On Oct. 3, 2009 — that would be a little more than four years ago — I posted an “Incredible Milestone Alert” with the results of Week 833: “With last week’s results, Kevin Dopart of Washington bounded across the 500-ink line as the seventh and by far the speediest member of the Style Invitational Hall of Fame: Kevin began entering the Invite only four years ago. His E-Z key to success? Just enter every single contest for 200-plus weeks, with a ton of entries every week — including 163 (!) for the contest below — most of them strikingly clever and funny.”
For the record, that was the neologism contest in which you took a word beginning with M, N, O or P and changed it by a letter. And guess who won the cans of haggis and corn smut with “Sparadigm: A model panhandler”?
As Kevin passes the 1,000-ink mark at almost as rapid a pace as with the first 500 — his experience in running dozens of marathons may have come into play here — I’m delighted to hand over the Week 1055 judging duties to him — for a contest he thought of himself — and totally confident that he’ll choose the best entries, given that we have some evidence that Kevin’s and my senses of humor are somewhat similar: Kevin is the only one of our nine Hall of Famers (500 inks) to have begun in the Empressarian Era, rather than by sucking up to my predecessor, the Czar.
As I noted in the introduction to the contest, Kevin will judge blindly, just as I do: I’ll send him the complete set of entries for the contest after they’re all in, but I’ll have deleted all names and any other identifying information. He’ll pick the winners and a list of honorable mentions, let’s say a maxium of 40 entries total. If they don’t all fit on the print page, I’ll decide what to trim, but I’ll leave all the entries in the Web version.
My guess is that Kevin will do a faster, more thorough job of judging than I do. And for the more than 60 members of the Greater Loser Community who’ll be seeing him and his very game wife, Deborah Hensley, this Saturday evening at the annual Losers’ Post-Holiday Party, I’m pretty sure that Kevin won’t take bribes.
In this week’s Invitational, I’ve invited readers to come on over to the Convo for a sampling of classic Dopartiana. And so here are some of Kevin’s 20 previous Inker- or Inkin’ Memorial-winning entries:
Week 639 (2005-06), in which we asked, as a counterpart to the Service Employees International Union’s contest for sensible ideas to improve the lives of everyday Americans, some, well, less-than-sensible ideas: Deliver a piece of dog poop in each bag along with The Post. That way, all those people won’t have to wander the streets collecting their own.
Week 648, stupid questions for consumer hotline people: To Unilever Corp.: “Why do your Dove Bars taste like soap?”
Week 667, Questionable Journalism:
A. I feel for the guy.
Q. Ms. Hilton, what do you do upon entering a darkened room?
Week 683, string together words from one or two scenes from “Hamlet” (this entry won the year-end retrospective):
Act 5, Scenes 1 and 2: What base may I have, I wonder? I round first, second. A touch, a touch, I do take third! I pray you, part them. Nay? Why, my dear? O villainy! Ho! The door be lock’d!
Week 752, “You just might …”: You just might not be an animal rights enthusiast . . . if your favorite animal is “wherever baby back ribs come from.”
Week 760, Ask Backwards:
A: Recycled fingernails.
Q: What does the CIA interrogation division use as snow in its annual Christmas skit?
Week 763, grandfoals: Bugs Stops Here + Torah!Torah!Torah! = Yo, Semite Sam! (joint credit with Pam Sweeney)
Week 774, restaurant dishes: Moebius Strip Steak: Grilled on just one side but still cooked to a turn.
Week 801, Ask Backwards:
A. They forgot this Cabinet post.
Q. Why did President Obama and his advisers get a good talking-to from Marian Robinson, the First Mother-in-Law?
Report From Week 820, with Guest Judge Dave Barry, in which we asked you to write some questions and answers to and from Mister Language Person, the great grammarian who appeared in numerous Dave Barry columns back in the day when newspapers had ads and subscriptions and Dave Barry. As promised, Dave has chosen the winners from a list of finalists selected by the Empress, and he even comments on each of his top four.
The Winner of the Inker:
Q. Please demonstrate how to use euphemisms.
A: Correct: “Our hamster Mr. Buttons became rabid, so we had to put him down.”
Incorrect: “Our hamster Mr. Buttons became rabid, so we had to put him down the toilet.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Mister Language Person explains: This beautifully illustrates the First Principle of Humor, as defined by Aristotle: “It should have a hamster, and it should have a toilet.”
Week 921, “Little Willie” poems:
Cousin Philip, uninvited,
Eyed the dinner, quite excited.
Willie threw him on the grill:
“With extra guests we eat our Phil.”
Week 940, change a headline by one letter or by punctuation or spacing, and then supply a bank head:
Just Ice for a Terrorist
Gitmo cooler diet gets colder
Week 973, horse names: Castaway x Full Cry = Jonah and the Wail
Week 977, fun with Google Translate:
Original: Flattery will get you nowhere.
Translated into Tamil, then into Swahili, then back to English: Violence will get you anywhere.
Week 1012, limericks on the news:
6-year-old suspended for pointing his finger like a gun
Because hand-“guns” make principals fret,
Here’s a tip you must never forget:
Do not stick your first digit
Up your nose while you fidget
Or they’ll swear you’re a suicide threat.
As Kevin begins a new job with the federal government, I passionately hope that he remembers his priorities, and that I’m back here four years from now thinking of something to say for Ink No. 1,500.
(Ha — the computer just marked 1,000 words on this column so far. It’s just a K Day all around.)
I knew it was going to be hard. (One very successful Loser, who isn’t given to complaining, wrote to tell me that the contest was pretty much impossible. That person got ink.) And I knew that there wouldn’t be too many people who’d have the perseverance to come up with a cogent, relevant anagram of a line of text. But I was also sure that some people would manage the feat, and indeed would produce truly classic entries.
Yayy, I was right.
Just as with the same contest in Week 554, there were very few entrants — this time, not even 100 — but there were some really astonishingly good anagrams. I hope their authors enter them as well in the Anagrammy Awards at anagrammy.com, the Australian-based forum and competition run by Larry Brash and his team. (Well, maybe not the ones about the Washington Redskins.)
I invite the Losers behind today’s inking entries, especially the long-form ones, to share their process for working them out — either in the comments field on this page or, more interactively, in the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook. (See section farther down for a note about a change to the privacy settings for the Devotees.)
I’ll give Kevin Dopart his Inkin’ Memorial at Saturday’s party at the home of Stephen Dudzik — another Hall of Famer. Meanwhile, while Chris Doyle (who’s currently wintering in Florida) has told me not to bother sending him any more crap — after all, he’s finished “above the fold” 185 times — I bet that doesn’t apply to the kangaroo-scrotum coin purse he scored for his anagram on a recent papal quote. You can never have enough kangaroo-scrotum coin purses.
But I’ll definitely be sending either a My Cup Punneth Over coffee mug or a Whole Fools Grossery Bag to Mike Ostapiej, who just plunged back into Loserland after racking up close to 60 points and then getting on with this “life” thing. Let me know which prize you want, Mike, and keep bringing it on.
And it’s the very first above-the-fold ink — and just the sixth in all — for Diane Wah of Seattle, who learned about the Invitational when Grammarly.com shared Jeff Brechlin’s famed Hokey-Pokey Sonnet on Facebook and linked to the Invite; she then joined the Devotees and has been one of its most regular participants (maybe it’s the bran). Diane and the other Devs have had a lot of practice in anagramming: Every time a new member is introduced, they set upon anagramming the person’s name in increasingly bizarre and sometimes pretty crude permutations.
With Malitz toward ... The fave of Sunday Style Editor David Malitz this week is Mike Ostapiej’s North Korea anagram, “partly because the source material is just so great on its own.”
This morning I changed the the setting of Style Invitational Devotees from “Open” to “Closed.” I had explained my plans the night before, and met with almost unanimous support for the move.
The only change is that you now have to join the group to see what other people post there, in addition to being able to post a comment yourself. As I noted last night:
“Several people have expressed reservations about this [open] setting, because while they feel that their more uninhibited humor will be appreciated by other Devs, they’re not so sure about all their Facebook ‘friends’ and followers.
“... People will still be able to find us and sign up to join. You don’t need a link to find the group — you can search for it. [But here’s your link, to make it even easier: on.fb.me/invdev.] And you’ll be able to see the description of the group, which also explains what the Style Invitational is in the first place.
“What you can no longer do, if you’re not a Devotee, is see what other people post; if you want to lurk, you have to join first. Of course, you can join under a fake name, as several people have done.”
If you do use a bogus account, please message or e-mail me to explain that you’re not a spammer. If you don’t want me to know who you are, message the other administrator, Loser Randy Lee, and he can wave you in as well.
I’m looking to see something like 67 of you on Saturday evening — I’ll be the one in a T-shirt and tiara.