Much Ado About Mensa


To the Editor...

Monday 16th April 2018

From Dennis Franklin re: “History Detectives” – A Personal Experience

Old Navy Ship…

When I looked at the in-focus version of the picture of the ship Dave Pivin was describing, the first thing I thought of was that it was not a Navy design nor a warship.  And it did not have the characteristics of a freighter either.  In fact it looked very much like a smaller version of the two passenger ships on which I worked as a bellboy and elevator operator starting in the summer of 1951: the SS America, and later the SS United States.

While the official article refers to it as a “cargo” ship, it is described as having carried about 200 troops, conveying them to wherever they were needed.  In the common parlance of the day it would have been called a “troopship”.   In the days when we believed we must have a maritime service that could easily be converted in time of war to wartime purposes, passenger ships were usually designed to carry troops and, in their holds, related cargo.  Without significant armament, they relied upon speed fog, and darkness to outrun U-boats and enemy ships.  Possible because none of our enemies had radar at the time, and they didn’t know we had developed the ability to see long distances and in the dark.

The  SS United States, built in about 1948-50, carried about 2000 passengers, but could be converted to carry 10,000 troops in time of war.  With four engine rooms, she could travel at something just over 48 knots, or above 55 mph.  Imagine a ship a thousand feet long coming at you at what was then, in most places, the speed limit for automobiles!  The original Queen Elizabeth once cut a destroyer in half and sank it while running at full speed, in the dark, carrying 15,000 troops.

Many smaller passenger-cargo ships were built and used after the war for circumnavigating, say, South America, or for inter-island trade in the pacific.  I think it was Delta Lines that had four such ships making continuous runs around South America.

Anyhow, the profile for the ship in Dave’s story is much more that of a PASSENGER-cargo ship.

Here, for comparison, is a picture I took of the SS America in Bremerhaven, Germany in 1951, trying out a new Retina 2A, 35 mm camera I had bought that day, a 17-year-old working on the ships after my first year in college, in order to make the next year’s tuition.

Thanks for the memories, Dave.
Denis Franklin

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RVC9 Column

Sunday 15th April 2018

From Mike Wong, RVC9

Dear Region 9.  I just returned from another trip to Hong Kong in which I got to spend my birthday with family and also celebrated my mother’s birthday with her, hopefully I will be able to do that again next year.

As a side note, I finally got in touch with the leadership of Hong Kong Mensa during this trip.  The chairman got me in touch with the local SIGHT co-ordinator and I was able to attend their monthly dinner/forum.  The speaker was a fellow who is a major Sudoku maven (he ran all the sudoku columns of local newspapers and came up with the proof that you need a minimum of 17 numbers for a unique board), retired Biochemistry professor, started the first Hong Kong quiz show (subsequently fired after 1 year because his questions were too hard),  debunker of the supernatural/aliens/paranormal, puzzle enthusiast, etc. etc.  An all around interesting guy.  Mensa is a true international organization and resources like the tremendous SIGHT program allow us to meet friends all over the world, I highly recommend that members who travel to get in touch with local chapters of locales they are visiting and participate in local Mensa events.

Relating this to the subject of contentious matters that came up in our Denver AMC meeting, I now see why members may fear reprisals from foreign members if we institute the guest membership system.  I am still of the opinion that SIGHT will function as intended and that the guest membership offers ADDITIONAL benefits on top.

The other major contentious issue that came up was the proposed formation of a European American SIG.  They went through the whole process of applying to become a an official SIG and presented themselves to the board for a vote to their formation.  I am of the opinion that people who want to be bigots are free to do so, while others can ridicule them and call them out for their small-mindedness.  In the end the board chose to deny the formation of this group.  While I support the board’s decision to reject this SIG, I still disagree with it due to free speech and fairness.

GLAAM recently had a volunteer luncheon at Buca di Beppo in Pasadena, this is a way for the chapter to recognize the contributions of local members who worked hard the immediate past year who volunteered their time as officers or host activities.  It is important for us to show appreciation to those who provide value to fellow members and make Mensa what it is.  The Orange County annual brunch was held in the Costa Mesa Country Club the day after, the speaker was the conductor from the Pacific Symphony and he gave a very interesting presentation on Conducting.  Many thanks to the ExComm of OC board for an enjoyable brunch and talk.  Long time OC member Art Mattson (who contributed and volunteered for years, he was our RVC a few terms ago) has recently been diagnosed with cancer, please send prayers and well wishes.

Finally, San Diego Mensa will be having their RG at the Town and Country hotel (the same one for the San Diego AG) at the up-coming Memorial day weekend.  It is hosted by our AMC chair LaRae and will be tons of fun , I hope to see some of you there.

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Come join the “MAD” fun Sunday!

Saturday 14th April 2018

We like to get members and their guests together outdoors in the Spring and Fall and have a picnic-style gathering called Member Appreciation Day at various parks around the valley. For Spring of 2018 we will meet on Sunday, April 15th in Glendale. Details HERE.

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April Mensaversaries

Monday 2nd April 2018
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April Birthdays

Monday 2nd April 2018
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“History Detectives” – A Personal Experience

Sunday 1st April 2018

Article by Dave Pivin

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The premise of one of my favorite PBS shows, History Detectives is that people bring artifacts to the team of investigators to get a question answered about the article. For example, “Was this an original Ronald McDonald costume?” The investigators followed leads and interviewed experts to answer the question and usually delight the owners of the artifacts.

So I have recently tried to organize my large collection of old slides, prints and negatives by putting them into storage boxes, arranged chronologically as best I can. This required looking through each packet or envelope to guess when they were taken as not all of them were marked or had writing on the back. I have a stack of 14 boxes but only one box of the very old ones.

As I was going through some of the negatives in the oldest box that had been saved by my mother in old shoeboxes, I found this one that triggered a renewal of a search for the identity of the photo on the wall above the fireplace. It was taken at Christmas in 1949. I would turn 4 in two weeks. My sister Dolores was 17 and in her senior year of high school.

Every year, my mother would put all the Christmas cards on the fireplace. Above them was an old black and white photo of a Navy ship. That ship, I was told, was one that my father had helped build during WW2 in the shipyard in Providence, RI. He had learned the plumbing trade from his father and took the job to help in the war effort as he was not drafted when the war started. This photo stayed up on the wall well into the 1950s.

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In the early 60s it was taken down and replaced with one of my paint-by-numbers paintings and I lost track of it. Several years ago, I tried looking through Naval history sites on the internet, but didn’t get very far in my search and I gave up. So now, after over 60 years, I tried again to search for the ship that my father helped build.

I began to collect what little I knew about the ship’s construction to start a search. It was built during the war in the shipyard in Providence. I recalled that that dad called it the Kaiser shipyard. So now off to Google.

‘Kaiser shipyard Providence’ search term led to Kaiser Shipyards in Wikipedia. The shipyard in Providence was located at Fields Point, just south of downtown at the head of Narragansett Bay. The Fields Point Wikipedia entry led to the name Walsh-Kaiser Company, that had taken over operations of an earlier attempt to establish a shipyard under the Emergency Shipbuilding Program shortly after Pearl Harbor.

Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard in Providence started with Liberty Ships, made famous for the extreme rate of launches, although no records were set at that location, Kaiser had built the SS Robert E. Peary at Richmond, CA yard #2, that launched in only 4 days, 15 hours, 29 minutes from the time her keel was laid.

So looking through the Walsh-Kaiser page there was a list of all the ships they built in the period from 1943 through September of 1945: liberty ships, frigates and Artemis class attack cargo ships. Referring to the photo on the wall, that I clipped and adjusted below, I noted that it was not a liberty ship, or a frigate, based on a comparison to ships of that type, so it had to be one of the Artemis class cargo ships. But which one?

So each of the ships listed by name had a link to more details and some photographs. I started down the list and noted that the first one pictured was first of the class, the Artemis and she had the same characteristic shape and I was sure I was on the right track. Then I clicked on the link to the USS Sirona AKA-43 and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was the same photograph that hung over the fireplace.

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And a BIG Thank You …

Sunday 25th March 2018

From Mary Prior

… goes to Jan Redding, Virginia Lester, Leon Gilner, Mark Motta, Jane Bottenstein, Patrick Brennan, Philip Carlisle and Alex Vrenios!

These brave Ms were the volunteers who judged the Region 9 Scholarship Competition, e.g., the best of Region 9.  We had 134 essays, and they were able to pull it together and get the results to me in plenty of time for my deadline to submit the region winners to the national competition.

And now we wait.  Sometime in mid to late June we will get the results of the 2017-2018 competition, and find out who won the local and regional scholarships.

The Mensa Foundation’s scholarship competition is and always has been near and dear to my heart, as I did not know until I was 35 that I could go to college.  And that was a big eye opener.  My first semester I signed up for 12 semester credits… evenings … and survived!  I worked full time, and was in the Navy Reserve at the time.

I started out in the 70s as a judge, and found it fascinating.  The variety of essays and people, the age range (from 12 to 90s), cultural and educational backgrounds, were all not just enjoyable, but interesting.  I judged every year until I moved to Seattle, then became the local Scholarship ChairM, where I served for more than 10 years.  And that was before it could be done online.  I was so enthusiastic and put out the word to local schools—and the first year we had more than 400 essays!  That was a grueling weekend.

Since I moved to Phoenix, because it means a lot to me and what it can mean for the winners, I became the local chair for Greater Phoenix Mensa.  And for the first time, this year, was Region 9’s ChairM.

I cannot thank each of my judges enough—including the local judges:  Judy Herrmann,  Sky Shipley, Homer Baker, Mark Mach and Donna Prior.

Without the help of volunteer judges, the program could not and would not happen—and every year the Mensa Foundation awards more than $80,000 in scholarships!  Because of each and every one of you who volunteered.

As a reminder, the program commences on September 15th each year and concludes January 15th of each year.  The program is open to anyone willing to write an essay about themselves, their goals, and what they’ve done to achieve those goals.  There are no age limits, and there are scholarships available for graduate work as well.  One that goes unclaimed many years is for someone doing graduate work in history.  There is a scholarship for a veterinarian, and can apply to continuing education in the field.

Once again, a grateful thank you to all of you volunteers.  You are appreciated more than you know.

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FREE FOOD AND FUN!

Saturday 24th March 2018

We like to get members and their guests together outdoors in the Spring and Fall and have a picnic-style gathering at various parks around the valley. For Spring of 2018 we will meet on Sunday, April 15th in Glendale. Details HERE.

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RVC9 Column

Monday 12th March 2018

From Mike Wong, RVC9

Dear members of Region 9.  It has been a very busy month.  GLAAM has had a very successful RG during the President’s Day Weekend.  I have returned from my whirlwind trip to Denver for the March AMC Meeting, made a brief detour to Phoenix due to a flight cancellation, got back to Los Angeles to host a couple of events, and left the States for Hong Kong to visit my ailing mother.

At the RVC session during the RG an interested member asked about the demographics of Region 9 this year.  I thought it might be interesting to share the numbers with you all:- Channel Islands - 235, GLAAM- 2026, Hawaii - 213, Orange County - 785, Phoenix - 954, San Diego - 855, Southern Nevada - 333, Tucson - 258, Utah - 210.  For a total of 5869 members as of March 11th.

Several contentious issues came up during the meeting that I thought I should share a little more details about them just in case you do not have time to check the minutes, we will not be able to cover all of them in this column so it will continue next month.

The most controversial issue discussed at the meeting was offering guest membership for non-Americans.  Different national Mensas have different due rates, UK charges 60 pounds ($83.42), Hong Kong charges HK$250 ($31.39), etc.  As you can see here, UK has a fairly high annual dues while HK charges less than half.   In Britain, there are members with homes in other countries where the dues are significantly lower, being Mensans they simply switch over to the country with cheaper dues and continue to attend events and enjoy the benefits of the British Mensa.  People who do the switchover to save money has become significantly large that they eventually instituted the Guest membership policy (one pound more than the actual dues) to combat the behaviour.

In our case, the rationale behind the motion was to offer a way to extend all the benefits gained by membership in American Mensa to folks from other national Mensa groups.  It would allow for access to the Mensa Bulletin (highly prized by members), discounts to gatherings and other things, as well as access to member areas of our website and Mensa Connect plus other member exclusives.

The response from the general populace was tremendous.  We received emails from many members demanding that the board should vote this motion down, as this would appear to alienate international members and do more harm than good.  The board listened to the public outcry and the motion failed, international members will still pay higher guest rate at AGs ($40) and not have access to the Mensa Bulletin, our website, and Mensa Connect.

Finally, a final reminder that the Mind Games will be held April 20-22 in Denver at the Crown Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.  Fellow board game enthusiasts might want to check the event out and join fellow Mensans in selecting the 5 best new games that came out last year to be awarded the Mensa Select label

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February 24th Eastside Dining Out SIG

Tuesday 6th March 2018

From Mary Prior

February’s last Saturday dining out was at Cornish Pasty (pronounced PASTee). Turns out I was the only one there.  But that is okay, because this is also a way to get me out of the house and to try new and different—or familiar—foods.

I was delighted to find Scots Eggs on the menu, so I started with that.  I haven’t had one of those since at a Renfair some years ago.  They are a heart attack waiting to happen, but I do so love them.  A hardboiled egg surrounded by sausage and deep-fried.  With mustard.

They had quite an interesting menu.  In case you don’t know the history, pasties were what the Cornish miners would take to work with them for lunch.  They are all sorts of good things stuffed into a somewhat hard pastry and then baked.  And since the whole point was to try something new I tried the Oggie (the favorite, I was told, of the founder’s great-grandpa in Bisbee).  It is made with steak, potatoes, onion and rutabaga, with a side of red wine gravy.  The pastry was harder than I imagined, but I guess if you were carrying it around for lunch, it would have to be fairly hardy.  The taste, especially with the red wine gravy, was good.  And I had a glass of pinot noir to go with it.

I don’t often get down around Mill Avenue where the ASU folks hang out, so the people watching was a tad different, but enjoyable.  My biggest complaint was the lack of parking.

The next EDOSIG will be on March 31st at The Olive Mill, 25062 S., Meridian Road in Queen Creek.  They also say they have dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options, and if you want to tour the mill itself it takes about an hour.  I have been wanting to try this for some time, and have heard some rave reviews.  Then in April, I am looking at the High Tide Seafood Bar & Grill at 2540 S. Val Vist Drive in Gilbert, just to have something completely different.

Please RSVP to mgprior66@gmail.com or text me at 206-551-5907.  I am at work M-F from about noon until 11 or midnight, and am unable to take phone calls at work.

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March Mensaversaries

Friday 2nd March 2018
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March Birthdays

Friday 2nd March 2018
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RVC9 Column

Monday 26th February 2018

From Mike Wong, RVC9

Hello Region 9!  I have unfortunately caught the Flu that has been plaguing the country and it has kept me bedridden for more than 2 weeks.  As a result of that, I was unable to make the trip to Phoenix for Brian & Allison Reeves’ informal site walk thru and meetup with local members (though it allowed me to listen in on the Finance Committee’s budget meeting).  

One of the main item on the agenda that we will be voting on at the March AMC Meeting in Denver will be to vote on the aforementioned budget.  While I can not go into details on the exact budget before it is presented to the board and voted on, listening in on the budget was quite an educational experience, and I am happy that some of the more extravagant items are cut from the budget.

As the end of March is quickly approaching, our free testing voucher program is also coming to an end.  I can not emphasize enough on how this is an excellent opportunity for someone who is interested in joining us to take the test without having to spend a dime.  I know most of us out there are procrastinators and like to leave things till the last minute, so let this be the reminder the last minute is indeed approaching and make this tremendous program the success it should be!

Just a note, I will be visiting Hong Kong again for most of March and I might not be able to get back to your inquiries as quickly as I should as my computer access can get sporadic.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, things will be back to normal in early April.

While we are talking about things happening in April, if you are a gamer like moi, Mind Games is coming up again and it will be held April 20-22 in Denver at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.  For those who are not familiar with the event, it is a 3 day gaming marathon where the participants are given a list of new games to play, and they judge how good these games are.  The top 5 games will be awarded the coveted Mensa Select seal of approval, while copies of the games are given out to the attendees.  My good friend Jennifer Massicot Jewell will be organizing the event, let’s help her make this the BEST Mind Games ever!

Finally, I have started hosting a Supper With Our Rvc Nine on First Friday dining group in GLAAM where we dine at some of the finest and/or newest restaurants in Los Angeles.  Feel free to drop by SWORNoFF and check out some of the great restaurants in L.A. with me, we can talk Mensa and chat about whatever you feel like (including religion and politics) over a nice dinner.  NO CELL PHONES!!

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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 mgprior66@gmail.com 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 mgprior66@gmail.com 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 christopher.ingle@yahoo.com 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 mgprior66@gmail.com 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 locsec@phoenixmensa.org 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 mgprior66@gmail.com. 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.  

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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 surveymonkey.com/r/KLVMYFB 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 info@americanmensa.org, 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.

Michael

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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 http://hawaii.us.mensa.org/?page=rg.

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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

Ooooops!

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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Unsolved

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 helen.goldman@cox.net 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!
• AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!!

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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