The shopping mall is not only a metaphor for the Christmas season, but a melody. Jingle bells ring from inside closed stores as a security pickup patrols and deliveries are made to the back door. Stores open at ten in the morning and stay open till ten in the evening.  Palm trees and oranges mark this territory as Southern California but this shopping mall could also be in Arizona or parts of Nevada, Texas, or even Florida. Malls, once a new concept, brought customers out of neighborhood stores to shop in retail fantasy lands, closed down mom and pop places that had higher prices but kept neighborhoods together. Malls gave big business a chance to grab market share, streamline operations, centralize and advertise their brand. They changed America. Christmas is promoted here as far as my eyes can see. Windows have nativity scenes, garlands are draped over light poles, decorated trees have presents wrapped underneath, snowflakes are sprayed on windows. The last time Los Angeles saw a real snowflake was when Hell froze over. High on a ladder, a painter keeps up appearances. In California, there is no room for wrinkles, sags, or cracks. California dedicates herself to the pursuit of Dionysus and when Santa rolls into town with his reindeer, real soon, he will be wearing yellow speedo’s, a bright red stocking cap, and a pair of dark sunglasses that would make a gangster proud.   
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