Style Invitational Week 1032: Keep it symbol-stupid; plus the winning ‘joint legislation’


(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
August 1, 2013

The Washington Monument: It has a square base, the four sides representing Truth, Justice, and the American Way, and something else. But! Partway up it changes color, which is illegal immigration, after which the square base gradually shrinks until it disappears at the tip. And the tip is aluminum, which has an atomic number of 13, and there are 13 characters in “Barack H. Obama” . . .

Inspired by a recent speech in which Glenn Beck informed his listeners that certain markings on the U.S. dollar bill — a star-shaped arrangement with what seem to be rings around it — demonstrated conclusively that “America was established for the establishment of Israel,” Hall of Fame Loser Elden Carnahan suggested this week’s contest: Explain the symbolism “obviously” evident in any well-known site, artwork, etc., in 75 words or fewer, as in Elden’s own example above. You may jokingly attribute it to someone else’s thinking.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a genuine dried baby blowfish wearing a little straw hat, procured by the Empress herself this summer in a tacky San Francisco souvenir shop. Its pinched mouth, along with the little eyes glued onto it, makes it look like a little bird. A little bird wearing a sombrero.

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, Aug. 12; results published Sept. 1 (online Aug 29). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1032” 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 Danielle Nowlin; 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.


Dried baby blowfish in a souvenir shop at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco; one of them will be a Style Invitational prize for Week 1032. (Photo by Pat Myers)
Report from Week 1028

our usually biennial contest in which you combine the names of two or more freshmen members of Congress to produce “joint legislation” — only this time we used the all-freshman First Congress (1789-91). Among the more than 1,700 entries, the busiest congressman was one Rep. Huger, most often in partnership with, alas, Sen. Johnson. Note: As always, you have to sound out some of the bills to figure them out — and sometimes they’re a bit of a stretch (for example, “Hartley-King-Sevier-Lee” in the fourth-place entry means “heart leaking severely”). So if you don’t get it, click here for the results accompanied by translations and explanations.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

The Johnson-Sevier-Lee-Lee-King bill to establish the key rule for ending a filibuster. (Doug Hamilton, College Park, Md.)

2. Winner of the stress-reduction squeeze toy in the shape of the Capitol dome: The Tucker-Few-Moore-Wadsworth bill to support business as usual among Virginia governors and D.C. Council members. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

3. The White-Few-Scott-Moore “1 Percent Solution” bill to establish an enduring division of wealth and power in America. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

4. The White-Parker-Ames-Gunn-Brown-Walker-Hartley-King-Sevier-Lee bill to revoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

Low resolutions: honorable mentions

The Sherman-Schureman Resolution to not raise taxes. (Anne Shively, Broadlands, Va.)

The Foster-Huger-Partridge-Carroll bill establishing 24 days of Christmas. (Seth Tucker, Washington)

The Few-Hawkins-Sumter-Read bill for emergency newsstand construction. (Chuck Blahous, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)

The Brown-Bloodworth-White-Gunn amendment, clarifying which takes precedence if the Second and 14th Amendments ever are in conflict. (Danny Bravman, Chicago)

The Bourne-Bland bill to establish a Romney family museum. (Ira Allen, Bethesda, Md.)

The King-Lee-Johnson-Izard-Lee-Huger bill to affirm the equality of royalty and the common folk. (Doug Hamilton)

The Jackson-Paterson Proposition to revisit charges of inappropriate conduct by the King of Pop. (Craig Dykstra)

The Moore-Brown-Butler bill to commemorate the contributions of Paula Deen. (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)

The Boudinot-Johnson Act to determine the types of nudity permitted to be shown on basic cable. (Tom Rowe, Olney, Md., a First Offender)

The Parker-Muhlenberg Act to construct urban hitching posts. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

Monroe-Foster-Steele-Moore-Lee-King Jamaican Shipbuilding Assistance Act. (Lisa Henderson, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Bassett-Walker Act to provide jobs for height-challenged Americans. (Todd Petree, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender)

The Walker-Clymer-Boudinot-Huger stay-in-shape resolution. (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)

The Lee-Moore-Lee resolution to add another dozen historical markers in Virginia. (Joy Sibley, Fairfax, Va.)

The Maclay-Gunn Act to investigate the high percentage of escapes from prisons that give pottery classes. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

The Lee-Lee-White anti-immigration resolution. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.; Scott Boller, Centreville, Va., a First Offender) [this turns out to be Scott’s second blot of ink; he got one honorable mention for Week 241, in 1997]

The Morris-Moore Resolution decrying minimalist architecture. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.; Carol Ostrow, Laurel, Md.)

The Laurance-Livermore-Huger-Steele-Gunn appropriations bill to develop intercontinental cannonball technology before the British do. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

The Huger-Johnson bill to erect the Washington Monument. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

The Ames-Brown-Hawkins Act to keep the congressional cuspidors cleaner. (Susan Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

The Huger-Lee-Izard Act to increase defense spending to prevent Godzilla attacks. (Laurie Brink, Cleveland, Mo.)

The Walker-Tucker-Clymer Act to encourage our young men to increase the population of this great nation by any means possible. (Andy Promisel, Fairfax, Va.; Mark Raffman)

The Brown-Clymer Act, making it illegal to engage in sycophantic behavior for career advancement. (Dawn Kral, La Plata, Md., a First Offender)

The Grayson-Brown-Scott-Moore-White Act granting a patent to the inventor of laundry detergent. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

The Huger-Ashe amendment to require slender womenfolk to wear bustles. (Andrea Kelly, Ashton, Md.)

The Tucker-Boudinot resolution to promote the wearing of thongs with a “Just Say Yes to Crack” campaign. (Randy Lee, Burke, Va.)

The Lee Izard King Resolution: Decrying congressional deadlock, since the “time to hesitate is through; no time to wallow in the mire.” (Russ Taylor, Vienna, Va.,)

The Contee-Read-Page Act to prohibit stupid questions about the bill at issue during floor debates. (Danielle Nowlin)

The Partridge-Bourne-Gunn Act to outlaw frightening new drone technology. (Doug Hamilton)

The Sevier-Lee-White-Boudinot-Goodhue Act to promote nude sunbathing. (Tom Rowe)

The Wadsworth-Morris-Goodhue-Moore Act to declare, “Give us levity or give us death!” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

The Thatcher-Gunn Resolution that if you see something, say something. (Brian Cohen, Lexington, Va.)

The White-Johnson Act establishing minimum qualifications for election to the Second Congress (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)

Few-Read-Elmer-Lee-Dickinson legislation to support goofy hick relatives of poets. (Todd Petree)

The Schureman-Sherman bill to change affirmative votes from “aye” to something more mellow. (Tim Watts, Reston, Va., a First Offender) [Tim actually had two previous blots of ink when he lived in Maryland]

The Bland-Strong-Clymer-Parker Act allowing NSA to reveal superheroes’ identities. (Kevin Dopart)

The Grayson-Madison-Parker Resolution to encourage continued use of trendy baby names. This resolution is opposed by the writers of the Elmer-Floyd-Silvester Resolution, who advocate a return to the basics. (Kathye Hamilton, Annandale, Va.)

The Few-Moore-Read-Page Resolution commending the Sunday Style section for putting the Invitational on the back cover. (Gary Crockett)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest for words within words. See bit.ly/invite1031.

See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday) , 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, sign up here or 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 there.

Next week’s results: Ditty Harry? or Cinema Parodies, Oh!, the Week 1029 contest to write a plot summary or description of a movie, set to a well-known tune.

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