The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Style Invitational Week 1444: It’s a whole new all-game — name a sport

Plus ‘Two Darn Shots’ and other songs about the news

It’s the 00-meter dash!  Change a sport’s name for your own event in this week’s contest.
It’s the 00-meter dash! Change a sport’s name for your own event in this week’s contest. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

It’s our newest bumper crop of current-events song parodies (plus an original). And this week the Empress is awarding two Clowning Achievement trophies: the usual one for best song, and a second one for best video. Here’s First Offender Sophie Crafts of Somerville, Mass., winner of the video Clowner, channeling Cole Porter (and more) for “Two Darn Shots.”
(Click here if you don’t see the video on your device.)

The rest of our winners — 25 song lyrics plus five more videos — appear below this week’s contest. Click here to skip down to them.

The 00-meter dash: Just sit on your couch and watch the other events.

The beaststroke: Whoever can pet a polar bear and live wins a gold medal.

We’re back to filling up stadiums (and the streets and highways near them), and the Olympics, which this year ought to be called the 2021 High Hurdles, are, at least at this writing, good(ish) to go. But True Sports Fans can never have enough, and so TSF (and 37-time Loser) Gregory Koch suggests this week’s contest: Slightly change the name of a sport, sports event or similar pastime to create a new one, and briefly describe it. Gregory’s examples above change the name by a single character, but more alterations are okay as long as the original sport is still obvious.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, July 19; results appear Aug. 8 in print, Aug. 5 online.

Winner gets a gold medal . . . oops, we mean the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, as a salute to the Japanese medical establishment, which has finally vaccinated almost 20 percent of its population in time for the Olympics: the classic Japanese children’s picture book “The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts.” Did you know that “a healthy person releases almost half a cup of gas in a single fart”? Now you do, and you didn’t even have to win the book. Donated by 86-time Loser Pie Snelson.

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, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Reporting for Ditty” is by Jesse Frankovich; Chris Doyle wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s at

The “You’re Invited” podcast is back! Season 2 begins with a two-part episode live from last weekend’s Loser Picnic, complete with a lively discussions of puns in other languages. See

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Reporting for ditty: The current-events songs from Week 1440

In Week 1440, as she does once or twice a year, the Empress sought songs about topics in the news — and was deluged with excellent parodies and a few originals, both as lyrics and on video. Don’t know the tune? Click on the link on the song title to hear the melody of the original.

4th place:

Lobster diver briefly swallowed by whale off Cape Cod
To “Let It Snow”

Oh, the climate inside is frightful, (And your breath’s so NOT delightful);
Just open your mouth real slow . . .
Let me go, let me go, let me go!

Well, you started this day by scarfing,
But the time has come for barfing;
Pretend I’m Pinocchio!
Let me go, let me go, let me go!

Is there something that’s not quite right?
Are you startin’ to feel kinda ill?
Could it be that you’re not too bright?
Sheesh! Do I look like a krill?!!

I fear that there’s no denying,
In your mouth I might be dying;
Please give me the old heave-ho;
Let me go, let me go, let me go! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

3rd place:

Jeffrey Toobin’s Song

To “I Could Have Danced All Night”
I wear my pants all day,
I wear my pants all day
Right in my living room.
I used to show my groin
And I exposed my . . . loin
To everyone on Zoom.

I’ll never know what made it so exciting
To be so raunchy and risque.
I’m back on CNN. I won’t screw up again.
I wear my pants, pants, pants all day! (Barbara Sarshik, Vienna, Va.)

2nd place

and the home-brewed mead containing a 2004 cicada:
Hail to the (New Name)what will it be?
Count on contentious! Hey, this is D.C.!
Lions, Rams and Bears — good names, but taken.
Lemurs? Lizards? Sloths? Fans would be shaken!
What will they choose? We have no clues.
How about Big Gnus? They’re! Front! Page!
Maybe the owner, glowing with pride,
Will just decide to name his team the Snyde.
(Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement for best song:

To "Royals"
I'll never sit upon that fancy throne
The crown will rest on brother's head, I can not see
Why I can't venture on my own
I'll avoid Mom's fate — damn paparazzi!

But everybody's like:
Grow up, stand tall, pick a proper mate. An
Actress? Good God! What an awful state! Man,
They're afraid
She'll pop out babies of a darker lot

Folks in the palace like
Curtsies, pinkies up, shoulders with no chip, be
Discreet, stoic, stiffen up that lip, see
They don't care
If my stomach's in a Windsor knot

We don't want to be royals (royals)
We don't need all that strife
I'll take my children and my wife
We crave a different kind of life

Let me go on Oprah (Oprah)
She's the queen of TV
And baby, we'll spill, (we'll spill, we'll spill)
A whole bunch of royal tea.
(Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

Très Misérables: Honorable mentions

To “Oklahoma!”:
Aaaaarizona, where we can’t count votes too many times
Where the way we see includes UV
As we search for ballot-marking crimes!
In Aaaaarizona, “kinematic artifacts” abound
If our paper crew can find bamboo

We’ll know Chinese cheating has been found!
We know we believe QAnon
So don’t bother to say it’s a con!
And when we say, “Fraud!”
Our logic may be flawed . . .
But still we’re saying, “Don’t laugh at us Arizonans,
Arizonans, by God!”
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

By Sandy Riccardi, Asheville, N.C.; performed by Sandy and Richard Riccardi; click here if you don’t see the video on your device.

Suddenly Maskless
To “Suddenly Seymour”
We’re nearing the end of the Covid Mask Era
Here at the grocer’s we’re maskless today
I’m standing in line with whipped cream and bananas
We’re just two feet apart, but I think it’s okay

I suddenly see more of who’s standing beside me
This one’s wearing makeup. That one’s got a goatee!
I’m not scared to breathe or inhale what’s outside me
I’m nearly quite certain, this air’s Covid-free

And life feels much saner now at the grocer’s
No shelves here are barren. No one’s hoarding TP!
And at the checkout there’s a clearance container
Filled with hand sanitizers that are practically free!

Tell me this freedom will last till forever
Tell me covid restrictions will no longer be
Don’t start with that talk about strain variations
Let’s just quickly achieve herd immunity
Then we’ll suddenly see more … (Susan Geariety, Menifee, Calif.)

Oh, Bailey, Stop Eating the Cicadas!
To “Be Our Guest” — see Sarah Walsh’s own video
Don’t ingest, don’t ingest,
Though cicadas crunch the best!
You’re a dog and not a frog,
So please let’s give this game a rest!
We’ll go home, find your bowl,
(Wash the muck from your last roll)
And I’ll serve an awesome dinner,
Don’t believe me? It’s a winner!

Spiny legs, see-through wings?
You’ll eat far more yummy things!
Chicken gizzards soaked in gravy, I’d suggest!
Just leave that poor cicada,
Let him find and mate a
Lady pest — don’t ingest, don’t ingest! (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Don’t Know Much About CRT
To “Wonderful World”
Don’t know much about history,
In the dark about slavery,
Never learned about the racist past,
Think a stage is where you find a “caste,”
But I’m out to ban CRT, and all skeptical inquiry,
What an ignorant world this could be.

Don’t know much about those redline rules,
Think that those were equal, separate schools,
Never heard about the Tulsa “riot,”
Jeez, you troublemaking profs, keep quiet!
No, don’t talk about 1619, leave those images concealed, unseen —
What a sanitized world this could be. (Duncan Stevens, Gloucester, Mass.)

Temperatures reach an unheard-of 115 in the Pacific Northwest
To “Summer in the City”
Hot town, summer in Seattle;
Portlander brains are starting to addle.
Spokane AC units rattle,
Finding somewhere cool in Eugene is a battle.
All around, people in the Northwest
Keeping off the sidewalk, staying home and undressed.

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and — nope, same world!
Head back home and sweat all night
Take an ice bath, risk frostbite.
And babe, at least tourists won’t prattle
Or whine about damp chilly nights
In the summer in Seattle
In the summer in Seattle ... (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

Good Riddance
To “My Favorite Things”
Paying off porn stars and placating Putin,
Giving polluters a pass for pollutin’
Firing off tweets with a taunt or a diss,
These are a few of the things I don’t miss.

Talking up bleach while discouraging masking,
Calling Ukraine for corrupt-favor-asking,
Giving the Proud Boys a wet sloppy kiss,
These are some more of the things I don’t miss.

Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin
Still may block our way,
But when I remember the things
I don’t miss, I suddenly feel okay. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Oh Belarus
to “Ma Belle Amie”)
Oh Belarus, you took a man from a plane and for that there is no excuse
Oh Belarus, did you think that was cute when in fact it was one more ruse?
You had a future for all your people and the wherewithal
To join with Europe, get out from under years of Kremlin’s thrall
That you chose not to by going backwards just says it all
Oh Belarus, you’re not belle at all! (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

A Day in the QAnon Life
To “A Day in the Life”
We heard from Q today — oh joy!
About our POTUS down in Florida
Although the mainstream news looks bad
Well, none of us are fooled
We know just how it’s ruled.

The Satan-worshiping elites
With lives extended by adrenochrome,
Like Soros, Oprah and the Pope,
One day in hell will burn;
All of us are really sure that August will see Trump’s return!
We’re hardcore QAnon! (Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)

Rudy’s Crazy, By Laurie Brink, Mineola, N.Y.; click here if you don’t see the video on your device. To “Sherry” by, oh ho ho, the Four Seasons.

Navalny Weakens in Russian Prison

To “When You Wish Upon a Star”
When you dish upon a czar,
Makes no difference who you are;
If you dare to diss him, They will come for you.
When a protest is your dream,
No revenge is too extreme!
No one’s going to hear you scream
In Cellblock Two.

Fate’s unkind; In jail, you’ll lose your mind;
And pretty soon, you’ll find
Your food’s been poisoned...

So be careful what you say,
Or you’ll soon be put away.
When you dish upon a czar,
Your dreams are through. (Beverley Sharp)

Md. Gov. Signs Bill Repealing Civil War Era State Song

To “Maryland, My Maryland” (same as “O Christmas Tree”)

I’m glad the song will go away, Maryland, my Maryland
Your racist roots were on display, Maryland, my Maryland
Let’s get a new song right away
So we’ll remember every day
That our brave troops weren’t dressed in gray
Maryland, my Maryland.

I hope the tune won’t be reused
Maryland, my Maryland
No Christmas song should be abused
Maryland, my Maryland
The Preakness crowd, once it’s been boozed,
Gets both songs’ verses all confused
And I, for one, am not amused
Maryland, my Christmas tree.
(Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

The McConnell Song
To “I Cain’t Say No!” from “Oklahoma!”
I’m just a guy who won’t say yes,
Won’t ever say it at all!
Don’t care the country’s in a mess
Long as we carry the ball.
When Joe Manchin acts Republican,
I know I shouldn’t snicker, but that’s me!
Then I overhear the Democrats, I pull the football, then I laugh with glee!

I can’t resist their earnestness,
Thinking I’ll see it their way,
Giving me just one more day.
But it’s no good, I’ll still say,
“I won’t say yes!”
(Irene Plotzker, Wilmington, Del.)

These Nuts, by First Offender Lauren Mayer, San Mateo, Calif.; click here if you don’t see the video on your device.

Ode to Donald Trump’s Chief Operating Officer, Matthew Calamari
To “That’s Amore”
Your name ... sounds like a squid. You are Donald Trump’s id. Calamari!
Though you are not an eel, we all hope that you’ll squeal, Calamari!
Sleaze and slime (time to drop a dime, time to drop a dime)
You know Trump’s every no-no
You’ve seen crime (Who will do the time? Who will do the time?)
Being Donald’s COO.

Go and talk to Cy Vance about Donald’s finance, Calamari!
If you tell him your tale, you can stay out of jail and be free.
No remorse. No regret. Testify and don’t fret, don’t say “Sorry.”
Though your boss will be cross, don’t plead memory loss, Calamari! (Barbara Sarshik)

Putin Is the Pits
To “Puttin’ On the Ritz”
If you mess with Vladimir, then I confess
You’ve much to fear; he’ll order hits.
Putin is the pits
Russia’s neighbor? He’ll invade and there’s no way
You can evade that Russian blitz
Putin is the pits

Putin is an ex-KGB snooper
He’s an opposition party pooper (a super duper!)
Novichok in underwear? It is no shock
That he’ll go there like cheese on Ritz
Putin is the pits. (Gary Crockett)

Beat It, Rudy
To “Beat It”

You led a city through a time of great stress
But now you’re in a barrel and you must confess
You tried to help Trump but you made a huge mess
So conceited. Now beat it.

The day the networks said that Biden squeaked by
You called the press in Philly to announce your big lie
Which later, when some goop was dripping past your right eye,
You repeated. For the big orange guy!

Beat it! Beat it! No court wants to see you seated.
You showed how funky lawyers can be
Ripped out a “kraken” live on TV
You’re deleted. Now beat it.
Pee yoo! (Frank Mann, Washington)

Just Retire, by Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore; vocals by Tom Chalkley, instruments by Jonathan. Click here if you don’t see the video on your device. (Lyrics follow.)

You know there’s nothing Mitch won’t do, the GOP’s a dumpster fire.
If they win in ’22, then Joe won’t get a SCOTUS hire.
Come on Stephen, just retire.
Come on, won’t you, Justice Breyer?
That would draw McConnell’s ire!

The time to wait and see is through, the situation could be dire.
If the court goes 7-2, put our country on a funeral pyre.
Come on Stephen, just retire.
Come on, won’t you, Justice Breyer?
God forbid you should expire!

Votin’ After Midnight
To “Walkin’ After Midnight”
I’m still out waitin’ after midnight,
Out in the moonlight, still standin’ in this queue,
Forever waitin’ after midnight,
Till I vote Blue.

We stretch for miles along the highway.
(It’s such a sly way of sayin’, “Dude, screw you.”)
I keep on waitin’ after midnight,
Stuck here like glue.

We move up seven inches,
My sneaker kinda pinches,
Maybe I’ll get there by 3?
And as the skies turn gloomy
Night winds whisper to me,
“Y’all better have brung ID!”

No food or water, state legislation
Rains condemnation on folks who hand ‘em out.
Somewhere a-waitin’ after midnight’s
What voting’s about. (Steve Bremner, Philadelphia)

Least Vaccinated
To “Least Complicated”

Vaccine skeptics — what’s the source of their views?
I suspect they’ve all been watching Fox News.
They listen to Tucker C., and he’s a disinformation tool.
“Are there microchips? Well, who’s to say?
Does it alter your DNA?
Hey, I’m just asking questions here!” Every rumor provides more fuel.

I remember the time when we all lined up for shots,
For upper-arm jabs folks sure had the hots,
Now there’s hardly a car in those clinic-jab lots.
With myths and bull they’ve been inundated,
The hardest to reach are the least vaccinated. (Duncan Stevens)

Trump’s Top Aide Weisselberg Indicted — Will He Flip?

To “Edelweiss”
Weisselberg, Weisselberg, every day you don’t fail me.
Recondite, lips zipped tight — ’cause of you, Vance can’t jail me
Awesome to see you not cop a plea, turn on me like Cohen.
Weisselberg, Weisselberg, keep my bottom line growin’. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Two more on “Be Our Guest,” the Invite’s favorite song to parody:

We suppress! We suppress!
In elections, more is less!
Keeping voters from the polls will be the key to our success.
If they’re Black, if they’re poor, you can bet we’ll bar the door,
So their numbers aren’t too plenty, like they were in 2020.
Let’s curtail vote-by-mail! Hand out water? Go to jail!
Put an end to our electoral distress,
Although the “fraud” is fiction,
Still we love restriction,
We suppress! (It’s a mess!) We suppress! (Mark Raffman)

Let’s invest! Let’s invest!
Put our workers to the test!
Infrastructure is an issue that has long gone unaddressed.
Listen up, R’s and D’s, can you work together please?
Crumbling railways, roads and bridges — yes, this problem is prodigious!
We can build, fix this mess! After all, it’s the U.S.
And the systems here should not be second best!
It’s good for each civilian!
So what’s another trillion?
Let’s invest! Let’s invest! Let’s invest! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

“Mace at the Revolution,” an original song by Adam Overett of New York, a First Offender; based on a video quote from “Elizabeth of Knoxville” outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Click here if you don’t see the video on your device.


The Victimologist’s Song
To “The Major-General’s Song”
I am the very model of a gas-lit victimology
And when I’m wrong the first thing I demand is an apology.
I use the tricks that any smart abuser anywhere evades
When my supporters riot, killing cops and breaching barricades:
The people who accuse me must be lying or hysterical.
All evidence against me I dismiss as just chimerical.
My first resort is claiming I’m the victim of witch-huntery —
And blithely wave away substantive facts with sheer effrontery.

You say a hundred forty cops were treated with brutality
But what of all my people who were acting with normality
To riot as I cheered them on, denying my hypocrisy,
Because they feared election fraud was threatening democracy.

It’s me who is the victim here of foes who are implacable,
Who hope that I am finally politically attackable.
I’ve been oppressed by all these facts and evidence that dinned against
My simple claim that I am not more sinning than I’m sinned against.

It’s very clear: I’m white and male, entitled to my attitude,
And telling me you’re threatened reads to me like mere ingratitude.
I then reverse it all, invoking my own victimology,
And when I’m wrong the first thing I demand is your apology. (Marcus Bales, Cleveland)

Still running — deadline Monday night, July 12: Our contest to suggest a new law with a funny acronym. See

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.