I have some basic familiarity with Objective-C, but prefer Ruby, so I'm thinking of playing around with MacRuby. Is it possible to use MacRuby to develop applications for the Mac App Store, or do I have to use Objective-C? (Note that I don't care so much about iOS/the iPhone and iPad store right now, just the Mac OS X app store.)
This comes up sporadically; beyond the guidelines that @NSResponder mentioned, the reality is that you'll just be spending a lot of extra & unnecessary time if you decide to use MacRuby unless you plan on using some large chunk of already written Ruby code in your app.
Learning Objective-C is about 2% of the overall learning needed to be an effective Cocoa developer. The other 98% is everything from memory management model to standard idioms like KVC/KVO/delegation to NIB files to the myriad of classes & APIs throughout the system.
All of those things are written in Objective-C (or C) with documentation targeting Objective-C and examples written in Objective-C.
As well, the entire tool chain is focused on validating, compiling, indexing, debugging, and manipulating Objective-C.
If you want to use MacRuby to build a real Cocoa app, you are going to have to know Objective-C through and through anyway. And you are going to have to deal with whatever bugs and impedance mismatch is in the bridge layer, too.