The Invitational Week 4: Questionable Journalism
By Pat Myers and Gene Weingarten, the Empress and Czar of The Invitational

A. “Sometimes he would stand in the sitting room . . .”
Q. How do we know Walter Mondale was a rebel at heart? (Jeff Contompasis)

A. Pour the egg mixture over the greens, covering them evenly.
Q. How were the protesters planning to disrupt the Masters tournament? (Jon Gearhart)

A. “The withdrawal is set to begin on Friday and will be completed by May 1.”
Q. What’s the timeline for the final stage of the nonagenarians’ marriage consummation? (Leif Picoult)

Here’s the contest that we had to stop in its tracks last month, after The Washington Post suddenly didn’t want a moment more of us. It’s one we’ve had tons o’ fun with over the years, in our beloved A&Q format – plus it lets you willfully misinterpret the news media! This week: Choose any sentence (or the major part of a sentence) from any publication (online or on paper) dated Jan. 26-Feb, 3 and follow it with a question it could answer, as in the examples above from last year’s Questionable Journalism contest.

The sentence can be in an article or ad. Tell us the name of the publication and the date and (if in print) the page number; for online publications, please include a link to the webpage. As always, you can submit up to 25 different entries, either all at once or as you think of them.

You can see the text of previous years’ results here, here and here.

The winner gets a genuine early-1960s copy of “Joys of Jell-O” – it’s not dated but the address for General Foods has no Zip code – a 96-page cookbooklet with dozens of recipes for imprisoning various hapless food items inside bricks and rings and towers of sickeningly sweet gelatin. Pictured below on Page 50: the Sea Dream, that enticing combo of shrimp in a bed of lime Jell-O; and the Vegetable Trio, quiveringly entombing stacked carrots, cabbage and spinach. How better to celebrate your Invite win than with a banquet of these sublime creations? Donated by Longtime Loser Larry Yuck. Oh, wait. Larry Yungk.


Deadline is midnight Friday, Feb. 3. Results will run here in The Gene Pool on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Come on in, the water’s warm. This is a reader-supported and reader-financed pool.


Reminder: Submit questions here.

THE SEERS’ CATALOG: Our Week 2 pre-chronicle of 2023
In Week 2 of The Invitational we asked you to spring forward a year to help produce a timeline of events for 2023. Two different Losers announced that egomaniacal Washington Commanders billionaire owner Dan Snyder had sold his team to egomaniacal Washington Post billionaire owner Jeff Bezos (one entry renamed the team the Washington Postmen, the other the Posties). And what do you know: This past Monday, the tabloid New York Post ran a story that Bezos just might buy the team — a story that turned out to be as much bullshit as the inking entries below.

This week the Empress read all 700 entries and made a long “shortlist”; the Czar chose the top four; and we decided on the final inking entries together. I was able to sort all the entries alphabetically (as always, with no names attached), so we had no idea that we kept choosing entries over and over from some of the names below.

Third runner-up: Harry and Meghan are allowed to attend King Charles III’s May 6 coronation, on the condition that they walk behind the royal carriage with brooms and buckets. (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

Second runner-up: A new study reveals that 45 percent of the nation's shirkers are now teleshirking. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

First runner-up: In another anti-grooming measure, Florida bans the letters L, B, G, T and Q from preschool alphabet blocks. (Kevin Dopart, Washington, D.C.)

And the winner of the keychain-size mononucleosis plushie:

Quarterback Carson Wentz, angry after his release by the Washington Commanders, attempts to throw team management under the bus, but misses by 10 yards. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Excess Prophets: Honorable Mentions
January: The Virginia General Assembly passes a law requiring elementary school pupils to have a signed permission slip before bringing a gun to school. (Jon Carter, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Prince Louis publishes a tell-all coloring book. (Nan Reiner, Boca Raton, Fla.)

In a “major announcement” on Truth Social, Trump says he’s selling “personally declassified” documents “for $99 each.” “These are the best documents! The dummies at the National Archives called them ‘invaluable’ but I know they’re worth a lot, to the right people.” (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)

The new apparel company Kanyeezy releases a line of brown shirts. (Kevin Dopart)

The House passes a bill making all abortions illegal except when the father is a congressman. (Jesse Frankovich)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announces that he is unable to attend debt ceiling negotiations because of a prior commitment of having to clean the Freedom Caucus members’ toilets. (Duncan Stevens)

Marking the 25th anniversary of his famous televised denial, Bill Clinton acknowledges that he did have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky but explains, “There were so many women, I just lost track.” (Dave Airozo)

February: Mike Lindell calls for the impeachment of President Biden after agents searching his Delaware residence discover that he removed the tag from his pillow. (Jesse Frankovich)

Feb. 3: Florida celebrates Black History Day. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

It is conclusively proved that China is using TikTok to spy on America when Communist Party cadres are overheard saying, “I stan Xi – he’s savage!” (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Observers suspect that tensions are running high at the Supreme Court when Sonia Sotomayor turns to Clarence Thomas during oral argument and, in an unusual move, bites off his ear. (Duncan Stevens)

March: Meryl Streep wins an Academy Award for a movie she wasn’t even in. (Roy Ashley, Washington, D.C.)

The newly Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee expeditiously determines that the primary instigator of the Jan. 6 riots was Hunter Biden. (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

Trump boasts on Truth Social that of all the Presidents, his stolen documents are the greatest in number, the most powerfully classified and the most tremendously hidden. He follows up by saying he does not know of any documents. (Judy Freed, Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

April: Citing the high cost of eggs this year, the White House hosts the Easter Balled-Up Classified Documents Roll. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

In a glitch caused by its outdated systems, the FAA routes all flights through Kitty Hawk, N.C. (Jon Carter)

To save time, Tom Brady announces his re-retirement and re-unretirement in the same tweet, in which he also announces successive signings with the Broncos, Colts and Bears. (John Hutchins, Sandy Spring, Md.)

George Santos tearfully reveals he’s the secret love child of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

May: King Charles III dramatically parachutes into his coronation ceremony using only his ears. (Jesse Frankovich)

To avoid any unfavorable misunderstandings, the National Dog Groomers Association of America changes its name to the National Dog Trimmers Association of America. (Karen Lambert)

One-upping the Missouri House of Representatives, the Texas legislature requires its female members to wear miniskirts, cowgirl boots, spangles and a fringed vest. Pompoms are ruled optional. (Pam Shermeyer)

In an extraordinary confession, Hunter Biden admits to planting the classified documents at his father’s Wilmington home, explaining, “How else was I going to get the GOP off my case?” (Jonathan Jensen)

June: Prince Harry reveals in a tearful “60 Minutes” interview that Prince William once gave him an atomic wedgie. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

Donald Trump claims to have decommissioned the two Abrams tanks and Patriot missile system discovered in a remote outbuilding at Mar-a-Lago. (Stu Segal, “Southeast U.S.”)

Jeff Bezos (who does not own any part of the new Invitational) reduces the print editions of The Washington Post to one page, featuring only headlines followed by “For more information, see the website.” (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

July: The special prosecutor finds classified documents in the basements of Mount Vernon and Monticello. Attorney General Garland issues indictments of Biden, Washington and Jefferson (no decision yet on Trump). (Rob Cohen)

Ground-floor apartments become hot-ticket items among Moscow oligarchs. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

August: Cash-strapped after signing Aaron Judge to a $360 million contract, the Yankees double the price of a stadium hot dog to $50. (Jon Carter)

Dan Snyder finally sells the Washington Commanders to a coalition headed by Sam Bankman-Fried, Vladimir Putin and Emperor Palpatine. Fans welcome the team’s upgraded image. (Duncan Stevens)

September: The NFL avoids an age discrimination suit by allowing Tom Brady to use a mobility scooter. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Elon Musk buys the last Blockbuster video store, saying “it’s totally worth $44 billion.” (Leif Picoult)

Cocaine is declared legal, but plastic straws are banned for environmental reasons. This creates a heck of a problem. (David Kleinbard, Maramoneck, N.Y.)

October: In a heartfelt bid to reconcile with his brother, Prince Harry releases a new book, “Sorry, You Bald Daft Wanker.” (Jon Carter)

Utah’s capital officially changes its name to Salt Puddle City. (Jon Ketzner)

The National Archives begins a no-questions-asked classified-document buyback campaign. (Stu Segal)

George Santos acknowledges having fabricated his life story and blames the covid vaccine’s “side effect,” the loss of honesty and basic decency. He is immediately hailed as a bold truth-teller by Tucker Carlson. (Karen Lambert)

November: After delivering a strongly worded statement about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Sen. Susan Collins locates a barn, lets all the horses out, and closes the door. (Duncan Stevens)

On Nov. 11, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets out a salute to America’s veterinarians. (Jon Carter)

George Santos admits that the 2020 election was not stolen from Trump, explaining that it was in fact stolen from George Santos. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Attorney General Garland holds a press conference to triumphantly announce that Donald Trump is being held accountable for three unpaid parking tickets. (Duncan Stevens)

Rep. Santos announces his resignation. He is lying. (Lex Friedman, Manalapan, N.J.)

Trump gives up his presidential campaign in favor of selling Trump-branded gas stoves. (Karen Lambert)

December: The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season sets a record, with named storms going through the Greek, Hebrew, Swahili and Runic alphabets. (Nan Reiner)

On a party line vote, the House passes a bill to provide $15 billion to Fox News to help fight the War on Christmas. (Chris Doyle)

Tucker Carlson is fired from Fox as being too “woke” when it is revealed that his testicle-tanning machine is solar-powered, using absolutely no fossil fuels. (John Hutchins)

Elon Musk buys the Washington Commanders. He immediately fires half the roster and announces that the team will start the season with six players on the field, (Rob Cohen)

SAG-AFTRA decrees that any comedian who makes any more “George Santos claims …” jokes will be expelled from the union. (Frank Mann, Washington)

Gene Weingarten's Substack account is deactivated after he makes an insensitive comment about coriander. (Jesse Frankovich)

And Last: Rachel comes to her senses. (Jon Ketzner)

The headline “The Seers Catalog” is by Beverley Sharp; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Kevin Dopart.

Banter and share humor with the Losers and the Empress in the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook; join and the Devs will anagram your name every which way. And see more than 1,000 classic Invite entries in graphic form, also on FB, at Style Invitational Ink of the Day.

Examples:(Jeff Contompasis; Jon Gearhart; Leif Picoult)
Title:(Beverley Sharp)
Subhead:(Kevin Dopart)