The Style Invitational

Style Invitational
(Bob Staake For The Washington Post)
Sunday, August 21, 2005

The beehive at first was created

So thousands of bees could be crated.

It's either the home

Where they make honeycomb

Or a hairstyle that's grossly outdated.

Just about this time last year, we introduced you to a Web site called the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, whose founder, Chris J. Strolin, aimed to compile one or more limericks for every word in the English language. At the time, Chris J. was up to words beginning with "ad-" and had just passed 600 limericks. Since then, after much publicity and input (not least from Invitational Losers), the OEDILF has burgeoned into a massive cybervault of more than 17,000 five-line definitions. And it's still on the B's! So for this week's contest: Supply a limerick based on any word in the dictionary (except proper nouns) beginning with bd- through bl-. Don't worry, any standard dictionary has lots and lots of words in this range. The limerick can define the word or simply illustrate its meaning. Once the Empress posts the results on Sept. 18, you may submit your entries (inking or not) to as well. Note: To prevent last year's, er, discussion as to what constitutes a limerick, you can see the guidelines for rhyme and meter at The standards are looser than some people's, stricter than others.

Winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up gets a DVD of "Manos: The Hands of Fate," a 1966 horror flick touted on its own box as "regarded as one of the most inept movies ever made," donated by Peter Metrinko of Chantilly.

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 or, if you really have to, by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 29. Put "Week 624" 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. 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 Tom Witte of Montgomery Village.

Report from Week 620, in which we sought ways to boost The Post's declining circulation. This contest drew thousands of enthusiastic entries with lots of ideas; unfortunately, most of the ideas were each submitted by dozens of readers, thus rendering then unprizeworthy. A few of these: (a) Have tie-ins with bird cage manufacturers and parakeet breeders; (b) make the paper especially attractive to puppies, or especially absorbent, or hardly absorbent at all (thus requiring many more newspapers); (c) print the paper on two-ply perforated rolls; (d) wrap the paper around a bottle of bordeaux; use a page of uncut $20 bills instead of a plastic bag, etc.; and (e) make the newsprint out of loofah, because, see, when you rub it on your skin, you, heh heh, increase circulation.

A number of people suggested that The Post offer its readers the "employee discount" for subscriptions. Actually, folks, you're already getting the employee discount.

Third runner-up: Add more exciting verbs to attract younger readers: "President Bush TOTALLY STUCK IT TO Uzbekistan for, like, all that stuff they did. And Uzbekistan was, like, literally going INSANE." (Ezra Deutsch-Feldman, Bethesda)

Second runner-up: Occasionally replace writers' names with whatever the spell checker suggests. So Tony Kornheiser would be Tony Cornhusker and Dan Froomkin would be Dan Foreskin. (Try it!) (Russell Beland, Springfield)

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