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Slappy Bumday, Spilliam Wooner!

What’s that you say? Royal behbeh? No, no, no…much more important: today is the 169th birthday of the man who gave a name to getting your murds wixed.

Reverend William Archibald Spooner was born in London in 1844. He was an albino. That doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I bet you’re thinking, “holy shit — Reverend Spooner was an albino!” So I led with that. I aim to please.

Spooner was an Anglican priest and a lecturer at Oxford for 60 years. So, a clever man. Which is probably why when he misspoke he didn’t speak gibberish, like you and me. He made a horrible, twisted kind of sense. Like, “it is kisstomary to cuss the bride”. Although the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations contends there is only one confirmed Spoonerism and the rest were made up by his students.

Stupid Oxford Dictionaries. Forever shitting in my oatmeal. Screw ’em, here’s some of my favorites (whoever really said them):

■ A toast to “our queer old dean” instead of “our dear old Queen”
■ He also supposedly informed her majesty that he had in his bosom a “half-warmed fish” for which he meant “half-formed wish”
■ Calling farmers “ye noble tons of soil”
■ “A well-boiled icicle” for “well-oiled bicycle”
■ “Blushing crow” for “crushing blow”
■ And then there’s this: “Mardon me padom, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?”

Oh, and the title graphic? Our Lord is a loving shepherd.

Also, you can talk about that other obscure British birthday if you want.


Comment from Nina
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:06 pm

Awwwwww, c’mon, y’all will have three kings in a row…surely that is worth celebrating?

I was hoping for a girl, myself. Like anyone but me actually cares.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:11 pm

Did he come up with “Fuck you, you fucking fucks!”

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:14 pm

He also said (supposedly) “Kinquering congs their titles take…”

I wonder – was he related to Lysander Spooner, the American abolitionist/anarchist?

Comment from Anonymous
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:33 pm

Quite the hysteria in the colonies over the royal birth. Befuddling for some odd reason. Why would the colonials care?
It’s beyond my comprehension.

Congratulations to the mother and father; child birthing being a risk, still.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:49 pm

I always think kindly of Rev. Spooner whenever I’m doing laundry and have to fold or tuck my socks and shirts and shorts.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:50 pm

Anonymous – why would we care? I have sworn-off news media for at least 72 hours.

I find the whole business utterly demeaning.

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 22, 2013, 10:53 pm

I’ve not seen any of the hysteria. It’s easy to avoid just by never turning on the TV.

I used to know a couple of really good Spoonerisms. But I’m Old and forgot.

I’m really kind of getting into this obliviousness 🙂

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 22, 2013, 11:14 pm

Leaoards and Shepards and Passing Windsor, OH MY!!

Comment from stina
Time: July 22, 2013, 11:56 pm

My favorite Spoonerisms (yes, probably apocryphal): telling a failing student that he should leave Oxford and head for London via the town drain (down train)…

…and telling a (possibly the same) student that he had tasted a worm (wasted a term).

Comment from Frit
Time: July 23, 2013, 12:59 am

I’m not familiar with any original Spoonerisms, but, if you enjoy spoonerisms in general, check out “Zilch The Tory Steller”.

(Link is to a short skit by him, there are many longer ones; he specializes in telling ‘classic’ fairy tales in spoonerism talk.)


I saw him live a few times when I was staying with friends in Texas. Hilarious!

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 23, 2013, 1:44 am

Well when He comes back, Jesus will be more leopard and less shepherd…

Comment from Frit
Time: July 23, 2013, 1:44 am

Forgive me, the first link, while it was a short Zilch clip, there was only one spoonerism in it. (Still funny, but, since we’re talking spoonerisms here….)
So! Here is a clip (somewhat longer) of him at a Ren Faire complete with spoonerisms:

Comment from hot girl daily
Time: July 23, 2013, 5:34 am

Yes! Finally something about hot girl.

Comment from Oceania
Time: July 23, 2013, 6:37 am


Well, NZ till recently all had British passports and same national anthem … then the UK did the dirty and screwed us in 1973 with the ECC.
Didn’t hear a peep from the UK for 40 years after that … till the Evil Hague visited trying to pull multiple scams.

No, we won’t help you past the Chinese import ban, no we won’t buy your debt bonds, and no, we won’t do you special favours.

The UK is now a ‘has been’ whom has demonstrated time and time again to care very little about elements of her Empire.
Wondering why you are no longer powerful or fiscal?
Simple: Don’t treat people badly.

Englands fate? Multicultural subhuman cess pit.
Hows that working out for you?

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: July 23, 2013, 9:16 am


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 23, 2013, 10:38 am

A little Brit trivia, Stina — trains going to London are “up” and trains going away from London are “down.” So we used to go down to see Uncle B’s mum when we were in London, even though she’s a good way North of the city.

Very confusing to this little mustelid.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: July 23, 2013, 1:30 pm

Is “Zilch the Tory Steller” the fellow who long ago recorded the story of Cinderella and the three sisty uglers? “Some of your bubbles are trig . . .”

Comment from MikeW
Time: July 23, 2013, 1:36 pm

My favorite spoonerism, a beautiful three-way, was delivered in perfect high dudgeon by the ever awesome Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movie A Shot In the Dark. The line is in the middle of this enjoyable short clip:
(In case someone doesn’t know the line, I’m not gonna spoil it for them.)

Comment from East Asia
Time: July 23, 2013, 2:10 pm

OT–on the bebe. I heard four time before the sun even rose that this was “the future King”. Unpossible! Seeing as he’s got at least fifty years of forebears in line in front of him, and in 2063…. Do Muslims have kings, dja know?

Comment from stina
Time: July 23, 2013, 3:28 pm

Thanks for clarifying, Stoaty!

At least it isn’t as confusing as Great Lakes freighters. On the Great Lakes, “downbound” refers to any ship headed towards the St. Lawrence Seaway – so on Lake Michigan, a downbound freighter is headed north from Chicago to Mackinac, while on Lake Huron a downbound ship would be sailing south towards Detroit. And on Lake Superior, a downbound freighter sails east.

It’s fun explaining this to people who didn’t grow up in Michigan, and then watching them try to figure out where the St. Lawrence Seaway is…

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: July 23, 2013, 4:59 pm

It’s fun explaining this to people who didn’t grow up in Michigan, and then watching them try to figure out where the St. Lawrence Seaway is…

Downstream! Do I get a cookie?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 23, 2013, 5:09 pm

Breaking news: the royal couple is “delighted” with their child. Shocking, unexpected response from new parents. STOP THE PRESSES.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: July 23, 2013, 6:01 pm

I think Her Majesty will live forever if it keeps Charles off the throne. At least I hope so.

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 23, 2013, 6:31 pm

Besides just being an annoying sort of guy, what is the harm really with Charles being King? I mean, what practical or substantive impact would he have? I thought that job was pretty much reduced to opening Parliament and hosting non-stop PR-style visits, dinner parties, and teas.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: July 23, 2013, 7:34 pm

Besides being a ridiculous gasbag, what harm is there with Obama being Preezy? Without a congress to back him, he’s pretty much just a figurehead…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 23, 2013, 8:37 pm

The royal family never does anything to thwart parliament any more, more’s the pity, but I have a feeling putting the royal stamp of approval on a bad liberal idea could send it to new heights.

Remember, Charles is a rabid greenie.

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 23, 2013, 9:33 pm

Stark – The Vice Presidency is a closer American equivalent of the King/Queen than Presidency. All the President’s executive powers belong to the PM, not the King.

So, I guess your counter-question to my question sort of works if we substitute Biden as follows: “Besides being a ridiculous gasbag, what harm is there with Biden being VP? Without a real scope of authority, or a President to back him, he’s pretty much just a figurehead…”

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 23, 2013, 9:35 pm

Adding to that, if Charles were to become King, let’s hope his greenie pronouncements and such carry the same weight and influence as Biden’s push for gun control.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: July 23, 2013, 10:25 pm

Oceania, obviously you’re still steamed. I hadn’t heard anything of your woes, for me the realization that the UK had lost any sense of their obligations was in their shabby treatment of their loyal subjects in Hong Kong prior to the handover. Kicked them to the curb (sorry, guess you guys spell it kerb) and delivered them tot he Butchers of Beijing.

Comment from Frit
Time: July 24, 2013, 2:08 am

Wolfus Aurelius Is “Zilch the Tory Steller” the fellow who long ago recorded the story of Cinderella and the three sisty uglers? “Some of your bubbles are trig . . .”

I have seen him do Rindercella live, and have it on DVD, but was unable to find a youtube of it. I did however find a couple of youtubes of another doing that same skit, so I’m not certain who you might be referring to.

Side note: If anyone goes to Ren Faires and has a chance to see Zilch, he’s a riot in person, and welcomes interaction from the audience. 🙂

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: July 24, 2013, 1:38 pm

It took some searching, as results for “Hee Haw” and Archie Campbell muddied the waters, but I found it. Jack Ross from 1962: http://www.tvclip.biz/video/V9-SP22bvUk/jack-ross-cinderella-rindercella-spoonerisms-very-funny.html

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: July 24, 2013, 1:41 pm

I tried to include a link to one Jack Ross, who apparently did the version of Rindercella I recall from the 1960s, but it’s vanished into Stoaty’s spam filter, I bet. Anyway, search for “Jack Ross 1962 Cindercella” or some such combo.

Comment from Tibby
Time: July 24, 2013, 7:27 pm

Huh. I always thought it was just dyslexia at work. Now I found out there’s a whole sub-genre…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 24, 2013, 8:42 pm

Sorry about that, Wolfus. It nicked it both times. I released one, thereby making you say something that no longer makes sense in context 🙂

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