Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									                                                                                                                          Anchorage, AK 99514-3174
                                                                                                                          PO Box 143174
                                                                                                                          Polar Expressions
                                                                                                                                                         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."


                                                                                                                                                     "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a

                                                                                                                                                                           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
                                                                                          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
                                                                 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
                                      or to your other contact information please mail them directly
Vice President         Dan Gilman               (907) 333-7311
                                                                                     AMERICAN MENSA
Sec-Treasurer          Norma Gertson            (907) 338-5950                 1229 CORPORATE DRIVE WEST
                                                           ARLINGTON, TX 76006
Member-at-Large        Nancy Welch              (907) 743-9883
                                 or, you can go online at and make
                                                                 your changes there.
Program Chair          Betsy Campbell           (907) 677-7616
                                                                 Polar Expressions is the monthly publication of Alaska
Scholarship Chair      Carol Schlitte                            Mensa. We highly encourage all members to submit news,
                                    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
                                                                 submission will be published. All submissions should be sent
Main Proctor           CarolAnne Mocarski       --               to the editor at the mailing address on this publication.
                                 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
                                   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.
Newsletter Editor      By Committee
                                                                 Great websites:
            The Mailing Address for Alaska Mensa Is:    : Librarian’s Internet Index – what librarians
                                                                 use when you ask them a question. Reliable and interesting.
                (Individual’s name or committee name)
                              Alaska Mensa             
                             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.
                                                                       UPCOMING EVENTS:
Congratulations to Joe Nava, North Proctor. He was inducted into       Note: Please always check 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
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: 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
                                                                       and 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
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.'
                                                                 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
       dietary and medicinal properties.                     
     Illinois grows more pumpkins than any other state in the
       country. It harvests nearly 12,300 acres of fruit.
     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.

To top