New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for September/October 2009

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


Suzaku™ (from Japanese sousaku: search) is a compound puzzle. The first step is to solve it as a traditional sudoku puzzle, using letters instead of numbers. The second step is to search for words in the solved sudoku. Start from any letter, moving up, down, forward, backward or diagonally in any direction, changing direction as needed without reusing the same square for a word. Although there are nine letters in this puzzle, words can be longer if you can find them. For extra credit, score the words using their associated number values to try to find the highest word points. The solution will be published in the November issue.

sukazu puzzle

Loc Sec Report

Gerry Ward

We had a good time in August. At the cheese tasting, we tasted 3 cheeses from France and learned about the making of them. All who attended enjoyed a light supper afterward.

Our Dinner Club SIG met at Phoenicia where we enjoyed Lebanese cuisine and the belly dancing of Iona , the daughter of member JM. Iona danced with veils, a scimitar balanced on her head, a dish full of lit candles on her head , and ended holding globes with candles she wove around her body as she danced.

Next month I am doing NOM night at a little restaurant which is closing the dining room for us. We will have food catered, but not knowing how many are coming, we can’t order drinks. Therefore we are not charging the entrance fee so that you can purchase your beverages with it.

This is election year, and we will hold the nominations at the beginning of the evening at a short meeting before we party. If any position is not contested, that person will be declared elected at the end of the meeting. If positions are contested, the ballot will be printed on the October postcard, and the election will be held at the beginning of the November NOM night.

In November we salute our veterans. Last year we published an honor roll in La Plume, and this year I would like to add to it. One vet. sent in his info. too late last year, and we have new members who may be veterans.

We would like to recognize your service, so please email I need name, branch of service, and year in and year out. I look forward to seeing you at NOM night and our activities.

Gerry Ward

From The Regional Vice-Chairman

Roger Durham

In a previous column, I mentioned the idea of getting a group together to travel by train to the Annual Gathering in Dearborn, MI next summer. Several people contacted me to express interest, so I have been doing a little research, and it looks quite feasible. Here’s how it would work:

The Texas Eagle leaves San Antonio at 7:00am (probably on Monday, June 28). South Texas Ms could start there and be joined by other Ms in Austin (9:31am), Fort Worth (2:20pm), Dallas, 3:40pm), Longview (6:15pm), and Little Rock (11:34pm). Ms from Oklahoma could leave Oklahoma City on a connecting train to Fort Worth (the Heartland Flyer) that departs at 8:25am. We’d reach Chicago the next afternoon at 1:52pm, and change to the Wolverine, leaving Chicago at 6:00pm and arriving in Dearborn at midnight on Tuesday, June 29.

On the way home, we’d leave Dearborn on Monday, July 5 at 7:11am, and arrive in Chicago at 11:24am, change to the Texas Eagle, departing at 1:45pm, then go through the whole thing in reverse, with groups leaving the train all along the way, and the South Texas contingent arriving back in San Antonio at 10:25pm Tuesday night. The Oklahoma folks would change trains in Fort Worth, with the Eagle arriving at 1:55pm Tuesday and the Flyer leaving at 5:25pm, arriving back in OKC at 9:39pm.

With advance-purchase, folks from West Texas, New Mexico, Houston, and New Orleans who want to join the party can probably fly Southwest to Dallas for under $100 round-trip, and for $17.00 Super Shuttle will take you to the Hyatt Regency, which is connected by a pedestrian tunnel to the Amtrak station. Shreveport has a bus connection directly to the train at Longview.

Amtrak cannot guarantee fares this far in advance, but they say they do not expect any major fare increases between now and next summer. At present-day fare levels, the round-trip coach fare from anywhere in Region 6 would be less than $300, after the 20% group discount. Amtrak allows passengers to bring their own coolers with beverages and food, and the train has both a club car serving snacks and sandwiches and a dining car serving full meals. The seats are large and comfortable, and recline almost flat for sleeping.

I realize that this would take a few extra days, but on the other hand, it’s the equivalent of extending the AG by four days, and the cost is certainly competitive with either flying or driving. In order to pursue this further with Amtrak, I need a headcount to be able to tell them, at a rough guess, how many people would be boarding at each station. I have asked the ever-helpful Howard Prince at the National Office to set up a special e-mail account just for this purpose. If such a trip sounds interesting, please e-mail me at with your name and the city where you would be boarding. This is just an expression of interest at this time, not a firm commitment. If I get a sufficient number of responses, I’ll see about setting up a group account with Amtrak and let you all know what comes next.

Roger Durham

Help Run Your Organization!

This is an election year for NOM. We begin by having nominations at the September NOM night. Second, a ballot will be printed on the October postcard, and third, the election will be held at the November NOM night.

The bylaws state that:

  1. A nomination may be made only by a member of NOM in good standing
  2. A nomination must be seconded by a member of NOM in good standing.
  3. A nominee must agree to serve if elected.
  4. A person may not be a nominee for more than one office at a time.
  5. Nominations, seconds, and agreements to serve may be made in person from the floor of the meeting or in writing. Nominations will be open until the end of the nominating meeting. For written ones, it is the responsibility of the writer to ensure all required papers with signatures are presented to the Secretary before the adjournment of the nominating meeting.

The elected officers are the Loc. Sec. , Asst. Loc. Sec., Treasurer, and Secretary. All positions are open for nominations.

LOC. SEC - Chief Officer of NOM.




These and all other details are in our bylaws which are on our Yahoo Group site. To subscribe, send a blank email to . Yahoo will send you an email asking you to confirm your request to join the group. All you have to do is reply to that email.

Good Wine Cheap! (and good food to go with it!)

by John Grover

This wine comes from the region of Aragon in the heart of Spain. Spain has consistently proved itself to be the best source of affordable wines in a time of rising prices. Matched to this excellent red wine were grilled lamb chops prepared in a Mediterranean style marinade. A few in our gourmet group were initially put off by lamb from the memories of rather grim stew concoctions served by their sainted mothers and grandmothers. These trepidations were quickly relieved by the extraordinary grilled meat that was the result.

The wine is a non-vintage (not all the wine is from one year) red from Bodegas Aragonases called Don Ramon. This wine is a blend of 75% Granacha and 25% Tempranillo grapes and is aged in oak casks for just three months. It has a smooth earthy flavor that includes ripe red berries and black pepper. Don Ramon is a good match with burgers and pizza and when served with the recipe below. I have found it generally available for about $8 a bottle.

Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Chops

(marinade from the “Colorado Collage Cookbook” by the Junior League of Denver).

Marinade Ingredients:

Combine the marinade ingredients and add to eight 1-1.5 inch thick loin lamb chops. The loin chops look like mini “T” bone steaks and will require at least two per person. Marinade for at least four hours or preferably over night in the refrigerator. These chops are best served medium rare. After preheating your grill, set the heat to medium; and, grill the chops for four to five minutes on a side depending on thickness.

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.

Mensa Speak

For some reason, Mensans thrive on abbreviations and acronyms. Here are a few definitions that should immediately increase your comprehension of all things Mensa, including this newsletter. A complete list can be found at

AG: Annual Gathering, the official name of American Mensa’s national convention.

AMC: The American Mensa Committee, American Mensa’s board of directors.

CAP: Community Activities Program.

CareerLink: American Mensa’s CareerLink is a Web site providing career resources to members.

CO: Communications Officer on the AMC.

Coordinator: A loose term for a volunteer who does anything from acting as a telephone contact to organizing and hosting functions.

ExComm: Executive Committee. The governing body of the AMC or a Local Group.

GC/GCC: Gifted Children/Gifted Children Coordinator.

IBD: International Board of Directors.

InsideAML: This Web site centralizes all of American Mensa’s resources for local, regional and national officers.

Isolated M: A newsletter for Mensans who may not be able to participate in Local Group activities due to location or preference.

LDW: Leadership Development Workshop (or Weekend). This gathering provides courses to improve the skills and knowledge of Local Group officers and any other Mensans.

Local Group: A geographically defined local chapter of American Mensa.

LocSec: (pronounced “loak-seck”) Local Secretary, president of a Local Group. Reflecting Mensa’s British origins, the title is a holdover from the time when this officer was simply a secretary reporting to national Mensa. Although many Local Groups call their chief executives something else, to the national organization they’re all LocSecs.

M: A Mensan of either sex. Plural is Ms (pronounced “emz,” not “miz”).

MERF: Former acronym for the Mensa Education & Research Foundation.

MIL: Mensa International, Ltd.

NOM: New Orleans Mensa

NomComm: Nominating Committee. Pretty much every Mensa group, from local up to international, has a NomComm in place to help identify and officially nominate candidates for office.

Owl: OK, you know what an owl is. Because the owl was sacred to Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, it has become the unofficial mascot of Mensa. Over the years other unofficial mascots have included pelicans, unicorns, Opus the penguin, and doubtless other things — but the owl is pretty solidly entrenched.

Project Inkslinger®: This communityservice program supplies information on other, non-Mensa programs that need book donations and is expanding to include more general, book-related philanthropic projects.

RG: Regional Gathering — what Local Groups call their annual, regional conventions, usually held over weekends throughout the year.

RVC: Regional Vice-Chairmen — members of the AMC elected by the constituents of each region.

SIGs: Special Interest Groups, which can be local or national. These are groups of members who get together to enjoy and celebrate a specific interest or hobby — everything from chocolate to skiing.

SIGHT: Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers. This network of volunteer hosts offers accommodations to Ms who want to visit their cities.

Young Mensans: Mensans under the age of 18. American Mensa has members has young as 3.

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