Premium Tagline Challenge

On irregular occasions, the Premium subscribers get a “Tagline Challenge”, one of the several “extra” features that are found only in the Premium issues. This page has a sample of a Challenge story — and the readers’ entries.

How do you submit your entry? Simply Reply — issues always come from Randy’s real address. (Premium issues come from an address that gets higher priority than his more public address.)

Hints and Tips for the Challenge:

  • It’s fine to send more than one entry, but please send them all in the same email.
  • It’s handy if you include your first name and location (state, or country if outside the USA) so I don’t have to look it up. Please don’t send back the issue: I’ve already read it. Thanks.
  • “Clever” and witty is always best, unless the story demands irony, a pointed barb, or an angry retort. Taglines should be “funny, ironic, and/or opinionated” (aka thought-provoking).
  • Please avoid the now-cliche “This, $20. That, $40. The result: Priceless” bit. (Also, limericks have to be quite good to be chosen.)
  • Don’t shy away from sending an entry because you think “many” others will suggest a particular tag. Pretty much every month, someone will say “You’ll probably get this one 100 times” — and they’re the only one to suggest that angle. What seems “obvious” to you probably won’t be obvious to “many” others!
  • Have fun with it!

The August 2012 Challenge

This particular Challenge is a great example, and is notable for the alleged offender’s mug shot. But first, the story:


Lowell Bleshecer Turpin, 40, of Clinton, Tenn., looked at his live-in girlfriend’s computer screen and saw she had posted a photo of another man on her “wall”. He “angrily demanded to know who the male was,” notes the resulting police report. Upset she was “attempting to communicate with friends through her Facebook account,” Turpin allegedly grabbed the laptop computer away, smashed it against the wall, and struck her in the face with his fist. Turpin, who “has been violent toward her multiple times over several years,” the report notes, was jailed on a charge of domestic assault. Oh, and the man in the photo she posted? It was presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. (RC/Knoxville News Sentinel)

And now a look at the fine figure of the man suspected of committing the crime:

Lowell Bleshecer Turpin's mug shot.
Lowell Bleshecer Turpin’s mug shot. This photo has NOT been altered (at least, not by me!) This is apparently what it looked like when released by the Knox County Jail.

Results for the Above Challenge Story

There were 64 entries; a not-giant, but respectable, number. When giving you the story, I said it was OK to slam Romney (or praise him), the point being that funny was the key. But most didn’t go either way, preferring to slam the perpetrator of the crime instead.

Perhaps most surprising to me was, most of the comments about Romney were from those outside the U.S. For example, Alex, a Canadian living in Paris: “…Obviously Mr. Turpin prefers a more thoughtful and moderate candidate for President of the United States.” Peter in China: “…If you think it was Facebook that got his gall / that wasn’t it at all. / He was looking for a reason to launch a hit / and Romney provided the Mitt.” Anthony in Queensland, Australia, even gets the team mascots right: “…So the ass was jealous of the elephant.” Tony in Japan: “…His girlfriend is hoping both men get two back-to-back four-year terms.” And Jacquie in B.C., Canada, offers a limerick: “…He saw her picture of Mitt / And gave her face a good hit / Now she’s out her ‘puter / And he’s out those hooters / So which is the Republican twit?”

There were several twists on the perp’s name, mostly “Turpin-tine”. The most clever was from Michael in Texas: “…A good judge will turn shellacking into Turpin time.”

Several picked up on the name of the town, and were vaguely reminded of a White House occupant with that name. David in Alberta, Canada: “…I guess if you live in Clinton, you feel you have to keep Republicans out any way you can.” Andy in California: “…Living in a town named Clinton and having endured Obama, you might think he’d be HAPPY to see Romney!”

Facebook gets its share too. Jeff in California: “…The fist: when Facebook just isn’t the right medium.” Gary in Ontario, Canada: “…Lowell, it is Facebook, not HitInTheFacebook.” James in Ontario, Canada: “…He saw it on Facebook, now his face has been booked.” Peter in Texas: “…I’ve heard about ‘poking’ your loved ones on Facebook, but that’s just ridiculous.”

For political twists, Nancy from Nova Scotia, Canada: “…Missing: The keystone of democracy that’s the ‘informed electorate’.” Chris in California: “…MSNBC headline: ‘Romney’s Face Destroys Woman’s Laptop!’ Fox headline: ‘Romney Hater Sent To Jail, Purged From Voter Rolls!'” David in Pennsylvania: “…I told her we only support Ron Paul!” Bill in Louisiana: “…Instead of Voter ID laws, let’s try Voter IQ tests.” — an idea a lot of people could get behind (except the party officials, who I think WANT the voters to be stupid….)

Kelly in Pennsylvania wondered: “…I want to know, is this girl blond?” (Hey: SHE said it, not me!) Rita in Michigan: “…Lowell would have been madder if it were Obama. He’s younger looking.” Charlie in New Jersey: “…And to think that some of us encourage universal suffrage.” Carol in Washington: “…Hopefully now the girlfriend will vote with her feet.”

Mike in Illinois: “…It looks like Mitt may not do too well with thugs 35-40 if he doesn’t boost name recognition.” Lisa in California: “…It was a Mitt-igating factor, but NOT a Mitt-igating circumstance.”

Bill in North Carolina referenced my recent crash into a deer: “…The mug shot makes it clear: Turpin just ate Randy’s Deer Casserole.”

Harvey in New York: “…Beating your girlfriend for years: despicable. Destroying her computer to stop her from reaching out: unforgivable. Not understanding politics: that’s as American as apple pie.” Bandit in New Mexico: “…Turpin’s picture is now going to be on a wall, too.” Lonnie in California: “…Say what you will about his politics, Romney’s face is much more attractive than Turpin’s.” Hell, even a Democrat would agree a donkey’s back side is more attractive than Turpin! Geoff in California agrees: “…It wasn’t about the picture. He just hit her in the face so she would look more like him.” And Brad in Texas: “…Clearly, not an electoral college graduate.”

And the winner is (yep!) offshore, Phillip in U.K.: “…Sadly, his demographic, ‘Stupid Ignorant’, will probably decide the result of the election.” (Philip commented, “I should say that I am not a Democrat — or a Republican — or an American! I’m fine with either gentleman to win; I would prefer neither *Party* to win, though!”) Hear hear.