Proposal: A study of the relationship between snowfall and diarrhea in the Washington metropolitan area. Evidence: It has long been noted that the presence of only a few flurries in the sky over the nation’s capital has produced enormous increases in the purchase of toilet paper . . .
This week’s contest, suggested by Not-a-Loser-Just-a-Reader Tom Laufer: Come up with a proposal to the National Science Foundation or other research-funding organization for a study based on a stupid hypothesis, like Tom’s examples above.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives this fine Rednek Wine Glass — a genuine Mason jar with a stem fused on, complete with screw-on lid. Donated by Craig Dykstra.
Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag, whose design we show off today for the first time. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their first ink). E-mail entries to
or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 30; results published May 20 (online May 18). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 968” 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/StyleInv. The alternate headline for the “Next Week” line is by Robert Schechter; the subhead for this week’s honorable mentions was submitted by both Jeff Contompasis and Brad Alexander. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at
Report from Week 964
in which the Empress asked for ideas for our latest runner-up prize, the lightweight tote that we dubbed the Grossery Bag. The winner gets to choose between our new first-place trophy, the Inkin’ Memorial, or this bag with her own joke on it; the runners-up — as befits true Losers — win the bag, which of course has someone else’s joke on it, along with Bob Staake’s design (this won’t be exactly the final version, but it’s close enough to show you).
Almost Valuable Player
(with the “al” in a different color)
The Style Invitational
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
Cartoon of the Inkin’ Memorial, with the slogan:
With malice toward none,
With parody for all.
The Style Invitational.
(Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
3. In imitation of the store’s logo:
The Style Invitational
(Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Well, I thought it was funny.
The Style Invitational
(Kathye Hamilton, Annandale, Va.)
Excess baggage: honorable mentions
(Drawing of a nose)
They Should Have Picked ME
Loser, The Style Invitational
(Nando Amabile, Frederick, Md., a First Offender)
Cartoon of a pistol. Out of the gun barrel comes a flag labeled “Rim Shot.”
Have Pun, Will Travel
(Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
Shaded regions drawn at the bottom left and right corners of the bag, with scraggly hairs extending from them. They’re labeled “Arm Holes.” A semicircle at the center bottom is labeled “Neck Hole.”
Remove Shaded Areas for Use as Shirt
(Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)
I Just Saved 5¢ by Being Hilarious (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
Embarrass your family in print every week — ask me how!
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
The Winner Got a Statue and I Was Left Holding This Bag
Runner-Up, The Style Invitational (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
How to Bag a Loser:
WRONG: (Graphic of a person stuffed headfirst into the bag, sticking straight up)
RIGHT: (Bag over the head)
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
My Cheap, Tasteless Joke
This Cheap, Tasteless Joke
From The Style Invitational
(Lynda Hoover, Shepherdstown, W.Va, a First Offender)
The Style Invitational:
Abandon all hope, ye who enter (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Cartoon of a Roman Empress giving the thumbs-down to a gladiator:
Veni, Vidi, Perdidi
I came, I saw, I lost
Runner-Up, The Style Invitational (Scott Poyer, Annapolis, Md.)
(A Bride of Frankenstein-style Empress slams a tote over someone’s head)
She Sacked Me!
Runner-Up, The Style Invitational (Lawrence McGuire)
In fancy script:
I Got a B in Punmanship
Runner-Up, The Style Invitational
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where 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 email@example.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.
Still running — deadline Monday night — is our “before and after” portmanteau-phrase contest, Week 967.
Next week: Foaling Around,
The Neighm Game