December 04, 2014

Give Him An Uintjie*and He'll Take a Miel

*It's pronounced AYN-chee, peeps.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, ticktockticktock... it's 50 minutes before the 2nd Annual Literacy London Adult Spelling Bee and I am feeling like I've lost my spelling mojo.  Clearly I need a drink.

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Here is Oh Beehave at last year's Spelling Bee, abuzz with our second place finish:


Click on the mispeled word in this sentence to read more about the 2013 event.

Here we are, looking good, as Bee-lated Victory this year:

Vito's hair hasn't changed much.  


Other comical team names included, but were not limited to, The Awkwords, The Punk-tuators, The Beelievers, The Pedantics, Illiterate Beeple and The Doobees (who smoked blunts the entire evening).

I had high hopes for this year until I read this morning's Freeps:  What?????  There's a ringer?  And he's flying in from California just to attend the event?  

Here's the ringer - Dave Riddle - posing with my friend Tamara (an awesome speller in her own right) and her son, Davyn:


Sidenote:  Tamara raised the most money of all the attendees.  YEAH, TAMARA!  She will have to pipe in with the dollar amount, but I want to say that it was around $1000.

Back to Riddle.  Oho!  Another funny sidenote which has just occurred to me.  Tamara's maiden name is Riddle!  So maybe she and Dave are related and Davyn is their progeny?  Wait a minute, if they were related that would make Davyn the product of incest... whoa.  Stopping this line of thought NOW.  And laughing.  Anyhoo, back to the Riddler. 

I made the mistake of googling said ringer and found out all sorts of fascinating and discouraging tidbits.  Consider this statement of Riddle's: “spelling is kind of a hobby of mine." (he has studied up to twenty hours a week to prepare for a bee).  And then I read this:
"(it's) a “hobby,” apparently, in the same way Sidney Crosby dabbles at hockey — during a national championship in New York four years ago, Riddle won by spelling uintjie, an edible plant. 
Riddle found the London event online and flew in specifically for it: a diversion, he said, after a tough year of training for a speed-climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. (He and a guide reached the summit in 16 hours)."
Seriously?  I hate this dude.  :-)

I stalked him at the event, snapping a photo of him (the one above) and picking his brain.  He divulged that he was concerned about the variances in spellings between Canada and the U.S.  Grinning, I said, "you mean like wood and would?"  That gave him pause.  He didn't even crack a smile.  Then I said, "like color and colour?".  Again, no smile.  Dude was tough.

Riddle told me that he had spent the afternoon at a local bookstore reading the dictionary.  I asked him which dictionary he read (interesting topic to me).  He said, "Oxford".  A discussion about Oxford online and dictionaries in general ensued.  I had to leave in the middle of it for more wine.  :-)

While I kept my imbibing to a minimum so as to avoid stupid spelling errors, I did manage to slug back two glasses of wine and a beer.  Perhaps because of this, I found this year's words to be fairly easy to spell.  Keep in mind that what you read here are the spellings that my team submitted.  The asterisks in the first picture were added by me to note that I thought that we had misspelled these words.  I was right.  "Inoculate" has only one N, and the last word (pronounced "lad-oh-shun") is still a mystery to me.  I can't even find it in the dictionary or online.  If anyone knows this enigmatic word, please send me a message.




"Daquiri" is also spelled incorrectly.  The correct spelling is "daiquiri", which still looks completely wrong to me.  We scored 12 out of 15 and tied with three other teams for third place.  The second place team got 13 out of 15 words and the first place spelled 14 correctly (the Riddler's team, natch).

While the words this year were easier to spell, the organizers had some new (hard) games to test our wits.  I was sad to learn that the Boggle game was canceled, as was the homonym challenge (ate, eight; vein, vane; slew, slough etc).  And what did they have in store for us?  TRIVIA.  Yikes.  I am not a trivia aficionado (see how I snuck that spelling word in there? :-)  Some of the questions stumped us (2 and 3 for sure.  And a bunch of other questions that I didn't bother writing down, one of which had to do with the beer on the Simpsons, and the film Dead Poet's Society):
  1. How many colours are in the Google logo?
  2. What is the periodic symbol for Mercury?
  3. What is the correct word for a group of ravens?  (i.e. murder of crows)
  4. What group of vegetables does broccoli belong to?
  5. How many points does the Maple Leaf have?
Bee-lated Victory did not fare well in the trivia component.  I will post the answers below.

Here's a copy of the evening's program:



Let's talk food for a minute.  Remember last year, how I went on and on about the delicious dinner?  How tasty it was, how plentiful, how the packaging was so cute?  Here are a couple of pictures of this year's food:


No cute package.  A tiny paper plate.  Serve yourself.  Cheese, crudités, mini croissants and fruit (not pictured).  It was healthy, but I was dreaming of fried chicken.  

Here are some more pictures of the evening's highlights:

Bee-lateds poster children

The Esteemed Judges:  Murray Faulkner (former police chief), Becky Howse (Principal of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education at the TVDSB), and Brad Duncan (Chief of Police - laughing at motto:  Deeds not Words).  



Getting my glamour on with the lovely Rita DeBook:


The Bee Game.  Last year, my word was Sasquatch:  


I went with "larvae" this year, because who doesn't love them some larvae?



Kevin Moore, one of my ex-colleagues at the London Public Library, was the evening's emcee.  Here's Queen Christine and worker bee, Kevin:


I can't wait for next year's event.  I wonder if the Riddler will show.  I wonder if I should start reading the dictionary ;-)  I think I'll just stick to Scrabble.

And so, I won't drone on, beelieve me, no one likes that.  Hah!  I'm full of beeswax.  

Pollen your leg, I can't stop.  Eeeeeyuwwww. That's a stinger.  

Leaving you with the trivia answers and a bee-yootiful tune:  Just Like Honey by the Jesus and Mary Chain.


  1. 4
  2. Hg
  3. an unkindness (I love that!)
  4. crucifers
  5. 11