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Weltschmerz

I watched the finals in the Scripps Spelling Bee last night. So, I guess that's the first question. "Why on earth would you spend two hours....?"

I won a couple spelling bees when I was in school, so I can relate. Go geeks! Isn't it time we had a geek Olympics? I mean, fair is fair, after all. Jocks do that thing with their bods, how about the mind-jocks?

Anyway, it fascinated me that the spelling bee made the National news on all 3 national channels, as well as the local news. A Canadian made it to the semi-finals (she's from rural Alberta), finally being stumped with the word 'weltschmerz'.

What the f***!! What kind of word is that? In fact, what kind of words are most of the ones that were thrown at these kids? English? Maybe, but they're not the kind you use in everyday conversation, now are they? So what's the point of spelling bees?

It used to be a function of the reading, writing and 'rithmetic fundamentals that everyone used to have to know, probably. But now, with text messaging, don't we spell gr8?

And how do these 12-year-old nose drips know how to spell a word once they hear the language of origin? What's up with that? "Oh it's Greek, from Latin from Spanish" Well, in that case it must be spelled 'frutithuium'.

And have you noticed how many of these kids are asians? Now, that's not a racist comment (ok, maybe it is) but holy heck...it's not even their mother tongue. How do they do that? I remember in Grade 5, a family moved to our neighbourhood from Holland. There were 4 kids in the family all going to our school, and none of them spoke a word of English. I'd always be ahead of where the teacher was, so she had me go with George into the cloakroom at the back of the classroom to teach him English. The bugger beat me that year in the spelling bee. Damn!

Anyway, it all just got me to thinking is all. Our young Canadian rep got beaten by a better opponent. After all, she could spell kundalini and urstrache without any problkem!



I was in a spelling bee in junior high school, in the 8th grade. I misspelled the first word they threw at me. I'd be lost without spellcheck on the computer.

This post made me smile -- and yes, we DO spell gr8 with all that text messaging! :)

It's funny you should bring up the fact that these "English" words used in the spelling bee are so strange -- "weltschmerz," if I'm not mistaken, can be directly translated from German to mean "world pain." (I know a very, very, little bit of German. Just enough that if I were dropped in the middle of Berlin, I could probably find my way out... probably...) So can it really be considered an "English" word?

And I completely agree on the geek Olympics! Great idea! :)

I love your sense of humour Rick.
Maybe in the future they will have a text messaging spelling bee!lol!

Used to do well in spelling, but so many years without writing, I do poorly now. Don't do text mess. so half of that stuff I don't understand.

Gary: I know what you mean. My first one (in Grade 3) they asked me to spell 'b-e-a-c-h'. I guess I spoke too quickly, because the judges said it came out 'b-a-c-h' and I was eliminated. The audience booed, but that was my first taste of public defeat!

Lisa: Your German is far better than mine. Well done in knowing what the word means! The judges defined it as something like "a depression caused when social reality doesn't align with personal expectation" or something like that. ...and aren't you supposed to be on holidays? What the heck are you doing checking blogs like this?!! But since you're here, I guess you and your aunt will have to be rooting for the Oilers now that Buffalo has been eliminated, eh? (aw....)

Mackey: A text messaging spelling bee...grets idea! The only shortcut rule I know is that you use 8 a lot to replace the 'ate' sound. But I'll bet today's kids would do a lot better at that than regular words...esp. if they could use their cell phones during the competition!

DJB: I'm with you. I don't know how to spell 'text-messaging'. Oh wait, yes I do!

I was in a lot of spelling bees as a kid and in each and every single one of them I came in 2nd place. By choice. I sabotaged myself because I felt like I wasn't "good enough" to win. I was the best speller & the best at a lot of things, sometimes freakishly so (as long as nobody pointed it out). But--I believed that as a person...I was not good enough to be "best" at anything, much less "a winner" so I sabotaged myself on a regular basis. Parents are so important. What a shame it is when parents do not support their children & choose to undermine their confidence.

I'm not sure which is worse, parents pressuring their kids to win no matter what the cost or parents that teach their kids they cannot win no matter what the cost. I thought that video of the kid fainting at a spelling bee was so funny...till I found out it was real & not a joke. My daughter is on the Dean's list at her college. I am so glad to say she did not get there from being pressured or from being shamed into being "the best".

What's ironic is that I usd to win the school spelling bees, but cannot seem to make it through a blog or comment without making some sort of typo nowadays! I have lost too many brain cells...

Oliviah: The parent question is interesting. My parents pushed me into public speaking and spelling bee type activity, but wouldn't let me take part in any organized sport. They figured schools were for academic study, and kids didn't need adults organizing their playtime.

I was also taught that kids deferred to their parents wishes, 'cause "Father Knows Best'. I have regrets, but I don't hold it against my parents much (although, to be totally honest, I do some) because like I said in an earlier post, parenting doesn't come with handbooks.

Bummer that you had to sabotage yourself, though. I just always was expected to 'do better next time'.

Shane: you said 'usd'!! {grin!}

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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