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Style Invitational Week 1425: Picture this — a cartoon caption contest

Plus winning rewrites from the words in Biden’s inaugural address.

(Click here to skip down to the winning inaugural-address word bank entries)

Bob Staake himself couldn’t tell you what they’re doing or saying in these pictures, but you can tell him, in our umpety-umpteenth-plus-one caption contest: This week: Write a caption, either descriptive or in dialogue, for any of the cartoons above.

Be kind to your trusty Empress and format your entries like this: Begin each entry with “Picture A:,” “Picture B:,” etc. (no, not with the quotation marks, silly), then follow it on the same line with your caption. This will let the E sort out all the Picture A captions together before blithely rejecting yours. TIA.

Submit up to a total of 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1425 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, March 8; results appear March 28 in print, March 25 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a totally plain black and white analog wall clock, except that it runs counterclockwise, as do the numbers. Sooo much easier than a time machine. Donated by Wise-to-Clocks Dave Prevar.

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 “Prez Clippings” is by Chris Doyle; Jesse Frankovich 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, Feb 25, at wapo.st/conv1425.

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago …

Prez clippings: Inaugural-address 'rewrites' from Week 1421

In Week 1421, just as we’d done for his predecessor four years earlier, we invited you to pick and choose some words from President Biden’s inaugural address and rearrange them to make lines from an “alternaugural” speech, or any other writing. The Empress thanks Loser Todd DeLap for running her shortlist of entries through a program he made to flag ineligible words (yup, there were some).

4th place:

McConnell versus Pelosi! Tomorrow night, the adversaries will battle under the Capitol Dome for the soul of democracy. Who will triumph and who will be humbled? See the American Dream come to life in a crucible of personal violence! Things will get ugly! And God bless America. (Only $108 — call today!) (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)

3rd place:

They say that I am fragile and can’t face the work ahead.
They tell us all that Kamala will lead the way instead.
But I am equal to the tasks, and very strong, my friends.
The toughest days I can endure, and I don’t need Depends. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

2nd place

and the hand boiler:
Of all my predecessors, one stands out as a president of profound conviction. In fact, I believe his greatest one still lies ahead. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:

My fellow Americans: As you know, Vice President Pence and I have been close friends for many years. Today, I need to tell you something. We are more than just friends — much more. In fact, he is the one and only love of my life, and the two of us will be entering into a state of total domestic union. Yes, as of tomorrow, we are becoming husbands. (George Thompson, Springfield, Va.)

Average Joe: Honorable mentions

All good things must come to an end. And it’s a good thing that no-good things do also, like President You-Know-Who. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

This is a desperate time. We see bitterness, resentment, anger. We see domestic division, civil strife, factions at war. In place of peace, love and joy, we have shouting, swearing and weeping. And that was just on the first day of work from home! (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

On watching the speech: What are these long words I hear? That was a clear and completed thought. The new president will believe reality? And he is not shouting or swearing? What a treat! (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for … What, Speaker Pelosi? That was said before? By whom? Do not harsh my moment, woman! I thought I came up with something profound! (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

It’s unity I long for, come what may,
Division, strife, and hatred I reject.
But Washington is difficult today,
And yet I have the country to protect.
When “let us work together” can’t get through,
Then “put it up your bottom” has to do. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

At last, I have the elusive, sacred thing of power I have sought for many long years. Triumph! I am the master! My own! My precious! (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Has he left yet? Should I start the oath? I hope never to see his [blue word] like again. Period. (John O’Byrne, Dublin)

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it will before-long be here. It will be better than before. Yesterday’s not here. Yes, it has left. — Speed-would (Poto)mac (Duncan Stevens)

My fellow Americans, I promise with all my heart to stand behind women, but they clearly don’t like it. (Kevin Dopart)

I would like to thank the deep state, and especially my master, George — I will not say the last name, for it’s better that you be a power in the darkness for now — for watching over me and the way your shadow forces manipulated and manufactured the vote. That was the only reason I was elected — without you, I would have lost by a lot! (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

But that’s not all! If you call now, you will also get every campaign promise you see here, with my personal guarantee. But you must act now. This deal will not last long! (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

God bless! That woman from George-a is foolish, full of fantasy and lies. Take that raging person’s behind out of this place. That is all I ask. (Duncan Stevens)

Good husbands know the paper should always be put on with the torn end hung forward. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

It’s great to be in Washington and let me tell you, those so-called patriots, their mothers are so ugly even the virus would not land on them. Thank you, thank you, I will be here all January. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Once, there were people in the stands shouting support. But under my watch the sons of Washington have been the pits. The press was all over us: They said that our name, our red-face chief and our song supported racism. Next came the story about how we treat women co-workers. But everything is different now! Well, I am still here. — D. Snyder (Steve Smith)

The one-time Patriots leader prevailed again? Cometh on! (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

My fellow Americans, the only things we have to fear are accounting class, long division, the dark, that cemetery down the block, McConnell or Pelosi/Schumer (depends on view), and most of all, your mother’s face when you do wrongs. (Eric Nelkin)

You know that story about my difficult time speaking? That was just for show. Listen: Future fury forces fragile rural friends from crucible! Or this: Pelosi pledged a painful Potomac political proclamation paper presenting Pence with public pandemic possibilities! I have thousands of these! (Frank Osen)

108 … 400 … 1,863 … 400,000 … I can’t remember all the ages I have been. (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

Fathers and sons, my morning constitution all was defined by painful block. Ages! An eternal era, I remember. And not a “silent but deadly” moment — it was heard all around Washington when it did pass. I call it the Battle of Broken Bottom. And now a time of repair and healing will begin. (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)

To defeat this virus, you must always protect your face, stand far apart from one another, and resolve not to go any place if you have a temperature. But don’t down Lies-all! (Jesse Frankovich)

Pelosi: How does this sound? “America has finally elected a president whom we know can make this country united.”
Harris: Great, but change that to “who.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

And Last: This is the first time in many weeks that I have put together any good words for this paper. Perhaps I will get an “And Last” out of it. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

And Even Laster: We were told to take any of the words the president said at the inaugural and write something. It could be bold or profound. A story, a verse, or a song. Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I will not be entering. May the force be with you all as you struggle with this difficult challenge! (Chris Doyle)

And Lastest of All: How to master entering this thing? It’s hard to be good at it, but here is a lesson: You should think of what is great about America, honor sacred things, be optimistic, and respect our leaders. Then don’t use any of that. (Kevin Dopart)

Still running — deadline Monday night, March 1: our neologism contest based on the New York Times Spelling Bee game. See wapo.st/invite1424.

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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