Nothing Brings Out the Self-Righteous Like a Terrorist Attack

by Bill Brenner November 16, 2015 Communication skills for the crazy

Whenever we see terrible things like the ISIS attacks in Paris, something happens on Facebook: Many people become experts on religion and politics, and still more people get anal when people don’t observe a tragedy exactly as they would. Terror attacks bring out the best in some people. In others, it brings out self-righteous tomfoolery. Mood music: Whatever your political and religious beliefs, the attacks prove that your agenda is the correct one. One guy posted…  [Read More]

Coming Soon: The OCD Diaries Book Series

by Bill Brenner October 14, 2015 Adventures in writing

For years, people have told me to write a book based on this blog. And for years I’ve resisted because life was busy enough between work, family and writing for three blogs. But after some brainstorming with Erin last weekend, the decision is made: I’m diving in. The time is right. Mood music: In 2016 I’ll still write fresh posts here, but my main focus as far as The OCD Diaries goes will be on book writing. Not…  [Read More]

Leave Abigail Hernandez Alone

by Bill Brenner July 31, 2014 Crime and punishment

Trashing the victim in a crime is nothing new; we’ve been doing it forever. That doesn’t make it right. Mood music: After the Manson murders in 1969, for example, the newspapers were full of speculation about how the victims may have done themselves in by living a lifestyle that attracted dangerous people. Today people are fixated on the case of Abigail Hernandez, a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who recently returned home after being missing for several…  [Read More]

The Battle of Market Basket

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2014 Food

Several people have asked what I think of the Market Basket drama, including the boycotts and empty shelves as employees fight for the reinstatement of recently canned CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Here’s my answer. Mood music: Many people worry about what will become of a supermarket chain that, up to this point, has been the cheapest on the block. If this chain goes bye-bye, a lot of people in financial distress worry they’ll have more trouble putting food…  [Read More]

Taking Lunch from Children Is Never OK

by Bill Brenner January 31, 2014 Children's issues

The headline was so outrageous I didn’t believe it at first. I see a lot of crazy stuff on the Internet that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Unfortunately, this one is true: Administrators  at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City confiscated and trashed the lunches of up to 40 students because their parents were apparently behind in payments. Mood music: From The Salt Lake City Tribune: Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said…  [Read More]

So You Wanna Boycott RSA Conference 2014

by Bill Brenner January 9, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

Disclaimer: This is my opinion. I do not speak on behalf of my employer. Folks in the information security industry are debating whether to boycott RSA Conference 2014 to protest RSA’s reported misdeeds concerning the National Security Agency (NSA). Boycotts can be powerful tools. But they can also lead to trolling or a loss of your own voice. Mood music: One of this blog’s missions is to promote more reasonable discussion. I’ve seen how people…  [Read More]

Respectful Disagreement about the Valley Patriot

by Bill Brenner November 6, 2013 News

In recent months, I’ve taken the editor of one of my local newspapers to task over what I’ve seen as his overeagerness to make judgement calls. I unfollowed Tom Duggan on Facebook at one point because I was so pissed off. Duggan and I have since had a conversation, and I want to make sure everyone understands this: I stand by my earlier criticisms. But it was in no way meant as a personal attack….  [Read More]

Navy Yard Shootings: The Stigmatizer’s Wet Dream

by Bill Brenner September 24, 2013 Mental disorders

With last week’s terrible Washington Navy Yard murders, politicians are preaching the importance of better mental health services. In the process, stigma building has reached disturbing heights. Mood music: This massacre, like Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado, before it, was perpetrated by a troubled soul with some degree of mental illness. Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis had told authorities weeks before that he was hearing voices in his head. Aurora shooter James Holmes had colored his hair…  [Read More]

The Problem With That ‘Crazy Wife’ Video

by Bill Brenner July 24, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

A man decided to record his wife freaking out. Now it’s a YouTube sensation and the subject of a post on Gawker, a site seemingly dedicated to shit like this. People are gleefully talking about how bat-shit crazy this woman is. I’m here to rain on their parade. This video seems to be real, but it’s getting harder to trust what you see on the Internet these days. Under the premise that this video…  [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]