New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for July/August, 2010

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

Back to School In New Orleans

Peter Salomon

Back to school and hurricane season...and everyone in New Orleans knows what that means: It’s almost time for opening day! On Thursday Sept. 9 the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints open the season against the Minnesota Vikings. Yes, I am really just writing this to use the words ‘defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints’ as often as possible. That was twice. Happy NFL Season!


A new ‘tall tales’ feature for La Plume De NOM

Bart Geraci.

One time I was in Greece and we were visiting a site near the coast that had a long and storied history. It had been a temple for worshipping the god Eros and a massive marble statue stood there for hundreds of years. It was destroyed by an army of Huns, who then turned the place into their base of operations. Later on, it became a museum, holding many recorded writs from different places in Greece and other nearby countries. And about 200 years ago, it became a nunnery for the local diocese. But the place is falling apart and it is to be abandoned soon.What little worthy archeological remains will be sent off to local museums. In the meantime, the place is maintained by a single remaining Sister, tending the area until the place is closed for good.

So that's how it's going to end...with no Huns, no writs, no Eros, and nun left on base.

From the RVC

Roger Durham

As I write this, I have just returned from the Annual Gathering. This year’s AG, hosted by the Gen-X SIG and held in Dearborn, MI, was very well attended, with over 2,000 Ms registered. The AG itself was terrific, and afterwards I stayed over an extra day to see the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, which were absolutely mind-boggling.

Several fairly controversial items were on the agenda for the meeting of the American Mensa Committee, including a total redesign of the National Hearings Committee, removal of the two Past Chairs from voting membership on the AMC, and revision of the new election procedure for the National Ombudsman. All were narrowly defeated, largely due to overwhelming opposition by the Regional Vice Chairs, who mostly joined me in voting against all three proposals. At the Annual Business Meeting, a number of motions were introduced, but all failed by substantial margins. Meanwhile, the Elections Committee met to count ballots for the election of a new National Ombudsman. Dave Cahn, of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, was the winner. He will take office on August 1 for a six-year term, replacing Eldon Romney, who has served in that capacity for the last ten years.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... Lone Star Mensa LocSec Don Drumtra suggested that I remind everyone that the membership directory on the American Mensa website is searchable by ZIP Code. If you live in a rural area remote from the bulk of your local group’s membership, you may live close to the boundary of a neighboring group. You can search the national directory for members living in nearby ZIP codes, and possibly get them to join you in some Mensa activities, even though they may be members of some other local group.

Don also suggested that I remind everyone that Mensa is very much a doit- yourself organization – you don’t need approval or permission from your local group to schedule activities; just send a write-up to your group’s calendar chair or editor telling when, what, and where your planned activity will be, and wait to see who shows up.

My question last month about printed versus electronic publications attracted a number of replies, all but one arguing strongly against doing away with paper editions of newsletters and other Mensa publications. This confirms my own opinion that this is a bad idea, and I will continue to oppose such proposals. In next month’s column, I’ll talk about the failed proposal to revamp the Hearings Committee – what it was, why it failed, and what I think we ought to do in its place.

Meanwhile, don’t forget the Lone Star Mensa Regional Gathering, coming up over Labor Day weekend in Round Rock, just north of Austin. See their website for details.


Peter Salomon

La Plume de NOM will begin publishing a series of articles intended to expand the knowledge, interest, and participation of the New Orleans Mensa membership. This series will select locales within our membership area revealing insights into these locales. They could encourage group excursions or individual visits to the areas, and heighten interest in our great and beautiful region.

Our intent is to solicit the membership to contribute their knowledge of their local areas, and increase communications between our members.

Suggested topical areas include, but are not limited to:

Please contact Peter Salomon at if you have any information


Interested in hosting an event? A movie night in your living room? Sports night at a local bar/ pub/tavern/ saloon? Games night? Anything at all? It’s easy...just send us an email with your idea and a date and a place and you’re good to go! This is your organization, and getting involved is simple!


Bart Geraci

...2010 AG. My family and I had a good time in Detroit for the Mensa AG. I've participated in a trivia contest, “Trash Bowl”, and saw the movie “Unforgettable” about the person who can remember details from every day in his life (what happened, what was on TV, what he ate).

Outside the convention, I went to the John King used bookstore in the downtown area. We also went to Toronto and spent an afternoon at the Ontario Science Center, a few hours in Niagra Falls before heading back to Detroit. (I wonder if I could get Tim Horton's to open up a franchise in New Orleans?) While we were in Detroit, we saw the Tigers win on the strength of Justin Verlander's 10 strikes performance. Which leads us to...

...BASEBALL! The New Orleans Mensa Group has group night at Zephyr's Field on Monday August 2nd, 7pm. Tickets are only $3.This is an instance of a Mensa event where we encourage Mensans to bring their friends and family. Speaking of event planning...

...EXCOM meeting August 21st at 3pm at my house. EXCOM? It means executive committee: we discuss topics and ideas for our group. Any NOM Member is invited to attend. Unlike other events, it's a business meeting, not a social event. America Mensa also has business meetings, and one will be at the...

...2011 AG. Next year's AG is in Portland, Oregon. I'm already looking forward to Powell's bookstore and the Voodoo Doughnut shop. But first many thanks to the people in Detroit/Dearborn who put on the wonderful...


Tangipahoa parish lies about 40 miles west of Slidell and a little closer to Jefferson Parish.

The seat of Tangipahoa parish government is in Amite, but Hammond is the main city. The parish population is in excess of 117,000, many of which are associated with Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU), with over 15,000 students.

The name comes from an Indian sub-tribe now part of the Houmas, meaning "ear of corn" or "those who gather corn", giving some insight to its primary industry.

The parish is noted for, among others, Pop singer Britney Spears and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist William Hodding Carter and his son, a White House aide under President Jimmy Carter, and Grammy winning singer Irma Thomas. Hammond was also the site used for the TV series “In the heat of the night”

Some points of interest include the Hammond Market - Once a month special place to shop for unique items., the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Hammond The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival - Louisiana's Largest Free Festival., and the Louisiana Renaissance Festival – An annual Fun and Exciting visit to the Renaissance featuring Live Jousting, Birds of Prey, 7 Stages, 100 Merchants and 100+ Entertainers.

Tangipahoa was a part of the Florida Parishes (originally a part of Spanish Florida), and not, as many think, included in the Louisiana Purchase. Residents reared up and rebelled against Spain and, in 1810, created the West Florida Republic which was almost immediately incorporated into the U.S. as a part of Louisiana. Tangipahoa is the youngest of the Florida parishes, created in 1869 from portions of St. Helena, St. Tammany, Livingston, and Washington parishes. It is now a major crossroads with Interstates 12 and 55 virtually connecting the U.S. east, west, north, and south.


Interested in hosting an event? A movie night in your living room? Sports night at a local bar/pub/tavern/ saloon? Games night? Anything at all? It’s easy...just send us an email with your idea and a date and a place and you’re good to go! This is your organization, and getting involved is simple!

Good Wine Cheap (and good food to go with it)

By John Grover

A part of the joy of travel is discovery. It may be new sights, new sounds, new approaches to living and definitely new tastes. One of the new tastes that we come across during our recent trip to Spain was the incorporation of the almond into almost every aspect of cooking. This was particularly noticeable in the Southern regions. Almonds could be found various forms in appetizers, soups, salads, desserts and in main dishes such as the one below.

We have two wines to recommend this month, a red and a white. The first is the 2007 Red Guitar from the Navarra region in the North of Spain. This red wine is a blend of Tempranillo and Granacha grapes. It has the aroma of cherries and tastes of red and black raspberries. Its soft tannins produce a smooth medium bodied wine that matches with a range of dishes. It is widely available for between $8 to $10 a bottle. The second wine is the 2008 Montecillo “Verdemar” Albarino from the Rias Baixas wine region. This white wine is made from 100% Albarino grapes. It is a crisp and pleasant wine that starts out with a nose of tropical fruit and moves to a dry but fruity taste of apple, pineapple and a bit of lime. There is almost a creamy character to this wine that helps to make it a good match to this month’s recipe. I have found this wine from about $8 up to $12 a bottle.

Andalusia Style Chicken

8 Chicken thighs (or other parts);
4 garlic cloves peeled;
1 tomato, peeled and chopped (may use canned);
1 medium onion, chopped;
1 bay leaf;
2 cooked egg yolks;
½ cup white wine;
1 cup chicken stock;
10 toasted almonds;
6 tbsp. olive oil;
5 Saffron strands;
2 sprigs of parsley;
ground pepper and salt to taste.

Wash and dry the chicken. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the peeled garlic cloves until browned. Remove them and set aside. Salt the chicken and fry in the oil until browned. Place in the pot that the stew is to be made. Peel and chop the onion and fry gently in the same oil as used to fry the chicken, until it becomes transparent. Add the chopped tomato and heat for 5 minutes. Add contents of pan to the pot with the chicken and pour in the wine. Pour in the chicken stock, add the bay leaf, cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, combine the garlic, almonds, saffron, and parsley into a paste using a food processor. Incorporate the egg yolks process again and add paste to the chicken. Stir in paste, add pepper with a few twists of your pepper grinder and cook for a few minutes on a low heat. Serves four.

I hope that you will contact me with your comments and favorite wines at I will be happy to share them with the broader Mensa group.

John Grover is a member of Mensa of Northeastern New York. He lives with his wife Sharon in the Hudson Valley of New York.


Interested in writing for our newsletter? Have a poem to share? A photograph? An idea for a monthly column or even just a joke? Send it in! See your name in lights...well, in black and white in a small newsletter sent out to your fellow New Orleans’ Mensa members. We’re looking for content! Email the Editor, Peter Salomon, at The right to edit is reserved

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Last edited: 16-Aug-2010 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at