I Don’t Know About You, But When I Was Eleven, I was Busy Climbing Trees

Here are the co-winners of last night’s Scripps Spelling Bee, the one on the left is in Fifth Grade and is ELEVEN years old. This was his first foray into the Bee, and is the youngest winner for a long time. Wow, just wow.


I watched until the bitter end, glued to seeing these two kids spell words I’d never heard of, let alone try and spell. The final round words were Feldenkrais and Gesellschaft.

Believe it or not, I KNEW the word Gesellschraft from a million years ago, 1963 to be exact, as my family traveled through Europe. I leaned what GmbH stood for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. I haven’t forgotten it since. Could I have spelled it before the cameras last night? Hell no, but at least I had heard the word and knew the root.

Nihar, on the left, must have a photographic memory, as words thrown at him one after another he knew, he recognized. Asked how he knew so much at such a young age, he responded, My Mother, It’s All my Mother. 

Of the ten finalists, only one white girl and one white boy, both eliminated at some point but both amazingly good. We’ve talked about this before here, the culture behind Indian and Pakistani parents to raise such intellectually curious children – what drives them to succeed? Is it really just the parents? I don’t think so. The children have to have the innate ability to learn and memorize and think about roots and language of origin. It takes a logical mind to think out all those steps.

I predict every last one of the ten finalists will end up at MIT or Harvard or CalTech and each will make some major discovery or contribution to the world.

All I was concerned about at age eleven was riding my bike to Johnson’s Pharmacy to buy either a lime or root beer Popsicle. Oh well.

16 thoughts on “I Don’t Know About You, But When I Was Eleven, I was Busy Climbing Trees

  1. The kids and I watched for the first hour then I had other chores to do. I predicted Sylvie would win, the one white girl. She was funny as well as brilliant. What I liked was the kids seemed very comfortable in their own skin, happy to be smart nerdy spellers. As they profiled each contestant I loved that they all had other things they were good at. I always think I’m a good speller until I watch the Bee.

  2. I didn’t see much of the bee but I agree that the kids seemed very comfortable being so smart. They were also genuinely happy for their teammates. I hate to ask but were there any black contestants?

    1. There were blacks, one dressed in African garb. What’s good is the breakdown of how the kids are educated:
      190 public (66.6%)
      53 private (18.6%)
      17 parochial (5.9%)
      3 charter (1.1%)
      1 virtual (0.4%)
      21 home (7.4%)

      What’s a virtual school?

      1. this is virtually a definition:

        adjective | vir·tu·al |\ˈvər-chə-wəl, -chəl; ˈvərch-wəl\

        Simple Definition of virtual

        1 : very close to being something without actually being it

  3. O/t: thoughts on Obama’s comments in Hiroshima? I found his words offensive. He called the bomb evil without mentioning what evil we were fighting. It was war, abs we wanted to win, a concept foreign to Obama.

    “Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil,” the president said. “We come to ponder the terrible force unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead.”

      1. Revolting. The WWII veterans are rolling over in their graves. As the article said, the aspect that his speech falls on Memorial Weekend is not lost to most. Ugh

    1. I so didn’t know where that video was going. I was sure Obama was going to appear. I am thankful he did not. I’ve had quite my fill of that idiot.
      Speaking of idiots, Brian Williams, now of daytime MSNBC, is quoted today as saying Americans dropped the bomb on Hiroshima out of anger. Andrea Mitchell thanked him for his clarification. The thousands of soldiers who died in Pearl Harbor just sat up in their graves to reach out and grab Williams’s neck and wring it like my grandma did to her farm chickens before she lopped off their heads. Williams has some effing nerve.

        1. Brian might have little sway but I think Andrea Mitchell has lots. She’s a friend to both the Obama’s and Hillary Clinton and is therefore called upon to do the “hard hitting” interviews. Speaking of the media, I was really disappointed to hear Trump backed out of debate with Bernie. I wonder why. Hillary must be thrilled because she would have been hurt the most by it happening. Agree?

        2. PS: as a Californian chris, do you think Bernie has a chance to win the California primary. Further, would Trump have any chance of taking California to the R side come fall?

  4. Ironically, TCM series this weekend is war movies. The one on now is from1943, men in line for the elite US Bombardier fleet. Even Hollywood actors in that era did all they could for the war effort.

    Happy Memorial Weekend all.

    1. Ha. It’s on here too and one of the female leads just said to the colonel played by Pat O’Brien, “give those Japs hell”. Obama must have his hands over his ears crying LA LA LA LA.

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