(Click here to skip down to the winning reviews of mundane products listed on Amazon)
“Sometimes when I’m out to dinner with my wife, I’ll propose so we get free dessert.” — Stephen Colbert
“When someone sends me a save-the-date card, I don’t even save the card.” — Stephen Colbert
“During boring meetings, I pretend everyone present is naked. And good looking. And female. And a kangaroo.” — Art Grinath, winner of Style Invitational Week 633
This week’s contest has twin inspirations: The more recent one is Stephen Colbert’s “Midnight Confessions” feature on his CBS show, now compiled into a new book by that title published by Simon & Schuster, the source of the first two “confessions” above. But it also harks back to Style Invitational Week 633, when back in 2005 the Empress asked for “secrets” — fictional or non-. (That contest, in turn, was inspired by the pioneering website PostSecret.com, to which people submitted true confessions — and still do — on snail mail postcards.) This week: Send us a brief “confession” — there will be categories for true and just-kidding — as in the examples above by Messes Colbert and Grinath. Tell us which category. If you’re sharing an anecdote, it shouldn’t run much longer than 50 words, but obviously pithy li’l quips are welcome as well. There might even be room for an embarrassing photo, such as when Jeff Brechlin got Week 633 ink by sharing the picture he’d taken of a large, healthy snapping turtle next to which he’d placed a basket containing his infant daughter. (She has survived.)
Submit entries at this website: wapo.st/enter-invite-1248 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pair of genuine unfinished pine Dutch-style wooden shoes; they’re a bit large for the Empress, who wears a women’s size 7. And they weigh more than a pound each; when you’re walking down the hallway, people will know. Donated by Loser Pie Snelson.
Other runners-up win our “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Punmanship.” Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “No Childishness Left Behind” or “Magnum Dopus.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Oct. 16; results published Nov. 5 (online Nov. 2). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline for this week’s results was submitted by both Chris Doyle and Jesse Frankovich; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Kevin Dopart. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. “Like” Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results. This week she shares the results of our 2005 “secrets” contest, including the picture with the baby and the snapping turtle. Check it out at wapo.st/conv1248.
SNARK PLUGS: CREATIVE AMAZON REVIEWS FROM WEEK 1244
In Week 1244, we once again asked for funny reviews of particular mundane products listed on Amazon.com. We don’t know why a toenail clipper was called a toenail clip, either.
Revlon toenail clip: This is a great product! Pretty sure I set a new distance record this weekend. I even shot one into the trash can without leaving the couch! (#nailedit!) (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
Home Premium 5-Piece Rubber Door Stopper, Brown: Unsafe product!! After bending to set one up on the floor, I straightened up and cracked my skull on the freakin’ doorknob! Not recommended!! (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)
and the removable-hair Trump “Over-Reaction Figure”:
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter: My kids were begging me all year for pet kitties, so I finally gave in and ordered your multi-cat litter. When the package arrived Christmas Eve, I let them open their gift early. Well, you forgot to put holes in the box — the only thing left of this litter of cats was dust. My kids and I were traumatized beyond belief — after New Year’s we’re going to counseling. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil: It really works to block UFO thought control! The proof is in the anagram: WALL UP YOUR MIND FROM ALIENS! (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
REVLON TOENAIL CLIP
They work okay but are too noisy. And it’s not just me — everyone else in the restaurant seemed annoyed, too. (Larry Yungk, Arlington, Va.)
This clip is so much better than barrettes or duct tape for keeping toe hair out of the way when I paint my nails! (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Warning: This model does NOT come with a USB port! (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick, Md.)
DENTEK EXTRA STRONG TRIPLE CLEAN FLOSS PICKS
Three stars: They work just fine for the first floss and were pretty okay for the double floss, but they barely held up for the triple floss on Day 3. (Nick Semanko, Washington)
Like many with a philosophical bent, I like to walk the streets and floss my teeth and think deep thoughts. The smooth action of the DenTek Floss Pick frees my mind. Plus, this pick is indestructible. I know because I see the ones I tossed months ago still on the sidewalk, faded but holding together. Like me. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
Unable to review — horse would not hold still. (Dan Steinbrocker, Los Angeles)
Having only three teeth, I was cheered beyond measure by DenTek’s sensitivity in meeting the needs of the tri-toothed. It truly brought a tear to my (one) eye. (Rob Huffman, Fredricksburg, Va.)
1 star: Using these picks was quite painful, and I couldn’t get a single booger out of my nose. (Stephen Litterst, Newark, Del.)
Worst picks ever — one star (and that’s a mercy). That little string kept breaking when ever I strummed my guitar. “Extra strong” my a**!! (Rob Huffman)
Three stars. Product performed well, once I finally got through to customer service and they explained how it works. Instructions should be included. (Andrew Elby, Arlington)
Can’t they use a different color? My second-graders refer to them as “brown wedgies” and I think that’s just gross. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
I would have opened my doors to the Houston flood victims sooner, but these hadn’t arrived yet. — Rev. J. Osteen, Houston (Jesse Frankovich)
ARM & HAMMER CLUMP & SEAL MULTI-CAT LITTER
It says my home will be odor-free for seven days. I plan to have my cats longer than that, so this doesn’t work for me. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Saturday nights at the honky-tonk I run can be pretty wild, and I was having to skip church Sunday mornings just to clean up. Then I tried Clump & Seal! Now that spilled blood clumps right quick — and if some juicer uses a corner as a urinal, what’s to mind? Arm & Hammer gave my Sundays back to the Lord! (Lawrence McGuire)
You know those Premium Door Stoppers everyone’s talking about? They’re totally unnecessary if you use Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter! Just mold those clumps by hand into little wedges, then dry them on the kitchen table until they are rock solid. Eat your heart out, dog owners! (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)
Five stars — best product ever! I just used some hot glue and pressed carefully, and now my 1965 avocado stove and fridge look just like the stainless-steel stuff on those fancy home-shopping shows. I wish this came in red so I could do the car, too! (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)
Although the box says it can cover 75 square feet, the product is good for wrapping normal-shaped feet, too. (Gregory Koch, Falls Church, Va.)
Pointless! Who owns a 75-square-foot cookie sheet? (Kyle Hendrickson)
They’re betting you’ll think 75 square feet is a lot, but at only 0.0000525 feet thick, that’s less than four thousandths of a cubic foot! What a rip-off! (Jesse Frankovich)
I try to buy the organic aluminum foil rather than this factory-made stuff, which is low in essential oils. Check out my blog on the forge-to-table movement. (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)
The description says this product “can withstand both heat and cold,” but I question the “heat” part: My microwave oven doesn’t get very hot at all, but this foil sure didn’t stand up even to that. Lame! (Duncan Stevens)
This material was perfect for my Comic-Con C3PO costume until I used the fly, which tore irreparably. So I converted it to a bottomless R2D2, making Nos. 1 and 2 a breeze. 4.5 stars! (Dave Prevar)
Free shipping with Amazon Prime is a real cost-saver when you’re ordering 124,166 rolls delivered to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming! – Christo and Jeanne-Claude (Larry Yungk)
This is literally the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever gotten from Amazon! Five stars!! (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.; Jesse Frankovich)
Highly inaccurate — one look at this poop and you can tell it would be a sinker, not a floater. For reference on what is and is not a floater, I have attached several photos . . . (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)
Thanks to this fine product, no pesky neighbors ever ask to use my backyard pool. (It might also be the 30 dozen boxes of “Daisy Yellow” glass tile.) (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)
POOP EMOJI FLOAT plus BROWN DOOR STOPPERS
If you’re like me and use an inflatable poop emoji as a lawn gnome, you know what’s missing — feet. I ordered two packages of these brown door stoppers to make a full set of toes. (Kevin Dopart)
You’ll have even more fun in the pool if you buy some brown door stoppers to use with it. Given people’s frame of mind after seeing you on this float, if you discreetly drop a brown lump or two while you’re paddling along you’ll soon have the pool to yourself! (Kevin Dopart)
Still running — deadline Monday night, Oct.9: our contest to reinterpret movie titles. See wapo.st/invite1247.