June 2014

Gross Overreaction Still Haunts Kiera Wilmot

by Bill Brenner June 26, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

A year ago, I wrote about Kiera Wilmot, a student at Bartow (Florida) High School who was expelled and criminally charged for setting off an explosive after her science class volcano experiment backfired. Mood music: The trumped-up charges were eventually dropped, but Wilmot’s brush with the law continues to haunt her. According to civil liberties site Police State USA, the charges continue to taint Kiera’s record and impede her chances for success. “All my charges have been…  [Read More]

Frances Bean Cobain Gets It Right

by Bill Brenner June 24, 2014 Dealing with life

Update: Frances Bean Cobain threw more cold water on the romanticism of her dad’s life and death in this Rolling Stone interview. Until now, we hadn’t heard much about Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain. Now she’s getting headlines, and it appears the young lady has a good head on her shoulders despite a tumultuous childhood. Mood music: She’s getting the headlines for telling another young star that her talk of…  [Read More]

Loudmouth Politics and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner June 23, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

I love that we live in a country where freedom of speech is an essential right; that you can call your president names without getting thrown in jail. I also love that people are willing to debate their beliefs fervently, whatever those beliefs are. But there’s a downside. For some people, it’s not enough to state a political belief. They have to judge people who believe differently and resort to name calling. Mood music: I…  [Read More]

Confronting Your Biggest Fear on “America’s Got Talent”

by Bill Brenner June 19, 2014 Fear and anxiety

I don’t watch America’s Got Talent. I have nothing against the show; it’s just not my cup of tea. But something happened on the show that recently caught my attention: A young lady who suffers from terrible fear and anxiety went on the show and performed in front of a huge crowd and a panel of judges that include Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum. You have some serious courage, Anna Clendening. I salute you.

Disrespecting Women: Return of Idiots

by Bill Brenner June 18, 2014 Men and women

I’ve spent a few recent posts slamming the blog Return of Kings over its hugely offensive content, particularly articles like “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder” and “Why Society Owes Men Sex.” A reader informs me that this is no simple trolling blog. It’s part of a larger movement in the US. Mood music: According to the reader: That’s not a troll blog. That’s actually an extremist movement you’ve stumbled upon….  [Read More]

Support for Janessa Gordon

by Bill Brenner June 16, 2014 Courage

I’ve been following the story of 18-year-old Janessa Gordon’s hospitalization after a car wreck. I don’t know her personally, though I am acquainted with her mom, Kimberly Lepito, via Facebook. Mood music: I feel some connection with the young woman because she attended Northeast Metropolitan Technical High School in Wakefield, which I graduated from 25 years ago. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend her graduation last week because of injuries she sustained during the accident in Rangeley, Maine….  [Read More]

To the Coward with the Cell Phone

by Bill Brenner June 12, 2014 Courage

In Tuesday’s post, I criticized a mother for giving in to her child’s spoiled tirade and whining about the legal ramifications. But there’s another irritant in this story: the anonymous bystander who video recorded the mother leaving her child in the car with a cell phone and then sent it to police. Mood music: Yeah, Kim Brook’s essay irritated me. The worst wasn’t her leaving the kid in the car or her failure to lay down the law….  [Read More]

The Blues Brothers’ Brand of Catholicism

by Bill Brenner June 11, 2014 Lighthearted

The Blues Brothers is one of my all-time favorite comedies. What’s not to love about over-the-top police chases, white supremacists being pushed over a bridge by an oncoming car and levitating nuns? My kids finally reached an age to see the film, and they loved every minute of it. Being good Catholic school boys, they especially loved watching two guys get into all manner of trouble to raise money to save a Catholic orphanage. Mood…  [Read More]

The Spoiled Brat, the Whiney Mom and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner June 10, 2014 Family

Parents screw up. I certainly do. Most acknowledge a mistake when they make it. So when someone leaves a 4 year old in the car and writes a rambling essay about all the legal woe that came of it, I struggle to sympathize. Mood music: Kim Brooks writes about her mistake in Salon.com in the essay “The Day I Left My Son in the Car.” She writes of a harrowing morning getting her kids on a plane…  [Read More]

Lower Your Expectations

by Bill Brenner June 5, 2014 Coping tools

Occasionally, my kids get all kinds of upset when their high hopes for something don’t go as expected. A good example is the disappointment Duncan felt when it was too chilly to go in the campground pool Memorial Day weekend. He remembered one campout last year when he got to swim for hours, and to him, that was an important ingredient for an awesome weekend. He got over it and still had a good time….  [Read More]