The Way of the Cookie 

23 tasty predictions for Memphis' fortunes in 2010.


Look for new outlets for your own creative abilities.

Former Memphis mayor W.W. Herenton will be indicted but not for reasons anyone might currently imagine. While in office, Herenton was a builder. He reigned over downtown's rise from the rubble and the erection of FedExForum. Now that he's out of office and in no position to build mighty edifices, he'll be forced to find new ways to make his mark on Memphis. Herenton will be arrested early one morning outside the Pyramid, attempting to carve his face on the statue of Ramses. — Chris Davis

You can fix it with a little extra energy and a positive attitude.

The broken system at Memphis Animal Services will finally be repaired in 2010. A November sheriff's office raid on the shelter found sick and starving animals, and Mayor A C Wharton fired shelter director Ernie Alexander. In early December, consultant Lucy Shaw, hired by Wharton's office to study problems at the shelter, released a report citing serious documentation and training issues inside the animal shelter. Shaw suggests moving to paperless documentation to cut back on errors. Wharton and the Memphis City Council are beginning their search for a new shelter director. The animals should be moved to a new facility on Appling Road, with a better ventilation system to prevent the spread of disease, by the summer of 2011. — Bianca Phillips

You will take a chance on something in the near future.

Democrat Roy Herron will win the Democratic primary for the 8th District congressional seat that incumbent John Tanner has decided to vacate. Then Herron, a marathon runner and sometime author of inspirational books, and Republican Stephen Fincher, a gospel singer-cum-politician with oodles of campaign cash from district mega-farmers, will have a knock-down-drag-out, down-to-the-wire contest. We'll hazard that Herron wins, barely, but the two candidates will have a rematch in 2012, when Fincher will hazard road-running and Herron will try singing, and the outcome may be totally different. — Jackson Baker

Do not upset the penguin.

How ironic that this unusual fortune-cookie prediction actually ended up on signs throughout Overton Park, as the Memphis Zoo put the finishing touches on its "Amazing Antarctica" exhibit, thereby completing the zoo's master plan of featuring every single country and continent on earth. Visitors got a kick renting the dogsleds to ferry their kids through the park, the acres of fake snow were fun in the summertime, and the Robert Falcon Scott Memorial Food Stand was a highlight, featuring popsicles and slushees. — Michael Finger

Quality counts and you've got it.

The Grizzlies have won four of the NBA's seven primary individual awards since moving to Memphis: Rookie of the Year (Pau Gasol), Sixth Man of the Year (Mike Miller), Coach of the Year (Hubie Brown), and Executive of the Year (Jerry West). The team will make it five this spring when Marc Gasol is tabbed the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year. People who get paid to cover the NBA already are noticing what casual Memphis hoops fans haven't quite caught up with: The younger Gasol is breaking out, big time. A month into the season, he was in the league's Top 10 in both rebounding and field-goal percentage and might be the league's best true center not named Dwight Howard (the only player leading Gasol in both categories). — Chris Herrington

You have executive ability.

After MATA president Will Hudson decides to retire, FedEx founder Fred Smith offers to do the job. He is quickly appointed and brings several of FedEx's logistical experts in — while still on FedEx's payroll — to redo the city's public transportation routes.

When asked why he is so concerned about public transportation, Smith says, "If we can get more Memphians using public transportation, we can save gas, money, and the environment. Plus, fewer vehicles on area roads and highways means quicker FedEx deliveries. It's a win-win." — Mary Cashiola

Your warmth radiates onto all others around you.

Nobody can say we weren't warned, but gosh we just never expected global warming to have such an impact on Memphis. But when the melting icecaps raised the level of the faraway seas, the Mississippi River's exit through the Delta slowed to a crawl. Then, during those spring thunderstorms, the storm sewers backed up, Nonconnah Creek overflowed its banks, and vast areas of the southeastern parts of the city were deluged. Practically destroyed were the grand homes along Bellaire Circle and others in Midtown. Because citizens stopped the proposed flood basin in Overton Park, block after block north and south of Poplar was flooded, and the seniors living in the Parkview had to take refuge on the upper floors. Later, when it was all over, the good news was that casualties were few, but the damage to the homes and gardens of Midtown was extensive, and once-proud Overton Park was renamed Overton Pond. — Michael Finger

You will continue to take chances and be glad you did.

That's the motto of college football and basketball coaches as they continue to recruit high-talent, high-risk athletes to stay competitive. — John Branston

Others think highly of you.

Memphis will raise its national image by a mass refusal to participate in any survey, study, list, or article purporting to measure and rate crime, danger, obesity, walkability, creative/gay-friendliness, or health. — John Branston

Old dreams never die, they just get filed away.

A vote for Memphis-Shelby County consolidation will fail by mere percentage points, leading to consolidation advocates vowing to redouble their efforts. — Mary Cashiola

Your friends will not desert you.

Yes they will. For the first time this decade, the Memphis Zoo will outdraw the Memphis Redbirds, Grizzlies, and Graceland as the city's top attraction. — John Branston

It doesn't matter. Who is without a flaw?

Golf fans have marveled for years at Tiger Woods' unparalleled ability to focus, to distill all his energies toward the shot at hand. Little did they know that Tiger was actually battling the distractions of multiple off-course dalliances and — no doubt — the fear of getting busted and ruining his image and destroying his marriage. The prediction here: Tiger recommits to his marriage and focuses on salvaging his family, his image — and his golf. He will follow his first appearance in Memphis at the St. Jude Classic (where he will finish second) with a win at the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach a week later. Sadly for Tiger, his wife, Elin, will dump him for his buddy Roger Federer in October. — Bruce VanWyngarden

You will be honored by someone you respect.

Look for some local flavor when music and movie awards season heats up in the coming months. Memphis- (and Flyer-) connected band MGMT will take home the Grammy for Best New Artist. Sandra Bullock will get an Oscar nomination for portraying Memphian Leanne Tuohy in The Blind Side. And while longtime Memphian Red West may not sniff Oscar gold for his terrific supporting turn in the indie film Goodbye Solo (I'm hoping, but not predicting), his name will pop up in the nominations of more than one of the many less-celebrated film awards organizations. — Chris Herrington

This is not a good time to take a risk.

Unfortunately, this prediction, intended for homebuilders and downtown developers, was lost and delivered to bankers instead. — John Branston

Your success will astonish everyone.

Presidents Island will become a red-light district, thanks to a far-fetched proposal by city council member Shea Flinn. He's recently proposed a city ordinance that would require strip clubs to move to the island if they want to continue serving alcohol. Currently, the clubs' ability to sell booze is threatened by a county commission ordinance that would ban such sales. That ordinance is currently being fought in court. Though Flinn's suggestion seems kind of out there, we think it's a great idea. We think the clubs will get behind it, and the ordinance's passage will shock the hell out of the more conservative members of the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission. After all, who wants to spend all their hard-earned cash on strippers when they're sober? Even strip-club opponent and county commissioner Mike Ritz should know that's a bad idea. — Bianca Phillips

You are very expressive and positive in words, acts, and feeling.

Propelled by her PR-dynamo mother and lots of support from her church (Kenneth Whalum's New Olivet), personable 13-year-old MCS student Diedra Shores will parlay her win as the nation's best "kid reporter" on the Today show into a regular presence in the Memphis media market, giving speeches, appearing before civic clubs and school groups, and snaring a gig as a regular kid reporter on a local television station. — Bruce VanWyngarden

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later.

Mayor A C Wharton's honeymoon with the Memphis public will be in danger of wearing out once people realize that he really is serious about city/county consolidation and that he is in dead earnest about a seemingly facetious suggestion he made to the Flyer in 2009 when the county commission was on the verge of naming an interim county mayor. At the time, Wharton proposed to do both jobs — the county one without pay. This idea, renewed for real in the form of a ballot referendum, will so disturb the traditional good cop/bad copy dichotomy of the dual-mayors' system that the electorate will revolt. Just kidding: In reality, the newly named Metro Charter Commission will extend its deliberations beyond 2010 and (maybe) suggest a referendum for 2012, a year after the next city election. — Jackson Baker

Your life becomes more and more of an adventure.

In a press conference, where he wept and told reporters, "Oh, what's the use anymore?" Memphis Police Services director Larry Godwin announced that officers would no longer enforce traffic laws within the city limits. "Memphis has a worldwide reputation for having the worst drivers in the world," he said, "and there's not a damn thing — speed traps, 'click it or ticket' campaigns, even the new shoot-to-kill policy — that we can do to stop you." Under the new rules, speed limit signs will be removed, lane dividers will be painted over, and all traffic lights will be switched off. "May God help you all," Godwin said, "because I sure can't." — Michael Finger

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later.

Tennessee Republicans will celebrate a statewide victory on Election Day in November and extend their control of both houses of the General Assembly, meaning that they will get to gerrymander Tennessee's legislative and congressional districts to suit themselves. Paradoxically, the GOP will suffer further demographic attrition in Shelby County, the state's largest, watching the Democrats win most races for the county commission and all of the chartered countywide offices except, most likely, that of sheriff. County Republicans will try to counter this likelihood, either by declining to hold a countywide primary or prevailing on either Sheriff Mark Luttrell or District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, a gubernatorial candidate, to run for county mayor. — Jackson Baker

Today you should be a passenger. Stay close to a driver for a day.

We predict Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove will finally learn her lesson about driving under the influence. In early December, Fullilove pled guilty to driving on a suspended license. She was caught using a fraudulent license that she obtained after hers was seized, thanks to an earlier DUI conviction. Fullilove has admitted to an alcohol and pill addiction, which she said stems from chronic back pain. Fullilove was scheduled for back surgery in mid-December, so we think she'll finally move past her addictions and stay out of trouble. Fullilove's license remains suspended, so she'll need to "stay close to a driver," as the fortune cookie says. — Bianca Phillips

You will step on the soil of many countries.

Facing an unexpected deficit when their accounting department confused dollars with dineros and realizing, as one board member put it, "We've completely run out of even remotely interesting countries," Memphis in May decided to showcase every single country the group had honored in its 33-year history. The cacophony of cultures turned Tom Lee Park into a mosh pit, but the last year of Memphis in May was certainly one to remember. — Michael Finger

Special: Dueling Overton Square Fortunes

Hold on to old memories and young hopes.

Overton Square is going to be okay. It may never be what it once was, but it's going to survive and perhaps even thrive. It's likely that the square's out-of-town ownership will sell the property to yet another out-of-town owner who, knowing how best to make a buck from Memphians, will raze the historic properties and install a suburban-style grocery store and a parking lot on the side where an older, more beloved parking lot once stood. This is bad news for those who remember epic drinking sessions at the Bombay Bicycle Club and TGI Fridays while fake snow machines turned the corner of Madison and Cooper into an artificial winter wonderland. On the other hand, on January 29th, Playhouse on the Square will open its new, state-of-the-art facility. The old Playhouse building will become the new Circuit Playhouse, and with TheatreWorks only a block away, the southern boundary of Overton Square will effectively become a new arts district, with an emphasis on performance. There is every reason to hope that, all sacrifices considered, things are looking up for Overton Square. — Chris Davis

You will be rewarded for being a good listener.

Listening to feedback from Midtowners and Memphis Heritage, developer Associated Wholesale Grocers decides to renovate the historic buildings on the south side of Madison at Cooper instead of demolishing them. Buoyed by the community support of the project, several new restaurants open in the area, as well as West Elm and Anthropologie.

A Trader Joe's opens in what is now the square's vast parking lot and quickly becomes Midtown's favorite grocery store. Feeling pinched, Schnucks makes plans to expand and upgrade its Union Avenue store. — Mary Cashiola

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