President George W. Bush (about Iraq): “If the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces.”
Plain English version: “Sure, maintaining the level of ‘insanely dangerous’ takes almost no troops at all.” (Russ Taylor, winner of Week 729)
Here’s a contest that we haven’t done in years, but — as you can see from the examples above — is as timely (and timeless) as ever. This week: Take any sentence from an article or ad in any publication (print or online) dated July 29 through Aug. 9, 2021, and interpret it in “plain English,” as in the examples above from our 2007 PE contest. Please include a link to the online article you’re quoting from, or the name and date of the print publication, for quality assurance purposes (Plain English: I don’t trust you).
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1447 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Aug. 9; results appear Aug. 29 in print, Aug. 26 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives this jaunty Hmong-style hat, donated by Loser Barbara Turner and modeled here by the Empress’s neighbor Sequoia Geist, age 9. You do need to build up that back-to-the-office wardrobe, no?
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 “Loco Motions” is by Jeff Contompasis; both Jeff and Duncan Stevens came up with 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, July 29, at wapo.st/conv1447.
Loco motions: The legislative acronyms of Week 1443
In Week 1443 the Empress asked for ridiculously contrived acronyms for some suggested new laws, inspired by the real ones introduced by would-be wags on the House and Senate floors — like the Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On-time Year-round Act — the DEJOY Act.
The Girls Are Ever Tugging at Zippers (GAETZ) Act to exempt any male member of Congress from charges of sex trafficking, because everybody knows that teenagers can’t help being attracted to 38-year-old men. (Roy Ashley, Washington)
The So Maddening, Oy, Those Horrible Exasperating Rings!: The SMOTHER Act to allow audience members to grab and disable any cellphone that goes off during a concert or play. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore, a bassist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)
and the scary-sea-creature hand puppet:
The Idiots’ Narrative: Serenely, Unexcitedly Registered Remonstrance, Entered Capitol, Toured, Idly Obtained Nooses resolution that you shouldn’t believe your lying eyes. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
The Let's Acknowledge Legitimately Authentic, Literate Americans Love Apathy resolution, to earnestly affirm that climate change is an existential crisis and we really should do something about it someday. It's the LALALALA resolution. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Died in committee: Honorable mentions
An act to Subsidize Overprotected Corporate Interests by Authorizing Loans, Incentives and Secret Money — to be funded by a tax on irony. (Kevin Dopart)
Endorsing Legislators’ Efforts to Pack Heat and Annoy Nancy, Too: The ELEPHANT Act, permitting members of one political party to carry firearms in Congress. — L. Boebert, Rifle, Colo. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
The Building America’s Stamina to Endure Boredom A Little Longer bill to distribute NoDoz during the late-innings parade of relief pitchers. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)
Get Out! The Overseas Hackers ELimination Law: A bill authorizing harsh consequences for foreign cybercriminals. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)
Getting Elections Tossed Out by Voting Endless Recounts Is Tyranny: The GET OVER IT Act creates criminal penalties for state legislators who try to deny winning candidates with phony “audits.” (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)
Jetway Area Mitigation: The JAM Act requires airport gate areas to have enough seating for at least 10 percent of the passengers on a flight. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Fox News lobbied for the Totally Unsubstantiated, Colossally Knowledgeless, Error-Riddled, Crosseyed Articles Reading Like Smart, Objective News Act to commemorate its star misreporter. (Mike Chung, Arlington, Va., a First Offender)
The Binary Initiative to Transfer Capital from Online Investment Neophytes: Also known as the Fool and His Money plan. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
The Squelch Thoughtless Fireworks Users Act. Makes it a felony to set off an explosive device after 10 p.m. (Jonathan Jensen)
Billionaires Orbiting in Yachts in Space — Tax On Your Self-importance: The BOYS’ TOYS Act, one way to get these guys to pay up. (Jeff Rackow, Bethesda, Md.)
The Cacophonous Insects Considered A Delicious Alternative Act: To fund a cookbook with fabulous new recipes in 2038. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
While Earth’s Ailments Require Expeditious Solutions, Congress Regards Everything With Endless Delay: It’s the WE ARE SCREWED Act. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)
The More Oratory Reveals Only Nothingness bill to encourage legislators to sit down and listen once in a while. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)
All Contractions Require One Notification Yielding Meaning — the ACRONYM Act — requires that abbreviations be spelled out on first use. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
The Cover Your Backside from Excessive Regulation Act directs federal agencies to accept assurances of network security such as “We’ve got this.” (Jeff Hazle)
Don’t Appraise The Evening Literally; Assessments Bloated: The DATE LAB Act commemorates the 15th anniversary of the Washington Post feature in which the daters rate each other a 4 or 5, but then they never contact each other again. (Jesse Rifkin, Glastonbury, Conn.)
The BURP Act, Billions Underwriting Ridiculous Programs. Finally, legislation with true bipartisan support. (John O’Byrne, Dublin, Ireland)
Cushioning Our World From All Rectal Threats: The COW FART Act intends to slow the spread of global warming by ordering the refashioning of leftover masks into diapers for farm animals. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
Duh, Another Dumb “Jocular Original” Kneeslapper, Eh?: The DAD JOKE Act forbids fathers to say anything they consider amusing around their teenage children or their children’s friends. (Roy Ashley)
The Help Yourself Poke Opposition Comments Right In The Eye Act provides professional advisers to help politicians criticize opponents for taking positions they themselves once had. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)
The Late-Evening Giant Ouch Stoppage Act requires all toys to be picked up before bedtime. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
The Carnivorous Rats Irritating Trappists! Icelandic Cows Attacking Lovely Rainbows! Aardvarks Clipping Extraneous Toenails, Having Extremely Orgasmic Relations, Yearly! resolution that sure, Congress definitely understands what critical race theory is, no problem. (Duncan Stevens)
The Eliminating Frivolous Filibusters Used for Manufactured, Irrelevant or Trivial Concerns and Holdups Act: The EFF U MITCH Act. (Shannon Bartlett Kizer, Beaverton, Ore.)
And Last: The Likable, Omniscient, Svelte Empress Recognition Act to increase one’s chances in a certain contest. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
And Even Laster: The Sending Top-notch Yuks, Leaving Empty-handed Act: Everyone gets a magnet from now on. (Luke Baker, Columbia, Md.)
Still running— deadline Monday night, Aug. 2: Our contest for crossword clues. See wapo.st/invite1446.
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