Oct. 3: Yet another academic scandal erupts when it is revealed that Donald Trump Jr. used a Photoshopped image of himself next to Felicity Huffman in his application to Trump University.
At a time when our ship of state can spin on its rudder at the drop of a tweet, it seems almost ludicrous to predict what’s in store for next year. But hey, “Almost Ludicrous” could adorn the Style Invitational Coat of Arms. So in what’s become an annual Invite contest, name some humorous news event to happen in 2020, as in the examples above by Longtime Loser Malcolm Fleschner, who used to write his own Years in Preview in his newspaper column before it, alas, went the way of all Fleschner. Include a date on the event only if it’s relevant (feel free to explain why); otherwise the Empress will add an arbitrary one to fill out the calendar.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1361 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Dec. 16; results will appear Jan. 5 in print, Jan. 2 online.
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a T-shirt discovered by Hall of Fame Loser Beverley Sharp in a Seoul street market; it observes, in simple black on white: “Good All Things to Be Happy.” It’s about Yoda-size.
Other runners-up win one of our last “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mugs or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Too-Weak Notice” or “Certificate of (de) Merit.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Mockingbards” is by Jeff Contompasis; Roy Ashley wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational: The Empress's weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter — this week we'll look back at last year's predictions for 2019 — check it out at wapo.st/conv1361.
Mockingbards: Winning song parodies about the news
In Week 1357 the Empress once again sought song parodies (or originals) about the news. Once again she was deluged with hundreds and hundreds of songs — and dozens and dozens were just so clever. But many excellent ones wouldn’t have worked in the Invitational’s print edition in the Arts & Style section: Some are on video; some melodies might not be familiar enough for most readers to sing along with. And so the E is awarding two sets of winners and runners-up: one for the print page, plus one for entries published only online. Both appear below, and each title contains a link to the original tune so you can listen along. Three videos appear right on this page.
Print page runners-up and winner
Fourth place: The Impeachment Witness’s Song
to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
Today you’re on a mission
To do this inquisition.
Just tell me now and I won’t ask again:
When may I go to the bathroom?
Through all the endless chatter,
I feel my bursting bladder.
Just one quick break, and I will say “amen”
When I may go to the bathroom.
You show no signs of stopping,
But I can’t be the only one
Whose clothes may all be sopping
When my day here with you is done.
I have a strong foreboding
My gut will be exploding
So tell me now and I’ll be happy then:
When may I go to the bathroom?
(Barbara Sarshik and Andy Pike, McLean, Va.)
Third place: To “Oh, Susannah!” (link is to Nan Reiner singing her song)
Oh, I come from the Big Apple (though I’m really just from Queens);
My brain is full of scrapple and my words are full of beans.
I never study anything; at science I’m not strong,
But I’m your Stable Genius King, and I am never wrong.
A-la-bammy! Get in your trucks and flee.
I’m at NOAA in Miami with my Sharpie on my knee.
They say some loser Dorian is stirring up a squall.
I bet he’s Baltimorean; they’re nasty, one and all.
I’ll throw some paper towels at you to wipe up mud and rain,
But I’ve got better things to do, like phone calls to Ukraine.
A-la-bammy! Just pay no mind to facts.
When I give the law the whammy, Billy Barr’s fat pen redacts.
I cheat and lie without result, though New York is on my tail.
I’m counting on my brainwashed cult to keep me out of jail.
They say I’ve grifted plenty and I’m selling out this land,
But I’m goin’ to 2020 with my map and pens in hand.
Nyah-nyah, harpies! Your votes will make a rout,
But I’ve got my box of Sharpies, gonna cross the lib states out.
(Nan Reiner, Boca Raton, Fla.)
Second place and the Zimbabwean $10 bill:
The Ballad of Greta Thunberg
To “Hey Jude”
Hey! Crude is dirty stuff,
Off your duff now; it’s time to get a
Much cleaner alternative to those fuels;
Or get your jewels kicked in by Greta.
We hear, from pols and sheikhs,
High-pitched shrieks, like an operetta.
If you drive a Hummer, guzzling gas,
I hope your ass gets kicked by Greta.
When timid politicians quail, she’ll say, “You fail!”
They’re eating the words that she’s not mincing,
It’s winter, they say, “Look, it’s cold!” That act’s got old;
She finds their denials unconvincing.
Trump? No, won’t irk the base —
Let’s replace him with a poinsettia,
At least he’d suck carbon out of the air!
He should beware the wrath of Greta (Greta, Greta, Greta, yeah!)
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
“New York, New York”
Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today.
I want to beat the taxes in New York, New York.
The left-wing fake news, Manhattan DA,
Everyone’s grinding axes in New York, New York.
I want to wake up in a state where old folks in red
Will reelect me next year
Before they drop dead
I'm tired of boos, I'm going away,
I say the place that lacks is in sad old New York
If I can't fake it there, I'll take it where they care
A big F.U. New York, New York!
(Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)
Online runners-up and winner
Fourth place: To "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid":
Everybody ought to try to bribe; Everybody ought to do a tit-for-tat;
Everybody ought to offer this for that — especially in Ukraine.
Everybody needs to twist an arm; everybody ought to quid pro quo allies;
And make them do things they despise; then let them wait in vain.
Oh, oh, wouldn't it be so funny, holding up all their money, making them sweat.
Oh, oh, wouldn't it be hilarious, take the truth, fake a threat.
Everybody ought to grease a palm; everybody needs to put the squeeze on friends
And make them fear untimely ends, if they won't launch a probe.
Making a deal with Russia, breaking a deal with Ukraine,
Taking a deal with Turkey, faking a deal with China,
Forsaking us all around the globe! (Donna Saady, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)
Third place: To "Miracle of Miracles"
Season of wonders, playoff full of miracles,
Five do-or-die games in one fall,
Trailing in each yet, miracle of miracles,
The Nats came back to win them all!
Season of wonders, playoff full of miracles,
Soon "Baby Shark" was D.C.'s sound.
Leaving the past behind was key, we finally
Got through the division round!
When Kendrick's grand slam won the day, that was a miracle.
When Sanchez kept the Cards at bay, that was a miracle too.
But of all the miracles large and small, the most miraculous one of all
Is the one that brought joy to our town: Davey's Nats have won the crown!
(Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)
Second place: The video below by Sandy and Richard Riccardi, Asheville, N.C.
And the winner of the Lose Cannon: To "It Might As Well Be Spring"
We're as hopped-up as a hive of harried hornets,
We're searching for oppressors we can sting.
You may think we'll wave the white flag,
But we're fighting back, Beijing.
We want leaders democratically elected,
Not compelled to dance like puppets on a string.
You're intent on crushing Hong Kong?
You can go to hell, Beijing.
You'll be wishing you could put our
Movement down and make it short and sweet.
But now you know that things are touch and go
In this city you can't beat.
We are busy manning barricades all over;
We intend to put your backsides in a sling.
We haven't let a single day be wasted,
And now it's in full swing.
All this Sturm und Drang that is lighting up Hong Kong
Shows we're out to rout Beijing.
Might as well tell Xi Jinping.
(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
Songs in the key of like: Honorable mentions
“Ohhhhhh-K boomer” is a conversational refrain,
Said by voice or tweet, a short and sweet
Way to show Millennial disdain!
“Ohhhhhh-K boomer,” spoken with an edge or with a sigh, Says, “You’ve done your part, our turn will start
When you have the courtesy to die!”
We know we’ve despoiled the land,
And the climate is way out of hand,
But when we say, “Ow! Well, mea culpa, hey?”
We’re only saying, “We’re not some gods, we’re just boomers,
We’re just boomers, OK?”
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
To “Old Town Road”
I’m gonna call Ukraine for some dirt on Joe,
I’m gonna try me some quid pro quo
Gonna contradict what the transcripts show,
Gonna say the call was perfecto.
Need you to investigate Biden, see what Hunter’s hidin’,
Sure would be a shame to see Russia’s border widen
Wanna buy a missile? I’m sure that this’ll
Get me reelected — did I just hear a whistle?
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
Bolton can’t tell me nothin’
Congress can’t tell me nothin’
Constitution can’t tell me nothin’ …
(Ryan Martinez, Takoma Park, Md.)
To “If I Only Had a Brain”
I could cinch my own survival, defeatin’ every rival
To win my next campaign.
With the dirt you’d be providin’, I could beat that loser Biden
If you help me out, Ukraine.
We could have the best relations; Just start investigations —
I’ve made my wishes plain.
Do this favor I’m entreatin’: You could have a White House meetin’
If you help me out, Ukraine.
Oh, I could then supply assistance for your war.
I’d release the funds we promised you before,
And then my ass you would adore.
You could find yourself salutin’ when my good buddy Putin
Takes all of your terrain …
But perhaps that will not happen if you do some wiretappin’
And you help me out, Ukraine.
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
to “It Had to Be You”
It had to be me, it had to be me
I dated around and finally found, I’m my cup of tea
My pronoun is “me,” not “us” and not “we.”
A table for one is really quite fun,
I’m now Tinder-free.
Some lovers I’ve tried
Have dumped me or lied,
They made me feel sad, or just made me mad and injured my pride.
Nobody else gave me a thrill;
Happy alone, I pay my own bill.
I’m glad to be me, self-partnered me,
It had to be me.
(Jennifer Martin Broadway, Marquette, Mich., a First Offender)
To “My Sharona”
Ooh, you gonna testify, testify
Those Repubs you’ll stultify NOW, Fiona!
Even though they don’t play fair, you don’t care
All your answers lay it bare — WOW, Fiona!
They can’t make you flap, not those saps, what a waste of time,
They can never meet or compete with your brilliant mind
Climb climb climb that Hill, WOO! Go, Fiona!
(Frank Mann, Washington)
To “It’s Impossible,” song and video by Gary Crockett; vocals by Emily Crockett
The Congressional Dress Code, to “Be Our Guest”
Underdressed! Underdressed! And your shirt’s not even pressed,
Hey, Jim Jordan, what you’re sportin’ is a look that’s “not your best.”
It’s no lie, there’s no tie (did you even zip your fly?),
And whoever picks your clothing is deserving of our loathing.
On the Hill, as Trump’s shill, would a jacket do you ill?
If you’re gonna shoot your mouth off we’d suggest:
Go on and don a suit, those shirt sleeves just ain’t cute ...
Not impressed — yeah, you guessed: underdressed!
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
To “Gigi” (link is to Jonathan Jensen singing and playing piano)
Rudy, are you a tool without a mind
Or does the Donald have you blinded by his lies?
Oh, Rudy, why you’ve been screwing up before our eyes.
Rudy, you’re not at all the steady leader that the world once knew,
Oh no, now there’s clearly not an ounce of shame in you.
Oh, Rudy, when you were meddling in Ukraine
Did you not see it was insane, a bridge too far?
Oh, Rudy, you’re even ticking off your buddy William Barr.
When did your deference to the Trumpster
Put your morals in the dumpster?
Oh, what malady has made you the way you are?
(Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
This song on video is an original written and performed by Dana Austin, Palmyra, Va.:
To “L-O-V-E” (link is to Nan Reiner singing her song)
T . . . is Treason with the Russian clan.
H . . . is Hatred for your fellow man.
U . . . is Unindicted Co-conspirator benighted.
G . . . is Guilty Goons and Gelded GOP poltroons.
Yes, THUG, an epithet that’s meant for you.
THUG, the boy cadet who never grew.
Each and every day, you prove with all you do and say
That THUG is perfect just for you.
T . . . is Treachery as Putin’s flack,
H . . . is Human feeling that you lack.
U . . . is Undermining all our nation’s fine designing
G . . . is Grift and Guile, and one Gross Great big Garbage pile of
THUG, the Gotti of the White House Mob.
THUG, a potty-mouth and groping slob.
Each loud threat you yell or phone call on an open cell
Proves THUG – the perfect word for you.
The Modern Commander in Chief’s Song
I am the very model of a modern white supremacist
With Nazi propaganda from my Jewish chief polemicist;
I read no books, I’ve got no friends, I have no curiosity
No manners and no character, excepting bellicosity.
No music, patience, empathy, no courage and no loyalty
Except to brutal despots and hereditary royalty —
I like the rich and powerful, and all authoritarians:
Korea, Russia, China, Philippines and Saud vulgarians.
I love the evangelicals because they’re most defraudable;
I love the left-wing liberals because they’re very proddable,
And often it’s the same damned thing to which they are susceptible
Some happily accept what others deem as unacceptable.
When something that I do or say is widely hailed as horrible
The white-bread theologians all embrace it as adorable
At least they say in sermons my behavior is ignorable
And Protestant or Catholic they cheer themselves deplorable.
They say “I’m not a racist, but” — and then they say a racist thing,
And if they have a choice of two they always say the basest thing.
I let them wave their Bibles and believe what they have guessed I meant
Although there’s not a person who is white in either Testament.
When everybody’s outraged and the Internet is simmering,
That’s when my trollish ego is most Freudianly shimmering
I love it when the Democrats are shocked, dismayed and scandalized
By yet some other of their sacred cows that I have vandalized.
I’m president because I lied and cheated electorally
And nothing you can do can touch me legally or morally.
With Nazi propaganda from my Jewish chief polemicist
I am the very model of a modern white supremacist.
(Marcus Bales, Cleveland)
Still running: our contest for fake trivia about winter and things that happen in winter. See wapo.st/invite1360.
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