Style Invitational Week 1313: Dead Letters — our obit poem contest

Plus the best of a redo of 24 of the past year’s Invites

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers

Pat Myers

Editor and judge of The Style Invitational since December 2003
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January 3

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the inking entries from our
do-over contest)

*Philip Roth wrote with poise;
His prose made you shiver.
He explained Jews to goys
(Plus new uses for liver).

We embrace 2019 with our annual exhibition of the level of taste and
decorum for which The Style Invitational is famed. *This week: Write a
poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2018, * **
as in the example above by “Portnoy’s Complaint” acolyte Gene
Weingarten. You can find lots of lists of notable ex-people by Googling
“deaths 2018.” The Invite is a humor and light-verse contest, and so the
Empress is not looking for sappy odes. But neither does she welcome
nasty salvos-in-rhyme that rejoice over the person’s death or predict an
afterlife among the Hadeans just because the decedent voted incorrectly
or produced crappy music: We have no interest in causing pain; Lord
knows you don’t have to look too far elsewhere to get your quota of that.

Submit entries at *
* (all lowercase).

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our new Style Invitational trophy.

Second place receives a set of*three genuine dried scorpions*
— along with a black-light
flashlight that, when trained upon the desiccated critters, is supposed
to make them glow. And they’re perfectly edible, according to the
package — and surely I wouldn’t think twice about doubting the safety
advice printed on the shrink wrap of an item promising to “Amaze Your
Friends!” Maybe we can write a poem about you next January. Donated by
Loser and chronic prize-donor Dave Prevar.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our “Whole Fools”

Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser
magnets, “We’ve Seen Better”
“IDiot Card.”

First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener”

for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday night, Jan. 14; *results
published Feb. 3 (online Thursday, Jan. 31). See general contest rules
and guidelines at . The
headline for this week’s results is by Dave Prevar; Kevin Dopart wrote
the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on
Facebook at . “Like” Style
Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at
; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

*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 . . .

*Week 1309 * was Part 1 of our yearly
retrospective; we invited you to enter (or reenter) Style Invitational
contests from the first half of the past year. We could fill this page
up again with just song parodies or even foal names from this time
around, but the Empress aimed for the ’Vite Variety Pak.

4th place:

*/Week 1255, words including the letter block S-A-N-T in any order:/
*Sycopha*ntas*ize: To dream of working for the president. (Jesse
Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)

3rd place:

From the Week 1281 contest, for photos with googly eyes added: Honorable
mention by Lee Graham, Derwood, Md.

*/Week 1268, bogus trivia about the news media and publishing: /
*Ancient Rome’s town crier, Alphonsius Rokerus, was the first to
proclaim “Traffic and Weather Together on the VIIIs.” (Bill Dorner,

2nd place

/and the Ukrainian toilet paper with Putin’s face
/ */Week 1280, “air quotes”: /
* *Nondiscl“o”“sure”:* “This legal agreement guarantees that everything
will remain absolutely private.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

*/Week 1272: Create a new curse:/
*May you fill the next vacant Cabinet position — and never quiiiiite get
fired. (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

Donate today to the Stop Medical Malpractice Foundation!” For the Week
1256 caption contest, by Duncan Stevens. (Cartoon by Bob Staake for The
Washington Post)
#ReDoo: Honorable mentions

/*Week 1255, SANT neologisms: * /
*Nats*phyxiate: To choke in the playoffs. (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

Bombpe*nsat*ion: A symptom of missile envy. (Tom Witte, Montgomery
Village, Md.)

*/Week 1259, euphemisms: /
*For cliche-ridden: “Filled with classical references.” (Kathy El-Assal,
Middleton, Wis.)

/*Week 1264, Yelp reviews: * /
Heaven help the unsuspecting concertgoer attending Elm Street
Preschool’s holiday sing! Several of the vocalists were off pitch, the
production values were slipshod, and Kevin in the second row needs to
stop picking his nose. Two stars. (Frank Osen)

/*Week 1265, song parodies about education: * /
*High School Gym Class*
/(to “Help!” by the
Beatles) /
Help, I’m in the bleachers!
Help, chased by burly creatures!
Help, go and get the teachers — help!

When I was younger, I feared no one while at play,
I always handled any kid who dared get in my way.
But now I scan the gym, and everywhere I see,
Muscled guys with tree-trunk thighs who all look 23.

Most days I don’t really need to shave,
And my scrawny bacon I would like to save,
Send those troglodytes back to their cave!
Won’t you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed, Mom fears that I’ll be scarred,
She buys me Lotrimin and gallons of Right Guard.
I feel so insecure, a transfer would be cool,
But my folks say there’s just no way to pay for private school.

Help me if you can to find my clothes.
They’ve been hidden by some sophomores, I suppose.
These dumb gym shorts sag down to my toes!
Someone please, please save me, free me, help me!
(Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

/(See another parody at the bottom of the column.) /

/*Week 1266, neologisms from ScrabbleGrams “racks”:* /
FIMNORS >*INFROM:* Where you want to be during a storm. (J. Larry
Schott, West Plains, Mo.)

DEFGITY > *DEGIFT: * To keep a Christmas present you’d bought for
someone else. (Lynne Larkin, Vero Beach, Fla.)

/*Week 1267, ill-advised product spokesmen:* /
*Mitt Romney for the ASPCA: *“Pets are like family. Sometimes, I even
put my dog above my family.” (David Peckarsky, Tucson)

*Kevin Spacey for Home Depot:* “How do you rebuild after your House of
Cards collapses?” (Hildy Zampella)

*Paul Manafort for Rolex: *“We do time!” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

/*Week 1268, fictoids about media and publishing: * /
Gutenberg changed the world with his printing press, but during his
lifetime he actually had more commercial success with two other
inventions: the garlic press and the trouser press. (Frank Osen)

*/Week 1269, bank headlines:/ *
/Real headline: / America’s worst serial killer
/Bank head:/ Hapless psychopath claimed just 2 skinned knees, 1 wet
willie in 40 years (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

America’s greatest export is hurting
‘Nobody inflicts pain like us,’ Trump affirms (Mark Raffman)

George Washington, dashing young colonel, returns to Mount Vernon
Reporter sets record, misses deadline by 246 years (Duncan Stevens,
Vienna, Va.)

Northam plans $269 million in new education spending
‘Getting a U-Va. degree for my kid sure is getting expensive,’ laments
governor (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

For 32-year-old Johnson, first win is well worth the wait
Shy ex-virgin has quite the night (Elden Carnahan)

/*Week 1272, new curses:* /
May you be cryogenically frozen and awaken during Kanye West’s third
term. (Frank Osen)

May your doctor give you the nickname “Ka-ching.” (Lawrence McGuire,
Waldorf, Md.)

/*Week 1273, new federal posts:* /
Mick Jagger as Secretary of Fossil Energy. (Frank Osen)

C-3PO for White House communications director: He’s fluent in more than
6 million forms of it, and the president really likes shiny gold things.
(Jesse Frankovich)

/*Week 1274, “foals” from the names of two Kentucky Derby nominees:* /:
Call a Cop x Old Time Revival= *Criminal in Tent *(Hildy Zampella)

Mt. Rushmore x Magnum Moon = *Mt. Tushmore *(J. Larry Schott)

Biblical x Replicator = *Torah Torah Torah* (Jesse Frankovich)

/*Week 1275, pair a Shakespeare quote with a question: * /
A. “Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the king’s
English” /(“The Merry Wives of Windsor”) /
Q. What do you think he’s going to tweet next? (William Kennard,
Arlington, Va.)

A. “Away, you three inch fool.” /(“The Taming of the Shrew”)/
Q. What did Stormy say the next time? (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

A. O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven. (“Hamlet”)
Q. What did the Redskins coach say after yet another interception?
(Duncan Stevens)

*Week 1280, “air quotes”: * *S“unrise”:* The morning after four glasses
of wine. (David Peckarsky)

*India“nap”olis: *The most exciting city between Columbus and Peoria.
(Ellen Ryan)

*B“atty”:* What Rudy Giuliani is. (Jesse Frankovich)

*Absen“TMI”nded:* “Oh, did I tell you already about our sex therapy
session?” (Kathy El-Assal)

*/Another school-themed parody from Week 1265: /
* /To “Manic Monday” :/

Six o’clock already, I was just rousting offspring from bed,
Then I stopped to check my email and just stood there shaking my head.
Kids are happy now, but then I know they just won’t get why
School isn’t done till the week after the Fourth of July.

/(Chorus)/ It’s just a prank, you must be teasing!
It’s well above freezing!
Not merely a delay,
You had to go the whole way
And call another blasted Snow Day.

Have to juggle meetings and got to scrap commitments I’d planned;
I hope the folks I’m bailing on are parents so that they’ll understand.
Now we’re hanging out in our jammies, someone please tell me why.
Blame it on the forecast, the sidewalk is completely dry.

/(Chorus)/ Is this for real? You must be joking.
Just what are you smoking?
C’mon, for Pete’s sake,
This closure was a mistake.
You canceled school for just one snowflake! (Hildy Zampella)

*Still running — deadline Monday night, Jan. 7: our contest for new
words containing the letter block “TOUR” (in any order). See . *