Tag Archives: exercise

National Spelling…er…Vocabulary and Spelling Bee

Some of you may already know that I was a participant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee as an 8th grader. It was a real thrill.

A rule change will have a major impact on the competition this year and as an alum of this event, I feel compelled to offer a few comments.


From the article:

This is the first time in its 86 years that the competition has introduced a vocabulary component.

It will count for 50% of a speller’s overall score and will help determine which competitors take part in the semifinal and championship rounds.

Spelling tests, both computer-based and onstage, will make up the other half of their scores.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Sanat Mishra, who last year made it to the finals of the South Asian Spelling Bee, but is not competing at the National Spelling Bee. “I don’t get the rule.”


You’re right, Sanat. It doesn’t make sense. It’s the National Spelling Bee, not the National Vocabulary and Spelling Bee.

But the people who run it feel differently, and thus the kids who are in this year’s event and no doubt those in the future will be participating in a completely different contest than what it was designed to be.

Sure, kids could stand to learn all kinds of things in addition to spelling but you’re missing the point with what you’re doing to this competition. You don’t change the Super Bowl to a football game combined with a 5K because you want the players to get more exercise.

My thoughts of course mean very little and in the big picture of life, this is quite trivial. However it is very frustrating to see an event I considered hallowed ground back in my time get watered down as years have gone by due to television broadcast needs, and now completely altered to further serve that purpose of whittling away participants in the interest of time.

I feel bad for the kids who may never get to participate in this event as it used to be – a bunch of really hard words that you had to practice for and then spell correctly in front of a microphone, not in a written exam…and not in addition to a vocabulary test.

I am d-i-s-a-p-p-o-i-n-t-e-d in this change but am o-p-t-i-m-i-s-t-i-c it will be overturned sometime soon.

Regardless of the rules, good luck to all of this year’s participants. Do your best and know you’re already a winner for making it there. More than anything else, just have fun!

The Most and Least Active Cities in America

Ahh yes. Nothing like a study and corresponding list of results to give me a reason to post a blog. This one comes from Men’s Health. It’s the ‘Most and Least Active Cities in America’ list.

I know you want to see where your city ended up, so go ahead and take a look:

Here’s the criteria used in finding the results:

We looked at where and how often people exercise (Experian Marketing Services); the percentage of households that watch more than 15 hours of cable a week and buy more than 11 video games a year (Mediamark Research); and the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to a lot of sitting (CDC). And since some people define “exercise” loosely, we gave credit for any physical activity in the past month (CDC).

How did your city do? Did you score high marks? Are you near the bottom? I’m not one to take too much stock in polls and surveys so I’m not here to say these results are the hard truth by any means. Doesn’t mean it won’t make for some good water cooler conversation though.

This list brings up an important topic: Exercise. Last I checked, this is pretty vital to your health.

Are you exercising or getting physical activity on a regular basis? You don’t need me to tell you to do this. Just ask any doctor or health professional. They’ll be happy to tell you…for a small fee of course 🙂

For the record, I am no model of health. I eat food that no one has any business eating, I should work out more, etc. Just writing this as an informative piece and hopefully it will motivate you (and me) to keep moving and getting that exercise our bodies need.

Hope you have a happy and healthy day.

Oh, I almost forgot. While I’m on the topic of exercise…I came across a report a few months ago that talks about the negatives of sitting at a desk all day. Check out the article – it’s a pretty good read. It includes audio and video segments as well. Worth a look.