FROM ME- Though this TP was written several years ago, I still would benefit from this type of input: in late June I put out a message to people on the THOUGHT PROVOKER mailing list and to 15 listservs dealing with blindness issues. I asked- "In a week I need to give a presentation on this THOUGHT PROVOKER forum of mine. What I would like to do is to present how THOUGHT PROVOKER is viewed by, and used by its readership. Starting with, Who reads THOUGHT PROVOKER? What do people do with it? What has it, if anything done for you? And so, could you all help me with this, please? I'll post all that I get, just like I would a THOUGHT PROVOKER.

BELOW are the responses I've gotten to this date. I will accept additional responses. If you wish to register your feelings, positive or negative and/or suggestions, find my email address on this page and send me a message. thank you.


e-mail responses to

**1. Robert, the thought provokers are good fodder for contemplation. They give new perspective to things that come up in everyday life. They are very good.
Though I don't "do" anything with them necessarily, they do cause me to pause and think about what you have said.

Ben nabs-l ACB

**2. I don't often get a chance to go up on the website to see what others have written, but when I have, I've enjoyed it. As for why I contribute, chalk it
up to being a writer. I can probably whip out a couple of hundred words on about any topic at the drop of the hat. Having a thought provoker topic appear
in my inbox gives me an opportunity to think over and clarify my thoughts on a wide variety of subjects related to living as a blind person. Its good
exercise for the mind and hopefully, what I have to say assists others in understanding the diverse population that the visually impaired is and perhaps
too helps someone losing vision demystify the cultural community of the blind.

DeAnna Quietwater USA

**3. I enjoy them very much. Published, they would make an interesting read (Braille, audio or whatever).

They often are from a point of view that I may not consider, being just visually impaired. The "Thought Provokers" have taught me to ensure that all blindness points of view are important and should be part of any answers, presentations or blindness issue conveyed to another. Especially, if that "other" is a sighted person.

Please continue to provide these interesting and "Thought Provoking"

Max Hearn ACB-L

**4. Robert,
I haven't always replied to your posts because I'm sighted, but I read them all with interest and try to "walk a mile in another's moccasins," as it were. Some I can relate to as part of the human condition, with or without sight. Others I can't feel anything about at all. But they are all interesting - and thought-provoking.

Carolyn Gold Clearwater, FL, RPLIST

**5. I have been around as a blind person for over sixty years and sometimes think there isn't much I haven't thought or experienced as a blind person who has
been around various places in this world. However, each time I read the responses to a Thought Provoker, someone reports an experience and/or a thought that hadn't occurred to me before. It gives me a sense of the richness of variety and individuality among persons who happen to be blind; pretty much
as I find to be the case with everyone I meet, blind or sighted. When we say that blind folks are just like everyone else, all that means is that each
of us is not just like everyone else, except that we are each, in some way or other, a little bit, or a whole lot, different. Some of the responses I
have read over the years have surprised me; some have not: blind persons can disagree just as vehemently over issues of importance to us as anyone else
and that's what makes politics interesting too. "Thought Provoker" is aptly named, both for the provocative scenarios and the insightful responses. I
can't quit without saying that the Newman stories are invariably well done, thought provoking and well worth the few minutes it takes to read them. Each
one adds a little to my sense of myself as a blind person and even shifts my perspective a bit, generally for the better.

James S. Nyman Lincoln, NE USA

**6. HI Robert,
As you want goes. Your column has been invaluable to me as I live in an area with scant support. You have done a wonderful job of addressing
issues that most of us face at one time or another. Your site also provides a means of identifying with others which is so important if you do not have
local support. I know that I am handling my life and vision loss better because of your column so thank you!
I did like your old site better, however as it was easier to get to.

Sheila Andren

FROM ME- I’ve not changed my web site since its launching, other than to update some minor points of information. What I think this lady is referring to the change I made in 2003, wherein I stopped sending out the weekly update of responses. This did make a difference in the number of responses I had been receiving for each TP, from an average of 50 to 25. What I will be doing is on the third week of a current TP, I will be sending out all responses that have come in to that point. That will allow for one last push to see if folks have additional responses before the new TP comes out the following week.

The 2 main reasons I had stopped the weekly updates were, I wanted more people to visit my web site and read and response to all TPs that were posted there. And secondly, putting together the weekly updates was time consuming and I had other writing projects I wished to get to and wasn’t.

**7. Hi,
I liked it much better when the story and the comments were all sent out to the group, though I know this was more work for you.

Thanks Lauren Merryfield Washington USA

**8. Hi Robert,
For me, the beauty of the Thought Provoker is that it gives me the opportunity to take a second look at situations that are fairly common place. A chance
to examine my own thoughts and bias' that I would otherwise not take the time to do.
Too often we think we have resolved a situation and we never need to test our beliefs on that subject.
Keep up the good work. It is appreciated.

Carl Jarvis

**9. I do read them! My favorites so far are Thought Provoker 7 "TO BE OR NOT TO Be", THOUGHT PROVOKER 24 What shall the Babies Be?, THOUGHT PROVOKER 42 Blind
Or Sighted Counselor and THOUGHT PROVOKER 65 Call Me Blind. I enjoy reading these articles. A comment on the one about the babies, I was born in Jan. of 1983, weighing 2 pounds 6 oz. 3 months premature. I was blessed to only be born with crossed eye (one eye drifts out, unless I cover the eye that is still
straight) and no depth perception, because as far as I have been told I should have been born blind. But, thankfully I am not. Just have the visual acuity
of a 6 month old at age 22. I am working toward becoming a Braille transcriber for my town (mostly for the schools). I decided on this based on how Braille
helps me in life (although I don't use it daily) and the shortage of transcribers. Also, my parents don't believe I am blind in one eye, so in order to
get the technology that could benefit me I am going into Braille transcription, since I do want to help the people where I live.

T. J. Blindkid

**10. I've enjoyed the Thought Provokers, and thought some of them to be challenging. I've learned that my feelings or opinions about what it's like to be blind may not be the prevailing viewpoint, and they are certainly not the only ones.

Abby ACB-L

**11. The Thought Provokers to me are like springboards for thought and discussion. They make me stop and think through something and, after doing so, I either come to the conclusion I had before--if I had ever considered the situation--or I see a new or different slant. It's also a pleasure to know that we can post our musings and read each other's ideas.

Beth Newport News, Virginia

**12. Hi Robert -- I myself find your thought provokers to be interesting, and I hope useful to you in whatever it is you use them for. If they could motivate
someone to action of some kind to benefit themselves or other blind persons that would be great. If you are using them as fodder for writing articles for training or publications, then I think some of them might yield some useful insights. But I confess after all that that I have only responded to a few of them, and lately have been deluged with email from all the various lists I'm on so haven't
kept up with them.
I would like to see them continued, as I think they can be a fun if not profitable exercise.
But it would be helpful to have an online forum rather than just posting the responses after the fact so people can interact online and discuss the issues.
(Please excuse me if that is what you are doing. I haven't been to your site, at least not recently.)
As for one that still sticks in my mind, the one about the space ship with all the people in stasis being blinded and the crew trying to figure out how
to make them as self sufficient as possible in their new home, I thought the blind persons should have all been awakened at that point -- or at least some
of them, in order to be a part of the process. That's all.
Anyway, hope this is what you are looking for.


**13. I am new to your website. I am a TVI and am getting my O&M certification. I found out about your site when you posted the bit about the "pickpocket" (making
a living, ie good and bad people, everywhere.) I sent that part to my sister (we often exchange humorous/interesting e-mails and websites.) I find your thought provokers interesting and helpful as a teacher. However, I am new to your site and am still getting through your past items. I did send one to some colleagues because we are putting together a questionnaire for our past alums and one of our questions is about employment - based on the fact that
we are trying to improve our school (ala no child left behind) and in our minds, the success of our students is related to what we do with our students.

Debby Eades

**14. Well, sometimes I forward them to others and sometimes not. Some of them are more interesting than others. I hope your presentation goes well.

Nancy Lynn

**15. My name is Jonathan. I am a 27 year old blind guy who recently

graduated fm grad school with a masters in psych counseling.
I live in Massachusetts
I read the thought provoker occasionally. Sometimes I respond when I feel that I can put two cents in and my two cents is relevant.


Jonathan Albert

**16. Robert,
I am an Instructor at a center for the blind. I use your thought provoker as a spring board for group conversations with our students and staff during
Seminar. This is where all of our staff and students meet together under sleep shades to discuss blindness issues.
I will get someone to read off one of your story starters and then get responses from the group. Thank you for sharing these. They are great.

Tammy Cantrell

**17. I have read with interest and thought about the "thought provokers" but was never inspired to write anything about it.

Edmund R. Meskys NFBtalk

**18. Hi,
Part of what I used to like was reading the other responses and being able to respond to some of those. I am not nearly as likely to do that when it doesn't all come to my inbox.

Laura Eaves

**19. Robert, my name is Paulette Morehouse. I am a college instructor. Many of my classes cover issues of human development. I have you on my list of required readings. Thank you, keep it up, do more.

Elisabeth Elders

**20. Dear Robert,
I have as you know, responded to a few of your thought provokers now, some are great, some are not so good. I mostly try and read them all as from time to time you do make me question my beliefs. I really like it when they spark some discussion, I find it really interesting to find out where my opinions fit into a spectrum and whether through the discussion my opinions can be changed, but too often I think everyone can be a bit short of time and delete them or read them only instead of responding. Sometimes too there is nothing to say. For awhile I didn't read them because it sounded a bit churchy to be honest and I also didn't quite know what it was all about. I don't really know the time period but I would say that it would have been 6 months or so before I finally read one. I really like the way that you as the author post them and are there to hear our comments and discussions.

From Penny nobe-l mailing list

**21. Hello Robert:
This is a rather interesting Thought Provoker !!! Not only do I read the Thought Provokers, but I analyze what is being said or not said within the text and between the lines. That's how I come up with the responses I send in. After a month or so has gone by, I check the website for other
people's responses to the Thought Provokers and respond to other people's questions and comments unless there's nothing to add without seeming like I'm
copying someone else's response.
As for what the Thought Provokers have done for me, it gets me to thinking in terms of how I relate to them personally or in terms of having not thought
about it before. It gets me to look back on my past experiences since many of the Thought Provokers have something to do with things I've experienced
directly or indirectly through conversations--using a dog vs. traveling with a cane, issues about vocational rehab agencies, employment or educational
options and accommodations, stereotypes and educating the public, adjustment to blindness, etc. Moreover, many of people's responses have assured me that
I'm not the only one who's gone through it; such is the case with people who are partially sighted and thought they were able to see like everyone else
the way I did when I was little and had to come to grips with the reality and all that entailed.

Linda USA

**22. Hi Robert,

I am a low vision college student. I love your thought provokers and read all of them. Keep them coming!
It reminds me about the diverse life experiences blind people have in terms of opportunity to learn the alternative techniques. They cause me to think and reflect about a topic. Because you post it on the web, anyone can access them and learn about blindness and that this community like all minorities does not think alike. In fact we can be blind and have opposing and contradictory views about a given topic.


**23. Hello, Robert. I read each and every thought provoker. It helps me look at issues in a new way a lot of times. I used to enjoy getting the e-mails with
all of the responses. I have responded to a few of them myself. I also work in the field and it helps me see issues that my future clients may have. I hope this helps.

Angela Farmer

**24. Robert, I read the provokers. I haven't responded to any of them lately, but I do discuss them sometimes with others. I think they're good food for thought
and I like receiving them. Sometimes I feel like I'm being a lazy receiver. It's a good thing others actually contribute feedback.

Barbara Loos Lincoln NE USA

**25. Hello Robert,

I really enjoy Thought Provokers because it makes me think about a whole variety of issues that I might not have thought about otherwise. It is also very interesting to read everyone's feedback to see what other people are thinking. It makes me feel like I am not the only person in the world to have the same feelings about blindness issues.


**26. Well you've said my opinions are interesting but I guess not valid enough to be posted, at least for the last thought provoker. Maybe I'm too offensive?
I've enjoyed reading the thought provokers and the differing opinions concerning situations that are almost always ones that I've experienced in my life
and having a pseudo-discussion with other blind people who are actually capable of understanding and sharing my point of view, which is even rare among
other blind people most of the time. I'll just keep it to myself from now on.


FROM ME- I wrote Mike and informed him that I must have not gotten his last response. Since 1998 when TP started, there has been only one response that I refused to post.

**27. The thing that makes the thought provoker most interesting is Robert himself. I've seen others attempt to do compilations on various blindness related
subjects and it comes out boring and repetitive. Because Robert is able to think about blindness from all sides he constructs thought provokers that ask hard questions and for which the answers aren't obvious (just as the answers for many things about blindness aren't set in stone).
I look forward to thought provokers because I know that they will not simply be raising questions about how to cut meat or pour water, but rather, they raise questions about blind people, their development of skills, relationships and techniques.

Mike Bullis Baltimore Maryland

**28. Well, Robert,
I was in on the very beginning of this creature and have not been disappointed in it ever. I do see that as usual in this world, something this valuable
and educational is generally overlooked and taken for granted. Many times, I have sent one of these posers to other blind persons I know and they have
reacted, replied and requested to be put on the list. I , personally, always welcome a place to voice my ever-present opinions. Thanks for a voice.

Pamela McVeigh LA USA

**29. I didn't have a chance to read Thought provoker because of time constraints, but now I'll have more time. I love reading what other people feel about grappling with the problem of partial or total loss of vision. Keep this going.

Leslie Miller

**30. Robert,
Thought Provokers are a constant resource for me to review where I am philosophically with blindness. I have used thought provoker topics for counseling sessions for clients I serve and for training new staff. I find this to be a valuable tool and thank you for the time and energy you put into creating
and maintaining this website.

Nancy Flearl
Omaha District Supervisor
Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

**31. Hello Robert,

I usually read the stories, and depending on my circumstances at the time, and the subject of the story, I may respond. Sometimes it is a matter of the other responses that leads me to send in something. I think the most interesting thing is the range of responses you receive, and the manner in which people will open themselves up in this format. Here in the Orientation Center, we have used some of your "THOUGHT PROVOKERS" as the basis of seminar topics, and I know they have been used at other centers as well. In any case, it is an interesting way to spark our imaginations, gives a broader understanding of other peoples experiences, and can be a useful tool in the rehab environment. Perhaps something to consider would be to ask others to provide you with story ideas, so that some of the subjects that are on peoples minds at the time have the chance to be brought to the surface.

Jeff Altman MA NOMC Nebraska USA

**32. Robert,
Provokers are great to use in seminars and group activities. There's always something innovative to talk about!

Amy Bursh Transition Counselor Nebraska USA

**33. Its some thing I really look forward to getting.
It has given me great help, made me stronger Anne I never wrote in the whole time I've been getting it.

But I use it, and I've learned from it.

Its made me THINK !
Thanks for it.

Always a pleasure,


**34. Robert:
First, let me thank you for all the work you put on them. Here are my comments:
1. At the Nebraska Commission for the Blind (NCBVI), we use the stories to have philosophical discussions with the center students. It help to get other stories from other people, out of the center, for the students to get more in to it.
2. We also use the stories at the management level for philosophical discussions and understand that blindness issues are very broad and has lots and lots
to talk about.
3. I use it in my personal life to remind myself all of the obstacles and misconceptions that we all face. It is a friendly and short story which helps to read it fast and at the same time deep enough to create thought.

Carlos Servan Lincoln Nebraska USA Deputy Director

**35. Robert, when used for seminars etc. I do not share what others are saying until our group has a chance to respond, then might bring up others responses to spark more discussion.

Cindy Zimmer Orientation Counselor Lincoln Nebraska USA

**36. I use the Thought Provokers mostly to send out to my clients, but sometimes there is a story which really strikes me, and I feel the need to respond.

Glenn Orientation Counselor Nebraska, North folk USA

**37. Well, I can safely say that Robert does just what Jeff has suggested.
One of the great things regarding Robert's thought provokers is that they really deal with people in real situations.
I can safely say that he's taken suggestions from people like myself and others so as to make his thought provokers real and relevant.
In fact, I believe Mike Bullis also wrote a fantastic one that was original and a wonderful one for a seminar topic.

I use Robert's thought provokers for seminar class, and students really get a kick out of them.

So, Jeff is right on, as usual about Robert taking people's suggestions for future thought provokers. And Robert is equally right on for already doing that.

Jim Portillo Washington USA

**38. Hi Robert:
I read Thought Provoker to stimulate my own thinking. It is interesting to see what a variety of slants there are to the situations you write about. I find that I read a lot more than I reply because often, someone has said or will say what I would write.
I like Thought Provoker for seminar topics and philosophy discussions. With the Provoker going out to such a wide audience, I also like that it seems to stay non-judgmental. One of the things it has made me realize is that with blindness, as with most things, there are often no right or wrong answers.
Something I would hope to never do or say might be the right thing in a given situation. Thank you for giving us some tidbits to think about.

Nancy Coffman Technology Specialist Lincoln Nebraska USA

**39. Robert,
I find the Thought Provokers helpful for getting a broader idea of what Blind and visually impaired feel, do and experience. Since I live in a rural area, I meet and see very few visually impaired people. Occasionally, I will forward a link to someone who asks me a specific question. When the question is
best answered by a Provoker, I send them the link, so they can get a variety of answers. Those who read it find out that visually impaired people are every bit as complex as other populations. I get the impression they decide that we are also full of hopes, dreams, frustrations and expectations.

Marcia Beare Martin, Michigan, USA

**40. Robert,
As an employee of a State Agency for the Blind, I feel I have a pretty good understanding of blindness and the abilities of blind people. Having said that, however, I can't say I know what it is to be blind because I am sighted. I find Thought Provokers a great place to think about situations that I've perhaps
never before pondered, and always look forward to the posts. I also like to pass along Thought Provokers to people I know who may have experienced a similar situation.

Jan L. Brandt Technology Specialist Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

**41. Hi Robert. I have been a member of Thought Provoker for a few years and I find it very useful for expressing my views. I told several people about your
website including my state VR agency, but the VR agency it seems refuses to take input from any of its clients. Thank you though for a great website, and keep up the excellent work.

Yours sincerely,
Jake Joehl Illinois USA

**42. Robert, I have never responded to the thought provokers, but I do use them quite a bit for topics of discussion at WAGES, Winnerfest, etc. and have referred
people to them quite often. Basically, I use them as an addition to core materials, and I have found them very useful, and very helpful!

Karen Transition Supervisor Nebraska commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Transition Program Supervisor

**43. I am a mother of a low vision, 12 year old boy. We found out about his disease (Rods/Cones Dystrophy) about 7 years ago. I am the type to find out all I can about a situation, so I can handle it to the best of my ability.

This thought provoker has helped me to do just that.....thought provoke. As this is the first experience with someone who is blind, it has taught be how to treat my son, how to handle others and how to handle different situations. This is a learn as you go scenario, no manual provided.

One thing that has disappointed me however, is that I don't see the responses any longer. I think you changed how they were reported and I have to go elsewhere to see them. I found it was taking up a lot of time to read them all and have just dropped this part of it. I still get the thought provoker though and read it and ponder.

Wendy Taylor

**44. Hi Robert,

I share your thought provokers with our clients and professional staff. I am a rehabilitation supervisor with the Florida State Division of Blind Services.

Thank you for the excellent service that you provide.

Mary Ellen

**45. What I would like to do is to report on
what other people think about it. Who reads it? What do people do with it? What has it, if anything done for you?
I am not blind but physically disabled. Spinal cord injury. However, my wife Linda is blind.
I read it for understanding of what issues blind people face, their attitude towards those issues and diverse approaches to situations both positive and
It has actually brought Linda and I more closer. I did not know there were different levels of blindness, some are completely blind, while others can see some light and images for example. I did not know that blind people can be as racist and prejudice towards other people of other races, nationalities,
sexual orientation and gender ; as anyone else. I knew but did not understand the reason why so many blind people refuse help from strangers, nor the true difficulties they face just leaving their house everyday. I did not know how much instant recall and long term memory play in daily survival skills such as finding articles, going safely from one room to another, going to a neighborhood store and getting back safely. I did not know that blind people were sexual, since most seem uninterested. Furthermore, I was not aware that pride, arrogance and vindictiveness is not limited to sighted people only.
In short, I have come to see blind people not "special people" but people. If they step out of line, "smack em" like you would anyone else.. If they give warm fuzzies, then "give me a hug"..just watch out for the cane, it might hurt.

John Minnesota USA

**46. Well Robert. I started reading thought provoker a few years ago, and have enjoyed them ever since. They do offer an interesting perspective.

I am also using them in a summer program I am teaching at, called the Northwest Regional Blind and Visually Impaired Summer Program. I am teaching self advocacy, and using the provokers, to well possibly provoke some thoughts in some of my students. The youth are teenagers 14-22 and all are visually impaired or blind. They come from a variety of backgrounds, from sheltered environments to gifted and everything in between. So far, we have used one, of them "Changing Who I am" and will be trying to attack other topics in the next five weeks. The provokers and short stories give me a spring board to discuss blindness issues, things that these kids haven't really had a chance to discuss so far.

The "Changing Who I am" provoker started a discussion on why carrying a symbol of blindness, if it be guide dog or white cane, can help save the public and you from embarrassment, and that if you don't carry such a symbol that the general public doesn't know you are blind.

It was a very lively discussion, with two groups of three students each.
Tomorrow I will be using the same provoker with the rest of the students.

Many of your stories, al be it, not directly related to teens, can apply to them anyway.

They have also allowed me to think about blindness in a different way. I like that your provokers address all opinions and attitudes not just one "philosophy" and that all opinions are allowed to be expressed.

Thanks for having the service, and good luck on the presentation, I have done those before so can understand, smile.

Good luck.

May I ask which convention you are presenting at?

Shelley L. Rhodes

FROM ME- the talk is at the Writers Division of the National Federation of the Blind annual convention.

**47. What is a Thought Provoker? In it's simplest sense, I suppose it is anything that causes one to think. If it's to be of benefit, however, it should be something that one might not ordinarily have thought about in the normal course of events, or if it was thought about at all, then it should have been from a point of view that one might not ordinarily have considered in the first place.

Most of us are content to observe the world from our own, comfortable point of view; a place from which we typically feel entirely relaxed and at home.
As with any home, however, it has taken us a long time, and considerable effort to arrange things just the way we want them, in order to experience the maximum degree of relaxation and comfort we have come to expect in our own lives. And once so arranged, we resist change of any kind, in order to preserve that familiarity and comfort of our cozy little environment.

From time to time, however, a situation may arise, or an event may occur, that may challenge our own way of looking at things. If we allow ourselves the extravagance of taking the time to ponder the particular event or situation, and the circumstances surrounding it, we can often find a new, refreshing, or even delightfully disturbing way of looking at something with which we thought we were already familiar, from an entirely new perspective, and under a particularly illuminating light.

Robert Leslie Newman, on a regular basis, challenges us all to consider situations that, on the surface, appear to be unique. But upon closer scrutiny, are found to exist among us in our everyday lives. By taking the time to ponder these situations, we often glean an insight into our very own ways of looking at and interpreting that which transpires all around us, all the time, and to consider alternative ways of looking at things and situations with which we thought we were already familiar.

In so doing, we learn to look at things anew in our lives, accepting a willingness to see things through the eyes of others, and thus gain a new appreciation for that which had previously been so mundane in our own lives.

-- George Cassell

**48. I am the mother of a blind infant. When my baby was born and the doctor told us our son was to be blind, I thought the world had come to an end. Once I got home with him, I started to search the world for answers, Your web site and THOUGHT PROVOKERS was a God send to my need for positive information. Thank you very much; to you and all the people who have responded to these interesting short stories.

Ann More Kansas USA

**49. Hello Robert!
I personally have read virtually every Thought provoker that you've put out. I enjoy them both as a mental exercise and as a way of finding out how other people feel about certain issues.
You've got a good idea here and I hope to see it continue for quite a while.

Wendy Fort Worth, TX

**50. Well, it would be better if I had time to go look at everyone else’s responses like I used to. It's great for stimulating discussion among professionals
or clients when we can work it in. I'd love to know where you get your ideas and how recently you write each provoker. Does something in a given month just make you think of it and put it together?

Jane Lansaw Orientation Counselor Nebraska commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

**51. Hello Robert
I have been reading the TP for more than three years, I always find it original and interesting. It is - for me - a source of understanding of the many problems faced by blind people in their daily lives. It is been very useful to me, in the work I do here as a volunteer with our local blind association.
I'm convinced that you learn more of your peers than any other people. I wish we could do something similar in Colombia, the problem is that not many blind people is connected through Internet.

Warm Regards

**52. I do on occasion note that the situations you describe happen to plenty of blind people. But you knew that.

Who reads it?

I read them. I don't check the website, and for that I apologize, but I'm simply too busy.

What do people do with it?

If it's an interesting enough question, I might pass it on to others.

What has it, if anything done for you?

Caused thought, which I suppose is the intent.

Lori Stayer Merrick, New York USA

**53. Hi Robert,
As usual, the timing of your question, is very serendipitous, because I was planning on writing you soon to thank for posting our responses to your thought provokes on your website. I recently had a quite unexpected been fit arise from my responses to previous posts. It appears that create meta tags for the search engines to pick up on the names of those who respond to the thought provokes. I was not aware of this when I [posted, even though I have heeded your forewarning that whatever we write will be posted on your website for all to see.
Anyway, back to my point. In addition to the series actually living up to it's title of "Thought Provoker," and causing me to stop and go "Hmmmmm"
from time to time, I recently had the experience of my responses coming back to me in a quite surprising way. I have a very special program where I work with private lenders who wish to support entrepreneurialism and self sufficiency for people with disabilities. I also belong to a rather large community of folks who make the bulk of their income from investing online. I have sought to bridge the gaps between my Rehabilitation programs and my online investment programs, so that I can teach people with disabilities to supplement or replace their government supplemental income. In order to fund this project, I had started a private loan program, where I repay private lenders 10 times the amount they loan us over 60 monthly payments, on loans of $2,500 or more. The people who participate in the lending of these funds are thus far all people from the online investment community. And since these folks are used to weeding out scammers and doing their due diligence, they will usually do a Google search on the people they do business with.
When one of these potential lenders recently told me that she had confirmed that I am who I say I am, by doing a Google search on my name. I had never done this, so I had no idea what she had come across. So, I decided to go and look for myself, and the first two things which appear in the search were two of my responses to your Thought Provoker, and the third one was a link from a Canadian Supported Employment group who linked to an article I had published in the January 2003 issue of Job Training and Placement Report, on using economic development strategies to entice employers to hire people with disabilities. So, having been sufficiently satisfied that I am actually engaged in this type of activity, this potential lender was ready to move on to the next stage of her due diligence.
Quite unexpectedly, your thought provokers, and your efforts to provide ample keywords for people to be able to find them on the web, have lead to an unintentional credibility tool. Since my responses were initially only intended for our small group, they were candid enough for me to expose some fairly deep reaching convictions, which exposed a side of me which other forms of due diligence would not have uncovered. So, I want to thank you, for not only giving reasons to stop and go "Hmmmm," but also for linking to our names, so that people who are trying to find out who we are, and what we are about, will be drawn to this information, via the search engines. Keep up the great work.

Dennis Gerron
Community Development Specialist
Social Development Systems
Dallas, TX 75218

**54. Hi again Robert. I have recently begun forwarding your Thought Provokers to my roommate and a life skills tutor who works with me. My roommate is losing
his vision rather quickly, and I want to get his views on the topics on this website. Although he has never responded to one, he does enjoy reading and
thinking about them. He and I share many of the same views about blindness and visual impairment. My life skills tutor also really enjoys Thought Provoker,
but hasn't had time to respond yet. She is fully sighted and had never worked with a visually-impaired person before, and she was rather shocked when I
told her that there are actually people with opposing views on visual impairment and blindness. I only wish I could forward the Thought Provokers to my
neighbors, but none of them have computers which work in Windows. I guess I could print out the Thought Provokers and show them that way. Here in my apartment
complex and in this independent-living agency, it seems my roommate and I are the only visually-impaired people around. Yet everyone has caught on very
quickly, due to our educating them on our needs and desires. My roommate does have some useful vision, but I only have light perception. As well, he has
educated me on a few things and vice versa. Thanks once again for this website and keep up the good work.

Jake Joehl Evanston, IL

**56. The thought provokers for me lend themselves to several functions:

First, they get me to think about things I hadn’t thought before, or at least in a manner which is unfamiliar to me.

Second, while I admittedly find some provokers more compelling than others, I like to write, pontificate, get on my high horse and so-on. Perhaps, or perhaps
not, I’m getting good at honing my reasoning and philosophy skills, for lack of a better term. I like the interplay between those who think one way and
those another. It’s kind of comforting in a strange sort of way to know I can pretty much voice my opinions and know also that to whatever extent people
may agree or disagree with me, they’re at least willing to hear me out without the polarization that seems to be so dismayingly prevalent in this society
nowadays. For surely we can stand firm on our principles on the one hand while respecting others’ differences and belief systems on the other. I think
this site does just that.

Third, I’d like to think that my writing skills are also being honed. For a very long time, up until I resigned officially today, my work as a court attorney
hasn’t been particularly enjoyable, as I find the vast majority of the material which confronted me at that job to be rather tedious and unremarkable.
I’m no Tolstoy or whatever, but I feel that writing about things I enjoy is rather freeing and cathartic. I’m actually thinking that in the long run I
might want to start writing again for real this time if I ever find something unique and interesting to say. That might take a while though.

Fourth, I believe this site not only prompts much thought about issues we probably never considered before, but it also allows us to look at the proverbial
man/woman/boy/girl in the mirror. Speaking just for me, I’m finding that while I believe myself to be reasonably competent in many ways, there have been
instances where despite that competence and confidence that I might otherwise possess, I haven’t always lived up to the principles I allegedly espouse.
I don’t know, but I think we’ve all been in that position. For as a really good friend of mine reminded me a couple weeks back when I admitted to really
screwing a few things up as of late: "Well, unfortunately we can’t get through this life without being a fuckup at least once." Nor do we get out of this
world alive, which is another thought that has dubious comfort to me, but which observation may not be relevant here.

Also, this site has provided to me a sort of springboard for more thought. Recently, and on the same general bent as the preceding paragraph, I’ve come
to appreciate the insight and observations of some pretty tall giants – Drs. Jernigan and Maurer, to be sure, and I’ve explored what both the NFB and ACB
have to offer. I haven’t gone to an NFB convention since ‘89, and I hope that by next year I can do so. We’ll have to wait and see because too many things
are currently up in the air right now, but I’m interested.

Finally, I find that by reading others’ thoughts and ideas, I get a sense of who the people on this site are. I get a sense even of their temperaments,
their ways of thought and their general outlooks on life. I’m also curious to know more about them and hope someday to connect some of the names with actual
voices whenever possible. I’d say keep up the good work!

John D. Coveleski (

**57. I was going through the list of T.P.s and saw this one and although it is very late in coming here is my response.

I've been reading and from time to time have taken part in T.P. sense 1999! I have always found them most interesting. It is very neat to hear people from all over the world and what they think about whatever the topic is.

I've found these T.P.s to be useful in such things as finding topics to write about in my own journal where people sometimes comment. I don't take what is said here word for word at all, more so the ideas. Also when I was a student at the Colorado Center for the Blind, I'd bring up a T.P. with my instructors if there was one I knew of that applied to class. I wish I had taken a few and used them as topics for the philosophy classes we had twice a week. Those were just like the T.P.s but it was all talking and not Emailing like this is...