wordless wednesday

People have been drawing on walls since ancient times and today many graffiti artists have crossed over into making a living off their art. Keith Haring was a famous artist who began his career drawing on advertising boards in the subway. His foundation has a fun website for kids (of all ages!) where you can play games (like Hangman) or draw your own graffiti. Sticking with the Detroit theme I have going, this week’s WW photo is of some cool graffiti on a wall downtown. See other Wordless Wednesday participants here.

shuttin detroit down

My best selling photo on iStock is a foreclosure headline. It’s a best seller not only because of the timely subject, but because I put it up long before the crisis hit the rest of the country. And I was able to put it up there long before the rest of country knew what was coming because my home state of Michigan was the canary in the economic coal mine. The foreclosure crisis, unemployment, and the overall slowing of the economy took hold here over a year ago and as it began squeezing the life out of the financial health of our state we wondered why nobody seemed to notice or care.

Over the past two years we have watched helplessly as the recession has spread throughout our country and has gone on to become a global economic crisis. As I listen to our politicians (and many of my friends ) argue about the answers along strident partisan lines, that feeling of helplessness only seems to grow. Call me naive, but as far as I am concerned we are not a country of Democrats and Republicans, and the last time I looked on a map, our country was not divided up by red states and blue states. We are the United States of America and we are Americans first and foremost, and all those economic statistics that are being thrown around in Washington are not just numbers, they are people’s lives unraveling bit by bit.

Sometimes I think about what I would say if I could stand up in front of Congress, if I only had a minute to let my voice be heard by the people we have chosen to stand guard over this beautiful country we Americans call home. But the truth is, I don’t know what I could say that would have any impact on the way Washington does business. And maybe that’s the heart of the problem, this feeling that we have put our trust in the hands of men and women who have all but forgotten us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not without hope. I do believe that things will eventually get better and I also believe that we have a new president who is striving to lead with a sincere sense of principle and service.

Okay, I’m hopping off the soapbox and getting back to work, gotta make some money to help pay those mortagage payments. The YouTube video is of John Rich who wrote a great new song about Detroit and our country’s current economic troubles. If you don’t want to hear the interview part, just click on the round button and slide it to about the 2:50 mark.🙂

seeing red

Last night the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup! It was a tough series and they had to defeat Sidney Crosby, the fresh young face of the NHL to do it, but they got the job done and gave this state the lift we really needed. Long before the rest of the country figured out that the housing market was tanking, Michigan was not only reading, but was experiencing the writing on the economic wall. The lifeblood of our state, the hemorrhaging auto industry along with some of the highest small business taxes in the country has added up to one of the worst economic climates of my lifetime. But no matter what’s happening in politics, in business, or even in our own personal lives, Detroit has a history of being one of the greatest sports towns in America and this year’s Wings are one of the biggest hearted, classiest group of guys to ever win a championship here.

I’ll spare you all the stories (like how after winning the final game the captain first handed the cup off not to an MVP but to 39 year old Dallas Drake who nearly retired having never won a cup but decided to play just one more year…or how the starting goalie Dominik Hasek got benched after a few bad games and never complained but humbly cheered backup goalie Chris Osgood on through the finals and into hockey history…or how several players took less money to stay with the team because they love Detroit and they love and respect the people they play with too much to leave…or how one player took a troubled player under his wing and helped him get back on the team, and more importantly, back home to his family), I’ll spare you those stories because if you’re not from Detroit, if you’re not a hockey fan, if you don’t know this group of men you probably won’t understand. You’ll just have to trust me here folks when I tell you that as Lord Stanley rides down Woodward Avenue tomorrow in the parade, the sun glinting off his shiny silver lining, the streets will be framed in rivers of red and Hockeytown will rise up one more time to salute one hell of a hockey team.