A friend got a water buffalo for Christmas from her dad. She won’t actually take delivery of the animal. The Web page says that it will be given to a family in Asia. If you read the fine print on the page, however, it turns out that there is no actual buffalo and no actual family and you won’t get a photo of your family and your buffalo. The money simply gets dumped into the common fund at the charity. We are trying to decide if this is the crummiest possible Christmas present.
[Would it actually be effective to give every poor family in Asia a water buffalo? Wouldn't that simply result in overgrazing? It shouldn't be that hard to breed water buffalo, so you'd think after thousands of years they would have the optimum number without Western intervention.]
January 19 update: Things got a little out of hand with this posting, including the purchase of a real water buffalo for a real family. See this 57MB Quicktime movie for the full story. All credit to Robert Thompson.