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the key to the golden firebird
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let it snow

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Today’s Question One leads me nicely into my story:

danica said...
mj, do you still want a pink stun gun after the tazering incident in Vancouver?
(I realize you'd only ever use your stun gun for good, but I'd still like to know.)

Rexroth Implausible, fiancé to my agent, Daphne Unfeasible, just tempted me with this:

“What’s that?” you ask, not unreasonably. “It just looks like a small keychain of a pink seal with a heart-shaped nose. How adorable! But does it have another function?”

Yes, the ad says! It reads:

Who imagines this lovely seal is a stun gun? It gives an electric shock to a naughty guy trying to touch you.

And here’s that in action . . .


But it is not all fun and games, the ad goes on to say.

Please note that electric seal is a funny toy, not a strong weapon. Try its effect before you use it as a self-difference tool. Use it as a funny toy just to make your friends surprised and laugh!

It is good advice to try it out on ourselves first, I guess, if only to reveal our tiny, tiny skeletons and HUGE SKULLS. Is this the “self-difference” they refer to? I want to understand my self-difference!

Electric Seal dreams of hanging from your purse.

This week, I have been in a courtroom all day, every day. I am on a jury in a murder trial. I am not permitted to talk or read about the case—and though the judge has permitted us to watch Law and Order (really), I also cannot make any Law and Order comparisons. (Well, I can tell you there are differences. It doesn’t all happen in an hour, that’s for sure.)

When I got picked for jury duty, everyone said to me, “You idiot. Why didn’t you tell them you were a DERANGED PERSON who wants an electric seal tazer (funny toy)? They would have let you off.”

I will tell you why:

1. It is my duty as a citizen to serve as a juror. People deserve fair trials, and we all have to be willing to be part of the process in order for the system to work.

2. J.K. Rowling has a hard time following me into the courthouse. She tried on the first day, but was expelled when she tried to steal a breakfast sandwich from one of the police officers by the door.

3. They just would have taken my electric seal away and made me do it anyway.

But just because I am on a jury doesn’t mean that my CHEER is lessened in any way. So let’s get to the questions!


anonymous said...
question for the marvelous MJ:

what is this about special holiday cards from the book suite scarlet? i am very confused (http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifalthough a little excited about the use of the word "glitter" in there)about this and the aforementioned book signing?? could you please elaborate?

Sure! Last year, I began a tradition of sending out holiday cards to readers who requested them. And this year, with Free Monkey’s help, I’m doing it again! But this time, the cards are FANCIER. If you would like a signed holiday card from me and one of the characters of Suite Scarlett—or if you are giving one of my books as a gift and want a signed card to tuck inside—just send an e-mail saying so to cheer@maureenjohnsonbooks.com. Give your name (or the name of the person who the card is for), your mailing address (or theirs), and any short messages you want inside (short is key).

It’s best to get your requests in early. I’ve just noticed that the entire first batch of cards I ordered from the Helper Elves has already been claimed. I’ll have more made, but sooner is better than later!

ally said...
Oh! Can we give you our friends address and name and you mail it to them so it will be a surprise?

YES! In fact, I may go further! Maybe I will hide in their bushes and leap out with my Electric Seal when they come home, yelling, “FEEL THE SELF-DIFFERENCE!”

I’m not promising that, but if I run out of cards, that’s what it may come to!

allie beckaliciousness =) said...

what kind of holiday do you celebrate (i.e. xmas, hannukah, etc.)??? and what are you getting everyone for the holidays?!?!?!? (UH OH.)

I was raised celebrating x-mas, so that’s what I do. Each year, I kidnap a small tree and drag it to my apartment, where I make it stand around, dressed in shiny objects! Also, thanks to my mother, I have a small Department 56 “Christmas in the City” village. I did not really want a Department 56 “Christmas in the City” village, but sometimes we must do things that our mothers want us to do. Which in my case, includes putting out “Wong’s Chinese Laundry.”

See. my mother collects the Department 56 “Dickens’ Village.” My mother’s Village is so massive that it takes two days to set up and has its own special electrical wiring to keep it from blowing a circuit in the living room. It actually formed the basis of my story in “Let It Snow,” which I am writing with John Green and Lauren Myracle—and that is why “Let It Snow” will be the first of my books my mom is not allowed to see.

Unlike my mother, who populates her Village with official Department 56 figurines ONLY, I populate my city with a diverse group! There is Weird Oversized Reindeer, Alien Monster, Stuffed Giant Syphilis Microbe, Darth Vader, and Tiny Smoking Baby! I feel this is just one way of embracing many traditions!

But I approve of and rejoice in ALL holidays at this time of year.

scott neumyer said...
LOL. Cheery? Hmmm.... If you Save the Cheerleader, can you really Save the World?

Strangely, this question is also answered in Let It Snow. Which means that I can’t tell you now, but all will be revealed soon! However, I want to be helpful, so I will tell you that I saw Beowulf in 3D last night. What I learned is that when you die, Angelina Jolie makes out with you. Does that mean that Brad Pitt is dead and is therefore, technically, a zombie? I DON’T KNOW.

ally ALSO said...
What is your more favorite movie; the one with Rudolph and the Misfit Toys (it looks like its made out of clay) or the Frosty the Snowman movie. Surely you have to know which ones I'm talking about.

Naturally, I am a fan of both of these excellent, CHEER-inducing films, but I do have a slight preference for Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys. Though, Frosty does have the beardy power of International Heartthrob Burl Ives . . .

Burl Ives.

B.A. said...
MJ: I'm writing this on my Dad's laptop in the hospital. I'm really scared about my surgery tomorrow (even though I'll be asleep - darn that 'awake' commercial!) but I was just wondering have you ever had any medical 'experiences?' I just need something to take my mind off of tomorrow -eek!

B.A. (not of A-TEAM fame, right? I know EVERYTHING about the A-TEAM! You can also send me your A-TEAM questions) . . .

A-Team questions are ALWAYS Cheerful!

B.A. . . . I hope I am not too late in answering this. I hope your surgery went okay. Please drop a note and let us know. In the meantime, I DO have something that will take your mind off the pain! A picture of International Heartthrob Burl Ives!

Burl Ives.

As the trial wraps up, I HOPE that things will begin to get normal, and I can answer your questions QUICKLY! In the meantime, please keep sending them!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG first comment! Cool!!!
The Seal Taser is so cute. Hye Meg Cabot is on Jury waiting list thingy, maybe she will be put on yours. That would be so cool.
Can you tell us when Let It Snow is comeing out? Please? Can't wait for Sweet Scarlet!!! Happy Holidays!!!

2:53 AM  
Anonymous KrazyKatie said...

Hey! I absolutely adore the seal taser! You know what would be cool? If they made a holiday line of tasers shaped like Rudolph and Frosty and stuff. That would be so awesome! Motto: Help make sure that everyone has a safe (and totally cute) holiday with your new Rudolph taser!!!!!! Hey would you buy one!?!?

3:21 AM  
Blogger Alysa said...

I LOVE Burl Ives! And here's some good news for you mj: Rudolph is the one with Burl Ives, not Frosty! Do you also love "Santa Claus is coming to town" narrated by international heartthrob Fred Astaire?

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Did you know that there's a whole Broadway musical that has only ABBA songs in it? It's called Mamma Mia. What do you think about this?

4:10 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

I just finished reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and loved it. But I have two questions for you. How did Ginny's parents let her go off to Europe on her own with only a backpack and instructions from Aunt Peg? And do you have any suggestions on a way I could convince my parents to let me go to Europe in pursuit of self-discovery? Please keep in mind that I have no dead, lovable aunt to provide funding/envelopes.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Book Chic said...

To the owner of the first comment (i.e. anonymous)- Let It Snow will be out around winter time next year. Maureen said this in a previous blog entry.

Maureen- You are totally made of awesome and have brought CHEER to my life. :) Great blog entry, and very hilarious. My friends and I were talking about jumping out of bushes at random people too earlier today. Ah, fun times.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Shausto-la said...

awww i thought that was a pig when i first saw it..poor pink seal.
haha do naughty guys try to touch you often MJ? maybe you should get one of those tazers.. XD

umm..very werewolves!

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you prefer white or chocolate milk?

Note: This is very important, as it determines if/when you will be attacked by all the characters from Harry Potter, brought out of the books as zombies, and led by JK herself!

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

MJ!! My ringtone is the "We're a Couple of Misfits" song from the movie! It's so awesome lol

But yeah Burl Ives is the narrator of the Misfits movie bc hes made out of clay too lol. Frosty looks like a marshmellow with arms and legs.

Have you ever read To Kill A Mockingbird? We have a big 600 point project on it (that i should be doing now) we have 40 questions for each have and we have to find a lot of literary devices AND antitate it. I'm not sure if im going to live through it lol

Woah the thing where you put ur name changed..

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Danica said...


Is there an episode of the A-Team where B.A. DOESN'T have to be knocked out to fly in a plane/helicopter/whatever?

10:23 AM  
Anonymous lindsay n said...

What is your favorite ornament- and are you a pro- tinsel (as in "in favor of" vs "professional") Christmas tree decorator?

11:28 AM  
Blogger the dragonfly said...

Is it weird that I've always wanted to be on a jury? I'm living in Germany right now, though, so I guess I'll have to wait (at least) a few years.

Here's a question I ask a lot of people: If you could sit down and have lunch with ANYONE from any period of history, who would you choose and why? And, for the sake of argument, if you choose someone who is dead, don't think zombie, think that you can zip back to their time period for lunch. :)

8:29 PM  
Anonymous emily said...

do you think red sequined converse (google them, i'm sorry i can't figure out how to link) are appropriately cheery? because i just got them, and i think they are, but i want ask you, master of all cheer. (keep in mind that they sparkle when light shines on them!)

on a related note, what is your favorite outfit for feeling cheery? i am sure it is perfect.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Rebekah Ruth said...

When can we expect to see these cards?

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Becky said...

For the person who was talking about To Kill a Mockingbird: I really liked it. I didn't mind annotating or writing an essay on in or anything, because it is a good book. Never be scared of classics. Many classics are good. Like The Great Gatsby and Anne of Green Gables. Of course, some classics are "good," because they have good messages or make a good point, but that doesn't mean they're fun to read. I didn't think All Quiet on the Western Front was a good READ, but it's still a classic.

Have you ever considered writing a novel in poetry form?

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Those word verifications are becoming increasingly difficult to read.

1:01 AM  
Blogger david elzey said...

Holy Filthy Hobo, Batman! That ain't soap clouding up Burl Ives bathwater!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous ashley said...

my mother and I are currently in a 'disagreement' (it's not a fight, there was no yelling) about some particularly obnoxious ornaments. They are large, strangely shaped, and metallic purple. I think they are AMAZING, but she tells me that purple is not a holiday color. I disagree.

So, master of all cheer, my mother has agreed to let you settle the debate, because she also loves your books. Is purple a holiday color? Are these ornaments allowed to don our tree full of cheer?!

I would also like to add that I secretly think you come up with the combinations for the word verifications, because they sound like real words sometimes, and they can be quite funny. Mine just said "hozzpt," which I will now be thinking about.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...


1:23 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

A giant stuffed syphilis microbe? Realy?! That is awesome. Where might one find one of those?

Also, I bought my third copy of Bermudez on Saturday. See I bought a copy when I first heard about the Bartlesville debacle (where does all that stand, btw?), then I bought another copy for you to sign when we visited you in Westchester. On Saturday I was at Ollie's Bargain Outlet (www.olliesbargainoutlet.com/) and saw it for just $4. I realized that both the copies I had were paperback and this one was hard cover, so I had to buy it. Now I can give my unsigned paperback copy away!

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Danica said...

Another question! (Not about the A-Team, but it's a good question and I should have asked it sooner.)

Meg Cabot has discovered the joys of vlogging! What is your reaction to this? What were your thoughts on her first video? Do you now apply Vaseline to your neck every night because you're worried about creping?

3:58 AM  
Blogger Jordyn said...

Okay. I have a VERY SERIOUS question. Please answer.
Almost three years ago my family moved. It was supposed to be a good move and even though I was leaving my whole world behind, I put a certain amount of trust in the idea that EVERYTHING WOULD WORK OUT WONDERFUL in the end. Well. I feel like, selfish as it seems, I was supposed to get something out of this move. But I didn't. I left behind everything I loved and got... what did I get again? Um... girls who look at me strange, boys who broke my heart, and people who just don't give me a chance to be anything more than an outsider. In two and a half years, only one (possibly two) friendships I've made have stuck. And I don't mean a BEST FRIEND, I just mean someone who I can talk to without knowing they'd rather be talking to ANYONE ELSE.
I have a world, I really do. It's just that I'm only connected to it by telephone wires and internet modems anymore.
And I sad. Please help?

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Electric Landlady said...

Will you post a picture of your Christmas in the City Village? Because now that you have described it, I feel my life will be incomplete until I can see it in all its glory.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous keenai said...

Well, now that you've opened up the floor for A-TEAM questions, I have to know:

1. Who is your favorite A-TEAM member?


2. When the A-TEAM reruns do you always wind up catching the same episode? And if so, which one is it?

(Mine is the one with Rick James. Or the one where they knock out B.A. so he can fly, heh.)

7:24 PM  
Anonymous lauren said...

MJ, I am very sorry to say that I have a bit of a dilemma.
I am even sorrier to say that I have chosen you to be the giver of advice on this dreadful subject.

The issue is as follows: A week or so ago, a friend and I decided to make cookies for no logical reason whatsoever. (Do cookies really need a reason, anyway?) We made them into strange creatures and accidentally-deformed faces, since regular cookies are boring, but as we pulled them out of the oven, we discovered something awful.

One of them was a jellyfish.

No lie! I have pictures to prove it. All squiggly legs and blobby body of baked sugary goodness. Or badness, in this case. Neither my friend nor I had ever recalled making this seemingly edible snack of oceanic doom. This alarmed us quite a bit.

Naturally, we are too afraid to eat it.

So now it sits in a zip lock bag on the counter in my kitchen, waiting... watching with its M&M eyes.

Anyway, my question is do you have any idea how to kill it? Assuming that cookies can be, you know, killed in the first place.

4:16 AM  
Blogger balexa said...

How is Free monkey and the wee free monkeys enjoying the holiday cheerness?!
Quick question:What is your favorite holiday cheer food and under which cirmstances do you eat it?

5:37 AM  
Blogger ysa said...

Timothy asked where one could find a plushie microbe. You can get them from www.thinkgeek.com or at www.x-tremegeek.com. I have a cute little beer microbe.

4:06 AM  
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