Friday, February 27, 2009

Replay of Bee Play

Dover Cable is showing prior Bees on Channel 8. First one is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, at 8 p.m., followed by Wednesday March 4th at 9 p.m. Here is a link to their schedule:

Channel 8 has been a terrific partner to the Bee since its inception. They do a beautiful job taping and editing and broadcasting (and, clearly, REbroadcasting) our event. Everyone looks good on Channel 8! Next time you talk to any of their group, please remember to tell them how much you enjoy watching the Bee on TV!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Bee Word gifts

Our Library is fortunate to have so many admirers and supporters, both in Dover and in the slightly wider world. The Bee sale will sport some new and valuable offerings, including an autographed poster of Javier Lopez from the Red Sox, tickets to the Wheelock Family Theatre's production of Charlotte's Web, and passes to Storyland, Davis's Farmland and Santa's Village. Whether you patronize these businesses on your own or as the lucky winner of one of these Bee prizes, do please remember to thank these businesses for supporting your Library. Their generosity will translate into tangible benefits for our Library and community.

Friday, February 20, 2009

For another kind of Bee: the 100 Funniest Words in English

I have long suspected that Google is mining my subconscious for cheap laughs and/or profit. This morning I logged into my gmailbox and noticed that the banner over it advertised the 100 Funniest Words in English. Of course I had to check this out, and clicking through brought me who knows how many cookies on the hard drive AND a link to the alphaDictionary. Here is the link to an advertisement for the book, written by Robert Beard (aka Dr. Goodword):

You will be pleased to see that Dover Bee spellers should be familiar with a good many of these words: mugwump, mumpsimus, furbelow and kerfuffle are all Bee words from past or present. You might also recognize vomitory from vomitorium, and pettifogger from pettifoggery, as well as logorrhea. This year we also feature callipygian and tatterdemalion. The two I wish I had seen earlier are formication and allegator: what candidates for the Shirley, you jest category!

Well, there's always next year, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unwind after the Bee

We are delighted to offer a donated gift certificate for a massage Nicholas Christie's Day Spa in Medfield. Here is the link: Take a look at all the great services they offer! What a wonderful way to unwind after the Bee. The Nicholas Christie website tells us this about their massage services:

The benefits of massage therapy are numerous. Since ancient times the power of touch has helped alleviate pain from aching body parts, encouraged muscle recovery from fatigue, helped injured muscles heal and promote relaxation.
When you receive a massage, your circulation is improved, and metabolic waste is removed from your muscles more efficiently. Your flexibility will increase, and many people report other important benefits such as better sleep, clearer thinking, and increased feelings of well-being.

Now, don't you want to go try that? Actually, if the part about clearer thinking is true, you might want to go get a massage BEFORE the Bee!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the Eyes have it

It is widely-known that there is not a big commercial base here in Dover. Less-known, however, is the enthusiasm with which Dover businesses support this community.

One of our long-standing local businesses is Dover Eyes. Linda Wirth has been a generous supporter of the community in a variety of ways (ask her about the fall triathlon!), and her husband Len Schnabel donates his time and talent to the Dover Foundation. Dover Eyes has fielded a team at the Bee in the past, and it was in fact a member of their team who proposed the excellent idea of offering a Mulligan to players. This year, they couldn't play in the Bee but sent a donation instead. We are grateful for their support and are sorry to miss them on stage!

If you visit Dover Eyes, please remember to thank Linda for her generosity to the Bee and to our Library.

channel your inner e.e.cummings for the bee

Sue Sheridan has pointed out that a few of the words in the published word list begin with capitals: for example, "Pajamas" and "Sesquipedal". Should Bee contestants study these capitalizations as part of the word spellings?

Fear not! The capitals in the word list were small failures in my ongoing battle with Microsoft Word (which thinks that any word at the beginning of a line or paragraph ought to be capitalized, so I had to go back in by hand and put them into lower-case)--some days I can't get Word to speak English, some days it won't listen to my capitalization rules.... It is not easy, doing these words for you Bee Spellers. I won't even go into how many of the more difficult words trip up SpellCheck....

Anyway, software gripes aside, know this: NOBODY WILL BE PENALIZED AT THE BEE FOR SPELLING WITHOUT PROPER CAPITALIZATION. Trust me, your handwriting is already hard enough for the judges to read. Plus, this is a spelling bee, not a grammar bee! Just spell the word correctly; that will suffice.

Wishing you a productive and enjoyable week with the words,

Friday, February 13, 2009

There's another Dover Bee!

Lest we become complacent thinking we are the only game in town, check out the Bee in West Dover, Vermont:

Looks like the people up there dress creatively for their Bee, too! And I imagine that owning that Bee confers some pretty impressive bragging rights as well. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Words are at the Library

...for spellers whose teams are paid in full.

A special thank-you to FedEx Office, formerly Kinko's, in Needham. These folks never look idle, but they're never too busy to help you, either. They did a flawless job of printing and assembling and stapling the word files from an e-mail--they made it so easy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The Bee has received a very generous donation from the highly-acclaimed Mario Russo Salons. Whoever purchases the lucky Bee Tree word will receive a gift card for one cut & blow dry and a spa manicure. Check out their website at They have locations in Boston and in Stowe.

Somebody you know (maybe you!) would love this gift. Bring your checkbook to the Bee Tree on March 26th and watch this blog for clues to the words associated with our terrific list of donations. And when you visit Mario Russo, please remember to thank them for their generosity to your favorite Library.

About the words:

The words are at the printer's. Here are some highlights of the list, and a summary of how we put the word list together:

It is an ongoing and humbling challenge to compile a list of words that will prove entertaining, thought-provoking and pleasantly difficult for the variety of teams participating in the Bee, and stimulating and accessible for the Bee’s wider audience. People enter the Bee for diverse reasons: some are drawn to the challenge of the word list, some—like elected officials, and members of our town boards--play to support the Library, some—like neighborhood teams or school-related teams--play to highlight their team’s connection to the Dover community and its Library. All of these reasons are terrific, but they do suggest different approaches to the words we choose for the competition. We have to accommodate the diversity of our players in a way that respects their reasons for playing. In an attempt to achieve this goal, we do the following:

1) We give players the words in advance
2) We break the words down into categories, so that spellers can prepare using the strengths of their individual members
3) We allow Mulligans—everybody needs the occasional Mulligan!

When we first began the Bee, it was possible to buy prepared word lists from the Scripps Company—they are the folks who sponsor the National Spelling Bee. Over the years, Scripps has changed its focus to partner with local sponsors, and no longer sells copies of their Paideia (or word list): their approach is no longer a “fit” with our fundraiser. For the past 3 years, we have prepared our own list. We cull the words from a variety of sources, including prior years’ lists, word websites and e-mail lists, and the occasional suggestion from those around us (my kids especially have been sources of inspiration).

In organizing the words into categories this year, the phrase “Back to Basics” has been foremost in my mind. We’re at a point in our collective economic life where most of us are being forced to reconsider our priorities, and focus on what is really important to us. I found myself reaching back into the worlds of tradition, myth and legend for the categories of “Noah’s Ark” (words about animals, travel, weather and geography), “Pandora’s Box” (illnesses and misery, physical and social; with a sprinkling of hope and beauty), and “Babble-On” (words about language, words about building, words concerning the cultural and spiritual worlds). The stories that these categories refer to are part of the fabric of our common culture, and their stories, after millennia, remain relevant and compelling. Similarly, the Spellers’ and Sponsors’ support of the Library affirms the idea of Back to Basics: these folks have chosen to support a basic, local institution—one which is understood to be essential by its loyal patrons but which risks dismissal as expendable in an economy that cries out for widespread cutbacks and layoffs.

The category “It’s Alimentary, my dear Watson” sprang from the amazement I feel when I read food and medicine ingredient labels. It’s astonishing to see what prepared food contains, and disturbing to think how little of it bears resemblance to the product it is supposed to be. The “Alimentary” category is just another way of looking back to basics.

“Shirley, you jest!” is a small category of tricky and fun words: the Mondegreens, the puns, homonyms, the words that look like they ought to mean something other than what they mean. After a year of thinking about this word list, some of the funny bits stand out in my mind. I hope you will enjoy them.

Thank you for supporting the Library, and for playing in the Bee. All of us on the Bee Committee wish you a wonderful time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Word of the Day is: BEE

bee, noun
the first definition in the dictionary is the insect, then we get to the good stuff:

help given by neighbors toward the accomplishment of a particular task; a social gathering of people to accomplish cooperatively a specific purpose (possibly related to Middle English bene boon, prayer)

And there you have it, from Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Our Bee will gather friends and neighbors to accomplish the important task of helping to fund our town library. Bee there on March 26th to help us along.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Bee Tree is already bearing fruit

Those of you who came to the Bee last year will remember the popular Bee Tree. Designed by Jane Bleakley and run by Friends President Lorie Linnell, the tree featured gifts and gift cards donated to the Friends, disguised as "Bee Words". Shoppers purchased words from the tree, which were connected in some way to the gift they concealed (for example, a gift card for Not Your Average Joe's was sold under the name "superlative" or "exceptional" or something like that). The gifts were donated, so the Library netted 100% of the proceeds.

This year, we have even more interesting offerings for the Tree. Super-Friend of the Library Judy Schulz has already procured ticket donations from the Pawtucket Red Sox and Boston's Duck Tours. I think the word for the Duck Tours ought to be "amphibious". Any suggestions for the PawSox?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009