faster. Okay, give the guy a magnet.

Full Text (1310   words)
Copyright The Washington Post Company Mar 13, 2005

One November I was at a dinner party at my boss's house. Dinner was running late, so I decided to grab a snack in a room off the foyer. Imagine my surprise when the boss stormed in with his tattletale kid, acting all "what do you think you're doing" this and "how dare you" that, just because I'd polished off the brat's stupid Halloween candy. You'd think the guy would thank me, what with all the news about obese kids.

This week's contest (and example) come from Jean Sorensen of Herndon, who's an avid reader of The Washington Post Magazine's Editor's Query feature, which each week invites reader recollections of a given type of experience. Unfortunately for the Magazine, its ethics require that the recollections be true. The Style Invitational uses a different standard: the standard of "As long as it's funny and the Empress can't be sued." So: Give us an untrue anecdote in response to one of the actual Editor's Query topics below. Eighty words max.

1. Tell us about a disastrous or funny experience you had involving food.

2. Tell us about a moving act of kindness you experienced or witnessed.

3. Tell us about an event that prompted you to change your life.

4. Tell us about a time you overcame tremendous self-doubt.

While respondents who get Magazine ink receive $50, the winner of this contest receives the infinitely more valuable Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. And first runner-up gets two genuine glass microscope slides containing cross sections of rat brain tissue, donated by Loser and former psych major Eric Murphy of Chicago.

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 really have to, by fax to 202- 334-4312. Deadline is Monday, March 21. 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 April 10. 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 Chris Doyle of (as of next week) Kihei, Hawaii.

Report from Week 597, in which we sought ideas for museums and exhibits as alternatives to Washington's same-olds: First, though, the Empress would like to report an e-mail entry she received Feb. 22, in the middle of the entry week for that contest: "Secretary of Logical Scientific Analysis, whose duty is to stand still for four more years and take the mushroom treatment (i.e., being kept in the dark embedded in excrement)." An odd museum exhibit, to be sure; it turned out to be an entry for Week 584 (new Cabinet posts) from Peter Fahey of Port Washington, N.Y. It was electronically dated Nov. 15, 2004. An actual snail could have brought it faster. Okay, give the guy a magnet.

{diam}Third runner-up: The Myth of Rube Goldberg: This exhibit displays models of the famed cartoonist's intelligently designed window-cleaning, pencil-sharpening and picture-taking machines. The exhibit debunks the notion that Mr. Goldberg invented these machines himself: Given their complexity, they had to be created not by man or nature, but rather by an unspecified Guiding Force. Sponsored by the Dover, Pa., School Board.

(Mike Cisneros, Centreville)

{diam}Second runner-up: Museum of Crime Scene Police Tape: Move along, there's nothing to see here. (Ned Bent, Oak Hill)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the paperweight honoring the shamed Korean politician: The Museum of the Ordinary: A tribute to the dull, rote, workaday lives lived by the vast bulk of Americans. Exhibits include a three-bedroom, two-bath split-level, a four-year- old minivan, a secondhand spinet piano no one actually plays, a VCR with the time blinking 12:00, a half-completed TV Guide crossword and a $78 tax refund check. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Dumb Art On Oaks: Christo and Jeanne-Claude drape some of the most beautiful trees in Washington with saffron-colored fabric that's covered in finger paintings by their kid. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

The FIB Museum: Shows videos of such famous declarations as "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," "I am not a crook" and, of course, "Read my lips -- no new taxes." (Milt Eisner, McLean; Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

The Rugs Gallery: Hairpieces through the centuries. Now on exhibit: "Hell Toupee: The Sad Tale of Jim Traficant." (Chris Doyle, Christchurch, New Zealand)

The Gallery of Forensic Celebrity Art: With the aid of the latest computer-aging techniques, the images of facially knifed

celebrities are altered to show how they would look if they had allowed themselves to grow old naturally. For example, instead of looking like a face painted on a bongo

drumhead, Joan Rivers looks like a KFC

drumstick. (Carolyn Steele, Annandale)

Mount Lillian Vernon: Tour the birthplace of his-and-hers towels, the "[your name here's] Kitchen" aprons and the over-the-door jewelry organizers. Make sure you stop by the blacksmith's shop, where the first personalized toilet paper roller was made. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

The E Pluribus Museum: For the lazy tourist, a single building with one or two pieces from every museum in the Washington area. Be sure to see the dinosaur bone, the picture of a Calder, the Indian spear and that parachute. Don't forget to check out the gift shop gift shop. (Eric Murphy, Chicago; Tom Witte)

The Panhandlers Museum: A history of Washington money-grubbers from the back streets to K Street to Capitol Hill. Audio exhibits include such classic pitches as "I need money to refill my crack patch prescription" and "My fellow Americans, the $100 million needed to renovate the Capitol Rotunda, in order to house the Style Invitational Losers Museum, is a small price to pay to ensure the very freedoms we as a nation blah blah blah . . ."

(Bruce MacKechnie, Annandale)

The William Henry Harrison Library: Contains both official documents from his presidency. (Russell Beland)

The Electronic Voting Technology Museum. After the museum changed to a ticketless entry system, admissions jumped to more than 8 billion visitors last year. (Martin S. Bancroft, Ann Arbor, Mich.)

The National Errand's Pace Museum: Dedicated to America's daredevil couriers. At the Imax theater, see "To Fly Off the Handle": Experience the white-knuckle thrill of being suddenly cut off by bicyclists swerving dangerously close to your vehicle as you tour the nation's capital. Rated R for language and gestures. (Kyle Hendrickson, Dunkirk)

The DMV Portrait Gallery: The worst driver's license photos of all time. (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

Coming soon to the National Irony

Museum: "Nature's Art": sculptures created from the dismantled nests of bald eagles. (Bruce Mullinax, Great Falls)

The Toddler Museum: Endless entertainment for the under-3 set. Be sure to see the popular Pile of Gravel and Bits of Leaves in the Parking Lot! While away the hours at the Squirrel and Pigeon Zoo. And take in a show at the Same 22-Minute Video Over and Over Again Theatre. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

The National Museum of the Indian

American: Experience the history of Hindu Americans in the United States with no mention, of any sort, of how they came to be here in the first place. (Russell Beland)

The Hall of Precedents: Exhibits range from "Plessy vs. Ferguson" to "Well, Your Brother Certainly Never Flunked Chemistry." (Brian Barrett, New York)

The Paradise Museum: The complex includes a pink hotel, a boutique, a swinging hot spot and a tree exhibit. Admission $1.50. Taxi service available.

(Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

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