The Style Invitational Week 851 Going to the shrink  -- 'downsize' a movie title

Saturday, January 9, 2010


"The Bearable Tightness of Boeing": An accountant hunkers down with his laptop on the 737 to Albuquerque and really doesn't feel all that uncomfortable.


"The Medium-Size Lebowski": A cult film about duckpin bowling."


In this era of downsizing and the momentary fad of at least pretending to live more modestly, Loser Stephen Gold of The Invitational's Glasgow Bureau suggests this contest:


"Downsize" the title of a book, movie or play to make it smaller or less momentous and describe it, as in the examples above. Do us all a favor by checking your title online to see if it's already a widespread joke, in which case you may inflict it only upon your loved ones.


Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a doll, that is supposed to depict Eleanor Roosevelt but we think looks kind of like Adrian Fenty if the mayor had a shock of gray hair and big gray eyebrows and a fox pelt around his neck. A non-Loser mailed it to us, pleading for anonymity because Mrs. R had been a gift to her daughter.


Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Loser Magnets. First Offenders get a smelly tree-shaped air "freshener" (Fir Stink for their First Ink). One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 18. Put "Week 851" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Feb. 6. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's results is by Tom Witte; this week's honorable-mentions subhead was submitted independently by Chris Doyle and Roy Ashley.


Report from Week 847, in which we asked you to choose a sentence from a Washington Post of that week and supply a question it might answer: It may be clear from the results below which handful of people seem to have pored over every last story in The Post that week, sending literally hundreds of entries.


The winner of the Inker


"All these little white-haired people around me are standing and I couldn't," she recalled.

When did Snow White finally realize the need to check herself into rehab? (George Vary, Bethesda)


2. the winner of the bottle of Beauzeaux wine:


"Because I am committed to saving lives, saving money and saving Medicare, I am committed to fully closing it, once and for all."

What New Year's resolution did Vice President Biden make about his mouth? (Russell Beland, Fairfax)


3. Adjö, Saab.

Can you really type with your eyes shut? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)


4. In a few cases, the payoff from a bust can be huge.

Why did the Miss USA officials agree to finance Carrie Prejean's surgery? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


Reduced sentences: Honorable mentions


Someone will test your knowledge, skill or intelligence.

What's the least of your worries if you want to become a reality TV star? (Tom Kreitzberg, Silver Spring)


When she was taken down to be restored in 1993, it took a helicopter to move her.

Is it going to be a lot of trouble to bring Miss Taylor to the Kennedy Center Honors? (Peter Metrinko, Gainesville)


I didn't even look at my watch.

What's faint praise from your lover? (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


President Hamid Karzai is to convene a three-day conference on corruption Tuesday.

Where can I attend Rod Blagojevich's "Tips From the Pros" workshop? (George Vary)


The 11 players and one substitute were reported missing over the weekend.

Where the heck is the Redskins' offense? (Jeff Contompasis)


They think they're at the top of the world.

Just how stupid are penguins? (Russell Beland)


There is no reason a pancreas should ever be thrown away.

What's one of the justifications for funeral home gift shops? (Kevin Dopart)


This is nuts.

What IS this delicious dish they call Rocky Mountain oysters? (Beverley Sharp, Washington)


"Tough enough to actually change behavior."

What is the new motto for Nike golf clubs? (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge)


"I want to be official."

Alex Ovechkin, what will you do when your playing days are over? (Kevin Dopart)


A. One weighs 20 grams and has brown fur.

Q. How do you know those women over there are fashion models? (Chris Doyle)


The holiday is here, there isn't much cheer, but at least we're still here.

What verse launched Hallmark's new line of cards, Refrigeratorbox Greetings? (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)


He pushes the kitchen chair in.

Does your husband do a lot of household chores? (Russell Beland)


"We're going to make, you know, some adjustments and things like that."

What was the detailed plan that Secretary Geithner put forth to solve the financial crisis? (Michael Seaton, Bowie)


His parents were separated.

What euphemism did King Louis XVII use to describe the fate of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? (Russell Beland)


"Whether I win or lose, I've got to look at myself in the mirror the next day, and a word that's important to me is integrity."

Why on earth did you get "integrity" tattooed backward on your forehead? (Russell Beland)


"I can get him in that range in no time."

What did Hansel hear Gretel say as she cut a deal with the hungry witch? (Beverley Sharp)


Offer to e-mail her some photos of other pieces you've done.

What advice would you not give Tiger Woods on how to reconcile with his wife? (Pete Morelewicz, Washington)


"I get angry," Debbie says.

I hear Debbie's anniversary is coming up -- what does she usually get? (Russell Beland)


"It's one of those things that can't hurt."

What are the most common last words besides "hold my beer"? (Kevin Dopart)


And that is why Democrats here are steaming.

Ever notice the heat rising from manure in the winter? (Russ Taylor, Vienna)


And Last:


"We're inventing ways to lose."

Why do you guys keep sending in this stupid stuff? (Beverley Sharp)


See more honorable mentions from Week 847 in next week's column.


Next Week: Up and addin', or Har Extensions


More honorable mentions from Week 847 of The Style Invitational, in which we asked you to take any sentence from a Washington Post of that week and supply a question it might answer:


You'll just get a more expensive blur.

What will I obtain by purchasing an impressionist painting at Sothebys instead of Wal-Mart? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


Imagine outlawing in America the construction of a particular architectural element because some citizens perceive it to be culturally undesirable or symbolically threatening.

What first-draft lyrics made John Lennon realize he needed to write more concisely? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)


There's a lot of pride in Warren.

Okay, if it's not vanity, why does he think that song is about him? (Russell Beland, Fairfax)


There's nothing like a few good explosions to transcend pesky language barriers.

In a nutshell, what is your view on diplomacy, Mr. Bin Laden? (Beverley Sharp, Washington)


What kind of accommodations are you willing to tolerate?

What's the first thing you're asked at Motel 5? (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)


No one could give me any answers or assure me that my parents would be covered.

Why did you turn down the Savings in Loam economy cemetery plots for your parents? (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


That's why a lot of them don't become sophomores.

Can you believe how sophomoric these freshmen are? (Russell Beland)


Isolated shower late.

What's the romantic forecast if I dare tell my wife that her favorite red dress makes her look chunky? (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)


The administration and some of the nation's largest banks have hastened to part company in recent weeks.

Can you think of an example of that old saying about a fool and his money? (Russell Beland)


With proper instruction, you'll get the hang of it in no time -- and on your next attempt, you'll be able to do it entirely on your own.

What was the best advice Onan ever received? (Chris Doyle)


I'm really worried.

What did Alfred E. Neuman say about the decline in magazine readership? (Russell Beland)


And Last:


"It's almost like 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' but Mr. Smith turned out to be somebody that wasn't Mr. Smith."

What entry arrived a little too late to win the bad-analogies contest from Week 121? (Russell Beland)