Week 402 (LXIX) : Spitting the Difference

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Copyright The Washington Post Company May 20, 2001

Yasser Arafat

Laser Eye Surgery

Pizza-Scented Shampoo

Intimations of Mortality

Large Men in Leotards Doing Squat Thrusts

Six Hamsters in a Burlap Sack

Performance Anxiety

The Euro

A Catfish

The Baltimore Orioles

The Human Navel

An English Calf

An Apology to China

Robert Hanssen, Master Spy

William J. Clinton

Eddie Gootchy Gatchy Gamma Tostinara Tostinoca Samma Kamma Wacky Brown


The difference between the Euro and pizza-scented shampoo is that when you are really smashed, pizza-scented shampoo seems like a good idea.

This week's contest: Tell us the difference between any two of the above items. (Example: The difference between an apology to China and fat men in leotards doing squat thrusts is that when you are forced to apologize to China, it isn't merely spandex that has you by the short hairs.) First-prize winner gets three bottles of Indian Spirit scented bath oil and floor wash, sold by leading voodoo shops everywhere and guaranteed to banish all evil presences from one's home.

Today marks the return of The Czar from a two-month sabbatical. During this time, as promised, he submitted entries under a series of pseudonyms unknown to the new judge, who was a woman. The very first week, the Czar suggested that what was missing from a photo of a bent- over Betty Ford was "the monkey on her back," an entry summarily rejected as "tasteless." It was at that moment The Czar sensed he was in trouble. What followed was a weekly carnival of horror for The Czar, culminating with Week LXIV, when he proposed that the "I" in the "IBM" sign be blacked out to create "a company that produces software to facilitate data dumps." This entry was flushed instantly. In all, the Czar submitted an average of five entries a week over nine weeks. He did enjoy some success: In two weeks (LX and LXI), he took the first prize, coming up with the winning poem summarizing a newspaper article and the winning blurb designed to make a movie as unappealing as possible. He also garnered three honorable mentions. (All prizes were sent to the University of Pennsylvania undergraduates who graciously permitted their names to be used in this foul enterprise.)

Overall, the brief but eventful tenure of the Auxiliary Czar did much to humanize a contest often thought of as arrogant and autocratic. She sent cheerful notes to people whose entries did not quite make the final cut, praising their efforts and urging them to try again. She engaged in pleasant, respectful e-mail banter with any and all. At times she explained her decisions, so as to demystify the selection process. The Czar wishes to thank her for creating a nurturing and inviting atmosphere with these many changes, which will cease at once.

First runner-up wins the tacky but estimable Style

Invitational Loser Pen. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought- after Style Invitational bumper sticker. The Uncle's Pick wins the shockingly ugly "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 XLIX, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Deadline is Monday, May 28. 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. Entries may be edited 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. The revised title for next week's contest is by Chris Doyle of Burke.

in which we asked you to create some Great Thoughts from a list of words, a{grv} la those pretentious sets of refrigerator magnets:

{diam}Second runner-up: Bush: "Infinity is, like, not ending." (Lloyd Duvall, Roslyn, Pa.)

{diam}First runner-up: I like art if it can agitate, not imitate. - - Homer (Judith E. Cottrill, New York)

{diam}And the winner of the inflatable California Raisin:

Life -- the sinister play: Prayer, genuflect, weep . . . Alas, every ending is "die."

(Brian Foster, Fairfax)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

He: I like Nestle pudding. Not the instant style. Make it, princess?

She: Eat [colon doodle] and die!

(Judith E. Cottrill, New York)

Alas, the magic is ending. Weep, wizard Green-span!

(Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

"I repeat: Can I recount every one?" "Not exactly," she answered. (Judith E. Cottrill, New York)

If the dog lather, RUN! (Stephen Dudzik,


Heavy: ( )

Not: ) (

Eat: ( )

Stop: ) (

Repeat: ( ) . . . ) ( . . . ( )

(O. Winfrey, Chicago, via Russell Beland, Springfield)

The planet is ending: Heavy asteroid can strike, slamming Earth. Say an instant prayer, weep, and die like hot pudding in one big sack.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

She doodle, Style strike every one! Alas, I weep. (Jean Guevara, Silver Spring)

One Wizard is an instant sensation. Alas, stars can not make big clowns play like magic. (Dwight Davis, Arlington)

The princess's rolls make her weep. Alas, heavy, like an asteroid. Imitate

every model: Eat cucumber, not Nestle. (Jon Bragg, Sterling)

Bland Bush can not repeat incessant roll in the sack. Weep not, heavy

princess. (Dwight Davis, Arlington)

The Green Monster:

It can stop slamming homer.

Stars weep.

(Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

The Bush recount: Big prayer, incessant spin, sinister ending. (Arthur Litoff,

Dillsburg, Pa.)

Bush can repeat "Run dog"; alas, not say "Fahrvergnugen." (Jean Sorensen,


She is an instant sensation, like magic in the stars. Slamming stop. Sinister

ending. Princess, die.

(Chris Doyle, Burke; Russell Beland,


{diam}The Uncle's Pick: In bland art, clowns weep. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The Uncle Explains: Can the poignant irony of the weeping clown fail to bring a tear to one's own eye?

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