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

Week 1004: It’s time to be R.I.P.-roaring

By the E, Pat Myers

Happy New Year, everyone. For me, it’s great fun to start it off both with a great set of Style Invitational results, like the neologisms from Week 1000, and with a contest that’s sure to bring in a wealth of great material, like our annual Dead Letters contest. And it’s definitely one in which I don’t have to look up an entry to see if we’ve run it in an earlier year.

Given that in about 48 hours my bunker here at Mount Vermin will be swarmed by about 65 Losers, handlers, and The Merely Curious, and perhaps I should think about vacuuming up the cat hair and removing the less savory exoskeleta caught up in the older cobwebs, I’m going to economize on time by recycling the guidance on the obit-poem contest that I offered up last January: Here’s a link to the Week 952 Style Conversational. All the advice and observations are of course both timeless and priceless. And like General Franco, still dead.

One thing, though: No Newtown. Please.


It’s during the judging of contests like Week 1000 when I’m repeatedly grateful for the 25-entry limit: Not only do I avoid shoulder strain and tree waste from lugging around a telephone-book-size printout, but there’s much less tossing of funny entries because they were sent by too many people — and there’s not an ENORMOUS surfeit of fabulous neologisms that didn’t make the final cut. I did end up with a few dozen more inkworthy entries than most people would enjoy reading at one sitting; perhaps I’ll run some more next week if the acronyms from Week 1001 end up taking very little space.

With this T-through-Z contest, we reach the end of the six-contest redo of “Our Greatest Hit,” which began in Week 602, eight years ago, and strolled leisurely through Weeks 699, 781, 833, 880 and — pause for breath — 1000. The winners of those contests:

Week 602 (March 2005): Defenestraction: A ruse to divert the cop’s attention while you throw the evidence out the window. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Week 699 (January 2007, presented over two weeks, with two Inker-winners): Epigramp: A maxim that brands the speaker as an old codger: “If God had wanted women to wear pants . . .” (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.); Sackenhack: A town in New Jersey founded by Vikings. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.) [The transposition rule that year didn’t specify that they had to be adjacent letters.]

Week 781 (September 2008): Nee Jerk: A bride who instantly agreed to take her husband’s name. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

Week 833 (September 2009): Mulatte: Rejected name for Starbucks’ new half-coffee/half-milk drink. (Pam Sweeney, St. Paul, Minn.)

Week 880 (July 2010): Defrigerator: Start saving energy now with this special offer from Pepco! (Lennie Magida, Potomac, Md.)

And joining this puntheon today, we have:

Trendinitis: Inflammation of the hip. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

I’m delighted to be able to present Jeff with his first Inkin’ Memorial to join his five Inkers, on Saturday at the Losers’ Post-Holiday Party. I’ll also attempt to deliver a fanfare on the Loseaphone, a big plastic horn that Jeff painted with glittery stuff and donated as a prize, but accepted my offer to use it at Loser events instead (not brunches in restaurants). I had thought that it was a kind of vuvuzela, but actually you have to use some embouchure to get any sound out of it at all. If you do, it sounds like a shofar made from a particularly sad ram. By the way, the black icon on the felt flag is a thumb-down. “Trendinitis,” by the way was both my choice and that of my predecessor, the Czar of The Style Invitational; seeking to narrow a list of more than 100 entries, I asked the Czar to tell me his favorites (though I had made my top four choices). He chose this one, which was in the middle of the list somewhere, as the winner.

Ironman Loser Tom Witte gets his 124th above-the-fold ink (along with Inks 1,207 through 1,211 — Tom’s Invite neologisms from over the years would make a great anthology). I brought home both a My Cup Punneth Over mug and a Grossery Bag, so Mike Gips can choose one for his 10th above-the-fold ink. And I’ll be sending something up to New York for Anthony “Bird” Waring, who’s been having one of his best years ever since he started entering a decade ago.
While almost all of this week’s inking entries have definitions that relate to the original word — all four above-the-folders do, as well as all the winners noted above — there were a few this week that were funny on their own, such as Brendan Beary’s “Will-o’-the-Wasp” for the concept of manifest destiny, and Danielle Nowlin’s “Text offensive.”

The rules specifically asked for a “word, name or two-word phrase,” so these clever altered expressions didn’t qualify:
Danish into thin air: what happens to pastries left with Chris Christie. (Frank Osen)
Porking against the clock: The lame-duck congress finally goes to work. (Frank Osen)
Tongue in check: how one survives the in-laws. (Lawrence McGuire)

Also, some people sent in words beginning with T through Z, but the words they were based on began with a different letter. I hope I didn’t let any of those through, as I have in the past.


(By the way, that subhead shows the problem with a play on a word beginning with “un-”: You end up alluding to the OPPOSITE of the original word. That situation gave me problems with quite a few entries.)

Yes, I know it can seem arbitrary — especially given that I included “Wanker engine” and “wankie talkie” at the bottom of the Web-only results — but I didn’t think I could (or would want to) include any of the following:

Valedicktorian: The straight-A student nobody likes. (Barbara Turner)
O-ciferous: Cumultuous. (Tom Witte)
Tallywicker: A rattan phallus popular in British colonial Indonesia (Bird Waring)
Vulveeta: Something featured in a cheesy spread. (THREE PEOPLE)
Wipecrack: A means of recycling my rejected Style Invitational entries. (William Verkuilen)
Wiztard: A genius who lacks common sense. (Mark Raffman)
Tampire: Creature who sucks the blood of female victims only. (Ann Martin)
Three-Why: Cloning your spouse twice. (Lois Douthitt)
Yale log: The Whippenpoof Schlong. (Steve Honley)


I’ve heard from several dozen Losers and other Invite fans who’ve told me they’ll be showing up at my house in southern Prince George’s County, Md., for the annual potluck and jollyfest that constitutes the Losers’ Post-Holiday Party. I’ll put out a spiral-sliced ham, a pasta/sausage casserole, several dozen potsticker dumplings and two pies, and have some beer, wine and soda. I’m also good for plates, cups, forks, etc. So feel free to augment (or duplicate) those with whatever you like. It would be better if you don’t have to prepare/cook it in my kitchen extensively, though we can do some reheating in the oven and microwave. If you haven’t contacted me and would still like to come, please e-mail me at myerspat [at] gmail [dot] com. ll be sending out an e-mail to all the yes-people with some supplementary directions. Once again, here’s the Invite invite.


I had a delightful lunch yesterday with (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia), who is originally from Alabama but has lived many years in Western Australia, in a suburb of Perth. Brad and his Aussie wife, Shani, were visiting Brad’s brother in Northern Virginia, and so we met for a pizza lunch in Alexandria. Brad reports that he tries to enter the Invite every single week — even if it’s just for an honorable-mention subhead — and gets mad at me only rarely. The Alexanders had a tight schedule this week, and won’t be here for the Loser Party, but promise to meet the Loser Community next time they make it over to the States, probably in two more years.

See lots and lots of you Saturday!

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