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Week 328: Nice Capades

Sunday, June 27, 1999


This Week's Contest was suggested by "John from Gaithersburg," who wrote to ask why the Style Invitational traffics so relentlessly in negativity, making fun of people for the sake of a cheap giggle; reveling in others' failures; reinforcing negative cultural stereotypes; issuing gratuitous personal slurs. In short, he asks why we are so nasty. Well, John, you raise a good question, and it deserves a good answer: It is because you are a lard-butted idiot. But you did give us an idea for a contest. Here it is: Be nice. Send in some pleasant observation, in which you take a really cheerful or heartwarming view of something that less charitable people might conceivably see differently. It can be about anything: individuals, groups of people, institutions, places of origin, circumstances in which one can find oneself, whatever. The only criterion is that it be "nice." We are giving no examples because we want to widen the playing field. First-prize winner gets a limited-edition, numbered (#3,022) coffee mug from the launching of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Oct. 15, 1975. It is worth $20.

First runner-up gets the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Loser Pen. Other runners-up receive the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor and originality. Mail your entries to the Style Invitational, Week 328, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071; fax them to 202-334-4312; or submit them via e-mail to this address: E-mail users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Also, please do not append "attachments," which tend not to be read. Entries must be received on or before Tuesday, July 6. Important: Please include your postal address and phone number. Winners will be announced three weeks from today. Editors reserve the right to alter entries for taste, humor or appropriateness. No purchase necessary. Today's Ear No One Reads was written by Andy Spitzler of Washington. Employees of The Washington Post and members of their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

REPORT FROM WEEK 325, in which you were asked to come up with rhyming Burma-Shave highway signs to welcome travelers to various cities or states.

Third Runner-Up –


Welcome to

The deep, deep South.

You sure got

A purty mouth.

(Art Grinath, Takoma Park) Second Runner-Up –


We celebrate in poem

Our town of East Orange.

Enjoy our lovely home

And ... oh crap.

(Meg Sullivan, Potomac) First Runner-Up –


We know why you're here.

We know your plan.

You just want a gander

At "The Man."

(Greg Arnold, Herndon) And the winner of the big yellow truck photos:


We've got a bomb lab

And takeout Chinese

Though the Chinese take out

Whatever they please.

(Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring) Honorable Mentions:


Our scenery's gorgeous,

It never gets old.

Just like the interest

On Nazi gold.

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)


There's no Eiffel Tower

No Louvre or Versailles,

But if you get hungry

You can have a french fry.

(Roz Levine, McLean)


This capital city

Lives up to its billing.

Our crime rate is low

(Except for the killing).

(Vance Garnett, Washington)


Enjoy your visit eh

It's a nice place eh

Just don't go to Quebec eh

Unless you speak French eh.

(Warren Blair, Ashburn)


Grab your wallets

And dig down deep.

We may be cheesy

But we ain't cheap.

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)


We welcome all visitors

To the home of Dan Quayle.

Keep your hands on the wheel

And your eyes on the road, because studies have shown that people who glance away, even for short periods (such as for changing radio stations or dialing a cell phone) tend to have more accidents than those who pay closer attention. Humans are, after all, frail.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)


We glad you're here

A nice time it'll earn ya.

If you don't speak good English,

We're happy to learn ya.

(Jeron Hayes, Dahlgren)


Welcome to Dranesville.

Escape big-city noise.

We have us a tavern

(Last sign was stolen by high school boys).

(John Kammer, Herndon)


We know our name

Seems funny to some

Heck, we're just glad

That you could come.

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg) ARKANSAS:

Betty Sue

Done wrote this sign.

And she's sellin'

If your bine.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)


Dinner theater

At its best.

We've even got Shakespeare

Starring Adam West.

(Bob Sorensen, Herndon)


We changed our name

'Cause we abhorred it.

We'd move except

We can't afford it.

(Bill Strider, North Georgetown)


Americans welcome!

To each we devote

Only the finest

Ransom note.

(Phil Ehrenkranz, Leesburg)


Our city was sunk,

Our towers were tossed.

If you're almost here,

You're really lost.

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)


The lights give no glow

When you turn on the switch

All's dark, like the soul

Of Milosevic.

(Steve Fahey, Kensington)


Welcome, travelers,

Please check your gun.

If you did not bring it

We'll issue you one.

(Mary Jane Mitchell, Ellicott City)


Bienvenidos a Cuba

We beat the O's!

Now all we need

Are food and clothes.

(Phil Ehrenkranz, Leesburg)

Rookie of the Week:


Hello, strangers

Just try to have fun.

In a Southern state

Even shaped like a gun.

(Wid Douglas, College Park)

And Last:


Our favorite son

Is peeved and miffed; he

Suggested this contest

Around Week 50.

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel) Next Week: Comic Relief

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company
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