New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for March/April 2008

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

If you haven’t checked the New Orleans Mensa website, you should. You can check the calendar for upcoming local events, read back issues of La Plume, get updates on news from National Mensa, and for lagniappe, enjoy a selection of games, puzzles and magic tricks. It’s a great resource–check it out: Thanks to Bart Geraci for creating and maintaining the site.

National Mensa’s website is also worth a look. In addition to information about the Mensa organization itself, they offer the latest scoop on national events and a great list of special offers and discounts, that are available to members. They have an extensive selection of games and puzzles, featuring Sudoku, crosswords, jigsaws, and assorted word puzzles. You can personalize your login page to include your photo and website. There is a membership directory and a new feature called “Meet-a-Member” that will connect you with members who share your interests and hobbies.

In this issue, Henry Bertrand shares his dreams, Phil Wilking reports on the state of NOM finances, and our LocSec waxes poetic. Cover art is by H.

Loc Sec’s Lucubrations

by Gerry Ward

Friends, members, countrymen,
Lend me your ears.
It's time to renew.
We want to see you.
Do it now, I'll tell you how,
Don't get into arrears.
And enjoy the extra day--it's one of those Leap Years!

Do you think Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave? Seriously, March is membership renewal month. Please renew to remain a member of New Orleans Mensa so you will continue to receive your newsletter and be able to enjoy all of our activities. You can renew your membership quickly, easily, and at your convenience at . Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover are accepted. Don’t forget about Mensa’s multi-year and lifetime membership packages.

Deborah Ruf, Mensa's National Gifted Children's Program Coordinator sent a letter recommending the Academic Games Leagues of America. It sponsors a national tournament each year in late April that invites some of the country's brightest kids to compete in up to six different events. The participants are separated by grade levels and compete as individuals as well as part of a five person team. Young Mensans would compete much like an athlete does for a sporting event, except the sport is academics. AGLOA has two of their Academic Games that can be learned and practiced through their website -- They are offering tournaments in Presidents, about our Commanders in Chief, and Propaganda, a language arts game, about persuasion tactics used in advertising, campaigns, and everyday speech, which they are featuring online now. Our Young Mensans are invited to attend and even participate in this year's National Academic Games Tournament being held in Orlando, Florida from April 25-28.The AGLOA sent a brochure which I will send to any parent who would like to see it, and a letter from the organization's Director of Development about why she encourages gifted children to participate in Academic Games. If your child would like to participate, you may email Leslie Leah Smith at

We recently had a visitor from Western Washington Mensa, Sarah Wright. I took her to the Coffee Night SIG and to the NOM night. She is a travel writer who had a good impression of our tourist areas and the progress we have made. Of course she was appalled at the “war zone” she saw in Lakeview and the 9th ward, but I think we will get a favorable write-up for the tourist trade.

On a sad note, we recently learned of the death of member Brian McGill.


by Anne Hatfield

January 12, 2008

Loc Sec Geraldine Ward called a brief business meeting on Saturday, January 12, 2008, shortly after 7:30 p.m. Gerry informed the group of a contest offered by national Mensa on the topic “Why I love Mensa”. Rules are available on the website

Chairman Patricia Armatis announced details of the upcoming GNO Science Fair to be held February 28 and 29. The Junior and Senior Divisions are being held separately this year and it was decided that our group would judge the Junior Division to be held at Ben Franklin High School. Loc Sec Ward announced that she would write the membership by e-mail asking for those who wished to volunteer to judge the science entries.

It was also announced that the Culture Quest event will be held locally on April 27 this year.

Loc Sec Ward informed the group that Mensa tests are for applicants aged fifteen and older and that the testing fees in the month of February would be two for the price of one.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Hatfield, Secretary

You Must Be Dreaming…

by Henry Bertrand

...if you think I would really relate something so private as my dream. They’re so finicky, you know. Easy to come by; hard to hold. Especially as you grow older. I’ve always associated “pipe dreams” with dark, mysterious opium dens. Must have been some gloomy image I picked up on TV. Now I kind of look on a dream like a bubble from a child’s bubble pipe. I wake up and POP! There it goes…forever. Another dream I just can’t seem to remember. Why am I sweating and cowering under the bed sheet? Why am I smiling in the dark and reaching over to see if someone is next to me? No way.
Anyhow, I just had to hang on to this bubble (bauble) that floated daintily through my mental channels at about 4am this morning. It didn’t burst right away, so I chased it through the darkened room with some kind of imaginary bubble-net. It had Mensan reverberations, so I thought it might be fun to pass it on in the newsletter. And it really wasn’t all that private. (Interpretations from well-meaning peers are not requested.)

Seems like I was attending one of Bart’s NOM Nite parties and I was all decked out in some fancy duds. Only thing it seemed to be taking place in a darkened high school gymnasium. I say this because I was sitting in a wooden bleacher. You know, the kind that recesses into the wall when not in use. A Pretty Little Miss was sitting next to me, probably some new recruit in our ranks, and we were telling each other about ourselves. Suddenly the door opened and through the shaft of bright light, in walked my old buddy Franco (who now lives in Italy, …really). A big fan of Humphrey Bogart, he was wrapped in a tan trench coat and wearing an incongruous gray hat. He sat on the other side of PLM and, without invitation, joined the conversation.

“I’m just telling this new member how my father was big in the oil industry,” I say.

“Oh, tell me about it!” says PLM.

“Yeah,” says good buddy, “he was a grease monkey down at the Lee Circle Esso station.”

PLM, noticing Franco (probably for the first time), asks, “And what do you do, sir?”

“I’m into the “Market” myself,” his reply.

Ha! The little imp of one-up-man-ship twists my ear and smilingly I intone, “He used to go to Schwegmann’s until they folded, now I believe it’s Dorignac’s.”

This goes on for a while until we realize that PLM has left the bleacher to join some basketball jock.

“You scared her away,” Franco accuses.

“I was doing fine until you got here!”

“Well, maybe she didn’t understand that Schwegmann was an old New Orleans grocery chain.”

“Yeah, probably before she was born. Some Mensan!”

Franco changes the subject: “There’s these three novels by this Italian writer that you’ve just got to read,” he says. “Lets check the newsstand outside.”

We leave the gym and are immediately immersed in throngs and throngs of people. (This is New Orleans???) We approach the two(?) proprietors at a newsstand and ask for the novels. Miracle of miracles, they have them. And for a dollar each.

“Can you pay for this?” Franco asks.“I haven’t had time to exchange my euros.” (Up to his old tricks, I see.)

So I decide to check if these two guys can qualify for Mensa: “Here’s three one dollar bills,” I say (no tax?) “how do plan to divide it between you?”

The brighter little guy, without the cigar, says, “He owes me three, so I’m keeping it all.” (Guess he’s a candidate.)

We leave the newsstand and I look at the books.

“Hey, these are in Italian!” I blurt out.

“I told you the author was Italian,” Franco states.

“Well, how am I suppose to understand this?”

“Look, I’ll translate them for you, okay?”

“All of them? That’s ridiculous!” …

POP! And now I’m suddenly awake and grabbing after that bubble. It was so real. And I’m wondering if Franco is really going to translate those books, whose titles I never did register. And what about my three bucks? Gone forever. And maybe if I close my eyes and try to ease back into that gymnasium, maybe little PLM will have grown tired of the sport jock and come and sit by me again in the bleacher, and…

I must be dreaming.

Back to the La Plume de NOM main page.
These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2008 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: 15-Mar-2009 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at