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Socks, Gene Simmons and other gems in our inboxes

Image courtesy of http://x.couver.us.

Working in journalism, it’s not unusual to get some pretty bizarre press releases.

Bill Landauer, AKA Captain Brown Shoes/Black Socks, has been on an odd sock company mailing list for at least a year – well before he introduced his footwear-themed blog.

The sock emails weren’t funny because they were trying to sell socks. (Someone has to.) They were funny because of the way they sold socks.

Sample text:
“Sockupy Your Christmas Tree With Blacksocks. Before you buy a Kindle, iPad, smartphone or laptop for a loved one this holiday season, know this: you can make 99% of someone’s happiness in the New Year come from 1% of their gifts by shopping on Blacksocks.com.”


Most of these email pitches are lucky if they elicit an eyeroll, let alone a chuckle  before landing in the trash bins of our email accounts, but today one caught my eye. The subject line read: “ChildFund partners with ‘Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” It might as well have said “I dare you not to click on me.”

This might come as a surprise, but I don’t get a lot of emails about Gene Simmons on the York beat. I was intrigued enough to click. The copy inside was only mildly irritating:

“Dear Emily,

Recently, Gene Simmons — the KISS rock star — traveled to Zambia to meet 12 of his over 140 sponsored children through ChildFund International. After reading some of your articles, I thought the topics of poverty and child sponsorships would be of interest to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have additional questions, and thank you for your time.

Tasha Chambers”

Cue the usual internal conversation. “Well Tasha, you probably haven’t read my articles very closely or you would have noticed that I don’t write about child sponsorships or overseas poverty.”

I was about to toss the email in the trash with all the others when I noticed there was a JPEG attached. Oh, sweet JPEG. What could you be? My dinosaur of a computer takes the better part of an hour to open JPEGs, but I sensed this one would be worth it.


 Reporter Ed Mahon — who has the unfortunate task of trying to get real work done while sitting next to me — took one look at the pic and declared it A1 art for tomorrow’s paper.

Who else has had a good press release lately? I’m always looking for a good laugh.