Jen and I have good friends in the neighborhood who are German. Evidently, they have some crazy customs, like Stammtisch, that just do not generally translate to the US. Except, in the case of about 10-15 of my friends, Stammtisch translates just fine.
What is Stammtisch? Essentially, it is a quite informal group of friends and acquaintances that gets together once a month as a discussion group. To discuss what, you might ask? Anything typically related to some relevent current event.... Politics, World Events, Religion, Popular Science, the more potentially polarizing the better. Basically, the group leader publishes a loose set of topics about 2 weeks ahead of the meeting, then you do a bit of research (or not) and show up with libation.
We always drink, that seems mandatory. Then a fairly diverse group of upper middle class white men (politically, if not economically or racially) drink and discuss the issues. What could go wrong with that???
Remarkably, it is always a very enjoyable, and eye opening night. Many different perspectives are presented, and it always stays amicable. We simply throw out perspectives and poke holes at each others views or perceptions. It is truly amazing how much your knowledge base can expand through these simple dialogs, with educated individuals from different viewpoints.
Just FYI, tonights topics were:
Egypt and the rest of the Arabic world – where is this going to end?
People on Mars – do we really need to fly there?
Is the DOW going to hit 14000 again this year?
What do we think about the Colorado Springs “Reform Team”? (a local political issue)
In case you are wondering, I ran there, Then drank some wine and a few beers, then ran home. It was my environmental statement. Plus allowed me to drink as required to support my views... huh?