Robert C. Corthell, 1948-2017: Trucker, Teacher, Family Man

by Bill Brenner November 9, 2017 Gratitude

Robert C. Corthell of Haverhill, Mass., died peacefully at Lahey Burlington Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, surrounded by loved ones, after suffering a pulmonary embolism. He was 69. He fought his brief illness with the same stubbornness and grit by which he lived. His family and friends knew him as Bob, Bobby, Dad and Grandpa. He was born and raised in Haverhill and, after serving in the U.S. Army, spent the rest of his life there,…  [Read More]

Thanks for Everything, Lisa Milso

by Bill Brenner December 30, 2015 Gratitude

I spent my high school years angry, unhinged, unmotivated and unsure of how to live my life. So, before attending Salem State University (then Salem State College), I spent a couple of years trying to find myself at North Shore Community College (NSCC). I took classes mostly at the Lynn campus because it was five minutes from my house. I spent more time in the smoking room than I did in class, and cared more about…  [Read More]

Tales from the Womb

by Bill Brenner September 21, 2015 Gratitude

For a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was one of my favorite places on Earth. My late friend Sean Marley built the room in his basement, a couple doors down from my house. If we weren’t in my basement, we were his. Mood music: Sean called it The Womb because he likened the peace one felt in there to being back in the womb. It was a fairly accurate description….  [Read More]

The Bright Side of Being Buried Alive

by Bill Brenner February 11, 2015 Gratitude

Here in Massachusetts, hell has frozen over. We have six feet of snow on the ground and at least two more snowstorms in the forecast. The kids have had 2-3 snow days a week since late January. Public transportation is at a standstill. Words like “unprecedented” and “historic” keep surfacing. Mood music (sure, this song is about cocaine, but the title fits): But I’m here to tell my fellow citizens that it could be worse….  [Read More]

I Didn’t Know Danny Lewin, But I’m Grateful For Him

by Bill Brenner September 12, 2014 Gratitude

As an Akamai Technologies employee, I practically inhaled Molly Knight Raskin’s book, “No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet.” It’s a spectacular look at the history of the company, and it captures the Danny Lewin I’ve heard about from colleagues who knew him. Mood music: I was laboring unhappily at a newspaper on Sept. 11, 2001, when Lewin died aboard American Airlines Flight 11. It’s largely…  [Read More]

Three Things Jeff Bauman Teaches Us About Being Boston Strong

by Bill Brenner April 16, 2014 Gratitude

Jeff Bauman has gotten so much attention since the Boston Marathon bombings a year ago that I had resolved not to write about him here. I’m as inspired by his story as everyone else; I simply thought there was nothing I could say about the guy that hadn’t been already said. Then I started reading his new book “Stronger.” Mood music: I’ve only read previews and excerpts thus far, but already I’m seeing something special….  [Read More]

From Stress and Fear to Passion

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2014 Gratitude

A friend shared one of those inspirational memes with me yesterday, and it got me thinking about my approach to work — and how far I’ve come in general. Mood music: The meme says, simply: Man, is that ever true. I know, because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes the job was intolerable. Mostly, my own demons were intolerable. During my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, all I knew was…  [Read More]

The Friends Joe “Zippo” Kelley Left Behind

by Bill Brenner January 18, 2014 Gratitude

The fourth annual Joe “Zippo” Kelley Memorial show is tonight. Sadly, I can’t be there this year because of business travel. But I hope many of you will make it out to pay homage to a golden soul. Mood music: Joe died in August 2010. At the time, it had been years since I had last seen him, and I didn’t know people like Anne Genovese, Audrey Clark, James Melanson, Harry Zarkades and Gretchen Shae….  [Read More]

RIP Gary Cioffi

by Bill Brenner January 13, 2014 Gratitude

Last week a treasured friend and brother to many in the Revere, Mass., music scene passed away after fighting cancer for several years. I didn’t know Gary Cioffi nearly as well as many of you, but he touched my life all the same. Mood music: Gary and I were connected on Facebook, where I enjoyed the jokes he posted almost every morning. I also followed his cancer battle, which he waged with grace and humor. I’ll miss those…  [Read More]

You’re a Good Man, Trey Ford

by Bill Brenner December 11, 2013 Gratitude

As most of my friends in the information security community know, one of our own — Trey Ford — got left out in the cold last week when Black Hat’s powers that be decided they no longer needed a general manager to handle their annual summer conference. He’s following the proven path of seeking new job leads on the social networks. But he’s doing something else that makes him worthy of mention here. Mood music:…  [Read More]