Week 547 : Give Us a Bad Name


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Feb 29, 2004

Wham-O is a good name for a toy company but a bad name for . . .

Red Lobster is a good name for a seafood restaurant but a bad name for a sunscreen.

Soft & Dri is a good name for a brand of deodorant but a bad name for brand of pickles.

This week's contest, suggested by Stephen Dudzik of Olney, who stole the idea from "The Tonight Show" a couple of months ago, is to take an existing product or business name and pair it with an incompatible one, as in the examples above. Don't steal your entries, though; "bad name" doesn't begin to describe what you would suffer.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a fabulous prize donated to us by Paul Kondis of Alexandria: two plush, squeezable, cuddly toy germs, 1 million times actual size. Specifically, Athlete's Foot, which is a little orange guy of irregular shape, and Ulcer, an elongated critter with flagella sprouting from its head, such as it is. (Really, now, how many chances do you have to give your favorite baby athlete's foot or an ulcer?) Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries via fax to 202-334-4312 or by e-mail to Snail-mail entries are not accepted. Deadline is Monday, March 8. 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 March 28. 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 Montgomery Village.

Report from Week 543, in which we speculate on the next time the Invitational falls on a Feb. 29, in 2032. Many entries discussed President Jenna Bush or President Chelsea Clinton; lots of you told of baseball franchises awarded to East Grand Forks or Tikrit, as Washington continued to wait. In fact, lots of people had the same ideas about lots of things. If your general idea appears below with someone else's name after it, please see your local Department of Vital Statistics. You can change your name to that one, and then we'll send you a magnet.

{diam}Third runner-up: The Feb. 29, 2032, winning Style Invitational entry:

A bad thing to say to the Supreme Alien Overlord: "What's up with the anal probes? Can't we just cuddle?" (Erika Reinfeld, Somerville, Mass.)

{diam}Second runner-up: Lead news story of Feb. 29, 2032: Hundreds Dead in Segway Pileup (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the Piddlers instructional toilet targets: Lead news story: Washington (AP) -- "no LOL 2day," sez prez, "bcz bird flu kilt 200k!!!!" (Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

{diam} And the winner of the Inker:

The winning Style Invitational entry of Feb. 29, 2032:

Use a person's name as an acronym for an appropriate quote: President. Ambassador. Representative. I've served honorably in life, triumphing over naysayers. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

The lead news story of Feb. 29, 2032:

Al Qaeda Threatens Security Council

Veto (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

Post Issues Historic Print Edition After Third Day of Internet Blackout

(Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

Cincinnati Oceanfront Property Values Soar (Robin and Paul Parry, Arlington)

Mayor Barry Jr. Says Powder Was for Athlete's Foot: "Itch Set Me Up" (Mark Young, Washington)

WWIII Obliterates 30 U.S. Cities; D.C. Awarded Major League Franchise (Milo Sauer)

United Negro College Fund Finally

Updates Name; To Become United Negro University Fund (Russell Beland,


Tree Museum Opens; People Pay a Dollar and a Half Just to See Them (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Next Round of "Survivor" to Be Set on Earth (Russell Beland)

With Cancer, Heart Disease Cured,

Socialites Sponsor Hangnail Ball (Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

KFC Changes Name to K (Art Grinath,

Takoma Park)

Demi Moore Romances 50-Year-Old! (Russell Beland)

"Harry Potter and the Enlarged

Prostate" Sweeps Oscars (Robin and Paul Parry)

Social Security Powerball Hits $1.2

Billion (Chris Doyle)

President Sandler, House Speaker

Carrey Butt Heads (Tom Witte,

Montgomery Village)

And Last: Longtime recluse E.

Jerontophiel Carnahan, 79, was

discovered crushed to death in his home under an enormous pile of newspaper clippings, some dating back to the 1990s. Oddly, according to police

sources, all were from Sunday editions of the now-defunct Washington Post. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

The highest-flying company:

ConservaTivo, which adds digital

clothing onto naked TV characters (Milo Sauer)

Embedacel, maker of cell phones that can be implanted in a fetus in the first trimester -- two months earlier than the competition (Bill Moulden, Frederick)

Big Al's Smog Saws (Russell Beland)

Downjohn Pharmaceuticals, maker of the Viagra antidote (Bob Wallace, Reston)

The best-selling self-help book:

Where There's a Will: Personal Healing After You Put Grandma to Sleep (Bob


Heather Has Three Mommies and One Happy Daddy (Jeff Brechlin)

Languor Management: Handling Life Without Work (Chris Doyle)

This Ain't Your Grandpa's Ecstasy (Judith Cottrill, New York)

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: It's Time for the Spine-Chilling Fear (John O'Byrne, Dublin)

You CAN Beat Mutated-Platypus Flu (Tom Witte)

The Feb. 29, 2032, winning Style

Invitational entry:

Report from Week 1999: What Does God Feel Like? [winners interned by

Homeland Security Thoughtcrime

Agency] (Elden Carnahan)

And the winner of the vintage 2004 "The Scream" tie with Howard Dean goes to . . . (Nick Sibilla, Reston)

And the winner of the suppository shaped like Planet Zorg: "A black hole in the hand is worth . . . shwwwooop!!!! Aaagh! (Chuck Smith's Preserved Head, Woodbridge) (Mary Ann Henningsen, Hayward, Calif.)

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