New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for January 2013

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

So The Story Goes Like This

Bart Geraci

So I once met our neighbors in West Texas, the Tells, at a local block party. It turned out that the father was in fact a bowler on the professional circuit, and his two sons and daughter were also just getting started in the professional league (the mother didn't bowl herself, but she provided support). I asked him about what being on the circuit was like behind the scenes and he told me that he just got a sponsorship deal from Bee Hive Pastries to pay for travel and lodging expenses.

He was finishing up telling me about life on the circuit, and I thanked him for his time. Someone else just walked up and asked what he did, and when he found out that he was a professional bowler, he wanted to know if he had a sponsor lined up.

I quickly replied (because I'm sure he didn't want to have to tell the same story twice) and said...

“... don't ask for whom the Tells bowl, they bowl for Bee.”


By Bart Geraci

Wishing you a Happy New Year! May you achieve your New Year's goals.

In New Orleans, the city is gearing up for the Sugar Bowl / Super Bowl. In the office building where I work are 2 large easels with the details of ramp and street closures and when they would go into effect. Now, not only are we hosting the Super Bowl on February 3rd, but due to the lunar-based calculations, Mardi Gras is early this year: February 12th. So the normal 2 or so weeks of parades before Mardi Gras will be stretched out an extra week this year since there will be NO parades the week before Super Bowl. Sad to say, the Saints will not be in the Super Bowl this year, but it was a rough year overall. We'll say “Wait until next year,” but we still have the benefits of winning Super Bowl 44.

And my wife and wonderful co-chair of NORGY 2012 has a recap of the NORGY.

And we still need someone to be the new editor. Perhaps your resolution this year is to become more active in NOM? Hmmm?

Let's Go Hornets!

From the RVC

Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chairman

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is already gone, and it’s time to wish all of you a very happy New Year. It’s been a hectic fall, and I’m looking forward to a few quiet months before we gear up for the 2013 American Mensa elections. (Yes, I’m running for re-election.)

Due to my wife Leslie’s unexpected cancer surgery just before Thanksgiving, I was unable to go to New Orleans for the winter American Mensa Committee meeting on December 1. I participated by telephone, so I didn’t miss the meeting itself, but I must apologize to Bart Geraci and New Orleans Mensa for having to pass up what I’m told was a most enjoyable Regional Gathering. I hope NOM will decide to make it an annual event. Leslie, I’m happy to report, is doing fine and is expected to make a complete recovery.

For the same reason, I also missed my own group’s RG, the Feast of Pleasures and Delights in Dallas over Thanksgiving weekend, where a good time was reportedly had by all. There will be no Dallas RG in 2013, as everyone who would normally work on the RG is busy putting together the Annual Gathering in Fort Worth, but I hope you will all mark your calendars now for Thanksgiving 2014, when the Dallas RG will return bigger and better than ever.

Which reminds me to mention that it’s not too early to make your plans for Gulf Coast Mensa’s SynRG 2013, coming to Houston over Memorial Day weekend. Check their Web site for details. And speaking of enjoyable Mensa events, congratulations are due to Patsy Graham and Lone Star Mensa on their successful bid to host the 2014 Mind Games in Austin next year.

Finally, many groups recently went through local elections and have new officers taking over thismonth. My congratulations (or condolences) and best wishes to all of you who are newly elected to a leadership position in your local group. Please do not hesitate to contact me ( if I can be of assistance in any way.

Roger Durham

NORGY 2012 Recap

Lovie Geraci, co-chair

November 30th – December 2nd was a fun-filled and educational weekend. It was the NORGY that brought people from all over the country – including Alaska. The AMC held their meeting during the weekend and were able to join us for some of our activities. We had Pub Trivia after dinner on Friday. Several great talks and tours Saturday and Sunday such as information on our cemeteries, Katrina, Voodoo and haunted houses, interesting court cases (which we have plenty), the Crescent City Farmer's Market, and Coliseum Square.

Oh! We even had a Christmas parade outside our front door. Our registrants had a little touch of Mardi Gras and wore their beads proudly.

We were very fortunate to have live entertainment for our wonderful John Besh dinner. During cocktail hour, we had singers from McDonogh 35 and Warren Easton, directed by Harvey Blanchard. Part of our dinner we were enthralled with the amazing Belly Dancing by Iona (who is the daughter of our our local member, Jean Mestier) accompanied by the Beledi Jewels. During dessert we were captivated by the beautiful and outstanding voices of the angelic singers and guitar player from McMain High School directed by another local member, Claudia D'Aquin and accompanied by Dr. Dale Norris. I have never witnessed before such a long time of silence from so many Mensans as I did during the McMain performances.

We wouldn't have had such a great convention if it wasn't for the wonderful staff of the Hilton-St. Charles. Especially Greg Duroncelay, who was my contact person and life line. My main helper for the weekend was Demoinde Rowley. The waiters who were especially quiet during the performances.

Thank you so much for all of the help during and before the convention to special helpers:

Last BUT definitely not least my wonderful helpers during the convention:

Of course, plenty of our people went out to see the sights of New Orleans and had a great time checking out restaurants and bars. It was a beautiful weekend, (so I was told – I didn't leave the hotel) and we got a lot of great compliments.

If you didn't make it, sorry – you missed a great time.

Bart Geraci, co-chair

Now let me mention what Lovie did:

Holding an RG is a major undertaking.

NORGY 2012 would not have happened without Lovie.

Thank you for the RG.

Thank you for over 22 years of marriage.

I am truly blessed.

Lecture at Tulane University

S&G Lecture Series featuring David Waggonner, Dutch Dialogues, Waggoner & Ball Architects

January 15, 2013, 6:00 - 8:00 PM CT

Tulane University School of Architecture , Richardson Memorial Hall, Room 201

Free admission

With the demolition of the waterfall dam at Robert E Lee, the bayou will soon have a more natural interchange with the Lake Pontchartrain. Safety will be the utmost criteria; so much study is yet to be done to set up a procedure for the opening of the flood gate at the mouth of the bayou.

For more information on the lecture series, see:

BrainFork: A Mensan talks about food


Bart Geraci

“Kohlrabi is a really fudging* stupid food.”
-Movie “Tiny Furniture” (2010) [*but she didn't say “fudging”...]-

So I picked up a kohlrabi at the Crescent City Farmers Market the other day and it's one of those little-known vegetables.

Let's look at its name: the first part comes from the German word “kohl” which means “cabbage” ; much in the same way that “cole slaw” is a cabbage salad. The second part “rabi” comes from a Swiss German variant meaning “turnip”.

In India, Kohlrabi is more commonly called Knolkhol (English) or Nookal (Hindi). It is also used extensively in Southern part of India. In Kannada, Kohlrabi is called Gedde Kosu or Navilu Kosu. In Kashmiri it is called Monji.

Charlemagne ordered kohlrabi to be grown in the lands under his reign. We connect Charlemagne with the French empire, but actually his home was in Aix-la-Chapelle (a.k.a. Aachen), located in the Northwestern portion of Germany, near the Netherlands and Belgium.

Hamburg Township in Michigan has billed itself as the “Kohlrabi Capital of the World.”

Bred to be Mild

“Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and looks like a cross between an octopus and a space capsule.”
-Jonny Bowden “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”-

Looking at the Cabbage family, there's two main species:

Looking at the taxonomy of the wild cabbage plant, we find the following scientific classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Division Angiosperms
(unranked) Eudicots
(unranked) Rosids
Order Brassicales
Family Brassicaceae
Genus Brassica
Species B. oleracea

From this plant many different cultivars (cultivated variety) are formed, each for its particular characteristics. The 7 major cultivars are:

Group Members
Acephala kale and collard greens
Alboglabra Chinese broccoli
Botrytis cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, broccoflower
Capitata cabbage
Gemmifera brussels sprouts
Gongylodes kohlrabi
Italica broccoli

Think of the leaves of a cabbage. In a smaller version, you would have brussel sprouts. Kale, collard greens, etc. is like cabbage, but each leaf is separated with its own stalk. In broccoli and cauliflower, the normal development of the flowers is arrested and dominates the center, as opposed to the leaves surrounding cabbages. In kohlrabi, the stem is swollen and the leaves are well separated from each other and the main stem. It is in fact, created by artificial selection for these characteristics.

Choosing a Kohlrabi

There are two types of kohlrabi, green and purple, but in the meat of things, the colors don't matter. Both colors have the same insides. Also, bigger is not better; the smaller sizes are sweeter.

You should choose small, heavy kohlrabi which are firm and relatively unblemished. The skin is slightly woody and requires a firm hand with a peeler The leaves/tops are edible - they are very cabbage-y - and can be cooked in the manner of any tough green. But the main part of the kohlrabi is the bulb itself.

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, since it has a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

As a side paragraph, I love to take broccoli stems, peel their exterior, leaving the inside pale green bits, cut them matchstick style, blanch them for a little bit first. Then I do a quick stir-fry with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and dried Chinese black beans (rehydrated).


“Kohlrabi, oh oh
Cantare, oh oh oh oh”
-(Actually it's “Volare” not “Kohlrabi”, written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, but you try to find the word “kohlrabi” in a song lyric)-

Okay, the consensus on the best way to use kohlrabi is raw, in long thin strips. And there is further consensus that you should use a mandoline to create long thin strips.

So one approach would be to simply salt the kohlrabi strips and munch on them like that.

Here's a recipe for quick kohlrabi pickles:

Quick Kohlrabi Pickles

Take 2-4 small kohlrabi bulbs, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2" cubes, place in lidded airtight container (I use Mason jars), add some olive oil, mild vinegar (rice, sherry, white wine), salt, pepper, and optional sugar. Shake well, adjust seasoning, place in fridge. Best after a few hours, will last about a week.

Since kohlrabi is related to the cabbage, and it is best consumed raw, many of the recipes that use kohlrabi are variants of coleslaw.


Take any mix of kohlrabi, cabbage, or carrots. Slice thin or shred. Some recipes also add shredded apples. Then take your liquid component (Vinaigrette, mayonnaise-based, or creambased) and mix in. Optional additions include raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, and walnuts.

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Last edited: 12-Jan-2013 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at