June 2013

The Jokes About Aaron Hernandez Are Sad

by Bill Brenner June 27, 2013 News

Update April 15, 2015: Hernandez has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. A lot of jokes are making the rounds after the arrest of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on first-degree murder charges. It’s human nature to do this sort of thing. But it’s also sad. Mood music: One of the more popular jokes had to do with Hernandez switching from tight end…  [Read More]

Obsessing About Snowden Blinds Us From Bigger Truths

by Bill Brenner June 26, 2013 Crime and punishment

I’ve hestitated to write about Edward Snowden, the former technical contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked details of top-secret mass surveillance programs to the press. People see him as either a hero or a traitor, but I’ve been conflicted. Mood music: I used to fear everything and wanted the government to do everything possible to keep me safe, even if it meant giving up some liberty. I eventually got past the fear and now believe we must live life…  [Read More]

I Like This Pope

by Bill Brenner June 25, 2013 Faith

As a Catholic who has rebelled against the political structure of the Church, I gotta say this new Pope is giving me a lot of hope. Francis is turning out to be a rebel in his own right, shunning the trappings of power and putting the focus squarely back on Jesus, where it belongs. Mood music: The latest example: Pope Francis skipped a concert over the weekend where he was to be the guest of…  [Read More]

Paula Deen and the N-Word

by Bill Brenner June 24, 2013 Crime and punishment

I’m not a fan of cooking celebrity Paula Deen. When I first heard The Food Network fired Deen for using the N-word in the past, I figured she got what she deserved. But part of me feels sorry for her. Here’s one of three apology videos she made: According to various news reports, including an item in The Huffington Post, Deen’s troubles stem from her admission that she used the N-word in the past. She…  [Read More]

Vice’s Suicide Spread Has a Right to Exist

by Bill Brenner June 20, 2013 Mental health

Vice magazine created a shitstorm by publishing a photo spread of models depicted as famous female authors at the moment of their suicides. I’m all for freedom of expression and would never advocate banning such things. But as an art fan I can offer my critique: This spread was utter crap. Mood music: Vice pulled the feature down from its site after a public outcry, but the print version is still available and the magazine…  [Read More]

The First Victim of 9/11

by Bill Brenner June 19, 2013 Courage

I’ve been studying up on Akamai Technologies’s history since starting work in the InfoSec department earlier this month. One of the coolest and most moving lessons has been a study of company co-founder Danny Lewin, who died aboard Flight 11 on 9/11 when terrorists drove it into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Mood music: Lewin is actually considered the first casualty of that terrible day because he was killed during an attempt…  [Read More]

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

by Bill Brenner June 18, 2013 Compulsive behaviors

One of my biggest struggles has always been impatience. I hate waiting, whether it’s being stuck in a long line at Starbucks or getting adjusted to life’s changes. Since I recently started a new job, the challenge has grown particularly steep in recent weeks. Mood music: It’s all good, really; I’m enjoying the new job. But I’m always obsessed about where I want to be in the process, and that has made for a world…  [Read More]

Coffee Withdrawal as a Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner June 14, 2013 Addiction

Get this: The latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), has added caffeine withdrawal to the list of mental illnesses. Ridiculous, you say? I did at first. But on further reflection, it makes sense. Mood music: Those who know me are well aware of my ability to consume large amounts of caffeine. I drink coffee all morning and, when possible, I switch to Red Bull in…  [Read More]

Superman Was There When I Needed Him Most

by Bill Brenner June 13, 2013 Crohn's Disease

Tonight I’m doing something I never do. I’m going to a midnight movie premier, for Man of Steel. I’m no night owl, so this ought to be an adventure. But Superman has always been important to me. It seems ridiculous, having such devotion to a fictional superhero. But to be honest, the Man of Steel came into my life at a time when I really needed a superhero, even if he was from a world…  [Read More]

Black Sabbath and the Sick Bed

by Bill Brenner June 12, 2013 Coping tools

Wherein the author stays still and rocks out. Only a week into the new job, I got blasted with the stomach bug from Hell. It started coming on Monday night and kept me up all night and in bed all day Tuesday. Those who know me will tell you I get up before 5 a.m. and am usually working by 6. To spend a whole day in bed is unthinkable. Yet that’s what I did….  [Read More]