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  1. Don't believe in paying taxes
  2. Question and insult figures of authority in government and society
  3. Call for the overthrow of their own government
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I live in my grandparents old home, and the seasonal picking of black raspberries has been a tradition since I was a little boy. I've always loved the unique taste of the black raspberry. To be clear, they aren't blackberries and don't taste anything like red raspberries. We tend to bake them into cobblers or pies, but they are good on ice cream.
  1. An Appreciation that Good Things Come and Go
    Here in Indiana, there are specific seasonal foods that can only be had at certain times of year. Yes, even here, we can buy out of season foods, but they don't quite taste as good. While blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries, and strawberries can be found all year, black raspberries are usually found wild. You have to go into the woods and pick them yourselves, and they are gone after a few weeks. Because of that, I appreciate them while I have them and look forward to them coming again.
  2. Patience
    Black raspberries grow in thick, thorny shrub, and you will be scratched, bitten by mosquitos, and suffer the hot and humid weather of late June in Indiana. You will have to lean into and reach through spiked shrub determined to make you pay a price for every delicious berry. You often stand in one place for long periods of time, carefully removing the soft berries. Berries that are ripe will come away easily. Berries that are not ripe resist, and you will have to return for them another day.
  3. Concentration
    Black Raspberries often grow on hillsides and among thick vegetation. Standing precariously on steeply sloped ground and on damp ground while reaching out to pick berries just at the edge of your reach can lead to disaster. I have tumbled through thick, thorny brush while spilling a full container of berries, representing a couple hours of picking, a few times. I don't use gloves, because sometimes you have to reach in the thick brush and use touch as much as sight. Delicate touch is essential.
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  1. Teeth
    Take care of your teeth. You have been told this by everyone constantly, but you roll your eyes and ignore them. Thirty-five years from now you'll have two partials. Listen for once.
  2. High School Dating
    When you get a date with the prettiest girl in your school, and surprisingly you will, do not drive her to see ET in a major American city. You will not be a good enough driver, and you will terrify her. Also, don't be nervous and ramble. Thirty years later you will see her again and she'll be great but really conservative and evangelical, so just relax and have a good time. P.S. Your best friend's sister is going to be just as sweet and look exactly the same for decades. Hint.
  3. College Dating
    In college, you're going to wonder if someone is hitting on you, but you will consider dismissing the possibility because of self esteem issues and the laws of probability. Ignore those doubts, because twenty years later when they are married and safely settled, they will confess that you missed the chance of a lifetime all those years ago. And yes, that's a little messed up.
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I was in high school during the early 80s and the birth of music video. We stayed up late to watch Friday Night Videos, Night Tracks, and, eventually MTV when it actually had something to do with music. We evaluated each video's meaning, talked about the songs and artists, and fell in love/lust with the women. These are some of my favorites.
  1. She Blinded Me With Science-Thomas Dolby
    Crazy inventions, eccentric characters, "Miss Yamamoto, you're beautiful!" Dolby is expressive and fun.
  2. Drive-The Cars
    The song itself sounds like a controlling guy describing the scary world if he leaves her. The video is actually sad and beautiful.
  3. Voices Carry-Til Tuesday
    Aimee Mann is amazing. This is an abusive and controlling relationship and she exposes him in as public a way as possible by literally breaking the silence.
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I have little shame about being male and crying during movies. These movies are ones that bring tears no matter how many times I've seen them.
  1. Casablanca
    It isn't the ending where star-crossed lovers part that gets me. Earlier in the film, the Germans in Rick's cafe start singing a patriotic song. Victor Laszlo quickly calls for the band to play "La Marseillaise" and the entire cafe sings down the Germans with great emotion. All the hidden patriotism comes rushing out, especially through the beautiful Yvonne who had turned to a German officer in despair when Rick rejected her. So much is going on dramatically in this scene. I cry every time.
  2. Apollo13
    After the capsule slips into radio silence and the seconds keep ticking away past the time communication is due, Ron Howard cuts between all the family and anxious mission control people as they begin to realize there is no hope. Then Tom Hanks voice comes over the speakers and the tension shifts to joy and triumph. Ed Harris as Gene Kranz collapses into his chair and wipes away a tear. Guy feels at their strongest.
  3. Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan
    When you didn't know they would spend a whole movie bringing him back, Spock's sacrifice to save the Enterprise was too much to bare. The final conversation between the epic friends Kirk and Spock is heartbreaking-"I have been and ever shall be your friend".
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I'm a big fan of silent movies. I love both silent comedy and drama. I know it isn't for everyone, but you may be surprised at how the visual language of these great movies makes words unnecessary.
  1. Metropolis
    Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece looks into a future where the haves live in luxury while the workers toil in misery. The special effects are amazing, and the story has remarkable relevance for us still today.
  2. Nosferatu
    F.W. Murnau's classic take on Dracula. Max Shreck is amazing as the vampire, whether rising from his coffin or oddly hauling it through town in almost comical fashion.
  3. The General
    My favorite silent film comedian is Buster Keaton. He is less sentimental and more athletic than Chaplin, and his comedy translates to a modern audience really well. I also recommend his short films, especially "Cops" and Sherlock, Jr.
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  1. Choosing the Restaurant
    If you send out a message saying "Bob, Sue, and John are meeting at Sushi Umi at 5. You are all welcome to join us!", you start getting messages like: "Does it have to be 5? We don't eat that early", "Does it have to be there? I had a bad experience last time", "They don't have a good Vegan menu." You should say this is the time and place, come or don't come, but it usually turns into an annoyingly complicated negotiation process. Once you show weakness, you are doomed.
  2. Professors are not good at arriving on time.
    Some of us are on time, or even early, and check the time and look out the window with growing annoyance and hunger pangs waiting for everyone else to arrive. Others live by their own clock and arrive late every time. Often one apologetic friend will start texting them and giving the table updates on their progress. Sometimes they will give up and say, "Let's just go ahead and order. They won't mind." Worst are those who text back "Sorry. We are in our Jammies and in for the night. Whoops!"
  3. Professors like to arrange things
    Sometimes someone will look over the seating situation and not be pleased, usually the late arrivals. "Uhm, I think it would make a lot more sense if Sue traded with Kathy and Bob moved down a bit, because I don't like talking to the side of Glenn's head and . . .." Everyone is thinking they should have shown up earlier if they had preferences, but we all move because the path of least resistance is best with some people. We will talk about them later though.
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My friends on Facebook are always posting little videos of easy prep meals and desserts. It reminded me of the days when the paycheck was gone and there were a few days before the next one. Sometimes, just to feel human, I'd search the fridge and cabinets for something to make with what I had lying around. Some of you know what I'm talking about.
  1. Step One: Grab a Bowl
  2. Step Two: grab a couple Little Debbie brownies, break them apart, and arrange attractively.
  3. Step Three: add the last remaining chocolate pudding from the fridge. Don't look at the expiration date too closely. Spoon out the pudding on the brownies.
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I'm not one of those people who goes to Sci Fi Conventions all the time. I'm a lifetime Sci Fi fan who couldn't afford or lived too far away from the major cons to really go. The first con I went to, I was asked to speak, at 49, about the similarities between Spock and Sherlock Holmes. Still, in the five events I've gone to, I had special moments.
  1. Grace Lee Whitney
    In 2003, I wrote a fan letter to Grace Lee Whitney, and i mentioned some personal issues I had been dealing with. A lifelong friend had a mental health episode and attacked me with a pipe wrench, leaving me with 78 stitches. To my surprise, she called me at home to see how I was doing. She talked to me for about 20 minutes, giving me advice, asking me questions, and sharing her experiences. She said if I ever came to a convention to please say hi. One of my great regrets was never getting
  2. Nichelle Nichols
    At my fist big Con, I took a 1968 copy of Ebony magazine with Nichelle on the cover. There was a huge line behind me, but when she saw the magazine she grinned and said this was her favorite cover photo. While she carefully signed it "never sign over the legs" she told me a wonderful story about them hiding Leonard's bike in the rafters of the studio with Christmas lights wrapped around it. She gave me a wonderful memories and totally won my heart.
  3. Kate Vernon
    I sat at her table for dinner at a smaller convention I went to, and she couldn't have been more charming and kind. She wanted to know all about us and our stories, and she enjoyed answering our questions about Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Axanar, and even her actor father, John Vernon. Later an Ellen Tigh level tipsy Kate said very nice things about my profession and took a cheek-to-cheek selfie with me which made it an awesome convention for me.
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  1. Twilight Zone
    I can't remember when I saw my first Twilight Zone episode. It's been a constant my whole life. It taught me ideas, beliefs, and expanded my imagination. It scared me.
  2. Star Trek
    As a child I ran home each day to watch Star Trek at lunchtime. It has influenced my morality, ethics, and sense of hope for humanity. It is part of who I am.
  3. Kolchack: The Night Stalker
    This series scared me silly as a kid, and I loved every minute of it.
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