The Style Invitational

Style Invitational
(Bob Staake For The Washington Post)

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Mnemonic to remember the recently revised presidential line of succession: Vacuous Harry "studies" Shakespeare's tragic dramas -- "Antony," "Hamlet" -- in a college library: He's hoping to entice erudite vixens.

This week's contest: Even though he fauxpadly addressed his suggestion to "the Czarina," the Empress was eventually able to unruffle her feathers, resettle her tiara, etc., and try out the contest idea sent by John McNamara of Rockville. John notes that since the line of presidential succession was revised by the Senate this year (the secretary of homeland security moves up from 18 to eight heartbeats away), we had better come up with a way to keep this crucial information straight. (For the record: Next in line, of course, is the Vice president, followed by: House speaker; Senate president pro tem; the secretaries of State, Treasury and Defense; the Attorney general; and the secretaries of Homeland security, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and human services, Housing and urban development, Transportation, Energy, Education and Veterans affairs .) So give us an original mnemonic for this or some other list that someone might want to remember. Note: We did this contest once before, in 1995 -- as will be noted by eight perennial Losers who got ink for Week 115 and still blot regularly. So don't send us old, stale, Internetted stuff, please. Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up receives a tequila-flavored lollipop, complete with worm inside, donated by Mike Connaghan of Alexandria, AND a really ugly one of those squeezy plastic change purses, this one green and imprinted with a white mouth, from the Rio Grande Credit Union of Denver, via DavePrevar of Annapolis.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or, if you really have to, by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 22. Put "Week 623" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Entries are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published, whuh-oh, Sept. 11. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by Mark Eckenwiler of Washington.

Report from Week 619, in which we sought poems containing, in order but not necessarily adjacently, four or more successive words on the WordCount.org list of most frequently used words in the British National Corpus, a collection of clearly very diverse Brit writings: A rare Blind T-Shirt goes to Brendan Beary of Great Mills for a superb entry we cannot print here because it contains Word No. 62830 and we are only six pages away from KidsPost.

  • Third runner-up: [WordCount words Nos. 5106-5109 are marked with asterisks]
  • Said Sigmund to comely young Eve,*

    "Some mistakes* will be made on our trip.

    At restaurants,* I do believe,

    You'll be kissing this Freudian's lip.*" (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

  • Second runner-up: [6190-6193]
  • A longing would-be mommy, once her baby was conceived,*

    Protested* that her nausea was not to be believed.


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