Style Invitational Week 1053: Questionable Journalism, plus new movie ratings
By Pat Myers,
A: We were in the Guggenheim for almost three hours and had absolutely no idea what the heck was going on.
Q: What would you hate to overhear one doctor say to another as they leave the operating room after brain surgery on your wife? (Tom Kreitzberg, 2003)
The “answer” in the entry above, the winner of Week 501, was actually about an avant-garde art museum installation. But taking statements out of context is a proud tradition here in Loserland, especially in this contest that we’ve done at least seven times before, and is similar to the bank headline contest we ran six weeks ago. This week: Quote an actual sentence, from The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com or another print or online publication dated between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6, and follow it with a question that the sentence might answer. You may omit the beginning and/or the end of the sentence if the cut doesn’t significantly change its meaning; for example, you can leave out “Smith said,” but you can’t change “Parents say the tests don’t reflect what’s taught in the classroom” to “Parents say the tests don’t reflect,” and then write something about mirrors. If the actual sentence is a fragment (i.e., it’s not technically a sentence because it doesn’t have both a subject and a verb), we’ll count it as a sentence anyway. For stories and ads in the print Post, include the page number; for online articles, please copy part of the story or the URL of the page where you found the sentence. For print-only articles from other publications, you’re on the honor system, but make sure you copy the sentence correctly.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives this smokin’ hot oven mitt donated by 156-time Loser Nan Reiner, who noted that it bears a distinct resemblance to the Empress’s predecessor, the Czar of the Style Invitational, except that the mitt man is wearing little wire nipple rings. What we want to know is how Nan knew that the Czar’s nipple rings are actually star-shaped and have tassels dangling from them.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate or Puns of Steel. First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 6; results published Jan. 26 (online Jan. 23). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1053” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Danielle Nowlin; the alternative headline for the “next week’s results” line is by Art Grinath. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
Report from Week 1049
in which we asked you to suggest some new movie ratings to warn against various objectionable aspects of films: And we also wanted to share a few more honorable mentions from the Week 1047 bank headlines contest.
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial
Rated HMO: Heroic music overload. A surplus of swirling, surging swells of sound at point after point in the film, such as when the main character squares his shoulders and decides to cross the street and buy himself a soda. (John Shea, Philadelphia)
2. Winner of the Instant Underpants plus the Magic Boxer Shorts: Rated WEF: Weird enough to be foreign. (Madeleine Begun Kane, New York)
3. Rated PF: Plot-free. Remember the bit you saw in the trailer where the scantily clad woman went on a car chase through a minefield? Well, there’s 90 minutes of posturing and then that. (Andy Bassett, New Plymouth, New Zealand)
4. Rated BNS: Badly needs subtitles. “At least that movie about Scottish addicts was BNS; it would’ve been more depressing if we’d understood it.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Rating in the wings: honorable mentions
Rated MC-17: It might star the same actress, but it’s sooo not a Hannah Montana movie. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)
Rated Y: Completely unnecessary remake of an earlier movie. (Bill Munson, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)
Rated ZZZ: Movie features Abraham Lincoln but no vampires. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.,)
Rated PV-13: Theaters have been ordered to show 13 previews first. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)
Rated AABA: Americans attempting British accent. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Rated WA: Protagonist gets tired of mature, opinionated, girlfriend/wife telling him he’s a big jerk. Meets and falls madly in love with sweet, uncritical, tantalizingly sexy young woman. Written and directed by Woody Allen. (Mark Asquino, Washington)
Rated NC-17-s: Warning: Movie contains 17 or more seconds of Nicolas Cage. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Rated PNP: Made by a noted director, so you can pretend it’s not porn. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Rated PB-4: Running time exceeds three hours. (Danielle Nowlin)
Rated P+G: Essentially a soap opera. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)
Rated He: Contains squeaky voices that will be endlessly imitated by either your children or that irritating co-worker in the next cubicle. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)
Rated H2O: The script conveniently includes a rainstorm, water sprinkler, or pratfall into a pool resulting in wet shirts, skirts and flirts. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Rated UN: Features people yelling and pointing fingers at each other, followed by a lengthy intermission, then ends with people yelling and pointing fingers. (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)
Rated O: The female characters have gone through a traumatic divorce, been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, found spiritual fulfillment, or experienced some combination of these, or at a bare minimum have recently enjoyed a novel by Nicholas Sparks. (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)
Rated MMM: Contains George Clooney. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Rated ASAP2DVD: Look for it in the Walmart $4.98 bin in a couple of months. (Dan O’Day, Alexandria, Va.; Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)
Rated 2HCFT: Two-hour toy commercial. (Elliott Schiff, Allentown, Pa.)
Rated EW: May contain references to parental intercourse. (Beverley Sharp)
Rated NGES: Not as good as his early stuff. (Gary Crockett)
Rated CN: Nobody rates Chuck Norris. (Mike Ostapiej)
More bank headlines from Week 1047
Actual headline: Kid needs a name? Let the Web decide
Bank head: Zoo execs don’t rule out naming panda cub ‘Some Pig’ (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
New push to limit Va. out-of-state admissions
Funds sought for electrified fence on W.Va. border (Elden Carnahan)
Court: Family must return ancient tablet to Germany
First aspirin manufactured by Bayer family to be sent home (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)
Bills would pave the way for Internet gambling
‘Make them unmarked hundreds,’ Hill aide requests (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
Federal school grants produce mixed results
Lettuce earns an A at USDA U., but tomatoes get failing grade (Mark Raffman)
Study digs into modern-day dogs’ European ancestry
Genetic link found between Anthony Weiner, Henry VIII (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)
Virginia responds to message
New York Sun runs tot’s open letter to Santa: ‘So where’s my pony?’ (Brendan Beary)
Still running — deadline Monday night: Our reverse crossword, where we supply a filled-in grid and you write some clues. See bit.ly/invite1052.
LOOK WHO’S NOT TALKING: The Empress isn’t posting her Style Conversational column this week on washingtonpost.com. But she’ll be happy to answer questions, publicly or privately, about this week’s contest: Either e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a question for all to see on the Style Invitational Devotees page at on.fb.me/invdev. She’ll respond pretty fast and promises not to mock you. Too much.
Next week’s results: Just Redo It, or Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Recycled Ideas, our contest that invited you to enter or reenter any of the year’s previous contests. See bit.ly/invite1050.