Week 236 : Calling the Toon.


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Sep 21, 1997

This Week's Contest: What is happening here? Choose one or more than one. First-prize winner gets a severed human head. It is life-size, made of latex, has real tawny blond hair, is labeled with the name "Sarah," and apparently was once a hatmaker's model. It is worth $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 and originality. Mail your entries to The Style Invitational, Week 236, 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, Sept. 29. 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. How dreadful -- how like fear -- / I wax suspicious of / David Genser's Ear. Next week: Socratic Ear credit. Employees of The Washington Post and members of their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 233,

in which you were asked to rewrite in the style of a famous author any paragraph appearing on page A1 of that day's Post. But first, a brief comment. The Style Invitational is seditious. We take chances. We love to wade blindly into the abyss. Because we go to press two days before we are published, we had no way of knowing what was going to be on Page 1; certainly not that the page would be devoted almost in its entirety to the death of a beloved world figure, and to a story on AIDS. Fortunately, many readers chose to focus on the few remaining, uplifting features on the page. Unfortunately, many did not. Fortunately, we can print whatever we wish, and may choose to ignore the indecorous. Unfortunately, we are not renowned for our good taste. As always, we went with the funniest stuff. Ready! Fire! Aim! Into the abyss. Proud. Fearless. Stupid.

Fourth Runner-Up:

Mets Down O's, 13-6.

Their starting pitcher shaky and their bullpen weary, the Baltimore Orioles lost an early 5-2 lead and fell, 13-6, to the New York Mets, who got 19 hits in the interleague game

By Ernest Thayer:

The outlook wasn't happy for the Md.ville nine that day,

The New York Mets had come to town for inter-circuit play.

And though the players were too young to recollect those times,

The fans remembered what went down in 1969

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Third Runner-Up:

Today: Mostly sunny, more humid. High 86. Low 70. Wind 6-12 mph.

By Groucho Marx: Today, mostly sunny, more humid. High 86. Low 70. Inseam 32. Wind 6 to 12. Yankees 12 to 6. Whirlaway 20 to 1. And if you mix horseradish with Cream of Wheat it tastes more like scrambled eggs than oatmeal. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in an automobile crash

Second Runner-Up:

By Albert Camus: Diana died today. Or maybe, yesterday. The people at the hospital said she died at 4 a.m., but in Washington that is 10 p.m. You could call it yesterday. (Noah Meyerson, Washington, and Kevin and Karen Greenberg, Philadelphia)

First Runner-Up:

By Adelaide Crapsey:

They fled.

Princess and beau.

Through the Parisian night.

But still paparazzi shot them

To death.

(Sandra Hull, Arlington)

And the winner

of the cow-pie clock:

By John Donne:

Ask not for whom the belle's tailed, she's tailed for thee. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington.)

Honorable Mentions:

The House of Cooke

The Redskins start the new season tonight

with a new owner. Out from his father's

shadow, John Kent Cooke is in charge -- for now. So who is he, and where is he headed?


By George Will: Tacitus wrote that as Hannibal lay dying, he implored his heir to seek an easier route through the Alps when next invading Rome; i.e., to "go with the short pass." Today, another prodigal son, John Kent Cook, must lead his brave army to victory while avoiding Clintonian moral decay and Shulerian imprecision. Will he heed my advice? Peruse MAGAZINE. (David Genser, Arlington)

By Stephen King: As memories of the past swirled like autumn's brittle dead leaves, Jack hoped the new football season would end the nightmares. It was the Shadow that made him wonder. It was larger than his own shadow and the Shadow was always lurking. Sometimes it only touched part of him, and he shivered. Sometimes the Shadow engulfed him, almost suffocating him. And as the Shadow moved away he'd catch just a whiff of his father's after-shave (Diana Sams, Springfield)

She was 36.

By Hugh Hefner: She was 36, a leggy blonde. (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

But that was then.

by e.e. cummings: but that was then

(Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

By T.S. Eliot: And then was then as now is now

For the end shall be the beginning and the

beginning the end

And the end of the ending shall be the

beginning of the beginning.

(Where was I now)

And how shall I end if not by ending

(Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

Some miracles come in time, and some

miracles teach people about time itself.

By Janet Dailey: Some miracles come in time, and some miracles teach people about time itself. (Tom Lundregan, Springfield; Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Her adult life was never really her own.

By Stephen Jay Gould: Her life was never really her own, beyond the pupa stage.

(Greg Arnold, Herndon)

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed

By Tony Kornheiser: Why does this whole Princess Di thing bug me so much? I mean, I never met her, never saw her in person. And the only notable things about her were that 1) she was the only person on this planet who got along with Joan Rivers, and 2) her ex-husband had ears as big as sperm whales. Now that I think about it, maybe that's why his title is Prince of Whales (Jose Cortina, Centreville)

The shopping centers, strip malls and interstate highways that ring Old Town had nearly choked the City Center to death. But in the last two years a "new Old Town" has begun to take root.

By Paul Theroux: On a day dreary with threatening clouds, my bus pulled into Old Town Manassas. It seemed to me to be the ultimate Northern Virginia suburban town. Stocky men sat smoking on the street corner. Nothing was right on the back streets. The trees wer dirty and had rusted leaves. It was not that the trees looked dead; they looked as if they had never been alive. (Rod Johnson, Glen Arm)

By Shakespeare: Act 2, Scene 1

(A suburb near Old Towne)


See how this paved menace creeps anon

And wraps its fatal choke hold on the town.

Sound alarums lest it maul1 our hearts.

Marry2, we can be kings without a Crown3.

1. maul = mall.

2. marry = an interjection.

3. crown = A. a gold coin. B. a discount bookstore.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

By Dorothy Parker:

Chain stores are large

Highways are a mess

Strip malls overcharge

You might as well regress.

And by the way, all men are lying scumsuckers

who'll break your heart.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Next Week: The Joke's on You


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