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Table Talk
Thing to get people talking
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1. In 1776 Captain Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands and called them the Sandwich Islands.  On his shop The Endeavor, one of his favorite dishes was parrot pie.  WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL FOOD YOU’VE EVER EATEN AND ENJOYED?

2. Animals have had many roles throughout human history including food, transportation, companionship and space travel.  WHAT ANIMAL IS MOST IMPORTANT TO HUMANS TODAY AND WHY?

3. When Rip Van Winkle awoke from his 20 year sleep he noticed that the portrait at the local inn had changed.  George Washington’s portrait had replaced Kin George III’s.   IF RIP VAN WINKLE HAD MISSED THE LAST 20 YEARS AND AWOKE TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HIM ABOUT FIRST?

4. It’s been established that most people average eight hours of sleep each night – one third of their lives.  IF WE DIDN’T NEED TO SLEEP, HOW WOULD LIFE BE DIFFERENT?

5. A griffin is a mythological animal, half eagle and half lion.  According to legend, it guarded treasures.  A mule is a cross between a donkey and a horse.  A liger is a cross between a lion and a tiger.  WHICH TWO ANIMALS WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMBINE?  WHAT WOULD YOU CALL THE NEW ANIMAL?

6. There is a Native American saying that you can’t truly know or understand a person until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.  Mark Twain’s tale “The Prince and the Pauper” told of two boys who switched places in life.  IF YOU COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR A WEEK,  WHOM WOULD YOU SELECT?  WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE?

7. The extinction of the dinosaurs is an unsolved  question.  Atlantis was a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean said to have sunk beneath the sea.  Scientists cannot explain why whales sometimes beach themselves in large groups.  IF YOU COULD SOLVE ANY MYSTERY, WHAT MYSTERY WOULD YOU SOLVE AND WHY?

8. In 1992 in the USA the average salaries in the occupations were:  Janitor, $14,404, Nurse $34,424, and Professional Baseball Player $1,085,190.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESE SALARY DIFFERENCES?  WHAT ADJUSTMENTS WOULD YOU MAKE?

9. The average Chinese worker must work seven hours to earn the price of an ice-cream cone at Beijing’s new Baskin-Robbins.  WOULD YOU WORK ALL DAY FOR A SPECIALMEAN?  WHAT WOULD BE SERVED?

10. There is on average one sighting of Elvis Presley every day and four calls come to Graceland every day asking to speak to the “King”.  IF YOU COULD BRING BACK TO LIFE ONE FAMOUS PERSON TO TAKE UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF, WHO WOULD IT BE?

11. The Egyptian pyramids are the only one of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to survive into modern  times.  IF YOU COULD CREAT THE LIST, WHAT WOULD YOU INCLUDE AS THE SEVEN WONDERS OF TODAY’S WORLD?

12. Every year, tens of thousands of new laws and rules ranging from local traffic regulations, tax codes and school policies are enacted in the United States.  IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO MAKE A NEW LAW OR TO ELIMINATE AN EXISTING LAW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

13. Over 700 million “Twinkies” are consumed in the United States every year.  IF YOU COULD NAME ONE FOOD AS THE ‘OFFICIAL FOOD OF RUSSIA’, WHAT WOULD YOU NAME?

14. An “arctophile” is a person who loves stuffed animals.  Over $745 million of stuffed animals are made every year.  IF YOU COULD BRING BACK ONE TOY FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD, WHAT  WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

15. Dr. Doolittle could talk with the animals.  Dolphins communicate through sound, chimpanzees can learn limited sign language.  IF YOU COULD TALK WITH ANY SPECIES OF ANIMAL, WHICH ANIMAL WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

16. Oscars are presented every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to outstanding actors, films and their directors.  Walt Disney won twenty Oscars, more than any other individual.  IF YOU WERE ASKE TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE, WHAT MOVIE WOULD YOU SELECT?

17. April 25 was a holiday in ancient Rome.  It was a feast day set aside to honor Robigus, the god of mildew.  IF YOU COULD CREATE A NEW HOLIDAY, WHOM OR WHAT WOULD IT HONOR?

1. What are some of the issues that cause the conflicts that are involved in the generation gap?
2. Some of the issues have caused conflicts between generations for many decades.  Why?
3. How do these conflicts differ if there is a daughter involved instead of a son?
4. Discuss the difference between age and maturity.
5. What are some of the negative things that could happen to young people when they are on their own?
6. Do you feel that young people benefit from being on their won before getting married?
7. Parents usually have a great influence on their children.  Discuss how this influence affects an offspring’s religion, politics, friends, career and mate.
8. One parental role is to guide children toward success and happiness in life.  How can parents best do this without becoming domineering or lenient?
9. How would you describe the Russian philosophy of raising children?
10. How has this philosophy changed or not changed in the last ten years?

Beyond reason

1. do you believe it is unlucky to walk under a ladder?
2. When you tell someone about something that you hope is going to happen, do you ever touch wood or cross your fingers, or do you feel a strong use to do so?
3. Are you the slightest bit bothered by the number 13?
4. Have you got a lucky number?
5. Do you read your horoscope regularly?
6. Have you ever consulted a fortune teller, palmist, etc.?
7. Have you ever thrown a coin into a wishing well?
8. Have you ever made a decision after consulting a deck of cards, playing patience, etc.?
9. Is there a particular day of the week which is lucky or unlucky for you?
10. Have you ever changed your plans because of a dream?
11. Have you any kind of talisman or lucky object?
12. Do you believe in any other superstitious customs of your own country?


1. which of the following crimes should be punished most severely and which less severely?  Why?
Extortion  arson  assassination  robbery
Drunk driving vandalism prostitution  gambling
Mugging  domestic violence   premeditated murder
Gun running kidnapping  homicide
2. in your opinion are these truly crimes?  Support your opinion.
War crimes  using illegal drugs
Euthanasia  white collar crime
3. speak about punishment.
4. What ways are most effective: death penalty, life in prison, rehabilitation?
5. Speak about the judicial system in Russia.
6. Which justice systems are most effective?
7. Can a judge or jury system be truly just?  Give examples of why or why not?
8. Should trials be open and publicized?
9. What are some famous trials in Russian history?
10. What have you heard about the famous trails of Rodney King or O.J. Simpson in the USA?

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