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

Week 1018: Once more, with fooling

Bob Staake's sketch for Jeff Hazle’s runner-up neologism “bubburb” — a trailer park. I’d asked Bob to see if he could draw a cartoon without insulting mobile-home residents. After I saw this, we agreed to illustrate this week’s winner instead.

Ooh, “Once more with foaling!” That can be the May 3 headline for the grandfoals contest!

Hi, everyone. I hope that in this week of utterly relentless bad news, we can turn aside our feelings of sorrow and hopelessness for a few moments of complaining about our shortage of richly deserved ink.

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When I judge a neologism contest from my no-names-on-it printout rather than on the computer (riding in a car, waiting in line, taking a shower, etc.), I find myself marking a number of entries “BD” — it’s a great word that deserves a better definition or description. As you can see from this week’s contest, many (though not all) of the definitions are enhanced by wordplay or by a funny sentence. Remember, the point is for the whole entry to read as a joke. The joke can be a wry comment (the usual path to neologic ink) or something more offbeat and silly (like “fezenda” today), but it has to have zing to it.

As in Week 980 last summer, the last time we did such a contest, I didn’t post the original definitions, or the names of their creators; in fact, I never looked up their names. But if one or more of this week’s words are by you (though you might not have been the only person to submit the word), you’re welcome to pipe up and share your entry either in the comments field here or on the Style Invitational Devotees page. As most regular Losers know, I’ll edit the wording of an entry to tighten or enhance it (and I did with some of this week’s inking entries), but if I have the hunch that there’s an altogether better idea for the word out there somewhere, or a funny sentence to use as an example, I love the idea of offering it up to the collective wit of the Greater Loser Community, complete with a chance to win unvaluable prizes.

When I asked you to cite the two words that you were melding to create your neologism, I wasn’t sure whether I’d cite them in the answer. I decided not to, because in many cases, the words weren’t relevant to the humor, resulting in a bit of a slog to get to the joke. But I’m grateful that (most of) you took the trouble to include them, since that let me know where they came from, and that they indeed fit the rules of the contest (which this go-round were probably the loosest ever, letting you combine a beginning and an end of two words; two beginnings; two ends; or an end followed by a beginning).

One problem in combining halves of words is that the reader might be thinking of another word than the writer was. Jeff Hazle, a runner-up this week for “bubburb,” also sent in this funny idea: “Schlockalysis: that awkward moment after your friend asks you if like her Thomas Kinkade figurine collection.” The problem is that Jeff had in mind “paralysis,” but a reader would be just as likely, if not more so, to think “analysis.”

Can you enter Week 1018 with a new/tweaked definition of your own word from Week 1014? Sure. I don’t even know who wrote them, anyway.

By the way, this week’s 41 new words appear in chart form in the print paper; after our trouble with the list of horse names in Week 1016 on some mobile devices, I figured the best thing to do was to lump them in paragraph form. It’s a much shorter list, anyway.

Speaking of horse names, I’ve just updated the e-mail notification list with a whopping 76 new entrants among the 400-plus e-mails I got for Week 1016. Welcome to all you new Losers — you can stop whopping now.

A good Korea move: The results of Week 1014

“Ping-Pyong” turned out to be a smash for 106-time Loser Mike Gips — and it’s a hat trick of first-place wins for the amateur thug hockey player from Washington’s Maryland suburbs. Continuing the topical references, second place marks a welcome return for Kyle Hendrickson, famed in Loserdom in two ways: For a number of years, Kyle played the role of The Pope of Loserfest, an annual weekend outing that he’d arrange elaborately. Still recovering from past years’ Loserfest visits, among other places, are Colonial Williamsburg, Las Vegas, New York, Baltimore, Frederick, Md. (Kyle’s home base), and D.C. itself. And also for several years, Kyle held the equally uncoveted honor of Most Cantinkerous — the Loser who’s accumulated the most ink without ever winning first place. Kyle was finally deposed when he stopped accumulating ink so fast and was passed by the similarly winless Expat Down Under Brad Alexander of Wanneroo, Australia, who’s up to 88. Come on, Kyle, take back that plaque!

Rounding out the “above the fold” field are the aforementioned Jeff Hazle, with his eighth ink above the fold (including three wins), in just 31 inks — a seriously high big-ink ratio; and the alwaysmentioned Kevin Dopart, with a significantly lower ratio than Jeff, having scored only 77 times above the fold (and only 20 times as a winner) out of 943 inks. Such a mediocrity.

This week’s HAW from Sunday Style Editor Lyn n Medford goes to Robert Schechter’s “gyroscones” (“can’t explain”). Lynn adds, “Special Ain’t It the Truth Awards to Offendix and Multimudgeonly.” Kudos to Mark Raffman and Pie Snelson, respectively. (The only way to get “respect” into a column about the Style Invitational.)

Quote-idian humor: Style Invitational Ink of the Day

If you don’t subscribe to this Facebook page (or if you’re not a Devotee or my FB friend), you’re missing out on some classic bits of Invitiana. Yesterday’s post from 1998, for the contest to change a famous quote or expression by one letter, got passed around to more than 800 people:

Jeffrey Dahmer: “What foods these mortals be!” (by Jennifer Hart)
Saddam Hussein: “Slaughter is the best medicine.” (by Sandra Hull)
O.J. Simpson: “Don’t give up the shiv!” (by Anne V. Hamilton)
Michael Jackson: “Here’s looking at your kid.” (by Meredith Robinson)
John Bobbitt: “What am I, chopped lover?” (by Dudley Thompson)
Harry Helmsley: “Wife’s a bitch and then you die.” (by Dave Zarrow)
Dolly the sheep: “All me are created equal.” (by David Genser)

And if you were, say, Loser Howard Walderman, you wouldn’t have seen your terse-verse couplet featured as one of today’s offerings from 1999: “Any further White House shenanigan/ Must not involve the presidential bananigan.” Not only that, but you would have missed the shout-out from the none-too-shabby (at least concerning wit) Brendan Beary: “The ‘shenanigan’ couplet is among my all-time faves.”

Getting Flushier: Send your checks in now!

Remember, your check to Elden Carnahan is your reservation for the 18th annual Flushies, the Losers’ own annual awards luncheon — this year it’s at Jake’s American Grille in Northwest Washington, Saturday, May 11, about noon till about 4. Click here for the info. I’m very jazzed to hear that Collegiate Loser Phenom Matt Monitto is coming in to meet the Loser Community for the first time in person — I don’t know if he’s coming up from Elon University in North Carolina or coming down from home in Bristol, Conn.; either way, Matt is clearly nuts. Another first-time Loser sighting will be the very frequent contributor Robert Schechter, who’s flying in from Long Island just for the day. (And boy, will we check out his arms for fatigue.) I hear that there’s a chance that the customary and beloved old-time-song parody might be supplemented with a more rockin’ one, though that might depend on which rockin’ Losers make an appearance.

Neolo- - - -: The unprintables of Week 1014

All of them, it turns out, by the famed neologist, and famed neologistic bad-boy, Tom Witte:

Semenets: Condoms.
Comesmith: A gigolo.
Porcavated: Boinked.

pat.myers@washingtonpost.com

 
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