New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for April 2016

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

April 2016 Cover Page


On the Campaign Trail

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Congress is passing laws at a record pace, solving one problem after another. Said Rep. Wilson: “I’m pleased that Rep. Walton had the opportunity to present the other party’s valid and thoughtful point of view.” Rep. Walton said exactly the same thing about Rep. Wilson.

☺   ☺  ☺  ☺

U.S. Presidents 45a – 45d

(they will take turns using the letters too)


By Bart Geraci

Again, welcome to another April Fools cover.

April is the busiest month in our city. There’s the French Quarter Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and the biggest one of them all, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. And it’s time for our local AAA baseball team, the Zephyrs, to take to the field.

We had a Star Wars movie afternoon the other Sunday for our Young Mensa members, thanks to our GC Coordinator Gerry Ward. We’ll continue the series again this month.

The 2nd Sunday of JazzFest will be May 1st, when our CultureQuest team, Brains on Bourbon, will again compete against other Mensa groups in a closed-book 90 minute trivia contest.

Let’s go Pelicans and Zephyrs!

NORGY 2016 !!!

New Orleans Mensa is having a Regional Gathering in 2016 !

Dates: December 9 - 11, 2016

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So out in West Texas, I was working for a newspaper and they wanted me to interview a local who had done well in the world of business. It was a friendly interview and he was happy to share some of the lessons he learned.

I asked him what was the most surprising thing he learned.

He said that as much as he wanted to do everything, he learned that you had to manage your time. You have to assign a worth to your time and not be afraid to turn down opportunities.

“So I guess you could say that the secret to a successful business…”

“... is all about who you no.”

April is the Cruelest Month - So Renew Your Membership!

Did you remember to renew your membership? If forgetting to renew happens every year, maybe you can consider a Multi-year or a Lifetime Membership.

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

As I write this, I am preparing to attend the March meeting of the American Mensa Committee. This meeting will affect a great deal of the next year, as the March meeting is the time that we approve our annual budget. American Mensa’s fiscal year runs April to March, the same as our membership year. As a member of the Finance & Audit Committee, I participated in the annual budget meeting held the last weekend of January. The committee reviewed the preliminary budget and made changes that we agreed would be beneficial to the organization. This version has been presented to the AMC for consideration at the March meeting and is available for all members to view online at .

The other preparations I have been making include kicking off the new year with a great deal of traveling. I am planning to visit Baton Rouge Mensa, Permian Basin Mensa and Central Oklahoma Mensa in the next three months leading up to the Annual Gathering in San Diego. I’m looking forward to meeting more members throughout the region, as well as renewing friendships with those I already know.

If you have not yet renewed your membership, this is the last local newsletter you will be receiving. If time just got away from you, renew now! If you are not planning to renew, I hope that in time you will reconsider. This organization has been such a joy throughout my entire life, and I truly believe that it can be a joy to any member who wants it to be. As a membership organization, American Mensa is nothing without the participation of its members.

I recently had a member tell me that an event I held was the first that had been hosted in their area in their several years of membership. When I asked them why they hadn’t put an event on the local group’s, they were surprised to learn that any member could host an event. Not only can any member host an event, our organization actually depends on it. Hosting an event is as simple as doing something you already want to do – and adding it to your local group calendar. If you aren’t sure where to start, reach out to your LocSec or Membership Officer.

If you are ready to branch out a bit farther, consider attending Gulf Coast Mensa’s Regional Gathering (SynRG) over Memorial Day weekend or the Annual Gathering, held June 29-July 3. You can find information about SynRG at and the AG at . Both events are going to be a great time, and I hope to see a great many of y’all there.

As always, I ask that if you have any questions, concerns, or general comments, please let me know. I have created a simple online form where members can offer feedback on any topic, both by name or anonymously. You can find this form at Of course, if you prefer, you can always contact me via email at

BrainFork: A Mensan Talks About Food : Carbonated Beverages

by Bart Geraci
“Sailin’ ‘round the world in a dirty gondola
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!”
-Bob Dylan, “When I Paint My Masterpiece” -

April editions are always something a little bit different, so here’s about using beverages as part of food preparation.


“Secrets and sharing soda, That's how our time began.
Love is a story told to a friend It's second hand.”
- Joni Mitchell, “Conversation” -

Carbonated beverages are those that have carbon dioxide (CO2) introduced into them. In 1767 Joseph Priestley discovered a method to add CO2 to water, which ended up with a pleasant taste. A few decades later, Johann Schweppe founded the namesake company (with an “s”) that made carbonated mineral waters.

Soda is carbonated water plus some other things which may include the following:


“All hell has broken loose. I admit our Russian is limited, but we can say hello, come in, you are beautiful, oh no you don't. … So in our pride we ordered for breakfast an omelet, toast and coffee and what has just arrived is a tomato salad with onions, a dish of pickles, a big slice of watermelon and two bottles of cream soda. Something has slipped badly.”
- John Steinbeck, “Steinbeck: A Life in Letters” -

So adding carbon dioxide to water, we have this equation:

H2O + CO2 = H2CO3 (carbonic acid)

Carbonic acid has a pH level around 3 to 4. It is also known as respiratory acid since it is an acid that is exhaled through the lungs. It can be broken down into carbonates and bicarbonates.

H2CO3 = HCO3 (bicarbonate) + H

HCO3 = CO3 (carbonate) + H

Phosphoric Acid (H3PO4) has pH levels ranging from 1 to 7 depending on its concentration. In a gel form at a strong enough concentration, it can be used for rust removal. It can also etch into tooth enamel. But sometimes dentists use this to roughen the tooth surface before adding fillings or other dental appliances. And it can be used to remove the plaque before applying teeth whitener.

Caffeine (C8 H10 N4 O2) is found in several dozen different plants (coffee, tea, kola nuts, etc). In the plant itself, it acts as a natural pesticide since the caffeine can paralyze and kill insects feeding on the plant. In humans, the chemical blocks receptors for adenosine - which is an organic compound that promotes drowsiness.

Tiny Bubbles

“When I was a kid, I was at a bowling alley and I ran into a soda machine. I still have the scar on my right eyebrow obviously. ”
- Luke Perry -

Just looking at the carbonation of water, what’s the difference between them?

You Can’t Sing That!

“I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola [LP version: Coca-Cola]
C-O-L-A cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola
L-O-L-A Lola la-la-la-la Lola”
- The Kinks, “Lola” -

So the original version that appeared on the LP said “Coca-Cola.” But the BBC didn't allow advertising in songs, and you couldn’t mention a specific brand name. So they recorded a single version with that one change to “cherry-cola”, which was allowed airplay.


“If you're an original thinker, you are going get told 'no' a lot, and you have to be able to hear 'no' many times from the bankers and trust that at some point, someone is going to recognize that you are an artist and not a can of soda.”
- Nick Offerman -

So what can you do with soda / pop / cola?

Caramelized Onions

Add a generous swig of cola into a pan with some sauteed onions.

Tempura Batter

To make a tempura batter even lighter, use carbonated soda in place of cold water to mix with the dry ingredients.

2-Ingredient Cake

Under the category of “That can’t possibly work!”

Mix together: 1 box cake mix and 12-oz can soda.

Bake as directed, checking for doneness. No eggs, no oil, no water needed.

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2016 by New Orleans Mensa, all rights reserved. Mensa® and the Mensa logo (as depicted for example in U.S. TM Reg. No. 1,405,381) are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by American Mensa, Ltd., and are registered in other countries by Mensa International Limited and/or affiliated national Mensa organizations. Mensa does not hold any opinion or have, or express, any political or religious views.
Last edited: 22-May-2016. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at