Where Am I Going Next Really?

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Where I Am Going Next Really?

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Joni Mitchell

Before the corona virus became a thing, I had written a blog about where I am going next. I hadn’t posted it yet. It doesn’t seem very postable at this moment.   I will probably be going to the place I should have been now. Traveling seems very far away.  So instead I started to think about what I would really want to be doing next. 

I want to eat in a restaurant with a comfortable ambiance, delicious food and great service. I want to be having an interesting conversation that doesn’t involve who is doing the dishes and what protein do I want to eat tomorrow. 

I miss museums, art galleries and street art. The white walls filled with art are as calming to me now as they were in my childhood. I miss seeing the city as an open canvas for urban street artists. 

As much as I love being able to go through all of Netflix, I want to go to the movies. There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines some of my favorite things –  reading, movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is to be sharing a large tub of movie popcorn. I believe it has less calories if you are not the one who has actually bought it. I bring my own water because buying water at the movie theater is a rip off.  

I want to hang out with my girlfriends.The hour long phone conversations and daily texts are not enough. Most of my emotional and mental strength comes from deep bonds with the strong females in my life. I treasure the long conversations we have over lunches and dinners.

I miss shopping. I miss wandering into stores, picking up and putting down items I can’t possibly afford, talking to salespeople, and eventually settling on the item I had to have at that moment. I want to focus on a new lipstick or a beautiful dress to wear somewhere fabulous. 

I love theater. My mother is to blame for this. I normally prefer plays but with all this real life drama I miss going to see a musical. The very premise of  musical theatre defies all reality.  It attempts to imitate life (as theatre tends to do) and then suddenly, a character bursts out in song and everyone on the street knows the words.  Secretly, I  have always clung to the hope that I will someday be able to break into song at the market, department store, a parent-teacher conference,  a restaurant or during a mammogram and everyone will know the words.

Basically, I miss my boring life – the one I am always leaving to go somewhere different.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Favorite Foreign Films

“Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”  Wizard of Oz 1939

Favorite Foreign Films

I’m reblogging some old posts that might be applicable now.. If you missed any of these or feel like rewatching, it is time well spent., Stay home and stay safe.

There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines some of my favorite things –  reading, movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is to be eating popcorn, red vines and a diet coke. Lately, it is healthy snacks brought from home  – almonds, Tcho chocolate and water. I know when people think of the best foreign films they include names like Fellini, Kurosawa, Trauffaut,  Eisenstein, Bunuel,  De Sica etc.  This could be another blog. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of those. I thought I would  list some of the ones that I have really enjoyed  a little more recently. You might find a few that you have missed.  They are in no particular order. Im sure you can get them on netflix.  Sadly, I feel the need to add a disclaimer.  None of these films  will cause trauma or violence to anyone.

Cinema Paradiso (Italy)

Writer Director:  Giuseppe Tornatore  Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale

It is my favorite movie and my favorite movie score (Ennio Morricone). Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1989. It takes place in a village in Italy during World War ll and has a wonderful cast of villagers.  The film  follows Toto (Jacques Perrin), a Sicilian boy who persuades the town projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), to teach him how to show films. Spanning nearly 50 years, it draws parallels between Toto’s life and those lives he sees on screen. As Toto matures into Salvatore, a successful Italian filmmaker, the Cinema Paradiso ages as well.

The Lives of Others (Germany)

Writer Director:  Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck   Cast:  Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck and Sebastian Koch

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. The film does a beautiful job of questioning integrity or duty while keeping you on the edge of your seat with the suspense.  The acting is  superb and has one of the most satisfying endings. It won the 2006 Academy Award for best foreign film.

Amelie  (France)

Director: Jean Pierre Jeunet   Writer: Guillaume Laurant, Jean Perre Jeunet Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassoviz

Amelie is a young waitress in Montmarte. She has grown up isolated from other children, very shy and  with a vivid imagination. She begins to get involved in the lives around her by matchmaking and fixing problems from a distance. She forms a friendship with a man who slowly helps her breakdown her own isolation and shyness .

A Separation (Iran)

Writer Director:  Asghar Farhadi   Cast: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

The film focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate.   More conflicts  arise when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It shows life in current day Iran.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film  in 2011.  I think it is the closest thing to a perfect film – it is very well written, acted and directed.

Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears  (Russia)

Director:  Vladimir Menshov  Writers:  Valentin  Chernykh, Valdimir Menshov Cast: Vera Alentova, Irina Muravyova, Aleksey Batalov

The story of three women takes place in the nineteen fifties and continues twenty-three years later.  It depicts life in Russia for these three women who come to Moscow to follow their dreams. (A Soviet chick flick).  It is mainly the story of Katerina and her daughter.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1980.

All About My Mother (Spanish-French)

Writer – Director: Pedro Almodovar  Cast: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Candela Pena

Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father.  His mother searches for his father. That is is the simplified version of the story. Almodóvar dedicates his film “To all actresses who have played actresses. To all women who act. To men who act and become women. To all the people who want to be mothers. To my mother.” It won the Academy Award  for best foreign film in 2000.

Strictly Ballroom (Australian)

Writer – Director:  Baz Luhrmann  Cast: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter

While studying at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Baz Lurhmann and friends wrote a short dramatic piece about competitive ballroom dancing. A dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine  with a new partner at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.  The characters are great and if you are a Dancing with The Stars fan this is a must see. It is being made into a musical in Sydney.

.Life Is Beautiful (Italy)

Director: Roberto Benigni  Writers: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

A Jewish man uses his humor and imagination to get the girl and later to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp during World War two.  It won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1999.  Robert Benigni won the Best Actor award that year.

City of God (Brazil)

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund   Writers: Paulo Lins, Braulio Mantovani   Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele and Leandro Firmino

This is a story about two boys growing up in a favela (slum) of Rio de Janeiro.  They take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The story is based on real events. It is about the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus (city of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Many of the actors are residents of the favelas. “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”.

Goodbye Lenin (Germany)

Director:  Wolfgang  Becker Writer: Bernd Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Becker Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sab, Chulpan  Khamatova

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of Communist  East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron  Writers: Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron  Cast: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Lopez

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip ( yes, a Mexican road movie)  and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.  It also depicts the economic- political scene of Mexico at that time.

Together (China)

Director: Kaige Chen  Writers: Kaige Chen, Xiao Lu Xue  Cast: Yun Tang, Peige Liu and Hong Chen

A violin prodigy and his father from a poor peasant  family travel to Beijing, where the father seeks the means to his son’s success while the son struggles to accept the path laid before him. He learns  not only music but what is important in life.

The Untouchables ( France)

Writer -Directors:  Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano  Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet

The Untouchables is a story of a rich quadriplegic, his daughter and staff and what happens to them all when he hires a caretaker from a Paris ghetto. It is corny, calculating and commercial and I loved every minute of it.

The Wind Will Carry Us ( Iran)

Writer Director  Abbas Kiarostami Cast:Behzad Dorani, Noghre Asadi and Roushan Karam

“The Wind Will Carry Us is a film about nothing and everything—life, death, the quality of light on dusty hills.”

A city engineer comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.  The villagers are played by real people in the village. It is a very hard film to describe because it is so visual that you are in it and so symbolic and poetic that you are always searching for the deeper meaning.

The Class  (France)

Director: Laurent Cantet  Writers: Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo  Cast: Francois Begaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene and Angelica Sancio

The film is based on the semi autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau  who plays himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. The camera never leaves the school, so we see what he saw as a teacher.

Salaam Bombay (India)

Director: Mira Nair  Writers: Mira Nair, Soona Taraporevala  Cast: Shafiq Syed,Hansa Vithal, Chanda Sharma

Salaam Bombay chronicles the life of street children in Bombay.  The children are played by the real street children. It centers around the story of Krishna who has been abandoned by his mother and is trying to make enough money to return. It is another one of my most  favorite films.

Shall We Dance? ( Japanese)

Writer-Director: Masayuki Suo   Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari, Naoto Takenaka

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons. There was an American remake of the film in 2004 with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez but it was not  good. The Japanese version is very good.

The Lady (France)

Director: Luc Besson  Writer: Rebecca Frayn  Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett

The film is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. She is a real life heroine, a female fighter who uses no other weapons than her human virtues. She was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Asia. She could not be there to accept because she was under house arrest in Burma (Myanmar) for over a decade. Michelle Yeoh who plays her in the film is not allowed into Burma. It is an important movie, especially if you don’t know much about her.

Let me know about some of your favorite films.

also see favorite foreign documentary films.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/favorite-foreign-documentary-films/

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Movies That Inspire You To Travel

Movies That Inspire You To Travel

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”Ibn Battuta

Sitting in the dark with strangers is for me the best way to see a film. Movies take me to places I have never been. For a couple of hours, I escape into worlds quite different from my own. Movies are a way of traveling. They offer a window into a bigger world, broaden our perspective and open our eyes to new things. Here are some movies that made me want to see the places that they were filmed in.

Two For The Road

Motorcycle Diaries

The Way

Indiana Jones And The  Temple Of Doom 

Darjeeling Limited

Midnight In Paris

Australia

Lost In Translation

Y Tu Mama También

Under The Tuscan Sun

The Wind Will Carry Us.

Indochine

Fly safe,

JAZ

Politics At the Academy Awards In Los Angeles

Politics at the Academy Awards In Los Angeles

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” Winston S. Churchill

First part written on Saturday

I do usually cringe when celebrities use award shows to promote their political views. Trump is all Americans talk about these days anyway so I don’t think we will get though the Academy Awards without him. The Trump supporters will be disgusted by the out of touch Hollywood elitists who are trying to tell the normal people what to do. The liberals will say the overpaid celebrities are making it worse. The ceremony takes place in California and Hilary won easily here so we pretty much know how they feel. I think a few will be brilliant and most won’t. Something political will happen with best Foreign Film.  I liked Salesman the best  so I’m hoping for a win. It would be cool if Moonlight won.  Jimmy Kimmel is a given for political commentary, though he will probably tone it down for the event.  I hope it doesn’t turn into and the best anti Trump moment is. I think the speeches will be more about inclusion and diversity. Some of us are still PC.

To be continued tomorrow

Sunday

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The show was a bit more stripped down and low-key than usual. It was going along smoothly and predictably. Everyone I wanted was winning. Jimmy Kimmel was the Greek chorus. A lot of it was expected  but he had a few really funny lines. In his praise of Meryl Streep for  her many overrated and underwhelming performances (Trump tweet), he asked if she was wearing an Ivanka? He told  all the people who worked for CNN and anyone with the word Times in their job – even Medieval to leave the room.

Viola’s speech was better than even I thought it would be. August Wilson would have been proud. Salesman won which it should have. The most powerful political statement of the evening  was read for the film’s director Asghar Farhadi who did not come in protest of the travel ban. All the “immigrants’ (I know because they said they were immigrants – I wasn’t judging)  expressed their disapproval and solidarity.

 Hollywood did what it does best at the Oscars. Hollywood celebrated its own with beautiful dresses, humor, reverence and appreciation. The attention was focused on the people in the room and the magic and healing of movies. Candy was flying everywhere. 

The reality is that I’ve always been a fan of the simple thank you at award shows. It was a simple thank you kind of night.

And then Oscar history was made. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced the wrong winner for best picture. I was worried when they came on. Warren always seems dazed to me and they are both way too vain to wear their glasses onstage. I was expecting some uncomfortable banter about that.  After La La Land’s producers made their thank you speeches, they were told it was a mistake and Moonlight had won. “This is not a joke.” and I quote.  Everyone was as dazed and confused as Warren (who apparently had been handed the wrong envelope).  It was a perfect Hollywood Ending with a twist.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

“Everything I learned, I learned from the
movies.” Audrey Hepburn

I watch a lot of movies on planes. I love watching old movies and here is some of the things I have learned when flying across the world.

Characters seem to always find a parking spot directly in front of the building they are going to even in a large metropolitan area where parking is impossible.

When foreigners are alone, they prefer to speak English to each other.

When you are in a film, it is easy to control any vehicle you need to – especially landing a plane.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone around you will know the steps you come up with and hear the music in your head.

The ventilation system in any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building.

Bad guys die quickly, good guys die slowly.

No matter how crowded the bar is, there are always stools by the bartender who is waiting to take your order.

Women can never find their car keys when being pursued by a killer. Once they find them it takes them a long time to find the ignition, giving the killer a chance to reach the car and pound on the window.

When driving down a straight road, it is always necessary to vigorously turn the wheel to the right or left every few minutes.

Cats always make a noise. If someone is scared by cat, it always has to meow before running off.

If you want to pass yourself off as a German officer you do not need to speak German. A strong guttural accent will suffice.

Aliens will always have more technology than we do.

Fly safe,

JAZ

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown

1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No

Still Trying . Merry Christmas.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

    Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

 “There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.” Sara Sheridan

Some of my favorite movies and movie scenes did not take place on a Hollywood set or in a studio. Ordinary and extraordinary places were transformed forever in cinematic history. I see Holly Go Lightly at Tiffany’s in New York and Sylvia and Marcelo in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Movies bring their stories to places in the world . Here are the top ten movie locations that I would like to visit someday.

1. Stanley Hotel “The Shining”

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado was the inspiration for Stephen King to write The Shining. Though it was not in Stanley Kubrick’s film, it was used in the television miniseries. Kubrick’s feature film is on a continuous loop on all guest room televisions. The best time to visit the Stanley Hotel is during the Stanley Film Festival April 30 – May 3, 2015. The Stanley Film Festival showcases classic and contemporary horror films and interactive scary experiences all weekend. It is the perfect horror vacation weekend. Don’t miss it if being scared is your thing.  http://www.stanleyfilmfest.com

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2.Baseball Field “Field of Dreams”

The homemade baseball field in the middle of an Iowa corn field is really in Dyersville Iowa. 65,000 people visit a year. You can show up, walk around, play some catch and melt into the corn. It is kept up like the movie. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.http://www.fodmoviesite.com

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3. The Apartment “Amelie”

Most of the Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain is shot in Montmartre, Paris.  It is here where she decides to change the lives of those around her while she struggles with her own isolation. The grocery store is Au Marche de la Butte Rue De Trois Frères at Rue Androuet. The entrance to the apartment is just around the corner at 55 Rue de Trois Freres. Not far away is the Lamark – Caulaincourt Metro station with the beautiful double staircase. The Cafe des 2 Moulins  at 15 Rue Lepic where Amélie works is a real place.

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4. The Place “Whale Rider”

This film tells the story of a 12-year-old Māori girl and her family’s struggle to accept her ability to lead, despite the tribe’s tradition of being guided by men. But it is the spectacular little visited Eastern New Zealand scenery that captures us as well. Whale Rider was shot in Whangara, New Zealand, which is 10 hours from Auckland by car. The Māori village with thirty residents wasn’t prepared for the hordes of fans. The land is private, so book a guided visit through the Gisborne Visitor Information Office (gisbornenz.com). You may be able to book Hone Taumaunu. He is one of the film’s cultural advisors who leads a two-hour tour: Walk on the beach where Pai’s namesake landed 1,000 years ago, see the house where the movie was shot, and learn about the Ngati Konohi people.

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5. The Bench “Forest Gump”

The bench was located on the north end of Chippewa Square Park at the corner of W. Hull and Bull streets in Savannah Georgia. It was situated near the one way sign.   Forrest told his life story on that bench to anyone who would listen. It was there only for the filming of the movie and is now in the Savannah Museum down the street – which makes the tourists and fans of the film very sad. The benches in the park are replicas of the “Forest Gump” style.  You can sit down on any one of them and try to tell a stranger your life story. (the original)

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6. The village, bamboo forest ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Most of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot at Hengdiang Studios which is equal to Universal Studios in China. You can visit the the studio and sets. There are hotels, restaurants, and tours. It is now the largest film studio in the world. The village where Wudan master Li Mu Bai has gone to retire and meditate is Hongcunzhen in Anhui province. The 900 year old village is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. The village is supposed to resemble the outline of an ox. Water flows through or around  every house in the village to keep the yang and insure eternal prosperity. The tree top fight between Li and Jen was shot in the Anhui Bamboo forest near the village. It is the largest bamboo forest in China and also has a bamboo museum nearby. Jens flashback with outlaw Lo was filmed in the Ghost City in the Gobi Desert in China. It is hauntingly beautiful but not much tourist infrastructure so you will have to be adventurous if you go.

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7. Park Hyatt Hotel “Lost In Translation”

The Park Hyatt is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. A lot of the movie was shot in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Bob spends most of his nights in the New York Bar on the top floor. There is a one night “Lost In Translation Package” which includes the spa (also in the film) and a free drink in the New York Bar. It is still glamorous with great views of the city.

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8. The Deli   “When Harry Met Sally”

The famous fake orgasm scene in this movie was shot at Katz’s Delicatessan 205 Houston St, NY, NY. Growing up in NY, I would have the pastrami on rye but you may want to have what she’s having.

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9. The bookshop “Notting Hill.”

Trying to recapture the magic of Anna Scott and William Thacker while walking around Notting Hill is not hard to do. The blue door is at 280 Westbourn Park Road, just off Portobello’s Fruit and Vegetable Market. Interestingly, this was the flat at the time of the film’s screenwriter Richard Curtis. The interior was a film studio. London flats are not usually that large. There used to be a “Travel Bookshop” off Portobello Road on Blenheim Crescent, which inspired William Thacker’s bookshop in the film. It is now open again as The Notting Hill Bookshop at 13 Blenheim Crescent. The Travel Book Company owned by William Thacker doesn’t exist.

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10.The steps “Rocky”

Re-enact Rocky’s run up the 68 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA . Try not to hum ‘Gonna Fly Now’ too loud.

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Any more?

Gonna Fly Safe.

JAZ