It happens every time with The Style Invitational’s “joint legislation” contest: The inking “bills” that I think very obviously sound like some English phrase or sentence are totally mystifying to at least a few readers. And so it is with the results of this year’s installment, Week 1419.

Not that I understood all the 2,000-some entries submitted; I knew that I’d be stumped myself. That’s why I told entrants that I welcomed translations of their entries (below them, so I could first read them and guess).

And indeed, those translations came in really handy — because in many cases, they sounded nothing like what the string of freshman members’ names sounded like, and often translated into some phrase that didn’t even make sense; you’d never have thought of it on your own.

Example 1: The Donalds-Kim-Cawthorn-Owens-Sessions Act requires the destruction of all versions of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Republican National Convention speech. Provided translation: “Donald’s Kim Caw for No One Sessions.” Aside from the fact that “Thorn-Owens” doesn’t sound like “for no one,” the whole phrase doesn’t sound like English. I’m not even sure what it means: “For No One Sessions”?

Example 2: Torres-Tiffany-Newman Bill — or pill — to boost masculine morale. Explanation: Torres-Tiffany-Newman = To restiff any new man. It’s not a problem to bend the pronunciation of “Newman” to “new man,” quite another to expect someone to read “Torres-Tiffany” as “to restiff [??] any.”

I don’t think any of today’s inking entries are anywhere in that league of WTH? And the people I’d asked to read them beforehand had no trouble understanding any of them. But as soon as I published this week’s results this morning, I found out that some readers were interpreting the names totally differently from how I’d read them. Even “Torres-Ossoff” — used in perhaps 100 entries by dozens of entrants to mean “tore his ass off” — proved confusing for a Spanish-speaking friend who read “Torres” in the authentic Spanish with rolled R’s.

So here’s the whole list with translations at the end. I think you’ll find that if you say the translations out loud, you’ll find that they’re pretty close to how the names are pronounced.

Fourth place: The Moore-Greene-Salazar-Good Act mandates fresh leafy veggies to school lunch programs. (Pia Palamidessi, Cumberland, Md.) [More green salads are good]

Third place: The Mann-Jones-Steel-Owens-Moore Resolution lamenting the perpetual inability to keep up with the neighbors. (Steve Glomb, Alexandria, Va.; Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)[Man, Jones still owns more]

Second place: The Kim-Torres-Ossoff Act expressing sympathy for Kanye West. (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington) [Kim (Kardashian, his wife; rumors are that their marriage is in trouble) tore his ass off]

Winner of the Clowning Achievement: The Bordeaux-Gimenez-Torres Resolution, limiting long-winded uncles at Thanksgiving to 20 minutes tops. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)[Bored o’ him and his stories]

The Newman-Bice-Moore-Tiffany Act to set minimum engagement ring sizes for aspiring second husbands. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)[New man buys …]

The Mann-Torres-Spartz-Good Resolution discouraging the practice of barbed-wire hurdling. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.) [Man tore his parts good]

The Herrell-Harshbarger-Fischbach rule that if your Big Mac makes you sick, you can get a free Filet. (Kathy White, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender; Dan Helming, Trenton, N.J.) [Hurl harsh burger, fish back]

The Jacobs-Lummis-Jacobs Act to prevent the taking of property from landlords in underserved areas. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)[Jacob’s slum is Jacob’s]

The Issa-Tiffany-Herrell-Bordeaux Act to encourage teens to alert a trusted adult when a friend abuses alcohol. (Seth Tucker, Washington)[I saw Tiffany …]

The Good-Hinson-Bush Act requiring all police investigations to check for clues behind the landscaping. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.) [Good hints in bush]

The Mann-Fallon-Owens-Good Act endorsing the doctrine of original sin. (Steve Langer, Chevy Chase, Md.)[Man fallen; no one’s good]

The Fallon-Issa-Keller Act requiring that sidewalks be salted during snow season. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)[Fall on ice: a killer]

The Fallon-Steel-Good Act enshrining the five-second rule into law. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)[Fallen, still good]

The Fitzgerald-Good Act to resculpt the statue of President Ford in the Capitol with a better-tailored suit. (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.) [Fits Gerald good]

The Good-Herrell Act to reverse all executive orders from the previous administration, because sometimes you just need a Good-Herrell to feel better and move on. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

The Hinson-Fischbach-Fallon-Mann-Spartz Act instructs male legislators on the proper method for “tucking in one’s shirt” when alone with a journalist in a hotel room. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.) [This is the biggest stretch of the group, I think, but I omitted the translation because it was too risque to call attention to. See the link above to read about the episode involving Rudy Giuliani and the “journalist” — actually an actress making the second “Borat” movie — accompanying him to his hotel room. Translation: Hints on “fish back fallen man’s parts.”]

The Moore-Hickenlooper-Pfluger Proclamation that more of anything is better than yesterday’s covfefe. (John Call, Frederick, Md., a First Offender) [Here’s an outlier: Rather than wordplay, it just jokes on the names because they sound like nonsense words.]

The GOP-sponsored Franklin-Jackson Act authorizes a one-time stimulus payment of $120. (Frank Mann, Washington; Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore) [Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill, Andrew Jackson on the $20]

The Torres-Ossoff Act to compensate former vice president Mike Pence for what Sen. Harris did to him during their debate. (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.) [Same wordplay, different context]

The Moore-Clyde-Steel Act to fund a breeding program for Budweiser’s horses. (Fred Shuback, Silver Spring, Md.)[Clydesdale]

The Bordeaux-Steel-Nehls Prison Cot Reform Act. (David Peckarsky, Tucson)[Board of steel nails]

The Bordeaux-Jacobs-Williams Act to encourage more novel boys’ names. (Pamela Love, Columbia, Md.) [Bored o’ Jacobs, Williams]

The Donalds-Good-Bice Declaration that we really didn’t care if the door hit him on the way out. (Kevin Dopart, Washington) [Donald’s goodbyes]

The Good-Bordeaux-Manning ICE Reform Act. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.; Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.) [Good border-manning]

The Bowman-Bordeaux-Boebert BananaFannaFoeFert FeeFieFoeFert Boebert Act to mitigate unnecessary name calling. (Scott Straub, Winchester, Va.) [One of a number of entries I got alluding to “The Name Game,” the old R&B song by Shirley Ellis (video here)]

The Ross-Nehls Act to serve escargot sushi at the congressional cafeteria. (Duncan Stevens; Jesse Frankovich) [Raw snails]

The Bentz-Nehls Act to straighten out the escargot. (Mark Raffman) [Bent snails]

The Salazar-Mrvan Act to procure a fleet of bullet-resistant trucks. (George Thompson, Springfield, Va.)[Sell us armor van]

The Jones-Jacobs-Hickenlooper-Spartz Resolution that affirms, “That’s kinda sorta my name, too.” (Sarah Walsh) [Another play-song reference, this one to “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is my name, too …"]

The Bice-Kim Act promoting fat-free milk. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.; Jonathan Jensen) [Buy skim]

The Fallon-Herrell-Keller-Kelly-Malliotakis-Marshall-Miller-Tubberville-Williams Declaration, telling the former Inciter in Chief to go 2L. (William Verkuilen, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) [This one does nothing but list legislators who have two L’s in their names. Since publishing the results this morning, I was reminded that 14 years ago, I gave ink to the same joke, this one by Steve Langer for the 2007 legislators: “The Donnelly-Ellison-Ellsworth-Fallin-Gillibrand-Hall-Heller-McCaskill-Mitchell resolution telling the administration to go two-L.” Hear it now, folks: No more ink for this joke until 2035.]


It’s the first Clowning Achievement trophy — and, I hadn’t realized, the first contest win, period — for Sarah Walsh, who didn’t get her first Invite ink until Week 1324 and has been inking up the joint regularly for the past few months. Sarah, a school librarian who also appears at history events as Abigail Adams in costumes she crafts herself, started entering the Invite after she moved to the D.C. area from Seattle and got ink on her very first try with an account of the Creation of Eve written hilariously a la Jane Austen. This win and an honorable mention this week brings Sarah’s ink count up to 39, with five of them “above the fold” as winner or runner-up.

Third place went to two Losers who’d sent in very similar entries about “keeping up with the Joneses”: Steve Glomb finds himself in the Losers’ Circle for the first time, with Ink No. 26, while Jesse Frankovich has been there, uh, more than once. Lessee … 76 times. Steve gets his choice of Loser Mug or Grossery Bag; Jesse has prized out until we get new products to give away. And while it’s just the ninth blot of ink for Pia Palamidessi, it’s already her second runner-up prize.

What Doug Dug: In addition to the two Torres-Ossoff entries, Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood singled out as faves: Moore-Hickenlooper-Pfluger by First Offender John Call; Bowman-Bordeaux-Boebert bananafanafofert by Scott Straub (Loser anagram: Actor’s Butts); and Sarah Walsh’s Jones-Jacobs-Hickenlooper-Spartz.

Given this week’s reliving of the traumatic events of Jan. 6, maybe this week’s Invite will give the reps and sens a moment of diversion. And it’ll give Sens. Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio something else to look at when the video comes on.

The unprintables: For once, we didn’t have a Rep. or Sen. Johnson this year for risque jokes. But alas, it’s the first term for Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri. The thing is that “johnson” is a sort of cutesy term, a euphemism for “penis”; it’s printable if the context isn’t too graphic. This is not the case with “a bush.” (Especially when the member of Congress in question is a woman, which just adds to the graphic nature.) So sorry, Steve Langer, no ink for “The Donalds-Steel-Issa-Bush (Donald still eyes a …) Resolution declaring that a former president hasn’t lost his lust for the ladies.” And Jon Gearhart: “The Man-Nehls-Moore-Bush Act to make Wilt Chamberlain’s birthday a federal holiday.” Nope nope nope.

‘Unnatural acts’ in the headline above was a non-inking entry submitted by both Kevin Dopart and William Kennard.

Honestest Wickets! > This Week’s Contest (Week 1423)

As I mention today in the introduction to Week 1423, this week’s contest was inspired by (i.e., ripped off from) the Anagram Times page of Anu Garg, best known for his widely distributed and always fascinating email newsletter A. Word. A. Day, also posts reader-submitted headlines on this Anagram Times page, complete with a photo and his nifty graphic (Anu is a computer scientist) that twirls around the letters from original to anagram and back again.

Anu gave me his blessing to use today’s examples from his page, and even said he’d tell about this contest to his regular contributors. If you’re entering a headline in Week 1423, please don’t also submit it to Anagram Times.

For the purposes of this contest, I’ll say that a headline can be (a) a heading on top of an article or ad (or, in a print paper, on the top of the “jump,” or continuation page); (b) a bank head, or subtitle; (c) a subhead, a heading over a section within an article; and (d) a heading that doesn’t have text under it (e.g., on a website’s homepage) but links to an article.

Does the subject matter of the anagram have to relate to the original headline? It’s not a rule. But it might be funnier that way, especially if it’s topical.

Be sure to use Wordsmith’s Anagram Checker! It’s a super-fast and fun way to check your anagram to make sure you haven’t used a letter too many times, or not often enough. Note: Quotation marks and other punctuation can mess up the validation, so it’s best to take all those out before clicking “Check anagrams.”