Style Conversational Week 1071: The ABCs of humor


Bob Staake had to combine the concepts of basketball traveling and airport traveling for the Week 1071 example. I decided that turning fuselage into phalluselage wouldn't be the greatest idea, and even Bob concurred. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
May 8

Okay, last call! I’m happy and relieved to say that a bunch of late-deciding Losers have RSVP’d — after a distasteful amount of SVP’ing — and will be coming to Saturday’s 19th annual Flushies award luncheon for Style Invitational Losers, their henchmen and the Merely Curious. But it’s not too late to join 47 of the 4 billion most fascinating people on the planet, and me: Just e-mail Grand Organizer Elden Carnahan and bring your $38 to the door. It’s at the Holiday Inn right off the Beltway at the College Park exit, U.S. 1, next door to the Ikea. Info at bit.ly/flushies19.

The emcee for the afternoon, the irrepressible and unforgettable Nan Reiner, and a small band of co-conspirators have been hard at work preparing the “entertainment” part of the progam, which includes a custom-written song parody by Brendan Beary to honor the Loser of the Year. (The “entertainment” part of the program has been strategically placed after the “drinking” part of the program.) And of course, awards will be presented: plaques for LOTY, Rookie of the Year, Most Imporved*, Least Imporved and Most Cantinkerous (most inks without ever winning the contest); plus special scrolls to Losers who reached various milestones of ink-blotting over the past year. (It is yet to be determined whether the special scrolls will be thrown or bowled across the room.)

. I just donated to Door Prize Santa Pie Snelson two grocery bags full of extremely valuable detritus, such as the second Bimbo shopping bag that Christopher Lamora sent me, and a pair of cute soft-sculpture people wearing kaffiyehs and holding up a sign with Arabic writing, presumably something like “welcome to our home,” but no doubt offensive to some readers or other. And I’m bringing back the Empress Punching Bag, complete with a freshly printed out face to paste on it. Go ahead, make a space between my teeth.

Also: food; in past years there, it’s been a pretty tasty buffet and I assume this year’s will be similar. But really, the most fun is in getting to meet and reconnect with Losers old and new; there’s lots of time built into the program just for schmoozing. So I’m looking forward to seeing both those currently on the guest list plus at least three more people, so Dave Prevar will make the guaranteed minimum crowd that he paid the hotel for.

Next year: The organizers are understandably weary of dealing with the stress and uncertainty of minimums, deposits, contracts, etc. So they’re thinking of having the Flushies meal at a restaurant and then repairing to a nearby church hall or whatnot for the the noisier part of the afternoon. Or maybe someone with a large rec room would like to volunteer space? Or maybe it could be mostly a potluck with a nominal charge. We’d love to hear input (especially from you people with the big rec rooms).

*There was some ancient Invitational prize that had this typo on the packaging.

It’s easy as BZX: The Week 1071 contest

As a rule, I prefer not to run contests that require a print-page reader to go to the Internet: There are always a number of people who enter the Invite after reading their Sunday papers at breakfast, perhaps repairing afterward to the household throne, and thinking up a few entries. And I like to hear from those people. But my objection is lessening as a larger and larger portion of the readership sees the Invite online, and so for two of the past three weeks I’ve put up contests that require you to look at a Web page.

Given our 100 percent success rate with the multitude of compare-and-contrast contests we’ve run since “Comparison Shopping” of Week 155 — winner: What is the difference between a bowling ball and the devoted followers of Pat Buchanan? A bowling ball requires an opposable thumb. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge) — and the wonderful fact that the Web page in question goes only through the D’s, I went right for Elden Carnahan’s suggestion for a contest to compare two things that use the same abbreviation.

It’s pretty straightforward (I always say that until the 49 questions roll in). The only advice I have is that while it’s not necessary for the entity to be familiar, your joke isn’t likely to work well if you have to explain it. So Elden’s “Basketball Federation of Slovenia” is obvious; ADP for “ammonium dihydrogen phosphate” probably won’t evince too many hahas.

Try wry again*: The results of Week 1067

*From a non-inking entry by Nan Reiner

Oboyoboy, am I gonna have a whole week of Style Invitational Ink of the Day memes to share next week on Facebook, along with a link to these results. This repeat of the Week 251 contest, from 16 years ago, gleefully altered well-known quotes and put them in the mouths of others: some old others (e.g., Bill Clinton) and some new others (Miley Cyrus) and some really old others (Adam). Lots of great entries, and I was happy to be able to share almost 50 of them from I think 36 Losers — I’m sure glad that postage stamps are self-sticking these days. (I’m still recovering from the horse names.)

I went overboard in supplying links to show the sources of the original quotes, and to articles clarifying why the new quotemakers would have said them. Don’t take it as an insult; we’ve found from the Devotees page that not only do readers have differing backgrounds, but quite often, what seems like an ahhhhbvious source can prove mystifying to even the most deeply wordplay-immersed of us.

I’ll present the Inkin’ Memorial directly to Nan Reiner on Saturday. Given that this is her eighth Invite win, I don't think she'll mind that her Bobble-Linc won’t actually bobble; decapitated in shipping from the vendor, Abe received some spinal fusion from Dr. Royal Consort. What a huge week for Nan: In addition to her winning Ink Blot No. 182, she also scored a runner-up and three honorable mentions — and there were even more of her entries on my short­list.

I got a big kick out of Doug Frank’s “Madea” entry about Tyler Perry’s sassy-matron drag character. His second-place, Pest World-winning ink gives the member of the Invite’s Houston bureau six “above the fold” and 56 in all. And Frank Osen — who seems to land in the top four these days more often than not — gets his 13th ATF (don't use that as an entry this week) and Inks 85, 86 and 87.

See you Saturday!

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