From the Washington Post Style Invitation, in which it was postulated that English should have male and female nouns. Readers were asked to assign a gender to nouns of their choice, and explain their reasons. The best submissions:

SWISS ARMY KNIFE -- male. Even though it appears useful for a wide variety of work, it spends most of its time just opening bottles.

KIDNEYS -- female. They always go to the bathroom in pairs.

TIRE -- male. It goes bald and often is over-inflated.

HOT AIR BALLOON: male. To get it to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under it ... and, of course, there's the hot air part.

SPONGES -- female. They are soft and squeezable, and they retain water.

WEB PAGE -- female. It is always getting hit on.

SHOE -- male. It is usually unpolished, with its tongue hanging out.

COPIER -- female. Once turned off, it takes a while to warm up. It is an effective reproductive device when the right buttons are pushed. And it can wreak havoc when the wrong buttons are pushed.

ZIPLOC BAGS -- male. They hold everything in, but you can always see right through them.

SUBWAY -- male. It uses the same old lines to pick up people.

HOURGLASS -- female. Over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

HAMMER -- male. It hasn't evolved much over the last 5,000 years, but it's handy to have around.

REMOTE CONTROL -- female. Ha! ... you thought I'd say male. But consider this: it gives man pleasure; he'd be lost without it; and while he doesn't always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying and trying and trying!