Much Ado About Mensa

Regional Judges for the Scholarship Competition Are Needed Now!

Wednesday 21st February 2018

From Mary Prior, Region 9 Scholarship Chair

We are about to begin our regional scholarship judging, which must be completed prior to March 20, 2018.  I am in dire need of judges, so anything you can do to help would be appreciated.  I need a minimum of three to four judges, most of whom have to be Mensans.

The judging is done entirely via email so you my feel free to judge in your pajamas, or stark naked if you so choose.  The main thing I need is your brain and a commitment to judge all essays.  If we have more than 100 essays, we will do a first round quick judging to narrow it down to a more reasonable fine-tuned judging.  If you were a judge for the local scholarship competition, you cannot just at the regional level.

Each essay is up to a maximum of 550 words, and are about the author—what he/she want to do, what he/she has done so far to achieve it, and more about the author.  The 550 word limit equates to a tad bit over one page, double-spaced.

It will be Tuesday before I am able to access the essays and download them as PDFs to send to the judges.  I have the judging criteria as well as the judging sheet in Excel.

Region 9 consists of all of Arizona except the Tucson area, Southern California, southern Nevada and Utah.  If you know of anyone in the region interested in judging, please contact them and let them know.  If they are Mensans, they are most welcome—if they did not judge their local scholarship essays.

Please contact me ASAP at if you are interested.

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January 27th Eastside Dining Out SIG

Wednesday 21st February 2018

From Mary Prior

On Saturday, January 27th, we met at the unusual time of 5 pm for dining out at Pita Jungle, a place I’d heard of but never visited.  The reason it was late because the co-chairs of the 2019 AG – which will be in Phoenix July 3-7, 2019 – were visiting and I needed to be at the 11 am meeting at the old RG hotel.  

John and Judy Herman were there, as well as Stephen Stuart.  So the four of us really enjoyed the food there.  I know John had a giro, Judy had, I think a salmon entrée, I ordered the antipasto starter for all of us, Stephen went for chicken, and I tried a really different type of meatloaf, with spices I couldn’t identify.  I also tried their red sangria, which was very tasty.  It was so good, I completely forgot about taking pictures!

Everyone really enjoyed their meals, but I still can’t identify some of the spices in the meatloaf.  Maybe next time I’ll try a giro.  Stephen was the first to leave, but John and Judy stayed to chat and munch.

If anyone has a favorite spot in the East Valley, I’d love to set up an EDOSIG lunch!

The next Eastside dining out will be on Saturday, February 24th, at noon, at the Cornish Pasty at 1941 West Guadalupe Road (in the middle of the shopping center at S. Dobson and W Guadalupe.

Please RSVP to or text me at 206-551-5907.

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“I am Groot!”

Saturday 17th February 2018

Member of the AZ Clan - Dave Pivin

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Four Peaks Snowfall

Saturday 10th February 2018

Viewed from a warmer location along Bush Highway - Dave Pivin

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February Mensaversaries

Thursday 1st February 2018
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GPM Member Adds Scoring Technology to AZ Science Bowl

Monday 29th January 2018

Our yearly endeavor to encourage and reward STEM (Middle and High School) students is upon us.  Feb 17 will be the High School AZ Science Bowl and March 10 will be the Middle School competition.  Both are held at ASU-West, 4701 W Thunderbird Rd, Glendale.  Each winning team (and their Coach) will get a trip to Washington DC to compete in the (DOE) Nationals!

Volunteers are needed for score keeping, room monitors and timekeeping, but no experience is needed.  For those who have participated before, Rules Judges, Scientific Judges and Moderators are rewarding jobs.

The competition consists of school teams from throughout Arizona. The teams are four students, one alternate (optional), and a teacher who serves as a coach. Together, they face-off in fast-paced question and answer rounds and tested on a range of science disciplines.  The rounds are an amalgam of current Jeopardy and College Bowl in the 1960s.  The students are knowledgeable, quick and competitive.  It gives us a window into how good our future will be.

The high school question categories are: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Energy, Mathematics, and Physics.

The middle school question categories are: Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, Energy, Mathematics, and General Science.

Volunteer information and times are HERE.

One of our long-time members, Gene Holmerud, is computerizing the operation of the competition.  Details are HERE then double-click the first video, then open the comments.  This system raises the professional level of the event literally into the clouds.

Technical details of the scoring system may be found HERE.

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February Mensa Birthdays

Saturday 27th January 2018
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GPM Original Games Night Returns!

Friday 26th January 2018

Saturday, January 27 6:00 to 11:00 PM - Returning to it’s regular slot, same good fun. Fourth Saturday of each month. BYO Beverage, and a snack to share – non-messy finger foods are best, but hey, we have napkins! Owl is $2.00 per person. SO, WBC. New host, Chris Ingle may be contacted at or by cell at 520-240-9810. Location is near the intersection of Baseline Rd and Loop-101 in Tempe. Map and more info is available to members HERE.

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RVC9 Column

Thursday 18th January 2018

From Mike Wong, RVC9

Dear Region 9 members, I apologize for the tardiness of last month’s RVC column.  I was still getting my bearings after 2 months of non-stop travel and it took awhile for me to get back into the groove of hosting local events and executing my RVC duties.  Most of you will probably see 2 columns for February as my January column missed the deadline of most Region 9 local newsletters.

The new communication tool Mensa Connect from Higher Logic is now online.  Members who are net savvy and those who checked the Mensa website recently may already have signed on and played a little with the application.  Mensa Connect works like yahoo groups and social applications like facebook, but is linked to the Mensa database.  Membership lists such as current AMC members, current LocSecs, proctors, etc. are automatically updated, those who no longer volunteer for a specific position or whose membership expired will be purged when their statuses change.  Updating all these membership information each year used to be a massive and time consuming task, the advantage of handling over this to Higher Logic is not only do we automate the process, they also take care of archiving all old messages.

A task force was formed and headed by GLAAM’s own Billie Lee (who also serves as our Second Vice Chair on the AMC) a few months ago to test this software and it went online December 5th.  As of now thru March 1st. we are in the process of creating local elists and communities for Local groups, by April 1st. the migration process should be completed and all local elist will be turned off.  If you have been active on old local elist, be aware that it may not be operating for much longer.

I received a nice email from a Region 9 member inquireing about becoming a proctor because he has read about the problem with Southern Nevada, I was very excited about his enthusiasm and the positive experiences he had with his proctor when he initially joined.  I can not emphasize enough about the importance of our proctors, who are responsible for bringing in most of our new members and are probably the first Mensans most prospective members meet when they take the admission test.  I have submitted my proctor application recently and hope to join our fine team of proctors some time early in 2018.  On the subject of the Mensa test, the special code for free testing as the program is due to expire at the end of March, please take advantage of this.

Finally, Phoenix has been chosen as the site of the 2019 AG.  The AG co-chair Brian and Allison Reeves will be having an informal site walk thru at the end of January.  They are scheduled to arrive on January 26th. and leaving before noon on January 28th.  They are hoping to meet with as many local members as possible.  I will try my best to be present for part of this.

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Eastside Dining Out SIG Time Changed

Monday 15th January 2018

Due to the visit by the 2019 AG Co-ChairMs, Mary has moved out the time of the Last Saturday of the Month Dining Out Group.  We will still go to PITA JUNGLE at 1949 W. Ray Road in Chandler, but meet at 5 PM – 7 pm for dinner instead of Noon for lunch.  Please email or text your RSVP to Mary Prior at or 206-551-5907.

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Meet the 2019 AG Co-Chairs, Brian and Allison Reeves on January 27th

Saturday 13th January 2018

As you may already know, Phoenix has been chosen to host the 2019 Mensa Annual Gathering. Brian and Allison will be coming to Phoenix to walk-through the chosen hotel, Sheraton Phoenix and to talk to anyone that either wants to volunteer or just has an interest in meeting them or hearing about the event.

They will meet with us at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 27th at the Hilton Garden Inn where we have our RG and ExCom meetings. Please RSVP to if you are able to attend or if you have questions so we can make the necessary arrangements.

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Have a heart!  GPM Needs YOU!

Monday 8th January 2018

To help judge the essays for the 2017-2018 competition! 

From Mary Prior, Regional and Local Scholarship Chair:

I really need a few more people to judge essays in the scholarship competition which will start AFTER January 15th and must be back to me by February 12th.  At the present time, I have 33 essays, which isn’t too bad.  

I can email you the instructions for judging as well as the judging sheet. Please reply to I also will email you the essays in PDF format for you to review and judge.  All essays are judged blind.  In other words, no one knows who wrote what essay–and that applies at all levels.  Once I get the completed judging forms back, I will be able to sort them by highest score to find out who will be our local winners, and which I must submit no later than February 15th to be judged in the Regional competition.  

Following is a sample of the Judging form, to give you an idea of what to consider to judge an essay, and what the coding looks like.  


This year, for the first time, I will be taking on the job of Region 9 Chair/Coordinator and after February 15th, will be putting together the same thing for the region.  

I will need more judges for the Region 9 competition level.  If you judge at the local level, you cannot judge at regional level.  

Why do I do this?  Because I never thought I could go to college until someone told me about the Pell Grant when I was about 35.  I applied, and was granted a Pell Grant, and immediately, in my ignorance, signed up for 12 semester hours!  

But it is so very important to so very many people.  What you do may help someone complete a course of action and, who knows, might become your next doctor, nurse, teacher, NASA scientist, or famous artist!  And you will know then that what you did made a difference, not just for one person, but for many!

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January Mensaversaries

Monday 1st January 2018
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January Birthdays

Monday 1st January 2018
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Happy New Year!

Friday 29th December 2017
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RVC9 Column

Thursday 21st December 2017

From Mike Wong, RVC9

Dear Region 9 members, I hope you’ve all had a happy and restful holiday season.  2017 has been a very eventful year for me: campaigning and subsequently being elected to the AMC board as your RVC 9; travelling to all the cities I have never been to for AMC meetings, RG’s and visiting the chapters in Region 9; meeting so many old and new people in all my travels.

As you may know by now, our previous Executive Director Pam Donahoo had tendered her resignation and is no longer with us as of mid-November.  A transition committee of 5 members as formed to explore our options, and our Director of Membership and Strategy Trevor Mitchell was appointed Acting Executive Director to ensure a smooth transition.  Most of us arrived a day earlier at the December AMC meeting in Houston to hear the recommendations of the committee and discuss how we should proceed.  The board decided to offer Trevor a 2 year contract with a 1 year probation period upon when we will evaluate again how we will go forward.

The following survey was sent to AMC board members, local Mensa leaders, and other members to help identify qualities we desire for our next Executive Director.  As of now the survey is still open, interested members may want to fill this out if they want to have their opinions heard.

Since Trevor has taken on the extra responsibilities of our ED, he is too busy to personally respond to questions local group leaders may have relied on him to answer in the past.  Please send your questions to, and it will be redirected to the staff member who can assist you.

The ExComm has voted to extend our contract with Conference Direct by 2 years through 2023.   AG Committees will not have to negotiate contracts with hotels for another 2 years.  While I think it is good that we manage to avoid a lot of contract pitfalls, I am nostalgic for the days when we had those large home cooked meals…

On the subject of AGs, Phoenix is selected as the site of AG 2019, the AG co-chairs Brian Reeves and Allison Reeves are currently planning an informal visit at the end of January or February (from Thursday to Sunday) at the hotel site (the official visit with AMC staff and members is scheduled in September).  Local members who are interested in volunteering or have questions are welcome to come and meet our AG co-chairs in person. [tentative date for GPM meeting with Brian and Allison is set for Saturday, January 27 - Ed] Please let me know if you have questions.  While I may not be able to be there the whole duration, I will try to be there at least 1 if not 2 days.

Congratulations to Jennifer Wise (Carter) for being elected as one of the 3 new trustees of the Mensa Foundation.  She used to be GLAAM’s Young Adult coordinator and was very active in the Mensa Foundation Scholarship program before moving to Seattle.

Finally, please consider joining us for the GLAAM RG for the President’s Day weekend in San Pedro.  We run a hell of a party in Los Angeles and I will be giving an ALL FRENCH fromage session for the cheese tasting.


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RVC9 Column

Monday 18th December 2017

From Michael Wong

[Sorry this is late, should have been posted in August - Ed]

Dear all, I am your new RVC 9.  I hope you’ve had a pleasant summer so far.  

The Annual Gathering has come and gone, I would like to thank all of you who showed up at the RVC9 Meet & Greet.  I understand that the cost of this AG is quite a bit higher than previous AGs and as a result the Region 9 attendance is not as high as usual, a big part of that is due to the resort destination.  The contract for Indianapolis AG in 2018 is already signed so not much can be done at this point, I will do my best to ensure future AGs are more reasonably priced. 

For those who attended the AG and went to the awards presentation, you might be as surprised as I was when our region as whole did not perform as well as I thought we should in the jewel awards.  Our region has the LOWEST attrition percentage as well as raw amount, we are also the only region to have 2 large chapters grow in numbers (Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa and Greater Phoenix Mensa).  The official explanation I was given is great importance is placed on testing and we did not do as well in this area as chapters who placed higher than us.  Exactly how the metrics are used to measure these awards remain a mystery, I will try to get more transparency on how these awards are evaluated.  It is a crime that hardworking folks at San Diego Mensa who organized the BEST AG in recent years and the incredible Greater Phoenix Mensa were not recognized in these jewel awards.  Meanwhile all I can do is urge us to do more testing to improve our showing.

On the subject of testing, we have managed to rebuild the testing program in Southern Nevada Mensa after three visits to Las Vegas over the last few months.  Your previous RVC 9 Desiree Elliott has worked very hard to assist Southern Nevada Mensa and I am happy to report that she agreed to continue her work at the regional level as my Assistant RVC for the coming term.

As for the complete list of awards winners from Region 9:- Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa won the Emerald Award for Class I (900+ members); Orange County Mensa won the Sapphire Award for Class II (400 to 899 members) and Silver Medal ACE award for communication excellence; Tucson, Channel Islands, and Hawaii all won the Ruby Awards while Southern Nevada got Sapphire and Utah received Emerald awards for Class III (200 to 399 members). Congratulations to the Phoenix Phive from Greater Phoenix Mensa and OC Disorders from Orange County Mensa for coming in 3rd and 8th in this year’s culture quest.  Last but not least, we need to recognize Ms. Natalie Hampton from GLAAM for winning the Copper Black award for Creative Achievement with her “Sit with Us” mobile application to combat bullying.

Looking forward, the first task that I am given as your RVC is to appoint volunteers to 4 very important positions for the region:-  (1) Regional Scholarship Chair, (2) Regional Webmaster, (3) Regional Ombudsman, and (4) Regional Social Media coordinator.  Please let me know if you are interested in any of these positions.

Finally, Hawaii will be hosting an RG at the beautiful Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu at the beginning of October 7-9, please consider joining us for a wonderful time by the beach in the middle of beautiful Pacific Ocean.  Please refer to

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RVC9 Column

Monday 18th December 2017

From Mike Wong:

Dear Region 9 members, here is your RVC 9 with the monthly column again.  It has been suggested that my previous column was too wordy, so I will try to be brief and keep to the 500 words limit from now on.

One of the most important tasks we have as an organization is to increase our membership.  Studies have shown that the most effective way to accomplish this has been through testing, most prospective members who pass our tests (or submit prior evidence) end up joining Mensa.  So we are introducing the new Mensa Voucher Program (MVP) to promote more testing all over the country.

To those who may not be familiar with this voucher initiative, it was first introduced in Mensa Germany, and effectively doubled the membership there.  It was then implemented as a experiment in U.S. at the Chicago Area Mensa, though it didn’t quite explode the way it did in Germany, still proved to be a very effective way of increasing membership.

The way this works is each member will be given a discount code via email that they can give to one non-member friend or a family member to use, the code will allow the user to either submit prior evidence or sit at a supervised test for free.  These codes can be used once and are available to each member (as of October 1st, 2017) starting October 1st, 2017 and expire on March 31st, 2018.  These codes will not retroactively apply to previous supervised test or prior evidence that has already been submitted, thus can not be used for moneys already paid.  

The exact instructions on how to acquire and redeem these discount codes will be available both online and at testing locations.  We will also provide details and suggestions on how to better promote this program in the near future.  This is a tremendous opportunity to increase our membership base and I hope you will all take advantage of this before the program ends at the end of March next year.

As mentioned in last month’s column, GLAAM member Natalie Hampton was the recipient of the prestigious Copper Black Award for creating the successful “Sit with Us” mobile app to combat bullying.  Though she was unable to accept her award personally at the AG, we will present the award to her in person at the GLAAM fall picnic, scheduled to be held on September 23rd.  The Copper Black Award is an annual award given to a Mensan who came up with a novel idea that has proven to be of practical value to others.

When you are reading this column I should be having a wonderful time at the Hawaii RG (October 7-9), I hope some of you made it out to join us.  The next Region 9 RG is going to be held over the Thanksgiving weekend in Phoenix, I have attended the Phoenix RG twice and had tremendous fun both times.

Finally, we have all of the regional 9 positions filled with the exception of regional Webmaster.  Please let me know if any of you are interested in this position.

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Saturday 16th December 2017


Hello fellow Mensans,

It appears my source for the last puzzle has done a site overhaul. How does this affect you and/or me? I can’t find that darned puzzle anymore. :(

I have written their webmaster and will post the solution as soon as I hear back.

Until then, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate Christmas. Happy Holidays to ALL!

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Happy Birthday

Saturday 16th December 2017

Best October Birthday wishes to all, but especially to Jean McKay and Terry Green who, though I wasn’t included in the list, share my birthday of October 20.  - Mike Waters

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Saturday 16th December 2017

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The little cat is a symbol wishing you all good luck and good health! This one is solar powered (see the little rectangle obviously the stand) so the right arm waves whenever three is light. - Mike Waters

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Saturday 16th December 2017

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Japan is rightfully know as a “gourmet heaven ”. This is typical of about 50 restaurants witin and around the Kyoto train station. Meals range from US$5 to more than US$200 per person. - Mike Waters

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Saturday 16th December 2017

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Origami swan displyed in the lobby of our Kyoto, Japan hotel.  - Mike Waters

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Saturday 16th December 2017

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Greetings from Nara, Japan from Mike and Les. This is the “Royal Pond”, used for ancient ceremonies by the Shogun. In the background is a large and very old Buddhist temple.  - Mike Waters

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Introducing Mike Wong, RVC9

Saturday 16th December 2017

The Regional Vice Chairman for Mensa Region 9 is Mike Wong, elected this year, replacing Desirée Elliot. Mike is has served as the Administrative Vice Chair and Treasurer for Greater Los Angeles Mensa and been part of the San Jose Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Michael immigrated to Los Angles from Hong Kong in 1988. He speaks three dialects of Chinese fluently and holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell. He has been a member since 2015.

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Saturday 9th December 2017

I have not received any submissions for the solution to the last puzzle. I did receive one communication suggesting this type of puzzle might be too boring. If so, I apologize for that. There was a healthy response to the last puzzle of this type and some found it challenging. I know it is impossible to please everyone always, but I will try to change it up in future postings. 

Hope you all are enjoying this holiday season. Blessings to you all.

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GPM RG 2017 is now history!

Saturday 2nd December 2017

Group Photo from the GPM Regional Gathering, Phoenix Phiesta XXXV: “Great Minds Like a Think” banquet. Lots of fun as you can see by the smiling faces. Even more fun right after when we used the same chairs to play a game of musical chairs. A full set of photos will soon appear on the GPM RG 2017 web site.

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Puzzled by Puzzles?

Friday 1st December 2017

from the editor

It was brought up to me that some responders to my puzzle postings did not know if their entry was received and did not know if they were acknowledged as a correct submitter for the random selection of the winner.

This was a concern I had not considered. I will from now on post the names of those who respond to the puzzles with correct submissions.

BTW….no responses yet to last weeks puzzle. I will post a blank solution grid next week if no correct reposnses by then.

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December Birthdays

Friday 1st December 2017
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December Mensaversaries

Friday 1st December 2017
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Knitting Club Puzzle

Saturday 25th November 2017

The Ocean Isle Knitting Club recently held a friendly contest where any member could submit one of their knitted creations.  Using only the clues below, match each knitter to the item she submitted, and determine its color and final placement (first, second, etc.) in the contest.

1. The entrant who submitted the white item finished 4 places before the entrant who entered her scarf.

2. Natasha is either the entrant who submitted the orange item or the person who submitted the white item.

3. The knitter who submitted the purple item, Bessie, the entrant who entered her sweater, the person who finished fifth and Alexis are all different people.

4. The knitter who submitted the green item is either the entrant who entered her blanket or the knitter who entered her mittens.

5. Natasha didn’t knit the sweater.

6. The person who finished fourth made the black item.

7. Alexis finished 2 places after the entrant who entered her tea cozy.

8. The entrant who submitted the orange item didn’t knit the socks.

9. The knitter who entered her mittens finished 4 places before Natasha.

10. The knitter who submitted the blue item didn’t knit the hat.

11. The knitter who submitted the white item finished 4 places before Francis.

12. Francis, the knitter who submitted the blue item, and the knitter who submitted the green item are three different people.

13. The entrant who submitted the purple item is either the knitter who entered her socks or the knitter who entered her tea cozy.

14. The entrant who finished second is either Francis or Carla.

15. Laverne made the hat.

16. The person who entered her mittens finished 1 place after the person who entered her tea cozy.

Will post a solution grid next week (if needed)

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October Puzzle Solution

Saturday 18th November 2017

The winner providing the correct answer to the October Puzzle is Douglas. Congratulation Douglas. Please send me your last name and your preferred email address. The solution is below. 

Happy Turkey EVERYONE!

Amy Smith, ghost, bobbing for apples, movie tickets
Robert Brown, Frankenstein, scariest costume, $50 gift certificate
Belinda Martinez, bat, ring toss, $20 gift certificate
John Beals, Dracula, scavenger hunt, theater tickets
Mary Black, skeleton, pumpkin carving, amusement park passes

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November Birthdays

Saturday 4th November 2017
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November Mensaversaries

Saturday 4th November 2017
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LET’S TALK TURKEY!!! GPM Thanksgiving Feast

Saturday 28th October 2017

It wouldn’t be a Greater Phoenix Mensa Thanksgiving-weekend RG without our tradition Patricia Hull Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner. Pat was a generous Mensan who tirelessly opened the door of her home each year so Mensans who might otherwise eat alone on Thanksgiving could gather and have a good time with their “family”. The tradition now continues at the RG hotel, but the spirit is the same: come and share your Thanksgiving Day with your Mensa family.

Please email Helen Goldman at and let her know 1) if you plan to attend (so we can get an idea of how many will be there) and 2) what you’re bringing, to ask for a suggestion of what is needed or to volunteer to cook a turkey (we need one more, you will be reimbursed for the cost of the turkey). If you have a special dish you’d like to prepare, but it’s not the category you were assigned, don’t worry – we won’t be checking credentials. We just want to make sure we have a good distribution of different types of food.

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GPM’s 2017 Regional Gathering Is Only 25 Days Away!

Saturday 28th October 2017

Greater Phoenix Mensa Regional Gathering (RG)November 23-26, 2017

30-Plus Programs to Inform, Stimulate and Amuse:• Interesting and Interested Speakers on many subjects
• Games Galore!
• Parties After Dark (pack a bathing suit and your fanciest PJs)
• Romance! Sex! Adventure!
• Awesome Kids’ Track! - All Day!
• Endless conversation, debates, and infinity of puns.
• Saturday Night Banquet with delightful entertainment!

Register online NOW! Just Click HERE for all the details.

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Halloween Puzzle

Saturday 21st October 2017

Hello All,

It doesn’t appear that anyone has submitted the correct response to the Halloween Puzzle. A few have suggested there was not enough information. If you have already submitted a solution, please forward your response again.Below is a grid that should help find the solution. 
Good luck!

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Essay Judges Needed for Foundation Scholarship Program Calling all readers!

Saturday 21st October 2017

From Mary Prior, Local and Region 9 Scholarship ChairM

We need you to spend some time, a few hours in late January and/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 an accredited U.S. college, university or institution of higher learning in the academic year following the award.  In this case, the awards will be given out around July to the winners at all levels.

Applicants need not be a Mensan or related to a Mensan.  Anyone may apply, regardless of age or degree.  It can be used, for example, if you are working on a Masters or Ph.D., or even for a veterinary to keep up to date with classes.

Applicants write 550-word essays that describe their experience, education and/or career goals.  The essays can be proofed by a friend or family member and when complete, is then uploaded online.  Winning essays are judged by members using Foundation criteria which is provided to the judges.  Please consider being one of those judges.

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.

Once again, if the judges wish, we can have the final 10 essays judge at my home in Queen Creek, along with my favorite bribe—Beef Stew Burgundy, with onions, carrots and mushrooms.  I can add either egg noodles or rice to go with the stew.

I do ask judges attending to bring something a lá potluck-ish to share.  And yes, last year we did have a vegan dish.  But it will be up to the judges to decide if they wish to do this.  We did it one year, and it was very enjoyable.

As the Region 9 Scholarship Chair, I also need to recruit judges from all over Region 9.

The essays will be emailed to you in mid-to-late January.  You’ll have at least a full week to read and score them in your home, though we hope it will take only an afternoon or two.  You will then 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 working with.

You’ve enjoyed the social side of Mensa; now contribute to both Mensa and next year’s college students.  I was a judge beginning in the early 80s in San Antonio, and I loved doing it so much I got hooked, and became a local ChairM and now a Regional ChairM.  And it means so much to so many students.

Please email with any questions and to get involved in this worthwhile program.  

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What Kind of Money Are We Talking About?

Sunday 15th October 2017

Mary Prior, GPM Scholarship Chair

Please help to pass the word to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors: The Mensa Foundation Scholarship Essay Competition is now in progress.  Go to to get to the home page, click on scholarship options, and input your zip code to see if your local group is participating.  You can then apply online.  Please feel free to share this information with others.  

If you are a current student, you can apply using either your home address or your school address.  The deadline to submit your essay is 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on January 15th—so even a procrastinator should find a few hours between now and then to work on the essay.  

One aspect I have always liked about our scholarship program is that it is open to ANYONE who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident intending to enroll in an accredited U.S. institution for the following fall semester.  There are additional restricted scholarships available as well as the four local and several regional and national awards. For more information go to

If your essay judged to be in the top group at the local level, it will be forwarded to the regional level for consideration as well, up through the national level.  Because of the triple level nature, awards won’t be posted on-line until June of next year.

There is a new criterion this year for Mensa members only.  Members wishing to be considered for an American Mensa Member Award must submit a separate application with essay for that award.  To quote Diana Maul:  “This is an easy contest to enter.  No transcripts, no letters of recommendation, no inclusion of test score results.  Sure, it’s a writing contest, but we only want 550 words or less … about two pages—entirely doable in almost anyone’s schedule.  The contest topic is what the student’s career or educational goal is, and what he or she has done to prepare to determine that such a goal is right for him/her.”  And please—FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!  Many applications are disqualified every year simply because the applicants did not follow the instructions.

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October 28th Eastside DOSIG (Dining Out Special Interest Group)

Sunday 15th October 2017

By Mary Prior

Eastside DOSIG is a lunch gathering for those Mensans and guests living in the East Valley—and anyone else who wants to join us.

Next DOSIG will be October 28th from 12 to 2 pm at the Queen Creek Taco Shack at at the Queen Creek Taco Shack at 20401 S Sossaman Rd, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.  This is on the southeast side of the intersection of Queen Creek and Sossaman Road, and you have to drive down a short gravel road to the parking lot. 

This DOSIG will be a little different, as attendees will have a choice.  (1) I can bring my volleyball net and there is a place in front of the restaurant we can play; and/or (2) you can bring swim suits and a towel join me afterwards at my home “spa” swimming pool with waterfalls and slide.  I live a half block from the Queen Creek Taco Shack. 

Please RSVP via email or text to Mary Prior at or 206-551-5907.  I cannot take calls from 11 am–11 pm during the week because I am either on the road or at work.

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Saturday 7th October 2017


Hello fellow Mensans,

There has been a very light response to last week’s puzzle. I will delay selecting a winner until next weeks posting

Happy October!

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October Puzzle

Saturday 30th September 2017

Happy Hauntings costume store threw their annual Halloween party, complete with food, dancing, and a little friendly competition. The company arranged 5 competitions (bobbing for apples, ring toss, scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, and a scariest costume contest), with 5 different prizes (movie premier tickets, theater tickets, 4 passes to a local amusement park, and 2 gift certificates to a local restaurant). Each competition was won by a different employee, wearing a different costume purchased from the Happy Hauntings store. Can you determine the full name of each employee, what costume they wore, what contest they won, and which prize they received?

1) Belinda did not bob for apples, but she did win a gift certificate, which she shared with the man who won the tickets to the theater.

2) The 5 employees were: Amy, Mr. Brown, the one who dressed as a bat, the one who won the theater tickets, and the woman who won the pumpkin carving contest (who did not win movie tickets).

3) Robert, John, and Mary have the same last initial.

4) The women’s costumes were: the one worn by Ms. Smith, the one worn by the woman who won the ring toss, and the skeleton.

5) During dinner, John sat at the same table as Frankenstein, the skeleton, and the woman who won the apple bobbing contest (who was not dressed as Dracula). The bat sat 2 tables over.

6) The man who won scariest costume received a $50 gift certificate, which he later used to take Ms. Black to dinner.

7) Later that week, John Beals went to dinner with the woman dressed as a bat, after they went to the theater, using the prizes they won at the party.

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Mensa Birthdays October

Saturday 30th September 2017
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Saturday 30th September 2017

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And the answer(s)/winner(s) is/are:

Thursday 14th September 2017

The randomly selected winner providing the correct answer to Puzzle # 4 is Diana McClure. Diana has won a $10 Gift Card for the merchant of choice (Amazon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Best Buy, etc.). Some responders simply “brute forced” the solution but Diana had a slightly more elegant solution below:

The first student will open it. Then it will be closed when second student will close every second locker as 6 is a multiple of 2, then it will be opened again when 3rd student do the same as 6 is a multiple of 3 and finally it’ll be closed when 6th student get to it as 6 is a multiple of 6.

1(o)-2©-3(o)-6© –> so # of variations of a locker open/close equals to # of factors of a locker and if the # of factors of a locker is even (as for 6) then it will end up locked and if the # of factors of a locker is odd it’ll end up opened. Only perfect squares have odd # of factors so only perfect squares less than 1000 will end up opened.

Last perfect square which is less than 1000 is 31^2=961, so there will be total of 31 lockers opened: 1, 2^2=4, 3^2=9, 4^2=16, 5^2=25, …, 31^2=961.  

The randomly selected  winner providing the correct answer to Puzzle # 5 is Peter Bergonzi who answered that the German had the Fish. Peter has won a $10 Gift Card for the merchant of choice (Amazon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Best Buy, etc.) This was certainly a “brute force” type of puzzle. I have pasted a solution matrix below:

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Mensa Birthdays September

Saturday 2nd September 2017
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Mensaversaries September

Saturday 2nd September 2017
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August 26th Eastside Dining Out SIG

Saturday 2nd September 2017

from Mary Prior of Queen Creek

We met in the middle of Mekong Palace about noon to partake of dim sum.  In attendance were JJ, Karen, Steve and Terri and I, along with a new-to-the-Eastside member, Russ.  We had such a good time I forgot I had my camera and didn’t take any pictures. The dim sum was great, although they didn’t show us any eggplant dishes, which we were looking forward to.  We dawdled away the 2-hour lunch with gusto and lively conversation!  

Next month we will be celebrating Octoberfest on Saturday, September 30th by going to Zur Kate at 4815 East Main Street in Mesa.  Instead of lunch, however, we’ll be doing dinner as they don’t open until 4 pm. I have sent them a message and the most we can host is 8 people, so this time you really MUST RSVP!  If necessary I’ll be there before they open at 4 pm if I have to, but I am targeting 6:30 or 7:30 for dinner time.  I am waiting to hear whether or not they have a musician there on that Saturday night –yes, the FIFTH Saturday of the month—so we can enjoy that as well.

Tentatively, I already have 6 (as yet unconfirmed) who want to attend.  I can perhaps try to make a bigger group, but I cannot guarantee it. John and Judy Herrmann, please RSVP ASAP!  

If you do not RSVP, you’ll be sitting on your own and not with the group.  RSVP! to Mary Prior at or by texting me at 206-551-5907.  I am work, or am on the road driving to/from work from about noon to 11 pm during the week, so please do not call me during that time frame.

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National Puzzle Day?

Saturday 26th August 2017

According to an article in a publication from the UK named the Telegraph, Thursday, August 24 was National Puzzle Day. Just an interesting factoid I thought I’d share with you all.

In honor of this hallowed day, I would like to present a puzzle/riddle from one of my lifelong idols, Albert Einstein. A very interesting man, relatively speaking (couldn’t help it). LOL

According to the Telegraph, when Einstein wrote this riddle he said that 98% of the world would not be able to solve it:

Here is the riddle:

There are 5 houses in five different colors

In each house lives a person with a different nationality.

These five owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar and keep a certain pet.

No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar or drink the same beverage.

The question is: Who owns the fish?


The Brit lives in the red house

The Swede keeps dogs as pets

The Dane drinks tea

The green house is on the left of the white house

The green house’s owner drinks coffee

The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds

The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill

The man living in the center house drinks milk

The Norwegian lives in the first house

The man who smokes blends lives next to the one who keeps cats

The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill

The owner who smokes Blue Master drinks beer

The German smokes Prince

The Norwegian lives next to the blue house

The man who smokes blend has a neighbor who drinks water

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ComiCon: If you missed it this year, volunteer for it in 2018

Friday 18th August 2017

This year’s Phoenix ComiCon was held on May 25-28 and Greater Phoenix Mensa made the scene as an exhibitor in Booth 631 on the second floor.  Dozens of celebrities, hundreds of artists and artisans such as face painters, costume makers, makeup artist, jewelers, clothiers, and caricaturists all gathered, set up, did business, made new connections, greeted old friends, and completed thousands of transactions.  Exhibitors sold every kind of item related to movies and movie making, horror, science fiction, humor, fiction and non-fiction, space travel, and hundreds of custom- and made-to-order items such as broad swords, fighting armor, boots, and masks.  It truly was a wonderland of specialty merchandise, including comics!

Three entire floors of the Phoenix Convention Center contained every kind of geekery catering to 80,000 fans who travelled from around the country to hawk and gawk.  From my perspective, the scene resembled a small city.  It was a fully contained civilization with a society, culture, services, and reliable infrastructure.  It was a non-stop buzz of excitement from the time we loaded in until the final hour of the final day.

See the slideshow HERE    

As in years past, this proved to be an excellent audience for Mensa.  The fans there are always eager for information about who we are, what we do, and of course eligibility testing.  No testing was done on site at ComiCon.  Our mission was to provide information about Mensa and obtain contact information from interested people, and we accomplished that to the tune of approximately 90 people.  All of those Mensans who volunteered to play at our booth did so with good nature and cheerfulness, and the fans appreciated that.  We were equipped with an iPad and several cell phones for connection with the online form for gathering contact information.  The whole weekend went very smoothly, and we are eternally grateful to all of the volunteers.  All the volunteers said they enjoyed the entire experience and they intend to return next year, and that is one great mark of success for us as a team!

We had worked out a schedule and system ahead of time and the Mensans who volunteered were as eager and friendly as any of the fans who streamed by our booth all weekend.  All shifts went smoothly and we made sure to take breaks and eat, hydrate, and each of us enjoyed walking through most or all of ComiCon.  The fans proved to be as entertaining as the exhibits.  We saw costumes from every era and genre, and they ranged from startling and scary to hysterically funny (I was continually amazed that at least  40 men were willing to portray Princess Leia and appear in public in semi-authentic costume that included hairy chests, facial hair, and bulging bellies).  Fans also dressed as famous people (Sean Spicer complete with motorized podium), zombies (of course), mythical creatures (unicorns, faeries, and at least one satyr), and super heroes and super villains.  The costumes ranged from amateurish to totally convincing.  The preparation and research and overall effort in the execution of the best costumes and makeup were most impressive.  Fans were taking pictures of each other and themselves and it was one long party all weekend.   I recommend that you go next year and I additionally recommend that you volunteer to work the Mensa Booth and get free admission during your shift!  I guarantee that you will have fun and make new friends and enjoy the scenery.  I would also add that it’s a terrific place to meet single people, and that the female Princess Leias far outnumber the males.  See you next year?  We sure hope so!

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