Happy Just About Thanksgiving, everyone.

I was going to skip this Conversational because of our 24-hours-early deadlines this week. But Style Invitational Week 1412 came together smoothly — until I clicked on “Publish to Web” this morning and learned about the massive outage at Amazon Web Services that hamstrung operations at The Post, as well as many other businesses all over the East Coast, all day long. So while I’m waiting, I’ll weigh in for just a bit about matters Invite.

(We finally published the Invite at almost 5 p.m. Wednesday. I’ll update the online Invite with helpful links in the next 24 hours. )


Loser Matt Monitto suggested a contest for anagrams of lines in holiday songs, which he’s planning to post each day in December as a musical “Advent calendar.” Anagrams are a heck of a challenge for most of us, so I broadened the options for Week 1412 to include titles as well as lyrics, and songs in any genre, not just holiday tunes. Still, the results will run online on Christmas Eve, and so I can guarantee that at least one amazing anagram of a carol lyric will get ink up high on the page.

It’s not cheating to use anagram software, like the Anagram Artist download available at anagrammy.com, to keep track of which letters you’ve used in a long anagram and which ones still need to be used. And I really want you to use the validator at wordsmith.org/anagram. But as I note in the contest instructions, just an anagram of a short song title, with no lyric accompanying it, isn’t likely to get ink, since too many people will figure it out and submit it. So even though you can get two-word combinations from an anagram generator, they’re not going to get you a magnet on their own.

We’ve done many anagram contests over the years, and they’ve always yielded some astonishing entries, like the entire Gettysburg Address turned into a paraphrase of it, by J.J. Gertler.

But never, it seems, one to anagram song lines. And I’m sure that Post readers will eagerly unwrap them on Christmas Eve.


Our Week 1408 contest, whose results run today, rests firmly in the tradition of The Style Invitational’s innumerable tweak-a-name contests, and prompted well over 200 Losers, including a lot of newbies, to enter. The 40 inking entries — including from three First Offenders — are my favorites of close to 2,000.

While there are lots of charities and other nonprofits out there, entrants were clearly working from a list of the biggest names, and there was lots of duplication. Sometimes I gave joint credit for essentially the same idea. So if you also sent in “The Salivation Army,” but didn’t use the Pavlov angle, you are one of about 10.

You know what seemed not to work? Puns on “cancer.” Also jokes like these:
Take a Wish Foundation: Why should dying cancer kids get all the cool stuff?
Enslave the Children: Fringe non-profit espousing strict interpretation of the Old Testament.

It’s the third win and 94th (and 95th) blot of ink for John McCooey and his play on the Nature Conservancy. And it’s just the 11th blot of ink — but it’s already the third appearance “above the fold” for Terri Berg Smith.

What Doug Dug: Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood — whose headline “LAME DUCK PARDONS TURKEY” is getting him his deserved minutes of fame today — chose favorites from the honorable mentions: Duncan Stevens’s “Auntie Defamation League”; newbie John Klayman’s subtle “Capitol Food Bank,” with its “undeserved”-for-“underserved”; Chuck Smith and Zachary Levine’s “4-F Foundation”; and, from both Ben Shouse and Barry Herman, the “Pew-Pew-Pew Charitable Trusts.”

The Invite’s biggest celebrity: A podcast interview with (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Just out: Episode 6 of “You’re Invited,” the podcast about The Style Invitational. This time host Mike Gips interviews Chuck Smith, who so greatly dominated the early years of the Invite that casual readers still ask about him. Chuck not only weighs in on both the early and current versions of the Invite — and names some of his favorite fellow Losers — but he also tells about his longtime gig writing gags for nationally published comic strips. Yes, the same “John Bobbitt for Microsoft” jokester wrots for “Dennis the Menace.”

Hear the 30-minute interview now at bit.ly/invite-podcast.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone — I have a great idea for using that leisure time.