(Click here to skip down to the winning fake trivia about the media)
May you lose all your teeth except one, so you can still get a toothache. — old Yiddish curse
May you be a contestant on “Jeopardy!” playing against my 7-year-old son and the only categories are Power Rangers, X-Men and fart noises. — Jean Sorensen, Style Invitational Week 75, 1994
May you always get up from your computer with your headphones still attached. — Thunder Dungeon
May your cookie always be slightly too large to fit inside your glass of milk. — Thunder Dungeon
Telling someone to “go #$^& off” is so uncivilized and so unimaginative — not to mention that it’s really hard to pronounce “#$^&.” So, to the rescue, we’re bringing back one of our oldest contests, prompted by a recent series of Facebook posts by the Toronto comedy team Thunder Dungeon, which were brought to our attention by Style Invitational Devotee Kathy Hughes: This week: Come up with an imaginative curse, as in the examples above from our 1994 contest and from one of the 18 Thunder Dungeon curses.
Submit entries at the website wapo.st/enter-invite-1272 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. And to celebrate the start of baseball season, we’ll give second place an electronic chip-and-dip bowl in the shape of an outsize glove and ball: Press a button and the top of the ball not only swings open to liberate the salsa, but also plays “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The package guarantees it to be “great entertainment for your next party,” so I’m sorry about your parties. See a video of the bowl in action at wapo.st/singing-bowl. Found by the Royal Consort in the recesses of an abandoned office.
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, “We’ve Seen Better” or “IDiot Card.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, April 2; results published April 22 in print, April 19 online. See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline for this week’s results is by Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, discusses the new contest and results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv; this week E will share the results of our two previous curse contests.
HEADLYIN’ NEWS: FAKE TRIVIA ABOUT THE MEDIA
In Week 1268, as part of The Style Invitational’s relentless crusade to unenlighten our readers with bogus trivia, we asked for fictoids about the news media and the publishing industry. Despite his obvious qualifications for this contest, the president of the United States failed to enter and therefore gets no ink.
The scrolling ticker at the bottom of a newscast screen is called a crawl because it originally required someone to wriggle across the studio dragging a hand-painted sign. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
The term “yellow journalism” derives from the 19th-century tradition of newsboys urinating on stacks of their rivals’ papers. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
and the shirt that makes you look as if your torso has been sliced away:
Communications major Baboon Blitzer wisely opted to change his name. (Margaret L. Welsh, Oakton, Va.)
Jeff Bezos meant to buy only a single issue of The Washington Post, but he didn't have any small bills on him at the time. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
The German word for “break wind” is Blog. (Duncan Stevens)
A newspaper reporter signals that he’s working a story by pulling his tie down to his shirt’s second button. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
Until he was forced to pick a name short enough for TV listings, Rupert Murdoch planned to call his U.S. cable channel Rabid Badger News. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
A reluctant Bloomsbury publishing house agreed to print the Harry Potter books only after J.K. Rowling’s judicious use of the Imperius Curse. (Duncan Stevens)
The real Alfred E. Neuman required treatment for anxiety disorder throughout his life. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was created by the merger of the Hono Star and the Lulu Advertiser. (Randy Lee, Burke, Va.)
In its LEED Gold-certified newsroom, the digital Washington Post uses 100 percent recycled pixels. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)
The first “hostile work environment” lawsuit was filed in 1940 by female employees of the Daily Planet, who cited reporter Clark Kent’s frequent comments about the color and condition of their underwear. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Katie Couric’s colonoscopy was faked in the same studio as the moon landing. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
A newspaper article’s second paragraph is traditionally called the “nut graf,” because it’s where lunatics stop reading to start dictating angry rebuttals. (Lawrence McGuire)
After producing his historic Bible, Gutenberg gained much more financial success with his next publication, a set of amusing prints of cats. (Larry McClemons, Annandale, Va.)
The HVAC system at NPR’s new headquarters is engineered to circulate a vaporized suffusion of Valium. (Bill Spencer, Cockeysville, Md.)
Had it not been for Chet’s last-second switch from “rock” to “scissors,” many of us would have grown up watching the “The Brinkley-Huntley Report.” (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)
The initial proposal for The Post’s new slogan was “In the dark, democracy trips over the sleeping cat of tyranny and bangs its shin painfully on the bedpost of complacency.” (Gary Crockett)
Andy Rooney’s career only took off once he started getting eyebrow extensions. (Andy Gefen, Bethesda, Md., a First Offender)
Contrary to what is depicted in “The Post,” the sandwiches Mrs. Bradlee served the reporters going through the boxes of Pentagon Papers contained cucumber and watercress, not ham and cheese! Washington hostesses still had standards back then. — Judith “Miss Manners” Martin (Steve Honley, Washington)
Donald Trump’s first paying job was as a paperboy delivering Pravda. (Jeff Shirley)
From 1973 to 1978, the Pulitzer Prizes were made of fabric in bright floral prints . (Noah Meyerson, Washington)
Garry Cleveland Myers, the creator of “Goofus and Gallant” in Highlights for Children, was a family friend of both Fred Trump and Robert Mueller Sr. (Randy Lee)
News scribes in ancient Mesopotamia structured their articles in the inverted-ziggurat format. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
Fox News runs so many ads for catheters because, after housing and autos, urinary supplies are the third-largest segment of the U.S. economy. (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)
In the 18th century, “national public town criers” relied on contributions from their listeners and offered burlap bags as “thank-you gifts.” (Gary Crockett)
Before achieving fame as a broadcaster, a young, studly Walter Cronkite was known to friends as “The Most Trysted Man in America.” (Jeff Shirley)
Ralph Nader unsuccessfully sued the producers of “60 Minutes” under truth-in-advertising laws, demanding that the show change its name to “46 Minutes.” (Seth Tucker, Washington)
Connie Chung turned down an offer from NBC News when executives insisted on pronouncing her name “Chang” because it sounded “cleaner.” (Joshua Rokach, Silver Spring, Md., a First Offender)
The Reuters wire service was unable to operate in Germany until 1881 because umlauts couldn’t be transmitted in Morse code. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
The copyright trial between the National Journal of Actuarial Science and the American Actuarial Society Journal had to be postponed when all 12 jurors fell asleep. (Mark Raffman)
Despite its accuracy, The Style Invitational’s constant reportage about my diet and sexual habits borders on cruel. — Your Mama (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)
Still running — deadline Monday, March 26: our contest for neologisms including a D, O, Y, L and E. See wapo.st/invite1271.
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