Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SCRIPPS-TED:  Hard to believe (because it's the week before Memorial Day this year), but the Scripps National Spelling Bee does begin next Tuesday with the written round. We've already discussed the rules changes, so now let's take a look at this year's competitors:

  • This is the least experienced Bee crew I think we've ever seen: zero five-timers, one four-timer (who hasn't been on prime time), and only eight three-time repeaters -- though one of them has made prime time in his first two appearances. There are no Shivashankars, and we'll be making some new stars.
  • But, okay, two siblings of recent former winners (Jairam Hathwar and Srinath Mahankali).
  • You'll want to meet this year's Jamaican speller, Chaunte Blackwood. Because unlike the Penn Relays, in Spelling Bees this blog is pro-Jamaica.
  • On the other hands, after many years of drought, we're somehow back to five Canadians this year.
  • Historically, Philadelphia does in the Bee like New Hampshire in the Miss America Pageant, but we're still rooting for Saif Siddiquee

Monday, May 16, 2016

MOTHER OF DRAGONS, BREAKER OF CHAINS, WIZARD OF PINBALL:  Have we reached Peak HBO? A 538 investigation.