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

Week 955: We’ll always have pairs

By the E, Pat Myers

Even though The Post’s diabolical newsroom “content management system,” Horrible Methode, just crashed and wiped out several paragraphs of what I’ll now attempt to re-create, I’m still all warm ’n’ fuzzy from last Saturday’s Loser Holiday Party, hosted by Dion and Jen Black at their D.C. home. (More on that — including links to photos and video — below, after the sections on the contests.)

I often like to run a spinoff of a contest along with the results of the contest that inspired it. And so on Jan. 6 when expat Loser Ann Martin asked her fellow Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook: “Have we had a contest where you define a phrase made up of two anagrams, a la ‘slut lust’?” I knew what I’d be doing for Week 955.

The answer, by the way, seems to be no, not exactly. As Chris Doyle promptly noted after consulting Elden Carnahan’s Master Contest List, there seem to have been just three anagram contests in the history of the Invite:
--Week 13: Come up with a funny anagram for the name of a famous person or institution.
--Week 554: Write an anagram based on a name or event that’s been in the news recently.
--Week 734: Write a rhyming couplet containing two words that are anagrams of each other.

So that last one is the only anagram contest that’s close, and even that isn’t very close. As I noted in that contest, back in 2007, there are a lot of anagram generators available online that can offer you these word pairs. But fortunately, and their ilk won’t come up with funny things to say about them. But you and your ilk will do that just fine, if the results of the word pairs of Week 951 are any indication. While I’ve explicitly allowed “multi-word phrases” to be anagrammed, I’m NOT looking for long phrases generated by these programs. I’m just interested in the sort of phrases appearing in this week’s results (with, duh, an anagram).

Given that “slut lust” didn’t exactly seem like the right phrase to illustrate in a cartoon in the print paper — Ann’s other suggestion of “stealing genitals” and Jeff Contompasis’s “preset peters” also seemed a wee bit problematic — this week’s example sprang from the off-the-wall (never on the wall in the first place) mind of Bob Staake, down to the nonsensical but funny “fat asteroid.”

I’d have liked to mention “stealing genitals” along with offering a runner-up prize of a genuine lamb and calf alterer, which I’ve had sitting around since this past summer, but I figured I’d better post this calendar before 2012 runs out. The alterer (this euphemism isn’t used on this implement’s box) will definitely appear before long, though.


*Thanks to Tom Witte for that one.

As with most Invite contests for which it’s easy to come up with SOMETHING, we got a load of entries for Week 951 — something on the order of 3,000 from about 250 entrants, including more than 40 who weren’t yet on the Invite’s mailing list. Of course, a lot of them were very routine; and some were odd, but not funny except for being odd (“Mays Mays Maize Maze = open only in the fifth month baseball great Willies corn labyrinth”). But I culled out close to 100 worthy entries, of which 30 appear in the paper and 9 more online, from a whopping 34 individual Losers, including four First Offenders.

As alluded to in the introduction to the results, there was some immediate discussion of homonyms vs. homophones, and whether multi-word phrases could be entered. My answer: Just give me funny stuff. One of the beauties of having a contest in which nothing of real monetary value is being awarded is that we’re not robbing people by bending the rules in midstream (as opposed to the big mess caused by a local jeweler’s love-poem contest a few years ago in which a diamond necklace was a prize, and the jeweler decided at the last minute that only a local entrant could win).

Anyway, we got the funny stuff. And, whoa — I had no idea! It’s the first Inker ever for Kathy Hardis Fraeman, who’d heretofore accrued 50 blots, including six “above the fold,” most notably with her memorable song parodies. This takes Kathy out of the running for the Losers’ “Cantinkerous” award for the highest-inking Loser who’s never won a contest (currently the property of Kyle Hendrickson with 76), according to the Forever Loser Stats.

The three runners-up are all Invite veterans as well: the aforementioned Ann Martin, who gets the Dear Leader Tongue Scraper sent to her in England, as well as two honorable mentions, raising her total to 37 inks; Mike Gips, who gets his fifth above-the-fold ink and Blot No. 38; and a timely reward for Loser Party host Dion Black, whose refrigerator conspicuously displays not only a sizable magnet assortment, but also, within a magnetic clip, a stack of letters from the Empress that accompany the prizes. (Jen: “Visitors see them and say, ‘Oh, are you saving notes from your little boy’s teacher?’ “) It’s also Ink 38 for Dion. (Weird coincidence.)

Usually when I post extra honorable mentions in the online version, I group them at the end of the results, or right before the And Last. But because the results ended running in alphabetical order, I decided to integrate them into the list. The Web-onlies: Awful offal, aye aye, Baskin-Robbins’ Baskin’ Robins, does does, fly fly, leek leak, minor miner, Sunday Sundae and Losing Loo Zing. The HAW this week from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford goes to Christopher Lamora’s “Weevil Rock You.”


*Thanks to Jeff Contompasis.

A big bunch of them this time: clever but NOHHHH. In order of increasing shock value — please stop reading when you’ve icked out, and go on to the party wrapup:

Putz putts: Gimmes in golf, generally shorter than four inches. (Chris Doyle)
Whole ’hole: A jerk through and through. (Dion Black)
Confirm con firm: Necessary step in a prison conjugal visit. (David Garratt)
Petering petering: How you can tell the honeymoon is over. (Robert Schechter)
Seamen Semen: Why paternity tests are needed when the fleet pulls out. (Drew Bennett)
Seamen semen: Thar she blows. (Dixon Wragg) [There were eight entries with this word pair.] Slapstick slapstick: Male masturbation humor. (David Garratt).
This was going to end with one for “minor miner” by Nandini Lal, but I decided that it wasn’t publishable even here. So Nandini gets the first ever blind Scarlet Letter.


Dion Black is perhaps finally relaxing six days later, after his and wife Jen’s D.C. house was invaded for four hours by several dozen Losers, former Losers, future Losers, Devotees, their guardians, and even a couple of people who were just on the Invite mailing list.

Along with the usual crowding-the-kitchen and nibbling-the-potluck-wings, there were some truly unforgettable moments — literally, since they’re now preserved online on Facebook and YouTube:

I was given several prize donations at the party, most notably a genuine issue of Playboy — in braille. It’s solid white except for the black bunny logo on the cover, and it seems to be all in text. This didn’t keep (Stephen Dudzik, Olney) from copping a look at it in front of the camera.
But the definite highlight of the evening was the musical portion, featuring a series of song parodies penned by various Losers, some of whom couldn’t come to the party. After (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington) -- in tux — sang a couple of birthday songs he wrote (it was his own birthday), (Nan Reiner, Alexandria) drew many a genuine “wow” with her own and others’ songs about Loserdom, sung with actual musical skill. I sang along for a couple of the songs, and also attempted to channel Lili Von Shtupp in (Larry Yungk, Arlington)’s parody of Marlene Dietrich’s “Falling in Love Again” (“Failing to Ink Again”).

The real show-stopper, though, came in the final number, performed as a skit and song by Dion and Jen themselves. Called “Printability,” a parody of “Continuity,” from the online “Hi, I’m a Marvel... and I’m a DC: The Musical,” Dion and Jen's song was all about how to write off-color humor that manages to be deemed runnable by the Empress. The phrase “dildo double dactyl” itself will enshrine it in the chronicle of Great Loser Moments. And the performers proved themselves good singers, good comics and, well, just adorable people. Thanks again to them both for playing host. Also to Jen as well as to Denise Sudell for filming the numbers.

Links to the videos on YouTube (they’re also on the Devotees page, with lyrics):

“A Ditty for Dion,” by Phyllis Reinhard, sung by Nan Reiner and the Empress

“Everything’s Coming Up Inkblots,” a tour de force by Nan Reiner

“Failing to Ink Again,” by Larry Yungk, sung by the E

“Printability,” Dion and Jen Black

For lots of still photos from the party — tagged with the guests’ names — see the Facebook page and just keep scrolling down to see lots of pictures as well as the lyrics to the parodies. Thanks to Loser Archivist Pie Snelson for the photography. If you haven’t joined the Devotees yet (or joined Facebook), now would be the time. Sign up right on this link. If you run into a technical problem, e-mail me and I’ll help you, or get someone else to help you.

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