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Saturday, December 08, 2007


Jingle, jingle, friends!

I am back at my desk, now that my jury service is over. Being on a murder trial is certainly interesting, and sometimes excruciating. It took us a few days of painful deliberation to come to a verdict. I was the jury foreman, and I had to stand up in the court and declare someone guilty of murder. Now that it is over, I can say I feel pretty good about it. I think we did the right thing, even though it wasn’t easy.

There were reporters there in our jury room when it was all over. So, I am telling you something, Law and Order . . . if you ever rip this one from the headlines, you had better let me be in the episode . . . preferably playing MYSELF. I will be watching.

In my absence, so many questions have come in! Let’s not waste another moment!

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?

Yes. In “The Beast from the Belly of a Boeing” (real episode title, and no, I didn’t even have to look it up—I just knew it from memory), BA and Murdock pose as airplane mechanics to put something on a plane before it takes off. Unfortunately, the plane starts moving with them on board. BA, after a few moments of panic, passes out. But technically, he is not drugged—nor does he even look that scared later on as he fights hijackers at 42,000 feet. I suspect he was “on the jazz” at the time.

As much as I loved the A-Team, I will acknowledge that they were a bit cheap in some of their production values. You will notice in the very last scene of this episode, when the nosecone of the plane crashes through the window of the airport . . . a woman throws a baby in the air? That’s because it is taken directly from the movie AIRPLANE!

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

Tinsel is a very serious subject at the Johnson homestead in Philadelphia. My mother, for reasons we have never completely understood, is obsessed with the stuff. You have never seen anyone use as much tinsel as my mom. In fact, the tradition now is that I decorate the tree (using the careful and time-honored tradition of putting on the balls in a very specific order). Then I put on FOUR BOXES of tinsel, thinking that will be enough. And then she comes in with a cup of nog and says, “The tree looks nice, but don’t you think it looks a little bare?” And then she whips a bag containing SIX MORE BOXES of tinsel and puts them all on the tree.

It’s hard to believe that a tree can withstand the tinseling we give it. I’m surprised we haven’t snapped a few. As she’s encrusting the tree, my mom always reminisces about some old-timey tinsel that was really heavy and hung straighter than modern tinsel. She implies it was made of lead or something, which really doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you want to put on a tree—especially considering that my lawyer, C. Catso Fangola, eats as much tinsel as he can get his little kitty jaws on.

In the end, we have a blinding silver spike that sort of resembles the nose-cone of a rocket, which probably explains all the strange visitors we get on Christmas Eve seeking transport to their home planets—and also why I thought Santa was from space.


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!)


shakes very hard



rebekah ruth said...
When can we expect to see these cards?

The Holiday Signing Workshop Elves have just produced the first box of cards, so I will start signing them and sending them out early next week! I will continue to sign and send right up until the 20th of December (or until the cards run out). And to those of you who asked . . . NO! It is not too late to request cards! This is the perfect time!

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?!

Thank you for including me in your cheerful debate! First, let me just say that it is a good thing you didn’t ask Daphne Unfeasible this question. Daphne is not rational on the subject of purple. Daphne is wearing purple shoes in her wedding to Rexroth Implausible, where we will be eating purple cupcakes and carrying purple flowers. If you asked Daphne, the entire tree should be purple, like something out of the Lorax.

As it happens, the MOST IMPORTANT ORNAMENTS at the Johnson Family homestead are large and purple. They are from the 1940s, and we keep them in a special box. But that is really not enough information to help you settle this most Cheerful of discussions. So let me give you some historical background.

Purple is the color of kings, and my personal favorite when it comes to kings is “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria—largely because he is the man responsible for the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle, which is arguably the coolest castle in the world (and the basis of the Disneyland Magic Kingdom castle). The German room of my high school had a large wall-mural of Neuschwanstein, so in my memory of high school, I visited this castle EVERY DAY.

As it happens, I kept all my foreign language textbooks from high school. (I didn’t steal them. We had to buy them.) My textbooks are very, very hilarious because, for whatever reason, we used a German edition created in 1974, and a French edition from 1984. Even taking into account that I went to high school several years ago, the books were still outrageously outdated, and yet we were made to memorize everything in them as facts. For example, I took a test with questions drawn from the following passage on French culture:

Young women enjoy wearing bib overalls (salopettes). Every girl carries a purse (sac), which is usually tiny with a long shoulder strap crossing the body. Currently, some girls wear ankle socks with high-heeled shoes.

I remember some brave soul in my class trying to explain to sister that this was not exactly accurate, and sister saying, “It is IN THE BOOK.” Some people have trouble understanding the fact that you kind of need to think about cultural and historical context before you go being all literal and following every word of something . . . because if you don’t, you are liable to make some egregious mistakes.*

Anyway, I want to show you the difference between the very first lesson of French I and the very first lesson of German I.

FRENCH I, first page text of Perspectives Françaises:

CHRISTINE: Bonjour, Marie!
MARIE: Bonjour, Christine! Comment vas-tu?
CHRISTINE: Je vais bien, merci. Et toi?
MARIE: Comme-ci, comme ça.
CHRISTINE: Que fais-tu maintenant?
MARIE: J’étudie les math. Je passé l’examen dans dix minutes.
CHRISTINE: Bonne chance! Ou vas-tu après l’examen?
MARIE: Je vais a la patisserie. J’ai faim!
CHRISTINE: Moi, aussi. Allons a la patisserie ensemble!
MARIE: D’accord. A bientot, Christine.
CHRISTINE: Au revoir, Marie.


CHRISTINE: Hello, Marie!
MARIE: Hello, Christine! How are you?
CHRISTINE: I’m fine, thanks. And you.
MARIE: So-so.
CHRISTINE: What are you doing?
MARIE: I’m studying math. I take the test in ten minutes.
CHRISTINE: Good luck! What are you doing after the test?
MARIE: I’m going to the pastry shop. I’m hungry!
CHRISTINE: Me, too. Let’s go to the pastry shop together!
MARIE: Okay. See you soon, Christine.
CHRISTINE: Good-bye, Marie.

Now, I think you will agree with me when I say that that is PRETTY BORING. The only part of that that I was even remotely interested in was this pastry shop they all went running to after math tests. What’s THAT about? The best I ever got after a math test was a prayer card and a lecture about my slouching socks.

The trouble was, I was used to better. Our German textbook was just so very excellent, Perspectives Françaises never had a chance. First of all, it was loaded with pictures from 1974, so everyone looked like Abba!

Everyone in my book looked like this. Now those are some bib overalls!

Aside from the obviously superior photos, my German book totally rocked when it came to conversations and vocabulary. No “Good morning, I am going dans le pastry shop” for us! No way! Here is the first piece of German text I ever had to read:

Du kennst mich nicht
Ich heiße Gisela und wohne in Deutschland
Ich finde Deutschland schon
Ich habe eine nette Familie, aber oft fuhle ich mich ganz allein
Und du?

Gehst du auch ab und zu lieber allein durch die Straßen?
Fuhlst du dich manchmal verlassen, auch wenn viele Leute da sind?
Traumst du manchmal?
Schaust du in den Spiegel und fragst: ‘Wer bin ich und was wird aus mir?’

Aber es ist nicht immer so!
Erika kommt oft zu mir.
Wir gehen dann in mein Zimmer und sprechen lange und lachen laut miteinander.
Oder wir weinen zusammen—und finden die Welt trauig und schon, fremd und freundlich.
Und du?


You don’t know me.
My name is Gisela, and I live in Germany.
I find Germany beautiful.
I have a nice family, but often I feel quite alone. And you?

Do you too prefer to walk alone through the streets now and then?
Do you feel sometimes forsaken, even when many people are there?
Do you dream sometimes?
Do you look in the mirror and ask, “Who am I, and what will become of me?”

But it’s not always this way.
Erika often comes over, then we go to my room and talk a long time and laugh loudly with one another,
Or we cry together—and find the world sad and beautiful, foreign and friendly.
And you?

No vapid snacking here! Marie and Christine aren’t in the same universe as Gisela. I liked her insane trawling through the streets, mirror-talking, and group sobbing. Bonus: one of the first ten German words I ever learned was FORSAKEN.

This is why I became president of the German club. German is awesome.

Anyway, Ashley, I hope this clears everything up for you!

I hope those purple balls hang proudly from the branches of your tree! And if you want, you can be like my mom and just cover them up with tinsel! Everyone wins!

Thanks to Libba Bray (who gave out the link), I can offer you the chance to see my new publicity photo in the form of either Elf me or Scrooge me. You're welcome!


I understand that Blogger has been giving some of you trouble leaving comments. I am sorry for this! You can also send your questions via e-mail if that is easier! Your questions are the lifeblood of my very existence!

* It is possible that I am talking about more than just language textbooks, but I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions!

** Note to French and German readers: I love both of your languages, so please do not be offended by the lack of some accents and umlauts. I tried to make them appear, but the Gods of Word and Blogger colluded against me. If you have accents and umlauts I can borrow, I would be most appreciative.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Du kannst für Umlaute auch ae, oe und ue benutzen.

You can use ae, oe, and ue for umlauts as well.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...


1:14 AM  
Blogger ozjazza said...

Your readers know everything!


1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, like most of the recent entries, that made me laugh until it hurt. which isn't hard, considering i have a 99 degree fever and headache.

i have a French textbook JUST LIKE THAT! well, nowhere as cool as your German one, but very like your french one.
despite the fact that i am currently attending high school, my textbook is also from 1984, or so.
the hair....so...very...awesome...while..still...horrible.
what is scariest is that i have the UPDATED EDITION! about half our class does---it has all these newfangled things such as Euro dollars. the pictures, however, have not been updated, and heither have the musical references.
the examples are, sadly, as boring as your french books'.

i love those shoes! oh how i miss my converse. my mom threw them out once they were held together solely by duct tape. *sadness*

oh! i know that older, suspiciously lead tinsel! my family actually possesses some!
we don't use it, but my i was allowed to lick it once. (jk, don't worry)
oddly, we never use normal tinsel.

i wish my french textbook had cultural anecdotes like that. it just has crocodile puppets.
and no cool musings like the german one. though i make a point of learing interesting french words. because the only french knowledge that carries over year to year is the word snowman, all my french is constructed around vampire snowmen, chinese food and occasional zombie apocalypses.
i had a field day when we learned the verb "to melt".
also slight mortification when i had to write my incredibly grammatically incorrect "Apres le apocalypse, il y eu becoup de zombies." next to boring examples like "we are having a mock trial in english class"

my old french teacher gave me a detention when she asked for suggestions of words we wanted to learn on slips of paper and i wrote "spontaneous human combustion". she was mean.

--phases of the moon

1:27 AM  
Anonymous nuwon wearspants said...

Ich habe Deutsch!
Ich heisse Amy, und ich wohne im Texas.

^ I'm in German I, so I can't make a lot of sentences yet. But, I'm learning.


If you could meet ANYONE IN THE WORLD alive or dead, who would it be and why?

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

MJ -- For umlauts, accents, and that funny "ae" thing in old spellings of "encyclopedia", try writing it first in Word (or similar word processor) so you can use their lovely accented characters, then paste in Notepad (or similar plain-text editor) to strip out any Microsoft-created foolishness, then re-cut and paste into Blogger. Sounds vaguely like it's annoying, but it actually takes two seconds!

2:31 AM  
Blogger ysa said...

Hello Maureen!

I do not know if this will work for umlauts and germanic stuffs, but I have installed IE Spell (free download from the evil henchzombies at Microsoft) which is a spell checker for Internet Explorer. It works for most French accents. Then I just spell as best as I can, and hit spellcheck and it will insert most of them as needed. (Sadly, I cannot spell check these little windows that come up on Blogger.)

Now if it could just help me with some of the more bizarre things I have seen in English and do grammar/verb check things... I hate to tell you English speakers this, but of all the languages I have learned, English is the hardest because it takes bits and pieces from everywhere and sort mooshes them alltogether and then adds the appropriate "our" endings or "que" endings...

But that is another rant.

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Reese said...

I'm in french class. Year TWO!! Ha, I am a french genius by now. Yet when people ask me to say something in french I either say Bonjour or Je faim.

Hello I'm Hungry

If I say I'm hungry they laugh and of course I have to say, "no, I'm serious. FEED me. PLEASE!"

Maureen, I am sick. Today is a friday. I can do NOTHING this entire weekend. Any suggestions? I'm slowly dieing here, possibly.

What would be your IDEAL Christmas gift? I have also emailed this to you in case leaving a comment doesn't work, again. This is a very important question.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

I hate to be one of the people who post stuff twice but your blog is finally letting me sign in! I have to try! Don't be annoyed at me Maureen, please!

I'm in french class. Year TWO!! Ha, I am a french genius by now. Yet when people ask me to say something in french I either say Bonjour or Je faim.

Hello I'm Hungry

If I say I'm hungry they laugh and of course I have to say, "no, I'm serious. FEED me. PLEASE!"

Maureen, I am sick. Today is a friday. I can do NOTHING this entire weekend. Any suggestions? I'm slowly dieing here, possibly.

What would be your IDEAL Christmas gift? I have also emailed this to you in case leaving a comment doesn't work, again. This is a very important question.

4:24 AM  
Anonymous kayli said...

After reading this, I now want to
a) buy sequined converse even though I JUST bought new pinstriped ones.
b)learn German, even though I already took AP Spanish.
and c)know how old you are really, because I tried to figure it out by adding and subtracting and multiplying by the square root of 1984, but it just made my head hurt.

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I knew conversational German in elementary school, now I think I'm going to have to relearn it because I can pronounce the words but have no clue what they all mean.
Love your German textbook--my Spanish I&II books are EXACTLY like your French I book.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous ashley said...

thank you for settling the debate. We'll take the tinsel comment to heart.

I love Neuschwanstein!!! It's my favorite castle that I've ever been to! Although Linderhof, another of Ludwig's fantastical castles, is a close second...it has glass peacocks!

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Not to be a know-it-all, but this is my 10th year taking French, and I happen to know that it is, "J'ai faim," not "Je faim." You'd think it would be "Je suis faim," which directly translates to "I am hungry, but the French are weird, so they say "J'ai faim," which translates to "I have hunger." Maybe you could impress people with this fascinating fact about French/French people.

Maureen, I wonder if you own this t-shirt? http://www.threadless.com/product/632/In_Case_Of_Zombies

I'm not sure if it really complies to your ideas of how to act around zombies, but I wanted to point it out to you. This shirt is from the same website that John's amazing haiku shirt (which I own too) is from.

My social worker thinks I should see a therapist. Do you think therapy is a good thing, or a indicator of insanity?

6:36 AM  
Blogger The Bibliophile said...

Oh wow, is that the best introductory paragraph in a foreign language textbook ever. Any chance you can share the title/author/edition/etc. information?

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Daphne Unfeasible said...

You might think MJ is exaggerating about my obsession with purple related wedding things -- the shoes, the cupcakes, the flowers -- but that's not even the half of this. Sometimes she tells the absolute truth. This is good information for you to have.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

My mother STILL has the lead tinsel that is OLDER THAN ME (and I'm quite old). Every year she hangs it on the tree and then picks it all off when Christmas is over.

I think the lead in the tinsel might account for my mother's insanity.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Hullo Maureen,

Since you are knowledgeable on all things Christmas-related, I am hoping you can answer a question for me. I recently did a Christmas-themed crostic puzzle. When it asked for a 5-letter word for the clue "Christmas berry", I first thought that it must be "HOLLY"; I quickly realized that those letters were all wrong, though. Upon completing the rest of the puzzle, I found that the answer had to be "TOYON". Toyon?! They never taught me about toyon in Hebrew School! If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate the inside scoop on this mystical Christmas fruit!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Emily-bear said...

Yay! Thank you Maureen! I am so happy now! This isn't really a question but I really hope you read it because we are planning our high school schedules now and I have been debating what language to take and I ruled out Latin and French (its too boring for me). So it was between Spanish and German because I love them both. German because it is. And Spanish because I know enough to walk around screaming random phrases. So I have now decided on German because of this post. You have saved me from a deep bubbling vat of stress.! Wait I do have a question. We made these disco balls out of broken CDs. They. Were. The. Coolest. Thing. In. Existance. Have you ever made them? You should!

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Kiersten said...

I just saw The Golden Compass last night. The movie was nine kinds of amazing. (If any of you are boycotting the movie because it is "anti-God" or something, I have a suggestion for you: go read the book.) But when i was there I saw a commercial for a movie called P.S. I Love You which is strangely ALMOST EXACTLY like 13 Little Blue Envelopes!!! Anyone see the resemblance? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0431308/

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Asha said...

Heyy Maureen
your german text book and learning the word "forsaken" as one of the first words reminded me of this theory my friend has that the german language is evil because they have no word for "fluffy". i dont know if this is true or not, but i found it hilarious.

ps the other day in my school i found these two men wandering around the library and dining hall measuring things...is it possible they were zombies in disguise plotting for their attack??? my friends dont think they are because they dont think that zombies plot, they just attack screaming "brains". what do you think???

12:02 AM  
Anonymous jas said...

This question isn't very cheer-related, but I was wondering if you hate Piano Man as much as Avery does.Did you have some sort of Billy Joel-related traumatic experience sometime in your past?

12:16 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

In response to becky and her comment on the French having hunger, I realised, you are totally right. Now I know why my french teacher hates me! I'm just not very good at it! But I will stick with it because there are only three other people in my class. Thanks for catching my mistake!

P.S. I'm not sure eigth grade is the best time to start learning a new language. Thats usually about the time when your brain stops producing more brain cells and your stuck with the ones you have.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Shausto-la said...

aww im taking german in class, but i dont really learn anything.
i can say...Es gibt donner und blitzen.
(There is thunder and lightning.)

..and Ich habe hunger.
(I have hunger. again with the haveing hunger. what is it with these lanugages?)

. and i can say The Computer is broken and I must go home now.

Der Computer ist kaputt und ich muss nach haus gehen.

umm..yeah. thats it.

i think i'm asking for those converse for chritsmas. the silver ones. or red, not sure yet. but theyre just too amazing to pass up.

so me and my family just finished putting up christmas lights outside. do you know what the temperature is?? i think my hands just fell off. but i cant be sure. i cant feel them anymore..

3:08 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Oh, I'm taking German now and it's really great! My teacher too has a poster (or too) of Neuschwanstein Castle in our 'klassenzimmer.' In a recent German Club we made BELSNICKELS. Do you know what they are, and if you do & have seen one don't you find them scary??? St. Nick's evil little assistant, that's what he is. Look it up if you don't know! :)

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Hm, I guess the best thing about taking Latin is that the text books never have to be updated. However, instead of conversations about math tests and patry shops, we get stories about slaves and arranged marriages involving 13 year old girls.
Anyway, on to the question:
Did you know that an ABBA museum is in the works? According to the BBC, it'll open in Stockholm in 2009. Now all the oddly-shaped guitars will be on display!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Shona said...

Ich bin in ein vulkan gefallen.

Das ist ya vass.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

Wowza. That is heavy. Congratulations on honoring and completing your civic duty and bringing justice to all.

I'm currently in a musical, and I get to wear red Converse high-tops as part of my costume. Jealous?

I am now singing Gimme Gimme Gimme by ABBA - no, really, the cover by The A-Teens.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Tobias said...

I used to have both French and German (although the last 2 years was just reading texts). But I must say the German textbook you had starts off nicely.

In Dutch it is "having hunger" as well (Ik heb honger). So it would seem English is the exception, not the other languages. And "hungry" and "hunger" are not the same words. In Dutch you can say "I'm hungry" (ik ben hongerig), but it just doesn't sound completely natural.

I know most of you will find this shocking, but I hate christmas. Maybe because I live in the Dutch bible belt and christmas is boring as hell here. I prefer Sinterklaas. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas).

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Geek Vixen said...

You know Maureen, I was just thinking about how more than one of your main characters is completely inexperienced romantically but has a best friend who has had several boyfriends before. Were you like that in high school?

8:25 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

Guten Tag! Man, I took German in high school and one year of college ... a long time ago ... and I STILL got 98% of that. Maybe I had the same textbook ...

I think you have a picture of the Hugo Award there for tinsel man. Awesome!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Ouch! I cannot get behind Elf you. The dancing hurts. Oddly, Scrooge you is not that bad. Now I feel like Mr. Spock. "I love you ... but I hate you." "But we are exactly alike!" "That is why I hate you."

6:22 PM  
Anonymous krazykatie said...

I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU: What tops your holiday wish list: rudolph and frosty tasers, boxes and boxes of tinsel, or the awesome bib overalls as seen in your German textbook? :D

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Batya said...

In French today, we watched an awful video about a girl qui a un jour terrible. C'etait ennuyeux! Anyway, her bad day consisted of not hearing her alarm clock, waking up late, eating only fruit for breakfast, missing the bus, forgetting her homework, ripping her dress, failing a test, and then getting some sort of soda spilled on her lab. And then this guy with really bad hair (he had these weird poofy bangs that flopped around when he walked) appeared, and we were taken to HIS bad day, in which he went to buy a book, but the bookstore didn't have it, but then he found it on a different rack! But when he left with it, the alarm went off, but it was okay because the cashier fixed scanned the book and fixed the problem. And then poofy-hair-guy went for "une grenadine," which I'm guessing is like a kiddie cocktail... Then he went to the bathroom, and when he came back, his book was missing. Then the waiter came back and asked him to pay for the grenadine, but he couldn't find his money. So his friend (who appeared randomly) paid for him, and then he discovered his money was in his shopping bag all along!

These movies are just awful. All the characters have bad hair and look to be around thirty. And the plots are so boring. Last year, we watched movies that were a bit less predictable... There was one about a couple of girls who needed an couple of outfits for a party, but when they couldn't find any within their price range, they decided to go "shopping" in their grandma's attic, but got locked in and arrived late at the party. Now THAT was a good film. And our teacher also liked to show us French advertisements, including one advertising sponges. There was a hedgehog that walked up to the sponge and rubbed against it (supposedly "cleaning" itself), and then got up and walked away, and then the camera panned out, and there was a whole line of hedgehogs! It was funny. Okay, now I don't even remember why I'm saying this. I mean, there was a point... Ah well, I'll tack a question on at the bottom to give some meaning to all this.

Oh, before I do this, I thought of something else. French is the language I take, and I tried to take Hebrew for a while, but French words kept popping into my head, so I quit. So I don't know how people take mulitiple languages. It's too hard.

Here's the question:

Maureen, why have you STILL not seen Rent?

4:52 AM  
Blogger emily said...

batya: i totally loved your really long, insane comment. also, you question is REALLY important. maureen hasn't seen rent? aside from the fact that she has the same name as a main character, there is the huge, undeniable fact that it is pretty much the BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!! maureen, go see it please. now. or at the very least, tell us why you haven't seen it. but better yet, go see it.

also, omygod you answered my question! yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! i got them in red, and i just want to say that when sunlight hits them, they can act as disco balls. i am not kidding.

6:04 AM  
Blogger ysa said...

I have a cheer related question... Maureen, where are you on the whole candy cane thing. Do those gigantic peppermint sticks that are about an inch long count as candycanes? How about all those weird flavours. I am sorry, but I am all anti cinnamin or cherry or starburst or orange or whatever the weird flavor of the day candy canes. Am I all sorts of wrong for being a strict candy cane traditionalist? I am so traditional that if we did tinsel at my home, it would have to be the lead painted kind. I am hoping the tinsel fans are not all offended by the lack of tinselation, but since Fredina the kitten tries to eat everything at least once, we just do not do it. Tinsel is bad for cats, even the non-lead flavored kinds.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Do you like cupcakes? Do french fries dipped in ketchup creep you out? Do you like Hershey Kisses? Do Brothers really work at all girl schools? creepy...

My name is Ally too!

(all references to Devilish)

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Kiersten said...

ooOOoo I got my cheer card today! whoooooo! I love it. Thanks Maureen!
PS I saw those cheer filled shoes at the store today but I couldn't get them. *tear*

5:33 AM  
Anonymous icanhaswurdz? said...

I was just wondering what your thoughts are regarding speech recognition software. Do you ever use it? If so, do you feel like you get more work done in less time?

Also, I'd love to see a gratuitous photo of Danny Kaye on your blog; he's my favorite member of the International Heartthrobs and definitely cheer-related. :o)

10:13 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Thanks so much for the holiday cheer card! It made brightened up a pretty horrible day.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ja! Fraulein Johnson, ich sprecke die Duetsch! Meine Lehrer ist so-so, aber meine Grade ist Super!

ok, i'll stop now. but i totally know what you mean.

love your elf and Scrooge.


8:22 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

German is one of those languages that I would LOVE to learn how to speak, but my school doesn't offer it.
So I take Italian.

May I just say that, though they are not nearly as vapidly stupid as the French conversation in this entry, they are CREEPY.

One of the ones I had to read recently was about two people on the subway. They guy asks the girl what she's reading. They go on to have a full two page discussion about their most desperate dreams.


That's not something I would do.

It was funny though, because everyone in the class was like, "That's creepy!" and our Italian teacher was trying to defend the text book: "They're a lot more friendly there than we are here! It's not creepy at all, it's completely normal!"

It was just sooper sketchy.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Reese said...

My friends think that my current goal is weird. It is a well known fact that gay guys make the BEST friends ever. So my goal is to make a gay italian guy who's two years older than me my best friend.
I just haven't found him yet. That is a perfectly good goal to have. What do you think?

3:40 AM  
Blogger jacklyn said...

Actually, purple is more of a christmas color than red and green which are great... but from the secular christmas side! Purple is the color of Advent which is the time leading up to christmas (like lent leading up to easter, but not as well known because there aren't as many horrid traditions like giving up chocolate)

Advent is all about preparing for Christmas, the birth of our 'king', Jesus! which brings back the royalty purple..


3:58 AM  
Blogger Tiff said...

Maureen, Master of All Cheer,

J'ai besoin de nouvelle musique pour Noel. Est-ce que vous avez des suggestions? Je suis encore avoir (is that right? Oy.) le Messiah d'Handel, la musique de Aimee Mann, et Bing Crosby, bien sur.

Merci, et joyeux Noel!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous icanhaswurdz? said...

uh... if I'm reading you correctly, Tiff, I think you're asking for new Christmas music, right? Of course I'm not MJ (and I eagerly await her personal recommendations), but I highly recommend Josh Groban's new Christmas CD, "Noel." Not only is it très magnifique but it also includes his version of "Petit Papa Noël" which keeps me totally on topic here. :o)

10:18 PM  
Blogger Allie Beckaliciousness =) said...

maureen! where are you?! have you abanonded us?! COME BACK!!!

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...


Haha, have you seen that? It's an A-Team soundtrack! You'd probably like it :). It just came out in February hehe.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Katherine said...

Where have you been?

Naughty, Naughty Maureen, abandoning us like that.

I bet you were at Libba Bray's house eating her food and watching odd movies. And I only guess that because I read her blog, which is also highly entertaining most of the time.

Come Baaack!

It's exam week and I'm...less than happy about it. I am also in the process of writing an 8 page paper about Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Affair...in French! Augh.

So, yes...where art thou?

2:53 AM  
Blogger Kell said...

So, I have noticed in my book-shopping outings, that since reading about your Zombie preparations multiple books on how-to-prepare-for-zombies are now out and available.

these titles include:
"The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead", "Zen of Zombie" (A how to be a Zombie if you fail to fight them off book), and the fiction book based on the possible coming war "World War Z"

Do you think these books will help or hurt us in our fight against the undead?

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! So many questions! I can't speak German or French like apparently every other soul reading this blog can (Spanish, anyone?), but... I'm the 50th comment, so that means something, right?

Who's your favorite friend (who is also an author?)

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Jotter Scalems said...

I've had French for eight years and German for two years.

I can still remember the first line of the text in the German textbook:

Wan kommt der Bus? In Funf Minuten.

I think my first French sentence must have been something like:

Bonjour, je m'appele Jean et je suis français.

In Japanese (study Asian studies now):
Konnichi wa o genki desuka.
(good day, are you fine?)

In Classical Chinese:
The bird sings on top of a tree.

I've never seen a Dutch book for foreign people. (I take it that it differs from the ones they to learn me how to read here in Belgium). It would be interesting to hear the first lines. :)

5:43 PM  
Anonymous cep program said...

thank you nice sharing

3:45 PM  

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