Week 622: Our Sunday Constitutional

For any offense whatever, members of Congress shall receive punishment on their large seats, delivered with a branch by a common criminal.

This week's contest, suggested by Peter Metrinko of Chantilly, was inspired by the new law, hustled through Congress by Founding Father Sen. Robert Byrd, that all 1.8 million federal employees, plus students at all schools receiving federal funds, must receive "educational and training materials" about the U.S. Constitution. Since so many Washingtonians will soon be perusing this foundation of our society for at least a whole minute, there ought to be at least a magnet in it for them: Write a new article or amendment to the Constitution, using only the words contained in the existing document (including amendments). Remember, this is a humor contest, so don't get all passionate and screedy on us. Winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up gets, direct from Vietnam and donated by Loser Stephen Dudzik of Olney, a bottle of genuine Snake Wine (One Unit). This is an actual bottle of clear wine that contains not only an entire dead cobra placed inside in the striking pose but also a dead scorpion thrown in for extra medicinal value. "Usage: Rheumatism, Lumbago, Sweat of Limbs."

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 losers@washpost.com or, if you really have to, by fax to 202- 334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 15. Put "Images/circlei3.gif" border=0>Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Sept. 4. 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 618, in which we asked you to remedy -- in words set to a recognizable tune -- the lack of a memorable song the District can call its own.

So, so many funny parodies. To stick somewhat to the subject of the city, as well as to winnow the number of worthies, the Empress tossed all submissions relating to a single national political news development (so sorry, Mr. Rove and Ms. Plame), though she used a number of songs about federal and congressional Washington in general. The best rhyme of the week came from Mike Murphy of Munhall, Pa., who rhymed "filibusterin' " with "Van Susteren." We'll spare you the rest of the song, however. In return, do take the opportunity to see the many more parodies on the Style Invitational page on washingtonpost.com.

{diam}Third runner-up:

To the middle of "Bohemian Rhapsody":

I see a vendor with a cutout of a man:
"Pres'den' Boosh! Pres'den' Boosh!
Would you like a nice photo?"
Tourists find delighting -- very, very frightening me.
"Take a photo, take a photo, take a photo, take a photo" --
Can't you all please just go ho-o-o-ome?

(Eric Murphy, Chicago)

{diam}Second runner-up: To "Begin the Beguine":

When they descend on D.C.
The lobbyists swarm like flies on manure.
The city becomes an ethical sewer
When they descend on D.C.

They're with us once more, handing out treats
With junkets galore, and influence-peddling,
So much to abhor! Congressional meddling!
When they descend on D.C.

(Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

{diam}First runner-up, winner of the CD "The Symphonic Whistler": To "Midnight Train to Georgia":

Ooh, the Beltway proved too much for my van,
It's the hottest day of summer and I'm about to overheat.
'Cause I've got the AC cranking as I inch along in traffic;
I've been out here for an hour
And I ain't gone a hundred feet.

Nothing's movin' from Wisconsin out to Georgia.
Yeah the Inner Loop is gridlock, as it is most every day.
But I'm determined to make the best of my inertia;
I just suck in those exhaust fumes and pretend I'm in L.A.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker:

To "Anything Goes":

They come from Texas and Nebraska,
They're coming here from Alaska with resumes.
Everyone stays!

They say their stay is temporary,
That life here is just a very short passing phase -- Everyone stays!
They all love to schmooze today 'bout the news today,
Pass a bill today on the Hill today,
Get a spouse today and buy a house today.
And then they don't ever leave!

Some folks insist they miss home places
So full of familiar faces, where cattle graze
And everyone prays!

Though Bob Dole said he'd be returning,
I never see Bob Dole yearning for Kansas days.
Everyone stays!

(Barbara Sarshik, McLean)

{diam}Honorable Mentions

To "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On":

Come on out to D.C., whole lotta takin' goin' on;
Palms getting greasy, those lobbyists know how to fawn.
I ain't fakin', whole lotta takin' goin' on.
When the slop starts a-flowin', ya gotta belly on up to the trough.
If Ethics wants to grill ya, just hold your head high and scoff.
And, if you're really, really cookin', you might find your own Abramoff. (Nick Curtis,


To "A Wonderful Guy" from "South Pacific":

Nothing's deader than D.C. in August
Once you see Congress adjourn and shut down.
That's just as well, 'cause it's hotter than hell
And we all want to clear out of town.

Atmosphere like an open-air sauna:
So stinking muggy you fear you could drown.
Patience runs out and all stand up and shout,
"I must leave, I must leave, I must leave, I must leave, I must leave from this horrible town!" (Brendan Beary)

To "It Don't Come Easy":

No vote in D.C., You got no vote in D.C.
You know that you will lose:
There's no senator to choose
'Cause you got no vote in D.C.
Don't bother to shout, you are just left out
'Cause you got no vote in D.C.
Taxation without representation:
Washington is second class
To the whole rest of the nation . . .

(Jeff Wadler, Ocean Pines, Md.)

To "New York, New York":

Start spinning the news, they're leaking today,
Right where they make an art of it: D.C., D.C.
They win or they lose, but still they all stay
And play their pompous parts in it. D.C., D.C.
I want to shake up those loudmouth media creeps,
Then climb up Capitol Hill, and tell off those [bleeps]!
The Democrat Blues are whining, Reds say.
They both should put a sock in it --
In old D.C.
If they can fake it there,
they'll take it everywhere.
You know it's true! D.C., D.C.!

(Phil Berardelli and Jessie Thorpe, McLeaN)

To "Another Brick in the Wall":

We don't get no representation.
We don't get pothole patrols.
No learning goes on in our classrooms.
We ain't got no hope at all.
Hey! Congress! Leave us all alone!

(Gary Patishnock, Laurel)

To "Roxanne":

Glenmont, you're now at the end of the Red Line.
My commute got shorter,
I don't have to drive that Pontiac of mine.
Glenmont, I don't have to get no parking fine,
Ride the Metro to D.C.,
I don't care what it says on the street sign. . . . (Russell Beland, Springfield)

To "Walk Like an Egyptian":

Hear your con-gress-man, he cam-paigns
A-bout how god-aw-ful this place is.
If you don't send him back (oh-way-oh)
He'll just move here as a lobbyist.
All the tourist groups on the Mall
Wanna see the pandas, don't you know.
They don't move too quick (oh-way-oh) on the escalator to the Red Metro.
College kids with their internships say
Ay oh way-oh, ay oh way oh,
Let's go to Washington. (Pam Sweeney, Germantown)

More Honorable Mentions from Week 618 of The Style Invitational, songs about Washington, set to a recognizable tune:

To "Sixteen Tons":

They play sixteen games, and what do you get?
Your heart broke to pieces and your stomach upset.
There ain't much on which the whole city agrees,
But to root for the Skins is our common disease.

Well, this city was built on folks like us;
Our misplaced allegiance is considered a plus.
'Tween the Skins and the Beltway, we just can't hide
Our masochist streak runnin' eight lanes wide.

They play sixteen games, that's more than enough;
It's like watchin' tree sloths playin' blindman's bluff.
St. Peter, I beg you, don't bother to call
'Cause Hell is where you can find me each fall.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

To "America" ("My Country 'Tis of Thee"):

Washington, D of C,
Thou art undoubtedly
The great pork farm.

President Kennedy
Sagely ascribed to thee
Southern efficiency
And Northern charm.

(Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

To "Bridge Over Troubled Water":

When you're teary, 'bout to bawl,
When traffic's at a crawl, and you've hit a wall;
I'm up ahead when things get rough
And detours can't be found,
I'm that bridge named for Woodrow Wilson,
I will slow you down.

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

To "Sherry":

Che-e-e-e-e-e-e-rry blo-os-som, cherry blossom,
Che-er-rry, can you come out on time? (Come come, come out on time . . . )

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

To "By the Beautiful Sea":

In D.C., in D.C., in newsworthy D.C.,
We make sport of the Court and its new nominee,
When the right wing comes weighin' in,
How the left will spin,
They'll all set the leaks and blogs a-rolling.

Sides polarized to the left and the right,
Get a fork, dish up pork, while the extremists fight,
Isn't it funny how we seem to spend the money,
Without taxing anybody in sight.

(Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

To "Paint It Black":

I see a concrete wall and want to paint it Borf.
No blankness anymore, I want it to say Borf.
I see the folks walk by dressed in their business clothes,
I have to wait till later when the darkness grows.

I see a line of signs and they're all tagged with Borf.
Graffiti marks the mall, the bridges, and the wharf . . .
Last night the cops caught me at Seventh Street and V.
No more will my graffiti decorate D.C.

So now I'm locked away and my new troubles dwarf
The things that worried me when I was only Borf. . . .

(Chris Doyle)

To "Bohemian Rhapsody":

This is the capital?
Washington, D of C?
Caught in a gridlock,
It's a great traffic insanity.

Open your eyes, look up to the signs and see:
"Expect more delays" -- I need more apathy
Because I'm driving home, stop and go,
A little fast, mostly slow.

Anytime the wind blows, traffic patterns shatter D.C. . . .
I see the cars of the troopers on the picket
Buckle up! Buckle up! Or you're going to get a ticket!
Flashing lights and siren, very very tirin'.

Hey! In the tunnel, In the tunnel, In the tunnel, In the tunnel . . . no radio-o-o-o-o-o

(Beau Bigelow, Annapolis)

To "Proud Mary":

Nationals go on a road trip;
Hop a team bus leaving RFK.
Come back 10 days later,
Everybody wonder
How could all their cars have been taken away?

The hard way is how you're learnin'
Your car is not returnin'.
Stolen, stolen, stolen in the District.
It's become an epidemic;
The rate they're getting taken has become obscene.

Now they're gettin' nervous
At the Secret Service;
They can't find the presidential limousine.
One fact there's no debating:
You're through with motorcading
Stolen, stolen, stolen in the District.

(Brendan Beary)

To "I Left My Heart in San Francisco":

I left my purse in Adams Morgan
With the mugger who stole it there.
And now my little credit cards
Are charged halfway to the stars
And the policeman over there
Just doesn't care . . .

(Beth Morgan, Palo Alto, Calif.)

To "The Banana Boat Song":

D.C., me say D.C.,
Daylight gone and I just coming home.
D.C., me say D.C.,
Daylight gone and I just coming home.

Work all day till my brain is numb!
Daylight come and we're just getting home.
Sit on Metro or in traffic jam!
Daylight come and we're just getting home. . . .

It's six lanes, seven lanes, eight lanes, STOP!
Daylight come and we're just getting home . . .

(Ira R. Allen, Bethesda)

To "California Girls":

Of all the Eastern cities, Washington, D.C.'s the jewel,
But if you come to see it in the summertime, you're just a doggone fool.
Smithsonian museums are a gorgeous sight to see
Unless your gender is the feminine kind and you're 10th in line to pee.
Don't you wish you were somewhere else right no-owwww?

(Dianne Thomas, Fairfax)

To "Mrs. Robinson":

Expletive you, Peter Angelos,
You're why there's no Nats games we can see
On TV.
Go take a hike, Peter Angelos,
Baltimore's not far enough away,
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey . . .

(Brendan Beary)

To "Leaving on a Jet Plane":

Well, my shoes fell off, I'm runnin' scared
I lit out when the sirens blared,
If my luck holds, I can save my sorry hide.
See, the radar's flagged a craft unknown
In D.C.'s air exclusion zone,
So they're herding us in haste to get outside.
Hey, you there, in front of me! Move your tail more rapidly!
If you have to, ditch the walker and just crawl!
'Cause I'm fleein' from a jet plane, seekin' less exposed terrain
Than the targets on the Mall.

(Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)

To "Surrey With the Fringe on Top":

Right and left, they always will squabble
On the steps of imported marble,
On the steps of imported marble
With the dome on top.

Watch the fringe and see how they flutter
When you balance the guns and the butter.
Newsie blokes will wallow in the gutter and a plea you'll cop
'Neath that gleaming, steaming building with the dome on the top.

(Ira R. Allen)

To "Yesterday":

Yesterday, Mayor Barry seemed so far away
Now he's back -- why can't he stay away?
It's like the movie "Groundhog Day."

(Dan Hupfer, Springfield)

To "Some Enchanted Evening":

D.C. thrives on gossip.
Information's power.
If you're on the inside,
You know, you've got it made.

It's all whom you know.
The rest is all show.
And never forget those whose favors you begged.
Politics is fickle.

If you're in a pickle,
You may find that, next thing,
You're outside looking in.
If you've got the goods, you'll merit the crown.
But please just remember, what goes up comes down.

(Michelle Stupak, Ellicott City)

To "Love Potion #9":

I took my campaign to the voters' booth
And told them that we always spoke the truth
We got elected on a straight party line
And now I'm voting for S. 1429.

All of my constituents are just old hicks,
I've been winning since 1956.
They look up to me and vote every time
So now I'm passing S. 1429.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

To "Fly Me to the Moon":

Washington's a town
Where groups all beg for subsidies,
Politicians, clowns
And lobb'yists down there on their knees.
Believe me folks, for it's true:
Washington steals from you.

(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

To "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas":

We think the only people who are people
Are the people who think just the way we do.
We think the only thoughts that are worth thinking
Are the thoughts on Pennsylvania Avenue.

We treat each burning issue like a horse race.
We know who's on the shortlist and who's toast.
We worship Sundays at the Church of Russert.
All week long we love to memorize The Post.

We have never heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon,
But we know which regulations to rescind.
We'll pass legislation subsidizing windmills,
But we'll never see the colors of the wind.

(Barbara Sarshik, McLean)

To "Galveston":

Washington, oh Washington,
I still hear your pundits screamin',
I still see your traffic streamin',
I was 41 when I left Washington.

Washington, oh Washington,
Parking cops are still a-towin',
And the manhole covers blowin',
I'll raise some funds, and dream of Washington.

But the voters living back in Podunk
After one term put me out to sea,
And now my bitter enemy
Gets perks and pork by metric ton.

Washington, oh Washington,
I am so afraid of dyin'
Before the votes I finish buyin'
Or get caught molestin' someone's teenage son,
And cannot run for Washington.

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

To "Lola":

I won a little vote out in old Fargo
Where they pick guys who look just like Howdy Doody. D-O-O-Doody
I came to D.C. and I fell in a trance,
They asked what I'd fund and in an dull, dull voice I said "OSHA. O-S-H-A, OSHA" . . .

(Russell Beland)

To "Mellow Yellow"

My mail is tested for anthrax,
At Dulles, I take off my shoes.
Museum guards poke through my handbags
To see if I'm hiding a fuse.
My terror level's yellow (quite fright'f'ly) . . .

(Mark Eckenwiler)

To "New York, New York"

Start spending the loot, I'm running again
I want to stay in charge of it, that grand old pork.
That government cash will fuel my campaign
I'll spend billions of it, that grand old pork.
I wanna give out money that I didn't make
And while on Capitol Hill, I'm on the take.
Those ethics rules are just in my way
I'll build a lot of roads with it, that grand old pork
If I can't spent it here, I'll spend it over there
It's all for you, that grand old pork.

(Russell Beland)

To "Take Me Out to the Ball Game":

Clean me out for a ballpark
Tax me up to the hilt
Why make the owners assume the risk?
Charge the cost to the citizens' fisc!

(Mark Eckenwiler)

To the "Major-General's Song":

For visiting our capital we've certain rules of etiquette,
Flyover-land can have you back if we don't think you get it yet.
Don't come here in a tractor, and reflecting pools are not your tub,
Don't try your luck and fly here in a Cessna or a Piper Cub.

Just park and ride the Metro down to Pennsylvania Avenue,
But do stand to the right or we'll inquire if you have a clue.
And then we'll mock your clothing and your diets full of calories,
And never think to thank you 'cause your taxes pay our salaries . . .

And when you visit Congress don't solicit all the interns fair,
Just find the nearest men's room -- all their phone numbers are written there.
Don't feed the bums or pigeons, mention bombs, or into Georgetown drive,
And almost all your family might depart from Washington alive.

(Michael Fransella, Arlington)

To "Where the Streets Have No Name":

I've been lost for over two hours,
Crossed into Maryland twice,
Trying to find my friend's house
He lives on the Hill -- I'm going back to Va.
All the streets are one-way.
All the streets are one-way.

(Richard Allen, Durham, N.C.)

To "Rocky Mountain High":

He came to see the District, he came to see the sights,
The White House, the Mall, the Air & Space.
And he came to kick his heels up in Georgetown Friday nights,
But he knew he'd never find a parking space

So he took the train to Foggy Bottom-GWU.
He got on the Red and then he changed to Blue
If you're heading out to Georgetown, the stop it's closest to
Is Foggy Bottom-GWU (Next stop Rosslyn) . . .

(Chris Russell, Waldorf)