(Click here to skip down to the results of the caption contest)
Jan. 15, 2018: Former senator Al "Handsy" Franken posts a Facebook message announcing that he is embarking on a new career and has been hired as a TSA screener.
Sept. 15, 2018: Harassment accusations take down another prominent entertainer when four different puppets accuse ventriloquist Jeff Dunham of "inappropriate touching," "repeated confinement in a locked trunk" and "shoving his hand up our backsides."
It's hard to imagine what news events could be more astonishing than the "no, it's not the Onion" jaw-droppers we've encountered daily throughout 2017. But it was also hard to imagine anyone could write a funny song parody about sea urchin sushi, and the Loser Community did just fine with that contest, too. So we're bringing back a contest we did seven years ago, inspired by Loser Malcolm Fleschner's annual "Year in Preview" in his San Jose Mercury-News humor column "Culture Shlock." Jokingly predict some news event to happen in 2018, as in the examples above from Malcolm's column.
Submit entries at the website wapo.st/enter-invite-1260 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a battery-operated "Instant Audience" gadget that, at the push of any of four buttons, will supply you with several seconds of "applause," "crickets," rimshot" or "boo." "This is not a toy," the package announces sternly. So you'll have to find a serious application for it. Donated by Dave Prevar. (Applause for Dave.)
Other runners-up win our "You Gotta Play to Lose" Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, "I Got a B in Punmanship." Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, "No Childishness Left Behind" or "Magnum Dopus." First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air "freshener" (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Jan. 8; results published Jan. 28 (online Jan. 25). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The "Quip art" headline was submitted by both Chris Doyle and Danielle Nowlin; Kevin Dopart wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. "Like" Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results — and this week, there's a poll so that you can choose your favorites among this week's results. See it here.
Of the 1,000-plus captions submitted for the four Bob Staake cartoons in Week 1256, about a dozen offered "Hey, my eyes are down here" for Picture B, while numerous others identified the man in Picture A as a Grateful Dead fan.
PICTURE C: Mr. Kershaw didn't seem very concerned when his new TV wafted to the floor. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)
PICTURE A: Today's death metal music goes right over Harvey's head. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
and the hat promoting an off-color-named fan company:
PICTURE D: It's moldy! I should've known not to buy a Henry Moore sculpture at Kmart! (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)
PICTURE B: Judge Moore regretted hitting on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
It turns out that it wasn't "his master's voice" that kept Nipper staring at the Victrola. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)
Winthrop cleverly repurposed his old organ grinder. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Contemplating Nana's disappearance, Chuck suddenly realized why the device was called a gramophone. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
Reginald occasionally lets his skeletons out of the closet for a dance party. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Armand really wanted a Victrola, but could only afford a Vitriola. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)
"Ethel, I said I wanted to hear '76 TROMbones!' " (Hildy Zampella, Falls Church, Va.)
Edison was irked by the ribbing — and femuring, skulling and pelvising — that he received over his new invention, the bonograph. (Christy Tosatto, Brookeville, Md.)
Amid the distractions of the crime scene, investigators failed to notice that Mr. Bentley had planted marijuana in the Stanley Cup. (Mark Raffman)
"But Blair said that when I was in town I should look up his sister." (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
"And if you think this is weird, let me show you what's in my briefcase." (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Once again he lost his head and panted after the first pretty girl to walk by. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)
"Baby, I'm head over heel for you." (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.; Edward Gordon, Austin)
"It's called extreme ventriloquism — anyone can throw their voice . . ." (Jeff Shirley, Richmond)
"Madam, I was not staring at your chest. I am a leg man." (Andrew Hoenig, Rockville; Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)
Bill should have read the consent form for his knee replacement more carefully. (John Hutchins, Silver Spring)
No one was fooled by the guy shooting upskirt photos once the head fell off his dummy. (Tom Witte)
"You should see my sister — she wears her heart on her sleeve." (Steve Fahey, Kensington)
"Hey, baby, show me what you got!" yelled the knee jerk, hoping to get a reaction. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)
Fred lost his malpractice suit after the judge ruled that his face functioned perfectly. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)
Greg suddenly realized why women weren't interested in him: His jacket was missing half of its lapels. (Duncan Stevens)
The "Big Suit" worked for David Byrne but not so well for Peter Dinklage. (Bill Hilton, Hendersonville, N.C., a First Offender)
"If you see me walking down the street / My head on my thigh, my chin by my feet / Walk on by …" (Tom Witte)
Distracted by the sports section, Frank would soon find out he was standing next to a huge envelope full of fire ants. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
The only thing worse than getting TP stuck to your shoe? Getting King Kong's TP stuck to your shoe. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax)
The driverless carpet still requires more road-testing. (John O'Byrne, Dublin)
"I'm not sure what's stranger: that a sheet of drywall just randomly fell on my toe, or that my newspaper is made of rigid steel." (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)
"Search Continues for Letter I Stolen From 'PUBLIC PARKING' Sign" (Jesse Frankovich)
Having a sheet of drywall fall on his foot became the second-biggest shock of Frank's day when he was reading that the Browns actually won a game. (Jesse Frankovich)
Irma just had to try the pitted Fukushima avocados. (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)
By late 2017, the Pinocchiofruit had become a real problem. (Brad Levy, Lawrence, Kan., a First Offender)
Mrs. Bunyan was annoyed at the size and expense of the toilet bowl scrubber she needed to buy. (John Folse, Bryans Road, Md.)
"No, Zork, you can not ride in the little seat!" (Frank Mann, Washington)
"These darn food section recipes always have one exotic ingredient, but 'giant bewhiskered hambone' takes the cake." (Jeff Lubbers, Takoma Park, Md.)
Irene was totally pumped to find the perfect Style Invitational prize. (Jesse Frankovich; Duncan Stevens)
Disagree on the winners? Vote for your favorites at wapo.st/conv1260.
Still running — deadline Tuesday night, Jan. 2: our contest for euphemisms. See wapo.st/invite1259.