Week 391 (LVIII) : Spinning Out of Control


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Mar 4, 2001

Real Headline: Sanders Won't Commit to Redskins

Alternative Subhead: Daniel 'Santa' Snyder Pledges Reduced Ticket Prices,

'Mercedes Day' Fan Appreciation Promotion

Real Headline: Trace Levels of Scotchgard Found Absorbed in Humans

Alternative Subhead: Environmentalists Optimistic, Predict Drop in Toilet Paper Use

This week's contest, suggested by Greg Arnold, Herndon: Take any headline in today's Washington Post and create a subhead (which Arnold defined, in a bravura show of technical expertise, as "whatever you call that headline-like thing in smaller type below the main headline") that spins the story in an opposite or unexpected direction, as in the above examples. Use headlines from any item in the Sunday Post, including advertising. Ignore existing subheads. Include the page number of the headline with your entry. First-prize winner gets a festive coffee mug commemorating the "Economic Report of the President, January 1987." This commemoration is accomplished on the mug's exterior by reprinting the phrase "Economic Report of the President, January 1987" many times in a handsome white typeface. A $4.95 value, $54.95 if filled with Sacagawea dollars. (Sacagawea dollars not included.)

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 shockingly ugly "The Uncle Loves Me" T-shirt. Send your entries via fax to 202-334-4312; by e-mail to; or by U.S. mail to The Style Invitational, Week LVIII, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Deadline is Monday, March 12. 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 subject 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. A word of apology to those of you who actually read the small type. The Uberczar, as predicted, messed up uberly his first week by giving the wrong deadline and wrong week number. In his defense, he issued the following statement: "Roman numerals? What's up with that?"

in which we asked for jokes that only Washingtonians would get:

{diam}Third runner-up: Why did W cross the road?

So the Washington press corps could fawn over his road-crossing ability.

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

{diam}Second runner-up: Andrea Mitchell is leaving Clyde's of Georgetown when a manhole cover explodes. Her husband rushes into the street and flings himself under the cover just before it hits the pavement. Andrea thinks, "That's Alan -- he'll do anything for a soft landing." (Chris Doyle, Burke)

{diam}First runner-up: How can you tell an old Redskin from a young Redskin?

Count the rings. (Mike Genz, La Plata)

{diam}And the winner of the bizarre West Virginia tableau: How did the GS-1 shut down the federal government?

He went into a crowded cafeteria and shouted "Snowflake!"

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

How long does it take to drive from Georgia to Connecticut?

About five minutes, if you don't wait for Dorothy to surrender. (Andrea Kelly, Brookeville)

What do Andre Agassi and smart investors have in common?

When it gets too hot, they pull out of Legg Mason. (Jerome Spaans, Brussels; formerly of Montgomery County)

What do you get when you cross a serial killer with congressional mailing privileges?

Son of Sam and Frank (Greg Arnold, Herndon)

Why did General Washington cross the Delaware instead of the Potomac?

Virginians don't go into Maryland. (Jon Graft, Centreville)

When the going gets tough, the tough update their Optional Form 510s. (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station)

What's the difference between the Beltway and Lorton?

More traffic flows through Lorton. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

What do you call a long line of people at 14th and Constitution at 4:45 p.m.?

A slugfest. (Chris Doyle, Burke)

What metro line carries the greatest volume but the fewest commuters?

The Brown Line to Blue Plains (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

How many generals does it take to change a Pentagon light bulb?

None. Colonels change light bulbs. (Alice Kale, Alexandria)

What do you get when you cross Ronnie Mervis and Michael Jackson?

1-800-HIS-GLOVE (Dave Ferry, Leesburg)

Wow, that guy over there just let me have tickets to the zoo and the Smithsonian at half price! (Russell Beland, Springfield)

The State Department has ruled that Foreign Service officers may take religious leave to attend the Big East Tournament. (Howard Walderman, Columbia)

What do you get when you combine green, orange, yellow and blue?

L'Enfant Plaza (Charles V. Bremer, Arlington)

What's on the end of a necklace that reflects your image, indicates status and gives you immediate access?

A badge. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Sally met this great guy. He hasn't asked her out yet, but he's smart, he dresses well, he's interested in all the things she is -- and best of all, he and his roommate have this great condo in Dupont Circle! (Russell Beland, Springfield)

What event does the Hains Point sculpture "The Awakening" commemorate?

The tragic death of little-known Reginald Mervis, buried in a central African diamond mining collapse in 1975. (James Kimble, Arlington)

What are the charity baskets called in Georgetown churches?

Middle-class boxes. (Mike Genz, La Plata)

What do you get when you cross the beauty of former East Berlin with the excitement of downtown Detroit?

Rosslyn. (Nick Dierman, Berkeley, Calif., formerly of Potomac)

Stud: How do you know your date's not going to stand you up outside the restaurant the way the last girl did?

Dud: Because I'm going to her apartment -- 3315 J Street Northwest.

(Roy Ashley, Washington)

How do you describe childish behavior exhibited by drivers at downtown traffic circles?

L'Enfantile. (Sandra Hull, Arlington)

What's the difference between the Mixing Bowl and a D.C. manhole cover?

The manhole cover has been known to be the site of rapid acceleration. (Ben F. Noviello, Fairfax)

What are the Latin translations of the words "exit" and "escalator"?

"He goes out" and "He walks." (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Are you going to see the new play at American University, "Arsenic and Old Lice"?

(Roy Ashley, Washington)

What gets less business than a barbecue joint in Kemp Mill?

A mammogram clinic on P Street.

(Susan Thompson, Rockville)

Did you hear about the guy who refused to drive on the Dulles toll road?

He was HOV-negative. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

How do you describe an actor at the Folger who's unsure of his lines?

Foggy Bottom (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

How many Metrorail operators does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Three: One to read the instructions, one to translate the first one's reading of the instructions, and one to sit in the automatic bulb-changing machine. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

How many ombudsmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Two: one to screw in the bulb and one to pontificate about whether it was really necessary to use the word "screw." (Ervin Stembol, Alexandria)

{diam}The Uncle's Pick:

Which D.C. area airport do boring people use?

The Dulles one. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

The Uncle Explains: The writer is employing a clever pun, substituting Dulles for "dullest." Thank you, Ms. Sorensen, for a much-needed "t" hee.

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