Back to previous page

Style Invitational Week 1037: Be offended by a name that’s not offensive

By ,

Washington Nationals? Note that several of their players come from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia! The name is yet another example of presumptuous U.S. cultural hegemony. I propose that team be called the Internationals, or perhaps the Western Hemispherans . . . Jujubes: Wikipedia notes that the original versions did “not have the strong and distinctive flavor of modern candies due to the expense of chemical flavorants at the time.” Thus this name brazenly perpetuates the insidious stereotype that Jews are cheap and miserly . . . As momentum builds in the effort to get the Washington Redskins to change their name to something that’s not seen as a racial slur by large numbers of Native Americans, it’s time for the ranks of the more easily offended to step up with some new complaints about names. Loser Mike Gips — and shouldn’t we be calling him Mike Roma? — suggested this week’s contest: Find something offensive about an inoffensive name of a product, organization, place, etc., as in Mike’s own examples above. Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, appropriately for this contest, A book called “Holy Sh*t [sic]: The World’s Weirdest Comic Books,” which samples everything from “Hansi; The Girl Who Loved the Swastika” to “All-Negro Comics.” Donated by Loser Pie Snelson, who notes that “this book is offensive to almost everybody: African Americans, Jews, gays, amputees, Aborigines, overweight people, religious followers and cows.” 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 or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 16; results published Oct. 6 (online Oct. 3). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1037” 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 The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “Next week’s contest” line is by Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at

Report from Week 1033,

our 10th annual Limerixicon contest for limericks that prominently feature words from one sliver of the dictionary, in this case “fa-.” If you entered and got ink, entered and didn’t get ink, or just thought of a fa- limerick right now, you’re welcome to submit it to, the Omnificient English Dictionary in Limerick Form.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

A physicist/humorist, Nell,
Had a comedy show where she’d tell
Of her spreadsheeting gaffes —
It drew thousands of laughs
Because farce equals math times Excel. (Matt Monitto, Elon, N.C.)

2. Winner of the audio-enhanced book “Farts: A Spotter’s Guide”):

Shaping cookies like books? Oh, what fun!
Call them “bookies,” and when they are done,
Eat ’em up . . . Drat! Or not!
Guess my oven’s too hot
Set at Fahrenheit 451. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

3. In the bleachers, a Nats-loving man
Got distracted when outfielder Span
At bat, on the mark,
Whacked one out of the park,
And that’s when the hit hit the fan. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

4. The French strippers know pleasing the rubes
Is more art form than flashing one’s boobs,
As opposed to the Dutch,
Who will show you so much
You can see their fallopian tubes. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Fa- below: honorable mentions

After reading a scathing review,
A young fashion designer withdrew
Her perfume, taking blame
For not vetting the name
Of the scent called Chanel No. 2. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex)

There once was a cook named McMurry
Who earned a large raise in a hurry
From her Indian boss
For a fabulous sauce.
And she did it by favoring curry. (Kirk Miller, Richardson, Tex., a First Offender)

Mr. Weiner did not think it wrong,
But some Internet rules are quite strong.
So his fans became vexed
When he sent out a text
And he made his attachment too long. (Harvey Smith, McLean, Va.)

The fattoush of my girlfriend? Oh, my, it
Is wonderful — why don’t you try it?”
Said Jamil, and I gasped.
Well, how could I have grasped
It’s a salad she makes for his diet? (Sheila Blume, South Setauket, N.Y.)

The graduate shielded his face
From the couple’s impassioned embrace.
As they sweated and thrusted.
He said, quite disgusted:
“You win, Mom – I’ll get my own place.” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

That he’s wordy is past all debate.
Even so, I’ll say Faulkner is great
Without any repentance;
Just read this one sentence!
(It’s Chapters 6, 7 and 8.) (Brendan Beary)

A grammar fanatic would gripe
To his wife about language, and snipe:
“Ugh, your syntax is bad!”
She’d respond, really mad:
“I’ll divorce you if down you don’t pipe.” (Madeleine Begun Kane, New York)

I have hundreds of friends; come and greet them!
To my deep and dark secrets I treat them!
Why this awesome amount?
It’s my Facebook account!
And who knows? Maybe someday I’ll meet them. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

I once knew a blonde, fit and tanned,
Who had breasts that were really quite grand.
When I asked, “Are they fake?”
She said, “No! Goodness’ sake!
I made sure that I got a name brand.” (Paul VerNooy, Hockessin, Del.)

A Brooklyn bar owner, fastidious,
Had barmaids whose outfits were hidious.
While pouring some stout,
He chewed them both out:
“Shape up, or I’m gonna get ridious.” (Mae Scanlan)

At a Mexican fat farm one day,
All the staff went on strike for more pay.
When a dieting guest
Asked how he had progressed,
The attendant said: “No weigh, Jose.” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

There once was a mufti, Emir,
Who issued a fatwa quite clear:
“His beard can be short,
But she really can’t sport
A form-fitting burqa that’s sheer.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Mom’s on Metro? Her babe didn’t care,
So she had to give birth then and there.
Some time later, she shared,
“I admit, I was scared . . .
I’d be stuck there till I paid his fare.” (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

To Abe Lincoln the project seemed nice,
Till apprised of his face-carving’s price
On a cliff in Dakota;
From Heaven, he wrote, “A
Tad dear — won’t a photo suffice?” (Roger Dunn, Dartmouth, England, a First Offender )

After nursing in trains, planes and Camrys,
In bistros, malls, playgrounds, and clammeries,
The things that I bet
I will never forget
Are my babies’ teeth—fangs for the mammaries. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

At vegan cafes, trumpets blare
Proclaiming the “moral food” there.
Yes, it tastes rather bland,
But the ethics are grand!
(Or so says the fair-fare fanfare.) (Mark Richardson, Washington)

Why’s the poo down our loos getting stuck?
There’s a mass of unspeakable muck
In the sewer, concealed —
A fatberg congealed,
And as big as a bus, buster! Yuck. (Russell Goldflam, Alice Springs, Australia, a First Offender)

When the man took his vow as a friar,
He withheld that his name was Sid Meyer.
But the monks became skittish
When he cursed them in Yiddish.
It turns out he’s a big two-faithed liar. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

In Prague, hear the Hapsburg king shout,
“Make those Protestant barons clear out,
With their defenestrations!”
“Oh, Sire, show some patience –
You’ve just had a wee falling-out!(Brendan Beary)

In his car, Lester wanted to show
His pal Morris how fast they could go.
As he raced with the train
He tried something insane
And so now there’s no Les and no Moe. (Craig Dykstra)

“The true Southern weddings require
Black waiters in formal attire,”
Said the fatty-food Deen
As she went from the queen
Of the frying pan into the fire. (Chris Doyle)

As people get older, they fade,
Like blossoms too deep in the shade.
They droop, become faint,
What they were, now they ain’t,
And all of a sudden, they’re daid. (Mae Scanlan)

Australian state MP Peter Dowling resigns:
Would one call Dowling’s sexting salacious
And the his hunger for intrigue rapacious?
He pickled his bingbong

In wine — what a dingdong!
Surely claims of his taste are fallacious. (Diane Wah, Seattle)

You are shifty, dear Rush — i.e., louche;
You’re repellent in manner — farouche;
And we all can agree,
From Paree to D.C.,
As a bag, you’re the type known as douche. (Ann Martin, Falls Church)

To love father and sister and brother,
Or Granny, niece, uncle and mother:
It’s surely no sin
To love family and kin,
Well, except how we’re into each other. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

There was nobody braver or smarter
Than Luke, with the heart of a martyr.
Darth cried, “I’m your dad!”
Luke replied, “You smell bad.”
“But I told you,” said Darth. “I’m your farter!(Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Mom taught us to always have class,
“Be a euphemist! Never be crass!”
But then my old granny,
Said, “Rump, derrière, fanny?
“They’re just fancy ways to say ‘ass.’’ ’ (Dave Zarrow, Reston, Va.)

In my attic – I stumbled across it,
My poster of young Farrah Fawcett.
Since I’m British I’ll say,
“I shall throw this away,”
Since it means something else to say “toss it.” (Craig Dykstra)

I’m a horrible failure, it’s true.
I never see anything through.
Beginnings are fun
But before I am done
I pretty much lose interest. (Robert Schechter)

Sell The Post to a tech geek? Tee-hee!
That’s one thing we’re unlikely to see.
Then along came Jeff Bezos
With 2 billion pesos,
And now it’s a fait accompli. (Nan Reiner)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest to turn a place name into a regular word. See

See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday), in which she 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, sign up here or write to the Empress at (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 there.

Next week’s results: What’s to Like, or Har Decisions,, our contest for jokes giving fresh life to the form “I like my X the way I like my Y.”

© The Washington Post Company