Brittle Skillet

Sparks of passion and items of interest.

Peace Prize as a Call to Action for the World

with 4 comments

Obama

Update: December 10, 2009 War and Peace?

“My task here is to continue on the path that I believe is not only important for America, but important for lasting peace in the world,” Obama said. His goals include stabilizing Afghanistan, mobilizing an international effort to deal with terrorism and combating climate change.

For the whole article, visit NPR’s Obama Defends U.S. Wars As He Accepts Nobel Prize.

Updated October 12, 2009

At a brief address on the front lawn of the White House this morning, President Obama accepted the award of the Nobel Peace Prize “as a call to action—a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.” Does President Obama deserve this award now? This is perhaps the first question that comes to mind upon hearing the news. Even President Obama judges himself undeserving “to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.”

Given what seems to be his life purpose, I believe he is deserving. However, there is still time needed to assess his actual achievements towards peace. Two obvious, top-of-mind areas of long-needed “peaceful” progress are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the outcomes of these conflicts are tenuous and mired in complexity, we are in the middle of creating this history. Ultimately, time will judge how deserving President Obama is of today’s honor.

I have complete faith that Obama’s genuine intentions lead him to work for cooperation and best possible outcomes among a diversity of world views and motivations (which ultimately equates to peace). Can he effectively activate these good and genuine intentions? Can he successfully achieve the cooperation the world needs for peaceful outcomes?

These are questions that will be answered not only by the actions of our president, but also by the actions of leaders of other nations around the world. Cooperation does not come from one source; it is co-operative, necessitating genuine intentions for the best possible outcomes among a diversity of world views from the very holders of those world views.

As reflected in his speech this morning, he is fully aware that, “These challenges can’t be met by any one leader or any one nation.” So, in the end, how will we judge how deserving or not President Obama is? This reminds me that the success of any one of us is not based solely on our own efforts. We need a certain amount of cooperation for any success at all.

To view and hear President Obama’s six-minute reaction to the award, please visit THE BLOG: Building a World that “Gives LIfe to the Promise of Our Founding Documents”.

Related article: Nobel Surprise, by Hendrik Hertzberg

Graphic courtesy of P/\UL 

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

October 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

We Love WordPress and We Want to Learn More

with 4 comments

WordCamp Seattle


On Saturday, September 26, 2009 folks in the Seattle area are in for a treat. Just $35 gets you into an event that promises to be fun, informative, and a networking boon. There are a very limited number of tickets left—as I write this, only 2 tickets remain.

The WordCamp people describe the event as an “informal conference” where “beginners, hobbyists, geeks, and pros” network and learn about using WordPress for blogging and content management. While I’ve never been to this informal conference before, I’m looking forward with much enthusiasm. I’m already sold on the WordPress platform, and I’m hungry to learn how to maximize it.

Visit the WordCamp Seattle site for the lowdown. You can also follow WordCamp Seattle on Twitter and Pathable.

If you’re not in Seattle but you’d like to attend a WordCamp, check out WordCamp Central for other dates, locations, or to find out how to organize a WordCamp in your area. 


© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

September 4, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Pantyhose or No: Like the Plague or A Girl’s Best Friend?

with 2 comments

PantyhoseI came across a blog post today that had me caught in a weird facial expression: half smiley smirk, half frowny confusion. On one hand, I was interested by the fact there were other women giving the question some serious thought—relieved that I wasn’t a lonely obsessive, concerned about the hip yet appropriate way to dress one’s legs. On the other hand, how much serious consideration does this question really merit?

In her post Why I Still Wear Pantyhose (Oh, The Horror!), Kate Evans-Correia is quite sure that there’s a time and a place for the hose. Confidently, she gives a friend no-qualms advice to wear, “something that looks bare, but you still have something on your legs to get a smoother look.” Sounds reasonable and logical given the planned event under question is in Massachusetts during October.

You’ve got to read the post yourself to appreciate the humor and the actual weight of the dilemma. Although I’m not particularly pro-hose myself, I do understand where Kate is coming from.

Keep going all the way to the bottom to see the comments too. I’m still amused in a secret society kind of way by the whole thing. Perhaps I’m just strange.

Photo by telethon

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

August 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Seattle Mariners Deliver: Fun Season Had by Fan

with 2 comments

marinersDon’t you love baseball? I do! It defines the quintessential American summer.

Last night’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox is an example of how exciting it can be. Thirteen scoreless innings had fans on both sides anxious and longing. Each team came so close to runs home, and each time the team on base was left high and dry by the solid play of the opposing defense.

In my experience, a scoreless game can be tedious, slow, and sleep-inducing. Not this one. Each team gave their all and successfully held the blockade against the other, taking the game well past the standard. As each side took the bat, the anticipation of a score grew with the number of innings. And although the game was long in innings, time passed well in watching it.

Fourteen innings of tight, edge-of-your-seat action finally led to the demise of the Chi Sox. This was a hard fought battle on both sides—the pitching was strong with Felix Hernandez (career ERA 3.58) against Mark Buehrle (career ERA 3.79). Buehrle has five years major league experience over the young Hernandez, but the match-up was rigorous.

The clincher, of course, was Ken Griffey Jr’s only at bat for the whole game. In his inimitable way with that glimmer of magic he often carries, Griffey made the game-winning score. It truly was magic!

To avoid embarrassing myself, I’ll leave the description of the highlights and history to the pros from The Seattle Times:
Griffey’s Pinch Hit Send M’s over White Sox in 14
Mariners Victory an Instant Classic

The baseball season is fast closing and football encroaches on nightly sports presentations. For me, there’s nothing like the ballpark, the smells of the concessions, the vendors in the stands, the Moose dancing and clapping, and the satisfaction of watching a well-played game. For this fan, the Mariners sure did deliver a fun one!

Photo by renaissancechambara

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

August 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Just for Fun

Tagged with , , , , ,

Another Writing Book: Just What We Need

with 4 comments

NovelIdeasDo we really need another book about writing? The world seems overflowing with books from authors for other authors about being an author. Is there a smidgen of room left on the book shelf for another such tome?

Well, perhaps. What if the “new” book was different? What if the title was Novel Ideas and the thrust of the book was truly not previously presented?

This is apparently what Barbara Shoup and Margaret-Love Denman have achieved. Now, I haven’t read the book myself (yet), but this one does intrigue me. If what Ian Scheffler reports is true, we writers may be in for a special treat.

According to Scheffler, these two creative writing teachers have written a book about the process and experience of writing after interviewing a broad range of accomplished writers. Scheffler claims that, “. . . the diversity of experience among the writers interviewed leaves something unique for every reader.”

Every reader, huh?

Have you read Novel Ideas? If so, what did you think of it?

Graphic courtesy Amazon.com

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

August 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Writing

Tagged with , , ,

Our Terminally Ill Situation: Reality Check from the White House

with 6 comments

nurseUpdated 08/19/09

Beautiful! WhiteHouse.gov just launched a new site called Reality Check. Here’s where the Obama Administration tries to lay it all out in video and text. Here’s where they make a stab at answering the myriad questions we all have about what the trendy phrase “health insurance reform” actually means, debunking myths and rumors.

If you have a question or a myth that you’d like addressed, pop open the contact form and ask away. You can identify yourself or remain anonymous. The only identity requirement is an email address, which you could create for just this one communication.

HealthReform.gov is a related site that’s been up for a while now. Here, the many different facets of the larger health reform challenge are examined and shared. The site includes examples of state and community health systems that are successful in terms of efficiency and economy — examples to be learned from. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services presents weekly video updates sharing where we are on the map of progress in a generalized summary statement.

Between these two sites, we have the opportunity to gain a real understanding of the challenges, issues, conflicts, dilemmas, and possible solutions of a system that itself is terminally ill. Change is imminent. It must occur. We cannot carry on the way we are now. The cost of health care must be reduced, education for self-care and prevention must be increased, the option to receive care must be available to all Americans, and this can only happen via improved efficiencies.

Don’t give up on the idea that we can have a better health care system. Let’s look at what compromises each side of the debate can make while still not compromising the larger value of a reliable health care system from which everyone — every single American citizen — can benefit. Let’s do what’s necessary to move our country forward.

Setting the Record Straight (launched 08/19/09)
“Where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.” -President Obama

Graphic by Jolante

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

August 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Lunacy or Luna See? Virgin Galactic Mothership Takes Off

with 3 comments

Are you a speed junky? How would you like to travel three times the speed of sound? If Richard Branson’s vision for Virgin Galactic succeeds, you can realistically add it to your list of 100 things to do before you die.

Since 2005, Virgin Galactic has been selling tickets for a true space ride at approximately US$200,000.00 each. The venture’s longer-term intention is to reduce the price of a ticket as quickly as possible, to a price as low as possible, ultimately making space travel available to all.

Why is Virgin the company to bring this experience down to earth? According to the Virgin Galactic website, it’s a natural win given “Virgin’s vast experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting-edge design combined with unique technology.”

Historically, Branson and his Virgin ventures have joined the ranks of environmental causes in a significant way with the likes of the Virgin Earth Challenge and the Virgin Green Fund. Appearing as big proponents of alternative energy and highly fuel-efficient aircraft and trains, what is their real agenda?

In Branson’s own words: “Virgin Galactic is investing in a space access system that is radically different from what’s gone before and many times more environmentally friendly. This, and the future technology that it inspires, will allow man to continue to reap space related environmental benefits without making an unacceptable contribution to the environmental problem.”

One can hope he’s going to be true to his words. In particular, how do you reconcile the amount of spent fuel hurled into the atmosphere so my neighbor can have a look around in space just for fun? You might argue that this is not so different from the cross-country summer vacation trek that many families take each year. However, the amount of fuel spent on one space flight makes the fuel needed for the family excursion look like a mere splash.

Perhaps you should get your memorial or logo etched on the Moon sooner rather than later. It seems that there will, after all, be orbiters able to view your lunar thumbprint within the next few years. Of course, it may well be the same folks orbiting as buying the etchings. In my mind, they’ll be the only ones affording either caper.

Who knows? Perhaps there’s a company selling the naming rights to a future space hotel too. Just imagine: the T-Mobile Hotel Intergalactic next to the Microsoft Spacewalk Conference Center.

© Julie Pierce and Brittle Skillet, 2009-2011.

Written by Julie Pierce

August 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm