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Week 721: Know Your Market

(A: Michael Williamson - The Washington Post; B: Andrew Propp for the Paul Taylor Dance Company; C: Francisco Bonilla - Reuters; D: Ricky Carioti - The Washington Post)

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

We pretty much realized that The Style Invitational is a little bit different from some other newspapers' humor contests. Matt Brody of Carlisle, Pa., alerted us to the weekly photo caption contest in the Harrisburg Patriot-News, which week after week gives first prize to a submitted caption that could charitably be called wholesome and accessible. Example: Picture of two ducks. Winning caption: "You quack me up!"

Matt wondered what would happen if some Style Invitational Losers entered this contest. Would the winning humor suddenly become complex and sophisticated? So we got in touch with Losernet, the Losers' own e-mail chat group, and several Losers mailed the Patriot-News lists of entries (we suggested they not send anything off-color) for three straight weeks. Hundreds of Loser entries total. Such as, for a dog catching a Frisbee, "Karl Rover fetches a blue state for his master," by Hall of Fame Loser Jennifer Hart of Arlington.

And? The first week, one honorable mention. The second week, one more. The third week, for the Frisbee picture, several -- but it was pretty clear that the Losers were beginning to write for the judge (e.g., "Man's best friend disc-overs true happiness" by Russell Beland). The grand-prize Frisbee caption? "He's a high jumpin', tail waggin', Frisbee catchin' hound. Now that's a mouthful." Not one of ours.

This week: Here are four photos. For any of them, supply two captions: one that would appeal to The Style Invitational and one that would appeal to the Patriot-News.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up receives a Nestle Original Yorkie candy bar, which is marketed in England as a macho candy bar, not some little girly candy bar. Sure enough, in big type on the wrapper: "IT'S NOT FOR GIRLS!" Otherwise it seems to be a plain old chocolate bar named for a foofy little dog.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that week) 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 by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, July 16. Put "Week 721" 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 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 Aug. 5. 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 Kevin Dopart. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by N.G. Andrews of Danville, Va. This week's prize was donated by Peter Metrinko of Chantilly.

Report From Week 717

When we asked for Googlenopes, phrases that -- until now -- would yield no hits if entered within quotation marks on the Google search engine: An amazing number of entrants got their no-hitters only by misspellings: "Barbara McCulsky look-alike" may be a 'nope, but "Barbara Mikulski look-alike" is not. And we're going to print the following entries right here, just so they'll no longer be Googlenopes: "The Empress is sexy," "the Empress is thoughtful," "the Empress is hot," "the Empress is amazing," "the Empress totally rocks," "the Empress deserves a Pulitzer." All right, then. (All the entries below were verified Googlenopes at this writing. Capitalization and punctuation are not factors in Google searches.)

4. "Calvin Coolidge bobblehead" (Ann Martin, Annapolis)

3. "All the girls loved my Camry" (Tom Lundregan, Alexandria)

2. The winner of the Candy Hose Nose: "Haute cuisine sucks" (Bonnie Speary Devore, Gaithersburg)

And the Winner of the Inker

"That controversial 'Gilligan's Island' episode" (Malcolm Fleschner, Palo Alto, Calif.)

'Worth Only a Magnet'

"Coprolite engagement rings" (Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)


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