New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for August 2013

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

So The Story Goes Like This

Bart Geraci

One day out in West Texas I was taking a seminar in alternative belief systems and the homework involved conjuring up spells. I had a friend of mine who had a book he found in Prague with witchcraft spells from different regions of Europe, so he lent it to me.

The British spells were fairly easy, and I adopted an exaggerated accent to accompany them. Similarly appropriate accents helped me with conjuring things from Spain, France and Italy.

But when it came to Czechoslovakia (well, Czech Republic now), I ran into problems. When I tried to materialize a frog, a paper clip appeared. The second time around, a pair of fuzzy dice appeared. This was followed by a stapler, a recipe for kolaches, and a photograph of the local city council. Weird.

I gave up and called my friend and asked for his advice because I...

...was having trouble with my Czech spell.


By Bart Geraci

Well, I'm back from the AG. It was nice and I was happy to see all our national friends again. I had great fun with the contests and competitions and puzzles, and we also spent some time with our relatives who live out in the area. We’ve already made reservations for the hotel for next year’s AG in Boston.

Our team participated in CultureQuest this year and we ended up in 31st place (out of 91 teams). Only the top 20 get some monies from National, so we didn’t make it this year. We were fairly close, though; our score was 152.5 and #20 was 160.0 and #1 was 184.5. We’ll do better next year. The team Jolie Brains from our neighbor Baton Rouge Mensa finished tied for 17th at 167.

We will have testing sessions on August 24th and October 19th.

Local elections are coming up for the positions of LocSec, Assistant LocSec, Treasurer, and Secretary. It is my intention NOT to run again for the position of LocSec. I have served for 4 years and I would like to give someone else the opportunity to take over. If you are interested in running for office, please contact me or any of the other EXCOM members. At the September meeting we will have the nominations for positions.

T. S. Eliot opened his poem “The Waste Land” with April is the cruellest month... I think, in this city, it has been replaced by August as we are coming up on 8th anniversary of the great Levee Failure.

Let’s go, Sean Payton and the Saints!

BrainFork: A Mensan talks about food

By Bart Geraci

BrainFork is on another Summer Hiatus. See you in the fall.

From the Editor

By Kevin Chesnut

I hope everyone is having a pleasant summer. If “back to school” is part of your life these days, best wishes for a productive and enjoyable school year.

I know we all have our fingers crossed during “H-word” season, but if you can still write, type, draw, or click a camera in that position, we would be very pleased to receive any submissions for our newsletter. Here are just a few suggestions:

From the RVC

Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chairman

Well, another Annual Gathering has come and gone, with the usual good time reportedly having been enjoyed by virtually all. The AG in Fort Worth was fairly well attended, with about 1,700 members and guests registered. Carol Hilson, chairing her third AG (retest!), co-chaired the event with Karen Brack, both of North Texas Mensa, and a marvelous job was done by both.

At the meeting of the American Mensa Committee, your national Board of Directors, I was appointed to chair a task force to work on revision of our formula for funding local groups. Our aim is not to reduce local group funding but rather to make it more effective by linking certain funding amounts to achievement of certain minimum standards where many local groups currently leave something to be desired, like a regular testing program, elections, and communication with members. In many cases we expect that compliance will require additional assistance from American Mensa, and that will also be part of the task force’s report. I will also serve on the Risk Management, Leadership Development, and Site Selection Committees this term.

A number of other appointments were made at the Board meeting. Dr. John Sheehan is our new Development Officer, replacing Bob Bevard of South Texas Mensa, who will take over for Jeff Dommenge as Assistant RVC for our region, Jeff having asked to be replaced. Joanne Soper is our new Director of Science and Education, and Marc Lederman, formerly Region 4 Vice Chair, is our new Communications Officer. Beth Anne Demeter was reappointed as Membership Officer.

The Board also approved creation of a new Local Group award to replace the Group of the Year (GOTYA) Award. The new award, like the old one, will be based on each group’s achievements in numerous objective categories, which will be tracked automatically by the national office. Instead of one award in each group size category, however, awards of increasing stature will now be given to the top four groups in each class. This will allow us to recognize outstanding effort by groups that may not have quite reached the highest plateau. A rework of the Publications Recognition Program (PRP) is also in the works, but could not be completed in time for this meeting.

As many of you are already aware, the AG will be in Boston next year, Louisville in 2015, and San Diego in 2016.

That’s all for now. Don’t forget Lone Star Mensa’s upcoming RG in Round Rock, just north of Austin, over the Labor Day weekend. For more information contact Ron Edelstein,

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Last edited: 04-Aug-2013 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at