by Allen J. Sheinman | October 12, 2012

It's time for The List's semi-annual review of groups whose meeting planners' minds we'd love to plumb and whose conventions we'd love to attend. Thanks to the wonderfully esoteric for the recommendations.

1. The Association for Gravestone Studies (
Founded in 1977, the AGS holds a conference every June for the faithful that offers activities such as guided cemetery tours and gravestone conservation workshops. This is one organization whose rules are carved in stone...

2. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
These are the folks to see if you've ever wondered how many calories are in, say, Friskies Gravy Sensations With Chicken in Gravy (25.12 per ounce). Their keynote speakers know all the best jokes beginning with "A fat dog walked into a bar..."

3. The Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction (
Scheduled workshops at the ACSR's next conference, Feb. 5-7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Millenium Center, include such esoterica as "Laser Trajectory Documentation" and "Farro Scanning." We go for the cool exhibit of police chalk outlines.

4. American Association of Candy Technologists (
Recent seminars included "Cocoa Genetics and Breeding," "Improving Syrup Functionality in Confections" and, the one we wished we had attended, "Sensory Analysis of Chocolate Liquor."

5. The Association for Dressings and Sauces
The website offers lots of tasty recipes, press releases on topics like "Mayo Safety" and periodic condiment surveys. Meetings get especially raucous every May-National Salad Month.

6. The Association for Astrological Networking (
As the association notes, "Astrologically, the organizational activity that gave birth to AFAN can be traced to the transit through Sagittarius of Neptune, Uranus and, finally, Jupiter and Saturn, between 1970 and 1989." So there you go.

7. International Association of Youth Hypnotists
This group actually is geared for "people of all ages to learn and master hypnosis in a safe and ethical manner." Just the name of a recent presentation, "How to Do the Hypnotic Handclasp (Magnetic Hands) Suggestibility Test and Hypnosis Induction" puts us in a trance.

Source: Meetings and Conventions,