the interesting idea... the start of this project... the conversations to come

I'm a member of Post Crossing, the internet site for postcard exchange. I sent a card to another Post Crosser, Ilona from Germany. She asked that people tell her which magical power they would like to have. Her question really made me think!

In turn, I thought it would be an interesting project to ask people to pose Thought-Provoking Questions. I would do my best to answer with my opinion, and I would encourage others to add theirs.

And, so was born this blog! I hope that it will be the home for many interesting conversations in the year ahead!

Friday, December 31, 2010

No easy answer

Laura, from Poland, sends this hard, hard question to end 2010:

Why do people beat wives? Why do they betray family and then blame family for what they did?

Laura, I WISH I knew. I wish I knew the demons that drive some people. I wish that 2011 will be a better year for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A modern day mystery

Nicolette, from the Netherlands, has clearly spent too many hours in a row awake - and perhaps some of them at a nearby convenience store - because she asks

Why do shops that are open 24/7 have locks on the doors?

I know that some do not! My stepdaughter, early in her retail career, was a manager at just such a store; when the power cut out in the middle of the night, she had to trudge to the store and sit there in the dark waiting for the power to be restored because there was no way for the staff to lock the door and go home.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Three times Thirty-Three

On Monday, September 27, I posted the "bucket list" question. You know, the "things before you die" list? That Post Crosser wanted to know the THREE things to be done. This Post Crosser has upped the ante by asking

What are NINETY NINE things you want to do before you die?

Start the list, for one!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sounds of JOY!

Just had to squeak this one in while the season is still upon us! From Germany, Marion asks

How do the Santa Clauses speak in your country?

In Germany, and here in the US, they say "ho, ho, ho!"

Most? Hard Question

Onute, who is 15 and who lives in Lithuania, wants to know

What would you like to experience most in life?

For me? That the people I care about have contentment and happiness in their lives.

For ALL of us? Once again, (see posts from October 18, November 7, and November 23) PEACE.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Si! Oui! Da! YES!!!!

From Korea, on a really cool card, comes this question:

If you choose to live in another country, you have the responsibility to attempt to become fluent in that country's national language. Agree or disagree?

I say YES! wholeheartedly. I believe that even if you're just visiting a new place, you should attempt to learn to say THANK YOU in that country's language. Think about it: if you are in a place where you know no one, don't have much of a clue where anything is, and want things from people who live there, EVERYTHING you do is basically dependent on the good will of others. The LEAST you could do is express your gratitude in the language of the place.

Now, ALL THAT being said, it's also (in my opinion) incumbent on the people speaking the language of the place to be kind, gracious, and helpful to those attempting to communicate! No eyeball rolling, no facial expressions, no speaking too quickly to be understood, no giving wrong information or directions. Play fair!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coloring inside the lines?

Virpi, from Finland, has set my brain to humming over this question:

What is the equivalent in human life for the dotted line between lanes of a road or street?

I'm thinking maybe "the law" or perhaps, the unspoken agreement we have with one another to avoid "going too far," and which, when violated is often the cause of argument, and even violence.

Wow. This one is making me think.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's all in the timing!

Kai's card is the perfect one for today!

Do you believe in...
you know who?

Of course I do! (Hey! I have a chimney! I have stockings! But I don't NEED any coal!)

And, because I believe in love, OF COURSE, I believe in Santa.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, so many things

Mandy from Canada (and the dog in the golf bag, presumably) want to know:

What are you avoiding?

On any day, I can answer with things big and small! There's always the laundry, for one thing. Eventually, it's do the wash or buy new underwear! Then there's the long overdue "to-do" list of things that aren't urgent... (I am going to replace that burned out bulb in hallway... repair the dripping faucet). There's other stuff, I am sure, but I am not going to look at that right now!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tears of sorrow, tears of joy?

Jennifer, from San Francisco, inquires:

Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or of strength?

I have certainly cried from emotion springing from both sides. Tears of powerlessness, those burn more than any other, I think.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Maybe it's the cold medicine...

that I am taking, but this question kinda makes sense:

How do you know everything if in order to know everything you must know nothing and if you know nothing then how can you know everything?

or something like that, anyway.

It's from a student in Bedford, Kentucky and I'll tell you: today, I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Because nothing rhymes with orange?

Oh, I don't know! But Marianna, from the United Kingdom, wants to know:

Why is a grapefruit called a grapefruit?

Girl's gotta google this one!

According to Wiki... it's because the fruits grow in clusters on their trees, much like grapes do on their vines. (Frequently, solving the mystery is a bit of a let down.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This cute card harbors a serious question from a Post Crosser in Estonia:

What do you think of global warming?

Currently, the temperatures in Philadelphia are below freezing, and the wind only makes it feel colder. On an immediate basis, I could stand some warming - but of the local kind. I do believe that we have broken the weather, and that we have only begun to see the results of what we have done. Brrrrr, but not really.

Not WHAT, but WHY?

Narelle, from a small country town in Australia, asks us to ponder this question:

Why is your definition of true happiness different from other people's definitions of true happiness?

I think it's interesting that she goes beyond the "easy" question concerning WHAT a definition of true happiness is to the "deeper" question concerning the differences between people's perspectives.

I, myself, have never understood why some people appear to be happy when they are scared (after watching a horror movie, for instance).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting it right this time

Tiantian asks

If you believe in Karma, what do you think you've done in your pre-existence that led to the life you're now living?

Well, I am fortunate in my friends (in this life), so if reward is involved, I have been rewarded for friends who were (perhaps) not so favorable in my last life. The friends I have now are amazing people. If there's a lesson I have yet to learn, it's the lesson of patience. I want to have patience, but my problem is that I want to have it NOW!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home, Sweet Home?

Way back on November 1, two Post Crossers wondered if you could live on an island or on another planet. Today, Christi wonders

How do you define "home"?

I can label the characteristics of "home," but that's not really the question, is it? No. It's what home MEANS... I fear this is one of those inarticulate "just know it when I feel it" emotions.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Same thing as we all would do...

From the Czech Republic comes a question commonly abbreviated...


Same as Allah, Same as Krishna, Same as any benevolent deity, Same as any humane human, I hope.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh, and the keys to the boat!

Kristyna wants to know...

If you could take one thing to the desert island, which one would it be?

A boat to sail home in, obviously!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Natalya from the Ukraine wonders

What would you do if you woke up as a cat once?

If I woke up as my OWN cat, I would know that I landed in the lap of luxury! Boris and Natasha, the International Cats of Myster, live a highly indulged life! Food on demand, more kitty toys than any 12 cats could use, and catnip too!

I would delight in my good fortune!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blue, no, Green, no, Yellow, no Red...

Rita from Estonia wonders...

If dreams had a color, what color would they be?

I think it depends on the type of dream and the way you think about color!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

APB on a missing sock!

From Taiwan comes this perplexing query:

Where are the things that disappear?

I have no idea where things that disappear go, but several of my socks and countless sunglasses are there!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Just Can't Tell!

From Japan, on the back of this illustration of Ebizo, a Kabuki actor, I find this question (very appropriate considering the illustration!)

Can you hide your emotions as well as you imagine?

I'm thinking that we all probably think we manage put on a "good face," but we are not as successful as we think we are. I also think that we probably believe that we can see through the masks that other people wear far more successfully that we really do.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Final Frontier

Fans of Star Trek know what I'm talkin' about!

From Brussels and from Michigan, in the post only days apart came two space postcards!

Brussels wants to know

Do you think that humans really went to the moon in 1969 or could it be fake?

While Michigan, on a more practical note, asks

Why did mankind put a man on the moon ten years before anyone thought to put wheels on luggage?

Puzzlers, both!

Wild, wacky, weird?

Anniele from the Netherlands wonders...

When was the last time you actually did something weird/wacky/crazy for the sheer joy of it, in the presence of others?

Her card shows "When bad clothes happen to good people," and is specifically called "Attack of the Clothes." I love a great hat, but I think my friends might think that the acid green, purple and black number that I wore into my local coffee shop one morning might have been another such attack. If such a thing counts, that would have been the last time - about 6 weeks ago!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What DOES make ...

a woman, a woman?

That's what the question on this card asks!

What makes a woman, a woman? Is it their figure?

I think a woman is made (from a girl) through the tempering she receives from all of life's experiences. I am certainly not the woman that the girl I was would ever have expected. And that's perfectly OK with me.

Love makes the world go round

Valerie, from Belgium, sends this cutely complicated card, with the love machine in full operation, and asks:

Where does the secret ingredient of the love potion hide?

Follow your heart (Sorry, couldn't resist) through the process and see if you can spot the answer. (I have my own theory!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Famous? Friend? Foe?

From Jylisa, once from the Ukraine, now living in Connecticut, comes this head scratcher:

If you could bring back to life any person that lived at any time, who would it be and why?

Bring back a famous person? Who? Elvis for more great music?

Maybe a dear friend, who died from a disease we now can control better?

A foe so that we might make different choices and not be foes?

Simple question; hard answers!

Sunny side up!

Wecsisley tortures us with the perennial favorite:

What came first: the chicken or the egg?

Scrambles my brain everytime, and the issue is never over, easy!

Greetings, Earthling! (Oh, I hope so!)

In Finland, at least one person wonders...

Are we alone in the universe?

I hope we are not. In fact, I hope we are just one of many.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Still wondering...

On Friday, October 22, we were asked this very same question. I still hope to answer "you're right: now."

Oh. What's the question?

If not now, when?

Lost and found department

So, I learned in science class that you can't really DESTROY matter... it's got to "go" someplace. Therefore, whenever anyone says to me "I've lost 10 pounds..." I reply, "oh, they're not lost; I've got 'em right here." I never seem to have any problem at all FINDING weight... it's the losing of it that gets me!

And, so Kathryn's question fits right in...

Why is so easy to put on weight but so very difficult to lose it again?

Pernicious creatures, those fat cells.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope so! (again, but different)

Nastya, from Belarus, asks

They say, "where there's hope, there's life." Is it really important to have this hope?

I hope so! Else, why would we ever love anyone, do anything, feel anything? Hope drives it all!

Sports or Smarts?

Lisa, from not too far away from me in Maryland (and who sent a card from Baltimore, where the Baltimore Ravens play football), asks:

Why are major league baseball rookies getting multi-million dollar signing bonuses when our nation's teachers are getting low salaries, having to buy their own classroom supplies, and work in crumbling down school buildings?

I'm sure you've seen those comic illustrations where a devil sits on a person's left shoulder whispering into on ear while an angel sits on the right, whispering something else. I feel a little like this with this question!

On one hand, I too want teachers to be well-paid, well-supplied, and well-employed. I wish our nation's school buildings were all up-to-date, creative, well-designed structures with the features that high-tech sports stadiums have. On the other hand, I rather applaud the young athlete who has figured out a way to parlay physical strength, agility, and skill into a rewarding career. We have always showered the young, fit, and able with accolades.

Can we balance a little better? I'd like to think so.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Little Life

I have a little life. I know I do. I am not a world-changer, a disease-curer, a paradigm-setter. So, when Jana, from the Czech Republic asks

What's the purpose of your life?

I reply, "to leave my little corner of the world a little better off than the way I found it." If we EACH did that....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do we ever really know what's good for us?

On the only card I've received from Moldova - and quite a lovely card it is - appears this question:

What association arises for you from the photo on the card?

At first, I felt the warmth of the sun as it touched the leaves and stem of the tulip. Then I wondered if the photo had actually been printed using a reversal process so that it appeared the way a negative would because the flower was bending away from the light. In life, wouldn't it bend toward the light?

And then I thought how much this little photo illuminates the foolish actions we sometimes perform when we turn away from something that is good for us and that keeps us well. Deep, I know. All from a little tulip.

All we have going for us are opposable thumbs!

Mirabelle from France asks to ponder this:

Can animals be superior to humans and if so, in what ways?

Let's see... humans can't run as fast as the fastest animal, are not as strong as the strongest animal, can't see as well in the dark as the keenest-sighted animal, can't smell hardly anything at all, can't leap as high nor swim as deep...

All that prevents the cats in this household from piling me onto the trash heap like the useless waste of resources that I am is my ability to OPEN A CAN OF CAT FOOD! As long as I can do that, I figure I am safe!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Trust me. I'm not lying. Really

Hanna, from Sweden, wants to know:

Should you always speak the truth?

I remembered an article I'd read that said we're practically incapable of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In fact, in one experiment, approximately 60% of the participants told at least one lie, and these lies cropped up in conversation as short at 10 minutes.

Would I lie to you about that?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Every little thing gonna be all right

At least I hope so!

This card asks its question on the front and back:

Is everything OK?

The little critter looks so worried; I just want to reassure him? her? that things are just fine. Really.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sealed with a...

Zullina asks a simple question:

Do you remember your first kiss?

And for it, I have a simple answer:

Oh, yes.

Meet me one more time?

Thomas, a patient Post Crosser from Germany asks - on this lovely, elegant card...

Do you believe in different lives and a meet up with known souls/people in next or further ones? Can you imagine making an appointment with somebody you really love to spend another life with him/her again?

I have always tried to tell people I love that I love them. I hope I succeed. There are some, I know, who might not know how much they have meant to me. To meet them again, to tell them they mattered so very much is, for me, where the comfort of this question resides.


Natalia, from Portugal, simply says

How do you feel about my question?

Well, I'm not really sure!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

See Previous Question (and the one before that)!

Amy, on a postcard with art from one of my favorite artists (B. Kliban, famous for those cats!), asks:

If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Peace (the previous message)

Love (the one before that)

The OTHER Perennial Puzzler

Love bewilders us, but so too does this question from Portugal:

When will there be peace on Earth?

Not soon enough for me,

Love... a perennial puzzler

From the Ukraine, Yulia wonders

Can the love between two people last a lifetime or die or transform into some other feelings?

Chris, from Hong Kong, seems to have one perspective on the issue:

I've heard a song that says, "the greatest thing you'd ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." How can I forget the one I love most in my life? She's gone...

Love, sometimes, is a harder problem to solve, a more difficult question to answer, than any other one I can think of.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In my next life...

I would like to be my own pet. I have two of the most incredibly pampered, well-fed, totally indulged cats you'd ever care to meet. And, that's what makes me think I know the answer to this question, from Taiwan:

I'm a person who loves animals very much and sometimes I'll wonder about whether keeping a pet is really good for them. If they could choose, would they choose to keep living with us?

I guess it does really depend on the animal, but I know that Boris and Natasha (the aforementioned pets) would have no idea how to hunt down a can of cat food in the wild, let alone skin it and eat it.

Multiple Choice!

Today, Annie from New Zealand presents a multiple choice question

Would you rather be world famous for

a) sport?

b) literature?

c) music?

d) beauty?

Can't I be a beautiful musician who has also written a novel about my years as a world champion athlete?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

'Cause... I just do!

Norberto, from Italy asks the following question:

Why do this way?

By that, I'm assuming he's asking "why do we do the things we do in the ways we do them?" Heavens above, but I wish I knew! Sometimes, I find myself in the middle of some activity and wonder how the heck I got there!

Practically or Magically?

Benjawan, from Thailand asks this:

If you can change something in your life, what do you want to change?

And I ask, practically? Meaning something I would actually have to DO, such as eat better, exercise more (ugh)? Or magically? Meaning something I could just wish for and have happen.

The magical part is easy: I'd like all the people I meet to come away from the meeting better off than they were before they met me; I'd like the same for me.