Week 438 (CV) : What's the Pun Line

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Copyright The Washington Post Company Jan 27, 2002

Why did Van Gogh? He wanted more Monet!

What's the use of Tolkien? Well, communication is a good Hobbit!

How do you deal with a golf-hating wife? You gotta Palmer off on someone else!

What does it feel like to have the Devil use a rusty staple gun to attach your ears to your butt maybe 666 times a day for all eternity? Mohammed Atta know!

What does an editor scream when a manuscript is dying?

This week's contest was suggested by the intriguingly named Catherine Shapleigh of Quito, Ecuador: Ask a question and answer it, somewhere incorporating the name of at least one famous person, as in the examples above. First-prize winner gets a genuine Violet Ray quack medical device from the 1930s, which promises a cure for a variety of diseases, including "brain fag." It is worth a lot more than $2.97. 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, or by e-mail to U.S. mail entries have been canceled due to rabid, spit-flying fanaticism. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 4. 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 Tom Witte of Gaithersburg.

Report from Week XCVI, in which we asked how we will know when certain cultural institutions have reached their peak and "jumped the shark," beginning their inevitable slides into oblivion. In many cases, you declared this to have already happened: Some of your examples were as self-evident, and therefore as unfunny, as "Dennis Miller on 'Monday Night Football.' " But others were niftier: Evel Knievel jumped the shark when he jumped the Snake (John R. Junker, Manassas). Also: Your presidency jumps the shark when the best thing you can say about yourself is that you are "not a crook" -- and it doesn't sound that convincing. (Russell Beland, Springfield). The best of these:

{diam}Fourth Runner-Up: Sign the U.S. Army has jumped the shark: Everybody gets a beret!

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

{diam}Third Runner-Up: Sign that "Jeopardy!" has jumped the shark: It hires Vanna to point to each answer. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

{diam}Second Runner-Up: Sign that the British monarchy has jumped the shark: Wills declines the crown on the grounds that it is "too much work." (Kelli Midgley-Biggs, Columbia)

{diam}First Runner-Up: Sign that Victoria's Secret has jumped the shark: Underwear for you and your pet. (Mariann Simms, Wetumpka, Ala.)

{diam}And the winner of the Backstreet Boys throw pillow and an original Rubber Ducky:

Sign that the Roman Catholic Church has jumped the shark: Puffs of smoke are replaced by a vote-total display in St. Peter's Square on a giant Pope-o-Rama TV screen. (Chris Doyle, Burke)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

The Metropolitan Opera: Karaoke Night. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

The Supreme Court: Rules 5-4 that Mary Ann is sexier than Ginger. (Art Grinath)

"ER": A talking dog is admitted. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

The Washington Wizards: Start running Chicago Bulls highlights on the jumbo screen. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

NBC: " 'Meet the Press' Bloopers." (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

The Olympics: Jell-O Wrestling. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

HCI Books: Chicken Soup for the Constipated. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

CBS: "Improperly Touched by an Angel." (Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

Ann Landers: "Get yourself some bigger bazooms, sister." (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

AARP: Lowers admission age to 39. (Mike Genz, La Plata)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Set up a Psychic Healing Hotline. (Chris Doyle)

England: Buckingham Palace guards now are permitted to scratch once every 15 minutes. (Chris Doyle, Burke)

England: Big Ben goes digital. (Chris Doyle)

Wheaties: Breakfast of Champions AND Losers! (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

CNN: Christiane Amanpour reports from the field in a diaphanous gown, push-up bra and spike heels, with the sound of a zipper in the background. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

Any sitcom: When all the cast members just sit around one episode "remembering" previous episodes. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

"The X-Files": Scully investigates where the hell her socks went after they were "abducted" from the dryer. (Mark Young, Washington)

Your relationship has jumped the shark when he calls you "that woman." (M. Lewinsky, New York, via Russell Beland, Springfield)

Bob Dylan: He writes a tribute song for O.J., claiming he was framed. (David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

Homeland security: Jersey barriers erected to protect Jersey barriers. (Tom Restivo, Frederick)

Harry Potter: Harry discovers he is really Voldemort's son. (Susan Reiss, Arlington)

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