Furry Starry Widow Mural (Ladle Rat Rotten Hut)

(A quick note: a few years ago, I was doing some web design work for a dear friend and client in southern Oregon (Leonard Laskow) and we discovered a mutual interest in puns… Some time later, I showed this total pun blitz to him at one of our design meetings, and he exclaimed, “Bruce, I wrote that!” He had no idea that it would propagate as far as it did, propagating even back in the days when photocopying was a primary vehicle for sharing fun and silly stuff. I first came across it as a teenager growing up in Livermore Calif. and heard that someone at Lawrence Livermore Lab had written it. What a small world to discover it’s original author! 🙂 Here’s the extended pun, which you’ll likely discover is a familiar fairy tale 🙂

Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter mudder inner ladle cordage onner etch offer lodge dock florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, end fur disk raisin, pimple caulder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Wan moaning, Rat Rotten Hut’s murder colder inset: “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter end shirker cockles.” “Tick disk ladle basking tudor cordage offer groin murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist.” “Shaker lake, dun stopper laundry wrote, end yonder nor sorghum stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers.”

“Hoe-cake, murder,” resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, end tickle ladle basking starter oft. Honor wrote tudor cordage offer groinmuder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anamolous woof.

“Wail, wail, wail,” set disk wicket woof, effervescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. “Wares or putty gull goring wizard ladle basking?”

“Wear goring?” “Armor goring tumor groin murder’s” reprisal ladle gull. “Grammars seeking bet.” “Armor ticking arson burden barter end shirker cockles.”

“O hoe! Heifer blessing woke,” setter wicket woof. Butter taught tomb self, Oil ticker shirt court tudor cordage offer groin murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter. End den, Oh bore!

Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, end whinney retched a cordage offer groin murder, picket inner window and sore debtor worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh disk adbominal woof lipped honor betting end adder rope. Zany pool dawn groin murder’s gnat hut and gnat gun, and curdle dope inner bet.

Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft atter cordage an ranker dough ball. “Com ink, sweat hart,” setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse.

“Oh grammer,” crater ladle gull, “wart beg icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice.”

“Buttered lucy chew wiff, doling,” wiskered dis ratchet woof, wetter wicket small.

“Oh grammer, water bag noise. A nervous sore suture anamalous prognosis.”

“Buttered small chew wiff,” inserter woof, ants mouse warse waddling.

“Oh grammer, water bag mousey gut. A nervous sore suture bag mouse.”

Daze worry rotten hut gull’s last warts. Oil offer sodden, throning offer carvers end sprinkling otter bet, disk cural end bloat thursday woof ceased pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut end garbeld erupt.

MURAL: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.


  1. Hey Bruce: Was looking to fwd you a notice about an upcoming event in upstate NY when I came upon your punny post. As 2º of separation would have it, I hosted Leonard Laskow for a few workshops in the Boston area back in the early 80’s! Back in the days of stinky (and quite toxic) chemical typesetting and flyer design for Crystal Healing workshops! Small world, getting smaller. Anyway, the event is a talk by John Anthony West (still going strong at 81!) as part of this astounding organization. I thought you and your readers would be quite interested to know it exists. Send me the best email address to reach you and I’ll forward you the notice that John just sent me. I’m going to do my best to be there next Saturday. Harmoniously, in form and function, JV


    THE PERFECT MEASURE – The Golden Ratio in Contemporary Art

    SAUGERTIES PERFORMING ARTS FACTORY, 169 Ulster Avenue, Saugerties, New York 12477

    April 12 – May 10, 2014

    Gallery Hours: Fri, Sat, Sun, 12-5

    Saturday, April 19th, 2014 – 2 pm – Lecture: John Anthony West, Egyptologist

    The Perfect Measure in Ancient Egypt and the foundations of Sacred Science

    “Number, measure, proportion, geometry, harmony … their interactions make up the Language of the Gods. The “gods” of ancient Egypt themselves are embodiments of Cosmic principles, not figments of primitive imagination as our Quackademic Community would have us believe. In this talk we will discuss the scientific/mathematical foundations of the “Sacred”, show why it really is Sacred, and why it should matter to us today if we have any hope at all of extricating ourselves from the mess we’ve made of our world.” – John West

  2. Donna Shore says:

    I too discovered it when I was in High School however, it was printed in the S.F. Chronicle and I copied and and often recited it verbatim to friends and family. Not even remotely like a tongue twister, in fact a friend told me a sounded like the Swedish Chef on Sesame Street. Though my version has a few differences.

  3. Donna Shore says:

    When I found it in The San Francisco Chronicle, the Furry Starry was prefaced by this paragraph, which identifies other people who claim to have written the tale. The plot thickens.

    George Bernard Shaw vignetted the perversity of Englosh sounds by demonstrating the the word ‘FISH’ might be spelled ‘GHOTI’ if one extracted the ‘GH’ from enough, the ‘O’ from women, the ‘TI’ from nation. In similar style Howard Chace and George Wright, two American teachers of language, have assembled a folk tale out of a mish-mash of unrelated and inappropriate words. It is reprinted from a column by Gene Sherman (pinch hitting for Bill Henry) in the Los Angelels Times. As a guide, the title, when it is translated reads: “Fairy Story With A Moral.”

    And here’s what Wikipedia says about Howard L. Chace:

    Howard L. Chace
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Howard L. Chace
    Born Howard L. Chace
    Occupation author, college professor, humorist, organist
    Howard L. Chace was a professor of Romance languages at Miami University, who wrote poems and stories employing homophonic transformation.

    In 1940, he wrote Ladle Rat Rotten Hut to demonstrate that the intonation of spoken English is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves. It was first published in Gene Sherman’s column in the Los Angeles Times in 1953[1] and in the first issue of Sports Illustrated in 1954.[2]

    In Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a single word forms several in the correct version (e.g., “evanescent” becomes “if it isn’t”), and sometimes several are combined to make one word (“on-forger-nut” becomes “unfortunate”). Every word can be found in most collegiate dictionaries, with the exception of “icer” (which is in Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged).

    “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut” was later published in his book Anguish Languish (1956) after it was read on television by Arthur Godfrey. Ogden Nash, after reading the book, mailed Chace his own Anguish Languish version of a popular song. Chace also received letters from his readers containing Anguish Languish adaptations of familiar works.[3]

    He was a competent organist and often played during the showing of silent movies.

    • Thanks for the detailed correction on this elaborate pun piece, Donna … and apologies for the huge delay in responding! It’s been a busy couple of years! 🙂