Week 67 : Exit Laughing


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Jun 5, 1994

This Week's Contest was suggested by Douglas Olson of Laurel, who proposed this as a lame contest idea doomed to provoke unfunny results. (Doug obviously doesn't realize how pathetically desperate we are.) He wins a handsome clay fire hydrant suitable for holding dog biscuits, toilet paper etc. Doug suggests making up the last lines of famous dead people whose last lines are unknown. First-prize winner gets a life-size cardboard cutout of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a value of $50. Runners-up, as always, get the coveted Style Invitational Losers T-shirts. FINISH WITH REST OF REGULAR AGATE Josef Stalin: "Well, it's time for another purge! The only question is, who?" Amelia Earhart: "Wow, cool! The gauge says we haven't used any fuel in 1,300 miles!" Report from Week 63, in which we asked you to come up with lame ideas for Style Invitational Contests. But first, a brief note to the dozens and dozens of readers out there who laboriously responded to our examples of idiotic contest ideas (create "humorous" captions for a picture of Hitler or of dirt; find geographic anagrams in the names of famous murderers) by actually entering those contests. One person submitted six pages of tedious anagrams for "John Wilkes Booth" and another did the same for "Theodore Bundy," apologizing at one point because "Borneo" is not technically a "country" but rather an "archipelago." Now, we hope none of our esteemed readers takes this the wrong way, but WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF IMBECILES?

Those were examples of bad contests. They were not the contest. Even WE aren't that stupid. Only Len Taylor of Gaithersburg retained any dignity at all, idiotically misunderstanding the contest, but at least doing it with style. His caption for Hitler: "Marion Barry was set up too?" His caption for a vast empty field of dirt: "The Fourth Annual Chuck Smith Fan Club rally and cookout." Lastly, we would like to thank the many of you who proposed, as the lamest contest idea ever, coming up with a contest for the lamest contest idea ever, and those of you who came up (get this) with a contest to illustrate what God looks like. Ahem. Bad ideas:

Fourth Runner-Up: What are some humorous things to say to brighten up a funeral? Example: A penny for your eyes. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Third Runner-Up: Describe the objects depicted in these drawings. Maximum 50 words. Example: A.) Gas grill. (Tom Gearty, Alexandria)

Second Runner-Up: Develop an alphanumeric formula for famous baseball players. Example: {(N-1}+{A+B}+{(Z/2)x2}+C}+{(W-10}+{Z+1/2}+J+C+{Ex3}=Minnie Minoso (Chuck Snowdon, Arlington)

First Runner-Up: Name a movie that would not have been successful if Herve Villechaize had played the lead. Example: "Citizen Kane." (Joseph Romm, Washington)

And the Winner of the Botticelli painting featuring Marilyn Monroe: Create a series of numbers beyond 1 and 2 to signal the need to attend to other bodily functions. Example: Number 3, Vomiting. Number 5, Weeping facial sores. Number 6, Hemorrhaging. Number 7, Body parts sloughing off. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Honorable Mentions:

Create snappy replies to panhandlers, using only upper-class diction. Example: "My good man, if you expect the world to owe you a living, you will never get anywhere." (John Cushing, Washington)

Name the body parts that most resembles an artichoke, a rutabaga, and a cam shaft from a '64 Chevy. Example: Pineal gland, eyeball, teeth with braces. (Chuck Snowdown, Arlington)

You are riding in a hot-air ballon with all the mass murderers in history; to land safely at Dulles you must jettison one of them. Which one, and why? Example: Josef Stalin - because he is fat. (Steven King, Alexandria)

President Clinton has authorized you to rearrange the alphabet. Change the order in such a way that no word of three or more letters is present. Example: KDLFOSVGAJCQZBIYTXEHMURWPN. (Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax)

Assign mob-style nicknames to famous people. Example: Jimmy "The Fornicator" Swaggart; Daniel "Duh" Quayle. (Cindi Rae Caron, Lenoir, N.C.)

Name a book that would probably not be a bestseller. Example: A Finnish-Swahili dictionary. (Thomas Knibb, Walkersville, Md.)

Bubba is too old-fashioned. Come up with a new nickname for Clinton. Example: "Cap'n" (Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax)

State a celebrity and an appropriately named perfume they can promote. Example: Elizabeth Taylor, Obese (Forrest L. Miller, Rockville)

Find a place name from a foreign country, remove all the vowels, and then predict in what kind of sport a player with that name would best fit. Example: Tegucigalpa. Tgcglp. Soccer. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

Come up with exciting euphemisms for pooping. Example: Launching a flotilla. (Mary Mazer, Nashville)

Name the titles of shows even Geraldo rejected at first, but is thinking about. Example: "Prison Guards Who Eat Leftovers From Death Row Prisoners' Last Meals." (Robin D. Grove, Washington)

Name a famous person and somebody else you wish they'd turn into. Example: Hillary Clinton - Moms Mabley. (Rosemary Walsh, Rockville)

Take a well-known piece of classical music and put it in a different key. Example: Toccata and Fugue in D major. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Come up with products to fit the following prices, a` la "Price Is Right." A: $2.49 B: $1.19 C: $5.79. Example: B: Brillo Pads. (Tom Gearty, Arlington)

Assume the St. Lawrence Seaway does not exist. Describe how you would get from New Brunswick to Lake Ontario. Example: Walk. (Rosemary Walsh, Rockville)

Name a celebrity whose name, when spelled backward, looks like it could mean, "NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE" in the native language of some 7-Eleven clerks. Example: YLLIER NOSLEN SELRAHC. (Jon Patrick Smith, Washington)

In 25 words or fewer, describe a scene from "The Simpsons" as it would unfold if everyone in the family were smart. Example: Homer sees an ad for souvenir chunks of the world's largest doughnut for only $39.95 each. He doesn't buy one. (David Laughton, Washington)

Come up with titles of Michael Dukakis's likely beach reading this summer. Example: "Negative Ecological Ramifications of Applying Zero-Based Budgeting Methodologies to Generalized Government Procurement." (John Callebaut, Arlington)

What are some humorous sobriquets that gently mock feminists? Example: Some feminists tend to be just the weensiest bit unfunny. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Name a product that should be kept off TV because its name is so suggestive. Example: Lavoris. (Paul A. Alter, Hyattsville)

Assume Basque shepherds had conquered the known world rather than the Romans, and suggest resulting changes to modern-day English. Example: "Liberty and Zuzentasy for All," or, "The Style Norgehiagoketational." (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Point out logical inconsistencies in movies that only anal-retentive bozos would notice. Example: In "The Sound of Music," how come the kids have summer vacation, since the Anschluss happened in March 1938? (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Give a celebrity a hilarious new first name. Example: Earl Pavarotti. (Tom Gearty, Arlington)

Come up with a breed of dog not recognized by the AKC. Example: An Australian Frog Hound. (Tchaka Owen, Charlottesville)

If humans couldn't laugh: A) What would they do instead, and B) How would it be written? Example: A) Hiccup B) hic hic hic. A) Suck air between teeth. B) Sfee sfee sfee. (Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

Next Week: Trying to be Sexy, You Bomb Big Time

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