Week 610: MASH Post

"There's Something About Mary Poppins": The amazing secret of how she gets her power to fly.

"American Beauty and the Beast": Despite his protestations that "they last way longer," a man's Valentine's gift of nylon roses fails to warm his girlfriend's heart.

"The Wild Wild West Side Story": It's the posse against the lawless, and they both have some wicked ballet moves.

So many movies out there, so little time. Think how many more you'd be able to see if you could view two of them simultaneously - - or better yet, "mashed" together a la the music "mash-ups" popular at dance clubs. This week's contest: Find two well-known movies -- oh, what the hey, you can use plays and TV shows, too - - whose titles have a significant word in common, combine their titles, and describe the hybrid. The descriptions can play off either their plots or just the words in the titles, as in the examples above.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. But what you really want to try for is first runner-up, because that person will get something even better than the Little Naked Bookend With a Bag on the Head: the custom-made, one-of-a-kind leaded-glass Style Invitational Magnet box pictured here, lovingly crafted and donated by erstwhile Loser Peyton Coyner of Afton, Va. Magnets not included because we're just really petty.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets, also pictured here. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or, if you really have to, by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, May 23. 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 June 12. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. This week's contest was suggested by Peter Metrinko of Chantilly.

Report from Week 606, in which we asked for poems based on articles from that week's Washington Post.

The week's big news was the selection of the new pope and its aftermath (not to mention its beforemath), but the Losers found time to weigh in on dozens of other matters as well, proving that some of them occasionally read another page of the newspaper besides this one.

{diam}Second runner-up:

'Some Hopeful, Others Disappointed by Pope'

The gays who would marry, to whom we say nope.
The gals who now carry, for priesthood, a hope.
The geezers we harry to live and to cope
But who'd rather not tarry, and ask for the rope.
These souls should be chary of Benny the Pope.

(Chris Doyle, Raleigh)

{diam}First runner-up, winner of the "Time Is Money" analog- clock cuff links:

'Woman Jailed in Wendy's Chili Case; Questions Raised About Finger Story'

What a perfect news concoction:
Grand Guignol and farce! Any
Reader loves a story mixing
Leopards, limbs and larceny.

Things look bad for Ms. Ayala,
But diners' doubts still linger:
Everybody's still not sure
Who gave whom the finger.

(David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker:

'Casting Off Cookies'

When we've got a social problem that'd cause our country shame,
What's as good as a solution is a scapegoat we can blame.
Now our kids are couch potatoes and they don't play out of doors,
So we're haulin' Cookie Monster up for scarfin' down s'mores.

First we've cut his brownie binges; next we'll buff up his physique;
Soon he'll be extollin' exercise while noshin' on a leek,
Then a final change to really make the transformation whole:
We'll give 'im some new name like "Biff, the Tofu-Eatin' Troll."

Aye, it's 'ello beets and broccoli, and goodbye Keebler Elves,
For our chubby little children need protectin' from themselves.
We won't take away their GameBoys or deny 'em their cartoons,
So we're haulin' Cookie Monster up for eatin' macaroons.
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

'Calif. Gov. : U.S. Should "Close Borders" '

Arnold, when lacking good scripts,
Lately suffers from somewhat loose lips,
Saying feds are "too lax,"
And "closed borders" he backs.
(He shoots better from guns, not from hips.)

(Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

'Crowd Cheers White Smoke at St. Peter's,' which told of the confusion over what color smoke was coming from the cardinals' conclave:

Oh, look, there's some puffin'!
It's black, don't mean nuffin'.
A wisp then of hope,
But the same -- still no pope.

The third plume is gray
And so no one can say
If the conclave has spoken.
Gee, what are they smokin'?

(Chris Doyle)

White smoke? White smoke? White smoke? Nope.
Black smoke. Black smoke. Black smoke. Pope!

(John Eggerton, Springfield)

'Benedictine Warfare,' about incorrect predictions on the next pope:

On hearing his sermon,
This Rev did determine
The next pope would never be Ratzinger.
Turns out he misstated --
He should have awaited
The aria sung by the fat singer.

(Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

'Fla. Man Secured BenedictXVI.com Weeks Ago'

A businessman of some aplomb
Registered BenedictXVI.com
Tell me, how much time in Hell
For co-opting the papal URL?

(Pam Sweeney, Germantown)

'Bush Social Security Plan Proves Tough Sell Among Working Poor'

Lis'n up, here, Mr. Dub,
Don' mess wid mah retarment,
Or else a boot-from-butt puller
Will be yo' nex' requarment.

(Fred S. Souk, Reston)

'GOP Senator Wavers on Bolton'
Yes Vote Less Likely, Chafee Signals; White House Defends U.N. Nominee

Lincoln Chafee may defect;
White House rage is molten;
From the ambassador-elect
Others may be boltin'.

White House spokesmen never cease
Their bold, defensive mania.
Condoleezza says her piece
From distant Lithuania.

Chafee, Hagel, Voinovich,
Stoppin' now, and thinkin';
Could it be? Some sanity?
The party, still, of Lincoln?

For Bolton's bid, it's not too late
To hear of things that taint it.
The Senate's right to full debate
Is truly sacred -- ain't it?

(David Smith)

And Last:

Whan that Aprill, Monthe of Poetrie,
Wolde have us all aspyring Chaucers be,
Whenas a tale related in the Newse
Reveel such witt, as to inclyne the Muse
To drop a merrie verse into thy lappe,
Then send it heere, and winneth ye some crappe.

-- The Style Invitational, Week 606 (Brendan Beary)

More Honorable Mentions appear on washingtonpost.com.

More Honorable Mentions from Week 606 of The Style Invitational, which asked readers to interpret stories from that week's Post in poetic form:

'Juror's Woes Began With a Purchase'

It happened in Old Town Manassas,
Where trouble like this seldom brews,
That a juror got into hot water
For recklessly reading the news.

It's no fun to sit on a jury;
The poor woman needed a break,
But one trip to 7-Eleven
Turned into a costly mistake.

She picked up The Washington Post there;
The Potomac News also she bought.
But this was expressly forbidden;
By videotape she was caught.

Now the judge has thrown out a conviction
(The defense had first sought a mistrial);
The juror may be facing charges
Of perjury for her denial.

So listen up, newspaper junkies,
A bit of advice, if you please:
To stay out of trouble, steer clear of that rag
The Potomac News like a disease.

(Submitted by Donald E. Graham, the big upstairs office)

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

'Manassas Husband's Conviction Quashed'

She bought a newspaper -- an innocent act.
The tape from the store clearly bore out that fact.
But what part of "no" did she not understand,
When the judge warned all news and newspapers were banned?
This juror must've thought she was exempt.
No wonder she's now being held in contempt.

(Jeff Covel, Arlington)

'Armstrong Retiring After Tour de France'

Mr. Armstrong's retiring. It's so long to Lance,
Who is surely deserving of rest. He's
A great hero for owning that ol' Tour de France
And for beating disease in his testes.

(Max Gutmann, Sunnyvale, Calif.)

'Pakistani President Visits India'

Musharraf went to India to meet with P.M. Singh,
To hold some friendly talks and watch some cricket.
They're trying to make nice, 'cause Kashmir's hanging by a string
So neither told the other where to stick it.

(Brendan Beary)

'Filmmaker Sydney Pollack, Doing What He Hates Best,' in which the director talked about the misery of the moviemaking process:

Though he may not have enjoyed his
Work in film, director Sydney
Does admit he likes the outcome
And he did it well, now, dydney?

(Bill Spencer, Exeter, N.H.)

'Sole of the Sneakerhead,' about a collector of valuable athletic shoes :

I grow old, I grow old,
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled,
So you can see my $500 Nike Dunk SBs.

(Mike Cisneros, Centreville)

' Supreme Court to Decide Whether Church Can Import Drug'

Hoasca tea: habitual?
Religious freedom, ritual?
Or quirky Albuquerque freaks?
They'll sip till the Supreme Court speaks.
With Bush they've struck a bitter chord,
Hallucinating for the Lord.

(Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

'Now on DVD: The Sanitizer's Cut'

Some people, while watching "Titanic,"
Get themselves in a virtual panic.
It's not death and destruction they fear,
But a glimpse of Kate Winslet's fine rear.
And when watching them save "Private Ryan,"
They don't mind if you show people dyin'.
But the director ignored rules of war
When he showed all that visceral gore.
What to do when it's not fit for eyes?
Count on CleanFlicks, for they'll sanitize.

(John Shea, Ardmore, Pa.)

Chess column, April 25

I'm sure chess players don't deserve their nerdy reputation,
But "White mates in three moves" is really too much information.

(Brendan Beary)

'For Some, Thumb Pain Is BlackBerry's Stain'

A hundred two e-mails a day
Sent from meetings on my PDA.
My thumbs are too sore
To send any more.
I'm stuck list'ning to what people say.

(Pam Sweeney, Germantown)

'Nationals Stretch Winning Streak to Five'

Higgledy piggledy,
Washington Nationals.
Baseball is back in the
City. Hooray!

Season begins and they
Charge into first, but will
Stumble in May.

(Chris Doyle, Raleigh)

' Church Turns to Its Guardian of the Faith'

Dear Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict Sixteen,
To keep an upbeat image should be first among your goals.
We're all a little sensitive, if you know what I mean,
Whenever we hear tales of Germans coming after Poles.

(Brendan Beary)

'Venerable Papal Tradition: The Very Smoke-Filled Room,' an article on some unsavory episodes surrounding papal selection over the centuries:

Men in red dresses and gold satin sashes,
Locked in a room to send smoke up from ashes.
In history, holiness wasn't the thing:
They did what they had to for that papal ring.

(Michelle Stupak, Ellicott City)

Sony, Toshiba Mull Unified Format to Avoid DVD War

Sony and Toshiba Corp.
Rolled out tatami floor mats,
Sat down and started haggling
On DVDs' new formats.

Who will get to set the trends?
Who remain alive?
In the end, it all depends
Who's got the greater drive.

(David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Radar Used to Track Butterflies' Loop-de-Loops, about a research project that involves fastening a transponder to the butterfly's back:

What's a metaphor? you ask
(Aside from grazing cows in).
It's just the thing a writer needs
To earn his bread and housin'.

Most poets want (nine out of 10)
For any Ode to Spring,
A butterfly to flutter by
So sprightly on the wing.

Now, science's egghead-long rush
To plains of new discovery
Has placed a yoke upon a flight
Once delicate and hovery.

"A butterfly was 'freedom'
For its unencumbered flutter.
And now it's just a cargo plane,"
You hear the poets mutter.

What's the mutter for, you ask?
We poets want our word in:
"They've turned our monarch of the skies
Into a beast of burden."

(John Eggerton, Springfield)

'Pitchers Have Issues With Mound'

The season's only started, but the Nationals have found
Their pitchers have a problem with their footing on the mound.
"No substance in the center" is their big objection; still,
It's Washington, and just the same as on that other Hill.

(Brendan Beary)

'Bush Signs Bankruptcy Bill,' a law that makes it harder to declare bankruptcy; it takes effect in six months:

Just half a year, that's all I've got
To implement my fiendish plot.
Go bankrupt and expire from chills
And stick the doctors with the bills.

(Roy Ashley, Washington)

'My Sharona,' Revealing a Knack for Current Affairs?

The right wing must be shocked to know the President's iPod
Contains a song titled "My Sharona."
It's smutty, and it's puerile. It's disgusting -- oh my God,
It's sung by guys who eat kosher bologna!

(Harvey Smith, McLean)