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Style Invitational Week 1481: Mess with our heads

Reinterpret a real headline by writing a bank head under it. Plus winning user reviews of a shoehorn and other Walmart products.

(For The Washington Post)
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Click here to skip down to the winning Walmart product reviews from Week 1477

Real headline:Burger King Says Russian Operator ‘Refused’ to Close Hundreds of Restaurants (Washington Post, March 18)
Bank head: Manager Maintains That Keeping Them Open Provided Greater Punishment

Terrapins Heating Up at Perfect Time
Plus Decorative Snake Arrangements and Other Secrets of a Reptile Brunch to Remember

James Chases Scoring Mark but Keeps Eye on Legacy
‘Giant Peach’ Survivor Wonders if Obsessive Womanizing Will Endanger Sequel Deal

The Empress, who used to write headlines five nights a week before hopping merrily onto the Style Invitational throne, plays this game constantly when she reads the paper, and brings it to the Invite about once year: Reinterpret some actual headline (or a major part of it) by adding a bank head, or subtitle, as in the examples above; the top one’s by Bob Staake Himself. The headlines may be from any publication, print or online, dated March 24-April 4, 2022. Include the source and date of the headline so the E can verify it; see details on the entry form and in this week’s Style Conversational (published late Thursday, March 24).

Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1481 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, April 4; results appear April 21 in print, April 24 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second prize receives a pre-2017 vintage Hillary Clinton Boogie Diva, a large doll of a smiling senator who, when you squeeze her cuff, “gets down and funky” with her dancin’ arms and knees (her blocky feet stay put) as she sings a bouncy but lame parody of “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” (“Land where my husband lied/And I stood right by his side/Now it’s my time to shine”). See her in action at wapo.st/invite-hillary. Donated by Loser Kathleen Delano.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Faux-Star Reviews" is by Jon Gearhart; Jeff Contompasis wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late Thursday, March 24, at wapo.st/conv1481.

Faux-star reviews: The results of Week 1477

In Week 1477 we asked for creative user reviews for eight modest items advertised at walmart.com. Judging from the number of people who suggested using the clear plastic box as a bed or coffin, I’m thinking they need to review what “20 quarts” means. (A 5-gallon jug is about 20 inches high, 11 inches in diameter.)

4th place:

Standard shoehorn: Nice product – and it works even better on your shoes after you’ve buttered your toast with it. Five stars! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

3rd place:

Great Value white sandwich bread: Whenever I want a laugh, I just go down to my local Whole Foods, display this bread prominently in my cart, and watch the horrified expressions as I stroll the aisles. (Sometimes I’ll even bring in a package of Twinkies!) No better fun to be had for 88 cents! (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md., a First Offender)

2nd place

and the book 'How to Rule the World’:

Duck brand silver duct tape: Whoops! I was invading another country and accidentally bombed a nuclear reactor! Used this tape to patch things up, though, so we’re all good. – Vlad666 (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:

Digital alarm clock: Love this thing! I hit the Snooze button in the morning and bingo, I sure do! Not sure what the other buttons are for. (Bill Cromwell, Keswick, Va.)

Always Low Prizes: Honorable mentions

DIGITAL ALARM CLOCK

Lasted only a few days – in fact, literally fell apart. How on earth did the manufacturer not realize that users would throw it against the wall on a Monday morning? (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.; Karen Lambert)

Works okay, but needs a “this end up” label or the time reads all funny. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

Love it! My son thought I should just use my phone, but it’s too much trouble to go down to where it’s charging in the kitchen every morning to turn off the alarm. Five stars! (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

STANDARD SHOEHORN

I bought a pair and my feet slipped right in, but they got pretty uncomfortable after I walked around awhile. Not a great accessory. Two stars. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

Check before you order – turns out there is only one per package. Don’t they know most people have two feet??? (Bill Cromwell; Frank Mann, Washington)

My sister and I wished we’d bought one of these years ago, when we chopped off our heels to try to fit into a glass slipper…. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

Versatile! My amply proportioned in-laws came to visit, and we have a small sofa. This handy device helped me get them both seated and pried back out! (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)

As a music enthusiast, I love learning new instruments. But just like the limoncello I bought last week, it hardly made any tone at all. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

As an older-than-usual prolific mother, I have so many kids that I don’t know what to do. A lady from social services recommended this product to get them all inside our tiny home – and it works much better than starving and whipping. Five stars! (Lawrence McGuire)

I was in the middle of examining a patient when I dropped my speculum. Was my face red! Luckily, I had recently purchased two of your quality shoehorns and was able to finish the exam without missing a beat. Thank you for this versatile product. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

GREAT VALUE WHITE SANDWICH BREAD

A “Great Value” given its nuances of taste, texture and toastability. “Enriched” with enough calcium propionate preservative to give it the shelf life of a canned ham. An excellent vehicle for classic grilled processed cheese. Pairs perfectly with either a Grape or Orange Kool-Aid. (Drew Bennett)

All the negative comments on this bread reflect a “woke” sensibility that should not be tolerated. Why should this bread be ashamed of its color? All bread matters. – VaGov2022 (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Good texture, but too spicy! Two stars – MPence1959 (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.; John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.; Sam Mertens)

The front of the package says “no high fructose corn syrup,” but the ingredients list shows they were kind enough to put some in anyway. Four stars! (Sam Mertens; Steve Leifer, Potomac; Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.) [Sure enough, the photo shown of the back of the package show Guess What in the middle of the small-type ingredient list! The Empress contacted a Walmart spokesperson, who said an incorrect photo had been used and that the bread was indeed high-fructose-corn-syrupless, and that “we will have that updated on the site very shortly.” Eagle eye, Losers!]

I’m not eating this stuff. The crusts are still on it! – Billy (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Super convenient to store – can be compressed to 1/100th its original size! (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

Your bread saved the day! We left a trail of crumbs through the woods to help us find our way home, and they were so tasteless that even the birds wouldn’t touch them. We got home in record time! Many thanks, Hansel and Gretel (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Not bad, but should be whiter. 2 stars — M. Taylor Greene (Milo Sauer, Fairfax, Va.)

Meh – just like white sandwich bread is supposed to be. Five stars! (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

‘LION MANE’ COSTUME FOR CATS

I can’t afford a security system, so I wanted to turn my cat into a resentful, bitter-at-everything, revenge-seeking hellbeast, and this was just the thing! I feel so much safer now. (Duncan Stevens)

To “Memory”:
Help me! They all laugh when I go out
In this comical fright wig.
It’s a bloomin’ disgrace.
I remember when I had a morsel of pride.
Now I dare not show my face. - Grizabella (Frank Mann)

I really wish the washing instructions had said you should remove it from the cat first. (Jesse Frankovich)

I made the mistake of putting this on my cat. Now he wanders about the house marking his territory – and I’m spending a fortune on freshly killed wildebeest. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

None of the three color-options available worked for my Mr. Snowflake. Instead of awe, he received nothing but ridicule, scorn and bullying from the other cats in our neighborhood. We are both traumatized from this experience. (Drew Bennett)

Unsatisfactory. This accessory appears to be Pantone 152 XGC and my cat is closer to Pantone 151 CP. You should have stated this in your description. (Dottie Gray, Alexandria, Va.)

For humans, too! It has restored my confidence in the bedroom after an unfortunate at-home Brazilian waxing incident. Five stars! (Lawrence McGuire)

WHISTLE WITH LANYARD

Coupled with an orange vest, this item has made my walk to work in the city a breeze! Just blow the whistle, hold up your hand while crossing the street, and act like you know what you’re doing. (Scott Richards, Hollywood, Md.)

I was so tired of my spouse getting in my way in the kitchen. Now, when he’s blocking the drawer I need, I blow the whistle and he moves in a flash! And now he also has a whistle and blows it when I’m blocking a drawer. Brilliant! (Joe McManus, Silver Spring, Md.)

ROLL OF DUCT TAPE

The perfect thing for unruly children: When my kids get too loud, I just pull this out and soon there’s absolute silence. Sure, I get the occasional strange look from other parents, but it is worth it for some peace and quiet. UPDATE: This review was meant for the whistle on on lanyard. (Art Grinath)

ORIGINAL SLINKY

Made it down all 100+ flights of the Empire State Building. Mainly because I carried it, but still. ★★★★☆ (Leif Picoult)

Had to return it, since I decided not to move from my one-story house. (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.; Pam Shermeyer)

Just in time for April Fools’ Day! Along with a pack of googly eyes and a roll of duct tape, you can enhance any statue of man or beast with the addition of a one-googly-eyed Slinky snake. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

20-QUART CLEAR PLASTIC BOX WITH LID

I’ve purchased several of these to store my clothes that WILL fit again as soon as I lose that last 15 pounds. They hold up after years of use! (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

Because it’s clear, I can see inside it while I think outside it! That was one of those thoughts right there! Was that clear? Five stars, I think. (Gary Crockett)

And Last: I have a pile of Style Invitational clippings dating back to 1993. Thanks to this bin they’ll be easy to find when I need to put down a dropcloth, light the charcoal grill or housebreak a puppy. Thanks, Sterilite! (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Still running — deadline Monday night, March 28: Our contest for fake definitions for obscure words like “fankle.” See wapo.st/invite1480.

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.

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