I blame the earthquake

I get hundreds of emails a week asking me to help with charities but I don’t do anything with them because I get too depressed when I read about them, but this particular email made me laugh in a particularly guilty sort of way so I’m reprinting it here:

Dear The Bloggess (Jenny) -

First of all this email is not about advertising but this was the only
address I could find, which is understandable because otherwise you would
probably have crazy people emailing you day and night wanting mad things,
which leads me directly to my next point.

I am from Christchurch in New Zealand. Sheeps and hobbits. But also
earthquakes. We had a big earthquake and now it turns out that while the
good thing about an earthquake is that you can be completely obnoxious then
say, "Oh, sorry, that's the earthquake talking" there are also bad things,
like it squashes your central business district and also some of your
friends.  Probably I shouldn't say squashed. Basically, we are fucked.
Excuse foul language, it is the earthquake talking.

I know that there are millions(?) of disasters and this isn't very big on
an international scale but if you could somewhere - even Twitter - mention
my falling-to-bits city and where people can go to donate (it is here -
http://www.redcross.org.nz/cms_display.php ) it would be awesome.  AWESOME.

I am sorry to bother you. I know you are busy and important. Like Hugh Grant
but without the embarrassing hooker incident and floppy hair.  Unless there
is an embarrassing hooker incident I don't know about.

Also, I am drunk. Probably I should have mentioned that earlier.  The
earthquake is a *bad influence.*


Thus ends my once-a-year bout of philanthropy.  I’m not sure what got into me. I blame the earthquake.

142 thoughts on “I blame the earthquake

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I hope that in your next post you’re going to fill us all in on your previously undisclosed embarrassing hooker incident.

  2. I agree with MrsMustache. It is the most genius solicitation ever. For that (and for the, uh, ya know, horrible things that are currently happening to people there) I’ve donated. Money. Not blood or alcohol. They clearly have enough of that.

  3. Bloggess, you are awesome! And I’m like hundreds of miles from the quake! And have only had half a glass of wine!


  4. If I had a dime for every time the Earthquake and Charlie Sheen were mentioned I would be in the billionaire club someplace really cool!

    I love that she confessed to being drunk and totally blamed it on the earthquake! Thanks for sharing!

  5. That was a fantastic request for aid. If the homeless guys on the corner made me smile like that I’d totally toss them that granola bar that’s been in my purse for a few weeks. TOTALLY.

  6. My favorite part of this is the word “sheeps.” I’ve never met anyone besides myself who insists on calling them “sheeps” – as in, “I am going to wear my fuzzy pajamas with the snowflake-eating sheeps on them who like to think about sweaters.” The word sheep just sounds incorrect. I’m glad *someone* has finally caught onto the proper grammar of things, even if they are halfway around the world.

  7. I’m from New Zealand, and I need to sincerely say, thank you. It’s bad.

  8. That is the greatest request ever…if we all could hold our humor in the face of tragedy. Perhaps, wine is the answer…talking earthquakes the question.

  9. Hobbits and sheeps. Sounds like a good recipe.

    Ahem. I’m a little drunk, too. But I have to agree with the others in saying the writer of that e-mail was brilliant beyond brilliant by appealing to our collective sick sense of humor.

  10. I tried to donate $25 right after the earthquake happened, but the NZ Red Cross only took $19.30 out of my bank account. A US dollar does not equal a NZ dollar.
    Not factoring in the currency conversion means I’ve now got $5.70 burning a hole in my bank account.
    If you spill all the details of your embarrassing hooker incident, that $5.70 is all yours. Otherwise I’m just going to have to go spend it on booze. Damn earthquake, driving me to drink!

  11. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. It means a lot to this New Zealander that you would publicise this cause. And I’m going to add Ally to my “makes me proud to be a Kiwi” list, right up there with the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army. I wish I could be that funny. Perhaps I should get drunk more often… 🙂

  12. Thanks so much to everyone who has donated to help our beautiful city!
    The whole thing sucks of course, but knowing that u guys around the world care enough to help out gives us an upside to all this. THANK YOU!

  13. Jenny, I need to add my thanks for directing your once-a-year bout of philanthropy at the chch quake. When the first one hit a few months ago we managed to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and get on with it without too much bitching and moaning. This time a lot of NZ is still on its knees and we are gonna need a hand to get up.
    But looking forward. Its one of those ‘man I wish it were six months from now’ situations. I just wanna be able to turn on the news without crying. Can I have normality back now? Pretty please?

    Sorry Ill stop being depressing now.

  14. Say what you like about the kiwis but they do have a sense of humor. Brilliant solicitation!

    Seriously, help them. It may not be a large city by international standards but they got hammered and it will take a lot to rebuild the city and people’s lives.

    Bless the Bloggess for having a momentary lapse in judgment and so publishing what the earthquake made Ally say. Or the booze. It’s hard to tell.

  15. Hi Jenny,

    I work for a global PR agency and I have just forwarded on this post to the entire company with the subject line: “WOOHOO! THE FLOODGATES ARE OFFICIALLY OPEN!”.

    Or I just made a donation to the Christchurch earthquake appeal. I forget which. Because I don’t have an earthquake to blame I’ll just have to let you know that it’s still two days until I get my hair cut. I know, right? It’s a miracle I can still function at all.

    Hugs to Ally from across the ditch.

  16. As another New Zealander (who was just slightly shaken and stirred by an earthquake 45 minutes ago in Wellington), and longtime reader, I also want to say thanks for picking up on this. While the email downplays things a little, this is the biggest disaster to hit this country in a generation, and we will gratefully accept all the help we can get. And Ally try and take it easy wherever you are 🙂

  17. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I moved to NZ. Sheeps, Hobbits and understatement. Today we had two minutes of silence and found two time capsules under a statue that got knocked over during the quake. People were sad about the earthquake but excited about the time capsules, because that’s how we roll. The NZ glass is usually half full. Charlie Sheen was NOT in the area (although he was flying so perhaps…).

    The best thing you can do is plan a trip to NZ and show up. Spend money. If you can’t then please do give to the Red Cross. We’re a small country with limited resources so everything helps.


  18. Whoever sent that letter needs to start a blog. Their wit and ability to set up AND knock jokes down rivals the very bloggess herself! And that’s a HUGE compliment.

  19. I donated but I honestly don’t know why people just don’t move back to Old Zealand. You never hear about stuff like this happening there.

  20. Silver lining! Silver lining! The quake toppled a statue of the city founder, and exposed TIME CAPSULES! From 1867! It’s Indiana Jones! (Except actually John Robert Godley.)

  21. And thank you too, Jenny, for posting Ally’s request. You’ve totally paid me back for that James Garfield donation. I’m a Christchurch girl too.

  22. It’s smart and refreshing to see someone ask for charity without over stressing the guilt trip. Glad you posted this up.

  23. Question – would you rather have an embarassing hooker incident or floppy hair? Like, Hugh Grant type of floppy?

    (The hair obviously, not Hugh Grant. The hooker incident kinda proves Hugh Grant not to be personally floppy. Unless she was there to help him with floppiness? Either way, I meant the *hair*.)

  24. Ooops, previous post seemed a tad callous for ignoring everything else in the letter. Well, done posting her letter, good choice. And warm fuzzy thoughts going out to all in Christchurch.

  25. I wonder if she has seen a hobbit…but I guess that depends on how much drink is involved. How would you know the difference between a hobbit and a troll? Perhaps by the high green hair and location next to the bingo board. Sorry…we really do feel badly for the people suffering in New Zealand and it was very nice of you to post this.

  26. This also brings up an issue I have never thought about before. When a natural or unnatural disaster for that matter hits an area is there an agency making sure there is enough alcohol to cope with the situation at hand? Wine For Hard Times or something like that? Thank you to Hellziggy for mentioning the currency issue. Since I can’t read or do math I will have to hope there is a box to check on the Red Cross site. Hopefully they won’t come knocking at my door looking for blood or body parts. At least not yet.

  27. Well, that was certainly nice of you. Of course, I’m pretty sure that the Red Cross is an international organization so I’m quite sure people were already helping out.

    And speaking of upheavals, I’m in the midst of a personal one too…and even though I’m smaller than New Zealand (although really…not so much) I could use a shout out too!

    Just saying…

  28. Where do I make a donation to this woman’s liquor fund? This email is genius. When I have been drinking, I just randomly sext people/friends, and it is FAR less eloquent and funny than this.

  29. Whenever I donate to a charitable cause, I always feel guilty about all the other equally worthy causes that I’m NOT donating to (limited resources on my part, and all.) So I totally understand your reluctance to mention any on your blog.

    But I’m glad you posted this. Giving attention to one cause is better than giving attention to zero causes, even if it does send you into a shame spiral from which you will need years of therapy to recover.

    Plus, that email brings to light a lot of other social issues of our time. No one should be embarrassed by hooker incidents or floppy hair. Wait a minute…

  30. Whoever Ally from New Zealand is… I like her.
    That whole earthquake thing sucks.
    I’m a tad more worried about the whole super volcano under Yellowstone thing we got going on here in the US myself….

  31. She speaks Bloggess….as she involved: Alcohol, Humor, and Random Animals, which were all mixed together with a bit of Girl Crazy. Much respect!

  32. I would have helped her, too. I think she should contact Charlie Sheen, as he is currently at the top of his bipolar or drug induced state, and she could probably score a lot of loot, or something that could be easily converted to cash at the very least, before the pendulum swings back to the bottom. This is solid gold advice I am dispensing here, people.

  33. OMG. So terrible, but so hilarious. I feel like a terrible person for laughing at that. Even though it was meant to be laughed at. I think.

  34. That is the best solicitation for donation ever. I would love to donate; I wish I wasn’t Brokeass Broke. (It’s like Brokeback Mountain, but with 100% less man-on-man and much less cash on hand.)

  35. Ally is awesome. I wonder if she’ll be my super awesome internet BFF. I only hope she’s this funny when there isn’t an earthquake involved as I would hate to wish for more of those. But being drunk can always be involved. Hell, I’m drunk now and it’s only 830am. Okay, maybe not drunk, but buzzed. Anyway, save the sheep and hobbits!

  36. One of the many things I miss about living in Florida is the hurricanes, passed out drunk laying face down in the lawn. Which really isnt a lot different than now, except now I cant blame the hurricanes.

  37. My new boss is just driving me crazy. First she wanted to meet with me once a week, during my oh-so-important ignoring work and wasting hours on the Internet time. Then she wanted to be included on emails, meaning I have to actually write emails AND make them make sense. Now she wants to know what I do, causing me great anxiety that she’s going to expect me to do something. I think it’s clear that SHE IS SATAN AND HAS COME TO EARTH TO GET ME FIRED AND POSSIBLY INVOLVED IN SOME WEIRD SATANIC ORGY THING WHICH SHE HASN’T MENTIONED YET BUT ONCE YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SATAN IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.

    Whew, sorry – that was the Earthquake talking.

    (Man, that does work. New saying officially adopted.)

  38. that is much better then my i can’t afford therapy at the clinic ($25 a week) so give me money for my prozac (generic $4/bottle) since my job wants to charge a bajillion dollars for health insurance plea. when they only pay $12 an hour.

  39. Hey, has anyone used the website to donate yet, is it safe? They don’t accept paypal and using my credit card online makes me nervous.

  40. Attn Red Cross: Hire this woman, and your donations will grow as fat as the sheeps and hobbits that roam NZ. Brilliant! With all the cuckoo news coverage documenting the unraveling of a certain “winning” celebrity, it’s important to remember there are actual problems in the world. Thoughts and prayers to Christchurch. And hobbits. And sheeps.

  41. Best charity email EVER. Thanks for sharing, Jenny. I’m sure this email alone will be responsible for the complete restoration of Christchurch.

  42. Any one who talks about hookers, floppy hair and squashed friends in one email gets my money.

    Well played Ally. Well played. And to the citizens of Christchurch, my heart (and my dollars) go out to you.

  43. Jenny, you are so awesome… as usual.

    I went over to Ally’s page, and of course some people had already commented that they had found her page through you. I am sure lots of people will be helped because of what you have done (once again!).

    While my crap month has not been anywhere near on the level of an earthquake… my world has been rocked by an unexplained illness, and I’m totally happy to have the worst month of the year over with.

    Rock on!


  44. great solicitation. worthy of being posted here. and i myself will go pop a $20 in the christchurch bucket. i may not have a lot, but i have a damn sight more than some of these people now. the rebuilding will be ridiculously expensive and some people don’t even have basic needs met right now. let’s all take a fiver or whatever we can spare out of our pocket and get the hell over to http://www.redcross.org.nz/cms_display.php to do some good.

    karma’s a bitch – unless you’re the one putting the good out there. let’s go people.

  45. I love that man. I want to donate all my money to him after I die. Screw my kids.

    Hopefully he won’t be getting anything from me soon, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

    You are clearly making a dramatic impact on the lives of New Zealanders. Way to go.

  46. Seriously? That letter is GOLD, and if all marketers read it and read your blog, they would totally have a better grasp on how to write pitches that would actually make it to the front of a blog. Also? I do really feel bad for what’s going on in New Zealand and will now be clicking on that link.

  47. Oddly, I kind of love seeing “Christchurch” and “fucked” in the same paragraph. Even if in this context “Christchurch” is just a geographical location and not actually a church.

  48. That letter is Fabulous (capitalized). Sending the link to this post to my friends in Christchurch so they can learn their new (temporary) mantra. “Oh, sorry, that’s the earthquake talking.”

  49. Seriously, the Christian Children’s Fund and the Humane society and all those people who make the depressing as hell “for the cost of a cup of coffee a day” commercials with the sad puppys and starving kids, need to take a lesson from Ally. Want help? Be honest, be direct. Don’t be fucking depressing.

    I read that letter and was all “Holy shit, sign me up. Let’s help these unfortunate fuckers.”

  50. We don’t get earthquakes where I live, so I’ll knock back a few in sympathy. It’s the least I can do.

  51. Best solicitation for money EVER. I would not have been able to resist either.

    Ally, if you haven’t yet, you need to be a professional asker-of-money. I think you’ll change the world. Seriously.

  52. I don’t even know how an earthquake can happen in a place called churchchrist. I feel like God was playing a mean joke. Thank goodness it is filled with humorous alcoholics, otherwise I don’t think anyone else would have known about it.

    Although it could be because they spell things oddly on their billboards…..

    Best of luck to those in Churchchrist.

  53. You two could be quite the duo; what with her earthquake and your sarcasm and the both of you being drunk… I would totally pay money to watch the fall-out.

  54. I think if there were ever a way to get your attention about something, she figured it out. Kudos to Ally!

    Also, I fucking love you for posting this. You rock!

  55. I’ve never felt more moved to donate to a disaster fund. At first I was worried about Ally’s friends being squashed, but once I found out that sheeps and hobbits were in danger I ran for my credit card. Did she leave an address so that I can send booze directly to her to help her cope with the stress of having to worry about the hobbits?

  56. I am still waiting for the media to spin the earthquake as related to the fact NZ allows gay marriage (well, the civil union equivalent). Then I can have a blog topic wherein I rant about bigoted asshats for the win! My prayers are with those in NZ, and my money is going to the Red Cross so I can show God that I am really serious about the whole “help people in NZ” thing.

  57. bawww, my emotion glands have been activated! In addition to to humerty glands! Which sounds disgusting. But is actually just rife with awesome.

  58. Thank you.
    That’s all. Thank you and thank Ally for reaching out.

    I have made sure to put earthquake vodka in my survival kit. And earthquake whiskey because it works better in hot drinks.

  59. YES!!!! This makes me super happy. I’m in New Zealand as well (though no in ChCh – thank God) and people have been sometimes hilarious about the quake. Sometimes you just gotta laugh when shit this bad goes down. This is the best request for help ever though and am so glad you feature our little country (okay, okay, I may be an American expat) on your blog. THANK YOU!!

  60. If more people asked for help the way Ally did, with frankness and honesty (and a touch of much needed humor in the face of disaster), I think we would all feel better about giving.

    Donated and posted a link on FB so friends could donate too.

    Thanks for sharing her letter with us. She puts a face on an otherwise faceless place/disaster.

  61. Im back home in Canada now, but I lived in Christchurch for a while so this is a pretty rough thing to sit back and watch. Thank you for posting this, as every little but helps!

    In addition to the Red Cross, you can also donate internationally through the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal which has been set up for the NZ Government: http://www.christchurchearthquakeappeal.govt.nz/

  62. I think I love her. She actually makes me WANT to donate…. Instead of just feeling kinda obligated to….

  63. Ally blogs for TV3 (a national NZ network) – which I discovered via #eqnz

    ‘An uncensored look at the Christchurch quake’ post
    It ends with “Even if the cows fall over on the aftershocks.”


  64. Per Hellziggy’s comment, you might want to make mention in your post that 1 $US = .75 $NZ. I didn’t even think about the fact it was in New Zealand dollars until after I hit submit and got the confirmation back, at which point I freaked out, worrying that one New Zealand dollar might be equal to, say $5,000 US dollars.

  65. If only the Jehovah’s Witnesses would start soliciting this way. Ally is awesome, I hope you tweeted for her.

  66. That is a terrific email. Being next door neighbours (Aussie) we had the full coverage, which I couldn’t watch, but I heard the stories…. *shiver*

    Love to you Jenny, it’s been a while since I last commented. Too long, in fact. xx

  67. If every pitch were that funny and that personable… I’d be donating money right and left.Even to those who don’t actually want money.

  68. Oh that was awesome! It is nice to know that an earthquake can’t take away someone’s sense of humor.

  69. Nice way to tap into the awesome power of the bloggess! I need to blog about something my last blog title is boring. Be careful of New Zealand though…hobbitses are tricksy!

  70. Ally needs to solicit more often. (Actually, I don’t know her and maybe she drunk-solicits all the time…) She is brilliant! I love sheeps and hobbits.

  71. well, obviously she’s DRUNK. EVERYONE KNOWS that the plural of sheep is ‘sheepies’ not ‘sheeps’. drunk in squashed hobbit land. it’s not a pretty picture.

  72. Hahahahahahaha @the person who blamed Charlie Sheen

    and BAH HAHAHAHAHA @ the line about Hugh Grant. That really sealed it for me! 🙂

  73. That makes me want to give again. Its so much better than waifs starving the in the street. Of course, I have no heart, so probably people shouldn’t go by my assessment.

  74. This is the way all solicitation emails should be. Or just solicitations in general. We would all benefit in the end, really.

  75. I am slow clapping at my desk, an amazing email. NZ need all our love and support, get-a-donatin people!

  76. The person who sent you this request for assistance obviously has read your blog and knows who you are. So much better than the crazy requests for you to advertise their marshmallows.

  77. Dear Jenny,

    Dude reading that email was worth the donation. I am so glad that I don’t get all those emails, as I’d totally be unable to say no…especially if they present themselves like that. I mean, I don’t think anyone should go around inferring Hugh Grant is popular to anyone but hookers…but to each their own and I’d probably still give money if they insisted Hugh Grant is popular.

    We could knock out two three birds with one stone and call this a Make Hugh Grant Popular to other People than Hookers and Help Quake victims in New Zealand Drive. Then get Hugh to be seen without Hookers with people from New Zealand.

    Okay I’ve gone far far far off track and…well…I have the attention span of a spastic monkey and you mentioned hookers…or…well…author of said fine letter did and…shit…I caved and gaved 😉

    Before I decide I feel guilty for writing this and give more I’m just going to say ciao.


  78. Stellar solicitation by Abby and brilliant of you, Jenny, to have posted it. Hope you get another St. James Garfield money bomb going for NZ. I’ve been following this on the news, but this is the first time I’ve been actually motivated to contribute. I’m glad I’ve come to my senses. Humor soothes the soul and opens the pocketbook. Thanks for posting.

  79. Thank you – the quake has shaken us all in New Zealand, even those of us like me who live a couple of hundred kilometres or more from Christchurch. With a population of only 4 million, not even a decent city by world standards, there’s only a couple of degrees of separation between us. If we don’t know someone who lost a life or home we know someone who knows someone.

    It helps to know that Ally who lives in Christchurch has the wit to ask so brilliantly, you have the heart to spread the word, and your readers the generosity to contribute.

  80. Thanks for this. We were in Christchurch in November and spent 2 days in the beautiful CBD and the cathedral area. It is a tragedy to have lost all those lives and the history of the town. Going to donate now…

  81. sorry, i am several weeks behind on my interwebz browsing and just read this, and thus, had to retweet a sarah silverman comment:

    SarahKSilverman Sarah Silverman
    There’s something so Meg Ryan circa Inner Space about Pippin http://say.ly/dJtaeZ

  82. Hey hey, I work for the Red Cross in Christchurch, New Zealand – thank you very very much for the extra workload incurred distributing the money you’ve just hauled in for us. I will hand out the dosh with an extra big smirk on my face.

  83. Thank you. It made me cry that someone the other side of the world could care enough to put it on their blog. Cry in the good way though!

  84. Nearly 18 months on I still live in Christchurch and we are still pretty fucked. But I can’t believe I am reading this!! Thank you for your support of our little city at the bottom of the world =] (and thank you everyone who donated). Your blog has been such a source of amusement since I discovered it a few months ago and it really brightens the days!

  85. I used your birthday to cast my mind back to how I came across you. It was the post about the earthquake one of my fellow Kiwis, Ally asked you to retweet the donation link for. Your humor, and hers tickled me then. And still does nearly 13 years later. Happy Birthday, Jenny 🎂

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