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Copyright The Washington Post Company Dec 12, 2004

This week's contest: Esteemed Loser Cartoonist Bob Staake has once again, just in time for holiday gift-giving, come up with these nifty, indispensable items. Unfortunately, once again, he forgot to tell us what they are. Help us out here.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up gets yet another souvenir from Transylvania courtesy of Elden Carnahan of Laurel. Unlike Elden's previous contribution from the Romanian economy, this one is perfectly wholesome: It's a small wooden plate from the town of Sighisoara featuring favorite son Dracula (1431-1475). Mr. Dracula, pictured here in a wood-burned portrait, looks a bit crazed but not fangy or dripping blood or anything.

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, if you have to, by fax to 202-334- 4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 20. 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 Jan. 9. 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 Roy Ashley of Washington.

In case you haven't been keeping track, today marks the first anniversary of the Empress's reign. In commemoration, she gives you permission to take the day off from work or school.

Report from Week 584, in which we asked you to come up with new Cabinet or other government positions: It seems that some of the Losers are perhaps still a wee bit upset in the wake of the presidential election, and when they're upset they're just NOT SO FUNNY, OKAY? In general, as usual, the less bitter, less screedy entries tended to be funnier this week. Some people offered up agencies instead of positions; we couldn't afford to quibble.

{diam}Third runner-up: Office of Environmental Improvement: Charged with creating nicer words for pollution. Elevated mercury levels in streams will be called "fast water"; elevated CO2 levels will be called "carbonated air." (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

{diam}Second runner-up: Agency of Tactical Intelligence on Rogue Alien Nations (ATAC IRAN): Charged with determining alternative solutions to diplomacy. (Jerome Alfred,


{diam}First runner-up, winner of the risque wooden soldier from Transylvania: Chief Scientist, Division of the Perpendicular Universe: Explores latest scientific advances from a "traditional" perspective, such as erasing national debt through alchemy.

(Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Secretary of Globalization: A position that exists solely to give college students something to protest without actually getting in the way of the operations of the government. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Secretary of Just Us: Seeks to strengthen our nation's approach to foreign policy. (Steve Shapiro, Alexandria)

The House Whisperer: The person who feeds lines to the president through that box on his back. (Michelle Stupak, Ellicott City)

Department of Offshore Technical

Support: He is normalizing this problems

you are having of the computer, please.

(Jerry Ewing, Orlando)

Undersecretary for Bouncing Up and Down and Repeatedly Asking "Are We There Yet?" in an Annoying Singsong Voice: A junior position in the Department of Transportation, it serves to remind the secretary that the department's progress is too slow. (Russell Beland)

Office of the Out-of-Control Special Prosecutor: What's a second term without one? (Thad Humphries, Warrenton)

Department of Budgetary Strategy: Will be headed jointly by the Undersecretary for Robbing Peter and the Undersecretary for Paying Paul. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Office of Buy Partisan Cooperation: A congressional liaison also known as the

Office of Spending Political Capital. (Jack Held, Fairfax)

Secretary of the Interior Decoration: A token post to be filled by a Log Cabin


(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Secretary of Lethargy: New position

intended to offset some of the power of the Secretary of Energy. (Russell Beland)

Consumer Product Softy Commission: This office is staffed entirely by self-policing industry members. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

National Designated Driver: Anyone who needs a sober driver can call this

guy. Expect to wait a few minutes. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Federal Bureau of Instigation: An ongoing commission that meets annually to decide which country to attack next.

(Michelle Stupak)

International Park Service Misdirector: Protects U.S. tourism by persuading other countries to underfund their national parks, too. (Ken Gallant, Little Rock, Ark.)

Bureau of Taxidermy: This new arm of the Smithsonian will preserve and display

species not expected to survive the next four years. This program has the added benefit of solving unemployment. (Dave Prevar,


Secretary of HUH (Department of

Helping Understand Him), whose job it is to explain what the president means when he says things like "We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end" and "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Save money by merging the National

Institute of Mental Health with the U.S.

Postal Service to create the U.S. "Postal" Service. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

Department of Federal Government: The sole Cabinet department remaining after outsourcing. (Dave Prevar)

The Priss Corps: A group of well-behaved young women designated to hang out with Jenna and Barbara and keep them out of trouble. (Michelle Stupak)

Department of Long, Slow Kisses With Beautiful Women You Just Met: No real mission, but a great gig nevertheless.

(Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

And Last: Department of Debt Denial: Complete with its own anthem

(to "We're in the Money"):

We're in denial! We're in denial!

Ignoring bitter truths is how we get along!

When debts compiled put us on trial

We just suppress them -- people think that nothing's wrong!

Who cares of mounting debt rates,

Public, credit and trade?

We'll just deny and let rates

By the unborn future folks be paid.

We're in denial! We've spent a pile!

We'll fiddle while we just keep burning along!

(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

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