Week 349 (XVI) : Orienting Oneself

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Copyright The Washington Post Company May 14, 2000

Children of shadows

Poised to lead tech-savvy world:


Insurgent voters

On white far-right set big dreams

President Rocker

This Week's Contest was proposed by Katharine M. Butterfield of Potomac. Kat suggests that you produce a haiku using only words found in headlines in today's Washington Post, such as the two above (which were taken from an issue a few weeks ago). Haiku, of course, is a revered ancient literary art that captures the mysteries of the Orient and the ephemera of nature and pulses to the fragile yet insistent cadence of the hearts of a thousand hummingbirds. You know, sissy stuff. So let's kick some serious haiku rump.

The rules are simple: Three lines, the first containing exactly five syllables, the second containing exactly seven syllables, the third containing exactly five. You may craft your poem from as many headlines as you wish, but make sure you tell us the page numbers of all headlines you use. First-prize winner gets an elegant antique wooden rattrap from 1911. (Etched into it is an ad for "Anchor Brand Clothes Wringers.") Apparently rats were bigger then; this thing could kill a platypus. It's worth $15.

First runner-up wins the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Loser Pen. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-Shirt. The Uncle's Pick wins the yet-to-be designed but soon-to-be- coveted "The Uncle Loves Me" T-shirt. Send your entries via fax to 202-334-4312, or by e-mail to, or by U.S. mail to The Style Invitational, Week XVI, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Deadline is Monday, May 22. All entries must include the week number of the contest and your name, postal address and a daytime or evening telephone number. E-mail entries must include the week number in the message field. Contests will be judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Editors reserve the right to edit entries for taste or content. Results will be published in four weeks. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes.

REPORT FROM WEEK XII,in which we asked you to supply captions for these cartoons.

* Fourth Runner-Up: (Cartoon E) Criticism of NASA's excessive budget-cutting escalated after the agency released designs for its new space shuttle launcher. (Beth Baniszewski, Columbia; Joseph Romm, Washington)

* Third Runner-Up: (Cartoon D) The "American Standard" poodle. (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

* Second Runner-Up: (Cartoon D) The EPA tackles the problem of "doggy breath." (Bill Strider, Gaithersburg)

* First Runner-Up: (Cartoon D) Mike would continue to let Buster fetch his slippers, but he'd never again ask him to fetch his pipe. (Michael J. Hammer, Arlington; David Genser, Arlington)

* And the winner of the Australian sprinkler book:

(Cartoon F) Doug realizes with horror that to stop biting his nails he's going to have to carry around two dead fish. (David Genser, Arlington)

* Honorable Mentions:


The pants were "Inspected by No. 666." (Chris Bennett, Ashburn)

A bat out of he. (Brian Feldman, Chantilly)

Prometheus began to fear for more than just his liver. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Habitat for Fruit of the Loom bats. (Art Simpsen, Alexandria; Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Stan has had crabs for so long they've evolved into mammals. (John Kammer, Herndon)

The Batkins diet: A vampire bat sucks your blood for breakfast, again for lunch, and then you eat a sensible dinner. The method may be a bit unorthodox, but you can't argue with the results. (John Kammer, Herndon; Anthony R. Cooper, Alexandria; Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

That's strange, thought Ronald, I asked the tailor to put a new FLY in my trousers. (Michael J. Hammer, Arlington)

Dave wasn't sure which part of his dream bothered him more--the bat flying out of his nether regions, or the fact that, instead of pants, he was dressed in the bow of the Titanic. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)


Native Americans ridiculed the white man's fancy method of carrying arrows. (Kerry S. Humphrey, Springfield)

While other lads built soapbox racers, young Billy Gates constructed his prototype Windows cursor. (Bob Marriot, Alexandria)

An Amish compass. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)


A spitz valve. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

At first we were reluctant to have a pet, but that dog has become a real fixture around here. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

My fluid-mechanics professor didn't believe me, but the dog really did eat my homework. (Paul and Robin Parry, Arlington)

The safest way to give a pit bull his medicine. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

A lavatory retriever. (Alison Kamat, Washington; Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Spot figured that if he ate the whole freaking sink trap, no one would figure out what really happened to the cat. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The Smiths had trouble training Spot not to drink the toilet. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)


If you can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo, you can sell a pineapple-warmer to a Hawaiian. (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

This is what rich people use to warm their toilet paper. (Bob Dalton, Arlington; Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

An automatic manhole cover ejector for use in downtown Washington, activated by rats. (Damaris Weidner, North Potomac)

The short-lived "toister"--part toilet, part toaster. (David Moore, Bowie)


Sure, the spawning the night before was good, but the next day all the salmon could talk about was commitment. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Seeing-eye piranhas never made it past the prototype stage. (David Genser, Arlington)

The attorney for the Miami Family dramatizes the trauma suffered by young Elian in the water. (Joe Kobylski, Vienna)

Every time Miles got tense he would get a really nasty haddock. (David Genser, Arlington; Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Jean-Claude enacts the scene where the king gets poisson in his ear. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Max didn't realize that SWF in the Personals Plus ads sometimes means Smelly Whitefish. (Russ Beland, Springfield)

PETA's latest campaign: Eat fingers, not fish. (Paul Kocak, Syracuse)

Whoa, the bass is way too loud. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

* The Uncle's Pick:

Cartoon F. Because the fish is stewed to the gills (ha ha!) and therefore slurring his words, the man is helping him to be understood, i.e., he is translating for the impaired herring. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

(The Uncle explains: This is funny because it is a pun on the term "hearing impaired," and it is also of value because it illustrates the dangers of excessive drinking and encourages charitable behavior toward those less fortunate.)

Next Week: You're Kidding Us


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