Style Invitational Week 1389: TankaWanka IV
It’s a like a haiku with a kick at the end. Plus winning puns on place names.
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
June 18, 2020 at 9:55 a.m. EDT
(Click here to skip down to the winning and Losing puns on place names)

One thing we have learned:
Melania’s no dummy.
For living with him
The price was a small cleanup
In the terms of her prenup.

The TankaWanka is a form of verse that the Empress coined back in 2014, as a variation on the venerable Japanese tanka. It’s like haiku with a little extra oomph: instead of three mini-lines, you have five mini-lines, and you get to rhyme, and you don’t write about preciously exquisite moments etc. but instead about Stuff in the News.

We haven’t TankaWankaed since the still-in-shock summer of 2017. So many shocks later, let’s give it another go. This week: Write a TankaWanka about something that’s been in the news lately (this gives you considerable latitude, but not enough to, say, grouse about your mother-in-law, unless your mother-in-law is, say, Betsy DeVos). The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And at least two of the lines must rhyme, as in the example above by Gene “Willy Wanka” Weingarten, who will be sorry that he can’t win this week’s second prize. You may add a title, perhaps quoting a news headline.


The prize for this week’s No. 2 finisher.
The prize for this week’s No. 2 finisher.
Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, June 29; results will appear July 19 in print, July 16 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives Poo-Dough — a Play-Doh-type goo and mold to make, well, you know. To judge from reviews on YouTube, the final product has a pretty convincing appearance. It even comes with some yellow clay, along with the brown, to make some corn kernels you can embed. Gyaaadddh, are we running out of prizes here at Mount Vermin or what? Donated eons ago by 430-time Loser Nan Reiner.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Too-Weak Notice” or “Certificate of (de) Merit.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “From There to Har” is by Tom Witte; Jesse Frankovich wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.


The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, June 18, reviews the new contest and results. This week, some classic TankaWanka from our three previous contests. See

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

From there to har: Puns on places from Week 1385
In Week 1385 we asked you to slightly change a place name and describe the new place. Several of the 2,300 entries suggested Mar-a-Lego, playhouse of a giant toddler.

4th place:
Napless: Home to both Italy’s crankiest toddlers and Florida’s crankiest seniors. (Ryan Martinez, Takoma Park, Md.)

3rd place:
Ohaha, Neb.: Where people are slow to get the joke. (Ken Liss, Brookline, Mass.)

2nd place
and the toy dysentery bacterium:
Germ Man Town, Md.: In an attempt to generate publicity, this nondescript D.C. suburb has changed its name to honor Anthony Fauci. (Ed Scarbrough, Germantown, Md.)


And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Tea 'n' a Mint Square: A lovely, peaceful plaza in the Chinese capital where nothing bad ever happened. — X.J., Beijing (Ben Sack, Leesburg, Va., a First Offender)

Nether regions: Honorable mentions
All Paso, Tex.: West Texas town with no exit ramp off I-10. (Bill Cromwell, Keswick, Va., a First Offender)

Alpacastan: Hiding place of the notorious Osama bin Llama. (Gregory Koch, Falls Church, Va.)

Bantucket Island: No bawdy limericks permitted! (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Barcalounga, Spain: Where the highlight of the day is the siesta. (Ann Houston, Silver Spring, Md., a First Offender; Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)

Belchum: Famed for its deeply satisfying beer. (Dave Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va.)

Bethesduh: The birthplace of Captain Obvious, obviously. (Chuck Helwig, Centreville, Va.)


Biden-Biden: Spa town famous for its gaffe courses. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

BryceH Canyon: No matter what you shout at Echo Point, all you hear is “Traitor! Boooo!” (Carol Passar, Reston, Va.)

Bugdad: The first words of children born here are “Are we there yet?” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Butt, Mont.: Drop by, drop ‘em, and enjoy a full moon in Big Sky Country! (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

Caca Beach: A Florida town unfortunately adjacent to a sewage treatment plant. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Cute d’Ivoire: Where Dumbo the elephant comes from. (Jonathan Jensen)

Cyberia: Where Putin sends ineffective trolls and hackers. (Ray Gallucci, Frederick, Md; Chris Murphy, Germantown, Md.)

Erode Island: It used to be the 13th largest state, but now it’s the 50th! (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)


Forgo, N.D.: Just keep driving to Canada. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.; Mary Hanisco, Takoma Park, Md., a First Offender)

Fucson, Ariz. Motto: “Um, it’s pronounced “Foo-sahn.” (Jesse Aronson, Arlington, Va.)

Hampa: This Florida city tried to keep a lid on a messy socks scandal. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)

Handover, Mass.: A town with a 95 percent tax rate. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Happylaychian Trail: A healthful alternative to the Mile High Club. (Nan Reiner, Boca Raton, Fla.)

Helstinki: Something may be rotten in the state of Denmark, but it absolutely reeks in the state of Finland. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

Hecksinki: It’s said that no vice happens here, but you can’t swear to it. (Frank Mann, Washington)

Idahno: Hey, Typical American, what lies between Wyoming and Oregon? (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)


Ignorefolk, Va: We always do social distancing! (Wendy Shang, Falls Church, Va.)

Isle of White: Steve Bannon’s fantasyland. (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

Kintucky: Where your family tree is a single vine. (Mark Calandra, Wenham, Mass.)

Kentacky: Home of the Run for the Artificial Roses. (Ann Martin, Brentwood, Md.)

Lake Flaccid: The perfect retirement location in Upstate New York for folks from Viagra Fails. (Brian Cohen, Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Lake Wokebegon: The little town where Garrison Keillor should have moved back. (Steve Smith)

Las Vagueness: What happens here stays here, because no one can remember the details. (Richard Wexler, Alexandria, Va.; Jonathan Jensen)

Mehtropolis: Home of the semi-superhero Adequateman. (Jeff Contompasis)

Mount Tushmore: First site of Gutzon Borglum’s presidential monument; it had to be abandoned when large cracks developed during the stonecutting. (Larry Passar, Reston, Va.)


New Jerksey: Its motto: “WTF YOU looking at?” (Steve Honley, Washington)

North Pool: Santa’s home in about 30 years. (Mike Phillips, Chevy Chase, Md.)

No Truth, No Consequences, N.M.: They’d like to move the Republican National Convention here. (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

Nude York: The city that never sleeps in pajamas. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Palm Bench, Fla.: Where second-string foreign officials wait to pay their emoluments. (Darren Timothy, Bristow, Va.)

Pencilvania: The nation’s No. 2 travel destination! (Pia Palamidessi, Cumberland, Md.; Danielle Nowlin)

The Outer Boinks: A great place to go for spring break. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

Triple-E, Libya: Clown Shoe Capital of the World. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Worster, Mass.: If you don’t like Boston, you’ll really hate this place. (David Young, Falmouth, Mass.)


YoMa, Ariz.: City that’s smelly and excessively large, and its lights are pretty dim. But it’s very easy to get to. (Duncan Stevens)

And Last: Tsk-a-Loser, Ala.: Folks ’round there disapprove of that Style Invitational. (Gary Crockett)

Still running — deadline Monday night, June 22: Our contest for business/product names containing anagrams. See