Monthly Archives: January 2011

Boycotting the ‘Muslim stamp’

The custom-made stamp from Zazzle.com

So every once in a while I’ll get one of those stupid email forwards people blithely pass around without checking to see if any of it’s true. Most of the time I just roll my eyes and delete them. But this time, it was so obvious the Islamophobic message wasn’t true, it made me question how manage to survive when they so obviously aren’t using what little brain capacity they have.

The text of the message is as follows (sparing the eye-blinding colors and extremely large font):

Don’t buy it!

Apparently they think that putting hearts and butterflies on the new stamp will make most people not realize that the rest is Arabic and probably not something we want to support.

USPS New 44-Cent Stamp Celebrates a Muslim holiday. If there is only ONE thing you forward today… Let it be this!

President Obama has directed the United States Postal Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a new commemorative 44-Cent First Class Holiday Postage Stamp.

REMEMBER to adamantly & vocally BOYCOTT this stamp, when you are purchasing your stamps at the post office.

All you have to say is “No thank you, I do not want that Muslim Stamp on my letters!”

To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am Flight 103!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Military Barracks in Saudi Arabia !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001 !
REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Pass this along to every Patriotic American that you know and get the word out!

Honor the United States of America ! Don’t buy it!

At first glance of the supposed “stamp,” you can see the “zazzle.com” website address at the top. Even if you don’t know what Zazzle.com is (a place where you can order custom-designed stamps), if you have any common sense whatsoever, you should know that it’s not an official United States Postal Service stamp. An official USPS stamp would never have another business’ website address on it. Also, a simple Internet search will bring up a multitude of sites disproving the bogus claims in the email.

The official USPS Eid stamp

Even though the stamp being sent around with the email is not issued by the post office, it may come as a shock to people who believe it that there is an official USPS-issued stamp commemorating the holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. President Obama did not order this stamp into being. It was issued, ironically, on Sept. 1, 2001, 10 days before the Sept. 11 attacks and seven years before Obama would be elected president. It has been reissued every time postage has gone up. According to the press release regarding the issuing of the stamp:

The Eid stamp commemorates the two most important festivals—or eids—in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other “Eid mubarak,” the phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp. “Eid mubarak” translates literally as “blessed festival,” and can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed.” This phrase can be applied to both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

The stamp is part of the USPS’ holiday series, along with stamps for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

I could go on a spiel about how, if we should boycott the “Muslim stamp” because of all the people who were killed by “Muslims,” we ought to do the same thing to any stamp connected to a history of violence and bloodshed… but that would make this blog entry entirely too long.

Regardless, I will do one thing the email forward says. I will honor the United States of America next time I need stamps by requesting the Eid stamp, if available. Because I believe in the First Amendment and believe that every person in this country has the right to worship (or not) how he or she pleases, without fear of persecution.

I feel it says a lot about a person’s so-called faith if they can feel so threatened by something as innocuous as a stamp.

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Filed under culture wars, incredulous, Ranty McRantypants

I am a Twitter-stalker

A couple of weeks ago, Twitter released its top ten most retweeted tweets of 2010. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter lingo, a “retweet” is sort of like an online thumbs-up or a way of saying, “Hey, that was a funny tweet! Let me share it with my followers.”)

It comes as no surprise to find that the number one retweeted tweet of 2010 came from Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome). His tweet, from June 16, was “In honor of oil-soaked birds, ‘tweets’ are now ‘gurgles.'”

I admit, I was one of those who retweeted that one. I’m something of a Twitter addict.

Recently, I happened to catch a little snippet on a TV talk show. One of the guests commented that there were no big celebrities like there used to be. I thought it rather strange as I can probably name half a dozen without batting an eyelash, but then she went on to explain how celebrities of yore were more ethereal than they are now and I think I get what she means.

Of course, I wasn’t around during the age of Cary Grant, Grace Kelly or Katherine Hepburn, to name but a few, but I imagine they weren’t as accessible as the stars of today in this new technological age. Even celebs I used to crush on as a kid seemed out of reach. They only way we could “get to know” a favorite star back in the day was to buy an issue of Tiger Beat magazine and pore over the photos of our teen idols, or watch “Entertainment Tonight” for little snippets of information.

Then along came the Internet and the fourth wall was stripped away.

Access to celebrity gossip is just a mouse click away. Type in any star’s name, like Angelina Jolie, will bring you over 28 million sites to peruse. But it’s not just the ease of gathering information about a favorite celeb that has stripped some of the mystery away. The stars themselves have made themselves available to their fans via social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

I don’t consider myself someone who obsesses over celebrities. I’m not the kind of person who will go see a movie just because someone I like is in it. I see movies because the story looks good. I don’t google my favorite stars to see what they’re up to. I will look through my mother’s People magazine from time to time, but I don’t care about who is dating, or wearing, whom. I do admit to driving all the way to Montgomery, AL, with a friend to see “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival because one of our favorite TV stars was in it. But “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” is my favorite Shakespeare play. (Plus my friend did all the driving.) But it was just the one time. I swear, I’m not a celebrity stalker.

Until I discovered Twitter.

When I signed up for a Twitter account, the first people I followed were some of my favorite celebs. Kevin Smith, Wil Wheaton, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day. Pretty much the entire cast of “Star Trek.” It was amazing to me how I didn’t have to rely anymore on third party sources to hear news about Smith’s new movie or Wheaton’s guest appearances on “The Big Bang Theory.” I could see, firsthand, in real time, what they were up to.

Then I took a bold move and decided to tweet to them personally. Never did I think I’d receive a reply. But I did. Last February, I happened to be online at the same time as Kevin Smith. Impulsively, I shot him a question, “What are you getting the Mrs. for Valentine’s Day.” I was not expecting a response. I know celebrities rarely pay attention to their online followers. But when I checked my replies later that afternoon I was floored when I received an answer, “What every woman wants: obedience.”

The answer made me laugh. Then it made me giddy. For a moment, my thirty-something-year-old self reverted into a silly, screaming preteen who just got a glimpse of her favorite boy band. And it was a good feeling.

I didn’t let it go to my head. I’m not delusional to think that Smith and I are now BFFs (that’s best friends forever in Internet lingo). But it was fun getting a reply from someone I admire.

I do admit, I feel a little voyeuristic sometimes. Without Twitter, would I have known that Felicia Day was cooking Irish oatmeal the other morning? No. But that little peek into celebrities’ lives makes them seem more real and less out of reach. And I do find these little details fascinating.

I think Twitter has brought society closer together. I’ve “met” some interesting people from all over the world I might never have known without Twitter. I hear about breaking news before most of the major websites have it up. I get sneak peeks into parts of the entertainment industry which I never would have discovered. And I get to stalk my favorite celebrities without fear of being slapped with a restraining order.

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2010: A meme

Yesterday, I set down some goals I’d like to accomplish in 2011. Today, I thought I’d look back at 2010.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’ve never done before?

2010: So long and thanks for all the Tim Tams!

Visited a Catholic Church.

2. Did you keep your New Years Resolutions and will you make more?

I made 10 last year. I think I kept about four. This year, I’ve set goals, rather than make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. Looking forward to that this year though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

Australia.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Good health, both physical and mental.

7. What date from 2010 will be etched on your memory?

October 30. I got to see my cousin get married!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting a new “job.” Or, I guess I should say “position” since I’m still at the same place. But I’m really liking it!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not keeping up with my writing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes. Still am suffering illness. I keep putting off going to the doctor…

11. What was the best thing you bought?

So many choices! New laptop, Kindle, iPod… but I guess my best purchase was the plane ticket to Australia.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

What an… odd question. One I don’t really know how to answer.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Members of dad’s extended family. And the general public.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Australia.

15. What did you get really really excited about?

Australia! (I sense a theme…)

16. What song will remind you of 2010?

“Game On!” by the Guild

17. Compared to this time last year are you: happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter?

About the same on all fronts I guess.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying.

20. How will/did you spend Christmas?

At home, with the parents. Quiet, snowy day. Also, watched “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” Perfect Christmas series. *cough*

21. How will/did you spend New Years?

Chasing my nephew around the house. Also, celebrating Mom’s birthday.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

Nope.

23. How many one night stands?

None. Sadly.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

I have to pick one?? Um… Think I’ll go with “Doctor Who.” Or “Castle.” Or “The Big Bang Theory.” Don’t make me choose!

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. Pretty much hate the same people I did last year.

26. What was the best book you read this year?

Peony in Love by Lisa See

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Lady Gaga. Don’t judge.

28. What did you want and get?

iPod Touch.

29. What did you want and not get?

Macbook.

30. What was your favorite film of the year?

Since I only saw four films in theaters this year, I will have to go with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

31. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I was 34. I was on my last day of vacation. Did a little shopping. Went to Cracker Barrel to eat.

32. What’s one thing that would’ve made your year more satisfying?

Getting a pay raise.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Non-existent.

34. What kept you sane?

Planning an overseas trip. Of course, it also made me a bit insane.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Nathan Fillion.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

37. Who did you miss?

My brother. Always miss him even though I do get to see him occasionally.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m… not sure I met any new people. My cousin’s new husband’s sister is pretty cool though.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same.
I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game.
Too late for second guessing.
Too late to go back to sleep.
It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap…

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Never get your hopes up.

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Goals, not resolutions

Every year I resolve not to make any resolutions. Last year I made ten. I think I kept about four of them. But looking back at them, I realize they weren’t so much resolutions as they were goals. And I only managed a handful. Still, that’s better than none.

This year, I’ve made two lists. The first is a list of goals I’d like to accomplish in 2011. The second is a more practical list of what I think I’ll actually accomplish before 2012.

MMXI is already ticking away...

Goals for 2011

1. See more movies.

In 2010, I saw exactly four movies in theaters: Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Red and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Going through the upcoming releases section on IMDB, I’ve already got a list of 13 movies I want to see. 2011 is going to be a good year for movies.

2. Blog more.

This is the first blog post I’ve made in about four months. I really slacked off. In my defense, I spent most of September sick and/or getting ready for my trip to Australia which lasted for five weeks in October-November. Still, I should have made more of an effort.

3. Finish my unfinished fanfic.

I started writing Gundam Wing fanfic over a decade ago. I stopped about three years ago when I first got sick. I have nine chapters done of the last one I was working on. I want to finish it. No, I WILL finish it. *game face*

4. Write a non-fic short story.

I have a notebook full of ideas and outlines and characters. It’s time to put up or shut up and finally write one of them.

5. Cull DVD, book, manga collections.

Seriously. I have no more room. Books aren’t so bad now I have a Kindle, but my DVDs are out of control and my manga hasn’t fit on my bookshelves in years. Time to get rid of some I won’t read/watch anymore. And perhaps make some money in the process.

6. Scrapbook trips.

After our last trip to Australia, I started to scrapbook the highlights. I never finished. Now I’ve been again, and have tons of new memories to scrapbook. It’s time to dig out all my equipment and finish some albums!

7. Watch old TV shows everyone has seen but me.

These include, but are not limited to, Fringe, the various incarnations of “Stargate,” “Warehouse 13,” “Sanctuary,” Classic “Who”…

8. Reach 200 followers on Twitter.

As of this writing I’m at 188. Twelve more (that aren’t bots) shouldn’t be too hard to manage in a year, should it?

9. Read more books, including at least two non-fiction.

In 2009, while still recovering from my illness, I only read 42 books. This year, I read 59 books. I’m hoping that not having to worry about finding space for new books will help me read even more this year.

10. Start a podcast.

Ideally, with my brother, since he has experience. But he’s already got one going, so I may have to look elsewhere for a co-host. Still, sounds like fun.

 

Realistic goals for 2011

1. See more movies.

Since I only saw four this year, I think I can make this goal. In my list of Movies I’d Like to See, the ones I think I will probably make it to include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Transformers 3, Cowboys and Aliens and either Thor or the Green Lantern. The rest I’ll probably just wait until they come out on DVD.

2. Blog more.

Oh let’s face it. If I can manage one a week, I’ll be doing good. I managed to keep a written journal for all of 2010, but honestly, you all don’t want to read the mundane details of my life.

3. Finish my unfinished fanfic.

I tried to finish it last year. I got exactly a chapter and a half done. I will consider two more chapters done by January 2012 as an accomplishment.

4. Write a non-fic short story.

Um… I foresee more outlines and ideas being written down. Actually finishing one? Pfft.

5. Cull DVD, book, managa collections.

The motivating factor here will be money. If I can make a little money by getting rid of some of these, then I think this will be a goal I will accomplish.

6. Scrapbook trips.

My problem with scrap booking right now is a lack of work space. If I can buy a simple, fold-out table for the upstairs spare room, I will be able to spread my materials out and get some pages done! So real goal: Find a suitable work table.

7. Watch old TV shows everyone has seen but me.

I might be able to catch up with “Fringe” and “Warehouse 13.” But there are I don’t even know how many seasons of “Stargate” and its various incarnations. Some research will be involved if I am to attempt this.

8. Reach 200 followers on Twitter.

Honestly, I’ll take the bots.

9. Read more books, including at least two non-fiction.

My Kindle makes this goal achievable. I already have one non-fiction book I’ve not read yet. Any suggestions for a second?

10. Start a podcast.

Eh. I’ll settle for doing a guest spot on Geek Bits every once in a while.

Have a safe and happy, geeky New Year!

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