Style Invitational Week 1087: The core ridiculum — courses you’d like
to see

Plus the winning and Losing ideas for phone apps

Want to be schooled by Bob Staake? He’ll be speaking and signing books
Saturday at the National Book Festival in Washington. See the Style
Conversational at for details and to join a “Staake
Pack” to meet him. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers August 28 feedback for 'Style Invitational Week 1087: The core ridiculum — courses
you’d like to see'>

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winners of Week 1083, our
contest for funny phone apps)

*ENGL 001: Lit Lite.* Face it, the only time you’re ever going to
discuss literature is on a date or at a cocktail party. This course
covers the CliffNotes for 20 books you’re never going to read: “Moby
Dick,” “Ulysses,” “The Sound and the Fury,” etc. Learn that Ahab vs. the
whale represents man vs. nature, and on to the next volume. Three
multiple-choice quizzes. (Mike Gips)

*LANG 238: Ancient Voices.* Who were the Ink Spots? Country Joe and the
Fish? What does “nanu-nanu” mean? Intense immersion into the language
and culture of the late 20th century ago will enable the student to
understand and converse with older relatives and prospective employers.
Prerequisite for all INTN (Internship) classes. (Doug Frank, Week 626,

We go back to school today, revisiting a contest we did almost a decade

at the suggestion of Loser Mike Gips, who figures that for a couple of
hundred thousand dollars, a college ought to teach you something you can
use In Real Life. *This week: Come up with a comical class (any type of
school) and provide a course catalogue description,* as in the examples
above. MLA style is not required.

Brought back from a Beijing Walmart by Loser Larry Neal, this week’s
second prize.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy. Second place receives something Loser Larry Neal bought at a
Walmart — in Beijing: It’s a bag of Great Value Scarlet Caterpillar
Fungus , complete with that
Walmart Great Value no-brand logo. The Encyclopedia of Traditional
Chinese Medicines says it’s used “to supplement lung and boost kidney”;
we think you’d best do that by using it as a little back pillow.

*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 /
/ or, if you were born in the 19th century,
fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 8; results published
Sept. 28 (online Sept. 25). No more than 25 entries per entrant per
contest. Include “Week 1087” 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 “WryPhones” subhead is by Tom Witte; this
week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Danielle Nowlin; the alternative
headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Kevin Dopart. Join the
lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at /
,/ and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of
the Day 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

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

WryPHONES: APP IDEAS FROM WEEK 1083: In Week 1083, we asked you to
suggest a humorously useful — or counterproductive — phone app.

Some people suggested truly practical
apps that probably exist and certainly should, like one that maps out
large supermarkets and parking lots; one that listens to a foreign
language and translates it; and one that tells you how many jumping
jacks you’ll have to do to burn off the cookie you’re thinking of
eating. (Four weeks ago, we credited this contest to Mike Gips,
forgetting that Loser Mark Richardson had suggested it long before. The
Empress gives a lousy one star to that Stuff From the Losers app.)

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

*Instagramma: *Special filters hide evidence of drug and alcohol use,
and add clothing to cover the naughty bits. Now /any/ picture can be
sent to Nana. Buy the Pro and colorize everyone in the picture to match
Grandma’s ethnicity! (Robert Falk, Takoma Park, Md.)

2nd place and the ‘Barves Bags’ to fill and give to Atlanta Braves fans
doing that Tomahawk Chop thing:

*Where’s My Phone?: *I am providing here, free of charge, the coding for
my new app: /on tap( ) : display “Right Here!”/ (John Kammer, South
Riding, Va.)

3rd place

*The Teh:* An app that un-autocorrects your texts so it makes people
think you’re busier than you really are. Danny Gallagher, Frisco, Tex.,
a First Offender)

4th place

*Due Process: *An app to preserve constitutional guarantees when dealing
with law enforcement. If an officer approaches, quickly draw your mobile
device from a purse or pocket and you’ll get what you rightfully
deserve. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

The appy medium: honorable mentions

*Streaming Media *tells you what portions of the movie you’re missing
while you’re in the bathroom. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

*What’s Grandma Saying *translates cursive writing into plain block
letters. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

*iInhale: *Every 10 seconds, chimes remind the user to breathe.
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

*The SimuMater* provides a CGI image of the baby you would have with the
guy who just asked for your number — get the deluxe version for
preschool admission odds. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*Bjudblvx Squre* translates Metrorail announcements into clear standard
English in real time. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

*FixFox:* Visiting Gramps? This app offers real-time, subtitled
corrections to all Fox News stories. (Frank Osen)

** *The Booth:* A Ma Bell surrogate app that creates a 7-foot-tall,
3­foot-wide cylinder of dense fog, allowing Superman, once again, to
change in privacy. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

*Swig & Share* keeps tabs on your blood alcohol level until it hits .08,
then starts sending transcripts of all your texts to
/ (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

*Lalalalala:* You input a list of forbidden topics — Justin Bieber,
Benghazi, “Duck Dynasty,” etc. Then it issues white noise to cover up
when anyone mentions a banned topic, and blanks out the offending text
on your screen. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

*’Hit & Run* alerts you that a diaper is in the process of being
dirtied; comes with a list of excuses you can give your spouse to
account for your hasty departure. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

*Just Do It* detects the announcement at a concert that patrons should
turn off their phones — and would turn off the phone. (David Williams,
Dunbar, W.Va.)

*Ahem:* A classroom app that displays a flashing “MY EYES ARE UP HERE”
when a student looks at the phone during a lecture. (Kathy Cutler,
Dickerson, Md., a First Offender)

*The Emotican’t:* Wipe that smile off your text with this emoticon
remover. (Harry Farkas, Columbus, Ohio)

*Ticked-Off Flying Squirrels:* Don’t get bored playing the same old
games: In this all-new app, you fling Ticked-Off Flying Squirrels at
Evil Sheep! (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

*Reality Check: *Point your phone’s camera at someone you would like to
date, and the app automatically calculates your chances on a scale of
Def to NITL. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

*Happy Trigger* will launch your surface-to-air missiles remotely, so
long as there is a 51 percent chance the target is military. (Ken
Gallant, Conway, Ark.)

*Stage Fright B Gone* provides public speakers with X-ray images of
audience members in their underwear. (Mark Raffman)

*Step on It* measures your speed for a particular stretch of road.
Compare your score against others on our leaderboard and earn badges!
(Not responsible for visits by actual badges.) (John Kammer)

*What’s-the-Fourteen-One-One?:* An informative app about events in this
15th-century year such as the Battle of Harlaw and the death of artist
Paolo di Giovanni Fei. (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

*Future Tat* will analyze a picture of that tattoo you are about to get
for how deformed it will become over time after expanding, sagging, etc.
Prevents that cute little butterfly from metamorphosing into an
attacking pterodactyl. (Wayne Rodgers, Satellite Beach, Fla.)

*Just Chill* electrically paralyzes the user’s jaw muscles every time it
senses an imminent sarcastic retort brewing. (Tim Livengood, Columbia, Md.)

** *Oral Intelligence Test:* Just lick the screen of your phone and it
tells you your IQ. (It’s actually just a Magic 8-Ball-type generator,
but it’s a fun, photo-friendly way to get your friends to lick their
phones. Which is why “inconclusive, try again” comes up 3 out of 5
times. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

*The Spoiler Spoiler* blocks all references to sporting events you are
DVR’ing and shows you haven’t watched yet. (Mark Raffman)

*YelpHelp *screens reviews for fakes. It must really work — it’s got
five stars! (Danielle Nowlin)

** *The Clickbaiter:* An editor types a proper news headline, and the
app gives you “You Won’t Believe What Happened When These Nine Judges
Spent a Day Talking About Federal Labor Laws.”(Josh Feldblyum, Louisville)

*App Endectomy:* Save big bucks with these cut-by-cut, stitch-by-stitch
self-surgery instructions. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

*Throes:* An audible battery level indicator that increases in
histrionics from “I’m getting a little low” to “I’M DYING! I’M DYING!
(Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.)

*Kismet!: *An app that identifies for you, from among all the women on
the planet, the one you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with —
and then sends her a picture of your junk. (Mark Raffman)

*Still running — deadline Monday night: Our contest to make a new term
from a 12-letter word or multi-word term. See

*Next week’s results: Limerixicon XI,* or *Give Us FIve,* our contest
for limericks featuring words that begin with fi- through fo-. See .