the reeds were wet with gas and the plug was dry.. thats weird.
How did you determine that you had spark?
Starter Fluid is just ether.
Ether is a solvent for lots of things but a short squirt into a cold engine is ok.. Thats what they sell it for. It has other automotive uses like detecting vacuum leaks since it makes the engine rev higher if it gets sucked in.
As far as running an engine on ether continuously, i imgine it could cause problems.. but then again, they have run engines on just about every flamable substance known to man when the proper modifications are made.