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

Week 932: Of all the mother-lovin’ ideas — can you come up with a new one?

By Pat Myers, the Empress of the Style Invitational

Hello, everyone:

Since I’d been away camping most of this week, I wasn’t sure there’d be a Conversational (which is why, on Monday, I pulled the little “bug” noting it out of the print paper). But I wanted to share with you at a few things, not the least being the (un)healthy dose of unprintable entries for Week 928.

This week’s contest, which we’ll be describing as “your-mama jokes,” obviously is covering ground trodden on by generations’ worth of combat boots. On the other hand, I thought that the genre of Chuck Norris jokes had been pretty well covered, and we got a great selection of results for a Chuck contest in 2007. There are probably numerous sites devoted to the mother-insult joke; Googling “yo mama” is probably the best way to find them by, well, the dozens.

We’ve had a few yo-mama jokes as entries in various Invitational contests over the years. In Week 753, for example, you had to supply a riddle (well known or your own) and answer it as a “normal person” would AND as a Style Invitational person would:
Q. What do you get when you cross an elephant with a fish?
Normal: Swimming trunks.
SI: Something that weighs five tons and stinks -- just like yo mama! (Brendan Beary)

Week 731 asked for oddball ways of preparing food:
Sweet potato pie: Just have yo mama sit on a sack o’ sweet potatoes. (Tom Witte)

Week 685: Things to be thankful for:
I’m thankful yo mama so easy. (Tom Witte)

And perhaps the best of these:
Week 605: Compare two people who have the same initials:
Yao Ming scores 20 times a night. So does Yo Mama!! (Brendan Beary)


Have we ever had a movie-themed contest that's flopped? Well, probably, but the category is a pretty safe bet, because there are so many films to choose from, and readers tend to be familiar with a wide range of them. And in a contest like Week 928, in which you don’t really need to know anything about the movie, it’s a mortal lock that we’ll be overflowing with entries, and that lots of them will be funny and clever.

Sure enough, I had a huge stack of entries this week; I wasn’t able to do a count (Word’s auto-count works by paragraphs, and some Q-A entries were coded as two paragraphs and others as one), but I figure there were at least 2,000 entries — in fact, it was the last straw that prompted me last week to institute an ongoing limit of 25 entries per person per week. And not surprisingly, there were lots of new and occasional names among the Losers, several of whom win FirStinks today. (Twenty-nine entries made the print paper, and there are 11 more in the Web version.)

But the Inker ends up going to someone who got his first ink in Week 7, more than 18 years ago – and has blotted up only 1,142 spatters of ink since. Tom Witte has made something of a signature with what I’ll call cad humor – not just sex jokes (which he certainly doesn’t shy from) but also, like this one, jokes about men behaving less than respectably in relationships. For example, in a contest asking what he’d do with the ability to read minds: “I’d know exactly how much to spend on a dinner date.” Or advice on how a young man should tell his fiancee’s parents that they’re living together: “If it’ll make you feel any better, I’m still in my evaluation phase, and she’s probably not going to make the cut. I’ll keep you posted.”

On the other hand, it’s lucky Ink No. 13 for Rob Cohen of Potomac, and his second “above the fold” (the first was an Inker for Week 793) for his laugh-out-loud pretty cheap shot at the no doubt well-read former governor of Alaska — definitely deserving of the panda-poo note paper that Rob gets for his efforts. And we’re giving out three shirts and/or mugs this week: to newcomer Bruce Harris, who’s getting his second runner-up entry out of a grand total of, ahem, three inks; to veteran John O’Byrne of Dublin (John: Shirts don’t shatter in the mail!) for Ink 131 ; and to Evan Hadley, who got his only previous ink about a year ago (is he a First-Time Recidivist?).

There were a lot of other amusing entries this week; I just had to draw the line somewhere. And given that people could choose any movie title, there wasn’t all that much duplication: In addition to the blast of gas-themed entries for “Gone With the Wind,” there were many for “Despicable Me,” the autobiography of (take your pick) Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, John Boehner, etc., etc., etc. And “Die Hard” entries about Nelson Rockefeller, Hugh Hefner, etc. Not to mention “Rain Man”: Why’s it wet, dude?


A whole rep season’s worth of funny entries that didn’t have a chance getting into print because of verboten words and graphic language: If you are easily offended, don’t read any of these.

He’s Just Not That Into You: “Dear God,” she asked, “how am I having sex AND maintaining my virginity?” (John McCooey)

Strictly Ballroom: Why did MC Hammer wear those low-slung pants? (Andy Bassett)

Some Came Running: Where’s the proof that exercise can be like sex? (Steve Fahey) .

The Hustler: Of all the magazines on your son’s bedroom floor, which is the most likely to have the pages stuck together? (Andrew Hoenig)

What do the members of GLAAD call that Morgan guy from “30 Rock”? Dick Tracy. (Phyllis Reinhard)

Winter’s Bone: Why were the Maude Frickert routines filmed only from the waist up? (Theresa Kowal)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams: What did the old woman call her, you know .. .. (Tom Witte)

And the Scarlet Letter goes to:
How Green Was My Valley: What question doesn’t a gynecologist ever want to hear? (Doug Frank)

Meanwhile: This entry was killed out of the paper by more sensible people than I:
You Can Count on Me: What’s an inappropriate thing to say to someone with no hands or feet? (Chris Doyle)

Brilliantly funny but too obscure because of the rarely used spelling:
Boyz n the Hood: What get separated at brith? (Chris Doyle, aka, given his many entries about circumcision, Chris Dohel)

Also funny but not worth upsetting religious people:
Mystic Pizza: To what do some theologians attribute Jesus’s legendary “feeding of the five thousand”? (Jon Milstein)

Also funny but just too wonky:
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: What does Desiree Rogers no longer do for a job? (Kevin Dopart) [Rogers was the White House official who didn’t catch the Salahis.]

Also funny but too mean and too much of a cheap shot:
Four Weddings and a Funeral: What is the suggested title for Newt Gingrich’s as yet unfinished biography? (Cathy Lamaze)


The Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook has picked up a number of new members in the past week, including numerous limerick aficionados, and the repartee has ranged from inane to inspired.

In the latter category: After I welcomed two new members named David by referring to Dr. Seuss’s poem “Too Many Daves,” Bard Silly Brendan Beary posted this entire poem of his own barely one hour later:

Did I ever tell all you Losers and knaves
That there’s never a point where we’ve too many Daves?
Well it’s true! Look around -- we have Davids galore,
But the point is, there’s room to fit in a few more!
There’s Smiths and Komorniks, there’s Schildkrets and Scoccas!
*We might even have a Dave down in Caracas!
I’ve likely forgotten a few here and there,
But more keep appearing right out of thin air!
(We don’t have a formal account of how many;
There could be eleventeen hundred and twenny.)
And even for those of us otherwise named,
There’s no need for feeling abashed or ashamed --
You could be named Algernon, Daisy or Dirk,
Gawain, Clytemnestra or Hey-You-Big-Jerk;
The thing you should know, and it’s high time you hear it,
Is just that we all can be Davids in spirit,
As long as you aren’t too naughty or daring
(Like standing ’round Florence with genitals airing).
So whether or not you have had it since birth,
Be proud of your Dave-ness for all that it’s worth!

*Upon learning the correct pronunciation of Scocca, Brendan substituted: “In Brazil, we have Davids among Cariocas.”

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