The Style Conversational
The Style Conversational
Loser-friendly discussion with The Empress of The Style Invitational

Our New Metal of Honor, and some liberties of statute

By the E, Pat Myers

Hey, I already wished you a happy Thanksgiving last week — because I thought this week’s column would be going up a day later than usual, not a day earlier. So danged if I’m going to wish you another one. Okay, fine: Have another one. Okay? Jeez, so demanding, you people are.

When searching for examples for the introduction to Week 998, I was so disappointed, though not at all surprised, that most of the most entertaining laws cited on such websites as seem nowhere to be found in current statutes or even earlier ones. Many others seem funny because they’re written so specifically — say, you can’t take a camel into a movie theater, to coin a typical example. But it turns out that the law is, say, that you can’t take ANY animals into a movie theater except guide dogs for the blind.

That’s of course entirely irrelevant for our purposes; we’re just counting on the reader’s familiarity with such lists of “dumb laws” so we can play off the general form. My guess is that the most fertile ground will be off recent headlines. But the Greater Loser Community has thought outside Ye Olde Boxe innumerable times, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes in.


While I’ve been giving out magnets since I started Empressizing almost nine years ago -- and we’ve come up with two new slogans almost every year — we had never had a full contest dedicated to coming up with the two winning ideas. In the past, I either picked some also-rans from a Loser T-shirt or Loser Mug contest, or, as I did in 2009, put it up in addition to another contest that week. Then I just chose two entries, rather than also award the also-rans. But now that we’re flush with usable ideas, we’ll probably use two more of today’s inking entries for the 2013-14 set. (Assuming there is one, of course.)

We worked right up to the wire this week choosing the winners and creating the art. And the plan is that we send the designs this very afternoon to our new magnet guy, John Condon of US Magnetix in the Minneapolis area. John and his colleague Dean Vaccaro are fans of Bob Staake’s art, and Dean contacted me on Facebook, telling me they were eager to print the new set. So if all goes well, we’ll be getting them in a couple of weeks. But first, I’d like first to use up our current supply of the Sunday Drivel and Middle-Wit Champion editions; I think I still have a few weeks’ worth. So I’ll be sending those as the honorable mentions unless you write to tell me that you’d like to wait for the new design.

Given that we’d never had a just-magnets contest before, I’d never placed the winners 1 and 2 before. This time the first-place winner was my choice, and the second choice went to Bob, who picked from six or eight possibilities I offered him.

I loved Bruce Carlson’s “Not(e)worthy” idea right from the start. The challenge was to make the joke work visually in the space of a business card, plus include “Honorable Mention,” the Post logo, “The Style Invitational” and the year. Also, we had to turn it around really fast because the Sunday Style section (the Invitational runs on its back page) was being printed today instead of on its usual Thursday evening. This is what’s wonderful about having a pro like Bob Staake, who’s been known to say that he prefers to work at a manic pace. And it’s also what’s wonderful about collaboration, and give-and-take.

Bob first tried the design this way. But I was worried that it wouldn’t be clear that it was showing “Noteworthy” being downgraded by the Empress; the E she was holding might have even stood for Empress or something. I wanted the reader to see “Noteworthy” right from the start, with an E that was much closer to the space it “came from.” And lo, within minutes, this very afternoon, Bob’s revision solved the problem perfectly: He turned the Empress around so that she could be using her left hand (which happens to be more accurate as well), and moved the text around in just as effective a manner. And to solve a worry we both had — how to make it clear she was taking down the E, not putting it up?! — Bob added more conspicuous debris on the sign to show where the letter “had been.”

Also note the Empress’s superhuman strength as she holds the ladder by one hand while her feet float in the air. Take that, Mr. Chinese Olympic Gymnasts.

It’s not just the first Inkin’ Memorial for Bruce Carlson, but also his first “above-the-fold” ink in his 15 blots. I met Bruce at least once at a Loser brunch a few years ago, and I hope he’ll join us again now that he’s such an Invite big shot.

On the other hand, the Losers’ Circle is familiar stomping grounds for our other slogan creator, Beverley Sharp. In fact, Beverley is the lucky winner of two second-place books in a row: Last week she won a volume all about toilets, and this week is awarded “the best book ever written,” according to its donor, Tom Witte, who happens to be the author’s son-in-law. Sample passage: “ ‘Look,’ he said, ‘the sun is beginning to set. It will soon be nightfall.’ She marveled at his wisdom and was in awe of his manhood.” Let’s hope for the happiest of Thanksgivings at the Witte household tomorrow.

The third-place “My Cup Punneth Over” mug or Grossery Bag goes to Roger Hammons, who entered the Invite with a burst of enthusiasm a couple of years ago and then returned to having-a-life mode. (I hope he’s gotten over THAT.) It’s Roger’s first above-the-fold prize in his 14 inks.

And fourth place goes to the slightly head-scratchy “We Ain’t Not Amused” by Barbara Turner, for Ink No. 89 (and 90), and her 14th entry to win junk more than 3 inches long.

HAW-meister Lynn Medford, editor of Sunday Style, is totally on board with this week’s choices, especially since they’re one of the odder items on her departmental budget.

Unless I missed noticing them, I ended up having to toss only a couple of great ideas because we’d already printed them in earlier slogan contests (I thought it would be too unwieldy and perhaps too intimidating to run all the previous ink). One was “Puns of Steel” — entered by Dion Black but, alas, already a Loser for Jennifer Hart in a T-shirt contest back in the day; the other was Mark Raffman’s “Cogito Ergo Sump” — a too frequently entered suggestion for a sticker to be put on the back of our Inker trophy, the predecessor to the Inkin’ Memorial.
And for unprintability: It’s not so shocking that I have to wall it off under a separate subhead, but it sure as heck wasn’t going to get ink, let alone be printed on a magnet:

I Must Be Effin’ Napoleon Because I Got Screwed by the Empress/ Honorable Mention etc. In your dreams, Jeff Hazle of Woodbridge.


My polite comment that I could re-host the Loser Post-Holiday Party at my house if no one else was interested seems to have become a calendar listing on the Loser Events page on Elden Carnahan’s Loser website. And so I guess I’ve recovered from the other one three years ago, though there are still probably a few cocktail napkins lying in some corner. If there’s not a major conflict with a significant number of people (or a number of significant people), I’d like to shoot for Jan. 5. All Losers, their orderlies, and just the Merely Interested are welcome. It’s always a potluck, and I’m hoping that our brigade of song parodists will once again provide entertainment. I’ll be sending out e-mails to the whole mailing list in the ensuing weeks, and will remind you of this event in the Conversational until you RSVP yes just to shut me up.

NOW have that happy Thanksgiving.

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