Jimi Hendrix’s first band in high school, the Li’l Stinkers, did polkas at weddings in the Seattle area. (Jeff Brechlin)
Carlos Guitarra, inventor of the stringed instrument that bears his name, had six fingers on each hand. (Steve Fahey)
The tune to the Oscar Mayer wiener jingle is an upbeat version of a dirge that Viking warriors would sing before beheading an enemy. (Mike Herring)
Every so often here in Loserland, we like to put our career in “Jeopardy!” by sharing some fascinating facts — or what would be fascinating facts if they weren’t totally bogus. We’ve had contests for fictoids in medicine, history, the movies; today, at the suggestion of Xtreme Loser Chris Doyle: Give us some humorously false trivia about music or musicians, as in the examples above from a general-fictoid contest we ran in 2007.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a box of genuine Dried Fish Floss crackers, which will give your piranhas the cleanest teeth in town. Actually, it’s a Southeast Asian delicacy of very lightweight flakes of fish, and is probably delicious except for its English name, much like the Mexican corn smut we gave away a few years ago. Donated by Loser Marleen May.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 8; results published April 28 (online April 25). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1015” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Beverley Sharp; the alternative headline in the “Next week’s results” line is by Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
in which, to commemorate the Style Invitational’s 20th anni-versary, the Empress challenged you to enter (or reenter) any of the dozens of contests included in that week’s retrospective:
For Week 531, cynical takes on inspirational platitudes:
If you can make just one person laugh, maybe comedy’s not your thing. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
2. Winner of the bumpy brown PooPen (yes, we are so, so sophisticated):
For Week 565, a song parody reflecting modern America:
To “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from “Les Miserables”
Do you hear the people scream,
Screaming the screeds of angry men?
Hear it on MSNBC and Fox
And even CNN.
In the Twitter feeds and blogs,
Everyone has to have his say.
This is why we get nothing done
In the U.S.A.
Now from gun control to taxes to our military might,
We can never see a shade of gray. It’s only black and white.
There’s no middle ground. We just go round and round in the fight!
(Repeat chorus) (Barbara Sarshik, McLean, Va.)
3. For Week 580, combine two countries:
Kazakhstan + Botswana = Kazawana: Where they never explain and never apologize. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
4. For Week 913, move the last letter of a word to the beginning to make a new word:
Yapolog: A long, tiresome expression of remorse. (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Week 508 (and others), change a word by one letter:
Spukiyaki: Japanese potluck. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Capocalypse: Ovechkin tears his ACL. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)
Lickety-splat: The speed of a skydiver whose chute won’t open. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
Vulcano: Eruption in the social media over the mere mention of a Jedi mind meld.— B.H.O., Washington (Nancy Schwalb, Washington)
Vacumen: The rare ability to find a mate who will clean up after himself. (Mitch Bailin, Bethesda, Md.)
Wannabis: People looking to break into the drug trade. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Week 531, inspirational platitudes turned cynical: To find a prince, you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs. And in your case, you’ll probably end up sleeping with them, too. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Week 545, spell a word backward:
Knurd: Guy in tights and a jester hat at the Renaissance Faire who’s had a bit too much “mead.” (Mark Raffman)
Yellup: How to get an old elevator to work. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Week 547, things a real brand name would be bad for:
Speed Stick works for deodorant, but not for a male escort service. (Robert Schechter)
Caterpillar is a good name for construction equipment but a bad one for a suppository. (Kevin Dopart)
Week 557, compare two people whose names have a common element:
Ed McMahon: Here’s Johnny. Ed Gein: Wears Johnny. (Kevin Dopart)
Week 565, song parodies about modern America:
To “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” from “Annie Get Your Gun” (start the video at 0:35 to hear the tune)
Our Second Amendment!
The words the Framers penned meant
That restrictions on arms were done.
Now we don’t need to stifle the urge to buy a rifle
’Cause we can’t keep a man from a gun.
We let you be choosy. A Glock or Sig or Uzi
Can be purchased for shooting fun.
And the clip that’s within it -- five hundred rounds a minute.
Oh, you bet! You can get any gun.
Any gun! Any gun! Yes, you bet you can get any gun!
Those checks, we don’t need ’em, our loopholes supersede ’em.
And in shootings we’re Number 1!
Oh, we aren’t despotic, we’re patri-idi-otic
And our weapons our hot (but we’re not when we’re shot)
Oh, we can’t keep a man from a gun. (Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney, Md.) [see one more Week 565 parody near the bottom]
Week 568, puns on book titles: What did we say when we were very young and constipated? We Need a Poo. (Chris Doyle)
Week 580, combine two countries: Taiwan + Gabon: Taiwanon: Known for its multi-party system. (Kevin Dopart)
Macao + South Africa = Macaca: Fast-growing new country, founded to provided asylum for disgraced politicians. (Frank Osen)
Ecuador + Hungary = Ecuahung: the only country where all men truly are created equal. (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)
Weeks 583 and 786, “Mess With Our Heads” bank headlines:
Post headline: States issue third-grade ultimatum on reading
Fake bank head: ‘If you don’t open that book right now, I’m telling Mom,’ lawmakers declare (Mike Gips, Bethesda)
Post: Metro tries to build the bus rider’s dream
Bank: Many question auto-manufacturing venture (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Post: Nine apply for D.C. charter schools
Bank: ‘We never expected enrollment to drop that low,’ board chief says (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)
Post: A handy tool for bakers and travelers alike
Bank: Rolling pin perfect for bopping grabby TSA agents, say frequent fliers (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.; the headline actually referred to an app for measurement units]
Post: Mummies show hardening of the arteries
Bank: 4,000 years without exercise may be cause, scientists believe (Elden Carnahan, Laurel; Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)
Week 648, stupid questions for product hotlines: “I used your Angel Soft Bath Tissue in the tub, but it totally fell apart!” (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)
Week 695, poems about people who died in 2006: Marcel Marceau
Without a word inside a box of air the great mime stood,
Still silent is the mime, but now the box is made of wood. (Mark Raffman)
Week 706, take a sentence from a Post story and supply a question it could answer:
Post: “My 13 hours were just the beginning.”
Q: Why does Mrs. Rand Paul now forbid her husband to use Viagra? (Steve Honley, Washington)
Post: If it were to happen I think that it probably wouldn’t be all that well received.
Q. An all-dog football team — how would they even be able to throw a pass? (Russell Beland, Fairfax, Va.)
Week 749, redefine a word beginning with A to H: Hostage: The feeling you get when guests won’t leave. (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)
Week 871, change a movie title by one letter or number:
“The Hurt Licker.” This mom isn’t content to just “kiss it and make it better.” (Mark Raffman)
“Bob & Carol & Ted & Lice”: The downside of sharing a bed. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
Week 891, palindrome sentences:
Toilet paper, good. NOT good: paper toilet. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)
Week 900, “Dear Blank” notes: Dear Carly Rae Jepsen:
You’re welcome. Sincerely, Alexander Graham Bell (Michael Solano, Ha Khabo, Lesotho, a First Offender)
Week 925, redefine a word beginning with I to O:
Outhouse (v.): To buy a McMansion with a fancier bathroom than your neighbor’s. (Beverley Sharp)
Krakatoa: A South Seas version of soccer, played barefoot with a coconut. (Sheila Blume, Sayville, N.Y.)
Week 947, neologisms featuring the letter block N-O-E-L in any order: Nolectorate: Republicans living in Montgomery County, Md., and Democrats living in Montgomery County, Tex. (Josh Feldblyum, Philadelphia)
Week 519, only-in-D.C. pickup lines:
Are you a female minority service-disabled veteran small business owner? Because I’ve set aside 13 percent of my heart for you. (Ben Aronin, Arlington, Va.)
Week 494, a mundane passage in the style of a famous writer:
Peter Piper, a la the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Ah Piper, Peter, róck grime-múcked—but a vein
Of what pure ore (poor oaf) thee grids unsmelted?
With turf-trudge worn, with thorn-crossed creeper welted
For Éngland! Sílage-sóul of her, bilge of her brain!
Picked peppers, hast thou? Fruit innocent as rain,
The crunch-curve curl that inners it, rind-belted,
To acid sweetness smarted is, tarted is, melted,
Lush long legume layerwise thou loadst again!
Why do tongues twist thee, trolloping tongues traduce thee?
Sure they’re to seashore-seashell-seller spells riper;
Do plosive pratfall pranks yet again produce thee
With half-of-it, laugh-at-it sayspells grossly tickled?
Príde in it! Péal, póur, pélt on us, Píper,
Próduce! Príze picking peppers, yes, Peter, pickled! (Peg Hausman, Vienna, Va., a First Offender)
Another parody from Week 565:
To the “Major-General’s Song” from “The Pirates of Penzance,” perhaps the most parodied song ever
I am the very model of a modern-day American
Who lauds this country constantly and sings its praise whene’er he can.
I’m heaping adulation on my grand, unblemished motherland:
Just come to the United States, and know you’ll need no other land!
I’ll scorn and shun each man who cannot speak our language fluently;
I’ll mock our politicians on the left and right congruently.
And when it comes to matters of my weight, it has propensity
To follow a trajectory of ever-growing density.
I’ll scrutinize the tabloids; see which couple will dichotomize.
Don’t broach cerebral subjects, or my brain will self-lobotomize!
In short, in matters worshipful of U.S.-based mentality,
This model of a citizen’s not anchored in reality. (Matt Monitto, Elon, N.C.)
And last: Week 519, only-in-D.C. pickup lines: Hey, baby, can I buy you a drrrrink? Speaking of . . . ink, did you know I’ve been published in The Washington Post? I happen to have some samples with me. . . (Mike Gips)
Still running — deadline Monday night — is our contest for combining parts of two words into a new word. See bit.ly/invite1014.
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, in which the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at email@example.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.
Next week: The News at 5, or Man Bites Doggerel, our contest for current-events limericks.