New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for October, 2013

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment

So The Story Goes Like This

Bart Geraci

So I was visiting an old high school classmate who I hadn’t seen in quite some time. He greeted me at the door along with his dog, which I hadn’t seen before.

“Oh wow, your dog looks nice. How long have you had him?”

“Well, a little less than 4 years now. I love him, but he has one annoying habit.”


“Yeah, he’ll chase anything on wheels. Cars, bicycles, roller skates, you name it. And that one time the unicycling convention was in town and they were hundreds of them going down our street - I had to keep him locked in the house. But really, he’s not trying to attack people, he just wants to run along and have fun.”

“Ok, so what’s his name?”


I then told him that ‘Time’ would be a better name for his dog …

... because Time hounds all wheels.


By Bart Geraci
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon-

The big event for the local chapter last month was the NOM elections for the 2014-2015 years. And the winners are:

Congratulations to everyone. As much as I had planned not to run, I was in fact encouraged by many in the club to continue. Thanks for your support.

The big event this month is Mensa Testing Day on October 19th. Our New Orleans Mensa chapter will be proudly participating by holding a testing session at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

I will remind you that we are having the annual End-of-the-Year special NOM Night party in December at our house again (December 14th). We had the RG last year, so we didn’t have it then, but no RG this year, so it’s back. We’re looking forward to seeing you all again.

Locally, our New Orleans Pelicans NBA team begins their preseason on October 5th and regular season on October 30th. Gretna Fest is the first weekend in October featuring Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Marcia Ball, ZZ Top, Blood Sweat and Tears, among many others. Deutsches Haus has their Oktoberfest for three weekends at Rivertown in Kenner. The Angola Prison Rodeo is happening every Sunday in October. The New Orleans Film Festival runs in the middle of October. And Voodoo Fest ... is in November, so it won’t be mentioned here.

Let’s go Saints!

From the Editor

By Kevin Chesnut

Ever wonder why the leader of a local Mensa group is called the Local Secretary (LocSec for short), instead of President, Director, or Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler? It’s a holdover from Mensa’s origins in Britain, when the LocSec’s main function was to report to the national organization. The LocSec now has more of a leadership role in the local group. Whatever their titles, please join me in expressing our appreciation to our newly elected and re-elected officers for their dedicated service.

If you know of anyone who would make a good Mensa member, be sure to invite them to take the test on Saturday, October 19.

More interesting information about Mensa’s history can be found at .

Young Mensans

The following comes to us from Lisa Van Gemert, Gifted Youth Specialist (

Mensa Honor Society

Below please find a list (first name, last initial) of the current Mensa Honor Society Members. Parents of our young members are invited to view the application and more information at .

Emily T Kristy Y Nicholas T Samuel S Lakin C Alexander B Emma B

Henry N Roman M Chiristian C Troy H Kevin K Lucy R Maxwell S

Adam W Jonathan A Celine B Lindsey S Corey E Alexa T Benjamin L

India B Makenna L Emily L Will L Kara R Adam R Benjamin L

Madison H Jonah W Kristian H Hampton G Joonho J Cole W Lauren V

Sierra N Austin W Hannah D

Happenings & Celebrations: November 2013

Everyone knows it’s Thanksgiving this month, but there are some other special days as well.

11th: Origami Day

Find some simple origami patterns for regular paper here or practice with a dollar at .

13th: World Kindness Day

Find ways to share kindness for World Kindness Day at .

November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Celebrate with recipes and fun facts you can find here - or learn how to make a pinecone bird feeder with peanut butter here - .


Some fun peanut butter facts from the National Peanut Board ( )

• The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year.

• The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school.

• Americans consume on average over 1.5 billion pounds of peanut butter and peanut products each year.

• Peanut butter is consumed in 90 percent of USA households.

• Americans eat enough peanut butter in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

• The amount of peanut butter eaten in a year could wrap the earth in a ribbon of 18-ounce peanut butter jars one and one-third times.

Excellence in Reading Program

The Mensa Foundation sponsors the Excellence in Reading Program for youth through age 17. Readers read (or have read to them) a list of books, and then the Foundation sends a t-shirt and a certificate in recognition of this achievement. The lists are divided into four grade-level bands, and students may read any of the lists. The program is not limited to Mensa members, so find out more at , and share it with your friends!

From the RVC

Roger Durham, Region 6 Vice Chairman

As I write this, in early September, I have just returned from a great weekend at LoneStaRG in Round Rock, TX. As usual, the Austin group did a terrific job: a wide variety of speakers, sumptuous hospitality, an aged cheese tasting, and a Jazz Age dance, among other things. I didn’t get to see the final attendance list, but I noticed folks there from Gulf Coast, East Texas, South Texas, North Texas, and Mensa 76, in addition to host group Lone Star Mensa. Besides the opportunity to socialize with some new people, I also enjoyed the chance to exchange a few ideas with Asst. RVC Bob Bevard. A good time was had by all, I believe, and now I’m looking forward to the Region’s next big party, SynRG 14, to be held over Memorial Day weekend next year.

Over the last couple of months I have received two inquiries about the possibility of reduced dues for long-time members who are now retired and on a fixed income. I’m afraid the answer to that is “slim and none”, for two reasons: first, because reducing dues for anyone would mean increasing dues for everyone else (not a popular idea), and second, because retired long-time members are a large and growing group. Besides, there is an element of personal responsibility involved here: presumably these folks knew they would be on a fixed income someday, and could have taken the opportunity to invest in a life membership while they were still working. Still, if your local group has a long-time member who contributes substantially to the group in some way and is now unable to afford to continue membership, there is no reason your local group could not subsidize that person’s dues out of local funds.

There will almost certainly be a discussion about dues at the next meeting of your national Board of Directors, taking place in Arlington, TX the first weekend of October, and I’ll bring this up at that time, but I don’t expect the idea to gain much traction. I’ll update you on the result when I report on the Board meeting in my November column.

As always, if you have any suggestions, complaints, or questions you would like to share with me, please feel free to contact me at .

From the SIGHT Coordinator

by Gerry Ward

From November 3-9, a member from Wisconsin and his wife will be in town, and they would like some of the locals to show them the sights or give them good sightseeing advice. They are not interested in commercial tours.

Please let me who know who will take them around. Since they will be here for Coffee Night, they can meet more of us. So please come out on November 7th.

Gerry Ward

SIGHT -- the Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers -- allows members to enjoy the company and hospitality of Mensans from around this country and from more than 40 other countries.
From the American Mensa web site.
Visit for more information. – Ed.

BrainFork: A Mensan talks about food

By Bart Geraci


“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
- Gene Fowler -

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would tackle a truly spooky ingredient: blood.


Yes, really.

But I’m not a vampire….

No problem.

So what’s in blood?

“Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud”
-The Who “I’m a Boy”-

Blood is about 80% water and 17% proteins. The solid phase of the mixture (about 1/3 of total weight) is made of various cells, and the fluid phase (the remaining 2/3) is made up of the plasma. The serum albumin is the component in blood that coagulates at temperature 75°C.

In terms of viscosity, different animals have different levels. For instance, it has been noticed that sheep’s blood is thinner than either cow’s or pig’s blood. Some animals whose blood have been used include sheep, cattle, pig, duck, goat, and yak.

Okay, but who uses blood in food?

“Butter and beef and blood and a stone with strange inscriptions upon it.”
- Charles Fort, “The Book of the Damned”

Actually, there are several cultures that have used blood in known recipes. Taiwan has a pig’s blood cake (zhu xue gao) made from sticky rice and pork blood and served on a stick, Popsicle-style. The United Kingdom makes a black pudding (sausage) from pork blood and a lot of oatmeal. Germany has blutwurst sausages and France has Boudin Noir. The classic French dish, coq au vin, was originally made with a little bit of blood added at the end.

In terms of soups, Poland has czernina (made with duck blood), Korea has haejangguk (with ox blood), and the Philippines has Dinuguan (made from pig blood).

In an episode of Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, he visited the Vietnamese community in New Orleans and ate at someone’s home where he was served “Vietnamese pizza”, also called tiet canh. It’s made from fresh duck blood and served in a shallow bowl mixed with meat and stock and topped with peanuts and herbs. The dish is allowed to coagulate and the effect is that it looks like a small pizza covered in red.

In our area, there is a product called Boudin Rouge, which is like a regular boudin (rice, green onion, and pork mixture) with the addition of blood.

Blood and symbolism and words that can’t fit on a Scrabble board

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
- Thomas Jefferson –

In some religions, is it taboo to consume blood because it is believed to contain the soul / essence of that animal. Meat under Kosher / Halal rules require that the blood be drained from the animal first before further processing can continue.

In some Christian faiths, there is a doctrine of faith that describes that the bread and wine offered during Mass is converted into the body and blood of Christ. This is called transubstantiation. Someone who doesn’t believe this would be called an antitransubstantiationalist.

(Woo Hoo! My spell checker didn’t complain!)

So where can I get blood?

“Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche -

Well, that’s the tricky part for several reasons. First, blood tends to have a very short shelf life - two days maximum. Most meat found in grocery stores comes from distributors which in turn obtain it from processors that remove the blood from the animals without saving it. The short shelf life and the lack of demand together mean that you would have to go to a real butcher, that is, someone who can receive a whole animal and preserve the blood as it gets broken down. Also, you would probably have to give a few days’ notice to put your order in.

As an aside, I’ve read that some purveyors pack animal blood in hospital IV drip bags so people don’t run into any legal issues when transporting the blood.


“Blood may be thicker than water, but it's certainly not as thick as ketchup. Nor does it go as well with French fries.”
- Jarod Kintz -


Well, this recipe is from Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, Joy of Cooking, (New York, Scribner, 1995), p. 497. I have a 2006 copyright mark on my copy and I don’t see this recipe listed.

Have on-hand: sausage casings.

Cook gently without browning: ¾ c finely chopped onions in 2 tbs lard.

Cool slightly and mix in a bowl with:

1/3 c whipping cream

1/4 c breadcrumbs

2 beaten eggs

a grind of fresh pepper

1/8 tsp fresh thyme

1/2 bay leaf, pulverized

1 tsp salt


1/2 lb. leaf lard diced into ½ inch cubes

2 c fresh pork blood

Fill casings only three-fourths full; the mixture will swell during the poaching period. Without overcrowding, put the sealed casings into a wire basket. Bring to a boil a large pan half full of water or half milk and half water. Remove pan from heat and plunge the basket into the water. Now return pan to very low heat – about 180º – for 15 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing sausage with a fork: if blood comes out, continue to cook about 5 minutes more until barely firm. Should any of the sausages rise to the surface of the simmering liquid, prick them to release the air that might burst the skins. To prepare, split and grill them very gently.

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2013 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: 13-Jul-2013. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at