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!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Unanswered questions

98 cards... all in one shot!

I had STUFF going on, and unfortunately Post Crossing suffered collateral damage. I just caught up on my posting there, and I will now catch up on my posting here. After I post these questions, the "back of the card" project will go on hiatus until January 2012. I've got a new idea to try, but I need to catch up on other long overdue tasks.

In the meantime, entertain yourself with these questions:

From Svetlana, in Russia: Why do young children smile all the time (give their smiles to the world)?

From Amy, a Canadian living in Japan: What is the difference between honor and pride and if there is a difference, which is more valued in the American culture?

From Carolina, in Lisbon, Portugal: How deep can the relationship between two people who have different mother tongues be?

From Alexander, in Russia: What makes a person happy? Can the "American Dream" bring happiness?

From Patricia, in Holland: Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or of strength?

From Connie, in San Francisco, United States: What does peace look like to you?

From Wendy, in the Netherlands: Why can you still taste the garlic the morning after you've eaten it?

From Angie, in Russia: If you could rewrite the end of any book, what book would you choose and and why?

From Iris, in Albuquerque, New Mexico: What makes you tick?

From Veronica, in Malaysia: What can you break without touching it? (silence!)

From Yun, in Columbus, Ohio: What brings you to PostCrossing and what motivates your 2nd, 3rd, 4th year?

From Zhang Yuyu in Beijing, China: Should a girl marry a successful man or a promising one?

From Iolanda, in Portugal: What activities make you lose track of time?

From Elisabeth: If you could be an animal, which one would you pick?

From Piotr, in Poland: Do you believe in yourself?

From Ju, in Australia: Have you ever reflected on the ways your identity and send of self has changed over your life?

Three from Nela in Czechoslovakia: Do you believe people have free will? Do you think evil is only a lack of good? Do you think that education forms one's personality more than genes do?

From Japan: Do you like the US? Why?

From Jeff, in the Phillipines: Where do your files go when you empty your computer's trash bin?

From Marja, in Finland: Are people allowed to eat the meat of horses?

From Pleun, in the Netherlands: What was the most terrible dream you ever had?

From Canada: How are the cycles of our lives like oranges?

From Anastasia, in France: What events in your life did make you think of fate, destiny, fortune?

From Daniela, in Germany: How do you qualify being rich?

From Hildegarde, in Belgium: What do you do when you can't think of a TPQ, not even after trying for two days?

From Gabi, in Germany: Do you know wherefore a panda can do a handstand?

From the Ukraine: What does it mean to be "normal"?

From Sean, in England: If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would you choose to meet?

From Craig, a history teacher in Michigan: If Hitler had been accepted as an art student in Vienna, would World War II still have taken place?

From Renate, in Lithuania: What are five things that make you happy?

From Filia, in germany: Why does the hand of a wath always turn right, not left?

From Jodene, in Canada: If dogs are colourblind and people can see colour, what do you think is possible we are not seeing?

From Salt Lake City: Do you believe in the greenhouse effect?

From Shanghai: Light after darkness?

From Aurora, in Taiwan: What is the meaning of life?

From Germany: Could it be that the system is wrong?

From Joeanne, in Taiwan: If you only get one chance to do time travel, what will you do and why?

From Katya, in Ukraine: Why are people do afraid to make changes?

From Turek, in Poland: What came first, the chicken or the egg?

From Napsu, in Finland: What is the point when you have done enough and it all becomes housekeeping?

From Finland: How old is OLD?

From Eva, a German living in Spain who says she is "Germish:" Who am I?

From Allyson, in Canada: What is good about money?

From Catherine, in Miami, Florida: If we are dead when our lives have ended, what are we before we are born?

From Russia: Why do schools always suppress individuality?

From Cambodia: If you were to choose another country to live in, where would it be?

From Salla, in Finland: Do you believe in angels? Will they help us or are we carrying them?

From Lisa, in Canada: Why do human procrastinate? I WISH I KNEW THE ANSWER TO THIS ONE!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Merry Christmas?

Natalia sends a Christmas card in the summer! And she wonders...

What is the weirdest gift you ever received?

I guess that I have been an incredibly fortunate gift recipient: I have never gotten a truly weird, "what the heck is THIS" kind of gift. But, I would surely love to hear about other people's gift getting (and gift giving) experiences!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Riddle! (I love riddles!)

Julian, a very clever and articulate chap from Malaysia, sent this charming card and a riddle in verse:

I have a thousand faces - maybe more.
I'd love to visit a thousand places - then some more.
Alas, my minder would've none of it
The choleric dude who wears his heart on his sleeve.

And I don my thoughts on my back. What am I?
The first post crossing card!

Check out Julian's blog:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Problem is... I never LIKED pink

Astrid, on this delicious-looking card, explains that these confections, called "beschuit met muisjes" are traditionally made to celebrate the arrival of a baby.
Naturally, girls are celebrated with pink "muisjes" and boys with blue ones. Or is it "natural"?
Astrid's question is "Why is it pink for girls and blue for boys?"
I turned to the clarifier of all things obscure: Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope website. Here's the link:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dreaming of the miraculous

If a dream comes true, is that a miracle?
(That's my question...derived from these questions:
Do you believe that dreams come true?
If you could perform one miracle, what would it be?
My dream is PEACE (it always is) and that WOULD be a miracle.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walking to the beat...

Warning: Objects in this window are larger than real life (at least I hope so!)
Groetje, from Germany, sent this lovely creature and asked:
What's the first thing you would do if you could suddenly walk on water?
Steven, from Connecticut in the US, has stranded me on the desert island again. (I think I've been there before.)
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three CDs would you bring with you?
I think I would employ my newly discovered ability to walk on water to get off the island, particularly if it's occupied by creatures like the ones on the German card!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

When one question answers another...

Rebecca wants to know:

What's the biggest problem in the world today?

To which Joris replied by asking this question:

Why do people always vote for politicians who promise the most for the crowd and actually do the most for themselves?

I'm hardly even needed in this loop!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Today's postcard trio is all about what you see...

Amanda: How would you feel if you only saw the world in black and white?

Chris: I lost a shoe in a dream. Will I ever find it?

Laurence: What is the vision of the inner eye?

I hope that the visions shown me by my inner eye are in color, and that one day I'll see all the things I've ever lost, most importantly people.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Heliotropic coffeespoons

I defy you to find a more inscrutable blog post heading than today's: Heliotropic coffeespoons.
A postcrosser from Japan, on a lovely sunflower-bearing card, wonders why the sunflower blooms in the direction of the sun. That's heliotropism in action. (Gosh, I love it when I get to use a swell word such as heliotropism!)
Another postcrosser, this time from Portugal, wants to know why the French move their coffeespoons to the left while the Portugese move them to the right. I figure it's because the French are following the sun, from east to west or from the right to the left.
See? It all comes together: heliotropic coffeespoons!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where do we start, why are we here, and where are we going?

A "simple Ukrainian guy" (his words, not mine) wants to know:

If you could choose a country in which to be born, what would it be?

An 8-year-old from Australia wants to know:

Why are we made?

A couple from Russia want to know:

Where would you travel?

Right now, I'm happy to have been born here, to stay here, and to contemplate why I was made in the first place!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grateful for the essentials

More related questions (at least in my mind)!
Two from the Netherlands: What is the one material thing you could not do without? And what is the one non-material thing?
One from Finland: What are you grateful for?
I've got terrible vision! If I had to spend a day trying to make sense of the world without wearing contact lenses or glasses, I'd be completely befuddled. So, my material items would be my glasses or contact lenses. Those contact lenses allow me to exploit the non-material "thing" that I would miss the most - and one of the things for which I am most grateful - my curiosity! I couldn't read or write or draw or paint or see anything around me at all! And THAT would make me NUTS.

Monday, August 15, 2011

An unseen eye in the sky?

I managed to confuse two recent questions ... one was about what I would do if I were invisible and the other was about where I'd go if I were able to fly...
What I answered the person asking about invisibility was that - because I could fly, I would never be late again.
I began to answer the person asking about flying, and I realized that I was confused. Clearly, just thinking about high altitudes deprives my brain of the oxygen it needs to think clearly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going to heck in a handcart?

I wonder if Katarina considered how well the illustration on the front of her card matched the question on the back of her card! It seems pretty clear to me. You see, she asked,

So.... what is life in America?

Sometimes I think life in America is a lot like the picture on the card. Some people are looking forward; some people are looking back; everyone is heading for an unknown destination with no real control of the course, speed, or journey!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

English, anyone?

Lots of people, it seems! Tauty, from Belgium poses this question (on a card designed to help a person learn (and love) English):
Why has English become the language of Post Crossing?
According to, English is NOT the language spoken by the most PEOPLE in the world. English is number 2 in that contest; Mandarin is number 1. However, English is spoken in the highest number of countries.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three times the luck

I guess there's more bad luck out there than I would have believed. Way back in November 2010, and then again in February this year, people asked about bad luck along the lines of this question from Nancy in Canada:
Is it genetics or karma or what that makes a person have continual bad luck?
I'm not sure... are some people just born under a dark cloud?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Greetings, Spaceling!

Kate, from Russia, asks
What would you say the first time you meet an "alien"?
Well, first... did I go somewhere to encounter this person? If it was a long trip, I'd probably ask "where's the restroom?"
If the alien came to my neighborhood, I'm not sure WHAT I'd ask... Offer a brewski? I'll be thinking about this one all day!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Some famous author (can't remember who) reputedly thought that "cellardoor" was the most delightful sounding English word - disregarding for a moment that it's not one word...

Saskia from Belgium, asks:

What is the most beautiful word for you?

For what it means: peace
For what it sounds like: susurrus
For how it tickles my brain: omphaloskepsis

You mean other people can actually pick just one? Weird.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Can you hear me?

Aya, from Japan, asks this question:

What is the best way to understand people from different cultures?

I think the key to success here is to listen more than you speak. I've found astonishing things when I've just shut my piehole and listened to what other people have to say.

So: Be quiet!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Postcard from.... the laser lab!

Well, from a physicist, anyway!
Soren, from Germany, who is an actual physicist in an actual lab working with ultra cold atoms, lasers and "a lot of quantum mechanics" sent a mind-boggling question (as befitting a deep thinking scientist kinda guy):
Can the human mind understand itself, i.e. be completely aware of itself, understanding its own purpose, reactions, etc? Or will we build artificial minds/computers that are so complex that we cannot understand them anymore?

I believe that the divine in us resides in that corner of the mind that we can never really comprehend.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Power of Three, plus a bonus

Three is something of a magical number, no? "Three wishes from the genie in the bottle" immediately leaps to mind.

From Indiana, this three-fer question:

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

From Victoria on a card showing the workings of a Welsh coal mining operation:

If you were far underground, what three things would you take down with you and what three things would you leave "upstairs"?

And the bonus question, on a card from Moldova:

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Is it better to know the reality (real life) or to live in a fantasy, no matter how false it can be?

Break into small groups, discuss, prepare to report back to the group...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God Save the Queen!

Martin, from Jersey (the Channel Island, not the state in the US) wonders
Is there a place in the modern world for a monarchy?
We "colonials" here in the US have something of a romantic idea about royalty. I confess: I was married at the Renaissance Faire and am fond of telling people that Queen Elizabeth came to my wedding!
What the reality of living under a monarchy actually IS, I have no idea. In the end, I think I am unqualified to answer the question.

Monday, July 4, 2011

This IS a thought provoker!

From Italy (on a card that reminds me to relax!) comes this intriguing question:

How would you explain to a blind person what colours are?

The best course I can think of is to draw an analogy to taste or texture. This one really does have me thinking hard!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time to Curate

We're beginning July. In two months' time, this project will be a year old. I am tickled by the response, and I'm already working on ways to keep the backs of the postcards interesting. Questions are still arriving, sometimes as many as a half-dozen a day!

It's hard to keep up!

So, I'm going to have to switch to a "curated" approach, especially because some of the questions are starting to be "repeats." I can hardly expect a person to scan every single post to determine if his or her question has already been asked!

From now on, I'll post questions that I haven't received before. That way, I'll be able to register cards at Post Crossing in a timely way, but still keep things entertaining over here.

For today: Would you risk your life for a perfect stranger?

I'm thinking that in an impulsive situation, I probably would. I'd push someone out of the way of a vehicle, for example.

In a more calculated way, I'd assess risk, I guess.

What about you? (I know you're out there, reading!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Well, I believe this is a first in nearly a year of posts: ANSWERS instead of questions!

First, the answer to the question about what people on the postcard had in common. I guessed that they were all left-handed, and it turns out that I was correct. Good guess, for guess it was!

Second, who could have expected this? In the post on the day after the "chicken and egg" question was posted, I received the answer on another postcard! The answer is "chicken" because it appears first in the dictionary!

Answers.... an unexpected treat!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two riddles!

On the card with the cave: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

On the card with the names: These people have something in common. What is it?

As far as riddle number one is concerned, I have no idea which came first, but I do know which came next: the chef with the saute pan!

As far as riddle number two is concerned, I suggest that they are all left handed. We shall see when the Post Crosser who sent the card supplies the answer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seven in one blow!

Today, seven postcards containing thought provoking questions appeared in the mailbox! WOW! Suddenly, everyone is asking!

It would take a week just to post each of these, and who knows what will arrive tomorrow?

So, pick a question, any question, for discussion and answering!

The monkey and cat from Borneo wonder: what is your favorite memory from a vacation?

The statue from the Ozark Mountains (on a card sent from Utah) asks: what does it mean to be a good person in the modern world?

The wayfaring sparrow reads other people's diaries and wonders: whose journal would you like to read?

The slogans from Finland are on a card that asks: Is there a way to make the world fair?

The "art appreciator" from Finland wonders: What would you do if you won the lottery? Would money make you happy?

From Germany comes the question: What do ou think about Germans?

And last, on a crazy patchwork of signs and advertising from Hong Kong is this multiple choice question: Family, friends, career, love: what's your priority?

Break up into small groups, discuss, and report back.


Suddenly everyone is speculatin'
From Nashville: If you came to Nashville, what country music star would you be?
From Finland: If you were a song, what song would you be?
From the Netherlands: If you were a color, what color would you be today?
Can I be Donovan, singing Mellow Yellow, and answer all three questions at once?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sister sensation

First, admire this lovely handmade card:
Next, contemplate the question:
How would you feel if you had a twin sister?
I don't have a sister at all, so that would have to be my first leap of imagination. Then, to get to the idea of a twin... well, I'm not sure my imagination stretches that far!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We just don't measure up!

The elephants on this card (and the writer who sent it) wonder

Why does the USA not convert to the metric system?

We were supposed to... some time ago! Whatever became of that initiative? I remember studying the metric system, but it was more like a curiousity than something that would have an impact on my actual life.

The only everyday item that seems to have been affected is the "2-liter bottle" of soda.

What DID become of the drive to convert to metric?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dreaming a little dream....

Did you ever dream you were dreaming? And then dreamed you woke up? And then realized you were still dreaming? And wondered if you're dreaming still?
One Post Crosser asks, "Am I really writing this card or do I just think I am writing this card or do I think I think I am writing this card?"
While another wonders, "Have you ever wondered if your dreams are, in fact, when you are really awake and what you see around you now is a dream?"
Post Crossers discover dream theory and recursive imagery, all in the same day. My head hurts again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'll bet the man on this card has seen some changes in his days. The question here is

If you could turn back time to change something, what would it be?

Change the way we treat each other? To one of more respect and compassion... that would probably require rewiring human DNA!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trying to do me in?

No fewer than three postcards carried, essentially, the same message:

If your doctor only gave you 1 day... 1 month... to live.... what would you do?

One of them actually asked what food would you have to give up if your doctor asked you to sacrifice your favorite food. What's the point of living more than a day if you couldn't ever have your favorite food again?

Gosh, you guys are really trying to cut me down in the prime of my life (or make me wish I had been mowed down)!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another difficult choice

Vytantie wants to know

What is more important to you - your legs or your arms?

I think, for me, my arms because they are connected to my hands and I use my hands to make my living and to make my art.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wishing and hoping and dreaming...

Our parents often have one plan for our futures while we have another. Aurora, from Switzerland, wonders

How can we balance our parents' wishes and our desires for the future?

I persist in the hope that if we are happy and healthy and doing what we love, that everyone should be fine. Maybe a little naive...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Art, Great Gams, and a Poser of a Question!

Pippa, from Australia asks

Why did the pike take a hike?

And the question was on this artistic card from a project in Australia that solicits artwork for distribution on its postcards.

Pippa is the Post Crosser; Clarissa Bones is the photographer; is the project.

And I have no idea why the pike took a hike!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I always wanted to direct!

Adriana and Morius, from Romania, asked this cinematographic question:
If your life were a motion picture, what would the title be?
I will have to work on the title, but the more pressing question is... which fabulous, talented, beautiful actress could rise to the challenge of portraying me?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Smile! Say Cheese!

Becky, from New Zealand, paired the question to the card and asked:
If you could photograph any scene in the world, what would it be?
Simple: a photo of me, smiling, holding a winning lottery ticket!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Enough is enough, already

Patie, from Poland asks...
Do you think that two adult women who are very in love can fight for their love with the rest of the world?
World - stop fighting. It's none of your business anyway.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crank 'er up!

Jennifer wonders...
If tomorrow we lost the ability to generate electricity, what would you miss the most?
She says music although she also points out that we could handcrank our phonographs. (Not sure precisely how we might hand crank our CD players, or for that matter, our Ipods... teeny tiny little cranks, I suppose!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bonus Card!

For my last Post Crossing project, as some may know, I listed 50 items in "scavenger hunt" fashion. I received MOST of the items. One item was "carnival;" another was "circus." Jennifer, to whom I sent a card in December of 2009, found the card you see here, and I just received it. I love cards like this! It's a vignette of a life I could only barely imagine.
It's actually a picture of a real person, Koo-Koo the Bird Woman. She was a performer in a sideshow, at the time when people with unusual physical features found one way to make something of a living - as a "freak."
When I googled her name, I found many images sprinkled about the WWW, along with an interesting biographical sketch on the "Phreeque" website. I'm posting the link, along with the advisory that some of the images on this site are disturbing:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Smiles all around!

Yana, from Bulgaria, sent me this cool card in the shape of... BULGARIA!
And she wonders:
What makes you smile?
Easy answer: shaped postcards! I think they are fun.
p.s. I'm posting twice today because I missed yesterday and I do not - DO NOT - want to fall behind again!

Seriously? No so!

Great card and great question from Finland!
What are three things that you would still like to learn?
The writer mentioned that, in reference to the card, learning to laugh at herself more is one of hers!
Me, too. And to take things a little less seriously. And to be bolder!