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The Observer Politics & Public Policy Limericks Contest


From Mars to the Vatican to Rowan, limerick writers dive in

By Taylor Batten
Editorial Page Editor

You, too, can write limericks. But first, read this.

To write a good limerick, the first rule is to understand the specific rhyme scheme and the specific meter.

If you want to win the Observer’s 18th annual limericks contest, I have bad news; if you want to be entertained, I have great news: Father-and-son duo John and Wes Long are as clever as ever, as is Bill McGloughlin. Your work is cut out for you, as is mine.

We received 175 entries in the first week of this year’s contest, from as far away as Great Britain and Oregon. About a third were very good.

Keep the entries coming. And do your best to mimic the meter this week’s winners follow.

This week’s prize goes to Charlotte’s McGloughlin, a contest veteran who wins despite, not because, he sent in 16 entries. His best was one of many that tapped into news from the Vatican:

There are whispers from Rome’s Holy See

About who the next pope ought to be.

Someone smooth, who can handle

Both the press and a scandal,

So Bill Clinton says, “How about me?”

McGloughlin also noticed a bill in the N.C. legislature that would make topless women criminals:

Disrespect for authority triples

As it spreads through the culture in ripples,

But the General Assembly,

Standing firm, never trembly,

Will protect us from scofflaws with nipples.

Past champion John Long of Stanley saw that a Rowan County group is offering gun training to teachers.

My West Rowan teacher, Miss Suzie,

Totes a gun, and it’s really a doozie,

In her lecture, she roared,

“Yes the pen beats the sword,

But neither’s a match for my Uzi.”

Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea gave Long an idea:

Kim Jong Un loves the hoops, so they say,

And a gift just might keep him at bay,

It’s a great sacrifice,

But for peace, worth the price,

Let’s ship him the Bobcats today!

Long’s son, Wes, of Cramerton, is the two-time defending champion. He comes out of the gate quickly, writing off of a man convicted of selling fake Viagra and Cialis:

My fine reputation’s been marred.

I’m shaken and mentally scarred.

What I bought from that jerk,

Well, it just didn’t work.

At least his time served will be hard.

Long was among many who picked up on horse meat found in one of Ikea’s menu items.

The meatball I once so admired

Turned out to be less than desired,

Ikea’s medallion

Was ten percent stallion,

And had some assembly required.

Reader Robert Schechter also wrote about horse meat, in burgers at British Burger Kings.

The sign said, “We serve Angus cattle,”

So why was each bite such a battle?

I found out the truth

When I busted a tooth

On a piece of an old leather saddle.

Finally, Roe Boothby of Wadesboro won’t be taking investor Dennis Tito up on his offer to fly a married couple to Mars:

Fly to Mars with my hubby? Can’t wait!

Sixteen months in a capsule, no break,

Drinking recycled urine,

No elbow room during,

That’s togetherness we two can’t take!

Other strong limericks this week:

Ken Burrows of Charlotte wrote about North Carolina’s special driver’s licenses for certain immigrants:

Pink licenses! Wow, what a coup.

Is that really the best we can do?

“Shame an alien for spite!”

Well, at least there’s some light

Since the pols’ terms are limited, too.

Reader Mike Kelley is not so sure Michelle Obama is an ideal role model:

An academy award she has given.

Slim arms, nice clothes, she is driven.

Hand-jiving with Fallon,

New bangs from the salon.

Standards young girls should be livin’?

Reader Mike Tuggle took exception to Gov. Pat McCrory’s suggestion that universities should only be teaching subjects that help students get jobs, and not liberal arts.

Pat’s liberal arts editorial

Struck many as prosecutorial.

His crude accusation

Against education

Made Pat appear "Goober"-natorial.

Contest veteran Loyd Dillon of Charlotte noted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was not invited to this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

No Christie at CPAC’s big dance?!

The grumbling: "Too big for his pants."

Referring to girth(?),

They skipped him with mirth,

"Gov’nor Christie here? Ho, ho, fat chance!"

A number of readers wrote limericks about sequestration. Kathy El-Assal’s was among the best:

The budget fail brought sequestration,

And partisan manifestation.

From DC, dispatches

Said: "Batten down hatches--

Expect a B.S. inundation!"

Bob Aldrich of Lake Waccamaw, like most of us, is forced to spend too much to fill up his car.

For those folks in the fixed income class

There are purchases they have to pass.

With the prices they’ve seen

For their cars’ gasoline

Their reaction has been to pass gas.

Joel Zauss of Charlotte noticed that the Observer would be awarding prizes “commensurate with this level of competition.” He got the joke:

Dear Observer, I’m not gonna snow ya.

We’ve a grand batch of limericks to show ya.

The prizes we’ll revel

Are “commensurate” level.

So just tell us how much we owe ya!

Steve Kardisco of Hickory has a suggestion for cutting government spending:

The president said with disdain.

The G.O.P. will cause us great pain.

But if he wants to save money,

I suggest he and his honey,

stay at home and just park that damn plane.

We could include many more from Wes and John Long, but that would only frustrate people like Charlotte Haberyan of Charlotte. So we’ll close with her recognizing the competition she’s up against:

I’d rather drink milk that’s gone wrong

Or shop for antiques in a thong

Than try to defeat,

Hang with, or compete

Against limerick penners named "Long."

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