Friday, January 17, 2014

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2013

Moment magazine is a bimonthly journal of Jewish politics, culture, and religion, so naturally they have a cartoon caption contest with each issue. The cartoonist and judge for all of these is Bob Mankoff, who just happens to be the New Yorker's cartoon editor. Okay, I'm in.

I was selected as a finalist the first two times I entered, a result far more encouraging than what I get from the New Yorker's own caption contest, which I figure has about one- or two-hundred times as many entries, ballpark. In a way this early positive feedback here has created a new challenge for me: how to concoct a caption that will once again be one of the the top three while improving my odds of achieving a winning caption, the winner being determined not by Mr. Mankoff but rather by a popular vote of the readership.

This month's cartoon shows a lab worker walking through the hallway with a divining rod while a coworker comments. The very first caption entered was "Mr. Nobel Prize can't find the bathroom," submitted by Jim Weis. Well, how on earth was I going to top that? Then I remembered that to become one of the three finalists, I didn't necessarily have to use the same approach. I decided to avoid references to the bathroom altogether and submitted nine captions, including three about alcohol and a couple of musical references which amused me no end but if truth be told weren't really meant to be serious contenders. I can do things like that sometimes.

"I'd say he's seeking out the nearest watering hole."
"He's got it rigged to unearth grant money."
"Research, my foot!  He's headed for Happy Hour."
"I implanted a GPS chip.  He's finally going to shul."
"Listen carefully.  He's humming 'Midnight at the Oasis.'"
"If you ask me, he's divining Concord Grape."
"Until now, he's been looking for love in all the wrong places."

"He says it works even better than JDate."

"He's trying to find his Ouija board."

I realize that some of you may not be conversant with my musical references. YouTube to the rescue:
Maria Muldaur
"Midnight at the Oasis" (1974)

Johnny Lee
"Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places" (1980)

As it turns out, Bob Mankoff didn't care for the men's room caption as much as I did, so I needn't have troubled myself on that particular score. What he did like was the second caption of mine, and that, thank goodness, was all it took to advance me to finalist status for the third time in a row in this contest. I suppose that "grant money" caption is a pretty strong selection from the ones I submitted. I mean, I like the Ouija board idea, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the laboratory setting, after all. Anyway, here is the roster of finalists for November/December:

Moment Cartoon Caption Contest finalists for November/December 2013

March 11, 2014 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  You can read my blog posts about cartoonist and New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff here, and if that isn't enough you can read even more here  regarding him and the Rejection Collection, which he inadvertently helped to create by rejecting so many cartoons.

Bob Mankoff's New Yorker blog is here. It's always a good read.

Follow this link for Bob Mankoff's New Yorker cartoons in the Cartoon Bank.

You can read cartoon news about Bob Mankoff on Ink Spill here.

Check out the January/February 2014 Moment Cartoon Caption Contest here. You might even enter the current contest yourself and then vote for one of the November/December caption finalists, far be it from me to suggest which one. February 10 is the deadline.

Read my previous entries in the September/October Moment Cartoon Caption Contest here. It's a caption contest of Biblical proportions. I was a finalist then too, as I've said, but I did not clinch the prize. (The prize is a year's subscription to Moment.) My unsuccessful caption will probably resonate with anyone who has ever been a Bar Mitzvah, although it may be a bit shaky on theological grounds.

In addition to all that, about nine month's worth of my failed entries in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest can be found here. My new motto: "Just wait till next week!"

Let's not forget Danny Shanahan's website, which is here. His October Caption Contest is still going on, I'm pretty sure, and I have several entries in that one. I reported the results of his first contest from April here. If you want to know who to blame for my getting entangled in these caption contests, it's Danny Shanahan and the late Roger Ebert.


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