The Style Invitational Week 935 The 400 blows

By Pat Myers, Published: September 1 | Updated: Friday, September 2, 8:00 AM


As you all no doubt have been noting on your calendars since you bought them in February for 75 percent off, this week’s contest is the Empress’s 400th consecutive column; she deposed that pesky Czar in Week 536. To commemorate this earthshaking occurrence, we invite you to commemorate some other ones, in a contest suggested last week by several Losers: Write a humorous poem — choose your form — about the Virginia earthquake, Hurricane Irene or another well-known natural event. As usual, poems have to merit the space they take up; long ones rarely make the print version of the Invite.


Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second prize gets, courtesy of Loser Michael Kilby of Wildau, Germany, a set of five DemocraTea tea bags (Demokratie is German for “democracy”). Each bag is attached to a little cardboard caricature of Obama, Sarkozy, Putin, Berlusconi or, of course, Merkel; you hang the bag on the side of your teacup so that it looks as if the world leader is stewing chest-high in your beverage.


Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 12; results published Oct. 2 (Sept. 30 online). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 935” in your e-mail subject line, or it may be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at The revised title for next week’s results is by Tom Witte; this week’s honorable-mentions name is by Kevin Dopart.


Report from Week 931: Limerixicon 8, in which we asked for limericks featuring words beginning with ea- to el-. As usual, the 700-plus verses came from all over the English-speaking world, many from people who enter the Invite only for limerick contests. But we don’t see how anyone can dispute that some of the world’s best limericists are our own frequent Losers, as all this week’s top winners happen to be.


The winner of the Inker:


Jocasta rolled over in bed,

Out of breath, and contentedly said,

“I have not been that had

Since I slept with your dad”

To the suddenly edified Oed.

(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


2. Winner of the Paparazzi Shades sunglasses that look like identity-masking tape:

Any Eastern cuisine I’ll endorse,

For they’re tasty and healthy, of course.

Any litchi or lentil

In foods Oriental

Is a great anti-Occident source. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


3. A mathematician named Fry

Was the shape of a sphere. When asked why,

He replied, “That’s abstruse,

But I roundly educe

My circumference follows from pie.” (Stephen Gold, Glasgow, Scotland)


4. Anatomical study will show

That five letters are all you need know:

The ELBOW is placed

Somewhere over the waist,

While the BOWEL is found down BELOW. (Ann Martin, Bracknell, England)


Just south of Nantucket: honorable mentions


A bigoted comic named Seamus

Went to Ecuador just to get famous

By reprising old swipes

At race stereotypes

In his one-man show, “Andean Amos.” (Brendan Beary)


Eavesdropping’s really the pits.

Scrounging for snippets and bits

On friends and on foes

Is the lowest of lows,

And those who employ it are substandard people. (Mae Scanlan. Washington)


Sherlock Holmes is a man quite well rounded,

And his brilliance leaves others astounded.

But when asked by his pals

Where he picks up the gals,

“Elementary” will get him impounded. (Harry Wood, Andover, Mass.)


Ecologically sound, the whole lot:

Greens grown on my own little plot!

But you hesitate — why? Oh,

Don’t fear, it’s a bio-

-degradable slug that you’ve got. (Hugh Thirlway, The Hague)


The young woman beseeched the librarian:

“The handsome young man I’ll be marryin’

Says he eats birds of prey.

Got a book that’ll say

How to cook for an egalitarian?” (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)


Not one to forgo a transaction,

P.T. Barnum was guile in action:

To “See the Egress,” folks paid

Before realizing they’d

Seen the exit, and not an attraction. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)


Easy money is funny, you know.

Without effort, your wealth seems to grow,

But you’ll find there’s a catch

To each buck that you snatch.

“Easy come” has its match: “easy go.” (Sheila Blume, Sayville, N.Y.)


She lay flat in the street in despair,

But still living — I called out with care

While I pointed above:

“Ms. Karenina, love,

It’s an el train — the tracks are up there.” (Brendan Beary)


To the Senate comes Brutus one day

In a toga that’s yellowish-gray.

It’s so out there that Caesar,

A notable teaser,

Can’t help but say, “Ecru, Brute?” (Chris Doyle)


Now, an el is the letter we pick

To start lips, lingam, latex or lick,

Plus lubricious, loins, lust . . .

Oops! I think that I just

Took right off on a Freudian shtick! (Barrie Collins, Long Sault, Ontario)


A dozen? But why? What forecloses

One less? Still, what everyone knows is

You’re scarcely a gent

If you only present

Just eleven long-stemmed perfect roses. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)


To the Eighteenth Amendment -- a toast!

Fifteen years we stayed sober, almost.

We spoke easy: “Joe sent me.”

In any event we

Are tankful you’re long adiosed. (David Goldberg, Pinckney, Mich.)


The earwig: most species are tiny,

And its segmented abdomen’s shiny.

They don’t look debonair --

Nor would you, if a pair

Of tough pincers grew out of your heinie. (Brendan Beary)


“I am please to be teach elocution,

And ve’ll start vith you read Constitution.”

But as Ivan began,

I rethought my whole plan –

Maybe outsourcing ain’t the solution. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)


Neapolitan divers who foray

Near the reefs soon get asked, “Hey signore,

“Have you seen the big eel?

“It could make you its meal!”

They reply, “Si, we have, that’s a moray.” (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)


“Pen a hymn to the dead? I cannot.

I would sneeze and get hives on the spot,”

Said a poet named Gray

To his doctor one day,

Who prescribed him an elegy shot. (Chris Doyle)


The ego keeps reins on the id

By trying her best to forbid

The wickeder self

To be quite such an elf

(While being pleased with the things that it did). (Doug Harris, Stockton-on-Tees, England)


A Tea Party darling I am,

Who has passed every litmus exam.

What they found most attractive

Was my flatly inactive

Electroencephalogram. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


An election is something we do

When it’s time to choose leaders anew.

It’s our best chance, no doubt,

To just toss the bums out,

And then vote in a fresh bum or two. (Larry Gray)


When sprinkled with eau de cologne

Enhanced with a strong pheromone,

I just stroll to and fro,

And wherever I go

Becomes an erogenous zone. (Barrie Collins)


Childhood: such great effervescence;

Then, a teen’s bright incandescence,

Followed by years

Of blood, sweat and tears;

And, suddenly, one’s obsolescence. (Mae Scanlan)


My unfortunate buddy Tobias is

Saddled with elephantiasis.

To his further chagrin,

On his scrotum the skin

Itches bad — it’s a site for psoriasis. (Chris Doyle)


His spaceship came down with a jar,

And he spotted a creature afar.

“How disgusting!” he said;

“Seven holes in its head?

Yes, this Earthling is truly bizarre.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)


As the bed begins rocking and shaking,

And you feel like the whole planet’s quaking,

It’s earth-moving! Tectonic!

But also ironic,

’Cause your lover is actually faking. (Dave Zarrow, Reston, Va.)


What my grandma called dropsy was hell.

In her ankles and feet, it would dwell.

If you’re puffed up so much

That they’re tender to touch,

It is clear that edema’s not swell. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)


The echidna’s a damn curiosity

Of the family called Tachyglossidae.

It’s a mammal, lays eggs,

And four heads twixt its legs!!

It’s no animal, it’s a monstrosity! (Brendan Beary)


I’m edacious, just can’t get enough

Of the things that I want – y’know, stuff.

Sure, my greed is a curse,

But my neighbors are worse.

(Keeping up with the jonesing is tough.) (Chris Doyle)


If I cry, in a fury, “Damnation!”

We call that an ejaculation.

(Minds pure and immaculate

Won’t know that “ejaculate”

Can have other signification.) (Hugh Thirlway)


It was early one morning when Tonto

Spurred his pinto to sprint to Toronto.

A sign he’d passed by

Read “Drink Canada Dry,”

And he’d thought, “Worth a try — me go pronto.” (Stephen Gold)


So this girl that I met on vacation

Made me laugh (to my mortification) –

The punch line, you see

Came too early to me.

It’s no joke: premature joculation. (Craig Dykstra)


Johnny’s parents demanded I tell

Why I flunked him; they thought he’d done well.

“When I told you that he

Performed effortlessly,

What I meant was he’s lazy as hell.” (Brendan Beary)


Mister Gingrich, the bane of the left,

Has declared for top billing. How deft!

If it happens that Newt

Succeeds in pursuit

Of his goals, will we all end up eft? (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)


And next:


As the upcoming contest reviewer,

I’m rating it high (for the sewer).

Here’s a preview (it’s sleazy):

“Your mama’s so easy

That even a caveman can do her.” (Kevin Dopart)


And once again, more TV theme songs from Week 929: The first two are about the Food Network show “Chopped”; the third is set to a tune that is very rarely parodied, if ever :


To “Help”

When I was young and so much younger than today,

I never thought I¹d be the one who’s chopped and sent away.

But now I open up this basket and I find

A beef tongue and some pickled watermelon rind,

Durian (a nasty-smelling fruit),

And a big chunk of cassava root.

Judges, I’ve just gotta win that loot!

Won’t you pleeeeease not chop me? (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)


To “ How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” (start at 0:50)


How do you cook a dinner using frogs’ legs,

Chia seeds, fennel, cotton candy, too?

How do you make dessert with just Cheez Doodles

And celery root, plus three-day-old tofu?


Many a chef has come to take the challenge,

Many a chef has failed and quickly “chopped.”

Sweat flies and there is flame,

They’re trying to win this fame

While praying to Julia Child they won’t be dropped.

Oh, how do you make a dinner out of caca?

Tune in to see whose menus can’t be topped. (Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)


“Monday Night Football”

To “Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park With George” (start at 1:00)


On a long, likely subsidized field

With its striped plastic turf or trimmed grass

We will pass ... three-plus sacred hours.

Why? Because it’s Monday.

Ev’ryone loves the game known as football

(Though the ball rarely touches the feet).

Teams compete ... and we treat it as cosmic,

As a key historic moment,

Like last week.


Watch as men, big men in their team colors

Run around, form a big jumbled mass

On the grass... We’ll detail it all

With our slow-mo cams, and jocks, and sideline babes.


And we’ll show you lots of ads,

You’ll keep buying all that stuff,

Keep our money train a-rolling.

(Sure hope you don’t catch on one day!)

Monday! Monday! (Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)


Next week: It’s Mother’s day, or Cheap shots by the dozens