Good: There is a new man in your life.
Bad: He insists on knowing where you are every minute of the day.
Ugly: He is a parole officer. (Sandra Hull)
Good: She says she won’t try to change you.
Bad: You are 97 years old.
Ugly: She is your nurse. (Chuck Smith)
Good: You’ve struck Gold.
Bad: Harvey Gold.
Ugly: Of the law firm of Gold, Dershowitz & Scheck. (Stephen Dudzik)
That’s Eastwood as in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” We bring back a contest we’ve run just once before, 14 years ago; the examples above got ink back in Week 343 (also known as Week X; don’t ask). It’s pretty clear what we’re looking for: Create a good-bad-ugly progression in the mold of the above.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives the absolutely fabulous prize pictured here: It’s EneMan, a promotional mascot issued by Fleet Pharmaceuticals and donated to us by Invite Fan but Not a Loser Earl Hughes, who gave him to the Empress last month at the Losers’ annual Post-Holiday Party. He (Eneman, not Earl) is a plushy little nozzlehead about the size of a Beanie Baby and every inch as cute, although you might say he tends to be stuck up.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate or Puns of Steel. First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 10; results published March 2 (online Feb. 27). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1058” 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/InvRules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Jeff Contompasis; the alternative headline for the “next week’s results” line is by Stephen Dudzik. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
our annual Dead Letters contest, for poems to commemorate people who died in 2013. We received odes to everyone from Nelson Mandela to the poor lady who died in the traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.
Etch-a-Sketch inventor Andre Cassagnes:
Andre Cassagnes, your Etch-a-Sketch showed us
We needn’t just tweak, fix and patch.
That sometimes the best course, for peasant or POTUS,
Is shake and start over from scratch. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
2. Winner of the little bottle of “anointing oil” containing frankincense, myrrh and spikenard PLUS a container of Dr. Wacko’s Silly Sludge:
Sir David Frost:
After three years’ hibernation
Richard Nixon faced the nation.
In a five-part interview,
We learned just what Nixon knew.
With icy stare, he looked exhausted.
You might well say he was D. Frosted. (Mike Duffy, Butte, Mont.)
3. Novelist Elmore Leonard:
‘Passed’?” Elmore Leonard said.
“The f--- is that? I’m dead.” (Chris O’Carroll, Emporia, Kan.)
4. Cal Worthington, king of the used car salesmen: Jingling-kingling,
Calvin “Cal” Worthington,
Tooled up to Heaven, went
Straight to the Lord.
Brimming with hucksterish
Sold Him a peachy-keen
’63 Ford. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
Special-effects artist and stop-motion filmmaker Ray Harryhausen:
Harryhausen made ten thousand
Models out of clay:
Of skeletons and Argonauts and dinos in their day.
He photographed them, move by move,
On land, in air and ocean.
But age and time both took their toll:
Now Ray has stopped his motion. (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)
Eleanor Parker, the baroness in “The Sound of Music”:
I concede that Maria did have a nice voice,
But Georg von Trapp, he made the wrong choice.
A skinny and innocent wannabe nun?
Baroness Schraeder looked way, way more fun. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Annette Funicello (I):
Annette, Annette, we watched you grow
(As adolescent boys, you know).
Each passing week brought out our cheers:
“They’re getting bigger than her ears!” (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
Annette Funicello (II):
(To the “Mickey Mouse Club” song)
Who’s the Mousketeer with looks that made teen hormones flow?
F-U-N-I-C-E . . . and an -L-L-O!
Smiling, singing, sunning, she sure helped their. . . feelings grow,
F-U-N-I-C-E . . . and an -L-L-O
Who’d have guessed one so blessed
Would star in frumpy Skippy ads—oh why, why, why, why?
Dear Annette, let’s just forget you ever sank so low.
F-U-N-I-C-E. . . and an -L-L-O. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
USA Today founder Al Neuharth:
Al Neuharth died at 89,
(No room to publish second line.) (Rob Cohen Potomac, Md.)
Porn star Harry Reems:
Back in the day Harry Reems was quite famous for
Starring in less-than-respectable shows.
Now he’s gone stiff again, this time all over, so
Don’t hold your breath for more mustachey O’s. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)
Kenneth, 1960s celebrity hairstylist:
Whispered Kenneth, “Although I must go,
All my secrets you never shall know.
It took tact, grace, and style
To coif Jacqueline, while
Simultaneously poufing Monroe.” (Nan Reiner)
Evangelist Harold Camping, who predicted the world would end in 1994, then 2011:
While Harold Egbert Camping
Was busily revamping
End-time predictions he had blown,
He missed a crucial one — his own. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Tom Clancy’s grave sin was his pride.
Told a journalist once, being snide,
“I make more in a day
Than your annual pay!”
(It got left behind when he died.) (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas:
Helen Thomas at the Gate
Has probing, arch suggestions.
Saint Peter tells her, “Please, just wait
And let me ask the questions.” (Gary Crockett)
The famed Lou Reed has up and died,
Now walking on the mild side.
Appropriately, he’d be found
Encased in Velvet, Underground. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)
Richard Ramirez, a serial killer,
Spent 25 years in a cell,
Then finally died and was able to fill a
Deferred reservation in Hell. (Chris Doyle, The Villages, Fla.)
The Brits are known (so goes the quip)
For keeping a stiff upper lip.
For Margaret Thatcher, we’d suppose,
The same is true from head to toes. (Mark Raffman)
Mayor Koch isn’t bogged down pursuin’
Stats of afterlife credits accruin’
Toward eternal reward;
He goes straight to the Lord,
And says, “Hi, God. It’s Ed. How’m I doin’?” (Nan Reiner)
I guess I’ll face facts and mourn Nelson Mandela,
Admitting he died in December last year;
I’d rather believe in that sign-language fella,
Who seemed to be saying, “He went out for beer.” (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
The Russian man who filmed himself accidentally being killed by falling rubble:
Evgeny Titov used his cell
To film a building’s poor condition,
And shot the very brick that fell
And caused his selfie-demolition. (Frank Osen)
Michael Ansara (“Star Trek” bad guy)
As an angel, we hope, the actor will wing on,
For on earth, alas, he could no longer cling on. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
“Star Wars” makeup artist Stuart Freeborn:
Your work is beloved: the look of a Wookiee,
The gut of the Hutt, and the whole Ewok clan,
But your best, the green Jedi you made in your image,
Is what makes the world hail you thus: “Yoda man!” (Danielle Nowlin)
Nine seasons with Archie was surely no trifle,
But finally ’twas age that got Edith to stifle. (Paul Burnham, Gainesville, Va.)
Peter O’Toole is a wonderful name for an actor to be born with,
But not for drama. It’s a name for one to have made porn with.
Instead of losing Oscars playing Lawrence of Arabia
He could have won applause and cash by entering some labia.. (Stan McLeroy, Herndon, Va.)
A letter from Hardin Cox, Missouri columnist and politician, and Dick Trickle, race car driver:
“Dear Saint Pete, life on earth can be fickle,
And we’ve oft found ourselves in a pickle,
So for life as an angel,
A moniker change’ll
Be great.” – Hardin Cox and Dick Trickle (Nan Reiner)
And last: Mega-pastor Chuck Smith:
His followers, they wept and wailed
In states across the nation;
Gone too soon, a brilliant man,
Their constant inspiration.
Such fuss they made when hearing he
Had gone across the good bridge,
The Lord looked down and yelled, “Hey guys!
He’s not the one from Woodbridge!” (Danielle Nowlin)
Still running — deadline Monday night — our contest for fake sports trivia. See bit.ly/invite1057. See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday), in which she 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, sign up here or 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 there.
Next week’s results: Oh,K! or It’s My Doparty, a neologism contest in which you add K’s to existing words, or replace letters with K’s; the guest judge is Kevin Dopart, who received this dubious honor upon receiving his 1,000th blot of Invite ink. See bit.ly/invite1055.