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Week 183 : Cockney Rhyming Slang II.


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Sep 15, 1996

Who wants some pudding,

nice and hot?

'Tis now the time to try it;

Just taken from the

smoking pot!

And taste before ye buy it!

Old chairs to mend,

old chairs to mend.

If I'd as much money as

I could spend,

I'd leave off crying

`Old chairs to mend.'

Your copper, kettles,

pots and stew pans,

Tho' old, shall serve instead of

new pans.

I'm very moderate in my charge

For mending small as well

as large!

This week's contest was proposed by Jonathan Paul of Garrett Park, who wins a roll of Saddam Hussein toilet paper. Jonathan suggests that we bounce back from the disastrous "Cockney Rhyming Slang" contest with our heads held high and our private parts exposed. Why not rebound fearlessly, sez he, with an Old London Street Cries contest. Old London street cries were the simple jingles -- usually in rhyme, usually deliberately amusing -- that street vendors babbled to hawk their wares or services. Those are real ones printed above. Jonathan suggests that you create hawkers' rhymes for modern-day occupations like lobbyists, lawyers, talk show hosts, actuaries, etc. First, give us the occupation, then give us the jingle, at a maximum of four lines. It must contain at least one rhyme. First-prize winner gets a limited-edition Dwight Eisenhower presidential plate, a value of $30.

Runners-up, as always, receive the coveted Style Invitational Loser's T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor and originality. Mail your entries to The Style Invitational, Week 183, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, fax them to 202-334-4312 or submit them via Internet to this address: losers@access.digex.net. Internet users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Entries must be received on or before Monday, Sept. 23. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced in three weeks. Editors reserve the right to alter entries for taste, humor or appropriateness. No purchase necessary. The Faerie of the Fine Print & the Ear No One Reads wishes to thank Jennifer Hart of Arlington for today's Ear No One Reads. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 180,

in which we asked you to take any story from that day's Post and rewrite the headline

into a pun, the more strained the better.

+ Third Runner-Up:

For a story on Saddam Hussein's thrust against Kurdish rebels:

Saddam Finds Kurds in His Way (Scott Barton, Vienna)

+ Second Runner-Up:

For a story on a tense U.S.-Canadian border dispute over salmon fishing:

Poached Salmon Invite Whine (David Genser, Vienna)

+ First Runner-Up:

For a favorable review of a book on tribal violence in Rwanda:

Hutu, Tutsi: Good Buy! (G. Smith, Falls Church)

+ And the winner of the GOP sunglasses and lapel pin:

For a story on President Clinton being confident of reelection:

The Buoy in the Bubba (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

+ Honorable Mentions:

For a story on the Citadel's decision to

admit women:

Citadel Broadens Enrollment

(Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

For a story on a gas explosion in Kemp, Tex.:

Kemp Takes Hit From Gas Pipeline

(Paul Kondis, Alexandria)

For a story on President Clinton announcing a registry of the nation's sex offenders:

Pedo-File in White House!

(Peyton Coyner, Afton, Va.)

For a story on an exiled Iranian leader who claims Tehran ordered executions:

Bani-Sadr, After Being Thrown

Out at Home: `Iran Debases'

(Jason Steinhorn, Rockville)

For a story on tribal violence in Rwanda:

`Help Me': Rwanda

(Jim Barnes, Leesburg)

For a story on the harvesting of rocks in Loudoun County, for building stone walls:

Stones Appear in Concert in Loudoun

(Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring)

For a story on Kemp campaigning in familiar territory:

Kemp Goes Where People Know Jack

(Dave Curtis, Ijamsville)

For a story on the followers of questionable financial guru Charles Givens, who feel cheated and want their money back.

Robbin' Givens?

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

For a story on President Clinton watching to see how much "bounce" Dole will get from the convention:

Prez Checks Bounce

(Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

For a story on skipjack pilots raising money by hiring out their boats for pleasure cruises:

Sharing Without Shellfishness

(Susan Reese, Arlington)

For a story on the strange durability of the works of Ayn Rand:

Ayn the Rand Played On

(Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

For a story on the administration's rejection of rules to make logging easier:

Loggers Wooden Mind a

Few More Owlternatives

(Jennifer Hart, Owlington)

For a story on a salmon-stocking dispute between the United States and Canada:

A King Salmon-Like Decision

(Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

For the same story:

If Lox Could Kill

(David Genser, Vienna)

For a story on native Hawaiians asking for their island back:

Hawaiians Poi-sed for Independence

(John MacDonald, Washington)

For a story about an explosion that hurt two people at the World Series of Golf:

Explosion in Akron Leaves Two Under Par

(Dave Curtis, Ijamsville)

Next Week: You Can Take It to Debunk

Special Style Invitational Supplement:

In an article a few weeks ago on Mysteries of the Millennium, we printed a poem, allegedly in the words of Nostradamus, foretelling the identity of Deep Throat. We challenged you to decipher it. Thirty people tried. Half thought the quatrain was altogether without meaning, which it wasn't. Fourteen made game but pathetic efforts to decode it. But one person, Kate Renner of Rockville, wrote us one of the more astonishing letters we have ever received. In these four published lines, Kate found references to 10 plausible candidates for Deep Throat. We will say only this: She found names we had indeed hidden, and others that we hadn't. She found connections we never intended. She proved absolutely the thesis that the secret of brilliant prophecy is evocative gibberish. The quatrain:

Twixt black and white, in raiment as sturdy as the lion's hips,

Raptor will stalk burgher, and anoint Teutonic lips

With tender touch. The mate, e'en More he who finds himself in charge,

Shall him bring down the son of Nick in words that are writ large.

Kate observes that the only thing between black and white is the color gray, a reference to L. Patrick Gray, the erstwhile FBI director. In tandem, "lion" and "raiment" inescapably suggest Leonard Garment, former White House counsel. The raptor, she says, is either Egil Krogh or J. Fred Buzhardt, two Watergate insiders. The burgher is clearly former secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger or, alternately, the raptor-burgher nexus creates Laurence Eagleburger, the former secretary of state. For reasons both of semiotics and ethnology, anointing Teutonic lips can mean only Henry Kissinger, and "tender touch" is an obvious reference to former senator Lowell Weicker; weich means soft or tender in German. "The mate, e'en More," refers obliquely to John Dean, the mate of Maureen. "He who finds himself in charge" is a barely veiled reference to Alexander Haig's unfortunate pronouncement in a moment of crisis. And the son of Nick is inarguably the toppled president. Kate wins the fabulous drinking duck, plus our admiration, plus an uneasy suspicion that she might know more than she is letting on.


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