My belt broke, so I had to buy another one. This is not the case with women, who have many belts, but I suspect most men are one-belters, and it’s a reversible. Just as we have shampoo / conditioner / soap in one bottle. The more bottles you have in the shower, the more belts you have.

I could go to Target, but it’s jammed up and jelly tight on Saturdays. (Note: jelly is not, in fact, tight. Ever.) Macy’s, then. I hadn’t been there since they reconfigured the place. The new look is more “open,” which gives you a full appreciation of the paucity of the merchandise. Perhaps they’re just being more selective. Yes. that's the idea. Go for that Apple Store look; we know how well it worked out for JCPenney.

I knew where the belts were - Men’s Furnishings, I believe it’s called - so I went there. No belts. A lot of athletic gear. In fact half the men’s department now appears to be sweatpants.

WFH, perhaps? Is this what the future looks like? The suits department, which always had a short guy with a tape measure around his neck, who could produce a piece of chalk from nowhere in half a second, replaced by two racks of black suits and one guy who’s running the register because the usual guy is sick, he normally works over in sweats, he doesn’t know if they do alterations anymore. Eventually I found the belt rack, and got something that had a low-profile buckle. There was also a sale on socks, because there is always a sale on socks. Forty percent off our unconscionably high normal price! Let’s see . . . indistinguishable black Tommy Hilfigers or black Calvin Kleins? Is he still alive? Googling . . . yes; almost 80. Hilfiger is 71. I don’t know the age of my favorite sock designer, Auric Goldtoe.

The next step: find a place to pay someone. Macy’s used to have checkout counters everywhere. At least two in men’s shirts / ties / suits, one over by Tommy Bahama (now gone, it seems; the market for 50+ well-heeled Parrotheads has thinned), one in mens’ furnishings, one over in coats and sweaters. All have been consolidated.

In short, what once felt like a bustling, stylish store full of interesting merchandise with a high-end sheen now feels like a Zayre’s Shopper’s City. Was that the name? Was there a Mr. Zayre? Googling . . . ha!

Longtime New York Times retail writer Isadore Barmash explained the origin of the chain's name in a 1985 article:

One day the Feldbergs and Bert Stern, an advertising consultant, were casting around for possible names for the new operation when Max broke off to take a call. He ended his phone conversation with a typical Yiddish phrase: "Zehr gut," or "very good." Stern repeated, "Zehr, where, we need a nice-sounding name." The men stared at one another. Zehr—"let's spell it Zayre"—for very good, they decided.

Well, maybe, but the Yiddish was lost on the Minnesota Shopper’s City customers.

Then to the Apple Store, because I needed a new keyboard. There are no checkout counters here at all. You just have to find someone who can beep you, and then you’re good. They never try to sell you the credit card. They never ask if you’re a rewards member. They don’t have to.

I stopped off at the AT&T store to check my contract, see if I had any upgrades available, or any new deals to take. Never hurts. If there are two or three guys standing around, take advantage. Note: I think they are disposed to believe that anyone who goes to the store is lacking a wide variety of modern know-how. When the salesman saw me looking at the DirecTV rate sheet, he started explaining how I could get that through the internet!   I said I had DirecTV satellite, then AT&T Now, then AT&T TV, and now DirecTV again, just by sitting still. I threw around some techie words so he could recalibrate his assumptions, and from then on we spoke a common language.

We rejiggered the contract, theoretically, and I said I'd think about it. Then I left the mall and went back to my car, which was the only vehicle in this particular lot. As I approached, another car - same color, similar make - drew up right next to mine, but in the other direction, like we were two cops meeting in a parking lot to discuss something we didn't want the brass to hear.

A big guy got out just as I was approaching, and he gave me a what-the-heck-what-is-this look as I walked between the two cars to my door, as if a ordinary day at the mall was about to go horribly wrong. As if it was unlikely that the fellow who owned this car had shown up just as he'd arrived. I suppose it was. I should've said something.

"Belts and socks aren't where they used to be," perhaps.


And now, our look at the ad campaign for a 1929 slate of movies from . . .




Wikipedia is curt:

Blaze o' Glory is a 1929 American musical war film directed by George Crone and Renaud Hoffman. It stars Eddie Dowling and Betty Compson.

A musical war film. Plot:

At the stand of his murder trial, defendant Eddie Williams recounts his experiences. In 1917, he had a successful Broadway stage career and marriage to Helen Williams. However, with the American entry into World War I he was sent to the Western Front and debilitated by poison gas when saving an Imperial German Army soldier.

There's your heart drama, all right.

After returning home Eddie becomes unemployed, while his chagrin (sic) Helen is able to hold a job. After finding Helen in an affair with her employer Carl Hummel, he shoots Hummel in a fit of rage. The District Attorney reveals that Helen only entered the relationship to gain the job to support Eddie, and they reconcile. Although Eddie confessed to the murder, the jury acquits him.

Seems only right, what with all he'd been through.

Anything survive?

Yes: the soundtrack.

The reviews were lukewarm.



Based on the popular book:

It was a smash follow-up to the equally smashious "Education for Gravely Wounding." Both were combined into one powerful action-packed day-brightener called . . .

Yes, Johann and Johnanness and Gretl and Hans and the whole gang! They're all here! Well, no. It's a drama about the way the Chermun Peoples perverted their own kids, turned them into Nazibots, and got them running to the Night Rallies:

Not exactly Triumph of the Will in scale and scope, but nicely shot.

As a whole, it's well done - if this was a blatant and motivational as the big-studio propaganda got, they had a lot to learn from the boys over at UFA. Not a leering sputtering madman in the bunch, really - just cold, cruel, oh-so-civilized men in dress-up costumes doing horrible things. It begins in an American school, where a Yank prof teaches a mixed bag of kids, including an American-born boy rasied in Germany and a German-born girl raised in America.

Or vice versa. Can't quite recall, but you know how that's going to turn out. She goes to German reeducation camps; he joins the Nazis and turns into little Mister Goosestep. Meanwhile, the teacher hangs around long enough to get object lessons in the Glories of the State from Colonel Lippenpressen:

We just saw this fellow a few B&W Worlds ago; he was a crook, but you couldn't hate him. He's cultured and irrepressible!

Not so the other guys.

Spot the effete sociopathic guy everyone else fears:

The film has its share of set-piece arguments, including one between a Nazi chief and a kindly priest.  (Forgive the sync and cursor.)


As usual, you're caught wondering how anyone could be swayed by someone with such an absurd mustache. It's like he never washed up after a nosebleed.

In the end, his teacher hears the young lovers' fate over a series of loudspeakers erected by the State Committee for Plot-Enabling Devices, and it's a corker. Because of course the Nazis would put the show trial on the air, live, without quite knowing how it will turn out or who will say what.

If it rolls around on TCM, watch it. You've probably seen a million Nazi movies, but this one's different. Not a spy movie. Not a war movie. It's a look at domestic Germany, made during the time when the conflict was hottest, and this makes its restraint all the more interesting. 




That'll do! See you around.




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