Style Invitational Week 1499: Picture This, a cartoon caption contest


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Recidivist Losers, you know the drill. Brand-new Invitees, I bet you can figure it out. In our umpteenth (give or take a teenth) Bob Staake cartoon caption contest: Write a caption, either descriptive or in dialogue, for any of the cartoons above, up to a total of 25 entries.

So you won’t harsh the Empress’s post-vacation mellow, please format your entries like this: Begin each entry with “Picture 1:,” “Picture 2:,” etc. (no, not with the quotation marks, silly), then follow it on the same line with your caption. This will let the E click on “Sort” to put all the Picture 1s (Pictures 1?) together, and your entry won’t end up in two pieces on two different pages.

Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1499 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Aug. 8; results appear Aug. 28 in print, Aug. 25 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives two small bags of Lactation Cookie Bites, which contain – no, not breast milk (or even udder milk) – “ingredients traditionally used to support breast milk,” which seem to be oatmeal, flaxseed and brewer’s yeast. Donated by Jeff Contompasis, who has never had lactation difficulty.

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, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Our Yuks Runneth Over” is by Eric Murphy; I solicited the headline in the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook. Sign up for the Devotees at on.fb.me/invdev; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational, the Empress’s weekly online column, will return next week.

Our yuks runneth over: Bonus ink from recent contests

So the Empress could take a few days’ vacation — she and the Royal Consort went up to Niagara Falls to join a dozen or so Invite-types at this year’s Loserfest — there was no Week 1495 contest four weeks ago. Instead, here’s a sampling of more ink from five recent contests.

From Week 1489: Rearrange the words in a movie title

A Desire Named Streetcar: This tense political thriller follows the D.C. Council as planners seek approval to extend the H Street line once it stops crashing into things. (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)

A Kill to a View: A family road trip is spoiled by their teenage son’s repeated photobombing. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

French the Connection: The tragic tale of the brief apprenticeship of a young electrician. (Marty Gold, Arlington, Va.)

Kind Encounters of the Close Third: Edged out by a tenth of a second, the bronze-medal relay team is invited by friendly rivals to share the second podium. (Susan Geariety, Menifee, Calif.)

Look Up “Don’t”: A Merriam-Webster editor tells her boyfriend what she thinks of his planned bachelor weekend in Vegas. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

The Penguins of March: A raucous group of partiers dress up as nuns and crash New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

From Week 1490, song parodies about the news


Two songs “sung” by Vladimir Putin, both set to “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz”
From Lviv to Mariupol, I wouldn’t have a scruple,
The people I’d “retrain;”
And there’d be no discussion,
‘Less, of course, they’re speaking Russian,
If I only had Ukraine.
This projection of my power
Would make the Baltics cower,
While NATO goes insane,
And in Finland and Sweden,
They’d see who’d be next for bleedin’
If I only had Ukraine.
Oh I can’t tell you why, we’re not running up the score,
It should have a pretty little war,
But we’ve been stopped — and stopped some more.
With my mercenaries Chechen, I’d silence all the kvetchin’
With none left to complain.
My next moves I’d be plottin’
While my friends go back to yachtin’
If I only had Ukraine. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va)


II. I’ll erase each Euro border
To make a new world order,

Where I alone will reign.

Then the troops I’m stackin’ inland
Will begin attackin’ Finland

Once I subjugate Ukraine.



First I need to show Zelensky
That there’s no common-sense-ky

To savin’ his domain.

I’ll be leavin’ him a mess o’

New cadavers in Odessa

All resistance is in vain!



Oh, I have nukes galore,

So many more in store.

I could wage a war like never waged before,

But here’s a fear I can’t ignore:



Russian poets might be pennin’

More odes to me than Lenin

While the obit scribes explain:

“Putin should’ve been suspicious

Drinking black tea that delicious,

But he didn’t have a brain!”
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

From Week 1491: Add a letter to a word or phrase beginning A-E

Abysmale: Your doofus brother-in-law. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Charmeleon: Someone who can enchant Tucker Carlson and, five minutes later, Rachel Maddow. (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Carvity: The mysteriously-located repository for lost change, lipsticks and receipts; it comes as standard equipment in every vehicle. (Karen Lambert)

Ceremoney: What the wedding planner looks forward to. (Jerry Birchmore, Springfield, Va.)

Cutebacks: To conserve our nation’s saccharin supply, romcoms henceforth will have only “meet normal” scenes. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Calendare: “I bet you can’t remember what day our anniversary is.” (Diane Lucitt, Ellicott City, Md.)

From Week 1492: Conservative-leaning humor

What’s the difference between a conservative and a liberal? A: a conservative believes in the school of life; a liberal believes in spending one’s life in school. (Karen Lambert)

What do you call a liberal who has just received a large inheritance? A conservative. (Keith Ord, Potomac, Md.)

What happens when an Ivy League college brings together all its moderate and conservative employees? They say hi, finish their janitorial work and head home for the day. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

From Week 1493: Feghoots — mini-stories ending in groaner puns

When the Israelites were led out of Egypt and into the desert, they became quite hungry. So God provided manna in the wilderness, and the wanderers ate their fill. In fact, one Israelite ate too much and became ill. The leader asked him what was wrong, and the man groaned, “Everything’s coming up, Moses.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

At dinner parties, the scientist Alexander Fleming loved to tell his guests about how he discovered penicillin in 1928. His wife, of course, had heard the tale a million times. So whenever he launched into it yet again, she’d roll her eyes and say, “Here we go again… it’s always the same mold story.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

The thieves were getting brazen at our little Dodge truck repair shop, stealing wheels, catalytic converters and sound systems. And we just didn’t have the money for a security system or a bigger fence. So we rotated guard duty: All through the night o’er the Ram parts we watched. (Al Lubran, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Aug. 1: Our contest to write a funny poem that misuses a word, like using “debunk” to mean take down a bunk bed. See wapo.st/invite1498.

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.





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