1996 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

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The 1996 Annual Gathering of American Mensa, Black Gold Blowout, was held in Houston, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Richard Jones, Pat Spence, and Deb Skinner were the AG chairmen. Attendance was 1089.

Hospitality food was generally regarded as pretty good, with some big midnight "Feeding Frenzies"; this was fortunate, since there were relatively few other places to eat in the downtown Houston area on nights, weekends, and the July 4th holiday. During the small portion of the AG that coincided with normal business hours, it was possible to go through the massive catacombs that interconnect the entire downtown business district and get to various places to eat or shop.

There was a very extensive speaker program this time, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Holocaust survivor Jack Oran, former national drug czar Lee Brown (who got grilled extensively by anti-drug-war Mensans), and wordplay author Richard Lederer. Game programs included "Mensa Jeopardy". However, some other scheduled games were cancelled, including the treasure hunt.

Registration stayed open until 9 PM on the opening day, which was an improvement over some AGs when it closed early, leaving those who arrived on late flights to wait until the next day to get their registration packets (and possibly be excluded from the hospitality suite if the management were strictly enforcing the requirement to show a badge).

During an annual business meeting that was free of heated political battles (unlike some others in recent memory), Dave Remine remarked that a national news story had reported that President Clinton was involved in a "Mensa scandal", but that was a misprint; the actual scandal involved the town of Mena, Arkansas. The news people later sent a letter of apology saying "There are no scandals involving Mensa", which Remine found to be good to hear.

Preceded by:
1995: St. Louis
Annual Gathering of American Mensa
Succeeded by:
1997: Birmingham

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