The Style Conversational
The Style Conversational
Loser-friendly discussion with The Empress of The Style Invitational

Week 986: Homophonia — and a plethora of peachy parodies

By the E, Pat Myers

Hello, everyone. I am going to keep this short for several reasons: First, I want to send out the e-mail notification of the Invitational, since it’s already online, and we’re already beginning the holiday weekend, as evidenced by the quickly clogging highways. And, more important, there are 29 terrific song parodies from Week 982, and I’d rather you spend your precious Invite-minutes reading and listening to them rather than slogging through some analysis.

The new contest? Pretty wide open, once again — but it’ll no doubt be easier than the contest-idea contest of Week 985. Lots and lots of Invite humor is based on one word or phrase that sounds like another; one that springs to mind is the “Is it just me” observation that the WAMU radio slogan sounded like “The mind is Armenian” And I’m sure that there’s a lot more out there. By “dialogue” I was suggesting that you might want to do it in the form of a joke or riddle. I’m just trying not to exclude the funny. Go for it.


The Invite’s song parody contests are my very favorite to judge, even though the process takes a long time. For one thing, of course, it’s because — every single time — I get so many really outstanding entries, clearly reflecting our Losers’ enormous talent and skill and humor, not to mention the colossal effort that surely went into them. But also, the judging gives me an excuse to spend hours on YouTube listening to some of my favorite songs and, always, learning some new ones as well. I love to be able to present a wide variety of songs, from children’s ditties to old-timey standards to the Great American Songbook to rock classics to today’s pop hits.

I realized very soon that I’d erred when announcing this contest in asking for just a verse, or a verse-and-chorus, to the song; the aim was to be able to showcase more songs, and also not to lose sight of the contest’s “gimmick” this year — that you had to include a line from the original song. And so, as you can see, I didn’t throw out songs that, say, had a verse/bridge/verse, or even verse/verse/bridge/verse, if they weren’t all that long. But many of the best parodies also do fill the just-one-verse bill. Anyway, I won’t make that restriction in the future.

As always with contests that require so much work and yield so much good work, I feel bad that I had to exclude many very good entries — right now, this Invite runs a ridiculously long 88 column inches, and really, the best way to appreciate these songs is to “sing” them in your head (or out loud) in real time, and to hear the music for many of them. I think I’m going to showcase a different Loser parody each morning on my Facebook feed (“friend” me at in hopes that people who never got around to the lower songs on the list will have a minute or two to enjoy them one at a time.

A huge number of the songs joked about Mitt Romney and his money; there were far fewer songs picking on President Obama, none of them thrilled me, and I didn’t want to get into the business of awarding ink by some quota of left/right humor. I have no problem running jokes whose political premise I don’t agree with, as long as I don’t think it’s really offensive or horribly unfair (I’m thinking of racist sentiments, ones denigrating someone’s religion, or nasty jokes about gays — these things aren’t funny to me, for one thing).

It’s another Inkin’ Memorial for Nan Reiner, who sent more than a dozen songs that were both superbly crafted and really clever — ranging in topic from Pepco to D.C. political scandals to Queen Elizabeth and James Bond. And those were some that DIDN’T get ink. The current Loser statistics are several weeks behind, so I can’t say how much ink Nan has amassed in the short time she’s been Losing; it’s a big puddle, in any case.

Our other above-the-fold parodists are also veterans of the genre: Dixon Wragg, who channeled Pink Floyd for his runner-up song, also had a very clever parody of “Like a Rolling Stone” that was about ... the Rolling Stones. It just missed getting ink — a little problem with the internal rhyme — but I shared it on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook. Kathy Hardis Fraeman so cleverly used this summer’s vicious-earworm song “Call Me Maybe,” and Mike Gips did an admirable job with the long and difficult lines and meter of “Born to Run.”

Another of our perennially stellar parodists, Chris Doyle, sent in many fine entries this year as well, many of them using songs from the 1950s and early 1960s that were unfamiliar to me, such as Gene McDaniels’s “Point of No Return” and Rosemary Clooney’s “This Old House.”
The week’s HAW from Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford, who saw only the eight songs on the print page (the first seven online plus Beverley Sharp’s “And Last”), is Mike Gips’s nifty “Go ask Alice”/ “Try Cialis” parody of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”


While I did run a nice little song about dog poop by Beverley Sharp, and also enjoyed Mae Scanlan’s song on the same subject, “Making Poopie,” which alas missed the cut, as well as Kathy Fraeman’s “Under the Sea” parody about peeing in the pool — maybe those two are destined for Facebook — there’s not a chance that I would have run this scatological ditty from, who else, Tom Witte:
To “Purple Rain”
I never meant to cause you any sorrow,
I never meant to cause you any stain.
I only want to practice urophilia.
I only want to see you laughing in the golden rain.
Golden rain, golden rain. ...

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