The Washington Post

Style Invitational Week 934: Meet your match: The compare-contrast contest; plus silly rants at The Post

A tattoo of Joe Biden and a toilet brush: Both are really bad design ideas for tramp stamps.

●Precious bodily fluids
●A Twitter hashtag
●blue suede shoes
● fried butter on a stick
● okra sorbet
● a toilet brush
● The Descent of Man
● a Google+ invitation
● a red fez
●Misty of Chincoteague
●Three clothespins
● A tattoo of Joe Biden
●the 25-entry limit

Here’s a tried-and-true (or, often, tried-and-blue) Invite favorite: Explain how any two items on the list above are similar or different. To ensure a totally random list, this year the Empress asked members of the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook to suggest the items, Mad Libs-style (out of eyeshot of other members). No Loser contributed more than one item.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second prize gets a pair of ear buds with little pink pig heads that stick out of your ears, modeled here by Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford (she modestly decreed that everything but her ear be cropped out for the print edition). These are the same ones the Secret Service uses. Donated by the in-no-way-pigheaded Loser Craig Dykstra.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 6; results published Sept. 25 (Sept. 23 online). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 934” in your e-mail subject line, or it may be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at The revised title for next week’s results was suggested by both Chris Doyle and Kevin Dopart; this week’s honorable-mentions name is by Gary Crockett.

Report from Week 930: How dare we!

in which we asked for stupid complaints to The Washington Post, because, see, we just don’t get enough of them in real life:

The winner of the Inker

Re “Gun industry sues to block reporting rule”: When will The Post stop referring to the hardworking craftsmen and women who lovingly fashion personal firearms as a soulless “gun industry”? I suggest neutral wording such as “independent Mom and Pop freeholders handcrafting Second Amendment protection devices.” (Peter Jenkins, Bethesda, Md.)

2. Winner of the book “Chinglish,” depicting comical English signs in Beijing:
Tom Toles’s cartoon depicting the American people boiled symbolically in a “Tea Party” tea bag is utterly repugnant. One NEVER should boil tea in the water-heating vessel! It must be steeped in a separate teapot. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

3. The typeface of your front-page masthead is horribly incomprehensible. It looks like “CtheWa8hingtonPo8t.” You should consider Comic Sans, which is a very readable font. (Drew Knoblauch, Arlington, Va.)

4. Re the article “Boehner’s difficulty courting Va. freshman”: Enough with the congressional sex stories! Report real news, for a change!! (Tom Panther, Springfield, Va.)

Bottom-feeding carps: Honorable mentions

I don’t tend to read your left-wing publication, but I recently saw your headline for “Date Lab.” Rick Santorum was right: Gay marriage HAS led to man-on-dog relationships, and leave it to The Washington Post to glorify them. (David Genser, Poway, Calif., who got his 324th blot of Invitational ink in 2001, and then stopped entering until this contest)

Your article about counterfeit IDs once again showed your disregard for readers’ needs. Nowhere in the story did it give the contact information for “the Chinese guy.” (Suzanne Petroni, Falls Church, Va.)

Ezra Klein’s Aug. 3 column on the economy was far too sensible and balanced. You need to choose a point of view and stick with it rather than try to be on both sides of it like Mitt Romney. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

I suggest most strongly that you review your horoscope column, specifically Aquarius 7/30/11. Last week I was happily married with a good job and a comfortable house. This week I am single, unemployed and homeless. Perhaps “You will make you innermost feelings known’ is not always the best advice.” (John Folse, Bryans Road, Md.)

I am very upset that you no longer include my favorite shows in your TV listings. I would very much like to see “Manimal” as well as XFL games, but I cannot find them on my set. (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)

You keep leaving the speech balloons out of that comic “Lio.” (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

Why would you use RED INK to draw a line in a graph on Page A9 showing an IMPROVING stock market? Clearly it’s to scare us into hiding money in our mattresses — a product you then shamelessly advertise a few pages later. (Jim Reagan, Herndon, Va.)

Does The Post believe that young children should be shown drawings of people wearing intimate apparel? Yet on Aug. 3, there was Dagwood Bumstead in his underwear! (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Could that liberal bias POSSIBLY be more obvious? Portraying Harry Reid as a SAINT, with an enormous halo? (David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)

whAt iS the maTter witH the suNday stYle sectiOn? hAve yoUr tyPesettErs gonE craZy? (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

And Last: What a bunch of whiners your Free for All column contains! Don’t those pathetic losers have anything better to do? (Jeff Contompasis)

‘19 Kids,’ 2 theme songs: A pair of parodies

As promised last week, we offer more of the Week 929 honorable mentions, TV theme songs that explain the show, a la “Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch.” Here are two parodies about the cable show “19 Kids and Counting,” set to different tunes:

To “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” from “The Pirates of Penzance”
When Jim Bob and Michelle decided they would like to reproduce,
Who ever thought their progeny would end up being so profuse?
There’s Joshua, and Janna, John, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, too.
Josiah, Joy, and Jedediah, Jeremiah (not yet through).
There’s Jason, James, and Justin, Jackson (who is now the youngest son).
The rest are girls — Johannah, Jennifer and Jordyn (almost done).
The youngest girl is Josie, and her birth was very premature.
And will there be another Duggar? Nobody is really sure.

These 19 kids and counting have a family that loves to grow.
So sit right back and watch them as they star in their own TV show.
In short, in matters reproductive, names with “J” and TLC,
The Duggars are the model of a televised large family.
(Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney, Md.)

(To “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music”)
Jessa and Jinger and Jordyn and Jana;
Jennifer, Josie, Jill, Joy, and Johanna;
Each one in training to be a brood wife:
That’s what you see when you look at our life . . .

Josh, James, and Joseph, John, Jason, Josiah;
Justin and Jackson, Jed and Jeremiah;
Michael, Mackynzie and all of the rest.
Breeding’s the thing that we Duggars do best . . .

No outside lessons are they made aware of.
Each older child gets a babe to take care of.
Polos and pinafores, crew cuts and curls;
So far we’ve squeezed out 10 boys and 9 girls . . .

Keep ’em poppin’, never stoppin’; procreate at will.
We’ll keep bearing nuts for our family tree
Till sponsors have had their fill!
(Nan Reiner)

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.

Next week: Limerixicon 8, or To el- and back



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