THIS WEEK'S CONTEST

Week 643: The Post's Mortems

Style Invitational
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Sunday, January 1, 2006

Richard Pryor's fame grew bigger/When he dared to use the N-word.

What more uplifting way to stride off into the New Year than to stomp our feet into the old, with some doggerel about dead people? It's Year 3 of Dead Letters: Give us a rhyming poem about some notable who died in 2005, as in the example above. Okay, the example doesn't technically rhyme, but then again, the Empress doesn't always technically follow the rules, even her own. As always, poems of more than four lines had better be dead-raisingly brilliant.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up receives "Treasure Trove of Ideas," a handsome set of DVDs from the government of Hong Kong, somehow parted with by Mark Eckenwiler of Washington. This box set includes hits such as "Patent Strategy," "Let's Talk About Copyright" and "Freed Riders of the Economy."

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, like the one above. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail tolosers@washpost.comor by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 9. Include "Week 643" 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. Contests are judged on humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Jan. 29. 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 639

In which we asked, as a counterpart to the Service Employees International Union's contest for sensible ideas to improve the lives of everyday Americans, some, well, less-than-sensible ideas. Some entries were actually sensible, but only in a Loserly way; many people, for example, suggested a device to reroute telemarketing calls to other telemarketers. However, they made our Do Not Ink list.

4 Implant earphone jacks in all infants at birth to allow for more convenient iPod connectivity as toddlers. (Robin D. Grove, Woodbridge)

3 Establish collection points where people would deposit their old toothpaste tubes. There would be community vises to squeeze out the last little bits, which will be put in new tubes and distributed to people who can't afford toothpaste. (Bruce W. Alter, Fairfax Station)

2 The winner of the bottle of genuine gold (flakes): To make sure 911 calls are processed correctly, institute a computerized screening service: "Welcome to 911. Please listen carefully, as some of our menu items have changed. If you have a murder in progress to report, press 1; for assault with a deadly weapon, press 2; for a fire covering more than 1,000 square feet, press 3. . . ." (Andrew Cook, McLean)

1 And the winner of the Inker

Deliver a piece of dog poop in each bag along with The Post. That way, all those people won't have to wander the streets collecting their own. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Honorable Mentions

We should make every month 30 days long. That would make life so much simpler. Of course, we'd have to figure out how to slow down the Earth a bit so that each year is 360 days. Maybe rocket engines. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Increase the Points of Light to 2,000. (Cecil J. Clark, Asheville, N.C.)

Packages of cookies should have a hidden pouch, so if someone eats the last cookie there would still be one in the pouch. Then there could be packages with a hidden pouch and an extra-special hidden pouch, so if someone eats the last cookie and someone else eats the last cookie and the hidden-pouch cookie, there will still be a cookie in the extra-special hidden pouch. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)


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