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At Saturday Morning breakfast we got on a discussion of good books.  Soon we asked around for reading recommendations.  Here is a list - in no special order - of recommended reading from one small chapter of Mensans in Alaska:

"The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson
    recommended by Don Naff

"Cold Mountain" by Charles Frasier
    recommended by Nancy Larsen

"Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan
    recommended by Martin

The entire Clive Cussler series
    recommended by Norma Gertson

"Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis
    recommended by Denise Yancey

"11/22/63" by Stephen King
    recommended by Amy Winston

"The Deed of Paksenarrion" by Elizabeth Moon
    recommended by Jim Larsen

The entire "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" trilogy by Stieg Larsen
    recommended by Martin

Summer Picnic Mensa Alaska style

Breakfast with Mensa Alaska
by Denise K. Yancey

You never know what we're going to talk about from one gathering to the next - people bring up something that interests them, and the rest of us usually jump in.  That usually takes us to a related subject, and on and one.  Last Saturday at the regular breakfast gathering at Doriola's, I asked everyone to help me make a list of all the topics we covered.  In no particular order, here's what we discussed:

Movies: Gravity and whether the 3-D added, detracted or made no difference, 3-D in general, V for Vendetta and the symbolism hidden throughout, Star Wars and its symbolism, Contagion and whether something like that could or is happening today, and then pros and cons of binge-watching series.

Ham Radio: its history in Alaska, its importance in past and future disasters, contesting and how seriously some people take it, the contesting going on because of the 100th anniversary of the league, and how hams assist in races and marathons in Alaska.

The Alaska Women's Run, the Mayor's Marathon, the Dog Jog.

Mensa Alaska's photo in the latest Anchorage Daily News magazine - from the Biz Bee back in October of 2013.

Don's son getting married this afternoon, how long they'd been dating, the obstacles they overcame, the service.

Mensa potluck picnic to be held at Norma's house tomorrow. Should be nice weather, but can go inside if necessary.

Blakeney and Tom getting married in their new home in New Hampshire, and how they sent us email notices, then about Blakeney's goats and whether they'd be part of the ceremony in any way, then the lady walking her 2 goats down Sand Lake Road here in Anchorage like they were dogs, and how she carried a baby chick in her hoody pocket, then miniature cattle and how it makes sense to raise them when you don't have lots and lots of land.

From Land we went to owning land, then to Communism, Stalin, Putin, Polpot and Hitler. Finally to hunting.

I may have missed some of the side topics, but it was an energetic breakfast and a great way to start the weekend with friends.

From previous LocSec Tom Hough,

I'm wondering if any of you feel you might benefit from conversations with members from a different generation...perhaps as a way for younger members to get some input from older members and for younger members to educate the older members so we can each have a little better understanding of the others. A candidate suggested this in a recent testing session, and I'd like to pursue it. Let me know how you feel.

Thanks for your interest and participation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tom Hough

Way back, in the days before home computers, one of the main reasons many people would join Mensa  because they yearned for either breadth or depth of interesting conversations.  We turned to Special Interest Groups, or SIGS!  We did it by signing up for newsletters which were sent via U.S. Mail to all corners of the globe.

Today, of course, we've turned to the internet, where the conversations can be held as if we were all in the same room.  Have you ever checked out the SIGS list?

Here is what the National Mensa site says:

"Mensa has always encouraged members to congregate around their special interests. Official recognition of Mensa's special interest groups began on Sept. 13, 1965, when the first two SIGs were recognized: The Gifted Children Study Group and the Mensa Investment Club. SIG growth exploded, from 23 to 106, during 1976 under the leadership of Groups Officer Virginia Hourigan. The program expanded almost tenfold from 1975 to 1977 and reached a record 248 groups in 1980. The organization's formal SIGs policy was adopted in 1984.

In recent years the total number of active SIGs has varied between 130 and 160. The SIGs program has evolved along with the Internet, now including many free online discussion groups. Many SIGs still offer a mailed newsletter and collect a small fee to help defray mailing costs. Some SIGs are open to non-Mensans, and many SIGs actively recruit Mensans internationally."


D.C. or Marvel?

Ginger or Mary Ann?

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Read any good books lately?

Is it possible to have one "best" form of government for the whole planet?

Is "luck" a talent, happenstance, or is it listening to your subconscious wisdom?

Have dog and cats been an influence on humanity's success at survival?

At a Saturday morning breakfast a few weeks ago, after a bit of discussion, we went around the table and answered the question:

If you could have lunch with any three people in history, who would they be and why? 

Note: language is no object, and the lunch would be about 2 hours long.

I answered Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicola Tesla and Edgar Cayce because they were all three well known, but still outcasts and very interesting.

Another Mensan answered Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed. This Mensan was interested in how far apart spiritually the three actually were or weren't.

Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and Erma Bombeck were another Mensan's choices. She wanted a happy, lively meal of women writers.

So who would you choose? I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
Blakeney Bartlett recommends checking out the TED Talks website for conversation starters!

These are short, 5-20 minute long talks by experts in their fields about everything under the sun.  Not long enough to make you lose interest, but deep enough to catch your imagination!