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The Style Invitational

Week 269: Signs, and The Times
Sunday, May 10, 1998; Page F02


Problem: Prostitution


Traffic Congestion


Problem: Panhandling


by Bob Staake / The Washington Post by Bob Staake / The Washington Post by Bob Staake / The Washington Post
This week's contest was proposed by Mr. Marc Goldman of the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, an organization dedicated tirelessly to improving the lives of persons who live and work in D.C. in ways we are certain are extremely civic and do not involve the expenditure of vast amounts of money on idiotic enterprises such as Pavement Awareness Week. Marc proposes that you help his group come up with new, helpful signage for downtown streets. Currently, BID is seeking clever, zippy signs to prevent spill-back, or "blocking the box," which occurs when cars try to run lights that are turning red, get stuck and snarl the intersection. Your signs can address this problem, or any other downtown-type situation that might be improved by helpful messages. You must state the problem, and propose the sign to rectify it. Marc is a very upbeat, earnest, cheerful, mellow, slaphappy sort of guy (his office answering machine says 'Have a good day all day'), and he seemed a little concerned that the Style Invitational readers would use this opportunity to have their snide fun at the city's expense. We assured him that readers would exercise all the good taste, maturity and reverence we have come to expect of them. For proposing this contest, Marc wins a genuine four-foot length of yellow plastic POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS tape swiped by a Washington Post reporter from the scene of a felony on Pennsylvania Avenue. First-prize winner receives Not The New York Times, an original 1978 parody of the World's Most Pompous Newspaper published during the New York newspaper strike, containing headlines such as: "Sleepy Village's Dull Anecdote Is Grist for Reporters' Mill." It is worth $50.

First runner-up gets the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Loser 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 269, 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. Also, please do not append "attachments," which tend not to be read. Entries must be received on or before Monday, May 18. 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. Today's Ad No One Personally Gives a Crap About was written by David Genser of Arlington. Employees of The Washington Post and members of their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 266,
in which we asked you to redefine any words from the dictionary.

Seventh Runner-Up:
Carcinoma -- n., a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Sixth Runner-Up:
Asunder -- adj., supine.
(Jo Lombard, McLean)

Fifth Runner-Up:
Esplanade -- v., to attempt an explanation while drunk.
(Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

Fourth Runner-Up:
Willy-nilly -- adj., impotent.
(Beth Benson, Lanham)

Third Runner-Up:
Flabbergasted -- adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained. (Michelle Feeley, Arlington)

Second Runner-Up:
Negligent -- adj., describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.
(Sandra Hull, Arlington)

First Runner-Up:
Excruciate -- n., the ligament that attaches your ex-wife to your paycheck.
(Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax)

And the winner of the bag of 49 whoopie cushions:
Canticle -- n., a modular office space so small and lightless that it saps an employee of all motivation.
(Jacob Weinstein, Los Angeles)

Honorable Mentions:

Perplexed -- adj., lost in a movie theater.
(Michelle Feeley, Arlington)

Population -- n., that nice sensation you get when drinking soda.
(Lee Mayer and Paul Laporte, Washington)

Racket -- n., a small pair of breasts.
(Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

Lymph -- v., to walk with a lisp.
(Paul Kocak, Syracuse)

Cafeteria -- n., A women's coffeehouse, where the clients drink coffee and cry.
(Michael A. Genz, La Plata)

Morass -- n., the mess you make when you can never have enough.
(Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

Gargoyle -- n., an olive-flavored mouthwash.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Bustard -- n., A very rude Metrobus driver.
(Christopher Hapner, Savannah)

Debentures -- n., false teeth bought on credit.
(John Allen, Charlottesville)

Nincompoop -- n., the military command responsible for battlefield sanitation.
(Bill Strider, Gaithersburg)

Ineffable -- adj., describes someone you absolutely cannot swear in front of, such as the Queen Mum, or Martha Stewart.
(Jessica Henig, Northampton, Mass.)

Pontificate -- n., a document given to each graduating pope.
(Brian C. Broadus, Charlottesville)

Seersucker -- n., an avid follower of Sydney Omarr, Serena Sabak, etc.
(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Coffee -- n., a person who is coughed upon.
(David Hoffman, San Diego)

Pimple -- n., a panderer's apprentice.
(Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

Discussion -- n., a Frisbee-related head injury.
(Sandra Hull, Arlington)

Flatulence -- n., the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
(Russ Beland, Springfield)

Hysteria -- n., the anguish caused by listening to low fidelity audio systems.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Peons -- n., service personnel who must endure the rabid tirades of angry customers.
(Kevin Mellema, Silver Spring)

Internet -- n., the web of interns in which Ken Starr has tried to snare Bill Clinton.
(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

Balderdash -- n., a rapidly receding hairline.
(Paul Kocak, Syracuse)

Polarize -- n., a very cold look.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Brisket -- n., a straw container for a mohel's instruments.
(T.J. Murphy, Arlington)

Bluestockings -- n., a woman's term for unfulfilled sexual arousal.
(Kevin Mellema, Silver Spring)

Mausoleum -- n., floor covering used in crypts. Attractive from the top and bottom.
(Barbara Harrison, Hagerstown)

Cursive -- adj., sort of cursing, i.e., "Oh, fiddlesticks," or "H-E-double toothpicks."
(Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

Ozone -- n., area in which the G-spot is located.
(Irwin L. Singer, Washington)

Semantics -- n., pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer book together just before vespers.
(T.J. Murphy, Arlington)

Rectitude -- n., the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
(Kyle Bonney, Fairfax)

Asterisk -- v., to inquire about the danger of a certain situation.
(Jo Lombard, McLean)

Buttress -- n., a long strand of derriere hair.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington; Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring)

Lobster -- n., a slick-talking, oily, obnoxious person who represents special interest groups on Capitol Hill.
(Elizabeth Monte, Fairfax)

Foundling -- n., an apprehended child molester.
(E.J. Lloyd, Fairfax Station)

Amenorrhea -- n., excessive exaltations of the audience of some sleazy TV preacher.
(Paul Styrene, Olney)

Shadow -- n., a fish whose husband has died.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Macadam -- n., the first man on Earth, according to the Celtic bible.
(Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Marionettes -- n., residents of Washington who have been jerked around by the mayor.
(Gary L. Kunz, Gaithersburg)

Abdicate -- v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Oyster -- n., a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
(Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

Circumvent -- n., the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
(Greg Arnold, Herndon)

Filibuster -- v., to issue a command to a service station attendant.
(Jo Lombard, McLean)

Flattery -- n., a place that manufactures A and B cup brassieres only.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Testicle -- n., a humorous question on an exam.
(Paul Kocak, Syracuse)

Next Week: The Concept Concept

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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