Christmas Karma

Does anyone use the word ‘spawny’ any more? For those of you not exactly my age and level of geekiness, ‘spawny’ was a word commonly used in early 90s computer magazines by people like Radion Automatic to describe inept gamers who managed to succeed in a game despite obvious lack of skill by, for example, unleashing Chun Li’s spinning death kick at a critical moment via random button mashing.

Despite being lazy, gluttonous and irascible; I’m somehow solvent, healthy and loved. For which I regard myself to be exceptionally spawny indeed. But I live in constant fear that someone will discover this administrative cock-up and enact a cosmic realignment by giving me the face of Ben Elton, or the wisdom of Sarah Palin, or the sense of humour of Ben Elton. So I’ve been desperately pedaling to do the minimum amount of good deeds possible to give myself plausible deniability should the karma police turn up.

If you’re similarly karmicly advantaged, here’s a few causes I’d recommend.


We all know how careful banks are with the loans they make. They would never lend money to anyone who couldn’t definitely pay it back. So it falls to us to lend money to people who would make good use of it but don’t have access to loans. Kiva let’s you loan money directly to people in developing countries who want to start or grow their own business. You lend money, they pay it back, you lend it to someone else (or take it back). Sometimes loans don’t get paid back (though it’s never happened to me) but you can always hedge against that by bundling the loans into a Kiva backed security and selling it to Lehman Brothers. What could go wrong?

Start lending now and you can win a Mainland ukulele by joining the ukulele group.

What’s good about it? Because it’s a loan, the people receiving the money are spending their own money on themselves so you can guarantee it’s not being wasted. And you can very easily decide who exactly your money goes to without any of it going on admin (unless you choose to give towards that).

Visit Kiva

Ukuleles for Peace

My favourite solution to the Israel/Palestine situation is the one proposed by Richard Herring: get one side to divide the country into two then the other side decides which half they want. Until that’s enacted, the best solution is the Ukuleles for Peace route: get kids and their families on both sides hanging out together. You can learn more by watching Part 1 of Ukulolo’s film.

Give to Ukuleles for Peace by donating via their website, buying the CD or buying the tab ebook with tunes arranged for ukulele by, among others, James Hill, Dominator and the world’s handsomest ukulele blogger.

What’s good about it? It’s pretty clear that the leaders on both sides have little interest in peace, compromise and human dignity. Grassroots organisations like Ukuleles for Peace are the only ones likely to enact real change.

Visit Ukuleles for Peace

Duchenne Foundation

When one of their number died from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, members of the Ukulele Underground forum got together to make an album for the Duchenne Foundation. Duchenne is an incurable muscle wasting disease and the most life-threatening form of muscular dystrophy. The Duchenne Foundation gives help to those suffering from Duchenne and there families, funds research and increases awareness.

What’s good about it? Members of the opposite sex will see you have Bosco and Honey’s Road Trip, Baron’s Captain, My Captain and krabbers’ The Message in your collection, correctly identify that this means you are a sexual dynamo and have an overwhelming desire to do depraved acts with your genitals.

Buy tracks on iTunes and on Amazon.

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