Week 422 (LXXXIX) : Taught Language

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Copyright The Washington Post Company Oct 7, 2001

Lessons learned from the movies:

1. A detective can solve a case only after he has been suspended from duty.

2. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any government agency.

3. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

This Week's Contest was suggested by John O'Byrne of Dublin, Ireland. Come up with lessons learned from (1) the movies, (2) popular songs, (3) romance novels or (4) the comics page. First prize winner gets a handsome bronze key chain from Oral Roberts University, a value of $25.

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. Send your entries via fax to 202-334- 4312, by e-mail to or by U.S. mail to The Style Invitational, Week LXXXIX, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Deadline is Monday, July 23. All entries must include the week number of the contest and your name, postal address and 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. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by Thos. Witte of Gaithersburg.

in which you were asked to supply evidence that you are spending too much time (1) at work, (2) on the cell phone, (3) online or (4) watching TV. In reading the entries, The Czar got the uncomfortable suspicion that many were based on personal experience. A lot of people came up with dialing "9" from home, for example, or saying "BRB" when they leave a room. Special mention, but no prize, to Ingrid Wrausmann of McLean, who proposed a fifth category: signs you are spending too much time in your car. Ingrid says she recently found herself fumbling to put on her seat belt. In a movie theater.

And yes, many people said a sign of watching too much TV is being very, very depressed. We understand.

{diam}Third Runner-Up: Sign you are spending too much time online: You feel the need to tilt your head to the side to show people you are smiling. (Patrick Sheehan, Wheaton; Jessica Henig, Takoma Park)

{diam}Second Runner-Up: Sign you are spending too much time online: You can imitate, with perfect pitch, your modem's dial-up process, including the khhhsshhhhhkkkhhKHHHHHHshkhh part. (Gretchen Kelly, Grand Isle, Vt.)

{diam}First Runner-Up: Sign you are spending too much time at work: Your boss says you are spending too much time at work. (Mike Moore, Gaithersburg)

{diam}And the winner of the brass and velvet award from the police department of Bangladesh:

Sign you are watching too much TV: You notice Oprah seems to have lost a pound. (John Burton, Herndon)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Sign you are spending too much time

at work:

Your wife is attempting to get conjugal visits with you at the office. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Your kid screams, "Mommy, that man in all those pictures around the house is in the living room, watching TV!" (John Burton, Herndon)

You keep hearing about all this terrible "D.C. traffic," but you've never seen it. (Brian Foster, Fairfax)

The night janitor has already taught you all the irregular verbs in his native language. (Jim Pearson, Alexandria)

The plants water you. (John Kammer, Herndon)

You are Marty Schottenheimer. Way too much time, but don't worry, it won't last long. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Your dog lives full time at the kennel. (Mike Genz, La Plata)

When you walk around your neighborhood, the Neighborhood Watch folks track you. (Mike Genz, La Plata)

You tell your kids to send Santa a requisition. (Frank Balsinger, Takoma Park)

You start laundering "just a few little things" in the ladies' room sink. (Judy Wheatley, Laurel)

You have more food in the office refrigerator than in the one at home. (Jennifer Hohnson, San Jose, Calif.)

Turns out that the family picture on your desk, which you thought came with the frame, is yours. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

Sign you are spending too much time on your cell phone:

You have phone sex with your wife, and when you hang up you notice she is lying next to you. (John Burton, Herndon)

You added 20 minutes to your commute to avoid driving through bad cells. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

You never wear more than one earring. (Jeanie Kunkel, Fairfax)

Sign you are watching too much TV:

The absence of a laugh track in real life makes you feel uncomfortable and lonely. (Brian Foster, Fairfax)

You know the local cable ad rotation so well that you can announce confidently what the next commercial will be. (Brian Foster, Fairfax)

First you restart the warp engines, THEN you realign the phase inverters. How many times do you have to e-mail those idiots at "Star Trek"? (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Your conversations are filled with familiar little catchphrases -- not that there's anything wrong with that. (Jessica Lynne Mathews, Arlington)

Sign you are spending too much time online:

You watched your child's graduation ceremony over the Internet by hacking into the school's video security system. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

When you venture outside, you are amazed at how good the resolution is. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

Every now and then you look up in disgust and say something like "When are they going to put something new out there on the Web?" (Russell Beland, Springfield)

You start to think you might have a chance with Anna Kournikova. (Mark Young, Washington)

Hm. Maybe I CAN enlarge my penis! It's certainly worth a glance at their literature . . . (Joseph Romm, Washington)

u have forget all the rulz of grammer speling punctation ect. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

You are amazed at how fast the graphics load is on TV. (Frank Balsinger, Takoma Park)

Your very best friend on Earth is someone you have never actually met. (Judy Wheatley, Laurel)

You double-click the garage door opener. (Pete Hughes, Alexandria)

When you read a book, you find yourself waiting a minute or so for the next page to download. (Bob Furey, Tokyo)

ROFLMAO! WTF kind of Q is that? BTW, IMHO being online is NP. TTFN :). (Jim Cochrane,

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