Flatlands Avenue Productions, LLC

flatlands header

Well, we did it. With the help of an attorney named Steve Rich, my business partner Debra Grobman, and my trusted business associate, advisor and content writer, Alice Fisher, the producers of Patriot-Made Audiocast formed a company. We’ve registered in Ann Arbor, Michigan because that state is like a business incubator for the rest of the country. It’s largest city is slowly climbing out of bankruptcy and reinventing what it’s economy will look like and how many different types of economies it will have to support its population.

You see, contrary to popular belief, not all Americans up and leave and abandon their homes and communities just because they cannot make money there. A great many stay. They make tough economic choices. Some cannot afford to leave. Some are emotionally attached to neighborhoods that they were born into, or where they’ve inherited homes, and at one point, even livelihoods and jobs.  (You might have heard of sons following dads onto the auto-assembly lines.) They truly tough it out as roads and bridges crumble beneath their feet, and street lights are turned off by the city, the copper wiring stripped to be sold for scrap by their government in order to help get the city out of bankruptcy. They live within sight of mighty high rise buildings that are carcasses of the glorious days of decades-past. These are buildings stripped bare on the inside by desperate people looking for money at the recycling centers and scrap yards of our country.

Some stay because there was such promise and hope. I went to college in Buffalo, New York State’s second largest city. I was fortunate to be on that city’s west side, home of victorian mansions, beautiful parks and parkways, and homes that showed the promise of what was the modern 20th Century industrial age-the age before the jet plane.  Families were large, so homes were large. You can see these homes still, some better preserved than others. Some subdivided into apartments and commercial use, like sub shops, beauty shops and drug stores.  These homes haunt me as I imagine the families who lived there, and what their daily lives could have been like.

Buffalo went through a hard time. But, it had a consistent public transit system. The transit system rarely, if ever, stopped functioning. So, those without cars could get around the city and find their way to the suburbs.  There were, and still are, patrons of the arts and culture, and other establishments that stayed with the city even when manufacturers and industry shuttered factories and left town.

Detroit suffered from a mass exodus, as city services ceased to operate and neighborhoods were unlivable. Property was abandoned because it couldn’t be given away.   Now, some folks I have talked to are afraid  foreign interests are buying land that used to be neighborhoods and communities, for, well, dirt cheap.  Meantime the social climate is getting stronger in some of the hardiest areas of the city. But, those who still live in the oldest neighborhoods (the ones that remind me of Buffalo at the turn of the 20th Century) are still there. There’s no money in for their municipal government to re-invest in these areas, so people are finding ways to do it themselves.   So, that’s why Flatlands Avenue Productions set up an LLC in Michigan.  We are passionate about shedding light on stories of the phoenix rising out of the ashes.  We want to share their stories, and are committed to helping others who are knee deep in the hard work, sweat, anxiety and nervous moments when decisions are made, money is spent, and money is given away to get the job done. Along the way we’re meeting a lot of great people. They might have that mid-west humility-attitude going on because after you attend the school of hard knocks, it’s not that hard to be humble. But, they are great. They have the spirit of cooperation and devotion to their community that my partners and colleagues find so invigorating.

Rita Rich


New Favorite Quote

I have a new favorite quote. Here’s it’s source: http://jewishwomenstheater.org/interview-with-monica-piper/Six-Faces-150x150
Here’s the quote:

“The deeper meaning is what my grandmother told me, “What’s important is that you have a Jewish heart.” You don’t have go to temple and you don’t even have to be Jewish to have one. Its four chambers are: humor compassion acceptance and action.”

I try to live like that, with a Jewish heart. The point of the quote is that anyone can have the “four chambers” of a Jewish heart.  So, you can skip the speed-praying that some men do in synagogue, or the gossip that some stereotype of the Jewish woman does in Shul, the hurrying to get the makings of a Sabbath dinner before sundown on Friday, and think about the social action and gut reactions of a person who has a great sense of humor, compassion, acceptance of others, and action–be it social or career.  It’s why I’m a writer, or storyteller. It’s why I work and spend extra time to get other folks to tell their stories and create podcasts which I share with others. It’s my politics and my hibernation from politics from time-to-time.  It’s my respect for my dogs and pets as not things I own, but furry persons with whom I live with.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s why I try to create friendships, even very temporary ones, where ever I go-like here, on this blog post.

Maybe there are a lot more souls out there with Jewish hearts than I realize.




Who Shot CNN?

This is interesting commentary. I must confess that I’ve cut down how much time I spend watching CNN. I cannot stand the lack of news, and the over-emphasis of “events.” The reliance on “citizen journalists” has always bothered me. I think it was exciting to think about starting a virtual community of news enthusiasts, but the iReports need editors, and they always have, professional editors who know what ethical standards are, let alone, adhere to them. It’s not rocket science. Honestly. but, it does mean you take the time to learn about ethics. Well, here’s a start: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Jon's Reluctant Blog

Is this like the Dallas season-ending cliff-hanger where millions wondered Who Shot J R, only to discover that it was all a dream? Will we awaken from this nightmare to discover that CNN is still a responsible, go-to news source?

Look at this fromTV Newser (a television trade pub.):

CNN Removes iReport Saying Missouri Patrol Captain is Gang Member

A CNN iReport that mistook a fraternity hand sign Missouri Patrol Captain Ron Johnson made for him being a gang member has been taken down. The Washington Post reports the iReport suggested Johnson was making hand signals members of the group the Bloods use (shown below). Captain Ron Johnson throws up “gang signs?” Really @CNN? You’re just gonna leave that up?http://t.co/DSLFprbHv1 pic.twitter.com/jAUN8qIIgH – DJ Digital (@callmeDjDigital) August 19, 2014 The sign is actually the… read more>>

Two summers ago, when, in my judgment, the news channel was still salvageable, I opined in…

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The Summer of Wars

Map Where is Mali
From the Wall Street Journal
Map Where is Mali
From the Wall Street Journal

That’s how I’m going to remember 2014. Gaza; Ukraine, Mali; Algiers; Netherlands, Malaysia Airlines. Rockets; missiles; Iron Dome; diplomacy; presidents; ministers of finance, defense, and state. Journalists who aren’t used to covering death showing their humanity.

Here’s where I confess to my workmates and colleagues. I’ve not read any email this morning. I’ve been watching CNN’s coverage of Hamas-v-Israel and the Dutch victims of the Malaysian airline that was shot out of the sky by most likely Russia-provided missiles to pro-Russia Ukrainian rebels. I’ve been watching and listening to the talking heads explain what’s going on with our Secretary of State Kerry and how much work he’s trying to do in a day, in so many areas of conflict. Then, a feed from the Netherlands, and the crime lab where the remains of people are being taken so that their deaths can be investigated, and possibly, explained.

Cut-away to a feed that wasn’t supposed to be seen; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting on the medical side of things, as a producer hands him a microphone. He was there, watching what viewers of the cable network saw just a few minutes of, a procession of 74 hearses entering the gates of the Netherlands’ government facility.   I glimpse the face of the usually confident, pleasant looking physician. His eyes are sad, practically blank, in shock. So many bodies, each in their own car, passing by him. He looked horrified. In the background the chatter of a show host or anchor, as she explains that yet another commercial airline jet has disappeared in a barren patch of turf in  Africa.

This summer is the Summer of Wars. We are mortified that a form of transportation that most of us have used, or will use, a U.S. made plane, shows that it is all too vulnerable to conflict, or, in the case of the latest disappearance, perhaps even weather (it’s too early to know for sure.) that we pay attention to areas on the map we cannot name-Mali. The look of one man, a look of horror, and what I imagine is a sick feeling in his gut drives home that no matter what I’m trying to do to earn a living, and take care of my home and family, it’s just dust in comparison to the wave of human emotions that are being triggered by war, and conflict.  Blood is being spilled and tears are pouring from mourners and those who are stunned by mans continued inhumanity to man.   What will happen when emotion turns to reaction? How many more wars will be justified by this summer, our summer of 2014? 

Our Visit to Atlanta

PatriotMade Audio

Patriot-Made Audiocast, aka, Patriot-Made Audio attended a portion of the America’s Mart for the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market. We were on the prowl for stories and found a few businesses willing to talk to us about whatever they were peddling.

We found out that the manufacturers of goods for home, office, bars, restaurants, event planners, kitchens, and gift stores were very open about how they try to do business-when we were not recording our audio.  What was said off microphone was, for the most part, very positive.  But, that’s not what’s going to keep you reading and scratching your heads in thought. Here’s what will:

A) The best members of the American workforce are new immigrants.

B) White and black men are virtually unemployable in the manufacturing sectors.

C) American labor increases the price tag on products, sometimes, by 100%.

D) Customized items have to be made…

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