Style Invitational Week 1096: Colorful captions for black-and-white cartoons

Plus buckets of fundraising-challenge ideas from Week 1092

In the Invitational’s eternal quest for meaning, we present our latest caption contest. Links to individual cartoons are below. (Cartoons by Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
October 30

(Click here to skip down to the results of Week 1092, our contest for fundraising ideas à la the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.)

Now that The Style Invitational’s newsprint version appears once again each week in black-and-white — as it did in its early days, when the pages were etched by scribes into stone tablets — we return to our pre-2004-look cartoon caption contest. See, we’re just like The New Yorker, except with buxom stick figures and fart jokes.

This week: Write a humorous caption for any of the Bob Staake cartoons on this page. (To see the cartoons individually and enlarged, click on these links: Cartoon A; Cartoon B; Cartoon C; Cartoon D; Cartoon E.)

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a small eggnog glass in the shape of a moose head, complete with an impressive set of glass moose antlers; it’s called the “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Clark Griswold Moose Mug” and was donated ages ago by Loser Bruce Alter, who’s a fan of moose.

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 in one of our two new Bob Staake designs: either “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly Har-Har.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Nov. 10; results published Nov. 30 (online Nov. 27). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1096” 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 This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Stephen Dudzik. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column, posted late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .


Week 1092 was headlined “Are We Having Funds Yet?” “Not much,” groused one Loser atop her entry. Indeed, this contest for fundraising ideas proved harder than we’d expected. Perhaps it was because its inspiration, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — either donate to the cause or pour a bucket of freezing water over your head — was so odd itself.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

For the Support Our Congress Trust: Each legislator asks constituents to dump a bucket of money over his head. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

2nd place

and the Thomas Kinkade/Disney jigsaw puzzle of Cinderella:

Google Foundation: For a generous donation, it won’t share your Gmail clip of you air-drumming Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

3rd place:

DNC/RNC Bipartisan Partisan Challenge: Get your friends to sit through 15 minutes of television programming in October without fast-forwarding or muting the political ads; otherwise they have to give their donation to the other party. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

4th place:

The YMCA-athon: Wave your arms frantically to spell out ALL the words to the song. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Lemon pledges: honorable mentions

The Red Cross Challenge: Send money or pour a bucket of blood on your head. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.; Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

The Zen Institute: Dump an empty bucket over your head. (Frank Osen)

The Ayn Rand Center: Dump a bucket of ice over someone else’s head. (Frank Osen)

Cosa Nostra Retirement Fund: The Tread Water With Your Feet in a Bucket of Cement Challenge. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

NRA Challenge: Shoot someone you don’t much like, responsibly. (Edward Gordon, Austin)

Fraternal Order of Police: Handcuffs Across America. Stay connected! (Beverley Sharp)

Prostate Cancer Awareness Fund: See a male over age 45? Give him the finger to remind him to get the finger — and get checked for prostate cancer. For every finger you give, donate to the fund and know you’re doing double duty! (Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax, Va.)

The Michael Phelps Foundation Challenge: How fast can you swim after 10 beers? Make a video and show your friends! (Margaret Welsh, Oakton, Va.)

The Sex Addicts Anonymous Phone-athon: Operators are standing by to tell you what they are wearing right now. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

The Metropolitan Opera’s Cabernet Challenge: Donate $1,000 or drink Wal-Mart’s Oak Leaf red from the box. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.; John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

Public Radio Pledge Rush: Faithful listeners don headphones and hear excerpts of “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” The faster the person tears off the phones, the more he pays up to his NPR station. (John Glenn)

The Urology Foundation’s Three-Legged Race for Erectile Dysfunction. (Kathleen DeBold, Burtonsville, Md.)

Help the NFL stamp out domestic violence: Make out with Roger Goodell’s wife in an elevator. (Don’t worry, he’ll never watch the video!) (Frank Mann, Washington)

Audubon Society Challenge: Shell and eat 10 black oil sunflower seeds in a minute the way the birds do, with just your mouth. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

The Children’s Hospital Challenge: How many beans can you stick up your nose? (Margaret Welsh)

Goodwill: Either change your profile picture to a picture of the inside of your closet for a week or donate enough of the contents that you’re not horrified by the very idea. (Danielle Nowlin)

The Nose Hair Tug-of-War for Alopecia Awareness. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Apple’s charitable foundation: Those who don’t donate will have U2’s entire repertoire downloaded to their iPhones. (Frank Osen)

National First Ladies’ Library Benefit Challenge: Order embroidered Presidential Pillows from the library shop and Instagram yourself sleeping with a president. Do all 43 (Grover twice) and win a commemorative cigar box! (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Still running — deadline Monday night: Our TankaWanka contest for five-line poems. See

Next week’s results: You’re Only as Rich as You Fee, or The Bilk of Human Kindess, our contest to think up (or cite from reality) outrageous things businesses do to squeeze a few more bucks out of customers. (Alternative headline by Mae Scanlan)

Show Comments
Most Read Entertainment