The Style Invitational Week 879 Say Venn: Make a clever Venn diagram; and readers 'learn from my fail'

Saturday, July 24, 2010; C02


It's time for a little graphic humor. This week: Express some sentiment in the form of a Venn diagram, as in the ones here by graphic artist Frank Chimero, a.k.a. Frank Sparrow. It can have two or three circles; any more and we'd have trouble making it readable in print. You don't have to draw the diagram; just give us the text and we'll take care of the artwork (e.g., "First circle . . . Second, smaller circle . . . Very small intersecting area between the first and second . . ."). If you do want to create your own graphic, enclose it as an attachment and make sure we can reach you at your e-mail address. And spell correctly. Note: Your techno-purists will likely point out that the examples above are pointing out commonalities while not really overlapping; we might not be overly rigorous on logic this week either.


Winner gets the Inker, the Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a little bag of "Shark Poo" from Naples, Fla.; some "Seagull Poop" from nearby Fort Myers (both donated by Beverley Sharp); and a sack of "Bear Poop" from Estes Park, Colo., courtesy of Melissa Yorks. They are all evidently pieces of chocolate. We'll call this triple prize a scat trick -- or a pu-pu-pu platter.


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, July 26. Put "Week 879" 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 Aug. 14. 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 was sent by both Tom Witte and Kevin Dopart; Kevin also wrote this week's honorable-mentions subhead.


Report from Week 875, in which we asked for real or fictional "Learn From My Fail" life lessons in 30 words or fewer: Unless the Loser -- this week, we mean that in both the uppercase and lowercase senses -- insisted that the fail actually happened, we assume that nobody would be that dumb.


The winner of the Inker


If you and your best friend decide to get matching tattoos, don't go first. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)


2. the winner of "The Art of the Bonsai Potato": Even if the traffic reporter on the radio says "backup on the Beltway," it's best not to do it. (Russell Beland, Fairfax)


3. Ask questions -- don't answer them. -- H. Thomas, Washington (Kevin d'Eustachio, Beltsville)


4. A bank teller won't fall for "I come from the future where guns are invisible" when you try to rob her. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)


Passing fails : Honorable mentions


Slipping your finger in through the leg hole is not best way to check a diaper. (Andy Wolodkin, Frostburg, Md., a First Offender)


Don't hire plumbers to do wiring. -- R. Nixon (Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)


Don't pack last year's summer clothes and expect that they haven't shrunk in the past 12 months. (Beverley Sharp, Washington)


Besides love, you might need a bodyguard. -- J. Lennon, No Heaven (Randy Lee, Burke)


Bowling your age is apparently nothing to brag about. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)


Never marry into a family who thinks your name is "Him." (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)


If you step on something while going down a staircase in the dark and begin to fall, well, it would have been better not to do that. (Andy Wolodkin)


Always take the deep breath before putting the blow gun to your lips. (Russell Beland)


Home repair Web sites suggest you put Cheerios in your toilet to show whether a clog has been cleared. They should have also said that undigested Cheerios are better for this. (Dion Black, Washington)


Dropping a bug into a bottle of liquor doesn't make it taste "just like tequila." (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)


Dudes in a Liverpool pub tend not to agree that soccer players are a bunch of sissies who could never play real, American football. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


Priests don't think it's funny if you do a spit take at communion. (Roy Ashley, Washington)


The five-second rule does not apply to hypodermic needles. (Jon Graft, Centreville)


The first shot of water coming out of that hose that's been lying in the sun in all day will not cool down Mom. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)


After eight hours of playing tennis, toss a coin. -- Nicolas Mahut, France (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)


Don't get too attached to your horse. -- Catherine the Great (Beverley Sharp)


While duct tape will work for any job, it's not the first choice for birth control. (Russell Beland)


If you release doves at your wedding, cover the cake. (Beverley Sharp)


There are better Twitter names than CrazedSexPoodle. -- A. Gore (John Cogburn, Southlake, Tex.)


Before you drench the odd and shy new girl with a bucket of pig's blood, check the newspapers from the last town she lived in. (Stephen Dudzik)


If you want to get printed in a contest like this, you have to make sure that you stick to the rules and limit your entry to thirty words or. (Russell Beland)


And actual Fails They Learned From:


Dialing 1-800-724-2400 will result not in the message "Welcome to M&T Bank," but rather "Welcome to 1-888-FREESEX." (Katherine Stinson, Chevy Chase, a First Offender)


Do not tie your Christmas tree to the top of your car and go through the car wash. Although the deluxe hot wax does keep the needles on. (Ann Walker Smalley, Apple Valley, Minn., a First Offender)


During Easter services, if your child is playing connect-the-dots with the hymnal, resist the temptation to shout "No!" because the priest may have just asked, "Do you reject Satan?" (Jeff Contompasis)


Don't dye your hair while your toddlers are home with you, unless the color you're looking for is Cheetos. (Jennifer Fleming, Severna Park, a First Offender)


Next week: Oilies but Goodies, or Rhythm & Ooze