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Editorial Results (free)

1. Feed the Imagination -

SHOPPING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT. The courtyard you’re in was once stacked with wooden cases, the food trucks you see were once mule-drawn wagons waiting to load those cases, the locally-brewed beer you’re sipping the reincarnation of what filled them, the live music you hear covering the century-old echoes of the South’s once busiest brewery – the Tennessee Brewery.

2. Where There’s Smoke -

DON’T WAIT FOR THE FIRE TO FIND THE WATER. Neglect and denial burns in empty buildings and blighted neighborhoods, futures are hazy, moods are dark and the smoke from all of it chokes cities and sends those able to flee to greener ground at the edges, leaving behind a bitter landscape, a smoldering threat.

3. Unique Flavor -

MEMPHIS RITUAL. The Memphis of Memphis is best observed and shared around tables, best accompanied by good food and best expressed in good stories.

Mildred’s story, for instance.

4. 100 Homage -

38 STORIES, THOUSANDS OF STORIES. I remember when the big hulk was a big deal, its unimaginative gray mass full of imagination and local color.

On our first date in 1967, I took Nora to the Top Of The 100. I’ll never forget when she leaned over the table, her blue eyes wide, and said, “You eat parsley?” The building was two years old and Top Of The 100 was a private club occupying the top three floors with its own set of elevators and a revolving bar on the top, a panorama 38 stories high served straight up above everything else in town.

5. Talking Sex -

ALL OF OUR COLLEGE PRESIDENTS SHOULD GET SEXY. The Tennessee General Assembly has long been afraid of sex.

When I was a UT student in the late sixties, the Tennessee legislature proposed a law making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to view nude art. On the humanities complex plaza, stood and still stands a huge statue of Europa and the Bull – both starkers and anatomically and quite dramatically correct. The morning after the news of the proposed law broke, Europa was wearing a huge bra and the bull a jock strap, fashioned from sheets – lots of them – and placed on the statue by enterprising students in the night.

6. Sunny Side Up -

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST? I’m skeptical of city pep rallies because they tend to be more about the pep than any solutions worth rallying around, the cheerleading more cheering than leading. I’m also skeptical of anyone who’s particularly peppy first thing in the morning.

7. Ceiling Reflections -

FAMILY TIME. “You’re no happier than your most unhappy child,” a wise friend said.

I remembered those words as I stared at the breadbox on the ceiling. I’ll explain. Back when we were living in the Georgian Woods with about 27¢, we didn’t buy anything we didn’t need and couldn’t justify. Nora needed a breadbox, so she used the occasion of my birthday to give me … a breadbox.

8. Preaching to Meddling -

OUR NEW PHARISEES. Pharisee |'farese|, noun

• a member of an ancient religious sect, distinguished by strict observance of traditional and written law, commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity.

9. Give Memphis a Lift -

CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE. Rather than walking a mile in other people’s shoes, try riding a mile on their bus.

From where I’m sitting, basically Poplar Plaza, to, say, those new jobs at Electrolux is anywhere from an hour and 35 minutes to two hours and 20 minutes with 75 to 116 stops on three buses – with a nice little half-mile stroll built-in.

10. Fascination From a Child’s Eyes -

URPED MY OATS. “I urped my oats,” the 2-year-old announced from the backseat. “Urped her oats? Did she throw up back there?” her grandfather questioned. “Yes, baby,” her grandmother said to her, “you do have purple boots.”

11. Mae Be, Mae Be Not -

MAE BE ONTO SOMETHING. State Sen. Mae Beavers – really, that’s her name – has offered legislation that makes it against the law in Tennessee to obey the law in the United States – really, I couldn’t possibly make that up.

12. Driving While Stupid -

DRIVING US CRAZY. I write about things Memphis, and there’s nothing more Memphis than the idiots on our roads. Our driving is like our unpredictable, even dangerous creativity, our shtick of doing old things in new ways and scaring people to death while we’re at it.

13. Give Me My Money, the Sequel -

A BILLION IS, LIKE, A LOT. Sometimes numbers are so huge – so much larger than life, if you will – they are beyond our comprehension.

For instance, the tonsillectomy that went so horribly wrong recently and left one child brain dead can engage the national media and captivate the country for weeks – while we pay no attention at all to the millions upon millions allowed to remain at risk at the edge of life every day.

14. Give Me My Money -

IT’S MINE, AND I WANT IT BACK.

“I thought I heard the captain say
Pay me my money down
Tomorrow is our sailing day
Pay me my money down”

15. Horseback Rides With Weddings -

BRIDAL PATHS. As I did last year, I begin this year revisiting markers on the journey.

When I was little, I was sure you went to cool weddings by horseback.

After all, Roy and Dale were married, and they sang “Happy Trails To You” from the back of a horse every week. Mom and Dad were married, and they spent the first year of their marriage in Arizona riding horses and doing cool-sounding things like punching cattle, shooting rattlesnakes and smoking Old Golds.

16. New Years and Old Ones -

NEW YEAR REMINDER OF OLD FRIENDS. The cutest girl on Tennessee’s campus sent me a message, and that sent me back to Houston for her wedding a lifetime ago, and just about the wildest weekend I’ve ever spent. Extant.

17. Christmas Coming Home -

CHRISTMAS TIME. Every Christmas I tell this story, and in the telling Christmas comes home.

It was my first time to England and overseas, and prime time for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Soho.

18. Here’s to Memphis Made -

THIS SEASON, RAISE A GLASS TO US. “Have a beer. When you can find something we can all agree on, something we can all be proud of, something unifying, you should drink to it. Seriously. Drink to it.”

19. Tiny Bag to Big Box -

ONE SCREW. ONE CENT. ONCE UPON A TIME.

Saturday at 491 South Highland.

That meant, if you couldn’t get out the door and out of earshot fast enough, you’d be working for Dad. “I need a #2 this or that,” he’d say – staring at the repurposed wooden Philadelphia Cream Cheese box in his hand that no longer held cream cheese and, evidently, not a single #2 this or that either – “Run down to the hardware store.”

20. Renewal of Life -

LOOK FOR THE WONDER. REPEAT. I wrote about this last year. This year, just last week, it happened again.

Right outside my window is a ginkgo tree, and another on the other side of the house. Every fall they engage in an ancient mating dance, a spectacular competition for attention. So exhausting is the effort, it doesn’t last long. So intense is the result, it’s explosive. And then it’s gone, leaving only a memory.

21. Our Kind of Street -

A DIFFERENT KIND OF ADDRESS. The sticker on the door of Elwood’s Shack – sort of on Summer and sort of in Lowe’s parking lot – said “Summer Ave. is my Poplar.”

22. We’ll Get There -

IT’S NOT THE RIDE. IT’S THE DESTINATION. The guy driving this thing is from Chicago. And the way they get places in Chicago isn’t pretty.

Calling the Obamacare website wreck “a bump in the road” is like calling, well, like calling the ride I’m about to describe as bumpy.

23. See and Be Seen -

IT’S ALL IN THE WAY YOU LOOK AT IT. In this town, this should play.

They teach music in there, but more, they teach purpose and meaning in music. Music as more than sound, but as expression of the soul. Music as more than notes, but as evidence of who we are and what we believe, of what we’re capable of and what moves us. Sometimes a celebration, sometimes a lament, sometimes both, but always a reminder that we share our destinies.

24. Boy Oh Boy -

SONS AND FATHERS. AND BOYS. His sister never went to the emergency room.

Gaines went to the emergency room so much, three different shifts knew his name. Before he was 4, he almost hung himself once, almost poisoned himself three times, had me in an ice bath to bring his temperature down, and had his mother give him mouth-to-mouth running to the car while I tried to find my keys and pants.

25. A Few Words Before Takeoff -

PRE-FLIGHT MESSAGES

To: our airport

That logo on the front of garage gargantua could be a touch larger. While it can be seen from the surface of the moon, I don’t think the Mars rover is picking it up yet.

26. We Have to Talk -

THE CYNICAL TRUTH IS, WE JUST CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT. Cynicism about politicians isn’t new.

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office,” Aesop, 2,500 years ago.

27. Know Your ABCs -

THE ABCs OF PRE-K. If we are to pass the half-cent sales tax increase to fund prekindergarten for every child in Memphis, the newly appointed Memphis Pre-K Commission will need to learn their ABCs or get schooled by the voters again.

28. Events -

The Memphis chapter of the American Payroll Association will meet Thursday, Oct. 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. Emily Gregg of the Tennessee Department of Human Resources will present “Tennessee Child Support Program and Employers Working Together.” Cost is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Visit memphisapa.org.

29. Events -

Dixon Gallery and Gardens will host a Munch and Learn lecture titled “Voices of Yellow Fever” Wednesday, Oct. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. at Dixon, 4339 Park Ave. Cost is free with regular admission. Visit dixon.org.

30. Archived Article -

Dixon Gallery and Gardens will host a Munch and Learn lecture titled “Voices of Yellow Fever” Wednesday, Oct. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. at Dixon, 4339 Park Ave. Cost is free with regular admission. Visit dixon.org.

31. Events -

The National Association of Women Business Owners, Memphis chapter will meet Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 11:30 a.m. at Chickasaw Country Club, 3395 Galloway Ave. Shawn Karol Sandy, chief revenue officer for The Selling Agency, will discuss flawed growth strategies and how to build an actionable sales strategy. Tickets in advance are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers; tickets at the door are $35. Visit nawbomemphis.org.

32. Events -

The National Association of Women Business Owners, Memphis chapter will meet Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 11:30 a.m. at Chickasaw Country Club, 3395 Galloway Ave. Shawn Karol Sandy, chief revenue officer for The Selling Agency, will discuss flawed growth strategies and how to build an actionable sales strategy. Tickets in advance are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers; tickets at the door are $35. Visit nawbomemphis.org.

33. Events -

The Booksellers at Laurelwood will host “I’m a Memphian” author Dan Conaway for a discussion and book signing Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. at the bookstore, 387 Perkins Road Extended. “I’m a Memphian” is a collection of Conaway’s “Memphasis” columns from The Daily News. Visit thebooksellersatlaurelwood.com.

34. Good Dog -

TRICKS YOUR DOG TEACHES YOU. Last weekend, the Lawsons’ church retreat was interrupted by loss. A dog had to be put down – more than a dog – Posey had to be put down. The fact that she had long been failing didn’t make the vet’s call any easier to answer, the drive north from Mississippi’s Camp Bratton Green any shorter. Posey came before the other children, before the move to Memphis, came to be part of everything and everybody for 16 years.

35. No. 1 in Blue -

BLUE IS A COOL COLOR. The warm colors are the reds and yellows – daylight, bright edges, clear boundaries, absolute rights and wrongs, the white-hot heat of righteousness and those who glow in it, sunshine on the surface.

36. Take a Hike -

LEARN TO WALK ALL OVER AGAIN. The couple at the next table was of a certain age – say mine, younger than radio but older than television – and each had the other completely tuned out. He fiddled with a bowl of something between glances at SportsCenter; she pushed some lettuce around between glances out the window. More was said at my table than theirs and I was by myself. They weren’t mad, not making some point with silence. You can tell. They just had absolutely nothing to say to each other.

37. Stranger Fear -

IN FEAR, WE’RE ALL LOST. “When is Mom coming back?” Hallie, 12 at the time, asked. “Yeah,” added Gaines, 5 at the time, “she’s been gone a long time.” Dan, jet-lagged at the time – with two children next to him, the Eiffel Tower behind him and the City of Light all around him – realized several things:

38. A Tasteful List Updated for 2013 -

A LIST YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO. Hello, my name is Dan and I’ll be your server.

Presenting the third edition of the Tasteful List, updated for 2013 – second and third helpings, this year’s specials, delicious memories – an alphabetical survey of local flavor in one decidedly local man’s opinion.

39. LEAP of Faith -

A STEP IN SYNC. I have in my possession a rare document, evidence of a shared spark of hope, a light at the end of all the tunnel vision, a warm fire in that cold cave in Nashville.

I have a letter signed by two gentlemen of color – one black and blue, one white and red – pledging cooperation in a state program that could genuinely and uniquely benefit Memphis rather than target and isolate it. Think of it as Auburn and Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Pelosi and Boehner, wet ribs and dry ribs, humans and Klingons – all together to save the universe. I have a letter jointly from and signed by state Sen. Reginald Tate, chair of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation, and state Sen. Mark Norris, Senate majority leader.

40. Views of Memphis -

SURPRISE. THERE’S A BOOK. A couple of years ago, friend Willy Bearden – storyteller, writer, historian, filmmaker and lead singer in the Earnestine & Hazel House Band – and I worked on a project for Elmwood Cemetery. Willy scripted and produced a combination walking/driving tour of that magic ground and I voiced it, spending hours poring over the script with Willy and recording every word of it.

41. Born Mean and Born Again -

A CHANGED CHARACTER. AND THAT’S NO BULL. Next week, I’m going to a movie about the meanest, baddest linebacker to ever rip a helmet off a quarterback or start and finish a fight in Memphis. I’m going to a movie about a professional baseball player who was kicked out of the sport for the swings he took at players instead of the ball. I’m going to a movie about one of the most feared men in the NFL, and one of the most controversial because of his rabid rage on and off the field. I’m going to a movie about self-destruction, addiction, abuse, and about Jesus.

42. I Say Again, Grow Up -

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CHILDREN. THEY’RE IN CHARGE. I should thank the city council for this opportunity to repeat a column instead of come up with something new. With these folks, it’s the same old stuff. I wrote the gist of this two years ago when we were three years in arrears paying our school children the $57.4 million we owe them.

43. I Say Again, Grow Up -

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CHILDREN. THEY’RE IN CHARGE.

I should thank the city council for this opportunity to repeat a column instead of come up with something new. With these folks, it’s the same old stuff. I wrote the gist of this two years ago when we were three years in arrears paying our school children the $57.4 million we owe them. Now it’s five years and seven new school systems in the works later, and we still haven’t paid our kids back. After the court – and the appeals court – said we had to, what’s it going to take to make us stop acting like snot-nosed little brats and behave?

44. I Say Again, Grow Up -

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CHILDREN. THEY’RE IN CHARGE.

I should thank the city council for this opportunity to repeat a column instead of come up with something new. With these folks, it’s the same old stuff. I wrote the gist of this two years ago when we were three years in arrears paying our school children the $57.4 million we owe them. Now it’s five years and seven new school systems in the works later, and we still haven’t paid our kids back. After the court – and the appeals court – said we had to, what’s it going to take to make us stop acting like snot-nosed little brats and behave?

45. Haunted History -

WORRY ABOUT THE DOGS. Depending on who’s talking and when, history around Fort Pillow changes.

At the time of this story, it was called the Cold Creek Correctional Facility, a minimum-security operation that included farming about 6,000 acres in Lauderdale County. Next it was called the Fort Pillow Prison and Farm, next door to something called the West Tennessee High Security Facility, now the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. Folks around there just call the whole thing the farm. When you’re driving a van full of scouts to camp at Fort Pillow State Park, you make a left off 51 at Henning and drive right by all of it.

46. Let’s All See the Light -

ROAD TRIP TO MEMPHIS Recently, I visited my brother in Washington. His home is in the shadow of the National Cathedral, and I strolled up the hill for another pilgrimage – a bit of reflection among the 231 stained glass windows, a quiet moment shared with the 288 angels, and a chuckle or two under the gaze of the 112 gargoyles and the power of the force from the figure of Darth Vader atop the west tower. Really. He’s up there.

47. SILLY Exercise -

DISCOVERING MEMPHIS TOGETHER. Last week, I had lunch with tomorrow. Some of the staff and young people involved with the New Memphis Institute’s programs to attract and retain the kinds of minds and hearts that will keep us thinking and keep our beat going wanted to talk to about things unique to Memphis – things funky and things obscure.

48. 15 Minutes in Memphis -

MEG RYAN, AND 15 MINUTES IN MEMPHIS. The other day, I dropped in to see my jeweler. My jeweler. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Mine makes 75 bucks off me every single year. I mean, watch batteries aren’t cheap, and I’m going to sweat through at least one watchband every summer.

49. Notes on Freedom -

“AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS” There were no fireworks or moving speeches but there were a few original works and classical movements. There were no marching bands or patriotic songs, but there was a chamber orchestra and a soaring aria or two. There was no Thomas Jefferson or a hot Philadelphia afternoon in 1776, but there was Mohammad Amin Sharifi and a hot Memphis afternoon in 2013.

50. Local Color -

CARROLL CLOAR PAINTED US. Boyle is throwing a birthday party at Brooks for themselves and Carroll Cloar.

Everybody from around here is there – there on the walls, the ghosts of where we’ve been, specters of who we are.

51. The Ghost Of Claude Rains -

SHOCKED, SHOCKED. You know who Claude Rains was, don’t you? Played Captain Renault in the 1942 classic “Casablanca”?

Sure you do.

You remember what the corrupt Captain said when he closed the casino – where he gambled every night – in Rick’s Café Américain, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

52. The Costco Connection -

MEMPHIS IN COSTCO. Have you ever noticed that what appears to be of a reasonable size in Costco grows in volume and dimension with every mile between Costco and home?

Sure, you need a little lime in your gin and tonic, but there are 50 of them in that green net bag you just dragged into the kitchen and squeezed onto the counter next to those 27 avocados. That lobster dip you sampled was terrific, but that tub you brought home would keep all of Bar Harbor happy for the summer. The average Starbucks doesn’t stock as much Caffè Verona as you do now. Clinics are coming to you for antacid pills. If FedExForum runs out of toilet paper, come on over to your garage. That stuffed bear is so big it not only scares your grandbaby, the fact that you bought it scares the hell out of you. You didn’t need to eat that hot dog the size of a fireplace log, but you had to because that dog and a refillable drink for a buck fifty is one of the five best deals in America and the other four don’t count.

53. From an Architect’s Perspective -

SEE THE DIFFERENCE IT MAKES. It’s not about money. Especially brand-new money. You can spend a ton of money on a building or a house and it can still be as ugly as original sin or as overdone as Donald Trump’s hair.

54. Round Of A Lifetime -

WHAT THESE GUYS DO ISN’T PROFESSIONAL. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. I told this story last year and, like describing an exceptional shot much less a whole round of golf, it’s worth telling again. After all, this was a round of a whole lifetime, and lifetimes last a whole lot longer because of it.

55. 23 Groans: For the Pun of It -

ONCE A PUN A TIME. If it’s held up by this column, I’m about to be robbed of my reputation. Forgive the pun.

Every one of us is occasionally confronted, even assaulted, by puns. Every one of us has at least one friend who lives by them. My golf buddy, Scoop, has one a hole. My late father-in-law, Doc, was a master of the pun – none too painful to be shared, no occasion or group inappropriate for the sharing.

56. Two Bo’s, One Town -

THANK YOU, Z’BO AND C’BO. AND THANK YOU, MICHAEL. Last week, my son reminded me to write a column about the Grizzlies. So I did. This week, a good friend commenting on that column reminded me of why I write them in the first place, and then wrote one for me.

57. Grizz Buzz -

A ROUND OF APPLAUSE. “You need to do next week’s column on the Grizz,” the email from a regular reader opened.

“There is no better or more appropriate time than now when the whole city is watching. You can contest the Simers article in the LA paper about Memphis being a ‘rathole’ where they should be ‘handing out bullet-proof vests instead of growl towels’ and focus on how the team represents the diverse, working class mentality of our city. Also, new ownership, including local minority group with Justin Timberlake, Ashley Manning, etc. Memphians are soaking up the Grizz like a sponge right now. You should join in. Just a thought.”

58. One End to the Other -

GET IT TOGETHER. Cooper is on fire. From the cougars in the zoo to the cougars in Alchemy, the viewing is best at feeding time. From the lions at the zoo to the lyonnaise salad at 1912, this is a stretch to strut in.

59. I Know a Place -

I’LL TAKE YOU THERE. “Oh, mmm, I know a place… When Mavis Staples sang those words, everybody in the audience was moved to move. The kind of primal itch you got to scratch, the kind of muscle over mind that makes toes tap, fingers snap, and hands clap.

60. Understanding the Importance of a Getaway -

THE TIME TO GET AWAY IS CLOSE. One morning last week. Anderson’s dogs were running, impossibly fast, circling a field of new wheat, impossibly green, and then through the woods and past the ponds, Snuffy bounding just ahead of us and Bow Wow off to our right in the trees. Their eyes were bright and their joy obvious, impossibly happy.

61. I’m Lucky to Know Bea -

REMARKABLE CONNECTIONS. After last week’s column, Bea dropped me a thoughtful email note as she often does about whatever I’m writing about. My story about Linda Courtney and her son Bill struck a common chord, and Bea wanted to share.

62. Single-Handed Success Story -

SINGULAR PERFORMANCE. The White Station Class of 1966, the year ahead of mine, had two Academy Award winners – one you’ve heard of and one you haven’t.

That was some class. Physicist, gray matter repository and best-selling author Alan Lightman was in it. Federal judge and arbiter of public education’s future in Shelby County Hardy Mays was in it. John Vergos, former courageous city council maverick and scion to Rendezvous rib royalty, was in it. Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates was in it.

63. The Means to be Mean -

PIECE OF CAKE. Lately, and this is disturbing, I’ve been thinking about Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, as Marie Antoinette, complete with a powdered wig and a cute little stick-on beauty mark, running up and down the halls inviting the poor to eat cake when they run out of bread. But these are not the halls of her Petit Trianon in Versailles at the time of the French Revolution. These are the halls of the state capitol in Nashville at the time of the super majority.

64. The Duck, The Dog, The Farm -

GOING TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY. My column last week prompted a number of you to share your memories of the creatures that came home with you from the cages at Katz Drug Store. My friend Bill Haltom, attorney and storyteller, sent me this:

65. Shared Bites -

OF KATZ AND RATS, DADS AND DONUTS. Howard and I were having breakfast. It was supposed to be about business. Turns out it was about monkeys and parakeets and donuts and dawns and day-olds, about his Memphis and mine, about ours.

66. Failing Every One of Us -

FAILING TO DECIDE. I once heard advertising legend and certifiable-one-of-a-kind Jerry Della Femina give the keynote address at an Ad Age Creative Workshop in San Francisco. He was bemoaning the loss of creativity in American advertising at the time and the homogenizing of our colorful national character into a colorless blob. As I remember it, he said he’d had a dream that sometime in the late 60s all the radicals, revolutionaries, hippies, dropouts, turn-ons and turn-offs all got together in a field somewhere to figure out what to do next to take over the country.

67. A Higher Order of Sausage -

GOD’S SAUSAGE. (When you see this column, it’s the 40 Days of Waffle Shop again, so strike while the iron is hot.)

“You might just be a copywriter,” Brick Muller said, staring down at the piece of paper I’d just handed him. On it was an ad idea I’d just pounded out on the 1948 Royal typewriter he was paying me to use as a copywriter. The fact that this was his first recognition that I might be one was gratifying since I’d already been there for nine months.

68. Granddad, Hambone and the KKK -

IF THE KLAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU, PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK. An Exalted Cyclops of the KKK – must be just one hole in his hood – recently told Channel 5, also quoted in The Huffington Post, “Y’all are going to see the largest rally Memphis, Tennessee, has ever seen. It’s not going to be twenty or thirty – it’s going to be thousands of Klansmen from the whole United States.”

69. Give Up These 40 Things for Lent -

40 THINGS TO DO WITHOUT. Lent has begun – a season of reflection and sacrifice for believers seeking spiritual strength, a season bridging the gray gloom of winter and the green promise of spring for those seeking renewal, a season of waffles and chicken hash for those seeking comfort in the caloric basement of Calvary Church – 40 days of all of that for me.

70. War Within the State -

TENNESSEE HAS DECLARED WAR ON SHELBY COUNTY. We now have renamed three parks. Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. Confederate Park to Memphis Park. Jefferson Davis Park to Mississippi River Park. The new names are uninspired and uninteresting – they might as well be Boring Park, Bland Park and Whatever Park – but what inspired them is what makes them interesting.

71. It’s Personal -

IT’S NOT BUSINESS ANYMORE. IT’S PERSONAL. This is our town, and you’re not welcome here.

So pack a plane with all your meaningless spin, all your lackeys and suck-ups, all your apologists, all your legal but unethical tactics, all your eye popping price gouging, all your cold and calculated manipulation of lives, your own employees’ lives, and a city’s pride and get the hell out. There’s so much of all of that in the massive fuel dump you just dropped on Memphis that I’m sure it’ll take more than one plane to haul it all off and we may never be rid of the stench it’s leaving behind.

72. Swimming in Memory -

THE POOL’S CLOSED. My first date was Ann Wiggs. I took her to a dance in the cafeteria at White Station at the beginning of the seventh grade. She was tall and all elbows and angles. I was short and dumpy and all nervous. We didn’t so much dance as run into each other to music. I was 11. She was 12.

73. A General Invitation -

COME ON BACK TO ELMWOOD, GENERAL FORREST. And bring the missus and the horse along. The family’s waiting.

After all, you bought the Elmwood lot yourself in 1854 and you were buried here in 1877. Your wife was, too, before some folks named a park after you and moved both of you there in 1904, parking one of the finest equestrian statues anywhere right on top of you in 1905.

74. ‘It’ Goes to Committee -

THREE YEARS LATER, MEMPHIS GOES TO COMMITTEE. Almost three years ago, in the hope that we were on the verge of positioning ourselves, of taking our rightful place among places, I wrote this in another column:

75. New Heroes -

SCHOOL LESSONS IN HEROISM. On Friday morning, Dec. 21 – one week after semi-automatic gunfire swept through elementary school classrooms and the nation, murdering innocence – one week after a Memphis police officer stood between a bullet and you and me, giving us all she had – a single two-ton bell in the tower of Idlewild Presbyterian Church rang 29 times. Once for officer Martoiya Lang, 20 times for the children of Newtown, six times for their teachers and, unlike anywhere else I’m aware of, once for the shooter’s mother and once for him. Each is the toll of madness, of misplaced priorities and violence, of the belief that more armed violence is not only a righteous solution but a constitutional right. And of a country where it’s easier to buy an assault rifle than vote, easier to buy ammunition than Sudafed.

76. Horseback Rides With Weddings -

BRIDAL PATHS When I was little, I was pretty sure you went to cool weddings by horseback. After all, Roy and Dale were married, and they sang “Happy Trails To Us” from the back of a horse every week. Mom and Dad were married, and they spent the first year of their marriage in Arizona riding horses and doing cool-sounding things like punching cattle, shooting rattlesnakes and smoking Old Golds.

77. Christmas Coming Home -

CHRISTMAS TIME Every Christmas I tell this story, and in the telling Christmas comes home.

It was my first time to England and overseas, and prime time for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Soho.

78. Give a Reboot This Year -

REBOOTS FOR EVERYBODY. As I sat there on hold – again – listening to synthesizer Gap crap, or a good beat slowly beat to death, or Barry Manilow at the Copa, the Copacabana – I was reminded of a Lily Tomlin line from years ago, “I had a terrible dream last night. I dreamed that the man who invented Muzak invented something else.”

79. It’s Past Time to Start Over -

START. STOP. START SOMETHING NEW. There we were in our shirtsleeves, playing golf on a 70-degree Saturday in December, when my old friend, cart mate and Republican said, “I could get used to this global warming stuff.” Unable to resist the smart-ass opening I had just been provided, I replied, “Must be tough on you guys these days – not only do you have to admit to global warming, you have to throw Grover and the pledge under the elephant.”

80. Mrs. Olds: Fire Lighter -

TEACHERS, NOT SCHOOLS, TEACH. If you’re wondering how many pieces of notebook paper it takes to produce a truly impressive spitball, it’s 10, give or take.

Terry was occupying most of the rear corner, busily inserting one piece of notebook paper after another into his mouth. Known for both gross weight and behavior, Terry was larger and older than us; the former the result of being so fond of everything in the cafeteria that he went back again and again, and the latter the result of being so fond of several grades that he went back for those, too.

81. Ginkgos and Band-Aids -

LOOK FOR THE WONDER. REPEAT. Right outside my window is a female ginkgo tree, her boyfriend is on the other side of the house, and every fall they engage in an ancient mating dance, a spectacular competition for attention. So exhausting is the effort, it doesn’t last long. So intense is the result, it’s explosive. And then it’s gone, leaving only a memory.

82. Visions of Grace -

CHICKEN WIRE AND TIFFANY. This Saturday, seven windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany are open at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and his brilliant lamps shine through Jan. 13 at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

83. Boy Scouts Must Honor Own Motto: Be Prepared -

PROTECT THE SCOUTS, NOT THE INSTITUTION. Scouts are at risk, not just from the sick, twisted creatures who would prey on them – documented in print, on air and online – but from adults who have twisted the truth and continue to excuse the inexcusable if not in fact, in effect. Allowing even one of these monsters a pass, not turning them over to the police, is a monstrous crime in and of itself. And the monster grows even larger, even more dangerous with every revelation of omission and every buried file.

84. Richie Stories Leave Impression -

Calvin called and told me Richie was coming to town. Calvin was calling a meeting.

Richie.

There are a number of reasons for getting out of town for college, out of the warm blanket you’re wrapped in to something less restrictive or out of cold circumstances to something warmer, out of the suffocating sameness of safe and familiar, out of yourself to find you. Little reasons – like nobody else does your laundry, makes you study or go to class, makes you chicken soup or makes it all OK. Big reasons – like taking responsibility, taking chances, taking on the world, taking a look at things and people you’ve never seen before and the realities they represent.

85. Half-Penny For Their Thoughts -

FULL OF HOPE.

See the children. See them run.

See the children. See them play.

See the children. See them see.

See the children. See them learn.

See the children. See all that’s possible.

86. Chasing The Phantom Screamer -

LOUD MEMORIES REMAIN. Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy emailed the other day and reminded me of the Phantom Screamer.

The Screamer never caught the game-winning touchdown pass. He didn’t hit a walk-off home run or a fade-away jumper at the buzzer, or go on to do something that might, literally, save the world like his remarkably seedy classmate, Dr. Cary Fowler.

87. Rain Dance -

IT’S RAINING. SO WHAT? She’s 4. She has big hair, a whole big bunch of auburn curls. She’s my daughter’s friend. They’re laughing in another room, about to break something.

88. We All Have a Right to Rights -

BENDING EVERYBODY STRAIGHT. I know a guy who’s into shoes. And into colors, theater and rearranging furniture. He majored in art, and can spend hours hanging one piece in the only two square feet of wall space he has left– robin’s egg blue and Chinese red walls, I might add. He wrote and directed musical satire in college. Johnny Mathis is all over his iPhone, iPad and iPod along with Judy Collins singing “Danny Boy” and way too many original Broadway casts singing their showstoppers, all of which he incessantly hums. He makes tomato aspic. He wears a lot of purple and pink, liberally sprinkles words like fabulous and spectacular in general conversation, has a couple of precious matching dogs, and has the legs for cross dressing. He’s a lifelong Memphian, but he doesn’t hunt or fish.

89. Boys Will Be Boys -

BOYS WILL BE BOYS. AND THAT CAN BE VERY BAD. If you don’t think teenage boys are thinking about sex virtually every waking moment and dreaming about it virtually every second asleep then you never were one, never the parent of one, or never knew one. If you think wagging a finger at them will stop them, or fairy tales about sexuality instead of honest truth will change them, then you’re either in self-righteous denial or participating in society’s greatest conspiracy:

90. Story on the Side -

A STORY IN EVERY BITE. As I listened, I remembered comedian David Brenner discussing directions in the South. He noted that directions come with a story, and they may include turn left at the three-legged dog, and that everything comes with grits.

91. The Heart Beats -

THE HEART BEATS. AGAIN. A lifetime ago, screwdrivers with lifetime guarantees came from an art moderne castle, and screwdrivers with orange juice came from the only other Friday’s outside of Manhattan.

92. A Tasteful List 2012 -

A LIST YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO. So many of you seemed to salivate over last year’s Tasteful List, I’ve updated it for 2012. While reduced some, make no mistake, there’s nothing dietary about it.

93. One Quiet Truck -

JUST SEND ONE QUIET TRUCK. My friend Joan White died a couple of weeks ago. You may not have known that.

In fact, if you aren’t a member of advertising’s old school fraternity, you may not know that Joan made the boys let the girls in and made the business, and us, better. In fact, if you aren’t a member of Temple Israel, you may not know how much she meant there, how her steady devotion gave steady evidence of, in the words of her rabbi, “a life worthy of living that enriched us all.” You may not know that she was Miss Holly to Mr. Bingle, trailblazer and mentor to generations of ad agency folks, and just the volunteer to talk to in the Temple Israel shop if you were looking for just the right menorah or kiddush cup. And because of her selfless work and life ethic, business women today will never have to know how tough it was in the ‘50s for a single Jewish mother from Chicago with a 2-year-old in tow to make it here.

94. First and Ten, First Ever -

MOVING THE CHAINS. Georgia scored again while I was throwing up. Georgia and I had already done these things several times in the preceding three hours. Like Tennessee, I didn’t think I had anything left. Very late in the fourth quarter, our offense had gone ice cold and we were down by eight – and my temperature was red hot, up by two. Millions were watching on TV and even ABC’s super-saccharine Chris Schenkel thought Uga had this one all wrapped up.

95. County’s Math Proves Problematic -

WE ALL LOSE, 7-1. While the suburbs cite the test performance of Memphis students as a primary reason to form their own systems, a closer examination reveals that they themselves seem to be lacking in a basic understanding of math.

96. Finding Inspiration In an Ad -

ADVERTISING. YOU GOTTA LOVE IT. From time to time, I’ve been invited to lecture on advertising, copywriting and the creative process in college classrooms – as opposed to the uninvited lectures I’ve given in all kinds of rooms. I tell students that advertising is a terrible business made up of itty-bitty margins, great big egos, volcanic eruptions and Richter 8 earthquakes – and those are just the staff meetings. I tell them it’s a constant emotional roller coaster of soaring ups and crushing downs, of inspired thought and amazing idiocy – and that’s all before lunch.

97. Remembering The Decathlon -

SHOOTING THE MOON FOR GOLD. My fellow decathlete, Jeff Chamblin, called. We remember the competition as if it were yesterday.

Surely we all remember the wedge on 18 at Galloway, dug from a heavy lie in a front yard on Walnut Grove, having arrived there after a 350-yard drive, 250 yards of that by virtue of bounces in the street. Even now, we can see the wedge rising over five lanes of traffic. We can hear the horns, the homeowner scream from his porch, as we watch that scarred, bruised warrior of a ball hit, bounce and bite to eight feet for birdie. Don’t tell me about the troublesome rules of golf. In this competition, if you could find it and hit it, it was in play, and that was a helluva shot.

98. Thundering Across America -

ON THIS CROSSING, EVERY STEP RESONATES. In the big bubble-shaped cars of the 1940’s, the space – the shelf, if you will – between the back seat and the rear window was roughly the size of Overton Park, a place for picnic baskets, hatboxes, shopping bags and babies. For me. No baby seats. No seat belts. The only things that would keep me from flying into the front seat and beyond would be the sure hands of my brothers in the back seat, and I’m pretty sure they’d be watching out for themselves.

99. John or Bill -

A PROPHET IS NOT WITHOUT HONOR, SAVE AROUND HERE. If William Faulkner looked out the window on this cloudy day he would see the still and always green magnolia leaves still and always sad still and always there still and always reminding remanding back still and always back in the sunless indolent superheated moment between a dark brooding now the even darker starker truth of then and the oppressive promise hanging in the coming storm of repeating the moment still and always the same.

100. It’s All Ours -

TURNS OUT, WE HAVE A PLAN. READ IT. If you sat down at the proverbial kitchen table – in fact, if every one of us sat down at your kitchen table – and made a top-10 list of what should be the guiding principles of our public schools, you might wonder just what we’d come up with.