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Doctoring Detroit’s Ills – Can Wi-Fi Cure Rock City?

October 25th, 2014 · Tags:Airports · Cities · Wi-Fi

 MOTOWN Temptations

Before I finish the PingWi-Fi blogging assignment for Detroit … I can’t help it. I have to comment on the news flowing from Motor City. Thousands of residents had their water shut off for not paying they bills … for months. And can you believe the United Nations waded into the muck to point out “wrongdoing?” … “How dare a city expect people to pay for the water they use?” (I type in jest …)


Obviously, the city of Detroit has had huge financial woes, and how better to begin to balance their books than calling in their debts? By the way, every other utility cuts off service for non-payment and you know what? People who are struggling financially somehow find money to turn back on the cable TV, satellite, cell phone service when those utilities pull the plug. It is harsh, certainly, but it works. And there is no doubt, to engineer a turnaround Detroit has to resort to desperate measures. “No More Mister Nice Guy,” as Detroit boy Alice said so many years ago.


An idea … how about giving the no-payers a bit of a break, cut their debts by a few percentage points, recoup what you can and move on? The definition of compromise — “an agreement where no one is happy.” I digress …


It was impressive as I prepared to fly out of Motor City, when I sampled the Wi-Fi network at Detroit Metropolitan Airport — Wi-Fi with two options, free with sponsors adds, and a premium, longer hit for a small stipend. I put Wi-Fi in the win column … finished on a positive note.


And after a couple of months in Detroit, to a degree, I think the entire area gets a bad rap. I mean an area with Great in the name (Lakes) can’t be all bad. But yes, plenty of decay wherever you look around Detroit … old vacant, crumbling, grafittied factories, boarded up community centers … despite the beauty in the surrounding country.



But, things are looking up. Most impressive is the concerted effort to get Motown back on the dance floor … to save the city. I heard interviews of entrepreneurs pumping money back into the city — namely, the Ilitch family (Of Little Caesar’s Pizza fame) … There was a recent ground breaking on a new multi-million-dollar hockey center and large downtown district revitalization — the home of the Detroit Redwings (who have one of the coolest logos in hockey, I might add).


Note to Redwings: Pay water bill, makes for better ice.


Redwings Resurgence


I think auto racing legend Roger Penske has been working to pump up the community for years. So maybe they can get the water bills paid, clean out city hall, and who knows what could happen here. Certainly it has occurred to me this would be a place where your real estate investment dollar might go a long way … but then who could look forward to the winters here … as the fog and icy air rolls in from the lakes.


Speaking of lakes … One regret from this visit. I did not get to visit the shipwreck museum and view the area where the infamous wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald went down … The older readers of this blog will remember Lightfoot’s lament to the doomed ship and shipment … a song once described by some DJ as a 6.5-minute wreck (although it was nominated for Grammy song of the year in ’76). I liked it. I digress.



If you watched that entire video, you are after my own heart … ON the up side, I did get to visit Charlevoix, Traverse City … and loved the Blue Water Bridge in the Port Huron area on the border of Canada …



So, when I think of Detroit … I wonder why I don’t think of some cool French trapping area? … Which I assume it was at one time with the lakes and rivers and forests and meadows … The name is of French origin … but I just don’t think of it that way. The name actually means “The Strait” referring to the body of water between The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.




Even in better times, I always thought of Detroit as just gritty (not French). Motor City … duh … home of Ford, General Motors, etc. Which brings to mind the new emphasis in Detroit among the carmakers on my blog’s reason for being — Wi-Fi.


Here’s an excerpt from a Wi-Fi marketing materials forwarded from the PR folks at GM:


“Our stronger signal means you have a fast and reliable connection. And because the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is powered by your vehicle, you don’t have to worry about your mobile device battery.”


Wireless From Detroit


Who knows, maybe it is Wi-Fi technology in these American-made cars that will save Detroit!?!



But even more than cars, when I think Detroit, I think “Detroit Rock City” …


I am sure it is no accident that the term rock ’n’ roll is said to have derived from doing the wild think in a hotrod, then hitting the road, yo. The two shall forever be intertwined.



Ever think about how many rock songs are about/mention Detroit?:


  • As discussed earlier in the blog, Alice Cooper’s “Be My Lover”
  • J. Geils Bands’ “Detroit Breakdown, Motorcity Shakedown”
  • “Detroit Rock City” – KISS
  • “Panic In Detroit” – David Bowie (coincidentally featured in a Showtime documentary during the Detroit stay)
  • “It’s Still East Detroit To Me” – Kid Rock (one of many by the native)
  • “Detroit Diesel” – Alvin Lee
  • “Doctor Detroit” – Devo
  • “Motor City Madhouse” – Ted Nugent
  • “Motor City Is Burning’ – MC5
  • “Hello Detroit” – Sammy Davis Jr.
  • “Passport To Detroit” – Joe Strummer
  • “Welcome To Detroit” – Eminem (one of many by the native)
  • “The Fire Inside” and “Horizontal Bop” – Bob Seger
  •  Ha … and “April In The D” by the Victorious Secrets (chuckle … well played)
  • But the best, “One Piece At A Time” – by The Man In Black


… and some 30-40 other “Detroit” songs listed on Wikipedia


So any who … Here’s to Detroit. What is good for you is good for America. Thanks for the good times. Keep on rockin!


Know what I sayin?


MICH Triumph  Ping Pier sized