New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for March/April 2010

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

LocSec's Report

Bart J. Geraci

Behold the awesome and scary power of LocSec: I ended my previous column with "Go Saints!" and since then they have won the SuperBowl!

Go Hornets & Zephyrs & Chicago Cubs!

Proctors Needed

Hand in hand with a growing chapter is providing supervised test to qualify prospects for Mensa membership. To this end we will need some more Proctors to supervise the test. While the duty itself is not difficult, there are rules that must be followed and a period of "internship" under an existing Proctor before one is allowed to be a full-fledged Proctor.

Please contact our current Proctor Rene Petersen for more details on how to become one.

RVC Report

Roger Durham

I see in the March issue of Pensar, the newsletter of Paso del Norte Mensa, that someone has asked that I write more about what the AMC is doing, rather than what’s going on around the Region. Some RVCs do fill their columns with discussions of things going on at the national level, and I have given some thought to that as well, but there are several reasons why I have mostly chosen not to do so.

First of all, quite frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in national Mensa politics hereabouts. In my own local group and the four others I have visited so far, only one person has asked me about a national issue, and everyone else left the room when it came up. If you’re interested in some particular matter, I encourage you to e-mail ( ) me and I’ll be happy to discuss the issue individually without boring everyone else.

A second reason for not concentrating on national issues is that a lot of information is readily available on the AML website or in the Mensa Bulletin. I just got back from the AMC meeting in San Diego, and I could have filled this column with a discussion of what we accomplished, but long before seeing the column, you could have just gone to the website, read the posted minutes of the meeting and seen for yourself what we did. (Primarily, we adopted a balanced budget, voted to submit to the membership a By-Laws amendment to change the way we replace and remove RVCs, appointed the national Nominating Committee, and created a task force to look for ways to make the AMC more effective.)

Finally, if what was being requested was information about what the AMC might be thinking about doing in the future, I am reluctant to comment on that because most of the discussion among the AMC members prior to an official meeting is confidential. My predecessor as RVC got crossways with the rest of the AMC because he accidentally published something from a confidential e-mail, and I don’t want to make the same mistake. It’s very easy to start out discussing something that’s common knowledge and inadvertently add something that was said in confidence. You may think this is unfair or unduly secretive, but the fact is that most of what gets talked about among the AMC members never makes it to the meeting agenda, or is withdrawn before being acted on, so even if I could tell you what we have been discussing, much of it would turn out to be completely irrelevant, if not actually misleading.

Having said all that, if I feel that misinformation is being circulated regarding American Mensa’s activities or programs, I will certainly use this column to propagate the facts, as I did last year regarding the Inpharmatica lawsuit. And, if I’m wrong about point number one above, let me hear from you. If I get a groundswell of requests for more discussion of national issues, I’ll try to find a way to tiptoe through the confidentiality minefield and talk more about what might appear on the agenda of future AMC meetings.

Now, let’s forget about politics and get back to partying. Don’t forget Memorial Day weekend in Houston, where Gulf Coast Mensa will be pulling out all the stops to provide us with a fabulous Regional Gathering. Hope to see you there!

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

by John Grover

This month’s column is dedicated to French food, Spanish wine and the “Crock-Pot”. About a month ago we dined upon the recipe found below. In spite of having developed a real appreciation for seafood over the years, I am still secretly wary of fish dishes. I think that this ingrained fear is based upon the periodic culinary tragedies of my childhood (Sorry Mom.). Once again the Boss proved these fears had no basis. The Bouillabaisse that came out of the slow cooker that night was an absolute delight.

The wine this month is a white from the Navarra Region of Northern Spain. The 2008 Vega Sindoa is a well balanced blend of 75% Viura and 25% Chardonnay grapes. It has a nose that hints of flowers and fruit which is followed by a fresh green apple and citrus flavor. Like so many Spanish white wines, this one seems to be made for seafood. I paid $8 a bottle for this wine as part of a case.

Bouillabaisse “Fisherman’s Stew” (from an old Rival “Crock-Pot” cookbook published in the 1970’s)

First Ingredients: ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup chopped onion, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, ½ cup chopped celery, 1 can (1 lb.) tomatoes, 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce, 2 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp paprika, ½ cup dry sherry or white wine, pinch of dry basil. Seafood: 1 ½ lbs. medium or large shrimp, 3 sea bass or halibut steaks cut in 1 inch pieces, 1 lb. crabmeat, 4 medium lobster tails (optional or substitutes: 1 lb. clams or scallops)

Put all the ingredients except the seafood into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours. Then add all seafood. Cover and cook 1 to 3 hours on high. You can vary the amounts and types of seafood to your taste and to what you have in the freezer. We happened to have had tilapia on hand that night instead of other fish. I would recommend serving this dish with a crusty French bread. A good cooking hint from the Boss is to add only half of the salt called for at the beginning; then add to taste later.

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.

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