Father John’s an unfortunate bearer
Of some news that, by rites, should be rarer.
Seems a test will reveal
He’s a father for real —
The result of a clerical error. (Chris Strolin)
It’s our 10th (!!) annual Limerixicon, in which we aid the never-ending quest of Mr. Chris Strolin (actually he expects to finish in 2043) to complete his Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, one sliver of the alphabet at a time. When we last checked in with Chris last August, he and his crew of contributors and editors (some of them denizens of the Loser Community as well) were working on “eq-” through “ez-” words; now, with more than 80,000 five-liners in the canon: Supply a humorous limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with “fa-,” as in Chris’s example above from Limerixicon IV, when he submitted it for “clerical.” See wapo.st/limrules for our fairly strict rules on limerick rhyme and meter (in a nutshell: “perfect” rhyme, and a strong “hickory-dickory-dock” rhythm in Lines 1, 2 and 5; a “dickory-dock” in Lines 3 and 4; plus “weak” syllables on either side). See oedilf.com about submitting limericks there after this contest is over.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, in commemoration of this week’s “fa-” theme, the fine volume “Farts: A Spotter’s Guide,” a colorful board book that features nine electronic sound effects depicting (not too believably) “the Seismic Blast,” “the Sleeping Dog,” etc. At least it doesn’t also have smell effects. Donated by Pie Snelson. Video of the Empress trying out the various buttons — in the middle of a nice restaurant during a monthly Loser brunch — is at bit.ly/fartbook.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 19; results published Sept. 8 (online Sept. 5). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1033” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Danielle Nowlin; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
in which we asked you to summarize or otherwise describe a movie, using a well-known tune: Most of the parodies below include links to hear the melody on a video clip (just click on the title). There were far too many funny, clever, well-crafted parodies for anyone to read in one sitting, since for each parody, you really have to listen to each line of the song, even in your own mind. Some I include as excerpts from a multi-verse song, but I will also be sharing non-inking parodies through the month, one at a time, on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
“Porky’s” to “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast”:
See a chest! See a chest!
Tops are coming off with zest!
We’re awaiting an R-rating
When we show another breast!
Lots of girls! Lots of pranks!
We’ll accept your humble thanks,
We are loading up the sleaze
Because we only aim to please!
There’s not much plot to enjoy
But for every teenage boy
We deliver what you need to be impressed,
So bring your fake ID,
You’ll holler out with glee
And see a chest! See a chest! See a chest! (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
2. Winner of the mini-bottle of Laotian potion with a scorpion inside:
“1984” to “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I”:
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you,
‘Cause we have cameras watching whatever you do;
Getting to know you, we can control you quite nicely;
That is precisely our plan, it’s true!
Getting to know you; you’ll never feel free and easy;
We are recording e-ver-y word that you say;
Haven’t you noticed? Suddenly you’re feeling queasy,
Because we’re pros at wiretapping your flat;
Guess who taught us to do that?
NSA! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
3. “World War Z” to “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”:
Zombies in Utah, Zaire and Bombay,
My oh my, they’re just chomping away!
But they’ll avoid you if you’re real sick, so hey!
Terminal illness? Your lucky day!
Mr. Brad Pitt had a notion:
Give us all diseases —
That’ll bring them to their kneeses!
Now I’ve got typhus, feel less than okay,
Think that I’d rather be an undead gourmet. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
4. “Lincoln” to “Mame” (start video clip at 0:39):
You freed the slaves and ended the war, Abe.
You wear a hat that we all adore, Abe.
Who ever thought you’d marry
A wife that looks like Gidget (what a babe!)
The critics hold no malice towards
Your film that’s won a few awards.
Too bad you had to go to Ford’s, Abe. (Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney, Md.)
“Despicable Me” to “Embraceable You” (starts at 0:50)
He’s heinous,a mean Despicable Me.
Insaneness is seen explicable-ly.
He will steal, and maim, and show some silliness, too;
Little girls can tame the evil villainous Dru.
The minions don’t say a lot when they speak.
Opinions are that the plot’s really weak.
And when the movie’s over, you’ll be sorry that the story’s through
Until “Despicable 2.” (Kathy Hardis Fraeman)
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” to “Come Together”
Gather ’round, children, and I’ll
Tell you a story ’bout a
Long time ago: Good people
Went to the Senate; they would
Fight special interests, stick up for what’s right,
If it meant they had to stand up speaking all night.
Filibuster – out loud – Mr. Smith.
(Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
“Jaws,” to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Shark! The townies start to blee-eed,
But the mayor’s full of greed!
Despite that girl’s severed hand,
He won’t pay Old Quint 10 grand.
Scheider calls forth righteous rage!
Dreyfuss ends up in a cage!
Their prey causes Roy to note:
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Shark! This is the one to see:
Stay a-away from “Jaws 3-D.” (Rob Pivarnik, Stratford, Conn.)
“Casablanca,” to “The Addams Family”
There’s drinking and there’s gambling,
And moralistic rambling.
The cats and mice are scrambling
At Rick’s Américain.
There’s politics, collusion,
We wait for the conclusion
At Rick’s Américain.
. . . Blocked. [Laszlo]
. . . Crocked. [Rick gets drunk]
. . . Shocked! [Renault]
So come to Casablanca.
The Nazis will say “Danke.”
But that’s not the lingua franca
At Rick’s Américain. (David Franks, Greenland, Ark.)
“Gone With the Wind” to “Happy Days Are Here Again”
Yankee soldiers came today;
They took our pigs and cows away.
All the slaves are shouting, “Hip Hooray!”
Bad idea, this CSA.
We hid the good stuff in a shed;
They put a pistol to my head;
“Take the silverware and hold the lead.”
Bad idea, the Old Confed.
(Lee Ballard, Mars Hill, N.C.)
“Sophie’s Choice” to “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind”
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
And say yes to one and leave the other behind
It’s such a nasty crime, you don’t want to voice:
Did you ever have to make Sophie’s choice? (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)
“The Social Network” to “Dancing Cheek to Cheek”
Facebook, I’m on Facebook,
So I’ve come to see this film about a geek,
Though he’s dorky, sometimes rude, yet sweet and meek.
He’s got the whole thing up and running in a week.
Facebook, I watch Facebook,
As its founder takes his start-up to the peak,
Watching every change and twist and turn and tweak,
And it’s hard not to admire his technique.
Oh, he doesn’t blink to double-cross
The members of his clique
Or the clubby brothers Winklevoss,
Yet I have one critique:
By the end it’s clear he’s been the cause
Of a quite impressive streak,
But I’d still unfriend this jerk because
He’s one controlling freak. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
“Saw” to “Every Breath You Take”
Every breath you take, every bone you break,
Every toe you bake, every limb you stake,
Jigsaw’s watching you.
Now your skin turns red as your muscles shred.
And you crush your head while you — oops, you’re dead;
Jigsaw’s watching you.
It’s so obscene to dissect your spleen.
Now to change your fate, just self-decapitate!
So much blood and gore — organs on the floor.
I can’t take much more . . . What’d I pick this for?
I’ll stop watching you. (Matt Monitto, Silver Spring, Md.)
“The Godfather” to “I Cain’t Say No” from “Oklahoma!” (start at 0:50)
I’m just a guy who cain’t say no, I’m in a terrible fix!
They’ll break my knees with just one blow, if I should try to say nix.
When a feller needs a favor done, Don Corleone’s happy to react;
Then and there, you owe your life to him...
And just because you wanted someone whacked!
If there’s an offer I refuse, I can’t retract what I’ve said...
I’ll find a horse in my bed.
(And it will be just the head...)
I cain’t say no. (Beverley Sharp)
“Groundhog Day” to “As Time Goes By”
She won’t remember this:
That yesterday the kiss
Phil tried was not okay.
He gets the chance to press “replay” On Groundhog Day.
Each morn he wakes anew
To find he can redo
The things that went astray.
A different man’s pursuing Rita
Each Groundhog Day.
Blunders in wooing he makes on every date,
Daily debuting a slightly better mate.
At billing and cooing he’s doing really great. (Il parle bien français.)
This Punxsutawney story,
A time loop allegory,
Gives Phil a brilliant way
To reinvent himself for Rita
On Groundhog Day. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
“Groundhog Day” to ”The Song That Never Ends”
This is the day that never ends
As Phil the weatherman expends
His time discovering that when you’ve got a stunted soul
And women wish that, rodentlike, you’d crawl back in your hole ,
This is the day that never ends . . . (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, .N.Y..)
“Annie Hall,” to “If I Only Had a Heart”
When your name is Alvy Singer
And your face is a dead ringer
For Woody Allen, you. . .
Would deduce and discover that you’re not the perfect lover
If you only had a clue.
You may wow her with your banter
And your wisecracks may enchant her
As wisecracks often do.
But although she’ll bewitch you, you’d have known she would ditch you
If you’d only had a clue.
Annie Hall, so fair and tall, and Alvy plain and short.
“La-di-da,” comes her retort.
“I cannot stay. I love L.A.!”
Life’s a painful, sad contortion
And we get too small a portion. It was obviously true
That when you dated Annie she would toss you on your fanny,
but you didn’t have a clue. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
“Finding Nemo” to “Love and Marriage”
Finding Nemo, Finding Nemo,
It’s as tricky as a Ponzi scheme. Oh,
This angelic clownfish
Is suddenly an out-of-town fish.
So extreme, oh, poor young Nemo,
Flound’ring unaware outside his stream, o-
Blivious to others,
Was whisked away, against his druthers.
He with tiny tail a-swishin’,
Non compos mentis,
He was placed without permission
In the fish tank of a dentis’!
Precious little clownfish Nemo,
Will he ever realize his dream? Oh,
It’s a charming stor y,
Complete with quirky tang named -Dory. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)
“An Inconvenient Truth” to “Just the Way You Are”
Don’t go payin’ four dollars fifty
To put a gallon in your tank, mmm-hmm,
The hydrocarbons destroy the ozone
While OPEC’s laughing at the bank.
And if you’re wondering where this is headed,
You don’t have to look that far, mmm-hmm.
The world is doomed by global warming
Unless you just give up your car. (Mark Raffman)
“Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” to “White Christmas”
I’m dreaming of my black mistress --
You know, the one I’m glad I own.
Oh, her soft lips glisten; I can’t help kissin’
My dear Sal when we are alone.
I’m dreaming of my black mistress —
Who says you can’t buy love outright?
May she be free (but just at night)!
And may all our children pass for white. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge)
“The Lord of the Rings” to “All the Single Ladies”
Excerpts from an epic-length parody:
All the single hobbits! All the single hobbits.
All the Scottish Dwarves now! All the Scottish Dwarves now. . .
Gandalf is frantic, Gollum so manic, Saurons’s lookin’ for his Ring.
Give wraiths the slip-Pip, take a little trip-Pip,
Mount Doom’s just the thing. . .
If you like it then you shouldn’t put the Ring in it.
It’s my Precious; whoops -- Smeagol put the Ring in it.
We got a throne; so we should put a king in it.
Epic flick, wow got, like, three endings in it.
Oh-oh, Gollum. (Jay Cummings, Greenbelt, Md.)
“Wall-E” to “I Love Trash” (excerpt)
Oh, I move trash!
After centuries of mankind’s excesses,
They’ve left me to clean up their messes,,
So I move trash!
I’m a robot compactor of unit class Wall-E,
I clean up the residue of human folly;
At night I sit back and rewatch “Hello, Dolly!”
By day I go out and move trash! (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
The new “Lone Ranger” to “Piano Man”
It’s the 6 o’clock show on a Saturday
(Which begins, after “First Look,” ’round 9)
When a boomer sits down right here next to me
And pretty quick starts in to whine.
He says, “Son, I come for a memory.
But that ain’t the Ranger’s ol’ spread.,
And how come a crow’s up there makin’ love
To the top of Jay Silverheels’ head?” (Larry Neal, McLean, Va.)
“Psycho” to “Norman”
Janet wanted to help her beau
Stole some dough, had to go.
Tried to hide at a no-tell mo-
Tel run by Norman.
Norman’s mama said “She’s a slut!”
Janet didn’t make the cut
Turned out Mama was in a rut
‘Cause Mom was Norman! (Denise Sudell, Cheverly, Md.).
“Hamlet” to “The Major-General’s Song”
He is the very model of an indecisive Danish bloke.
He can’t decide if he should live or end his life with just one stroke.
He wonders, is it nobler in the mind to suffer fortune’s slings?
The issue is nobody knows the consequence that dying brings!
If death were just an end to pain and heartache and a thousand shocks
Then surely he would end his life and lie down in a plain pine box.
The rub may be the pain of life is better than what dreams may come,
Enough to make a suicide in retrospect feel awfully dumb.
For otherwise who’d bear the whips and scorns of time, the law’s delay,
and who would bear a fardel when we all know how much fardels weigh?
The native hue of resolution’s sicklied o’er with casts of thought.
O Hamlet, put away your knife until your father’s killer’s caught!
It might have been a fantasy, the words his father’s phantom spoke,
So he’s the very model of an indecisive Danish bloke. (Robert Schechter)
Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest to discover secret meanings and symbolism in public structures, artwork, etc. See bit.ly/invite1032.
See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday), in which she discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, sign up here or write to the Empress at firstname.lastname@example.org (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in there.
Next week’s results: That Cinquain Feeling, or Hars Poetica, our Week 1030 contest, in which we sought irreverent verses in this often treacly five-line form.