Style Invitational Week 1410: Legends of the fall
Tell us fake trivia about autumn. Plus winning acrostic poems on the news.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
November 12, 2020 at 9:38 a.m. EST
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(Click here to skip down to the winning acrostic poems about the news)

In 1962, Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns set the rushing record by a player with the same name as his team, breaking the one held by Edward Fortyniner. (Steve McClemons)

While it’s true that the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast did not feature turkey, it did include venison, lobster, berries, squash and fortune cookies. (Chris Murphy)

97.2 percent of veterans who don their uniforms for Veterans Day pop at least half the buttons off. (Edward Gordon)

It’s The Style Invitational’s fourth and final contest for fictoids about the seasons of the year. This week: Tell us some bogus trivia about autumn, or things that happen (or have happened) in autumn, as in the examples above from earlier fictoid contests on various themes. The fake facts should relate in some way to the season; don’t just tack on, say, “On Oct. 15, 1966,” to something that could have taken place any old time.

One of the countless possible cling-sticker looks to adorn Dress-Up Squirrel, this week's second prize.
One of the countless possible cling-sticker looks to adorn Dress-Up Squirrel, this week's second prize.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Nov. 23; results will appear Dec. 13 in print, Dec. 10 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy, or its replacement trophy (TBA). Second place receives Dress-Up Squirrel, a laminated cardboard critter standing straight up so that you can dress him/her/them in a wondrous variety of 39 cling stickers, including men’s and women’s underthings, a Santa suit, an Easter Bunny headdress, leprechaun gear, a pearl necklace and, of course, a chain saw. Donated by Dave Prevar.

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, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Muse Bulletins” is by Chris Doyle; both Tom Witte and Jeff Contompasis offered the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

Timothy Schmalz's "Homeless Jesus" sculpture outside a church in Bay Village, Ohio. (

The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Muse bulletins: Acrostic poems on the news
In Week 1406 we asked for acrostic poems, which vertically spell out a relevant word or name with the first letter of each line. While the poems had to be about the news, the Empress reminded our Loserbards that they were writing before the election, and that the results would run afterward. So many of them turned instead to some goshdarn amazing recent events that you might not have heard about.

4th place:
Naked teen covered in ranch dressing crashes vehicle into Kansas gas station:
Well, I’ve heard some strange tales, but this guy from Topeka
Has got Florida Man beat — yup, he’s even uneka!
One small legal point, though — and it could prove quite pressing:
Are you technically naked when covered in dressing?
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

3rd place:
Rainbow-stuffed Oreos provoke protest:
One cookie’s ignited a fight:
“Rainbow filling? It’s always been white!
Every child will turn gay!”
One Million Moms say.
(Seems they hope that their kids are alt-right.)
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

2nd place
and the beard-motif face mask:
We’ve learned that there is water on the moon,
At least a small amount bound up in glass.
They think there’s also ice in shadows strewn —
Enough to help us live there? To grow grass?
Run wild through lunar sprinklers, sail a yacht,
Or maybe cast a line and catch a fish?
Now will our space explorers have a shot
To take a low-G bath and splash and splish?
How nifty would it be to have a drink
Extracted from some moon rocks? Oh, so cool!
Might astronauts do dishes in the sink,
Or dare to take a dive into a pool?
Oh, what if after that first step so small,
Neil’s giant leap had been a cannonball?
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Vietnamese condom factory accused of recycling used prophylactics:


Hounding out fraud in Hanoi,
Officials uncovered a ploy:
Cached condoms, though used
and quite old,
Had all been cleaned up and resold!
In statements that furrowed some brows and
Made news, they said three hundred thousand
All sourced to one guy whose appliance
Now, I guess, he’ll be leaving to science. (Frank Osen)

Vertically challenged: Honorable mentions
“Library” misspelled on sign outside Indiana library:
Let’s all venture forth to the place with the stacks
In those long, careful rows from their fronts to their backs,
Books by the thousands, on topics galore,
Religion, philosophy, science and more,
Alphanumerically placed on the shelf.
Reading is power! Empower yourself!
Empower yourself to ignore what you see —
Yes, I’m talking about the superfluous E.
(Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Pumpkin pie spice recalled in salmonella scare:
Say it isn’t so, O Universe:
As if the year had not been hard enough,
Last month we got the news (what could be worse?)
More danger lurked in once-delightful stuff!
Of course we’re speaking of that crucial thing
Nogs, scones, and lattes take advantage of
Each fall, to help assuage the season’s sting;
Long nights may loom, but this warm taste we love
Lets us forget we’ll soon be scraping ice.
And yet . . . perhaps we’ll skip the pumpkin spice.
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)


Pundit accidentally appears on Zoom while masturbating:
I. CNN Internal Memo
Just a brief note to all personnel
Especially those of the male persuasion
Frankly, we don’t know why in the hell
Further guidance is needed on such an occasion.

There are some rules here at CNN
(Other places you’ve worked may well have been lax).
Our standards are high, we remind you again;
Best keep this in mind as you plan your acts.
Insist we must, or we’ll lower the boom:
No “consulting with Richard” when you’re on Zoom.
(David Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va.)

The teleconference he was in,
One break he took for some self-sin.
Oh, he must have been without his wits!
Because when he resumed the call,
In view were what would cause his fall:
Naked — and in use — his private bits!

Said New Yorker: “You’re suspended.”
His career’s been so upended!
Off CNN; no airtime given him.
Well, he vanished pre-election
Simply for that stray erection!
Then he dared asked for a synonym:
“Oh, please change a word to describe my fate
On TV and the media. It would be great...”
Much remorse was flowing from his tongue.
Understood, he did, the public chorus;
Checked, then he did, with his thesaurus:
“How about changing “suspended” to “hung”?
(Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)


“Bear 747” wins Alaska park’s fattest-bear contest:
Fall is here; the time has come to vote;
And bears know that it’s time for them to bloat.
Temps are dropping; there’s no time to wait —
Binge on salmon, then go hibernate.
Every bear’s in gastronomic heaven,
And no one more than 747.
Ripped the competition (which made sense):
Seven-Forty-Sevens are immense!
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Medically, dreadically
Anthony Fauci says
Stark-naked faces are
Killing us, dude!
Liberty? No, it’s just
Stop being selfish or
Soon we’re all screwed.
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Police called about a “homeless person” that was actually a sculpture of a sleeping Jesus:
Just walking by the churchyard,
Encountering a bum;
So strange to see one here now —
Uptown is not a slum.
Should I call in for backup?
By gosh, this sure is odd;
Exactly who is sleeping?
Dear me — the son of God!
(Mark Calandra, Wenham, Mass.)


Fairfax County public schools
Closed — on Zoom instead.
Parents, teachers lack the tools.
Students, bored of ed.
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Trump rally appears to violate White House coronavirus task force recommendations:
Shall I describe the sycophantic group
Unmasked, and close together on the green?
Particulates create miasmic soup,
Each breath a likely vector, sight unseen.
“Release the e-mails!” “Lock her up!” they shout,
Such foulness in their thoughts and in their lungs
Proliferating spittle all about,
Regurgitating toxins with their tongues.
Elated by the crowd, the vain buffoon
Absorbing every drop they send his way,
Digests them like a tangerine spittoon,
Extending lockdown day by endless day.
Regardless of which president we seat,
Some viruses are harder to defeat. (Sarah Walsh)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Nov. 16: our contest to drop letters from the middle of a song title. See

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