Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blogging The Bee: Bill Long

Bill Long has an amazing web site, largely devoted to words and literature; this is the introduction to an essay on the origins of some fascinating words in which he mentions us:

A Portland Spelling Bee

Bill Long 2/20/07

At the Mississippi (Ave) Pizza Pub

Last night I decided to venture up to Portland to take part in the weekly spelling bee at the Mississippi Ave. Pizza Pub in North Portland. I ended up getting 2nd, losing to Linda Goertz, whom I like a lot and whom I met last year at the Oregon Senior Spelling Bee. She has already blogged her victory; I congratulate her on it. However, the purpose of this essay is to introduce some of the words that were either given last night in the Bee or which Linda, Julie Golden (an excellent speller who arrived with Linda) and I were discussing before the bee or which I wanted to note on this page. I will just list nine words and only have time to write about one, I fear. Here is the list: faja (the winning word, some kind of sash), helobious (from the kids' 2006 bee; for some reason it is on my mind--having to do with living in marshes or swamps); hematopoiesis/hematopoietics (one of Linda's favorite terms--having to do with formation of blood cells in a living body); pashm (the soft underfur of Tibetan goats--I actually found this word on the way to trying to find Julie's word that she missed--I still haven't found it, but I settled for pashm), larithmics (see below); fermiere (food prepared in plain country style; lit. "after the farmer's wife"..I wonder if she cut off their tail with the carving knife...); ranine (of or relating to frogs; whoops, a friend of mine has a daughter named Rana--I wonder if she knows..); mussitation (either movement of the lips without sound or a murmuring); incurvariid (another one of Linda's words--meaning something to do with a moth). As I tend to do, I run home and do full word searches on as many words as I can, not only to learn to spell or define the word but also, wherever possible, to create and understand the human context which produced the word. Here is my effort on larithmics, which was actually spelled correctly by one of the contestants last night.

Read the rest ...

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