Happy Springtime Religious Festival Weekend!
“That’s okay, there’s always next week.” (Ward Kay)
“That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!” (Jesse Frankovich)
“You’d better hurry up — the deadline is midnight Monday.” (Elden Carnahan)
“I like it best with the horses.” (Michelle Stupak)
“Not bad, but you’re no Jesse Frankovich.” (Jesse Frankovich)
To allow for more variety, I offered a number of other categories besides “in bed” and “among Style Invitational Losers.” Two of them, the hairstylist and the absolutely necessary “in bed,” reappear today. See below to make sure you don’t send the same jokes!
Here’s a selection of the week’s ink; here’s the full set of results.
Fourth place: Something you could say both at a restaurant and in bed: “So we’re a bit short-staffed tonight, are we?” (Lawrence McGuire)
Third: Something you could say both at Ikea and when President Trump visits your country: “My God, that orange rug is hideous.” (Frank Osen)
Second: Something you could say both at a restaurant and in bed: “You gonna finish that?” (Kevin Dopart)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon: Something you could say both at a restaurant and when Trump visits your country: “Can we get it to go?” (Rob Cohen)
And now the bed x haircut jokes that got ink — don’t send them again this week!
— “Could we try that gel again? It worked pretty well last time.” (Diane Lucitt)
— “Now that there’s less to work with, let’s try doing it every six weeks instead of once a month.” (Jonathan Jensen)
— “You always make the bangs too short.” (Jon Ketzner; William Kennard)
At Ikea and at a doctor’s office: “This is the oddest-looking stool I’ve ever seen.” (Stephen Dudzik; Bill Dorner; Jeff Contompasis)
Getting a haircut and when Trump visits your country: “Ow, my ears!” (Duncan Stevens)
At Ikea and when Trump visits your country: “This nut here seems to be useless.” (Dave Ferry, Purvis, Miss.)
At Ikea and in bed: “Huh, it looked much bigger on the website.” (Steve Smith)
During a haircut and in a job interview: “I like to take a little off the top — not so much that anyone would notice.” (Roy Ashley)
At a job interview and in bed: “You’re on my ‘short’ list.” (Tom Witte)
On a game show and in a job interview: “Wheel-spinning is my specialty, Bob.” (Mark Raffman)
On a game show and at the doctor: “And the actual retail price is … $23,981!” (Rivka Liss-Levinson)
At a doctor’s office and in a job interview: “Should I leave my underwear on?” (Mark Calandra)
At a supermarket and among Style Invitational Losers: “Ugh, these lines are awful!” (Jesse Frankovich)
Among Style Invitational Losers and when Trump comes to your country: “I can’t believe that stupid thing won!” (Neal Starkman)
A HOPEFUL FORMATTING PLEA FOR WEEK 1484:
Here’s what it says on this week’s entry form, known to its intimate friends as wapo.st/enter-invite-1484:
“HOW TO FORMAT YOUR ENTRIES: It’d be really great if you put each entry on a separate line (with no line break within any single entry) in this format, using the category names as they’re listed above [i.e., as at the top of this week’s Invitational], like this:
In bed and in elementary school: Zub zub zub.
In bed and on a hike: Zub zub zub.
That would let me group all the various combinations together and compare all the “in bed and in elementary school” entries, etc. But if you instead decide to use, say, “Bed/hike,” your entry won’t end up with the ones beginning “IN bed,” and there goes the totally anonymous sorting. So if more than a few people don’t follow these directions, I just won’t sort them, which isn’t the end of the world. I just don’t know what’ll happen.
Sometimes the order of the two items matters for humorous effect — usually it’s best to put the more obvious context first, so the less obvious one becomes the “punchline” — so use the order that works best.
One more word to the wise: Last time, as I noted in the intro to the results, I didn’t run such crude puns in the “in bed” entries as “bone,” “eat” or “openings.” But I didn’t get any complaints when I ran “short-staffed,” “package,” “positions,” “inflatables,” “bangs” or “entries.” Fortunately, you have 25 chances to find out how prim/fearful I happen to be on Judgment Day. I’ll know it when I see it.
Up to our OED tricks*: The fake definitions of Week 1480
*Non-inking headline by Chris Doyle
Our Week 1480 challenge to come up with funny fake definitions for any of several dozen oddball words from the Oxford English Dictionary — our fourth go-round of these things since 2007 — is really pretty much a neologism contest: It’s just like making up a word yourself, since you’re ignoring its real meaning. And as I judged the contest, I realized how the same standards generally apply: Observational humor for a situation in real life — “there should be a word for that” — is a plus; funny descriptions and examples go a long way, too.
One difference is that there’s going to be a lot more duplication among entries, even with the long list, because everyone’s working from the same set of words. I got 79 definitions of agonistarch, for example, and not surprisingly, many of them referred in some way to the agonies of starch. (But because we’re familiar with how the English language usually works, agonistarch — even with a made-up definition — would refer to a kind of starch, not a kind of agony. So not “Pain suffered when your clothing is too stiff.”)
But I had no trouble finding 50 (I lack self-discipline, you lucky Losers, you) funny, creative entries to ink up the joint.
It’s the fourth Invite win, but the first Clowning Achievement trophy, for Frank Mann, whose three blots of ink this week put him at 221 all-time. Frank was one of many Losers to characterize lushburg as a town full of drunks, but the only one who said that there were so many drunks that they had a Town Teetotaler. (By the way: “burg” = town; “berg” = iceberg; entries about icebergs or other obstacles were at a disadvantage.)
But it’s a new name in the Losers’ Circle in second place: It’s the first “above-the-fold” ink, and just the seventh blot all told, for Allan Zackowitz, whose wayzgoose — “the 12-mile GPS detour around a traffic backup that cleared up in two minutes” — is a trip I’m sure I’ve taken many times. The other two runners-up, Danielle Nowlin and Frank Osen, are perennial Losers’ Circle denizens; Danielle defined eftersoons as the “illusory upcoming time periods in which people will “hang out,” “do lunch” or “get the kids together”; Frank’s anglewitch is “a homemade doll hung in Scandinavian bathrooms, traditionally believed to bring improved aim to males in the family.”
After no First Offenders in a while, we have two very promising ones this week: Jenny Epel Muller had a unique definition for agonistarch as that piece of bagel that can lodge in your dry gullet, and Leslie Atkin described her lushburg as where the residents “live within stumbling distance of one another.” I hope that both new Losers come back for more; I expect them to bound off the One-Hit Wonders list on the Loser Stats in no time.
What Doug Dug: Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood, who read the 37 of the 50 entries that fit on the print page (they’re interspersed this week with the Web-onlies) was partial to Frank’s winner; Allan and Danielle’s runners-up; and these honorable mentions:
Agruw (to shudder in horror): To quarrel when inebriated. “How come every time I come home at 2 a.m. we get into an agruwment?” (Byron Miller)
Fistmeal (the width of a fist): What Chris Rock and Will Smith went out for after the Oscars. (Jonathan Jensen)
Fladge (a broad piece of something): An Old Glory pin worn to display self-proclaimed patriotism. “CPAC requires conference attendees to wear their fladges at all times.” (Steve Smith)
Fladge: Sludge from Florida. “DeSantis is as slimy as Okeechobee fladge.” (Bill Dorner)
Sprauchle (move clumsily): The second-person masculine past imperative form of whatever it was Zarathustra did. (Lynda Hoover)
Sweven (a dream or vision): A bad answer to “Just how many drinks have you had?” (Daniel Galef) [I was concerned that Agruw and Sweven were too similar, but I guess not a problem!]
and the sole “And Last” in print: Cag-mag (inferior meat): The “Crappy Alternative Gift” Loser magnet. (Beverley Sharp)
Save the date: The Flushies, Saturday afternoon, May 21, Potomac, Md.
Our annual awards potluck is on once again in the welcoming backyard of Loser Steve Leifer and wife Jackie. Jonathan Jensen should once again be on hand to accompany (and sing) the Loser-penned parodies, including an ode to the new Loser of the Year. I’ll be sending out an Evite and linking to it in this column in coming weeks.
Buy a stack of Staakes (or just one)
I don’t have any more mugs with this week’s vintage My Cup Punneth Over design — so classily rendered by Bob Staake. And neither does Bob. But you can get yourself an original Staake drawing from The Style Invitational, from among the literally thousands of sketches and final copies he’s made for the Invite since 1994. He even has a page on his website just for Style Invitational stuff: bobstaake.com/SI. If you have a particular contest in mind and need help figuring out the date (which I’m sure would help Bob find the drawing), feel free to ask me.
It’s always parody time!
I just luvvvvv Loser collaborations! This just out: Losers and renowned cabaret performers Sandy and Richard Riccardi singing a brand-new parody by 2021 Loser of the Year Jonathan Jensen. It’s of the song “C’est Si Bon.”
Have a happy and rewarding Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Whathaveyou!
If you’re Sedering, be sure to check out Loser Barbara Sarshik’s ever more elaborate — but still just as free — collection of ace Passover parodies at, where else: PassoverSongParodies.com.