New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for October 2015

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


By Bart Geraci

Fall has arrived in New Orleans and the weather is delightful.

This is one of the peak convention times in New Orleans with the weather being so nice and people not completely melting into the ground like they would in August. The end of the month is the VooDoo festival which is bringing in a lot of out-of-town visitors - we were trying to see if we could have an RG around that time, but the hotels said they were all booked up.

This month, we have our annual “It's All Fun & Games...” event on Saturday October 17th (National Mensa Testing Day) starting at 9 a.m. Like we did last year, we have an open house in City Park trying to get people interested in joining Mensa by taking the test at the Museum just down the street.

Our New Orleans Saints are struggling a bit out of the gate this season, but as a long time Saints fan, I know strange things can happen.

So let’s go Saints!

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So out in West Texas, I spent some time at different factories trying to decide what type of career I would like to pursue.

One factory made parts for cars. The fellow was showing me around and asked if I had soldering skills, and I said no. Could I tie very small wires together? I tried for a while, but it wasn’t working very well. Could I carry heavy objects between buildings? Well, at the time, I really didn’t have any upper arm strength.

So he asked me about my vision; could I spot defects?

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like these car mirrors,” he replied

I replied “Hmmm. Inspecting car mirrors…”

“...that’s something I could see myself doing.”

New Orleans Mensa Nominating Meeting

September 12, 2015

Members present:

In the absence of LocSec Bart Geraci and Assistant LocSec Bob Myers, the meeting was chaired by Recording Secretary Claudia D'Aquin.

As this is our nominating meeting, our three current officers who were not able to attend have all communicated in writing that they are willing to serve in their positions for other term, should they be nominated. These are Bart Geraci, Bob Myers, and Phil Therrien. Notification was received via email to the recording secretary, as required by our bylaws.

The following nominations were accepted:

Nominations will remain open until the election meeting in November. Nominations may be emailed to Nominations Chair Gerry Ward, at

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 PM.

Claudia D'Aquin

Recording Secretary

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

The three weeks leading up to this column have been extremely busy for me as an RVC. I have been able to meet and have conversations with many members from multiple local groups of Region 6.

I spent the last weekend of August on a tour of Northern Louisiana Mensa, spending time with members in Shreveport, Monroe, and Alexandria. I was very glad to see members taking an interest in finding new ways to improve the group. Labor Day Weekend featured the fabulous LoneStaRG. I loved spending time with friends new and old, and was happy to have the opportunity to do not one, but two programs for the RG. The first was a general session to give members the opportunity to ask questions about what’s going on at the national level, as well as get to know me a bit better. The second program was a review of the results from the extensive membership survey conducted back in March 2015.

The fall quarterly AMC meeting was held during the second weekend of September. This weekend was included a training and development day for all members of the AMC. We came out of the development with what I believe to be a far greater sense of purpose and desire to truly serve the organization. I was also able to take the time to attend a Mensa 76 event while I was in the area, giving me an opportunity to see yet more members of this region and discussing programs and goals with several of the local officers.

The minutes of the AMC meeting will be published in the near future, but I do want to specifically mention the issue that many members were talking about prior to the meeting regarding Chicago Area Mensa’s participation in Chicago’s Pride Parade. The proposed ASIE amendments that had been put forward by the Name & Logo Committee were withdrawn with an explanation that the committee and chair did not feel that they adequately addressed the full scope of the problem. Desiree Elliott (RVC 9 and N&L Chair) did request that the AMC discuss the issue in the open forum. Both she and Secretary Lori Norris took extensive notes on the resulting two hour discussion. I know that N&L will be working not only on higher level rules such as ASIEs, but also on updating the handbook of requirements, which is far more extensive. Also, this is not just an N&L issue. I believe the Bylaws Committee will be weighing in as well, and our National Reps are going to be requesting info from other national Mensas in how they are dealing/have dealt with interpreting the MIL Constitution in similar instances.

My personal takeaway, as I don’t want to speak for any other AMC member – we understand that members are concerned, on both sides of the issue. We are trying to respond, but a knee jerk reaction won't help. I do believe that this discussion was the first in our two meetings so far in which every single person around the table had something to contribute multiple times, including reading directly from the Mensa Constitution, our current AML bylaws and ASIEs and the Local Group Charter. We are making a true effort to get this right, not merely throw a half-baked "fix" into place.

My final information for y’all is that 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

News and Notes for Young Mensans

From the National Office

Happenings & Celebrations


It’s Your Birthday!

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


Paige D

Gifted Youth Intern, American Mensa |

get resources: |explore:

From the National Office

Mensa Membership Month is October and a key event during Mensa Membership month is Mensa Testing Day. Mensa Testing Day happens this year on Saturday, Oct. 17. Our goal for Membership Month is to increase membership and awareness nationwide, and we need your help to spread the word about Mensa.

This year we will offer 50% off testing for the entire month of October 2015! That is just $20 to take the official Mensa Admission Test!

Gifted Youth Contest: Mission Possible

This contest that will run in the September issue of YM2.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to secretly perform 10 Random Acts of Kindness. You have until October 25th to perform Random Acts of Kindness, but you must do it without the recipients knowing it is you. First, pick your targets (those who will receive your kindness), then decide on a kind deed or act to perform them. Perform your kindness secretly. List the recipient and R.A.K. you performed each day below.

Once complete, you will email your R.A.K. list to with "Mission Possible" as the subject. Don't forget your full name and Mensa membership number. You must report back on October 25th. DO NOT blow your cover!

Good luck on your mission!

This message will not self destruct.

NTM / MENSA 76 2015 RG

by Carol Hilson, 2015 ChairM

We’re deep into the planning stages for the upcoming RG and will have some of the programs we had in the past … like Karaoke and Texas Hold ‘Em, as well as some great speakers. But we plan to have a couple of new items this year.

Pat Day, from Ft Worth, is going to run a “Joke Exchange”, similar to the Joke Offs we use to have. She will be assisted by two of NTM’s well-known jokesters, Ralf Kittenbacher and Chris Cree. This will be a family-friendly program so everyone is welcome to join in the fun or just come listen to all the hysterical jokes that are bound to be bantered around during this session.

Janine Gibson, also from Ft Worth, will be setting up the Games Room and deciding on tournaments for us. She’s planning on having a “Games Tasting” which will allow people a chance to play several different games for a short period of time to see which ones they like. It sounds like a fun and different way to get to learn several games in a short period of time. Be sure to check this one out!

Paul and Anne Whiteman have kitchens available in both suites so we’ll probably see some yummy food and treats in Hospitality this year. We also discovered the hotel has a bar-b-que outside so Paul plans on using it to make some hamburgers and hot dogs and having a picnic-style lunch for us during the RG.

We’re checking on DJs for the Saturday night dance now and will decide on a theme for this year’s dance soon. Look for more information on this in next month’s column.

We’re all working hard to put on a great RG this year and hope to see many of you in November at the 2015 Feast of Pleasures and Delights!

Presented by North Texas Mensa / Mensa 76

When: Thanksgiving weekend, November 26-29, 2015

Where: Courtyard by Marriott in Grapevine, Texas

For more information, visit

BrainFork: A Mensan Talks About Food : Parsley

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” -

This month is about that green garnish on your plate: parsley.

Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia. They were considered sacred by Ancient Greeks, who used it to decorate tombs and to award athletic victors. The name ‘parsley’ comes from the Greek word petros meaning “stone”, since it was found growing among rocks. As you can see in the taxonomy below, the Genus is called “Petro”.

Kingdom Plantae
(unranked) Angiosperms
(unranked) Eduicots
(unranked) Asterids
Order Apiales
Family Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae)
Genus Petroselinum
Species P. crispum

The family Apiaceae is known as the Carrot/Celery/Parsley family. The alternate name Umbelliferae refers to the “umbel” characteristic: short flower stalks spreading from a common point. The short stalks and the flowery covering is similar to the spokes of an umbrella.

Flat versus Curly

“It turns out that, at social gatherings, as a source of entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, I rank somewhere between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.”
-Dorothy Parker -

In the store, you can find 2 versions of parsley:

The general consensus is that flat leaf parsley has a stronger, more pronounced flavor and is used in the dish itself, whereas curly is used for decoration. Like other herbs, adding them to the start of a long cooking process will dissipate the essential oils, whereas adding them at the end will preserve them. As we’ll see later in the recipe section, the shape of the curly parsley has an advantage over the flat leaf variety.

But what’s interesting is that it is the stems that have the most flavor. So be sure to save them for use in stocks or other broths.


“Pounding fragrant things - particularly garlic, basil, parsley - is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one's being - from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil's appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”
- Patience Gray -

Like other greens, parsley is surprisingly high in Vitamin C. It’s also high in Vitamins K and A and is said to have antioxidant properties. It can be used as a breath freshener after meals due to its high levels of chlorophyll.

Like many other things, too much of a good thing is not good. Likewise, parsley in large amounts, can cause liver and kidney failure, due to its diuretic properties. In addition, large amounts of parsley can induce labor, due to a chemical called Apiol (C12 H14 O4).

The Root of the Matter

“It was a good thing I recognized you or I might have had a lovely meal of you with some parsley. And potatoes."
- .A. Aiken -

A few weeks ago, I was at the farmer’s market and I came across parsley root (P. crispum radicosum). It’s a root vegetable, and it looks like a white parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), which in turn looks like a slender white carrot. It is indeed a variety of parsley, and while the leaves are edible, the variety is grown for its root. It’s used in Central and Eastern Europe in soups and stews, but also can be eaten raw.

Front and Center

“Parsley is gharsley.”
- Ogden Nash, “Food” -

Some cases where parsley dominates:


“I should like a parsley sandwich.To the best of my knowledge they are not in season.”
- Edward Gorey -

As mentioned in the previous section, parsley is part of many different sauces. But just like fish, chicken, Oreos, Coca-Cola, cheesecake slices, banana, oysters, and I’ll think I’ll stop here now, parsley can be deep fried.

There are 2 different ways to do this: flat without batter, curly with batter.

Deep-Fried Curly Parsley In Batter

This recipe comes from an article written by Tom Fitzmorris, our New Orleans long time food and restaurant critic. He recalls a collection of brothers who ran some restaurants in the area that would put out a complimentary basket of fried parsley. He makes 2 notes about the recipe: (1) it seems to work better if the oil has been previously used and (2) curly parsley holds the batter better.

  1. Heat the canola oil to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the parsley well, and shake dry. Cut off the bottom parts of the stems and reserve them for stocks, etc.
  3. Combine the flour and seasoning. Combine egg and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and whisk to make a thin batter. If it is too thick, add some water to make it runny.
  4. Toss the parsley around in the batter to coat. Shake off excess batter. Carefully drop the parsley into the hot oil and fry until it just begins to brown-just about a minute. Drain on paper towels and serve hot. Serve instantly.

Deep-Fried Flat Parsley Without Batter

Pick over the parsley, removing the large stalks so that neat sprigs remain.

Wash it clean and shake it dry in a cloth.

Heat the oil in a deep pan to 190C/ 375F degrees.

Put the parsley in a frying basket and hold it in the oil for 2 minutes.

Drain well and then place in a low heat oven until quite dry, crisp and brittle.

Serve over fried, baked, or broiled white fish, such as trout, sole, or whiting.

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Last edited: 20-October-2015. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at