New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for May 2014

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

Brains on Bourbon Accept the Challenge

On Sunday, April 28, New Orleans Mensa’s Culture Quest team, known as “Brains on Bourbon”, participated in American Mensa’s annual general knowledge competition. The quiz consisted of 200 questions in a variety of categories, to be answered within 90 minutes, which only seems like enough time. Below are a few sample questions; the answers can be found elsewhere in this issue .

  1. In George Orwell’s novel 1984, what is the name of the torture chamber where a prisoner is subject to their worst nightmare, fear, or phobia?
  2. What food – pronounced in either two or three syllables – is produced by raising the temperature of sugar?
  3. The only commissioned U.S. Navy vessel currently not in American hands is the U.S.S. Pueblo; it is currently a captive of what country?
  4. In the Deaf community, they are called “finger fumblers”. What is the hearing equivalent?
  5. The Noble Eightfold Path is an important concept in what religion?
  6. On March 27, 2014, there was an NHL game in California that sounded like a rumble from the musical West Side Story. Name the cities where the teams are from.
  7. What dog breed is alphabetically last on the recognized list of breeds of the American Kennel Club?
  8. “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” What five words from the announcer answer this 1970s television commercial question?

So the Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

I was a counselor for a Boy Scout camp out in West Texas for several summers. It was a camp that I attended as a Boy Scout myself and I enjoyed the experience very much.

One year, I was leading a group of scouts in putting on a skit for the last day when the parents would arrive. The theme that year was “Around the World” or something like that. We had Scouts representing different nationalities: England, France, Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, and Australia. I taught the boy representing Australia how to talk like an Aussie and how to throw a boomerang.

On the day of the skit, before he was about to go on, I saw that he looked a little bit nervous to me. I asked him if he was OK. He said he was worried about remembering his lines and was blanking out on his part. I told him to take a deep breath and just to relax and everything will be fine.

He said, “Okay, but what if I get on stage and throw the boomerang wrong?”

I said, “Just take another deep breath and relax…”

“... I’m sure it’ll come back to you.”


By Bart Geraci

I’m writing this before and after the first weekend of JazzFest.

This month in town starts with the 2nd weekend of JazzFest (Bruce Springsteen!) and ends with the Greek Fest (Baklava!)

Later this month, I will get a list of those who did not renew their memberships for 2014. Did you forget to renew last month?

At the end of this month starts the 6 months we most dread down here --- hurricane season.

Let’s go Zephyrs!

BRAINFORK: A Mensan writes about food

Bart J. Geraci

I’m starting my summer hiatus this month. See you in the fall!

From The National Office

Mensa Compendium

American Mensa’s Communications Committee and Web team announce our newest web resource.

The Mensa Compendium is a web-based educational resource, edited and maintained by members and staff. This members-only asset consolidates and updates the historic, encyclopedic and training material previously available on our website and in other diverse, and sometimes rare, publications.

At its essence, the Compendium is a one-stop knowledge center – the authoritative, multimedia source about American Mensa. It serves a tutorial role for newer officers, members and Mensa veterans alike.

Continually updated and fluid, the Compendium's goal is to keep officers and members informed. Consider it equal parts encyclopedia, dictionary, and instructional and historic document, with healthy doses of wisdom from the village elders.

We hope you will make it your ultimate Mensa reference.

Visit or locate it via the Lead menu on the American Mensa website. Be sure to check out the Future Updates page for a list of planned updates.

Mensa Match

Connections over ideas and shared interests have long been a part of the Mensa experience, whether they’re made online, in local meetings or via Special Interest Groups. Now, a new partnership will allow Mensans to connect on a more emotional level. American Mensa is joining forces with® to launch Mensa Match, a program that helps Mensans meet to find friendship and love with each other or form those connections with people outside of the organization who share similar interests.

Mensa Match is something that many Mensans have requested over the years, and it partners Mensa with the ultimate name in online dating. Match pioneered the industry, launching in 1995, and today it serves millions of singles in 24 countries. It's a safe and fun service for people who are serious about finding love.

To celebrate our partnership with Match, we are offering Mensans a discount on their Mensa Match membership! Join between now and May 16, 2014 to receive 25% off your membership.

Get started now at and be among the first to add the Mensa badge to your online dating profile!

FAQ – you’re Mensans and you have questions. Here are answers to the most frequently asked:

From the RVC

By Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chair

According to our official Mission Statement, the mission of American Mensa is to “identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity by encouraging research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence and by providing a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.” Most of us are familiar with the “social environment” part of Mensa’s activities, but what about the rest? Does your local group do anything that could really be termed “for the benefit of humanity”? Some do, of course. Many local groups have scholarship funds, and a few participate in fund-raising activities for various worthy causes, but do we do anything to encourage research? Are we really living up to the ideals expressed in our Mission Statement?

Well, yes, actually, we are. Most of our activities “for the benefit of humanity” are not carried on directly by American Mensa or its local groups, however, but by our 501(c) (3) affiliate, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, or as they prefer to be called these days, the Mensa Foundation. The Foundation, on behalf of American Mensa, sponsors research, encourages scientific studies, and distributes many thousands of dollars in college scholarships each year. To help support this work, American Mensa contributes one dollar per member to the Foundation each year out of your dues. But that’s not nearly enough to fund everything the Foundation does. They are dependent upon donations from you, the members of Mensa, for the majority of their funding. You can support the Foundation by purchasing a brick for the “Walk of Minds” at the National Office, or by just making a gift, either individually or through your local group. Memorial contributions to the Mensa Foundation are a great way to honor a member who made a significant impact on your local group or just on a few close friends. If your group gives scholarships, consider giving those scholarships through the Foundation. They will publicize and award a scholarship in the name of your group. You can either create an endowment by turning over your scholarship funds to the Foundation to be invested along with their other funds, or you can keep and invest the money at the local level and simply agree to send them sufficient funds each year for the next year’s scholarship. The latter option was recently chosen by my own group’s charitable affiliate, the NTM Scholarship Foundation, which is funding two $1,000 scholarships each year.

Please give some thought to how you can contribute to the valuable work of the Mensa Foundation. For more information about the Foundation, go to Your gift might change a life.

Don’t forget Gulf Coast Mensa’s SynRG 2014 in Houston over Memorial Day weekend. For details, contact them at

Answers to CultureQuest Questions

  1. Room 101
  2. Caramel
  3. North Korea
  4. Tongue Twisters
  5. Buddhism
  6. San Jose (Sharks) vs Winnipeg (Jets)
  7. Yorkshire Terrier
  8. "The world may never know."

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2014 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: 12-May-2014. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at