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Copyright The Washington Post Company Oct 17, 2004

Andorra Kiribati = AnIbati, a country with entirely open borders.

Norway Botswana = NoWana, the country with daily siestas and a 12-hour workweek.

Burkina Faso Portugal = FasGal, a country with a very high birth rate.

Lesotho Morocco = LesMor, birthplace of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

This week's contest was suggested more or less by both Stephen Dudzik of Olney and John O'Byrne of Dublin: Combine the names of any two countries in the world and describe the new hybrid country. It's very easy to find two names to combine, which means that we will surely receive several thousand entries. So there's not a chance you'll be one of the 40 or so to get ink unless your new country has a very clever description, far superior to those above. First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins, for once, an actually useful product: the Banana Guard, which is a banana-shaped hinged plastic container that is designed to protect your banana and keep it fresh and firm. It is bright pink and about 10 inches long, so it can be used with the longest banana. No more bruises!

Other runners-up win a 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 by e- mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 25. Put the week number in the subject line of your e- mail, or it risks 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 Nov. 14. 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 576, when we asked for excuses or explanations for various human shortcomings. Yes, some of the entries below are excuses for misbehavior rather than for imperfections. While the Empress has no doubt been called a dog, she has never been called dogmatic.

{diam}Third runner-up: Braggadocio: I've tried to get others to praise me, but so far, I'm still the best person for the job. (Kyle Hendrickson, Dunkirk)

{diam}Second runner-up: Bad breath: I have my intake and outtake manifolds reversed. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

{diam}First runner-up, winner of the board game named Loser: Lousy job: I didn't have the luxury of good grades in college. (Bill Armstrong, Dayton, Md.)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Being skinny: I'm ribbed for your pleasure. (Erika Reinfeld, Somerville, Mass.)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Sycophancy: You're so clever and creative, I bet you could come up with a better excuse than I could. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Procrastination: Actually, I'm a severe workaholic, and I believe in deferred gratification. (David Iscoe, Washington)

Dirty fingernails: People mistakenly thought I died last week, and I had to dig myself out of my own grave. Good thing they didn't go with cremation! (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

This is the point where I tell you it doesn't matter why I have such a controlling personality, and then comes the part where you will forgive me and promise never to bring it up again. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Crooked, discolored teeth: I told you I'm descended from British nobility. (Bird Waring, New York)

Unibrow: Yeah, well when the next ice age comes, guess whose nose will be slightly warmer? (Eric Murphy, Chicago) Inadequacy in bed: (1) No other women ever complained about me, and they should know -- they're all professionals. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

(2) Babe, if it's too good, you'll fall in love with me -- and I don't want to hurt you. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

Being patronizing: I do have reasons for being so condescending, but nothing you need to worry yourself about -- you just go on reading your funny little newspaper column. (Brendan Beary)

Long nose hair and ear hair: I'm letting them grow so I can donate them to chemotherapy patients. (Kyle Hendrickson)

Cellulite. Too many rattan chairs at the nudist colony. (Chuck Smith)

Illiteracy: I don't want to be bamboozled by all the lies in the print media. (Eric Murphy)

Not answering an RSVP: I don't speak French. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Voyeurism: Hey, I can't undress someone with my nose. (Chuck Smith)

Not getting spouse an anniversary present: It's an election year and an Olympics year, and that's already too much excitement. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Being overly flirtatious: (1) I'm sorry it bothered you. Let me make it up to you in some special way. (Russell Beland)

(2) My dear, I have had a lust for life -- and that's a long, long time. (Howard Walderman, Columbia)

Male shortcoming: It's been whittled away by overuse. (Chuck Smith)

Baldness: (1) With this much testosterone, my follicles didn't stand a chance. (John Cushing, Arlington)

(2) I come from a long line of monks. (Noah Meyerson, Washington)

Body odor: Pardonnez-moi! (Russell Beland)

Having a child out of wedlock: If it was good enough for Jesus's mom, then it's good enough for me. (Rich Mehrenberg, Manassas)

Arrogance: You would be smug, too, if you were me. (Chuck Smith)

Being a couch potato: It's not that I don't want to get up, but as Newton says, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." So every time I try to get up from the sofa, an equal and opposite reaction holds me firmly in place. You can't argue with the laws of physics, honey. (Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

Being too hurried in bed: Gosh, honey, I just couldn't wait to get to the cuddling part. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

Being broke: I'm waiting for my e-mail pen pal in Nigeria to send me my finder's fee. (Brian Feldman, Chantilly)

Being a liar: I was abandoned at birth and raised by a pack of publicists. (Chuck Smith)

Not being funny: What do you mean not being funny? I am funny! Look: booger weasel fart! Hahahaha! (Eric Murphy)

Snoring: I do it to protect you, honey -- it keeps would-be burglars from thinking no one is home. (Kyle Hendrickson)

Necrophilia: Oh, sure, like you have a live partner every single time. (Russell Beland)

Having an unkempt lawn: We've been having some financial difficulties, so we had to eat the goat. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

And Last: Forgive my tardiness. I waited because I was planning to write more entries, then the Cowboys/Skins game ran late. (An actual excuse, sent Tuesday morning, by Scott Campisi, Wake Village, Tex.)

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