The Invitational Week 22: Picture This
It's caption contest time, with eight motley pictures to choose from. Plus zingy 4-line poems.
JUN 2, 2023

The first of the pictures in The Invitational’s caption contest this week.
Hello. This week we bring you the second caption contest of the Gene Pool Era, with another set of motley photos, centuries-old art … and a cartoon drawn especially for this contest by comic strip artist David Clark, inventor of the art for “Barney & Clyde,” a comic strip about a friendship between a billionaire and a homeless man. But first, we bash Republicans for being horrible human beings while we are supposed to pretend this isn’t happening and everything is fine and we are engaged in normal political discourse.

Gene will hereby now do this regrettable but necessary task in one paragraph:

Modern-day Republicans want us all to carry bazookas and shoot each other in the head because of the Second Amendment. They think trans people are a subordinate clause to humanity. They think health care has to make a profit for shareholders. They think children should work in meatpacking plants until 10 p.m. They count among their respected leaders utter maniacs like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who sees a conspiracy of Jewish “gazpacho police” wielding space lasers. They think it is okay to overturn an election by shouting. They want history to be defined, by federal law, as an inexorable march of White People Doing the Right Thing. They think women have abortions for fun. They think that parents who accidentally kill their children by leaving them in hot cars should be executed. Why have we normalized this? If he were alive today, William McKinley never would have approved of any of this and he was a Republican.

Anyway, that is all that is to be said on this matter except that if, tomorrow, Lauren Boebert declared that, say, Minneapolis needed to be assassinated, everyone in the Republican Party would deal with it as jut another opinion worthy of robust debate.

However, it is is time to do some caption writing. So.

For Week 22: Write a caption — as many as 25 total — for any of the pictures below or the one above. Begin each caption only with the letter on the picture — as in A. [your caption] — so that the Empress can sort the captions by picture. (Losers, you’ve become so much better following the directions lately!) If you’re new to The Invitational, take a look at the results of Week 6 to see what we like in a caption.

Click here for this week’s entry form, or go to As usual, you can submit up to 25 entries for this week’s contest, preferably all on the same entry form. See more formatting directions on the form.

Deadline is Saturday, June 10, at 4 p.m. ET. Results will run here in The Gene Pool on Thursday, June 15. You need to be a paying subscriber to The Gene Pool to enter; to sign up, click on the “subscribe” or “upgrade” button above (just $5 for a month or $50/year).

This week’s winner, apropos of our fine-art theme, gets a sheet of Bob Ross temporary tattoos depicting photos or drawings of the artist’s whitefroed head, with such messages as “Have a happy little hair day” and “Trees are friends.” Donated by Loser Jeff Contompasis. Runners-up get autographed fake money featuring the Czar or Empress, in a variety of designs that we’re still coming up with. Honorable mentions get bupkis, except for the Fir Stink for First Ink air “freshener” and a sweet email from the Empress.

Fourplay: Clerihews and Poeds from Week 20
In Week 20 we asked for either of two forms of four-line poems: clerihews, which start with a person’s name, have at least one rhyme, and comically lose any sense of meter; and the more challenging poeds, whose lines consist of (1) six one-syllable words; (2) three two-syllables; (3) two threes; and (4) one long, possibly ridiculous six-syllable word. We’re running only one of the many clerihews that rhyme “Ron DeSantis” with “praying mantis.”

Third runner-up (clerihew):
Senator Chuck Grassley
Wouldn’t dream of suggesting crassly
That his colleague Dianne Feinstein resign,
Because he’s also eighty-nine. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Second runner-up (clerihew):
Dylan Mulvaney
Has made a lot of drinkers suddenly abstainy,
As Bud Light is featuring her even though she’s declared she’s trans, in no uncertain terms;
This has opened up cans of both beer and worms. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

First runner-up (clerihew):
Elon Musk
Paid too much for Twitter, tried to back out, fired over half the staff, then decreed that the remaining employees should work from dawn past dusk.
Hopefully this will end his reputation as a genius
And expose him as just one more rich guy with a tiny penius. (Michael Stein, Arlington, Va.)

And the winner of the Cat in the Hat socks (poed):
Is our speech too coarse now?
Vulgar, tasteless drivel,
Routinely uncivil?
Absofuckinglutely. (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

We Are Not a Muse: Honorable Mentions
Clarence Thomas
Said, “I’m not corrupt, pinky promise!
Why should I exhibit any shred of decency, shame or contrition?
I mean, who among us doesn't have such good friends that they foot the bill for your kid’s private school tuition?” (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

J.K. Rowling
Might have started out just trolling.
But now you can't hop on Twitter for even the briefest surf
Without seeing her thrashing around trying to defend her TERF. (David Smith, Pleasanton, Calif.)

E. Jean Carroll
Has managed to get Trump over a barrel.
Content with her original court victory until
He still wouldn’t shut up, repeating the same crap that cost him the first 5, so now she's going for another 10 mil. (Judy Freed, Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

Daniel Snyder –
Perpetual despair provider –
Finds it satisfyingly amusing
That there’s such good money in losing. (Kevin Dopart, Washington, D.C.)

Dan Snyder
Is packing his belongings into a truck rented from Ryder.
Will fans go wish him a fond adieu?
You’re more likely to hear a hearty bieu. (Duncan Stevens)

Patti LuPone
Has earned her place on Broadway’s throne.
And while she has repeatedly stated that she’s quitting the the-ayter,
She keeps postponing said departure until later. (Seth Christenfeld, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.)

LeBron James
Hints he might play no more games.
I’ll take odds he won’t be happy when the ballyhoo has shrunken
And donuts are all he’s dunkin’. (Pam Shermeyer)

Something about Senator Josh Hawley
Reminds me of a spider, slug, or other creepy-crawly –
That self-appointed arbiter of manhood
Who on January 6 showed off his fierce got-up-and-ranhood. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Saffie, Joseph Jr.,
Trains horses in methods maybe loonier
Than normal, given that just before the Kentucky Derby, equestrians
Rode two of his horses that made them pedestrians. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Covington (Todd):
Nurse and firefighter turned ballpark god.
His quick-thinking Heimlich manuever
Caused a choking fan’s wedged snack food to unhoover. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Ron DeSantis:
His presidential campaign’s chant is
“Make America Florida!”
What could be horrida? (Frank Osen)

Ron DeSantis
Has all the charm and warmth of a dining praying mantis.
He’s found it rewarding to beat up on immigrants, women, gay and trans folks, African Americans, librarians, doctors, professors, and others, but surely he’s foolish to take on Disney...
Isney? (David Smith)

Matt Gaetz:
A guy Kevin McCarthy hates
But, sad to say,
Must obey. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Rodgers, Aaron,
A different green you'll be wearin’.
Playing for the Packers made you upset?
Oh, you ain't seen nothin’, Jet. (Jesse Frankovich, Laingsburg, Mich.)

Poor Chris Christie!
Such a masochist, he
Hasn’t got enough of being dissed — he wants more
In 2024. (Mark Raffman)

A fount of crap and lies,
Bigmouth Donald supplies
Round-the-clock poppycock:
Mar-a-Logorrhea. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Trump’s back for one more run.
Meaner, ruder, lewder,
Oranger, chubbier,
Beelzebubbier. (Jon Carter, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Wives at times hide blue pills,
Dodging husbands’ nightly
Remaining uprightly.
Viagraphobia. (Chris Doyle)

Why do some men not like
Martha Stewart’s cover?
Possibly, semi-nude
Gerontopulchritude? (Mark Raffman)

And last:
Gene and Pat said oy vey
Reading poems manqué:
Doggerel displaying
Clerihewmorlessness. (Chris Doyle)

The headline “Fourplay” is by Tom Witte; Jon Gearhart wrote the honorable-mentions subhead.

Still running — deadline 4 p.m. ET Saturday, June 3: Our Week 21 contest to describe a comically more realistic plot point in a given movie, TV show, or work of literature. Click here or type in

See more about The Invitational, including our 2,600-member Facebook group, the Losers’ website, and our podcast.

Idea: ()
Examples: ()
Title: (Tom Witte)
Subhead: (Jon Gearhart)
Prize: (Jeff Contompasis)