Sunday, December 23, 2012

Better Know a Christmas: France

Bonjourrrrrr, ya cheese eating surrender monkeys! A Joyeux Noel to you all! Christmas is just a few hours away, so it's about time I brush off another edition of "Better Know A Christmas."

For those new to the blog, it's a yearly blog series where I profile how Christmas is celebrated in other countries! Today's country is France.

Like many of the other European countries I've profiled, the Christmas season usually starts out on December 6th, St. Nicholas' Day The kids there usually do the same thing as ones from the other countries: Put their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with presents by the Christ Child, or their version of Santa, Père Noël."

Besides doing other stuff like hanging nuts and fruits by that fireplace, the naughty children surrender to the French equivalent of Santa's evil helper: Père Fouettard.

Kinda looks like Zappa if you ask me.

But this is mostly in the Northern part of France. Everywhere else has Père Noël show up on Christmas Eve, while adults usually give presents to each other on New Year's Day.

There's no Christmas Tree to be found in France. Rather, this is the country of origin of the Yule Log.

Either in log form or as a cake, the French started the tradition that said log should last from Christmas to New Year's to bring good luck and warmth to the whole family. These days they mostly make do with the cake, but you can plainly see it was built for durability.

While the French eat their logs, their main Christmas centerpiece are tiny nativity scenes called Creches.

Pretty sure there were Daleks at the nativity. And Mr. Bean.

I'm not too sure, but I'd like to think this was the origin of those tiny little Christmas towns you see people buy up to make little festive cities in their own house. Like this one:

A more fancy way of saying "Empty Nest Syndrome."

What I like about the French Christmas after the two hours I spent researching this is their annual Christmas feast, called Le Réveillon.

Dibs on the kickass dessert tree.

Eaten after midnight mass (though fewer people these days actually bother to go to it), the feast varies on the region. It could contain ham, turkey stuffed with chestnuts, oysters, goose, those freaking snails, and foie gras. And yes, even cheese.

Well folks, that about wraps things up for this edition of Better Know a Christmas. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever the hell you celebrate! I'll be taking a page from the French and waving my white flag with pride this year.

Until next time, don't forget to check out the other Christmases that I've Better Known:

Great Britain
The Netherlands

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Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/12: Apocalypse...Now?

???: "Ahh...Yes."

???: "The day that was foretold by the ancient Mayans has finally come to pass."

???: "And I, Nekron, the embodiment of death itself, can finally lay waste to this mortal plane! I always knew that there was too much life on this planet and not enough death, and now I can change all of that. The living no longer fear me, nor fear death."

: "With one sweep of my scythe, their minds will be changed. Scores of mortal souls would join me in the permanence of death. It's the only thing in this universe that's inevitable, so why should we prolong it?"

Nekron: "The problem is...where to start? It's been so long since I've seen this realm. "

Nekron: "Whoever lives here now seems to have redecorated. I don't like it, He'll be the first to go."


Nekron: "Who said that?"

Dennis: "Down here."

: "And who might you be?"

Dennis: "My name's Dennis. I'm sorta the star of this show."

Nekron: "You're quite bold to call out Death while he's trying to monologue, you know."

Dennis: "Yeah...about that."

Dennis: "You see, we kinda sorta established a villain like, a week ago. He looked cool, he killed one of our guys, mentioned a few things that'll kick-start the plot. Typical chapter one stuff."

Nekron: "But..."

Dennis: "Look, our plot's kinda muddled on its own already, and tossing you in there is just gonna mess things up. The rest of us would REALLY like it if you took your apocalypse elsewhere."

Nekron: "Come on! I waited thousands of years for this!"

Dennis: "No! Get your own storyline, man!"

Nekron: "Grr....all right, fine! I'll let you have your cute little story with the lollipops and the Santas or whatever the hell you people do around this time of the year."

Nekron: "Can I at least tell you how you're going to die? You'll be pleasantly surprised!"

Dennis: "Get out!"

Nekron: "This place is boring me anyway. I'll be back eventually, maybe in a year. And I hope you get some new carpeting by then!"

Dennis: "...The nerve of some people..."


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12!: Dennis & The T-Shirt of Doom

Merv: "...What do ya think it is?"

Dennis: "Well, it's a bag. From some kinda website."

Perceptor: "Well, according to the label, it's a from some place called Teefury."

Dennis: "Clapboard, you came in a mysterious box, you know what this is all about?"

Merv: "Yeah, isn't this thing, like, your cousin or something?"

Clapboard: "Oh, I've definitely seen these things before. It's a random cool shirt that comes in the mail. But which shirt would it be, and why is it here?"

???: "And that's what I'm here to find out!"

Dennis: "Oh, crap."

Perceptor: "Decepticon."

???: "With a face this gorgeous and blurry, how could I NOT be a Decepticon? The name is Straxus."

Straxus: "So you're a member of Optimus Prime's team, yes? The very same group that took out Megatron a year ago."

Perceptor: "Indeed we did! We haven't seen any trouble since then, either. Why start with us?"

Straxus: "I came here to thank you! With him out of the way, I could claim my rightful place as the Decepticons one true leader!"

Merv: "Oh come the fuck on! What is with you robots and your power vacuums?"

Dennis: "And isn't 'usurper' Starscream's gig?"

Straxus: "Do you really think that little piss ant Starscream was the only bot gunning for Megatron's job? We're not the only ones who thought the guy lost his touch at evil."

Straxus: "And now that he's finally out of the picture, it's time to finish what he started: By destroying you Autobots and ruling this wretched planet in the name of the Decepticons!"

Straxus: "Which I'll start by taking this neat package from you. I hope it's in my size!"

Merv: "Come on man, you gotta be kiddin' me! You're like the only 20 foot tall robot around! And

Clapboard: "Besides, you only came with us because you were the last one to say 'not it.' back at the base."

Perceptor: "For allspark's sake, I'm only an intelligence bot, I'm only around to sound smarter than the others! They never gave me any good weapons!"

Perceptor: "But I suppose you are all correct. It is my duty to protect all innocent beings at all cost. Optimus would be furious if I didn't."

Dennis: "That's the spirit! Get our shirt back!"

Perceptor: " heard the Earthlings, drop the bag and go back to whence you came!"

Straxus: "And what are you going to do if I don't comply, Microscope? Look at me really close?"

Straxus: "Look at me! I transform into a tank! I'm covered in armor! I have guns mounted on my shoulders, my weapon of choice is a pickaxe!"

Straxus: "So if you're thinking if anything you do will hurt my in any way, I'd like to see it and laugh my servos off at such a futile attempt."

Straxus: "What I'm saying is, how you earthlings say it...come at me."

Perceptor: "Well, umm, when you put it that way..."

Straxus: "Hmm...very well. Let me tell you something that sets Megatron and I apart."

Straxus: "You see, Megatron always sent one of his underlings to do his dirty work, and when he's finally forced onto the field, he dies at the hand of a giant pokemon."

Straxus: "But as for me..."


Straxus: "...I'm more of a hands-on kind of bot."

Dennis: "Perceptor!!!"

Merv: "God, you suck."

Straxus: "Whatever, peons."

Straxus: "Now I shall take my prize. It's a nice little gift before I go find Magnus."

Clapboard: "Speak to me! Don't quit on us!"

Merv: "I'm Sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

Dennis: "Ah, man...I can't believe I was dumb enough to egg you on to fight that guy. I feel so stupid!"

Perceptor: "Do not worry, Dennis. Your heart was in the right place. I had a duty to fulfill, and none of you were hurt. I call that a victory in my book."

Dennis: "Yeah, but in MY looks like you have a giant axe hole in your chest."

Perceptor: " My pain sensors ARE operating at an alarming rate, I don't know how much longer I can hold on. I guess our time comes when we least expect it."

Clapboard: "I hate death, I really do. Even though I'll never experience it, I can't stand it!"

Perceptor: "Do not feel bad about yourselves...all of you...Ugh...I guess I was wrong about this not being worth dying over."

Perceptor: "I guess my only my character not being fleshed out enough..."



Merv: "Is he...?"

Dennis: "Regenerating!"

Perceptor: "Oh...I'm...alive?"

Perceptor: "And...I have articulation?! Amazing, I managed to reformat!"

Dennis: "I thought it was regeneration?"

Perceptor: "Of course not, the term for us Cybertronians is 'reformatting.' We keep our memories and such, but our entire bodies change when the old one becomes worn out."

Merv: "(cough)Retcon!(cough)"

Clapboard: "But I guess we're all happy you're okay!"

Perceptor: "Of course. And...where's Straxus?"

Dennis: "He left with the package not long after you stabbed you in the chest."

Perceptor: "Well that's a fine how do you do. And did I hear him mention something about...Magnus?"

Dennis: "Yeah...why?"

Perceptor: "If this Magnus is what I'm thinking, we have to go back to Optimus and the others! Your world is in great danger."

Merv: "Well, again."

Dennis: "Sigh. Looks like it's another exciting adventure for us. I should've known something was up when I looked at the calendar today."


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