It's still officially autumn yet every state in our region has had at least one snowfall. Of course snow is relative: here in New York City, three inches means traffic snarl ups; up in Syracuse, in Central New York Mensaland, that does not qualify for shoveling. Paul Baxter, the President of that group, told me that last week's twenty-four (24!!!) inches of snow did merit snowplows.
I just got back from the American Mensa Committee meeting in Phoenix, which went smoothly, thanks in large part to Chairman Russ Bakke's insistence on civility. He has worked hard to create a collegial atmosphere where differences of opinion do not lead to verbal warfare. While it may be difficult at times to remember common courtesy in the heat of an argument, it is a lesson which is sorely needed and well learned.
I was pleased to sponsor a motion that will call for a special referendum to amend our bylaws to allow alternative forms of voting (e.g. online). In the last election, there were numerous requests for this and if the referendum passes, the 2007 elections would be the first to offer this.
Dr. John Sheehan (New Hampshire/Maine Mensa) was named the new head of Name & Logo and Bylaws Committees. He replaces Regional Vice Chair Mike Siegler who had to resign due to work committments. Dr. Sheehan continues his excellent work as the national Development Committee Chair.
Michael Beetham addressed the AMC about the latest Project Inkslinger® developments. This committee works with local groups who are interested in supplying books and other printed material to needy recipients. Hurricane Katrina highlighted the plight of the loss of libraries, school books, etc. If there are any groups who are interested in participating, contact him
Our treasurer, Charlie Bruce, had some not too good news: overall budgeted income is down because of decreased testing and evaluation. With two national hearings adding to the expense column, it looks like we may be out about $45K by fiscal year's end 31 March. A small positive note: overall expenses are also down.
A motion to establish an "Angel Fund" to help financially strapped members was defeated. While I think the idea is a good one, the degrees of bureaucracy included in the motion were onerous and off-putting to me. Many groups quietly help out members they know have fallen on hard times by simply paying their dues, no questions asked. I have also know individuals have done so, often without the recipient knowing who did the kind deed. That to me is true charity.
After a lot of soul searching and a secret ballot, the motion to fund AMC members for up to five nights for World Gathering meeting attendance was passed. Many seemed to feel their Mensan political lives would end if they publically accepted the funding, hence the request for anonymous voting. Acceptance of the monies is voluntary as is attendance at the International Board of Directors' meetings. It will be a unique opportunity to meet the heads of international Mensa groups, and as the host country, AMC members were strongly urged to take advantage of this event.
In the "I'm proud to be a member of Greater New York Mensa" department, our group won the "chocolate contest" Category I division for National Testing Day by testing 56 people between October 8th and November 5th 2005. While getting test takers to actually show up is beyond any proctor's power, the fact that so many did is a credit to the hard work of the GNYM proctor cadre.
There is good news from the Green Mountain state. After a long leadership hiatus, two Vermont Mensans have volunteered to help get the group up and running. I have appointed James Matthew as treasurer and Katja Swift as president/loc sec. As a brand-new GenX-aged member, Katja will bring energy and a fresh outlook to the group.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, hot drinks are a welcome delight. Bishop is a delicious addition to any winter table!:
- Stick cloves into orange, put into fireproof / ovenproof bowl, cover closely and roast until a rich brown colour. Cut up into 8 pieces; remove seeds.
- Put spices, lemon peel and water into enamel saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer gently 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and sugar.
- Add roasted orange and port, heat up again but but be careful not to let it boil - you will ruin the port.
- Strain off liquid through fine sieve if desired and serve hot.
Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2006!