Oxford College Professor Spooner (1844 July 22nd)


Dr Spooner was born on July 22. 1844, and was the son of a Staffordshire County Court judge. He was educated at Oswestry and New College, of which he became a scholar in 1862 and a Fellow in 1867. Ordained a deacon in 1872 and a priest in 1875, he became chaplain to Archbishop Tait in 1878 and was examining chaplain to the Bishop of Peterborough from 1809 to 1916. He became Warden of his college in 1903 and held that office till he retired in 1924. A lecturer and teacher of ability, he devoted himself to the college and its members.


SPOONER ON KRNN, 7/22:  A distinguished Anglican clergyman and philosophy professor of New College, Oxford, William Archibald Spooner was born on this date in 1844.  Even if you are a “dizzy bean” (busy dean) we hope you have time to listen to Crosscurrents, 7/22 at 8 am.


He published little, and the outside world knew him only from the scholarship of the well-known edition of Tacitus’ “Histories” and his memoirs of Butler and William of Wykeham.

But to a series of generations of his countrymen Dr. Spooner was known not for his administrative abilities nor his scholarship but for the “Spoonerism.” A “Spoonerism” is defined as “a ludicrous form of metathesis or the transposing of initial letters to form a laughable combination.”

In 1879 it was a favourite Oxford anecdote that Spooner from the pulpit gave out the first line of a well-known hymn as “Kinkering Kongs their titles take.”

The anecdote is well enough authenticated, but according to most people who knew Spooner well that was the only “Spoonerism” he ever made – the essence of a “Spoonerism” being, of course, lack of intent, – though later when, thanks to indefatigable undergraduate and alas! graduates and dignified Fellows of colleges, the legends had become legion, he often used deliberately to “indulge in metathesis,” to live up to his reputation.

All sorts of stories, probable and improbable, were invented, the most of which have only to be heard to be recognised as unauthentic. Of the well-worn ones the best are those which made Spooner declare that he was leaving Oxford by “the town drain,” that some unauthorised person was “occupewing his pie,” that at a marriage it was “kistomary to cuss the bride,” and that he was tired of addressing “beery wenches.” Much better authenticated and not even a Spoonerism is his famous reply to a young lady who asked him if he liked bananas. He is said to have retorted, “I’m afraid I always wear the old-fashioned nightshirt.”

Although other famous men have been guilty of “Spoonerisms”, it was the doctor who had to bear the brunt of most of them and to be honoured by having his name enshrined in a word that is a permanent addition to the English language.

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 1 September 1930

RE-Published:01:02 Wednesday, 01 September 2010


Apollo 11 Moon Landing (1969 July 20th)


An event which brought the world together on another world.


EAGLE HAS LANDED ON KRNN, 7/20:  “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  The journey continues as we step toward moon blues music to which you are invited on WTBA, 7/20 at 5 pm.

July 20, 1969 – At 1:47 p.m. EDT Armstrong and Aldrin, in the lunar module Eagle, separate from the command module. Collins remains onboard the Columbia orbiting the moon.

– 4:17 p.m. EDT – The Eagle lands.

– 4:18 p.m. EDT – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong reports. When the lunar module lands on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility, it has less than 40 seconds of fuel left.

– 10:56 p.m. EDT – Armstrong says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.

– 11:15 p.m. EDT (approx.) – Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong on the moon. The men read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the president, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”


  1. STAND BACK:  The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.

  2. POCKET ROCKET COMPUTER:  The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.

  3. FIZZY WATER:  Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. “The drinking water is laced with hydrogen bubbles (a consequence of fuel-cell technology which demonstrates that H2 and O join imperfectly to form H2O),” wrote Michael Collins in a 2001 memoir. “These bubbles produced gross flatulence in the lower bowel, resulting in a not-so-subtle and pervasive aroma which reminds me of a mixture of wet dog and marsh gas.”

  4. MISSED IT: When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.

  5. LIGHT UP:  Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.

  6. GAINT STEP: The “one small step for man” wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface.

  7. NO KEY:  When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.

  8. TOUCHY FLAG: The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA’s studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock. They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.

  9. HOME MADE:  The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn’t want “another Tang.

  10.      WRIGHT STUFF.  The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the first manned lunar mission. Thus, Neil Armstrong saw it fit to take with him pieces of wood from the pioneering Wright plane as well as a piece of fabric from the plane to symbolize the great progress made in aviation. Armstrong held these in his “personal preference kit” (PPK). The Wright Brothers, like Neil, were from the state of Ohio. The artefacts now sit in the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.

  11. PAPER WORK:  On their return to Earth, the three astronauts were brought back via Hawaii. On their entry, they had to be processed like any other traveller, filling out customs declarations. In the “Departure From” field, they simply wrote “Moon,” and declared the “moon dust” and “moon rock” they were bringing into America.  In 2015, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a “travel voucher” that outlined the nature of expenses incurred from his trip out of the atmosphere, just like somebody would for a trip of a more Earthly nature. In addition, he revealed that the astronauts were required to sign customs forms upon their return to Earth, upon which they declared to be carrying “moon rock and moon dust samples”

Rembrandt van Rijn :the sage; the lout; the populist; the snob (1606 July 15th)


Rembrandt van Rijn is the most-known and was the most important artist active during the Dutch Golden Age. His unrivaled skills as a painter, printmaker, and draftsman are well recognized, as are events in his life. Born in Leiden and the son of a miller, Rembrandt began his artistic exercise in his home and moved to Amsterdam for a fleeting time to study with the history painter Pieter Lastman. Rembrandt then became an autonomous master in Leiden about 1625. By the time he relocated to Amsterdam in the early 1630s, his reputation as an artist and teacher was well established. At first Rembrandt succeeded in Amsterdam, as success in his personal and professional lives hurled him to the position of the city’s most important portrait and history painter during the 1630s and 1640s. During these years he married Saskia van Uylenburgh, bought a big house (today the Rembrandt House Museum), and oversaw a large workshop with many students. Rembrandt’s good lucky eventually abandoned him, and as his career advanced, his financial circumstances worsened. Declaring a form of bankruptcy in 1656, Rembrandt died in Amsterdam on October 4, 1669. He was buried four days later in a rented grave within the city’s Westerkerk (West Church).

Source: ncartmuseum.org


REMBRANDT ON KRNN, 7/15:  A multifaceted artist, talented in mediums of painting, drawing, and etching, renowned for his empathy for the human condition, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on this date in 1606.  You are invited to listen as we “paint” a Rembrandt birthday playlist on Crosscurrents, 7/15 at 8 am.


He left no journals. No autobiographies. No letters aside from the occasional plea for patronage. His most considerable modern biography, no more than a few paragraphs in all, reveals little beyond the human capacity for understatement. “He was moved toward the art of painting and drawing,” the text reads. “It was clearly evident that he would one day become an exceptional painter.” The total of his known painterly philosophy amounts to six words: to produce die meeste ende die natureelste beweechlickheyt—or “the greatest and most natural movement”—a phrase whose precise meaning remains hotly contested to this day. In the annals of art history, there are those whose stories remain shrouded by the passage of time. And then there is Rembrandt.

Never has such fame yielded so little historical record. Some four centuries on, this ambiguity has lent itself to a crowd of narratives about the immortal painter of The Night Watch (1642). Buried in an unmarked grave in 1669 “without a friend or a guilder, or even a good piece of herring,” as art historian Seymour Slive once wrote, Rembrandt’s body was not yet cold in the ground before his resurrection was underway. According to art critic Sylvia Hochfield, by the middle of the 18th century, “the ultimate outsider was becoming the ultimate misunderstood genius.” By the 19th century, Rembrandt was branded a rabble-rouser, a Romantic, a democratizer of the arts and society. In the 20th century, he had almost vaporized—reduced to a kind of ghostly spirit looming over a body of work deemed increasingly impossible to distinguish from that of his pupils.

What has appeared over time is a inconsistent composite: Rembrandt the sage; the lout; the populist; the snob. To accept any one label over another is, in a sense, to miss the point. For as with Rembrandt’s remarkable oeuvre, the truth is found not in parsing the artist’s various characteristics, but in learning to embrace the multiform whole.