporadic cell phone access, both paint a grim picture of no food, no gas, and home break-ins as thieves attempt to steal generators and whatever else is at hand where alarm systems and often the phone are not in service. The Red Cross is actively appealing for relief funds (the New Orleans evacuation and the Houston hurricane have drained everyone’s resources). They have also initiated a text message scheme, called Text2Help, where you can donate $5 simply by texting "“GIVE” to 24357 (2HELP), which will show up as a charge on your next phone bill. I’ve added their widget in the right margin, since this is a small amount that many people can afford.

In the midst of all this bad news, I wanted to provide some comic relief, courtesy of Green Upgrader, who has a very funny array of signs reminding humans to be mindful of the animal kingdom, including the sign pictured above. Another favorite: Don’t sit on the crocodile. Sounds a bit like a zen koan, eh?

Today’s mitzvah: If you haven’t used up this month’s allotment of text messages, consider checking out Text2Help to donate $5 to the Red Cross. And to our animal friends: Bark, bark, woof! (Slobber, slobber.)

Photograph © 2008 by Green Upgrader.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vote for the 2008 Green Businesss of the Year

Coop America is running their annual People’s Choice contest to vote for the Green Business of the Year. Voting is open to everyone. This is a fun way to check out and help garner attention for a neat array of environmentally friendly businesses— from Bozema, MT’s West Paw Design, making pet care products out of organic and recycled materials; to Portland, OR’s Babyworks, featuring cloth diapers and organic cotton baby clothes; to Ft. Lauderdale, FL’s Pizza Fusion, “Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time.”

This year’s People’s Choice winner will be in very good company, with previous winners including 2007’s Reusable Bags (a personal favorite), and the always fun 2006 winner Ideal Bite in 2006 (which I’ve also featured on this blog).

Have fun voting in an election where we can be sure, whomever the winner, it will be someone we can all support! You can vote here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Bounce

It’s a Friday pick-me-up with T-I-double-guh-err!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lighting A Candle

Let’s just do this today.

If you would like, visit it the the Gratefulness site’s grottoes to light your own candle .

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Charity Piggy Bank: August Update

I’m racing toward the last quarter of the year: time for the monthly Daily Mitzvah Charity Piggy Bank update. August is always a slim month for freelance work, so I’m happy school has started (and the 9-month pay cycle will start back up in October!) In keeping with the blog’s theme, the charity pigggy bank is a small way to make a difference in a big world (even on a budget). Here are the August totals:
  • Proportional giving: $24.36
  • Savings account interest, with thanks to ING!: $9.17
  • Found money: $2.25
  • Rebates for BYO grocery bags: $1.60
  • Balance forward: $293.54
  • NEW TOTAL: $330.92

Today’s mitzvah: Consider creating a “charity piggy bank” to collect small sums for a year-end charitable contributions. I’m always interested in ideas for what I should do with this in December. It looks like I will be right around $500, which is a nice contribution (and makes me very happy since it involved so little work — this has been pretty pain free savings!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quiz Time: Your Back to School Personality

I want to post a piggy bank update, but I’m just too tired tonight. Since school is what’s making me tired in the first place, here’s a back to school quiz instead!

What Your Back to School Personality Says About You

You are most likely to succeed when you are able to be independent and self directed. You are perfectly able of carving your own path.

Your greatest skill is making things interesting. You can turn the dullest day or project into something amazing.

Your biggest stumbling block in life is worrying about what other people think of you. Their opinions matter even less than you think.

You're not quite sure what you're thankful for in life, it doesn't seem like there's a lot to be thankful for these days.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dance Party Friday: Secret Video Translation

This is less dancing than a whole lotta fun with song lyrics. Someone with a YouTube account and much too much time on his or her hands, decided to decipher Joe Cocker’s song lyrics and subtitle the video with, well, special captions.

Herewith, A Little Help from My Friends, “Captioned for the Clear Headed.”

Have a happy and fun weekend!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DIY Wednesday: Make Your Own Widget

Bored today? When I was looking for hurricane widgets, I discovered WidgetBox has a feature that lets anyone make their own widget from any blog feed. Because I am nothing if not a geek, I decided to try it out. Here’s what a Daily Mitzvah feed might look like:

WidgetBox lets you make widgets from web sites, too. The time wasting possibilities are endless!

And that’s your arts-n-crafts for today!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

I’m not sure how I feel about this, yet the time is now. Back to school! I’m finishing up classroom tasks for the first day, but I did have time to check out this week’s Carnival of the Green, where I discovered a useful post from Nature Mom about choosing a BPA-free water bottle — a must for every backpack and bookbag. You can even win a free bottle from a very nice array of choices; see the post for nature Mom’s contest! (You might even win a neat Sigg “Sunray” like mine, pictured at right.)

Keeping with the school theme, CotG also includes an interesting post from Philobiblon linking the fall of the Roman empire to their dependence on food-based fuel. A few parallels there, eh?, which the blog post explores.

And on an energy theme: La Marguerite contributed a post on grocery shopping, but I was also intrigued by another post on her blog: her GreenWatch personal energy consumption project on Twitter. It’s like a food journal for energy use, with a public micro-blogging component.

You can see all the posts in this week’s Carnival of the Green over at Savvy Vegetarian’s blog.

I hope everyone’s Tuesday is off to a good start!