Friday, February 11, 2011

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spelling Bee tonight!

We'll see you tonight at Joe Van Gogh DurhamSign-up at 6:00 p.m. Spelling begins at 6:30 p.m. The first 25 spellers get a spot.  Every speller gets a prize!  Everyone else achieves total enlightenment.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The kind folks at Joe Van Gogh are providing the big prizes for the Bee!
1st place wins a 10-cup Melitta Pourover pot, #6 filters, bag of coffee, and a travel mug

2nd place wins a bag of coffee and travel mug
There will also be consolations for everyone because, let's face it, everyone's a loser except the last person standing!  Not the best motto for the Durham Spelling Bee? Come with your suggestions on Saturday night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Durham's Spelling Bee for Grown-Ups this Saturday!

Come on out to the Durham Spelling Bee on Saturday, November 20th at Joe Van Gogh.  Cheer for your favorite spellers and give it a try, yourself.  Support local Durham.  Achieve enlightenment.  Become happy forever.

     Sign up at 6:00 p.m.
     Spelling begins at 6:30 p.m.

There is a limit of 25 spellers, so come out and sign up early.  There will be prizes!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Want to be in a documentary? Filming the Spelling Bee

Hi all,

A Duke student contacted me about filming the Durham Spelling Bee for a documentary film class.  He would like to get some interviews with participants before the bee.  Would you like to be interviewed before the upcoming Nov. 20 Bee? 

Kyle Kunkle will be filming the Bee at Joe Van Gogh on the 20th.  He is interested in talking to you beforehand about how you are preparing (or not) for the spelling bee and why you are participating or what you like about it.  If you have not participated before, but are planning on it for November 20, he would still be interested in hearing from you.  If you'd like to help him out, please contact Kyle at:

Feel free to drop me a line, too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Words that should be banished from the English Language

I was thinking about the word webinar today and what an ugly word it is.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first used in 1997 in a publication called DM News (it turns out that DM stands for Direct Marketing, which further solidifies and justifies my hatred of the word).  This web + seminar construction gives rise to other equally ugly words like webisode and vlog.

I like new words that are useful, but constructions like this one seem a bit too twee for my taste.  Webinar...  it is one of those words that will seem exceedingly quaint in about 10 years.  Luckily, the Durham Spelling Bee uses the Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, as its source, where these words do not appear.  So, you will never encounter them at the bee.  You're welcome.

Are there any words you think should be banished? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Durham Spelling Bee November 20!

Nothing says mid-autumn pre-Thanksgiving amusement like the Durham Spelling Bee.  And you're in luck because the next one is coming up on Saturday, November 20th at the lovely Joe Van Gogh coffee house, 1104B Broad Street, in Durham (map).

     Sign up at 6:00 p.m.
     Spelling begins at 6:30 p.m.

You have two and a half weeks to bone up (or not).  Want some pointers?  We have lots of word lists.

There is a limit of 25 spellers (unlimited friends and enthusiasts) so you'll want to arrive early enough to sign up, mingle, and enjoy the best espresso drinks in North Carolina.  Bring a friend and cheer each other on.  Oh, and there will be prizes!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Winner of the April 24th Durham Spelling Bee!

Hello spellers,

I have been remiss in my reporting duties.  It is one of those cases in which a person gets busy, a certain amount of time passes, and then the person gets kind of embarrassed by how far behind he got on his reporting duties.  I am happy to report that the person is well beyond the embarrassment stage, past the ashamed stage, and resting comfortably in the "just post something" stage, so the person can update now.

The winner of our April 24th Durham Spelling Bee is Jen Poole!  Jen stayed in for 10 rounds, spelling every word given to her seemingly effortlessly.  Jen made a last-minute decision to join the roster of spellers, and look what happened!  This proves something...  something about snap decisions changing the course of history. 
Yes, the world is a better place because each of the thirteen spellers decided to spell and have fun.  You don't even want to think about what the world would be like now had they not made their decisions.  Keep this important lesson in mind.

I don't have the list in front of me at the moment so I will have to come back later to tell you the winning word.  Joe Nofziger is our 2nd place winner for the 2nd time in a row.  Will he be a contender in our next Bee?   Will you?  Let's find out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spelling bee tonight

The Durham Spelling Bee is tonight, Saturday, April 24th at Joe Van Gogh.  Spellers from 15 to 115 are welcome to compete.  Support local Durham.  Cheer for your favorite spellers!

     Sign up at 6:00 p.m.
     Spelling begins at 6:30 p.m.

There is a limit of 25 spellers, so sign up early if you want a spot.  There will be prizes!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bonus for Durham Spelling Bee blog readers

Faithful readers get a tiny bonus just for reading.  One of the following words will be included in the pool of words we will use at the third Durham Spelling Bee this Saturday night:
And there you have it.  Cheers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So you think you can spell?

The kind folks over at SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SPELL? have written a nice blog post about us.  It's an honor to be included in the same sphere as the Williamsburg Spelling Bee, the AARP National Spelling Bee, and the Scripps National Spelling Bee (the big kahuna).

Their book is So You Think You Can Spell?: Killer Quizzes for the Incurably Competitive and Overly Confident.  The subtitle says it all. 

I have worked my way through about half of the book, and I can say it is simultaneously fun and humbling.  For example, pick the correct spelling: herculian/herculeian/herculaean/herculaean/herculean.  How about bonnehommie/bonhommie/bonhomie/bonnehomie?  Back in October, I wrote a one-line review of it elsewhere: "You think you know... but you don't know."  Don't let that discourage you; think of it as a brain-tickler.  The authors, David Grambs and Ellen Levine, have included plenty of variety in the quizzes and games, and the book is interspersed with interesting facts about words, lexicography, and language.  There is also a brief history of the spelling bee in America (and remember: you can be a part of that history this coming Saturday night!).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One week until the next bee

Come on out to the next Durham Spelling Bee on Saturday, April 24th at Joe Van Gogh.  Spellers from 15 to 115 are welcome to compete.  Spectators of all ages are welcome, too.  Cheer for your favorite spellers.  Support local Durham.  Maybe become famous on the Internet!

     Sign up at 6:00 p.m.
     Spelling begins at 6:30 p.m.

There is a limit of 25 spellers, so sign up early if you want a spot.  There will be prizes!

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Blog Directory So You Think You Can Spell? BlogTogether Wordnik blog Joe Van Gogh