Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ninja Haiku Contest Winners

First of all, a sincere thank you to everyone who helped make the Ninja Haiku Contest a success. To Denise and Sarah, who did whatever it is that people do on twitter with bite-size URLs and #marijuana-tags. And to my cousin Dan, who spread the word on Facebook by presenting his official entry (which wasn’t officially official, since he only posted it on Facebook).1 And of course, to all of you who participated by submitting such fantastic ninja haiku.

As for my creative friends out there who didn’t post any haiku — you know who you are — know that I am deeply saddened by your lack of submission. I was looking forward to seeing what you could come up with, and to having even more trouble choosing the winners. Yeah, I’m talking about you, my-many-friends-with-MLS-degrees.2 You, too, fellow-writer-who-recently-ran-off-to-another-company. And most of all, you, person-I-haven’t-mentioned-yet. To regain my trust and respect, I suggest you write me an email telling me why you failed to submit a haiku — the more outlandish the excuse, the better.3

Before I get to the winners, I must first share with you a special award which I had not intended to give out: the Dishonorable Mention. This goes to my father (BCFN), for managing to insult both haiku and Japanese cuisine in under seventeen syllables. Such a deed cannot go unpunished, and thus, I have changed the menu at my upcoming wedding reception to be nothing but Japanese food.4

Okay, enough of my rambling. On to the winners...

1 Leftover cake gone. / A ferret? A ninja? No. / My daughters. Again.
2 Depending on the institute of higher learning, MLS could be one of three things: Masters of Library Science, Major League Soccer, or the Megalomaniacal Librettist Society.
3 I realize two of you had a flooded basement. But that excuse isn’t outlandish enough. You’ll need to embellish: Perhaps the damage was caused by saintly sinner with psoriasis, or a pair of pink hippopotami.
4 That’s not actually true, but I’m hoping my dad doesn’t read footnotes.

And the Winners Are...

If you haven’t already, I suggest you go read all of the entries, especially since you won’t find any entries submitted by anonymous ninjas (such as this limerick!) among the winners. Plus, there are references to turtles, vampires, and zombies.

My judging was non-scientific, completely and utterly biased, and audited by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Honorable Mention

I didn’t even realize this entry from xonmus was a haiku until the day after I first read it, since it was written all in one line. Were it actually ninja-related, it might have won, but technically it’s only ninja-haiku-contest-related (see rule #7). Still, you can’t get much more honorable than seppuku...
God damn – seppuku?
I’d have given it a shot,
but now I don’t know...
Tandyman scores runner-up to the Traditional prize with this entry...
Black clad assassins
wrapped in secrets and shadows.
Silent and unseen.
And Kyle is certainly right; ninjas are awesome:
Ninjas are awesome.
They throw shurikens at me.
Now I am dead. Ow.

First Place – Humorous

I was feeling extra-generous (read: indecisive), so I broke my own contest rules. Thus, there will be three (3) first place winners, instead of only two.

I almost knocked this entry down to Honorable Mention because it was written by my sister Naomi, whom I sometimes buy dinner anyway. But in the end, the punchline won me over:
Ninja and Pirate
Meet in a moldy dungeon.
Their love: forbidden.
I almost knocked this entry down to Honorable Mention because I prefer a haiku’s phrasing to be natural, with an implied pause at the end of each line. Yet, despite its less-than-ideal phrasing, it gave me the biggest laugh. And the kicker? Even without the Select-Start, typing this code into Google Reader will, in fact, make ninjas appear. Courtesy of Tandyman:
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left,
Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select,
Start. Code of Ninjas.

First Place – Traditional

And, in what seemed to be the tougher category, first-time commenter billypete takes home the prize for Traditional Haiku:
you hear no footfalls
from the enclosing darkness,
just your heart’s last beat.

Billypete, you can email me at theothernate[at] to discuss how we’ll handle your prize. Naomi and Tandyman, let me know when you’d like me to take you out for Japanese. (I’ll be busy that day.)

Also, as an added bonus, winners can print out their very own hastily thrown-together certificates to show co-workers and friends just how awesome they are.

First Place certificate (PDF)
Honorable Mention certificate (PDF)

Here’s what they look like:

(click images to embiggen)

Update: My haiku-hating father whined about not getting a certificate of his own, so, dutiful son that I am, I made one just for him. Here's his Dishonorable Mention. (PDF)

Congratulations again to all the winners!