Week 565: Anthem Is as Anthem Does

Sometime before the sun sets today, at the parade or at the game or at the park before the fireworks, you will find yourself belting out a syntactic jumble about watching o'er ramparts, your pollen-saturated voice cracking up on "glare" like a strip of old Scotch tape. Don't let it happen again. For this week's contest, give us a verse for an alternative U.S. national anthem, set to any well-known tune.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up receives a vial of industrial-strength bubble gum food flavoring, plus a list of all the entries submitted by Russell Beland, Peter Metrinko and Brendan Beary for the contest below. 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, July 12. 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. 1. 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., and Seth Brown of North Adams, Mass. Today's contest was suggested by Russell Beland of Springfield.

Report from Week 561, in which we asked you to take a sentence from The Post or its Web site and supply a question it could answer.

Once again, this challenge produced marvelous results, though relatively few people entered. Among those who did, however, was Obsessive Loser Russell Beland of Springfield, who sent in, in nine separate e-mails, 127 entries, most of them very funny. And Only Slightly Less Obsessive Losers Peter Metrinko of Plymouth, Minn., and Brendan Beary of Great Mills submitted 58 and 55 entries, respectively, most of them very funny (though a couple weren't quite printable). To those readers who gripe that they see the same names each week: You send the Empress 127 fabulous jokes and she'll write your name over and over, too.

Sixth runner-up: Then I went to Harvard, where I was a varsity athlete in basketball and crew. What happened after you finished your book tour, Jayson?

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Fifth runner-up: In Virginia, Asian Americans also have been wooed by both parties.

Is it true that even politicians insult people now by poking fun at their ethnic names? (Bill Spencer, Exeter, N.H.)

Fourth runner-up: In a good way.

What line never works after informing your wife that her new outfit does indeed make her look fat? (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Third runner-up: Don't run, don't make any loud noises.

What advice from his mother does Howard Dean regret not taking?

(Milo Sauer, Fairfax; Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

Second runner-up: We look forward to completing the proposed merger after all conditions have been satisfied. How did Al announce his engagement to Tipper? (Russell Beland)

First runner-up, the winner of the hairy deer-leg flask: Bill Murray, hands down.

What did Jane Curtin often have to say during costume changes at "Saturday Night Live"? (Brendan Beary)

And the winner of the Inker: I know I have to get up in the morning and put my underwear on first and my pants on next.

After receiving some helpful advice on the subway today, how will I change my dressing regimen tomorrow? (Marc Leibert, New York)

Honorable Mentions:

It is not only the way she lived that people remember. What is the greatest understatement ever about Isadora Duncan?

(Russell Beland)

All my friends from high school have children. What did your teenage daughter say just before you transferred her to the military academy?

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

One person can come along like a wave and wash it all away. What did one spider tell his friend who was building his web in a urinal? (Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

If it looks like it hasn't been used in 10 years, it probably hasn't. Have any tips for dating older men? (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)

Winning hearts and minds is my job, in a nutshell. How does the Planters mascot describe his role? (Russell Beland)

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Rice.

What's planned for the menu next time Hannibal Lecter comes to Washington?

(Brendan Beary)

Just bloody get on with it, then.

What are the traditional words of foreplay used by the British royal family?

(Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

A series of chain reactions will destroy Earth unless a time traveler successfully completes his mission. What's the lamest ploy ever used by a guy trying to get lucky?

(Brendan Beary)

There was a tremendous amount of worry that the Irish and Jews were just not good enough. How did the Bullets ever end up with a name like the Wizards?

(Russell Beland)

Love pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor drug charge and agreed to enter a drug-rehabilitation program.

Baby, baby, where did our love go?

(Peter Metrinko)

Using a lit match, carefully heat the bottom of the broken piece, then lightly push the two pieces back together.

What was the worst suggestion given to John Wayne Bobbitt?

(Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

Don't leave any big lumps. What is Rule No. 1 when you "interrogate" a suspect?

(Chris Doyle; Brendan Beary)

They lead to a poorly lit back room in the basement.

What have I found out about my degrees in philosophy and humanistic studies?

(Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

"This is not a drill, this is not a drill."

What hypnosis-oriented alternative to Novocaine met with little success?

(Jane Auerbach)

I went to music school for almost a year.

Except for "Smoke on the Water," what's the last thing you want to hear when a guy on the bus pulls out an accordion? (Russell Beland)

Most experts expect it in 10 to 20 years.

When is the next issue of Martha Stewart Living? (Milo Sauer)

Like you're wearing a chiffon party dress without a slip. What did the Valley girl say when she saw her friend wearing a chiffon party dress without a slip?

(Peter Metrinko)

The average speed of 97.042 mph was the slowest in Dover history by more than 3 mph. How bad is the traffic on Delaware highways following high school graduation ceremonies? (Jon Reiser)

Shoot, I'm looking forward to it.

Do you have any last words for the firing squad, wise guy? (Chris Doyle)

Adrian describes a "pinprick sensation" during the procedure. How do we know Rocky Balboa was a less than satisfactory lover? (Brendan Beary)

"I did it! I shook Kucinich's hand!" a girl squealed.

What sentence went through five Washington Post fact-checkers before it was deemed to be true? (Milo Sauer)

I was touched by your letter to Dear Abby, and I want you to know that you can become the president of the United States because of who you are, not in spite of it.

Dear Abby: Is it true that I can't get electorated because Y2K bugs will make the computers confuse my pappy and I?

(Mike Connaghan, Alexandria)

We are 25 percent female and 7 to 10 percent minority company-wide.

How has Michael Jackson been referring to his condition? (Brendan Beary)

More of these in next week's column as space permits.