News & Notes

April is usually a month when we can maybe see what may be just about to happen. April showers bring May flowers, right? This month can be exciting in other ways too if you think about it, and if you are willing and able to look for the beauty coming out all around. Many new opportunities are just about to spring up before us here in Mid-America Mensa.

First, MAM’s walkabout is about walking. If you want to come and get physical with a group of other members, then join us at Roe Park, 10400 Roe Ave. in Overland Park, KS, on Saturday April 6th, 11:00 am. Check out the April Mension for more details (and the right contact info).

Next up, the very first event of MAM’s new Full Moon SciFi SIG (Special Interest Group) will be RiffTrax Live: Octaman. For those who are interested, this event will be at the AMC Town Center 20, 119th & Nall Ave. in Leawood, KS, on April 18th, 7:00 pm.

Tickets are available online at:

Also, seats are filling up fast! We currently have the block of seats from E3 to E8. If you wish to sit near the group then consider getting seats near this block.

Finally, if drinking and enjoying coffee, or rather caffeine, is your thing, then check out the April Mension for more details (and the right contact info) about the Caffeine Crawl. This year’s spring crawl is April 26-28. We’ll be looking for a route to take together on Saturday morning, April 27th. It’ll be a good time!

Climbing SIG News

In order to make our Climbing SIG (Special Interest Group) more accessible to MAM members who may be wanting a ‘higher’ Mensan experience, a one-hour open climbing session is being offered on the 4th Sunday of any month whenever we are climbing at Apex (Overland Park), or this next May and June for instance. There are many technical (and some mental) aspects of climbing we all should learn too; so, if you would like to participate during an hour of free coaching, please contact Mark ([email protected]) ahead of time. Find additional details – like the minimal cost of a day pass and shoe rental – in the March 2019 issue of the Mension.

In addition, following below is a quick summary of the various bouldering grades:

  • VB: Basically, a ladder with large holds.
  • V: Also, a ladder with large holds, just a tad more difficult than a VB. In climbing gyms, it’s typically labeled a VB.
  • V0: A simple climb the uninitiated can do, but it requires some shifting of body weight.
  • V1: Has some complexity, usually you have to figure out the sequence. Still, it is possible to simply muscle up it.
  • V2: Smaller handholds and footholds. Usually it has a crux or two that must be solved. Most V2s can be muscled up, but some cannot.
  • V3: Tricky sequence, difficult balance, foot switching, flexibility demand, or similar issues. Few of these can be muscled up. It is here where you find experienced climbers who climb only occasionally.
  • V4: Think of a V3 that has either much more demanding balance or some holds that are poor. These cannot be muscled up. Here is where most climbers stop their progression. They become V4 climbers and that’s as far as they go.
  • V5: Think of a V4 with poor holds. These are “finger tippy,” pinch grip, or “slopers;” all require a great deal of hand strength and perfect body positioning relative to the hold.
  • V6: Think of a V5 with either worse holds or even more gnarly balance.
  • V7: Think of a V5 with both worse holds and even more gnarly balance.
  • V8: As of this date, V8 is the hardest any of us have ever attempted but we don’t have a clear picture of what makes it a V8.

So, what do you think: Are you interested in gym climbing?

News & Notes

Did you know that Spring derives from what leaves do (which is spring from their buds) during this next wonderful season? It is also when we can look forward to resetting all of our clocks and watches ahead by one hour. Spring may still be somewhat hidden but it is slowly starting to show signs around here again. So, this should be like an alarm clock which is about ready to go off and remind all of us about renewal.

First, Mensa testing in March can be added to the calendar for Saturday, March 23rd, at 10:00 am. This upcoming test session will be held in conference room number three of the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, KS.

In addition, MAM’s membership year begins April 1st, so membership dues must be received at National HQ before April Fool’s Day. Another reminder may be in order for your participation in the Mensa Voucher Program (MVP). This discount code was sent to members in September 2018 and it expires soon — that’s March 31st if you have not already passed it along to a friend to use. And, thanks to all for your interest in joining up with Mensa!

It is almost time for our first New Member Party of this year. If you are interested, spring on over to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews in Overland Park, KS, to meet some new (and some of the other not so new) members — Sunday, March 31st, 2019. MAM will buy soft drinks for everyone there and dinner for our new members and a guest. RSVP to Diana Dyer by email [email protected] to reserve your seat(s) and a place at a table.

News & Notes

CultureQuest, Mensa’s annual trivia contest, is in the very early stages of forming teams according to the February 2019 Mension. Up to two teams will be funded by the Board of Mid-America Mensa. So, if you are interested in testing your trivial mettle against other Mensans in CultureQuest, then look for more info about CultureQuest as it becomes available in the Mension and online.

CultureQuest Update — On Sunday, April 28th, 2019, at 3 pm CDT all across America, all at the same time, teams of Mensans will be participating in CultureQuest, a contest of general knowledge trivia administered by American Mensa. Registration deadline is Sunday, March 31st! >>

Second, one of us deserves some great recognition! A core group of regular members and others accounting for six to 20 people usually attend the activities of Ad Astra Mensa in the Topeka (KS) area. Kenneth Helstrom, a member of Ad Astra Mensa, has attended every single Ad Astra event since June 10th, 2013. So, now just recently Ken has been recognized for his banner effort with a plaque which reads:

Kenneth Helstrom
Most Devoted Mensan
“We are grateful for your dedication”
Ad Astra Mensa

Congratulations, Ken!

Also, in other related news, MAM’s Tony Jackowski has qualified as a candidate for the position of 2019-2020 Heartland Region Vice Chair in the April elections. Look for more info about Tony’s run for RVC in upcoming issues of the Mensa Bulletin. Good luck, Tony!

MAM’s Annual Thanksgiving Dinner!

Thanksgiving dinner can help a person stay connected with humanity — and it can answer some enduring questions as we all acquire a better grasp on the human condition. This holiday celebration could be an effort to keep the genuine and creative spirit of Mensa alive and well as well. So, think about who you should like to meet for sharing a turkey dinner. Is there someone, among all of us here in Mid-America Mensa, with whom you would like to engage in possible conversation around a Thanksgiving table? At the very least, try being thankful for the small things in life — not just as an individual alone — but also as someone sharing in human nature and with soul. Thanksgiving is a celebration that brings all of us together for what it’s worth.

When: November 18th, 2018 at 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Where: Lenexa Senior Center, 13425 Walnut Street, Lenexa, KS
For questions and to RSVP, contact Diana Dyer at (816) 765-8407 or [email protected]
Look for more details in the November 2018 Mension.

Hunting for the Haunted

So, as to not cast any shadows on the whole concept and theory of occult studies, let me begin by introducing you to a psychic investigator and a former member of Mensa, Maurice Schwalm. Maurice Schwalm passed away on January 3, 2001 at the age of 72 years. Yet, he spent many years and much of his life as a member of the American Society of Psychical Research and the Mensa Education & Research Foundation (MERF). His Occult Studies Special Interest Group (SIG) was somehow connected with Mensa – but his bright fame was from the mark, or impression, he placed upon the public through radio, literature, and other news outlets. Something of a ghost was nearly always present in his work whether in pictures that he captured with his camera (with a “ghost hand” inside, he felt) or in the writings he left to us. Supernatural images could be found, from premonitions of the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse to Polaroid shots of people dancing where there was no one physically present.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the spirits must have been more active. A series of Mr. Schwalm’s occult studies were published as articles in the Mension (the official newsletter of Mid-America Mensa). Around Halloween every year, local news reporters would consult with our resident expert, Mr. Schwalm. Also, the Johnson County Library has multiple copies of Maurice Schwalm’s collected papers in the vertical files at the Central Resource Branch. Just look for the folder marked ‘Haunted Places – KC Area’. Or, check out his book ‘Mo-Kan Ghosts: The Casebook of a Kansas City Psychic Investigator’. Whether it’s fact or fiction depends upon your own system of belief and your best perception of things.

In the meantime, have some fun this Halloween with whatever you are wanting to do. Oh, and by the way, Mid-America Mensa is hosting a Halloween party as it does almost every year at this time. Gather up your friends, grab a costume and a few props (and maybe a good, reliable recording device!), and search for yourself for that which has never been seen or heard before. Whether the supernatural is a paranormal haunting or something else entirely is going to be strictly a matter of your interpretation and opinion.


LibAnswers –
Ghost Dance –
Haunted Kansas City –