New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for July 2013

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

So The Story Goes Like This

Bart Geraci

I was working downtown in a small city in West Texas at a general store. One day we had someone open up an Asian emporium nearby, selling things from China, Japan, and other Pacific Rim countries. It became wildly successful because of the knickknacks and oddities that people ended up buying.

One day, the owner's son wanted to open up his own shop. The father scouted out a nearby building, and helped him to set up the business. When the son opened up for business, it was a store specialized in Origami. He sold books papers, related toys and gave classes.

Now I enjoyed this very much and I would go visit him often. I loved making all types of animals and other objects. But perhaps it was too specialized since he didn't get the people coming in like his father's store. And one day, I saw a sign said that his store was closed --- for good.

That's a shame. I hate to see a store that I like...

... become just another business that folded.

Upcoming NOM Elections (Reminder #2)

By Bart Geraci

It's time to start thinking about NOM Elections. There are four positions eligible for election:

From the bylaws:


By Bart Geraci

Well (as of this writing – Ed.), I'll be getting ready for the AG in Fort Worth soon. This will be my 25th consecutive AG.

We tested 6 people at the latest Testing Session on June 22nd. We will have testing sessions on August 24th and October 19th.

We are looking for someone to be our scholarship chair. There are more details in another article, but if you are interested, please let us know before the end of this month so we declare our intentions before the deadline.

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. If you are interested in running for office, please contact me or any of the other EXCOM members.

In New Orleans, the Running of the Bulls will be on July 13th. See for more information. Just like the real thing in Pamplona Spain, if their bulls were replaced by members of the Big Easy Rollergirls with horned helmets. Another reason why New Orleans is unlike any other place on earth.

So stay safe, get out of the sun if you can, and cool down with a nice cold snoball.

Let's go Zephyrs!

BrainFork: A Mensan talks about food

By Bart Geraci

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

High Fly Ball

By Kevin Chesnut

“Is that you, Bob?”

Dad was sure that the phone call he had answered was a co-worker pulling a prank. Who wins a free trip to Detroit, anyway? Playing along briefly, he asked, “Then what? We get a free Cadillac from the president of General Motors when we get there?”

Overhearing the words “Detroit” and “contest”, Mom rushed in from the next room. “Yes! I entered us in a drawing at Maison Blanche! Are they saying we won? We won!” The prize was a father-and-son trip to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Detroit on July 13, 1971. Father and son decided it would be more fun with the whole family, so they invited Mom to come along, and the trip was extended a couple of days to allow for some sightseeing. None of them followed baseball much, as New Orleans had no major league team, but they looked forward to the experience just the same.

This would be the boy’s first plane trip. In this era when air travel was a big deal, they suited up in their Sunday best. In this era before weight limits, the boy brought along his huge hardback copy of Treasure Island, although no more than ten pages of the summer reading assignment would be completed during this journey. The view from the plane window was amazing, but the boy was a little disappointed to note that the states were not painted and labeled like on his wooden U.S. map puzzle. How could he be sure that was Indiana? He needed to visit the bathroom during the flight, and Dad squeezed in there with him for company. “No, it doesn’t just fall out the bottom,” Dad explained. “They keep it in a special tank until they land.” No sooner had they gotten settled in the tiny compartment than the seat belt warning lit up. In this era before flight attendants, they heard one stewardess say, “Is everyone buckled?”, and another answered, “Everyone but that little boy – he’s still in the bathroom.”

The family was given a room in a nice downtown hotel. On the first day, they had lunch at a restaurant located within the multi-story Hudson’s department store, the façade of which was draped with a huge American flag. “Now look, this is a high-class place”, said Dad with mock gravitas. “Don’t blow the paper off your straw like at Frostop.” The boy caught the joke and chuckled. Later, they all took a bus tour across the river to Windsor, Ontario – Mom and the boy’s first visit to foreign soil (Dad had been to Mexico on Naval Reserve cruises a couple of times.)

The night before the game, the contest winners were invited to dinner with a number of baseball luminaries. Each family received a souvenir baseball, and the boy secured autographs from a few players well known to fans at the time -- Stan Bahnsen, Bill Hands, and Dave DeBusschere, the latter one of only twelve men to play in both MLB and the NBA.

Four decades later, the 1971 game is still the only one in which all runs were scored by future Hall of Famers. The souvenir pennant rests among other keepsakes from the same era. Its white felt is becoming brittle with age, its dark blue pressed-on vinyl design chipping away, but the names of the legends who were in the park that night are still readable – Clemente, Bench, Torre, Jackson, Blue, Killebrew, Robinson, Yastrzemski, Aaron, Brock, Mays, Rose, Seaver – and it serves as a reminder of not only a ball game, but an unforgettable family adventure.

By Kevin Chesnut
The Little Boy in the Bathroom

From the RVC

Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chairman

I received a letter the other day from a Mensa member who was quite upset with one particular characteristic of the member’s local Mensa group, so much so that this person had given serious consideration to dropping out of Mensa altogether. The problem is that the Local Secretary of the group, a very conscientious Mensa officer who works very hard to promote activities and keep the group lively, is nonetheless unknowingly discouraging participation due to strongly held views on certain controversial subjects, which the LocSec apparently brings up regularly and then treats with contempt any who dare to disagree.

In society at large, it is an unwritten rule of polite conversation that three subjects must always be avoided: sex, politics, and religion. In Mensa, on the other hand, it sometimes seems that we talk of little else. It is admirable, I think, to be able to discuss these “land-mine” subjects while still maintaining our intellectual integrity and mutual respect for each other’s opinions. However, therein lies a trap awaiting the unwary, one that can do serious damage to a Mensa group. It consists of a particular mind-set that is sufficiently common among Mensans to be a topic of occasional discussion at meetings of Mensa leaders.

A former Chair of American Mensa described the thought process something like this: “I’m smart, therefore I’m right; you’re smart, therefore you know I’m right; therefore if you disagree with me you must be doing it maliciously just to make trouble.” This is a particularly invidious attitude, and very easy for Mensans to lapse into, because we mostly grew up knowing ourselves to be the smartest person in any gathering.

However, opinions on sex, politics, and religion in particular are formed by so many factors besides intelligence that two equally bright people may easily find themselves on diametrically opposite sides of any of these issues. We owe it to our fellow Mensa members to remind ourselves periodically that the people we are talking to have demonstrated a mental acuity equal to our own, and therefore cannot be casually dismissed as “clearly wrong” no matter how outrageous their views may seem. So please, when associating with your fellow Mensans, try to smile and be cordial even to those whose opinions unaccountably differ from yours.

That’s all for now, folks - I’m off to Fort Worth for the Annual Gathering and the Annual Business Meeting, plus a meeting of the American Mensa Committee. I’ll be back next month with the results.

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Last edited: 13-Jul-2013 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at