Style Invitational Week 1108: Hearts of dorkness — your funny valentine

Plus the winners of our contest for three-letter abbreviations

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
January 22

To my Costco cashier:
If you would be my one true guy
I’d stand in line for days and days.
Since without you I can’t buy
My 15-gallon mayonnaise. (Andrew Hoenig, Week 645, 2006)

From Poseidon to Medusa:
Oh, how I’d love to run my fingers through your snakes.
(Lloyd Duvall, Week 544, 2004)

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in a Loserly way: by running a contest that asks for you to write valentines in January, with results that run a whole week after the holiday, like a forlorn box of chocolates on the clearance rack at Rite-Aid.

SURGICAL IMPRECISION: No Valentine’s heart, but can we interest you in a “call bladder”? This week’s second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)

Prompted by Loser Daphne Steinberg’s suggestion on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook, the Empress discovered that the Invite had done three valentine contests — but none since 2006. So this week we’ll combine elements from the earlier ones for another go: Write a humorous Valentine’s Day sentiment to someone (or to some organization), either real or fictional — either from you or from someone else you name, as in the missives above. Plus an all-new option: We’ll also be willing to run at least one really funny, clever, well-executed graphic (make sure you don’t use copyrighted art, and send it as an attachment to your e-mail).

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a colorful foam puzzle of the digestive system, donated by registered nurse and registered Loser Marleen May. Without even bothering to reach for a scalpel, you or your child can yank out a human liver, rectum or even “call bladder.”

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet designed by Bob Staake: either “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly Har-Har.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 2; results published Feb. 22 (online Feb. 19). You may submit up to 25 entries per contest. Include “Week 1108” 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 headline for this week’s results is by Tom Witte; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

In Week 1104, we asked you to compare or contrast two or three things (or somehow link them, when we’re feeling lenient) that have the same three-letter abbreviation, or are three-letter words. We did this contest last year with abbreviations from AAA through DZZ; this time we have the EAAs-through-HZZs. Sometimes the abbreviation is for a foreign spelling that we’re not going to spell out because it is Eesti Olumpiakomitee.

4th place

EAA: The Experimental Aircraft Association is not the official carrier of the European Actuarial Academy. (Kristen Rahman, Silver Spring, Md.)

3rd place

GSA: The Geological Society of America has experts on geysers. The Gerontological Society of America has experts on geezers. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

2nd place and the fossilized dinosaur poop:

EPA: Majority leader: “Senator, among the Equal Pay Act, the Environmental Protection Agency and English Pale Ale, you may keep only one.” Ted Cruz: “Cheers!” (Frank Mann, Washington)

And the winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

HDP: The law firm Harness, Dickey & Pierce and high-density polyethylene: “High-Density Polyethylene” would make a lousy title for a porn flick. (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

Barking up the wrong 3s: honorable mentions

FAC: Members of the First Apostolic Church are theists. Members of the Freethought Association of Canada are eh-theists. (Chris Doyle)

HDF: Hadfield Railway Station and high-density fiberboard: Where can I get the best ham sandwich on the British Railway and what does it taste like? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

HPD: Histrionic personality disorder and highest posterior density: Both make these letters a great title for Kim Kardashian. (Chris Doyle; Frank Osen)

GMA: “Good Morning America” and “Good Morning Australia”: The difference between them is day and night. (Kristen Rahman)

ENS: Empty-nest syndrome and empty-nose syndrome: In both cases, the little boogers are gone. (Chris Doyle)

GGB: Greek government bond and Golden Gate Bridge: If you would buy one, then perhaps I could also interest you in buying the other. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

And also: The Golden Gate keeps you above water. (Kristen Rahman)

EOK: The Estonian Olympic Committee and the Hellenic Basketball Federation:One is a bunch of guys in Tallinn, Estonia; the other is a bunch of guys who are tall in Greece. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)

GFS: The Girls Friendly Society and the Global Financial System: You don’t want to crash the second one. (Mark Raffman)

FCA: Financial collection agency and Funeral Consumers Alliance: I see debt, people. (Chris Doyle)

FSA: A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries studies ancient relics — like members of the Florida Shuffleboard Association. (Chris Doyle)

EAU: If you say “eau,” you’re in French; if you say “European Association of Urology,” urine English. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

ETS: The Evangelical Theological Society and the Educational Testing Service: Both involve rooms of people beseeching God for the Answer. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

HSI: High-speed Internet and horizontal shaft impactor: One is how we find porn. The other is why. (Rob Huffman)

EAT: If you’re in the shrinking middle class, your earnings after taxes might leave you barely able to do this. (Frank Mann)

GNU: The difference between a wildebeest and the free software collaboration group is that the wildebeests make better dinner party guests. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

GLB: The differences between the gay, lesbian and bisexual community and the Girls’ Life Brigade Christian youth organization are fewer than you would think. (Todd DeLap)

GMT: With geometric measure theory: Here’s looking at Euclid. With the Giant Magellan Telescope: Here’s looking at Uranus. (Chris Doyle)

GAG: A device to prevent speech and, ironically, a laugh-provoking act: Both refer to how people see China’s attempt to ban puns. (Frank Osen)

HRA: Health risk assessment and home runs allowed: With both, the more people you let score, the worse off you’ll be. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

GAL: “Get a life” and a galileo, a unit used measuring local variations in the acceleration of gravity: For some reason, whenever I start talking about the latter, I hear the former. (Kevin Dopart, Washington; John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

FCI: Federal correctional institution and French Culinary Institute. The first does not use Gruyère in the sauce mornay. (George-Ann Rosenberg, Washington)

HSA: The Haiku Society of America and the Homeland Security Act:
Suspicious package?
Call us! We already know
Your number, neighbor.
(Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

FWM: Four-wave mixing, an intermodulation phenomenon in nonlinear optics that will never be understood by . . . (Frank William Mann, Washington)

Still running — deadline Monday night: Our biennial “joint legislation” contest in which you combine the names of members of Congress. See

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