Media friends unveil the OffLine Red Card

We appreciate the efforts of our friends in public relations to keep us apprised of enterprise IT events in Hong Kong. Naturally, their business is to pitch events and press conferences to us with the aim of getting coverage. Our resources are limited, and we simply can't attend all the events we would like--mundane realities like deadlines and page-counts chain us to our desks, shifting verbs and slinging nouns.

Sometimes the schedule-conflicts acquire a propulsive momentum of their own, as events pile up like lucky buns on a Cheng Chau festival bun-tower. At times we almost welcome easing into deadline-week, when we're so busy crashing the magazine together that carving out time for a press conference is simply out of the question.

Good PR "flacks" (a slang term we hacks respect) know what we need and get it to us in a no-nonsense fashion: interviews, quotes, high-resolution print-ready images. They dish it up pronto, because they know we have deadlines. In this climate, we overlook salutations like the slightly mushy "Dear media friends" or the more egregious "Buddy mail"--we know they're well meant. But when these syrupy prefaces garnish fluffy press releases, they somehow become more gaseous.

And of course, we closely follow IT security, so we know not to click on embedded links from sources we don't trust...OK, we don't really trust anyone, so we type URLs or check from bookmarks. Thus we were startled to receive this in our e-mail in-boxes (our feedback in ALL CAPS):

"Hi Friends of the media, (WE'RE ALREADY IRKED)

It's not a spam email, no worries. Do click this link, and you will have great fun watching it!! (RIGHT! IMMEDIATE YELLOW CARD)