The Style Invitational Week 975 Gone mything
Pat Myers for The Washington Post

School food: It is NOT true that the noodles that the cafeteria ladies serve on Wednesday are made of tapeworm poop.

The Post’s Sunday opinion section, Outlook, runs an ongoing feature called 5 Myths, in which an essayist presents what he says are five common misconceptions about some topic and then explains (or argues) why each isn’t true. This week, at the suggestion of Loser Ward Kay: “Debunk” a “Sixth Myth” about one or more of these recent 5 Myths topics, as in the example above. Our list starts with “The Bust That Will Follow the Boom(ers),” a 2008 5 Myths piece by Russell Beland, the No. 1 Style Invitational Loser of All Time, who moonlights at the Pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for military personnel policy.

• The bust that will follow the boom(ers)
• Breast-feeding
• White people
• America’s decline
• Female voters
• Water
• Super PACs
• Cheating
• The presidency
• The American Dream
• Abraham Lincoln
• School food

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Style Invitational trophy. Second place wins an especially distinguished navy blue T-shirt with a giant yellow Spam logo and a photo of a hunk of Spam pretending to be a roast ham, spiked with cloves and everything. Donated by Dudley Thompson.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, a yearned-for Loser Mug or the new, ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, June 18; results published July 8 (online July 6). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 975” 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 Roy Ashley; the alternative headline in the “Next week” line was submitted separately by Christopher Lamora and Tom Witte. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at .

Report from Week 971, in which we asked you to create a two-volumes-in-one book by pairing an actual title with another real title or a fictional one:

“A Confederacy of Dunces” was bound with just about everyone’s particular favorite organization to disparage; “To Kill a Mockingbird” was often matched with “101 Unusual Poultry Recipes.”

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

Front cover: “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963”
Back cover: “A Totally Finished Life: John R. Edwards 1953-Who Cares”
(Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

2. Winner of the anatomically correct “she-cozy”: “Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller/ “Drop 23,” by Santana Moss (Mike Caslin, Round Hill, Va.)

3.“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”/ “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Too Much” (Carol Applegate, Reston, Va., a First Offender)

4. Bill Clinton: “My Life” / “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” (Les Greenblatt, Ann Arbor, Mich.)

From bad to verso: honorable mentions


“The Euro Crash: The European Time Bomb”/ “Angela’s Ashes” (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

“The Golden Apples of the Sun”/ “The World’s Best Nude Beaches and Resorts” (Dion Black, Washington)

“The Book of Senior Moments”/ “The Book of Senior Moments” (Jayne Osborn, Wellingborough, England, a First Offender)

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”/ “Pain” (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

“Pork Chop Hill”/ “Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process” (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)

“Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain”/ “Invitation to a Beheading” (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

“The Lovely Bones”/ “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Becoming a Model” (Joe Neff, Warrington, Pa.)

“Dances With Wolves”/ “The Idiot” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

“Above Washington: Aerial Photographs of the District of Columbia”/ “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Ari Unikoski, Tel Aviv)

“50 Shades of Grey”/ “How I Met Your Mother” (Jim Ward, Alexandria, Va.; Ruthie Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla., a First Offender)

“The Fellowship of the Ring”/ “The Essential Guide to Gay Weddings” (Chris Williams, Herndon, Va., a First Offender)

“Prostitution Policy Reform in the UK”/ “What Ho, Jeeves” (Brendan Beary)

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”/ “Code of Federal Regulations Title 41, 301-74: Conference Planning” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

“The House at Pooh Corner”/ “Plumbing: 22 Easy Fix-It Repairs” (Ann Martin, Bracknell, England)

“The Naked and the Dead”/ “Great Parties: The Best of Martha Stewart Living” (John Shea, Philadelphia)

“The Hunger Games”/ “Mastering Pac-Man” (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

“Scouting for Boys,” by Lord Baden-Powell/ “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” by Judith Rossner (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)

“History of Ancient Civilization” / “MS-DOS for Dummies” (Paul Burnham)

“Anna Karenina” / “The Little Engine That Could” (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

“Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus”/ “Battlefield Earth” (Jeff Contompasis)

“Going Rogue”/ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

“How to Write ‘How-To’ Books and Articles”/ “How to Write ‘How to Write “How-To” Books and Articles’ Books and Articles” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

“One Hundred Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez/ “If I Did It,” by O.J. Simpson (John Folse, Bryans Road, Md.)

“Sh!” by Doug Evans/ “It” by Stephen King (Dion Black)


“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”/ “The Middle-Aged Divorcee With the Sagging Jowly Fat Salamander-Looking Tattoo” (Cy Gardner, Arlington, Va.)

“Three Cups of Tea”/ “Three .?.?. Well, Two.?.?. . Okay, Definitely ONE Cup of .?.?. umm, Hot, er, Warm Liquid” (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

“Simple and Effective Tips to Cut Your Own Hair”/ “Mitt Romney’s Guide to Cutting Other People’s Hair” (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

“Bossypants,” by Tina Fey/ “Working for the Big Guy: My Untold Story,” by Joe Biden (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

“To the Lighthouse,” by Virginia Woolf/ “To the Nuthouse,” by Charlie Sheen (Jeff Brechlin)

“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”/ “The 783 Habits of Highly Obsessive-Compulsive People” (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

“A Wrinkle in Time”/ “Linen Clocks: The Downside” (Diego Pedulla-Smith, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender)

“The Naked Ape”/ “Honey, Hand Me a Towel” (Drew Bennett)

“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” and “The Yankees Are From Uranus” (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”/ “The Horrible Wizards of D.C.” (Paul Burnham)

“Eat Pray Love,” by Elizabeth Gilbert/ “Eat Prey Love,” by Hugh Hefner (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

“Sh*t My Dad Says”/ “Shut Up My Mom Tells Him” (A.B. Gibson, Washington, a First Offender)

“Peter Pan”/ “The Big Book of Cooking Utensils for Exotic Foods” (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Still running — deadline is Monday night — is the Week 974 limerick contest. See

Next Week: Trends and Neighbors, or Hoot Topics