Style Invitational Week 1103: Themes good to us — pair a TV show and a song

Plus the winning ‘Questionable Journalism’ of Week 1099

Sing it to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” — it’s the Week 1103 Style Invitational contest. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
December 18

(Click here to skip down to the results of our “Questionable Journalism” contest)

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”: “Epic Ink”
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: “House Hunters”

“It’s All About That Bass”: “The Ultimate Fishing Show”

“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”: “Sister Wives”

The Empress knows better than to doubt the word of Obsessive Loser Jeff Contompasis when he says the Invitational has never done this contest before. “I’ve finally got a chance to check the Master Contest List,” says Jeff of the amazing compilation by Equally Obsessive Loser Elden Carnahan (see “There’s never been a ‘suggest an existing song to be used as the theme for a TV series or program for comic effect’ contest.”

There is now. It has to be an actual TV show (or Internet TV), past or present, and a real song title. This is, we concede, not the toughest contest we’ve ever run; a few years ago we had the Loser Community write whole theme songs as parodies, which were brilliant (see But hey, it’s the week of Christmas and the week of Hanukkah, and even the E doesn’t want to be all that Scroogey to her legions of Cratchits. (Until next week, anyway.)

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a little bottle of Pee-Pee Poo-Poo All-Purpose Hand Sanitizer, which was donated to us by Seattle-based Loser Diane Wah on a visit to The Real Washington last weekend, and which is a lot like another brand of hand sanitizer we offered as a prize a while back but whose name was deemed insufficiently sanitary for The Style Invitational. And, oh, since we’re in the holiday spirit, we’ll also give you yet another otherwise identical hand sanitizer: This one’s called Dog Slobber — “just a few drops leave hands germ-free and fresh as a damn daisy”).

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 designed by Bob Staake: 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, Dec. 29; results published Jan. 18 (online Jan. 15). You may submit up to 25 entries per contest. Include “Week 1103” 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 The headline for this week’s results is by Chris Doyle; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Tom Witte; the “next week’s results” line is by Jeff Contompasis . Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column 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 . . .


In Week 1099, we once again asked you to take any sentence from an article in that week’s Washington Posts and make up a question that it could conceivably answer (at least if you are a Duggar-level conceiver):

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Sentence from The Post: Will begin to wane on Wednesday night.
Q. What was the phrase that persuaded the Weather Channel not to hire Elmer Fudd? (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

2nd place

and the 1958 teen-advice book by Pat Boone:

Negotiations have begun in Baghdad on settling long-standing sectarian disputes.
So, Sisyphus, what have you been up to lately? (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

3rd place

After one hour, they found two fleas.
What was the result when the Secret Service swept the White House for bugs? (Steve Honley, Washington)

4th place

Waves 1 foot on the lower Potomac, 2-3 feet Chesapeake Bay.
What were encouraging signs from the comatose centipede as it was ferried down local waterways in the Coast Guard vessel? (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Inquiring hinds: honorable mentions

“It won’t be as long as it has been — let me put it that way.”
How exactly did Lorena Bobbitt word her threat to her husband? (Steve Honley)

“We’re very early in the game.”
How do Redskins fans console each other when the team’s down 35-0? (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

“Not every turkey escapes the White House.”
What was the rejected title of the new History Channel series about presidents who died in office? (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

We never know what the big board will decide.
When will the Great and Powerful Two-by-Four destroy Earth? (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)

That’s a question toymakers ask every year when coming up with new products.
Why do kids always end up playing with the box? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

“In the past I would laboriously pare off the hard skin with a vegetable peeler (difficult on a curved surface) or slice it off with a big knife.”
What did Julia Child say as a testimonial for Oil of Olay? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Sometimes it takes your family to help you confront hard and embarrassing situations.
Why does thinking about Grandma work so well for teenage boys who are asked to come to the front of the class at an awkward moment? (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

Some people have a “low bottom.”
What was Marge’s excuse for not being able to lose weight? (Steve Honley)

Let’s just say that it might make you reconsider your next BLT.
“You don’t think our cafe is using the tomatoes that sprouted up in its septic drain field out back, do you? (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

After less than 30 seconds, he was done, finishing with a flourish of guitar and an “oh, yeah!”
What is a quote from the book “I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie”? (Chris Doyle)

The Navy has a $96 million reserve fund to cover additional unforeseen costs.
How did the Navy cover the bar bill for a recent congressional oversight visit? (Bruce Alter)

Shhh — it’s actually faux and can be reused from year to year.
Why do you splurge on an expensive fruitcake every year for your Christmas party? (Dave Prevar)

He was lonely, hugely lonely.
What’s a good opening line for a romance porn novel? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

The cost would depend on what is causing the drawers to stick.
Why don’t proctologists have a standard fee structure? (Steve Honley)

“The TSA isn’t even touching the vast majority of these bags.”
What should the TSA spokesman not have said about busloads of nuns crossing the border? (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)

“I will make sure there are tissues nearby at all our meetings, and if you let me, I will hold your hand when you cry.”
How did President Obama persuade Speaker Boehner to resume debt ceiling negotiations? (Frank Osen)

“My head seemed disconnected from my body.”
What’s the last thing you remember, Ms. Boleyn? (Beverley Sharp)

Unfortunate, unfair, unnecessary and unwise.
With the success of UNICEF and UNESCO, what other acronyms did the United Nations briefly consider? (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

“I had them tear it out while I was standing there.”
Chuck Norris, did you just have an appendectomy? (Barbara Turner)

The WHO estimates that nearly 350 million people worldwide have the condition.
What’s the current population of Teenage Wasteland? (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Do you have a matching bath, hand and washcloth?
What was Martha Stewart’s first question on arriving in prison? (Frank Osen)

It’s divided into five movements, but there’s no intermission point.
How would travelers describe a case of Montezuma’s Revenge in Guadalajara? Brendan Beary)

And you can’t just whip out your American Express card and walk out with a gilded mirror.
What’s your second-biggest complaint about the Obama White House, Mr. Trump? (Frank Osen)

“I’ll be darned if the New Year’s Eve sequence doesn’t get me every time.”
Are you so drunk that you can’t count down from 10 to 1? (Beverley Sharp)

It’s a massive, bulbous, inexplicably sexual thing that droops down from the ceiling and fills the space.
What is the Victoria’s Secret advertising display for its revolutionary Ultra-Queen-Size Bra? (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

“We all like the Russians.”
What do Vegas oddsmakers say about the battle to control eastern Ukraine? (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Sometimes, there’s even some facial-hair-growing.
What do the Nats do well in the playoffs, besides choking? (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

The Wizards failed to thwart dribble penetration.
How were Hogwarts students created? (Jon Gearhart)

So why not?
Why do New Yorkers answer a question with a question? (Bruce Alter)

And Last: He warmed the hearts of millions with a clean comedy style far removed from the sexual innuendo and obscenity-laced jokes popular today.
How come Roberto Gómez Bolaños never got any ink in The Style Invitational? (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Still running — deadline Monday night: Our contest for a niche radio station. See

Next week: Pun and Ink, or Shaggy Pup Stories, our contest for mini-tales — just a few dozen words — that end in a pun on a phrase. See

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