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The Style Invitational

Week 256: The Pyle Invitational
Sunday, February 8, 1998


How did the Spanish conquistadors save money on fuel?
They went 3,000 miles on a galleon!

Why did they arrest the automobile factory worker?
Because he took a brake!

(By Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

How can Texas make executions more palatable to women?
It can buy a guillotine, and call its executions "Leonardo DiCapitations"

This Week's Contest was proposed by the czarevich of the Style Invitational, a lad who attends Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda. In an effort to show how modern and cool it is, Thomas W. Pyle Middle School encodes its math homework assignments so that the proper answers provide a solution to a riddle. Unfortunately, the riddles appear to have been composed during the Depression era by WPA gag writers with fedoras. The two at the top of the page come directly from the czarevich's math homework. This week's contest is to help Thomas W. Pyle Middle School enter the 21st century by coming up with hipper, more contemporary riddles and answers. The punch line must contain a painful pun. First prize receives a spectacularly realistic water snow dome, handmade by Sarah Worcester of Bowie. It is a tableau featuring sagebrush, two cute ponies and a cowboy. The cowboy is lying on the ground. The ponies have ripped off his arms and legs, and are devouring them. There is a great deal of blood. The entire globe sits atop a cookie tin filled with those tiny pastel hearts that appear to be made of congealed confectioners' sugar and contain two-word romantic messages like 'Be Mine' or 'Eat Me.' This one-of-a-kind objet d'art is worth $65,000.

First runner-up gets the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Lose Pen. Other runners-up receive the coveted Style Invitational Loser 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 256, 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. 16. 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. So me and Jonathan were caroming through the zirconium night alight on ludes and pig snot we took through the ear and the Victorian mansions of Garrett Park were blurring past the windows, looking like giant malevolent sarcophaguses with mailboxes. Next Week: New York Times Ear Credit. Employees of the Washington Post, and members of their immediate families, are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 253,
in which you were asked to enter one of four simple contests. The catch was that instead of "humor and originality," the criterion for choosing the winners was "lamest attempts at humor." Skeptics predicted that this would not work, and that we would be forced to adopt a humor criterion after all. Wrong. Sure, there were several funny answers, but we exempted them from prizes on grounds that they were too good: All of these were for captioning this cartoon: Bill Gates suspects that some of the zeros had been left off his paycheck. (Nick Crettier, Front Royal; Jose Cortina, Washington); yardstick After waking up the next morning, Lars discovered that he had unwittingly brought home the bar instead of his date. (Laura Miller and Sarah Smith, Reston); Dumbrowski is contemplating the age-old question of how many poles does it take to screw in a light bulb. (Michael O'Leary, Huntingtown); The key to the city got really awkward when the city changed over to the new magnetic-card system. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel); The fortunes were very detailed at Tolstoy's Chinese Restaurant. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg).

However, by and large, the contest produced hilariously unfunny results, the best of which are below.

Third Runner-Up: What is happening in this cartoon?
A guy is holding a really long "yardstick" and he is thinking, wait a minute, my "yard" is a lot wider than this. Then he remembers he lives in Arlington, and it isn't! Larger. Than the stick. (Scott Richlen, Annandale)

Second Runner-Up: What is happening in this cartoon?
It's O.J., but he's white and has a long nose and is holding a long thing. (Paul Laporte and Lee Mayer, Washington)

First Runner-Up: What does this gadget do?
gadget This is a solar-powered sigmoidoscope. See, it's solar powered, yet you have to stick it where the sun don't shine! It'll never work! Oh, what delicious irony! (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

And the winner of the Piddlers Toilet Targets:
Write a four-line poem about the federal budget deficit:

Bill Clinton has fixed the federal budget deficit
For that he deserves wonderful gifts for Hanukah,
It is obvious to me that such a great man
Could never have had relations with Monica. (David Sherman, Arlington)

Honorable Mentions:

What is happening in this cartoon?
The man is holding a rectangle, but -- this is the funny part -- he is not wearing any underpants! (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Former president George Bush and his wife, "Bar." (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Chester's plan was foiled when he realized not only would he not be able to hide behind the barre when the scantily clad ballerinas came in, but he was stuck! (Lori Lossman, Boonsboro)

Newton's law of gravitation states that the attractive force between two bodies is equal to G*m1*m2/d*2. However, the gravitational pull on the board in this cartoon appears to be equal on each extremity, even though one end is clearly a greater distance from the fulcrum! (Niels Hoven, Silver Spring)

This guy is, like, "duh" because he hasn't got a clue what this big white thing is he's holding. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

The man with the world's longest name has received a letter from somewhere he's never even heard of! (A.D. Zeleny, Boonsboro)

Bob wonders how his favorite pet tapeworm managed to wander into the freezer again. (Paul Ponton, Mount Airy)

Brian gets a parcel from the UNAEXPLODINGSALAMIER. (Jonathan Paul, Silver Spring)

Obviously, this man is feeling board. (Bored) (Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring)

The man is so annoyed by the question mark that has been following him around that he is about to whack it with a giant two-by-four. (Ivan Wasserman, Washington)

What the world needs is a cheap . . .
. . . way to fly in from Cleveland that doesn't make your arms tired. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

. . . rip-off of Bob Levey's neologism contest. See, "neologism" is a clever combination of "neolo," as in "neologism," and "gism," as in, um, "neologism." (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

. . . prosthetic limb. You know, one that won't cost an arm and a leg. (Thomas Wallick, Washington)

. . . date. And if you haven't got a cheap date, I guess a cheap fig would do. Ha ha. Get it? Not a "date," like a romantic encounter, but like those things used in Fig Newtons, if they were made with dates instead of figs. (Roger Gilkeson, Washington)

Cartoon 2: What does this gadget do?
gadget It gadges. (Paul Laporte and Lee Mayer, Washington)

I don't know what it does, but it gives me an idea! (Sandra Hull, Arlington)

It's a three-way light bulb with a stick shift. (Chuck Smith, Washington)

This is a machine that lights a 40W light bulb. It takes four D batteries, connected in series, and draws 4A. 20V times 4A is 80W. This stupid thing is only 50 percent efficient! (Ned Bent, Herndon)

It's a think tank. The light bulb is the "think" part. (Dan Rosenzweig and Jen Kellner, Bethesda)

Write a poem about the budget deficit:
Someone left the federal budget deficit out in the rain,
Now my life ain't got a purpose
Cause there's gonna be a surplus
(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

There was a young man from Nantudget,
Who tried to balance the federal budget
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

In FY1992 it was $290.3 billion.
In FY1996 it had fallen to $155.5 billion
And, thanks in part to Clinton (William)
By 2000 it will be in the millions!
(David Genser, Arlington)

Next Week: Double Jeopardy

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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