Style Invitational Week 1059: With parens like these . . . (to make a song title funnier)


“Kiss Me (Where the Sun Don’t Shine),” the parenthetical-song example by Christopher Larsen. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
February 6

(Someone Photographed Us) The Way We Were

Kiss Me (Where the Sun Don’t Shine)

I Want to Hold Your Hand (In Warm Water While You’re Sleeping)

Loser Dave Letizia recently shared with the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook a post on Joe Blogs, the site of NBC Sports columnist Joe Posnanski. Mr. Blogs was expressing irritation about the decidedly odd use of parentheses in some pop song titles: Sometimes they contradict the rest of the title, as in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”; other times, the only essential words are in the parenthetical (Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”); and some are just total head-scratchers, like Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long (All Night).”


Shop like a Kardashian! A grocery tote bag with this company’s logo — acutally it has a full-body image — is this week’s second prize.

But Dave had an idea: What if the parenthetical made the title funnier? This week: Add some words in parentheses to a well-known song title to make it funnier in some way, as in the examples above, offered up on the Devotees page by Losers Neal Starkman, Christopher Larsen and Diane Wah in response to Dave’s suggestion. You may also add some description, or make up a fake line or two from the song, to add to the funny. Note: Adding “in bed” or “in my pants” aren’t likely to get ink for originality. Make sure you’re using the actual song title in the part that’s not in parentheses; we liked Jen Harris’s “(Notify Police if This Person’s Seen) Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” except that the song title really contains just the last two words.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a large plastic tote bag featuring the logo of the Bimbo Bakeries chain (“pronounced ‘Beembo,’ the Web site clarifies), sent to us from Los Angeles by Christopher Lamora; how affirming it will be to tote a big shopping bag announcing BIMBO, the cuddly bear mascot notwithstanding.

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 losers@washpost.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 18; results published March 9 (online March 6). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1059” 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 alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Kevin Dopart. Four people independently submitted the subhead for this week’s honorable mentions, and so all of them get no credit whatsoever. 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.

Report from Week 1055

our neologism contest guest-judged by Loser Kevin Dopart — the Invite’s top ink-getter in each of the seven previous years — as a reward for reaching the Double Hall of Fame: getting his 1,000th blot of Invite ink. This contest, which Kevin created himself, was the first since 2005 that Kevin didn’t enter. The challenge was to take an actual word or term and replace one or more letters with K’s, or add K’s. The Empress sent Kevin all the entries without the entrants’ names attached; he’s learning right now, along with you, who the winners are. See the Style Conversational at bit.ly/conv1059 for Kevin’s reflections on the contest and how much he regretted offering to do the Empress’s job for free.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Sorry I Kissed You: The “While You Were Out” note circulating the office the day after the holiday party. (Kristen Rahman, Silver Spring, Md.)

2. Winner of the regifted giant whoopee cushion : Karmadillo boots: Dude, it was destined to be footwear! (Gordon Cobb, Atlanta)

3. You’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mink: If Mae West didn’t say it, she should have. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

4. St. John’s work: Clock in; revise Gospel; clock out; lunch w/ apostles; clock in; spell-check epistle; clock out; brewskis w/ JC . . . (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

K sera sera: honorable mentions

Kimbecile: Dennis Rodman. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

Alaskank: Nanookie of the North. (Chris Doyle, The Villages, Fla.)

Kötterdämmerung: The Twilight of the Sweathogs. (Deborah Guy, Columbus, Ohio)

Sporks Illustrated: Cafeteria fanzine — check out the hot Skim-Soup Issue! (Kathleen DeBold, Burtonsville, Md.)

“A fool and his monkey are soon parted”: An off-the-record-comment by a Munich airport customs official. (Sylvia Betts, Vancouver, B.C.)

Kin and tonic: Party time in West Virginia! (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Kongress: What didn’t happen on top of the Empire State Building. (John O’Byrne, Dublin)

Kill & Killary: Be afraid, voters. Be very afraid. (Ann Martin, Falls Church, Va.)

Unfurknish: What the waitress at a scuzzy deli does when she drops a turnover on the floor. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Seeksucker suit: Favorite summer attire of top televangelists. (Gary Crockett)

Leak of faith: Action taken by a True Reliever. (Jeff Shirley)

Mennonikes: Shoes that put a little rumspringa in your step. (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

Tropic of Canker: The latitude line that passes through the U.S. Capitol. (Diane Wah, Seattle)

The Big Kipper: Pisces. (Melissa Balmain)

Kneed-to-know tactics: Unfriendly persuasion. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Béla Kartók: A composer whose works — popular with NPR hosts Click and Clack — are written solely for the automobile horn. (Melissa Balmain)

Tykrannosaurus: A destructive beast to whom an adult never said no. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

Stork surge: What hospitals see nine months after a hurricane. (Lela Martin, Midlothian, Va.)

Sixteen Cankles:1980 romantic comedy about the East German women’s crew team. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Skip of the tongue: An intentional omission. (Hugh Pullen, Vienna, Va.)

Chickpeaks: Some hot garbanzos. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Subfreeking: Really, REALLY cold. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Atlanta Brakes: A team known for its short stops. (Alba Frias, Bethesda, Md.)

Ne’er-do-Welk: An unemployed accordionist. (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)

Clandestink: Silent flatulence in a crowded elevator. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)

Kendowed: Possessing no discernible genitals. (Jeff Contompasis)

Christmask: The Shroud of Turin. (Melissa Balmain)

KYPD: How Yogi Bear occasionally refers to the Jellystone Rangers. (David Garratt)

Kutumn: Season of pruning. (John O’Byrne)

Professor Snake: He’s definitely Slytherin. (Ann Martin)

Ikcicle: What you find hanging from the outhouse. (Beverley Sharp)

The Seven Deadly Sinks: Those dwarves really need a new housekeeper. (Ann Martin)

Publick: Being facedown in an Irish bar. (Robert Gallagher, Charleston, S.C.)

Freek: Someone who will spend six dollars in gas to redeem a coupon for a 60-cent soft drink. (David Garratt)

Healthcake.gov: Worst. Recipe. Site. Ever. (Gary Crockett)

Have-knots: Anxious folks. (Dave Silberstein, College Park, Md.)

And Last: Kevink: If you didn’t get it, I didn’t get it. — The K (Lydia Cade, Colmar Manor, Md., a First Offender)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our Week 1058 “Good/Bad/Ugly” joke contest. See bit.ly/invite1058.

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 losers@washpost.com (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: Weather or Nuts or Winters and Losers, a contest for new meteorological terms. See bit.ly/invite1056.

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