Eight Good Reasons To Vote

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Eight Good Reasons To Vote

“Following the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” He answered, “A republic, if you can keep it!”

Voting is a privilege. If you are not a white male land owner, chances are good that someone fought for your right to vote. If you live in America, you were either lucky enough to be born with it or lucky enough to earn it.

You can complain with integrity. You can justifiably complain about your elected officials if you speak out as a voter.

Voting is a responsibility. The USCIS Guide to Naturalization says, “Citizens have a responsibility to participate in the political process by registering and voting in elections.” In the naturalization oath, new citizens swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and voting is an integral part of that Constitution.

Because you still believe in the Constitution – even if there are flaws. The right to vote is mentioned more often in the Constitution than anything else. Perhaps the mentality was that voting was a privilege and it needed to be a right. For a long time it was only the “right people” who could vote. This is something we are so adamant about when we see it in other countries. Our vote may not seem so important to us now but we would be so much worse without it.

Because every vote counts! If you don’t like the current administration, choose a candidate that you think can win the election.

Higher turnout makes our democracy more representative. You still should vote in your election, because even if the candidate you loathe is destined to win in a landslide, you can make a dent in their margin of victory. Officials who are elected in close elections are reminded of it constantly.

If you don’t vote, you give others the power to make decisions for you. Silence implies consent. If you fail to vote, you forfeit your right to complain.

Because you get a free sticker!

Fly safe
JAZ

Men of A Certain Age And Sexual Harassment

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Men Of A Certain Age And Sexual Harassment 

“Is this what growing into an adult woman is—having to predict and accordingly arrange for the avoidance of sexual harassment?” Candice Carty-Williams,

It is true that sexual harassment won’t go away on its own. The focus on the problem is good.

For women of my age, it was an inevitable part of life, unpleasant but expected. As a female, I learned to adapt my behavior in order to prevent, avoid, ignore, and ultimately dismiss the unwanted attention. 

As these experiences start to accumulate in your life, over time it becomes normal. You stop looking up when the construction workers yell and whistle. You avoid the men at work who call you honey and baby. You pass on the job when the person interviewing you puts his hand on your shoulder and leaves it there. 

I’m sure that my mother and my grandmother had these stories. But my daughter does not. 

How we interpret all the news about sexual harassment is generational. Grabby, gross guys in the workplace were inevitable and I am not shocked to hear about it. But my daughter has grown up in a different world. Her dad was involved in her upbringing. The headmaster of her elementary school and her doctors were women.  More women are in college than men and equality was something she has always heard about it. My daughter will not tolerate the stuff that her mother and grandmother did and will speak up at the time if anything should ever happen. Her generation won’t wait decades to come forward with accusations. They were stunned by the Hollywood headlines, the length of time it went on and how long it took people to come forward.

I also think that to her generation harassment and assault are viewed in the same way- which is great for the future. But, I’m not going to make my voting decision based on which older candidate didn’t make an inappropriate comment to women. That was the world they knew and had learned from their fathers- just as my generation of women learned to keep silent from their mothers. It is not that these issues don’t matter to me. They matter a lot. But they are not disqualifying to me in a candidate that I think has the best chance to win the Presidential election.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Anxiety And The Dog

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Anxiety And The Dog

“When you hear hoofbeats coming down the street, think horse – not zebra.”J.C.Peters

My dog Banksy and I both have anxiety. I can’t decide if that makes him the best dog or the worst dog for me. We live in Venice with a lot of scooters, bikes and dogs running free on the beach. He is fine as long as I carry him. I don’t think that he is well equipped with coping mechanisms.

Banksy is very excited to go in the car because it means he is not being left to fend for himself alone. Every time he gets in the car he has a panic attack. The heavy breathing, panting and crying begins. He is in the car a lot. If i open the window and he can look out, it is better. Is he claustrophobic as well?

Banksy also has a lot of fears of things that don’t really present any harm to him. At the moment he is afraid to walk on the wood floors in the house. He must have slipped and now the light reflection looks to him like we are on thin ice. If he has to walk he does it very slowly and carefully. I have to walk first to show him that its safe. Today we came home and the plumber was in the house. He wouldn’t walk in and ran down the stairs as if to say “Save yourself.” I realize now that all the barking he does when someone comes over is really just him falling into psychological chaos.

I have different fears but just as strong. Writing is a way to accept and work through the turbulences of life. Mindfulness helps – being in the here and now keeps my thoughts from looping down a bottomless pit to nowhere. Deep breathing, Qi Gong and sunset on the beach help a lot.

The funny thing about Banksy is that he can’t ask me what’s wrong but he knows when I’m in trouble and will shower me with affection to let me know things will be OK. If I begin to panic, I just look down and there is a wagging tail ready to distract me from my anxiety trigger. He also knows that I will pick him up if he is scared. The bond between someone and their dog is unique. We may be two completely different species, but we have a mutual understanding that we will take care of each other.

Fly safe,

JAZ

A Smaller Suitcase

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A Smaller Suitcase

 “I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new.”Jules Verne

I have a few enviable skills but packing is not one of them. No suitcase in the world is fit to contain the multitude of useless junk I consider bringing on even the shortest trips. I am ready for any “what if” and “you never know” scenario. I’m a high maintenance traveler. with a big suitcase.

When Phileas Fogg decided to circle the globe in Around The World In Eighty Days, the 1873 novel by Jules Verne, he did not take a suitcase. “We’ll have no trunks,” he said to his servant. “only a carpet bag, with two shirts and three pairs of stockings for me, and the same for you. We’ll buy our clothes on the way.”

It’s a good thing Phileas Fogg didn’t take a trunk, because dragging one from steamship to railroad to carriage to hot air balloon would have ruined his rapid pace.

My next trip is through France and Germany  and like Phileas Fogg dragging my big suitcase is definitely going to ruin my pace, 

 The European rail system is a great alternative to booking flights across Europe. Travel by rail is far more flexible, with the ability to hop on and off, on a whim, with  no advance booking. The ability to arrive twenty minutes (or less) before departure time, and avoid a security line makes traveling easier.

Carrying my own big luggage on a train makes it harder. In 1873 large luggage was handled by porters but in today’s world it is necessary for a person to carry their own baggage.

I  need a smaller suitcase.to carry the basics. I have to learn to separate the want from the need. It involves a morning and evening routine with less products, vitamins and workout gear. It means more washing and less clothes. Experience has shown me that I always bring too much. Maybe I can start with less and  buy what I need  along the way like Phileas did. I’m only going for a month not eighty days. It shouldn’t be too hard and yet,  I’m still taking more luggage than a carpet bag.

Fly safe

JAZ

  

American Dream

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 American Dream

“Working as a janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol processing facility in Southwest Arizona from July 2003 until August 2014, I was greatly unsettled by the volume of food, clothing and personal belongings being thrown away at that facility.

Why would someone throw away a Bible or rosary? Why would someone throw away a wallet with someone’s identification and money? Why would a pair of shoes, for all intents and purposes “brand new”, be tossed in the trash?

How we treat others is a reflection of who we are. When belts, shoelaces, socks, shoes, underwear, pants, shirts, keys, jackets, rosaries, Bibles, watches, billfolds, coins, jewelry, cell-phones, pre-paid telephone cards, food, soap, deodorant, medicine, condoms, birth control pills and blankets are considered non-essential personal property and discarded, their disposal is a clear and intentional act of dehumanization. – Thomas Keifer

 El Sueno Americano – The American Dream is a heartbreaking series of conceptual still lifes on display at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles.

It focuses on objects collected when Thomas Keifer was a janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol processing facility in Southwest Arizona. 

He had moved from Los Angeles to Arizona. His dream was to photograph the American landscape but art doesn’t always pay the bills. He took a job as a janitor. 

The first stage of processing migrants caught trying to cross the border involved agents or people themselves going through their backpacks and emptying almost everything in them.  The items were taken and then discarded. 

There was a lot of non perishable food being left there and Thomas asked if he could donate it to a food bank nearby.

One day he saw a rosary, a bible and family photographs in the trash  and something clicked. He began to quietly take things from the garbage  and organized them by object. 

Thomas created an artistic work that documents stories of pain, possibility, loss, and hope.

This profound series focuses on simple things that migrants brought with them on their journeys–a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a pair of gloves–relics that had significant meaning to the original owner. (shoelaces)

This is what remains  of those seeking a better life on our side of the border.

Fly safe.

JAZ

Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day

“Remember, your Valentine’s card shows you care enough to send the very best, even though you’re too lazy to put it in your own words.”Melanie White

Valentine’s Day was on my list of things I would do when I was a grownup. My  father felt that it was Hallmark’s way of getting us to spend money and eat candy (something I was not allowed to have). It was just another holiday that everyone else could eat chocolate and I could not. 

I didn’t really see the love aspect. It looked like a holiday of getting gifts – jewelry, chocolate, flowers and I wanted that.  The media had made it clear that getting flowers on Valentine’s Day meant that you were loved. 

Valentine’s Day was the first holiday after my husband left. He sent me flowers.

I have gotten incredible flowers over the years – from boyfriends, guys I happened to be dating on Valentine’s Day, my children and my neighbors. They are instagram worthy examples that I am in the”club” of people who are loved and have the flowers to show for it.

The thing about complaining about Valentine’s Day is that people immediately assume you are a spinster with three cats. All displays of perfect coupledom on facebook and instagram serve only to reinforce the sneaking suspicion that everyone else is far more in love and having twice as much fun as you.

Yes, I like the cheesy cringe worthy poetry on those Hallmark cards and the cheap chocolate in heart shaped boxes.  I like the pressure on guys to be Prince Charming for a day.

Can you even say Happy Valentine’s Day to people anymore? Couldn’t that be considered  sexual  harassment? What is with Cupid slinging his arrow at people he has never met? Is that terrorism?

I like being in love. I don’t like being forced to be in love. Maybe my father was right about the holiday except that I am definitely  eating chocolate on Valentine’s Day because I can now.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Cemeteries In The World To Visit Before You Die

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Ten Cemeteries In The World To Visit Before You Die

“Why’s that cemetery so popular? Everybody’s dying to get in!” unknown

Visiting a cemetery is a lot more interesting when you are alive. It is always a sometimes spooky, sometimes beautiful history lesson. Some of them are a resting place of famous people, some have really unusual memorials and others simply provide a surprisingly nice and tranquil walk. Here are some cemeteries to visit before you die.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of the good, the bad, the beautiful and the rich people of Argentina’s past. It is a remarkable necropolis of tombs and mausoleums.  It is proportioned like a miniature village with its stately Greco-Roman crypts lining the narrow walkways. They believed “the bigger the mausoleum, the closer to God.“

It is less expensive to live your whole life in Buenos Aires than it is to be buried in Recoleta.When you enter the cemetery through the neoclassical gates (designed by  the Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo.)  There are two messages in Latin. The message on this inside is from the living to the dead and says rest in peace. On the outside, it is from the dead to the living and says Wait for God.

You have found Eva Peron’s flower strewn monument when you see people. She is buried among the rich people who did not like her.

There are approximately eighty cats who live at the Recoleta cemetery.  They say that they are the guardians/tour guides of  the 4800 tombs and have been taken care of for twenty years.  Everyone including me  takes photos of them.

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic

The Old Jewish Cemetery was established in the first half of the fifteenth century.  It is one of the most important historic sites in Prague´s Jewish Town. The oldest tombstone, which marks the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Karo, dates from the year 1439. Burials took place in the cemetery until 1787. Today it contains some 12,000 tombstones, al though the number of persons buried here is much greater. It is assumed that the cemetery contains several burial layers placed on top of each other.

Pere La Chaise, Paris, France

Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world. It is the hub of Paris’s dead rich and famous. The list of famous corpses now buried there includes Jim Morrison, Moiliere, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Marcel Proust, and Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani. Wilde’s tomb is one of the garden cemetery’s most famous and is covered in the lipstick kisses of admirers. It is no accident that all these famous people are buried here. Established in 1804, the cemetery was first used for reburials from other parts of the city. In a macabre (and involuntary) form of celebrity endorsement, officials had high-profile bodies moved in to boost popularity. I hope to go in the spring. (as a visitor).

Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery, Jerusalem,  Israel

The Mount of Olives has been used as a Jewish cemetery for more than 3,000 years.Approximately 150,000 Jewish people are buried there including some of the greatest Jewish leaders, prophets, and rabbis of all time.Among the notable Jews buried here in biblical times were Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi and Absalom, the rebellious son of King David. In the modern era, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, author Shai Agnon, Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold and prime minister Menachem Begin and his wife Aliza were buried here as well.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

This place is the final act of studio founders, writers, directors, and performers in Hollywood history; it’s where the industry’s biggest players went to die like Mickey Rooney, Cecil B. De Mille and of course Toto. Appropriately, the scene here is full of gaudy tombstones, mausoleums, peacocks, palm trees, and reflecting pools. Live concerts and movie screenings aren’t uncommon on the cemetery’s manicured lawns.

Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania

The “merry” cemetery features over 600 ornately carved, colorful wooden crosses, often with a dark or extremely literal take on the life of the body that lies beneath it. Each grave is adorned with a blue cross and a scene from the departed’s life – both good and bad. There is also a poem. The carpenter who carves the markers and composes the poems doesn’t hold back. There are references to drinking and cheating and even some mother-in-law jokes.

Okonoin Cemetery, Koya, Japan

This forested site on the side of Mount Koya is where Kobo Daishi — the founder of Shingon Buddhism — lies in eternal meditation and it’s where many devoted followers want to be buried. So many, in fact, that it’s the largest cemetery in Japan. Grave markers line the path to Daishi’s mausoleum, and each salvation-seeker’s tombstone is more unconventional and weirder than the last.

Two hundred thousand monks are buried there and waiting for the resurrection of the future Buddha. Look for the memorial dedicated by a local pesticide company to termites, and for statues that mimic monks and coffee cups.

St Andrews Cathedral Graveyard, St. Andrews, Scotland

St Andrews Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral in St Andrews, Scotland that was built in 1158. Most of the grave stones are so old and worn that there is no writing left. Many famous pioneers and champions of golf are buried here.The most famous grave of the nineteenth century was the golfer young Tom Morris. Sometimes people leave golf balls on his grave for luck.

Highgate Cemetery, London,  England

Highgate is one of seven garden-like cemeteries that were built in a ring around London in the nineteenth century, when inner-city burial grounds had become overcrowded. Gothic tombs and buildings are now overgrown with ivy. Obelisks tower over its crypt-lined Egyptian Avenue, which leads to the Circle of Lebanon, a set of tombs built around an ancient cedar tree. George Eliot and Karl Marx are buried here a long with a poisoned Russian spy who’s name I don’t know.

Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA

As far as cemeteries in America go, there is none more famous or respected as the Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and their families have been laid to rest. The sweeping rows of white marble headstones, and the constant guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are sobering reminders of the ultimate sacrifice that many have made.Tomb
Soldiers who die while on active duty, retired members of the Armed Forces, and certain Veterans and Family members are eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery. So are Presidents.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ