the from() method of the Mail::Address module, part of the MailTools package in CPAN, tries to do all sorts of clever stuff to clean up the name. of course, that simply means it falls down when faced with a from header like this one:

From: =?ISO-8859-2?B?UmFkb3OzYXcgWmF3YXJ0a28=?= <>

it completely screws up the name because there's no handling of such encoded names, not even enough to recognize that it doesn't handle them and thus pass them through unharmed.

in my case, it turns out that i really want $addr->phrase || $addr->comment.

i haven't decided yet if i want to reindex/reimport the 200,000 messages i already processed assuming that the name() method was not stupid. (i probably will.)