New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for September 2015

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


By Bart Geraci

September used to be back to school month, but that ship has long sailed. It is still Labor Day weekend month. And the start of the New Orleans Saints football season.

This month we’re having elections for positions in New Orleans Mensa for the next 2 years. Later this month, we’re having our annual Free Museum Visiting, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

We’re also working on plans to have an RG in December 2016. Nothing definite yet.

Next 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 just down the road at the Museum just down the street.

So let’s go Saints!

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

I was visiting a friend in Colorado recently who had became a farmer. In addition to large expanse of vegetables and other green things, he owned a herd of cows.

I helped him one morning to help move the cows out of the barn and into the fields. When it was getting late in the afternoon, I asked him, how do you get the cows back?

He explained that his cows had a remarkable sense of smell and can smell him lighting up a marijuana joint even miles away. Every evening when he did that, the cows would amble back to the barn for the evening. And after he lit his joint out on his porch, it wasn’t long before they began returning.

I said, “So you mean to tell me that it’s the…”

“...pot that’s calling the cattle back?”

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

As I write this, I am just shy of six weeks into my term as RVC. This has been an extremely hectic six weeks, but I am very excited about the potential for the continued improvement and growth of American Mensa and Region 6 in particular.

I have two regional officers to announce. Randy Brack of North Texas Mensa has consented to stay on as our Regional Ombudsman. He has written a column introducing both himself and his role that you will likely be able to find in either this issue or the previous issue of your newsletter.

September is the beginning of scholarship season with the Mensa Foundation. I have asked Johnnie Vaughn of Lone Star Mensa to serve as our Regional Scholarship Chair. Johnnie and I are both very enthusiastic about the charitable arm of our organization. I hope you will all consider supporting the Foundation, either financially or with your time as a scholarship judge. Judging scholarship essays can be a lot of fun without taking up too much of your time. Contact your local scholarship chair to find out how you can participate. If your local group does not have a scholarship chair, please get in touch with your LocSec and Johnnie (

I had the opportunity to spend a day in the National Office at the end of July. I was able to have several meetings with members of our staff, but the one I am most excited about was the meeting to discuss an upcoming tool for local group officers, the local group dashboard. While this tool is still in development, it is going to be absolutely fantastic. Many of the tasks that are rather cumbersome or require officers to reach out to the National Office will be able to be updated remotely through the dashboard. Stay tuned for details in the coming months.

I am kicking off my travels to local groups in the region with my trip around Northern Louisiana Mensa. I will be meeting with members in Shreveport, Monroe, and Alexandria during the last weekend of August. The following weekend, I will be attending LoneStaRG 17 in Round Rock, TX. The lineup of programs looks fantastic. If you have not yet registered, I hope you will reconsider. This is always a great party. You can find more details and register online at

As members of Region 6, we are playing host to the next three meetings of the AMC. The first will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the Hilton Arlington Hotel. AMC meetings are open to all current members of Mensa, and I hope some of you will consider attending.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, you can 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 September, 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!

New Orleans Mensa Excomm Meeting

Claudia D'Aquin, Secretary

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Home of Bart Geraci

Members present: Bart Geraci,Claudia D'Aquin,Phil Therrien, Robert Myers, Summer McKnight, Gerry Ward.

Meeting called to order at 5:15 p.m.

Old Business:

Bart presented the minutes from the May meeting. The minutes were accepted.

  1. No developments on Bart checking with Sharon Kirkpatrick.
  2. RG update-see new business.
  3. Lapsed members: Bart contacted them, and we will receive $18 from National for this effort. ( 36 members@.50 each).
  4. Carnival Krewe participation: Bart reached out to a member of Krewe de Vieux; we are awaiting info from him on this.

New Business:

  1. Bart will check with Sharon Kirkpatrick about taking over as historian for our chapter; did not get to do this since last meeting.
  2. Treasurer's report: Current balance: **** as of today.
  3. RG update: Lovie gathered info from several hotels. She checked into the second weekend of December 2016. It would be possible for the national committee to have their meeting here during the RG again. She presented detailed info on 4 different facilities. Committee members narrowed the choices to ****. Lovie will ask both of these for contracts and will let us know the outcome in the next 2 weeks. Bart will email us this information, and we will make a final decision after learning the contract details.
  4. Gerry informed us that she attended a meeting AG with our region 6 Vice Chair, Taz Kriss; she supports our efforts to host an RG. She reported some advice, suggestions regarding possible dates.

Next ExComm meeting will be November 14, 5:00 p.m., Bart's house.

All business being concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

Submitted by Claudia D'Aquin, Secretary

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.

BrainFork: A Mensan Talks About Food : Yogurt

by Bart Geraci
“My love for you would blot out the sun like a cloud made out of yogurt. I hope you brought a spoon.”
- Jarod Kintz, “The Titanic would never have sunk if it were made out of a sink” -

I’m back from my summer vacation writing again, and we’ll start off with a bit of culture. Yogurt culture, that is.

Yogurt (also spelled yoghurt overseas) is milk that has been fermented by way of bacteria. It is said to have been in existence since 6000 BC and was likely the result of storing animal milk in containers made from animal stomachs. While cow milk is the most common milk used in producing yogurt, other animals can be used. Locally, I’ve seen sheep milk and goat milk versions. And then there’s the non-dairy versions, which we won’t discuss here.

Dairy yogurt uses 2 bacteria:

First, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus

Kingdom Bacteria
Division Firmicutes
Class Bacilli
Order Lactobacillales
Family Lactobacillaceae
Genus Lactobacillus
Species L. delbrueckii
Subspecies L. d. bulgaricus

It was identified in 1905 by a Bulgarian doctor Stamen Grigorov, and the species name delbrueckii was named after the Berlin Institute for Fermentation Industries, which in turn was named for Max Delbruck where these bacteria have been produced since the late 1800s.

Secondly, Streptococcus thermophilus

Phylum Firmicutes
Class Bacilli
Order Lactobacillales
Family Streptococcaceae
Genus Streptococcus
Species S. thermophilus

The word “Streptococcus” is derived from a term meaning “Twisted berry” since its visual organization looks like long chains of beads. “Thermophilus” derives from the Greek “heat” since it can thrive at high temperatures. Not all members of the genus Streptococcus are beneficial however. Some of the members are pathogenic and are responsible for strep throat, pink eye, meningitis, pneumococcus, St. Anthony’s Fire, and flesh-eating bacterial infections. Ugh.

Together these two bacteria turn Lactose (C12 H22 O11), the sugar found in milk, into Lactic Acid (C3 H6 O3). People who have the condition Lactose Intolerance do not have sufficient levels of lactase, an enzyme that splits apart the lactose into simpler components. But many have found that they are able to digest yogurt since the lactose has been broken apart. As always, consult your physician and not a food writer.

It’s Not All Greek To Me

“Everyone asks me why someone Turkish is making Greek yogurt. In Greece, it is not called 'Greek yogurt.' Everywhere in the world it is called 'strained yogurt.' But because it was introduced in this country by a Greek company, they called it 'Greek yogurt.'”
- Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani -

Yeah. What he said. So not every yogurt is the same. There’s a few different styles, not all of these are disjoint from one another.

But there are a few standards in the US:

It’s Good For You!

“Yoghurt is very good for the stomach, the lumbar regions, appendicitis and apotheosis."
- Eugene Ionesco -

In the early 20th century, Ilya Metchnikoff had observed that people who consumed fermented milk products (like yogurt) tended to live longer. He proposed a theory that the yogurt did two things:

  1. Added beneficial microbes (“probiotics”) to the intestine
  2. The acidity from the yogurt would suppress growth of unwanted bacteria in the intestine.

Making Yogurt

“A girl told me my lips looked like somebody had pressed strawberry yogurt against my face.”
- Katherine Heigl -

The basics of making yogurt:


Ron Swanson: “Dear frozen yogurt. You are the celery of desserts. Be ice cream or be nothing. Zero stars.”
- Parks & Recreation TV Show -

Frozen Yogurt is often called “FroYo” by people who want to save 2 syllables and 7 letters. One typical formulation is 4 parts ice milk to 1 part yogurt. “FroYo” is also the name of the Android software Version 2.2, released in May of 2010. National Frozen Yogurt Day is February 6th. But that’s enough of this for this article.


“Breakfast is so important, so I'll make an omelet with cheese and deli meats, and then I'll eat muesli and yogurt mixed with fruit or oatmeal with fruit - and then a side of baked beans.”
- Andrew Luck -


While it’s easy to enjoy yogurt in the container (and sometimes adding in granola for crunchiness), my all-time favorite way to consume yogurt comes from Bennachin, a Gambian restaurant located in the French Quarter. Gambia is a West African nation of about 4000 square miles, 2 million population, surrounding the Gambia river, and bordered on 3 sides by Senegal. I first came across this dish at their booth at JazzFest. It’s couscous topped with a real cold yogurt-fruit mixture. What I liked about this dish was that it was both cooling (like a snowball), but it was loaded with proteins (instead of sugars) to keep me going all afternoon.

Shakari (or Caakiri, Chakery, Chakrey, Thiacry, Thiakry, Tiakri)

Starch: Couscous (instant is fine).

Dairy: yogurt, but can also add in some sour cream, unsweetened evaporated milk, half & half, buttermilk

Sweeteners: chopped / crushed pineapple, sugar, shredded coconut

Spices: vanilla, nutmeg

Toppings: golden raisins

First cook the couscous by itself. When done, put it aside and let it cool down. Mix as many of the dairy, sweeteners, and spices together. Take bowl, add some couscous, add some dairy mix, and top with raisins, dig in, and head over to the next stage to dance your cares away.

Obscure Engineering Conversion Factors

by Cool Bob Myers

"Fighting ignorance since 1942. It's taking longer than I thought"

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