(Here’s the link to the video of the squeeze ball; it wouldn’t work in the photo caption.)
Hello, everyone. I’d like first to express my deepest thanks for the many words of comfort from those in the Loser Community about my father, who died last Friday afternoon. My family and I were so deeply touched by those who donated to charities in his name, and to those who attended the funeral on Monday. As Loser Dion Black noted just last week in the Sunday Style section story about the Losers that ran with the Invite’s 20th-anniversary package, it’s times like these that show what we mean by “community.”
So! It’s been a heck of a week. I’m delighted that our 11-part retrospective last week, focusing on highlights of the Invite’s last 10 years, seems to have brought us some new fans. One indicator is that in the past week, 19 people — almost all of them new to us — joined the Facebook group Style Invitational Devotees; in a typical week we might get five.
And while I’m nowhere well enough organized to have planned for it, I’m thrilled that the first new contest results those newbies will see are the hilarious set from Week 1008, the contest to rearrange the words of a movie title and describe the results. Like the vast majority of the classic entries we ended up using in the retrospective, this week’s inking entries are easy to read and are intrinsically funny, rather than deriving a lot of their success from the feat of meeting a contest’s demanding rules. (Not that the latter kind of contest isn’t also fun — I’m expecting great things from Week 1009, the contest to write about a person using only the letters of his name — but the entries don’t tend to be quite as accessible and quotable for the reader.)
Iin addition to our annual Limerixicon in August, in recent years we’ve been retapping the Losers’ extraordinary, um, limericity with a second contest a few months before or after. In Week 974, last June, we did a contest for limericks about movies,, and in Week 938 we had a hugely successful contest to “improve on” Edward Lear’s proto-limericks from the 1800s. This week, we’re making the contest wide open with the requirement only that the subject be in some way on current events. It doesn’t have to refer to a specific story from the paper; it just needs to be generally topical.
Once again, I’m guaranteed to be reading through hundreds of entries that don’t follow the structure of a limerick that I describe in “Get Your ’Rick Rolling” (some of its references are to last year’s Limerixicon, but the rules for rhyme and meter apply universally), but I’m absolutely sure that I’ll have many dozens of lims that are not just mechanically correct, but inkworthily clever as well. (The Charlotte Observer, which is running a similar limerick contest, offers a more concise guide here; thanks to Loser and limerick blogger Madeleine Begun Kane for telling me about it. If you’re entering a limerick in that contest, that’s fine with us, but don’t also send that limerick to the Invitational.)
Just as when we did this contest in 2003 (see the results of that one here, courtesy of Elden Carnahan’s fabulous Master Contest List, now featuring links to results for many of the contests), we had a terrific set of results for the challenge to rearrange the words in a movie title and describe the result. I had a big pool of 322 e-mails to work with, including many that contained the maximum of 25 entries.
I found myself favoring entries in which you could easily figure out the original movie title, and that tended to rule out entries such as this one by lousy-with-ink-anyway Brendan Beary: “The Lord of the Fellowship of the Ring-Rings: A boy climbs the ladder to become the master of a circle of prank callers.” (The unwieldy original title: “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.”)
Not surprisingly, there were many funny rearranged titles for which too many people sent roughly the same descriptions:
— “The Right Are All Kids,” a documentary on the Tea Party
— “Bill Kill, Vol. 2”: Another epidemic of filibuster fever paralyzes Congress.
— Wonka and the Chocolate Willy Factory: Charlie saves the struggling business by turning it into an erotic bakery.
— “More Dollars for a Few”: Documentary on the GOP platform.
— “Cassidy Sundance and the Butch Kid”: Your typical lesbian western.
Also, a number of the entries that did get ink were also frequently submitted titles; I think there were more of "Washington Goes to Mr. Smith” than any other. As usual, in this case I chose an entry that had a twist I especially liked, or the most entertaining wording.
I don’t think I used any titles in which the description would have worked just as well with the original word order: for example, “Where Art Thou, O Brother?”: The search for Oprah’s long-lost sibling.”
Also as in the 2003 contest, most of the new “plot descriptions” didn’t reference the original plot; unlike with neologism definitions, it doesn’t seem necessary for the humor of this contest.
Once again, I’ll be burning through my stashes of magnets and FirStinks this week; more than 30 individual Losers got ink, including six First Offenders.
One FirStink will be scenting a Loser Mug or Grossery Bag in the box going out to Dan O’Day of D.C.’s Virginia suburbs. Dan sent in a number of entertaining entries; I especially also liked “‘Twist, Oliver!’ A rockin’ and rollin’ blast from the past as everyone’s favorite ‘Contra Cuties,’ Oliver North and Fawn Hall, enter a dance contest to raise money for rebel groups in Nicarauga.” I’m looking forward to lots more from Dan.
And also clearly no flukes are our three other “above the fold” winners: It’s the fourth top win (and almost 300th blot of ink) for Roy Ashley, who first got ink in the famed “Bad Analogies” contest of Week 120, 1995. Much more recent but very successful of late is Frank Osen, who won the Inkin’ Memorial in Week 1002, and now has 20 inks since his debut in Week 938. The fourth spot goes to another strong relative newbie: Ellen Ryan actually got her first ink way back in Week 358, but has picked up her three above-the-fold inks (out of her total of nine) in the past year or so. (“Relative” newbie does not refer to Ellen’s talent for the Style Invitational despite her being the sister-in-law of Loser Jeff Contompasis.)
This week’s HAWs from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford were both to titles by Gary Crockett: Her top was “The Fear of Wages,” followed by “The Hunter Deer” (it was “Bambo” that distinguished it from the pack of similar entries) and Rob Cohen’s “Washington Goes to Mr. Smith.”
Proto-Loser Elden Carnahan finally has a true Loser-dedicated website once again, and he’s continuing to bring back elements of the long-defunct gopherdrool.com, along with the Loser Stats and the new Master Contest List. Be sure to check out the home page at nrars.org — he’s still using the weird pseudonym “Grace Fuller”-- to see all the Loseriana that he’s posting. He welcomes more from Losers’ own archives; contact him at the link provided.
This month’s Loser brunch is this coming Sunday, March 10, at the civil hour of 11:30 a.m. It’s the expansive Italian-and-more buffet at Paradiso, 6124 Franconia Rd., Alexandria, which is just outside the Beltway between the Van Dorn Street and I-95 exits. I think that just a few people have RSVP’d so far, so it’d be great to meet some new Losers (or just the Merely Curious) as well as to see the Old Reliables again. Contact Elden on the brunch link at nrars.org so we’ll know how big a table we need.
For Chocolate-Like Water: The story of a man and his colonoscopy prep drink. (Brendan Beary)
Will Blood Be There?: A husband tries to choose between a sexy weekend with his wife and a fishing trip (Craig Dykstra)
My Valley was How Green: A young woman is told of a horrifying discovery by her gynecologist. (Jeff Contompasis; Craig Dykstra)
Blows the 400: A hooker with a golden heart offers to fellate an entire town and donate her earnings to save their orphanage. (Stephen Dudzik)
Bang Bang Kiss Kiss - A necrophiliac’s how to manual. (J.F. Martin)
In Black Men: Typical example of the “gay minority porn” genre. (Russell Beland)
The Dick Bank: Fred’s deposit earns no interest. (Gary Crockett)
Privates Buck: Recent enlistees soon learn why their instructors are called “drill sergeants.” (Jeff Contompasis)