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First of all, have you seen the Evite for the Flushies, the Loser Community’s awards potluck picnic, on May 21? See farther down the page.

Suggestion: Don’t enter “Fails to recognize my superb wit” as the Sign of an incompetent Empress of The Style Invitational.” I’ll fail to recognize its wit.

This week’s contest, Week 1486 (deadline May 8), a direct repeat of one that my predecessor, the Czar, did in 2002, is a lot more straightforward and short-form than the vast majority of Invites. It’d be hard to fit wordplay into it, also unlike said vast majority. You just have to be funny and creative. Part of it might be the “field” you choose to illustrate the incompetence.

As I mention on this week’s entry form, the wording doesn’t necessarily have to follow the examples’ exactly. In fact, “You don’t have to type ‘Sign that xxxx is incompetent’ every time; just begin your entry with say “Doctor:” or whatever. (If you want to word your sentence a different way to tell the joke more creatively, that’s fine; go ahead.)”

I’m not going to bite my nails in fear we won’t have enough good stuff to fill the page four weeks from now; for one thing, I could always use extra foal names from next week: Loser Jonathan Hardis, My Rock, just sorted out all 3,566 Week 1483 entries for me, weeded out the entries that were No. 26 and later on people’s lists (one person had 40), flagged the names that had more than 18 characters, fixed misspellings, etc. etc. etc. I’m going to have a rockin’ weekend! Good thing part of it requires me to be a passenger on a long car trip.

So here are the results of Week 439, from March 3, 2002. It was called “Week CVI” because the Czar started a new set of numbers — Roman ones — after a hiatus in 2000, but eventually gave it up, thank heavens.

Report from Week CVI, in which we asked for signs of incompetence.

Special T-shirt award goes to Jeff Wallenfelt of Waldorf, who sent us eight separate e-mails reading, “Did this get through?” His entry was “sign of an incompetent e-mailer.”

Fourth Runner-Up: Sign of an incompetent al-Qaeda terrorist: Hijacks a flight simulator. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Third Runner-Up: Sign of an incompetent phone-sex operator: “I’m 39 and sort of dumpy, wearing a pink housecoat … ” (Marc Leibert, New York)

Second Runner-Up: Sign your lawyer is incompetent: As he is questioning you on the witness stand, he keeps asking you whether you realize you are under oath. (Daniel L. Gray, Washington)

First Runner-Up: Sign of an incompetent Tourette’s syndrome sufferer: “You gosh-darned danged noodlehead! What the h-e-double hockey sticks are you …” (Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

And the winner of the Redskins Super Bowl XXII mug:

Sign of an incompetent sommelier: “Do you want a glass with that?” (Kyle Bonney, Fairfax)

Honorable Mentions: [this was before we started inviting Losers to come up with clever subheads]

Boxing promoter: His press conferences are marked by regrettable incidents of civility and outbreaks of jovial, good-natured banter. (John C. Feltz, Fairfax)

Undertaker: Emphasizes cleavage. (Mark Updike, Crownsville)

Alchemist: Tries to turn gold into lead. (Vic Krysko, Yorkshire, England; Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Dominatrix: Fuzzy pink bunny slippers. (Julie Thomas and Will Cramer, Herndon)

U.S. attorney general: Sees the world as a place where relative truths contend, instead of the setting for a Manichaean struggle between the purely good and the purely evil. — John Ashcroft, Washington (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Metro operator: Uses the PA system to accuse passengers of stealing the steering wheel. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Seeing Eye dog: Chases cars. (Lauren Joseff, Reston)

Miss America contestant: Asked which person she admires most, she says, “My plastic surgeon.” (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

Middle Eastern terrorist: Travels under the name Joe-Bob El Aziz. (Howard Walderman, Columbia)

Enron exec: He’s still waiting for the right time to exercise his stock options. (Walter Webert, Bethesda)

Plagiarist: Copies his professor’s doctoral thesis. (Bob Grossman, Columbia)

Fast-food employee: You order fries and he asks if you want fries with that. (Garrett Thomson, Toronto; Mel Loftus, Holmen, Wis.)

Southern Italian: “Bubba-ding bubba-doom.” (Paul Kondis, Alexandria)

Mortician: Muffled screams at funerals. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Folk-singing family: Flees the Nazis by escaping to the Sudetenland. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Optometrist: “Can you read the FELOPZ line?” (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

Marathon runner: Tries “Olestra loading” before the big race. (Robin Grove, Pasadena, Md.)

Voyeur: Wears cameras on his shoes to look up women’s nostrils. (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

Liberal: Has a bleeding pancreas. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Terrorist: “Pull my finger” bomb proves ineffective outside five feet. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Chiropractor: Asks if your children have stepped on a crack recently. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Gynecologist: Refers to the parts by their street names. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Hip-hop artist: Chooses a moniker like Soc R Mom or Biggie Fries. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Abstract expressionist painter: Inspires comments from gallery patrons that “My 4-year-old nephew couldn’t do that.” (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Accountant: Uses only Roman numerals. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Lawyer: Won’t confer with you without his lawyer present. (M. Lilly Welsh, Oakton)

Panhandler: Spends the money on thank-you notes. (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

Har Scrabble*: The results of Week 1482

*2013 inking headline by Beverley Sharp

Our ninth Tile Invitational — finding new words in any of 36 seven-letter “racks” from the syndicated ScrabbleGrams word game that runs in The Post and many other print papers — proved one of our most successful ever, with a crazy 56 inking entries from a deluge of 1,600. I’m glad that my new box of FirStinks arrived yesterday; we have four First Offenders this week, along with at least two Losers who’d had one lone blot of ink for years and years, and can finally leap off the One-Hit Wonders list on the Loser Stats.

And it’s a return as well for this week’s Clowning Achievement winner: Jamie Martindale got his previous Invite ink a whole year ago — three honorable mentions in the Week 1428 Tile Invitational. Jamie, who used to work for the Fairfax County, Va., school system but is now teaching in Thailand, grabs not only his first contest win but his first “above-the-fold” since his debut in Week 1072; his two blots today give him an even dozen. Jamie took the letter set ACEFFIN and was one of numerous entrants to produce FACE-FIN: But then he parlayed that into a pertinent big-schnozz joke: “I’m not saying that nose is big, I’m just sayin’ if he was doing the backstroke at the beach, they’d be clearing the water and putting up a red flag.”

This week’s three runners-up are already buried in Loser swag: Duncan Stevens accompanied CAR ODE with — but of course — a clever li’l poem; Coleman Glenn gave us BLOGNA for an online recipe that the author “learned … from an old Tuscan woman”; and John Hutchins coined the useful term AND-MAN as the aide who’s even worse than a yes-man: not only does he heartily endorse his boss’s stupid ideas, but he’ll then tack on some of his own.

What Doug Dug: Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood — whose headline on Roxanne Roberts’s Style story this week on irritating co-workers was “Suck-ups Return to Their Toadus Operandi” — agreed on my top four this week, and also singled out these honorable mentions: Sarah Walsh’s MISTUBE, to end up with a very different video from the one you were searching for; returnee Bill Hole’s TAXI-CAB, the red wine served in first class on the way to the runway; Eric Nelkin’s A-Z-ANON, for those for whom Q doesn’t offer enough conspiracy theories; Bill Dorner’s BAANO, lead singer of Ewe2; and Bill’s LOO NAG (“Everybody try to go potty, even if you don’t need to!”); William Kennard’s B-LOOGA as cut-rate, phlegmy caviar; and Tom Witte’s GROCE — what grocers do, duh.

And for those who were trying to figure out what words were supposed to be in those letter sets:

Here’s this year’s list of the intended seven-letter words, from “The Big Book of SCRABBLEgrams,” 2005. Wow, I would not have been happy to have learned that I was supposed to find “apposed” or “subitem” or “woesome.” I would have been woeful.


You — yes, even you — are invited to the Flushies, May 21

The Evite is out for our return to Chez Loser Leifer — Steve Leifer’s backyard patio in Potomac, Md. — for the 26th (!!!!) Flushies, the Loser Community’s own annual afternoon to “honor” the Loser of the Year, Rookie of the Year, etc., by eating a lot of potluck food, singing Loser-penned song parodies (including some about the Losers themselves), playing some sort of trivia game, and general meetin’ & greetin’.

I sent out this Evite by email: to active Losers who’re in the area, to Losers who haven’t been active but used to come to user events back in the day, and to people who were on the mailing list last year. But it’s totally possible that I inadvertently omitted your name. But truly, if you’ve read this far down in The Style Conversational, you qualify as someone we’d love to have join us; please write me at [email protected] and I’ll add your email to the list.

The parody-singing is always my favorite part of the festivities, and I’m thrilled that Loser Jonathan Jensen, a member of the Baltimore Symphony, will be accompanying on keyboards (and Loser Jesse Rifkin — the Georgetown Piano Bar Jesse Rifkin — will be in the bullpen). Parodist Extraordinaire Mark Raffman has already penned a very singalongable ode to the Loser of the Year, and Parodist Also Extraordinaire Duncan Stevens is once again looking through our parody contests for other songs that might fit the bill. We do favor songs by people who’ll be there, so if you plan on coming and think we should sing your parody, let me know and Duncan will see what will work.

Take a moment to look in the Evite at my note with all the details, and if you’d like to come, please RSVP to it, so you can be sure to get any updates. If I don’t recognize your name, I’ll talk to you online for a bit before handing out the address etc.

If you’re thinking of visiting Washington from out of town, May is really the best month of the year. I’ve already heard that Matt Monitto is driving down (yet again) from Connecticut, and we’ll be meeting Loser Rookie Phenom Coleman Glenn from the Philadelphia area, who’s already a household name in the Invite (and inks up the joint this week as well). And on the other end of the timeline, Invite Legend Chuck Smith of Woodbridge will be there as well.

And we might even get a visit from our Loser Romantics — a product of my yentadom! A while back, I suggested to a new Loser, Geoff Gabriel of Vero Beach, Fla., that he might want to meet longtime Loser Lynne Larkin of Vero Beach, Fla. And they got together. Now they’re In Lurv — the only (aboveboard) couple I know who met directly through The Style Invitational. And Lynne tells me they’re going to try to both get free from other conflicts to come up from Florida to Flush.

Oh, the paths you’ll take with Bob Staake

I like to think of Style Invitational Cartoonist Since 1994 Bob Staake as our own personal artist, but of course he’s a much bigger deal than that, what with the New Yorker covers and his dozens of popular and beautifully crafted picture books. Now he’s out with “The Path,” “a hip new take on the graduation book,” as his publisher puts it. Its description: “’You will walk. You will walk along a well-worn path that many people have taken—and long before you.’ So begins this inspirational journey over gentle, grassy hills, through fields of wildflowers, over raging rivers, up steep mountains, and even through a dark, chilly cave. When it splits in two, you will have to decide what to do next—and you’ll create a path that’s unique to you.” So it’s one of those books, like Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” that work both as a graduation gift and an exciting read for tykes. And I’ll go out on a limb and promise that if you get a copy and tell Bob you’re an Invite fan, he’ll send you a hand-autographed bookplate you can paste inside.

Not to mention that he has a special page on his website where you can buy his Invitational drawings: See

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