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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Spelling bee stings all but one with devilish words of love

By Aaron Falk

February 13, 2005 | Benjamin Green stood on stage in the TSC Sunburst Lounge, Friday, with a straight-faced expression, his sweatshirt -- a mixture of green, blue, white and pink -- tucked into his jeans. He kept both hands in his pockets, exposing a calculator wristwatch.

Next to him, Paul Romney stood, tapping on the microphone and tugging at a non-existent tie like the Rodney Dangerfield of spelling bees.





Mark Damen, one of four professors from the university's classics department who hosted the "Spelling Bee My Valentine," listed off the Valentine-themed vocabulary for several rounds while Green and Romney battled back-and-forth.

Finally, Romney tripped up on "coquetry," a word that means "playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest," according to

While Romney stumbled, Green did not.

"I feel pretty good," he said after winning the competition and earning a Dell desktop computer. "You probably want a really big word, though. I feel exuberant."

Romney, who took home an iPod as the runner-up, said the trick to becoming better at spelling is simply reading more books.

"It's not like I read the dictionary," he said after the event.

"I used to," Green chimed in. "But don't tell anybody that."

Others, like eighth-place finisher Gary Brimley, a biological engineering student who spelled "tryst" with an "I," had more advice for spelling bee competitors.

"Always ask for an alternate pronunciation," he said.

Both Romney and Green said they had competed in spelling bees before Friday, Romney finished in seventh-place two years ago at USU and Green competed in spelling bees while growing up in Santa Clara, Utah.

ASUSU Academic Senate President Spencer Watts, who sponsored the event, said 58 spellers competed. While that number is lower than the 80 participants they had expected, Watts said he was still pleased.

"We had a good turnout," he said. "There aren't a whole lot of academic competitions on campus.

The event was a single-elimination competition, featuring three rounds. About 20 spellers survived the opening round. The field was then narrowed to eight finalists.

Tracy Lund, last year's champion misspelled "brochette" in the semi-finals. Lund said she was disappointed because she "wanted to win another computer.

Fourth-place finisher Zann Anderson, a computer science major who misspelled "uxorious," said the competition was worthwhile regardless of where he finished.

"It was really fun," he said. "But I would have traded for any of (the other finalist's) words.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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