The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational
By the Empress

Style Invitational Week 1019: What a turnoff!

Bob Staake for the Washington Post

29. Make pizza dough from scratch utilizing only three ingredients: flour, water and old USB cables.

7. Instead of relying on Photoshop to digitally remove the wrinkles from your grandfather’s face, use clothespins and duct tape.

The Style Invitational

The Style Invitational is The Post’s weekly humor/wordplay contest, serving up since 1993 an irreverent mix of highbrow and lowbrow -- haughty and potty -- in genres ranging from neologisms to cartoon captions to elaborate song parodies. A new contest appears at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational every Friday.

Archive

24. Bake cookies cut in the shape of every U.S. state — so you can pretend that Colorado is an iPad and Wyoming is a Kindle.

Monday marks the start of what used to be known as TV Turnoff Week and now, in this multi-platform age, is called Screen-Free Week: The idea, of course, is that families set aside their various electronic crutches for seven days and look up momentarily at the world around them, as well as reacquaint themselves with proto-tablet technology. To the latter end, our very own Bob Staake has just produced what everyone is calling his finest children’s picture book yet: the wordless “Bluebird,” a lovely rumination on bullying, loneliness and the redeeming power of friendship. (Yes, we’re talking about the same person who regularly defaces this page with cartoons of banana-nosed cretins, horses with backward legs, and unclothed hot babes.) Bob, who lives on Cape Cod, will visit Washington’s Politics and Prose bookstore on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., along with three other authors, to promote “Bluebird” and Screen-Free Week in general. Before he started the book tour, the Huffington Post’s parenting blog asked Bob for some activities that families could do without a screen. He helpfully complied with a list of 31 ideas — including the examples above — that might or might not have been what the bloggers had in mind. This week: Tell us some other creative things that children and families could do during Screen-Free Week. Do remember that the Style Invitational is a humor contest.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fine, many-inch-long perfectly edible gummy rat, in an appetizing grayish-black. Never used! Donated by Loser Melissa Yorks.

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, May 6; results published May 26 (online May 23). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1019” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “Next week’s results” line is by Howard Walderman. . Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.;see the Ink of the Day, a sampling of jokes from the archives, at bit.ly/inkofday.

Still running — deadline Monday night — is our “reologism” contest to outdo the Losers’ own definitions for words they made up. See bit.ly/invite1018.

Report from Week 1015

in which we asked for fictoids — totally bogus trivia — about music and the music world:

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

Van Morrison wrote “Brown Eyed Girl” about his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Taylor. They broke up shortly thereafter. (Paul Kondis, Alexandria, Va.)

2. Winner of the box of fish floss crackers: On her European tour, Ke$ha has agreed to perform under the name K€sha. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

3. In the fade-out of the Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar,” you can clearly hear the phrase “I buried Jughead.” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

4. It’s a myth that they showed Elvis only from the waist up on “The Ed Sullivan Show” because of his suggestive dancing; actually, his fly was open. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.;Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Johnny won-nots: honorable mentions

“Pompatus” is the Latin word for “festering disease.” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Johannes Brahms suffered from chronic insomnia. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

If you play “I Am the Walrus” backward, you can clearly hear John Lennon saying, “Hey, mate, the bloody thing goes the other way round.” (Dan O’Day, Alexandria)

Joni Mitchell’s tax records reveal investments in a Hawaiian parking lot firm. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Bob Marley died of glaucoma. (Kevin D’Eustachio, Beltsville, Md.)

Styx was named for the part of Kentucky where the band members were born and raised. (Jeff Wadler, Ocean Pines, Md.)

In 1952, the Victor Recording Co. made John Cage shorten his composition “12ʹ55ʺ” so it would fit on a single 78-rpm side. (Steve Edw. Friedman, Washington, a First Offender)

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had considered naming their band Molybdenum Zeppelin, but they didn’t know how to spell it. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

“Carmina Burana” is Latin for “sports commercials.” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

When “I Shot the Sheriff” was released as a 45-rpm single, a small but humorous typo in the title made it an instant collector’s item. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

Mama Cass’s real name was Anita Heimlich. (Michael Greene, Alexandria, Va.)

Upon reaching puberty, children release pheromones that interfere with their parents’ ability to enjoy music they do not already know. (Josh Feldblyum, Philadelphia)

Eager to ride the tide of the mid-’60s “British Invasion,” some American acts took to coloring their teeth beige. (Brendan Beary)

The Fender Telecaster custom-made for Gene Simmons replaces the guitar’s usual F-hole with an A-hole. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

The Tuareg nomads of North Africa sing a version of “Happy Birthday” that can be roughly translated: “Have a nice day, and may you avoid stepping in fresh camel poop.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

The world premiere of Verdi’s “Aida” ended in tragedy when the lead soprano accidentally crushed an elephant to death. (Madeleine Begun Kane, New York)

The lyrics to “We Will Rock You” originally appeared in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” (Carroll Reed, Centreville, Va.)

Chubby Checker has a chiropractic degree. (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)

After the plane crash on “the day the music died,” NTSB inspectors said the accident could have been averted with a small or medium Bopper. (Brendan Beary)

“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” is a coded reference to a secret military alliance involving Liechtenstein, Suriname and Delaware. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)

In Greece, the leather case of a bouzouki traditionally includes a mini comic strip and a dumb joke. (Christopher Lamora)

One of today’s superstars got the money to pursue her dream when she won a bingo jackpot in the little Dominican church in her neighborhood. She decided to take her stage name from the winning bingo call: B-11 — said in Spanish, of course. (David Swerdloff, Washington)

Mambos Nos. 1-4 also stank. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Around the house, Johnny Cash liked wearing pastels and paisleys. (Roy Ashley, Washington; Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

Will.i.am is deathly allergic to legumes. (James Kruger, Butha-Buthe, Lesotho)

Bob Dylan keeps the answer key to all the questions raised in “Blowin’ in the Wind” in his sock drawer. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

Alice Cooper’s real name is Sally Cooper. (Rob Huffman)

All the singing on the original Alvin and the Chipmunks album was performed by three Lollipop Guild actors from “The Wizard of Oz.” (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)

Beyonce did not merely lip-sync “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the inauguration; she also had her image holographically projected onto the stage from her villa in Tuscany. (Robert Schechter)

“Boogie,” “jazz” and “rock-and-roll” were all originally slang terms for nose-picking. (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)

In the video for “Hips Don’t Lie,” Shakira’s hips tap out Morse code for “my hips actually lie.” (Sara Page Podolsky, Karmiel, Israel, a First Offender)

In their early days in Detroit, the Spinners played bar mitzvahs under the name the Dreidels. (David Leveton, Gainesville, Va., a First Offender)

Since Jimi Hendrix performed his iconic guitar version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, no one in Bethel, N.Y., has ever seen a single cat. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

For the past 35 years, the SPCA has regretted turning down the Village People’s offer to make them the world’s most musically iconic charity. (James Pierce, Charlottesville, Va.)

The kazoo derives its name from the Polish word karzhu, meaning “love whistle.” (Jason Russo, Annandale, Va.)

At one time, Madonna was actually like a virgin. (William C. Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

The Lone Ranger’s real name was William Tell. (Beverley Sharp)

John Philip Sousa was composing “The New Orleans Times-Picayune March” when his contract fell through. Fortunately another sponsor stepped in. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Sousa’s “Washington Post March” used to have several additional sections. And better proofreading. (Brendan Beary)

The bathroom is actually on the left. (Cheryl Davis, Arlington, Va.)

See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational, (posted late Thursday afternoon), in which she discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at losers@washpost.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.

Next week’s results: Foaling around, or Whinny-ha-ha, our annual contest to “breed” two horses nominated for this year’s Triple Crown races and name their foal.

 
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