Pt, Au, Hg, Tl, Pb, Bi, Po, At, Rn):

Full Text (1170   words)
Copyright The Washington Post Company Sep 11, 2005

Blessed are you, whose worthiness brings scope,

And doth make my heart go all kerplop.

Next week in this space you can gaze upon the shining summit of the tottering heap of 706 limericks submitted for Week 624. Not only is each winner clever and funny, but each of them also manages to rhyme. Now, this may not seem remarkable to you. That is because you, unlike the Empress, did not spend a week wading through such paired line endings as "deafening" and "happening," or "usual" and "biannual." But what to do about this epidemic of tin-ear? The answer arrived quickly, and coincidentally. Amy Lago, the comics editor of the Washington Post Writers Group, was noodling around with a verse form she'd invented: the egregious almost-rhyme. In a back-and-forth e-mail poetry jam with Washington Post

Magazine humor columnist Gene Weingarten, the form was refined: (He: This rhyme form is really hilarious; / If poems are steak, these are Cheerios. / I think that we must / Continue this joust / Till we've built up an oeuvre that's serious. She: My reply, sir, a very loud "ouch!" / I agree that you've got the touch. / You're good at this mischief, / But bow to your mistress. / Just admit you're not all that tough.)

This week's contest: Write a limerick or other short poem with comically awful rhyming. This is a little tricky, because it can't just be bad; it has to be so awful it's funny, as in the examples above. Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up receives the adorable "Alfie" the Liver Coloring Book, produced by the American Liver Foundation and donated by Russell Beland of Springfield and his daughter, Blythe Marshall of Annandale. It features a roughly triangular smiling guy with skinny arms and legs, depicting a day in the life of a liver. Unfortunately, Crayola does not issue a crayon in Liver; you'll have to make do with, perhaps, Manatee.

Other runners-up win a 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 by e- mail to or, if you really have to, by fax to 202- 334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 19. Results will be published Oct. 9. Put "Images/circlei3.gif" border=0>Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. 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 Chris Doyle of Forsyth, Mo.

Report from Week 623, in which we asked you to come up with useful (or comically useless) phrases to serve as mnemonics: About half of you offered up one for the presidential line of succession, which was our example four weeks ago. It seems that it's awfully hard to come up with funny, clever sentences of 18 words in which the first and last words begin with V. Loser Roy Ashley wins a T- shirt for a clever entry containing a French word that was deemed un- Postworthy by someone more mature than the Empress.

{diam}Second runner-up: Terror alert levels (Red: Severe; Orange: High; Yellow: Elevated; Blue: Guarded; Green: Low): Run screaming outdoors, hide yourself; even better: get guns loaded. (Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the tequila lollipop with worm, plus the ugly green squeezy change purse: The first digits of pi (3.14159265358979323 . . .), with the digits corresponding to the number of letters per word: Pie! I chew a piece. Instantly my throat shuts. Gag, choke -- Heimlich! Upchucked quickly. Ambulance can go now . . .

(Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: Abbreviations in the periodic table Rows 2 through 6 (Li, Be, B, C, N, O, F, Ne; Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, Ar; K, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Ge, As, Se, Br, Kr; Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, Tc, Ru, Rh, Pd, Ag, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Te, I, Xe; Cs, Ba, La, Hf, Ta, W, Re, Os, Ir, Pt, Au, Hg, Tl, Pb, Bi, Po, At, Rn):

Lonesome Bill "Bubba" Clinton's night off. Forebodings? None.

Naughty Monica arrives. She proffers sex. Clinton accepts.

Ken comes snooping. Tripp's vigilant, cajoles Monica for Clinton news. Clinton's zapped, gets grilled about stain by Ken.

Rumors swell. Young (zaftig now) Monica talks readily. Report's published, and Clinton's indicted. Starr's sensational tome is X- rated.

Clinton's beleaguered. Loses House trial. Washington's riveted. Onto

impeachment proceedings. Acquittal! How to portray Bill's presidency? A riot!

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

The U.S. presidents in order: Why aren't just, moral men attracting judicious voters? Historically, the parties tried for plurality by listing jobs, growth, honest government as candidates' highest concerns. More recently, though, White House campaigns have refined their election knowhow: Just need Fox channel running biased coverage -- Bingo! (Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

"The Magnificent Seven" actors (McQueen, Brynner, Coburn, Bronson, Vaughn, Dexter, Buchholz): Men being cowboys become very dead bodies. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

Parts of the brain (Cerebrum, Diencephalon, Midbrain, Pons, Medulla oblongata,

Cerebellum): Celine Dion music? Pretty much ca-ca. (Chris Doyle)

Stations on Metrorail's Yellow Line

(Huntington, Eisenhower, King, Braddock, Reagan National, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Pentagon, L'Enfant, Archives, Gallery, Mount Vernon): Here, escalators keep breaking routinely; noisy crowded cars

perpetually cram passengers like a giant moving van. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Why we went to war in Iraq: Geopolitics, Empire-building, Oil, Regime change, Getting even, Electioneering, Weapons of mass destruction, Big business, U.N. failure, Stopping terrorists, Hubris. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

Layers of the epidermis (Corneum, Lucidum, Granulosum, Spinosum, Basele): Cher likes getting skin Botoxed. (Chris Doyle)

The Seven Dwarfs (Dopey, Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy):

Diminutive dudes halt scoundrel's

secretive bedtime gambit. (Rick Haynes, Potomac)

The major parties' female candidates for president or vice president in order

chronologically, alphabetically and by

number of votes received: Ferraro. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Airflow passages (Mouth, Pharynx, Larynx, Trachea): Monica pauses . . . "Let's talk."

(Chris Doyle)

Indubitably, It Incorporates Ideas

Including Individualistic Ideological

Values, Virtue, Verities Interminable, and Valuable Insights Into Vexing

Issues. (Indigenous and Involuntarily

Indentured eXplicitly eXcluded.) --

Mnemonic for the amendments in the Bill of Rights: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X. (Steven J. Allen, Manassas)

Presidential line of succession, from Vice president down to Veterans affairs secretary:

Very harsh sunlight started to deplete Albert's harvests; ingeniously, Albert created levitating harvest helio-

reflectors that evenly enriched

vegetation. (Perrye Proctor, Upper


And Last: The top five all-time Style

Invitational Losers (Beland, Witte, Smith, Doyle, Hart): Beats working, say dorky hacks. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

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