Week 880: Our most famous neologism contest, and the winning oil spill song parodies

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By The Empress
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sitcoma: Typical weeknight TV fare.

Though the Empress announces close to a dozen neologism contests every year, it's this contest -- which we first did in 1998 -- that's still Fw:'d around the Web more than any other Invite (more often than not with the totally inaccurate title of "Mensa Invitational"): This week: Start with a real word or multi-word term or name that begins with Q, R or S; add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter with another, or transpose two adjacent letters; and define the new word, as in the example above from Week 512 in 2003 by John O'Byrne of Dublin, who has been entering the Invite virtually every week since 2000. Note that it's the original word, not the result, that must start with one of those letters. Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives an Inflatable Tongue, a rubber thing that looks like a tongue if you hang it out of your mouth, at least until you blow into it, at which point it looks like tongue bubble gum, but isn't. Donated by the genuinely tongued Dave Prevar. And we'll also throw in a bottle of Lady Anti Monkey Butt powder, also from Dave.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Loser Magnets. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air "freshener" (Fir Stink for their First Ink). One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 9. Put "Week 880" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results to be published Aug. 28. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's results was sent by Kevin Dopart; this week's honorable-mentions subhead is by Craig Dykstra.

Report from Week 876

in which we sought song parodies with lyrics about the oil spill: Despite the grim subject matter -- or perhaps because it inspired them to action (by the submission deadline, the spill had not been capped) -- the Loser community submitted more than 300 songs, a lot of them with many verses. And not surprisingly, the humor this week isn't as hee-hee as some Invite results are; think of it as editorial-cartoon funny rather than comic-strip-gag funny. The songs used as sources spanned a huge variety of popular genres; the 11 songs Chris Doyle submitted ranged from Fred Astaire to country crooner Marty Robbins to "Tik Tok" by rap star Kesha.

In the print version of this column, we run some of the winning songs as excerpts from the full versions posted here. Note that each parody here is preceded by a link you can click on to hear the original song.

The winners of the Inkers:

Online, we present two Inker winners: The second was omitted from the print edition not because it wasn't fabulous -- it is -- but because it wouldn't work at a shorter length, and because not so many people remember Pat Boone songs from 1962.

A. To "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"(start clip at 0:24)
A rig in the gulf may be quite detrimental,
But oil is a car's best friend;
And now, in July, we have come to repent all
Of the harm that's done
Procuring crude for everyone.
We are spoiled by being "oiled,"
And accept lousy means to an end,
For Mondays through Sundays we must have our Hyundais,
Oil is a car's best friend. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

B. To "Love Letters In the Sand"
At this time every day,
Since tourists are away,
We write large letters in the sand.
How it helps sustain our mood
To take these clumps of crude
And write large letters in the sand.
Vacant hotels
From Port St. Joe to Mobile
Mean staff have time,
And slime,
To spell how they feel.
So from each boardwalk you'll see
A bold "F. U. BP"
Writ in large letters in the sand. (B.P. Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

2, winner of the roll of vertebrae-motif packing tape, This Is Spinal Tape:

To "One" from "A Chorus Line":
Tons! Spilling every hour,
About 8,000 tons a day.
Tons! Inverted oil shower,
Who liked fish anyway?
One "boom" and suddenly oceans are full of goo.
But hey, they might stop the leak in a year or two!
Tons! Chasing off the tourists,
Covering the shores with guck.
Louisiana's out of luck again! Ohhhh . . .
BP! What were you guys doing?
Oh, gee! The leak just keeps on spewing
Tons and tons! (Laurie Brink, Cleveland, Mo.)

3, To "Blue Bayou" (Sung by oil executives to federal inspectors)
Cash and crayfish, it's our treat,
Football games, a real great seat.
You will learn your life is so sweet
When we buy you.
Take your girlfriend for a meal.
Take this brand-new fishing reel.
Just take care that you never reveal
What we buy you.
(Chorus) We'll get it back someday,
You'll repay what we buy you.
You'll just look away,
Come what may when we buy you.
When the fishing boats no longer float
Because of you and me,
With the gunk and goop on your neighbor's sloop,
How sad you will be. (Barbara Sarshik, McLean)

Other Runners-Up

The first of these ran in the paper because it was not only clever but short, and set to a tune everyone knows.

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