Week 170 : The Elements of Smile

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Copyright The Washington Post Company Jun 16, 1996

This Week's Contest: Why are these people smiling? Choose one, or more than one. First-prize winner gets a "Remote-Controlled Electronic Fart Machine," a fine product of the People's Republic of China. It is, according to the box, a "state of the art, high-tech electronic replacement for the now obsolete inflatable rubber Whoopie Cushion." This is a value of $25. Runners-up, as always, receive the coveted Style Invitational Loser's T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor. Mail your entries to The Style Invitational, Week 170, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, fax them to 202-334-4312 or submit them via the Internet to this address: Internet users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Entries must be received on or before Monday, June 24. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced in three weeks. Editors reserve the right to alter entries for taste, humor or appropriateness. No purchase necessary. The Faerie of the Fine Print & the Ear No One Reads wishes to thank Ned Bent of Herndon for today's Ear No One Reads and to respond to certain quibbles arising from our rock-lyric contest. We heard from many ardent defenders of the Beatles who claimed that our quotations from "Sun King" and "Live and Let Die" were incorrect, thereby heaping undeserved abuse upon the band and in particular upon the godlike person of Paul McCartney. We would like to say you are right, because although we think Paul something of a gigantic tushy, we revere the Beatles. Alas, we did not err. Want to bet $20? Fine. The faux-Italian gibberish on "Sun King" was straight from the published sheet music. As for "Live and Let Die," Paul has indeed disingenuously claimed he was saying something a little less awful than "in this ever-changing world in which we live in." But a careful listening reveals only that he was saying, "IF this ever-changing world in which we live in." No better. Check it out. Listen with headphones. Next, mail your twenties to The Czar, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Thank you. Washington Post employees and their families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 167, in which you were asked to invent cinquains, revoltingly precious poems in successive lines of two, four, six, eight, and two syllables.

Third Runner-Up:


Faerie doilies,

Angels' lace petticoats

Drift and swirl like souls of kittens.

Oh, barf.

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Second Runner-Up:

Oh God,

If Madonna

Bears a boy, and wants

A Spanish name, let it not be


(Jessica Steinhice, Washington)

First Runner-Up:

Bob Dole,

Old but virile;

Tyrannosaurus Sex,

O, dark, rapacious veloci-

Rapture! (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

And the winner of the shredded-currency pillow:

Oh dear,

Sylvia Plath,

Down went your spirits, and

Up went the gas, and now life you

No hath.

(Christine Tabbert, Woodbridge)

Honorable Mentions:

He goes,

"The moon's way cool,

Would you like to, you know . . ."

And I'm like yuck, I mean, no way,

As if.

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)


One submission

From a T. Kaczynski.

Though, please note, we would much prefer


(Russ Horner, Alexandria)


The Red Line is

Splendiferous, but I

Wish he knew the S is silent.


(Doris Nachman, Springfield, Mo.)

My muse,

My cinquain muse,

James Bond, I call to you.

Give me your poetic license

To kill!

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

Swan, so

Graceful, arches

Its delicate neck and

Wriggles its feathered rump as if

To poop.

(Bonnie Speary Devore, Rockville)

If a

Tree falls in the

Woods and no one's around,

Does it make a sound? Listen close:

"Oh {expletive}"

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

The morgue,

Buckets of brains,

Seventy-four corpses,

Crematorium on the fritz.

Death stinks.

(Paul Kondis, Alexandria)


Cow, why didst thou

Eat sheep? They fed you your

Death sentence. Doesn't it make you

Mad, cow?

(Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

The morn,

Breaking bright on

This glorious roundness,

This heavenly creation, this


(Susan Reese, Arlington)

You want

To have my child?

What a lovely way to

Say how much you love me. Where's the


(Joseph Romm, Washington)

Bite me

Is a rebuke

Useful with many guys

But it wasn't good to say to


(Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax)

Sea Dogs.

Unchosen name!

But why? Who knows? I frown

and keep on braiding my lover's

Nose hair.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The me-

ter of this cin-

quain is off by a lou-

sy syllable. Now it's ruint, son-


(John Kammer, Herndon)


Are red, violets

Are blue, sugar is sweet,

This contest smells even worse than


(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)


Wrote her cinquains

Long ago; this Vassar grad

Now haunts us, her ghostly footfalls

A thud.

(Christine Gallant, Bowie)And Last:


Are selected

On the basis of wit

And originality. And

I'm pope.

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

NEXT WEEK: License To Carry A Pun

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