By the E, Pat Myers
This week’s contest is a pretty straightforward one. I’m apt to be inclusive about what constitutes a sport or other leisure activity — we’re looking for the funny here.
We’ve had at least two contests in the past that have overlapped a bit with this idea from Mike Gips: In 2004, I asked for ways to bring the financially troubled Athens Olympics in within budget (results here); and in 2006 I asked how to make the Winter Olympics interesting to more people (and here). Most of the entries don’t really apply to this contest, though, so I expect lots of fresh ideas.
And I'll bet you anything that some disgruntled Loser-wannabe will write in: “Faster Style Invitational: Just look at the entries from Kevin Dopart and Chris Doyle and throw out all the other ones, since that’s what you do anyway, obviously, given how you robbed me of ink for my really great limerick, all six lines of it.” Once again: Almost every week, when I’m reading the entries, I don’t see who wrote them.
A BEGUILING CRAFT? A BORING CHORE? THE RESULTS OF WEEK 984
Week 984 clearly fell on the ooh-clever side of the Invite Humor Continuum (the other side being the coffee-spittingly-funny). But this week’s inking entries, as usual, are funny and zingy in addition to being logical, readable thoughts — a significant achievement in itself. (Okay, maybe the one for all Seven Deadly Sins isn’t quite pointed humor, but I found it cool.)
There were a number of entries that read like strings of random words: “Iceberg justice kissed lights moving north,” for instance, or “Helping immediate Jimmies kettle lunch munch nuances ordering — Pretend quiver rustic squashed tomatoes.” (As you might imagine, I tended to repeatedly put down the stack of printouts to do something more fun, like wash the kitchen floor.)
Not surprisingly, the too-many entries that traced the entire alphabet — and sometimes around again, or back — tended to be slogs, even if they did have some discernable point. Often, a readable, interesting idea would lose its appeal when it bogged down at some letter of the alphabet, and some irrelevant word was put in to fill the space. One person sent me a whole, pretty impressive three-paragraph story about exploring a cave — I’m figuring you don’t really want to read the whole thing — but I couldn’t countenance “xiphoid yags” as something someone would find in a cave, and on top of this, the punchline to the story was “Wise, the Xanax,” which didn’t so much punch as make a little fizzly tap.
Then there was the occasional entry that was long, logical and readable — but still not funny or remotely pointed. Hence no ink for this one: “Always bring containers designed especially for growing Hosta ibukiensis just knee level, mounted near open places, and quite reasonably sure to upgrade vegetation, when xeriscaping your zone.” (Although “Do you xeriscape your zone?” might work in a contest for bad pickup lines.)
Topping the list of ink-scorers who surmounted the challenge in a variety of ways is Loservet Christopher Lamora, who by the way is one of several Invite regulars who represent our country as diplomats abroad, and whose service we particularly appreciate this week. Christopher’s ode to the high school yearbook struck me almost like a poem. It’s his eighth top prize but his first Inkin’ Memorial.
Ann Martin, another American Loser abroad — she’s teaching Latin, and I think also Greek and German, to kids in England — weighed in on how easily Prince Harry was able to cover his Crown Jewels, for her eighth ink “above the fold” in a total of 50 blots. It will surprise no Invite fan that this was a contest with Chris Doyle’s name on it — Chris reports that “this was a terrific contest -- once I dug into it. I was skeptical at first.” Chris is now declining any more top prizes, given that he has now won 243,768 of them.
On the other hand, it’s a First Offender who scores the other Loser Mug/Grossery Bag choice, along with his FirStink for his first ink: Steve Gerritson, a new member of the Invite’s Seattle Area Bureau (the only other member I know of, Neal Starkman, also gets ink this week), scores with the best of several Todd Akin entries — I have a feeling that Rep. Akin, like Sen. Larry Craig, will be remembered in the Invite a bit longer than by the rest of the world.
This week’s HAW(s) from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford: “Jaded Kate! Elegant and untortured. Bonus points for coming from First Offender [Katherine Stikkers, who got two inks this week]. Close to a tie: Bleeding croc [the zoo veterinarian’s list by Graham Lester] -- VIVID!”
NOT OPTIONALLY PRINTABLE — QUICK, READ! (SECOND THOUGHT ...)
Actually, this A-through-Z from Roy Ashley isn’t really obscene, but it’s a little too graphic: “A bungled copulation didn’t ever faze Grandpa; his inamorata just kept lovingly making new overtures — pulsating, quavering, rock-and-rolling, screaming, thrusting, undulating, vibrating, whipping - X-chromosones, Y-chromosones, zigzagging.”
But this week’s Scarlet Letter winner is definitely disgusting. Stop reading if you’re offended by the disgusting. It’s by Chris Doyle:
Another boy’s coming? Divine!” exclaimed Father George, half in Jess.
SEPT. 28-29: TWO FAMED LOSERS, ONE FUNNY ACT
I hadn’t mentioned this event in a while, because it seemed that there might not be room for a Loser contingent. But evidently, if we act right away, we can score tickets to see “Love Match,” a one-act play written by Hall of Fame Losers Chuck Smith and Jennifer Hart. The play will be presented in an evening of three one-acts at the Silver Spring Civic Building, in downtown Silver Spring, Md. The Royal Consort and I will be going on Saturday the 29th; click here for information and to reserve tickets; you get $2 off the tickets ($17; $14 for seniors/students). The theater space is evidently a very small room, so act now.
SEPT. 23: FRONT-PAGE BRUNCH NEWS
The next Loser Brunch will be at The Front Page in Arlington, Va.’s, Ballston section. We’ve been there I think twice before, and I’ve scarfed up large quantities at its buffet. RSVP to Elden Carnahan here. Note that it’s at 10 a.m. As always, I’m eager to meet new Losers and just the Invite-curious, as well as see the regulars once again.