(Click here to skip down to the winning songs.)
Like Everything Else in the World, this year’s Kentucky Derby has been postponed from the usual first Saturday in May; it’s now scheduled for Sept. 5. But why should that stop The Style Invitational from galloping on ahead with what’s usually our most popular contest of the year? There’s a twist, though: We’re not using the usual list of horses nominated for this year’s Triple Crown races. Below is a list of 100 of the 145 previous Kentucky Derby winners, from 1875 to 2019. “Breed” any two of the names and name the “foal” to humorously reflect the parents’ names, as in the examples above. As usual, you get to submit up to 25 foal names.
Yes, there are only three fillies on the list. And there are several geldings. We’re word people, not science experts. Sheesh.
As in actual thoroughbred racing, a name may not exceed 18 characters including spaces, but the characters may include punctuation and numerals. You may run words together to stay within 18 characters, but the name should be easy to read. Please note the formatting instructions on this week’s entry form. They’re very simple but you need to follow them, lest the Empress go even nutsier than she’ll be already with the usual 4,000 entries to this contest.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1382 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, May 11; results will appear May 31 in print, May 28 online.
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a trophy, too — one donated specifically for the foal contest by Loser Drew Bennett: It’s a shiny brass rear half of a horse on a faux-marble pedestal.
Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug 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 “Distance-sing” is by Tom Witte; Tom also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the 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, published late Thursday afternoon, reviews each new contest and set of results. Especially if you’re thinking of entering the horse name contest, check out the Convo at wapo.st/conv1382.
Distance-sing: Songs of Life in the Age of Corona
In Week 1378 we asked for song parodies (or recordings of originals) about Life in the Age of Corona. As usual, the Empress received hundreds and hundreds of songs, along with at least 20 videos. Click on the links in the titles to listen to the song being parodied. If a video doesn’t show up on your screen, click on the accompanying link.
To Be Our Guest:
We must test, we must test,
See how far this has progressed.
Only then can we go back to work, The experts all suggest.
We need more, quite a lot,
To find out who’s well or not;
Being lacking in this vein meant
Major failures in containment.
Trump delayed, underplayed,
And so now we’re all dismayed
That in total covid cases we’re the best!
Go on, stop being grouchy,
Please heed Doctor Fauci:
We must test! We must test! We must test! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
To: There’s No Business Like Show Business
There’s no virus like cov-virus like no virus we know;
Everything about it is surprising, even though our scientists are shrewd;
No one has a cure, there’s no disguising: we’re realizing we’re prob’ly screwed.
Take heart, people! Be smart, people; stay home and you’ll survive —
Even though that turkey’s looking mighty bleak —
It’s grown a fungus and tends to reek;
Still, you get to eat it for another week!
Enjoy being alive! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
and the poster “Thou Shalt Not Covid Thy Neighbor’s Spouse”:
To I Hope You Dance:
I welcome you to this week’s virtual meeting;
A couple Zoom rules I think really bear repeating:
May you never interrupt the one who’s speaking,
… Hold on … Shirley, press your mute, your kids are shrieking,
Vanessa, move your cat, ’cause he’s blocking off your screen there,
Oh, Larry, back up, we’re all looking at your nose hair,
Promise me that you’ll eat breakfast in advance,
And if you do stand up, I hope you had the chance
To put on pants.
Dear God, wear pants. (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
To New York New York:
"Stop readin' the news, it's fake anyway,
Don't say that I'm the start of it,
New York, New York.
Your governor's views aren't leanin' my way,
And so I'll have no part of it,
New York, New York.
Did I make promises that I don't plan to keep?
There's other orders to fill —
Read 'em and weep!
If your ICUs are troubled today,
Then let's get to the heart of it, New York New York …
You want to ventilate?
Then tell your Prez he's great,
It's up to you, New York, New York! (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
The second wave: Honorable mentions
To Be Our Guest (it’s a running joke how often parodies of this song see Invite ink):
Bash the press! Bash the press! That’s how Donald deals with stress:
Fires mortars at reporters whose accounts expose his mess.
Yells “disgrace,” calls them “fake,” “nasty,” “horrid,” on the take.
Why this bullying and railing? To distract us from his failing
To slow down covid’s spread; this pandemic’s on his head,
And he knows this fall will surely bring redress.
He’s facing retribution, so his one solution
In distress — can you guess? — bash the press! (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Video: To “Let It Go” (Sandy Riccardi, Asheville, N.C., accompanied by Richard Riccardi)
Tonight, tonight, I’ll be at home tonight,
I’m not supposed to set foot outside
Tonight, tonight, I’ll eat alone tonight,
Since my table is not six feet wide
Tonight, I’ll watch last year’s World Series,
A ’90s U.S. Open, the Frazier-Ali fight.
The sky’s still light, but I’ll be turning in for the night.
Good night. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)
To I Walk the Line:
I’ve spent a weekend surfing Google Chrome;
I’ve hummed “La Traviata” on a comb;
I’ve sculpted busts from scraps of packing foam;
As none may roam, I stay at home.
I’m streaming Disney+ and Netflix too,
There’s nothing left unwatched to fill my queue.
I guess it’s time to stream them all anew;
We still can’t roam; I stay at home.
I worked a fortnight, fastened to my seat,
Until these jigsaw puzzles were complete.
The ones I haven’t solved are stacked to 30 feet;
No chance to roam; I stay at home.
I guess I’ll read that Dostoyevsky tome
Or carve a Neutrogena garden gnome.
I’ll even watch my disc of “Biodome”!
Until we roam, I stay at home. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)
Video: “Six Feet Away or Six Feet Under” (original song by Jonathan Miller, Downers Grove, Ill., a First Offender)
To Everything’s Coming Up Roses:
Get a mask! Tie it tight!
Wear it when you go out day and night!
Never cough! Never sneeze!
Look out, everything’s coming out noses!
Hide your lips! Hide your grin!
Cover up from your eyes to your chin!
Cut some cloth! Sew it up!
Look out, everything’s coming out noses!
Don’t use plastic. Grab an old pillowcase.
Add elastic! Then it will be so fantastic!
You’ll be chic! Right in style
When you race down the grocery aisle!
Basic black or bright red,
Tie it tight on your head.
Just start right now and do this thing I ask!
Look out, everything’s coming out noses, so just wear your mask! (Barbara Sarshik, McLean, Va.)
To My Cherie Amour:
My dear grocery store, how I miss pre-Covid days
Tasting samples, seeing what the bulk food weighs
Now it seems so fraught, hope a viral load has not been caught
Fear it’s more than food that I have bought
Six feet apart in line.
I can order food, have it sent right to my home
Where’s the fun in that? Through the store I want to roam.
I miss shopping! Running into neighbors at the store,
Used to think that it was such a chore.
From now on I’ll never whine.
Maybe someday, I’ll come back with my list in hand,
No more face mask, I’ll say hi to the produce man,
Oh dear grocery store, packed with people, sights and smells galore,
Now I will appreciate you more.
Grocery store, you are divine. (Jennifer Martin Broadway, Marquette, Mich.)
Video: To “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan (Wayne Wilentz, Montgomery Village, Md., a First Offender)
To Another Hundred People:
Another hundred people don’t get off of a train
And come up through the ground
While another hundred people don’t get off of a bus
’Cause they aren’t around
And another hundred people who won’t fly on a plane
Aren’t looking at us ’cause we’re not on the train
Or the plane, or the bus.
A pandemic day.
We’re a city in danger — some go to work, some with pay,
A city in danger — some stay at home, locked away,
But every day, some try to play …
They find each other in the empty streets near the padlocked parks
Or they bike near fountains or by dusty trees with the battered barks
Or they social-distance past the postered walls with the crude remarks
And they meet at parties or post wildlife on chat video:
“Will we pick up lunch, or just deliver in, or shall we let it go?
All my stores were closed, although I went in vain
Can we binge-watch ‘Tiger King’ if it begins to rain?
This experience is ’Groundhog Day’ but harder to explain.”
And another hundred people don’t get off of a train. (Richard Zorowitz, Bethesda, Md., a First Offender)
To It Was a Very Good Year:
When I turned on the news
In January this year,
There was a nasty bug in China, they said,
Many people were dead.
But the president said
It would never get here,
There was no reason to fear.
A dozen cases popped up in February this year,
Then Diamond Princess was stopped with dozens more
But the president swore: Like a miracle here, It will soon disappear.
We have no reason to fear.
News was more and more grim by March and April this year.
’Cause spring break and Mardi Gras only hastened the spread,
“It’s fake news!” he said.
And then declared an emergency …
It was confusing to me.
Now summer’s coming on; the world’s upended, I fear:
The White House casts out the blame like seeds in the wind
And then will not rescind any slander or smear.
But this one thing is clear:
The election’s later this year. (Jessica Steinhice Mathews, Stanley, Va.)
Video: To “All by Myself,” original by Eric Carmen (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
To Consider Yourself:
Essential you’re not. Stay home!
Those people you spot? They’re your family.
You’ve shunned them so long, well, pops,
Just pray they don’t go and call the cops.
That woman in tears? Your wife.
She’s kept two careers, one domestically.
Those brats on the lawn? Your spawn.
Beware, they’re always awake at dawn.
Since you may have to share common air for quite a spell
Like a ring of hell, why grouse?
There is a chance you’ll find peace of mind with your kids
And a new bond with your spouse.
Just view this as your new gig, the easy commute a perk —
And after some consideration you might wait
To hustle yourself back to work. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)
Take hydroxychloroquine and add azithromycin,
Safer than plutonium, less poisonous than ricin!
Knock out covid-19 like a punch from Michael Tyson,
Take hydroxychloroquine and add azithromycin!
(Um, anecdotal-dotal, um, little lie …) (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
To The Major-General’s Song (perhaps the most parodied song ever):
I. Whoever would have guessed I’d have to educate my progeny?
(I wasn’t meant for DIY-home-schooling … pedagogeny.)
Frustration’s on the rise (as is my 5-o’clock-libation rate);
My patience has a limit, and it’s reached its expiration date …
I try to teach them math, but they just look at me amusedly;
I try to do it THEIR way, but I botch it up confusedly.
Geography? Forget it! All those names have had a makeover,
(Which prob’ly indicates that all those countries had a takeover …)
There’s just no doubt about it! All these lessons leave me stultified;
The hours in the day just drag along — I think they’ve multiplied!
The teachers of this world should be immortalized in galleries;
They’re heroes one and all — we should quadruple all their salaries! (Beverley Sharp)
II. The Ex-Prez Recalls 2020
I was the very model of a major wartime president.
I took on covid-19 and was anything but hesitant.
As Fauci said, I kept my daily briefings aspirational
To give the nation hope and, wow, the ratings were sensational!
I plugged hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for malaria
And chalked up a historic win defeating mass hysteria.
I trusted in my instinct and intelligence abdominal,
And pointed out 200,000 deaths would be phenomenal.
What happened last November, though, is still a total mystery.
I suffered what they’re saying is the greatest loss in history.
Today I get to make a weekly call and speak to Hannity
About how AG Harris treated me with inhumanity.
I am the very model of a bigly loser president —
I cannot golf or tweet because I’m now a prison resident. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
Video: To “Show Off” from “The Drowsy Chaperone” (Fiona Smith, Bethesda, Md., a First Offender)
To Camelot, as sung by President Trump to the Coronavirus Task Force:
Hear this, hear this, my order to you all:
The country must be perfect by the fall.
My post-impeachment polls were trending higher,
With Joe stuck in his basement I might win.
To pull this off we’ll need to take a flier — where to begin?
Your scientific jargon has no meaning,
I told you all that matters is the spin
Then Laura said one word to me last evening:
Chloroquine, chloroquine, I know it’s for malaria,
But with chloroquine, I’ll begin to end hysteria.
You say the benefits are anecdotal,
No time for double-blinds, I’ll tempt the fates
What do I have to lose?
I’m screwed unless I choose
To open up the country so the red states don’t turn blue. (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)
Ohhhh! Corona! You’re a nasty virus, no mistake!
First we said “fake news” and hit the snooze –
Now GM must ventilators make!
Ohhhhh! Corona! Have you seen what’s happened to the Dow?
Needless work avoid, I’m unemployed
Gotta save our economics now!
My streaming is way out of hand,
And I’m tired of food that is canned!
And when we pray . . . Lord!
Please get me through this day!
Protect us from the covid-19 from corona,
Oh, corona! Go ’way!
(Jessica Steinhice Mathews)
To Rubber Duckie:
Raw bat: yucky! Do not eat! Try a less exotic treat —
One that doesn’t cause ongoing lung distress.
’Cause the side for that entree — group coronaviridae —
Leaves you needing to signal an SOS.
When the researchers look and see, they say, “Crikey!
Man, what an ugly varmint — it wears a garment that’s spiky!
Oh, me no likey.”
If we’re lucky, we’ll soon pen
That aggressive pathogen;
Nasty globule — I’ll give you a kick, and
Ugly bug, let’s get rid of you quick, ’cause
Little virus, I’m thoroughly sick of you. (Duncan Stevens)
Still running — deadline Monday, May 4: Our contest for bogus trivia about spring. See wapo.st/invite1381.
DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.
Here are 100 of the previous Kentucky Derby winners from 1875 through 2019, listed chronologically:
Spend A Buck
Strike the Gold
Go for Gin
I’ll Have Another