We’re pretty sure we felt that in 2019 and 2017 as well, but this time we hope that this latest installment of our biennial “joint legislation” contest will help our national lawmakers bind their wounds, and reach out across the aisle as they read the results of this contest, and in true concord, look straight at each other and say, “Whaaaa?”
This week: Combine two or more names from the list below of the new members of Congress to “co-sponsor”a bill based on their combined last names, and state its purpose, as in the examples above. We’re just playing with the sound of their names, not referring to the sens and reps themselves. Note the pronouncers next to some of the names; the Empress will accept a small stretch of pronunciation, but you can’t pretend that, say, Rep. Peter Meijer pronounces his name “Major.” (It’s pronounced “myer,” as shoppers at his family’s huge Midwestern supermarket chain know.)
Still, one of 2019’s top winners was the Sherrill-Watkins-Scott resolution that younger siblings should get to play with the older kids’ toys — as in “share all what kin’s got.”
If you think that maybe the E won’t understand your entry, please follow it with a translation, but do it on a separate line so she can try without it. Her strong advice: Ask one or two other people to read your “bill,” without any hints, and see if they get it.
76 77 (see below) newbies (since January 2019): Auchincloss (AWK-in-closs); Bentz; Bice (rhymes with “rice”); Bishop; Boebert (BO-bert); Bordeaux; Bowman; Bush; Cammack (CAM-mick); Carl; Cawthorn; Clyde; Donalds; Fallon; Feenstra; Fernandez; Fischbach; Fitzgerald; Franklin; Garbarino; Garcia; Gimenez (hee-MEN-ez); Gonzales; Good; Greene; Hagerty (haggerty); Harshbarger; Herrell (HER-ell); Hickenlooper; Hinson; Issa (EYE-sa); Jackson; Jacobs; Jacobs; Jones; Kahele (ka-HELL-ay); Keller; Kelly; Kim; LaTurner; Lujan (loo-hahn); Lummis (with a short “lum”); Mace; Malliotakis (mally-o-TOCK-iss); Mann; Manning; Marshall; McClain; Meijer (myer); Mfume (mm’FOO-may); Miller; Miller-Meeks; Moore; Moore; Mrvan (mer-VAN); Murphy; Nehls (nells or nails, depending on how Texan your accent is); Newman; Olbernolte (olber-nolty); Ossoff; Owens; Pfluger (fluger); Rosendale; Ross; Salazar; Sessions; Spartz; Steel; Strickland; Tiffany; Torres; Tuberville (tubberville); Valadao (vala-DAY-o); Van Duyne (van DINE); Warnock; Williams. UPDATE: The Empress initially left Alex Padilla (pa-DEE-a), Vice President Harris’s replacement in the Senate, off the list. If you’ve already sent in 25 entries, you may send in up to two more featuring Sen. P.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1419 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Jan. 25; results appear Feb. 14 in print, Feb. 11 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a genuine Four Seasons Total Landscaping coffee mug. (We can drip hair dye into it for a nominal charge.) Donated by Loser Frank Osen.
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, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Comeback Kidders” is by Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle 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 afternoon, Jan. 14, at wapo.st/conv1419.
Special guest on the “You’re Invited” podcast! It’s a half-hour interview with Bob Staake, who, over the course of his 27 years as the Invite’s cartoonist, went and became a world-famous children’s book author and magazine cover artist. See bit.ly/invite-podcast.
Comeback kidders: The year in redo, Part 1
Week 1415 was Part 1 of our annual retrospective; you could enter any of 25 contests from the first half of the past year. (Next week, the rest.) The Empress could easily have filled this column with nothing but inkworthy foal names and Shakespeare jokes, but then you’d miss all the variety.
Week 1387, drop letters from a movie title
THE SILENCE OF THE (Lam) BS: We may not get it by Jan. 20, but at least it won’t be coming from the Oval Office. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)
Week 1370, use only the letters of a person’s name to write about that person
Thomas Jefferson: After major efforts, these men are free! . . . Oh. Those other men are not. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Week 1376, add a character to a Shakespeare play:
Antony in "Antony & Cleopatra": You do mistake your business.
Rudy Giuliani: No, I MEANT to hold this press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Seconds to spare: Honorable mentions
Week 1364, crossword clues for a prefilled grid
ACACIA: Agency that spies on Obamacare applicants (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)
OHOH: What Atnas shouts at the South Pole as he slides up your yenmich (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
FAMILYTREE: What should have lots of olive/yew branches (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)
TEN: The number of teams in the Big Ten Conference, minus four. (Steve Smith)
Week 1365, a poem about someone who died in 2019
Jim Fowler, “Wild Kingdom” zoologist
“Watch Jim squeeze the giant snake!”
That was Marlin Perkins’ take.
“Hold that lion’s mouth open wide!”
Marlin said, and Jim complied.
Did the creature bite or sting?
Jim, not Marlin, held the thing.
Surely Jim had help divine
To make it to age 89.
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Chanchai Lahiri, escape artist
All the fans of the “Indian Mandrake” were teary
When told of the passing of Chanchai Lahiri.
He was hung upside down with his hands and feet bound,
Then submerged in a river, where sadly he drowned.
But by trying a trick that Houdini made famous
And dying, he’s now deemed a true ignoramus.
That’s fair, since fiascos like his just appear
To occur when some doofus says, “Yo, hold my beer.”
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
Week 1366, neologisms containing the letter block LIAR
Roverfamiliar: What your neighbor’s dog is when he sniffs your crotch. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Garlicorice: A short-lived variety of Twizzlers that was much stronger in flavor than in sales. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
Week 1367, pickup lines
From a psychic: “You look familiar. Haven’t I seen you here next year?” (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)
From Dwayne Haskins: “Will you help me complete a pass at you?” (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
From a psychoanalyst: “May I ask which type of fixation you have?” (Emma Daley, Harrisburg, Pa.)
Week 1369, jokes based on misheard words
Mob boss sees an old lady struggling to cross the street, sends off one of his thugs to offer to help. Thug walks over, shoots the lady dead. He comes back and says: “Well, I offed her, boss, but I’m not sure it helped.” (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)
Week 1370, use only the letters of a person’s name to write about that person
Kimberly Guilfoyle: OK, boomer, I yell bigly! I yell kookily! Ruefully, no more. I figure I’ll be mum. No lie. Yo, gullible rube, you yokel ogler -- remember, you like me for my booby look. Book me; you’ll go for my bimbo mime gig. (Kevin Dopart)
Attorney General William P. Barr: Time to atone: No more enabling Agent Orange Twitter tyranny. No more rewriting legal reality. No more “ballot robbery” rigmarole. Too little too late? Not my problem – I’m retiring! (Steve Smith)
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt: To be honest, his name is not mine too. (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)
Week 1371, neologisms from ScrabbleGrams ‘racks’
EGNORSU > Noserug: A mask too big for the wearer’s face. (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)
Week 1374, rap battles between historical figures
Michael Jordan ...
You jumped from a tub and for that you got fame,
Your bare-bottom sprinting don’t mean you got game.
Vs. Archimedes of Syracuse:
After two thousand years they remember “Eureka,”
At twenty years done, just your name’s on a sneaka. (Kevin Dopart)
Erwin Schrödinger ...
“Electron states: man, they’re uncertain as heck!
Can’t know what they are, and then each time we check,
We change ’em, as if we were changing our socks!
A mystery, just like a cat sealed in a box!”
Vs. Albert Einstein :
“The mystery is where you’ve inserted your head!
God doesn’t play dice! He plays poker instead,
And he says you should fold, ’cause your brain’s turned to glitter!
No more cats in that box, and, dude, please change the litter.” (Duncan Stevens)
Week 1375, reinterpret a headline by adding a bank head
Headline:. D.C. bans indoor dining in restaurants for three weeks
“That’s way too long to sit there,” District says (Duncan Stevens)
Bad drivers in D.C. could soon get a serious warning sent straight to their cellphones
Flashing text alert will read ‘Stop looking at your texts!’ (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)
Bears, 33; Vikings, 27
Outnumbered Norsemen fall prey to wildlife (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Week 1376, add a character to a Shakespeare play
Jaques in “As You Like It”: Give me leave to speak my mind, and I will through and through cleanse the foul body of th’infected world, if they will patiently receive my medicine.
Fauci: Yeah, lots of luck. (Dan Helming, Trenton, N.J.)
Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay/ We may effect this business yet ere day.
Mitch McConnell: No. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)
Aaron in “Titus Andronicus”: Come, come, our Empress, with her sacred wit, to villainy and vengeance consecrate.
Pat Myers: You rang? This had better be good — I’m busy rejecting Style Invitational entries. (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)
Week 1378, song parodies about the pandemic
To “If I Only Had a Brain”
You must while away the hours, consumin’ whisky sours,
And fightin’ mental strain,
Public health you’ll be protectin’ if you don’t go out infectin’,
And you stay in your domain.
I can tell you’ve got a longing to sally forth, a-thronging—
I ask you, please refrain.
You can still be problematic even if asymptomatic,
So please stay in your domain.
Stay home, try not to roam, observe the quarantine,
Though your brain may turn to polyethylene, resist the urge to reconvene!
Talk on Zoom, and while you’re chattin’, the curve will surely flatten,
Your efforts aren’t in vain.
You will render great assistance by maintaining social distance:
Kindly stay in your domain. (Duncan Stevens)
To “Be Our Guest”:
Here’s a check! Here’s a check! It’s delayed, but what the heck?
I’ll accept your humble thanks although the country is a wreck.
Look, it’s signed with my name! But I’ll take no share of blame,
For the crisis that has shook us — beg to differ? Kiss my tuchas!
Been laid off? Out of work? Then be grateful for this perk,
And forget that the economy is dreck,
And while I plot my coup — here’s what I’ve got for you,
It’s just a speck. What the heck? Here’s a check! (Mark Raffman)
Week 1379, puns on song titles
Czech President Vaclav Havel was an avid baker, but he was often frustrated by his country’s supply-chain problems. One day he asked his wife to pick up some ingredients, but she responded, “Where, Havel? The flour’s gone!” (Duncan Stevens)
“Wow, Stevie, you sure know your Islamic law. Who taught you about it?”
“An old Moroccan friend; I call him my Sharia Moor.” (Chris Doyle)
Week 1380, delete letters from a word to reveal a related one
PArticipaNTS: They’re not always on when the Zoom call starts. — J. Toobin (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
DOminioN: What you can’t trust to give you accurate election results. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
Low-calorIE: What you tell yourself before that second helping of pie. (Chris Doyle)
Week 1382, ‘breed’ two Kentucky Derby winners and name the foal
Foolish Pleasure x Apollo = Schwing and a Myth (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park, Md.)
His Eminence x Exterminator = Papal People Eater (Jonathan Paul)
Big Brown x Always Dreaming = UPSy Dazey (Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)
Week 1383, pair a sentence from the paper with a question it could answer
“I’ll keep watching it until it gets better.”
Q. You say your wife is unsatisfied with her sex life, Mr. Falwell? (Duncan Stevens)
“That’s probably as good of a first half as I can remember.”
Q. What did Henry VIII say as he tackled the rest of the spit-roasted boar? (Beverley Sharp)
Week 1384, stupid questions
Given that the Scarecrow had no brain and the Tin Man had no heart, why didn’t they say what body parts the Cowardly Lion was missing? (Mark Raffman)
Week 1385, alter a place name
Shamburg: German birthplace of the Impossible Burger. (David Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va.)
Presno: The childhood home of Hillary Clinton. (Steve Smith)
Ghanaria: You’re not going to want any souvenirs from there. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
Week 1387, drop letters from a movie title
THE PErfectT STORM: The day it literally rained cats and dogs. (Tom Witte)
And Last: SHerLOCK HOLMES: Famed detective investigates a troubling series of Style Invitational prizes. (Jesse Frankovich)
And Even Laster: EAT drINK MAN WOMAN: A high-scoring Style Invitational Loser taunts those who have won only honorable mentions. (Roy Ashley, Washington, who has more than 400 blots of ink)
Still running — deadline Monday night, Jan. 18: our neologism contest for words including the letter block UNDO in any order. See wapo.st/invite1418.
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