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Copyright The Washington Post Company May 23, 2004

On a septic tank truck: Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

At an optometrist's office: If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.

This week's contest was conveniently lifted by Dave Ferry of Purvis, Miss., from an uncredited Internet list that's been around forever and includes the examples above: Come up with a clever slogan or sign for a business. It can be generic like these, or it can be for a specific company.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a tie clip featuring an actual dead minnow encased in plexiglass.

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 losers@washpost.com. Deadline is Tuesday, June 1. 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 June 20. 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.

Extra Added Bonus Contest: The Oldest Joke in the Book

John Lescault of Silver Spring (followed by others) called The Empress's attention to a fascinating article in a recent issue of the New Yorker, titled "Punch Line: The History of Jokes and Those Who Collect Them." Author Jim Holt tells about the only joke book that has survived from ancient times, a Greek text called the Philogelos, or "laughter-lover." Among the 264 drunk jokes, miser jokes, sex maniac jokes, etc., is No. 114, which for some reason is missing its punch line. It concerns a resident of Abdera, a town featured in ancient Greek dopey-people jokes, much as Chelm is used for Yiddish dopey-people jokes, and West Virginia is a proud component of the United States:

"Seeing a eunuch, an Abderite asked him how many children he had. The eunuch replied that he had none, since he lacked the means of reproduction. Retorted the Abderite . . ."

Yes? Yes? What did he retort? Solve the riddle of the ages. The best punch line gets a second Inker; runner(s)-up will receive the Loser T-shirt.

Re-Report from last week, in which we awarded the Inker to Chris Doyle of Forsyth, Mo., for his brilliantly clever anagram of the presidential oath of office: One famously kvetching Loser, whom we will not identify -- and who went inkless last week -- wrote in immediately to protest that the winning entry far exceeded the 100- letter limit specified in the contest. Curiously, the first runner- up, Brendan Beary of Great Mills, whose entry contained exactly 100 letters, did not inform us of that oversight, making the Empress suspect that he may actually have a life. Brendan wins an Inker, too.

Report from Week 555, in which we asked for wholesome sentences that would be rejected by the filter of the very careful Neopets.com Web site. We heard from several actual Neopets aficionados with actual tales to tell: Donna Metler, for instance, reports that "I have learned the hard way that I can't tell people I play sax, as opposed to saxophone." And Andy Schwartz of Long Beach, N.Y., says the robo-censors wouldn't let him announce, "This Funny Pen is my badge of honor as a member of the Neopian Space Cadets."

This week's entries were especially repetitive; if your idea is credited here to someone else, well, life on Earth can be unfair. Feel free to take your Petpet and relocate to the Neopian Moon of Kreludor. Watch your mouth, though.

{diam}Second runner-up:The aspiring painters and sculptors even created a Web page, which may be viewed at www.festivalofarts.org. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

{diam}First runner-up, winner of the Feb. 25, 1972, copy of Life magazine: "My horse is injured, but I'm going to win the race anyway," Steven insisted. "I'm just going to do it with a pony." (Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Visiting cousins in Guadalajara, young Guillermo got lost and burst into tears. "Don't cry, little fella -- Tio is right here!" said his uncle. (Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Rev. Roberts had many evangelical achievements, but building his university in Tulsa really gave Oral

satisfaction. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

I commute from Maryland, see? So

every morning I enter Virginia, I screw around all day, then I pull out of Virginia and go home. (Tom Witte, Montgomery

Village)

"Ho! Ho! Ho!" cried Santa. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge; Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

Texas Instruments invites hearing-

impaired customers to contact us on the TI TTY line. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Jimmy felt cross burning his ex-

girlfriend's letters, the white sheets bound tightly in leather. (Bill Spencer,

Exeter, N.H.)

Today's Bible reading is Zechariah 9:9, King James Version: "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee . . . riding upon an ass." (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

We were admiring the splendid rainbow when a sudden cloudburst brought pink and golden showers. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Virginia Catholic School Girls Dominate Ball Game, Snatch 69th Victory (Erika Reinfeld, Somerville, Mass.)

On our trip to California, we peeked into the downy nest of a pair of bushtits. (Janet Millenson, Potomac)

Before erecting structure, assemble pieces on bare surface: wooden parts A through G, screws and nuts. For best

results, rub parts gently with oil. (Mary Eaton, Arlington)

Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Tom DeLay are Congress's staunchest defenders of family values. (Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

Eddie hated to walk home along

Connecticut Avenue. Every day he was hassled by a group of Dupont Circle jerks. (Chris Doyle)

My brother once made a sandwich with Miracle Whip, Ding Dongs and a chicken breast -- the same brother who

graduated summa cum laude from Yale! (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

The job listing, perfect for Mic's friend, was on Getty.org. As Mic looked at it with Liz, they found exactly the right

position. (Jane Auerbach)


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