(Click here to skip down to the winning song parodies)
How is a champion golfer like a genetic engineer? One makes big-money putts; the other makes pig-bunny mutts. (Paul Sabourin)
This week the Empress brings back a contest she judged back when she was a wee proto-empress, filling in for the vacationing Czar for four weeks in 1995, and identified only as “a trusted toady.” (The toady finally deposed him permanently in 2003.) This week: Write an original Q-A joke featuring a spoonerism, the transposition of the beginnings of different words, as in the entries above from our 1995 contest. The eponym for the term is the legendarily tongue-tied Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930); in two weeks, catch the results of our own eponym contest.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1463 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Nov. 29; results appear Dec. 19 in print, Dec. 16 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Toilet Timer (“Set the smell level”): The exiting loo user (or, as we condense it, “loser”) turns a knob to circle a dial past “Hold Your Nose” and “A Little Smelly” until it dings at “Safe to Enter.” Donated by Michael Rose. In our generosity, we’ll also toss in some Fart Putty, some colorful goo that produces certain noises with which the Empress has no familiarity. Donated by Kathleen Delano.
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 new lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Of Me I Sing” was submitted by both Beverley Sharp and Tom Witte; Chris Doyle and William Kennard both sent in 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.
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s (published late Thursday, Nov. 18), in which she’ll share the ink from that 1995 contest, at wapo.st/conv1463.
And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago …
Of me I sing: First-person song parodies
In Week 1459 we sought songs whose lyrics were “sung” by a particular person. Click on the links in the titles to listen along to the original tunes.
Donald Trump (To “I Will Survive”)
At first I was annoyed, just a year ago,
Kept thinking I could never lose to old, befuddled Joe.
So then I spent so many months telling you we were deceived
And you believed
That I was right to feel aggrieved.
You’re putty, guys, right in my hands
I look upon you at the rallies, up there cheering in the stands
You think my lies are gospel truth, you hang upon my every word;
There’s no theory too far-fetched and not a rumor too absurd.
Go on now go, spread all this crap!
Just go repeat it, wearing your snazzy MAGA cap.
Those Democrats have said the fraud stuff is a crock
You think that stops me?
You think I’d let down my flock?
Oh no not I, I will contrive
To return by any method to that crappy White House dive.
I’ll be back, you can be sure,
At latest 2024, and I will thrive
If I connive! Hey hey! (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)
Sen. Joe Manchin (To “I Cain’t Say No”)
I’m just a guy who must say no,
Giving my fellow Dems fits —
They want to save the planet, so
I’ve gotta blow it to bits.
When a person has constituents
Who’d flush the ecosystem down the potty,
He will fight for bigger carbon prints
(Why do you think I drive a Maserati?)
I just want fuels that burn and glow:
I can’t be looking ahead,
Hearing what Greta T. said,
Caring if folks wind up dead —
They’re not me, bro.
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
and the dachshund-shaped corncob holders:
Trump serenades Virginia’s governor-elect
(To “Ben” as sung by Michael Jackson)
Glenn, I went out to campaign for you,
MAGA voted in the rain for you,
Now, come 2024,
I hope that you’ll ensure
The vote will my way go —
Remember who you owe.
(Remember who you owe).
Glenn, the RINOs say you’ll be untrue,
Sad! ’Cause I know I can count on you!
If the tally comes out wrong,
I know that you’ll be strong!
And do just what I say
To throw the vote my way
(Just throw the vote my way …) (Mark Raffman, Reston)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Sen. Susan Collins (To "If I Only Had a Brain")
I can talk of moderation — adept dissimulation!
A centrist stance I'll feign,
The conclusion is foregone I'll go and side with Mitch McConnell
And I'll con the folks in Maine.
Odds are good, indeed the surest,
I'll confirm those right-wing jurists —
"Roe's safe!" I will maintain.
It disturbs me very little to accede to Trump's acquittal
As I con the hicks in Maine.
Yes, ma'am, I've learned to scam the people up the shore,
"Take your rights away? The thought I just abhor!"
And then I vote, and slam the door.
My concerns are deep and thorough! Just watch my brow line furrow!
My head might cleave in twain!
As my forehead sadly puckers,
I will play them all for suckers,
Yes, I'll con the rubes in Maine.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Parody crashers: Honorable mentions
Leonard Cohen (To “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) (“Glory, glory, hallelujah”)
When I wrote “Hallelujah” back in 1984,
I was thrilled to have a song that everybody would adore.
But a thousand versions later, I can’t take it anymore.
I cannot stand that song!
I am sick of “Hallelujah”! All I hear is “Hallelujah”!
I would shout a “Hallelujah” if I could stop that song!
I used to love to hear my song, but that was long before
It was played in every elevator going floor to floor.
I can hear it play in Beaumont and Bayonne and Bangalore.
I cannot stand that song! (Chorus)
I am sick of hearing “Hallelujah” after all this time.
I am weary of the words with every stilted “ooya” rhyme.
And I cringe in horror when I hear the chorus start to climb.
I cannot stand that song! (Chorus)
(Barbara Sarshik, Vienna, Va.)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (To “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”):
Lyrics by Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore; performed by Sandi Riccardi and pianist Richard Riccardi, Asheville, N.C.
(If you’re not seeing the video, click here.)
Eve (To the “Addams Family” theme)
If Genesis you’re readin’,
You’ll find me there in Eden.
A snack is what we’re needin’,
The Adam family!
I find it pretty neat here;
I must say, life is sweet here!
But still, we’ve gotta eat here — Say, what’s up in that tree?
Snake…. spake: “Partake!”
Well, hesitate? I might’ve….
Until I got a sight of
And got to take a bite of
That apple from the tree!
How dumb I was to dare it;
My conscience couldn’t bear it,
And so I had to share it!
(It brought us misery.)
‘Cause just as God predicted,
The tree had been restricted;
So now we’ve been evicted,
The Adam family. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (To “You’ll Be Back” from “Hamilton”):
You say — I shouldn’t have made any sequels beyond “Judgment Day.”
You sigh — as I trot out another one, “Why won’t this cyborg just die?”
If they’re bad, still the bling that they bring tends to jingle in quite a nice way.
It’s the best role I’ve had — mechanical acting’s a plus for the part that I play. So….
I’ll be back, like before, for some cockamamie future war.
I’ll be back; terminate any hope there won’t be seven or eight.
Profits rise, profits fall; I get paid regardless through it all,
So despite all the flak,
Though they claim they’ve killed the series, don’t be shocked if I come back.
Da da da dat da…. (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)
The Velveteen Rabbit (To “Yellow Submarine”)
Yes, it’s true, I wasn’t born,
But the Boy, he doesn’t care,
Hence my ears are frayed and torn:
Dude has hugged off all my hair.
Dang! He’s sick, so I’m to burn.
Scarlet fever: crummy deal.
Glad that fairy thought to turn
My stuffed butt to something Real.
Not so bad for a rabbit velveteen…. (Duncan Stevens)
Sting’s new lyrics for “My Fair Lady” (To “On the Street Where You Live”)
If you go to sleep, I’ll be wide awake
I’ll be keeping tabs on every single breath you take
If you take a stride, I’ll be right outside
’Cause you know, darling, I’m watching you.
You can call the cops, I can do the math,
A judge won’t be too hard on a stalking psychopath
I may get a year, but I’ve got the gear
To ensure I’m remotely watching you.
Don’t you see? You’re mine for the keeping,
Since you’re gone, I’ve been out of my mind.
That’s me through the keyhole who’s peeping —
Do you really need that second glass of wine?
Every word you say, every check you pay,
If you go to dinner with your friends on Saturday
I’ll be on my knees — right behind those trees:
Rest assured, honey, I’m watching you. (Frank Mann, Washington)
President Biden (To “I Am the Walrus”)
I’m not old, well not that old, and I’ve been told
That I have not looked better
See how I ran, a moderate man: My win was real —
Sitting with my pen poised, waiting for more bills to come.
Overreaching liberals, Sinema’s a nut case,
Manchin’s been a naughty boy—- why can’t we all play nice?
I am the man, Jack. You aren’t the man, Jack.
I am the POTUS — boo boo on you!
Let’s have no malarkey
’Cause we all know that malarkey doesn’t help.
Nothing gets passed, our donkey is an ass, we’ll lose again
No sassin’ …
Calling lots of meetings, twisting all the arms I can.
Voting rights or spending, anything that’s pending,
We just need a few more wins to show we get things done.
I am the man, Jack. You aren’t the man, Jack.
I am the POTUS—- boo boo on you! (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)
A disgruntled Republican
(To “I’m Beginning to See the Light”)
Lyrics and performance by Jonathan Jensen
(If you can’t see the video, click here)
The ex-president (To “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from “Gypsy”)
You’ll never get away from me.
You are stuck with DJT every single day.
Sure, you could say, “He’s last year’s news,”
But the base would just refuse to hear what you say.
I dominate the GOP,
Never mind the RNC. They cannot say “Bye!”
They know, even if they pray,
That they’ll never win again
Without my okay. (Irene Plotzker, Wilmington, Del.)
Rudy Giuliani’s Lament (To “I’m Still Here” from “Follies”)
I was Trump’s lawyer, until we started to feud
Now I’m screwed.
“Fox and Friends” banned me, though I was clever and shrewd
Now I’m screwed.
Hosted a presser, staged it well
At the Four Seasons (not hotel)
Mockery swiftly ensued
Now I’m screwed.
With Borat’s daughter, I tried to get in the mood
I was lewd.
And melting hair dye rendered my facemultihuedd
It was crude.
So who can blame me if I feel
Caught in an endless blooper reel?
All my endeavors to Stop the Steal came unglued
And by Dominion I’m sued.
I’m so screwed! (Leslie Horne, Greenbelt, Md.)
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (To “Happy Trails”)
Crappy mail for you — it’s endlessly delayed.
Crappy mail for you — my tenure makes de grade.
Delivery’s now so slow you’re not sure whether
Your parcel’s been consigned to regions nether.
Crappy mail for you! Send complaints prepaid.
Our new “efficiency”: for you, a boon.
If you’ve got a Christmas box to send,
Get it in the mail by June.
Crappy mail for you! ‘Less it’s been mislaid. (Duncan Stevens)
Dan Snyder (To “Never Gonna Give You Up”)
I love owning the Team,
I’ve got my thumb planted in your eye.
We keep on losing but that income stream,
I couldn’t let it go to any other guy.
I just wanna sell you tix and jerseys,
Make a profit, like I’ve planned—-
Never gonna give this up,
Always gonna let fans down,
Never gonna help this town by selling.
You can raise a hue and cry,
Still I’ll never say goodbye,
Owner till the day I die, and kvelling! (Mark Raffman)
Vladimir Putin (To “The Major-General’s Song”)
I am the very model of a picture-perfect patriarch;
(I rule in Mother Russia, so I also am the matriarch!)
Be careful what you do, ‘cause you can bet that I will surely see:
I have a million eyes on you (successors to the KGB!).
I love to sow dissent throughout the world! (That’s why we’re hacking you.)
It’s cheaper and it’s much more fun than physically attacking you!
You say your system’s frozen? Well, we’re famous for our ransomware
And for my shirtless photos (that’s because I look so handsome bare!)
We’re overwhelmed bycovid; our economy’s an awful mess;
(We try to hide these problems from the nosy international press.)
But by and large, I must admit (and so must every oligarch)
I am the very model of a picture-perfect patriarch. (Beverley Sharp)
The composer of The Style Invitational’s Most Often Inking Parody Music,
which, ironically, isn’t used this week, except for this:
(To “Be Our Guest”)
Let it rest! let it rest! With my song you are obsessed!
I’m composer Alan Menken and I’m mighty unimpressed!
I have seen what you wrote and I will not sugarcoat:
All your parodies are snoozers — it’s no wonder you’re called Losers!
Zippel, Schwartz, Slater, Rice! They are more than worth the price;
My collaborators’ lyrics are the best.
But yours go in the trash can — you’re no Howard Ashman:
Let it rest! Let it rest! Let it rest! (Elliott Shevin, Efrat, West Bank)
And Last: (To “I Will Survive”)
At first I was geared up, I was full of hope.
Kept thinking I would find a joke that made me chuckle…. nope.
And then I spent so many hours readin’ dreck worth no reward,
And I grew bored ... my eyes rolled back and then I snored!
There’s so much trash! What a disgrace!
These feeble gags have left me here with this sad look upon my face.
I should reject this stupid schlock, I should dismiss this dull debris;
If I used this crap how blah the Invitational would be!
Go on now, go, please take a hike,
Just understand now, that your stuff I didn’t like.
Weren’t you the one who tried to bribe me with a pie?
Did you think I’d print yours? Did you think I’d find your rubbish wry?
Oh no, not I, I will deprive!
Oh, as long as I’m around to judge, this junk will still arrive.
I’ve got all my life to live, but I’ve got finite ink to give,
And I’ll deprive, I will deprive! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
And Even Laster (To “Master of the House”)
I’m Empress of The Post, Master of the Style!
Bet your stupid entry will not make me smile!
Judge beyond reproach, model of respect,
Love to see you toil for a piece of dreck!
There’s a problem with her meter,
There’s a problem with his rhyme,
Everybody thinks they’re brilliant, but they’re losers every time!
Empress of The Post, Master of good taste,
Never let a pee-pee reference go to waste!
Enter if you dare send in 25,
Know that it’s your sweat that’s keeping me alive!
If you really want that trophy,
Be the one who pays the most
Or you’ll get no ink, you stinker, from the Empress of The Post! (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)
Still haven’t had enough? See even more in the Style Invitational Devotees Facebook group through November.
Still running — deadline Monday night, Nov. 22: Tell what would happen if any two people switched professions. See wapo.st/invite1462.
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.