Style Invitational Week 993: Write some ‘versus’ verses as ‘epic rap battles’
By Pat Myers,
Albert Einstein: “I’m a giant whose shoulders you’d have stood on, if you could stand.
I’ll give you a brief history of pain with the back of my hand.”
. . . vs. Stephen Hawking: “And while it’s true that my work is based on you,
I’m a supercomputer — you’re like a Ti-82.”
— from EpicRapBattlesOfHistory.com
Visit the hilarious, immensely popular Web site Epic Rap Battles of History and you’ll see trash-talkin’ Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury! Dr. Seuss vs. Shakespeare! Gandalf vs. Dumbledore! Abe Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris! In this brainchild of L.A. improv artists Nice Peter and Lloyd Alquist, the dozens of videos are even funnier than the rap lyrics they contain. But we tend to be Word People over here in Loserland — not to mention that the newsprint Invite doesn’t come with audio, except when you smack it on your leg — and so our version needs to shine on the verses alone. This week: Write a short “rap battle” between any two characters, real or fictional, as in the example above, which quotes two couplets from a 21/ 2-minute video. By short, we mean one or two rhyming couplets per character — so four to eight lines total. As for what counts as rhyme, the Empress might be a wee bit more lenient than usual, but don’t go “rhyming,” say, “stakes” and “blades,” as does one of the Epics. You say you want to make your own video? Sure! Put it on YouTube or another accessible site and send us a link. This contest was suggested by Mike Gips, who heard about Epic Rap Battles from Matt Monitto.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives the edifying volume “Now Wash Your Hands: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Life and Times of the Toilet.” Dumped on us by Longtime Loser Pie Snelson.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 29; results published Nov. 18 (online Nov. 15). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 993” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Beverley Sharp; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Edward Gordon. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
Report from Week 989
in which we asked you to think of two jobs that one person could hold, and explain why:
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial
If a politician also worked as a firefighter, he’d be able to hose down his own pants. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)
2. Winner of the possible-to-arrange-tastefully Porkin’ Pigs coin banks: A used-car salesman could moonlight as a body waxer: He’s skilled at the arts of laying it on thick, and ripping off. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)
3. The telemarketer who became an NFL replacement referee is now unemployed because everyone, and I mean everyone, hated his calls. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
4. A hotel maid by day and a waitress by night who also babysits on weekends also became a banking industry lobbyist — she got tired of being just a moocher. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)
Help wanting: honorable mentions
A psychiatrist would be a good airport security agent: He’s skilled in finding out what makes you tick. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
A fortuneteller could take a second job as a hit man: Both deal with what’s in the offing. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
American voters could all be poultry farmers — they’re both getting ready to dispatch turkeys next month. (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)
A Redskins quarterback would make a good wino: Both get blitzed all the time. (David Garratt)
A reform candidate could moonlight as a restroom attendant, and continue to work for change. (And he could probably use the money.) (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
A urologic surgeon has the makings of a presidential candidate: We’re really happier with both if they’re not too specific about what they plan to cut. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
A day care center worker has a night shift as a casino cashier: She already knows how to change hundreds. (David Genser)
A spelunker could be a successful politician: The first is interested in special caves and the second caves to special interests. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)
A mime could supplement his income by being a mob enforcer: In both jobs, you get to be silent but deadly. (Russell and Adam Beland, Fairfax, Va.)
A mohel can moonlight as a waitress at a greasy spoon — she’s used to making a living on tiny tips. (Clifford Fishman, Rockville, Md.)
A North Korean chef could also work as a pet hypnotist — both are proud of curing cats. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
A Metro driver can moonlight at a brothel: For the day job her slogan is “We open doors”; for the night job it’s “We open drawers.” (Chuck Smith)
A drag queen could have a day job as an executioner: In both jobs you pull switches to dramatic effect. (Tom Witte)
New York baseball coach/midwife: In both professions, one good Yank and you could be seeing the next Babe. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)
A philosophy professor might try also being a barber, since he’s used to spending his entire career over people’s heads. (Beverley Sharp)
A Virginia public school teacher should play for the Chicago Cubs: For both, their constant mantra is “SOL.” (Amanda Yanovitch)
A personal trainer could moonlight as an undertaker: She’s used to working with people who are out of breath. (Beverley Sharp)
I hear that a real estate agent is riding out the housing slump as a human cannonball: It’s still all about location, location, location. (David Genser)
A lawyer/prostitute: Get people off for money. Repeat. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Tiger Woods’s caddy should also be his sex addiction counselor: Then maybe he can finally get Tiger to control his putts. (David Genser)
Still running — deadline Monday night — is Week 992, our contest asking how PBS shows and characters could go commercial.
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, in which the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at email@example.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.
Next week’s results: Indecent Relations, or Sibling Ribaldry, the contest in which we asked you to compare two people with the same last name.