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Posted on Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Dave!This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.

I just don't get the massive excitement over the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Heck, I don't understand the excitement over any spelling bee. Because, when you think about it, the fact that the English language is so f#@%ed up that they can build contests around how to spell words is kind of embarrassing. You would think any language worth its salt would have words you could spell just by hearing somebody pronounce them. The fact that you can't do so with English leads me to think that something is broken.

And, as if the embarrassment wasn't bad enough, I find spelling bees incredibly boring and artificially dramatic.

Take for instance the mind-numbing routine that contestants go through for even the simplest of words...

ANNOUNCER: Your word is "cat."
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word please?
CONTESTANT: Can you use it in a sentence?
ANNOUNCER: Mrs. brown liked to stroke her pet cat.
CONTESTANT: What is the origin of the word?
ANNOUNCER: It's Middle English derived from Old English and Germanic languages.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word again?
CONTESTANT: Are there any alternate pronunciations for the word?
CONTESTANT: May I have the definition?
ANNOUNCER: A small carnivorous mammal which has been domesticated since early times.
CONTESTANT: That's pronounced "cat?"
CONTESTANT: May I have the extended definition?
ANNOUNCER: Any of the various mammals of the family Felidae, including lions and tigers.
CONTESTANT: Can I hear it in a sentence again?
ANNOUNCER: Mrs. brown liked to stroke her pet cat.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word?
CONTESTANT: What part of speech is that?
ANNOUNCER: It's a noun.
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word one more time?
ANNOUNCER: =DING!= I'm sorry, that's incorrect.

In contrast to that bullshit, here would be the Dave National Spelling Bee...

DAVE: Your word is "cat."
CONTESTANT: Can you repeat the word please?
DAVE: WHAT?!? It's cat! Your word is f#@%ing CAT! You are in a national spelling bee and can't spell cat?!?
CONTESTANT: Can you use it in a sentence?
DAVE: Get the f#@% off my stage, bitch!

Now I would absolutely tune in to watch that shit... but to watch the ESPN coverage of Scripps would make me lose my mind. Because, seriously, now that all the computers have spell-check, what's the point? And it's not like anybody uses even a fraction of the words they make you spell anyway. Trapanasomiasis? Cephalalgia? Appoggiatura? Are you serious?

How about they start having a GRAMMAR competition? Watching somebody who knows the difference between "their" and "they're"... now that's exciting.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Avitable says:

    You mean like the Simpsons’s Grammar Rodeo?

  2. Bec says:

    I ised to rock at spelling bees when I was a kid… then there was alcohol and now I’m lucky if I can remember how to spell anything!

    And don’t get me started on there, their and they’re! Wars have been started over less!

  3. Brandi says:

    So did you make those words up or did you use spell check?

  4. shari says:

    Their’s a difference between “there” and “they’re”?? I wasn’t awear.

  5. Lara says:

    as an english teacher, i would LOVE to see a national grammar competition. i’m sick of reading signs at restaurants saying “side dish you’re choice.” argh. 🙁

  6. adena says:


    Yesterday’s post….and now a pre-recorded one?

    Adena’s worried about Dave….

  7. Chase says:

    And also punctuation bees.

    People who, put comma’s and, apostrophe’s in random, place’s really, annoy the hell, out of me!

  8. nancycle says:

    I would also tune it to a full day of that kind of programming.

  9. Hilly says:

    Can you please use cat in a sentence?
    Yes, you are going to need a CAT scan after I beat your stupid ass to death for asking so many questions…now spell!

  10. Suzy says:

    YAY, a grammar contest. I’d vote for that. But I have to disgree on the spelling bee deal. When I was about 8 I started hearing words I didn’t know and would ask my parents what they meant and they’d say “look it up.” And then I’d say, ‘Well if I can’t spell it, how can I look it up?” Then they would laugh because they were obviously Nazis.

    So I started to do that and then I became obsessed with words. Instead of doing my homework I would sit in my room and read the dictionary. Years later, when I became a standup, I ran into comics who did the same thing growing up. They became obsessed with words because words are our stock in trade.

    I’ll also slice your ass off at any crossword puzzle in the world. And seriously, would you look good with a sliced-off ass? Didn’t think so.

  11. tori says:

    Maybe my son’s teacher could go on the grammar show. She would lose for sure. She sends home note after note with bad grammar and I try to be polite and I never say anything but it worries me that she is teaching my son. I understand that sometimes people get in a hurry and I have made mistakes myself because I am tired or whatever, but on a note sent home to the entire class I would make sure I checked it over pretty well. If there was a competition for run on sentences and comma misuse, I would lose/win depending on what you are trying to do. I am notorius for adding random commas and also the run ons. Just check out this entire comment for proof of that!

  12. Jill says:

    Ok, there was no entry for July 31, 2003 in the archives and the next July 31 that falls on a Thursday isn’t until 2008… So this is a super-far-in-advance-prerecorded entry? Or did I miss something here?

    On the topic of spelling bees, I agree that they are boring. On the other hand, there are an awful lot of people who can’t spell, which can drive me nuts sometimes – so it’s kind of good to have a competition that encourages people to spell correctly…

  13. Pauly D says:

    Man, I had to turn that spelling bee off — I mean, I get these kids are so tuned into roots of words and geographical origins and so they keep asking questions over and over again…

    But it’s a little insane if you ask me.

    I like watching car accidents on YouTube instead.

  14. yellojkt says:

    You’re right about the pace of a spelling bee. They make Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? look like a lightning round of Jeopardy!.

  15. Bre says:

    Spelling bees are the worst thing ever to televise!

  16. Laurence says:

    I make so many mistakes… I can’t laugh ! (But I’m laughing nevertheless !) 😉

  17. karla says:

    Hey Dave, whatever’s going on with you, keep your chin up and know we are all out there rootin’ for you….

  18. tobi says:

    haha, we just had a spelling bee at my company (an English school in Taiwan) it was pretty well the most horrifying experience for my kids (well, my students) Although we didn’t have crazy random words, just a book of 2000 random words the kids had to learn in a matter of a month or so. That’s pretty intense.

    I agree, go with the grammar, it is so needed more…especially after reading message boards around this place called the internet.

  19. Mrs RW says:

    Cephalalgia: Definition: common term: headache. What one gets when looking at the official Spelling Bee word list.

    I love being able to spell hard words. It gives you a feeling of superiority over those dweebs who can’t spell their own names. Poor spelling is just an excuse for slipshod habits, more probably, typos (typographical errors). No wonder they shortened it to “typos”.

  20. DaisyJo says:

    I was considering getting a pet cat, but now I think I’m going to get a khaat instead.

  21. bogup says:

    Make sure you don’t feed it too much or it will become a phaat khaat.


  22. Karl says:

    Spelling bees. Bingo. What are we going to televise next? Pencil sharpening contests?

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