The Style Invitational Humor Contest: Week 799, Joint Legislation

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Schock-Warner Act to mandate beach alarms to announce the approach of flabby guys in Speedos.

The new members of Congress were sworn in this week -- there are a whopping 68 of them if you count House members who became senators, and if you count Al Franken and Roland Burris, which we will even if their would-be colleagues aren't ready to. And as we do in honor of each new session, we want to give them something to work on. This week: Come up with legislation that, given their names, two or more freshman senators and representatives might sponsor together, as in the example illustrated above (the list is below). Each bill must have at least two sponsors. Among similar ideas -- we're inevitably going to get lots of duplication this week -- the ink will go to the best explanation of the bill.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place gets a genuine Goldwater '64 bumper sticker -- it's scaled to the size of the typical mid-'60s sedan and only a bit torn -- donated by 80-time Loser Beverley Sharp, AND a 1984 Mondale-Ferraro bumper sticker coughed up by 83-timer Andrew Hoenig. This pair may well be the most suitable Loser prize ever -- by a landslide.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. First Offenders get a smelly tree-shaped air freshener (Fir Stink for their First Ink). One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 19 (sorry, people who do the Invite at the office, we can't wait all the way to Wednesday). Put "Week 799" 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 Feb. 7. 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 results is by Stephen Dudzik; this week's Honorable Mentions name is by Larry Yungk.

Report from Week 795

In which we asked for some shovel-ready suggestions on what the government should be spending our money on in an effort to stimulate the economy: Many people thought it might buy a Senate seat from the governor of Illinois.

UberLoser Russell Beland, who relaxes by being an economist during his time off from writing Style Invitational entries, notes that John Maynard Keynes suggested that the government hire teams to bury bottles of bank notes in mineshafts and let the private sector employ people to find them, while Milton Friedman imagined that a government could drop money from helicopters directly to the public.

4.Build a video game room at the Capitol Visitor Center so that school-age kids have something to do while their parents are touring. (David and Wendy Epstein, Potomac, First Offenders)

3.Encourage people to spend money faster by printing it with disappearing ink. (Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)

2. the winner of the Official Bush Countdown Clock, useful for the next 10 days: Since pro ball players make great salaries, let's build a major league stadium in every town. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

And the Winner of the Inker

Erect a picket fence along the whole U.S.-Canada border, so we have something to lean on while we chat about the weather. (Russ Taylor, Vienna)

Inappropriations: Honorable Mentions

Forget the cardboard cutouts in front of the White House. Have the real Barack Obama pose for pictures with tourists -- a hundred bucks a pop. (Michael Gips, Bethesda)

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