New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for August 2014

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

New Orleans Mensa Honored at Annual Gathering

By Kevin Chesnut

On Sunday, April 28, New Orleans Mensa’s Culture Quest team, known as “Brains on Bourbon”, participated in American Mensa’s annual general knowledge competition. The quiz consisted of 200 questions in a variety of categories, to be answered within 90 minutes.

The results, announced at the Annual Gathering in Boston over the July 4 weekend, had our team finishing in 14th place nationwide, earning $85 for our group. Our team was composed of Kevin Chesnut, Summer McKnight, Anne Stringer, Phil Wilking, and Bart Geraci.

The top 20 finishing teams are

Rank Team Group/Number Points
1 Tragic Kingdom 10/327 183
2 Uncle Churd 3/442 177
3 Gordian Nots 2/200 173
4 MECCA 10/327 167
4 The Phoenix Phive 9/850 167
6 Artifactual Anthill Giants 5/275 166
7 Misha's Vineyard Players 1/100 163
7 The Original Standard Deviants 3/150 163
9 Conjaxure 10/322 159
10 CAMera Obscura 4/463 155
11 San Francisco (Mental) Giants 9/940 154
12 Triad and True 5/270 151
13 Smiley Town 10/335 150
14 Ben's Angels 1/120 149
14 Panama City Bob and Dan 10/325 149
14 Brains on Bourbon 6/700 149
17 Naked Trivia 4/520 148
17 The Standard Deviants 5/293 148
19 Dragon Orchard Players 10/333 147
20 OCDisorders 9/926 146

In addition, our local chapter has won the Emerald Level Award for our class (III - 200-399 people), which means we scored at least 165 points (Sapphire is 210 and Ruby is 260). The Jewel Award Criteria are as follows:

Description Base Pt
Admin – Financial Report Published in Newsletter 1 (each)
Admin – Timely Reporting End of Year Financials to NO 5
Admin – Activities Calendar Published in Newsletter 1 (each)
Admin – Participation in lapsed member mailing 5
Admin – Website on file with NO 3
Admin – Social Media Platform Listed with NO 2 (each)
LDW – Member Attendance 1 (each)
LDW – Bonus – 3 members same group attending/ limited to one bonus per member per year 5
Events – Hosting AG 12
Events – Hosting RG 8
Events – Hosting AMC Meeting 4
Events – Hosting Mind Games 4
Events – Hosting LDW 8
Community Activities Program

(no current program, so on hiatus, but included prospectively)

2 (each)
Communications – ACE award recipient Gold =60

Silver =30

Renewals – percentage of early renewals by 2/1 1 (each)
Renewals – percentage of prompt renewals by 3/31 1 (each)
Membership Growth Percentage 1 (each)
Proctored Test Session 3 (each)
Bonus – each proctor who tests 2 x’s of more during the year 2 (each)
Bonus – Points for each different location for testing 2 (each)
Culture Quest Teams 1 (each)
The Foundation Administered Scholarship Program Participation 2
Mensa Testing Day Participation 7
Local Group Member serving on National Committee 1 (each)

The Local Group Jewels recognize and reward Local Groups' membership-related activities and for their active participation in all that Mensa has to offer. Accordingly, the program awards points for participation in Mensa rather than winning other Mensa awards.

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By Bart Geraci

I’m back from the Annual Gathering where I learned:

(1) Our CultureQuest team, Brains on Bourbon, finished 14th and won $85.00 for our local treasury.

(2) Our Local Group has earned an Emerald Jewel award.

We had a testing session on July 12th at the New Orleans Museum of Art. This brings me to the next point, same as last month:

We Need More Testing Proctors!

Since we hold testing sessions many times a year, we need more people in our group to pass the certification needed in order to become a proctor. For more information on what it entails, see:

Thanks to all those proctors in training who showed up at the July testing.

This month is the preseason start of Saints football. After watching World Cup Soccer all summer, it’s going to take me a while to get used to the slow-paced, committee-meeting interruptions of American football.

Let’s go Zephyrs! And Saints!

BRAINFORK: A Mensan writes about food

Bart J. Geraci

Still on summer break. See you in the fall!

So the Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So I was visiting a friend of mine who shared a place with a roommate. I hadn’t met his roommate yet.

My friend told me that his roommate was the son of a dentist and as a result, he took brushing and flossing after meals seriously.

So after dinner, his roommate excused himself. My friend beckoned me to join him to see this ritual. When we got there, he had finished brushing his teeth and was starting to floss them. After every 3 or 4 teeth, he would sigh and go to the next set.

I looked at my friend and told him, “Well now I’ve seen everything…”

“... a sighing flosser.”

Mensa Home Test Now $1

American Mensa is providing each Proctor and Testing Coordinator a unique code for the Mensa Home Test. The code allows a prospect to take Mensa's online practice test for just $1.

Use the discount code TST9542ZQ (valid through August 31, 2014).

This low-cost way of practicing helps prospects get a sense of what to expect on the official test.

This code allows you to take the online practice test as many times as you want for $1 each time. The test is accessible at .

News & Notes for Young Mensans

Lisa Van Gemert

We’re Out of This World

If you love exploring the reaches of space, our latest TED Connection about what we can learn from faraway galaxies will send you into orbit. Like all of our TED Connections, this one contains not only great questions but also extension activities and resources to extend your experience. You can find it at .

Step Away from the Bullet Points

Do your kids create presentations for school projects? Let us share some tips on how to make those presentations fantastic . This is just one of the many slideshows you can find at to help you meet the needs of your gifted child.

Projecting the World

Our latest lesson plan explores maps, and especially globes and the way that people have taken a round globe and converted it to a flat map. Find it at .


BrainWorx is a new program from Mensa that shares a series of daily trivia questions geared specifically toward gifted youth. If Culture Quest is a little too much, BrainWorx may be just the right fit for them. The questions are shared via Twitter @MensaGT and on the Mensa Foundation Facebook page at 10 a.m. Central time each day, and the answer to the previous day's question is shared at 9 a.m. Central time. Visit for information about each day’s topic and follow along at

Be Social with BrightKids

We've set up a Facebook version of our BrightKids email list as a way to facilitate discussions and to share support and resources. To join, visit Please also visit us at Pinterest for more fun resources, contests and activity ideas for gifted kids (and those who teach and raise them!) .

Discover the Bulletin

Did you know that the Mensa Bulletin publishes at least two features per year specifically geared to youth or their parents? Keep your eye out for the upcoming August issue with an article on executive functioning. Also, we have a new resource called Bulletin Discovery that shares youth-friendly things from the Bulletin and is designed to help even very young Mensans get the most out of the publication. You can access Bulletin Discovery on our website at .

Trending Resources

Zygote Body is a 3-D anatomy atlas and dissection lab app at . Find other apps we love at .

Photoshop a little too complicated for your little ones? Try the online (free) for simple image manipulation for everything from school projects to thank-you notes and party invitations.

Find Kate DiCamillo’s (National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature) list of Summer Treehouse reads & listen to her NPR interview at .

Find great ideas for summer activities with kids from the Mensa Foundation at .


Lisa Van Gemert Youth & Education Ambassador |

get resources:

find more:

From the RVC

By Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chair

As I write this, I have just returned from the Annual Gathering in Boston. The AG appears to have set a new world record for attendance at a Mensa gathering, with more than 2,300 members and guests registered. Boston is a wonderful city to visit, with great food and an abundance of historic sites to visit. I stayed over an extra day and did some sightseeing, including Faneuil Hall, the Old State House (where the Boston Massacre took place), the Bunker Hill Monument, and Old Ironsides herself, the USS Constitution.

As I mentioned last month, the meeting of your national Board of Directors was marked by several controversial discussions, including a proposal to index dues for inflation, with an automatic 2.5 percent increase every year, and a new method of selecting Regional Vice Chairmen. In addition, there was a proposal to reduce the authority of the National Ombudsman. There was also a motion to hold all future Board meetings in the DFW area. I opposed all of these proposals, and I’m happy to report that the one about the Board meetings was defeated. The others are all required to appear on the agenda of at least two meetings, so they will come up for a vote at our September meeting, where I will oppose them again.

A couple of other controversies also arose at this AG: a number of former AG chairs and other members are very upset about the new method of selecting AG sites and the increasing involvement of the national office staff, and quite a few members are unhappy with the decision of the Communications Committee to deny the use of the Mensa name to our un-moderated Facebook group. I’m not too happy about this last myself, as the Committee reported to the Board that the use of the name would be allowed, and then changed their minds after the meeting, without telling the other Board members. Further discussion of both these items is ongoing, and I am hopeful that improvements can be made.

One new appointment was made at the Board meeting: Beth Anne Demeter had asked to be replaced as Membership Officer, due to the demands of a new job, and Stephanie Link was appointed in her place. I will again serve on the Risk Management, Leadership Development, Name and Logo, and Site Selection Committees this term.

As many of you are already aware, the AG will be in Louisville in 2015, and San Diego in 2016. The 2017 AG was just awarded to Hollywood, FL.

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 Leslie Stevenson, . To register, visit

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2014 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: 6-Aug-2014. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at