Here’s a type of contest we’ve done lots of times: Choose any two items on the list above and explain how they are alike or different. But the twist this week, suggested by Loser Christopher Lamora, is that the items on the list were all listed as “trending” or “hot” topics last Sunday on washingtonpost.com, Twitter, Google News, etc. Given the briefer-than-a-thong half-lives of some trending topics, the Empress did choose the ones that at least would be recognizable four weeks from now, when we run the results.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Style Invitational trophy. Second place wins this fine foot-tall papier-mache sculpture of a screaming human skeleton riding a surfboard. Donated by big-deal Washington Post editors and honorary Losers Lynn Medford and Jeff Leen.
Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, a yearned-for Loser Mug or the new, ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their first ink). E-mail entries to
or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, May 28; results published June 17 (online June 15). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 972” 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/StyleInv. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Dave Prevar; the alternative headline in the “next week” line is by Kevin Dopart. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at
Report from Week 968
in which we asked you for stupidly funny research grant proposals: We figured that this contest would draw lots of funny observational humor. But mostly we got unfunny, painfully old observational humor: toilet seat position, number of items in the express lane, raining after you wash the car. And, as always, alas, a joke about global warming being caused by politicians’ hot air. We did, however, find a few imaginative proposals to fund with our shamefully generous prizes.
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial
Proposal: A study to determine whether Murphy’s Law is true.
Hypothesis: Although Murphy’s Law teaches that “if anything can go wrong, it will,” the successful completion of this study, fraught as it is with potential pitfalls, will expose that “law” as a fallacy. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Winner of the Rednek Wine Glass, made from a Mason jar: Proposal: To examine the link between the obesity epidemic and global warming. Hypothesis: Since the Earth must work harder to spin with all those overweight people on it, the planet is overheating from all the exertion. (Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)