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|Copyright The Washington Post Company Feb 16,
Today is a Style Invitational milestone, the second time in our illustrious history that we have possessed an object of such enormous intrinsic value that the contest is simply to beg for the prize: to convince us why you, and you alone, deserve to get it. The object, pictured above, is a plastic dancing pig wearing bib overalls and galoshes. When you reach into his pants and activate a switch on his behind, scratchy music plays and he executes a jig. The music is "La Bamba." One of his arms is broken, twisted behind his back, as though by someone who tried desperately to make him stop, in the manner one might coerce a confession from a prisoner in a North Korean cell. When active, The Pig moves forward unsteadily for approximately 12 seconds, then collapses, twitching, on his back.
As with all valuable works of art, elaborate research has been done establishing The Pig's provenance: On Sunday, Jan. 26, 1997, in Miami Springs, Fla., at approximately 6:32 p.m., a Mr. Glenn Terry, middle school art teacher and famous Miami area cheeseball-event impresario, was scavenging through the dumpsters. (Mr. Terry is a denizen of the darkest reaches of the human soul. Many years ago he persuaded The Czar of the Style Invitational to ride in a parade, playing the harmonica and hurling bloody chicken feet at the crowd, but that is another story.) Anyway, Mr. Terry found The Pig. "It seemed cute at first," he reports, "then it got old, and then it got scary." Terry was terrified. Sensing that he possessed an object of overpowering evil, he put it into a shopping bag and had it hand-delivered to Dave Barry at the Miami Herald. "This is embarrassing," says Barry, "but it actually sat on my desk unopened for almost a week. I'd no idea what I had. And then -- it was one of those days you don't think anything important will happen -- I opened it up, turned it on and it danced off my desk into my lap." Instantly, Dave summoned his assistant, Judi Smith. Together, dumbfounded, they watched it, watched it again, wrung out their underpants, etc. Within minutes, the entire infrastructure of the Miami Herald swung into action. The Pig was packaged and addressed, on its way to the nation's capital -- insured, Dave says, "for $15 million." It arrived at the offices of The Style Invitational at 11:44 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, and will remain here until it is awarded as First Prize to our lucky winner. It is worth $15 million.
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 205, 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: email@example.com. Internet users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Entries must be received on or before Monday, Feb. 24. 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 David Genser of Vienna for today's Ear No One Reads. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.
Report from Week 202,
in which we invited you to interpret one of several emoticons, or keyboard-generated computer images. Thank you to all you persons out there who informed us that no, you are not computer geeks or anything, and you really have marvelous senses of humor, but we should just be aware that we egregiously violated the spirit of the emoticon by utilizing certain characters that are not universally reproducible because they are excluded from the ASCII protocol of symbols, letters and codes.
Unless otherwise specified, all the winners should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
+ Third Runner-Up:"I have thick eyebrows, a ruptured colon, a cleft palate, one leg, a large tumor, a spot on my lung and hair growing out of a mole." (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)
+ Second Runner-Up:"My head has been severed and there are Bronco tracks all over the front lawn." (John Kammer, Herndon)
+ First Runner-Up:A pregnant Barbra Streisand waits impatiently for her cheatin' husband to get home. (Tina Conner, Washington; Elden Carnahan, Laurel)
+ And the winner of the Presley-Nixon coasters:
His Holiness sits on an air-inflated gag gift and, for his first and last time, makes Whoopee. (Alex Neill, Washington)
+ Honorable Mentions:
Emoticon 1: Liberace is sickened by the quality of piano playing in Hell. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel) (Rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise) 19th-century baseball player. (Tex Whitehouse, Upper Marlboro)
President Clinton interrupts a scheduled bill-signing to place a souvenir pen between his lip and nose to ask those assembled how he would look with a mustache. (Judy Kahn, Silver Spring)
Emoticon 3: Zippy the Pinhead's brother, Louis Farrakhan the Pinhead. (Paul Styrene, Olney)
The flounder stood up, laced its fins, and casually tried to stroll out the door of the seafood restaurant. It didn't work. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)
"I am healing up nicely from my Caesarean section, thank you." (David Genser, Vienna)
Pee-wee Herman's mug shot. (David Vierling, Woodbridge)
Emoticon 4: When Robin Givhan recommended wearing one shoe and a windsock for a hat, Washington women leaped to obey. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)
Emoticon 5: Picasso's "Three Programmers" from his ASCII period. (David Howe, Washington)
"I have been waiting for AOL so long I have turned into a totem pole." (Jerry Podlesak, Arlington)
(Rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise) Martha Stewart carefully carries her pork chops to the grill on her flagstone patio. (Richard E. Brock, Adelphi)
Emoticon 7: The artist formerly known as (John Kammer, Herndon)
"I have been bludgeoned and have collapsed on my computer keyboard." (David Genser, Vienna)
The dream of the Flying Wallendas: The five-watermelon, two-man, three-bratwurst-on-the-nose tower was within their grasp, if only Nino could hold them all for five more seconds. (Dudley Thomson Jr., Silver Spring)
Mathematical proof that Colin Powell is greater than both pooooz and the positive/negative comments made about him, and therefore he should be the Republican presidential nominee in 2000. (David Vierling, Woodbridge)
Emoticon 8: "I am wearing my `Baby' T-shirt upside down, and pregnancy already has given me a large varicose vein on my right knee." (David Genser, Vienna)
Emoticon 6: People on the Metro escalator were efficiently standing on the right and walking on the left -- until the sumo wrestler got on. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)
At the Wheeling, W.Va., art museum, "Roadkill Still Life," displayed intimately on a simple easel, was a smash hit. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)
"My legs are short, but my navel is huge."
(Fred Kaiser, Silver Spring)
Consumer tip: Make sure when you buy a 35-inch color TV that the measurements refer to screen size, not cabinet size. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington; David Genser, Vienna)
+ And Last: Warning: "Name the emoticon" contests are less than nothing. (Jim Glanville, Blacksburg, Va.)
Next Week: Can It Get Much Verse?
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