When I had seen ink about five times, in mid-1993, I started to keep track of my own performance with a Microsoft Works spreadsheet on an Epson 100 home computer that had two 5.25" floppy drives and no hard drive. Realizing I needed context to reflect my own glory, I went back to the beginning and added the names and numbers of the other ur-Losers -- Hank Wallace, Oslo, Tom Gearty, Chuck Smith, Mike Thring, Bob Zane, Jennifer Hart, etc.

I kept that going for my own amusement alone. In July of 1994, I met the other Society founders, Paul Alter, Arthur Adams, Chuck Smith, and Sarah Worcester, and shortly thereafter a few more, as the brunch tradition started to gather steam. A few of these antique souls professed interest in the stats, so I began to mail out, in hand-addressed stamped envelopes, a dozen copies of a weekly one-page listing of the top 50 or so ink-earners to that point, through about Week 60. (I no longer have paper copies of those earliest mailings, although I do have some old floppies in Bin #225 in the basement that perhaps someday a forensic cybernetician may be able to get some data out of.)

By around Week 100 I had added an electronic typewriter to my publishing empire, and began to produce, in parallel with the stats listing from the mighty two-floppy Epson, a highly mannered round-up of recent events on F2 and the monthly brunches. I affected what I thought was an arch tone and larded it with in-jokes, which of course now are a bit opaque, many of them.

The electronic typewriter was succeeded by a series of increasingly irksome attempts to keep all of this data in spreadsheets on more powerful machines. At some point I learned HTML and began to post the stats on Gopherdrool (this site's predecessor). Soon then came ACCESS, and the effort to keep it all going consumed my very being.

Now we have put aside childish things. I use ACCESS only to take in fresh data, and then I feed a view of it to the Perl Stats Engine, which builds everything else. It is my hope that one day, long after I am dead, it will continue to run on its own -- it will read the Post, extract the data, upload to, schedule brunches, and make up reasons it can't attend LoserFest.


  • You're Invited: Loser-created podcasts about the Invitational.
  • "(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)", The Washington Post: "Some stories are so powerful, they simply must be told. This is not one of them."
  • "And the Weenies are ...", The Washington Post: "We made them wait an hour, then packed them into a tiny conference room, force-fed them bad Chinese takeout, switched on a tape recorder and commanded them to be funny."
  • "It's Back", The Washington Post: "After seven months in exile, the world's weirdest weekly context returns. Will the Czar be shot? You decide."
  • "The Style Invitational Turns 10", The Washington Post: "Nothing to see here. Just move on along to Book World."
  • "Contest grows older but not up", The Washington Post: "To celebrate, the Empress samples the tops in witty -- and witless -- entries."