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Week 504 : Life Is Snort


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Copyright The Washington Post Company May 4, 2003

. . . And then, sitting there eating my bagel, I realized that "error" is

terrorism's middle name.

. . . And that's why my beagle is my best friend.

. . . Maybe tomorrow I'll have that cup of coffee my dad always wanted

to share with me.

. . . Bowling, I realized, is not just about strikes.

This week's contest was proposed by Jean Sorensen of Herndon. Jean points out that the excellent reader-written feature "Life Is Short" on the front of Sunday Style sometimes gets a little, well . . . schmaltzy. Jean is a particular fan of the final line of the items, where the schmaltz often resides. Your challenge is to write a last line, as in the examples above. First-prize winner gets Volume 1 of the (mostly) picture book "Morbid Curiosity: Celebrity Tombstones Across America," plus the accompanying calendar.

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 losers@washpost.com. Deadline is Monday, May 12. 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 Chris Doyle of Forsyth, Mo.

Report from Week 500,

in which we asked you to come up with flawed syllogisms. It was a very hard contest. The ones who did well did very well. The ones who didn't . . . really, really didn't.

{diam}Second Runner-Up:

Only one entry will win The Style Invitational.

I submitted only one entry.

Ergo, I will win the Style Invitational.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

{diam}First Runner-Up:

A lawyer is taught to be precise.

A precise person uses clear, concise language.

Ergo, lawyers possess the training to express complicated concepts in a self-evident manner, employing the rhetoric version of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, whether coincident with the action at hand or rendered analytically after the fact, i.e., nunc pro tunc, in a manner that eschews verbosity and is, therefore, comprehensible inter alia by the average person, the extraordinary person, those with or without mens rea, ballerinas, Methodists . . .

(Marc Liebert, New York)

{diam}And the winner of the milk chocolate movie-opening invitation:

Emanuel Ax is an extraordinary talent.

Kathleen Battle is an extraordinary talent.

The word "old" means "of long standing."

Ergo, regardless of how your mother took it, I was only referring to her long-standing status as an extraordinary person when I . . .

(Dan Dunn, Bethel, Conn.)

{diam}Honorable Mentions

The best things in life are free.

Freedom comes at the price of eternal vigilance.

Freedom, therefore, isn't free.

Freedom, therefore, isn't one of the best things in life.

Tyranny is the complete opposite of freedom.

The complete opposite of something is everything that the first thing is not.

Tyranny, therefore, is one of the best things in life.

Ergo, tyranny is better than freedom.

(Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Farts are funny.

Audiences like funny things.

People in an elevator are a captive audience.

Ergo, people will like it if you fart in an elevator.

(Maxine Sudol, Richmond, Australia)

Rock beats scissors.

Scissors beat paper.

Ergo, rock does not beat paper! What, paper beats rock because it can wrap around the rock? What kind of stupid logic is that? Paper can wrap around scissors, too. Rock rules. Thank you.

(Jonathan Kaye, Washington)

Came home this morning and all her clothes were gone.

The account is empty, a stain on the bed, the dog is dead.

Ergo, my baby done left me, she's done chucked me and flown.

(Cecil J. Clark, Arlington)

If you tax an activity, you discourage it.

The death tax imposes a tax on dying.

Ergo, repealing the death tax will cause people to die earlier.

(Sen. Tom Daschle, Washington)

(Sara Ulyanova, San Pedro Sula, Honduras)

A circular argument assumes what it is trying to prove.

Assuming what one is trying to prove is logically invalid.

Ergo, a circular argument is invalid because it is circular.

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

All fish have scales.

The Justice Department has scales.

Ergo, there is something fishy about Ashcroft.

(Mike Genz, La Plata)

Socrates is a man.

All men are jerks.

Ergo, Socrates is your ex-husband.

(Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

God helps those who help themselves.

Kleptomaniacs help themselves.

Ergo, God is an accessory to petty theft.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Death involves going toward the light.

When you walk into your kitchen at 3 a.m., cockroaches run from the light.

Ergo, cockroaches never die.

(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Blue, red and yellow are primary colors.

If you combine two primary colors, you get a secondary color.

The primary color that is not a component of a secondary color is called its complementary color.

Complementary things are things that go well together.

Ergo, you should wear blue pants and an orange shirt to your next sales presentation.

(Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)

No man has two penises.

One man has one more penis than no man.

Ergo, one man has three penises.

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)


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