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Copyright The Washington Post Company Apr 10, 2005

Jose Canseco and Jimmy Carter: One had a bigger arms buildup.

Orville Wright and Oprah Winfrey: One got just a few minutes of air time.

Marlon Brando made an offer they couldn't refuse. Marion Barry wishes he'd refused that offer.

This week's contest, suggested by Ace Loser Brendan Beary of Great Mills: Name two people with the same initials (the people can be living or dead, real or fictional) and explain how they are similar or different, as in the examples above. The winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up gets, courtesy of Loser Dave Komornik of Danville, Va., a lovely black and white ceramic plate commemorating the "Exposition de Paris 1900." This is clearly a genuine French antique, as you can tell by the inscription on the back, which says: "California Pantry{T}{M} Classic Ceramics: (c) 2003 Made in China."

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, April 18. 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 property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published May 8. 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 Forsyth, Mo.

Report from Week 601, in which we asked for untruthful anecdotes to answer actual "Editor's Query" questions from the Washington Post Magazine:

{diam}Second runner-up: Tell us about a disastrous or funny experience you had involving food: One evening I took my young daughter to a local restaurant. On our way to wash up, we saw an enormous rat. Despite my screams, the rodent headed straight at my daughter. Maternal instinct took over and I began kicking it for all I was worth. Employees and regulars came over, but instead of helping me, they helped the rat! Evidently it was some sort of pet. Named Chucky something. Restraining order or not, I'll never go there again. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the microscope slides of rat brain tissue:

Tell us of a time you overcame tremendous self-doubt: I recently went through a rough period in my life and I really began to doubt myself, especially with regard to women. Fortunately, a friend told me about a support group for people with low self-esteem, and I joined. And it worked! Turns out it was all women, and they were so desperate for approval that, within a week, I boinked them all! I'm back, baby! (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Tell us about an event that prompted you to change your life: Some years ago I was in L.A. on a trip with my parents, and a thin, oddly dressed man approached me and asked if I wanted "to go to Neverland for a special slumber party." He gave me the creeps, so I ran away. Years later, I saw this same man on TV -- it was Michael Jackson! I vowed right then that never again would I allow my suspicious nature to deprive me of an unforgettable life experience. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

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

I was at a dinner party when the man next to me began gasping for breath. I tried the Heimlich with no success, so I cut a hole in his throat with a penknife and stuck a straw in the hole to facilitate his breathing. Was I embarrassed to find out later that he only had asthma! (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Lindsay Topmoeller was the prettiest girl in pre-K, and glue was all the rage: eaten with paper or just directly from the bottle. But to win Lindsay I knew I needed more: melted crayons. Lindsay was chewing her ponytail as I approached. "These are for you," I said, handing her my colorful creation. "Yum," she said. "The secret ingredient is Cerulean," I whispered. She smiled. She picked her nose. I picked mine. Then I went home. (Dan Nooter, Washington)

Dining in a fashionable downtown establishment, I was approached by none other than the Empress. She touched my shoulder and said, "I knew of your prowess with a pen, but am taken aback by your Adonis- like frame and Hollywood looks. Please take me home and rub that delicious-looking pesto all over me." To which I replied: "As much I would love to, your Highness, I must refuse. Deadlines are looming and I have a witty anecdote to write." (Kerry Thorn, Rockville)

On a trip to L.A., I sat near Ricardo Montalban at Spago. After he left, I tried to take a partly chewed pickle off his plate, hoping to add it to my collection of celebrity food. Unfortunately, another diner had the same idea. After a rather violent tussle, I stood with the pickle, only to discover -- after all that -- the celebrity had in fact only been Fernando Lamas! (Jeff Brechlin)

I read the "Life Is Short" entry today, about the man who kissed his wife on the forehead in church when Mass was ended and then heard a voice two rows behind say, "Get a room." I blushed in shame: I was the man who said that. The woman totally misunderstood my comment. I only wanted to watch. So I'm sticking to videos from now on. (Bill Moulden, Frederick)

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

After I mugged an elderly woman and stole her purse, I looked over my shoulder and saw a boy on crutches leaning over, struggling to help the woman up. The boy fell down, obviously in pain, but he continued to comfort the woman and said he had a cell phone and would call for help. I turned and ran back to them, knelt down, grabbed the cell phone and ran like hell. (Cheryl Furst, Falls Church)

The company where I worked 30 years went bankrupt and my retirement disappeared with the CEO. I sold my home to pay for my elderly mother's care. My Social Security benefits were cut so much I couldn't feed my grandchildren, living with me since their mother was imprisoned for funneling money to a terrorist group, Amnesty International. Fortunately, a compassionate, generous individual came to my assistance. George W. Bush personally provided . . .

(George Laumann, Arlington)

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

The morning after the lottery drawing, I informed my boss that he was an incompetent fool. I told my wife that it would be worth half my fortune just to avoid her ugly face for one more day, and dismissed all my sycophant friends and family. It's amazing how much a one and seven look alike. You going to eat that? (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

Years ago I went on a Mediterranean cruise, which was not a success. One night, feeling despondent and a little drunk, I placed a plaintive message (with my address) in a bottle I dropped overboard. Well, no, I never received a reply, but now I use e-mail and have lots of friends from all corners of the world. (John O'Byrne, Dublin)

She was pale, raven-haired, with remarkably gleaming teeth. I offered her a drink. She said, "I never drink . . . coffee or alcohol." She lured me outside Club Sabertooth for an intimate stroll in the moonlight. "Can I ask you a personal question?" she said.

"Uh, sure."

"Are you familiar with the Book of Mormon?"

I haven't tasted coffee in months, and, boy, am I tired. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

Hmmm. Nothing stands out as really life-changing. I guess I'm just an ordinary girl. -- Christine Jorgensen. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Do you really think that if I (a) had a life, or (b) were capable of changing it, I'd spend a week churning out page after page of stupid drivel for the chance to win a couple pieces of sliced rat brain? (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

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

My teenage daughter screamed at me: "You're so stupid. You don't know anything!" Well, since she was so smart and knew everything, and I didn't, I was about to retire from life and become a hermit. But I thought I'd give it another try and try to overcome my stupidity; I went back to high school, and now I know everything, too. (Mike Paulson, Falls Church)

My weight has always been up and down, and I was always a bit concerned with my appearance. Then one day, as I stood naked in front of a full-length mirror, I decided simply that I was happy with my body, and if the people gawking at me in Wal-Mart's furniture aisle didn't like it, then that's their problem. (Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

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