Junkmail, Joys of


Two things about this recent mailing from the National Audubon Society (which isn’t strictly junkmail, except for its execution):

First: The brand-new permutation of my name. I usually use my middle name (Daniel), and have a "Jr." appended to my official full name. Also, Kate uses her pre-Dan-era family name, Gallagher. The combination of those factors leads to lots of entertaining (to us) permutations, Dan B. Gallagher being only the most recent. We get lots of mail for Kate Brekke and Kate Brekke Jr. We get the occasional mailing for Stephen and Dan Gallagher. Once not too long ago, an offer arrived for Gallagher Gallagher. If nothing else, it makes it easy to spot the obvious unrequested garbage.

Second: I like the Audubon Society, or the idea of the Audubon Society. They seem reasonable, too. Their mailing said that joining at the $15 level would really help. That’s less than a quarter-tank of gas. But the nobility of the cause and the modest expectations of the direct-mail appeal aside, what attracts my attention is the name of the society’s president: John Flicker. Remarkable because the flicker is one of the more familiar birds from the woods back in Illinois (and one that Audubon himself painted; compare that to the painting of the same species by 20th century master ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson; and just for fun, check out the flicker photographs on a U.S. Geological Survey resource page).

Bonobo Talk

Me (reading item in the Chronicle): Have you ever heard of a primate called the bonobo?

Kate: No.

Me: This says it’s called ” ‘the hippie of the forest’ because of its preference for resolving conflict through sex rather than violence.”

Kate: How do they resolve conflict through sex?

Me: I need to find more information about that.

Kate: Make love, not war.

(Beyond our charming chit-chat and the lightweight item in the paper, the un-cute context for the story.)