And so it begins.

The DonorsChoose 2008 Blogger's Challenge has begun. And lo, I am asking you for money.

I must have all kinds of nerve, asking for money at a time like this. The banks are imploding. Our retirement accounts are too depressing to look at. Gas is expensive. Groceries are ridiculous. Buying a nice pair of shoes is, tragically, out of the question. We're all suffering. So! What better time to contribute a little something to the greater good?

Take a look at my challenge page . I've listed a whole bunch of literacy projects, but by no means are those the only projects I want to help fund. If there's a project you want me to include on my challenge page, please speak up, and I'll add it. If there's a topic of interest you want to see represented—science, math, gym, you name it—tell me, and I'll find some projects that fit.

I'm going to give away a whole bunch of copies of "Sleep is for the Weak," and possibly there are some other gifts coming as well. And I have a generous matching offer—if I make it over $25K, the next $12.5K will be matched.

Last year Tomato Nation won the blogger challenge, raising over $100,000 (let us repeat—that's one hundred thousand dollars) and in return, she spent the day dressed as a tomato. She also danced around Rockefeller Center. As a tomato. I bow to her excellence. But now I must destroy her.

If I win the Blogger Challenge, I will reenact Pat Benatar's video "Love is a Battlefield" in its entirety. (EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to thank brilliant reader Jessica Torres for the idea. Thank you, Jessica! I think!)

Imagine this, if you can.

Imagine the costumes. Will there be dancing? You bet your ass. I will use my family as cast members. Yes, that includes Henry. Will he be one of the dancers? Who can say? I can. But I won't, yet. My husband is a talented filmmaker, people. This could be really funny.

But I need to win first. So. You know what you have to do.

Let's get started.