Week 543 : Read Our Leaps


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Feb 1, 2004

This Week's Contest: Because of the Invitational's imperiously leisurely turnaround time, the results of this contest will appear, as usual, four weeks from today. What is not so usual is that they will appear Sunday, Feb. 29 -- an occurrence that cannot happen again, according to the ever-vigilant Russell Beland of Springfield, for another 28 years. Just in case our readers might not have a chance to pick up The Washington Post on Sunday, Feb. 29, 2032, or tune in the day's news dentally through their Molaradios, please fill them in on any of the following: (a) the day's lead news story; (b) the highest-flying company and its business; (c) the best- selling self-help book; and/or (d) the day's winning Style Invitational entry.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a package of Piddlers toilet targets, 20 flushable little spongy fishies to teach your 2- year-old son or your beer-sodden husband (or perhaps yourself) how to aim. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T- shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after new Style Invitational Magnets (collect two and use them as a nifty clip for your credit cards!).

One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries via fax to 202- 334-4312 or by e-mail to U.S. mail entries are not accepted. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 9. Put the week number in the subject line of your e-mail, or you risk being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are 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 on -- duh -- Feb. 29. 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 Seth Brown of North Adams, Mass.

Report From Week 539, in which The Empress asked for poems about people who died in 2003. Funny ideas that were submitted by many: Satan asking "Price Is Right" announcer Rod Roddy to "Come on down!"; Bobby Hatfield has "lost that livin' feeling"; and Maurice Gibb's no longer "stayin' alive."

There was an especially high dreck-to-quality ratio this week: Most of you, it seems, figured that as long as a line was a few syllables away from scanning, or a few letters away from rhyming, what the hey. Almost-rhymes and almost-scans may suffice if you're rapping out loud, but for the printed page, either make it work or we kill this doggerel.

{diam}Third runner-up:

Football gave George Plimpton fits.

He didn't quite avoid the blitz.

Like many literary scions,

He couldn't read between the Lions.

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

{diam}Second runner-up:

Ed Teller, you fathered the hydrogen bomb,

The scope of your dream's still unfurled.

We'll think of your contribution to us

On the day that they blow up the world.

(Scott Campisi, Wake Village, Tex.)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the tie with little West Virginias all over it:

At 105, old Madame Chiang

At last met her mortality,

That's got to be a record for

A Taipei personality.

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

{diam}And the winner of The Inker:

Idi, you were real Amin,

Your passing we think swell.

They're laughing up in Heaven 'cause

They know Uganda Hell.

(Bob Dalton, Arlington)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

For departed Lester Maddox

Comeuppance bleak awaits,

To see St. Peter, ax in hand,

Between the Pearly Gates.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Robert Atkins, diet guru, and

Robert Ross, co-creator of the Pillsbury Doughboy

Linked together forever, in fate's

cruelest of barbs:

Bread's Patron Saint and the Bane of the Carbs.

A sticky Inferno, a Dantean feat:

Set for 10 minutes at moderate heat.

(Mary Ann Henningsen, Hayward, Calif.)

Let's celebrate here the best thing achieved

By a crooner who passed in the night,

And reflect on the millions of children conceived

To the voice of the great Barry White.

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

His caricatures were plaiN INAne

but he teased the braiN IN All he spelled

what AN INnovative mind we're losiN' IN

Artist Al Hirschfeld

(Drew Knoblauch, Falls Church)

Sydney Omarr, Astrologer and Leo:

Died, 1/2/03.

That day, your sign, your advice:

"Get work done early."

(Mary Ann Henningsen, Hayward, Calif.)

Donald O'Connor

Moses supposes Don's toeses are roses,

Planted now, deep, six feet under,


But hear that great tap rhythm up in the thunder?

O'Connor is dancin' in Heaven with Gene.

(Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)

Sheb Wooley's Hell on Earth, they say,

Is waking every single day

Knowing some annoying twerp'll

Ask you on the streets:

"Is the people eater purple,

Or are purple people what he eats?"

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Dan Snyder of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team:

He had not his Skins,

He had not his clout,

But unlike OUR Dan

He got the puck out.

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

David Brinkley:

Acerbic wit and impish smile,

He seemed above the muck, but nyet,

Pitched ADM and made a pile,

Good night, David. Good night, Chet.

(Tom Greening, North Bethesda)

"This Week With David Brinkley"

Survives without him rather stinkley.

(Sanford D. Horn, Alexandria)

"Maytag repairman" Gordon Jump

He never spent a minute fixing dryers,

He begged the phone to ring so he could talk;
At last there's productivity at Maytag:
Now the deadwood's dead and off the clock.
(Bill Spencer, Exeter, N.H.)

Sen. Strom Thurmond:

You preached the "Southern way of life"

In various high places.

(But on occasion, you'd condone

Some mixing of the races.)

(Jerry Norris, New Bern, N.C.)

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" survived

While Hope Lange held our hearts;

If e'er the show should be revived,

She now could play both parts.

(Bob Dalton, Arlington; Mike Connaghan,


Gertrude Ederle:

From France to England unabetted,

She swam for hours, barely sweated,

But once ashore, though glory won,

She smelled like Channel No. 1.

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

Ron Ziegler's gone inoperative,

We're saddened by his dying.

His lips are stilled: At least, for once,

We know he isn't lying.

(Bob Dalton, Arlington)

N!xau the Bushman

is gone -- it's no joke.

Died very naturally,

Not beaned by a Coke.

(Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)

Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks:

Life's crowning glories don't come twice:

This time, no "miracle," just "on ice."

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Fred Rogers is gone, and the puppets grieve

In the magical Land of Make Believe.

In fact, the mood is so melancholy,

King Friday threw himself under the trolley.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

I can't say I'm brokenhearted

To find out that he's departed.

You laud his life and wipe a tear;

Not me -- he ruined my career.

I should have left him years ago;

He never let me change, or grow!

I had to play some half-wit babbler;

I'd done "Streetcar"! "Hedda Gabler"!

Now I'm typecast, just some joke,

All from those stupid lines I spoke.

So mourn his passing if you choose,

I'll lie in the sun and snooze,

And wake to arch my back and hiss:

"Yo, Fred Rogers: Meow meow THIS."

(Henrietta Pussycat, Pittsburgh)

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

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