You didn’t know that navy blue is for camouflage in the water? (Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

(Click here to skip down to the results of Week 1128, our contest for uses for the Navy’s new mini-drones)

The U.S. Navy’s bluish camouflage is designed so that sailors who fall overboard will blend in. (Jeff Contompasis, 2015)

Gen. Ambrose Burnside was aided greatly in Civil War planning by his largely forgotten assistant, Col. Wendell Soulpatch. (Malcolm Fleschner, 2011)

During World War II, a secret U.S. Army survey identified 4,389 atheists in foxholes. (Bob Dalton, 2007)

As if a crib needed more of these: Pee and Poo cuddly stuffed toys, this week’s prize for finishing Number Two. (SWEDENTOYS.COM)

It’s time once again to bring forth a new set of lies for our readers (why should campaign coverage have all the fun?). We’ve had “unreal facts” contests about politicians, history, movies, medicine, sports, cars and just whatever. Now here’s another lane on the Disinformation Superhighway, courtesy of suggester Jeff Contompasis: This week: Give us some comically bogus trivia about the military, past or present, ours or theirs, as in the examples above; the second and third are from previous Invite fictoid contests, one all-purpose and the other for history.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead of the statue of Commander in Chief Lincoln that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, courtesy of Not Even a Loser Mary M. Hanlon, a cuddly pair of foamy-soft toy Pee and Poo toys, designed in Sweden; the former is bright yellow and teardrop (uh-huh)-shaped; the latter is brown and vaguely conical. Both have eyes with sort of hangdog expressions. (Wouldn’t you?)

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet designed by Bob Staake: either “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly Har-Har.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday night, July 20; results published Aug. 9 (online Aug. 6). You may submit up to 25 entries per contest. Include “Week 1132” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at . The headline for this week’s results is by Tom Witte; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Jeff Contompasis. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday, discusses each new contest and set of results. This week: Several Losers pen impromptu verses for a song about peas in guacamole. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

And the results of the Style Invitational posted four weeks ago . . .


In Week 1128, we asked for some imaginative uses for the new, inexpensive CICADA mini-drones that the Navy is developing. After reading a goodly (or badly) number of wistful dreams of swarms of upskirt cameras, the Empress isn’t so sure she wants to go to any more Loser brunches.

4th place:

A CICADA could be used to deliver pink slips to the soon-to-be unemployed, with a recorded “Remember, change is good — we wish you the best!” farewell after each notification. (Mark Asquino, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea)

3rd place:

The only way to get past the shame of the American government spying on its own citizens is for it to issue every man, woman and child a micro-drone so they can spy on each other. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

2nd place

and the itty-bitty coffee mug and mini-sushi key chain:

When someone cuts you off in traffic, send a CICADA to fly inconspicuously alongside the offender’s vehicle and zip suddenly ahead to trip the radar detector as it passes the next speed trap. Then enjoy the schadenfreude when you see the speeding driver pulled over as you sail on by. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES, ZOOMY McSPEEDYPANTS?? (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

And the winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Use the micro-drone as a baby monitor, clinging to the rail of your child’s crib. Years later, your son will write a picture book about his insect friend, Jiminy CICADA, who, instead of taking him on magical adventures, reports his every escape attempt to Mom. (Lawrence McGuire)

The rotary club: honorable mentions

Congratulations CICADAs: the coolest way to be notified that you’ve been accepted to MIT. (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)

AIDA CICADA: Pressured into an evening at the opera or ballet? This little gem discreetly broadcasts ESPN Sports Radio into your earbud. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

Are you a fussy, squeamish housekeeper? The micro-grips on a CICADA can handle even the smallest roach — and keep it steady and ash-free right at the toker’s lips. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Are you paranoid about someone stealing your PIN at the ATM and constantly check for people behind you? With CICADAs around, now you can be really, really paranoid. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

Birds and bees do it, but not necessarily right after your obnoxious neighbor washes his Mercedes. Just fill up your DropShot drone with a mayo-relish mixture and send him a special tweet. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

CICADAs are amazing technology. I mean, you could stick something in an envelope, hand it to the drone and have it in the recipient’s hands — no matter where in the country they live — in a matter of days. Where else could you get service like that? (Danielle Nowlin)

Now, helicopter parents can do it literally. (Judy Blanchard)

Deploy billions of CICADAs in geosynchronous orbit over the hole in the ozone layer. Problem solved! Now, was that so hard? (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick, Md.)

Equipped with needles and ink, a CICADA swarm could make a great tattoo of a CICADA swarm. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Guaranteed Seder fun when a plague of techno-locusts descends on your guests! For the grand finale, they regroup and do their part as the Red Sea. (Kevin Dopart)

Have them automatically position themselves to block the view of the larger government drone that’s been following you around. (Ben Aronin, Washington)

CICADAs could deliver your adopted baby right to your door — call it heirmail. (Judy Blanchard)

I call upon the Navy to deploy hundreds of CICADAs, with micro-cameras, every day in Loch Ness until I am finally vindicated. (Kyle Hendrickson)

Selfie-sticks are so 2014. (Ward Kay)

The director of the new Broadway production says CICADAs will replace the bluebirds arranging Cinderella’s ball gown: “They’re easier to train and don’t leave droppings.” (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.; Amy Harris, Charlottesville, Va.)

In the future, when houseflies are extinct, we can train them to eat poop and spread disease. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Mattel can market the interactive Drone Pilot Barbie Playset — look out, Un-American-looking American Girl dolls! (Kevin Dopart)

I’ve been working on a plan to outfit a swarm of micro-drones with loops of fishing line. They’ll be programmed to catch squirrels in my neighbor’s yard and then fly around with them at 15 feet while playing music from old science fiction films. The flying saucer casings might be too much. (David Friedman, Arlington, Va.)

Now, kids, Santa WILL see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake. (Doug Frank, Crosby, Tex.)

Soon they’ll make the HICKADA: It’s a micro-drone that just sits in the front yard on tiny cinder blocks. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

The New England Patriots are already at work adding drone technology into footballs for in-flight guidance to receivers. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

The Seekah 380® finds your golf ball no matter how deep the rough. The Cheetah 480 EVL® finds it and nudges it back into the fairway. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

TV can finally show the “ball’s-eye view” of a pitch thrown at 95 mph and then knocked over a fence. And with the CICADA hooked on the side, a curveball will REALLY curve. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

Video surgery! You say you’re caught in a remote crevice like James Franco in “127 Hours” and hesitate to amputate your leg because you’re afraid of bleeding to death? Just make one quick call and a CICADA will be on its way to your crevice, projecting a video on the rocks to show you how to safely sever your limb in 22 easy steps! (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

Try as I could, I cannot think of a way CICADAs can help the Redskins win. (Todd DeLap)

Given what everyone else wants them for, I just hope CICADAs are allowed to fly for only a few weeks once every 17 years. (Ken Gallant, Conway, Ark.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, July 13: Our contest for ways to repurpose certain surplus items. See