The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational
By the Empress

Style Invitational Week 979: A ploy to annoy

Bob Staake for The Washington Post/Bob Staake For The Washington Post

If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.

In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual favors.”

The Style Invitational

The Style Invitational is The Post’s weekly humor/wordplay contest, serving up since 1993 an irreverent mix of highbrow and lowbrow -- haughty and potty -- in genres ranging from neologisms to cartoon captions to elaborate song parodies. A new contest appears at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational every Friday.

Archive

Joining one of the zillion ongoing discussions on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook, Loser David Genser — who’d amassed more than 300 blots of Invitational ink before making himself scarce for a full decade, then came roaring back last summer — said he thought “the competition is better now, being on-line and worldwide. Also, the contests tend to be harder. More verse. More complex rules. Less ba-da-boom one-liners.”

But we certainly don’t want to short-shrift our ba-da-booms.

This week, a contest as straightforward as they come, based on a list the Empress saw, uncredited, on StumbleUpon.com that she knew the Losers would improve on immeasurably: Suggest funny, original ways to tick people off, as in the examples above from that list. They may target a specific person or group.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, appropriately, a keychain called Annoying Orange; you push a little button and the little, nastily grinning fruit yells at you. Wait, there’s more! We’ll also throw in Lil’ Stinker Bubbles: “Blow bubbles that reek!” It comes in three varieties; this one is Tommy Toilet. Donated ages ago by Peter Metrinko.

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. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, July 16; results published Aug. 5 (online Aug. 3). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 979” 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 in the “next week’s results” line is by Chris Doyle. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.

Report from Week 975

in which we asked you to debunk a “Sixth Myth” in one of a dozen topics that have been featured in the “5 Myths” essays of The Post’s Sunday opinion section, Outlook:

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

White people: White people don’t lack rhythm, they just hear a different drummer — and HE lacks rhythm. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

2. Winner of the Spam T-shirt featuring a Spam “ham”: Cheating: Students caught cheating at Harvard Business School are NOT immediately offered positions in the banking industry. They got CAUGHT, for crying out loud. (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

3. School food: It is not true that the USDA ever counted ketchup as a vegetable. However, the school lunch program does classify school paste as a grain. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

4. The American Dream: It is not uniquely American. People in all countries sometimes dream they’ve accidentally gone to school without putting any clothes on. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Mythellaneous: Honorable mentions

WHITE PEOPLE: White people don’t really have smaller butts; they just look that way because of the clenching. (Larry Yungk, Arlington, Va.)

— We also clap and dance and sing loudly in church. But only when we see on our phones that our hockey team scored a goal. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

— White people can jump, but they are held down by the force of gravitas. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

— White people can dance — who do you think invented the Hokey Pokey? (Jason Russo, Annandale, Va.)

— It is NOT true that white men can’t jump. Try popping a balloon behind one when he’s about to putt. (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)

— White people do NOT get all the ink in the Style Invitational. (Dion Black, Washington)

FEMALE VOTERS: Female voters do NOT spend hours in the voting booth trying on different candidates. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

— It is not true that female voters tend to vote for the best-looking politician. Rather, they prefer those who offer the most weight loss. (Mark L. Reese Jr., Springfield, Va., a First Offender)

— It has never been proved that most female voters opt for the man with the biggest feet. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: It is not true that Lincoln changed his name from Abdul to Abraham to get the Jewish vote. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

— Despite the billions of likenesses produced, Lincoln’s skin did not have a shiny coppery tone. (Larry Yungk)

— Lincoln never actually considered Ron Paul for a Cabinet post. Paul did, however, get a good speaking slot at the 1864 GOP convention. (David Genser)

— It is untrue that public sentiment turned against Lincoln after he had a horse buggy lift installed in the White House. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

— It is not true that Abraham Lincoln wore a stovepipe hat to cover up his Mohawk. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

SCHOOL FOOD: It is a falsehood that school lunches are reprocessed leftovers from airline meals. In fact, they are leftovers from hospitals. (Robert Schechter)

— It is not true that every time a student drops his cafeteria tray, a teacher gets her horns. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

— It is untrue that what is labeled as veal cutlets in school cafeterias are actually elephant scabs. They are rhinoceros scabs. (Edward Gordon, Austin)

— It’s not true that school menus are determined by their nutritive value. Having poor ballistics is also a major criterion. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

WATER: Calling water “dihydrogen monoxide” does NOT make you sound smarter. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

— It’s a myth that Evian was named as a backward spelling of “naive” by marketing people who were gloating that consumers would pay good money for a product they could get for free inside their own homes by turning a knob. (Mel Loftus, Alexandria, Va.)

— Water does NOT seek its own level. It seeks the level of your only genuine Oriental rug. (Barry Koch)

BREAST-FEEDING: It is not true that Christina Hendricks’s baby almost died from overfeeding. However, her husband was nearly asphyxiated on several occasions. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

— It is not true that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decreed that women may no longer nurse their babies with giant sodas. (Sally Sieracki, Fairfax, Va.)

— There actually is no conclusive data showing that babies breast-fed in public will develop an aversion to men with cellphone cameras. (Larry Yungk)

— It’s a popular but unfounded myth that breast-feeding is explicitly condemned in Leviticus as an “abomination.” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

CHEATING: It is not true that the increased influence of corporations in America has had a negative impact on the Supreme CourtTM. (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)

— It is NOT cheating to submit a self-referential entry such as this one and win a prize even though it is not actually a joke. (Robert Schechter)

SUPER PACS:It is NOT true that a Super PAC, despite being considered a person under the Citizens United ruling, was turned away from the polls in Florida because it could not produce a picture ID. (Robert Schechter)

AMERICA’S DECLINE: This myth should be self-evident: Regardless of how foolish it is, when have Americans declined anything? (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)

— America’s decline did not in fact begin during the George W. Bush administration. The Style Invitational was first published in 1993. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Still running — deadline Monday night — is our “framed couplets” light-verse contest. See wapo.st/inv978.

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational (new columns posted Fridays), 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 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.

Next week’s results: Join Now, or Wit to Be Tied, a contest to combine parts of two words into a third word.

 
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