February 2012

Recognizing Cries For Help In Your Friends’ Online Posts

by Bill Brenner February 29, 2012 Children's issues

For all the drama and groan-inducing crap we see on social media every day, there is a very redeeming quality in the social networking site. Mood music: It’s a good early-warning system for identifying friends in need. I’m not revealing anything you don’t know, but a New York Times article my wife sent me really drives the point home. Written by Times reporter Jan Hoffman, the article points out, among other things: For adolescents, Facebook and…  [Read More]

The Changing, Frightening Face Of Plagiarism

by Bill Brenner February 28, 2012 Adventures in writing

Plagiarism used to be such a simple thing: If you stole someone else’s work and passed it off as your own, you were a liar and a thief. But in the cyber world, it has become something much grayer, though no less sinister. Mood music: In the security community I write about for a living, sites such as Attrition.org have vast sections devoted to those who plagiarize. To be called out for such an act…  [Read More]

Sober In San Francisco: Easier Than It Used To Be

by Bill Brenner February 26, 2012 Uncategorized

The first day in San Francisco for RSA and BSidesSF is done, and I’m happy to report being a lot more comfortable in my sobriety than I’ve been at past conference gatherings. Mood music: Right after I got sober at the end of 2009, these networking events were difficult for me. A couple drinks used to loosen my nerves and bring me out of my shell, and it took a long time to learn how…  [Read More]

I Regret Wearing That Charles Manson T-Shirt

by Bill Brenner February 26, 2012 Uncategorized

In the early 1990s, Patti Tate, sister of Sharon Tate, was on a public tirade against Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose for going onstage every night wearing a Charles Manson T-Shirt. Around the same time, I had my own Manson shirt, worn regularly to freak people out. Mood music: Here’s Axl in his shirt: Here’s me in my shirt: The picture was taken 20 years ago — 1992 — when I was in a…  [Read More]

Anti-Authoritarianism As A Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner February 25, 2012 Children's issues

A friend sent me an interesting article by psychologist Bruce E. Levine that poses the question: Would we drug up Albert Einstein today for displaying traits outside the norms of an obedient society? Mood music: Let’s see what Levine says, then I’ll weigh in… In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I…  [Read More]

The Most Important Book Ever Written About Sharon Tate And The Manson Murders

by Bill Brenner February 25, 2012 Addiction

I’m reading a book called “Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice,” written by Tate family friend Alisa Statman and Brie Tate, niece of Sharon Tate. It may well be the most important book written on the Manson case. Mood music: The simple reason is that it captures a family’s grief and struggle to move on — something all our families have dealt with in various forms. I’ve…  [Read More]

Things Kids Say, February Vacation Edition

by Bill Brenner February 24, 2012 Children's issues

The children and their friends have been giving me an earful this week. Silly little buggers always forget that I take notes. Mood music: “I demand my rights as an American!” Duncan, after being told he can’t watch TV before school (in this case, the Friday before vacation) “Good luck. You’re gonna need it.” Sean, wishing one of Erin’s friends well in an important business venture “Who do you think I am, Rosa Parks?” Sean’s…  [Read More]

Gave Up Giving Up For Lent

by Bill Brenner February 23, 2012 Faith

Here we are starting another season of Lent, where Catholics the world over give up something they like for 40 days in an effort to honor the sacrifice Jesus made for everyone. Sean has given up the computer. Erin is TV-free. Duncan put aside the chocolate. Mood music: What have I given up? Nothing. It’s not for lack of faith or gratitude. It’s not even the move of a curmudgeon who doesn’t like to follow…  [Read More]

A Rebellious Catholic’s Analysis Of Rick Santorum

by Bill Brenner February 22, 2012 Communication skills for the crazy

That Rick Santorum really sets people off. He doesn’t like gays serving in the military, or women for that matter. He thinks Satan is taking over America through rock music. People either love him or want to see him vaporized. Mood music: Is he really THE presidential candidate for true Catholics, as some of my church friends suggest? Is he really the evil, hateful soul some of my non-Catholic friends make him out to be?…  [Read More]

The Right Drugs Will Set Her Straight

by Bill Brenner February 21, 2012 Addiction

Here’s an advertisement that pushes a lot of different thoughts into one’s mind. Mood music: A friend shared it on Facebook recently: In case you can’t see the wording of this 1967 masterpiece, the high point is this: Beset by the seemingly insurmountable problems of raising a young family, and confined to the home most of the time, her symptons reflect a sense of inadequacy and isolation. …Serax (oxazepam) cannot change her environment, of course….  [Read More]