Bill's Blog

Archive: 2016

I DO HEREBY RESOLVE ...

Posted on December 29th, 2016

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of a new year. 

We can thank Pope Gregory, XIII for this annual new beginning of sorts, since he introduced his calendar to us in 1582.  He reportedly did it because he wanted there to be one day in early winter when we would all watch football bowl games on TV while eating black-eyed peas.

CHRISTMAS PAST

Posted on December 22nd, 2016

My wife is a fabulous cook.  She learned from her mother, who is also a fabulous cook.  In fact, according to an impartial survey that I have conducted over the past 30 years, my wife and my mother-in-law are the two finest cooks in the world.

REMEMBERING JOHN GLENN, MRS. GILLESPIE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER

Posted on December 19th, 2016

Nearly 40 years ago, on February 20, 1962, I was a fourth grader at Frayser Elementary School. My teacher, Mrs. Gillespie, turned on a large black-and-white TV set at the front of the class, and I and my classmates sat mesmerized as we watched Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn blast into orbit.

FORGET THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION … IT’S TIME TO FOCUS ON THE WORLD SERIES!

Posted on October 20th, 2016

There’s an old adage in American politics that the American people do not turn their attention to a presidential election until the World Series is over. 

Like I said, that’s an old adage, and sadly, one that is no longer followed.

LISTENING TO BASEBALL

Posted on September 29th, 2016

I’ve spent my life listening to baseball. Not watching it. Listening to it. 

When I was a child, one of my prized possessions was a small transistor radio. I spent many wonderful summer nights lying in my bed with that transistor radio on my chest as I listened to Harry Carey broadcast the Cardinals’ baseball games on KMOX Radio from St. Louis.

CLINTON vs. TRUMP: GETTING READY FOR A NOT-SO-GREAT DEBATE

Posted on September 23rd, 2016

In 1960, when I was just eight years old, I watched the first televised presidential debate.  It was Kennedy v. Nixon, and I watched the debate on a Philco black and white TV in our family living room, as I sat between a Democrat and a Republican. 

The Democrat was my father.  The Republican was my mother.  My father never voted for a Republican in his entire life.  My mother never voted for a Democrat.  Every election day, they would cancel out each other’s vote.

WE INTERRUPT THIS MARRIAGE TO BRING YOU THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON

Posted on August 26th, 2016

Next Thursday morning, I am leaving my wife. After 35 years of marriage, we are going to be separated. It won’t be the first time in our marriage that we’ve had a separation. In fact, for the past 35 years, we’ve been separated every year from Labor Day to New Year’s Day.

THE KING MAY BE DEAD, BUT THE LAWSUITS LIVE ON

Posted on August 19th, 2016

This is Elvis Week in my hometown. Some of my fellow Memphians call it “Dead Elvis Week.” While it does commemorate the anniversary of Elvis’ death some 39 years ago, I absolutely refuse to even say the words “Dead Elvis.” 

I refuse to believe the King is dead.

CAPE vs. TENNESSEE SECONDARY SCHOOLS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: PAT SUMMITT’S FULL COURT PRESS

Posted on August 4th, 2016

This column was printed in the August, 2016 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal and is reprinted here with the permission of the Tennessee Bar Association.

She won more games than any coach in the history of college basketball.  She won eight national championships.  She coached the U.S. Women’s Team to an Olympic Gold Medal and had a graduation rate of 100%.  Every athlete that played for her for four years graduated.

But one of Pat Summitt’s biggest victories came not on the basketball court but in a courtroom where she testified as an expert witness on behalf of a young non-shooting guard named Victoria Cape.

ON BOARD THE GLACIER EXPRESS

Posted on July 28th, 2016

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ZERMOTT AND ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND: I love trains. Some of the happiest days of my life have been on trains. 

When I was 5 years old, my mother and I took a train trip from Memphis to Little Rock. I cannot recall why we made the trip. What I do recall is that it was a grand adventure, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

EXPLORING IRELAND FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD

Posted on July 20th, 2016

SOMEWHERE ON A WINDING NARROW ROAD IN COUNTY CORK – If Ireland were an amusement park, I am now on its most terrifying ride.  I am driving on the wrong side of the road in the Irish countryside seated on the wrong side of the car.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Posted on July 15th, 2016

Next week the Republicans will gather in Cleveland for their National Convention and will nominate for President a very unpopular man named Donald Trump. 

Later this month, the Democrats will gather in Philadelphia for their National Convention and nominate for President a very unpopular woman named Hillary Clinton.

REMEMBERING PAT SUMMITT, AN ALMOST EMPTY GYM, AND THE NIGHT MY FATHER CALLED FOR THE "GENTLEMEN VOLS"

Posted on June 29th, 2016

All my life my heroes have been volunteers.  Tennessee Volunteers.  Orange and white clad athletes who have inspired me by running, throwing or catching passes or tackling or putting a ball in a basket.  There is a long list of such heroes I have had for over 60 years from Johnny Majors to Condredge Holloway to Ernie Grunfeld to Bernard King to Reggie White to Peyton Manning to Tee Martin.  But my number one Vol hero of all time was a country gal from Henrietta, Tennessee named Pat Summitt.

ON NATIONAL SEERSUCKER DAY ... WHY SEERSUCKER MATTERS

Posted on June 7th, 2016

This Thursday, June 9th is National Seersucker Day.  It is a day when all well-dressed, comfortable Americans will don the iconic summer fabric and celebrate the greatest fashion invention of all time.

BOZO vs. BOZO'S: WHEN PIGS GOT FAT AND CLOWNS GOT SLAUGHTERED

Posted on May 13th, 2016

This weekend tens of thousands of barbeque lovers from around the world will gather at Tom Lee Park on the banks of the majestic Mississippi in downtown Memphis for the Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Contest.

THE TOP 10 ALL-TIME ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS

Posted on April 28th, 2016

Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, that annual day when America’s bosses honor those who make us look good – our secretaries and assistants.  They keep us on schedule, remind us of deadlines, and cover for us when we sneak out of the office to play golf.  In short, they do all the work, and we bosses get all the credit! 

MA’AM, I HATE TO DISAPPOINT YOU, BUT I'M NOT JOHN GRISHAM

Posted on April 8th, 2016

I’m going to have a sleepless night.  That’s because tomorrow I’m having a book-signing for my sixth non-bestseller, Milk and Sugar: The Complete Book of Seersucker

The signing will take place at Burke’s Bookstore, a legendary Memphis literary institution that has been in business since 1875.

SPRING FORWARD FOR A LONGER BLANKET AND COW PASTURE POOL

Posted on March 16th, 2016

This past Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, it was suddenly no longer 2:00 a.m. CST, but in the blinking of an eye (well, actually my eyes were shut at that moment), it became 3:00 a.m. CST daylight savings time.

Yes, this past Sunday was the annual day when we all spring forward to daylight savings time.

SAFE AT HOME

Posted on March 8th, 2016

JUPITER, FLORIDA:  I am home.  Safe at home.  I am over 800 miles from the house in Memphis I call home, but I am also home today, in a baseball park on a glorious sunny afternoon.

THANK YOU, HARPER LEE

Posted on February 25th, 2016

She was a law school dropout who inspired thousands of us to attend law school.

She told us the story of a lawyer who lost the biggest case of his career, and in the process, she gave millions of Americans a hero and lawyers a role model.

HOPING FOR A HAPPY ENDING FOR PEYTON

Posted on February 3rd, 2016

Some 22 years ago, on a September day in 1994, I drove to Starkville, Mississippi.  There I met my friend Robert Moore, and we sat together in Scott Stadium and watched his Mississippi State Bulldogs play my Tennessee Volunteers in an SEC college football match-up.

NO DAY LIKE A SNOW DAY!

Posted on January 28th, 2016

Last Friday my office was closed for a snow day.  And it hardly even snowed. 

The closing of my office on a non-snow snow day was in keeping with a long Memphis winter tradition of shutting the city down upon the mere forecast of snow and, more often than not, a forecast that is flat wrong. I know this sounds flakey, but it’s true.

REMEMBERING THE NEW KID IN TOWN

Posted on January 19th, 2016

In the 1950s, a young man from Memphis combined Gospel music, blues,and bluegrass to create a new sound -- Rock and Roll.  His name was Elvis Presley, and as Leonard Bernstein later observed, "He not only changed music; he changed everything."

In the 1970s, a young man from Detroit built on Elvis' legacy, combining the genres of rock and roll and country music. His name was Glenn Frey.

BACK TO WORK FOR A NON-BILLIONAIRE

Posted on January 15th, 2016

I was back at work in the office bright and early yesterday morning.  I didn’t intend to be there.  I didn’t want to be there.  But I had no choice.  On Wednesday night I once again failed to win the Powerball.