Style Invitational Week 1062: The news could be verse — plus
By Pat Myers
Published: February 27
*In Colorado and Washington state
* *Pot’s now out of cops’ control,
* *So when their teams met on a date
* *They just smiled and shared a Bowl.*
Some people want their news as terse and mobile-friendly as possible.
Here in Loserland we sometimes take a more leisurely approach. *This
week: Write a rhyming poem about something currently in the news, *as in
the example above by Washington Post Go-To Font of Poetry Gene
Weingarten. Don’t write about someone’s recent death, as we have another
contest for that. Poems getting ink in Invite contests tend to run four
to eight lines, but there have been shorter and longer ones mixed in.
Longer poems have to be especially good. To the Empress, “rhyming”
refers to “perfect rhyme” or “true rhyme,” in which the last /accented
/syllables of two lines must rhyme with each other, and the un-accented
ones that follow are identical or, rarely, rhyme with each other.
“Loser” rhymes with “boozer” and “refuse her” and “use her,” but not
with “boozers” or “looser” or “closer” or — hey, the Empress gets this
stuff all the time — “master.” For those who read this contest and
somehow haven’t deduced this: The Style Invitational is a humor contest.
The humor can be dark and pointed, but this isn’t the place for gushy
paeans or bitter but unwitty diatribes; we avoid the screedy.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy. Second place receives another wildly enviable
pharmaceutical-company promotional prize donated by Earl Hughes, who
recently supplied the fabulous EneMan mascot from Fleet that we award to
today’s second-prize winner. This one, at a distance, looks like a
perfectly decorous blue and gold print necktie. But sidle up close to
the necktie-wearer and you’ll notice that the little blue dots in the
print are actually little blue Viagra pills, each with the Pfizer stamp.
Presumably the fabric of this tie is always crisp and firm, or at least
for up to four hours.
*Other runners-up *win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug
or the ardently
desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag.
mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate
or Puns of Steel.
Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink
for their first ink). E-mail entries to /email@example.com
/ or, if you were born in the 19th century,
fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, March 10; results published
March 30 (online March 27). No more than 25 entries per entrant per
week. Include “Week 1062” 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/InvRules
. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by
Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line
is by Kathy El-Assal. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group
on Facebook at /on.fb.me/invdev ,/ and click
“like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at /bit.ly/inkofday.
*Report from Week 1058, in which we asked for jokes in the “good/bad/ugly” format.
sent in jokes that were basically “good news/bad news,” without a third
element that was significantly worse than the second. One too-frequently
submitted idea: Good: You won the lottery. Bad: You’re a fictional
character. Ugly: In the Shirley Jackson story (or in “The Hunger Games”).
*The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:
*Good:* You get to spend a summer’s day at a beautiful beach.
*Bad:* It’s awfully crowded and noisy.*
Ugly:* It is June 6, 1944. /(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.) /
*2. * *Winner of the plush EneMan figure:
* *Good:* You have a full set of beautiful, healthy teeth.
*Bad:* Which is being used to identify you.
*Ugly:* Well, your head. /(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)/
*3.* *Good: *Your brother just had successful facial reconstruction surgery.
*Bad: *His wanted poster is displayed all over the country.
*Ugly:* He’s your twin brother. /(Neal Starkman, Seattle)/
*4.* *Good:* You’ve won a trip to Paris.
*Bad:* It’s 1793.
*Ugly:* You’re treated like royalty. /(Nick Culp, Arlington, Va., a
First Offender) /
*Triple dreckers: honorable mentions*
*Good: *You’ve been chosen to take the first ride in the newest BMW.
*Bad:* You only get to make one, very short trip.
*Ugly:* You’ve seen what happened to the other dummies./(Steve
McClemons, Arlington, Va.)/
*Good:* You have a new fur coat.
*Bad:* It’s from your ex-husband.
*Ugly:* He got custody of the cats./(Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)/
*Good:* You hedged your collateralized debt obligation with a credit
*Bad:* You don’t really know what that means.
*Ugly:* Your broker figured you didn’t. /(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase,
*Good:* Florida Orange.
*Bad:* Agent Orange.
*Ugly:* Boehner Orange./(Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)/
*Good:* Getting to the end of a race.
*Bad:* It wasn’t a record.
*Ugly:* Compared with other genocides. /(Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)/
*Good: *Seven men are interested in you.
*Bad:* They’re all pretty short.
*Ugly:* Dopey, bashful, grumpy and sneezy, too. /(Ellen Ryan, Rockville,
*Good:* Scientists have discovered a cure for old age.
*Bad:* It works only for women.
*Ugly:* You are Prince Charles. /(Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)/
*Good:* Your boss says your job is safe.*
Bad:* Because you’re not going anywhere.*
Ugly:* And if there’s one thing he knows, it’s prison laundries./(Frank
Osen, Pasadena, Calif.) /
*Good: *A woman who’s a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe is giving you a
*Bad:* She doesn’t seem to want to talk to you.
*Ugly:* You are in Madame Tussaud’s. /(John O’Byrne, Dublin) /
*Good:* Your state is raising taxes — but only on the 1 percent!
*Bad:* You are part of that 1 percent.
*Ugly:* It’s the bottom 1 percent. /(Doug Frank, Crosby, Tex.)/
*Good:* You made your live television debut.
*Bad:* You had limited screen time.
*Ugly:* The world has now seen Jim Cantore deliver a knee to your
/(Steven Steele Cawman, Poughquag, N.Y., a First Offender) /
*Good: * Trying an Italian courtship.
*Bad:* Being in a trying Italian courtship.
*Ugly:* Being tried in an Italian court. — A. Knox /(Mike Gips,
Bethesda, Md.) /
*Good:* You have front-row seats for the new “Cabaret” revival on Broadway.
*Bad:* There’s an announcement: “Due to an illness, Alan Cumming will
not be performing tonight . . .”
*Ugly:* “The role of the Emcee will be played by Justin Bieber.” /(Chris
Doyle, The Villages, Fla.) /
*Good:* You just woke up with a satisfied yawn after the BEST. NAP. EVER!
*Bad:* . . . to see your wife staring down at you. Boy, does she look upset!
*Ugly:* So do all the other people at your wake. /(Danielle Nowlin,
Woodbridge, Va.) /
*Good:* Your Mama jokes.
*Bad:* Overused Your Mama jokes.
*Ugly:* Accurate Your Mama jokes. /(Matt Monitto, Elon, N.C.) /
*Good:* Fortune cookies.
*Bad:* Your dinner date who ends each with “. . . in bed.”
*Ugly:* Your dinner date who ends each with “. . . rectally.” /(Bird
Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.) /
*Good:* They sent a car to pick you up at the airport.
*Bad:* The back seat is uncomfortable.
*Ugly:* So are the shackles. /(Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.) /
*Good:* I got a promotion.
*Bad:* After sleeping with the boss.
*Ugly:* It’s a family business. /(Heather Spence, New York) /
/ *Good:* Your wife’s PR agency won the Microsoft account.
*Bad: *She didn’t tell you about it . . .
*Ugly:* . . . before The Post published your Style Invitational entry
about Bill Gates’s ugly hair. /(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.) /
*Still running — deadline Monday night: Our partial-crossword contest,
in which you get to supply words as well as clues. See
/See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational
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
firstname.lastname@example.org (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: With Parens Like These . . ., * or *Hum
Improvement,* a contest to add some words in parentheses to a song
© The Washington Post Company