New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for November 2015

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


By Bart Geraci

This month, we had a good time at the Annual “It’s All Fun & Games” festival in City Park. Gorgeous weather! We had our large crossword puzzle with big foam tiles for each letter. We noticed that this year, the wind would not cooperate and we had to weigh down the board, tape the tiles to the board, and strap down the letters in our oversized racks. We also had a quiz bowl game where contestants were matching wits against myself, and they did pretty good. Encouraged by their success, we sent them off to take the Mensa Test in the nearby Museum.

We had six people test on Mensa Testing Day (October 17th).

Well, November is (coming soon as I write this / here as you read this) and I’m just wondering where the time went. The weather is still short-sleeve shirts, and from time to time a cold snap will stop by for a day or two.

So let’s go Saints!

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So I was visiting a local fair out in West Texas with a friend of mine, and while I tend to gravitate towards the different food booths, my friend likes to visit with the fortune tellers.

They had a few fortune tellers this time around, but my friend did not have enough money to try more than one of them. So he came back to me and asked my advice.

I asked him about what they looked like, and what kind of vibes he was getting from them.

He said the tarot reader seemed to be mad about something, but the palm reader seemed to be a little down, and he said there were a few others that he hadn’t visited yet.

I said “Well, if that’s the case, I wouldn't choose between an angry tarot reader and a sad palm reader…”

“...I guess you'll have to find a happy medium.”

Museum Day Mensa Gathering

By Gerry Ward

We visited the Ogden Museum of Southern Art recently.

( photos not posted here )

The youngest Mensan there was Connor W., whose mom took these pictures. He said that he had a good time.

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

As we approach the end of the year, and relish the (slightly) cooler weather, there are a great deal of happenings going on throughout the 15 local groups of Region 6.

First and foremost, I want to remind all of you that North Texas Mensa and Mensa 76 are hosting a joint Regional Gathering over Thanksgiving Weekend. Gathering Chair extraordinaire Carol Hilson is at the helm of this party, and I hope you will all consider fitting this event into your travel plans at the end of November. This RG is always a great time, and I’m very excited to see two groups working together to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves.

The following weekend will have another important event in the DFW area. The winter American Mensa Committee meeting will be held on Sunday, December 6, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Dallas, 2401 Bass Pro Drive, Grapevine, TX 76051. I was very pleased to see several members in attendance at the September meeting. I do hope that more of you will take advantage of the large number of AMC meetings being held in Region 6 to get involved with what is going on in Mensa on the national level.

There are several local groups that hold elections for their Boards or ExComms during the month of November. If you have volunteered to be a leader in your local group, and I thank you and wish you luck in your election. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as a resource during your time of service.

If you are interested in getting more involved with your local group, but are not ready to commit to a Board position, I would encourage you to consider becoming a proctor. Proctors are so incredibly important to Mensa, as they provide the means for us to get new members through testing. Proctors are often the first interaction that a potential member has with Mensa, and a positive testing experience creates a lasting impression on our potential members. Some of our groups have a very healthy number of proctors, while others have just a few who are valiantly attempting to cover a wide geographical area. If you are interested in becoming a proctor, please contact your local Testing Coordinator. If you aren’t sure who that is, contact me; I’ll steer you in their direction.

As always, I ask that if you have any questions, concerns, or general comments, please reach out to me. I have created a simple online form where members can offer feedback on any topic, both by name or anonymously. You can find this form at Of course, if you prefer, you can always contact me via email at

Calling All Readers!

By Jane Gmur

Calling all readers! I need you to spend some time, a few hours in late January or early February, to score scholarship essays.

The Mensa Foundation scholarship program is an essay contest that is open to all students living in the U.S. who are enrolled in a U.S. college or university in the academic year following the award. Applicants write 550-word essays that describe their educational and/or career goals. Winning essays are judged by members using Foundation criteria. Please consider being one of those judges.

As Assistant National Scholarship Chair in charge of Nonparticipating Groups, I'm recruiting about 60 members from all over the U.S. to judge essays. We're looking for members who are confident in their knowledge of writing and reading skills. Of course English teachers and professional writers are welcome, but so are members from all walks of life.

Essays will be emailed to you in late January. You’ll have at least a week to read and score them in your home, though we hope it will only take an afternoon or two. You email the scores back and you’re done!

You may already be planning to judge essays for another Scholarship Chair. I don’t want to steal current judges from Local Groups or Regions. However, for those members who love reading essays and want to spend an additional few hours reading more, you can participate at this level with no fear of conflict of interest. Let me know which region or local group you’re reading.

Please send an email to for any questions and to get involved in this worthwhile program.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need changes.

Best regards,

Jane Gmur

National Scholarship Assistant Chair

Nonparticipating Groups

News and Notes for Young Mensans

From the National Office

Happenings & Celebrations


It’s Your Birthday!

If you were born in November, you share your birthday month with:

From the National Office: A Winter Bonus

Did you know that as a Mensa Youth Member you have access to Scholastic Magazine codes? That’s right! You can get the codes from the Gifted Program Coordinator at the National Office. Just send her an email with your membership number and tell her you would like the magazine codes. These codes are good until April 1 and are not to be shared with anyone else. They are a perk to you, from Mensa, to help beat the Winter Blues! Magazines available are:

Contact Jamie Uphold at: to get your codes today!

(Note From our local GYC, Gerry Ward:)

The “codes” required are what the kiddos need to actually be able to get into the content on the website for the magazine. It is just like our Mensa site, you can see some things without your membership number but to get to the ‘good stuff’ you have to have your number to let you into the site. The same with the Scholastic sites. You can pull up the magazine and see the cover and what is inside, but without a code to get in you cannot get to the content.

BrainFork: A Mensan Talks About Food : Sage

by Bart Geraci
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.”
- “Scarborough Fair” -

So this month...wait, didn’t we have that quote last month?

So this month is about sage.

What’s the story - Monastery?

One of the big first computers was called SAGE, which was a missile defense, the first missile-defense computer, which was, like, one of the first computers in the history of the world which got sold to the Department of Defense for, I don't know, tens and tens of millions of dollars at the time.
- Marc Andreessen -

OK, but we’re talking about the herb, not the computer. Anyway, let’s begin with the taxonomy below:

Kingdom Plantae
(unranked) Angiosperms
(unranked) Eduicots
(unranked) Asterids
Order Lamiales
Family Lamiaceae
Genus Salvia
Species S. officinalis

The Family is Lamiaceae, which is known as the mint family. The Salvia genera has the largest collection of species (over 900). The genus name Salvia, comes from the Latin word salvere, which means to be in good health, to cure, to save.

And where does the monastery come in? The latin word “officina” is a shop where goods are manufactured. So it’s easy to see how this became the word “office” in English today. The word “officinalis” is a storeroom in a monastery where plants / medicines were kept. When Carl Linnaeus developed the binomial nomenclature for plants and animals, he used the species name “officinalis” for things that were likely to be stored there. Some of plants we are most familiar with today that have this species name include ginger, lavender, hyssop, marshmallow, watercress, cuttlefish, quinine, valerian, and rosemary.

Turpentine - in my spice rack?

“Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society.”
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden -

The fluid turpentine is developed from distillation of tree resins, which are loaded with organic compounds called terpenes. Some of these terpenes that are found in sage include:

Now that we have listed these aroma building blocks, we can distinguish the many varieties of sage:

Sage Power

“Sage is cleansing and sacred.”
- Pink -

Many peoples have used sage for cultural and medicinal purposes. They include:

And the ever popular


“Another way I like to barbecue king salmon is as a whole fish stuffed, literally to the gills, with sweet onions, sliced lemons, and summer sage.”
- Tom Douglas -

Let’s do something even simpler than that.

Browned Sage Butter

First melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Now you want to leave it alone until the white milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan. Then a little time later, those solids turn brown and you get an aroma like hazelnuts. So this step by itself is Browned Butter and is delicious as is.

At this point, you want to add finely chopped sage leaves. Now the butter will foam up and hiss (and hopefully won’t overflow the pan). Remove it from the heat, pour into a bowl (be sure to scrape out those brown bits of flavor). Let cool a little bit, then put it in the fridge to get to a spreadable consistency. Then roll up the butter in wax paper and freeze it so when you need it, you can just cut a piece off.

One way to use this is by cooking fettuccine until tender, then toss it with this Sage Brown Butter, then add some grated Italian cheese on top.

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2015 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: 17-January-2016. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at