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

Week 996: I’d like two-issue a merry week

By the E, Pat Myers

Hello, everyone. Let’s return, post-election, to our regularly scheduled humor of still more political gibes and, once again, digs at the Lose-So-Much-They-Should-Get-a-T-Shirt Redskins. And particularly this week in Week 996, we continue the theme of Combine Two Things, such a recurrent trope in Invite contests that it no doubt was part of Kevin Dopart’s joke when he “suggested” the idea back in Week 985. That was the contest — the idea of Bob Staake — in which we showed five cartoons by Bob and asked what Invitational contest any of them might be illustrating.

Well, we’ll show Kevin. This genre of contest almost always proves fruitful; for one thing, it can be approached in two different ways: by playing on the actual content of the magazines, or just playing on their names independently of what the magazines are actually about. I’ll be happy to use either or both, as long as they’re funny.

I’m not sure how many more entries from Week 985 will yield actual contests; there might be some non-inking entries that, while not so fab in themselves, suggested a pretty usable contest.

Once in a while we put up a misguided, poorly thought out contest, and I readily take the blame for this one. Mitt Romney’s totally unsolicited death sentence on PBS funding during the first debate with President Obama was so fresh and was the source of so much instant Big Bird humor that I too eagerly jumped at the suggestion that we joke about a commercialized PBS, or of PBS shows of characters on commercial TV.

Of course, I’d forgotten that less than a year ago, we’d run a contest about what would happen when you move one show on any network to another. But even more important, most material on PBS just isn’t that far a cry from what you can find on other networks; in fact, some PBS shows, like “Wall Street Week” and the teen drama “Degrassi,” also appeared on commercial outlets. Also, it’s not as if PBS’s dramatic fare, while more highbrow, is prim about the sex and language that appears on the screen. And during pledge drives, some public stations’ programming is as tacky as almost anything on cable — such as the “specials” in which CNBC’s Suze Orman plugs her money-management books and DVDs (not to mention her own brand of prepaid debit card).

Shortly after I posted the contest, one regularly successful Loser contacted me online. Given how much hassle I’d put him through when he suggested contests himself ... what was this ... thing? Oh, well.

Still, not a castastrophe: The inking entries are prizeworthy; there just aren’t a lot of them. And it’s always fun to dip into the archives.

It’s the 11th ink already the second top prize for Neal Starkman of Seattle, who won the Inker with his very first entry, in Week 944. Neal’s dig gets at the networks’ desire not to alienate any groups of viewers, as well as the vast number of cable channels, on one of which you should be able to find exactly what you want to be told.

University of Connecticut student Gregory Koch (pronounced Kotch) — by the way, he’s entirely unrelated to Loser Barry Koch (prounced Cook) — gets a pillowcase full of U.S. currency (shredded) for his fantasy about victimizing the Teletubbies, for his 13th blot of ink, and third “above the fold.” With his win of a Loser Mug or Grossery Bag, Alan Hochman of the Atlanta area can now boast an amazing ratio of four above-the-fold inks out of seven blots of ink in all. And for once, there’s only one really thoroughgoing Loser among the week’s top four: Roy Ashley; with his 286th ink (since Week 120) has almost 10 times the ink of the other three combined. For now, that is.

I selected the previous movie and TV contests almost at random; I thought back to some entries I liked, then looked them up and checked to see how many others I liked that week, as well as whether they still work today (sometimes the best humor in a certain week was highly topical, on a subject that was on everyone’s lips at the moment, but has been thoroughly de-lipped by now). The 2001 contest was one I judged as “Auxiliary Czar” while the Czar was on his second Invite-hiatus that year; I remember bringing a sheaf of papers into a restaurant and scribbling on printouts of that contest while I waited. (The restaurant wasn’t fancy enough to provide crayons.) The 2004 was from my first year of Empressing.

I’ll be delving much more into the archives next spring when we celebrate the Invite’s 20th anniversary.

Today’s HAW from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford: “Master P’s Theatre — GOOD ONE!” Congratulations to both Jason Russo and First Offender Gina Smith.


So far it’s a pretty intimate crowd that’s signed up to gather at the military-themed Kilroy’s pub buffet for the Loser brunch, this Sunday at 10 a.m. (as soon as it opens, since it doesn’t take reservations). But I’ll be there, just off the Braddock Road exit of the Beltway in Northern Virginia. Last time I was there with a long tableful of Losers, a man approached us with his 12-year-old son, who was an Invite fan the way some kids are baseball fans; he was familiar with the Losers’ names, and to be in the same room with The Great Jeff Contompasis of Ashburn took his breath away. Jeff has since recovered. RSVP to Elden Carnahan at the temporary Loser website at (click on “Brunch Detail”).

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