Style Invitational Week 1353: What’s playing at the retroplex

Apocalypse Eventually: A soldier makes his way upriver in Vietnam, noticing along the way the incremental effects of climate change.

As has many a Style Invitational contest lately, this week’s was suggested by Wildly Successful Loser Duncan Stevens, who got 136 blots of Invite ink in the previous year alone: Change a movie title to its “opposite” by reversing one or more words; then describe the new movie, as in Duncan’s examples above.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon,
our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives Twinkle Tush,
a colorful little modesty “jewel” that you would hang beneath your cat’s tail. (That is, you would if you were insane; even the packaging says you shouldn’t leave it on your cat.) Donated by Loser Melissa Yorks, then inexplicably declined by whoever won it a few years ago.

The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter — this week we feature some past altered-title movies — check it out at

Jest for the Record: Ink from Week 1349

In Week 1349

the Empress invited readers to explore the Congressional Record, the official chronicle of the daily doings — and non-doings — of the legislative branch, and then to choose any sentence they could access from the CR website (which goes back to 1995) and come up with a question that the CR sentence might answer. Fewer people than usual entered, but as the E had predicted, those who did really got into it, as you’ll see from the ink. And they didn’t have to look far to find a lot of congressional inanity.

4th place:

A. “I wish for them a lifetime of love as endless as the ocean and as timeless as the tides.”

Q. “Mr. President, how do you plan to support the people of the Bahamas as they try to rebuild?” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

3rd place:

A. “I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina, who has unusual socks on today.”

Q. How do you tactfully tell a colleague that he has forgotten to put his pants on again? (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

2nd place

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Q. How did you scare those teenagers off drugs with a visit to the morgue? (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

A. “It is important to end the gender gap, because half the people working for minimum wage are women.”
Q. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), would you explain the gender pay gap in the most statistically idiotic way? (Sam Mertens)

Lacks of Congress: Honorable mentions

A. “It is $1.4 billion — that is nine zeros — a day.”

Q. What statement by Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-La.) about government borrowing shows he can’t count zeros? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

A. “They let her wander. In violation of all their own policies, she wandered outside. She wandered outside for more than 20 minutes.”
Q. What has been Melania’s favorite moment as first lady? (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

A. “Evidently a quorum is not present.”

Q. Speaker Pelosi, do you think the president has all his marbles? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

A. “I ask unanimous consent that I may proceed as in morning business for 30 seconds.”

Q. How must junior congressmen ask to go to the bathroom? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

A. “I smiled this last weekend when I filled up for $2.25.”

Q. How is your all-popcorn diet going? (Gary Crockett)

A. “This crisis is affecting communities all over the country.”

Q. So it’s really hard to get a Popeye’s chicken sandwich? (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

A. “Words fail me.”

Q. How do you explain your nickname, President Coolidge? (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

A. “During my time in this body, I have had graduates and students of Virginia Tech work and intern for me.”

Q. Dalai Lama, what have you done since becoming an Honorary Hokie? (Kevin Dopart)

A. “He aimed well.”

Q. At his retirement party, what is the highest praise a guy can get from the janitorial staff? (Kevin Dopart)

A. “I have spent a lot of time on the Senate floor.”

Q. Do you admit, senator, that your drinking interferes with the performance of your duties? (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

A. I like the bill Senator Hagan and I worked on.

Q. Mr. President, what’s your favorite part about building this giant butter-sculpture of Donald Duck? (Frank Osen)

A. “I yield myself as much time as I may consume.”

Q. How long is lunch?
(Brett Dimaio, Cumberland, Md.; Dinah Rokach, Silver Spring, Md.)

A. “Members will please face the camera.”

Q. What should never be said to Anthony Weiner? (Kevin Dopart)

A. “The time of the gentleman has expired.”

Q. Whatever happened to the era of common courtesy? (Jesse Frankovich; Jeff Contompasis)

A. “This bill had been a No. 1 legislative priority of our Nation’s law enforcement officers, and I am proud of this bipartisan effort to support law enforcement and public safety.”

Q. What can you tell me about the effort to enact “Free Donuts for Cops” Day? (Sam Mertens)

A. “We cannot be driven by polls.”
Q. After seeing his poll figures, what did the politician decide his constituents wanted to hear? (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

A. “He is a longtime Vikings fan.”

Q. Why would the president want to buy Greenland? (Jeff Contompasis)

A. “I wish him nothing but a well-deserved rest, relaxation, and best wishes in retirement.”

Q. What is the most passive-aggressive way to call for impeachment? (Gary Crockett)

A. “Irregardless . . .”

Q. To the dismay of word nerds, what word appears in the Congressional Record at least 30 times, most recently on May 23? (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

A: “There are approximately 39 pending amendments which are probably in order and about 69 that are not, and those numbers may be off a little bit but they are not bad for government work at 8:30 in the middle of a Red Sox game.”

Q. Can you describe congressional dysfunction in a nutshell? (Sarah Walsh)

A. “It is a bicameral effort.”

Q. Rep. Gohmert, what do you call two dromedaries crossing a desert? (Frank Osen)

A. “An important contributor to our local economy, he owned a gas station and managed the Midland Screw Factory.”

Q. Dearly beloved, does anyone have any fond remembrances of our local pimp? (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

A. “I want to take the opportunity to congratulate the entire Empress team, and thank them for all their incredible work in our area.”

Q: What did the Nobel Prize chairman say about The Style Invitational’s contribution to literature? (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.; the Empress is a casino]

TWO contests still running — deadline for both is Monday night, Oct. 14:

Week 1351: Ideas for timely Halloween costumes or parties — or actual photos of new ones. See

Week 1352:
Write a steamy scene about an unsteamy situation. See

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