Have you gotten the jab? May is the unofficial start of summer and new seasonal activities and changes to our schedule(s) are gradually ramping up. If you have gotten your COVID-19 vaccination and/or you will be graduating in May, oh the places you’ll go! Likewise, Mid-America Mensa is seeing an uptick in its activities & events as well.
First, Walkabout KC in May heads out to Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Rd., Merriam, KS, on Saturday, May 1st at 10:00 am. We had a big turnout enjoy the MAM comradery, warmer weather, and light exercise last month at Leawood Park. Hopefully more MAM members and friends will meet up with us in May for another casual & enjoyable walk about a local park.
Ad Astra Mensa (via Zoom)
Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom on Monday, April 12. Topics discussed included Covid-19, places we would like to visit when travel restrictions are lifted, vaccinations, masks, the freedom to see people in person for those who have received their shots, movies, TV shows, books, Genghis Khan, the evolution of warfare, awareness (or lack thereof) of consequences of one’s actions, gardening, and haircuts. If you would like to discuss these topics, or others that interest you, please join us virtually on Monday, May 10 at 7:00 pm. Please check out the May Mension if you are interested in learning more about this upcoming MAM event.
Salon with a Double Twist — Saturday, May 15th, at 2:00 pm via Zoom
The usual way to have a salon is to select a topic and ask that everyone be prepared to offer their two cents’ worth on the subject. Well, that’s still true, but the first twist is this: In order to allow everyone time to speak and not have the salon be dominated by a particularly lengthy speaker, comments will be limited to one minute at a time. Everyone will have multiple opportunities, in turn with everyone else, to offer their wisdom and insights. The second twist is having a Salon via Zoom instead of in-person. The focus will continue to be intelligent, witty, insightful dialog. The Salon topic: What will be your new normal in life after Coronavirus?
Theodore Talks – Sunday, May 23rd, from 2:00-3:00 pm via Zoom
Vernacular Knowledge: Looking for Intelligence in Unexpected Places — Dr. John Laudun
Join us for this MAM event (which is the very first lecture in MAM’s new speaker/talk series). Please look in the May Mension for more information about this MAM speaker event and how to make your reservation to attend!
April is when MAM members traditionally have to answer the following question: Who cares? First, it is the traditional time for Mensa Cares (which is Mensa’s annual local community service projects). But with living in the current pandemic, perhaps members of Mid-America Mensa rather need to move closer toward a ‘new normal’ in what we may do daily and how we spend our time. Also, it is the start of a new fiscal and membership year in Mensa. So, let’s take a look at how some of MAM’s activities can now maybe exist in a more stable environment and world.
Ad Astra Mensa via Zoom
On March 8th, Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom. Topics discussed included legal aspects of travel company contracts during Covid-19, Covid-19 generally, vaccines, when travel will be safe again, where people would like to travel to (Peru, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, India, Greece, Vietnam, Thailand, Jordan, Australia), the humanities (KU is dropping its humanities program), Classical Latin and Greek, the influence of ancient philosophers on the Founding Fathers, TV shows, movies, French cave art, books, culinary traditions of St. Patrick’s Day, how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during Covid-19, Egyptian pyramids, camels, petroglyphs, Nazca lines, astronomy, ancient architecture, Australian dream states, primitive drawings in Colombia, and other subjects. Ad Astra Mensa will meet virtually by Zoom again on Monday, April 12th at 7:00 pm.
Spring has either sprung or sprang, depending on your preferred colloquialism. What’s your favorite ethnic spring-like dish? Lamb? Dandelions? Spring rolls? Bring a dish that makes you think of Spring. We hope to see MAM members via Zoom on Saturday, April 10th at 1:00 pm.
2021 Mensa Elections & Portal
April is especially important for American Mensa because it includes the start of the national election period. If you have an email address on file with the National Office, look for your electronic ballot in your Inbox on or soon after April 15. If the office doesn’t have an email address for you, they’ll mail you a paper ballot. Marked ballots need to be returned by May 15. You can see the list of candidates and access their candidacy materials after logging onto American Mensa’s website and going to: us.mensa.org/lead/amc/elections/2021-election-portal/. You may see that we have contests going for four of the five national offices, one referendum for a Bylaws amendment, and several active races for RVC posts. There’s no RVC contest in our Heartland Region, because Beth Anne Demeter is running unopposed and, therefore, she will be declared elected.
Editor’s Note: Portions of the April 2021 Mid-America Mensa Mension were used in this article.
March, named for Mars by the Romans who highly valued their military might, breathes life back into the world. It’s the month when we observe the vernal equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere and when we begin to see the leaves start to bud. Also, it’s sort of like a renewed quest for culture here in the heart of America where we’ve learned that MAM’s CultureQuest® team (2020) placed 13th and well within the top 20 of all other teams. Congratulations!
Ad Astra Mensa via Zoom
Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom on February 8th. Topics discussed included Covid-19, availability of vaccines, effectiveness of vaccines, prevention and curing, Super Bowl, halftime show, history and evolution of computers, cookies, toolmaking function of humans and animals, education, tendency of different people to see things differently, language, weather, QAnon, cults and conspiracies, politics, ghost hunting, and other matters, some controversial, some not.
If you are interested in discussing these or other topics, please join Ad Astra Mensa when we meet again virtually via Zoom on Monday, March 8 at 7:00 pm.
Mensa Foundation Scholarship Judges Needed for Region 7
Regional Judges are needed for the 2020–2021 Mensa Education and Research Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest in Region 7. Judging involves reading essays submitted by scholarship applicants and scoring them for points to determine the winners. Regional judging will be conducted online over email and will take place between February 23, 2021 and March 30, 2021.
We are looking for people who have not been judges for any of the local groups in Region 7 for the 2020–2021 competition. Judges may judge at either the local or regional level but may not do both in the same region.
We’re experimenting with another new twist on an old favorite. The old favorite is a Salon where everyone gets together to share their thoughts and ideas on a particular subject. The first new twist was to add a time-keeper to keep the conversation flowing and on its toes. The next generation twist is to take it virtual instead of in person.
MAMs have never been known to be boring and this is the place to show it. Send along your ideas and time and date preferences. We’ll see how many people we can accommodate.
If you’re looking for love in February, then you’re in the right place. Mid-America Mensa (MAM) members love having good food, health, and interesting conversations with other MAM members as well as other people in general. Among all of the new and interesting things happening around Mid-America Mensa in February are a review of (and look ahead to) the Ad Astra Mensa meeting via Zoom; plus, Ethnic Eats and more about this year’s Mensa Foundation scholarship essay contest are featured.
On January 11th, Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom. Topics of discussion included the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the news media, the meaning of truth, the importance of seeing other people’s points of view, whether there is an objective reality, walking a mile in the other person’s moccasins, the Covid-19 pandemic and how people are coping with it, use of face masks and face shields, the manipulation and reliability of data, family, and the holidays. Long-time Topeka Mensan Dr. Irving Cohen announced forthcoming publication of his latest book, Fighting Covid-19: The Unequal Opportunity Killer. Advance orders of the book are being handled through a GoFundMe campaign with a copy mailed as soon as available (3-4 weeks) for a $20 donation. That URL is: https://www.gofundme.com/producing-dr-cohens-book-on-fighting-covid19. Ad Astra Mensa will meet again virtually via Zoom on Monday, February 8th at 7:00 pm.
Also, in January, MAM members zoomed in to celebrate the New Year and winter season with a span of soups circling the globe; for example: a Thai basil soup from Whole Foods, Vietnam Cafe’s Pho Do Bien, a gumbo from Southern Kitchen, and a farm-style tomato soup partnered with grilled cheese sandwiches cut in more or less mathematically accurate triangles. Because February and Valentine’s Day go together, we’ll think of Valentine-style dishes from the various ethnic cultures we enjoy. Ethnic Eats will meet again next via Zoom on Saturday, February 13th at 1:00 pm. MAM members: Look for the details for this event in the February Mension.
Finally, in February, our scholarship judges will be busily scoring every applicant’s 550-word goal statement. Judging involves reading essays submitted by scholarship applicants and scoring them with points to determine the winners. For those who may be participating in this Mensa activity, remember: “It’s not just about rhetoric, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The judges look for evidence of capability, determination, and that all-important grit that scholars will need in tough times.” (RVC7 Rich Olcott) Judges may judge at either the local or regional level but may not do both in the same region. Good luck to all!
As the last hours and minutes of 2020 arrive and leave us for the new year of 2021, hopefully we are all looking ahead to a new year full of marked improvements. In a 2020 hindsight, it seems as if any change in the current state of affairs will be an improvement for most of us across Mid-America Mensa (MAM) as well as for our friends around the globe. Will the promise and hope of a vaccine for resisting the novel coronavirus and fighting symptoms of COVID-19 sustain us through early 2021 and beyond? Many of us think so, I imagine. What else is there that could possibly happen in and around MAM and the world to make our human lives better and not worse?
In January, let’s have a bit of an adventure; the theme will be soup and the challenge will be for each of us to choose one variety from whichever world region that inspires us. It doesn’t have to be homemade. It can be takeout from a local restaurant or procured by any other (legal) means. MAM members, check out your copy of the January 2021 Mension for all of the related, ‘sip and slurp’ Zoom meeting details.
MENSA SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY CONTEST
If you or one of yours is looking forward to starting a course of post-secondary education, January is the deadline for Mensa scholarship applications <mensafoundation.org/what-we-do/scholarships> and the start of the essay judging process. Because of the efforts of the Scholarship Chairs and all the Local Group and Regional judges who carefully score all those 550-word essays, and also for the contributions of our generous donors, American Mensa will once again ease education funding for more than 150 deserving winners.
In addition, MAM’s Local Group scholarship judging for the coming year will be conducted solely online. Luckily, last year we got some experience with the new and improved Mensa scholarship online judging process. Our whiz-bang scholarship national officers and staff took in all of our suggestions for improvement, and we’re looking forward to a smoother, more enjoyable process this year.
At this time, Mid-America Mensa has suspended in-person testing by our MAM volunteers, so we’re happy to see a new option available to those who are interested. The Private Testing program is a supplement to the Local Group testing program. We hope to resume our Local Group testing sometime in 2021, but until then, prospective new Mensa members should check out the Private Testing option.