In Massachusetts it is illegal to play only part of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
(General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 264, Section 9)
Not a real law:
In Massachusetts all dogs riding on car roofs must wear diapers.
(Mike Gips, Bethesda)
(Idea by Beverley Sharp; designed and drawn by Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
(Pat Myers — The Washington Post) - The unfortunate Christmas basket that is this week’s second prize.
You’ve probably seen those lists of “stupid laws still on the books.” Eighty-two-time Loser Mike Gips did, and then suggested this week’s contest: Suggest an odd law for a particular place in the world, perhaps prompted by some event that future generations would lose track of. You may also specify the punishment for breaking the law. Alas, most of the really ridiculous “still on the books” laws in these widely circulated lists — that women in Tucson are forbidden to wear pants, or that in Florida, it is illegal to fart in a public place after 6 p.m. — don’t actually exist. But that doesn’t stop us from adding to them.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a (we hope) unique product: An ill-conceived craft project that the Empress found at a church bazaar, it consists of a bonnet-shaped brimmed basket with a little glass bowl in the middle. On the brim have been glued various sections of a dismembered teddy bear lying on its back — arms on the sides, legs on one end, head at the other end, so that the bowl is in the middle (I would fill it with giblets). But to top it off, the bear head has been modified to include antlers and a red nose — so we have Rudolph the Red-Nosed, Fleshy-Pawed, Dismembered Reindeer/Bear Hybrid.
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
or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 3; results published Dec. 23 (online Dec. 20). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 998” 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 Jeff Contompasis; the alternative headline in the “Next week’s results” line is by Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at
Report from Week 994
in which we asked for ideas for our two new lusted-after Loser Magnets given to honorable mentions. The slogans are by the Losers; the design and art are by our resident magnetician, Bob Staake, who has gained such stature in the Real Publishing World that we now value each business-card-size magnet at $10,000, up from the previous 21 cents. As usual, we’ll have 500 of each of these made, so this pair should last us about a year. After that, we might dig back into these results for the next set.
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial
plus the magnet featuring his idea: [See the “not(e)worthy” design at the top of the page.] (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)