Week 502 : Picture This


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Apr 20, 2003

This week's contest: Who are these people? What are they doing? First-prize winner gets a gilt-covered model of the Kobukson (1592), the world's first armor-clad ship. It is in a slightly cracked plastic display case. It was donated to The Style Invitational by Lin Dalton of the Thrift Shop on P Street in Washington. 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 are no longer accepted. Deadline is Monday, April 28. 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 Gabriel of Silver Spring.

Report from Week 498,

in which we invited you to come up with unimportant but oddly interesting facts. Many of you went to unimportant-but-oddly- interesting-fact Web sites, and you have been rewarded with no ink. Did it not occur to you that we would get dozens of entries pointing out that the pope is an honorary Harlem Globetrotter, that there are more Agriculture Department employees than farmers, and that the Sanskrit word for war means "desire for more cows"? The winning entries were a lot more original.

A special mention to Russell Beland of Springfield, who points out the startling fact that "newspapers routinely print the anagrams of very offensive words, but no one seems to mind . . . this." Russell wins a taxidermized . . . snipe.

{diam}Third Runner-Up: Bob Ferguson was a player and manager in baseball's early days in the 1870s and 1880s. His nickname was Death to Flying Things. Jack Chapman was also a manager in the 1880s. His nickname was also Death to Flying Things. (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

{diam}Second Runner-Up: "Pumpernickel" is derived from German words meaning "Devil's fart." (Seth Brown, Williamstown, Mass.)

{diam}First Runner-Up: Saddam Hussein has a daughter named Raghad. (Peyton Coyner, Afton, Va.)

{diam}And the winner of the T-shirt featuring teddy bears positioned in a way they shouldn't be positioned:

The record for pole-sitting, 196 days, is held by a Pole. (Daniel Baraniuk, from Gdansk, did it in 2002.) (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Albert Einstein's birthday is 3.14.

(Dan Dunn, Bethel, Conn.)

If approached by an enraged baboon, it is best to get on all fours and rotate your rump in a counterclockwise direction. This soothes the baboon. It is important not to rotate your rump in a clockwise direction as this may cause the baboon to become aroused.

(Lorraine Verchot, Springfield)

Color additive E120 in Cherry Coke is made of dried-up cochineal insect bodies. (Kathy Flynn, Olney)

In college basketball, the Temple University Owls' single-game scoring record and fourth-highest point total in NCAA history is 73 points, set by Bill Mlkvy in 1951. His real claim to fame? He was known as The Owl Without a Vowel. (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

The order of Life Savers in a five-flavor roll is always orange, red, white, green, yellow, red, white, green, orange, red, yellow. (Bob Elliott, Washington)

East Aurora, N.Y., is about 100 miles west of Aurora, N.Y.

(William J. Collinge, Gettysburg, Pa.)

If you start with "one" and count upward, writing all the numbers in succession by spelling them out, you will not use the letter "a" until you hit 1,000. (Lex Friedman, Los Angeles)

Any number will be divisible by 9 if its component digits add up to a number that is divisible by 9.

(Elizabeth Miller, Ashburn)

Elephants are the only mammal with no elbows. They do have four knees. (Elizabeth Miller, Ashburn)

A one-yen coin will float if placed flat on a glass of water.

(Jennifer L. Gundersen, Fort Meade)

The letters "ough" are pronounced six different ways in the following sentence: A rough-hewn ploughman walking through the streets hiccoughed, coughed and hocked up a doughy loogie. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

The amount of blood in the average human body is roughly equivalent to a case of beer. (Mark Young, Washington)

Mr. Ed's real name was Bamboo Harvester. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

The word "testicle" comes from the idea of 'testimony' to one's maleness.

(Seth Brown, Williamstown, Mass.)

The B&O Museum in Baltimore is the world's largest 22-sided building.

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

The Wright Brothers' first flight could be performed in its entirety inside the cargo bay of a C-5A transport aircraft. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

A British officer with bad handwriting wrote "?Name" on a map of Alaska, not knowing what the location's actual name was. The map, when recopied, was read as "Nome." It stuck.

(Danny Bravman, Potomac)

Toucan Sam, the Froot Loops character, originally spoke in Pig Latin in commercials, telling us of his ove-lay for Oot-fray Oops- lay.

(Danny Bravman, Potomac)

Aaron Burr is the most famous American whose name starts and ends with double letters. But Lloyd Fredendall, who commanded the U.S. forces at the battle of Kasserine Pass, has the most famous name starting and ending with the SAME double letter. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Duct tape is widely revered for its usefulness, but in 1998 a Department of Energy study revealed that duct tape is not that effective at repairing ducts. (Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)

Millard Fillmore's 1850 State of the Union address lamented the high price of imported Peruvian guano.

(Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

The largest organism on Earth is a mushroom covering 2,200 acres in Oregon. (Paul Kocak, Syracuse)

Desi Arnaz's popular 1950s song "Babalu" was actually a tribute to Baba Luaye, the Cuban name for the Caribbean god of smallpox. When Desi was pounding out the rhythm on his congas, he was echoing the tribal representation of a traditional dancer, wrapped in straw, who performed as if doubled over in pain, mimicking the suffering of a smallpox victim.

(David Koplow, McLean)

And Last:

The winner of the first Style Invitational contest, Douglas R. Miller, never entered another one. He wanted to "retire undefeated." His prize -- a Timex Triathlon watch -- no longer works because the battery died, and he never bothered to replace it.

(Jacki Lippman, Washington)

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