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

Week 990: Haw in the family

By the E, Pat Myers

Happy autumn, everyone. I hope that wherever your neck of the woods is, it’s just as swanlike and supple a neck as it is out here at Mount Vermin today. Well, except for the Return of the Stink Bugs, which seems to have occurred in the last day or two. Here’s only a small section of my screen door, upon which I gaze as I type this.

For some reason, the Invitational hasn’t had quite as many entries in recent weeks as usual — it could be the start of school, the Jewish holidays, the unaccustomed success of Washington sports teams, or perhaps that the Loser community (and those aspiring to be admitted through its big iron gates) just hasn’t been inspired as much to ignore their families, whimpering dogs, collection agencies, etc., and prepare a list of cleverly crafted humor sure to be unappreciated by that high-handed harridan at The Washington Post and why did I get my paper in the bushes again yesterday morning, huh?

In any case, I betcha that all changes in this week’s contest, one that combines elements of some perennially successful Invite contests: matching up two people with a common element in their names; and “explaining” why two people are alike or different. And it even lets you put the two people together to be some sort of team. I’m expecting a nice big pile of entries, from occasional readers as well as the regular Losers. There might be a fair amount of duplication in which people are paired, but I predict that the jokes — especially the good ones — will distinguish themselves from others with the same pair of people.

Note that the common element has to be the people’s last name. This means, for example, that you can’t pair — as Bob Staake did when we were shooting ideas around this week — Prince Harry and Dirty Harry; those “Harrys” aren’t “last” enough for Messrs. Windsor and Callahan. I’m loath to say that there might not be some in­cred­ibly creative and funny exceptions, but I’m figuring that there’s going to be enough humor within these limits. Also, I think you should stick to names with the same spelling. Most of the entries will no doubt refer to the particular people, but I won’t rule out some wordplay simply on a doubled name.


(... which was, in one reference in the Sept. 2 column, identified as Week 985 — no, I did get your entry even if you wrote ‘985’ in the subject line. If you didn’t get ink, you just didn’t get ink. Sorreee.)

This contest produced some of the most flagrant Steal Invitational entries in years, with such hoary staples as “Visualize whirled peas,” “Mairzy Dotes” and “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.” Or maybe it’s possible that the people who sent these homophones had not only come up with them independently, but also had no idea that they were staples of popular culture? Meanwhile, it seems that everyone who’s ever heard a weather report let us know that it was given by a meaty urologist.

But as usually happens when I judge the Invite, once I tossed 95 percent or so of the entries, the rest were pretty dang funny — at least to someone who has a high respect for the genre of groaner puns. (I certainly do, and so do my two groan children.)

The likelihood that someone else out there has heard one of these jokes before in some situation: stratospheric. Just enjoy it again, please; don’t let it ruin your weekend because someone won a magnet the size of a business card, and I won’t let it ruin mine.

It’s the first Inkin’ Memorial but the second win for Mark Richardson of Washington, whose play on “pho” uses a word that — yes, I know — is properly pronounced more like “fuh.” I just like getting mail. It would have been more appropriate had Mark’s entry won the recent Invite prize of a bottle of Laotian liquor with a giant scorpion inside, but Mark won that for Week 967; maybe it inspired him.

The second-place slingshot monkey, appropriately, goes to the second zoo-vet joke we’ve run in three weeks — this one from the shamelessly pun-wild Dudley Thompson (anagram on the Loser stats page: Note Shoddy Lump). It’s Dudley’s 12th appearance “above the fold” among what’s now swelled to 69 blots of ink with his three entries today.

A choice of a Loser Mug or Grossery Bag goes to Steve Honley of our own fair city, who’s been entering the Invite since Week 447 but has picked up the pace lately. On the other hand, it’s going to be a bag for sure for Andy Bassett, since I can promise that it won’t arrive in a pile of shards in New Plymouth, New Zealand. By the way, Andy hosts a weekly radio show at MOST-FM — Sunday at 5 p.m. over there, which is Saturday midnight over here. A number of us Style Invitational Devotees have become fans of the live-streamed "What’s It All About, Andy,” which consists on an hour’s worth of eclectic music centered on the particular week’s theme. (The time varies depending on our countries’ daylight-saving time, but it’s always on late at night, alas.)

This week’s HAW from Style Invitational Editor Lynn Medford was for Phil Frankenfeld’s “AceApp” software — really, someone ought to use that name. (Not “Phil Frankenfeld”; that one’s being used enough, thank you.)


We’ll start with this one from Roy Ashley: “Still heavily involved in the Democratic campaign, Bill Clinton has been doing some serious poling of female voters.”

And the reliably unprintable (though also, for other entries, reliably printable) Tom Witte — who has a Hotmail e-mail address — contributed this: “She told me that her well-endowed but but excessively chatty boyfriend really stuffs her hot male inbox.”

Elizabeth Soyster of Gibson Island, Md., wrote in that “I hear things like this on the traffic reports almost every morning: ‘Father Hurley is jammed in the northbound erection.’ ” Elizabeth is referring to the unfortunate homage to Rev. Hurley by naming a traffic-clogged thoroughfare in Montgomery County, Md., after him.

And for this week’s Scarlet Letter: Several entrants made jokes on this word, but it was Loser Brunch Historian Pie Snelson who merrily sent the funniest, though in no way printable: “The promiscuous gay man seemed to wind up in one morass after another.”


September’s Loser Brunch at the Front Page in Arlington, Va., drew 17 of us to enjoy the buffet and ridiculously generous Bloody Marys. The restaurant banished us to the deserted atrium of the office building where it’s located, but that was just as well, since Nan Reiner brought this week’s prize — the Porkin’ Pigs pair of piggy banks, and much time was spent arranging the pigs into even more risque poses that the one intended. It’s easier to see the IDs on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook, but for those of you who refuse to join: Down the left side and up the right: Newbie Mairzy Salander and her husband (okay, HE’s at left); Pie Snelson; Barry Koch; Roy Ashley; me; Andrea Kelly; non-Loser Jim Cowen and his Loser SO Cheryl Davis; Inge Ashley;David Genser, visiting from San Diego; Denise Sudell; Elden Carnahan, who arranged the very first Invite-contestants breakfast in 1994; Ellen Ryan; and Elizabeth Molye.

Next up: Sunday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m., at the Mosaic Cafe in Rockville, Md. RSVP to Elden

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