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Picture of Richard English
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I was told by the administrator that no information was to be given to the pupils, and that I had to leave the locale.
Although there are times (such as this) when it seems harsh, the rule that invigilators must not give information about questions is a good one.

In a major test there may be dozens of sittings and dozens of invigilators; if they were each to give advice based on their own interpretation of a question, there can be no doubt that the information will not be consistent. Unless an amendment to a paper has been advised to invigilators and examination centres in advance, no information should be given to candidates. The standard City and Guilds rule (and I instruct all my invigilators to abide by it) is that no advice can be given about questions and that candidates who believe that a question is wrong or unclear should annotate their answer books accordingly so that assessor can take their comments into consideration.


Richard English
 
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Normally I'd agree. However with the standards of the papers we have received if we applied this rule rigourously we would have a guaranteed 100% failure rate.
 
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Normally I'd agree. However with the standards of the papers we have received if we applied this rule rigourously we would have a guaranteed 100% failure rate.

If you have evidence of this then I think a letter to Chris Humphries is called for. There is no reason whatsoever why test papers cannot be produced to the same standards of accuracy as any other publication - apart from idleness and incompetence, of course.


Richard English
 
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I'll pass your suggestion on to my line manager. I do know that when I queried the papers to him this time he said that after last year a detailed list of all the problems was provided but that nothing has been done. Now whether or not that's accurate and who the list was addressed to I couldn't say. I do recall making the same complaints to my manager last year though. I will also put them in writing, again to my manager - it's his place to go to the board - and see what happens.
 
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We recently had an interesting situation. The testing company has a rule that the college entrance exams (ACT) must be administered at 9:00 sharp, in order to be counted. In our area the results of 627 exams were thrown out because the schools didn't start the exam until 9:50 or so. The tests must be taken at the same time so that everyone takes the exam under the same conditions. Many of the kids were very disappointed that the colleges wouldn't see these results. These are very important tests. Wouldn't you think the schools could at least start the exams on time?

Question for our British posters: I first saw Arnie talking about "maths," and I figured it was a typo. Then Di talked about her "maths." We say "math." It is similar to our saying the sports page, and your saying the sport page. You'd think we at least be consistent with our s's. Roll Eyes
 
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I'll pass your suggestion on to my line manager. I do know that when I queried the papers to him this time he said that after last year a detailed list of all the problems was provided but that nothing has been done.

I have found that the C & G "quality control" department has little to do with control and nothing at all to do with quality. The man who runs it (and I won't mention his name here) is about as much use as a chocolate teapot and doesn't even answer letters. He is a fine example of the way that useless people can hide in big organisations throughout their working lives, simply by keeping quiet most of the time and sucking up when they see the need to.

In my experience it's only by writing directly to the Director General that you get past the layers of obfuscators and get something done. C & G's present DG is Chris Humphries CBE, and you can find him at 1 Giltspur Street, London, EC1A 9DD.

Incidentally, I'd not pass it to my line manager if I were in your position; I'd write the letter myself and wave it in front of my line manager to get his approval. The only danger of this apporoach is that you might find that you are approached by C & G to sit on the moderating committee - they are always short of good people. Mind you, they do pay your expenses and a small fee, so it's worthwhile, especially if you are receiving a salary from your employer at the same time!


Richard English
 
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Question for our British posters: I first saw Arnie talking about "maths," and I figured it was a typo. Then Di talked about her "maths." We say "math." It is similar to our saying the sports page, and your saying the sport page. You'd think we at least be consistent with our s's

Yes. We abbreviate "mathematics" to "maths". Which means that, for two reasons, the initial couplet in Tom Lehrer's wonderful song "My home town" which goes:

"The guy who taught us math
And never took a bath
Aquired a certain measure of renown.
For after school he sold the most amazing pictures
In my home town".

doesn't work well for us


Richard English
 
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Well, most of us were so lazy at school virtually everything was abbreviated- "chem" for chemistry, "geog" for geography, even sociology became "soce". Bone idle, the lot of us- typical teenagers I suppose to use a single short word- grunting is their normal speech after all.
 
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grunting is their normal speech after all

I don't think I've posted about the various cutesy names linguists use to categorize the various linguistic hypothoses of language origin: ding-dong, bow-wow, pooh-pooh, ta-ta, uh-oh, yo-he-ho, et al. It is funny to hear a grown man or woman giving an academic lecture dropping these terms, though, to be honest, they are mostly used disparagingly.

[Corrected misspelling of cutesy.]

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Sorry, but what does the word "cutsie" mean?
 
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Sorry, but what does the word "cutsie" mean?

It was my idiosyncratic spelling of cutesy.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Cutsie? Isn't that German for "I cut you?"

Speaking of German, how did a guy named Messerschmitt end up building airplanes!?!? He shoulda been Chris Strolin's supplier instead!
 
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So what does Messerschmitt actually mean? You know I've been interested in aviation since I was young and I've never ever thought about that before. I assume the 'schmitt' bit means 'smith', but what sort of smith?
 
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Messer, as Asa indicates above is "knife" but whether there is any meaning, beyond it being just a name, to Messerschmitt, I couldn't say. Froeschlein's your man for this question.

(I did check my dictionary which gives cutler as Messerschmied).
 
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Originally posted by BobHale:
Messer, as Asa indicates above is "knife" but whether there is any meaning, beyond it being just a name, to Messerschmitt, I couldn't say. Froeschlein's your man for this question.

(I did check my dictionary which gives cutler as Messerschmied).


bh, you're right on the money, it does indeed mean cutler (and thanks for the word: I knew there had to be something in English besides 'knifesmith' Smile ).

According to the Deutsches Namenlexikon: Schmied > Schmidt > Schmitt

Fröschlein
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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quote:
Originally posted by Erik Johansen:
So what does Messerschmitt actually mean? I've been interested in aviation since I was young and I've never ever thought about that before.


Oh, a fellow aviation nut! PM me and tell me more.
 
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The Telegraph on American writers trying to write British English, and British authors trying the reverse.

You talkin' to me?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Interesting, Arnie! I thought this comment was a bit...well...insulting: "And, of course, some allowance should probably be made for the gap between the tastes of the American media elite, often Anglophile in tendency if not actually English by birth, and the mass of Americans." The "mass of Americans"? Wink

Also, I didn't get the [sic] here: "Membership [sic] has its privileges."

But surely we Americans do equate "smashing" with being British. Also "cheerio" and "pip pip" and "daft."
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I equate "daft" with ME! Big Grin
 
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The "mass of Americans"?

Yes, that could be taken as slightly insulting, but I'm sure it wasn't meant to be. I'd bet the author could have used a more insulting word if he really wanted to. "Lumpenproletariat", perhaps? Wink

I think the [sic] refers to Sir Leigh Teabing's mention of his knighthood and membership. As a knight, he's not necessarily a member of anything.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I was waiting for the train today, and a Winston Churchill admirer was telling me why he thought Churchill was the most important person in the 20th Century. Then he said that the British keep it a secret, but...that Churchill's mother was American. I hadn't known that! The gentleman, being Jewish, said that to Jews that means that Churchill was really American. Wink
 
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I don't think we ever kept it a secret. Churchill's mother was Jenny Jerome, daughter of Leonard Jerome, from Brooklyn, NY.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Originally posted by arnie:
I don't think we ever kept it a secret. Churchill's mother was Jenny Jerome, daughter of Leonard Jerome, from Brooklyn, NY.


We not only didn't keep it secret, we actually made a TV series about her Smile!
 
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Alright.

I have invited a speaker from Scotland, and our conversations have been interesting. I asked her to send me her credentials, which I need to include on the flyer. She had no idea what I meant and asked if I wanted a list of qualifications (I don't know what the heck that is!), a CV (that's customary here, but usually goes on for lots of pages), or a mini-biography (again...not clue; biography?). So we laughed a bit about our misunderstandings, and she mentioned her family in the states talking about "diapers," which to them is "nappies" and "thumb tacks," which to them are "drawing pins." Actually, we sometimes refer to "thumb tacks" as "push pins," but not "drawing pins."

I think I am going to like her, and maybe I will get her to post a little with us.

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Credentials here would usually be used to mean identification (so, for example, a police badge, my college ID card, or a meter reader's card.

CV here is what you'd call a resumé, would be no more than two or at an absolute extreme three pages.

You MUST know the word biography and a mini one is the same but shorter.

We also don't use the word "flyer". I believe we discussed this before. We'd call it a leaflet.

(What DO you mean by credentials by the way?)
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I suppose they blame Gallipoli on the American half? Wink
 
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You MUST know the word biography and a mini one is the same but shorter.

Yes, but I don't want to know where the person was born, how many siblings she has, what her father did for a living, where they took their holidays (see, I am learning! Wink), etc. That's what a biography is to me...your life history. That I didn't want, even a truncated version.

For credentials I wanted to know the academic degrees, which I have found are not quite as important in Europe. In the U.S. people won't even come to a conference if your keynote speaker either isn't well-known (which she isn't) or doesn't have appropriate credentials, such as a baccalaureate degree, masters degree and doctoral degree. In this case, she won't be the keynote speaker anyway. I do know our keynote, and he is an excellent speaker with superb credentials. However, I am taking a bit of a risk with this person, as I only found her online. I hope she at least has some kind of credentials (maybe a masters degree?). She is responsible for a country-wide program, and I have seen the Web site, so I can assume she will be excellent. We shall see!
 
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Mention of Churchill reminds me of one of my favourite quotes. Churchill seemed to have had a bit of a miserable childhood, both of his parents seemed to have been rather unpleasant people. Anyway, the quote. Can't remember who said it, but apparently Randolph Churchill (Winston's Dad) had a benign tumour removed whereupon someone said "A triumph of medical science to find the only part of Randolph that isn't malignant and remove it!"
 
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I will have to remember that one! Big Grin
 
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In the U.S. people won't even come to a conference if your keynote speaker either isn't well-known (which she isn't) or doesn't have appropriate credentials, such as a baccalaureate degree, masters degree and doctoral degree.

I assume they might make an exception if you have a British accent. Otherwise I stand no chance having nary a single one of the things you mention.


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by arnie:
The Telegraph on American writers trying to write British English, and British authors trying the reverse.

You talkin' to me?


A great article. In the Telegraph as well. I'm shocked.

But authorial voice is always going to be there, no matter how good the characterisation. It's not really a problem is it? Nobody is going to complain if John Updike can't get his English speech perfect.
 
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Something I've noticed in US programmes is the use of the word 'dirt' instead of 'earth' as in 'heap of dirt', something Britons wouldn't do as dirt can mean any sort of detritus to us, not just soil. Do Americans use 'earth' in this manner or just as a name for the planet?
Curious 'earthy' language doesn't mean the same as 'dirty' language either. 'Earthy' can merely mean swearing without any sexual context such as "bloody bastard", whereas 'dirty' language is usually of a sexual nature.
 
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We usually refer to soil as dirt in the States. You can say earth, too, but it's not as common. Earthworms, not dirtworms. We also say ground instead of earth when referring to connecting something electrical to the earth/ground.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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We seem to recognise the British idiom when we say, "What's the latest dirt on so-and-so?" That seems to indicate indecent information. Gardeners might say "humus," not either dirt or earth. I suppose that proves that only gardeners are truly "human!"
 
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I know it always sounds odd to my ears when say Patrick Stewart (playing an English sounding Shakespeare spouting Frenchman!) uses American pronunciations or expressions such as "dirt" , "route" (especially!), and "schedule". It seems to me that the writers of Star Trek think the USA is going to win in the pronunciation department in the future!
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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What about LeVar Burton? He played Commander Geordie LaForge, a character with a French surname, but he is actually German! And you thought Kunta Kinte was an American! Ha!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeVar_Burton
 
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Originally posted by BobHale:
I do know that when I queried the papers to him this time...


Another comment in the same spirit as Kalleh's about maths: how does one go about "querying a paper"? To an American, that brings to mind an odd image of holding a paper up and speaking to it: "Well, hello, Mr. Paper, and just what is your opinion on this matter?"
 
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Originally posted by Erik Johansen:
It seems to me that the writers of Star Trek think the USA is going to win in the pronunciation department in the future!


As a heart-and-soul devoted Trekkie, I must say that since Star Trek is right about everything else, why should they be wrong about that? SmileSmile
 
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I was just listening to Janis Joplin singing a rock and roll standard. The beginning sounded like:
    Put on your high-heel sneakers,
    Put your wig-hat on your head
I have two questions:
  1. I understand that sneakers are casual shoes that evolved from sportswear; their equivalents in the UK are called "trainers". If I am right, surely sneakers would not have high heels?
  2. What on earth is a "wig-hat"?
Or am I just mishearing the words?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Good morning Arnie. Somehow I missed being a Janis Joplin fan; this is my first exposure to this song. Googling --- joplin "put on your" --- brought me 63,300 hits of which the following is the first. Looks like you heard right, and the meaning escapes me, too.

"Hi Heel Sneakers"

Put on your hi heel sneakers,
Honey put your wig-hat on your head,
Honey on your head.
Put on your hi heel sneakers,
Honey put your wig-hat on your head,
Alright.
You better pass some boxing gloves
In case this foreman wanna fight.

Put on your hi heel sneakers,
Honey get your wig-hat on your head,
Honey, on your head.
Put on your hi, hi heel sneakers, darling,
Honey you're gonna wear your wig-hat on your head.
Yeah
When I'm steppin' out tonight, baby
I do believe, I'm really gonna knock 'em dead, oh!

Click
 
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Searching for "Hi heel sneakers" brought up these lyrics to the Elvis Presley version:


(Words & music by Robert Higginbotham)
Put on your red dress baby 'cause we're going out tonight, oh yeah!
Put on your red dress baby 'cause we're going out tonight, yeah!
Well now wear some boxing gloves in case some fool might start a fight
You know what I'm sayin'

Put on your hi-heel sneakers, put your wig hat on your head, oh yeah!
Put on your hi-heel sneakers, slap that wig right on your head, yeah!
Well I'm pretty sure now baby, pretty soon you're gonna knock 'em dead

Oh gonna mess around baby
all right!
Da da da da etc.

Put on your red dress baby 'cause we're going out tonight, oh yeah!
Put on your red dress baby 'cause we're going out tonight, yeah!
Well now wear some boxing gloves in case some fool might start a fight
You know what I'm sayin'

Put on your hi-heel sneakers, put your wig hat on your head, oh yeah!
Put on your hi-heel sneakers, slap that wig right on your head, yeah!
Well I'm pretty sure now baby, pretty soon you're gonna knock 'em dead
Walk around baby!

Da da da etc.

Put on your hi-heel sneakers, put your wig hat on your head, oh yeah!
Put on your hi-heel sneakers, slap that wig right on your head, yeah!
Well I'm pretty sure now baby, pretty soon you're gonna knock 'em dead
All right take it home baby!

Da da da etc.


They do seem to clarify that a wig-hat is simply a wig, but raise the extra question "who is the foreman?" Confused


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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The song was written by Tommy Tucker (born Robert Higginbotham). A lot of artists covered it.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by arnie:
I understand that sneakers are casual shoes that evolved from sportswear; their equivalents in the UK are called "trainers".

That's pretty much right. When I was a kid, I called them "tennis shoes". Then they became "tenni-boppers" and now they're called "running shoes," "cross-trainers," etc. I still call them "tennis shoes."

The word is much older than I thought. The OED Online first records in in Funk's Standard Dictionary in 1895, and noted that it originated in and is chiefly U.S. Not strictly, though, since P.G. Wodehouse used it in Laughing Gas xii in 1936: "You could scarcely expect to turn up in sneakers and a sweater, my good fellow."

quote:
If I am right, surely sneakers would not have high heels?

The high heels was added facetiously.

quote:
What on earth is a "wig-hat"?

A wig-hat is a combination hat and wig, used mainly as a costume. Here and here are two that are not costumes.

quote:
"who is the foreman?"

George Foreman was a boxer.

Tinman
 
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George Foreman was a boxer.
Yes, Smile but he didn't turn professional until 1969. The song was released by Robert Higginbotham, a.k.a. Tommy Tucker in 1964.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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That's pretty much right. When I was a kid, I called them "tennis shoes". Then they became "tenni-boppers" and now they're called "running shoes," "cross-trainers," etc. I still call them "tennis shoes."

I still don't know what to call them. If I am not playing tennis, "tennis shoes" hardly seems right. Athletic shoes? Sneakers? To me, sneakers sound too old-fashioned.

I'll probably go with athletic shoes, but I am hardly an athlete. Roll Eyes
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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In Oregon they're called Nikes, but that's just because Nike is the state's biggest industry. Pretty sad, huh? Adidas is now giving them a "run" for their money, though. As you all know, Adidas is an acronym for "All Diarrhea Is Dirty And Smelly." Or is it "All Day I Dream About Sex?" (With your shoes on, no less!) Or maybe Tinman gave it its name: "All Day It Drizzles Around Seattle." Well, I know it's an acronym for somethin'...

BTW, Kalleh, am I an athlete if I've got athlete's foot?

In Patrick McManus's books, he calls 'em "tinner shoes." McManus's best friend is named Retch Sweeny, and his dog is named Strange, so consider the source.
 
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I used to drive my son nuts when I'd say, "I must be quite an athlete, honey, because I have a case of athlete's foot!" He was just young enough that he couldn't understand why I'd have it without being the first baseman for the Cubs, or something.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by arnie:
quote:
George Foreman was a boxer.
Yes, Smile but he didn't turn professional until 1969. The song was released by Robert Higginbotham, a.k.a. Tommy Tucker in 1964.

Tucker wrote the lyrics with the line "In case some fool might wanna fight" in 1964. Joplin recorded it as "In case this foreman wanna fight." So, apparently, for some reason she changed the words. Why and when? I don't know when she recorded it, but it had to have been before she died on October 4, 1970, the year after Foreman turned pro.

Where Tucker says "some fool might wanna fight"," meaning "someone else might wanna fight"," Joplin says "this foreman wanna fight"," possibly meaning "I [might] might wanna fight"."

It is perplexing.

Tinman
 
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Is that a possible mondegreen? I don't think I've heard either version, so I don't know if the lyrics are at all intelligible.
 
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I'm with you on the mondegreen theory, Seanahan.

That's one of the fascinating things about language -- slight phoneme changes cause big semantic changes.

Like the preacher's kids doing their version of The Doxolgy at their funeral for a robin.

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son. Into the hole he goes."


( ... and to the Holy Ghost)

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