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Copyright The Washington Post Company Feb 2, 1997


On her beautiful face there are smiles of grace

That linger in beauty serene.

And there are no pimples

encircling her dimples

As ever, as yet, I have seen.

-- J. Gordon Coogler

In ages past, animals lived and died

And afterwards were petrified

By enclosure in massive rocks,

And thus became fossilised blocks.

The oldest-known rocks contain lime,

Thus proving at that remote time

Animal life did then abound,

Which may fill us with thought profound.

-- James Milligan

By taking the impressions of watch-cases,

he discovered one day,

What is now called the art of Lithography

So Alois plotted on making known his great discovery,

Until he obtained the notice of the Royal Academy,

Besides, he lived to obtain a Gold Medal,

and what was more dear to his heart,

He lived to see the wide extension of his art.

And when life's prospects may appear dreary to ye,

Remember Alois Senefelder, discoverer of Lithography.

-- William McGonagall

Accidents will happen by land and by sea,

Therefore, to save ourself from accidents we needn't try to flee,

For whatsoever God ordained will come to pass,

For instance, ye may be killed by a stone or piece of glass.

-- William McGonagall

This week's contest is based upon the proofs of a new book that just arrived here: "Very Bad Poetry," edited by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras, Vintage Press. The examples above are from that book. Your challenge is to create equally Very Bad Poetry. The key to being truly bad is appearing to strive to be truly good. Your poem should contain banalities masquerading as profundities, overstretched metaphors, etc. Special attention should be paid to dreadful syntax and painful rhyme. First-prize winner gets a genuined 1960s-era Eva Gabor wig, still in its box, a $30 value.

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 and originality. Mail your entries to The Style Invitational, Week 203, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, fax them to 202-334-4312 or submit them via Internet to this address: Internet users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Entries must be received on or before Monday, Feb. 10. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced three weeks from today. 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 Hank Wallace of Washington for today's Ear No One Reads. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 200,

in which we challenged you to write funnier captions for any pictures in that day's Post. But first, to those many persons who were shocked that we did not in some way commemorate our 200th week: The true anniversary of The Style Invitational is March 7, 1997, which is the fourth anniversary of Founding Day. It will be celebrated at precisely noon by a mass flushing of toilets across the land. Regarding Week 200: In a few cases, we had to choose the best among several similar ideas. If you feel your entry was so much like one of our winners that it should have been awarded a prize, please convert to Buddhism, die, and be reborn into a world that is fair. Thank you.


--Third Runner-Up:

Everyone wants a piece of the Packers' new wide receiver, The Scarecrow.

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

--Second Runner-Up:

Wake Forest, down by 30 points, resorts to sucking synovial fluid from knees of competitors. (Fred Darfler, Elkton)

--First Runner-Up:

A Dow-Corning spokes-person at press conference defending "wholly unpro-ven" claims that silicone breast implants can migrate. (Daniel & Sally Jackson, Martinsburg, W.Va.; Joanne Nees, Woodbridge)

--And the winner of the bowling trophy:

Paula Jones and Bill Clinton disagree about the nature of certain "distinguishing characteristics" she observed.

(Jessica Steinhice, Washington)

--Honorable Mentions:

President Clinton shows the actual rolled-up newspaper used to whack Newt Gingrich in the nose, as punishment for ethics violations. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

One of the less well received participants in the Inaugural par-ade, the Argentinian Riot and Death Squad sweeps past the reviewing stand. (Daryl Powell, Fairfax)

Hoyas' offense stumbles for lack of effective Right Guard.

(John Kammer, Herndon)

After removing lower leg assembly, twist head assembly to left and slide arm-shoulder assembly to align with guide groove on torso. (Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

The one-hour dancing limit was strictly enforced via wall-mounted vacuum. (Paul Kondis, Alexandria)

Overcoming incredible odds, Siamese twins Sam and Ham Mills led the Panthers to the NFC title game; however, the team was penalized on every play for having 12 men on the field.

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

Looking a bit older, Princess Leia reveals her new hairstyle for the 20th anniversary of "Star Wars." (Paul Styrene, Olney)

Michelin tire baby grows up. (Daniel and Sally Jackson, Martinsburg, W.Va.)

Laura Dern testifies against the orthopedic surgeon who attached her left arm backwards. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Inventor Jasper Flim demonstrates his latest creation, the Tiecorder.

(Earl Gilbert, LaPlata)

Next Week: The Elements of Style


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