New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for May/June/July, 2010

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

Summer In New Orleans

Peter Salomon

For my first newsletter, and my first summer as a resident of New Orleans, I wanted to introduce myself and prepare for the heat, the humidity and hurricane season. My name is Peter Salomon and I am the new Editor of La Plume de NOM. I am a Certified International Credit Professional and an author, represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. My family and I moved to New Orleans in time for the Saints’ season last fall and I look forward to the opportunity to keep everyone up to date!


We're looking for some new test proctors to administer the Mensa Admissions Test locally. Teachers, psychologists and others who already have training and experience in the administration of standardized tests (LEAP, GEE, ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT,GMAT, etc.) are the ideal candidates, as our admissions test is administered in the same general manner.

Why become a proctor? It's a great opportunity to meet people who are interested in joining Mensa, which means they're generally smart and interesting people. You have the chance to encourage and reassure our possible new members as they work through the rather intimidating experience of sitting for the admissions test. Please note that local proctors ONLY administer the test. We have no involvement in its design or content, nor do we score the tests.

If you would like to know more, please email our proctor coordinator Rene` Petersen at, or assistant coordinator Claudia D'Aquin at


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

Bart Geraci

So the story goes like this. I once spent some time as a researcher in Antarctica studying penguin diets. We wanted to see how much the average penguin would eat, so we left a measured amount of food and observed from a distance.

After a while, we noticed some Antarctic terns that would swoop down and start eating some of the food. Since it was inconvenient to leave our observation deck, I needed to shoo the birds away. Fortunately (1) there was a nice pile of rocks nearby and (2) I was a baseball pitcher in high school. So I went ahead and threw the rocks at the birds to shoo them away.

I was actually pretty good at this. So good in fact...I left no tern unstoned.


Roger Durham

In commenting on my last two columns, J.B. Sipherd, of Paso del Norte Mensa, brings up an important point: what about those members who do not have computers and thus cannot easily access on-line information? This question is very timely, as the American Mensa Committee faces an increasing number of proposals to replace paper publications with electronic ones. So far, the consensus seems to be that if information is to be distributed primarily by electronic means, a paper version must be made available to those who request it, but there is no guarantee that a future AMC might not decide that electronic-only publication is adequate.

Those members who rely primarily on computers, PDAs, smart phones, and such-like for their daily ration of information believe that there is really no reason, in the 21st Century, to actually print and mail anything to anyone. Anything that anyone wants can be e-mailed or downloaded from a website, right? And surely Mensans, being more intelligent than the majority of the population, must all be at the leading edge of the electronic revolution. Consequently, it seems only reasonable that we should quit wasting money on paper and postage and go to all-electronic communication.

But wait – what about J. B. and other members without computers? Yes, they can probably go to the public library and get the information via a shared computer, but is it reasonable for us to expect them to do that? Surely it’s not reasonable to expect them to go out and buy a computer of some kind just to communicate with Mensa. My position has always been that as long as there are members who want their publications on paper, we should make them available in that format, but realistically, how long can we justify that extra effort and expense? If there were only one Mensan out of 60,000 who wanted paper documents, would they have a right to expect us to comply? What if there were 10? What about 100? Where do we draw the line?

If you have any ideas to contribute to this discussion, please let me hear from you. You can e-mail me at, or if you don’t do e-mail, write to me at....


Brian Bloch, Lone Star Mensa

Your last RVC column complained that you'd been "taken to task" by TJ Lundeen of Central Oklahoma Mensa because you won't discuss Mensa's national issues publicly. Instead of addressing the subject, you used your column to publicly denigrate Ms Lundeen, a despicable abuse of your position. You pigeon-holed her as one of the "ill- informed ideologues' on M-Pol, an unmoderated and unofficial Mensa Yahoo chat list.

The Joyce Lundeen is a former AMC Development Officer and the creator of both Project Inkslinger and, of course, CultureQuest, which Mensa members will enjoy long after they've forgotten who was RVC 6 in 2010. Not that her doings for Mensa are in the past. You conveniently omitted that she's currently Proctor, Ombudsman and LocSec of Central Oklahoma Mensa. "Illinformed?" Think again.

Your blanket disparagement of M-Pol ignores the presence of Chris Leek, Chairman of British Mensa, who posts there regularly, as do I, the most recent editor of InterLoc, not forgetting Judy Dosse, Treasurer of Southern Nevada Mensa and the best go-to person for the rules, ASIEs and bylaws on American Mensa's books, Jared Levine, LocSec of Metropolitan Washington Mensa and also Ralph Rudolph, the previous RVC 6 and a former AMC Chair,.

Deriding Ms Lundeen's association with M-Pol is akin to the proposition that all the lawyer members of the AMC, yourself included, are tainted and unworthy of respect in any situation because one of you has been disbarred from the profession.

You may well be right — that public discussion of national issues on a regional level has been tried and found uninteresting to most members. That doesn't excuse using your official column as a bully pulpit to personally attack a member who writes to you.

You also say that there aren't any issues that should be brought before the membership How about the replacement of RVC's whose terms are unfulfilled? Last year, a vote by the membership of US Mensa came just 48 votes shy of the 66.67% needed to pass a Bylaws amendment that THE MEMBERS IN EACH REGION vote for such replacement. Yet you and others on AMC voted that LOCSECS IN THE REGION appoint a replacement RVC if a mid-term vacancy occurs. That idea received 62.2% approval on last year's ballot. It came in second!

But, at the last AMC meeting, you were one of the supporters of the proposal that "the LOCSEC option" be adopted. The right thing to do would have been to vote to postpone adoption of the losing proposal and to ask your region what THEY want, but you voted not to do that.

Furthermore, you display breathtaking arrogance, stating with no supporting evidence that there are only "single-issue hotheads" vying for AMC positions rather than the "experienced business people" you desire. That observation is utterly boneheaded, not the thoughtful insight one expects in an RVC column.

As long as I've known you, I've never seen the nastiness and condescension as displayed in your RVC columns. If that's the person you've become, the sooner you resign as RVC and return to the sunny personality I and others knew, the better.


Attention! Aspiring Mensa member Authors! Would you like to see your unpublished manuscript in print? Book Lovers and Creative Writings SIG will like to invite you to submit your unpublished manuscript for Sharp Writ Unpublished Manuscript Awards. The entries will be judged by a Panel of fellow Mensa members from the Book Lovers SIG.

The winning entry will be awarded a publishing package by Xlibris including a listing on for a year. Nominations are open to most categories in Fiction (except Romance and Western), Autobiography and memoirs, Young Adults and Books for Children.

For more information and to submit your manuscript for consideration, visit Book Lovers SIG's website at


Eye Cue SIG , in conjunction with Smart Photographers will like to invite entries for the Eye Opener Photo and art exhibition at the Annual Gathering in Detroit. There is no entry fee, and entries can be submitted in person, by snail mail or email. The submitter needs to give the SIG permission to offer their work to exhibition attendees in a silent auction with net proceeds going to Mensa Educational and Research Foundation. For details, visit Eye Cue SIG’s website at


John Grover

The Boss and I recently returned from two weeks in Spain. It is a beautiful country with a very welcoming people. It has great art, extraordinary architecture, a turbulent history and mile upon mile of olive and citrus groves. But, most importantly of course, Spain has wonderful food and wine with delightful variations from region to region.

The wines this month are whites from the Rueda region of Spain which is located Northwest of Madrid. The white wines from Rueda are made with from 50% to 100% Verdejo grape with blending allowed using the juice from the Sauvignon Blanc or Macabeo (also known as Viura) grape varieties. The first wine is the 2007 “Las Brisas” from Bodegas Naia. This wine has a fruity citrus freshness like that first glass of lemonade on a hot Summer day. The taste of grapefruit and orange dominate this lovely wine. I have found it available for between $11 and $13 a bottle. The second wine is the 2008 “Con Class” from Sitios De Bodega. While fresh and tangy like the first wine, it is also more complex. It starts with floral notes and combines melon and lemon flavors with the steely minerality of great food wines. This wine is a real deal for $9 to $11 a bottle.

Spanish Asparagus and Orange Salad ( from Mediterranean: A Taste of the Sun by Jacqueline Clark & Joanna Farrow, Hermes House publishing, and available new & used on Amazon.)

Ingredients: 8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces; 2 large oranges; 2 ripe tomatoes cut into eighths; 2 oz. romaine lettuce shredded; 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; ½ tsp sherry vinegar; salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, until just tender, Drain and refresh in cold water. Grate the zest from half an orange and reserve. Peel all the oranges and cut into segments. Squeeze out the juice from the membrane and reserve the juice.

Put the asparagus, orange segments, tomatoes, and lettuce into a salad bowl. Combine the oil and vinegar and add 1 tablespoon of the reserved orange juice and 1 teaspoon of zest. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently to coat. 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.


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!



Come out and join your fellow Mensans while cheering on the Zephyrs against the Triple A affiliate of the LA Dodgers, the Albuquerque Isotopes!

Game time is at 7:00 and tickets are only $3.00. Seats are limited so plan ahead and reserve your tickets soon!

Please email Peter Salomon at if you’d like to reserve a seat (or more).

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Last edited: 21-Jun-2010 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at