It’s Spoonerism Day!

400 Words

Oxford English Building

From the hallowed halls of Oxford University comes Spoonerism Day.

July is jammed with holidays. We started the month with World UFO Day. Then we raced into Independence Day, National Kissing Day, National Nude Day, and Yellow Pig Day. (The presidential candidate who will declare a three-day holiday weekend for all of these great celebrations has my vote) Today is Spoonerism Day, a favorite of my logophile friends and me.

For you neophytes who are eager to get in on the fun, I offer this brief explanation:

Spoonerisms are phrases, sentences or words with swapped sounds. Usually this happens by accident, particularly if a person is speaking quickly. Spoonerisms are phonetic transposition, but are not limited to the transposition of individual sounds. Whole words or large parts of words may be swapped. The term and the holiday are named for the famous Oxford professor, William Archibald Spooner (1844 – 1930), who was notoriously prone to mixing up sounds.

Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride? (Is it customary to kiss the bride?)

The Lord is a shoving leopard. (The Lord is a loving shepherd.)

Cuss and kiddle. (Kiss and cuddle.)

Doc in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was prone to spoonerisms. “Search every crook and nanny!” he once pronounced.

I specifically remember one evening when my son, Beau was three years old. As we were driving, my husband and I were discussing different restaurants we might try in our new hometown. From the backseat came, “Let’s go to Kenfucky Tried Chicken!” Out of the mouths of babes.

I do have a favorite spoonerism. The story goes something like this: A few years ago, my sister Mel and her husband Teddy retired and moved to the community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. They rented a place, as it was their plan to build their dream house. One day while on their search for the perfect lot, my sister was driving while Teddy studied the map and gave instructions on how to get to their next destination. “Go to the light and turn right onto the Old Fart Porkway,” he instructed. Needless to say, Mel fell apart laughing. To this day, the entire family refers to Murfreesboro’s Old Fort Parkway as the Old Fart Porkway.

To celebrate Spoonerism Day, switch your sounds around as much as possible. And if you want to spoon with your favorite mate, that’s OK, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and shake a tower.

Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor

 

It’s Yellow Pig Day!

Yellow Pig enjoying peach ice cream.

Yellow Pig enjoying peach ice cream.

HOORAY! Can’t wait to gather with fellow celebrants wearing our festive Yellow Pig Day adornments to sing Yellow Pig Day Carols, enjoy rousing conversations about the number 17, and indulge in Yellow Pig Day Cake (my favorite part.)

What is Yellow Pig Day? If you are to believe Wikipedia, which of course, I am, Yellow Pig Day originated in the early 1960s when two Princeton math students, Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly, spent hours obsessively analyzing the number 17. Probably because the lack of sleep caused the two to go temporarily guano loco*, they invented (or more likely, hallucinated) the 17-toed, 17-teethed, 17-eyelashed, 17-etc. yellow pig. As is usually the case with college students, (yes even geeky mathematicians) a party was born. Now Yellow Pig Day is an important part of the academic calendar, and is celebrated with cake, carols, parades and general revelry.

By the way, it’s also National Peach Ice Cream Day. Two great celebrations all wrapped up into one glorious day. Enjoy!

*Translation: Bat crap crazy.

Naked and Really Afraid

Today is National Nude Day!

Beach sign

No nude sunbathing? Where’s the fun in that?

For the record…I’m out. The festivities for National Nude Day will have to proceed without me. Let’s just say my precarious relationship with my archenemy, Aging, has left me feeling…well, vulnerable, with all my loose parts and stray appendages prone to getting caught in slamming doors, closing windows and heavy machinery if not properly corralled. I am the first to admit it…this glorious 50+-year-old package now requires the elaborate gift-wrapping that is clothing.

Before Aging had her way with me (in more ways than one), I was already a bit squeamish about letting it all hang out due to a genetic defect from my paternal side of the family. According to my mother, who had no reason to make things up, in four and a half decades of marriage to my sainted father, she never once saw him buck-naked. (Thus the “sainted” part.) I suspect that through the years Mother sneaked the occasional snips and glimpses of those things my father kept under wraps. Engaging her vivid imagination, I have no doubt she had a pretty good idea what the entire parcel that was my father looked like.

I hope everyone enjoys National Nude Day. As for me, I won’t be the one mooning the server at the window of the local Burger King. I’ll leave that to you.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

It’s World UFO Day!

UFOs landingI interrupt this diatribe of side-splitting humor to bring you this important announcement. It’s World UFO Day! Hip, hip hooray! I don’t know about you, but I’m all in. Remember that the Drake Equation…which I think we all learned in the third grad…scientifically estimates the number of technological civilizations that might exist among the stars (N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L) That number is really, really big.

It’s not too late to plan a great movie night with family and/or friends featuring your fav UFO/space alien movie. I’m doing a showing of “K-Pax,” a 2009 way above average motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges and Mary McCormack. (I love Spacey, Bridges and McCormack.) As my World UFO Day encore presentation, I’ve selected the classic version (1951) of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” The movie jacket reads: “An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.” Kind of makes me wish this particular alien would land as soon as possible. Check out all the fun at www.worldufoday.com. And remember…the truth is out there.

Dropping Hemlines, Sagging Fanny Packs Hail in New Fashion Season – Part 2

“For your information, this is a 100 percent Corinthian leather Waist-all® designed specifically for the woman on the go,” I pronounced boldly. “This happens to be high fashion this season, along with slightly lower hemlines, and hot electric colors. Haven’t you been paying attention to what’s coming out of New York and Paris this season?”

“No, but I’m betting it’s not that,” he growled.

“That’s how little you know,” I shot back before stomping out the front door, Waist-all® securely in place.

Combat boots with a bridal gown...a fashion statement I wish I'd thought of.

Combat boots with a bridal gown…a fashion statement I wish I’d thought of.

In truth, I had recently embarked on a one-woman campaign to thrust this comfortable and convenient purse-like item into the realm of high fashion. After spotting a young lady downtown wearing a chartreuse and black dress, accentuated by puffy chartreuse and black hair, a pair of bright orange stocking, and a pair of scuffed combat boots, I was inspired to dig out my old fanny pack (a gift from my father) from the depths of my closet and to scheme up a fashion statement of my own.

Stephen might think these little wonders are ugly, but the reality is that when they’re packed properly they provide the female form an eye-popping new dimension. When my husband sees Jennifer Lopez sporting a trendy Waist-all®, I’m sure he’ll have a change of heart.

Then again, my sense of realty has been a little out of kilter since Richardo Montalbán was ousted from “Fantasy Island.”

How could Jen, or any woman for that matter, not want one of these modern-day marvels? This snappy accessory puts everything you need right at your fingertips: money, credit card, debit card, Starbucks card, library card, driver’s license, lipstick, cell phone, and keys. The benefits are countless. Now that you’re not schlepping a big purse, you can really get the blood flowing as you walk (improved health). You can carry more books from the library (improved education). And with both hands free, you can even make more demonstrative hand gestures to the idiot drivers (improved communication).

For centuries, men have been free to talk with both hands, while women have been limited to one-handed expression because their other hand always had a death grip on the stupid over-sized pocketbook slung over their sore shoulders. Subtle oppression is always the hardest to overcome. I think it’s time Jen and I stepped out and strutted a little function over form on behalf of women everywhere. Won’t you join us?

Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor

 

Adventures in Room Service

Dinner is served, Madam.

Dinner is served, Madam.

A few summers ago, my husband and I headed north to take our then nine-year-old son, Jackson, to goalie school in Canada. After delivering him to the rink, Stephen and I, along with our two-year-old son, Benn, arrived at our “resort” hotel in downtown Toronto. Before long we were comfortably settled in our room.

“This is great, eh?” my husband asked, trying out his Canadian.

“For whom?” I responded, a bit prickly after so long without food.

“You don’t like this place?” he questioned, as if his manhood was somehow involved.

Actually, I loved it, but I had recently realized that “resort amenities” and “two-year-old-boys” were mutually exclusive propositions. We clearly had a week of zoos and playgrounds in store for us, not plushing around a posh resort.

“So let’s eat,” I offered, changing the subject to the only thing on my mind. “I’m starving.”

“If you’re too tired to go out, call room service,” my husband offered off-handedly. Shocked, and confused, I turned to stare at him. We never used room service. For 18 years, on every vacation we’d ever taken, my job (aside from planning, packing, plotting, and post-trip bill paying) was hunting the eatery for our next meal. Somehow the process had always appealed to my primitive hunter/gatherer urges, sort of my yang unleashed. And now he wanted me to call room service? Where’s the challenge in that?

“Fine,” I finally replied, a bit disgusted by the whole idea, but too tired to deal with a fussy baby in public. “Room service it is.”

After perusing the menu, we both settled on the pan-seared horseradish encrusted bright water salmon served over a bed of sweet potato leek cakes with caramelized shallot vinaigrette. He called in our order like an old hand, then headed to the shower to freshen up.

In the mean time, I wiped down Benn with a warm washcloth, wrestled him into his pajamas, and then slipped myself into something “more comfortable.” (Yes, I was wearing flannel pajamas…it was Canada, after all.) By the time Stephen stepped from the bathroom, all squeaky clean and wrapped in a showy Turkish robe with the hotel monogram on the front pocket, I was propped up on a large pile of pillows in the middle of the king-size bed, the covers pulled up to my chin, with a Pay-Per-View all picked out. With the tap, tap, tap on the door, I knew food was at hand. But little did I know something life changing was afoot.

The waiter rolled the cloth-covered cart in front of the window and pulled open the drapes a bit more so we could view the city as we enjoyed our dinner. I could hardly wait as he popped the cork on the wine, and offered Stephen the first sip. It was time to eat.

I drank wine from my water glass, used by salad fork for my entree, and spooned in the last scraps from my plate, all without a single sideways glance of disapproval from anyone. Licking the tips of my fingers for a lingering remnant of flavor, I felt like the Queen Mother at a medieval feast.

Completely full, I set my eyes on dessert…a ginger-studded puff pastry filled with crème brûlée, topped with fresh raspberries and a mango coulis. As I smacked my way through the final course, it occurred to me I had been missing out on one of the greatest innovations of the last century — room service. WOW!

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

It’s Time for a Family VACATION!

Excerpt from: Leading Men to Their Feelings

“I’ve been meaning to find myself,” my husband, Stephen, blurted out the other day as he flipped through my fresh issue of O, the Oprah magazine.

“Excuse me?” I stammered.

“You know, find myself. Get in touch with my feelings…discover who I really am…learn to love me for me…that kind of thing,” he continued. “The problem is that I don’t know what any of that means.”

Vacation

Vacation is the salve that soothes the savage soul.

I guess I was relieved to know an alien hadn’t invaded my husband’s body. Stephen is a Johnny-on-the-spot on a vast array of topics. Ask him about the law, history, literature, current events, or even the definition of “escutcheon” and he’s right there with the information. But ask him to stick a toe in the vast pool of human emotion, and he runs like a rabbit.

Being the “enlightened” one in the family, I decided to help him out. “Let me explain this to you,” I offered gently. “Remember when Benn was a baby and I used to sit and snuggle him so much? That’s because in those moments, I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I was totally in touch with myself.”

“Totally in touch.” Stephen repeated slowly.

“Exactly,” I said. “It’s that feeling I get when I walk on the beach at sunset.  Despite the power and vastness of the ocean, I get this overwhelming sense that I count.”

“And when you’re hiking in the mountains,” he added in his most mystical-sounding voice, “and you reach that long-sought after summit…”

“Yes, yes,” I said, encouraging him. “You’re getting it.”

“No, I don’t get it. Now if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll head over to the office and file a RICO action against someone. Can I recycle your magazine on my way out?”

“No, but thanks anyway.”

With Peter Rabbit gone, I stood clutching O tightly to my chest, asking myself, ‘what would Oprah do?” Then it hit me. I knew exactly what to do…pack up the family and go on vacation.

I learned a long time ago that a vacation is the best salve for the cramped soul, even one as cramped as Stephen’s. Vacation is an attitude, the ultimate in finding oneself. Every time we take the road less traveled, we can’t help but connect with ourselves.

Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor