The Style Invitational Week 859 Can't goods

Saturday, March 6, 2010; C02


YOU CAN talk with your hands


BUT YOU CAN'T tyjpe w8th y4ohufr el;bo9ws.


(Joe Shepherd, Gaithersburg)


If they can _______, why can't they ________?


If you _______, they will ______.


You can _______, but you can't _______.


It's not the _______, it's the ______.


Mining the Invite archives from 1996: Cast a joke in one of the forms listed above, as in the example, the winner from Week 188. We are looking for original humor; we do not want to see driveways and parkways, or heat and stupidity.


Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place wins what's bound to be one of the most coveted in the contest's history: Loser Larry Yungk had this key chain custom-made by a metalwork craftsman at the Lumphini Night Bazaar in Bangkok. It cost him about $3 plus plane fare.


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, March 15. Put "Week 859" 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 to be published April 3. 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 and this week's honorable-mentions subhead are both by Chris Doyle.


Report From Week 855, in which we asked you to write a poem summarizing, or at least musing upon, an article or ad that appeared in The Post Feb. 6-15: That was the week of the Super Bowl, the "tea party" convention and, of course, snow snow snow.




Tom Tancredo's outrageous speech at the tea party convention:

Tancredo's recent tea-bag rant

Was so downright embarrassin'

That other fonts of right-wing cant

Are Palin in comparison.

(David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)


2. the winner of the $100 trillion bill (Zimbabwean):


John Mayer's Playboy interview in which he said his sex organ was a "white supremacist":

Higgledy piggledy,

Singer John Mayer -- his

Interview made him sound

Crude, oversexed.

Even more shocking than


Readers of Playboy do

Look at the text.

(Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney)


3. The snowstorm:

Dropped on every Washington street, a

Load of Mother Nature's excreta.

(Kevin Dopart, Washington)


4. 'Sarah Palin's palm cheat-sheet steals her show'

In language not subtle or guarded,

Democratic ideas she discarded,

Tea Folk think she's da bomb,

But the notes on her palm

Make Ms. Palin seem sort of Republican.

(Dave Zarrow, Reston)


Muses Fit to Print: Honorable mentions


-- 'A reporter faces the naked truth about full-body airport scanners'

There's a sneaky new scanner that's bad to the bone;

It detects hidden bombs in your underwear zone.

But the ACLU's bid for privacy won:

You can just have a "pat-down" (Oh, won't that that be fun?)

(Beverley Sharp, Washington)


-- 'Saints win Super Bowl for first time'

With its Super Bowl triumph, New Orleans at last

Bids goodbye to Katrina's ill winds of the past.

But it's odd that two keys to the Saints' final push

Are a passer named Brees and a runner named Bush.

(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


-- Tim Carter's advice on home repairs

A septic tank's no place to stick your head;

The methane gas, alas, could leave you dead.

So, non-professionals, don't ever try

To clean one: It's a case of doo or die.

(Beverley Sharp)


-- 'Another day, another Prius recall report'

Prius supporters will credit Toyota

For fixing those iffy-braked units they've sold.

Eco-extremists will readily note a

Reduced use of gas when they're telephone-poled.

(Jeff Foster, San Francisco, a First Offender)


-- Ad for Toviaz, an overactive-bladder medication

If you know you gotta go

Even after you just went,

Our pill will amaze, and for 30 days

It won't cost you one red cent.

The side effects are in the text:

Constipation and some blushing;

But you won't dribble, so don't quibble,

And you'll save on all that flushing.

(Rick Haynes, Potomac)


-- Reliable Source item

Alec Baldwin's such a jerk,

With his nasty little quirk:

Once again he's picked a bone

With his daughter on the phone.

It made news, in bold italic:

He's a pretty dumb smart Alec.

(Mae Scanlan, Washington)


-- 'Tai Shan lands corporate sponsorship from Chinese automaker'

Cuddly wuddily,

Tai Shan the panda bear

Flew off to China and

Pulled off a coup;

Corporate sponsors will


Pay him six figures -- a

Lot of bamboo.

(Beverley Sharp)


-- ... and more snow

Hizzardy blizzardy,

Weather apocalypse

Crippled this town with a

One-two-three punch.

I've heard enough from my


Gone to St. Martin; I'll

Drink rum for lunch.

(Craig Dykstra, on vacation in the West Indies)


Next Week: Titled Puerility, or Dork and Cover


More funny poems on the news: Style Invitational Week 855


By The Empress

Saturday, March 6, 2010;


More honorable mentions from Week 855 of The Style Invitational, in which we asked for poems based on stories or ads from a Washington Post of Feb. 6-15:


"With speech, Palin bounds back on political stage"

Palin thinks we've had enough

Of all that "hopey-changey stuff."

And to that, I'd like to share a

Thought: We've had enough of Sarah. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)


"A reporter faces the naked truth about full-body airport scanners"

Terahertz, schmerahertz

"Trustworthy" TSA

Peeks through your clothing but

Not through your skin.

Scanners employing waves


See if your navel's an

Outie or in. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)


"Saints win Super Bowl for first time"

For days, it seemed, "Snowpocalypse" was all the region talked about:

How fierce the winds, how many inches fell.

We caught it bad, but bear in mind the Saints just won the Super Bowl:

Imagine just how cold it's gone in Hell! (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


"Reaching New Heights" (the world's tallest building)

Dubai's now a land of elation,

With its new stratospheric sensation.

Let's hope there's no urge

For using "The Burj"

To demonstrate defenestration. (Jim Deutsch, Washington)


"Super-size equipment helps D.C. area EMTs move the obese"

And "Michelle Obama: 'Let's move' and work on childhood obesity problem"

"It's a national crisis," the first lady cried,

"Eat well and be active -- now go play outside.

"Else your health care will suffer: You'll end up so wide

"That the medics will say, 'That's why Johnny can't ride.' " (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


American Airlines ad offers cheap fares to the Caribbean

American Airlines invites you to go

To warm, sunny islands, while fares are still low!

(This offer was not quite as good as it sounded:

The airports were closed, and the planes were all grounded.) (Beverley Sharp, Washington)


"Hastily bracing for another icy punch"

To the tune of "Let It Snow"

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

And we've had ourselves a night full

Of watching fat snowflakes plop --

Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

The Pepco trucks cannot reach us;

"Just be patient," they beseech us.

Our thermostat made a drop --

Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

When we finally shovel free,

And we skid on the ice to get bread,

As we pull into Safeway, we

Discover bare shelving instead.

So we shiver and shake in sorrow,

For we're getting more tomorrow.

Our brains are about to pop;

Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop! (Mae Scanlan)


"Less-than-stellar remake 'We Are the World' debuts"

We oversing! We're overdoin'!

What Michael Jackson did with subtlety

We're not pursuin'.

Some of us are faking,

We're using Auto-Tune;

It's true we don't have perfect pitch

Or stay on key. (Jeff Contompasis)