What Does The American Flag Mean To Them?

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What Does The American Flag Mean To Them?

“I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL” Pledge of Allegiance (yes I wrote that by heart and someone painted this for me a long time ago)

The American flag looks the same to me as it did when I was a kid. We had this picture of Kennedy in front of the flag in my dining room growing up. I said the pledge of allegiance to the flag every morning in school. To amuse myself, I would say it differently each time – fast, slow, with different accents on different words, blending the words together,  every other word….  I watched on TV when they stuck the American flag on the moon. I felt pride when I saw the American athletes draping themselves in it at the Olympics. It’s the flag that Bruce Springsteen plastered on the cover of Born In The USA and Jasper Johns painted over and over. 

I don’t know when it happened, but the election of Donald Trump  turned the flag into a weapon. It became a symbol for the sort of white people that believed that only they were the true Americans. Wearing the American flag on a hat or T shirt became a threat. It says you either believe what I believe or you are my enemy. 

For the first time in our history, we had a president who was only the president for people who supported him and he fanned this flame of hatred. Trump supporters have appropriated the symbol of this great nation as theirs and theirs alone. This attitude is completely at odds with what the flag means and what it stands for.

I can’t imagine what my father who was a captain in the US Army for twenty years and fought in two wars would think of this. I wonder how many Trump supporters fought in two wars to defend this flag. Would they parrot a president who avoided being in a war that he wasn’t a loser because he lived and did not get captured? Is that who he fought for?

The flag belongs to all of us. It is meant to be a symbol of we – “we the people,” and we should be able to display it proudly as well. In lieu of flags non Trump supporters post signs – Black Lives Matter, Health Care Is A Human Right and No Hate Here.

A few years ago there was an art project in Los Angeles where artists painted angel statues and placed them around the city. One of them was painted like the American flag. I watched a crazy, screaming, half dressed homeless man walk by it.  He suddenly stopped and turned around and stood in front of it, put his hand on his heart and said the pledge of allegiance quietly and then continued walking and talking to himself. .   

I think of this man every time I see a Trump supporter waving an American flag. If you were a child growing up in a public school in the US, the pledge is ingrained in you, whether you like it or not. We were taught to repeat it and we were never given a back story. We didn’t really pay attention to the words.  I lived in an immigrant community and we were always taught by our parents how lucky we were to live here. For most of us, the flag  meant that we were proud to be an American. This flag is part of my story also.#takebacktheflag

Stay safe,

JAZ

 

Dying Around Thanksgiving

Dying Around Thanksgiving

“There is no death. People only die when we forget them,” my mother explained shortly before she left me. “If you can remember me, I will be with you always.” Isabel Allende

My mother died the weekend before Thanksgiving. Now I always associate the planning for Thanksgiving with the helplessness I felt knowing that my mother was dying. I need a constructive way to get through the day.  It involves lighting a memorial candle,  going to temple and saying the prayer honoring the dead.  I do something she loved in nature or in culture and I talk to her in my head.

I was supposed to be ready when my mother died. She was ninety-one when she went into the hospital for the first time since the birth of her children. She had a long life.  “Who is the president?,” they ask to check her mental capacity. The correct answer was Bush. Her answer was “Don’t get me started.” I should have been ready, but I wasn’t.

When we lose a parent as an adult, we are supposed to be prepared for this normal life passage, or at least be  more ready to accept it when it does happen. We are expected to pick ourselves up, close the wound quickly and move on. We should not require so much time to “get over it.” This loss is expected and in the natural order of things.

Losing a parent is extremely difficult for most adult children if you have had a good relationship with your parent and even if you haven’t. (That is harder) My husband had left a couple of years before that so loss was becoming a theme in my life. My mother was my best friend and my support system throughout that time.

She was not religious.  But she went to temple one day a year to say the Prayer of Remembrance for her parents. When I was twelve I started offering to go with her. She replied that  she didn’t need company. She was going to say  “Yiska”.  It sounded very mysterious. Yizkor is the Jewish memorial prayer for the dead. The word means remember.

My mother  didn’t believe in celebrating death. She would say, “Do for people while they are alive.” She had stopped going to funerals  for her dying friends many years before. She must have done a lot because one hundred and fifty people who I did not know showed up for her memorial service and many spoke. They were her theatre community.  They were the people she had met and given theatre tickets to throughout her life. She opened their world or she shared their love for the arts right up to the end. They became her friends and ranged in age from thirty five to a hundred. 

My mother had requested that her ashes be spread over Lincoln Center and Broadway, so she did not miss anything. ‘When you come and visit me, see a play, ballet or an opera”, she said. None of us knew when we said yes, that it was illegal, but we did it.

I sit in temple feeling a weird kind of peace.  “Who is in the first seven days of mourning?”, asks the rabbi.   “Who is in the first eleven months of mourning?  Who is celebrating a yortzheit today?” I stand and say her name.  The ritual seems to help me. As we start the prayer, “yit gadal va yit gadash….  I struggle to keep up with the words in Aramaic. I have the same conversation with my mom every time I say the prayer.  “What are you doing in temple on such a beautiful day?” she asks.

I leave the temple thinking of  a conversation that I recently had with my children. “Can you get us Hamilton tickets in NY?” asks my son. “No,” I reply.  “If Nana was alive, we would have seen it already,“ said my daughter. “If Nana was alive, we would have seen it in preview, at the Public Theatre for half price,” he answered. My son said that he would try for the day of show ticket lottery when he is in New York. The legacy lives on. 

Happy Thanksgiving and Fly Safe Mom

JAZ

Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

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Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

“America ….. is the land of the richness of life, of the fullness of every hour in the day, the country which gives you the sense of carrying out a huge amount of activity, even though in fact you achieve very little, the country where solitude is impossible.” Italo Calvino

America is big and there is so much to see in the land of the free and home of the brave. The geography, climate, wildlife and people are extremely diverse. We have a brief history compared to Europe and the UK but it is interesting. Here are ten places in no particular order that I love to visit.

Washington DC is the capital of the country and our political center. That might not sound like the place to be be right now but it’s beautiful in the spring with the cherry blossoms in bloom, and in the fall with the leaves changing color. DC is a walkable city if you stay downtown.You have to do the basics. First there are the monuments – Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King, Jefferson and WWll. You can see them at night as well. Get your Capitol and White House Tour tickets before you come. It’s fun to just walk down the National Mall and see all the museums and monuments. The Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums all over the city. I also like Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, National Portrait Gallery and my favorite the National Gallery Of Art. Union Market has an amazing food scene and the food in DC is eclectic and delicious. If you have kids, the FBI and the Mint are fun to see.

People from Los Angeles love San Francisco. Their rich people are techies not Hollywood types. It is geographically tiny and you can walk everywhere.  Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is cool.  Riding the cable car is an excellent way to see the city.  Taking the ferry to Alcatraz Island is interesting.  You can walk along Fisherman’s Wharf which is really touristy. I dont recommend eating there.  Swan Oyster Depot is better for seafood. San Francisco is a foodie city so there are many  great restaurants. Go to the largest Chinatown in the US for dim sum and Japantown for sushi. The Ferry Building which has been converted to a market and food court is a great place for lunch. I love the newly renovated San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art. There are many interesting neighborhoods with walking tours. Bring a jacket- even in summer.

Amelia Island is a quiet barrier island, located in the Northernmost portion of Florida, not too far from the Georgia border. The island is one of the Sea Islands, a chain of coastal barrier islands stretching from Northeast Florida to South Carolina. It is great place to relax with southern hospitality. Amelia Island offers 13 miles of quiet, secluded beaches. The setting is quaint and beautiful, with many historical inns, beautiful seaside homes, hiking trails and a few resorts.The weather is mild year-round with an average winter temperature in the 60’s. You will find that the area is not overdeveloped, but rather reminiscent of the old days in Florida.

Chicago, Illinois has the the hospitality of a midwestern city with the  famous architecture and multiculturalism of New York. The food in Chicago is first class and the Art Institute is one of my favorite museums. The elevated Bloomingdale Trail and the Lake Michigan bike paths are fun when the weather is nice. I also liked the Architecture Cruise given by the Architectural Foundation which is a fun way to see the famous buildings. Chicago is home to the comedy club Second City (think SNL) and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (think Broadway). The best time to visit is spring and fall. 

The Big Island is also called Hawaii. I love the Kona side with its volcanic landscape and black sand beaches. The Hilo side has a lush tropical landscape and is definitely a day trip. Yes Hawaii is expensive because it is an island and everything has to be shipped in. If you have never seen an active volcano, go to Hawaii Volcano National Park. Stay after dark to see the glow from the Caldera. I usually never leave the black sand beach.

 As an ex New Yorker, when I visit New York City, I want to see and do it all. It’s a frantic schedule even for a New Yorker. It’s impossible to see it in one visit and you have to resign yourself to see and do what you can. The lines for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Empire State Building are long so get there early. If you are interested in the World Trade Memorial, get your tickets before you go.Times Square is always crowded with tourists. Get tickets for you shows in advance or go to TKTS booth in Times Square for discount tickets to day of shows. See a concert or ballet at Lincoln Center. There are walking tours in every neighborhood so pick neighborhoods that interest you. I grew up in Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn and recommend both as a way to relax in the city. The HIghline is an urban walking park which runs from 34th Street to the Meatpacking District, built on old elevated train tracks, is lovely on a nice day. NY is filled with excellent museums so budget some time for those. The Met is one of the biggest museums in the world and  has something for everyone so I recommend that. I love the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Food is a whole blog. NYC is filled with amazing restaurants and many different immigrant cultures who bring along great food. When I return, I must have pizza and egg rolls from any family run place, cannoli from Venero’s, bagels from Ess A Bagel and a hot dog from Grey’s Papaya . NYC was my last plane trip in the old world so I am particularly nostalgic. 

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Plan to be amazed by the intense color of the red rocks and the night skies filled with stars. There is a magical , spiritual quality to Sedona, Arizona . Sedona has a moderate climate and though it is hotter in summer and snowy in winter, you can really visit anytime. The natural beauty and energy vortexes make hiking, dining, spa and  personal growth experiences even better.

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most historic cities in the United States. I have been there many times and love the food, museums and the fact that is a slower paced city than New York.The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walk through historic Boston. It takes you through all the major sites and monuments relating to the city’s founding and the Revolutionary War. The trail passes through Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall so plan to stop for lunch.There are beautiful neighborhoods with their own vibe and history to walk through. I love the North End which is the heart of Boston’s Italian community. It involves waiting on a line for cannoli at MIke’s Pastry. You might also want to see a Red Sox game or visit Harvard. Museums in Boston are free to students which is another thing I love about the city.

A new England summer vacation had never occurred to me until my daughter went to camp in Maine. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is not actually a place to lie out on the beach for eight hours with a drink in hand.The weather can be iffy. There are great restaurants especially if you are a fan of lobster and sea food. The Vineyard is divided into six towns each with their personal vibe, so explore them all, by foot, bike or if it’s raining –  car. If you bring a car, make sure to have a car reservation for the ferry in advance or purchased from a resident. 

I love skiing in Park City, Utah. Growing up as an East Coast skier, the incredible Utah powder is so wonderful. Whatever your level of skiing, you will find runs in Park City. I love Deer Valley. The resort is consistently ranked at the top when it comes to grooming, service, access, on-mountain food, lodging, dining, and kid friendliness. Park City was founded in 1884 after the silver boom of the 1860s, and its mining heritage plays a strong role in defining the Western flavor of the charming little downtown scene. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars to choose from. It is also the host of the world famous Sundance Film Festival which takes place in January every year. 

Sty safe,

JAZ

Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

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Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

“The major advantage of domestic travel is that, with a few exceptions, most domestic locations are conveniently situated right here in the United States.” Dave Barry

I have not traveled much around the US. Other countries and cultures have always been much more interesting to me. Since we can’t go anywhere else right now, I made a list of the places I want to see in my own country. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone should see at some point during their lifetime.I have always been fascinated by geology and  it is a bucket list place for me. I’ve wanted to go on my birthday but it is supposedly freezing. There are so many ways to see the canyon that I get overwhelmed thinking about it but I will get there one day for sure. 

Marfa, Texas

I have been wanting to go to Marfa. The best way is to fly to El Paso and then make the three hour drive through nothing to Marfa. It is a hippie art town in the middle of Nowhere,Texas. It is all about the location, the art and the food. It sounds like it is totally my thing.

Kauai, Hawaii

 I have been to Hawaii many times but we always went to Maui or the Big Island. I have never been to Kauai and it is supposed to be the most beautiful island. There is something about lush, overgrown landscapes that I love. The old South Pacific movie was filmed  there.  It looks less developed than the islands I visit. The next time I go to Hawaii, that is where I will be. 

Big Sur, Carmel  and Monterey, California

It is crazy that I live in California and have never been to Big Sur and Monterey. Ii is a windy road trip and I get car sick so there is a reason- but still I could take dramamine.  The photos of  Big Sur are spectacular and how have I not walked down Cannery Row in Monterey? I’m a huge Steinbeck fan. (Big Sur)

Civil Rghts Tour – Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham (Georgia and Alabama)

I don’t think I can ever really understand American History without seeing the struggle of African Americans in the deep South. I want to see first hand the places, the memorials and the museums. When I was very young, my mother volunteered for Dr King. We grew up making posters for her marches for Civil Rights. When I was eight, I won a prize for a poster I made for her, that said “Arrest Discrimination-It’s Wanted For Murder.”  It is sad that after all this time, it is still true.  We can’t fix yesterday but the more of us that acknowledge and see the history, the more chance we have for reconciliation.  We are not the promise land but we have to do better.

Austin and Dallas, Texas

Austin looks like a city with a lot to do when it comes to art and culture and of course South by Southwest film festival. Live music is a lifestyle in Austin and it has become a foodie city as well. It seems to be a place people love and that is good enough for me. I am a history buff and I want to see the Texas Book Depository in Dallas where Kennedy was shot.The sixth floor has been turned into a museum which tells the story. I also want to see the  new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Cowgirl Museum, the Arts district and try some Texas barbecue. (Austin)

Zion, Brice and Yellowstone Parks (Utah and Wyoming)

Zion is the most visited National Park in Utah and one of the most popular parks in the country.  Pine trees dot the landscape in clusters and towering red rock cliffs rise on either side of the canyon. Carving through the center is the clear Virgin River. It’s supposed to be breathtaking and crowded. The landscape at Bryce Canyon National Park is filled with pillar-like red rock formations  which makes it one of the most unique landscapes in the world. I’m a huge fan of red rock landscapes all over the world and can’t wait to see it. Yellowstone is the oldest National Park in the world. It is weird that I have  been to geothermic parks in Iceland and New Zealand and have not seen Old Faithful and the geyser basin. I’m a little embarrassed that I have not been there yet. (Brice)

Niagara Falls, New York

Growing up in New York, Niagara Falls was a road trip. But we were not a road trip family. As a young adult it was not on my radar of cool places to go.  I have been to Iguazu and many beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and feel that I have to go to Niagara as well. The Niagara River lies on the border of Canada and The US. I want to see this epic power of nature on both the the American and Canadian side and I am prepared to get wet. 

Nashville  and Memphis Tennesee

Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley and where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. There is a Civil Rights Museum that tells the story.  I like music so why wouldn’t I want to see a place nicknamed “Home of the Blues” or “Birthplace of Rock and Roll”. Nashville is also named the Music City and it’s the home of the Grand Old Opry. This trip is going to involve a lot of street art, fried chicken, biscuits and barbecue. (Nashville)

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I have seen tons of movies, photos and parodies of Mt. Rushmore. I’ve seen special monuments in other countries but not ours. I’m expecting to be awestruck. It is a feat of art and engineering and right now I feel a need to see our Founding Fathers.

Stay safe,
JAZ

Countries US Citizens Can Travel To Now

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Countries US Citizens Can Travel To Now

“Being smart was key; being careful was critical. Being lucky didn’t hurt.” Kate Brady

The United States has more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any country in the world, so its no surprise that people don’t want to come here or want us to visit their countries. Tourism has plummeted so some countries are letting us in with restrictions. Here they are.

Albania has a health screening upon arrival.

You must present a negative Covid screening test taken up to seven days before arrival in Antigua. Visitors are subject to monitoring by health officials for 14 days and another Covid-19 test may be required, which could mean quarantining while waiting for the result. Masks are required in public spaces.

Aruba requires a negative Covid test before arrival and another one, on arrival. You must also purchase specific Aruba visitors insurance. Aruba also has a list of US states it considers higher-risk, and people from those states will require additional testing. It changes so check the listing for your state.

Visiting the Bahamas involves a negative Covid test within five days of arrival. You will be given another rapid test when you arrive at the airport in the Bahamas.

You must complete an online health screening and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours before you arrive in Barbados. As the US is designated a high-risk country, you must still quarantine for 14 days at an approved hotel or resort and you’ll be monitored daily for symptoms. After five days of submitting the entry test, visitors can take a second second Covid-19 test and be released from quarantine with a negative result.

There are no restrictions other than a temperature check to visit Belarus but they are having mass protests against the government so you might not want to go.

You must down load the health application and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours or take one when you get there for fifty dollars to travel to Belize.

Bermuda requires a negative Covid test and a travel authorization fee of 75 dollars. Upon arrival you must submit to an additional Covid-19 test and quarantine until the results are ready. More tests are required on days 4, 8 and 14 of your visit.

You can just go to Brazil as long as you show proof of health insurance. They are also having big surge in cases of COVID 19.

Traveling to Cambodia is possible if you bring a deposit of 2000 dollars and a negative Covid-19 test result taken with 72 hours of arrival. You must also take two more Covid-19 tests, on arrival and day 13 of a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Colombia requires a negative Covid test within four days of departure.

You must fill in an online form, have travel health insurance and a negative Covid test within 48 hours, to travel to Costa Rica.

Croatia wants a negative Covid test within 48 hours of arrival.

Curacao is reopening to US citizens from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but only with a valid state ID and negative Covid test within 48 hours. The rest of the states are way too high risk now for them to take a chance.

Dominica requires a valid negative Covid test within 72 hours and visitors from the US may require further screening as we are an at risk country.

The Dominican Republic will give a few random breath tests and everyone must fill out a health screening form.

Visitors to Dubai must have medical travel insurance to cover any Covid-19 treatment and present a negative Covid-19 test result within 96 hours of arrival. You must complete a health declaration form before departing to confirm you are not experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.

Ecuador requires US travelers to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 10 days of arrival to avoid quarantine. Testing is available on arrival for those who don’t have a negative result. You must quarantine at an approved facility while waiting for results.
The Galapagos Islands require visitors to take another Covid-19 test and present negative results within 96 hours of arrival in Ecuador.

Visitors to Egypt need to show a valid negative Covid test within three days of arrival.Travelers must present paper copies not digital.

Ethiopia requires a negative Covid screening test within five days of arrival and a two week quarantine.

French Polynesia (Tahiti and Bora Bora) requests a 72 hour negative Covid test on arrival.

Guatemala requires a negative Covid test within 72 hours.

You must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that’s 72 hours old or less to travel to Ghana. Arriving passengers then must take a second test that costs $150. There’s also a temperature screening.

Grenada wants a negative Covid-19 test result within seven days of travel. you need a minimum four-day reservation at an approved hotel for quarantine. You must take a second test to be allowed to move about or remain at the hotel for the rest of the vacation.

Arriving passengers in Haiti must complete a health form and self-quarantine for 14 days. The Ministry of Haiti will check in on you three times for symptoms.

Honduras requires a negative Covid test and a quarantine for anyone exhibiting symptoms. You may want to reconsider Honduras as there is a travel advisory from the state department for other reasons.

Ireland requires a two week quarantine on arrival.

Jamaica requests a negative Covid test within ten days of arrival, an online “travel authorization” and the possibility of being tested upon arrival.

Kenya is open to US travelers with a negative Covid-19 test result taken 96 hours or less upon arrival and who pass a strict health screening.

All arriving tourists to the Maldives must present a negative result for a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Passengers who transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors (like Turkey or Ireland) may enter Malta after they’ve been in that country for 14 days.

You can fly to Mexico. The land borders are closed.

Montenegro welcomes Americans with a negative Covid-19 test result or a positive coronavirus antibody test result, neither older than 72 hours . You cannot transit through a country that is not on the approved country list to get there.

You must have reservations with a  hotel or travel agency or be invited by a company for business to travel to Morocco.You must also bring a negative Covid 19 test and blood test within 48 hours of arrival.

Namibia requires a negative Covid 19 test 72 hours before arrival and you must be available for second test five days later.

North Macedonia is open. I have to look and see where that is.

Panama requires a 48 hour or less negative Covid 19 test on arrival.

Rwanda wants international travelers to have a negative Covid 19 test within 120 hours of departure. They also must take a second test upon arrival, shelter in a hotel and receive their results within a day.

Senegal is allowing US tourists to visit with a negative Covid 19 test within five days of departure.

Serbia requires a negative Covid 19 test within 48 hours of departure.

US travelers can visit South Korea, but you must take a Covid 19 test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days.

St. Barts visitors are required to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those staying longer than a week will need to pay about $150 for an additional test on their eighth day.

US citizens traveling to St. Lucia must provide a negative Covid 19 test, taken within seven days of arrival. Visitors must also complete a travel registration form and arrive with a printed copy.You must have confirmed reservations at a Covid-certified property for the duration of your trip.

Travelers to St. Maarten must present a negative Covid 19 test within 120 hours of arrival.

You must present a negative Covid 19 test within five days of arrival to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.You must then quarantine at hotel for five days and take a second test after that.

Incoming passengers to Tanzania are required to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening. You might also have to take a Covid-19 test on arrival.

There are no restrictions for US citizens traveling to Turkey, although passengers must complete an information form and prepare to be checked for coronavirus symptoms. In addition, you will be asked to take a Covid-19 test if you show symptoms.

Visitors to the Turks and Caicos must provide a negative Covid 19 test taken within five days of arrival. Children who are nine years old and younger are exempt. Travelers must complete an online health questionnaire and carry travel medical insurance to cover any Covid19-related costs.

The UK requires a mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Zambia wants a negative Covid 19 test within 14 days of arrival. If you show symptoms when you arrive, you will be asked to quarantine.

Fly and stay safe,
JAZ

 

 

Elections And Protests Around The World

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Elections And Protests Worldwide 

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Alan Moore

In Guinea President Alpha Conde amended the constitution from a presidential term of five to six years, to stay in power. 

In Uganda, 76-year old president Yoweri Museveni, previously too old to be eligible for reelection, changed the constitution to gain eligibility to run again in February 2021. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned in November after weeks of protests and death threats. 

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced this week that he would disband  the  Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) which is part of the  federal police, following mass protests sparked by a video of the officers killing a man. SARS has also been accused of other killings, extortion and torture  especially of young people.

In Lebanon, protesters argue that while they are suffering under an economic crisis, the country’s leaders have been using their positions of power to enrich themselves, through kickbacks and favorable deals.

Namibia has been rocked with protests over the death of a woman in April. Gender-based violence and domestic abuse  are persistent problems in Namibia. Police responded to the SARSprotests with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and arrests sparking further violence.

Protestors in Iraq have also been calling for the end of a political system that they say has failed them.

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan plunged into political chaos and riots after opposition groups seized control of Parliament and released their imprisoned leaders in protests over parliamentary elections they called rigged.

Protests against alleged government corruption have also taken place in Egypt. 

In Hong Kong protestors demonstrate against police brutality and for universal suffrage. 

In Belarus, security forces used violence in an attempt to disperse protesters who were demanding an end to the country’s long term dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

And in America,  President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the integrity of the election and repeatedly refused to say that he’d accept the results if he loses. Police grapple with the threat of right wing militia groups and a president who has called for an “army of poll watchers”  placing an unprecedented strain on police for election day and the violence and protests expected in the days after the results.  The toxic political climate, combined with the COVID-19 crisis and the national reckoning over police misconduct, is putting a lot of strain on everyone. Gun stores in the US are empty. 

I never thought I would say this about an American election. Stay safe, be brave and vote.

JAZ

America

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America

“We can’t all be Washingtons, but we can all be patriots.” Charles F. Browne

Did you ever have to write that essay about what America means to me in school when you were growing up? Here is what I would have written.

I was brought up to believe that I was so lucky to live in a country of great opportunity, where we all can thrive with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I was taught that I lived in the greatest country in the world, filled with a powerful police force and military who risked their lives to protect us.

America was the country of freedom of speech, freedom to educate your children and freedom to be whatever you wanted to be – to make something of yourself. It was the freedom to go to a doctor or dentist to stay healthy, the freedom to practice any religion, to love who we wanted to, to pursue any career that we chose and to make our own decisions.

This is why I have always cherished and respected the land I live in. I know that life in other countries is many times worse than it is here.

America should not be about division or hate, as it has seemed in recent times. America is not perfect, and we have many improvements to make, but we can better ourselves together.

I was always proud to be an American and have voted in every presidential election since I was able to. To me America is a land of freedom, democracy, equal rights and the rule of law. America is a land where the majority rules, but the rights of the minority are honored and protected. America is the leader of the “free world” and an advocate for democracy, human rights and responsible environmental footprints at home and abroad. America stands at the forefront of the fight against tyranny and oppression wherever they may occur. These are the principles and ideals that make America great, and that makes me proud to be an American.

This election season, I encourage every American to think about what America means to them, and then vote to support and uphold those principles and ideals.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Best Take Out Meals I’ve Eaten So Far

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Best Take Out Meals I’ve Eaten So Far 

“It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman.” Federico Fellini

Cooking and takeout during the pandemic became both sustenance and escapism and still involves a lot of conversation. Being at risk, I’m not comfortable in restaurants  with masked and gloved waiters, unmasked patrons and tables closer than six feet apart.  It’s hard to order a lot of my favorite foods as takeout- because things become soggy, mushy or dry out quickly.  Restaurants are struggling to survive so I am trying to support them. Here are some of my favorite takeout foods in no particular order that travel well.

Spicy Tuna#2   Yumi Sushi

The first time I ate here, I asked for recommendations from Midori, my now favorite waitress. She said to try the Spicy Tuna Roll number two. One day the chef was eating wasabi chips and wondered about incorporating them into a sushi roll and the result is a salty, delicious, addicting roll. Everyone I introduce it to becomes addicted as well. All the food is good,  Whenever I am in Beverly HIlis, I want spicy tuna #2. It makes it home easily to Venice. I usually have a few.  https://www.yumisushibh.com

 Margarita Pizza   Pizzana

The margarita pizza at Pizzana got rave reviews from the late Jonathan Gold. I couldn’t eat gluten for a while and I have to say that their gluten free, vegan cheese pizza was satisfying. But now I feel better so I cheat once in a while and have the regular margarita pizza. You can order  it half cooked and heat it up at home . Getting a reservation in Brentwood was rough in the beginning, Now they have two locations and plenty of takeout, so it is much easier to enjoy their food. https://pizzana.com 

Achiote Chicken Taco   Valle

I’m obsessed with the Achiote chicken taco with salted cabbage at Valle. Valle took over the former MTN space on Abbot Kinney in Venice.  It is Oaxacan Mexican food. They make tortillas from scratch. I order extra and have them for breakfast. I do this on Uber Eats and the food comes fast and it is not soggy. Their guacamole is delicious and fresh and their chips are also homemade and perfectly salted. The other dishes are good as well. But right now for me, it all about the chicken taco. https://vallevenice.com

 Chinese Chicken Salad Chin Chin 

Chin Chin Chinese Chicken has been in my life since I moved to LA. My children grew up eating it and I brought it to every school event. This combination of shredded iceberg lettuce, chicken breast, scallions, carrots, toasted almonds, and brown and white crunchies mixed in a red ginger dressing always hits the spot. It travels well and you can even leave it unmixed in the refrigerator for a day if you have to. It’s a perfect takeout food. https://chinchin.com

 Gluten Free Zucchini Bread With PB and J And Kreation Juice  Kreation

I’ve had a hard time with gluten free bread. It is usually expensive and bad tasting or so sweet  and white that it feels unhealthy. As a treat I love to have the gluten free zucchini bread at Kreation with Peanut Butter and Jelly. PB and J is my favorite food. It is an American classic. It is said that the average American will have eaten at least 2000 PB and J sandwiches by the time they graduate from high school.  I mix their yellow Serenity and  green Margan juice together to go with It. It always feels like a special morning when I get to start my day off with this.  https://www.kreationjuice.com 

 Cold Soba Noodles   Yabu  

Yabu serves really delicious Soba noodles. I recently discovered  this in my quest for good takeout so I have not eaten in the restaurant yet. I also love the light fried tofu. Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour  and is particularly difficult to make by hand. There is a Japanese tradition to eat  soba noodles on New Year’s Eve to wish for health and long life and I am going to incorporate that into my life now that I have found a good place to eat it.  Till then we will enjoy the takeout. http://www.yaburestaurant.com 

Sushi Bento Box Shunji

Michelin star, Omakase restaurant Shunji  started making sushi bento boxes when they were allowed to open for takeout. We found that the 48 dollar sushi box is more than satisfying though sometimes we add some uni for a treat. If you eat it as soon as it gets home, it holds up pretty well. The sushi still feels super fresh. We are regulars now. http://shunji-ns.com

Pastrami Sandwich  Daughter’s Deli

I am also addicted to the Pastrami Sandwich at Daugher’s Deli. Daughter is the daughter of Langer’s Deli, a restaurant in DTLA that has been there forever. It serves the most famous pastrami in Los Angeles. The sandwiches are lean, delicious and a normal size so you don’t feel like it is a super splurge to eat it. I don’t live near there so i have not had it as much as usual during the pandemic but when I am in West Hollywood  – I am there. The sandwich holds up for takeout and the bread doesn’t get greasy.  I  get the Noi – just pastrami and mustard on gluten free rye bread and I am happy. (I was hungry)  https://www.daughtersdeli.com

Pretzels and Brownies Spero Bakery

Food photography has taken on a whole new dimension on Instagram. The Pandemic has forced people to find creative, safe solutions for take out food.  More chefs and bakers are selling food on Instagram by posting on the app and taking orders. Spero has expanded to other desserts but right now for me its the brownies and pretzels. Its so easy and they deliver on Wednesdays and Saturdays all over LA. @sperobakery

Stay safe,
JAZ

Vote Around The World

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Vote Around The World

“This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”Alexander Hamilton

Stay safe 😷😷 and PLEASE VOTE,

JAZ

 

Drive Through Art In The Time Of Corona

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 Drive Through Art  In The Time Of Corona

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” Elizabeth Edwards

Drive through attractions are an innovative solution to the social distancing challenges presented by  Covid 19. Drive In movie theaters are making a comeback.

The Van Gogh Exhibit in Toronto, Gogh By Car, is an immersive drive through experience of art, light, sound, movement and imagination. It sounds like fun.

We had our first drive through art experience this past weekend. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Hyundai, and the Hollywood Palladium got together and developed a plan for something special. Driven: A Latinx Artist Celebration was free with online tickets.  

Now that the pandemic has closed public restrooms (not that I even want to use them),  going anywhere involves liquid intake planning. It did not help that it was 110 degrees in Hollywood and I could have used some water.

Our tickets were for 12:00 pm on the first day of the exhibit. I believe it was the first time slot. Lesson one about a drive though art exhibition would be don’t go on the first day so they can iron out the kinks.

It took us fifty minutes to get there after a large morning coffee. We then had to wait forty five minutes. Even though they said you cannot leave the car, I got out to try and walk my dog. At least one of us could pee.

When we finally got in there, it was really cool.

I’m a fan of Hispanic Art so the paintings were interesting to me.

The artwork was by Judth Hernandez, Denise Lopez, Steffano Alvarez, Carlos Almaraz, Diana Gomez, Patssi Valdez, Chiachio and Giannone, Norbert Rodriguez and Delmer Mejia.

There is a playlist that you can access on your radio while driving through the exhibit.

It was such an inspiration to see the way that the artists and curators have demonstrated resilience and creativity by pivoting to a drive-through experience during this challenging time.

. Drive ins are the perfectly distanced social events. I hope there will be more of these.

Fly safe,

JAZ