Once Again, It’s Time to Look at Our Reader Mail!

by David Kennedy Bird


Abstract:  Well, dear readers, it’s time to again have a look at the stack of mail that our biggest fans have been sending in! The letters (mostly of complaint, some with wrong addresses, and one threatening to sue us “for being so damn stupid”) have been piling up! So, ahem, let’s have a crack at some mail!


Letter #1.  The classic “you can take a flockbinker out of the Northern Hemisphere, but can you turn it into a question” line of inquiry.

This reader from Brisbane, Australia, Big Nick--no, really–i’m serious, that’s actually what he seems to call himself–no, we didn’t make it up–why would we make up a name like THAT?–had a question about flockbinkers and geography:

Love the blog, got a question. I realize that you like to say all flockbinkers are treadknicious. But, i have to wonder if this is only because you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Now, i happen to live in the Land Down Under. Are all flockbinkers just as treadknicious here in the domain of the koala and the wallaby? I’ve not done a study of the subject. I was just wondering.

The Blogger:  Well, now that is a terrific question! It seems to me that it can be further broken up into a cluster of smaller questions: (1) Do flockbinkers even live in the Southern Hemisphere? (2) If they do, are they of the same variety as the ones living up here in North America? (3) If they are not of the same variety, then is it possible for a species of flockbinker not to be treadknicious? And finally, to summarize: (4) Is the treadkniciousness of flockbinkers affected in any way by geography?

These are deep questions indeed, “Big Nick” (heh heh heh), and shall require a great deal of further study.


Letter #2.  A Reader has clearly been smoking grass. Is there a question?

Herman, who makes his home in Macon, Georgia, shared this with us:

Took the Quiz #3, had this comment — Wow, man! Yo! That was some serious, you know, like all of it! I mean, like WOW! I’m totally reeling! I am against the ropes, going down for the last time! Whoah, whoah, whoah. So, so very vast and free and all the pretty horses, and, you know. Like, WHO in the WORLD. I mean: YES. I am SO. Y’know? So VERY. SOOO VERY! Aaahhhh. I think i just achieved enlightenment.

The Blogger:  Well, golly, Herm. Is it okay if we call you “Herm”? It’s hard to know even where to begin! Inspiring stuff. Oh my word! Your observations fill us (the editorial staff here at All Flockbinkers Are Treadknicious) with feelings that we don’t recall having ever experienced before. My advice to you: Keep doing the quizzes, and send us any additional input you can come up with! More material similar to what you’ve sent us above would be terrific! Be assured: We’re going to love getting mail from you.


Letter #3.  Do flockbinkers have an ontologically stable identity? Inquiring minds want to know.

Buffy hails from Visalia, California, and had this somewhat raw criticism to offer:

Saying that “All flockbinkers are treadknicious” is kind of a generalization, isn’t it? By which i mean: a sexual (or quasi-sexual) (or, like, sexual-ontological?) stereotype. What if a flockbinker happened to self-identify as something else? Are not flockbinkers freely-choosing beings, like you and me, or my sister Hubert? Is it your responsibility to be placing such a limiting definition on a group of freely-choosing beings? I bet you also think that there are only two genders. Pig. I despise you. I predict that you will rot in hell.

The Blogger:  Golly, Buffy, you’ve left us with a lot to munch on there! First off, we cannot be 100% certain that flockbinkers even have a gender. But you seem to be getting at something else. Are you asking… whether flockbinkers are… flockbinkers? I’m not sure i understand the question. (Man, i really should have paid more attention in that gender studies class i had to take in college!)


Letter #4.  Flockbinkers and Elk: A Disquisition on Identity.

We’ve apparently got a reader in Medicine Hat, Alberta–Clive–whose philosophical interests seem to incline toward ontology:

Love the blog! We don’t see too many flockbinkers up in our area, although we’ve got plenty of elk. Have you anything to say about elk? Are they treadknicious, in the way flockbinkers apparently are? Or, are there any other big fancy words that apply to elk? Are they, maybe, oh, i don’t know, splendnicious? I just made that one up. Heh heh. Splendnicious. I think i shall use that one regularly from now on.

The Blogger:  “There will be droughts and days inundated…”

Heh heh. Medicine Hat. Git it? Heh heh. Ah! But seriously folks, your question is a good one. Might the attribute of treadkniciousness apply to creatures other than flockbinkers? It’s a topic well worth looking into, i imagine. In my deep and broad experience with logic and logical placeholders, i’ve never (yet) encountered a critter… other than flockbinkers… to which the state of “treadknicious”-ness has been attributed. But there’s a first time for everything. Thanks for the, er, splendnicious letter!


Letter #5.  Are our quizzes self-grading? How can you measure your success?

Ted lives in NYC, and is apparently no stranger to online quizzes:

Took the Quiz #2. How can you know how well you did? On other internet quizzes that i’ve taken, they’re self-grading and they’ll tell you what score you got. I have no idea how well i did on your quiz. It’s unnerving. Have you ever tried to take a quiz, only to find that you have no idea whether you got the answers right or not? It’s like, your whole life passes before your eyes. I’m not being overly dramatic. It’s really awful. Seriously. You need to try it yourself. It’s terrible.

The Blogger:  This is a terrific question, Ted!  Y’know, our method in assembling these quizzes is kind of intuitive. And honestly, it’s never occurred to us that one of our readers might take one of our quizzes so seriously that he would want to know what his score was. As nearly as we can tell, most of our readers seem to have an attitude toward the quizzes similar to that of Etienne, from Amsterdam, who opined, “I very much liked the quiz, it was big and stupid, it made my butt tingle, ha ha. How you can make something so absurd, i do not the know, ha ha. I am the sorry, my English is not so good, ha ha.”  In the future, perhaps we can devise a program for grading the quizzes, so our readers can know which of the abstruse and largely meaningless answers were the correct ones.


Letter #6.  Son Volt: A Disquisition on Building the Perfect Jam.

Living (as he does) in Austin, Texas, it’s no surprise to us that Christopher has consummate taste in music:

Hey, I saw what you did up there with the Son Volt lyrics. “Medicine Hat.” Ni-i-i-ice. It’s good to know philosophers can also have great taste in music. I swear, Son Volt is one of the few bands that give me hope for the future of the music scene. Did you catch their performance on Austin City limits? It was a couple of decades ago, but you should be able to find it pretty easily. Son Volt is the bomb, man.

The Blogger:  Glad to see that someone caught that “Medicine Hat” trick, and equally befuddled regarding how you could have found out about it so quickly. But then, nothing that happens on this blog should surprise me anymore. The Austin City Limits Son Volt show was indeed a classic, Christopher. It’s good to find that lovers of philosophical speculation can also be lovers of a great song or two! Hey, keep listening to good music, keep following this blog, and keep it between the painted lines!