Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dec 10th winners!

Congratulations to season winners Amy Goldstein (1st, pictured), Wilson Southerland (2nd, pictured), and Claudia Weinstock (3rd, was off celebrating by the time this photo was taken).

Amy took home the $200 grand prize, as well as prizes from Vinnie Vella's Pizza, Cheeks Bakery, Neighborhoodies and more. Also thanks to Starbucks, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Buffalo Exchange!

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Finals!

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee FINALS
Monday, December 10th

7:00 pm (NOTE THE TIME CHANGE - we are beginning one half-hour earlier to allow time for all the extra bells and whistles involved in the Finals)
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St.

IF YOU ARE A LUCKY WINNER FROM THIS SEASON'S BEES: Square off for big prizes in our twice-yearly Finals!

IF NOT, WE HAVE PLANNED ADDITIONAL NERDALICIOUS FUN: In between the rounds of our suspense-filled Finals, we will have fun mini-contests (some of them spelling-related, some of them trivia or math-related) open to all. Oh, and co-host bobbyblue and I will perform the Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song.


p.s. - The new season will begin Monday, January 7th. Mark your calendars!

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee: Nov. 27th, 2007

A new video from the last spelling bee. The Finals are coming up this December 10th!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't be a cunctator; come to the spelling bee

At a recent spelling bee, contestants were asked to spell words from Butt Rot and Bottom Gas: A Glossary of Tragically Misunderstood Words.

From the cover:
The English language is full of words that sound obscene but aren't. Terms like arsole (an organic chemical compound) and crack spread (a calculation showing theoretical market values of petroleum). Words like cunctator (a person who procrastinates, delays, or wastes time) and spotted dick (a traditional English dessert made with hot, thick custard).

Seventh-grade language arts teacher Eric Groves Sr. has spent years listening to his students giggle after he used words like thespian, coccyx, and masticate. Now he has compiled hundreds of these foul-sounding terms into a delightfully innocent dictionary, complete with illustrated definitions of their true meanings. From air cock (a valve on a boiler) and bushmaster (a large venomous snake) to cummingtonite (a mineral) and beyond, Butt Rot and Bottom Gas is a wonderful reference for word lovers and the snickering seventh grader in all of us.
I did, in fact, ask someone at the bee to spell cummingtonite. And she got it right! The "adult spelling bee" is finally ... "adult."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the long, obnoxious saga of Blogger making us sad

This blog, since 2005, has been located at and updated infrequently by me. A couple weeks ago, I go to post something and notice that the spelling blog is gone, and in its place is a one-post "blog" in Vietnamese.

I log into Blogger and am told that Blogger marked our blog as a "spam blog" and, what's more, suspected that I was not a real person. (Do scroll down over the original contents of this blog and see if it all looks like a veiled entreaty for you to purchase creams or potions for the enlargement of your member or mammaries).

I followed Blogger's process for launching an "investigation." Two weeks later, with no notice or explanation, our blog went back up at a new address,

To prevent further automated hijackings, I have now purchased, the new home for all future linguaphilic blogging.

Blogger may perform an obscene sex act upon the orifice or protuberance of a person of woeful spelling.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Next Up: August 6th and 20th

I (Jen) will be on tour for the next three weeks, but the bee goes on without me. Popular entertainer Laverne, who guest-hosted last time I was on tour, will return.

Monday, August 6th and 20th
7:30pm (arrive by 7:15 to sign up)
Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer St., Williamsburg (L train to Lorimer)
Free, open to all (21+)

Incidentally, I will be in Iraq, entertaining the troops. Don't these guys look ready to laugh?

Um ... perhaps I will tell my ANGRY JOKES.

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee is FAMOUS IN JAPAN

Click to enlarge

Tokyo Shimbun (which has a New York bureau) sent a reporter to see us about a month ago, and I conducted an interview with a Japanese reporter in the hall outside the bee.

And now, here we are ... famous in Japan! I am extending my arm in ... glory!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spelling Dates

May 14th and May 28th are the last two spelling bees (and thus the last two chances to qualify for the finals) before the finals take place on June 11th.

All spelling bees start at 7:30 on alternate Mondays; arrive 10-20 minutes early to sign up. The bee is free and open to everyone (21+).

After the June 11th finals, a new season will begin in July. Here are the dates for the rest of 2007:

July 9, 23
August 6, 20
Sept 3, 17
Oct 1, 15, 29
Nov 12, 26

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Brooklyn is Better Than Yours

We're in the April 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine, which is much sexier than it sounds.

Update: Come to the Williamsburg Spelling Bee on April 2, 16th, or 30th. Signup at 7, bee at 7:30. Free and open to all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

spell "letters of marque and reprisal" lest we put ye in the stocks!

I thought you might enjoy this snippet from a comedy interview I did in my hometown of Virginia Beach. The writer asked me about the Williamsburg Spelling Bee, and I felt the need to explain the difference between Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg, Virginia:
Q . The Williamsburg Spelling Bee - how did you come up with that?

A . Ah, the spelling bee! Everyone loves the spelling bee! First off, I feel I should explain that "Williamsburg" is the area of Brooklyn where everyone is 25 and moved there after college to express themselves and has an expensive rock-star haircut although they are squatting in an abandoned sugar factory and believe paying rent is a form of capitalist oppression. Are we clear on that? There are no cornered hats whatsoever, or cannons or glass-blowing.
No offense intended to anyone with an awesome haircut and a marginal living situation ;)

(Incidentally, I was really confused when I was first moving to New York and found a bunch of Craigslist apartment ads for places in "Williamsburg," although, in true colonial style, many of those apartments do in fact lack modern fixtures and plumbing).

And, the update: come to the Williamsburg Spelling Bee on April 2, 16th, or 30th. Signup at 7, bee at 7:30. Free and open to all.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Review on NewYorkCool

Here is a review of our last spelling bee in, by John Proctor.

I especially like that the hijinks of our drunkest patrons are recorded for posterity. I also enjoyed this:
Bobbyblue is a musician who, with his sweater vest, brakeman’s cap, work boots, metallic silver belt, and black Hulk Hogan moustache, looks like a combination of David from the Village People and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick ... Throughout the contest, Bobbyblue and Jenisfamous showed both a love of words and a sweetly sardonic chemistry with each other and the audience, truly the perfect fit for a drinking spelling bee.


Check out the definition for "The Bee"!

p.s. - The next bee is Monday, February 5th! Signup 7pm, bee at 7:30, as always. Open to all.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

January 8th Season Opener for Leukemia Research

The 2008 season opener of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee will, for the first time, be conducted as a fundraiser for leukemia research.
Leukemia fundraiser Jennifer Smalheiser, working with Pete's Candy Store and spelling bee organizers bobbyblue and Jennifer Dziura, will be collecting a minimum donation of $20 for the Leukemia Bee from all participants and spectators. For each $20 donation, one raffle ticket will be given out. All donations are 100% tax deductible and will be donated directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Many sponsors have stepped in with prizes to support the event. Winners of the spelling bee will receive Broadway tickets to LesMiserables, Phantom of the Opera and A Chorus Line. Anyone who donates -- regardless of spelling prowess -- will be eligible for raffle prizes including a membership to New York Sports Club, gift baskets and gift certificates from local stores, and a bar tab from Pete's Candy Store.
Each year, more than 110,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of blood cancer. Over the years, leukemia research has proven to be a window for hope for children - raising the child survival rate for leukemia from 4% in 1960 to over 85% today.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services. The Society's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, while improving the quality of life of patients and their families.