Picture this: Bush’s paintings, and a non-Long winner

Two topics stood out in the final week of the Observer’s limericks contest: former President Bush’s paintings of world leaders, and half-joking bitterness over the success of John Long and son Wes Long in this contest.

We’ll bow to those pleas and give this week’s top honors to Phil Clutts of Harrisburg. Clutts combined two stories: Climate change driven partly by methane gas from cattle, and an N.C. car emissions inspector sent to prison for fraud:

A man who thinks that crime pays,

Could be punished in several ways.

Let’s save the globe,

And make the guy with the probe,

Test cows for the rest of his days.

Much to some poets’ consternation, though, the contest’s grand prize goes to John Long of Stanley, the winner of Weeks 1 and 2, who sent in another strong batch.

Dubya says, “A fine artist I ain’t,

But my portraits are charming and quaint.

It’s world leaders I cover,

I’ll start on another,

When Dick tells me which one to paint.”

Charlotte Haberyan of Charlotte also weighed in on Bush’s painting:

Barbara Bush likes her son’s newfound art,

Painting leaders and friends from the heart.

She hung them with taste

Using magnets and paste

On the fridge with his horsey and cart.

Anne Yenne of Charlotte says the talk of another possible Cold War reminds her of the one with intercontinental ballistic missiles. She offers a triple entendre.

We then had a puppy named Shem

At the time of the Cold War stratagem.

It snowed and snowed more,

Shemmie pawed at the door

To go out for an ICBM.

Several writers think the fix is in for John and Wes Long, who have dominated this contest for years. Among the frustrated:

Peter McCormack of Cornelius:

It would be nice to all have a chance,

But you could see at the very first glance,

If you are Wes Long

You can’t ever be wrong

When the judge has a steamy bro-mance.

And John Howard of Charlotte:

Are the entries this week worth a look?

Nah. Just the same old gobbledygook.

Why can’t you make room

For fresh plants to bloom

And let Long and his boys write a book.

And J.J. Holshouser of Charlotte:

What a taxing four weeks it has been.

Rhymed my best, just could not get the win.

Seems McGloughlin and Long

Have a hold that’s too strong.

Would it help if I slipped you a ten?

Thanks, everyone, for making the 19th contest a lot of fun. See you next year!

Other strong entries from Week 4:

Wilford Eury:

I thought that my subject was strong,

The rhyming or rhythm not wrong.

It never got published

Went straight to the rubbish

Perhaps 'cause my last name's not Long?


Wes Long on Vladimir Putin’s divorce; he envisions Putin taking out ads seeking a new companion:

Like Russian vodka? Getting caught in rain?

Former G8 leaders? Slightly insane?

If you like to ride horse,

And men shirtless, of course.

Contact me, you could be Queen of Ukraine.


And another on Vlad’s divorce…

I heard from a very good source,

Half of Russia he lost in divorce.

Though I hate to dish dirt,

Putin sure lost his shirt,

But he’s happy without it, of course.


Roe Boothby:

NC's roadwork is now "data-driven" --

Foolish me, thinking that was a given.

  No more deals behind curtains,

  Still, I'm pretty certain

485 won't be fixed while I'm livin'.


Ken Burrows:

For that tingling taste on the tongue,

For a product now bought for a song,

For a touch of Nirvana

From med. marijuana . . . 

Is it so wrong to long for a bong?


Charleen Bolt, on a curling center opening in Mecklenburg:

For me curling's a sport they can keep

In Canada where the ice is feet deep.

Pushing stones a big deal?

I don't see the appeal.

Enough around here I need to sweep.


John Long, on a man exposing himself in a Rowan County library:

This librarian earned her renown,

As the most proper lady in town,

When a man dropped his trou,

Yelling "Look at me now,"

She asked him to please keep it down.


Bob Aldrich:

A lewd flasher, it seems, was in doubt

Over what a book loan is about.

He knew books could be banned,

But did not understand

What the library lets you take out.


Bill McGloughlin:

With new voices and old, it’s been fun,

But it really is for everyone.

If you’re wanting to win,

I’d suggest you send in

An entendre (times 2) and a pun.


Number nineteen is over and gone,

And we have in our midst an icon,

So with obvious cause,

And a round of applause,

Let’s all hail the return of King John.


Ross Levin:

The Lord would not wait or be late,

as he waited with guitar on this date.

First duet he would play

with excitement this day,

as Arthur Smith appeared at the gate.


Michael Childs on possible evidence of voter fraud:

"Don't jump to conclusions," Bob Hall said,

Leaping swiftly to his own instead.

His premise so strong

That 'fraud' is just wrong

Won't be swayed by votes of the dead.


Houston VanHoy:

The ACC fan's prayer is plucky:

"Our conference's teams were not lucky.

Hear the plea of this sinner:

When choosing Your winner,

Lord, please let it not be Kentucky."