Style Invitational Week 1324: Chapter and worse
Tell a Bible story or other old tale as another writer would. Plus
(By Bob Staake for The Washington Post (with apologies, of course, to
By Pat Myers
Editor and judge of The Style Invitational since December 2003
(Click here to skip down <#report> to the Questionable Journalism winners)
*Exodus, as told by Donald Trump:* “See, Pharaoh was weak and had bad
judgment. He let in all these people (no wall!). And then when they
wanted to leave, he said no! Can you imagine!?”
*. . . by Karl Marx:* “Ultimately the inevitable worker revolution took
place, hastened by some fortunate meteorological phenomena.”
*. . . by Dr. Seuss:* “Who took you from Egypt and split the Red Sea?
There’s only ONE GOD and that ONE GOD is ME.”
This week’s contest was the idea of Hall of Fame Loser Mark Raffman,
who’ll be recounting the story of the Exodus, in some form or other, at
a Passover Seder next month (just in time for this week’s results).
*This week: Tell or describe a Bible story, or another classical or folk
tale, very briefly (75 words would be lengthy) in the voice of a
particular author or other person,* as in Mark’s examples above, which
could be three different entries or one combined one (the Empress might
Submit entries at *wapo.st/enter-invite-1324
* (all lowercase).
Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,
* our Style Invitational trophy.
Second prize receives a little volume titled *“The Golfer’s Prayer
by Dominican nun (and golfer) Dorothy K. Ederer. Sister Dorothy recasts
various passages of Scripture in a duffer-centric way, such as the 23rd
Psalm: “. . . Even though I end up at times in rough places, I have no
fears . . . With my woods and irons, I progress from tee to greens with
hope and exultation.” You may chuckle, but yea, Sister D., on June 28,
1994, scored a hole in one on the 10th hole at Ridgeview Golf Course.
Donated by Loser Daphne Steinberg.
*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our “Whole Fools”
Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser
magnets, “We’ve Seen Better”
First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener”
for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday night, April 1 (no joke!);
*results published April 21 (online April 18). See general contest rules
and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules . The
headline “Q-shticks” is by Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle wrote the
honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on
Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev . “Like” Style
Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday
; 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. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at
And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .
*Q-SHTICKS: ‘QUESTIONABLE JOURNALISM’ WINNERS FROM WEEK 1320*
**In *Week 1320,* our recurring Questionable
Journalism contest, we asked readers to choose any sentence from a
publication dated that week and write a question it could answer (if oddly).
/Sentence in a Post story:/ She suggests keeping 12, and her preference
is for all matching mugs for a calmer look.
/Question it might answer:/ How does Marie Kondo recommend that police
departments organize their “Most Wanted” posters? (Steve Honley, Washington)
/Post story: /A cloud can amplify global warming, or it can limit it,
depending on what kind of cloud it is, and its size, location,
thickness, duration, etc.
/Question: /How did the first draft of “Both Sides Now” start? (Duncan
Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
and the electronic piano-keyboard necktie
A. Tip-off is 7 p.m.
Q. So you think the Mueller report is going to be leaked? (Drew Bennett,
West Plains, Mo.)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
A. “I was tasked with the job of stopping the run and I do take pride in
Q. So, Mr. Putin, you admit sabotaging the Clinton campaign? (Beverley
Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Ask-naught: Honorable mentions
A. No one wants to see a baby in distress.
Q. Why does the president usually watch cable news by himself? (Jesse
Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
A. The Wizards’ defensive woes have been especially evident in how they
defend the paint.
Q. Did you hear the Klan leaders’ pathetic comments over the blackface
picture in Gov. Northam’s yearbook? (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
A. “Soybean prices are in the toilet right now.”
Q. What happened when the grocery tagger had to bring his toddler to
work with him? (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
A. “I was super excited for him because I knew it was a very hard
Q. Vice President Pence, why did you give the president a standing
ovation for attending the 9 a.m. Cabinet meeting? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
A. You might feel as if you have pushed too hard.
Q. What if my new baby ends up halfway across the delivery room? (Mark
Raffman, Reston, Va.)
A. “FLOTUS, hands down.”
Q. What did Mick Mulvaney shout in the West Wing after asking if anyone
was planning to leave in the next 12 months? (Kevin Dopart)
A. And the icing on the cake was the taxes.
Q. What else happened at your accountant’s birthday party? (Duncan Stevens)
A. A kiss based on one person’s joy and another person’s non-consenting
shock isn’t really a perfect kiss.
Q. What were the early, rejected lyrics to “As Time Goes By”? (Jeff
Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
A. “We don’t have to settle for being as terrible as Donald Trump.”
Q. When the GOP adopted its “Let’s settle for being as terrible as
Donald Trump” strategy, what advice did it reject? (Duncan Stevens)
A. “It is a hell that no person deserves.”
Q. Why did Satan say he quit working at the White House? (John Hutchins,
Silver Spring, Md.)
A. Just who is Patrick Shanahan?
Q. Mr. President, Patrick Shanahan has been on the job for six months.
What’s your estimation of his effectiveness so far? (Elden Carnahan,
A. “Saturday and Sunday weren’t as successful as we had hoped, but
that’s just part of the learning process.”
Q. What did God say to His co-workers on Day 8? (Duncan Stevens)
A. Banging the table, she added, “Why can’t I use that watermelon?”
Q. When did you realize your new girlfriend is just too kinky for you?
(Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
A. Their white tops reflect lots of solar radiation back into space.
Q. What role does the Green New Deal envision for bald Nebraskans in
combating global warming? (Steve Honley)
declined to weigh in on
the reported compromise proposal.
Q. How wasMario’s new offer for the
release of Princess Peach received? (Jesse Frankovich)
A. Excess drooling during breakfast may not set off your internal
alarms, but finding puddles on your floors might be cause for concern.
Q. How can I tell I’m watching too much cable news? (Frank Osen,
A. “If I had even 1 percent of that amount of money, you would never see
or hear from me ever again.”
Q. “Tell me, darling: if you won the lottery would you take me around
the world?” (Beverley Sharp)
A. It wasn’t like, “Well, if this doesn’t work out I can go back home.”
Q. Did you have any reservations about deciding to burn down your house
for the insurance money? (Danielle Nowlin)
A. I have attended 45 back-to-school nights over the past 40 years.
Q. So how has the rhythm method worked for you? (Jeff Contompasis)
A. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Q: How’s progress on the Post’s initiative to avoid using cliches? (Mark
A. “I was telling everybody I wasn’t going to cry and all that, and I
got to the final buzzer and it just kind of hit me.”
Q. What did the winner say at the end of the viral Bee Sting Challenge?
A. I need some help setting boundaries with a friend who has a hard time
reading social cues.
Q. How did “Pence-ive on the Potomac” start his letter to Dear Abby?
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf; Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
A. A brutal Arctic air mass is about to take over the United States.
Q: After predicting an early spring, why did Punxsutawney Phil join the
witness protection program? (Dave Silberstein, College Park, Md.)
A. “I think in certain places that’s not going to be received very well.”
Q. What happens if I throw a ball to the Redskins’ pass-catchers?
A. Mr. Kraft hugged her and gave her a $100 bill and another,
unidentifiable form of currency. He was on his way 14 minutes after he
Q. How do we know who in the Patriots organization, other than Tom
Brady, is rich and has a quick release? (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)
A. “Go in there and kick ass.”
Q. What was Shakespeare’s first draft of the St. Crispin’s Day speech in
“Henry V”? (Duncan Stevens)
*Still running — deadline Monday night, March 25: Our contest to delete
letters from the beginning and/or end of a movie title. See
wapo.st/invite1323 . *