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Metrinko:

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Copyright The Washington Post Company Aug 1, 2004

This week's contest comes to you directly from the plaintive pixels of up-and-coming Loser Eric Murphy of Chicago, who e-mailed the Empress: "I just signed a lease for a new apartment with my girlfriend, and her grandparents are not especially keen on the idea.

1. What could I say to them to allay their fears?

2. If I were to propose to said girlfriend, what methods should I avoid?

3. If the two of us made it all the way to the altar, what statements should I leave out of my wedding vows?"

Give Eric the advice he deserves on any of his questions.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a bizarre vinyl LP record titled "Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You," dating from the mid-'60s and intended for driver's ed classes. It features soupy folk-style arrangements of such classics as "Cities and Towns (Driving in City and Heavy Traffic)" and "Gentle Things (Adverse Condition Driving)." Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted- after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week.

Send your entries via fax to 202-334-4312 or by e-mail to losers@washpost.com. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 8. Put the week number in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Aug. 29. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by Danny Bravman of Potomac.

Report from Week 565, in which we asked for songs, set to well- known tunes, that might substitute for the hard-to-sing "Star- Spangled Banner": From the look of a large number of entries, you'd think we'd won independence from France.

{diam} Third Runner-Up: To "Wonderful World":

Don't care much about diplomacy;

We don't bother with complexity.

We cut issues down to black-and-white;

There's a 50-50 chance we're right.

But we're sure our every cause is just,

And if everyone were more like us

What a wonderful world this would be.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

{diam} Second Runner-Up: To "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General":

We never disagree with anything our government might say,

We work from 9 to 5 and watch the tube for the rest of the day.

We function like automatons built to support society,

And that is why our life's so hard to face in full sobriety.

On Friday night we all get drunk, and Saturday, and Sunday, too,

To give us strength to go back and restart the whole workweek anew.

We're pegs who squeeze ourselves into the holes they've built to fit us in,

We are the very model of a patriotic citizen.

(Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

{diam} First Runner-Up, the winner of the industrial-strength bubble gum food flavoring, plus a list of all the entries for Week 561 from Russell Beland, Brendan Beary and Peter Metrinko:

To "Be Our Guest":

We're the best! We're the best!

From Bombay to Budapest!

If you dare to disagree, we'll place you under house arrest!

We are strong! We are sure!

Patriotic to the core.

We're delighted and excited 'cause our states are all united!

Stripes and stars! Stars and stripes!

We will always be the types

To know our destiny is manifest!

So say it long and loudly, sing it strong and proudly,

We're the best! We're the best!

(It is France that we detest!)

We're the best! We're the best! We're the best!

(Barb Sarshik, McLean)

{diam} And the winner of the Inker:

To "Hello Muddah":

Hello Daddy, hello Mommy,

We're not Nazi, we're not commie.

All the world thinks we're a bully.

They don't seem to want to understand us fully.

Hello Mommy, hello Daddy.

Our great nation's not the baddie.

Put an end to this idea:

Give the finger to Iran and North Korea. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

{diam} Honorable Mentions:

To "Do-Re-Mi":

Dough, a buck, the mighty buck.

'Ray! A cheer for U.S.A.,

Me, a fan of Uncle Sam,

Far and near he leads the way.

Sow the seeds of freedom wide,

La-di-da, we run the show.

Tee us off? You'd better hide!

And that brings us back to dough (oh-oh-oh). (Chris Doyle)

To the chorus of "You've Got a Friend":

You can shop anytime in the Land of Liberty,

The whole country, oh yeah, baby, is one big bazaar.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, It's waiting for you at the mall.

Crashed your hard drive? No need to worry:

You've got a car.

(Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

To "Frere Jacques":

Our love of freedom, love of freedom

You can't quench, you can't quench.

Yes, this tune is stolen, but we're very glad that

We're not French, we're not French.

(Roy Ashley, Washington)

To the Kit Kat jingle:

Give me a break, a big tax break,

Break me off a piece of that de-fi-cit.

(Grover Norquist, Washington)

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

To "One" from "A Chorus Line":

One superpower nation,

Betcha Britain's sorry now

One stunning Declaration,

A Constitutional wow!

Amendments to serve and protect you (unless you're gay)

It's just so great to be here in the U.S.A.!

One rough election season,

Makes you want to flee the nest,

But America is second best to none, son.

Hang on! Don't move to Quebec yet,

Quittez non! We're not quite a wreck yet,

We're still the one!

(Sara Simons, Washington)

To the "Final Jeopardy" tune:

Hail to thee, America!

Costly health care, guns and few French-speakers.

Income gaps that shock and awe,

That's why we're not Canada.

(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

To "Yesterday":

U.S.A., we're the best place in the world today

If you harm us we will make you pay

For God's behind the U.S.A.

We are free, but not as free as we used to be

Lost a bit of civil liberty

But otherwise, we're all happy.

(Eric Murphy, Chicago)

To "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover":

I'm looking over your new Range Rover,

Parked next to your Escalade,

I've got a Hummer to take to the mall

Over those speed bumps a full one-inch tall.

This nation's a great place for wild horses

Be they Vipers or SUVs,

So we'll kiss the Saudis' royal assets

Till cars run on batteries.

(Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

To "Pinball Wizard":

Ever since Columbus, we've landed on this shore.

From Miami up to Bangor, the rich ones and the poor.

And we just kept on coming, more and more and more,

Now the U.S. of America sure fights a pretty mean war.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

And last:

To "Hey Ya":

Now, fellas! (Hey ya!)

Now what's cooler than cool?

(Global domination!)

I can't hear ya! I say what's, what's cooler than cool?

(Global domination!) All right! (15x)

(Kevin N. Mettinger, Warrenton)

More Honorable Mentions appear on washingtonpost.com.


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