Below is an unsolicited email I received from an outfit that has been spamming my firm for some time. I have changed the name not to protect the guilty, but to deny them publicity. All grammatical and punctuation errors, bizarre grandiosity, odd capitalization, and general foolishness is in the original.

I wanted to take the time, as I noticed you are one of the top lawyers in San Francisco. [Note: I am located in Los Angeles.] After reviewing your profile and doing some research, I wanted to personally invite you to be the exclusive Lawyer in Tragically Insecure Lawyer Network for Los Angeles [Wait, I thought I was in San Francisco? Also, missing period in original.] I am the director of Tragically Insecure Living Magazine’s Lawyer Network:

What we are offering in this exclusive membership has tremendous value for our members, as we only partner with one member per category and market. We promote our members via our Top Rated Website along with being featured, in all of Tragically Insecure Living four magazines (NY, LA, SF, and Miami) that are distributed via private jets, in over 75 Hotel Rooms, and also mailed to multi-million dollar homes.

As you can see from our current list, we have an impressive resume of members, and are growing 15% a month. One important aspect that separates us, is the exclusivity you will receive with us. We only list one Attorney per category in each market; that exclusivity is not truly found with any of our competitors. In addition, there are various components of this membership, not just print advertising, as our magazine is very prestigious, giving our members a great branding partner. Along with being places online and in Tragically Insecure Living Magazine, we also perform a Press Release for all members distributed to over 20,000 News Sources, and usually placed on the first 1-2 pages of Google Linking our members profile to Tragically Insecure Lawyer Network.

If this is of interest, please fill this form out with some info, so we can set up a quick interview:

Tragically Insecure Lawyer Network, a division of Tragically Insecure Living Magazine

Just as there are people who buy hair-in-a-can and respond to enlarge-your-penis emails, there are lawyers who will respond to this. Would you want one handling your case?

Edited to add:

I have elected to write back.

Dear Tragically Insecure Lawyer Network:

I accept your offer on the following conditions:

1. In all references to me in your promotional materials, you must maintain the uncertainty regarding my exact whereabouts. As you have noted, I am a top lawyer. But am I a top lawyer in San Francisco, or in Los Angeles? It is not possible to know at the same time both (1) that I am a top lawyer, and (2) in what city I am a top lawyer. This has something to do with an Uncertainty Principle, and possibly a cat.

2. I accept your offer to be featured in magazines that will be left in over 75 Hotel Rooms, but only on the condition that your organization warrant and guarantee that each such Hotel Room is equipped with the accessory commonly known as "Magic Fingers." In the alternative, I would accept a Hotel Room that includes a complimentary portion of Sanka.

3. Your message indicates that your membership is growing by 15% per month. My experts tell me that at that rate your membership will include the entire population of North America in only 12 years. That does not strike me as particularly exclusive. Also, I am concerned that the magazine will become rather heavy. So: how strong are your private jets? Will they be able to carry the magazine containing the pictures of every person in North America?

4. Regarding your press release — sorry, Press Release — to over 20,000 News Sources: (a) may I presume you will be using Comic Sans? (b) are all 20,000 News Sources reputable? I wouldn't want my Press Release featured on a non-reputable News Source. I trust your clear devotion to excellence and selectivity has resulted in a list of only the 20,000 most elite News Sources.

5. Regarding your mailing the magazines to multi-million dollar homes: can we arrange for my page in the magazines to be a pop-up? Because rich people can be very jaded.

6. In my featured profile, I will be mounted on a pony. I will require you to provide the pony. I trust this is not an impediment.

Very truly yours,


Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Kilroy says

    I have not received any of these since I bought this spam repellent rock. If you have any interest in purchasing a spam repellent rock, please contact me by email for special offer.

  2. David says

    What on Earth is "hair-in-a-can"? I suppose I should Google it, but I'm afraid to (see "Welcome to an Internet Without Privacy", posted earlier herein).

  3. says

    Wait, wait, wait, wait…. 75 hotel rooms… 75?

    75 rooms where someone might, in a drunken stupor pick up the magazine and use it for TP because they ran out?

    Not enough! Ken must have the potential for his face to be wiped on at least 100 strangers asses… no deal.


  4. Dave Crisp says

    "This is the BBC. After the news there will be a talk on early Christian plastic knees, followed by the first BBC broadcast of a piece of knotted string. If you would like a piece of knotted string, just send three rustproof shillings to 'Honest Wal' Greenslade of Weybridge. Ta."

    (can't imagine why this made me think of that)

  5. Chris says

    I don't know why you're mocking this. It doesn't say "75 Hotel Rooms"; it says "over 75 Hotel Rooms".

    Which means at least 76, maybe 77.

  6. Joe schmoe says

    On a related note: would you really want to be operated on by the guys who advertise in the "best doctors in America" ads that are in the airline magazines?

  7. says

    I'm sure a smart math person could calculate how long it would be before 15% per month growth included everyone in North America.

  8. says

    Are you sure that isn't another of your readers trolling you? It does read a bit like something "Kolabati Bahkti" might send you.

  9. Muphrid says

    Ken: starting from a group of 1 person, 15% growth rate per month will encompass all 530 million people in North America (2008 figure) within ~143 months, or a little under 12 years.

    I think this firmly rules out exclusivity as a long-term selling point.

  10. Mike says

    That would be an elaborate scam. Might be worth it…

    Using a formula for compound interest, 75 compounded at a 15% rate will take 108.7 years to reach 300,000,000. If there are a significant number of private jets on which this magazine appears, that number will go down not insignificantly!

  11. Martin says

    So… do you suggest we should first spam our prospective lawyers to see if they bite?

  12. Muphrid says

    In nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle tells us that it's impossible to know with arbitrary certainty both position and velocity. Clearly, these people don't know your location (as you pointed out), so they must know your velocity, and thus, you should demand they tell you how fast you're going and in what direction.

    I recommend demanding these values in terms of furlongs per fortnight or the airspeed of an unladen swallow.

  13. says

    Man. Nobody offers to deliver me in a magazine in a private jet. Though honestly, that sounds a bit cramped… and if all I'm in is a magazine, I'd probably get cold, too.

  14. Matt Westcott says

    No, no, don't you get it? These magazines are distributed by private jet, in over 75 hotel rooms. These are seriously huge-ass hotel rooms we're talking about here.

  15. En Passant says

    Muphrid wrote Mar 18, 2013 @1:41 pm:

    I recommend demanding these values in terms of furlongs per fortnight or the airspeed of an unladen swallow.

    African or European Swallow?

  16. Mike says

    If I get home delivery, do they land in my driveway first or just throw it out the window at 60,000 feet. Because I don't like having to walk all over to get things.

  17. James Pollock says

    More importantly, is the swallow inside the private airplane when the magazine is delivered? Because that's going to substantially improve his airspeed (unless, of course, the private airplane, delivering to those hotel rooms in L.A., gets stuck in the traffic).

  18. says

    Ken – You should be gratified that you are still receiving high quality spam. I used to get swell spam too, about foreign girls that wanted to meet me and neat tricks for enhancing my potency.

    These days all I get are phony solicitations for assistance in collecting a debt "in your jurisdiction" and SEO offers. It seems the spammers have figured out that I lead a very boring life.

  19. MattS says

    "that are distributed via private jets, in over 75 Hotel Rooms"

    I want to know where they found so many hotel rooms large enough to accommodate a private jet.

  20. MattS says

    En Passant • Mar 18, 2013 @1:48 pm

    Muphrid wrote Mar 18, 2013 @1:41 pm:

    I recommend demanding these values in terms of furlongs per fortnight or the airspeed of an unladen swallow.

    African or European Swallow?


    I don't know. Ahhhhh….. :)

  21. says

    Looking at that projected growth rate, I'm pretty sure they're going run afoul of Feinstein's high capacity magazine ban.

  22. Pete says

    "More importantly, is the swallow inside the private airplane when the magazine is delivered? Because that's going to substantially improve his airspeed".

    Wrong. Unless you've discovered a Grand Unification Theory, then Relativity can't apply here because Ken has already stipulated that this scenario is governed by Quantum Mechanics.

  23. Delvan says

    Gotta look at the big picture man. If there a person for every hotel room in 12 years they'll have 41 billion subscribers. Not bad considering the world population will be about 8 billion then….hmm.

    Perhaps their subscribers include ponies. That'd cover another 0.5 billion subscribers if every pony is a subscriber. That's not it…

    Ooh, I know what it is. Those people have to sign up for a new subscription every month, because they're never in the same hotel room! But 15% of the time they undergo whole-body mitosis during that month, so they end up registering more subscriptions (one per clone…which one is the clone?)

  24. Brad says

    You only require a regular pony, not a fire-breathing one? Your standards are slipping, sir.

  25. Otto says

    Speaking of grammatical errors, "All grammatical … errors … is in the original."

    It's Muphry's Law.

  26. James Pollock says

    "Wrong. Unless you've discovered a Grand Unification Theory, then Relativity can't apply here because Ken has already stipulated that this scenario is governed by Quantum Mechanics."

    Oops. Strapping jet engines onto a swallow increases its velocity by plain old Newton, no relativity required.
    OK, if you cross a time zone, that adds in a quantum relativistic effect (except in Arizona and Hawaii).

  27. says

    @Brad: He'd better require a war pony rather than a regular pony, because Ken looks (in his real-life big-boy photos) like he weighs more than a regular pony's heavy load. (Meaning no disrespect — I weigh somewhat more than Ken, although less than Chris Christie, or at least less than a Christie tank.)

  28. Dr. Wu says

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe every aircraft operated by FedEx, UPS, and DHL, including those carrying contract mail for the United States Postal Service, is in fact a "private jet." But I'm sure that an elite publication like "Who's Paid", er, "Who's Who", er, "Tragically Insecure Living Magazine" would not resort to technicalities.

  29. Anony Mouse says

    "Lawyer in Tragically Insecure Lawyer Network for Los Angeles"

    Even knowing that you changed the name, there was a moment when I thought that was the real name, and it really made me smile.

  30. wgering says

    I shudder to think of the day when spammers achieve a middle-school reading level.

    Also, I want to register "" and use it to send lawyers unsolicited photos of ponies. The twist is that each message includes a unique photo and lovingly-crafted individual poem.

  31. Ross says

    I was worried that all the Prenda business was distracting Ken from important matters of commerce in diminutive equine stock but fortunately I read all the way to item six.

  32. El says

    Are all 75 Hotel Rooms in the same hotel or is it only 1 room in 75 Different Hotels, that could be an important distinction. I mean, are they in the crappiest room in each hotel or the penthouse suite, because I've watched a lot of CSI and people who stay in hotel penthouses often need a lawyer ;)

  33. says

    Where will these Press Releases be performed? Inquiring minds want to know, and quickly–anything growing this rapidly will undoubtedly be available standing-room-only. Presumably, of course, in the most EXCLUSIVE theatres: Lincoln Center/Avery Fisher Hall, War Memorial Auditorium, Walt Disney Concert Hall, or the Miami Jai Alai fronton.

    Whatever the virtues of this enterprise in raising the standards of excellence at the bar, they are surely overshadowed by this new genre of performance art.

  34. John O. says

    I would have also added a stipulating clause requiring the placement all of this in Second Life so as to tap into the market of the virtual world. All the Lindens we could make with this strategy would be HUGE. REALLY HUGE. I overheard once in the elementary school cafeteria while I was on janitorial duty that the exchange rate is something like $100 Quadrillion Linden is $10 US Dollars. We totally would be richer than that oil loving Royal Prince somewhere in Arabia with all that Linden.