Please note: The Style Invitational has moved to a new page here.

Week 729: Otherwordly Visions

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Saturday, September 1, 2007

"I'm not proposing tax relief because it's the popular thing to do, I'm proposing it because it's the right thing to do." -- George W. Bush

Plain English version

"I'm proposing it because it's a right popular thing to do."
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

This handy translation landed big ink in 2000, in what was helpfully numbered Week IX, even though the Invitational was by then seven years old. In this campaign season, further clarifications are in order. This week: Take any sentence in an article or ad in The Washington Post or on from Sept. 1 through Sept. 10 and translate it into "plain English," as in the example above. Please specify what article the sentence is from, and what date and page. If necessary, briefly explain the context of the sentence.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pack of Genuine Panda Poo paper from the San Diego Zoo, stationery made from the bamboo-rich fibers of you-know-what, donated by Intermittent Loser David Smith of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that week) 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, Sept. 10. Put "Week 729" 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 Sept. 29. 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 Kevin Dopart, who borrowed it from Eric Murphy. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Anne Paris of Arlington.

Report From Week 725

in which we supplied several "captions" and asked you to describe the cartoons they would accompany: The Empress posted this contest, at the Czar's suggestion, with some trepidation, concerned that dozens of descriptions of undrawn cartoons would just be too tedious. She concedes that her fears were unfounded, and therefore owes the Czar the heart cut out of her chest. Invitational Cartoonist Bob Staake chose this week's top four winners from the entries below, and will personally deface each winning sketch with his signature as a prize.

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

4. A small error in pronunciation can have huge consequences.
(Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

3. Bob just wasn't a "word person."
(Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

2. Old dog learns new trick.
(Dan Colilla, Pittsburgh)

And the Winner of the Inker

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

"No, no, Sonia! It was supposed to be a harmonica!"
(Cy Gardner, Arlington)

A Thousand Words Not Worth a Picture

Bob just wasn't a "word person."

Bob drowning in fast-flowing river, frantically signaling with his hands, while people on the riverbank look befuddled: "Um, movie? Two words?" (Bird Waring, New York)

Bob Dylan singing, "Lay, lady, lay. Lay across my big brass bed." Woman correcting him: "It's LIE!" (Randy Lee, Burke)

Bob's car races under a highway sign reading: "Danger! Bridge Out! Piranha-Infested Acid Pool! STD-Infected Cannibal Zombie Pederasts! Life Insurance Salesman of the Quarter!" (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

A man and a woman are at a restaurant as the waiter takes their order. The man is standing, dressed as a mime, imitating a chicken. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

A man is throttling the Microsoft paper clip. (Beth Baniszewski, Somerville, Mass.)

Bob is doing the Sunday crossword by filling in the boxes with Sudoku numbers. (Cy Gardner)

"Just remember, no underpants!"

A director addresses a line of women. Sign behind them says "Today's Workshop: Be Like Britney." (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

"David," a muscular model posing in Jockey shorts, is advising Michelangelo as the sculptor begins chiseling the marble right below the waist. (Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

Guerrilla leader stands in front of a group of men in fatigues. Sign says "Commando Debriefing Session." (Marty McCullen; Michael Mason, Fairfax)

A woman is shopping for pet clothes. Her Chihuahua peeks its head out of her purse and says . . . (Jean Sorensen)

A small error in pronunciation can have huge consequences.

Two men stand outside an office building that is swarming with emergency personnel, a hazmat team, etc. One guy says: "Well, that's the last time I call maintenance about the ant tracks in my office." (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick)

A man in Arab garb sits at a bar, liquid dripping from his head and face, an empty glass on the bar next to him, as an attractive Western-attired woman storms angrily away. He says to the bartender, "All I said is that she looks like a houri!" (Mike Fransella, Arlington)

God looks down in exasperation as Noah tries valiantly to get all the animals balanced on the big wooden arch he has built, as the storm approaches. (Tom Lacombe, Browntown, Va.)

Watson discovers Sherlock's secret.

Watson sees Holmes surreptitiously reading "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and taking notes. Holmes thought bubble: "Ah, so that's what those footprints mean . . . " (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

When Harry met Sally Forth.

Billy Crystal and Sally sit at a restaurant table. Sally says: "I wouldn't know, I've never had one." (Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)

Harry Potter and Sally sit at a restaurant table. Sally brandishes a wand, saying: "Okay, I point this at Ted and shout 'Enlargibus!'?" Harry says, "Maybe twice." (Martin Bancroft)

A large human hand kills something with a rolled-up comics section. Ants standing nearby look on in horror, as one of them screams, "HARRY!" (Jay Shuck)

"No, no, Sonia! It was supposed to be a harmonica!"

A man, his feet in a puddle, stands in front of a dike where water spurts from a small rectangular hole. A cymbal and a guitar are stuck into other holes. A pile of discarded brass and woodwind instruments is to his left. A woman to his right holds out a triangle. (Beth Baniszewski)

The Founding Fathers wept.

Beneath a sign that says "Welcome Continental Congress," a group of Founding Fathers stands in a circle, looking sadly at the pizza that John Adams has just dropped onto the floor. (Jeff Brechlin)

Sign on the Capitol: "The Anheuser-Busch Capitol Building." (Joseph Mat Schech, Colesville)

Next Week: Limerixicon 4, or Anapest Destiny

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity