Style Invitational Week 1436: Haven’t seen it — new plots for movie titles
Plus winning new takes on folk tales, children’s songs, etc.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
May 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EDT

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“Spring Break”: A child is traumatized when his beloved Slinky rusts out. (Tom Witte)

“Baby Makes Three”: A new mother finds something really, really disgusting in a used diaper. (Russell Beland)

“The Asphalt Jungle”: In this series finale, Tarzan suffers his untimely death. (Kevin Jamison)

Here’s a contest that we’ve done, in slightly different forms, back in 2005 and once again in 2017. This week: Misinterpret a movie title in a supposed plot description, as in the inking entries above from Week 625, the first go-round.

Except for the now-retired Invite Loser T-shirts, the best way to flaunt your 2nd-place Invite “achievement.”
Except for the now-retired Invite Loser T-shirts, the best way to flaunt your 2nd-place Invite “achievement.”
Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, May 24; results appear June 13 in print, June 10 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a genuine brand-new big red “Biggest Loser” T-shirt — so big, frankly, that it must be intended for the early steps of the wearer’s fitness journey. Donated by 86-time Loser Pie Snelson.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Re-tale Outlets” is by Jeff Shirley; Tom Witte wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late Thursday afternoon, May 13, at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Re-tale outlets: New takes on folktales from Week 1432
In Week 1432, inspired by Melissa Balmain’s new poetry collection, “The Witch Demands a Retraction: Fairy Tale Reboots for Adults,” the Empress asked for fresh takes — either poems or mini-stories — on folk tales, nursery rhymes or children’s stories.

4th place:
The Little Dutch Boy
He discovered a leak from a hole in the dike,
Which he plugged single-handed, though only a tyke.
His heroic decision, the townspeople say,
In a literal way kept the water at bay.
For his age, he exhibited rare self-reliance;
Was he driven as well by a sense of defiance?
We can’t say for sure, but all night he would linger,
Insistently giving the ocean the finger.
(Alex Steelsmith, Kailua, Hawaii)

3rd place:
Mary had a little lamb,
Along with some mint jelly.
It went wherever Mary did
’Cause it was in her belly.
Mary finished up her meal
And drifted off to sleep
Meanwhile, someone got a call:
“I’ve got bad news, Bo Peep.”
(Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

2nd place and a signed copy of Melissa Balmain's 'The Witch Demands a Retraction':
The Emperor’s New Clothiers
“Trust the media mob, in its crudity,
To sell papers by hyping up nudity
And implying his garb was aberrant,
When our liege was just being transparent!”
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
Then he made them go away
Encumbered by an NDA.
(But richer by one-thirty K.)
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Aesop's Feebles: Honorable mentions
Red Riding Hood carried a basket so fine
Of toothsome delectables, pastries and wine.
Her mother made sure she was beautifully dressed —
This girl who on paper seems privileged and blessed.
And so it is odd that this child wasn’t more
Successful at keeping the wolf from the door.
(Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Bumble and the Beast
If the Beast had tried dating online,
Of true love he might still be bereft.
Belle would certainly not think him fine
And with nary a pause would swipe left.
Then again, if he’s much like most guys,
To such fate he’d not meekly submit:
He’d just puff up his profile with lies —
And some Photoshopped pix of Brad Pitt.
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Three sight-impaired mice!
Three sight-impaired mice!
See how they run, see how they run
(actually, don’t stare — it makes them uncomfortable; they can sense it!)
They all ran after the farmer’s wife
(which triggered her, though aversion to mice is a sexist trope),
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
(unjustified species-ist overreaction);
Did you ever see such a —
(wait, why are we taking joy in the misfortune of these poor souls?)
Three sight-impaired mice!
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Jesus saw the fish were few, the loaves not half a dozen.
But still he gave the order to feed, to his posse and his cousin.
And lo! It sufficed, as if multiplied through a mirror or a prism.
From the back of the crowd, old Mitch calleth out: “No way! This is socialism!”
(David Young, Falmouth, Mass.)

There once was a boy who cried “Wolf” whenever he saw a wolf. A second boy cried, “Fake cry! It’s not wolves, it’s sheepdogs masquerading as wolves.”
The villagers argued and argued about which boy was right until a third boy cried, “Let’s stop arguing and all work together to save our sheep!”
The villagers finally realized that this boy was really annoying and they ran him out of town. And they all lived sheeplessly ever after. (Gary Crockett)

The Frog Prince
A poor girl weds a frog who’s a prince, how perverse,
Since what usually what happens in life’s the reverse.
“A frog,” said the princess, about to swipe left,
“He’s green, has three chins and not one of them’s cleft.
It says he’s a prince, though. I guess I could clean up,
Whatever the case, with an ironclad prenup.” (Frank Osen)

(Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean)
Jack Sprat isn’t fond of cooking,
Lets his wife do all the work.
She takes tastes when he’s not looking:
Payback (because Jack’s a jerk).

Jack Sprat’s wife is fond of butter,
Cheese and chocolate are her fun.
Now her heart’s gone all aflutter,
Jack is calling 9-1-1.

Triple bypass cannot save her,
’Cause she’s never eaten clean.
Jack’s bad cooking has no flavor,
Now he’s stuck with Lean Cuisine.
(Francesca Kelly, Highland Park, Ill.)

Goose Who Laid the Golden Egg:
The trader bought a golden goose;
His profit scheme, alas, was thwarted:
In Reddit, soon, the news got loose
That EggStop shares had all been shorted.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna. Va.)

Humpty Dumpty: The Prequel
Humpty Dumpty stood near a wall.
“Bring me a ladder!” came Humpty’s loud call.
“The top of this wall is the best place for nappin’!
And, after all, what’s the worst that can happen?”
He wasn’t the first egg and wasn’t the last
to be so shortsighted. The king stood aghast
As all of his horses and all of his men
shook their heads sadly and cried, “Not again!”
(Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Humpty Dumpty 2020
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
(The dang fool wouldn’t be vaccinated)
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
(He got covid and was soon intubated)
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
(They all struggled to save his dumb tush)
Couldn’t put Humpty back together again
(Now he’s buried deep under a bush)
(Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

The young Jack Horner grew to be
A doctor of proctology.
And now he gets to use his thumbs
When pulling things from people’s bums.
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

The Ugly Duckling, by Martha Stewart
I recently helped a homely little bird transform herself into a beautiful swan. Sometimes all you need is the right lighting and a few simple changes to bring out the beauty in something. For this ugly duckling we worked on elongating the neck and reducing the waddle, so she moved more gracefully. Initial critics were quite surprised by the result and later loved my swan leg choucroute. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

The Three Bears Defend Their Property
We’re tidy-minded, law-abiding bears,
But coming home today, what did we see?
The place was ransacked, full of shiny hairs —
A burglar in our house! Who could it be?
We found a girl with golden locks upstairs,
And had a little honey for our tea.
(Brian Allgar, Paris)

Peter Piper picked a peck of PICKLED peppers?
No proper pepper’s pickling precedes picking! (Gary Crockett)

The Little Mermaid gave her voice up
For a handsome man.
As problematic as that sounds,
Bear with me if you can:
When she opened up her mout’
Gilbert Gottfried’s voice came out.
The next time that she got to talkin’
She sounded just like Christopher Walken.
The third time, from her mermaid maw,
Emerged the voice of Ringo Staw.
’Twas this last straw prompted her choice
To, there and then, give up her voice.
The pair report their bond’s much better
Communicating via letter.
(Kate Baughman, Arlington, Va.)

Batty flake, batty flake, Georgia loon;
Race-war “Anglo-Saxon” caucus soon.
Form it, and lead it, and mark it with a Q —
Do it with a laser from a space-based Jew. (Duncan Stevens)

This is a man that is seven feet tall
That bosses at center while blocking the ball
That kids like to bounce on the way to the mall
That sells them Air Jordans they wear in the hall
That leads to the gym where they shoot at the wall
That holds both a backboard and bucket for all
That dream of the day they can play like Chris Paul
That snares alley-oops on the way to the hoops
That a big man rejects for the rings he collects
That sit in the house that Shaq built. (Chris Doyle)

Paddington Bear: An Acrostic Sonnet
Police at Paddington looked sore afraid.
A foreign bear on Platform 1 now stood,
Devouring three whole jars of marmalade.
Detectives warned: “He’s up to nothing good —
In dark Peru bears run a drug cartel.
Neat cannabis gets sold as breakfast food.
Gelatinous preserves disguise the smell
Too much for British Customs — let’s intrude!”
“Oh, no!” cried Mrs. Brown, “you’re wrong! For shame!
New Scotland Yard can’t think this Christian bear
Believes in drugs! We’ll vouch for his good name!”
“Exactly,” Mr. Brown agreed, “fair’s fair!”. . .

And so it was, these upright bourgeois folk
Remained supplied for life with dope to smoke.
(Mike Mesterton-Gibbons, Tallahassee, Fla., a First Offender — except for when we used another of his acrostic poems as a contest example)

Still running: Our contest for dioramas (or other art) featuring at least one cicada. Deadline May 24 (possibly later if the critters are late showing up). See

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