So this weekend, Mike is going to interview the Empress (remotely, duh) for the debut episode of “You’re Invited,” whenever that will be. And he’s looking for input, not to mention contributions. Here’s his invitation to y’all:
“We have The Style Conversational. A Facebook group or two. The Flushies. Brunches. Secret societies I don’t belong to. But coming soon, what you didn’t know you need…..Style Invitational, the podcast! Wouldn’t you like to actually hear the Empress, your fellow losers, Bob Staake, and other members of the Loser Community. No? Well, I do.
I’m planning on hosting a 20-minute podcast, at least monthly but perhaps every two weeks or even weekly depending on interest and participation. Our first episode will be with our beloved E, who will be grilled on the dirty little secrets of the SI, why the prize magnets don’t stick, and the way to guarantee ink with one little trick.
Future episodes are expected to feature the week’s winner; other Losers; cartoonist Bob Staake; maybe the Empress’s predecessor, the Czar (if he can be coaxed out into the light); Keeper of the Stats Elden Carnahan; performances of Loser parodies; and whatever the masses demand.
Already two legends have contributed. Bob Staake has done a cartoon for us, and Elden has agreed to host the podcast on nrars.org. And I have a mic, camera, headphones, and software I’m learning to use.
I’d love input or assistance from the greater Loser Community. Is there any topic you’d like covered, any people you’d like to hear? If you have podcast skills, I could use help with editing, music, etc. Should it be podcast only, or should there be a webcast only? So many questions, so few inconsequential answers. Email me at mikegips (at) gmail (dot) com.
I see that PodcastHosting.com says there are more than 1 million podcasts out there, and more than 29 million individual episodes. And given that a random Googling yielded a page called “10 Stationery Podcasts in 2018” — including “The Erasable Podcast: Johnny, Tim and Andy talk about stationery, but mainly pencils, and do a great job” — we might as well join the denizens of the ether.
I was recently asked: “What is a podcast, anyway?” I like questions like that because they reassure me that I’m not the most untechie person on earth. Anyway, it’s basically a radio show, often a talk show, except that you get it through the Internet, at your convenience: I’ll make an announcement when a new episode drops, and you’ll be able to click on a link and listen on your phone or computer.
So be sure to talk to Mike about what you’d like to hear, what might be some regular departments, any tips you have. And I’ll let you know about how it’s coming along. And yes, while Mike doesn’t actually look like Grandpa Munster (or, as he sees it, Tony the Tiger), Bob Staake’s sketch does bear a considerable resemblance to Mr. G. As far as I know, however, the “Dunz” is not supposed to be anyone but a generic Loser. (Or is it you?)
The Style Augmentational*: The ‘plus-ones’ of Week 1395
*Too-long headline entry by Jesse Frankovich
I was confident that a contest to “add a ‘plus one’ to some familiar numerical grouping, true or fictional,” as suggested by Forever Loser Art Grinath, would fill the page with inkworthy entries. I hadn’t expected, though, that I’d hear from so many Losers, especially brand-new and very infrequent ones: For Week 1395, I heard from 240 people with a total of about 2,000 entries, way up from the 157 people of the previous contest, which was to supply a single line that might appear in two movies.
Of those, this week’s results comprise 35 entries (all appear in both print and online) from 32 contestants, with a variety of interpretations of “plus one.” I have a nagging feeling that I answered someone’s question last week to suggest that I wouldn’t accept some numerical wordplay, and then ran someone else’s entry that was just like it. [Shrugs only a little sheepishly.] That’s why I like it that our primary prize is a 15-cent Loser Magnet.
There was a LOT of duplication of the plus-ones; several of this week’s honorable mentions entries won by dint of their description. For instance, there were 11 entries for “Seven Brides for Eight Brothers” and 12 for “Eight Brides for Seven Brothers”; while a few made my shortlist (not the ones that disparaged Mormons), it was Hannah Seidel who got the ink with “Seven Brides for Eight Brothers: Sometimes you end up as the fifteenth wheel.” At least 20 Losers suggested the 51st way to leave your lover; John Glenn and Eric Nelkin scored respectively with “Say you’ve got the virus, Cyrus” and “Call out his vanity, Hannity!”
All four “above the fold” entries were unique, however. Harold Mantle, who got his first blot of ink in Week 5 and drops by in little fits and starts of entering, gets Ink No. 66 by adding 1 to 1, in “the sound of two hands clapping,” what’s featured in the audio version of “Koans for Dummies.” Rookie phenom Michelle Christophorou, currently the most active member of the U.K. Loser Bureau, will probably get me yelled at by someone or other with her “Feeding of the 5,001.” Non-rookie phenom Chris Doyle scores the cool Houston Asterisks T-shirt (his — ready? — 241st winner or runner-up) with a delightful “Raven” parody about Four and Twenty-One Blackbirds. And Rob Cohen gets his third contest win, and his 87th blot total, with a play on “plus-1” itself; he used its actual meaning for “50 First Dates plus 1” — Mom chaperoning.
We have a First Offender this week who’ll be skipping the One-Hit Wonders list in the Loser Stats: George Mason University grad student Adam Nubbe debuts with two honorables. And we have two Losers who’ve reappeared from the distant past: Mike Mason, who last got ink in 2008; and William Lomas, someone I almost dubbed a First Offender until I discovered that he got two blots of ink including a runner-up in Week 194, and only Week 1994, in 1996. (The contest was how to answer specific questions to advice columnists. “Second Runner-Up: My mother-in-law still has photos my husband’s ex-wife on her mantel. Should I say something? Signed, Miffed. Dear Miffed: Leave the picture on the mantel, but surround it with photographs of Hitler, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, and baby seals being clubbed.” Don’t make it another 24 years, Bill!
What Doug Dug: The faves of Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood all came from the honorable mentions this week, and his first shout-out was to our newbie, Adam Nubbe: “The 50 states plus 1: [This entry blocked by the Republican Party].” Doug also singled out Eric Nelkin’s “Say you’ve got the virus, Cyrus,” John McCooey’s “Around the World in 81 Days: An inattentive Phileas Fogg trips on the international date line” (a title sent by eight Losers”; “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People plus One: 8. Be born to really rich parents,” from Art Grinath, who’d suggested the contest; and from our long-lost William Lomas: “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Many thought McMurphy was faking it, but no one questioned the admission of Louie Gohmert.”
‘Tis the season, kind of: Summer fictoids for Week 1399
The results of Week 1399 will run a few days after the autumn equinox, but I didn’t want to wait almost a whole year for this third in our series of Fictoids of the Season. As with all our fictoid contests, the entries usually spoof those books and listicles full of Fun Facts to Know and Tell. There’s now a whole page on Elden Carnahan’s Master Contest List devoted to links to our fictoid contests. Here are the top winners from the ones about winter and spring, earlier this year:
4. Snow in the Southern Hemisphere forms on the ground and falls upward, which explains why penguins are white on the bottom. (Andrew Wells-Dang)
3. A snowball’s chance in hell has increased greatly during the Trump administration. (Stephen Dudzik)
2. The inn that turned away Mary and Joseph is now a Marriott Bonvoy property. (Frank Mann)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon: Phi Kappa Rho fraternity at the University of Northwestern Maine canceled this year’s “yellow-snow” name-writing contest because college students no longer know how to use cursive. (Mark Raffman)
Spring, from Week 1381, as we started our Age of Corona:
4. Typically after the vernal equinox an extra two minutes of daylight are added to each day, but beginning March 2020, an extra 45 days were added to each month. (Danielle Nowlin)
3. Plants can repel breeze-borne pollen by swaying to the left, or accept it by swaying right. (Sam Mertens)
2. Responding to a flattering comment by the Dutch prime minister last May, President Trump said: “He’s a very smart guy. He knows where to plant his tulips.” (Mark Raffman)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon: When the White House Easter Egg Roll was canceled this year because of the pandemic, the president was left with crates full of wooden commemorative eggs with the slogan “Impeachment was a HOAX.” (Jonathan Jensen)
As you can see, the link to the season is sometimes a wee bit tenuous. But the link to the funny is strong indeed.