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International Relations

picture of world flags

Some of my readers may not know that I have international relations. My paternal grandmother was French, and I still have cousins in France whom we have visited and with whom I keep in touch. This past Saturday morning one cousin and I IM'd in French for about a half hour on Facebook. Then his dad, who is my age, took over and we IM'd until we decided to switch to Skype so that we could just talk — free and crystal clear. Talking is so much faster for us grandpas. I love having relationships with my extended family in France.

As a French teacher, I sometimes have students who say, "I don't know why I have to take a foreign language." From their limited perspective they don't realize that it's probably never been more important. Understanding other languages and cultures is essential for international relations, not only in the political and corporate arenas, but also especially in the realm of missions.

Today's post highlights examples of botched international relations — some serious and some lighthearted — just what you've come to expect from ivman's blague.
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How to Fail a Test with Dignity

picture of failing exam grade

Did you enjoy tests as a student? Most of us have written a totally stupid answer that made us wonder what in the world we were thinking during the test. But have you ever written a funny answer because you didn't know the right answer and wanted to cheer up the teacher? Of course I prefer correct answers, but I have to admit that the occasional hilarious answer is a welcome treat when I'm drowning in paper grading.

In honor of our final exams next week, today's post features funny things some students have written on tests, mostly on purpose, I think....

Here are some creative answers on science tests:

picture of funny science test answer

picture of funny science test answer

picture of funny science test answer

picture of funny science test answer

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Happy Christmas Decorating!

picture of Charlie Brown and his Christmas tree

Do you usually go all out with Christmas decorations, or is your decorating as sparse as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree? I ask because our fairly minimal decorating is still fresh in my mind from this past weekend. Our cats are delighted to be able to lie again under the artificial tree. (And they say cats are finicky....)

With the tight economy, some people want to cut back on their Christmas lights. If you have a neighbor who has gone wild with his outdoor decorating, you can save money by decorating in the way the folks in the house on the right did in the picture below.

picture of dittos from the neighbor

As we decorated the tree this weekend, we were frustrated early on. After Christmas last year we bought some strings of lights on sale to replace the string of lights that had died "in action" midseason and that we thought would probably be dead by this year. However we discovered that the new lights had white wires instead of green and stuck out like sore thumbs when we tried them out on the tree. Grr! This necessitated a hasty trip to the store so that decorating could continue. I think we are now done for this year. Phew!

Some counselors claim that hanging lights on a Christmas tree is one of the three most stressful situations in relationships. The other two danger zones are teaching your mate to drive and wallpapering together. With that in mind I present the following to you:

What Not to Say when Hanging Lights on the Christmas Tree...

"Hellooo!!! You've got two red lights right next to each other. You're supposed to go yellow, green, red, blue, not yellow, red, red, green, blue...."

"I don't care if you have found two more strings — I'm done!"
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Signs that Make You Wonder

picture of funny signs caution

I love funny signs and try to post some every month or so, as I accumulate them. Today's is a random collection, with no general theme, other than leaving me wondering. Several were spotted and photographed by some of my readers whose blogs I follow.

This past Saturday morning at the banana box sale, we saw a funny sign that daughter Megan posted on her blog. I wonder if a past incident occasioned the store's posting this sign.

picture of sign at banana box sale

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Training Session

picture of Thomas the Tank Engine

Many younger Americans don't have much experience with trains any more since AmTrak passenger service does not go to smaller towns as trains do in other countries. And so I think it's an interesting phenomenon that Thomas the Tank Engine is capturing the hearts and minds of so many little boys. This week I'm being plunged into the world of Thomas.

Our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Drew are here for a week, and since I last saw them four months ago, Drew has become obsessed with all things Thomas. It's astounding to me that he can tell you the name of any of the 60 different train cars at a glance! Poppy has some catching up to do and will undoubtedly not be up to speed by week's end.
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