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Anchorage, AK 99514-3174 PO Box 143174 Polar Expressions Editor Polar Expressions If you have moved, please send your changes to the National Mensa address listed inside A Monthly Publication of Alaska Mensa ”Autumn is a season followed immediately by looking forward to Spring." Anonymous "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus "October is nature's funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming - October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors." Forward or Return Requested Henry Ward Beecher “There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, First Class Mail as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” Percy Bysshe Shelley VOL. 35 NO. 10 October 2009 OFFICERS & BOARD MEMBERS of ALASKA MENSA PLEASE NOTE: For security reasons, Mensa Alaska uses your address on file President Denise Yancey (907) 243-7504 with American Mensa. If you have changes to your address firstname.lastname@example.org or to your other contact information please mail them directly Vice President Dan Gilman (907) 333-7311 to: email@example.com AMERICAN MENSA Sec-Treasurer Norma Gertson (907) 338-5950 1229 CORPORATE DRIVE WEST firstname.lastname@example.org ARLINGTON, TX 76006 Member-at-Large Nancy Welch (907) 743-9883 email@example.com or, you can go online at www.us.mensa.org/profile and make your changes there. Program Chair Betsy Campbell (907) 677-7616 firstname.lastname@example.org Polar Expressions is the monthly publication of Alaska Scholarship Chair Carol Schlitte Mensa. We highly encourage all members to submit news, email@example.com announcements, articles, puzzles, pictures and letters to the Editor for inclusion! We do, however, reserve the right to edit Gifted Children’s Position available -- for purposes of clarity and space, and to decide if or when a Coordinator submission will be published. All submissions should be sent Main Proctor CarolAnne Mocarski -- to the editor at the mailing address on this publication. firstname.lastname@example.org Please limit your letters/articles to not more than 250 words. Preferred media for contribution to Polar Expressions is via North Proctor Joe Nava (907) 479-2340 email, in MS Word or WordPerfect. Legible hard copy is also Webmaster Dan Gilman (907) 333-7311 accepted. Material not bearing a specific copyright may be email@example.com reprinted by other Mensa publications, providing that it is credited to Polar Expressions. The opinions expressed in SIGHT Coordinator Dana Spinney 907-317-5028 this newsletter are the opinions of individual writers. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Newsletter Editor By Committee Great websites: The Mailing Address for Alaska Mensa Is: http://lii.org/ : Librarian’s Internet Index – what librarians use when you ask them a question. Reliable and interesting. (Individual’s name or committee name) Alaska Mensa http://puff.images.alaska.edu/watch_Redoubt.shtml PO Box 143174 See where the ash from Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt volcano would Anchorage, AK 99514-3174 fly if it happened right now – takes into account the effect of wind direction, speed and the volcano’s explosive force. MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS UPCOMING EVENTS: Congratulations to Joe Nava, North Proctor. He was inducted into Note: Please always check www.mensalaska.com for all the latest the UAF Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony on September 26, information and times, or call our program chairman, Betsy 2009. He was inducted along with his rifle coach, who is now Campbell, at 677-7616. deceased. A total of 10 people in that Hall of Fame are from the sport of shooting. Way to go, Joe!! Board Meeting: 1st Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Village Inn, 4403 Spenard Road, Anchorage. Regional action: Our own Eugenia Aadland, Anchorage member, will be attending the Reno-ssance October 2nd to October 4th in Saturday Morning Breakfasts: Reno, Nevada. We will be printing her report in the next Polar Every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:00am at Doriolas, 510 W. Expressions. Tudor, between C and Arctic Streets. We have a room in the back. We will soon have a more permanent home for a games night as Betsy Campbell is in the process of purchasing a home. Eagle River Dinners: 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month at 7:00 She has an area just right for a couple of game tables, and has pm Location to change regularly – contact MaryRose Clark at volunteered to host this event. Check back next month for (907) 355-6688. further details. ALASKA M’s FACEBOOK SITE Announcements If you are interested in being added to our Facebook site, please Book Exchange: Every Saturday at breakfast, we have a book contact Matt at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This group is for Alaskan M's exchange. Members bring books they are done with and offer and other M's interested in Alaska and Mensans living there. This them to the group. Lately, popular selections have included group is not affiliated with or representative of Alaska Mensa or science fiction, fantasy and mysteries. It is not necessary to bring American Mensa limited other than the fact you must be a Mensan a book to walk away with one – we know that Mensans can be to join the group. (For more information about American Mensa or particularly attached to their libraries! Alaska Mensa please visit their Websites at www.us.mensa.org and www.mensalaska.org) Please provide you name and the National Mensa Testing Day 2009 is officially Saturday, Oct. 17, name of the local group you are a member to verify you but test sessions are being scheduled around the country membership. This is a secret group. The group will not appear in throughout the month of October and into early November. More search results or in the profiles of its members. Membership is by then 1,300 people took the challenge last year; don't miss the invitation only, and only members can see the group information chance to pit your wits against the Mensa Admission Test! If you and content. know someone who is interested in joining and would like to take the test, contact CarolAnne Mocarski or Joe Nava. In Anchorage, there will be testing on October 17, 2009, at 4300 B Halloween Quote Street, Suite 505 beginning at 11:00 am. As the lobby of this After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though building is locked on weekends, someone will meet prospective testers in the lobby and escort them to the test sight. Please plan you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice to arrive by 10:30 am. The cost is $30. lovers. ~Emily Luchetti To: All members of Mensa Alaska This is Punny! Subject: Nominations for office 1.The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir In accordance with the bylaws of Mensa Alaska, the Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi. nominating committee is now accepting names of individuals 2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned who wish to run for the offices of Treasurer and Member-as- out to be an optical Aleutian. 3. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still. Large. You may submit your name or that of another, 4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class providing that the proposed individual has been contacted by because it was a weapon of math disruption. you, and has given his/her consent to run for the office in 5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind question and is willing and able to serve in the particular in his work. capacity if elected. The term of office is two years, 6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be beginning on January 1, 2010. stationery. All proposed names must be submitted to and received by 7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for the nominating committee prior to October 15, 2009. littering. Your submission must include both the individual’s name and 8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in the office for which he/she is being nominated. Linoleum Blownapart. Thank you for your submissions. The ballots for the election 9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. 10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. will be mailed to the membership in November and tallied in 11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are December. Results will be published in the January looking into it. newsletter. 12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.. 13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat Alaska Mensa Nominating Committee said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.' Dana Spinney, Chairman 14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then, it hit me. Nominations are to be mailed to the PO Box address shown 15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said, 'Keep off the on the first page, inside cover of this issue. Grass.' 16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.' SCHOLARSHIP WINNER 17. Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects. 18. It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't The winner of the local scholarship for 2009 is Elizabeth Anne have the balls to do it. Phillips, of Anchorage. Her essay was judged by local 19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small members to be the best submitted. She was also awarded medium at large. the Karen Cooper Scholarship on the National level. 20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a A check for $500 has been issued along with a certificate and seasoned veteran. given to the young lady. 21. A backward poet writes inverse. Congratulations, Elizabeth. We wish you well. 22. In democracy, it's your vote that counts. In feudalism, it's your count that votes. Simple Living Part 2 Home ownership - Living within your Because my credit score is over 800, I wasn’t worried about means qualifying for a mortgage. What shocked me was that I qualified for a mortgage of $330,000! For Anchorage real by Betsy Campbell estate, this doesn’t seem like a great deal of money. For me, at more than three times my annual income, it is loads more Part of my approach to simple living is to keep my expenses than I was looking to spend. Perhaps this is one reason the low. I choose to shop at thrift stores and WalMart. I shop mortgage industry is in such a mess. If people are told they loss leaders at the food stores. I recycle, reuse, reduce and are qualified for certain dollar amount, they look for that upper repair. I do without. I live below my means so I have money limit. It is the same mentality as some of those with credit to use on things I value – travel, charitable giving, cultural card debt – you have a $10,000 limit on a credit card, so that activities, my dogs, among others. The problem is, I have means you have $10,000 to spend. I can tell you, that if I chosen to purchase a home in Anchorage and this has bought a house for $330,000 and had a $3500/month thrown my previous conservative financial life into a tailspin. mortgage, I would be bankrupted in a matter of months. I moved here just over a year ago and have been renting The question becomes, how much house can I afford verses since then. I have two dogs, so my options were limited. how much house do I need? I have purchased a home for Despite the obvious love for pets here in Alaska, no one quite a bit less than the amount I approved for. However, it wants to rent to pet owners. I found a townhouse owned by a will still represent a hefty monthly payment. Dave Ramsey, a pet lover. It fit the bill for what I needed at the time perfectly, radio personality and author with a financial advice program although the rent is $1600/month (plus utilities). This is much believes that homes should be paid for with cash. If that is more than the mortgage on my last house! Having not rented not possible, a 15-year mortgage with 20% down would work. for 25 years, I have not been entirely comfortable living in I personally would NEVER have enough cash to buy a home someone else’s home. That, and the low mortgage interest if I followed his advice. The house I am purchasing is quite a rates and a small lull in the Alaska real estate market led me bit more than I need. It is just me and my two dogs (small to look for a house to buy. ones, at that), so our needs are minimal. However, the problem I ran into was that a very small, basic house tended The first step was to get preapproved for a mortgage. The to be older, in worse shape and in less desirable housing market across the US has really taken a hit and neighborhoods. So, with weighing all the factors, my decision Alaska is suffering for it. For instance, if 20% or more isn’t was made. put down on the home, private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required until 22% of the home equity has been paid. I have chosen, despite the huge hit my budget will take, to Because of the financing mess, PMI is not available for those buy my own home. I will have some tax benefits as well as who have less than 10% to put down. Only 3.5% down is building equity. Buying versus renting is a personal choice required for an FHA loan and the government guarantees the and dependent on many factors. The difference in my rent loan (although there is a charge that corresponds to PMI), but and mortgage is so little that it seems like a good move to their guidelines have become stricter. Consequently, without me. I am fortunate that I can afford to choose. I also suspect great credit and a hefty down payment, it is nearly impossible that I will die before my house is paid off. So what are they to get financing. going to do, kick me out? Halloween Facts Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of Halloween, or more correctly, Hallowe’en, is always celebrated on fruit trees. October 31st. Halloween is also known by other names, including: Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, All Hallows Eve, All Hallowstide, the Feast of the Dead, the Day of with Christmas being the first. the Dead. The tradition started a couple of thousand years ago in Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy the British Isles by the Celts. The Celts celebrated the end of the for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1. growing season and harvest and the beginning of the cold, dark In 1921, Anoka, Minn., held the first official, citywide months with a festival called Shamhain. The druids believed in the observance of Halloween in the U.S. spirits of the dead and thought that they mingled with the living at On Halloween, Irish peasants would beg the rich for food. this time of year. The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts For those that refused, they would play a practical joke. So, roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing in an effort to avoid being tricked, the rich would hand out masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human. cookies, candy, and fruit – a practice that morphed into trick-or-treating today. All Saints Day became November 1st when Christianity came to Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in Europe. Consequently, the evening before became All Hallows America E’en, eventually becoming Halloween. The following are The U.S. consumer spends upwards of $1.5 billion on Halloween facts: Halloween costumes annually and more than $2.5 billion on Legendary magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit from a other Halloween paraphernalia, such as decorations, crafts, ruptured appendix on Halloween in 1926. etc. More than $100,000 of that is said to be spent online Trick-or-treating is thought to have its origins in a European In the movie “Halloween” the mask worn by Michael Meyers custom called souling where people would beg for "soul is actually the mask of William Shatner painted white cakes." 'Halloween" was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very Halloween also is recognized as the 3rd biggest party day limited budget. after New Year's and Super Bowl Sunday. The movie was shot in the Spring and used fake autumn Pumpkins are a fruit that originated in Central America. leaves. The largest pumpkin grown was recorded on October 2, While the setting for the story is in Illinois, the license plates 2004 weighing 1,446 lbs. on the vehicles have California plates. Pumpkins, and their seeds, were a celebrated food of the Compiled from: Native American Indians who treasured them both for their www.pumpkinmasters.com/halloween_facts.asp dietary and medicinal properties. http://workingmoms.about.com Illinois grows more pumpkins than any other state in the www.halloweenfacts.net country. It harvests nearly 12,300 acres of fruit. www.halloween-website.com Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death. Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday. Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
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