If your 21st-century incarnation of the typewriter has you “typing” with one finger instead of 10, or if your “content-sharing platform” lets you impart your deepest thoughts as long as they don’t exceed 140 characters, you can appreciate a good acronym. And our own (well, rented-once-a-week) cartoonist Bob Staake coined his own a while back, and even has a Web page to promote it: “LOL is too cute. ROFL is too lame. LMAO just isn’t funny. The new Internet acronym is: PIMPL (Peeing in My Pants Laughing).”
This week, in a contest suggested in another context by Dave Scocca: Give us a funny, original acronym (and of course what it stands for). In its traditional definition, an acronym is a pronounceable word, not an abbreviation that you pronounce letter by letter. But while true acronyms are likely to be more interesting, I’ll also consider short spell-out abbreviations that send me ROFLing. A funny sample tweet or other short sentence is a plus. An unfunny one isn't so great in a humor contest, KWIM? The acronym doesn’t have to include every word of the spelled-out term; you may skip articles or prepositions.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a bubble wand depicting what Loser Barbara Turner deemed the Vampire Butterfly — presumably to make a better bubble somehow, the butterfly’s mouth consists of a circle lined with teeth. Speaking of orifices (as we are wont to do), we’ll also throw in a nose-shaped pencil sharpener, donated by Marleen May. Yes, you stick the pencil in a nostril.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 24 (why, do you have something better to do that day?); results published Jan. 13 (online Jan. 10). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1001” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Tom Witte; the alternative headline for the “Next week’s results” line is by Jeff Contompasis. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
in which, in this season of giving, we asked you to offer up some Unworthy Causes, or dubious charities. There seems to be much Loser support for a Fund for the 1 Percent.
Washington Wizards Basketball Camp Foundation: Contributions help provide basketball lessons to actual Washington Wizards. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
2. Winner of the caganer, the traditional Catalan Nativity figurine of a pooping child:
Bigots Defense Fund: Did you know that Bigo-Americans are the most oppressed minority group in America today? Please give generously — even you Jews. (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)
3. Shy Bladders Anonymous: A 12-step public restroom program. “Pee all that you can pee.” (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
4. Tweeting Is Fundamental: Because today’s teenagers really need lessons in how to be more sarcastic. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)
The Young Men With Guns Club: Give now! I said NOW. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)
The National Foundation Foundation: A support group for fallen women. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Show Your Can! Your donations purchase fake cans of food to be used as props at future celebrity disaster fundraising events. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
The March of Loonies: Your spare Canadian coins can help find a cure for sanity. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)
The American Rung Association: Sponsoring charity balls for social climbers. (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)
So Others Might Cheat: This compassionate group provides cellphones, adult Web site memberships, and even money for motels to indigent married people who otherwise could not afford the joys of infidelity. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
National Trust for Histrionic Preservation: Show! Us! You! Care! (Anne Shively, Broadlands, Va.)
APPS (Adults Paired Proactively or Something): This organization pairs teen mentors with adults to save the latter from such daily mortifications as mispronouncing Ke$ha or wondering aloud what MILF means. (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)
The Terrorist Reformation Society: We help would-be terrorists turn their lives around by giving them the tools they need for a legitimate trade, such as fertilizer for farming, nails for building and bullets for hunting. (Scott Poyer, Annapolis, Md.)
Plutocrats Anonymous: Brother, can you spare a diamond? (Chris Doyle)
Graypeace: A commuter-centric organization focused on preventing the nation’s precious parking lots from being wiped out and turned into unpaved, undrivable space. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)
Yellow Kevlar Ribbon Fund:Your gift supports our troops with research into new high-strength materials to tie generals’ zippers shut. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Money to Burn:To combat society’s lamentable obsession with the pursuit of money, we collect cash donations and publicly burn them. (No coins, please.) (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
The VDW: Addressing the needs of our surviving veterans of America’s domestic wars. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Floridians Lining Up to Fight Frostbite (FLUFF): We’re winning the battle — no reported cases last year! (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
The EBookmobile: 40-foot-long RVs deliver e-books on thumb drives to kids who forget their network passwords. (David Genser)
Solicitors Alliance for the Demoralized (SAD): Our focus is to restore and rebuild the lost confidence and vanquished self-esteem affecting telemarketers, pollsters and door-to-door salesmen suffering rejection after rejection. Help expand our program so we can stop turning these desperate people away! (Jonathan and Marna Gettleman, Ashburn, Va.)
Jaywalkers Against Verbal Abuse: A fund to provide earmuffs for sensitive street-crossers who get yelled at. (Nandini Lal, Bethesda, Md.)
Animals for the Ethical Treatment of People: A confederation of grizzlies dedicated to giving terrified hikers a 30-second head start. (Beverley Sharp)
Smooth-Tailed Urban Ground Squirrel Rescue League: “Look at this poor creature living in the shadows, scrounging to stay alive. Surely he would thrive in a good home . . .” (Mark Raffman; Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)
Unplanned Parenthood: An affiliate of the Just Say No Foundation. “We deliver! Good luck after that!” (Kathy El-Assal)
Writer’s Block Relief Fund: Charity begins a tome. (Chris Doyle)
The Pro Defamation League: Help wipe out amateur insults and bigotry. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Glove Me Tender: Raising money to provide gloves for American League designated hitters so that they don’t feel left out in the dugout. (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)
Appendix Donor Registry: Maintains a database of patients waiting to replace a lost vestige. (Jeff Contompasis)
The Jail Bait Fund: Sponsor one of the young ladies pictured below and we will send you monthly photo updates of your young woman as she develops. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)
Socks Without Partners: Every day thousands of socks across the country mysteriously lose their “sole mates” in washers and dryers, ending up forgotten in the backs of drawers, or humiliated by being used to buff the wax on cars. Please contribute to help these poor socks find a match. (Bill Nilsen, Arlington)
The Salivation Army: “It won’t be your heart that grows three sizes”: For every $25 donated, Santa’s helper Dancer or Vixen will give you a special Christmas story complete with a happy ending. For $50 you can get an oral story. (Bird Waring)
Namibian Environmental Restoration Fund: In 1976 “Saturday Night Live” anticipated this contest with “Fondue Sets for Namibia.” Unfortunately, many of those fondue sets now sit in landfills, leaching toxic metals into the soil. Now please give to retrieve the fondue sets from Namibia. (Mark Raffman)
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, in which the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at firstname.lastname@example.org (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.
Next week’s results: There Ought to Be Your Law, or Justice Is Swerved, our Week 998 contest to come up with fictitious “dumb laws that are still on the books.”