One thing that happens during each Toastmasters meeting is "Table Talks". The Topicsmaster facilitates brief (1 - 2 minutes) impromptu talks by a handful of members. They select in advance speaking prompts, usually tying it in to the day's topic chosen by that meeting's Toastmaster. On Wednesday I was the Topicsmaster and the theme was "Today in history" (that day was the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters!).
Assigning prompts can happen deliberately (for example, if you think someone would have a good answer for it, based on their knowledge or experience), or randomly. I did it by asking them to pick a year in the 1900s, and then gave them the prompt for the year included in my list closest to it.
I didn't have to answer them in the meeting myself, but thought they'd be fun to think about anyway.
On October 22, in:
1938, Chester Carlson demonstrated the first Xerox machine. What do you think is the most useful piece of technology in use today?
I'm actually going to steal the answer of the member who answered this prompt during the meeting: the internet. Pretty much all other technology that makes life convenient today relies on the internet. Even though it wasn't truly ubiquitous in the first several years of my life, I can hardly imagine living without it.
1939, the first televised pro football game was telecast from New York (Brooklyn defeated Philadelphia 23-14). What sport is your least favorite to watch?
My least favorite sport to watch is football, primarily because it's so stop and go - two minutes left on the clock can take hours!
1949, Emil Zatopek set a then-world record for the 10k race in 29:21.2. If you were forced to race some running distance, what distance would you pick?
Well, let's see, what races do I usually torture myself with? I tend to go back and forth on whether I'd rather focus on speed or distance, but currently I'd lean towards a 5k - painful but fast (obviously that'd be my preference at the moment, since I just registered for a half marathon).
1975, the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Are you rooting for the Giants or Royals in this year's World Series?
I'm rooting for the Royals, because Abe is and I wouldn't otherwise have an opinion (his real team is the Cardinals, but since they didn't make it, the Royals are the next choice). He roots for them because he grew up in Missouri.
1978, Bill Rodgers won the 9th New York City Marathon in 2:12:12. What was the hardest thing you've attempted in your life?
I would the marathon! Even though it took me a smidge more than 2:12.
1979, Walt Disney World welcomed its 100-millionth guest. What is your "most magical place on earth"?
Haramara Retreat where I've been twice for vegan yoga retreats. It's an absolutely stunning escape from modern reality.