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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Basic Biittner: There's a word for it

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On Thursday, May 26, the National Spelling Bee was held. I watched a little bit of it (yes, it's a televised event), and came away with a few observations.

#1. Please forgive my political incorrectness, but when the 11 finalists were introduced at the top of the program, I couldn't help but notice that very few of the contestants had "American - sounding" names. The kids were all U.S. citizens, sure, and spoke perfect English, but their surnames brought the whole "melting pot" thing home to me once and for all. Included among the contestants were Aishwarya Pastapur, Sidharth Chand, Neetu Chandak, Tussah Heera, and Kennyi Aouad. A pretty good test of spelling right there. The only "American" name was Tim Ruiter, who was also the youngest finalist, at age 12, one year younger than his rivals. Ruiter finished second in the spelling bee, losing only to the champion, 13-year-old Kavya Shivashankar from Olathe, Kansas.

#2. I could relate to the champ in a way. I know I couldn't just stand there and spell words, I would need to write them down. And that's just what Shivashankar did. For each word, she would write the word in her palm with her finger, as her method of visualization.

#3. The other thing that I took away from this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee was the winning word, because I think it describes me perfectly, and, after all, it IS all about me, you know.

The winning word was "laodicean," and its emergence onto the scene has alllowed me to find a label I can attach to myself. I know, many of you probably have suggestions for labels, but ... no thanks, I'll stick with this one.

"Laodicean" means "lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics," and, though I must admit I'm not really lukewarm or indifferent in religion, I certainly am when it comes to politics, so I'm going to take full advantage of the "or" in the definition above, and declare myself, here and now, as a Laodicean (pronounced "Lay - uh-dee - shun), when it comes to politics.

T-shirts and baseball caps will, of course, be available - for just $19.95 - to anyone who cares to join me in declaring our (non) passion to the world.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner