Before getting to this week’s Invitational, I’d like to take a moment to salute my Style section colleague David Montgomery, a reporter who’s especially dear to us in Loserland since he wrote a recent article about the phenomenon of the Greater Loser Community, as part of the Invite’s 20th-anniversary retrospective, going to such hardship in pursuit of a story that he actually endured an entire brunch in the company of 15 Losers.
After an ordeal like that, you can understand why David needed a vacation, and so on April 15, he decided he’d relax in downtown Boston by running 26.2 miles down the local streets, with his parents, his wife, Susan, and their two young daughters there on Boylston Street to cheer him on. He was wearing the shirt he always wears when he runs marathons; this one was — I swear — his 13th. “The great Boston crowd cheered, ‘Go Iris-and-Lily’s daddy,’” David wrote on Facebook to accompany the photo above that he posted on his timeline.
Fortunately, David, who’s 51, is a fast runner, and he crossed the finish line in 3:29:19, about an hour before the first bomb went off. The photo above, taken by his mother, Kate, “was taken about 18 minutes before the bombs went off and several blocks away. It was a great day til just about this moment.”
Eighteen minutes later, David’s vacation was over — after running his first Boston Marathon, he sprinted into a six-day Reporting Marathon, joining fellow Post runner-now-reporter Vernon Loeb and two other staffers who were in Boston (Vernon’s account ran in The Post’s Outlook section last week). “I changed into my only street clothes. The girls made it to the airport,” David recalled on Facebook. His first dispatch for The Post, about children admitted to the hospital, appeared online within a few hours; the next day, in addition to the main stories about the bombing scene, his byline led this story about the horrific leg injuries that many of the victims sustained. And of course the reporting continued with many stories about the manhunt and the arrest.
All of us at The Post and in the Loser Community are so happy that David and his family are back home and in their respective one-pieces.
I guess Bob Staake will get a contest-suggestion point in Elden Carnahan’s Loser Stats for Week 1019, since he came to me not only with the idea of doing a contest about how to endure Screen-Free Week, but with a ready-made list of examples. Bob will be in upper Northwest Washington next Tuesday to promote his magnum-opus picture book, “Bluebird,” and his publicist at Random House was delighted that we’d be bringing attention to Bob and his book and the book-friendly Screen-Free Week. Even though I warned her: “The Invitational isn’t a children’s contest — in fact, it can be pretty bold. As is Bob himself.”
But Mary Van Akin was undeterred. “That’s what we love about Bob! The boldest picture book author we know.” So okay, Losers: Go for it; don’t worry about the preschoolers.
Meanwhile, I’ve heard talk of some Losers gathering at Politics and Prose bookstore at 10:30 a.m. to see Bob, and perhaps going out for lunch afterward.
Once again, our contest for fictoids — bogus trivia — yielded lots of funny stuff. This week, though, I’m expecting that more people than usual won’t get some of the references. I added explanatory links to a few of the entries, but worried that even an underlined keyword in the sentence would be too heavy-handed. You’re going to have to know that Elizabeth Taylor is famously violet-eyed; that certain Beatles songs played backward are rumored to contain coded messages; that reggae music has links to marijuana. As always, if you’re confused about an entry, feel free to ask about it here or on the Style Invitational Devotees page, or e-mail me at email@example.com; you won’t be mocked.
Most of the inking entries were very short, and so we ended up with more than 40 — even in the print paper. Still, I had to extricate these worthies from a lot of chaff: I got a lot of entries offering what was just some untrue information, but wasn’t a joke, a play on some actual trivia or rumor. That Ringo wrote all the Beatles’ songs, for example.
At the top of the wheat pile, a very welcome return to a Loser from way back. This is the 85th blot of ink for Paul Kondis, but his first in six years; in fact, Paul’s biggest Invite years were 1993-97. Still, Taul Paul (he’s realllly vertical) has shown up at numerous Loser events over the years, and he’s a regular at the Losers’ weekly trivia nights at Grevey’s pub. I hope I’ll be able to present Paul with his first Inkin’ Memorial — but his fifth first prize — at the Flushies on May 11. (See below.)
Winning his umpteenth item of Invite detritus — this week, fish-floss-flavored crackers — is Brendan Beary, whose 13-year-old daughter, Natalie, outscored him two weeks ago with a Justin Bieber joke (we couldn’t have any of those this week, because the subject was music). Runner-up Chris Doyle gets his umpteenth-plus-one “above the fold” ink. And I’ll be giving out mugs or bags (or one each) to already-a-fixture relative newbies Rob Huffman (with his 41st ink since Week 918) and Danielle Nowlin (18th since just Week 995).
This week’s HAW from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford goes to our final entry, what we in the news biz call “the kicker” to the story: Cheryl Davis playing with what might be the most famously misheard line in rock music, “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” along with Jimi Hendrix’s “’scuse me while I kiss
this guy the sky.”
I didn’t really have any shockingly risque but incredibly clever entries that I could award the Scarlet Letter; I was a little surprised Lynn didn’t worry about Stephen Dudzik’s “A-hole” entry, and the Mama Cass one is pretty tasteless, even if the ham-sandwich incident it’s based on isn’t true; she actually died of a heart attack after a crash diet.
But there was one funny entry that’s just a victim of bad timing. This from William Verkuilen: In a 2005 Department of Homeland Security memo, the “It’s a Small World” rides at Disneyland and Disney World occupied the top two spots on a list of “justifiable terrorist targets.” .
Elden Carnahan now has checks in hand — and mine is, I swear, literally in the mail — for about half the maximum 70 “guests” allowed in the room for the Losers’ annual awards luncheon. Here’s the link for the info. I’m happy to see that such Invite legends as (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge) will be coming , as well as people I’ve never met, like (Steve Honley, Washington). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know that your check is on the way.