Hearne: American Royal & BBQ Continue Downward Slide

 Another year, another snoozer American Royal

When it comes to over-the-hill events and washed up personalities, the old ways die hard here in the Cowtown. Case in point, Kansas City’s once vaunted, annual livestock, rodeo, horse show, society ball and barbecue contest, the American Royal.

Since 1899 when the livestock event was first conceived, to 1980 when its first barbecue contest achieved liftoff, the eight week long event has passed for what amounts to KC’s fall pageant.

However changing times and tastes – combined with the loss in 1999 of its core participating attendee group the Future Farmers of America – have rendered the event all but toothless.

With, arguably anyway, the exception of the American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

Unfortunately, owing to a dearth of quality live entertainment and a geographic move from the event’s historic home in the West Bottoms to the soulless Kansas Speedway in KCK, this year’s BBQ blowout could well be a bust.

For locals, anyway.

That’s because a scheduling conflict at the speedway necessitated it migrating from the cool climes of October to a sweltering summer Labor Day weekend.

“We moved it this year to Labor Day because of other events at the Speedway,” an American Royal spokesman explains, adding that in future years the plan is for the event to return to October.

As for the “incredible live music” the American Royal’s website promises for this year’s BBQ, “We have not picked anybody yet,” the spokesman says. “But more than likely it’s going to be somebody local and more than likely different (musical) genres.”

Translation: Forget about the heavy hitter mainstream headliners of American Royals past.

Think local bar bands.

Continue reading

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Glazer: Ladies & Gentleman, Meet the ‘New’ Babe Ruth

Baseball’s had its share of big stars the last several years, the it guys of the game…

The Yankees had Derek Jeter, before that the Royals George Brett, Oakland Mark McGwire. Yet there really hasn’t been a true monster star since slugger Reggie Jackson.

Remember the “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie” chant when he hit three homers in a single World Series game?

Jackson was as close as it came to being a modern day Micky Mantle – the power hitter the nation watched and admired most when I was a kid.

I always felt that the power hitting stars of the game were the ones who made baseball America’s game.

Today, not so much.

Since the steroid era nobody’s grabbed our hearts like newest Yankee, Aaron Judge.

The 25 year old rookie is fast becoming the next guy you might see on a candy bar or cereal box. He looks to be THE MAN and not just in New York but in baseball.

Judge is not only going to be rookie of the year but maybe MVP.

Heck, Judge could be a triple crown winner in his first full season with the Yankees.

He’s already hit 22 home runs and is batting .335 with 49 RBI’s.

Those numbers at season’s end might get a rookie of the year award as they stand, but if it continues Judge may be the first mega star since Reggie Jackson.

Don’t get me wrong there have been some great ballplayers at the plate since Reggie – our own Carlos Beltran being one – but NOT LIKE THIS KID. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: We Just Don’t Care

We’re operating like it’s the 20th Century in a 21st Century world…

The media industrial complex believes if it just beats us over the head hard enough, keeps putting faces in front of us, that we will pay attention and care. But that don’t play in an on-demand world where we have access to whatever we want, whenever we want it.

Used to be choice was limited.

Then we were liberated by the Internet.

Started in 1995 and has been going down this path for 20 years, intensifying with the adoption of broadband. We’ve all dug deep into our niches and we don’t care if you’re famous for something or famous for nothing. Unless you’re in our vertical, we’re not paying attention, but you keep thinking we are.

Beyonce is not that big.

Neither is Jimmy Fallon. Or Stephen Colbert. Or any of the late night hosts.

We keep hearing about their ratings wars but almost no one is watching, just a few million in a nation of 300 million.

It’s affecting everything, from the Oscars to the VMAs. Unless they’re going to kill somebody on stage, we can’t get excited enough to watch, unless it’s a really cold night during the winter and there’s nothing else to do.

Scratch that, THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE TO DO!

Kelly Oxford recently tweeted: “Cancelled cable 2 mths ago, 2 kids haven’t noticed, 1 just realized this week. As a kid I would have noticed within 1hr and died. New gen.”

Now you’re asking…WHO’S KELLY OXFORD?

The Twitter queen of the comedians. She’s gotten tons of hype. She’s got 779k followers. She’s got books, she’s all over the media…THE ONE YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO!

And I’m not watching ESPN, never ever.

That’s the story of the 21st Century, the decimation of institutions that we were forced into buying that we really didn’t care that much about if we cared at all.

Kinda like all the channels propped up by cable payments that are gonna disappear. Kinda like malls… You mean you want me to waste an hour searching for inventory you don’t have? BUT ISN’T SHOPPING FUN? NO!!

Sure, there are women who love to shop – men too – but most people don’t.

And given a better, easier solution, they’ve stopped.

Sure, Amazon is an efficient operation, but it delivers what we want; convenience, selection and the elimination of wasted time, and we all hate wasted time. We just don’t have enough of it!

However the major media outlets keep parading people like we care. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘The Book Of Henry’—Refreshing Summer Discovery.


Despite of what you may suspect, I don’t ONLY review big budget, major studio movies…

Case in point, the new drama-thriller, THE BOOK OF HENRY, that opens this weekend in limited runs.

How to describe it?

For starters it’s a so-called “small” film dealing with the human spirit.

It’s very well cast but not much can be told of the plot without ruining the entire premise of the picture.

What we’ve got here is the extraordinarily touching drama of an 11 year-old boy genius named Henry who pretty well takes care of his single mom, a waitress and his younger brother.

Henry is pretty well on top of everything and everybody—even the finances of his self-doubting mother.

And then there’s the family next door… Continue reading

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Hearne: Dollar Store Dominance Decimates Dignity

Don’t let your lying eyes fool ya… 

Seems like everywhere you turn in Johnson County and other snooty, upscale urban enclaves, that strip malls and trendy retailers are sprouting up willy nilly. They can’t build ’em fast enough.

The flip side of that equation: brick and mortar retailers nationwide are dropping like flies – dying off so fast the obituaries are being written prior to their actual dirt naps taking place.

Go figure.

Seriously, does anyone out there really expect to be hitting the blue light specials at K-Mart in 2019? Or even 2018?

Same for Sears that sold of its vaunted Craftsman tool line this past year, ostensibly to keep what’s left of the ship of state afloat.

Department stores like Macy’s and Dillards have been hanging on for dear life for decades. Every time I go in one I feel like I’ve crossed over into a time warp back to the 1970s or ’80s.

Now even trendy retailers like Target have begun to hemorrhage red ink.

“Target shows progress, but turnaround still has a way to go,” reads a recent CNBC headline.

JC Penney?

The venerable retailer can’t close its stores fast enough.

Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Effects-Laden ‘MUMMY’ Disappoints

Hey, here is a clever idea!

Take most of your classic monster characters and breath new life into them by targeting them to today’s millennial moviegoers.

Which is exactly what Universal Pictures has up its sleeve.

It’s called Universal’s universe of (their) monsters for modern audiences.

And they’ve got plenty of them.

From Dracula, Frankenstein and The Invisible Man—all Universal monster classics— foreshadowing possible 21st century resurrections.

Or as I like to think of them: Popcorn thrillers with classic roots.

Kicking off the renewed franchise Universal Studios pays homage to its original 1932 thriller THE MUMMY which starred Boris Karloff. Continue reading

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Glazer: Time for Chiefs Fans to Take a Knee

The Chiefs sent backup QB Chase Daniels to the Eagles..

So now we have no real veteran back up quarterback if Alex Smith goes down. Yes, we have our No. 1 draft pick Patrick Mahomes, who has of course no experience in the NFL.

And we all want to see what he can do, but if KC is a contender you want someone who can step in and win.

So why not Colin Kaepernick?.

Kaepernick was once the darling and future of then Super Bowl team San Francisco. The dude who took Alex Smith’s job.

Then Kaepernick became a distraction when he didn’t stand for the national anthem two seasons back. I don’t agree with what he did, but it was his right to protest if he so desired.

In any case, that’s over now.

Is that any worse than Tyreek Hill‘s checkered past?

In the NFL does it really matter?

Kaepernick played well last year on a bad San Fran team with 16 touchdowns, only 4 INT’S, 2,241 yards in the air, 468 yards on the ground and 2 TD’s.

He had a 90.7 quarterback rating.

That’s very good with a team that didn’t lend him much help.

He certainly didn’t have the weapons KC had.

Now the Jets and the Seahawks have passed him over for lesser backups (or starters in the Jets case).

Look, this guy was once considered an elite young quarterback. Continue reading

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Sutherland: Thought Police @ The Door (Or At least The Downtown Marriott)

Occasionally you’ll read something so powerful and timely it helps you understand things you only partially grasped before…

I previously mentioned an essay by a retired Boston University professor,Angelo Codevilla. In the Fall 2016 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, he had an article called, “The Rise of Political Correctness.”

Until I went to the 18th Annual National White Privilege Conference (April 27 -30 at the Downtown Marriott) I had no idea how pervasive this ideology was.

The Conference billed itself as the usual left-wing celebration of multiculturalism.

An April 26 Kansas City Star editorial endorsing the conference made it seem that we could all benefit from it but the unfortunate fact was that those who most needed to attend were the least likely to be there.

This was a naïve view of what the conference was about.

It was not about persuasion. It was about coercion.

It was not about diversity as much as it was about the evils caused by the white race, capitalism and Christianity – in other words Western Civilization!

In a follow up opinion piece, Star writer Joe Robinson, claimed its purpose was not to “attack, demean, or degrade” any of the foregoing but simply to view them from a balanced perspective historically.

The Star’s coverage of the conference in the days leading up to the actual event stressed that while it would be “difficult,” the resulting “conversation on race” was long overdue and everyone who attended would learn from it and come away with new understanding, especially whites.

This was absurd on its face.

Because far from being “long overdue,” we ‘ve had nothing less than an ongoing conversation on race for the past 50 years in this country. (This week is the 50th anniversary of the release of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”) What else would liberals rather talk about than white racism? Continue reading

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Glazer: All Bets Are Off After Chiefs Cut Maclin

The Chiefs picked up one of coach Andy Reid‘s favorite receivers two years back…

And former MU standout Jeremy Maclin had a good first season in KC with over 1,000 yards in pass receptions. However he had a strange season last year with odd injuries and some off-field personal reasons to miss games and only two touchdowns.

Maclin was to be KC’s best wide receiver since Otis Taylor – never happened.

At times Maclin looked great and the real deal, but last year seemed to seal his fate – he was a no show.

Instead girlfriend batterer Tyreek Hill seemed to become the Chiefs offense.

Hill had a Pro Bowl season and without him, no playoffs. He’s KC’s new super star.

Yet Hill’s kinda small to be a No. 1 wide out and many see him as more of a gadget player.

Me, I think he’s the real deal, but KC needs another bigger, dependable wide out to help draw traffic away from Hill and do damage.

And right now without a healthy Maclin, we don’t have that player! Yet. Maybe one of the new draft picks? Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Gal Gadot OWNS ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics’ WONDER WOMAN has been around since the early 1940’s—way before Lynda Carter brought the character to television in 1975…

That series aired through 1979.

And Gal Gadot first exposed the character to the big screen in last year’s (so-so) BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Later this year WW will be part of DC’s eagerly awaited JUSTICE LEAGUE adventure opening November 17.

Until then there is Warner Brothers’ big scale production of WONDER WOMAN hitting theaters this weekend.

And I’m here to tell you that initial audience reactions—including those of our KC screening group earlier this week—have been overwhelmingly positive!

This movie has heart, humanity and great action sequences. And best of all you DON’T have to be a fan to enjoy it. Continue reading

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Hearne: Time to Pull the Plug on Bad Baseball, Bad Investments in KCK

Time to call a spade a spade…

Not only is the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team a really lame joke, it’s a failed business operation that’s been bleeding Wyandotte County taxpayers the get go.

First a correction for a common mistake that Steve Vockrodt made in his story in Tuesday’s Kansas City Star calling the T-Bones as a “minor league team.”

The Bones have no claim to being in the minor leagues.

To be a Minor League Baseball team you have to be affiliated with Major League Baseball – no two ways about it.

Minor league baseball teams range from Triple A at the highest level down to the Rookie Leagues.

The T-Bones are an Independent League team, which is below the lowest of the low in the minor leagues. Accordingly the quality of play is way below that of the lowest minor league teams.

As I wrote two years ago, the odds of a T-Bones player making it in the majors is dwarfed by the odds of them landing a gig sacking groceries or riding a trash truck.

The campy novelty of the T-Bones honeymoon didn’t last long.

Seven years in the T-Bones original league folded and the team was forced to join the fledgling American Association.

In 2013 KCK had to kick in $174,000 so the Bones could pay the mortgage on the team’s ballpark. After which in order to pull the T-Bones chestnuts out of the fire, the county stepped in and purchased the ballpark to ensure the team’s “long-term tourism success.” Continue reading

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Glazer: Royals Stuck in Last / Fire Sale, Anyone?

More of less is more…

As May comes to an end the Royals are still in last place with the league’s worst record. Funny, last year’s team ended May in 1st place…although it didn’t last.

Some players are starting to hit better but that’s just not enough.

For example Eric Hosmer is batting .300 but with only five homers thus far. Brandon Moss has nine homers and is showing signs of being a good pick up. Sal Perez has 11 homers and the Moose has 13. Both Moose and Perez have a good shot at breaking the 30 homer mark this season.

However the Royals’ problems include poor relief pitching and allowing too many home runs and walks. And KC’s once scary bullpen has gone flat.

The Royals best starter is Danny Duffy.

Unfortunately, he’s injured and may be out for one to two months. Yikes.

Without Duffy our starting rotation is in trouble.

Frankly it seemed like it was already in trouble.

These just aren’t the same Royals that went to two World Series.  Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 13 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: With Latest ‘PIRATES’ Disney Gets It Right

Let’s be honest, Captain Jack Sparrow had become a bit long in the tooth…

Disney’s slightly pickled and down-on-his-luck swashbuckler didn’t fare very well the last time we met up with him some six years ago.

Sparrow’s search for the fountain of youth had nearly done him in.

Well, all is forgiven as Walt Disney Pictures – after numerous delays, script issues, Depp issues and budget issues (among other concerns) – now extends its PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise with a rousing fifth installment.

Here Henry Turner, the young offspring of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, is determined to resurrect his cursed father from the ocean’s depths all the while Captain Jack is facing deadly ghost soldiers led by Captain Salazar who is determined to eliminate every pirate at sea.

I’m going to be honest and admit I got a little lost along the way.

But that didn’t matter because of the film’s immense production values.

Not only does it answer many questions you might have as to the origins of the tale, but it does so with overwhelming visual doses.

Disney got this one right! Continue reading

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Glazer: Scribe Charts Chiefs QB Alex Smith’s Final Days

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith  got a $70 million contract a couple years back…

Not a bad deal, with $30 million of that guaranteed and he becomes a free agent in 2019.

That said, the Chiefs picked quarterback Patrick Mahomes as their No. 1 this year.

So Mahomes will be hopefully be the Chiefs starter at some point, likely next season. Meaning that Smith will have to play better than ever to keep his job as a starter in 2018, unless Mahomes is looking bad when he does play.

So it’s likely this could be Smith’s final season in Kansas City as a starter.

Would he accept a back-up roll and teachers spot next year to get his final payday?

Apparently Smith was a bit unhappy with his brief talks with Mahomes.

“It’s his job to seek me out for help not really mine,” Smith said.

And while Smith never said he wouldn’t help his Mahomes,  reality has sunk in for Alex that this is likely it.

The question being, will Smith try and become a starter somewhere else as soon as next year? Will the Chiefs cut him next year if this season is like the past few, one playoff game and done?

Would Smith go somewhere else as a back up?

Lots of questions no answers. Not yet. Continue reading

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New Jack City: More Non-Stops @ KCI – Who’s Kidding Whom?

Much as I favor a new, modern, single terminal at KCI

Don’t believe for a minute that we’ll see a noticeable uptick in arrivals and departures because of it.

Does anybody actually think our international service beyond Toronto and Cancun will dramatically increase? Or that the frequency of service to Chicago will as well?

Highly unlikely.

So WHY not?

These sorts of decisions are based on passenger demand – load factors – not nicer facilities.

Because when an airline can make more money deploying its aircraft to-and-from Denver instead of Kansas City—-they will.

Simple as that.

As an example, here are weekday and Saturday departures of KC’s No. 1 carrier at KCI to five non-stop destinations.

Southwest Airlines weekday and Saturday spring departures eight years ago:

KC–Chicago Midway—Weekdays 10 / Saturday’s 8

KC–Dallas Love Field–Weekdays 8   / Saturday’s 7

KC–Denver————–Weekdays 6   / Saturday’s 6

KC–Las Vegas———–Weekdays 5  / Saturday’s 4

KC–St. Louis———– Weekdays  5  / Saturday’s 4

Now compare Southwest’s departures to these same five non-stop markets today: Continue reading

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Hearne: New Star Editorial Writer Works K.C. Schmooze After D.C. Axe

Talk about controversial couples…

Seems the newest Kansas City Star addition comes with a bit of journalistic baggage.

Editorial columnist Melinda Henneberger’s been all over the map since splashing down at 18th and Grand recently. She’s weighed in on everything from FBI honcho James Comey to Mother’s Day to fake news to stuff she likes about KC.

You know, the kind of stuff of vital interest to locals.

Not surprisingly, the things Henneberger likes about the Cowtown range from less traffic to freebie concert tix to Star sponsored shows and Midwestern greetings.

And while that’s all fine and good, it may also be of interest – to Star staffers anyway –  that Henneberger did not come to 18th and Grand controversy free.

Far from it.

According to Politico Henneberger was ousted late last summer from her position as editor of Washington D.C. political watchdog Roll Call after less than a year on the job.

Henneberger tried to spin her sudden departure as a “disagreement with leadership over staff cuts.”

However according to Politico, Henneberger’s “tenure was fraught with staff departure and turnover.”

There’s more.

“There are a lot of problems at CQ Roll Call,” said another source with knowledge of Henneberger’s tenure,” Politico adds. “While many started before Melinda came on, her vision for Roll Call only exacerbated the issues. Traffic on the site fell significantly on her watch, which only led to an even greater emphasis on clicks and less emphasis on Roll Call’s traditional focus of Capitol Hill. In the end, the newsroom was left with a paper without a vision or mission.”

On top of which, “Another source familiar with her tenure said Henneberger was ‘disengaged’ and ‘constantly absent,’” Politico added. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’—Acid-Dripping Beast(s) Shocker!

Director Ridley Scott’s 1979 space-age horror thriller ALIEN ranks as one of the most terrifying sci-fi shockers of all time…

I remember literally jumping out of my seat during THAT scene—you know the one— where the beast bursts out of John Hurt‘s body.

Fast forward to this weekend which has Scott unleashing a second installment of the current ALIEN prequel series.

It’s ALIEN: COVENANT which thankfully is more intent on gripping content than the previous semi-sequel PROMETHEUS turned out to be five years ago.

Here Scott gets back to basics.

And that’s a good thing—even though there could be at least one more prequel in the offing before we reach the actual origin of the 1979 movie.

Confused? Don’t be.

It will all make sense in this edition of the franchise which should answer a lot of questions fans were left with after 2012’s film.

They’ll get those answers now in COVENANT.

This time we find the crew of the spaceship carrying a large number of human embryos in deep freeze mode to a possible better world and future–or something like that.

Along the journey they come across a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, only to discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but that’s really a threat beyond their imagination.

You guessed it; a new encounter with an alien life form that is now forcing the crew of the Covenant into a diabolical fight for survival.

Any nasty critters bursting from humans in this edition, you ask?

Continue reading

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Glazer: Scribe Sees Royals Glass Half Full

I waited a few weeks to see if the Kansas City Royals could right the ship and…

so far so good!

Kansas City swept Baltimore – a top team in the East – then took three of four from Tampa. Eric Hosmer is back to being his old self, raising his batting average from under .200 in April to .298. Lorenzo Cain is now hitting over .300 and Sal Perez has found his bat with a .283 average. Moose has nine homers and is doing well at the plate – his fielding has been great as well as of late.

So the Royals are now 16-21 – still in last place – but only five games under .500 and 4 1/2 out of first. That’s not where you’d want to be, but hey, it’s a long way from being 10 or more under .500 and on the way to a fire sale of ball players in June.

The $64 million question: Can this team compete for a playoff spot? 

There are two reasonable reasons for hope. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 21 Comments

Hearne: Long, Slow Death Throes Continue @ 18th and Grand

Don’t look now but the inevitable is upon us…

The question being, when and where will it all end where the Kansas City Star is concerned?

When the Star dropped its most recent bombshell – on Monday April 17, 2017 in a front page “Editor’s Note” – the news was both grave and ominous.

As of that moment, Kansas City’s longtime newspaper of record would be making yet more severe cutbacks. They bandaged the bad news by introducing the changes by first noting that there would be three additional pages of coverage every Monday followed by a page of arts and entertainment stories on Tuesdays.

Not bad, eh? More is more.

Not so fast…

Cloaked between that half hearted positive thinking was the raw fact that Thursday’s more than 30 year-old Preview section was going for a dirt nap.

Seriously?

The editors were killing off Preview and what remained of their vaunted FYI section without so much as uttering a few words over their moribund bodies?

True story.

Talk about disingenuous…

How shallow and callous to try to spin the awful truth as if readers either wouldn’t notice the subtractions or might somehow find them palatable based on a few token “additions.”

However that’s the way the game is being played these days – not just at 18th and Grand – but everywhere. Little to no accountability. Continue reading

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Glazer: Scribe Waxes Poetic

As I’ve gotten older I’ve lost a number of my closest friends…

In just the last few weeks I’ve lost my uncle Morton Glazer, a friend I grew up with that was a manager at Stanford’s, Joel Weinberg and another best friends wife.

Which means I have fewer stops to make on holidays to visit relatives because they’ve checked out. Thus my world seems to be growing smaller.

Which makes me wonder what those last thoughts are when we go.

Do those magic moments in life come back in our final memories or is it just the pain of seeing it all end?

My guess is it’s different for each of us.

Yet rich or poor – well known or not – we all face the end of days at some point.

It’s part of life – the end part.

My Uncle, who I loved very much, was an older man, 83. He dropped from a heart attack. He’d been ill the last few years and was lucky to have a great wife at his side to see him to his final days.

Joel Weinberg was in his early 60’s and also had a loving wife to help care for him in his final days.

Most of us work so hard in our daily lives from childhood dreams to sorting out adult issues – trying to make it all matter and count for something.

We all have ‘those magic moments.

Having that Eagle Scott badge planted on our chest or winning a trophy for our team as kids. Those special women we met and dated thinking, “This is as good as it gets.”

Until it wore off and ended in a sad, painful split.

Doing well in business or in our careers – getting that big promotion – or opening that smash hit store. But often those things disappear in time.

As most of you know I had an unusual life. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 17 Comments