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!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Working for "the man"? (or for yourself?)

Bakerboy, from New Zealand, post a thought-provoking statement rather than a question. He says,

"my marketing lecturer always told us, 'we are our own boss because we agree to the pay and conditions of employment" but people always complain abuot pay and conditions, don't they?"

I've noticed that too and wondered if it's just human nature to complain!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Forever, and ever, and ever and ever and ever and ever and then some more

On January 4, someone posed the question: What would you do if the average life span was only 40 years? You can check that question here.

Today, from the Netherlands, comes an opposing question:

What would you do if you had to live forever (and you're one of the few people on earth to do so)? Would you do very different things/make different choices in life?

Well, if I was assured health and relative safety, I'd travel.
I'd love recklessly and wildly because I would know that the people I loved would leave me, and I would want them to know how much I treasured them while they were here. That's a start.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Set the wayback machine, Sherman!

Deanna, from Canada, asks

If you could go back in history, which event would you change?

Hmmmmm, perhaps I'd encourage the unicorns to get on the ark.

Seriously, that's a hard one. Can't just pick ONE war (the Crusades? WWI? the Civil War?) but surely would like to reduce bloodshed. Can't just pick one tyrant (Hitler, Pol Pot?) Can't just pick one good person to survive (JFK? Archduke Ferdinand?)

I can't even think of an item in my own life that I would change!

Friday, January 21, 2011

RPS: More than just a school yard game...

Do we even have school yards anymore? Well, whether we do or we don't, we can still play the school yard game, RPS - Rock, Paper, Scissors! And Peter, from Australia wants to know:

Which do you play first: rock, paper or scissors?

The World Rock, Paper, Scissors Society (what? you know you can find anything on the Internet!) offers an entire section devoted to play strategy. Seems that key advice is "don't do ROCK."
And, isn't this a lovely family who looks as if they are just itching to throw a round of RPS?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You can't CHOOSE...

your family! Some of us wouldn't choose anyone other than the relatives we've got; others of us... another story entirely. On this card, from Tennessee, is the question:

Why do families feel the need to come home for the holidays?
Is it ingrained in us or is it guilt?
NO WAY am I answering this question out here in the wide open Internet where (gulp) my family might read it! (Now that I think about it, THAT might be answer enough.... LOVE YA, everybody!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Me? Some other me?

Christine, from Portugal, asks

If you would be anyone else, who would you choose to be?

Well, no one famous, for starters...too much hassle being a star! Someone with the ability to sing... I've always wanted to sing.

p.s. I love this card because I feel just like this some days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nor could I do this, but in a completely different way

Agnieszka, from South Poland, sent me this very cool card. That little person on the card IS Agnieszka! She walked all up and down the coast of the Baltic Sea! (I could so not do that!)

Little person, but she asks a big question:
Why can't so many people enjoy every day's miracles?

Beats me, Agnieszka. Seems to me, it's a choice: see nothing or see wonderful things. Why not choose wonder?

I could not do this

Renate, from Austria, describes a situation involving the injury of a friend's dog by a careless driver whose only remark to the owner was "it wasn't my fault." The question?

What would you do if you hurt an animal in a similar way? Then, she went on to ask (and this is the real question):

What is the worth of an animal's life?

I'm glad this question has arrived in my life now, and not a year ago when I'd just lost my cat, my pet, my pal of 16 years! Then, I couldn't even have typed the sentence.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Better than sliced bread?

In Malaysia, a Post Crosser wonders

Can there be a better invention than the Internet?

It certainly has changed the world! What happens in the future will reveal if there is anything better, I suppose.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Each one, teach one

A question that makes me smile...

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

It makes me smile because... I AM a teacher!

Besides the language skills I already teach, I would teach tolerance.
(The Latvian language on the card says (according to Google)
"national language of fairy tale about the mud." The sender of the card translates the words as "the fairy tale of the state wins over all the dirt." Both idiomatic expressions of something inscrutable, I think.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Make War, Not Love?

In Italy, someone is wondering

Do you think war could be fair?

I am a pacifist, so I have a really hard time with this concept. Intellectually, I can imagine someone constructing a "thought experiment" in which armed conflict proves to be the only solution, but emotionally, I cannot imagine that scenario in real life.

The Answer

to yesterday's riddle... at least the one provided by Chris_in_Burgundy:

Why did the chicken cross the road (other than to get to the other side)?

Because it was EGG-SUBERANT!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cheep Humor

Chris_in_Burgundy sends along this question:

Why did the chicken cross the road (other than to get to the other side)?

A Google search on this question returned over 600,000 hits!

Come back tomorrow for the answer Chris provided!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mom Always Like You Best!

Iris, from Germany, is either a parent or a child (certainly one, maybe both!) who wonders
How could you make your children realize that every one of them gets the same measure of love?

I guess, for a start, you have to give them the same measure of love... not necessarily the same TYPE of love, but the same degree of it. And then, you have to help them understand that there will be some days that you are not parent-of-the-year material, but that doesn't mean you love them any less.

Wise words, these, coming from someone who has no children!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This card, from Nicky in the Netherlands, has had quite a journey to arrive here. She sent it once, and it came back to her. She checked the address, which was correct, and sent it again. It came back to her a second time. She checked the address again, stuffed it into an envelope and sent it a THIRD time. I am so glad she persisted because it might just be my very favorite card ever. It doesn't have a thought-provoking question on the back, but the front certainly makes a person think!

So, THANK YOU, Nicky, for hanging in there. And, I wish you and everyone, minds opened by wonder!

Hard to imagine...

but true! I have actually received TWO postcards featuring elephant dung. I realize that hundreds, maybe even thousands of these cards were printed, but I think that the odds of one person receiving two different designs of elephant dung must be pretty astronomical. The other card can be found here.

Now, on this card from South Africa, there were three questions (two silly, one serious). Here they are:

If a mute boy swears, does his mother make him was his hands with soap?

If a turtle has no shell, is it naked or homeless?

And the serious one:

At what point are we good enough? When are we self-improved enough to accept ourselves?

I say YES, and NAKED, and I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA. People I believe are pretty nearly perfect confess to striving to overcome self-perceived deficiencies; sometimes, I think there's no hope for me at all!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seeking advice? Getting what you give?

Silly, aka Sylvia from Vernonia, Oregon, focuses her attention on Post Crossing itself and asks:

If you could offer one piece of Post Crossing advice to a newbie like me, based on all your postcarding experience, what would it be?

Well, I would have two:

As a sender of postcards, do the best you can to find something of interest to your recipient (a question on the back of the card, for example!).

As a recipient of postcards, always say THANK YOU (there's my mother talking, now!).

Interestingly enough, in the same mail delivery as Silly's card came Zdenka's card, on which she asked:

Is life like a boomerang - whatever you send out (good or bad) will one day return to you?

I think so... boomerang out good Post Crossing vibes, and you'll get (as I have) good Post Crossing cards back. Boomerang out good; you'll get back good.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Greetings from Uganda

Where Katja wonders

Why the African countries are not more developed, now that they are free. Or is "our" way simply not "their" way?

She closes the postcard by saying "I, myself, learn a lot here." And that, I think, somehow answers the question. There is a lot to learn in considering the differences that exist around us in the world. Several recent cards have focused on that issue, and I find that I really do not have a good answer!
Katja, by the way, is the number one postcrosser from Uganda, and this card is only the 250th card sent from there.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Revealing question!

Tanya, on a lovely greeting postcard from the Ukraine, wonders...

What is your secret (closely held) dream?

Well, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?

I always wished I could actually sing. As it is now, I can only carry a tune if someone puts sheet music in a wheel barrow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yikes! Could be disastrous!

Mavis, from Italy, poses this question, and it's almost too terrible to contemplate!

What would happen if of a sudden the cheese Parmesan disappeared from Italy, the beer from Germany, and the vodka from Russia?

Horrors! We'd all have to run to Belgium to get the last good thing left: CHOCOLATE!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seems to be so

Elisabeth from Austria asks a question that is linked (at least in my mind) to the card from yesterday.

Why do people from so-called "poor countries" often seem so happy when many of them literally have nothing?

My first question in response to the question (you should never answer a question with a question, I know!) is "Are they really happy or do they only SEEM that way?"

My next thought is "What does happy really mean, anyway?"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Humble Pie

On a RARE card (in my collection, anyway!) from Guatemala (only the 707th card sent from that country!), comes this question, which is directly related to the image on the card. Gunter wonders...

What would you do/feel if you had to work and live with the women on this postcard?

I'd like to think that I'd start out being humble because I'm just betting that work is harder to do than it looks. I'd probably be exhausted.

Now, Gunter, I learned, is an IRONMAN, so maybe he wouldn't be as wiped out by the work as I would.

Still the same

Anais from Barcelona invites speculation on this idea:

What would you say if the whole world listened to you for a minute?

First, I would get the whole world to promise to not only LISTEN to what I had to say, but to REMEMBER it and then ACT on it!

Then, I would ask everyone to chill out, calm down, and make peace. (Peace: it's my thing.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Above Average? Below?

Congratulations to Sheila, from France! Her postcard is the ONE HUNDREDTH Thought-Provoking Question posted since the beginning of the project! Wow!

And it's a doozy!

If the average life span were FORTY YEARS, would you lead your life differently?

(Latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show an average life span (if you were born NOW) to be 77.9 years (for a citizen of the US).)

I'd worry less, I think. And I'd love more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Le Petit Prince

One of my very favorite books!

And a question based on the book...

Is it better to know less?

In the book, the Little Prince asks for a drawing of a sheep. Although the character of whom the Prince makes the request complies, the Prince is never satisfied until the drawing is a sheep in a box.

A corollary question: If you know too much, can you still imagine?

Ah, but is the first premise supportable?

Luxembourg asks (well, not the entire country, just one post crosser):

If there is no good/right nor wrong, why do we judge so much?

See... I agree with the implied criticism in the second clause of the question - that we DO judge a bit more than perhaps needful (at least I do), but I am not sure at all that I can adopt the premise of the first clause. However, as the card itself illustrates, there are many views on the world (and its philosophies).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Do you have faith in faith?

Marie, from Canada, wonders

Do you believe that faith can cure physical disease?

According to her card, a family member has pretty strong beliefs that it can.

As for me, I believe that for people who believe, faith is a strong motivator to do what's needed to feel better, and it may even exert a greater influence than we understand. There's an interesting article on just this topic in the current issue of Scientific American Mind magazine.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prince Charming?

Who wants to kiss a frog to marry a prince?

That what this card from Belgium asks!

A more interesting question is this: how many of us married the prince (or princess) only to have him (or her) turn out to be a frog after all?