Hi, everyone. As I write this on Thursday afternoon, the sun is shining benignly while schools all over the D.C. area are closing early in anticipation of a monster storm due within a couple of hours. Everyone, even the Invitational, has indulged in making fun of Washingtonians for overreacting to storm predictions, but we also regularly eviscerate the electric company for not restoring power for days at a time. Given that here at Mount Vermin we have the lovely combination of a zillion trees and overhead power lines, I’m going to wrap this up as fast as I can. Also, I have to go buy a car at 6 p.m. (Don’t ask.)

As I noted last week, the Royal Consort and I will be leaving early Friday morning for eight days in the San Francisco area, and I’ve acceded to the RC’s demand request that this not be a working vacation, in that we don’t have to plan our days around the Invitational. So while I’ll judge the haiku entries on the plane (and the next week as well, if things go as they often do in airports), I’ve written up next week’s contest and results in advance, so that the editors will be able to just push the “Publish to Web” button next Thursday afternoon, and the print production people can do their thing Thursday evening. There won’t be a Conversational next week, nor is there likely to be the e-mail notification about when the Invite is posted. Just check washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational until the link shows up at the top of the index.

However, while it might not be a working vacation, it’s emphatically an Invite vacation: We’ll be hobnobbing with a large segment of the Bay Area Losers Bureau. Through the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook and plain old e-mail, we’ve arranged a dinner Saturday night with Losers Malcolm Fleschner, Dixon Wragg, Christopher Larsen, Mary Ann Henningsen, Harold Mantle and Beth Morgan, and we’ll also be visting with Malcolm’s family as well as David Smith’s, down in Santa Cruz — that’s a bigger complement than the crowd at a few of our local Loser brunches. Except for David and I believe Harold, whom I’ve met when they were in Washington, this is the first time I get to meet these guys in their no doubt impressive flesh. And as far as I know, it’ll be the first time that any of them will have met one another.

Beth, I hope, will share the details of the event she’s hosting this Friday: the San Francisco Air Guitar Championship.

So anyway, while I’ll be online now and again, I won’t be monitoring e-mail and Facebook my usual 20 hours a day. Feel free to e-mail me, though, at myerspat [at] gmail.com, and I’ll catch up with you eventually.

A bit closer to home: June 30 Loser Brunch in Alexandria

There’s a late addition to the Loser Social Whirl: There’s going to be a Loser brunch on Sunday, June 30, at Clyde’s at Mark Center, just off I-395 in suburban Alexandria, Va., in that big office park/hotel area. I should be able to go, and I’ll make sure I get there if any new Losers would like to come. Usual brunch head-counter Elden Carnahan won’t be around — Other Big-Deal Social Loser Pie Snelson is handling it instead — so if you’d like to come, post that on the Devotees page, or e-mail me at myerspat [at] gmail.com, and I’ll let Pie know.

Comparing apples and oranges (might have been easier than the items in Week 1022)

But lots of ingenious stuff, as usual, in the links that the Loser Community discovered between the thoroughly random items on the list in Week 1022. Absolutely in­cred­ibly, I kept reading joke after joke about urination; I was also shocked to see that mention of a National Zucchini Fair made some people think about human body parts, and not just their stomachs.

Clever wordplay always plays a big part in this contest, as in this week’s Inkin’ Memorial winner. It’s the fourth top prize for Mike Gips (Loser Anagram: “He’s Lip Magic”) and his 113th (and 114th) ink. Second prize , to fairly new Loser Ellen Ryan, is for an expert use of a perennial form for this contest: seeming to talk about the first element, then making it clear that you were making a dig at the second element. (Stephen Dudzik’s “fermented cabbage” joke is in the same form; I hesitated about using that trope more than once in the results, but hey, funny.) This is just Ellen’s 11th ink, but it’s the fourth of them to appear “above the fold” — wow. And Dan O’Day, whose first ink was from Week 1008 (anagrammers, is there nothing for him? There’s a blank next to his name in the Loser Stats.), has another runner-up prize among his six inks. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Andy Bassett wins another Grossery Bag, because I know that, unlike the other runner-up prize, the Loser Mug, the Grossery Bag won’t arrive in New Plymouth in shards.

It was Andy’s entry that was the fave of Sunday Style Editor David Malitz; David also gives a shout-out to the “giant sucking sound” entry by First Offender Sheila Ratcliffe.

By the way, the inspiration for one of the items on the list — my mother-in-law’s 23-year-old Geo Prizm, whose photo, from better days, is featured on Wikipedia as an example of the “first-generation” Prizm sedan — has finally been retired, and replaced with a Hyundai Accent. Perhaps in 2036 we’ll have a new category.


One of last week’s inking neologisms from Week 1021 — Barbale: What a Southern farmer uses for weight training — was swell in itself, but not so swell as an arrangement of the ScrabbleGrams tile set AAELRBR.

Beyond compare (among tasteful people, anyway): Some unprintables of Week 1022

A house-size sinkhole vs the Dowager Countess: the dowager countess will no longer swallow a man. (Stephen Dudzik)

The Rolling Stones vs. the National Zucchini Fair: No one wants to have sex with the Rolling Stones anymore. Zucchini, however… (Tom Witte)

The Rolling Stones vs. the National Zucchini Fair: The zucchinis won’t give you “Sticky Fingers” – at least through normal usage… (Tom Witte)

Okay, the sky just got REALLY DARK. Here come the radio warnings. See you in two weeks.
One more question: Why is my cat not freaked out by an impending thunderstorm, if he can’t stand two drops of water on him? He’s lying peacefully on the deck as thunder rumbles.