Week 1051: We’re scrambling here ...

December 12, 2013

As I note at the beginning of this week’s contest, the Style Invitational hadn’t done a long-form anagram contest for almost 10 years. But the stunt of rearranging the letters in a name or phrase has always been a Loser Community pastime.

Once some poor soul manages to get an entry published in the Invite, he not only receives a Fir Stink for his first ink from the Empress; the First Offender also becomes a part of the massive mess of data known as the Loser Stats, and his name is entered into the list of One-Hit Wonders, along with a “granola smear” — which is an anagram for (good for you, you figured it out) “Loser anagram.” The alphabetical list of one-inkers starts at Rich Abdill (Rabid Chill) and extends to Melanie Zyck (Zany Elk Mice). The granola smears are contributed by Hall of Fame Loser Elden Carnahan, the Keeper of the Stats, as well as several other eager Loserly contributors.

Likewise, if you join the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook, you’ll be given the traditional welcome of a long thread of posts from eager Devotees. For instance, a few days ago an Invite fan (but non-entrant) named Bill Landau signed up. This prompted a 22-item thread including greetings like this one from Bill Munson: “As a very small child in Pamplona, he once went missing. For a while it was feared he had become a Lad In A Bull. His mother, of German descent, became Blau And Ill. It was feared that all was lost, but since his father could Build An All, that problem was overcome, and he was found safe and sound. Welcome, Bill!” This was followed by Ann Martin (“Are you Dull In A Lab”?), Brendan Beary (“You might want to see an osteopath about that Ill Bad Ulna you’ve got there”), Dave Komornik (“Welcome Bill. I’m wondering if with your cell phone, you Bun Dial All”), Michael Jacobs (“Boy, am I late to this party! Well, I guess I’m not the only one... Bill, you managed to put the entertainers to sleep, living up to your motto, I Lull A Band”) and more.

(This trial-by-anagram is a good way for new Devotees , especially people who stumbled across the page on Facebook, to get a taste of Invitey humor; if they’re offended or just don’t find it funny, they’re not going to enjoy the group either, and can get out of there right away.)

Today’s contest is deliberately more complex than mere names; we can no longer have such a basic contest now that there’s so much good anagram software (we did do this contest in the pre-Internet Week 13 in 1993; scroll down on this link to see the results).

When I did the Week 554 contest, I was inspired by the amazingly clever stuff presented by the Anagrammy Awards, run out of Australia (I mean based in Australia; I don’t think they’ve managed to evict them yet) by Larry Brash and a team of associates. I’m delighted to see that, 10 years later, Anagrammy.com is going strong with its monthly contests in various categories (short-form, long-form, specific topics, “rude”), some but by no means all of it Aussie-oriented. It’s fine with me if you enter your Week 1051 anagram in an Anagrammy contest, but I would check with Larry and Co. first to find out whether they welcome material from another contest. If you join the Anagrammy forum, you get to vote for the winners.

But I must say totally objectively that the results of Week 554 ran circles (or at least semicircles) around the Anagrammy stuff (though Larry Brash and fellow Anagrammy Meryan Kraus also got ink that week). Some honorable mentions:
One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all
= Or one Bible nation, riddled with injustice for all uninvited gays? (Chris Doyle)

Michael “Mikey” Jackson shouldn’t dangle babies out of any windows.
= “I did unduly fling own babe.” Loathsomeness, thy name is Wacko Jacko. (Scott Slaughter)

The Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade
= Do a frosty schlep amid vernal trees? Bah! (Dave Zarrow)

I haven’t gotten in touch with the Anagrammys yet, but I’ll invite them over this week.

Great in the sack department: The new Grossery Bag

Isn’t it great? Hopefully Whole Foods will consider our new runner-up prize a fun bit of publicity rather than confusing trademark infringement (it’s one of the reasons we have a somewhat clunky block of type beneath it). Tom Witte’s idea was a runner-up in Week 964; I’d hesitated to use it because I was worried that it would be won by someone who wasn’t familiar with the supermarket chain. But I see that Whole Foods has stores in metro areas across the United States and also in Britain, and the third- or fourth-place winner can also opt for a mug instead anyway. I just sent the design to the vendor this morning, and they should arrive in just a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I have just two or three of the just as classic “Almost Valuable Player” baseball-themed bags, modeled here by recidvist Loser Frank Osen, posing with Melissa Balmain, who won the Week 964 contest with that bag slogan.

What lies — a head contest: The results of Week 1047

There are contests I begin to judge with trepidation: What if nothing’s funny? What if the people didn’t get what I was looking for? Then there’s the Bank Shots contest, in which I know that I’ll be laughing out loud on page after page of the sizable sheaf. The new wrinkle this year — that I allowed the headlines to come from any print or online newspaper — only enhanced the variety. There were many inkworthy headlines that I didn’t include; I think I cut the total off at 40 (about 30 fit on the print page). And yes, one of those headlines was by you. I’m sure of it. Merry Christmas.

I discovered just now, upon looking at the all-time Loser Stats, that this is the first win for Loser Phenom Danielle Nowlin, who’d managed to be at the top of the “cantinkerous” list with 69 all-losing inks (9 of them runner-up prizes) until this week. Danielle has been Inviting for barely a year — she debuted in Week 995 — and so obviously has been blotting up the ink at a truly unseemly rate. I hope, of course, that such unseemliness is in no way abated by this Inkin’ Memorial.

Barry Koch grabs Ink 127, and his 15th “above the fold,” with another mordant poke at the Washington Football Team (I know, I’m a sucker for them); up-and-comer Michael Jacobs gets his seventh ink and his first above the fold with a toilet joke (let me know, Mike, if you want a mug or a bag, and which bag); and expat-in-Paris Brian Allgar, whose headlines all came from the Guardian, also gets his first non-magnet with this 10th blot of ink.

With Malitz toward ... The favorite of Sunday Style editor David Malitz this week is Mae Scanlan’s “we just had the best time,” a headline that, even though it was from The Post, nobody else thought to use.

TWO hugely important Loser events!

First, immediately: I only heard yesterday that our cartoonist Bob Staake will be in town this weekend, down from Cape Cod, in several appearances in Manassas, Va. This Saturday afternoon, the Manassas Symphony will be performing an orchestral setting of his wordless picture book, “Bluebird,” with visuals from the book, in a family concert that also features Bob’s “Red Lemon” and other kid-friendly works, and Bob will be there to sign books. And Friday evening, Bob will be at the Manassas Barnes & Noble from 7 to 8 p.m.

Second, we finally have a date and place for the annual Loser Post-Holiday Party, open to all Losers, their handlers, and any seemingly trustworthy just-a-fans. It will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, from about 5 to 9 p.m., at the Olney, Md., home of Forever Loser Stephen Dudzik and his in­cred­ibly understanding wife, Lequan. What’s truly amazing is that the Dudziks have hosted the party several times in the past, yet still agreed to open the doors of their immaculate no-kids, no-pets home. (Last year it was at my house, the we’re-all-kids, several-pets Mount Vermin.) Steve and Lequan set out some delicious food and various soft drinks, and the guests bring the alcohol and supplement the food.

If you’re on the Invitational e-mail list, you’ll get an invitation in a few days with RSVP information. If you’re not and would like an invitation, contact me at pat.myers@washpost.com and I’ll make sure you get one. By the way: Along with kids and pets, the Dudziks also lack a piano; if you have a keyboard and are willing to play for people who want to sing a few parodies, let me know and we’ll see what we can work up. Otherwise it’s just a chance to Schmooze with the Losers.

Cover your heads! The unprintables of Week 1047

The Scarlet Letter this week can be shared among three dirty-minded Losers, who among them contributed elements of this:
“Have your buckled carpet restretched” and “A new look for the old nook”
Innovative restorative procedure proves popular with mature women
I hope Jeff Contompasis, Brendan Beary and Jeff Shirley get together and appreciate one another.

Also well done, but on a subject I don’t think the paper can joke on:

Six contractors are beheaded
Obamacare critics still not satisfied (Elden Carnahan; Jeff Contompasis)

Mess with our heads, indeed.

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