Style Invitational Week 1098: It’s prime time for creative Amazon reviews

Plus the winning ‘TAXI’ terms from our Tour de Fours neologism contest

Review a ruler, cotton balls, Pringles, paper clips or a solar dancing
turkey for ink on Amazon and maybe even here. (Bob Staake for The
Washington Post )
By Pat Myers November 13 feedback for 'Style Invitational Week 1098: It’s prime time for creative
Amazon reviews'>

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winners of our Week 1094 Tour
de Fours neologism contest, featuring the letter block T-A-X-I)

*Review for a box of Morton’s Iodized Salt: *
*This product works great for killing the slugs in my garden. I just
roll the cylinder between the rows and it smushes them really good.
Please send me the next size up so I can deal with the gophers.* — David
Genser, Week 960

A couple of years ago, the Empress capitalized on the thousands of
“product reviews”
— most of them
would have been printed in Sarcasm Font had that typeface been available
— that people had posted on for some of the literally
millions of items available through Amazon’s portal. The review above
got ink in our early 2012 contest in which the E solicited reviews for
any of five boring everyday products.

Not only did Week 960 yield some zingy paeans to
emery boards and dish cloths, but we’ve concluded that the contest also
must have caught the attention of Amazon’s chairman and CEO — and that
The Style Invitational must have so utterly beguiled him that he decided
he wanted a Washington Post of his very own.

If you have the best review of this solar turkey — or maybe even the
second-best review — this guy could be yours.

So now that it’s all in the family, let’s give it another go. *This
week: Send us a creative “review” for any of the items below that are
listed on,* mostly through third-party sellers. The reviews
must not be harmful to the manufacturer or seller. Feel free to post the
reviews on Amazon itself, but not until we post the results online Dec.
11. While some reviews on Amazon run hundreds of words, we’re looking
for much shorter entries; 75 words would be lengthy for us. Search on with the exact words below, or click on the links, to find
the product to “review.”

*Universal paper clips 72210


*White Cloud cotton balls, jumbo, 200ct


*Westcott 12-inch wood ruler, beveled edge


*Pringles Original, 5.68 oz


*Solar dancing turkey


Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy. Second place receives a solar dancing turkey, or at least a
bobbing turkey, donated by Jeffrey P. Bezos of the Seattle area.
(Indirectly, anyway.) Watch it “dance” here.

*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 in one of our two new Bob
Staake designs: either “The Wit Hit the Fan”
“Hardly Har-Har.”
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, Nov. 24; results published Dec.
14 (online Dec. 11). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest.
Include “Week 1098” 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
. This week’s headline for the results is by
Mark Raffman; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Danielle Nowlin. 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 . . .

TAXI-TERMY: THE ‘TOUR DE FOURS’ FROM WEEK 1094: In honor of the 11th
running of our Tour de Fours neologism contest, the
four-letter block included “XI.” And the challenge was to make up a term
incorporating the letter block T-A-X-I, in any order.

So of course there
were lots of entries on taxes and taxis, but with, as always, cleverly
varying approaches.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

*Prophylaxity:* The way to unplanned parenthood. (Ann Martin, Falls
Church, Va.)

2nd place

/and theBubble Geezer

// *A_XI_TY: *The consuming fear that you’re about to blow it on “Wheel
of Fortune.” (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

3rd place

*Imaxative: *That gut-wrenching 3-D scene where the camera appears to go
over the waterfall or off the cliff. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

4th place

*Punxatini: *Special Groundhog Day cocktail made with ice-cold gin and a
touch of furmouth. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

wIT AXed: honorable mentions

*Taxidormy:* The unspoken dream of many a college student toward an
annoying roommate. (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)

*Taxiti:* Offshore paradise where the rich hide their bank accounts.
(Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.)

*Flixtank:* To go straight to DVD. “Who would have thought ‘Edison Force
with both Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman, would flixtank?” (Chris Doyle)

*Taxilax:* What the government uses to clean you out. (Jon Gearhart, Des

*Mexitacky:* Restaurant decor featuring cactuses, pinatas, and
chihuahuas in sombreros. (Kathleen DeBold, Burtonsville, Md.)

*Intaxication:* The giddy feeling Democrats get when they think of all
the social ills they can solve by raising the tax on liquor. (Steve
Glomb, Alexandria, Va.)

*Xi attack:* Getting the most Scrabble points with the shortest word
possible. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

*Aspixiate:* To smother with cloying cuteness. “That ‘My Little Pony’
special aspixiated me in five minutes flat.” (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

*Taxticles:* What the IRS comes for when you’re out of arms and legs.
(Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

*Earwax-Tip*: This product was a marketing failure until someone thought
of a more appealing name. (Not that it should ever be used for that
purpose, of course.) (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*Natxiety:* Familiar feeling of dread among D.C. baseball fans in the
ninth inning of a close game. (Mark Raffman)

*Shtixa:* Non-Jewish female comic. Many people don’t realize that Tina
Fey is a shtixa. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Va.)

*Asphinxiate:* To stop breathing because your nose fell off. (Jeff Shirley)

*Twixathon:* The day after Halloween. (Mark Raffman)

*Zitax:* The toll exacted on teenagers for their existence. (Wendy
Sparks, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)

*Cat-o’-IX-tails:* Used to give the IIIrd degree; outlawed by the VIIIth
Amendment. (Alex Heppenheimer, New York)

*Extail:* Divorce with benefits. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

*Mannexation:* What the “other woman” is guilty of. (Tom Witte)

*Christmasphyxiation:* Every year, it seems to strangle its victims
earlier and earlier. (Frank Mann, Washington)

*Betwixt-air:* A very polite term for a fart. (Tom Witte)

*Exitation:* The feeling that surges through FedEx Field during many a
fourth quarter. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

*Spandexitation:* Girdle-off euphoria. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

*Exitañata:* The person who leaves a gathering and then gets bashed by
everyone else: Henry was the exitañata of the party — as soon as he
walked out the door, we all started talking about his hairpiece. (Frank
Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

*Plaxity:* Poor dental hygiene. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

*Luxative:* White-truffle and beluga Metamucil. (Gary Crockett)

*Foxating:* Binge-watching Megyn Kelly, Ainsley Earhardt, etc., just for
the news and analysis, mind you. (Mike Gips; Frank Mann)

** *Taxigermy:* One reason to switch to Zipcar. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria,

*Dexitasse:* Espresso with a shot of amphetamines. (Jeff Contompasis,
Ashburn, Va.)

*Axit/Taxit:* The usual Republican-Democratic “debate” in Congress.
(Robert Gerstl, Silver Spring, Md., a First Offender; Drew Bennett, West
Plains, Mo.)

*Taxidermatology:* The surgical science of making a person look like a
mannequin; see “Joan Rivers,” “Renee Zellweger” (David Garratt, Silver
City, N.M.)

*Lunatix:* Stadium seats being scalped for so much you’d have to be
insane to even consider— oooh, they’re on the 50-yard line! (Danielle
Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

*ITAXU:* Gov. O’Malley’s license plate. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

*Dyslexiat:* A new political class whose motto is “Workers of the world,
untie!” (Frank Osen)

*Trix tartare:* Chilly rabbit. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

*Axtion figure:* A Lizzie Borden doll. (Kevin Dopart)

*Extiara:* A beauty pageant has-been: “Dodie was Miss Disposable Diaper
of 2012, but now she’s lucky to get some extiara work on daytime cable.”
(Frank Osen)

*Syntaxic:* Having poisonously bad language skills: “Our syntaxic
translator declared that the vice president desired to have warm
relations with the Iranian delegation on the table right now. (Frank Osen)

*Raxtiles:* Fabrics used to make bras. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

*Nixathon:* The Empress’s weekly slog through the entries. (Chris Doyle)

*Still running — deadline Monday night: Our contest to “clarify” some
advice in a horoscope. See *

*Next week’s results: TankaWanka,* or *Hai-Fives,* our contest for
current-events poems in the five-line tanka form (like a haiku with two
extra lines) but including a rhyme. See
. (Alternative headline by Mae Scanlan)