Style Invitational Week 1374: ‘Versus’ verses
We again salute ‘Epic Rap Battles of History’; plus winning feats of wordplay on names.
Image without a caption
Pat Myers
March 5, 2020 at 10:03 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the winners of our contest for using only the letters in someone’s name to write about that person)

And it’s Che Guevara, 1950s Latin revolutionary turned left-wing middle-class icon!
vs. Guy Fawkes, failed plotter against the British crown in 1605!
in an Epic Rap Battle of History!

CHE: I got my face on a magnet on your roommate’s fridge!
Your head is on a spike up on London Bridge!
GUY: I’m Catholic, I’ve got Mass when I’m rappin’!
You’re an ump-Che! (That’s Bay of Pigs Latin.)

Mother Teresa vs. Sigmund Freud! Jacques Cousteau vs. Steve Irwin! Joker vs. Pennywise! Ronald McDonald vs. the Burger King! These are just a few of the recent Epic Rap Battles of History, a hugely popular series of videos — 14 million YouTube subscribers — that The Style Invitational last saluted all the way back in 2012, at the suggestion of Loser Mike Gips, who reminded the Empress that the franchise is still going strong.


Not-so-great shakes: A Space Needle ring-toss snow globe.
Not-so-great shakes: A Space Needle ring-toss snow globe.
It’s time to lay down some new ink. And now that it’s so much easier to make a video these days — you can even put in the lyrics — we hope some of you will give us something to watch and listen to as well as to read on the page.

This week: Write a mini-“rap battle” between any two characters, real or fictional, as in the ERB example above, which quotes two couplets from a 2½-minute video. By mini-, we mean one or two rhyming couplets per character — so four to eight lines total. (If you’re doing a video, you can go much longer, but it has to be fun to watch, even without fancy production values. To submit it, post it on YouTube and send us a link, along with the lyrics. You can have an extra week to make it.)

A note on the rhyming: This rap contest differs from other Invite poetry and song contests in that the Empress won’t demand “perfect rhyme,” especially in a video; normally she’d just trash-toss “rappin’ ”/“Latin,” as in the Che-Guy example. But perfect rhyme is still a big plus — and don’t even think of “rhyming,” say, “Illinois” and “groin,” as does one of the Epics.


Submit up to a total of 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, March 16 (videos March 23); results will appear April 5 in print, April 2 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Loser Travel Souvenir 2-Pak: (a) a snow globe containing a little snowy Seattle Space Needle and some little rings that you try to toss over the Needle when you shake the globe (the Empress succeeded only in dislodging the little Mount Rainier behind it); and (b) one of those oval letter-code decals for your car, this one for the Florida Keys; it says “FK.” The globe was donated years and years ago by Loser Cheryl Davis; the decal is from neo-Floridian Nan Reiner.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Too-Weak Notice” or “Certificate of (de) Merit.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Wit’s in a Name” is by Chris Doyle: Chris and Tom Witte both submitted the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.


The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, reviews each new contest and set of results. Check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Wit's in a name: The ink from Week 1370
In Week 1370 the Empress asked you to write about someone using only the letters in that person’s name, along with an optional short title. We got some amazing entries, including a full-page synopsis of “Hamilton” and a full-on Trump tweetstorm (see the bottom of the column). The entries were written before the Democratic field shrank; we think the ones about the now-ex-candidates are still worth sharing.

4th place:
Stormy Daniels: Donald meets me, eyes my sensational ta-tas and smiles. I’m starry-eyed. Soon I’m led to a room and, er, nailed. Ardor? Nada. It seemed sorta seedy to me, a one-and-done tryst. At any rate, ten years later I’m sent an NDA and money (a lot!) to stay silent. I’m told, “Don’t mention it to anyone — or else.” I’m really rattled, and I do it. So yesterday I retained an attorney, and I’m not intimidated anymore. I intend to tell my story — in all its messy, nasty details. And a Mario toadstool’s in it! (Sorry, Melania.) (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


3rd place:
Michael Bloomberg: Commercial, commercial, commercial . . . (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

2nd place
and the nifty noodly hat:
Gwyneth Paltrow: Hot new talent, hype galore. Won the top honor! Then went totally loopy, won the lottery with Goop — e.g., Goopglow, Goop Glow-Getter. What are they? Plant taproot? Hog tallow? Eagle poop? Are they healthy? Worry not. They were on Oprah. The wealthy now want, want, want! (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Senator Elizabeth Warren: She's so able, so aware! Nah, we want a bro. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Appellation fail: Honorable mentions
Neil Armstrong: Millions stare at sets as Eagle settles on moon. Astronomers see timeless glories as original images roll in. A stage is set, soon more great NASA missions to sail again to stars — an’ Mars. Neil orates: “One small stroll to me, one giant milestone to man” (more or less). (Donna Saady, Rockville, Md.)


Kim Jong Un: “I’m nuking Kokomo!” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Stephen Miller: “Pile them in steel pens — the little peeps, the preteens. This is the repellent!” His enemies? Helpers, lenient men. His limits? Nein. (Frank Mann, Washington)

Charles Darwin: He sailed, saw hidden areas, was in awe. His science ideas were called chic, and derided as insane. And see! Here is his award:
Dan and Earl’s idea: a dare, a wild car race in hail and rain! Dawn, red cars race . . . Earl’s ahead! And here’s Dan! Whaaa? Slides! A wall! Crashes! The news headline: “New Darwin Award winners.” (Diane Lucitt, Ellicott City, Md.)

Attorney General William Barr: “I agree.” (Angry Twitter rant by T.) “I no longer agree.” (Steve Smith)

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven: He lost his hearing, but his marvelous music is loved all over the world: overtures, sonatas, concertos — we treasure it all. But the best was last: In the Ninth he hit a home run! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)


Rush Limbaugh: I’m a bigass humbug, a brash liar. I laugh as I bash libs. USA! (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Rush Limbaugh: Ugh. (Nan Reiner, Boca Raton, Fla.)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “An elected Latina socialist! A ditz!” cries Not At All Sexist Don. “A terrorist! Exit! Reenter old lands!” cries Not At All Racist Don.
Donnie, AOC is a local. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

Christopher Columbus: I suppose this is the spot! Cool! It’s ours! Uh, hello, people . . . (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Alan Dershowitz: Does Don’s dirt, shreds law. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

Vladimir Putin: “Mai dir Trump, u did vut I vantid. Vail dun.” (Sarah Walsh)

Melania Trump: I’m lamentin’ maintainin’ an appallin’ unappealin’ immature petulant partner in a perpetual marital trap. (Jesse Frankovich)


Senator Lindsey Graham: “My giddiest memory in the last three years is the time I got to slither at Donny’s heels and admire his shoes. . .” (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Greta Thunberg: Be a great nature nagger, get a better Earth. (Kevin Mettinger, Warrenton, Va.)

George and Kellyanne Conway: Wow, awkward! George can knock Donald all day. Kellyanne, a loyal ally, can only call Donald good. George and Kellyanne are angry, y’all. Really angry. Agree on Donald? No way! George and Kellyanne are wed? We’d wager not long. (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: A boy? I’m a mature guy. Gay? True, but I got game — ARMY game. I’m your top bet to beat Trump — big time. Yo, Mr. Mega-Braggart-Pu**y-Grabber: Bite me! (Chris Doyle)

Florida Man: Informal, amoral, non-normal, random oaf. Marlin fan, florid drain aroma, no molar, nomad-on-lam; mania for mom, a minor, an animal, or a minor animal mom. Fond of foil, flim-flam, a marina drama, an alarm, a fail. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)


[Astros player] Alex D. Bregman: A garbageman rang an alarm. BANG! BANG! Alex and gang earned an edge… and a banner. Nabbed! Damn! MLB enraged: “game demeaned, brand endangered!” A deal emerged. Manager and general manager are blamed. Er, ex-manager and general manager. (Steve Smith)

Prince Harry: Heir epiphany: Happier here in periphery, nary a peer in reach. Rear Archie near an inane, archaic, crappy, creepy hierarchy? Nay! (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Bernie Sanders: Derides brand-dressed earners as diseased, inbred sinners; disdains insiders as bribed. N.B.: Drab-dressed Bern’s addresses raise insane bread! (Duncan Stevens)

Duncan Stevens: Suave Duncan sends aces — vast, decent, even nuanced. Dense Dave S. sends uneven duds. SAD! (Dave Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va., a First Offender)

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg: Not a Bernie Bro nor Barry Obama, but a popular antitotalitarian multilingual military man, patriot, millennial, guitar/piano-player, one-time mayor, in a legitimate marriage (not to belittle Melania). Pro: paying more money to any earner, gun re-buy, legal pot, reparation. Prob: Get better ability to entertain (i.e. boring); minority number not booming (i.e. too pale); generation gap (i.e. a mere baby). Openly gay man? Yep! No biggie. Normal Pete reply: “Bye, bigot! Better get outta my lane.” (Kevin Mettinger)

President Donald John Trump: I’m the top man. No illusions. This top mind has no delusions. The nonstop, super-duper master o’ disaster. The topper and most proper hate stopper in the Middle East. I’m so phat (that’s Prettiest Hot And Temptin’, to all the jealous haters and the partisan traitors) that all the ladies let me hold them in these not so tiniest hands. It’s time the simple-minded Demo-rats in the loser press stop printin’ their lies and tell the truth. I’m the most triumphant, all-time leader on this and all other planets. Not Pluto. Pluto’s not a planet. I hate planets that aren’t planets no more. I mean real planets: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and that’s it. Those are all the real planets. There’s more? No there isn’t. Those people at NASA are all total liars. Pees out, stupid humps. — atrealdonaldtrump (Jon Gearhart)

Alexander Hamilton: Exited natal land to enter another nation… er, a land in the hand o’ the red-attire men. I married the middle dame in a home that had a dollar and another dollar and more. Men in the nation are mad, “no taxation” and all that.

Red-attire men enter the nation, their intention to exterminate the notion that the men not in the land don’t head it. The nation had no militia, made one, had a tall militia man head it. I’m the aide to the tall militia man; not on the line in the heat, rather a letter and another letter and another. More red-attire men enter, intimidate, terminate; the militia in the nation don’t holler “Mama!”, rather the militia had little metal ammo and hit them. I’d rather hit them too.

Near the end, I hear the tall head militia man tell me, “Alex, head the militia in that area to annihilate the red-attire men.” The militia and I hit them, and all the red-attire men exit the nation to their homeland. A real nation! Hoorah!

In a little time, the tall militia man the exalted Nation Head, named me One Man ‘Neath Nation Head. He named Tom, the D-R head, Other Man ’Neath Nation Head. Tom hated me – the tall militia man did more that I told him than that Tom told him.

At that time, I made an error. Another man had married a dame named Maria; I had Maria in a dirtier manner. The married man demanded I tender him a note or three or ten or more to not tell, and I tendered him more than one note. Tom learned I did that, and he did not tell.

A little time later, the tall militia man told the nation, “I am not to remain nation head.” The next nation head, little Mr. A., demoted me. Then I made a letter that told all that Maria and I did, and I told all the nation. I’m a moron.

Later, Aaron (next Man ’Neath Nation Head”) hated me; he told men I hindered him. He and I had little metal ammo and tried to hit one another. I did not hit him; he hit me. In a little time, I exited the mortal realm… or in another more normal term, I died.

A lot more time later, Lin Miranda read a tome and made a theater drama on me! It made a dollar and another dollar and another – Lin had a hit! I remain on the ten-dollar note! I’m the man in demand! One more hoorah! Tom and Aaron are mad in their eternal dirt… I mandate that their ethereal material exit the arena and do it alone in a dirtier manner. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

Pat Myers: Empress sets parameters, assesses attempts at repartee, separates. Rare smart mastery: yes, sees press! Rest: errata — smarmy, seamy, taste-astray spate. Passes. (Duncan Stevens)

Pat Myers: Psst, Empress! Yes, my yammers rate a pyre. Yet a sap may pray: May my eyes yet see me reap a paper’s seamy type? (Nan Reiner)

Still running — deadline March 9: our contest for “reviews” of various items listed on Amazon. See

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.