January 31, 2005

Bee Movie (and Bee Facts)

Yesterday, Beth and I watched Spellbound, a documentary that follows eight kids to the National Spelling Bee here in Washington, DC. Sounds boaring, right? Well, it wasnt. There's a hole subculture of spelers out there I've never really given any thought to. So, without further adeaux, here are some spelling bee facts:

The National Spelling Bee is in its 78th year. The Louisville Courier-Journal started the event in 1925 however their were no bees during World Warr II. Instead, young spellers were sent into the trenches with guns and really good vocabularies.

National Spelling Bee championships are allmost evenly devided by sex - 42 girls have won compared with 38 male victories. One was unknown (can you spell ambiguous?).

Words to Win By:
- The first winer, Frank Neuhauser, won by correctly spelling gladiolus which has something to do with flowers despite the fact that it sounds dirty.
- Ward Randall won in 1931 with the word foulard, meaning a French idiot.
- Waneeta Beckley was briefly victorious in 1937 after spelling promiscuous. Following her victory, her mother sought a definition of the word from her daughter. A prostitute at the time, Lucy "Luscious" Beckley, attacked and killed three judges and two bee officials using the bee trophy. This is known as the infamous Bee Massacre of '37 and was coincedentally the last year trophies with pointy things were used.
- Sandra Sloss took home the 1955 trophey following her correct spelling of crustaceology, the study and production of crutons.
- Enamored with his victorious word, Scott Isaacs who successfully speeled spoilator (a machine that speeds the putrification of food), developed and subsequently published the world's first spelling comic book superhero, The Beealator.

The use of the word bee to describe social gatheringz remains a mystery. It was first used in 1875.

In an effort to keep up with the times, National Spelling Bee organizers have recently updated their word lists to include more contemporary terms. These include fo shizzle, poontang, tah-poozie and padonkadonk.

Posted by Chris at January 31, 2005 09:59 AM

Love the trivia and also the badly spelled words lol! I do hope that was on purpose???

Posted by: Nina at January 31, 2005 10:17 AM

Don't forget to add "nukular" too.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at January 31, 2005 10:24 AM

At first, I didn't catch the fact that you were misspelling words. Sorry, Iím a little slow this morning. Sounds like an interesting movie.

Posted by: Lee at January 31, 2005 10:47 AM

I've been meaning to see that movie. I was in a spelling bee in 7th grade. I was so nervous that I got out on the first word, and I knew how to spell it too, I just got stage fright. The word was PLATEAU. I spelled it Pleteau. I know, easy word, but I beat out all the other kids in the 7th grade to make it into the final Bee. Oh, what could have been, *sigh*. :o)

Posted by: Milly at January 31, 2005 10:52 AM

Hey, I saw that flick too! I remember being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I won a 4th grade spelling bee once, but remember that it didn't award me the same amount of prestige as my third place victory in the jump roping contest. Go figure.

fo shizzle....f-o- s-h-i-z-z-l-e....fo shizzle.

Posted by: lu at January 31, 2005 10:56 AM

While on vacation in FL a few years ago I was channel surfing and landed on ESPN's coverage of the Natl Spelling Bee. I was instantly hooked. The kids are amazing and, though I find it hard to believe at times, they work under a tremendous amount of pressure from their school and families. Crazy world.

Sadly I was unable to continue watching as I had to leave to actually, get this, enjoy the Florida sun.

The typos gave me a little bit of trouble whilst reading the entry. Did you have to fight the urge to spell things correctly?

Posted by: Patricia at January 31, 2005 11:03 AM

I AM A ROBOT!>> Oh, that kid cracked me up!

Posted by: bmh at January 31, 2005 11:22 AM

Oh Spellbound! Such a great movie. My favorite parts would have to be Harry and the mom with all of the 'bee' paraphenalia, like a notepad that says 'Bee happy.' I was hoping that the inner-city girl from DC would win though. Afterall, she's had many trials and tribulations in her life.

Posted by: smartjuice at January 31, 2005 11:31 AM

Yeah - that's a good flick. We caught it at the SXSW film festival in Austin when I was down there one year. My sister saw it too and mailed it to me for x-mas - not realizing I'd seen it more than once. Now I'm gonna regift it to someone else. :)

Posted by: bisous at January 31, 2005 11:32 AM

You have spelling mistakes in your post?! Hmmmmm

Posted by: Amber at January 31, 2005 11:39 AM

Hubby forced me into watching that movie but it turned out I enjoyed it ;) Shhh, don't tell him.

Posted by: Chrissie at January 31, 2005 11:45 AM

I had no idea spelling bees were so full of drama!!

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at January 31, 2005 12:55 PM

Without further adeaux? That doesn't look right.

Without further ado? As in Much Ado about?

Posted by: jenorama at January 31, 2005 01:23 PM

a∑do Audio pronunciation of "ado" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-d)

Bustle; fuss; trouble; bother.

[Middle English, from the phrase at do : at, to (used with infinitive) (from Old Norse at. See ad- in Indo-European Roots) + do, do; see do1.]

Posted by: jenorama at January 31, 2005 01:23 PM

You were trying to torcher, er, torture the spelling geeks weren't you? ;o)

Posted by: Carrie Jo at January 31, 2005 01:49 PM

Please tell me you are full of crap about the Spelling Bee. Or my head will explode.

Posted by: alektra at January 31, 2005 02:02 PM

there was some disney special on a girl from SE Asia winning it one year.

warm fuzzies all around and hats off to my fello spellers. Yeah I won my district baybee :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at January 31, 2005 02:41 PM

oh my god I just caught that you say they listed POONTANG....

yeah I am slow over here, a slow super power.

Posted by: stinkerbell at January 31, 2005 02:42 PM

I'm pretty good at spelling, but I never made it far in the Bees because I'm the type that has to write it down. I used to get made fun of for tracing the word in the air before I tried to spell it out loud. Bastards...

Posted by: Kitty at January 31, 2005 03:22 PM

I would love to hear a 12-year-old say to the judge: "Can I have the origin of the word 'poontang?' Can you use it in a sentence, please?" Hee!

Posted by: SpaceCase at January 31, 2005 04:04 PM

I am awesome, because I went to the State spelling bees in both 4th and 5th grade. Fear me, cause I can do the spellin' purty good. I won on "chocolate" in 4th grade (yeah, tough one, I know) because my opponent spelled it "chocolet". Hee.

Posted by: Heather at January 31, 2005 04:16 PM

crustaceology--just one example of why English is a damn fine language.

Posted by: Bond Girl at January 31, 2005 05:57 PM

I saw that movie a few months back and couldn't believe that a documentary on spelling bee's could keep my interest like that! It was incredible!

And what was up with that geeky kid that would just go into random fits of talking like a robot?

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at January 31, 2005 06:03 PM

I'm not as good as Heather, but I did place second in the county spelling bee and finished 9th another time.

Here are the words I missed in the four years I participated.

Sorghum (which I was given as a word when I was in the top 10 the next year...total nervousness as I waited to hear the word and then busting out laughing when I realized it was the one I'd lost on the year before)
Pinata (I'm still pissed about this one...I didn't think it should've even be allowed because if it has a special character (~), then drop it!)

OK...I'm done ranting about spelling now.

Posted by: Joe at February 1, 2005 12:03 AM

id never make it. i cant even spell spegetti. is that right? i dont know. damn. haha

Posted by: Maureen at February 1, 2005 08:18 PM

I watched this movie a few weeks ago myself, once I got home, and still on break before classes started. I remembered that Anne had mentioned watching it last year, and I was in the mood to see a good documentary. I really liked it as well; if I ever decide to be a film-maker, I think I'd definitely have to go with the (not much money to be made) documentary route.

Speaking of which, I rented "Supersize Me" a few days later. That was good as well, especially since I like reading about health issues. Down with fast food! :)

Posted by: Zandria at February 3, 2005 12:16 AM