Week 776: An Act of Sunny Side

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Saturday, August 2, 2008; Page C02

Had to take my Hummer off the road, but it makes a great backyard greenhouse.

The neighbors got foreclosed on and moved out, but now I can wash the car naked in the daytime.

Grandkids don't visit so often, but neither does my ex-wife.

Things aren't going so well for a lot of us right now, you know? The Handbasket Express is standing room only. But who better than a bunch of confirmed Losers to make the best of a lousy situation? Or so predicts Loser Since Week 22 Elden Carnahan, who (optimistically) suggested this contest: This week: Note the silver lining in some otherwise disappointing turn of events, as in Elden's examples above.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives an original 1974 copy of "The Memoirs of Mason Reese," a book including not only dozens of pictures of the then-8-year-old commercial pitchman and human Cabbage Patch doll, but also Mason's alleged pronouncements on such issues of the day as pot smoking (he was against it). You know how some adults look nothing like their childhood photos? Well, here's Mason then and now.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, classic or current version. 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 by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 11. Put "Week 776" 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. 30. 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 Kevin Dopart. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Chris Doyle.

Report From Week 772

in which we asked readers to alter a literary passage o that it could be understood "by Los Angeles residents under 40," as an L.A. Times reader wrote in a letter to the editor complaining that there were too many hard words in a certain movie review.

Lots of first-time entrants this week, from all over the country and beyond. Not many from L.A., though.

This was a space-eating contest, so more Honorable Mentions -- including a phrase-by-phrase translation of the opening paragraph of "A Tale of Two Cities" (along with the original) -- appear at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational.

3. Ernest Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Jeffrey Contompasis, Ashburn: " There's this woman who's expecting a baby and something bad happens, like a miscarriage or something, and she had already bought some shoes in anticipation of the birth, so she puts them in the classifieds to sell them and they're still good as new because the baby was never born."

2. the winner of the maybe-working radiation detector:
William Shakespeare: "Et tu, Brute?"
Elisa M. Nichols, Kensington: "Bitch set me up!"

And the Winner of the Inker

John Donne: "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Mike Ostapiej, Tracy, Calif.: "Ding dong. It's for you."

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