James Maguire, author of the superb book American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds, is currently at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. -- because, like, where else would he bee? The bee kicks off today with prelims, and wraps up tomorrow on ABC during prime time.
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Of course, the fave to finish first is Colleyville's Samir Patel, competing in his fifth and final big bee; he's always been a fave but never come in first. (Come on -- "eremacausis"?) Which isn't stopping Maguire on his Web site from picking Samir as his likely champ: "Keep your eye on Samir Patel, a 13-year-old whiz kid from Texas. It’s his fifth Bee (and last) and he’s got a superb chance at taking home the trophy." --Robert Wilonsky