The Style Invitational: A bug’s laugh — cicada ‘art’ winners
Plus new contest Week 1439: Fun with song titles and their vowels
By Pat Myers
June 3, 2021 at 10:01 a.m. EDT

The Washington Post’s Peeps diorama contest may be no more, but we at The Style Invitational chirped right up with our own, decidedly less cutesy replacement featuring the Brood of 2021 — call them the Antipeeps. The Empress didn’t insist on dioramas; any humorous artwork was eligible as long as it included at least one real cicada or nymph exoskeleton.

The Results from Week 1435 [numbers refer to order in online Gallery]

[1] First place, winner of the Clowning Achievement: Four cicadas in front of a columned building with Roman lettering; one lies in front of them with a dagger in its back: "Et tu, BroodX" (Deborah Hensley and Kevin Dopart, Washington)

[2] Second place, winner of the can of silkworm pupae in sauce: In front of a castle, cicada aims a sword at a boot: "My name is Inigo Cicada. Seventeen years ago, you squished my father. Prepare to die." -- The Princess Brood (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

[3] Third place: Cicadas look at the giant sculpture "The Awakening" submerged in the sand: "People say WE'RE scary when we come up out of the ground?" (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

[4] Fourth place: Star Trek action figures stand in a room overflowing with cicada nymph cases: Lost 4th-season episode (1970), "The Cycle With Cicadas"

Baris: There must be thousands.
Kirk: Hundreds of thousands.
Spock: One million, seven hundred seventy-one thousand, five hundred sixty-one.

(Donna Saady, Rockville, Md.; (Dialogue is from the “Star Trek” episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” 1967)

Buzz Off: Honorable mentions [Subhead appears only in print edition; credited to Dave Prevar]

[5] Furniture-barricade scene from Les Miserables, with dollhouse furniture and piles of cicada nymphs: Cicadas at the Barricade -- from "Les Bzz" (Lani and Eleanor Jacobson, Herndon, Va., First Offenders)

[6] Glass coffee carafe filled with cicada nymphs: Brewed X (Kevin Dopart)

[7] Cicadas swarm over several Peeps chicks, seeming to eat their faces: After 17 years, the reign of the Peeps diorama comes to an end. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

[8] Cicada writing on paper, thinking about Gregor Samsa: "As Gregor awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his beg into an enormous human." -- Franz Cicafka (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

[9] Cicada speaking from rostrum at Total Landscaping: "Broody Giuliani" (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

[10] Calendar page for June 2021, "Emerge" marked on June 1-4, "Tree Week" June 5-8, "Buzzing Camp" June 18-25 (Julia Shawhan, Silver Spring, Md.)

[11] Cicada shells form notes on musical staff: "Gloria in Ex-Shellsis!" (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.

[12] Cicadas playing guitar and drums: "Cicadian Rhythm Section" (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

[13] Cicadas assaulting U.S. Capitol: "A plague on both the houses." (Deborah Hensley and Kevin Dopart, Washington)

[14] Three cicadas in a dark landscape, one on a bare tree: "Shall we mate?" "Yes, let's mate." (They do not move.) -- "Mating for Godot" (Frank Mann and 10-year-old Lida Mann, Washington)

[15] Six dead cicadas shrink-wrapped for purchase, labeled "Creeps" (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

[16] ZOOM screen, Cicada Virtual School, 2021
Cameron: "My brother's touching me!"
Constance: "This is BORING!"
Charlie: "I have to go potty!!!!"
Christopher: "Didn't we just do this yesterday??"
Mr. C. Cada, thinking: They don't pay me enough ...
Cecilia: "Uh oh, I lost my marker!!"
Cassidy: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! ... Sorry, just practicing ..."
Calliope: "I can make my antennae curl, watch!!"
Cyrus: "Hey, wanna set my pet aphid??"

(Sarah Walsh and 7-year-old Ziva Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

[17] Santa and reindeer all made from cicada nymph cases in snow scene:

It’s a long wait for jolly old Saint Nicada, but he won’t let the little nymphs down. (Suzy Gay, San Diego; Jack Ford and Robin Ford, Fort Washington, Md., First Offenders)

And this week’s new contest . . .

Week 1439: Vowel Movement: The Musical
Bad Romance > B D R M N C > Bedroom Nice: Lady Gaga finally finds love.

Moon River > M N R V R > I’m No RV’er: The Allman Brothers decide they’re not ramblin’ men after all.

Back in 2015, the Empress ran a contest that Loser William Verkuilen remembers fondly, having gotten a couple of blots of ink out of it in Week 1155. It played on movie titles, so Bill suggests we try it with songs: This week: Choose a song title; remove all the vowels; then add back as many vowels as you like to create a new title. And describe the song, as in the examples above. You might also provide a line or more of lyrics. You can’t change the order of the consonants, but you may add spaces or punctuation as above. (For our purposes, A, E, I, O and U are always vowels; Y and W also count unless they make a “yuh” or “whuh” sound, as in “yak” or “wax.”)

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, June 14; results appear July 4 in print, July 1 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives an eight-color toilet bowl night light that “turns on with proximity.” Sort of like butt-dialing, we guess. So if you visit the commode after dark, you may feed the Specter of the Fuchsia Abyss. (Or, if you wait a sec, the Turquoise Abyss.) Donated by Jeff Contompasis.

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 “A Bug’s Laugh” is by Jesse Frankovich; Dave Prevar 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, June 3, at

Still running — deadline Monday night, June 7: our contest for fake trivia about the law. See

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