liveblogging the 2007 scripps national spelling bee

serrefine for Evan and he freaking rocks it!

"you are correct. you are the champion." deadpans the announcer. i am going to start saying that to everyone i know. GO TEAM EVAN!!!

The interviewer asks Evan why he didn't like the spelling bee. "Well, my favorite things to do are math and music, and with the math I really like the way that the numbers fit together, with the music I like to let out ideas by composing notes. And the spelling? It's just a bunch of memorization."

I love this kid, I really do. Evan, if you're ever in New York, look me up. I'll make you some spaghetti and we'll watch Jumanji together. We can ride the E-train together.

coryza for canadian haircut. 1) he says "zed" instead of "zee." 2) the definition involves the phrase "involving the upper respiratory tract" and now i will have guys and dolls stuck in my head forever. 3) he spells it wrong, and e-train has victory in sight!

e-train gets "yosenabe," which is a type of japanese soup. and he gets it right. "no joke here, Robin, menus are some of the best places to pick up spelling words." Thanks, announcer.

we're back and i am about to flip the fuck out. the spelling be has preempted Grey's Anatomy. that is how amazing this is.

canadian haircut. i suppose i should mention his real name in case he self-googles, it is: nate gartke. he gets his word right. i forget what it is. commercial. god there are a lot of commercials now that we're at the championship level. this is prime commercial time, though. this is the freaking superbowl of nerds.

E-train. pappardelle is both his word AND the kind of pasta i ate my goat butter over. this has GOT to be a sign from god. he gets it right.

canadian haircut apparently "metaphorically picks the wings off the butterflies in his stomach" and that is just impossibly creepy.

vituline is his word. it's about veal, which seems appropriate given his cruelty towards butterflies. he looks distraught. he gets it right. commercial.

evan o'dorney is up. zoolus is my guess for how this is spelled. "zoilus" is the correct way, and evan proves he is smarter than me. exhale.

the championship is about to start and i have to go to the bathroom and i'm sort of seriously considering not peeing in order to watch this.

evan o'dorney is hugging his mom.

metaliveblogging alert! my boyfriend (the real one, not the spelling bee contestant who might not look like him) informs me via e-mail that he spells it "Tzipporah." i take this as further proof that the spelling bee is leeching away my jewishness.

it's down to two: evan o'dorney vs. canadian haircut. commercial!

isabel has to spell cyanophycean, which is a type of alga. that's alga, singular, not algae, plural. she really knows her greek etymologies.

sadness. she spells it wrong. ding! the bell is mean. it's the meanest thing.

facial hair is back. he has clark kent hair. on his head, i mean. aww, he's out.

stand-up comic loses on "anaseikonia." he crosses himself and it is SO CUTE. i would like to note that this spelling bee is making me love my country and want to love jesus. and i am in awe of its power.

i wish blogger had a "more after the jump!" function, because this is the longest post ever. also: the music in these commercials is by and large quite delightful.

the canadian kid gets a french word. isn't this a bit unfair? he could be un quebecois for all we know. suddenly i am feeling really patriotic. also he has a really canadian haircut. if you saw him, you'd know exactly what i mean.

TEAM EVAN O'DORNEY! he blows it out of the park.
"i think a lot of people are riding the E train - for Evan" says the announcer. seriously? i think a lot of people are riding the E train - for going to queens.

the one who doesn't actually look like my boyfriend has revealed that he wants to be a pastor of a church some day. i would totally convert to christianity if i got to have a spelling champion preach to me every sunday.

apparently earlier in the day the finalists all went to the white house and got to meet Laura Bush, who makes them spell government words. i would posit that it is unfair for her to ask preadolescents to spell words that her husband cannot spell. but far be it from me to reveal my political leanings.

my tivo informs me that Scrubs is starting in 60 seconds and i have to pick between the spelling bee and zach braff acting smug. no contest.

isabel is back. she is wearing tasteful eyeshadow. epaulement. maybe she looks a little like natalie portman? she got it right and i want her to be my best friend. "the weight of womankind!" says the female announcer. go feminism!

"not even that facial hair could conceal that smile." aww! the announcer made a puberty joke!

my roommates are all home now and they are also watching the bee, rapt. this makes me feel a little better about my life. also one of them is eating the leftover goat-butter pasta, thereby definitively disproving my earlier hypothesis.

i was wrong. the one who looks like my boyfriend doesn't actually look like my boyfriend. the moment i realize this, he gets his word wrong. the announcer: "those silent letters are always tricky." no, really?

connor spencer got really psyched because he thought he knew the word and it turns out he didn't. the word is "cachalot" and it means "sperm whale" and it's my new favorite swear word and poor connor got it wrong.

joseph henares, the stand-up comic, is back. i am bored by anyone who isn't evan or isabel. i've become so jaded.

OH MY GOD HE GOT IT!!!!! GO TEAM EVAN!!!! maybe i will make "team evan o'dorney" t-shirts.

evan's word is schuhplattler. the definition is:
"a bavarian courtship dance in which, before the couple dances together, the woman calmly does steps resembling those of a waltz, while the man dances around her, swinging his arms and slapping his thighs and the soles of his feet."

there's no way he can make it. i am really nervous.

AND evan o'dorney INVENTED A NEW WAY TO WRITE MUSIC USING NUMERALS. this kid is going to be the hottest stud at MIT and will be engaging in makeouts left and right even though he will be only 15 and prepubescent. you think i'm being sarcastic. i'm not.

evan o'dorney composes his own music and looks like a gerbil and said "i really like math." i really like evan o'dorney.

there is a commercial with a wedding where they are serving honey-nut cheerios. this is a BRILLIANT idea. it makes me want to get married solely so i can serve honey-nut cheerios to my extended family and old college friends.

isabel jacobson is not only going to be a smokin' hottie when she grows up, but additionally her favorite word is "kakocracy": government by the dumbest people possible and she has a nose that perfectly defines "aquiline" and she got her word right, making her the only girl left in the competition. i want to be her a little.

i had no idea how to spell this word until they showed it on the screen. it is pronounced "grow-nar." i have a new respect for this competition.

the contestants' placement in front of the national spelling bee logo makes them look like they are wearing a black-and-yellow striped hat.

of course i'm not. spelling bee --> homeschooling --> goats.

i wonder who else in the world is also watching this. i bet i'm the only one eating goat butter while doing it. oh my god, i bet i'm the only person ever who has eaten goat butter while watching the national spelling bee.

one of the judges is a priest! AND the kid who looks like my boyfriend got his word right! AND his mom has an almost two-dimensionally narrow face!

my favorite contestant so far, based on the fact that he vaguely looks like my boyfriend, is currently up. he gets an olympics-style background video. highlights:
- "the bell is a mean thing. it's the meanest thing there is"

- bewussteinssinslage is this kid's favorite word. it apparently means "a state of awareness."

- he's talking about how some words use W as a vowel. as a fiercely competitive scrabble player i could have told you about "cwm," foo.

connor spencer, 14 years old, is given "helzel." etymology? german to yiddish. he looks a bit like augustus gloop, and is endearing.
"can i have it in a sentence?"
"zipporah's recipe for the jewish delicacy 'helzel' calls for one large potato."
whoa, way to resucitate the obscure jewish name "zipporah"!

aww. she got pelorus wrong. at least she has a polo shirt.

"what's the etymology?"
"it's unknown"
i want to say sucks to be you right now but i feel really bad making fun of nerdy adolescents. it's like cannibalism.

goat butter tastes pretty much the same as regular butter.

what am i talking about? if i met a guy in a bar and he told me he had made it to the top 15 at the national spelling bee, i would entirely jump him.

oh wait, they're all wearing polo shirts. joseph has one fewer strike against his future layability.

i am ashamed that the only reason i know "cilice," kaavya's word, is that i read The Da Vinci Code. oh my god i did not just admit that on the internet.

vanya shivashankar, younger sister of contestant kaavya, is (a) ridiculously cute, and (b) has a russian boy's name.

did you know that they make goat-milk butter? i didn't, until i went to the grocery store today.

hey my pasta water is boiling.

claire zhang has an astonishingly deep voice.

joseph henares: "what's the etymology?"
judge person: "it's another word for bedbug."
joseph henares: "i like bedbug better"

the audience laughs uproariously. the voiceover announcer says: "if he doesn't win, he has a future as a stand-up comic." when joseph spells it right he gets so happy that he looks like he is actually going insane. i sort of love him.

some poor kid who just failed is being asked to explain why he got his word wrong. he is about to burst into tears in the face of the interviewer and it is like, dude, this is a polo-shirt-wearing glasses-wearing spelling bee champion and you are about to make him cry on television. it is evident that the interviewer is deeply interested in this boy never having sex ever in his life.

apparently the disney channel has its own olympics.

the official sponsor of the bee is Saturn. i fail to see the connection. maybe Saturn has inside knowledge and knows that the "we really value orthography" demographic overlaps with the "we really like unremarkable but pretty decent cars" demo.

he got it right!

actual announcer quote: "that second pronunciation might give him a clue. that second syllable there is a helpful one."

oh my god the current contestent is the cutest little chubby asian thing in the world and he has no idea how to spell this word.

hey look, the spelling bee is on tv!


Jess said...

"of course i'm not. spelling bee --> homeschooling --> goats."

What are the odds that you're making this association solely because of Rae?

helen said...

extremely high, jess.

Historia said...

"the canadian kid gets a french word. isn't this a bit unfair? he could be un quebecois for all we know. suddenly i am feeling really patriotic. also he has a really canadian haircut. if you saw him, you'd know exactly what i mean."

If you were watching the spelling bee as closely as you claim, you would have seen that Nate (or Canadian haircut - as you so cruelly call him) was from ALBERTA. Which is not a french speaking province.

And yes we Canadians all say ZED - not that stupid ZEE which sounds like a buzzing BEEEEE.

A Canadian was better than 278 of your supposedly smartest americans.

Historia from CANADA

Marcin said...

Why is this post upside-down?

ljd said...

Did I ever tell you I met a guy named Twm in Cardiff?

-former maryland independent schools spelling champ ljd

Anonymous said...

irony is spelled l-e-a-c-h-i-n-g

-j. said...

Please to explain "Canadian haircut". Did the kid have a mullet? Because if so that totally doesn't go with a polo shirt.

Also, were there two different Evans? You reference an O'Dorney and and O'Connell. If so, the sons of K-I-L-L-A-R-N-E-Y ought to be celebrating in force.

helen said...

no, sweetie. irony is spelled "bloodsucking worm that sucks out blood, much as my jewishness is being sucked out."

ding! the bell is mean.

helen said...

j, error corrected. not sure where the o'connell came from.

canadian haircut's haircut was not quite a mullet, not quite a bowl cut. he was (is) a cute kid.

meredith said...

helen, dear, this is comedic gold. thank you for being the wittiest person I know.

Leila said...

I schuhplattlered your mom last night. Aren't you impressed that I came out of bloglines solely to make that very witty and urbane remark>

helen said...

leila, were you the calm-waltz-dancer or the thigh-and-foot-slapper?

Drew said...

Holy crap, I find myself angry that I didn't watch the damn spelling bee. I just image searched the contestants and am not embarrassed in the least. E-Train is totes amazing.


Captain Smack said...


I just Googled "bewussteinssinslage", and only one result came up, which was your post.

Isabel said...

okay, I don't feel so bad about thinking "I want to be Isabel Jacobson" now. or thinking she was hot.

(this comment looks really weird because my name is also Isabel. I came here from languagehat.)

Mace said...

Sadly, all I got to see of this was the unfortunate picture of Evan slow dancing with his mother. I know that's not really what's going on, but seriously, he looks like he's going for the ass.

Anonymous said...

u guys r gay ok who really cares about this? if u're not in it why do u watch it i'm good at spelling but i dont care about it Gay

Anonymous said...

seriously, he looks like he's going for the ass? once again guys r gay. what were u thinking mace STUPIDOS STUPIDOS

lysenkoism said...

best blog ever!

make one this year too.....