Announcing the latest Style Invitational Grossery Bag for runners-up; the slogan, by Tom Witte, got ink in the 2012 contest that also provided the ideas for our first two Grossery Bags. Third- and fourth- (and first-) place Losers can choose between this bag and one of the Loser mugs until the mugs run out; we'll get more of them in 2017. (Design by Bob Staake for The Washington Post )

(Click here to skip down to the winning nominations for alternative presidential candidates)

God told us, “Thou shalt not kill.”
We say sure, but it’s fine to kill folks who don’t like our God.
God says, “No, thou shalt not kill.”
We say sure, but it’s cool so long as it’s just those guys who dress in rags and have beards.
God says, “No, write this down. Thou shalt not kill.”
We say, “Sure. Now who is this “thou” guy you mean? — Robert Carlisle, Week 495

These days, at least among tens of millions of U.S. citizens, the best way to impress people is to speak to them on a first-grade level, no matter how complicated the subject. Loser Matt Monitto recently reminded the Empress of a contest that her predecessor, the Czar, ran in 2003, and that the Empress had never tried: This week: Explain some concept or philosophy entirely in words of one syllable, as in the Week 495 runner-up above. (See the rest of the 2003 results in this week’s Style Conversational column at (published late Thursday afternoon, Aug. 11). Maximum 100 words, but much shorter is also fine.

For this week’s second-place finisher, two essential looks for maximum Loserosity.

Submit entries at this website:

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a two-pack of Groucho-type nose/glasses, each with a special enhancement: One has a wart-shaped knob on the nose; when you twist it, the attached eyebrows and mustache wiggle. The other is called Snot Nose Glasses and has a plastic blob hanging off it. Donated by Losers Nan Reiner and (long, long ago) Peter Metrinko, respectively.

Other runners-up win their choice of the brand-new Grossery Bag we show this week; a yearned-for Loser Mug; the older-model “This Is Your Brain on Mugs” mug; or a vintage Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Magnet Dum Laude” or “Falling Jest Short.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Aug. 22; results published, oh boy, Sept. 11 (online Sept. 8). You may submit up to 25 entries per contest. See contest rules and guidelines at The headline for this week’s results is by Tom Witte; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Jesse Frankovich. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

And the results of the Style Invitational contest from four weeks ago . . .


In Week 1184, noting the disappointment so many Americans say they feel about the two major-party presidential candidates, to suggest someone — or something — as a better alternative (we also allowed ideas for prez-veep tickets). Many of you power brokers nominated candidates on a common theme, including Ernest and Julio Gallo: Make America Grape Again; Tony the Tiger: Make America Grrrreat Again; a wheel of parmesan cheese: Make America Grate Again; Viagra: Make America Mate Again; Vladi­mir and Estragon: Make America Wait Again; and Beyoncé: Make America Gyrate Again.

4th place

Vote for Torquemada: Law and order and religious values — a twofer! (Steve Honley, Washington)

3rd place

A wad of cash: It’s been in charge for a while already. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

2nd place and the doorstop that looks like a red splat of goo:

Mother Teresa, who presumably is in Heaven, would surely win — since so many voters say they’d prefer Nun of the Above. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

And the winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Vote for the Cyclops/Stuart the Minion ticket to solve our nation’s crisis: Eye Alone Can Fix It. (Annette Green, Lexington, Va.)

The system is rigged!: honorable mentions

Yes, I know that this potential candidate has fallen out of favor with women voters, and there are worries that a run would ruin the party. But America needs a leader strong enough to be in control at the top and can lend support to the masses at the bottom. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m going with President Pantyhose! (Hildy Zampella, Falls Church, Va.)

Wayne LaPierre would make a good president — but why would he want to give up so much power? (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

My fellow Americans, now is the time to elect the Charles, Romano and Bolger families. Because we really need to be improving Ray’s relations. (Nan Reiner, Boca Raton, Fla.)

America should elect Sisyphus: He’s been in training for this kind of job all his afterlife. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)

Vote for Penn and Teller! Wait — which one doesn’t talk? Okay, make that Teller and Penn. (Hildy Zampella)

Nominate Bob Staake to draw two cartoon characters to run against each other. Oh, wait. (Frank Mann, Washington)

Siri/Watson 2016: All the benefits of unreliability and untrustworthiness without that awkward human element. (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

Melania Trump: She isn’t afraid to stand up and say what Michelle Obama thinks. (Dave Zarrow, Reston)

Sitophilus granarius would be preferable to Anthonomus grandis for president, being the lesser of the two weevils. (Gary Crockett)

If we’re going for a lady who can’t reliably use her email, we ought to elect my grandma. Lots of people like her. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

Chris Christie is someone I think everybody could get behind. Literally. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Both of the nominees should reconsider their running mates and choose Bill Clinton for veep — after all, he’s renowned as a president of vice. (Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Vote Vincent Orange/Fiona Apple: They’re incomparable. (David Lang, Olney, Md., who got his only previous ink 13 years ago)

My vote goes to the Alan Dershowitz/Gloria Allred celebrity-lawyer ticket: They’re both passionate about defending stars in stripes. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

Homer Simpson/ Ned Flanders, because nothing says “America” like a narcissistic, ignorant blowhard teamed with a religious zealot. Um . . . (Ed Sobansky, Bowie, Md.)

John Wall — and let Mexico pay his salary. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Elect the bigmouth know-it-all from the break room at work: First, they already know what is wrong with everything and how to fix it. Second, it would get them out of the break room at work. (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

Speedy the Alka-Seltzer kid: Americans need look no further than this tiny titan of the business world, the perfect (over-the) counter-candidate. Loved by millions for his odd combination of fizzy optimism and deflationary policies. And globally respected for his relief work. (Dave McCord, Bel Air, Md., a First Offender)

America needs a guy who understands the need for security — elect Linus van Pelt! (Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

If you put 18 Republicans and some bacon grease in a blender, run it on high and then let it stand for a few minutes, the bacon grease will float to the top and coagulate. So, apparently bacon grease would make a good president. (Warren Tanabe)

Shaquille O’Neal would make a good president — have you seen the size of his hands? (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)

Let us elect the D.C. Madam and her staff. As president, vice president and members of the Cabinet, they will merely be confirming the obvious: Offer politicians enough money, and they’ll take any position you want. (Nan Reiner)

Bozo the Clown should be president because . . . oh wait, you said you wanted an alternative candidate. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Finally, a candidate that will stand firm, with a long history of supporting senior citizens. Viagra for president! (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

For president and VP: writers for “Law and Order,” because they can solve any problem in 44 minutes. (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

What about Dan Quayle? I mean, he was at least harmless. Anybody got his number? (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)

Vote for Chuck Norris — or else. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Aug. 15: our contest to drop the last letter from a word and describe the result. See