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From Mensa Alaska President Tom Hough to Northern Alaska Mensans:

My April 23rd visit to Fairbanks to meet with Mensa Alaska members in the area was a really fun evening.  Sterling Muth and Joe Nava III (25% of the membership in the area) joined me and shared some great conversational tidbits.  I found I have a few thngs in common with them (above being Mensans).  Sterling and I both lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma at points in our lives; and Joe and I both recently have worked in the security field.  Some outstanding ideas to make Mensa Alaska membership memorable were shared; more on that in the coming months.  Two other Mensa Alaska Fairbanks members, Joe Nave and Jane Steeves, sent their regrets that they had prior commitments for Tuesday night, but expressed interest in attending future visits. 

This was the first in a series of visits I'll be making to Mensa Alaska members throughout the state during the remainder of the year.  It's important for Mensa Alaska members to have a chance to interact with others from the group who live outside their communities, and to share in the comaraderie that being a Mensan brings.  Thanks to Sterling and Joe for taking the time to meet with me, and for their support of Mensa Alaska.

The American Mensa Academy mobile app provides the ultimate brain-training challenge, and for the next two weeks (March 6-20), it was available on iOS for only 99 cents (reduced from $4.99).

Share the news with non-Mensans who want to improve their problem-solving skills in logic, mathematics, language and visual learning. The app lets you gauge improvement with a local score table and compare results with the world through the integrated Game Center global leaderboard.

The American Mensa Academy App is available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows mobile platforms. Take advantage of the 99-cent iOS sale through March 20 at the iTunes App Store.

Learn more at http://www.americanmensaacademy.com/US/

3D Movie Night at Denise & Alvie's
Mensans and their guests were invited to join Alvie and Denise at their house on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm to watch a 3D movie. We watched an IMAX 3D movie about life undersea. It's as if we were there!
In addition, we watched the movie "Vantage Point", starring Dennis Quaid. It's a movie that makes you think!

Good Bye and Good Luck, President Dana Spinney!
It is with deep regret we must announce that Alaska Mensa President Dana Spinney will reluctantly be leaving the state. She will be caring for an ill family member. 

An emergency meeting of the Board has elected Tom Hough as the President, and Denise Yancey as the Vice President. Tom will continue to work as the Gifted Youth Coordinator, and Denise will continue as Webmaster.

A "Good-bye and Good Luck" potluck for Dana was held at Victoria Yancey and Benjamin Nilsson's house on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Scrabble Scramble
Two tables of South Central Alaskan Mensans participated in the Scrabble Scramble fund raiser for the Anchorage Literacy Project. They enjoyed an evening of fun Scrabble games with friends, while raising money for the Literacy Project. Dinner, drinks, dessert, and door prizes were included in 4-person team with a registration fee of $35 per person. We had a great time and represented ourselves well!

We came in Second Place at the 2012 BizBee on Friday, October 26, 2012
(The 2012 Mensa BizBee Team: Norma Gertson, Thomas Hough, Marie Lundstrom)

Alaska Mensa is again showing its support for literacy by sponsoring a team at the BizBee Fundraiser on Friday at the Dena'ina Center in downtown Anchorage!
Congratulations and thank you to this year's team: Norma Gertson, Marie Lundstrom and Tom Hough, with Dana Spinney as the alternate.
For the Second year in a row, we also won the Team Spirit Award!

Every year, to raise money to keep the Alaska Literacy Project running, an adult team spelling bee is held. Corporations, social groups and clubs sponsor teams of three people each for the honor of being that year's champions.  It's all in fun, and the audience is encouraged to root for their favorite teams.  Last year Alaska Mensa sponsored a team for the first time and ended up tied for second place. We also earned the Team Spirit award!
To learn more, please visit the ALP website.

Last year's Mensa BizBee team: Norma Gertson, Denise K. Yancey and Marie Lundstrom 

Good bye to Bill & Jean Morita!

Alaska Mensa's loss is Texas Mensa's gain -- Bill & Jean are moving to Texas this week. and taking their dachshund Oscar with them.  Please join us in wishing them good luck at a "Surprise" dinner at the Chiang Mai Thai restaurant on the corner of 36th & Old Seward at 6:15 on Tuesday, June 19.

Movie Night at Amy Whinston's House!

Set in Old China, made in Australia, and watched in Alaska -- this beautiful story of a life long friendship will be shown at Amy Whinston's movie night at 7:00 on Saturday the 16th.  Email Amy at amy@whinston.net to get directions.

Sirens of the North
We have a chanteuse!  Our own LocSec, Dana Spinney, performed at the Sirens of the North cabaret at the Snow Goose Restaurant in downtown Anchorage  on Friday, April 13. This was a benefit show to raise money for the Dog and Puppy Rescue Association. The wonderful music from the 30's, 40's and 50's was an eye opener for some of the younger people in the audience, and brought back great memories for the older crowd. So many Mensans attended we took up three of the tables.  Great job, Dana!

Monique's Games Night - Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Amy Whinston had never played the board game "Clue" so we just had to play it once. It was an eye opener to find out how other people use real strategy to try to throw their opponent detectives off! Monique won.  We also played a Mensa Select Award winning game called "Marrakech", which oddly enough have little tiny rugs as game pieces. 
Finally, we played one round of "Settlers of Cataan", which many gamers across the world play. Our hostes, Monique, came from behind and won that one too

Murder Mystery with the Anchorage Rotary

A table of Mensans got together and attended an Anchorage Rotary's fund raiser in late March. Rotary is on a quest to raise enough money to eradicate polio from the face of the Earth. Though gone from the United States, this terrible disease is still found in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Along with a great dinner and silent auction, guests were pulled from the audience to play parts in the Murder Mystery, set at the turn of the 20th Century.  Our own Don Naff played the part of the victim, beloved by all.  He did a great job!

Monique's Games Night - Thursday, February 9, 2012  
Monique Karaganis hosted a game night at her home in Anchorage on February 9. Members and guests brought snacks to share, and after discussion, we played a rousing couple of games of Double Deck Elimination Hearts. When was the last time you played cut throat Hearts? It was fun. Thanks, Monique! Call Monique at 947-1574 for information and directions to her home. This will be a regular event the second Thursday of each month, with different games played depending on who shows up.

Eagle River Mondays!

Members, guests and prospective members are welcome to join the Eagle River Mensa group on the first, third and sometimes fifth Monday of the month for dinner at 7:00 pm.  In summer weather it is a potluck held at the picnic shelter in Eagle River Town Square Park on Business Blvd.  The rest of the year it rotates among local restaurants in Eagle River.  Call Mary Rose Clark at 355-6688 for more information. 

Movie Night at Marie’s – Saturday, February 11, 2012

Since it was so close to Valentine’s Day, this month’s movie, The Scarlet Pimpernel, was especially appropriate. It was romantic in the broad literary sense of the word and also a love story. Baroness Emmuska Orczy created the character of the Scarlet Pimpernel, a British nobleman who in disguise rescues several French nobility from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Several movies, a play, a musical, and TV adaptations of Orczy’s novels have been made—I like this movie (1982, 136 mins) the best of those I’ve seen. It has Anthony Andrews as Percy Blakeney, Jane Seymour as Marguerite St. Just, and Ian McKellen as Paul Chauvelin, one of Robespiere’s agents. It’s a great costume drama with lots of derring-do, danger, plotting, blood, mystery, romance—and a good sense of how it was during the Reign of Terror. Bring whatever you’d like to eat/drink; I’ll have cheese, crackers, fruit, juice, wine, coffee, tea. Let me know if you’re cat-allergic, and I’ll put Xena Warrior Kitty and Bogie Manytoes Watercat in a separate room with food and water. Otherwise, they’ll look for friendly laps. E-mail ml.corvus.69@gmail.com for directions or phone 276-1528 if you get lost.

December 10 - Movie Night at Marie’s, 7 pm.

"The Cat Returns" is a Japanese animated film (2002, 75 mins) from Studio Ghibli, with the English language version under the Disney logo. The English language voice actors are Anne Hathaway as Haru, Cary Elwes (Baron), Peter Boyle (Muta), Tim Curry (King), Judy Greer (Yuki), Elliott Gould and others. In this delightful but edgy fantasy, a young girl, Haru, rescues a mysterious cat from traffic and soon finds herself the recipient of gifts and favors from the King of the Cats, who also wants her to marry his son, Prince Lune.

With the assistance of a fat, grouchy real cat (Muta) and an elegant cat statuette come to life (Baron), the girl has some hair-raising adventures in the Cat Kingdom. The short featurette, “Behind the Microphone,” is worth watching as well—I’ll show it. ~

Bring whatever you’d like to eat/drink. I will have cheese, crackers, and fruit, plus wine, juice, coffee, tea. If anyone is cat allergic, please let me know, and I’ll put Xena Warrior Kitty and Bogie Manytoes Watercat in a separate room with food and water. Otherwise they’ll look for friendly laps. Call 276-1528 or e-mail ml.corvus.69@gmail.com for directions or if you get lost

Mensa Alaska Tied for 2nd Place in the BizBee!

The Mensa Alaska team roared into 2nd place, tieing with GCI, the telecomm company's team. The wily Daughters of the American Revolution, for the 2nd year in a row, took first. They were sponsored by the BP oil company.

We did much better than we'd expected for our first time as a team. We went out on a word none of us had ever heard of: DOLORIFUGE.

Thanks to the team members: Norma Gertson, Marie Lundstrom, Denise Yancey and alternate Dana Spinney. In addition, we had a table of Mensans and Friends-of-Mensans cheering us on, and they won the Team Spirit award!

The community got a fun-loving but still intelligent image of Mensa, and we earned money for the Alaska Literacy Project at the same time. Great way to spend a Friday evening!

July 16, 2011- Book Sale for Literacy

Our book sale was a great success! We made about $100 towards the entry fee for our team at the BizBee this year! That might not sound like a lot, but we had the prices knocked down to $.50 each, so we sold quite a few books.

What could possibly be a reason for a Mensan to give up his or her precious books?  Helping others learn to read!

On July 16h from 12-5 p.m., a book and bake sale was held in at the home of Mensan Norma Gertson, at 5801 Sterling Way, Anchorage. The proceeds will help cover the costs of sponsoring an Alaska Mensa team for the annual Biz Bee (adult spelling bee) in Anchorage this fall.  All proceeds from the Biz Bee go to the Alaska Literacy Project which provides literacy programs across the entire state. If other Alaska Mensa towns want to have their own book sale, just let us know!

Prior to the Biz Bee, we'll be having a "spell off" to determine who will comprise our spelling team.

If you are interested in donating toward the entry fee for our team or being involved in the spell off, please call 907-317-5028 or email Norma Gertson at her e-mail address of nlg@alaska.net.

June 29-July 4: 2011 Annual Gathering in Portland

With summer comes the Annual Gathering (AG) of Mensans from across the country. This year, we descended upon Portland, Oregon. Our own Region #8 has the distinction of hosting the next two Annual Gatherings - this year in Portland and Reno, Nevada in 2012.

A rough count shows that 10-11 members from across Alaska attended the AG in Portland from June 29 - July 4. A great time was had by all!

June 14, 2011: Fairbanks Mensa

Mensans in and around Fairbanks - even Visitors and their guests - are invited to join us for dinner and good discussions. Please call Sterling Muth at (907) 488-5859 for location.

May 21, 2011: Barrow Mensan Ralph

Ralph, one of three Mensans from Barrow, Alaska is visiting us in Anchorage this weekend! Please join us at Club 210 East, off of Muldoon, this evening at 5:00 p.m. to meet and have good conversations. Guests always welcome.

May 2, 2011: Saturday Breakfast

Saturday Breakfast has been moved to Alaska Bagel Restaurant at 113 West Northern Lights Boulevard for the summer. Time: 9:30 a.m. It's a central midtown location and has an enormous variety of bagels, breakfasts and lunches to choose from.

April 9, 2011: Movie night at Amy Whinston's

Amy showed the 2010 film "Never Let Me Go" starring Carrie Mulligan and Keira Knightly. Set in an alternate England, it's the story of a special group of children being raised for special futures. I don't want to give away much more of the plot, but we did have a good discussion on morality and ethics afterwards. Very thought provoking, and based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro,

February 19, 2011:  Movie night at Marie Lundstrom's 

Marie showed a very moving and award winning 2005 film "The Secret Life of Words" starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley. Set on a British oil platform after an accident, a nurse is brought in to tend to one of the burned workers (Robbins). Well worth seeing! Norma Gertson, Katie Hahn, Ben Amos, Amy Whinston, Denise Yancey and Marie Lundstrom attended. We had a good discussion afterwards. Ben brought a bottle of port wine he'd bottled himself at the Denali Winery, and it was very smooth and flavorful.