Thursday, January 20, 2011

Correction: Washington Post's Mensa Invitational

Shame on me for posting something without checking the facts first.

Back in January of 2009 I received an email that included the results of Washington Post's Mensa Invitational. There were two categories in this "contest" and I wrote one post about each of the categories. See here and here.

There is no such thing as Washington Post's Mensa Invitational.

It has just come to my attention that each January when dictionaries and other entities release their "Word of the Year" lists, an email announcing the winners of Washington Post's Mensa Invitational circulates. Each year this list of winners is, if not identical, pretty darn close.

According to the American Mensa website, "Since 2005 or earlier, the "Mensa Invitational" has been suspected to be a hoax but no confirmation has ever been made prior to this. So we're here to debunk this urban legend."

"American Mensa, nor any other Mensa entity, has ever been affiliated with The Washington Post's "Style Invitational" column and/or its contests, to the best of our knowledge. It wouldn't surprise us if many of our members have entered the contests — and perhaps even have won — but that would be the limit of the interaction."

For those of you who have not yet seen the annual "contest" results, here they are:

Take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.
18. Vowel movement: The inevitable verbal diarrhea that spews from ones' mouth when they have nothing significant to say.

Supply an alternate meanings for common words

1. coffee (n.): The person upon whom one coughs.
2. flabbergasted (adj.): Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. abdicate (v.): To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. esplanade (v.): To attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. willy-nilly (adj.): Impotent.
6. negligent(adj.): Absent-mindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7. lymph (v.): To walk with a lisp.
8. gargoyle (n.): Olive-flavoured mouthwash.
9. flatulence (n.): Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. balderdash (n.): A rapidly receding hairline.
11. testicle (n.) A humorous question on an exam.
12. rectitude (n.): The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. pokemon (n.): A Rastafarian proctologist.
14. oyster (n.) A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.): The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. circumvent (n.): An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

And here is a link to "The Style Invitational" humor column at the Washington Post.

1 comment:

Pat Myers said...

Thanks so much for setting the record straight. Those contests were mostly (but not all) from two Style Invitational contests from 1998.

But the Invite is still going strong, with many kinds of contests-- and there's a new neologism (coin-a-word) contest coming up this very weekend (Jan. 23, 2011). It'll go up on Friday, Jan. 21, around 3 p.m. Eastern time at Plus hilarious results to a "Dear Blank" contest of short notes to people.

See you there!
Pat Myers
The Empress of The Style Invitational

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