"Empress" of The Style Invitational, The Washington Post's weekly humor/wordplay contest

I think “Thanukkah” is a way better portmanteau word, but “Thanksgivukkah” seems to be the word that has won out during this once-an-eon convergence of the two holidays, and it certainly worked well for Loser Nan Reiner for this parody that she posted on Facebook this morning (footnote for those who didn’t have Yiddish-speaking aunts):

Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgivukkah, let’s all eat some turkey,
And then we’ll light the candles when the daylight grows murky.
Double celebration – hoo-hah, such a treat!
Giving Jewish families two reasons to eat.
Fry latkes, give tchotchkes, fill up on the food and the drink.
Munch on a drumstick, and put up with some shtick
That makes lots of dough for your shrink…
So, your mishpocha’s completely meshugge?*
You’re not as unique as you think.
* Your family’s completely nuts?

Anyway, we’ve posted the Invitational a day early in honor of (i.e., to avoid working on) Thanksgiving. And why not “in honor of “ Hanukkah, while we’re at it? And “in honor of” ... Thursday?

Today’s new contest is basically a platform for observational humor about movies. I’m not planning on any strict format, just whatever fits the funny. Let it be noted for the eventual booklet of 500 blots of ink that will accompany Jeff Contompasis’s inevitable induction into the Invite Hall of Fame: Jeff’s own examples for Week 1049 are the second and third ones listed (even Bob Staake didn’t think a full-color cartoon in the paper featuring urinals would be such a good idea).

Ditty Ever! The results of Week 1045

Four weeks after our contest in which entrants quoted a question in a song and offered a novel answer (results here), we’re happy to say that the B-side of that contest — in which you quoted any line and supplied a question it could answer — came off just as well. I’d briefly considered supplying 12 lines and having the Losers work only with them, as we do with our regular (going on right now, in fact) Ask Backwards contest, but decided that the variety of sources just adds to the fun. I fit 35 or 36 entries onto the print page this week, and added another five or six to the online Invite near the end.

Once again, the songs used ranged from antique (“Amazing Grace”) to current (“What Does the Fox Say?”), with the majority from the middle to late decades of the 20th century. I tried my best not to let my affection or disgust toward the song itself color my judgment on the joke about it. As was true last time, the humor of most of the entries came from taking the line totally out of context, though some of the questions did alluded to the song itself or its writers: “Hail to the Redskins,” the nonsensically spelled title “I Gotta Feeling,” the frequently misheard lyrics to “Bad Moon Rising.” In one entry that I didn’t think could run in the print paper, Kevin Dopart made me laugh out loud by using “Watching Scotty Grow,” the vomitaceously sappy song about a toddler, for, well, not family fare.

In addition to the “Fool on the Hill” and “Send In the Clowns” entries for Congress, there were many entries about the Obamacare website (I used one) and lots of “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” for, who else, John Boehner. Perfectly fitting, to be sure, but you weren’t alone in realizing that, I’m afraid.

Some good ideas bit the dust when they turned out to be based on the wrong words:
— Bill Fulham’s little riddle “Coo coo ca choo: How do you know when your wall clock is sick?” didn’t pan out after I checked the official lyrics on Beatles.com (a great site, by the way) and found that “I Am the Walrus” has “Goo goo g’joob.”
— John McCooey made a joke about “yellow snow” being “just a sprinkling for the May Queen,” while the equally comprehensible lyrics in “Stairway to Heaven” actually refer to a “spring clean” for the May Queen.
— And Josh Feldblyum snarked on the grammar of “Light My Fire” grammar with this one: “A: You know that they would be a liar. Q: What would you say if “they” told you that Jim Morrison aced high school English?” The only catch is that the song says, “You know that I would be a liar.” (The next line does include the ungrammatical “If I was to say to you ...” but that didn’t work with this entry.)

All four of this week’s “above-the-fold” winners have been Invite fixtures of the past couple of years, and all got multiple ink today. Larry Gray (debut week 926) picks up Inks 47 and 48 along with his first Inkin’ Memorial; Mark Raffman (Week 979), who suggested the first contest; gets Inks 82 through 85; JefCon, as he’s called on the Style Invitational Devotees page, gets his 29th above-the-fold ink, and three more inks for 342 since his debut in Week 558, just after the Empress started; and Danielle Nowlin (Week 995) also gets three more, for 69 total and nine ATF.

With Malitz toward ... Sunday Style Editor David Malitz, whose specialty is pop music, cited as his favorite entry Larry Gordon’s play on “MacArthur Park,” although both the song and Timothy Leary’s heyday dated from well before David’s birth.

I used Brendan Beary’s take on “Stardust” and its allusion to this very contest as the “And Last” meta-entry this week, but there were a number of others, including:
A. Little to win, but nothing to lose. Q. Why do you think I’m wasting my time entering the SI? (Edward Gordon)

A. Fame! Q. Why would anyone spend valuable free time answering a stupid question with a scrap of song lyrics? (Keith Christenson)

A: I won’t grow up! Q: Why, Ms. Sharp, do you persist in entering the Style Invitational? (Beverley Sharp)

A: When I feel like I’m winnin’ when I’m losin’ again. Q: What’s it like seeing your name in the Style Invitational? (Pam Sweeney)

A: Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste? Q: Now that you’ve won and used the toilet-shaped coffee mug, what do you think of our java? (Roy Ashley)

A: Couldn’t find a seat so I had to stand with the perverts in the back. Q: What happened when you showed up late for the Style Invitational Losers’ brunch? (Roy Ashley)

A. “The Name Game.” Q. What should you never play with either Art Grinath or Chuck Smith? (Jeff Contompasis)

On their permanent record: Some unprintables from Week 1045

And this doesn’t count the actually inking “Watching Scotty Grow” joke and Beverley Sharp’s Viagra joke and Mike Ostapiej’s “Can’t Keep It In” Weiner joke:

A. “Mama told me not to come …” Q. Did your parents give you any advice before your first date? (Neal Starkman)

A. “April, Come She Will.” Q. What was Yoda’s response when asked if it took a long time to arouse his girlfriend? (Phyllis Reinhard)

A. We’ll be waxin’ up our surfboards ... Q: What will we be doing during our free time while we’re cloistered in the monastery? (Phil Frankenfeld)

A. “Back in the summer of 69 …” Q. Mom, were you and Dad ever, you know, not total prudes? (Diane Yamini)

Happy feasting and of course Inviting, and I’ll see you back here in eight days.