Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cultural misunderstanding?

I love receiving the Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Day. This entry came in on December 23rd, and I am hoping--HOPING--that it was a sly joke.  Check it out (their text is in italics):

Your word for today is: putz, n./1



putz, n.1


Pronunciation: Brit. /pʊts/, U.S. /pʊts/


Forms: also with capital initial.


Etymology: < Pennsylvania German putz (German Putz decoration, ornament (late 16th cent.; now archaic in this sense) < putzen to decorate, to clean (15th cent.), of uncertain origin: perhaps related to classical Latin putāre to cleanse, to prune: see putation n.).


U.S. regional.

An ornamental display representing the Nativity scene, traditionally placed under a Christmas tree.


Originally a Pennsylvania German tradition.


1885 Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Daily Northwestern 26 Jan. 2/5The children disperse to their homes where Santa Claus has been busy giving finishing touches to the ‘Putz’.


1902 N.Y. Times Mag. 14 Dec. 15/2Only the chosen few can afford to have a really impressive ‘putz’ which fills half a room, and represents a landscape in miniature.‥ This more elaborate ‘putz’ requires not only money for its erection, but artistic handiwork.


1926 Ladies' Home Jrnl. Dec. 82/2The putz is simply the pictured story of the Nativity, built near or at the base of the Christmas tree.

1963 K. H. Seibel Joyful Christmas Craft Bk. iii. 60 (caption)A putz like this with tiny figures of the Holy Family in the Nativity scene is made with a variety of other figures, too.


2001 Frederick (Maryland) Post 8 Dec. b8/5The main components of a Putz are Nativity figurines and much imagination.
 
Where I grew up, putz had a very different meaning. Does anyone else remember the movie The Sunshine Boys (1975), with Walter Matthau and George Burns?  It may have been the first PG movie I ever saw, and that rating might have been due to the refrain "You're a putz".  I'm pretty sure they were not talking about nativity scenes, although if you read the 1902 definition above, it could come pretty close.
 
Checking in with Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish confirms my suspicions about the widespread acceptance of the more popular meaning of the word putz.  Rosten tells us that it is not a nice word; he suggests shmuck as a gentler version of the same concept.
 
Lest you think that the disparity in definitions is simply a matter of time (1902 versus the present), take a look at the Christmas Village depicted here:  it goes beyond the traditional Nativity scene.  Check the current Encarta entry for the term, and you are directed to a language advisory.  It would seem that both terms stem from the German word for finery or ornament--but the Yiddish derivitave is ironic, and the Nativity derivative is literal.
 
I'm surprised that the OED did not include any of the Yiddish-derived definitions of the word, especially since they are careful to attribute the word to American usage.  Just imagining the confusing conversation using this word that might take place between two native speakers of American English is enough to make anyone laugh--so, whether you celebrate it or not, I hope this entry gives you a Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A nose by any other name?

It's always a good day when I find a word that sounds like it should be easy to spell...but isn't. Or a word that seems to mean something that it does not, in fact, mean. 

Today is a really good day: check out Ben Zimmer's NY Times article On Language, where he discusses the misuse of the word "we" (as in "we are not amused").

The technical term for the mis-use of "we" is nosism, ably pronounced and defined by A.Word.A.Day on the hyperlink.  The word comes from the Latin nos, or "we".

But don't you think that nosism should have something to do with noses?  The study of noses, perhaps? That would be rhinology.  Or a nosy person?  There are many terms for that, but here's a G-rated example: busybody.

We (that's the Bee team) will be tucking nosism away in the word file, with other gems like piesporter and kickshaw.  Perhaps the next Bee will feature a word category devoted to words with tricky definitions.  All we need now is a tricky title...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spell-check doesn't catch everything

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning:  the message on an electronic bulletin board in Indiana might have made it through spell-check, but I'm hoping it was an error anyway.  Spelling counts, folks!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's (or "heah's") a really good word: rhotic

Not to be a snob, but it isn't often that the Boston Globe uses words that are unfamiliar to me. This morning, however, Ty Burr's review of Ben Affleck's movie "The Town" sent me running for the dictionary.

Burr refers to Hollywood actors struggling with "non-rhotic speech patterns".

Shucks, I didn't even know what "rhotic" was, let alone "non". Burr does leave us a good hint; you will have to check out his review yourself (click on the link above, or look in the real paper on page 16G).
So: rhotic. Thanks to the Wordnik app on my phone, I was able to define it in seconds (and without paper cuts, for a change):

Of an English accent, pronouncing the letter r wherever it appears, as in bar (/bɑːr/) and bard or barred (/bɑːrd/); this trait is common in much of the United States, Canada, many parts of the north and west of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Non-rhotic then means omitting the "r" in speech. Fabulous. Or should I say "mahvelous".

I hope the movie is as good as the review.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh, just you wait!!

Amelia Slawsby mailed me this link to the Huffington Post's coverage of  some of the longest words in English.  Read 'em and weep! Weep for joy, that is, that most of them never crossed our mind as we composed prior years' word lists.

Next time is a new time...and you can count on seeing some more of these, even if only for comic relief. I may have to retire hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian, now that Greg Kahoun caught me spelling it wrong in last year's list...but we still have 10 others.

Click on the Huffington Post link and enjoy their clever photographs and concise definitions. I notice there are no pronunciation guides. Hmmm.

Thanks, Amelia, for the fun read!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's nice to see that Dover is not spellbound alone

Check out this NY Times article about spelling fun in Williamsburg.
I like their words! Look for them on our next list...
And perhaps the beer helps.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How's this for a word? Piesporter

Before you read the definition and pronunciation, try to imagine what you think "piesporter" might mean. 

The word caught my eye in my inbox: I subscribe to the OED Word of the Day and this was yesterday's word. 

At first, I thought it might be someone who carried pies around ("pies porter"), or maybe someone who threw pies in some obscure sports competetion ( "pie sporting"--like the javelin throw, but tastier).  Then again, the "pies" part might have had something to do with "piety", which raised the question of whether a "piesporter" was some kind of cleric, or someone who carried sacred relics.

But look!  It's wine!  I like the citation about "piesporter, coffee and mints": it sounds like it could be a dessert wine or a breakfast beverage, depending on your frame of mind.

We'll see if it makes the next Bee list....

The OED e-mail is printed below, italics mine. You can subscribe to their Word a Day service at wotd@oed.com. Send them a message saying "subscribe" and watch your inbox fill with interesting words.

Piesporter, n.DRAFT ENTRY Mar. 2009







Brit. /pizpt/, /pispt/, U.S. /pizprdr/, /pisprdr/ [< German Piesporter < Piesport, the name of a village on the Mosel River in western Germany where this kind of wine is produced + -er -ER suffix1.]


1. A white Moselle wine originally produced in Piesport, a village in western Germany; (now more generally) a white wine produced in the area around Piesport.


[1851 in C. Redding Hist. Mod Wines (ed. 3) viii. 230 The best vineyards..are those of the old Schloss (Castle), the Brauneberger, Pisporter, Graacher, Wehlener, [etc.].] 1867 F. S. COZZENS Sayings of Dr. Bushwacker xxii. 165 To pass..from Claret, Burgundy and Champagne..to..Rüdesheimer, and even Piesporter, without a groan. 1902 Hatch, Mansfield Price List Oct. 21 Piesporter, elegant, with refined flavour. 1935 H. R. RUDD Hocks & Moselles xi. 143 When I had got into his cellars I found he had some really good things to show, Piesporter, of all varieties, and well made, too. 1991 Purchasing & Supply Managem. Apr. 40/1 Copious quantities of Piesporter, coffee and mints.


2. With various modifying words denoting the specific vineyard or area of production; esp. in Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Piesporter Michelsberg.


1937 Times 10 Sept. 1/6 Among a number of Hocks and Moselles listed in their wine list are 1929 Liebfraumilch..and Piesporter Michelsberg. 1985 Chicago Tribune (Nexis) 14 Nov. (Food Guide Section) 5 A 1983 Piesporter Goldtropfchen riesling auslese..is about $12 a bottle. But a 1983 Piesporter Treppchen..riesling auslese..is $7 a bottle. 1986 Listener 20 Feb. 13/3 If Piesporter Goldtröpfchen tasted like Brobat it would still command a premium in restaurants; in England, the best-selling German wine is Piesporter Michelsberg. 1998 Decanter Jan. 5/2 The fault..is caused by Riesling being associated in the public's mind with..virtually generic names such as Piesporter Michelsberg (often Müler-Thurgau).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hive--what a word!

I subscribe to the OED word of the day e-mail, and I really enjoy it.
Today's word is HIVE, and just look how old a word it is!  The first citation that passes the OED's stringent standards is for the year 725.
This is an old, essential word in our language. I've copied the e-mail below, hopefully with sufficient attribution. 
Enjoy!  And consider subscribing to the OED word of the day.

hive, n.SECOND EDITION 1989







(hav) Forms: 1 hýf, 2- hive, (4 huive, 4-7 hyve, heve, 5 hyfe). [OE. hýf:OTeut. type *hûfi-z; not preserved elsewhere in Teutonic; prob. related to ON. húfr hull of a ship, and to L. cpa tub, cask. The form hve is Kentish.]


1. An artificial receptacle for the habitation of a swarm of bees; a beehive.


Originally made, in a conical or dome-like form, of straw or the like, but now often a square box, constructed with movable compartments or other arrangements for the removal of the honey.


c725 Corpus Gloss. 133 Alvearia, hyfi. c1000 ÆLFRIC Gloss. in Wr-Wülcker 123/16 Canistrum, uel aluearium, hyf. c1000 Sax. Leechd. I. 98 Wi æt beon æt ne fleon, enim as ylcan wyrte..and ehoh hy to ære hyfe. a1132 O.E. Chron. an. 1127 He wunede eall riht swa drane do on hiue. 13.. Sir Beues (A.) 1408 So faste hii gonne aboute him scheue Ase don ben aboute e heue. c1325 Gloss. W. de Biblesw. in Wright Voc. 172 Rusche, hyve [Cambr. MS. huive]. c1440 Jacob's Well (E.E.T.S.) 142 e bere delyteth myche in hony, and er-fore he goth to an heve, to a swarm of been, & lycketh awey here hony. c1460 Towneley Myst. (Surtees) 286 Honey takyn of a hyfe. 1577 B. GOOGE Heresbach's Husb. IV. (1586) 179 Some make their Hives of Lanterne horne, or Glasse..that they may viewe the maner of their working. 1605 CAMDEN Rem., Poems 7 Out of the heues came swarmes of Bees. 1741 Compl. Fam. Piece III. 515 Any sort of Hive, whether of Straw, Board, or Glass. 1881 T. W. COWAN Brit. Bee-kpr.'s Guide Bk. ix. (1889) 46 No hive can be considered complete unless it has some arrangement for securing pure honey in the comb.


2. fig. A storehouse of sweet things.


1633 G. HERBERT Temple, Home iv, Must he leave that nest, That hive of sweetnesse. 1670 Devout Commun. (1688) 143 Whose bosom is the hive and centre of all goodness. 1798 S. ROGERS Ep. to a Friend 14 London hails thee to its splendid mart, Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art.


3. transf. a. A place swarming with busy occupants.


1634 S. R. Noble Soldier V. iii. in Bullen O. Pl. I. 333 Religious houses are those hyves where Bees Make honey for mens soules. 1647 COWLEY Mistr., Wish i, The Crowd, and Buz, and Murmurings Of this great Hive, the City. 1784 COWPER Tiroc. 458 Our public hives of puerile resort. 1849 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. ii. I. 200 A busy and populous hive, in which new wealth was every day created. 1863 P. BARRY Dockyard Econ. 2 A private shipyard is a hive of industry.


b. A place whence swarms of people issue; the nursery of a teeming race.


1788 PRIESTLEY Lect. Hist. V. lviii. 457 They no longer send forth those swarms of people..which made them be called the northern hive. 1818 CRUISE Digest (ed. 2) I. 2 Both the Danes and Saxons were undoubtedly swarms from the northern hive. 1835 THIRLWALL Greece I. ii. 54 The hive whence the Pelasgian people issued.


c. The abode of any gregarious domestic animal.


1641 BAKER Chron. (1660) 31 Hens, Peacocks, Geese, and Ducks bred in and accustomed to houses, forsook their wonted hives, and turned wilde. 1875 ‘STONEHENGE’ Brit. Sports I. 1 i. §3 The old hen of each hive or nide..is always anxious to retain her old nest.


d. spec. A breeding-place for oysters.


1882 Daily Tel. 18 Aug. 5/1 The ostriculturist has designed what is termed a ‘hive’ made of limed tiles, to which the spat can readily affix itself.


4. a. A hiveful of bees, a hived swarm.


c1430 LYDG. Min. Poems (Percy Soc.) 154 Foo unto hevys and enemy is the drane. 1593 SHAKES. 2 Hen. VI, III. ii. 125 The Commons like an angry Hiue of Bees That want their Leader, scatter vp and downe. 1711 SWIFT Lett. (1767) III. 219 [They] seemed to me to be just like a hive of bees working and labouring under huge weights of cares.


b. transf. A swarming or teeming multitude.


1832-4 DE QUINCEY Cæsars Wks. 1859 X. 168 Those Gothic, Vandal, and Frankish hives, who were as yet hidden behind a cloud of years. 1839 J. YEOWELL Anc. Brit. Ch. i. (1847) 2 It was here that the great hive of mankind was gathered together. 1864 TENNYSON Boadicea 19 There the hive of Roman liars worship a gluttonous emperor-idiot.


5. Something of the shape or structure of a beehive: a. A head-covering of platted straw. b. A capsule or case containing many cells.


1597 SHAKES. Lover's Compl. 8 Upon her head a platted hive of straw. 1665 HOOKE Microgr. 155 Microscopical seeds..For first, though they grow in a Case or Hive often~times bigger then one of these..being not above part of an Inch in Diameter, whereas the Diameter of the Hive of them oftentimes exceeds two Inches. Ibid. 188 Whether the seed of certain Bees, sinking to the bottom, might there naturally form itself that vegetable hive, and take root. 1758 C. LENNOX Henrietta (1761) I. 73 The shepherdess..with a straw hive on her head, and a tatter'd garment on.


6. ? A contrivance of wickerwork, resembling a beehive, used for catching fish. Obs.


1533-4 Act 25 Hen. VIII, c. 7 No..person..shal..take..in..any..net..lepe, hiue, crele..or any other engine..the yonge frie..of any kinde of salmon. 1558 Act 1 Eliz. c. 17 §3 No..person..shall..take Fishe withe any maner of Nett, Tramell, Keppe, Wore, Hyvy, Crele, or by any other Engyne.


7. attrib. and Comb., as hive-bee, the common honey-bee; hive-bound a., confined to a hive; hive-cot, a beehive; hive-dross, bee-glue, propolis; hive-evil, a sickness to which bees are liable; hive-honey, honey from a hive; hive-moth, an alternative name for the wax-moth or honeycomb moth; hive-nest, a structure consisting of an aggregation of many nests constructed and occupied by a colony of birds, such as those of the republican grosbeak and republican swallow; hive-vine, ‘the partridge-berry or squaw-vine, Mitchella repens’ (Cent. Dict.).


1816 KIRBY & SP. Entomol. (1843) II. 103 The instincts that actuate the common *hive-bee. 1859 DARWIN Orig. Spec. xix. (1860) 411 The admirable architectural powers of the hive-bee.

1921 R. GRAVES Pier-Glass 30 A *hive-bound bee. 1945 W. DE LA MARE Burning-Glass 67 As passive as the hive~bound bees.


1583 STANYHURST Æneis I. (Arb.) 31 Lyke bees..Feaze away thee droane bees with sting, from maunger, or *hiuecot.

1658 ROWLAND Moufet's Theat. Ins. 916 Propolis the Arabians call Kur..the English, *Hive-dross. 1706 PHILLIPS (ed. Kersey), Hive-dross or Bee-glue, a kind of Wax which Bees make at the Mouth of their Hive, to keep out the Cold.


1607 TOPSELL Serpents (1658) 650 If they be too many, they bring a sicknesse called the *Hive-evill.

1653 WALTON Angler vi. 140 Take the stinking oil..and *Hive-honey, and annoint your bait therewith.


1931 Oxf. Univ. Gaz. 17 June 703/1 *Hive~moth (Galleria) at Nairobi.

Hence hiveless a., destitute of a hive. hiveward adv., towards the hive.


1575 GASCOIGNE Herbs, Fruit Reconciliation Wks. II. 130 Like hiueless Bees they wander here and there. 1847 TENNYSON Princess IV. 181, I..less from Indian craft Than beelike instinct hiveward, found at length The garden portals.
DRAFT ADDITIONS JULY 2004


hive, n.


hive mind n. (a) Science Fiction a unified consciousness or intelligence formed by a number of alien individuals, esp. where the resulting consciousness exerts control over its constituent members; (b) any form of thinking or acting among a group of individuals, regarded variously as being stifling of individuality or as leading to a productive collective intelligence.


1950 J. H. SCHMITZ in Galaxy Sci. Fiction Dec. 22/2 It's pretty certain, too, that the Halpa have the *hive-mind class of intelligence, so what goes for the nerve systems of most of the ones they send through to us might be nothing much more than secondary reflex-transmitters. 1973 Daily Tel. 24 Mar. 14/4 The social and aesthetic attitudes have been passed through the homogeniser of the bureaucratic hive-mind. 1986 O. S. CARD Speaker for Dead (1987) ii. 42 The buggers had casually killed human beings, but only because they had a hive mind. 2003 InfoWorld 6 Jan. 32/2, I blogged that solution anyway because it was an interesting partial result that would provoke the blog hive mind to suggest how to take the next step.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free publicity!

We received some very nice post-Bee publicity from the Hometown Weekly this past Thursday. They ran the Bee recap, re-listing our players, winners, sponsors and contributors.  If you feel like re-living the moment (and who wouldn't?), check out the link to their photo gallery. See whom you recognize ;-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another study break?

http://www.vocabulary.com/ is my new favorite word site.  It uses the Visual Thesaurus technology, and contains word lists, lesson plans, subject-specific vocabulary, an etymological dictionary, and loads of other entertaining links.  I enjoyed the interactive vocabulary quiz (it scores like the SATs, except it explains your mistakes--yes, I had a few), and--of course--it features the online Spelling Bee.

Almost makes me want to sit for a standardized test, now that I've got all the tools in one place...

Take a peek. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

While away your time until the next Bee

I subscribe to the Visual Thesaurus on line, and was interested to see an article about a new website called lexicalist.  Check it out--it tells you what words are in vogue in various parts of the country.  I searched "Spelling Bee" and was dismayed to see that Massachusetts' use of the term was only #36 in the nation.

The site gives you breakout on words used by gender, age, location, and change in frequency.  It is going to be fun to explore in greater depth....after I mow the yard.

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Bee Keeps on Giving ...

Many of you saw all (and ate some!) of the fabulous food we had donated to the Bee Cafe. Even with a hungry crowd, we had snack packs and bottles of water left over. So last week I took them to A Place To Turn - a food pantry in Natick. They do great work there and were so appreciative of the Friends' donation. So know that we did not let anything go to waste and it will go to those in the area who are in need - another way we as Friends can support those in our community.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The final face-off: the Championship Round

After a brief intermission, four teams took the stage for the Championship Round: Just The Neighbors (no strangers to the Bees’ Championship Rounds); the Crack o’ Dawn Bee-Cyclists; the Church Belles; and the Three Stewges. The Championship Round seldom sees such a challenging mix of spellers—this year’s players were especially strong.

Since the Church Belles were missing a member, and there had been a large number of clearly qualified and undeniably eager teenage spellers who wanted to play on our walk-on team, I waved over to the group and suggested that they send a speller up to join the Church Belles. I’m sure I was not the only one surprised to see young Robert Lordi take the stage! True to their Youth Ministry, the Church Belles welcomed Robert to their table. One can only suppose that he proved an asset to their team, as you will soon see.

I probably overthink the composition of the rounds—OK, OK, I confess—I DEFINITELY overthink the composition of the rounds. It is so important to give the players some entertainment as well as some challenge, though—after all, they are our champion volunteers and playing for a good cause. At the same time, I cannot resist teasing some of the players with words that have stumped them in the past. It was with this in mind that we launched the Championship round with the word kohlrabi—it has tripped up many teams in prior Bees. This year, however, it merely drew some knowing chuckles from the players who recognized it from years past.

The four Champion teams easily took on prosciutto, backstein (a kind of cheese—also a word that has stumped past Bee players) and yclept (an archaic word for “named”, as in By what name art thou yclept? shouted Sir Gawain to the Green Knight). The hairshirt, or cilice, gave some teams trouble, as did laetrile (by mentioning the 1970s miracle cancer cure derived from apricot pits, I am dating myself). Finally, the word THALWEG produced a clear victor: the Church Belles.

A thalweg is an imaginary line formed by connecting the lowest points in a valley or riverbed. The “thal” part is similar to that of the word “Neanderthal”, and means “valley”. It's not a word we see often, but it was published in the Marco Polo section of the 2010 word list (copyright 2010 Friends of the Dover Library). With all the rain we’ve been having, though, it may find itself in wider use, along with some other words from the Bee Night list, like antediluvian and gaiters.

I secretly (and not-so-secretly) cheer for every team playing; although sometimes I’m biting my nails to see when the rounds will end, every one of the spellers has my sincere admiration—both for their erudition and for their community spirit. That said, it was particularly nice to see the Dover Church team win, since they have historically been great Library supporters. The Friends often hold Children’s Programs in Kraft Hall, and the Dover Church has had teams in nearly every Bee we’ve held, including the very first (when pastor John Nelson enjoyed a moment of fame as the only person in the room who could spell pharaoh).

Congratulations, Church Belles, on a job well done, and enjoy your well-earned and truly--given the stature and skill of the teams playing this year--ENORMOUS Bragging Rights!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What a night!

My goodness, what a night! The Bee was AMAZING. I hope you saw it in person, or at least on Channel 8—DCTV is running reruns starting Monday evening.


Check out Paul Keleher’s photo/video stream in the sidebar to the left of this entry. You will see the fabulous set, designed by local artist Jane Bleakley: bees zooming everywhere, and a Bee Tree to top any ever seen before. You will also see some terrific “candids” of teams and crowd.

A little recap:

Round 1 brought us veteran spellers Tom Dixon, Nancy Simms and new player Jamie Simms, in a reprisal of the long-standing Just the Neighbors team, and pitched them against Peter Lert, Carolyn Ringel and James Stuart of School Committee Team (the A Bee Cs) and the Dover Social Club (Rob Lordi, Diane Russo and Beth Webb). We must stop and acknowledge the FABULOUS PROPS brought by the Social Club (voted, I believe, the team Most Likely to Require a Designated Driver). This group started the evening off on a very festive note! This round went quickly through my “published 10” list, including the audience’s favorite word, borborygmus (the sound your stomach makes when it growls).

Round 2 was fielded by the Clerical Errers [sic], composed of Saint Dunstan’s Rector Mark McKone-Sweet, Grace Church priest Peter DiSanto (whose daughter Catherine competed in our very first Bee), and Fiona Vidal-White, MSM (that’s Masters in Sacred Music). The Church of the Most Precious Blood sent a Mulligan for this team, so we had representation from three of Dover’s churches on stage. Bee Veteran Sara Muckstadt, Dick Greene and Laura Rinaldi, a team of parents of children in Michelle Wood’s 3rd grade at Chickering, joined forces as Wood’s Word Wizards—winners (no surprise) of the Spirit Award—or maybe we called it the Loudest Cheering Section Award.

Rounding out the contestants were the AMAZING, ELEEMOSYNARY, Crack o’ Dawn Bee-cyclists (Cliff Brown, Bruce Cohen and Karen Rednor). This is the team that joined the Bee in order to thank Dover for hosting their early morning rides through our town. (Tell me, how often do you think of thanking the towns you drive through? This occurred to me as I swore at a pothole in one of our neighboring villages...Dover does have the best roads around, and I'm glad that the Beecyclists are enjoying them.) The Crack o’ Dawn riders have raised close to $2 million dollars for cancer research through their Pan-Mass participation, and by playing in the Bee, they raised over $400 for our library. The Bee Committee had been wondering if this team might show up in their riding gear, and they did not disappoint. We would have given them the Best Costume award, were it not for our deep-seated suspicion that they dress like this all the time (including the antennae), under their street clothes. This was a very competitive round—both the Wizards and the Beecyclists had been studying, you could tell—and they flew through published words like rhopalic and psittaceous (it means “parrot-like”) into the non-published expansion round words. After a mighty struggle (and a few beads of sweat from those of us running the words), the round ended on the non-published word cantaloupe.

I should talk for a minute about the non-published list. We have seen, over the years, that Dover Bee participants have an almost frightening capacity for memorization—either that, or they have vocabularies that would make ordinary mortals quail. We’d also heard a bit of feedback from past players about the off-putting aspect of feeling responsible for every single word in the published word list. In an effort to make the Bee challenging and even out the playing field between mere memorizers and genuine good spellers, I made a separate list of words that might seem easy to spell but aren’t, and held them in reserve. (These are, I will confess, words that I myself have trouble spelling—the things that always trip up my SpellCheck. It was not difficult to find a good long list of them!) I'm curious to hear what the players thought of this approach; it certainly made for a very different Bee from where I sat.

Round 3 gave us another ferocious bout of competition. The extremely cerebral Bee List Celebrities (Will Bleakley, Paul Fiore and Greg Kahoun), last year’s runners-up, faced off against one-time Bee veteran Sarah Shoemaker and Carine Tarazi of the Church Belles, a group of Dover Church Youth Group Advisors. The Cool Bees (Laura Bevilacqua, Vicky Cartsos and Imad Khan) put up a grand fight and won Best Costume Award for their exceptionally creative and undeniably cool Bee slickers and goggles. (As an aside, I would LOVE to see this group design a line of bridesmaid’s dresses. Really. The world needs this.) Team Kara, sponsored by ScrubADub, represented the Library’s Teen Advisory Board with Danielle Hall, Sharon Holiner and Nichole Huang. This round exhausted the pre-published set of words, including beauties like tintinnabulation, bdelloid and eructation (the scientific name for “burp”), blasted through the expansion list trick words like Fahrenheit and bayonet and finally crashed to a close on baksheesh (money used as a kind of tip or bribe). We were only a few words away from Panic Mode at that point—the players in this round must read the dictionary for fun.

The program announced that Round 4 had room for a walk-on team. We’d had one last year, and it was a huge hit with the audience (and the team, the Replacements, did extremely well—especially when you consider that the word list is only made available to players who register and pay in advance). This year, we were approached by a herd of teenage boys, many of whose parents were playing in the Bee, who were keen (dare I say chomping at the bit?) to challenge the older generation. There were several willing players, but we had to ask them to select only three from their pod. So, Riq Lert (son of Peter, of the A Bee Cs), Evan Wood (son of ’09 champion Pamela Mok) and Max Handler (son of Jonathan, of the Three Stewges) formed a team that they named “Insert Pun About a Bee [Here]”. They held up admirably against Perfect Attendance Winners Coldwell Banker, Wellesley (Betsy Breziner, Jean McDonnell and Laura Talmud)—Coldwell Banker has sponsored a Bee team every year, and has made over $1500 for the Library—and they even edged out the defending champions the Spellunkers (Tod Dimmick, Lori Krusell and Pamela Mok). However, despite the vaguely Oedipal overtones of their challenge, the Insert Pun About a Bee [Here] fell to Andy Epstein, Jonathan Handler and Bob Litle of the Three Stewges. Tell you what, guys: if you all come back and play again, I’ll make sure you’re not challenging your parents in the same round. You’ll probably have to face off in the championship round, especially if you all get the words in advance next time. Meanwhile, Insert Pun About a Bee [Here] won the Cleverest Name superlative, and The Three Stewges, winners of the Funniest Name category, moved into the Championship Round.

Since we took an intermission before the Championship Round at the Bee, I’m taking one here. Back in a bit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

THALWEG. Why not?

It was quite a night! The winning word was "THALWEG".
I have a sick kid so running out to the pharmacy now...more later!

Thanks to all who came !

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bring Your Appetite to the Bee Cafe

We also have new the full menu of what will be at the Bee Cafe ... it'll be pizza, pizza and more pizza! Dover's own Dover Cafe is donating pizzas, which we'll sell by the slice. And in addition to the gift card they donated, California Pizza Kitchen in Wellesley is also donating pizza for the Cafe to sell. Save A Lot has donated chips and snacks as well as bottled water, and we'll have some cookies for those with a sweet tooth. And as you may have read in an earlier post, Whole Foods in Dedham donated its chocolate bars, cheese crackers and fruit strips to the Bee. So bring your appetites and your cash! The Bee is cash and check only.

More Corporate Donations to Report

We have more businesses that have come in and made contributions in support of the Bee. They are:

Coldwell Banker, Wellesley - The office has had and sponsored a team each year since the Bee's inception. A big thanks for their continued support (as a "Honey Bee") and kudos to them for perfect attendance! www.nemoves.com.

ScrubaDub is also a longtime bee supporter. They are "Honey Bee" supporters and are sponsoring Team Kara, the team made up of high school students on the library's Teen Advisory Board. www.scrubadub.com.

Bridgewater Credit Union has signed on as a "Worker Bee" donor. With an office right here in Dover, they are a great local business that is a longtime Bee supporters - thank you! www.bridgewatercu.com.

Middlesex Savings Bank in Needham has provided the Bee with the tote bags we give to the players, as well as pens and other tchotchkes such as chip clips and stress pyramids. www.middlesexbank.com.

Latest Additions to Bee Tree

We have a few more Bee Tree to announce:

Dover Parks and Rec has donated $50 off of a program. So if you have not yet signed up for a sport, this is a way to support the library and get your kids in a program at a discount. Check out what's offered at www.doverrec.com.

Discovery Club, an afternoon program offered by two Dover moms at Caryl School, has donated a free, drop in afternoon to the Bee. A great drop off program, it offers kids an educational afternoon. Thanks to Gina Saltonstall and Cathy Thompson for providing this. Discovery Club operates through Dover Parks and Rec, so go to www.doverrec.com for more info.

Emily's Brownies is giving the Bee Tree a gift card for these yummy treats! Read all about the at www.emilysbrownies.net.

So bring your cash and checks to shop in support of the library!



Repeat after me: technology is your friend (and the Friends' friend)

After several days of cross-checking lists, pronunciations, powerpoint slides and emergency go-to lists, I needed to take a break and use the other half of my brain.  At the same time, I am pretty sure I have driven our fearless MC George Doherty insane with my frantic revisions.

Time to take a break and do something different.

I could not get my spreadsheet program to find double words in the rounds, but I did find one good use for technology this week:  iPhone's video technology helped me create and e-mail sound clips to George with most of the words pronounced.  I imagine him sitting in his office at Corcoran and Havlin, door closed, playing the recordings and speaking along with them...his co-workers probably think he is studying some weird foreign language. 

It is an enormous job to put together the Bee, but once the cameras start rolling at 7 p.m. on Thursday, George is the one doing the heavy lifting.  He knows the word list, he knows the players, he improvises sentences, he keeps the game together, and he makes it fun for everyone.  George does a lot of volunteering in the community, but his work for the Friends of the Library makes him King Bee in our books.

See Well and Look Good

A couple of years back, we received the disturbing news that one of our kids would have to wear glasses...or else.  I was fine with the Must Wear Glasses part, it was the Or Else that scared me.

The pediatric opthamologist who handed us the diagnosis gave us one excellent practical piece of advice: fill the prescription locally.

Off we went to Linda Wirth at Dover Eyes, cranky toddler in tow.  It did not seem possible that we would ever get a pair of glasses onto our little wiggleworm--at least, not without velcro or tranquilizing darts--but Dr. Wirth turned out to be more than equal to the challenge.  Before long, we had special bifocals, with the curly around-the-ears frames and a kind of modified "croakie" to make sure the glasses stayed put, and a special "glasses bed" for nighttime storage.  And we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of a child who loves wearing glasses so much that he sleeps in them!

Soon we had another pair, and another, and finally some fabulous rec specs for sports. Other family members required glasses, contact lenses, (dare I admit to this?) bifocals...and Dover Eyes has everything we need, right over on Whiting Road.  And Dr. Wirth is as careful and meticulous with us older people as she is with the youngster.

If I could donate a dollar to the Friends of the Library for every emergency visit we made for glasses repair or adjustment, or contact lens issues, we probably wouldn't need a Bee, but that's another story.  Let's just say that having a quality optometrist in the neighborhood is worth more than you might imagine.

In addition to taking excellent care of our vision needs, Dover Eyes is a great library supporter.  Our inaugural Bee had a team from Dover Eyes, and they came up with the excellent idea of Mulligans. Dover Eyes has given generously to every Bee we've had.  We can add that to the long list of why we are grateful to have Dover Eyes right here in town!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Going off the grid: finding the right lexical mix

Every time we hold a spelling bee, we are faced with the task of blending the words in such a way that everyone has both challenge and fun.  This is harder than it sounds, because people play in the Bee for a variety of reasons: some play purely to give back to the Library and the community, some enter the Bee because they love words, some people (very, very few) are bullied and badgered by their friends on the Bee Committee, and some poor souls seem to play out of sheer masochism....Whatever brings a team to the Bee, our task is to send them home satisfied, if not completely overjoyed.

Over the years we have heard a lot of feedback about the word list. Many people think it is just too daunting to be responsible for a 900+ word list (AHEM!  As the person who puts together the list, I have no pity for you);  some are determined to memorize every single word. It has begun to look like the Bee should scale back its dedication to the word list, and wade in unchartered waters for a bit.

We have always reserved the right to go "off the grid" for new words, and have done so at least twice in the past (most memorably last year, when we had to call an emergency intermission to look up more words in the dictionary).  This year, we are trying something new: after 10 words, we WILL go "off the grid" and into what MC George Doherty euphemistically refers to as the "expansion round". 

What can you expect from the Expansion Round?  Well, first of all, if you make it there you can smile and take a big, deep bow.  You have crushed the list, at least for the moment.  (Savor that, while you can.)  George will then regale you with some off-the-list words, many of which you should recognize and may use in everyday speech.  For example, I recently removed the word "colicky" from an Expansion Round list.  Chances are you know what "colicky" means; chances are pretty good that someone you know well was colicky at some point in his or her young life.  But when you are basking in the glow of having made it through the preliminary round, you are going to hear the word "colicky" and start thinking to yourself, "Oh, no--is that one 'l' or two? A 'ck' or just a 'c'?" And you will begin to fret.  Yes, you will.

My goal for the beginning of the Expansion Rounds is that you will recognize the words and be very familiar with them...and maybe not so sure of how they are spelled.  Of course, given the fact that Dover has some of the best spellers in the Commonwealth, I'm going to have to ramp it up for you pretty quickly.  Soon you will be faced with words you might not know...or maybe with some words from the list that you might have neglected to study.  Once you get past the preliminary round, anything goes. 

Study session recap

5 Bee participants representing three teams met Amelia and me last night for a study session at the Dover Legion. It was quite a workout for the dictionary!

I promised to blog the words that came up, and here they are:

PROSOPAGNOSIA: (PRAH suh pag NO shuh) noun
literally “face blindness”—the inability to recognize faces

PROCELEUSMATIC (Prah suh loose MAT ick) adjective
inciting, exhorting, inspiring.
As a noun: a metrical foot of four short syllables, such as “COME TO THE BEE!”

YLEM (EE lem) noun
The original element from which all other elements were derived

CWM (KOOM) no, it is not a typo!
It’s a noun, meaning rounded valley.

SCHWERPUNKT (SHVEHR-pungkt) noun
The point of focus, or area of concentration, particularly in a military operation. I’m sorry, but I think last night I misspoke and confused Schwerpunkt with forswunke (which means tired out). I guess I was forswunke and missed the point (excuse the pun).

SCHAPPE (SHOP uh) noun
fabric trimmings, leftovers from cutting fabric

ULAE (OO lee) noun
We all thought this was a body part, but when I looked it up, we learned that it was a kind of Hawaiian “lizard fish”. I’m guessing the word derives from the sound you must make if you bump into one.

EPEOLATRY (ep pee AHL uh tree) noun
The worship of words. As if you Bee players had to ask.

KOINE (KOY knee) sometimes (KOY nay) noun
A language term: a dialect of one region that becomes the standard for a larger group. Think TV newscasters.

KAKISTOCRACY (ka ka STOCK ruh see) noun
Government by the worst possible people. Thankfully we don’t see that in Dover! Tom did have a funny sentence about another state, though…

DIERESIS (die UH ruhs sis) noun
A pronunciation mark. The double dot, sometimes called the umlaut, that goes above the second vowel in a series of two, reminding us to vocalize that second vowel as its own sound, and not as a diphthong. If you want to get picky, the umlaut is more general and tells us that the vowel is not pronounced the way it normally is. The dieresis is specific to that second vowel sound, like in naïve or Noël. If you ask me, the word should have a dieresis itself, over that first 'e'.

PLOCE (PLO see) noun
The repetition of a word to emphasize or complicate a statement.
I think the dictionary had something like “She was a wife, a wife indeed…” and you can see that the use of ploce suggests that maybe there was more to the Missus than met the eye.

YEDE (YEED) verb
Went. He yeed over the hills and far away. It’s archaic, but I do have to pick out some oddball words if I’m going to stump you people before midnight.

LITOTES (LITE uh TEASE) or (Lye TOE tease) noun
This is one of those words about writing technique: it means a deliberate understatement. My example sentence for you is “I am not unaware of the amount of time Bee players spend studying”.

ADSCITITIOUS (ad sit ISH us) adjective
Supplemental, not necessarily essential.

CHELP (chelp)
Noun: a chirping noise. Verb: to chatter or complain. Quit chelping about how hard the list is. It isn't--not for you!


BDELLOID (DELL oid) Yes, the B is silent
adjective, means leech-like. That will be a fun sentence to write!

WEHRLITE (WERE light) noun a kind of mineral

ORCHIDACEOUS (or kid A shus) adjective
Orchid-like or gaudy and ostentatious. Think Mother’s Day corsages.

YPONOMEUTIDAE (ee pahn uh MYOO tid ay) noun
A family of fruit-eating moths. And yes, we do read the dictionary from start to finish. :-)

PECCADILLO (peck uh DILL owe) noun
Minor offense. Greg and Paul beat me out on this; I was sure there was only one ‘c’.

OMPHALOSKEPSIS (om fallow SKEP sus)
Navel-gazing. During the Bee we will ask for both the spelled word and a demonstration.

ANADIPLOSIS (an uh duh PLOH sus) noun
Another word about writing—it means the repetition of a word. You know, like the ringing of the bells, of the bells in Poe.

HIPPOTOMONSTROSESQUIPEDALIAPHOBIA is off the list. Greg found that I spelled it wrong! The correct spelling is hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia and here is the link to pronouncing it: http://www.forvo.com/word/hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia/. Greg, however, can say it—even after a beer.

Thank you all for coming, and a huge thank you to Tom Dixon, who hosted the event.  If you are interested in supporting the Legion and its many public service activities, consider sending a donation or applying for booster membership. Here is their web address:
http://doverlegion.com/ .

Well, now that we’ve had the study night, I am more nervous than ever about the challenges of Bee Night. You see, the competition isn’t really team versus team, it’s team versus word list. You folks have me good and rattled. I’m bringing the dictionary on Thursday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latest Bee News

DON’T MISS THE 5TH ANNUAL DOVER TOWN LIBRARY SPELLING BEE ON MARCH 25

On Thursday night, one team will rise above the others. Will the returning champs, the Spellunkers, be the first team to win back-to-back titles? Or will a challenger claim the Enormous Bragging Rights (and Whole Foods gift cards) in the 5th Annual Dover Town Library Spelling Bee? In order to find out who the top spellers are, join the community on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Dover Town House for a night of fun and fellowship – all in support of the Dover Town Library.

The spring fundraiser for the Friends of the Dover Library, the Bee is free to attend and everyone is invited to come and cheer on the spellers. Thanks to monetary and in-kind donations from local businesses that cover all expenses, all monies raised from the Bee (team entry fees, Mulligans, Bee Tree and Bee Café) will go directly to the library though the Friends of the Dover Library.

In addition to watching the Bee itself, attendees may purchase gifts and gift cards at the Bee Tree (buy a word clue, get a prize) in the Town House lobby and buy snacks from the Bee Café in the lower level.

The Bee Café will be stocked with pizza donated by Dover Café and California Pizza Kitchen (Wellesley), as well as snacks and water from Whole Foods (Dedham) and Save A Lot. All food must remain downstairs but thanks to a live feed from Dover Cable that will be in the Council on Aging room, no one will miss any of the action.

Items for purchase on the Bee Tree include products and gift cards from: Aquitaine; Beauty and Main; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Blue on Highland; Boston Duck Tours; Boston Red Sox; California Pizza Kitchen; Chiara; Costco; Davis’ Farmland and Mega Maze; Discovery Club; Dover Market; Dover Parks and Recreation; Elizabeth Grady (Needham); Emily’s Brownies; Fisher Brook Farm; Higgins Wine & Spirits; Holly Cleaners; The Linden Store; Magic Beans; National Amusements; Nicholas Christies Day Spa; Pawtucket Red Sox; Portrait Simple; Putchka Pals; Santa’s Village; Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa; Sherborn Inn & The Out; Stellabella Toys; Story Land; Sweet Basil; Taylor’s Stationery; Trader Joe’s (Needham); Wellesley Booksmith; and Zoo New England.

The Bee Tree and Bee Café are cash and check only so Bee prepared! And if you can’t make it to the Town House on Thursday, Bee sure to watch the live broadcast on Dover Cable.

The Bee underwriters include: Dover Automotive; Coldwell Banker (Wellesley); Roche Bros. Supermarkets; ScrubaDub Car Wash; Dover Eyes; Bridgewater Credit Union; Chestnut Street Animal Hospital; Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS; Erin’s School of Dance; and Middlesex Savings Bank (Needham). Many anonymous donors have also contributed to the Bee.

For more information, please visit the Bee Blog at www.spellboundindover.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spelling is my NEMESIS ??!!

I am always mildly surprised to glean vocabulary hints from my children; I resigned myself long ago to the view that they don't really pay attention to me.  Imagine my astonishment, then, when my third-grader announced that spelling was his nemesis, and that he did not, after all, view himself as a philomath.

Oh, dear.  All this before the second cup of coffee.  What could this possibly mean?

It turns out that my son's incredibly erudite teacher, a philomath herself and possibly a disciple of epeolatry, has been assigning the class one "bonus" word a week from our spelling list.  Because there is a parent-based team bearing her name at the Bee, she has access to all the words (not from me, I hasten to add: I do my best to observe proper boundaries with people close to the Bee and me).

Well, I had about 53 seconds between this astonishing revelation and the need to run, fast, for the school bus.  I did two things: made sure that my little flibbertigibbet had a sweater so that he would not become a gymnosophist, and gave silent thanks to the other Word Wizard in his life, to whom he evidently pays closer attention.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bee Cafe - Bring Cash or Bee Hungry!

While the main event is upstairs, don't forget about the Bee Cafe downstairs. Thanks to Vicki Hadar and a team of volunteers, we'll have pizza, snacks and water for sale so players can recharge those brain cells and audience members can grab a quick dinner. It's cash only, so bring your money and your appetite. Everything is $1 - best deal in town!

The Bee Cafe will sell:
Pizza by the slice - donated by California Pizza Kitchen (Wellesley)
Pizza by the slice - donated by Dover Cafe
Fruit strips - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Cracker packs - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Chocolate bars - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Potato chips - donated by Save A Lot
Water - donated by Save A Lot

The Bee Cafe will be downstairs in the Council on Aging room, and all food must remain in there. But thanks to Dover Cable and a live TV feed, you will not miss any of the action.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

MORE CORPORATE DONATIONS

We have some more corporate donations to report ...

Bridgewater Credit Union, right here in Dover, is donating $100 to the Bee, giving at the Worker Bee level. BCU gave to our Bee last year too, and it is so nice to have an in-town business supporting our library!

Coldwell Banker, Wellesley office has had a team play each year in the Bee, and they are continuing that tradition once more. By sponsoring a company team, they are giving at the Honey Bee level and showing that they believe in the community they serve.

Middlesex Savings Bank, Needham Branch, has donated tote bags to the Bee, as well as other tchotchkes (pens, clips, stress balls) for the players to have. Thank you for your support!

Scrub A Dub Car Wash has also contributed at the Honey Bee level, and their donation will be used to sponsor Team Kara, which is made up of high school students on the library's Youth Advisory Board. A long-time supporter of the library, we appreciate Scrub A Dub's continued support.

BEST BOOKWORMS

Wellesley Booksmith is one of the best book stores I have ever been in. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the selection great, and if there is something they do not have, they will get it for you. When I went to pick up the donation they gave us for the Bee, I spent an hour there browsing the shelves and stocking my arms with books, cards and other things I just had to have (including some of the superlative prizes for the Bee). In addition to being a great shop, they are also long-time supporters of the Dover Library - whether doing the book sales at author's nights, or in this case, making a donation to a fundraiser. This year, they donated a $25 gift certificate and reusable tote bag to the Bee Tree. Thanks to Wellesley Booksmith for believing - and supporting - reading.

SWEET (BASIL) ALRIGHT!

Sweet Basil in Needham is one of those places everyone seems to love. Whether taking out or dining in, it is always on the top of the list of places to go. So we are thrilled that they donated a $25 gift card to the Bee Tree this year. Sweet Basil is a long supporter of the Dover Library - they have even brought food to the library when their new cookbook came out! Whether lunch or dinner, you can't go wrong if you get this gift card.

MODEL SALON

Dover does not have many businesses in town so many of us frequent haunts in Needham, Wellesley and the like. While we consider these local, not all of the shops consider a donation to the Dover Library a "local" donation. Thank goodness there are many who do think we are local and support those of us one town over! One such place is Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa in Needham. The owner, Don, has been great about donating items to the Dover Library and this year is no different. This year, Sculpture donated a massage gift certificate ($90 value) to our Bee Tree. Start spring off without muscle tension - get the gift card and in spring, you'll have a spring in your step!

DOLL BABY DOLL

There are many talented Dover residents, and none more so than Jane Bleakely. A dedicated Friend of the Library (she coordinates the Artist of the Month program), Jane is an amazing artist. You may have seen her work in the library - she does the murals in the children's room - and on all those hand drawn Bees all over town. She also makes Putchka Pals - whimsical dolls and animals that each have their own name and unique look. They come in various colors and make great baby gifts - one of the few one-of-a-kind items you can still find these days. Jane sells these dolls at local events such as the Old Home Day craft fair and she also will do custom orders. No two are alike and she has graciously donated two dolls to the Bee Tree. So thanks to a Friend, you can buy a friend!

MOVIE NIGHT

Thanks to the people at National Amusements, there will 2 movie passes on the Bee Tree. Good for Sunday - Thursday nights, get these from the tree and pair them with one the restaurant gift cards and head to Legacy Place for a nice night out!

BE BLUE

A Bee Tree favorite is back! Thanks to the good folks at Blue on Highland, one lucky Bee Tree shopper will be getting a $25 gift card to the restaurant. Blue is a long supporter of the library, and we are grateful for their on-going support. A great local favorite, get to the tree early - this one will go fast! Check out the menu at http://www.blueonhighland.com/.

GOURMET PIZZA

California Pizza Kitchen was the pioneer in the gourmet pizza restaurant. They have since grown to have restaurants nationwide and now there is one just up the road on Linden Street in Wellesley. CPK is a great neighbor and we have some plans with them for other events at the library down the road, but for now, they donated $40 in gift certificates to the Bee Tree. Inaddition to pizzas, pasta and the like, they also have a diverse kids menu that actually has healthy alternatives - roast chicken and veggies. If you have not been there yet, buy these off the Bee Tree and check them out!

FACE TIME

Facials are a necessary luxury - can there be such a thing? If so, facials are it - especially in dry New England winters. One place I like to go is Elizabeth Grady in Needham. Two years running now, they have given a facial gift certificate (valued at $60) to the Bee Tree. If you buy this bee from the tree, it will not only be a great way to help the library, but it would be a way to say thank you to your skin - not to mention give a lucky lady (or man) a nice, relaxing hour of pampering.

Size isn't everything? Ask the NY Times

I was pleased to find this entertaining piece on the Times phone app: http://s.nyt.com/u/xQB 
In addition to being an enlightening read, the author has FABULOUS vocabulary words, which I am tempted to pillage for the "off the grid" Bee word list.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Study Night

We Bee folk would devolve into insanity if we did not constantly offer you something new and different. So, having finished ironing your future Bee-shirts, we now turn our attentions to a Study Night at the Dover Legion. This is for people over 21 only! Come between 8--9 next Thursday (the 18th) and ask questions. We'll have the dictionary, and, thanks to Tom Dixon, a wifi card that should connect the laptop with any word you desire. (Should my laptop fail to connect, I will have pad and paper on hand--we'll record your questions and your e-mail, and will publish the answer here.)

Bring your questions! Bring your money! You will want to buy yourself a beer--the Dover Legion has frozen glasses, and the BEST tap in town (I say this even though it is somewhat heretical to compare any beer-imbibing event with the Library's Oktoberfest).  Moreover, you will want to buy a Mulligan, to preserve your chances for dominating the '10 DTL Bee.

Besides that, it ought to be a fun night. And after an entire season (or, in my case, a year) of preparation, don't we all deserve a little bit of fun?

If you know you are going to attend, shoot us an email at Friends.of.Dover.Library@gmail.com, or append your reply to this post. We want to know how many glasses to chill....

Thanks to our friends at Dover Legion for their help in making this possible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bee-ing silly...bring your wallet

The Bee committee has been incredibly busy, building teams, soliciting and managing donations, planning the nuts and bolts of the evening...and you undoubtedly remember from your years as a student that being way too busy can lead to a certain brand of silliness.  Yes, that would be us.

We got together for a Bee Supply meeting on Tuesday, and after we went through the goodies for the team superlative awards, we somehow wound up ironing Jane's bees onto t-shirts.  Blame it on the coffee...

We will be selling these masterpieces on Bee Night, and believe me--anyone you happen to know between the sizes of Youth 10 and Youth 20 will want one of these shirts.  The cost is $10 each or two for $15 (we're giving a break to siblings).  The cost of the shirts (not to mention the labor) has been donated, so anything we make on these masterpieces will go directly to support your Library.

Bring your wallet and get silly with us.





Friday, March 5, 2010

Mulligans, Dover Style

Many communities raise money through spelling bees, but to my knowledge only Dover offers the Mulligan Option.

This excellent suggestion came to us from the Dover Eyes team, who played in the first Bee in 2006. One of the members of that team is an avid golfer, and suggested that we sell Mulligans to enable a team to "take another shot" at their round.  We know a good idea when we hear one, so we debuted the Mulligan concept in 2007.

Buying a Mulligan ($100) enables a team to stay in a round after having spelled a word incorrectly.  Here's how it works: you buy the Mulligan in advance--either sign up at the Library or you can buy them when you check in at the Bee (6.30 p.m. on the 25th).  You must pay for the Mulligan before you are given it--we will take checks at the Bee, but not IOUs!  At the start of the Bee, the MC will formally announce that Mulligan sales have ended.

The Mulligan itself is a little card on a stick. If your team has spelled a word incorrectly, you hold up your Mulligan, and someone from the Bee will retrieve it from you, and you may stay in the round.  (And yes--we do keep track of who has bought one, so bringing your homemade Mulligan to the Bee won't work.)

Mulligans are not valid in the Championship Round--if you make it to the very end, your team will have to relinquish its Mulligan for the final round.

Even the best teams use Mulligans. In Bee history, there have only been a couple of teams who have never used their Mulligan.  To my recollection, every winning team we've had since '07 has used a Mulligan prior to the Championship Round.

As of this writing, there is only ONE TEAM who has purchased a Mulligan....maybe the word list is too easy this year? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CORPORATE DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO BEE TREE AND BEE CAFÉ SWARM IN FOR 5TH ANNUAL DOVER TOWN LIBRARY SPELLING BEE

As the 5th Annual Dover Town Library Spelling Bee approaches, the Friends of the Dover Library has been abuzz as donations have swarmed in – all from local businesses that want to help support the Dover Library. The Bee is on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Dover Town House.

In addition to watching the Bee itself, attendees may purchase gifts and gift cards at the Bee Tree (buy a word clue, get a prize) in the Town House lobby and buy snacks from the Bee Café in the lower level.

For the first time, the Friends also solicited corporate sponsors to underwrite the cost of the Bee. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, all monies raised from the Bee will go directly to the library, through the Friends of the Library.

The Friends would like to acknowledge its corporate sponsors for their monetary support: Dover Automotive; Coldwell Banker, Wellesley; Roche Bros. Supermarkets; Scrub-A-Dub Car Wash; Chestnut Street Animal Hospital; Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS; Erin’s School of Dance; and Bridgewater Credit Union.

A special thanks also to the Bee’s in-kind donors. Whole Foods in Dedham and Save A Lot are providing snacks and water for the Bee Café, and Middlesex Saving Bank (Needham branch) has provided tote bags and other items for the spellers. Additionally, Whole Foods has donated gift cards to award to the Bee winners (in addition to the usual prize of Enormous Bragging Rights).

The Bee Tree will feature items donated by: Aquitaine; Beauty and Main; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Boston Duck Tours; Boston Red Sox; California Pizza Kitchen; Chiara; Costco; Davis’ Farmland and Mega Maze; Discovery Club; Dover Market; Dover Parks and Recreation; Fisher Brook Farm; Higgins Wine & Spirits; Holly Cleaners; The Linden Store; Magic Beans; Nicholas Christies Day Spa; Pawtucket Red Sox; Portrait Simple; Putchka Pals; Santa’s Village; Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa; Sherborn Inn & The Out; Stellabella Toys; Story Land; Sweet Basil; Taylor’s Stationery; Trader Joe’s, Needham; Wellesley Booksmith; and Zoo New England.

The teams are rolling in but it is also not too late to sign up – forms are available at the library.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just the Neighbors

We are thrilled to welcome the Just the Neighbors team back to the Bee.  This team has been playing, in various compositions, for several years now. In fact, one of the members--Nancy Simms--has played in every single Bee we've had! (She's good, too--watch out!)

This year Nancy is joined by another veteran speller--Tom Dixon--and by her husband, Jamie Simms.

Don't be fooled by their folksy name:  based on what I know of them, I'd say that these three have a very strong chance in the Bee.  Just the Neighbors may be Just the Winning Team....

We're hoping to send some customers Tom's way by holding a Study Night at the Legion before the Bee (Tom "moonlights" there, and has been a strong and loyal supporter of the facility for ages).  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

COMMUNITY SPIRIT(S)

Higgins Wine and Spirits right here in Dover is the perfect blend of what all a local store offers in spirit and knowledge but with the selection you might find at a big store. They offer tastings and want the customer to be happy. Sometimes I think they can read minds. The other night, I ran in to grab a bottle of red wine and Tammy Lomenzo directed me to a new one they had in that she thought I might like. She also let me know that they had a limited supply and it was flying off the shelf so if I liked it to let her know and she’d set some aside for me. I loved it – as did those I shared it with – and called her the next day to secure more! Who else looks out for customers like that? Higgins has long supported of the Dover Library - they have helped us with fundraisers, donating their time to events such as Oktoberfest this past fall, and they are a presence on the Holiday House Tours, dispensing knowledge (and coupons!). And they are showing their support for us once again, with a $25 gift card for our Bee Tree. Whomever gets this item is lucky indeed; with the knowledgeable staff at Higgins to help you make a purchase, the only hard part will be narrowing down the choices of what great things to buy!

FAIR TRADE

Trader Joe’s in Needham has graciously agree to donate a $50 bag of groceries to our Bee Tree. Trader Joe’s is one of those gem stores – offering a variety of foods and always at a good price. Back in my college days in Southern California, where Trader Joe’s is based, it was the go to store for everything. Food was fresh and healthy and suited a college budget; it was also where you could get Vodka of the Gods, THE party mixer, which I believe, due to MA liquor laws in not available out here. But I digress … Nowadays, I stock up on cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit and veggies, organic milk (best non-sale price I’ve found), and the microwave hash browns that are the only thing my 4 year old will eat for breakfast. If they are out of them, it is because I usually buy all they have in stock – sorry! Due to my waistband, I try to avoid the frozen croissants (regular and chocolate!) but if you want ones that are bakery fresh, these are for you. I always leave with a full bag of goodies and a jingle in my pocket – who could ask for more?

NO INTRODUCTION NECESSARY

While we have lots of local donors to the Bee – and we are forever grateful for those! – we do have some big names that donated items to us, and they need no introduction. So without further ado, a big thanks to:

Bed Bath & Beyond for sending us a $10 gift card (www.bedbathandbeyond.com). No matter what you need for your home, you will find it there!

Costco for donating a $25 gift card (www.costco.com) so you can get more, for less.

The Boston Red Sox for sending us a signed picture of relief pitcher Hideki Okajima (www.redsox.mlb.com). Act now - this will soon be a collector’s item!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Taking a word out of play: Gonorhyncus is incorrect

Darn. It was a good word, too.

Thanks to Cliff Brown of the COD team for pointing out that the correct spelling for this type of fish is gonorhynchus--it has a second "h".

I proofread the word lists and check and double-check, but inevitably at least one word is published incorrectly. I apologize--it is entirely my error.

Thank you, Cliff, for finding it and pointing it out.

If you find any other misspellings, please bring them to my attention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

I can’t believe my spell checker did not highlight that! I wrote it because we need an especially magnificent word to describe our Top #1 Superdonor, Dover Automotive.

If you live in Dover, chances are Doug Wolfe changes your oil. He does a variety of repair work for us. Once the running board snapped off the side of my car, and the dealer wanted big bucks and a couple of weeks to replace it. Doug did it for a fraction of that cost, and faster than I could have gotten to and from a dealer. After that, there was no turning back for us—everything automotive goes to Doug. If he can’t fix it, he will tell you.

Doug recently made me look like a superhero, which is no mean feat. I was home one morning when the phone rang: my teenager had forgotten that it was school picture day and was wearing a t-shirt. We use those school photos for Christmas gifts, so I figured this was not the time for a “teachable moment”. I found an acceptable outfit and prepared to drive it to school, only to discover that my car battery had died.

The first line of defense was to call the 800 number on my windshield, so I did that. Got a jump start pretty quickly, but the driver did tell me that he thought my battery was stone dead and that I should drive right over to the dealer to get it replaced. Well, that was all very nice and good, but I had a shirt to deliver, so I did what any sensible person in my position would have done: called Doug.

Doug picked up on the first ring, and gave me these instructions: “Go to school and deliver the shirt, but do not turn the car off. When you have finished delivering, come directly here to the shop.” Off I ran, ignoring the “no idling” law in the school parking lot, and then back to Dover Automotive.

Doug took a look under the hood and said “Do you have to be anywhere in the next 15 minutes?” Well, I had a school pickup for a tennis lesson in 20 minutes, but I did have 15 minutes. “Wait right there” said Doug, and off he went, phone ringing in his hand.

In twelve minutes I was driving out of Whiting Road with a brand new battery. Picked up my carpool, off to tennis, and then made the other carpool. Looked like an absolute hero. (Not that anyone in my car noticed, but that’s a different story.)

Where else can this happen but Dover Automotive?

(Oh, and the school picture came out great.)

Thanks, Doug! Your generous contribution makes the Bee run smoothly, just like the cars.

That's STATIONERY, not stationary...

This year the word list features a section called "The Elements of Style", named for William Strunk, junior's 1918 classic.  You might glance at this section and dismiss it as being full of easy words, but look more closely--this is where I hid all the homophones that trip up the casual speller.  You will find complement as well as compliment, and stationery and stationary.  You had better know the difference, if you want to win!

Now that I have gotten your attention and raised your anxiety level, let me pay a compliment (or several) to our friends at Taylor's Stationery on Highland Avenue in Needham.  I am a die-hard stationery and fountain pen snob, and Taylor's is best place around for these two of my favorite obsessions.  They carry a number of quality stationery lines, including Vera Bradley and Crane's, and they know how to run a good sale. (They are running a special on Crane's right now: purchase 100 pieces or more of engraved or letterpress stationery sets from the selection shown and receive free dies, or purchase 100 pieces or more of thermographed or flat printed stationery sets and receive the printed address on the envelope free.  You're going to save between $58 and $96 on your purchase, which makes it extremely hard to justify NOT placing an order.  Especially if you go the engraving route: free dies will make your next order even less expensive.)  They also have a terrific selection of "nifty gifties" for every occasion, and a clever and well-curated collection of greeting cards.  I would tip you off to their excellent holiday cards (and the fact that they sometimes publish sale coupons for them in the Dover-Sherborn Press), but Taylor's made my family Christmas card photo look so good last year that I don't want to give away that secret....so, never mind.   

One tidbit I will share with you is Taylor Stationery's generosity to the Bee Tree.  The last time I went by, they had an envelope for the Bee containing a $50 gift card.  Pluck that off the Tree and you are well on your way to something fabulous.  (But go early--I know of three people already who are scheming to buy that Word Bee and reap the benefits!)

I could (and do) spend hours getting lost in Taylor's--the more you look, the more you find.  I suppose that means that stationery can make one stationary... Go, find out for yourself. And while you are there, thank Jack and his helpful team for their support of your Library.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Le mot juste

The Bee is always happy to welcome back returning players—it’s like seeing old friends again. But we are also glad to welcome new players into the event, to mix things up a bit. This year we are delighted to welcome a group that is not only new to the Bee, but comprised of players who do not even live in Dover.


The COD team was one of our first entrants this year. COD, you ask? Like the Cape? The fish? Call of Duty? (That one came from my teenager-in-residence.) Cash on Delivery? (That last one is getting pretty close.) No, the Bee’s COD team stands for Crack O’ Dawn—the early-morning bicycle-riding fund-raising powerhouses.

You might remember an article the Boston Globe carried this fall about this biking group. They have their own website, http://www.crackodawn.com/, which shows their routes, their stats, and their sense of humor (go on, have a look). You may even have heard them riding down the road outside of your bedroom window when most people you know still think it’s nighttime.

What you probably have NOT heard about is their charitable bent. The people affiliated with COD have raised, they estimate, nearly $2 million for the Pan Mass Challenge. Imagine how many miles they’ve logged to raise that kind of money.

And now, three of the COD cyclists are raising money for your Library. They figure that they enjoy riding through Dover, and want to give back to the community. How cool is that?

On March 25th we will say hello and welcome to COD riders Cliff Brown, Rich Polt and Bruce Cohen. This summer Cliff expects to surpass the $250,000 mark for PMC fundraising (he has been riding for PMC since 1999). Cliff and his family are great supporters of their local library in Brookline, and he brings his love of reading and Scrabble-playing skills to Dover. Rich Polt is the founder of Louder than Words, a public relations firm which supports philanthropic organizations and activities (check out his blog—you will like it). Bruce Cohen, who has completed nine marathons and earned a place in the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame, has already passed the $250,000 fundraising mark for the PMC, and is looking forward to celebrating his 42nd wedding anniversary with his wife.

I can’t wait to meet these guys. And I have JUST the right word for them: eleemosynary. It means “relating to charity”. If anyone can relate to charity, I think it’s the COD team.

Welcome, and thank you for playing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Corporate Donations

The Bee has grown larger over the years, with the addition of the Bee Tree and Bee Cafe a few years ago. This year we decided to take our fundraising a step further and approached local businesses to be sponsors of the Bee at various levels. We do not have many expenses, but those that we do incur take away from the total amount that will benefit the library - and that is where we want all the money to go. In order to maximize fundraising efforts, we sent a letter to businesses in Dover and those with a Dover connection. And already, we have had wonderful members of community answer our call. Read all about them below, but a special thanks to Chestnut Street Animal Hospital, Miss Erin's School of Dance, Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS, and Roche Bros. supermarkets.

PET FRIENDLY

Who can be nicer than people who help animals? It's hard to think of anyone, and no one is a greater friend of my cat than Dr. Holly Kelsey and the team at Chestnut Street Animal Hospital - just up the road on Chestnut Street in Needham. I won't go as far to say he likes to get in the carrier to go to the vet, but once he arrives and sees where he is, he does relax a bit! When we moved here, several people referred me to them, and they take excellent car of Smokey. They also take care of the community, and this year are "Busy Bee" donors to the Bee. Now that's something we can all purr about!

GROCERIES ON THE GO

If you read these entries, you'll find I am a fan of places that deliver. And Roche Bros. is a great delivery store. They have all the things I need, and my groceries come to me! But it is also fun to go to the store in Wellesley, where I can peruse the aisles and ogle the ready-made cases. They have kid-sized carts, much to my kids' delight. The upside is that each child gets a cart to push and stays happy; the downside is it can take 45 minutes to get 20 things! But what we lack in speed we make up in fun. The folks at Roche Bros. are friendly and helpful, and they are also supporters of the Dover Library. They have given gift cards and products to past events, and this year, they are "Honey Bee" donors. Quality service indeed! Check out their locations and delivery options at www.rochebros.com.

GRIN AND BEAR IT

With no offense to the profession, it is rare to find a dentist that kids actually want to go see. However, such is the case with Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS, on Centre Street. Both my son and I see him, and my son loves to go show off his teeth and get his clean teeth certificate from Dr. Manikian. Each night while brushing, my son proudly says he is doing a good job - "just like Dr. Manikian said to." A longtime resident, Dr. Manikian is another person who gives back to our town's resources, donating as a "Busy Bee" to our Bee. We appreciate his support of the library and, thanks to his skills, can flash our pearly whites with confidence!

DANCE TIME!

My daughter is too young for dance lessons and ballet is not up my son's alley, but as I hear from kids and moms alike, Miss Erin's School of Dance is the place to go. I have been regaled with tales of costumes and recitals and most importantly, fun - all the excitement I remember when as a child I took dance. Miss Erin's is right here in Dover at the Caryl School, and as part of the community, owner/teacher Erin McParkland-McCann gives back to community, such as her school's support of the Bee. By donating as a "Busy Bee," Miss Erin's is making sure that after class, her students have a sound place to research dance history and learn more about their moves.

Friday, February 19, 2010

DOVER MARKET TO THE RESCUE!

It is rare that you can say a grocery store actually saved the day, but in the case of Dover Market, it is true. It was my mother-in-law's birthday and I was making dinner and my 4 year old wanted to make the cake. As the day wore on, it became increasingly clear that there was no way this was all going to come together. Enter Dover Market. I called and got Chef Cindy and she set aside for us some amazing chicken - far better than what I was attempting to cook - and some beautiful flowers from Lovell's that they had right there in the front. With that taken care of, and the sides already made, we could focus on bigger issues - like exactly how many sprinkles will fit on a cake! But whether it is a dinner emergency, high end meats, catering, daily groceries or just a milk run, Dover Market has you covered. Dover Market also is a long supporter of the library - did you have the amazing sausages Dave Felleman made for the Friends' Oktoberfest? Or Chef Cindy's soup and pastry puffs at the Holiday House Tour? If you did not have either, stop by today to see what you are missing. And the Dover Market has come through again, donating a $50 gift card to the Bee Tree. Thank you!

GO PAW SOX!

Just down the road a bit is a Red Sox farm team, the Pawtucket Red Sox. A great place to take kids to games, you avoid the lines and cost of Fenway but get all of the action and can see up and coming Sox players take the field. And thanks to their donation to the Bee Tree, 4 tickets to a game can be yours for the taking. A great way for the family to spend a summer afternoon! Check out team info at www.pawsox.com.

PICTURE PERFECT

The holiday card photo - more trying to get a good picture of the kids - always adds to the holiday stress. So why not leave it to the pros? Portrait Simple has offered a solution by donating a free sitting and 6 sheet package to the Bee Tree. With their pros taking the shots and plenty of poses to choose from, that holiday gem has to be in there. And with the six sheets of pics, there will be plenty for you to share pics of the kids (or mom and dad too!). Who knew it could be so easy to be picture perfect?! For more info, visit www.portraitsimple.com.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TALK TO THE ANIMALS

What is cuter than baby animals? Maybe your kids communing with the baby animals? Well if you are looking to channel Dr. Doolittle and take cuteness to the nth degree, you'll have your chance thanks to Zoo New England donating 4 passes to the Bee Tree. Good for use at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston or the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, these passes will make for a fun, and educational, day out. Read all about the zoos and their programs (including animal birth announcements!) at www.zoonewengland.com.

A FAIRY TALE COME TO LIFE

I have not yet made the trip up to Story Land, but if my friends experiences and the buzz on the Dover Moms' site are even half true, it is the perfect place to take little ones for an amusement park adventure. Repeat visits are the norm - seems like kids and parents love this place! Rides are the right scale and speed, prices are reasonable and with its close proximity, it makes for an easy mini-vacation. The kind people at Story Land also are helping with our Bee, donating 2 passes to the Bee Tree. So you can have a fun weekend and help the library! See what all is there at www.storylandnh.com.

HO! HO! HO!

While my son points out things to ask Santa for weekly, he does not yet know there is a place where it is all Santa, all the time. I kind of dread the day he learns about Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH, because I know then anytime we talk of taking a trip, that will be his #1 destination choice! Just a hop skip and a jump away, this is a place where it is holiday magic, regardless of the calendar date (well, as long as it is May-December - Santa needs a vacation too!). With rides, festivities, reindeer and Santa himself, Santa's Village makes for a great weekend getaway. And if you purchase the 2 passes they donated to the Bee Tree, you'll be that much closer to having a holly, jolly day! Check it out at www.santasvillage.com.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

They're BAAAAACK: The Defending Champions return!

We have just received the paperwork for the Spellunkers, the 2009 Bee champions.  This team, most recently consisting of Dr. Pamela Mok, attorney Lori Krusell, and author Tod Dimmick, has been playing in the Bee for several years, in varying compositions.  Their two consistent features from year to year are their fabulous headgear and--of course--their spelling acumen.  They will be a tough team to beat (for you AND for me).  Come out to the Bee on March 25th and cheer them on, or take them on.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Teams are rolling in!

Now that the words are published, the pressure is on for teams to form and start preparing.  I'm delighted to report that we have several teams--new and returning--emerging to play in the 2010 Bee.

So far, Ms Wood's Chickering class wins the prize for the most Bee participants.  The class voted on the name for the team of parents representing the class: Wood's Word Wizards (you cannot say that 10 times fast--unless you are in the 3rd grade) consists of two-time Bee veteran Sara Muckstadt, joined by newbies (new-bees?) Laura Rinaldi and Dick Greene.  Watch out for this team; I suspect they're going to be very good.  And I know that their cheering section will be very loud...

Ms Wood's class can also claim bragging rights for part of the Bee List Celebrities, constituted by Greg Kahoun and Chickering parents Will Bleakley (Ms Wood's class) and Paul Fiore.  These three won the round that sent me scrambling for the dictionary last year--they ran me out of words.  Watching how fluidly they responded to the difficult words read by MC George Doherty last spring, I had the sudden and alarming impression that they must use words like terpsichorean and immiserate in everyday speech. I'm glad that my high-schooler is not taking the SATs alongside of these guys--they'd blow the curve.

Talk to the parents of your children's friends and classmates, and form a team. The Dear Friend letter makes it easy to get a wide base of support relatively quickly, and puts you in the game.  Your kids will be so proud of you for playing (and they might even help you study!), and you will be doing a very good deed for your library and your community.

We will continue to update you on the teams, the words, the donors and all things Bee '10. Stay tuned!

oooh, a day too late!

Now that the Bee words are published, I found a fabulous list of Shakespearian-sounding words on Wordnik.   If only I had seen it before, we might be learning to spell tickle-brained and rudesby.  Not all of the words on the list bear specific references to Shakespearian works, but they are a fun read.  I think I am going to go in and add "reechy"--if memory serves, Hamlet's uncle gave Hamlet's mother some reechy kisses...yuck.

If you are looking for more Elizabethan fun, try the Shakespearian Insulter. It attributes the insults, and it makes for a great study break...

Shakespeare was an amazing neologist--he contributed an enormous number of new words to our language. Luckily for him, Elizabethan English had more flexible spelling rules than we have today--Shakespeare himself spelled his own name a number of different ways.  I don't know how he'd do if he competed in our Bee, but I'm sure he'd make one heck of a word list for the players.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Go pick up the word list--it's at the Library!

....And how satisfying it was to finish a job before the Last Possible Minute.  Thanks to our neighbors at Fedex-Kinko's in Needham, I was able to e-mail the pdf file to them at 1:05 a.m., and they had a draft ready for proofing before my youngest went out to the bus this morning.  Best of all, the entire order was ready for pickup right after school this afternoon--and the word list will be waiting for you when the Library opens its doors tomorrow morning.

Remember, you can get the list as soon as your paperwork is complete and your entry fee is paid.  Some of the parent teams from Chickering have decided to have one person post the full fee, and then be reimbursed by the rest of the team and other helping parents. The "Dear Friend" letter should facilitate collecting from a large group (such as parents of children in a classroom).  These tips can help you get the list as soon as possible.  You can buy your Mulligan later on--we have a "last call" at team registration on Bee night. (But be warned: we don't take IOUs.)

The theme of this year's Bee is Hit the Books.  When you get your list, you will see that the words are sorted in categories named after books that you may have read, or may want to read.  All you need is your library card, and the entire collection of the public libraries in our network are open to you.  It's easy to order books on line, and they will be delivered to the Circulation Desk in Dover...or wherever you might like to pick them up (this is a great feature if you work near another library--pick up your books on your lunch break).  This is one of the many valuable services your library offers you, at no cost.  Here is the link to the Minuteman Network catalog page, or you can access the collection through the Dover Town Library's website.

So, get your team together, sign up and prepare to hit the books!   We will, as time and energy permit, talk about some of the words here.  Stay tuned!

INN & OUT & BACK AGAIN

Four words - Cinnamon Croissant French Toast. It melts in your mouth, and it is one of the many delicious items on the menu at the Sherborn Inn. Long supporters of the Dover Library, the Sherborn Inn holds a special place in my heart - and dare I say my stomach?! Not only did I have a baby shower there, but my husband and I went for brunch there the day before I had my daughter. I was having early contractions but I was not going to let going into labor get between me and that french toast. It is that good! In addition to the Inn and Restaurant, there is also the Sherborn Out, which offers gourmet specialty food and cheeses, fresh baked goods, prepared meals, catering and a large selection of wine and spirits. For all the details, check out www.sherborninn.com, and if you are lucky, you will get the Bee Tree word that corresponds to the $50 gift card they so generously donated, so you too can experience some of this culinary bliss right up the road.