New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for June 2012

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

From the Editor

Peter Salomon

Are you ready for Hurricane Season?
Or are you still in mourning over the bountygate punishments?
It’s June, almost time to start paying attention to the election but the NFL season will start before then. So, back to the Saints as always.
As they say: Be Prepared!

So The Story Goes Like This

Bart Geraci

I was working one summer in East Texas (Hah! You thought I was going to say West Texas, didn't you?) at an auto repair shop. It was run by a Swedish mechanic who spent many years working in the Saab plant. Because of this experience, he specialized in foreign cars: not just Saab, but Volvos, BMW, and Mercedes as well. The nice thing about the job was that I learned a lot from him. He would teach me in terms of a story about what the symptoms were, how he diagnosed the problem, including some mistakes he had made along the way. Sure, the stories were often long, but the background to the diagnosis helped me to remember what to do for different cases.

One day I had a date after work and I was hoping to get off a little bit earlier so I could get home in time. But just then a customer brings in his car to be fixed. I've seen the problem before and I started working on it right away, and rather quickly.

My boss comes in and proceeds to start telling me a story about a past car diagnosis and I had to interrupt him.

“Wait! I need to finish this up because I need to leave in about 15 minutes...”

“...and I don't have time to listen to another one of your Saab stories.”


Roger Durham

Things are pretty quiet just now, so I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects: Gatherings. As you read this, the year’s first Regional Gathering in Region 6, Gulf Coast Mensa’s SynRG in Houston, will probably be history, but there will be plenty of other upcoming opportunities for you to find out why Mensa Gatherings are so popular, if you’ve never attended one. Next up, of course, is the Big Kahuna of Gatherings, the Annual Gathering, Mensa’s annual national convention. Held in Reno, NV this year, from July 4th through July 8th, the AG will attract about 2,000 Mensans for four days and nights of games, workshops, speakers, dancing, partying, and general merriment. You can still be one of them. See your copy of the Mensa Bulletin for more information, or check the AG website (

Another Regional Gathering comes up over Labor Day weekend in Round Rock, TX, where Lone Star Mensa will put on the 2012 version of LoneStaRG. A little shorter and smaller than the AG, but featuring many of the same opportunities to interact with your fellow Mensans. Details will be available soon.

Then, at Thanksgiving, you can attend North Texas Mensa’s RG, Feast of Pleasures and Delights XXXIII in Dallas. One of the oldest and largest RGs in this part of the country, the Dallas RG moves to a new hotel this year, but will continue to provide the same North Texas hospitality and entertainment as before. More information will be coming along in the near future.

Last, but certainly not least, you can spend the first weekend in December with your fellow Ms in the party capital of our region (if not the nation), New Orleans. Yes, in 2012 New Orleans Mensa returns to the Gathering circuit for the first time since 2005, when they hosted the AG. (You may recall a little unpleasantness that followed shortly thereafter, but I’m sure the two events were not related.) Anyway, NOM is back in the RG business in a big way, with a downtown hotel on the St. Charles streetcar line just a few blocks from the French Quarter and the casino. Details are still under development, but watch for a listing in the Mensa Bulletin soon. Needless to say, I’ll be mentioning this again soon as well.

And now for something completely different: a couple of months ago, I asked for your input regarding the filling of vacancies in the office of Regional Vice Chairman. As I expected, I heard from only four people, two of whom were completely satisfied with the current system. Brian Bloch obviously feels very strongly about this, but apparently the other 5,000 or so of you have no immediate concerns regarding this matter, so I’m going to let it drop.

Roger Durham


Bart Geraci

I'm getting packed and ready to head out to the Houston RG. I am hoping to learn from their experiences on how to put on a good RG.

Locally, June 1st means hurricane season begins. So let us partake in any ritual of our choosing to keep our area safe for the next 6 months.

Our Zephyrs are back in the swing of things and we should enjoy an evening or so outside at the ballpark.

Let's go Zs!

Input From Young Mensans Needed

Our Gifted Children’s Coordinator, Gerry Ward, wants to hear from young Mensans for some activities that they would be interested in. You can email her at

Help Us With NORGY 2012

For NORGY 2012, we are looking for many of our members to help. We are looking for someone to lead the hospitality committee and someone to be the Registrar. In addition, we welcome people to help us staff the hospitality room during the gathering.


By Bart J Geraci on hiatus this month. Now is your chance to write an article for publication in La Plume de NOM!! Just email your article to the Editor at!

La Plume de NOM presents a guest pun writer...

By Kevin Chestnut

Brother Hernando was enjoying his first-ever view from an airplane window. His order had partnered with a charitable organization to deliver medical and educational assistance to remote villages in Greenland, and he had eagerly volunteered, swapping his monastic robes for cold-weather hiking gear for a couple of weeks. The pilot, his cousin Joaquin, a devoted supporter of these mission projects, donated the flight. Hernando was visiting the cockpit when turbulence suddenly struck. “You’d better buckle in,” said Joaquin, indicating the vacant navigator’s seat.

He complied, but wasn’t worried. Having grown up serving as a deckhand on fishing vessels in his native Portugal, he was no stranger to storms. In fact, as he waited out the weather, he found himself a bit peckish, and glanced around the pilot’s compartment for something to nibble on. Joaquin took flight safety very seriously, and always kept the plane fully prepared, according to guidelines published by the authorities, and so among the cache of emergency supplies, Hernando found a pack of energy bars.

“Joaquin, may I …”, he began. “Sure, Padre, take anything you want,” the pilot replied, concentrating on the situation outside. Hernando helped himself to the last three bars, intending to replace them from his group’s provisions in the cargo hold once they landed.

Shortly, the weather cleared, and Joaquin’s fellow pilot, who was going to take the return flight, entered the cockpit from the passenger compartment, where he had been planning to grab a little sack time. With the crisis passed, he too was feeling a bit hungry, and asked Joaquin if there were any energy bars left.

“Sorry … they went out of the flying plan and into the friar.”

New Orleans Mensa EXCOM meeting

by Claudia D'Aquin

May 12, 2012

Home of Bart Geraci

Officers present: Bart Geraci, Claudia D'Aquin, Phil Therrien, Rene` Petersen

Meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM.

1. Treasurer reported that our annual report has been filed with National. We have a total $9803.83 on deposit.

2. Rene` Petersen reported we will schedule an admissions test administration for June. He will confirm the date with the testing site.

3. News from National: Special promotion throughout the month of May, kids under 18 can qualify for Mensa membership free. We will try to spread the word.

4. Latest stats from national show that New Orleans Mensa has 43 lapsed members as of April 1 (members who did not renew in March). Bart will put a reminder in the newsletter and will also email the particular individuals.

5. Update from National Past 12 months, EVERY person to whom we administered the admissions test has JOINED Mensa. (7 people).

6. Bart went to the Mind Games event and was able to talk to other leaders of other Mensa groups regarding RG organization; he and Lovie will attend the Houston RG over Memorial Day weekend, and will gather more info/ advice regarding producing the RG. The Houston group has asked us to donate one registration for our RG to them to be used as a raffle prize. We agreed to do this and we will ask them to donate a registration for their event next year (2013) to be used as a raffle prize during our RG.

7. We are also still looking for a volunteer to serve as coordinator for Northshore activities. Bart put this in the newsletter; no volunteers yet.

8. Culture Quest was April 29 at Bart's house. The group enjoyed the event. We do not yet have results.

9. Renee` Aguilar has expressed interest in becoming editor of the newsletter. She was editor years ago. Rene` Petersen confirmed that she is a competent candidate whom we should accept.

10.RG updates: We need someone to serve as registrar for the RG. Bart has agreed to handle this unless/until another volunteer steps forward.

Other updates: RG meeting is next Saturday, May 19, 2012, 5 PM, Bart's house. We will each report back on our respective assignments for the RG.

Next ExCom Meeting: August 18, 6 PM, Bart's house.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:40 PM.

Submitted by Claudia D'Aquin, Secretary

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Last edited: 30-May-2012 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at