Style Invitational Week 1246: Questionable journalism

Our contest to write a funny question about any sentence in an
article; plus the inking ‘now/then’ jokes

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers By Pat Myers

September 21

Follow @PatMyersTWP //

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winning “now/then” jokes)

/Sentence in The Post:/ *Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope take the stage in
clown makeup and douse their fans with cheap Faygo-brand soda.*
Q. So, Maestro, what’s your plan for the symphony’s “Welcome,
Millennials” program?

*A. “No one is going to grip-and-grin.”*
Q. Ambassador, will the Secret Service be making sure the president
keeps his hands to himself during this trip?

This week we summon up one of our most reliable contests, one we’ve done
at least 12 times with great results, but not for a year and a half.
*This week: Find any sentence (or a substantive part of a sentence) that
appears in The Post or another publication, in print or online, dated
Sept. 21-Oct. 2, and pair it with a question it might answer,* as in the
examples above from the Sept. 17 Post. In the Empress’s experience — in
10 of these contests, she’s read well over 10,000 entries — the humor
tends to work better if a reader can grasp the original context of the
sentence without an explanation. You may use headlines if they’re
written as sentences that could just as easily be in text. *Include the
date and page number of the print edition, or a link to an online page*
(please don’t embed the link right into the text of your entry;
attaching a screen shot is also okay).

Submit entries at this website: **
(all lowercase).

Loser Scion Simon Stevens models the spiny inside-out squishy balls.
(Photos by Pat Myers/The Washington Post )

Winner gets the *Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy — one of the last few before we officially announce the new
design that we’ve been giving to recidivist winners. Second place
receives these two soft, rubbery balls, about the size of golf balls,
that turn inside out into . . . wow, soft-spiny mittens! They’re modeled
here by Loser in Training Simon Stevens, 4-year-old son of Duncan, at a
recent Loser Brunch (the very stretchy things also fit at least the
Empress’s hands). The ball-mittens were donated by Dave Prevar; you
can’t have Simon.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”

Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Punmanship.”
Honorable mentions get one of our
lusted-after Loser magnets, “No Childishness Left Behind”
“Magnum Dopus.”

First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener”

for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Oct. 2; results
published Oct. 22 (online Oct. 19). See general contest rules and
guidelines at . The headline
for this week’s results is by Jesse Frankovich; the honorable-mentions
subhead was submitted both by Jesse and by Nan Reiner. Join the Style
Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at /
./ “Like” Style Invitational Ink of the Day on
Facebook at ; follow
@StyleInvite on Twitter.

*The Style Conversational *The Empress’s weekly online column, published
late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results.
Check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

In *Week 1242 *we asked for then-and-now

The results fall into two categories: humor about how times
have changed (or, sometimes, haven’t changed) and humor about getting
old. Both yield some classic results.

4th place

/Then:/ Bell-bottom jeans.
/Now: /Bell-bottom bottoms.
(David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)

The mittens before they're turned inside out.
3rd place

/Then:/ A 16-ounce large Coke.
/Now:/ A 16-ounce small Coke.
(Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

2nd place

/and the lanyard-hung Pizza Pouch and wineglass holster:

/Then:/ Houston, we have a problem.
/Now:/ Houston, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.
(Frank Mann, Washington)

And the winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

/Then:/ Mayberry and Opie.
/Now:/ Mayberry and opioids.
(Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)

Memory lame: Honorable mentions

/Then:/ U.S. foreign policy: detente.
/Now:/ U.S. foreign policy: daily taunt.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

/Then:/ We’re going to see the Who!
/Now:/ We’re going to see who?
(Mia Wyatt, Ellicott City, Md.)

Then (after 9 p.m.): “Sorry for calling you so late.”
/Now (at 4 a.m.):/ “whyd it take u 2 hrs to like my photo? r u mad at me?”
(Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

/Then: /Getting rid of your 5 o’clock shadow.
/Now: /Maintaining your 5 o’oclock shadow.
(Edmund Conti, Raleigh)

/Then:/ Disco in the ’70s.
/Now:/ Disks go in your 70s.
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

/Then:/ Defending FLOTUS’s fashion choices.
/Now:/ Attacking FLOTUS’s fashion choices.
(Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

/Then:/ Arguing with your parents about where you’re going.
/Now:/ Arguing with your GPS about where you’re going.
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

/Then:/ Driving your off-road vehicle.
/Now:/ Driving your vehicle off the road.
(David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)

/Then:/ CREEP got the president into the White House.
/Now:/ A creep president got into the White House.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington; Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

/Then:/ Studying fallout predictions to see how a nuclear strike on D.C.
would impact the suburbs.
/Now:/ [Sigh.]
(Stephen Litterst, Newark, Del.)

/Then:/ Getting past the SAT.
/Now:/ Getting past the TSA.
(Chris Doyle)

/Then:/ Getting your $%^& together.
/Now:/ Sharing your poo emoji.
(Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

/Then:/ “Super-size me!”
/Now:/ I’m Super-Size Me.
(Marni Penning Coleman, Falls Church, Va.)

/Then: /“There are Russian-sympathizers at high levels of the U.S.
/Now:/ There are Russian sympathizers at high levels of the U.S. government.
(Duncan Stevens)

/Then:/ Bill Cosby was hilarious.
/Now:/ You want to throw up for thinking Bill Cosby was hilarious.
(Peter Jenkins, Bethesda, Md.)

/Then:/ “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to
breathe free.”
/Now:/ Not.
(Randy Lee, Burke, Va.)

/Then:/ Assessing the damage caused by an ozone hole.
/Now:/ Assessing the damage caused by, um, a disagreeable fellow.
(Duncan Stevens)

/Then:/ Scoring well on your ACT.
/Now:/ Scoring well on your A1C.
(Tom Cary, Hollywood, Md.)

/Then:/ “The President’s Plane Is Missing.”
/Now:/ The president’s brain is missing.
(Chris Doyle)

/Then:/ “We Are the World.”
/Now:/ We bar the world.
(Duncan Stevens)

/Then:/ No bars? Calling it a night.
/Now:/ No bars? Calling nobody tonight.
(Kevin Dopart)

/Then:/ Giving the finger to the world.
/Now:/ Getting the finger from the doctor.
(Jon Gearhart)

/Then:/ Shop class.
/Now:/ Shop during class.
(James Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

/Then:/ Tiger Woods, driving long.
/Now:/ Tiger Woods, driving high.
(Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)

/Then:/ Unleaded gas.
/Now:/ Unleaded water.
(Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)

/Then:/ Using your thumb to get a lift.
/Now:/ Using your thumbs to get a Lyft.
(Jesse Frankovich)

/Then:/ Hiding my confusion about algebra from my teacher.
/Now:/ Hiding my confusion about algebra from my kids.
(Stephen Litterst)

/Then:/ Spring break.
/Now:/ Fall; break.
(Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

/Then:/ Our kid depends on us.
/Now: /They kid us about our Depends.
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

/Boomer:/ Used a pencil to rewind a cassette.
/Gen X’er:/ “What’s a cassette?”
/Millennial:/ “What’s a pencil?” (Hildy Zampella, Falls Church, Va.)

*And Last:* // /Then:/ Your brilliant entries were foolishly rejected by
the Czar.
/Now:/ Your brilliant entries were foolishly rejected by the Empress.
(Jesse Frankovich; Steve Glomb, Alexandria, Va.)

*Still running — deadline Monday night, Sept. 25: our contest for silly
complaints about the paper. See
. *