Cataloging Society

In my day, we had to walk 7 miles uphill in the snow just to get to school every July. Oh, wrong soapbox speech.

Do kids today know what catalogs are? Nowadays, catalogs are rare: you search online for anything you want. Having a thick book or magazine like item with pictures and descriptions is very rare — perhaps you might see them in office for office supplies, and perhaps you might get a Harbor Freight catalog in the mail. But even as late as the 1990s I used to get catalogs from Lands End and LL Bean and order from them; catalogs of folk CDs and needlepoint. I still get catalogs of each from Upton, and occasionally from Stash. But the days of the think “find everything” catalog are long gone. Does Sears or Montgomery Wards or JC Penny even still have their catalog departments?

Catalogs are treasured because of how they reflect, and to some sense, change, their society. Here are three recent news articles about how catalogs and magazines have influenced society:

  • Shipping and Handling. Nowadays, you think nothing of ordering something from Amazon and having it shipped to your account. But that wasn’t always the case. Whereas letters would be delivered, shipping packages was resisted by the postal service — and even when it came in, domestic package delivery lagged far behind. What changed it? Rural Free Delivery (RFD) and the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs. Both companies’ catalogs, each debuting in the late 19th century, successfully capitalized on the expansion of the country’s mail and package delivery systems, in particular the novel service of postal delivery to rural addresses. When Wards started, as long as you could get to the closest rail station to pick it up, Montgomery Ward could help you save a few bucks and get a better selection than the nearby general store. But (according to the article), the biggest problem that mail-order catalogs faced at the turn of the 20th century was the fact that their intended audience—often rural, as that was 65 percent of the U.S. population at the time—didn’t have easy access to mail delivery. Outside of cities, the infrastructure just wasn’t there, and often people had to pay just to get someone to simply deliver their mail to them—let alone parcels, which the U.S. Postal Service didn’t handle at the time. The solution to this problem was something called rural free delivery, which was heavily pushed by farmers’ advocacy groups. Despite the growing desire to create mail delivery in rural areas, there was much pushback on the issue within Congress due to the high cost, and as a result, the idea only came about in baby steps before finally rolling out wide in 1902. This need to get mail to rural areas was a major driver behind infrastructure building, leading to the creation of roads, eventually allowing cars to drive on those roads to deliver mail. Things improved enough that, by 1913, the U.S. Post Office itself was delivering domestic post packages.
  • Jewish Catalog. Those of us who grew up in the 1970s remember the wonderful Whole Earth Catalog out of the Whole Earth store in Berkeley (Whole Earth also gave us the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (WELL), one of the first BBS).  That catalog inspired some counter culture folks in Mass. to create the First Jewish Catalog — a wonderful hand-drawn catalog of everything Jewish. I still have my copy. There were later two additional volumes with more information, but less hand drawings.  In essence, the First Jewish Catalog and its companion volumes were the FAQ of their day — everything you needed to know about Judaism and practice, distilled down, with addresses and phone number. Tablet Magazine has a great article about how the catalog holds up today. It makes me want to go home and look at the three volumes that I’ve got, and remember. Here’s an excerpt of their description: “The book that does it all, offering sensible peer-to-peer advice, just enough halakhic wisdom (you’ll find no better synopsis of the kosher laws), and the best diagram for wrapping tefillin that was ever rendered by your friend in Hebrew school who was always sketching things under his desk. The best pictures look like Shel Silverstein’s (I won’t die from surprise if someone writes in to say they were Shel Silverstein’s). It tells you how to build a sukkah, how to affix a mezuzah, which blessings to say over what, and how to get by when hitchhiking around Israel (“Get a haircut; Israelis are wary of foreign ‘hippies’”). It offers instructions for sitting shiva, and it tells you where in all the major American cities you can rent Jewish movies. ” They conclude by noting: “Of course, all the information the catalog gives is now available online, in a multitude of places. To learn how to pray, you can find Reform sources, Conservative sources, a dozen flavors of Orthodox sources. You can find melodies by dozens of composers, you can put “Jewish” in the search-bar of your video streaming services, you can visit a website that tells you what drinks are kosher at Starbucks. But in diversity, we sometimes wish for unity. The Jewish Catalog is one of those books, like Irving Howe’s World of Our Fathers, or Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, that you could spot on the bookshelf of a certain kind of Jew and just nod, slowly, and give a look that says, “Yeah.””
  • Playboy. If you were a soldier in the 1960s and 1970s, Playboy Magazine was essentially a catalog of trends back home. So claims an opinion piece in the New York Times. According to the article, Playboy’s value extended beyond the individual soldier to the military at large; the publication became a coveted and useful morale booster, at times rivaling even the longed-for letter from home. Playboy branded the war because of its unique combination of women, gadgets, and social and political commentary, making it a surprising legacy of our involvement in Vietnam. By 1967, Ward Just of The Washington Post claimed, “If World War II was a war of Stars and Stripes and Betty Grable, the war in Vietnam is Playboy magazine’s war.” Here’s where the cataloging of society comes in: The centerfold and other visual features in the magazine served another, unintentional purpose for American troops in Vietnam. Playboy’s pictures and often-ribald cartoons conveyed changing social and sexual norms back home. The introduction of women of color in 1964 with China Lee and in 1965 with Jennifer Jackson reflected shifting attitudes regarding race.  Over time, the centerfolds pushed the boundaries of social norms and legal definitions as they featured more nudity, with the inclusion of pubic hair in 1969 and full-frontal nudity in 1972. The Washington Post reported that American prisoners of war were “taken aback” by the nudity in a smuggled Playboy found on their flight home in 1973. The nudity, sexuality and diversity portrayed in the pictorials represented more permissive attitudes about sex and beauty that the soldiers had missed during their years in captivity. The magazine provided regular features, editorials, columns and ads that focused on men’s lifestyle and entertainment, including high fashion, foreign travel, modern architecture, the latest technology and luxury cars. The publication set itself up as a how-to guide for those men hoping to achieve Mr. Hefner’s vision of the good life, regardless of whether they were in San Diego or Saigon. There’s a lot more in the article, but the basic notion is that the magazine shaped the soldier’s view of what was happening “back home”, the attitudes towards the war, and the general changes in society.

News Chum Stew: This and That

Observation StewIt’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve made some news chum stew, and I’m hungry for a nice heaping bowl. Please join me, and let’s discuss some of these:

  • Inclusion and Integration. Let’s start with an article I chose just for the graphic, which is appropriate for the Oscars tonight and #OscarsSoWhite . I had seen others use this graphic before with respect to diversity discussions, and I realized that it is also wonderful to explain security system engineering, and how security truly needs to be included in the engineering discussion, not just considered in a separate area.
  • Food and Health. Here are two articles related to food and health.The first explores how the proton-pump inhibator heartburn meds (such as omeprazole, which I take) may be associated with a higher dementia risk. This is of concern to me; it is why I’m trying to wean down on the meds (I’m at every other day). Specifically, a new study links the widely used PPIs — which include Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec — to an increased risk for cognitive decline, though researchers caution the study has limitations, and does not show a definite cause. PPIs have recently been linked to kidney disease, heart disease, and deficiencies of B12 and other vitamins. While patients have reported side effects of the drugs, not taking them often results in stomach pains and worse heartburn as the drug leaves their systems.

    The second highlights a fascinating finding about pasta: Reheating your pasta makes it healthier for you. When pasta is cooled down, your body digests it differently, causing fewer calories to be absorbed and a smaller blood glucose peak. And reheating it is even better – it reduces the rise in blood glucose levels by a whopping 50 percent.

  • Cruz and Gluten Free. It seems society just wants to hate and bully. We’ve all seen various people, shapes, and trends become scapegoats for society’s extended mockery. Recently, Ted Cruz marched into the frey by declaring the military shouldn’t provide gluten-free meals. This promped a lovely editorial in HuffPost asking people to stop making fun of the gluten-free diet (which was the real article that prompted this item). Yes, I know there are many folks doing it because the diet is trendy and they believe it will help them. The problem is that if people start feeling that folks only do it for trendy reasons, then they won’t be careful in making things truly gluten free. That can create significant health problems for those that are Celiac and truly must eat gluten free.
  • Kitchens and Shopping. If you’re a cook, you’ve probably gone shopping at those high end kitchen supply stores. Have you gone to a restaurant supply store. It’s quite fun. We’ve gotten a few things there that we use every day. Here’s a good article on what you should be buying at a restaurant supply store. I particularly recommend the cutting board advice: get a really large one you can sit over your sink. You can then rinse and cut without the water going over your counters, and scrape the cuttings right into the disposal. They also have colored boards, so you can segregate vegetable from meat boards.
  • Humor and Jews. This article got an incredible amount of shares when I posted it on FB: Mad’s Al Jaffe explaining how Mad helped make American Humor Jewish, bringing in Yiddish along the way.
  • Calculators and Caller ID. Recently, an app on my Android Phone informed me it was using Caller ID, and I needed to go into its settings if I didn’t want that. The app, PowerCalc, and yes — it is integrating CallerID to make money for its authors. Needless to say, I want to find a different calculator app now.
  • Cars and Satellites. Here’s a real interesting one. I work in El Segundo, and regularly drive now Nash Street. I’ve never thought about why it was named what it was. However, a posting in an LA History group on Facebook provided some fascinating history. Evidently, what is now the Boeing Satellite Facility at Imperial Highways and Hughes Way used to be the Nash-Kelvinator Assembly Plant. Thus: Nash Street.
  • Names and Processors. A number of years ago, picking a processor was easy. You went for the latest x86 and clock speed. Then came Pentium and Celeron and Atom, and now there are Cores and iX and more. Here’s the first cogent explanation I’ve found of Intel Processor naming. This will be a big help next time I go processor shopping. I wonder how they differ architecture-wise, in particular in memory mapping and privilege rings — things us cybersecurity folks care about.
  • Tuna and Pianos. Get it? Piano Tuna? Nevermind, I’m here all week. You may have seen the recent Android commercial where they play one song on a regular piano, and one song on a piano where every key makes the same note. You might have wondered whether they made a square piano to do it, in order to have all the strings the same length (remember: a piano has the same number of strings as a harp; it is just that they are buried in a box and hit with a hammer). Here’s a Scientific American article on what they did, and exploring if you could make all strings sound the same just through tuning.
  • A, B, C, D, E, and F. If you are old enough, you remember the days before “forever” stamps, when postage changed so frequently they issued lettered stamps worth make up postage between the old rate and the new rate. One wonders if they would issue negative postage stamps now, given that stamp prices are set to go down 2c in April. That’s right. Down. From 49c to 47c. I’d wait to buy that “forever” postage.
  • Maps and Places. We’ve all heard about it, but is it really done? Atlas Obscura explores the legend of fictitious place names on maps. Can they really be used to copyright a map?
  • Restaurants and the San Fernando Valley. A couple of articles on restaurants and the valley. The first explores 118 Degrees, a new raw vegan GF restaurant. The second is supposedly the essential valley restaurants, although I find some a bit trendy for my taste (and as usual, then tend to think only of the Boulevard, instead of the Northern valley). This becomes clear when they mention Lum Ka Naad’s outpost on the boulevard, instead of mentioning the original location near CSUN (which is about a mile from where I live). PS. While we’re talking about the valley, here’s an obit of interest: Rabbi Gordon of Chabad in the Valley has passed away. Z”L.
  • Malls and ShoppingTowns . In the news recently was an article noting how the Beverly Center mall near Cedars Sinai is getting a makeover. I remember this area well: I remember when the mall was built in the 1970s (drove by it on the way to WBT). It replaced the beloved Beverly Playland. The redevelopment is part of a trend of mall redesign, where developers take what were indoor malls and make them outdoor strolling areas. Think “the Grove” or “Americana at Brand”. What goes around, comes around, I guess. I remember when this was done at places like Fallbrook; I also remember when outdoor malls were turned into indoor malls (Panorama Mall; Sherman Oaks Fashion Center). They are about to do a similar transformation on the Westside Pavillion (which folks remember used to be a little lovely outdoor shopping center with a Vons and May Company). Should be interesting to watch.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight a few “GoFundMe”s of interest, related to folks I know. Orlando de la Paz was the scenic painter at the Colony; he recently had a stroke and is raising support funds. Jolie Mason worked with me at SDC; she’s now running the LA Radio Reading Service, a group that is raising funds for studio upgrades. Bruce Kimmel, a producer out here in LA, is raising money for an LA Themed Musical, which will premiere at LACC around May 13 for two weeks.  The family of one of my counselors from camp days is raising funds for his care; he’s dealing with a brain tumor and the prognosis isn’t good. The LA Theatre Community is raising funds for its legal fight against Actors Equity; they’ve already raised 75K. Lastly, the Men of TAS are raising funds to improve the Social Hall Kitchen; we’d love it if you could help.


Shopping News: Haggen, Fresh & Easy, Handmade, and Jet.Com

userpic=outofbusinessContinuing with part 3 of clearing out the links (there’s one more pure news chum stew post): Here are a series of posts related to shopping and stores:

  • Going Down Down Down. Although this is old news by now, Haggen is going under, and a number of their stores will be becoming Gelsons and Smart&Finals. In some ways, this is sad: Haggen bit off more than they could chew, and were doomed from the start (and likely set up by Albersons). It will be nice to have more Gelsons and Smart and Finals, though. Still no word on what will happen to the store at Sepulveda and Palms: I’ve seen that go through so many iterations by now it is silly. In similar news, it looks like Fresh and Easy is filing for bankruptcy again.  I still miss the F&E in Northridge; it was a good store with good selection. But this isn’t a surprise, as I don’t see the stores anymore. Supermarkets, in general, are getting beat by Target and Walmart adding groceries; the landscape will continue to grow as Aldi comes in. As for, we’ll keep shopping at the ethnics, Sprouts, and Trader Joes.
  • War of the Handmade. Amazon is taking on Etsy with their new subcompany: Handmade by Amazon. Will it be a success? I don’t know. Etsy is well known, but Amazon is a 400 lb gorilla. Handmade by Amazon has much tighter rules than Etsy, but people have been complaining that Etsy’s new rules have reduced the handmade aspect of what is sold. Should be interesting to watch — partially because my wife hope to restart the doll business on line. We still have lots of stock from the days working with Karen (Pratt) Holmes.
  • A Costco on the Internet. Recently, Planet Money had a fascinating episode on the Anti-Store: a store that makes it intentionally hard for you to buy things, find things, and pay for things. By doing that, they make oodles of money. The store: Costco. They make you pay for membership. They intentionally don’t sign the aisles so you have to explore the store. They take limited forms of payments and provide no bags. But it works, and people buy buy buy. At the end of the episode, they mentioned an internet variation: a company that was going to charge you to become a member, and would give you extra discounts if you ordered multiple different items from the same warehouse (allowing combined shipping) or decided to waive your ability to return items. The site? Jet.Com. Recent news has brought word that Jet.Com has decided not to charge its membership fee, because the profits from other areas — even with their discounts — make it unnecessary.   Might be worth exploring, for the bargain hunters.



Changes in the Valley

userpic=van-nuysOriginally, I thought that this three-some of items related to things disappearing in the valley wouldn’t warrant their own post. Turns out I had a bit more to say about them…

  • Macy’s Closings. Macy’s is closing down their two stores in the Topanga Prominade in Woodland Hills, leaving only the store two blocks away at Westfield Topanga. Oh, the horrors. Actually, it should be an interesting situation, as this leaves the Promenade with no anchor stores. Originally the upscale mall, the Promenade was anchored by Robinsons, Bullocks Wilshire, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Bullocks Wilshire became I Magnin and then Macys; The Robinsons store closed, became a Bullocks… and then Macys.  Saks closed after the 1994 earthquake and became the AMC. Westfield already has a Macys and loads of anchors at the Topanga Mall two blocks up, and they are connecting Topanga with the Promenade. It will be interesting to see what they do with the space — there aren’t many suitable things that could — or would — want to fill it in and that fit with Westfield’s vision (Target is already in Topanga, and Walmart is a few blocks away).
  • Norms. Norms Restaurant has been sold to an outside investor. I fondly remember the long-gone Norms in Westwood; there are still Norms in Van Nuys, Culver City, and near the Fairfax area. The new owner says they will keep them open, and he even plans to expand the chain. It will be interesting to see what happens. It could be a success, or it could be like Dupars.
  • Abes Deli. We have three Jewish delis near us. Brents, which is one of the best in the country.  Weilers, which I happen to like because it is the underdog. Abe’s Deli, which was pretty crappy. Although Abe’s has a web page, the actual establishment has been closed for a few months undergoing construction. Today, I uncovered an article that indicated what is happening there. It is becoming a Tilted Kilt. I’m not sure it will succeed. Yes, it is near some other restaurants, but it is far enough away from the mall that I’m unsure it will be a destination in and of itself. I don’t think it will survive from the business from the Toyota dealership next door, the Lowes across the street, or the senior center a block away. Then again, it might be cheaper than a pacemaker.

Little Known Shopping and Food Facts

userpic=pastramiFor a change, I’ve been able to build a theme mid-week. Today’s news chum brings together a collection of articles about food and shopping, providing some facts you probably didn’t think about…

  • Playing Chicken. We’ve all been there: too tired to cook, so we stop by the market and pick up a cooked chicken. Now, what’s odd about this is these cooked chickens are often cheaper than the raw birds, let alone adding in the cost of spices, labor, energy, etc. Have you ever wondered about this? Wonder no longer. The reason those chickens are so cheap is the same reason that stores have salad bars and other prepared food — you don’t make a profit on food you throw in the trash because it is no longer shelf-worthy or is at near the expiry date. What do you do? Repackage it and sell it.
  • Pizza Pizza. Some interesting pizza related articles. The first looks at two Detroit millionaires, who both got rich off of pizza. One focused on delivery, promising “30 minutes or less”. The other focused on price. One founded Dominos, the other founded Little Caesar. Neither are in the pizza business, and the two are leaving very different legacies. One is focusing on the next life, emphasizing religion. The other is revitalizing downtown Detroit. Does this get you annoyed? How about this — here’s what happened to the Noid, once the mascot of Dominos.
  • Betcha’ Didn’t Know. Here are two lists of interesting facts. The first is a bunch of tips regarding shopping at Amazon that Amazon doesn’t advertise. These tips should help you optimize your shopping, or at least save some money. The second is a collection of facts the big-box home repair stores won’t tell you. Again, these provide useful insights into how these stores separate you from your money, and how to get the most when you need home repair products.



Ringing It Up

userpic=moneyFor the last few months, my wife has been “reminding” me that we need to replace our old mattress. Our previous mattress was purchased around 2003 from Sit N Sleep, so I agreed with her it needed to be done. I wasn’t that crazy about the mattress purchasing experience, so I guess subsconsciouly I was pushing it off. We had tried some mattresses at Ikea, but hadn’t done anything. About a month ago, the “reminding” began in earnest, and this coincided with an article in Consumers Reports about mattresses.  Part of the problem is that no two stores have the same “named” mattress, making comparison shopping difficult. You can compare brands or number of coils, but you still don’t know you are getting the same thing. Consumers top rated mattress was the Simmons Beautyrest Glover Park Firm Pillowtop at Sears, which was a CR Best Buy at $780. The Ikea was rated #5.

Today was the first chance we had to look. Sears was having a mattress sale — 10% off, free delivery and haul away, and 12 months at 0%. Sit N Sleep was also having their usual sale of mattress sets and 2 years at 0% (although I have a vague memory of some bad experiences with Sit N Sleep’s delivery process). Ikea never does sales. So we decided to take a little time and go over to Sears to look at the top-rated mattress. We tried it, and it was perfect. This meant that we had no need to go further in our mattress search. Further, we must complement Sears (and especially our sales associate Alice (#1156)), who did not pressure us in any way. She knew the product, and did not press us to buy unneeded items or replace our box spring, which was in good condition. Thanks to Consumer Reports and a great experience at Sears, we have a new mattress scheduled for delivery on Friday, and a very positive experience. Even the price was reasonable — just over $700 before taxes. Ikea was perhaps $50 cheaper, but for a foam pillowtop (the fancier mattresses were not available in queen, only in twin, full, or king);  the price was certainly lower than what we would have been upsold at Sit N Sleep.

But all of this is actually not why I wrote this post. A while back, the Daily News had an article on the death of the cash register. This is something we saw today at Sears, where they were moving to using iPads to handle the purchase, and transmission of receipts electronically. The only thing we needed to do at a register was the actual final card swipe and signature. My guess is Sears will be doing away with that as well, with only an occasional register for the cash purchases. This, to me, is one of the reasons the PC-based register will die in retail. When the iPad first came out, it was ridiculed as a useless device. Today, it has moved into the business and retail world, and its flexibility and ease of use is signalling a sea change in the market. There are some people that will retain their PCs, but as the application world grows and the size and computing power of tablets increases, who will need the old PC. It will go the way of the IBM 5100.

Music: Come Fly With Me (Frank Sinatra): “London By Night”



Saturday Miscellany: GF Foods, Plantar Fasciitis, West LA Markets, and Bag Closures

userpic=observationsThe “clearin’ of the links” post seems to be increasingly moving from Friday to Saturday, so let’s just go with it. There is some slight connection between these stories, but not enough to make a full themed article:

  • Gluten Free Waste. My wife is gluten-free, for a reason. She’s dealing with Celiac, and there’s a medical basis. But for many people, going GF is the latest food fad. A recent Time article posits that we are wasting billions of dollars on GF food unnecessarily. They cite a new survey from market research firm the NPD Group that found America is cutting gluten out of its diet in a big way, with just under one-third of 1,000 respondents agreeing with the statement: “I’m trying to cut back/avoid Gluten in my diet.” Time notes that is the highest level since the company added gluten consumption to the surveys it does about Americans’ eating habits in 2009. TIME labeled the gluten-free movement #2 on its top 10 list of food trends for 2012. Time’s contention is that many of those paying a premium to avoid gluten are doing so without any legitimate medical reason. From what I’ve seen of fad diets, I’d tend to agree. As always, we’re heading towards a GF bubble here.
  • Foot Pain. Another article that hits close to home deals with Plantar Fasciitis. This is something I dealt with recently — it impacted my ability to exercise tremendously, and it took me almost a year to get rid of it. They recommend shoe fixes, but I haven’t seen that my fancy insoles made a big difference. More important, to me, was a “boot” I wore at night that prevented the Plantar from relaxing, so it didn’t get re-inflamed when I stood up in the morning. That, combined with anti-inflammatory medicine, seemed to make the biggest difference.
  • Remember Market Basket. Curbed LA had an article this week about a sad Pavillions at Wilshire and Stoner being closed, and talking about redevelopment that might occur at the even sadder (but open) Santa Monica and Barrington Vons. This caught my eye because of the location. You see, many many years ago (back in the 1970s and 1980s) the Wilshire and Stoner location housed the Market Basket where we did most of our shopping. My parent’s accounting office was in the Barrington Plaza next door, and I was always picking up stuff there for them (either there or Westward Ho on San Vicente). Wilshire and Stoner was also the location of the Crocker Bank where I got my first credit card (which I still have). In the 1990s, they “redeveloped” the parcel putting in an office building, but with a covenant that they retain a market there for the Seniors living in the Barrington Plaza. They put in a fancy Ralphs… which died. Then came the Pavillions, which died. Meanwhile, the really old Marina style Vons on Santa Monica stays busy.
  • There’s Profit in Everything. We often think about the big parts of business, not the little parts. For example, when we talk GF bread, we think about the bread itself not the bag… or how they close the bag. Well, Businessweek did that thinking. They have a really interesting article on a big battle between the clip-on bag closer and the twist-tie closer manufacturers to gain market share. As I said, big business… and not something you commonly think about.

Music: The Legendary Josh White (Josh White): “Trouble in Mind”


A Tale of Two Malls

userpic=outofbusinessYesterday, after the Sisterhood Shabbat in the morning but before we had theatre in the evening, I had an eye doctor appointment in Glendale. This, of course, afforded me the opportunity to hit some of my favorite stores to look for used records and books — Brand Bookshop, the Goodwill store in Glendale, and the Mystery and Imagination Bookshop. Even after hitting those shops, we still had some extra time before the show, so we decided to mall it. Specifically, we decided to go down the street at bit and see Americana at Brand.

For those not familiar with Americana at Brand, it is a Rick Caruso-special outdoor shopping mall similar to The Grove. Upscale shopping. Hipsters. Almost like a shopping Disneyland. There were a few stores of interest (41 Olive, Sur La Table), but mostly they were overpriced chains appealing to hipsters with too much money and not enough smarts to spend it wisely. However, it was really fun to people watch there; “beautiful people” combined with hipster fashion can be quite entertaining. Will we go back? Probably only if we need to hit a specific purpose.

But if you notice, I titled this post “A Tale of Two Malls”. The other mall is directly across the street: the Glendale Galleria. It is owned by General Growth Partners, who also manage the Northridge Fashion Center near our house (as well as the Fallbrook Center). It is much older, opening in 1976 (5 years after Northridge). It has a very dated look, with lots of brick facades and hard surfaces. As you walk through the convoluted pathways of the mall (which grew like the Winchester Mystery House), you see a decidedly different mix of shoppers from Americana across the street. The shoppers at the Galleria are not there for the occasional upscale Teavana — they are there for the Target and the JCP and are much more mid-scale. They are in the midst of a remodel, presumably due to competition from Americana across the street. It will be interesting to see if GGP can figure out how to turn the old enclosed mall model around to successfully complete with a Caruso-special.

Music: Sing of Our Times (The Brothers Four): “Take This Hammer”