Hot Air: Unlucky John

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say there are some 80,000 citizens of this great sprawling megalopolis who are thankful they are not John Hamilton.

That selfsame 80,001st resident of Bloomington is stuck carrying the moniker, meaning many — if not most — of those others wish fervently he would be struck by a falling tree branch one stormy afternoon soon, lose his memory, and wander off into the far reaches of the Deam Wilderness, south of Lake Monroe, never to be heard from again, or at least until the city finds itself another mayor on whom Bloomingtonians can focus all their rage and frustration.

I mean, the man already is in the hottest of waters in the wake of the rather Machiavellian rollout of his annexation scheme. The poor bird, it turns out, was too smart by a factor of perhaps three in springing the city expansion plan with nary a hint of preamble back in February. Smart, sure, inasmuch as opposition to the plan has hardly begun to coalesce even as the City Council begins taking up the legislative steps to make it happen, stat. Too smart, most def., because right now he’s less popular than ousted Hoosier hoops coach Tom Crean ever was hereabouts.

Here’s a spot of breaking news: Popularity is to a politician what water and air are to the rest of us. Anybody willing to take bets on a second term for the boss?

Why Me?

[Image: J.D. Gray/Indiana Public Media]

And now comes word that the deal designed to deliver on one of Hamilton’s key campaign promises has crashed on the rocks. Candidate John pledged to bring high-speed fiber-optic broadband service to Bloomington if only we’d install him in the mayor’s office. Which we did. And sho’ ‘nuf, he almost immediately shook hands on a deal with Canadian firm Axia NetMedia to lay a mesh of signal-carrying fiber over, around, and under the city so that each and every one of us can Google the pending sexual harassment cases against Bill O’Reilly — and get an answer in better than 0.63 seconds, which is what it took me to get “About 2,470,000 results” using the old school tech here at Hopscotch.

The deal itself raised eyebrows because Axia’s one a’them furriners, based in the far-away, exotic locale of Calgary, Alberta. Why, citizens here wondered aloud, couldn’t a nice homegrown outfit like Smithville Communications handle the task? Hell, its corporate office is located just up SR 46, in Ellettsville, at 1600 Temperance Dr. as a matter of fact. Doesn’t our mayor love Murrica and Murricans?

Speaking of love, the mayor must have tossed and turned all last night wondering how it could all go so wrong so quickly. Axia top dog Arthur R. Price sent him a Dear John Letter this week, telling him not that there was someone else, but that his parent forbade the impending coupling. Quothe the swain, Price, via the Herald-Times, “… our business case does not deliver the financial returns required by our owners to compensate for the risks inherent in being the first company to offer this unique model in the United States.”

In other words, it’s not you, it’s me. In other other words, Axia’s sugar daddy, Partners Group, threatens to cut off Price’s allowance if he dares to spend money on Bloomington. After all, PG only has a scant $55 billion to throw around and if the Axia investment of an estimated $50 million in the Bloomington project goes sour, why, hell, Pappadaddy’d be down to his last $54,950,000,000.

If I’m John Hamilton, I wouldn’t play the Hoosier Lottery right now as his luck seems to be running a tad crooked.

And I’m scratching my head trying to figure out who’s ambitious enough around here to run against Hamilton in 2019.

The Coffee Cure?

Talk is cheap — or free, if you care to hear my gasbaggery every Thursday afternoon on WFHB‘s Daily Local News. My Big Talk guest yesterday was Yousuf Ali, who, along with his mates in the Lu Lab at Indiana University’s Gill Center for Biomolecular Research of late have determined that caffeine seems to slow down and maybe even halt the brain cell degenerative that is a hallmark of the likes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.


The question now is, should you start drinking a pot or two of coffee every morning so’s you won’t end up forgetting the names of your adult children in the future? Ali’s got the answers here.

And tune in next week when my Big Talk guest will be Stephanie Solomon of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, Bloomington’s food pantry and advocate for the hungry.

Talk to you then.

Are You Ready?


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