It was a joyous toast to the New Year for everyone but Howard this morning as his bagel was once again less than perfectly toasted. While rumor has it that his search for the Perfect Toaster went up in smoke yesterday, inside sources report that the Black & Decker TR0870 Toaster is on sale at Sears for $39.88. Better hurry, Howard, or your chances of landing one of these beauties might just be toast ...!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Whoever said "You can never be too rich, too thin or have too many Starbucks locations in a single block" was slightly off base. The latest rumor -- according to newbie Starbucks Manager Gabriel -- is that the Deidrich's at Lincoln and Montana will remain vacant for several months, following which it will be converted into yet another Starbucks. Deidrich's officially closes its doors on January 2.
Friday, December 29, 2006
It was a clear case of identity theft at Starbucks this morning as Kovar "inadvertently" grabbed a latte that was intended for someone named "Jo." The good news is that -- with just a little investigative elbow grease -- I was able to track down the real "Jo." The bad news is that he's evidently not very happy with Kovar (see Photo #2) ...!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Neighborhood Newshound Dennis was fit to be tied this morning as a certain evil police officer evidently tried to block his every move when he tried parking near 7th and Montana. Poor Dennis was so angry he called police headquarters to report the incident. Good luck, Dennis. Let's hope Santa Monica's finest don't lock you up and throw away the key!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
There I was at 7th and Montana this morning, expressing sadness at the passing of President Ford, when Neighborhood Newshound Dennis brought me up-to-speed on what the former President was really like. Evidently, he was really like-able. Not only that, but his son used to hang out at 7th and Montana every day. I, for one, wish he still hung out here. Lord knows we could use a little extra security!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
You meet all kinds on "the early shift" at 7th and Montana. Take "Mr. Stogie," for example. The pick of the litter at Starbucks this morning, Mr. Stogie pulled up a chair, picked up a Stogie and began puffing away to beat the band (photo #1). Just as I was about to call the police, he set his cigar aside and began vigorously picking his nose (photo #2). My reaction? I beat a hasty retreat before he began picking anything else ...!
Monday, December 25, 2006
It may be Christmas, but 7th and Montana felt more like a crack den than a holiday haven this morning as one person after another exposed the neighborhood to their butt crack. What are these people thinking?!? Take the woman pictured here, for example. No doubt her brains -- not to mention her sense of good taste -- are in her behind. Thank God I didn't get a zoom lens for Christmas ...!
I must be channeling the Ghost of Christmas Past since I stumbled across a treasure trove of historic photos: (1) The corner of 7th and San Vicente circa 1953 (pre-Coral Trees); (2) Santa Monica Canyon and Adelaide in 1920 (pre-stairs); (3) Ocean Towers in 1920 (when it was a vacant lot); (4) Patrick's Roadhouse in 1912 (when it was a tract office) and (5) An aerial view of the North of Montana neighborhood circa 1920. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
A certain Busy Bee homemaker was buzzing around the scene of Our Favorite Fixer Upper today, much to the surprise of the crowd at 7th and Montana. While some sources suggest she installed a new sprinkler system on the roof, others maintain she was merely feeding her guard dog. In any case, photographic evidence suggests she beat a hasty retreat in her getaway car!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Has the Starbucks holiday cup runneth over? That was the question this morning as we noticed a distinct shortage of the red holiday cups at 7th and Montana. I guess that's what happens when you start celebrating Christmas in October!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Pizza lovers of Santa Monica rejoiced this morning as word spread that local landmark Patty's Pizza is staying put at 7th and Montana. Sources close to the situation speculate that Patty struck an eleventh hour deal to maintain the lucrative location. How lucrative? Said one inside source who prefers to remain anonymous: "Patty's struck a deal. They're also renovating the shop. Did I tell you I just had brain surgery?"
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Surprising new signage appeared recently at the scene of Our Favorite Fixer Upper. Someone spraypainted a message -- "It will come back" -- across the fence on Alta (just under the never-ending trellis). Some say the house itself is staging a comeback. Others insist it was a message from the Busy Bee homeowner. As for me, I think the message refers to my blog, which is finally coming back as I sort out more issues with my PC!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Friday, December 8, 2006
Monday, December 4, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The crowd at 7th and Montana has been buzzing regarding the recent absence of Our Favorite Building Manager. Was he pressed into duty on a secret spy mission? Is he parachuting in the Alps? Or has he merely gone fishin'? According to Local Expert Dennis, he's no longer managing our favorite building!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Rumor has it that Poor Charlie had a rough Thanksgiving in Richard's absence. Photographic evidence suggests he spent the holiday moping around Palisades Park. Moreover, inside sources at a certain luxury high-rise reported hearing Charlie barking and howling all night, but then again, perhaps that was just the Building Management ...!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The crowd went from Boise to Noisy and all points in between this morning as Curtis (#1), a friendly visitor from Idaho, got a crash course in 7th and Montana etiquette. Dennis waxed poetic while Gordon graded papers (#2); Hell's Angels breezed-in on their Harleys (#3); and a Loudmouth-with-her-Cell-Phone-on-Full-Blast treated us all to her conversation (#4). The Smoker-of-the-Day (#5) seemed polite by comparison!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Imagine my surprise this morning when a friendly newcomer at the next table offered me a Cranberry Bliss Bar. Evidently, Our Favorite Zombie gave him an extra. While I was certainly grateful for the holiday good cheer, I couldn't help noticing what appeared to be distinct bite marks in the pastry in question (see Photo #2). I guess it's true what they say, "Bliss is in the eye of the beholder!"
Seventh Street was aghast this morning on news that the mysterious Bag of Leeks left strategically in front of Our Favorite Fixer Upper has gone missing. Perhaps the Lady of the House decided to make some Leek Soup? Then, again, Lord knows she already has plenty of leaks to spare!
Friday, November 24, 2006
It was a day for odd jobs today as the gang compared notes regarding post-Thanksgiving chores. While Bob and Howard will be cleaning debris from their rooftop gutters, Joyce said that she and Bob have some weeding to do. But it was odd Jobs of another kind that really captured our interest as the Apple of Silicon Valley's eye, Steve Jobs, paid a visit to 7th and Montana (see the back of his head, just behind Joyce)!
Local authorities issued a Zombie Alert at 7th and Montana this morning as an apparent refugee from Night of the Living Dead took control of the Barista counter at Starbucks. Kathy, who believes this particular Barista is missing an essential chromosome, had to bring her drink back three times before it passed muster. Her order? A simple vente chai tea latte with nonfat milk and six pumps of chai, no foam, extra hot!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
There was much to be thankful for this morning at 7th and Montana: Genevieve was thankful for getting a great deal on a snazzy new car; Kathy was thankful to Babalu for their signature Chocolate Brownie Banana Cream Pie and the crew at Starbucks was thankful that they can finally play Christmas Carols without feeling totally humiliated!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
There were signs of progress at the schizophrenic new home at 7th and Montana this morning, as workers began putting Italian-style roofing tiles in place. What a nice complement to the overall eclectic mix of elements. What could be next ... a case of the shingles?!?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
It was "Lights, Camera, Action!" this morning on Palisades Ave as a film crew, catering trucks and a bevy of police officers went into full Hollywood mode. "Don't shoot me!" I shouted to some friendly police officers as they made me wait several minutes for the cameras to stop rolling. As for the production crew, they seemed to be fixated on the unassuming house pictured here.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I finally watched the DVD David gave me: "Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land." The general premise of this video seems to be that the Israelis have manipulated the U.S. media into downplaying the plight of the Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories. No offense, David, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm keeping my conversations at 7th and Montana focused on Egg Nog Latte ...!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Cathy waxed poetic today when she told Natalie, "You're really just a receptacle" moments before Natalie began breastfeeding Helena (#1,2). Then, again, maybe we're all just receptacles these days. Liz was the receptacle of a Birthday (#3); Our Favorite Intersection was a receptacle for a gaggle of cyclists (#4,5,6); and something tells me Starbucks won't be happy until we're all just receptacles for Egg Nog Latte (#7)!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
It was onward and upward this morning as I checked out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway with some colleagues before heading home. The view from what they call the Grubbs Viewpoint -- at more than 8,500 feet above the desert -- was anything but Grubby!
Friday, November 17, 2006
I'm continuing to eat my way through Palm Springs with my colleagues. Tonight I organized a pleasantly QUIET evening at a restaurant that serves SEAFOOD among other things. Actually, the place -- called Copley's -- was quite good. Not only was the food great, but the restaurant itself used to be Cary Grant's Palm Springs estate.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I've been holed up in meetings in Palm Springs with a schedule that goes something like this: Eat, Meet, Eat, Meet, Meet, Eat and then we all get together to Eat Meat. However, I think I've figured out the strategy of my corporate hosts at Warner Bros.: They've kindly given me a room that comes with its own work-out equipment including an exercise bike, exercise ball and weights!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Newbie Father Greg went into full protective mode this morning, shielding Helena from not one but two smokers at 7th and Montana. Shortly after the unsavory character pictured here lit up a cigarette, Greg asked him to extinguish it for Helena's sake. Surprisingly enough, the man complied. I guess he didn't want to have his butt kicked!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Leave it to my friend, Anthony, owner of Patrick's Roadhouse, to come up with the perfect money making scheme for today's inflated economy. His latest venture -- Inflatable Pubs -- speaks for itself. Perfect for block parties and corporate events, these inflatable pubs give you the look and feel of an English Pub on your lawn in minutes. As the slogan says, "Just Add the Beer." And don't forget your Inflate-a-Date ...!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Just when we got used to the latest crop of newbies at 7th and Montana, Starbucks introduced a new line-up of another kind. The line-up of locals waiting to get into Starbucks this morning stretched across the store, onto the sidewalk and nearly to 7th Street. Why the wait? Inside sources blame it on a broken cash register!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Nearly two years after the "Flax Pen to Paper" store in Westwood treated me like a criminal for trying to exchange the defective ink cartridge in a pen, I decided to give the store another chance. Unfortunately, they're the only place in town that sells the brand of pen I like. Let's keep the fingers crossed!
Thursday, November 9, 2006
First they take over the world, then they force us to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving. That, in a chestnutshell, seems to be Starbucks' corporate strategy. Today Starbucks went into full holiday mode complete with Christmas Displays and Holiday Music. Evidently, employees who tried to hold off the "festivities" until the actual holiday season were threatened with dismissal!
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Maybe it was the beach weather we've been having, maybe it was just poor judgment, but -- whatever the reason -- yet another hapless motorist beached her car in Our Favorite Parking Lot this morning. In this case, the poor woman didn't know what hit her. Naturally, I was happy to set her straight!
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Everyone's Favorite Lounge Lizard Liza Minnelli made a surprise appearance today at the Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset and yours truly was there to capture the event for posterity. Granted, she looks like a shapeless blob (see Photo #1) but then, again, so would you if you were scarfing down Bloody Marys at lunch!
An unenlightened newcomer (pictured here) surprised onlookers at Starbucks today by repeatedly asking Nada to add some Bailey's to his coffee. Boy was he in the wrong place! Everyone knows Castle Ivar is the place to be. That's where the Brazilians -- Nico and Rudy -- are hosting a shindig on Saturday complete with Samba Dancers and Salsa Music. Rumor has it the party is strictly BYOB (Bring Your Own Bailey's ...)!
Monday, November 6, 2006
Rumor has it the bloom's off the rose where Kovar's career in higher education is concerned. Without getting into details, let's just say the students sound especially annoying. How do they get that way? Perhaps we can ask the Adorable Tyke who practically chased Kovar out of Starbucks this morning and subsequently threw her latte at the store window (see photo #2)!
Sunday, November 5, 2006
It was Many Happy Returns this morning as Howard and Cathy returned from their Jazz Cruise; Zoey returned from wherever Zoey goes; Greg and Jude made the scene with Hudson; Bob shared tales of his near brush with jury duty; Greg, Natalie and Helena returned for more caffeine; Paul and Ralph returned from separate trips to Las Vegas and the Pesky Tree Trimmers treated us to the Return of the Starbucks Chainsaw Massacre!
Saturday, November 4, 2006
There's a new bundle of joy at 7th and Montana and I don't mean the seasonal shipment of Cranberry Bliss Bars! On Sunday, Greg and Natalie welcomed Helena Koubek to the world. Three days later, the crowd at Starbucks had their chance. Welcome to 7th and Montana, Helena and Congratulations to the Koubek Clan!
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
If anyone out there is suffering from Kidney Stones, take heart: As this sign welcoming visitors to Boston's Logan Airport clearly suggests, things could always be worse. I'm not sure which is scarier: This man's expression or the scope of his ailment!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
It was Foam Sweet Foam for Twins Leah and Karenina this morning as they enjoyed the frothy kind of cappuccino that has made Nada famous. However, even with Nada back in the saddle, many wonder whether she, alone, can restore Our Favorite Starbucks to its former glory. Let's face it: It's one thing to whip up a cappuccino and another to whip the latest crop of Newbies into shape!
Friday, October 27, 2006
Beloved Barista Nada was back in the saddle this morning after a brief sojourn in Arizona. Apparently, Nada missed us as much as we missed her. Nada said, "Our District Manager told me that sales at 7th and Montana went way down after I left." Stay tuned to this space for continuing coverage of Nada's Back (and occasional coverage of her front, too ...)!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
It was like a scene out of "Running with Scissors" this morning as Joyce's hairstylist did his utmost to ignore us at 7th and Montana. Despite various gestures from Joyce -- alternating between "Hello" and "I need a haircut" -- this Busy Bee Barber seemed downright snippy. I guess it's true what they say: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow ...!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning regarding the disappearance yesterday of the mysterious Banana in our Midst. New photographic evidence suggests that Starbucks was especially well-stocked today with Banana Walnut Loaf (#1), Banana Bran Muffins (#2) and Reduced Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (#3). Coincidence? I think not!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
We've all seen our share of fruits and nuts at 7th and Montana, but someone really took the cake this morning by strategically saving a table with a Banana. Even Actor Tom Bosley raised an eyebrow as he drove by in his snazzy Nissan Altima. I would have told him that the table was up for grabs, but he no doubt had a Banana in his ear!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Many, it seems, took note of a quiet newcomer who spent several weeks taking notes of his own at 7th and Montana earlier in the year. At long last, the Mystery of the Clipboard has been solved. Tim returned from hiatus yesterday and explained that his notes -- featured in Photo #2 -- are a form of meditation and organization!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
It was a Birthday Trifecta today as our own Howard Stone marked the occasion of three birthdays -- his mother's, his son's and his own -- with a less than Perfectly Toasted Bagle. Congratulations, Howard! If your family has one more child on October 22, you could start your own Stone Age!
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Weeks after accepting a job at an Armenian Church, Our Favorite Building Manager may have found a new calling ... as a language translator in Iraq. This ad, spotted in an Arabic language newspaper, says it all: You can "Make a Difference" if you have the right language skills. Just one question: Do they have Starbucks on the front lines?
Friday, October 20, 2006
School was in session this morning as a group of first graders paid a visit to 7th and Montana for what appeared to be a lesson in Endangered Species. "Look behind you, kids, at the derelict smoking a cigarette. After the elections, we'll probably ship our homeless to Westwood (for their own good) and impose a ban on cigarettes at Starbucks. Aren't Endangered Species fun? Next stop: Patty's Pizza!"
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Mike Piscal, President of L.A.'s Inner City Education Foundation taught the crowd a thing or two this morning about helping at-risk kids get a decent education. Kudos, Mike, you're doing a bang-up job. Moments later, it was a bang-up of another kind as an attractive newcomer introduced her rental car to Our Favorite Curb. Mike: I hope your curriculum includes Drivers' Ed!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The Powers That Be in my condo building have issued the latest in their popular series of "Dear Idiot" communiques. Today's memo served as a reminder to avoid burning actual logs in our decorative gas fireplaces. I ask you, who in their right mind would build a real fire in a fireplace that comes equipped with a remote control, anyway?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Rumor has it that local fixture Patty's Pizza is leaving the neighborhood at the end of the month. According to sources familiar with the situation, the popular pizzeria balked at its monthly rental costs. Afterall, any way you slice it, $10,000 a month is a lot of dough for a small pizzeria. On the other hand, perhaps the location might be of interest to a certain would-be Falafel magnate!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Utrecht is one of my favorite cities and, thanks to my blog, if I can trek around Utrecht, you can trek there, too. Our journey begins at the Domplein (1), a Dutch version of 7th and Montana, just under the shadow of the Dom, an 11th Century Church tower (3). I spent hours exploring miles of canals (5-8), quaint streets and shops (9-16). Just remember, the tour ain't over till the Fat Lady sings (17)!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Not to suggest that we don't have our share of smiling faces at 7th and Montana, but only in Amsterdam can you find the "Coffeeshop Happy People." Why all the happy, smiling faces? For one thing, I'll bet they don't have to deal with a revolving door of Baristas ...!
Friday, October 13, 2006
"Geldrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ... " O.K. I'll admit it, these definitely aren't a few of My Favorite Things, but I'm thrilled to be finally packing my bags after a grueling week in Geldrop and heading for -- errr -- points unknown ...!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Imagine my surprise as a group of us were shuttled off to a "mystery adventure" tonight. The adventure turned out to be a game of Mega Disks -- an unusual combination of shuffleboard and skeetball -- at the world famous Bistro de Molen in a town called Heeze. While I stink at Mega Disks, I was thrilled to discover that the disks themselves look surprisingly like one of Howard's perfectly toasted bagels!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
There was a certain "glow" about one of my colleagues from China today and it wasn't just that it was his 40th Birthday. When I asked the Paradijs Restaurant in downtown Geldrop to bring him a Birthday Surprise, they arrived moments later with a scoop of Nuclear Ice Cream, ablaze with fireworks. I guess the "surprise" was that they wanted to really send him to "Paradijs."
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"Kibbles 'n Bits, Kibbles 'n Bits ... I got to get me some Kibbles 'n Bits!" That popular dog food refrain was running through my head this evening as I was offered an interesting tray of "nibbles" at the local watering hole in Geldrop. The selection included: Balls of Pureed Meat, Fried Meat Logs and Star Shaped Fish Bits. It was all quite tasty though I wonder whether Toby would have bothered to stand guard over this plate!
Monday, October 9, 2006
Well, I made it to Geldrop safe and sound after a long night's journey into day (from L.A. to Chicago to Amsterdam to Eindhoven and finally Geldrop). What is Geldrop like, you might ask? All I can say so far is that it seems very rural. There are even horses wandering around outside my hotel room. Thus far, I've avoided stepping in any Geldroppings but then again, the night is still young!
Sunday, October 8, 2006
After months of inactivity, a rental truck appeared at our Favorite Fixer Upper this week. Could a new neighbor at long last be moving in? Unlikely, given the holes in the roof. Could the owner at long last be delivering badly needed fixtures and roofing materials? I wouldn't hold my breath!
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Poor Kathy had her head in her hands and her heart on her sleeve this morning as she regaled us with stories from her Motorcycle Training Class. It seems that the instructor gave her the proverbial boot. Don't sweat it, Kathy: I flunked motorcycle training, too. I guess some of us are just naturally born Queasy Riders!
Friday, October 6, 2006
An attractive newcomer crashed the party this morning at 7th and Montana. The unwitting, young woman pulled a rare double-header, first introducing her shiny minivan to Our Favorite Curb, then scraping her muffler against the nearby Island from Hell. "Don't worry," I consoled her. "It's not like the incident will end up online!" I've deleted her head from the attached photo to protect her identity ...
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Our neighborhood has been invaded by creepy, crawly insects ... and I don't mean the "slumlords" who made an appearance at 7th and Montana this morning. Giant spiders seem to be hanging out everywhere (enlarge the photo to see what I mean). In related news, the arachnids who manage a certain Santa Monica luxury building continue spinning their web of deceit, this time slapping poor Richard with a frivolous lawsuit!
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Forget the Pumpkin Muffins. Tell the chef to stop baking Cranberry Bliss Bars. Starbucks has added an eye-opening new item to the menu at 7th and Montana: Chocolate Covered Eyeballs. Sold in packages of 13 on a decorative Halloween platter, the Eyeballs are the perfect complement to any meal. I would have ordered a plateful myself, but I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach!
Monday, October 2, 2006
Far be it from me to incur the wrath of anyone named Busta, but sometimes I just can't resist. There I was this afternoon at Mel's Diner on Sunset, when a "Big Bang Bus" pulled right alongside me and out popped Gangsta hero Busta Rhymes. Moments after I captured this photo, a bodyguard yelled, "No Photos!" Frankly, if it weren't for my colleague, Lyndsey, I wouldn't know Busta Rhymes from Busta Brown!
No ifs, ands or butts: An inconsiderate smoker -- we'll call him The Marlborough Man -- ignited a storm of controversy this morning at 7th and Montana. Not only did he smoke incessantly, but he also carelessly threw his butts in the flower bed. I guess it's true what they say, "Where there's smoke, there's ire!"
Sunday, October 1, 2006
Anyone at 7th and Montana this morning would think Our Favorite Starbucks has gone to the dogs. The dog-to-human ratio reached an all-time high (and that's not counting such regulars as Toby, Noah and Charlie). By far the most interesting breed, however, was the "Doggone Idiot" in the Lamborghini who marked his territory in the no parking zone (See Photo 4). That nincompoop should be impounded!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Don't tell Canter's -- and mums the word at Nate n' Als -- but rumor has it that Howard appeared on the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with a less than perfectly toasted bagel. In fact, photographic evidence suggests that the bagel in question was barely toasted. Even Our Pal Zoey sniffed in displeasure at such a clear infraction of Bagel Protocol!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Just when you think you've seen everything at 7th and Montana, you're in for a real surprise. There I was this morning, minding my own business, when Leah amazed me by pulling a packet of artificial sweetener out of her bra. Rumor has it Karenina is equally resourceful. I guess that's what makes them such bosom buddies!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Three chairs for Newbie Starbucks Manager Mario, who was quick to recognize and respond to a little problem this morning at 7th and Montana. "Your chair is broken," he told me, helpfully. For my part, I was so impressed that I practically gave him a standing ovation. Mark my words, this man is going places. Anyone can see he has Chairman written all over him!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tongues and tails were wagging this morning as a mysterious newcomer unleashed his dog, Nelly, on the crowd at 7th and Montana. Every time he left Nelly unattended, the resourceful pooch untied herself and went for a stroll. Fortunately, he had more luck where his laptop was concerned. It stayed put despite the fact that it was left on the sidewalk for all to see!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Real estate agents across Santa Monica rejoiced this morning as word spread that the notorious "Mr. Evil" -- known for tossing away Open House signs all over town -- is gearing up for a move of his own. The irrepressible curmudgeon announced that he's moving to Rio de Janeiro next year!
Monday, September 25, 2006
Academia will never be the same: Starting next week Kovar begins teaching a weekly course in photography at the California Institute of Art. As of this morning, he was busy finalizing the syllabus. Congratulations, Kovar ... we always knew you were a class act!
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The crowd at Starbucks was abuzz this morning on news that Our Favorite Building Manager has found a new calling. The multi-lingual, multi-talented man-about-town has accepted a new job working at an Armenian Church in Glendale. He's also looking for construction projects together with the Plumber pictured here. Let's hope they lend their expertise to the "Fixer Upper" at 7th and Alta!
Friday, September 22, 2006
It was time for a pop quiz this morning at 7th and Montana. Here's the question: Say you're a Newbie employee at Starbucks and a customer leaves her keys on the counter. Do you: A). Ignore the keys and hope they go away?; B). Scratch your head and shrug your shoulders?; C). Maintain a glazed expression at all times?; or D) All of the above. The answer, of course, is "D!"
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Next time you're at the Third Street Promenade, look out for Flying Nuns. At an event sponsored by Philips last night, Sally Field -- on receiving a Premiere Icon award -- told the audience she did her own informal survey asking people on the Promenade if they recognized her. They didn't. Other winners included Annette Bening (pictured here as a blob behind the podium), Cate Blanchett and Sofia Coppola.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
If you've driven anywhere near the corner of San Vicente and Bundy, you've probably noticed that it looks like Ted Bundy attacked one of the Coral Trees. Eyewitnesses report that one of the more majestic specimens toppled over last week and has subsequently been chopped into dozens of pieces left on the median strip. Alas, poor Coral Tree, I knew it well ...
Monday, September 18, 2006
I'm usually the first to say that "change is good" but recent changes at Our Favorite Starbucks seem a bit -- well -- disorienting. As if the army of "newbies" weren't enough, they've moved the condiments table based on the advice of an interior decorator. The whole thing was enough to encourage Paul to start quietly getting his coffee at Pavilions and bringing it with him to 7th and Montana!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
It was a morning of surprises as Mr. and Mrs. xxxx-lord made the scene. While Mrs. xxxx-lord used her newspaper to save a table for some nearby regulars, Mr. xxxx-lord said a cheery "hello" to one and all. It would take more than a few pleasantries to win me over, but Charlie seemed completely convinced. The unpredictable sheepdog siddled up to the controversial couple for the duration!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
Oh well, I guess I was so busy trying to shove everything but gels and liquids into my suitcase at dawn this morning that I left my little bag of cables, cufflinks and other essentials -- including my brain -- in Denver. Enough is enough. Maybe it's time to stay home for a while.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
O.K., it's been nearly a week and we still don't have a winner in the "Name That Gas Station Contest." Come on, guys, doesn't anyone recognize anyone or anything familiar about this photo?!? We've had a couple of close guesses but so far, no dice. One way or another, all will be revealed on Saturday!
Monday, September 11, 2006
What could possibly spoil a picture perfect day at a resort in Newport Beach? Spending the whole day in a meeting room, that's what! And it was my birthday to boot. Oh well, it's Karenina's birthday, too. Let's hope she did more to celebrate!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
A mysterious Good Samaritan -- the same gentleman known for removing Open House signs all over town -- did a good deed today by clearing off the table next to ours, creating space for Our Favorite City Councilman whose sister, Maria Shriver, drove by 7th and Montana to give him a playful tongue-lashing for spending Sunday morning at Starbucks instead of Church. To each their own!
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Rumor has it that a qualified, multi-lingual Building Manager may be open to new career opportunities. If anyone knows of a suitable position, just let me know. Meanwhile, unless the owners of a certain building at 7th and Montana come to their senses, they may show up one day only to find a "Gone Fishin'" sign hanging from the office door!
Friday, September 8, 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time to play "Name that Gas Station," the lively new game show that asks the musical question: Can you tell Who or What is familiar about this photo from yesteryear? The first person to guess correctly wins a free coffee of his or her choice at Our Favorite Starbucks!
Thursday, September 7, 2006
It was a sad morning as The Mighty Quinn announced that she is leaving Starbucks to pursue other interests (see Photo 1 of the back of her head). On a more cheerful note, the "Trimanic Depressive" at the cafe across from my office cracked a smile for the first time in two years today. Why the sudden mirth? Her toaster caught on fire!
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
What evil lurks behind the gates at 700 San Vicente? Just ask the Department of Water and Power! Shortly after a DWP crew left the scene, residents noticed the following enigmatic message scrawled on the sidewalk at 7th and San Vicente: "Your Water Crew is Heering You!"
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
There was much fanfare this morning at 7th and Montana as we celebrated Kovar's birthday. Actually, Kovar himself tried to keep things relatively low-key, but the woman sitting at the next table was screeching up a storm (see Photo #2). Look on the bright side, Kovar: At least now we know what to get you for your birthday ... Noise Cancellation Headphones!
Monday, September 4, 2006
Santa Monica Police pulled over a motorcyclist this morning at the entry to Our Favorite Parking Lot and read him the riot act. The driver -- an unidentified youth in his early 20's -- seemed increasingly nervous under police questioning. Bottom Line: If you're riding a motorcycle without a helmet, you need your head examined in more ways than one!
I bid "Auf Wiedersehen" yesterday to Berlin and returned to Sunny Santa Monica. Before I left, I paid a final visit to the remains of the Berlin Wall (pictured here beside my hotel at Potsdamer Platz). While portions of the wall remain on display for tourists, it's hard to tell whether the City is commemorating an important milestone or advertising the availability of "Weeney" (see Photo 1)!
Sunday, September 3, 2006
Yesterday in Berlin I met two security guards who must have been cryogenically frozen during World War II and defrosted just in time to work at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show. Despite the fact that I had my exhibitor badge, booth credentials and identification with me, they wouldn't let me into the convention center. Rather than explain that I could simply use another door 100 yards away, these graduates of the Cro Magnon School of Diplomacy spent 15-minutes needlessly yelling at me. For my part, I threatened to e-mail their bosses the many unflattering photos I took of them during our conversation!
Friday, September 1, 2006
Now I've seen everything: A restaurant in Berlin called White Trash Fast Food has taken every stereotype of the ugly American and served it up on a tasteless platter. With a menu ranging from "F..ck You French Fries" to "Up Yours Cheeseburgers," waitresses with more tattoos and nose rings than they know what to do with and music that would make Slim Whitman cringe, White Trash is a real adventure. Best of all, there's a cover charge!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I don't know whether it's my "high speed" connection here in what used to be East Berlin or something's going wrong at AOL, but I'm having a terrible time trying to post updates to this blog. It's enough to make me want to bang my head against what's left of the Berlin Wall (which is conveniently located beside my hotel)!
Monday, August 28, 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen: This just might be one of the first blog entries ever from an airplane (I'm testing a new in-flight wireless service from Boeing). The news from the sky is that chivalry is as dead at 30,000 feet as it is at sea level. After watching the woman in front of me struggle to stuff her duffle bag in the overhead bin, a man sitting near her pulled her bag out again, claiming it might wrinkle his suit. I took pictures the whole time!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Fans of the towering Eucalyptus (pronounced "you-clipped-us") trees on 7th Street take heart! The City of Santa Monica has replaced the eleven mature trees they removed with genuine twigs. As these "before and after" photos suggest, the newbie trees might offer some actual shade ... in the next century. Meanwhile, don't go anywhere near them with a wet noodle, or you might just bowl them over!
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Things were looking up today at 7th Street's latest renovation project as an unsightly new story began to take shape atop a charming bungalow. Oh well, another day, another construction project! Maybe Fabrizio has the right idea ... he's getting ready to high-tail it back to Firenze for a while!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
The on-again, off-again home construction project near 7th and Montana was definitely on-again this morning as workers installed actual windows in what neighbors have begun calling "Molasses House." While some viewed the addition of windows as a sign of progress, I won't start celebrating until they remove the Porta-Potty!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Ever wonder why they call that oval patch of land near Howard and Cathy's house "Goose Egg Park?" Some say it's shaped like a goose egg. Others say it's just a sanctuary for every silly goose in town. Yesterday I spotted a real Loon there: A middle-aged gentleman in business attire posing like an airplane in flight. It was enough to make me think Tai Chi is for the birds!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
It might have been a slow news day at 7th and Montana, but that didn't stop our very own Energizer Bunny from making her appointed rounds. The dignified lady -- pictured here in her usual walking outfit, hat and cane -- arrived on the scene shortly after 9:00 and stopped for a quick rest before continuing, undaunted, up 7th Street. Nice to know some things never change!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
In what was either a lucky "coincidence" or shrewd organization on my sister's part, a troop of dance instructors from the "Fred Astaire" studios arrived on-the-scene last night to instruct my future brother-in-law in the fine art of ballroom dancing. By the time the impromptu lesson was over, Doug was out-maneuvering Fred Astaire himself. Then, again, Fred Astaire died of pneumonia in 1987 ...!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Eureka! I finally discovered a little corner of the world where they don't allow Starbucks: My home town of Scituate, Mass. In order to get my grande drip and a wireless connection this morning, I had to drive to nearby Cohasset, where Starbucks quietly took over what used to be our local bank. I have to admit, the drive-through window is a nice touch. I'm sure I'll stop by tomorrow to make a withdrawal!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
While I was at the airport this morning, news spread that a claustrophobic woman caused a ruckus on a flight from Heathrow, arousing suspicions among her fellow passengers with a screwdriver, matches and Vaseline. What's the world coming to? More importantly, isn't Vaseline considered a gel? What next, assault and battery with a jar of Brilliantine?!?
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Ever wonder what sort of filth accumulates beneath 7th and Montana? Well, look no further! A work crew arrived on the scene today to clear all kinds of debris out of the gutter (see Photo #1). Based on the sheer volume of their discoveries, I wouldn't have been surprised if they unearthed Jimmy Hoffa.
Monday, August 14, 2006
What do you add to the neighborhood that has everything? A local developer evidently decided that what we really need North of Montana is a combination "Refugee Center" and "Place of Worship." Best of all, they want to destroy the Teriton Garden Apartments on San Vicente to build it. Let's hope the City nips this terrible idea in the bud and rides the developer out of town on a rail!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Actor Treat Williams made a rare appearance at 7th and Montana this morning, pulling into Our Favorite Starbucks in a zippy Mustang convertible. But an even bigger treat was in store for us as Terry and Fabrizio arrived on the scene. In fact, if you expand the view of Photo #2, you can see Terry and Fabrizio's reflection in the Starbucks door as it closes on Treat Williams.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Kathy scored us ringside seats this morning near Our Favorite Parking Lot where we could watch car after car bang and clunk its way into Starbucks. While Leah directed traffic, Karenina dreamed of opening an autobody repair shop. One unhappy woman popped a cog as her boyfriend introduced their shiny, new BMW to the curb. A good time was had by all!
Friday, August 11, 2006
After seeing Jenna Linnekens' comments on my previous item about her bid for Santa Monica City Council, I decided that my original post was too glib (especially my comments regarding her rascally black Lab Dante). A number of us think Jenna has good ideas and, as hard as it is to get new candidates elected, I say let's give her a chance. Here's to a new Jenna-ration of leadership!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Mason sure doesn't waste any time. Just yesterday he mentioned that he's busy promoting his father's new book -- Playing a Round with the Little Pro: A Life in the Game -- and today there's a great article in The Los Angeles Times about Mason's father, Eddie Merrins, the head pro at Bel-Air Country Club for 40 years. Way to go, Mason! Playing a Round with the Little Pro: A Life in the Game (Simon & Schuster) is available wherever fine books are sold!
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
It was inevitable: With all the "newbies" at 7th and Montana, I finally had to articulate my order this morning. Granted, someone rushed right over with a Grande Drip saying "Got it, Got it" but by then the damage had been done. Word has it we'll see even more turnover at Our Favorite Starbucks as the exodus to 26th and Wilshire continues. I like Tanya as much as the next guy, but all this poaching has to stop!
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Anyone who's into professional photography should check out the latest images from Kovar. He just updated his website -- http://www.kovar.net -- to include some great new shots. My favorites are in the collection he calls "Every Place and Soul" (just click on the cow). Enjoy!
Monday, August 7, 2006
Feathers were flying this weekend as news spread that Our Favorite Rooster-Mobile has been rear-ended (see Photo #2). Authorities suspect fowl play. Meanwhile, some dumb cluck rear-ended Kathy yesterday when she stopped for a pedestrian. Let's face it folks, L.A. traffic is for the birds!
Sunday, August 6, 2006
Wedding bells were ringing on Lincoln yesterday as Joyce and Bob not only celebrated but also hosted Wes' wedding at their home. Bob even performed the nuptials, after getting a certificate granting him the authority for a 24-hour period. It sounds like the event went off without a hitch -- other than that of the happy couple. Congratulations to all!
Friday, August 4, 2006
To everyone I kept waiting today, I apologize. I know I promised to reveal the identity of the "mystery celebrity" I saw early this morning, but -- mea culpa -- I was delayed. Moreover, I only managed to get this photo of the front of his head (not the back). What can I say other than, "I'm sorry." Then, again, as someone once said, "Love means never having to say you're sorry!"
Thursday, August 3, 2006
Kudos to Santa Monica's very own Wes Abbott who is getting stellar reviews for his Manga Serial Dogby Walks Alone. Way to go, Wes. It sounds like you've discovered the keys to success! Just don't leave them anywhere near your mother ... she's liable to inadvertently slip them into her purse and then, like Dogby, you might really end up "walking alone!"
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Imagine my surprise on arriving at the Century Plaza hotel for meetings yesterday to be greeted by a full-blown security force including a pack of German Shepherds. Evidently, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in residence. Despite my best efforts, I only managed to get photos of his harried handlers rushing about the lobby. What I wouldn't give for a decent photo of the back of Blair's head!
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Where else but 7th and Montana would you find a set of twins who celebrate their birthdays two months apart? While Leah celebrated her birthday on Monday, Karenina doesn't turn 26 until September. In any case, Happy Birthday, Leah. Judging from this photo of the back of your head, it looks like you've discovered the Fountain of Youth!
Monday, July 31, 2006
Meet "Mr. Big." Mr. Big drives Mrs. Big's SUV all the way to Starbucks (two whole blocks from the Big House at 7th and Marguerita) for a Big cup of coffee. Drive, Mr. Big, Drive! Mr. Big blocks the entry to Our Favorite Parking Lot by parking wherever he likes. Ha, Ha, Ha. Laugh while you can, Mr. Big. We're reporting you to Cathy ... !
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Move over Bobby Shriver, Jenna Linnekens is running for Santa Monica City Council and she hit the campaign trail this morning at 7th and Montana. While she seems to have a good command of the issues ranging from the homeless problem to our educational infrastructure, she didn't have much command of her dog, Dante, who got loose and barked up a storm. Thank God she's not running for Dog Catcher!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
It's been a busy week at 7th and Montana: Pavillions reopened with much fanfare; Bob and Joyce harvested a bumper crop of tomatoes; Selwyn harvested a bumper crop of bumblebees; The City of Santa Monica announced a new effort to ban smoking at outdoor venues; A gabby group of Israelis descended upon Our Favorite Starbucks; A bicyclist popped a tire; and Nada announced that she's moving to Arizona!
Friday, July 28, 2006
I enjoyed a real Dutch Treat yesterday as a colleague took me to dinner at a small village near Eindhoven where it was as if time stood still. What could be better than a relaxing dinner outside -- surrounded by a cobblestone square and houses that have been around for centuries? Here are some photos of the village.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I scream, you scream, we all scream in 90-degree heat! It's almost as hot here in the Netherlands as it is in Burbank but at Philips we've discovered a great way to beat the heat. Today in the office we were treated to ice cream cones delivered on a silver tray. Now that's what I call giving employees their just desserts!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Take down the Help Wanted signs at 7th and Montana! Our Favorite Starbucks should recruit Baristas from the Dutch Railway System. Imagine my surprise today when a polite young woman -- pictured here -- served me coffee and cappuccino from separate nozzles sticking out of her uniform. A faucet attached to her back dispenses soup. Let's not ask where she keeps the condiments!
Monday, July 24, 2006
What could be more unique than having coffee at 7th and Montana in the morning, rushing to catch a flight and emerging a full day later, just in time to meet a good friend for coffee? A rendezvous near the wonderful "Cafe Unique" in Amsterdam, that's what! Anyway, I'm glad I was able to catch some quality time with my friend, Marijke, before jumping on the train to Eindhoven.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Come One, Come All! New neighbors have moved into the home near 7th and Montana and Our Favorite Building Manager is organizing a surprise home tour! "The owners are my friends," he said. "They have many beautiful plants. Bring your camera!" Interestingly, a sign appeared in front of the newly renovated home this morning reading: "Road Closed to Thru Traffic!"
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Yet another Barista Extraordinaire is leaving Our Favorite Starbucks. Rumor has it that Angel takes flight today, leaving 7th and Montana for greener pastures. Where is he heading? Where else but 26th and Wilshire to join Tanya and Company. Good luck, Angel. We look forward to meeting your Greenhorn replacement!
Friday, July 21, 2006
A mysterious newcomer arrived on the scene at 7th and Montana today, muttering and puttering around the entry to Our Favorite Parking Lot while Bob, Joyce, Richard and I looked on (and Charlie growled). He left under police escort shortly after smashing a bottle and flicking the shards in my general direction. I guess one could say we avoided a glass action lawsuit!
Monday, July 17, 2006
Imagine my surprise when a complete stranger came by my table, said "hello" in my general direction and followed it up with "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Bill Gates?" At first I was horrified, but a quick glimpse at the woman sitting next to me (pictured here) suggests he might have meant her. In fact, maybe she was Bill Gates. Decide for yourself!
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I guess you could say the owner of Our Favorite Fixer Upper has developed a holier than thou attitude. For those who haven't noticed, the plastic bags that have been decorating her roof for the past year have finally deteriorated, exposing gaping holes for all to see. Said one neighbor, "Holy Moly, someone should finally put this tear-down out of its misery!"
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Another Lesson Learned: When having your bedroom painted, don't forget to grab some clothes out of the closet before it's encased in plastic. In other words, I've painted myself into a corner this weekend. Meanwhile at Starbucks, discussion of the events in Lebanon with Our Favorite Building Manager left me feeling painted into another corner!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Chalk one up for the U.S. Postal Service. In response to Genevieve's letter of apology for accidentally dropping a bag of Toby's poop into the mailbox, our Friendly Neighborhood Mailman evidently decided to return the favor. He left the poop -- together with Genevieve's note -- on the curb at 7th and San Vicente!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana as yet another firetruck pulled in front of the Garish Orange House this morning. What could it be this time? Dennis thinks a cat was stuck in a tree. Genevieve thinks the zone around the Orange House has become our own Bermuda Triangle. I think we're probably dealing with another case of what Cathy might call Acid Reflux Disease!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I support a smoke-free environment as much as the next guy, but sometimes it seems like we're taking our anti-smoking laws a bit too far. No sooner did my colleague, Chuck, step foot outside today for a quick cigarette, than a police car pulled over and a scary she-hulk of an officer came running towards him, rifle cocked. Actually, further inquiries revealed that police were investigating a potential bank robbery next door!
Anyone looking for the real poop this morning at 7th and Montana need look no further than Genevieve. While walking Toby, it seems that Genevieve accidentally dropped a plastic bag filled with dog poop into the mailbox. Undaunted, she ordered a bran muffin for herself and Toby a few minutes later. Gen: Sounds like your trip to Greece comes not a moment too soon. Just don't send us any postcards!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Our Favorite Building Manager -- an international man of mystery if there ever was one -- was understandably jubilant today based on Italy's victory in yesterday's World Cup match. Of course, he said that in addition to being Italian, he's also French so he would have been happy if France won, as well. Now that's what I call a win-win situation!
Sunday, July 9, 2006
We've all seen some strange birds in Santa Monica, but what I saw walking around the beach yesterday really takes the cake. A Pelican was strolling down Ocean Front Walk along with his good friend, a homeless man who -- judging from the smell -- must have been wearing anchovy cologne. I guess you could say the two of them were like birds of a feather!
Saturday, July 8, 2006
Congratulations to Kathy who just received her Italian citizenship. Granted, she hasn't actually been to Italy yet, but now's her chance. As for me, I've decided to apply for citizenship in Antarctica. Who knows, by the time I retire it might be downright tropical there!
Friday, July 7, 2006
It was cause for celebration at 7th and Montana today as word spread that Greg's prized "Shrek" Bike was recovered, days after a would-be thief tried to steal it from his garage. The suspect, last seen trolling down 7th Street, is described as "an excessively large, 35-year-old male with a bright green complexion and cone-shaped ears."
Thursday, July 6, 2006
It was like a family reunion today at 7th and Montana as Bob and Joyce returned from Big Bear (photos 1 and 2) and Fabrizio returned from Firenze to join his advance crew, Terri (photo 3). Even Tanya returned from her new gig at Wilshire and 26th to say "hello" (photo 4).
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
It's official. After months of speculation I'm expanding the local coverage on this blog to include relevant news items from Patrick's Roadhouse where the latest development is that Manager Extraordinaire Silvio is training his son Mika on the cash register (see photo). I'm open to suggestions on a new name for the blog as "Heard at Starbucks" is a bit limiting.
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
Monday, July 3, 2006
Holy Smokes! A chain-smoking curmudgeon -- the same man who in recent weeks said "F--ck You" to Melinda when she said "Hello" and "Up Yours" to Our Favorite Building Manager for no apparent reason -- sat right alongside me today at Starbucks. I considered asking him to put out his cigarette but decided to save the Fireworks for Independence Day!
Sunday, July 2, 2006
Leave it to Kathy to get the real scoop behind the Garish Orange House on 7th Street. Thanks to yet another mishap -- a motorcycle plowed into the Orange Homeowner's car this morning -- we learned the following: the residents have lived in the Orange House for 40 years. The color is called "Goldfish" and reminds them of Buenos Aires. I always knew there was something "fishy" about that house!
Saturday, July 1, 2006
Natalie shared more tales from the Emergency Room with the crowd at 7th and Montana this morning. It seems that one of her patients was "de-gloved" last night. For those who don't know, this means that he accidentally peeled the skin entirely off one of his hands. Not to worry, Natalie re-attached the relevant "skin flap" and the rest is history. Isn't it "de-glovely?"
Friday, June 30, 2006
Mr. Tambourine Man made an appearance today at 7th and Montana ... and I don't mean Our Favorite New Neighbor Bob Dylan. A mysterious newcomer arrived on the scene -- driving the wrong way through Starbucks' parking lot -- with one hand on the wheel and another on a tambourine. As his radio blared, he sang at the top of his lungs and shook the tambourine for all he was worth.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
You say "to-may-to." I say "to-mah-to". But my colleague Lisa Lake says, "Let's call the whole thing off." Lisa, it seems, has an irrational hatred of tomatoes. She won't touch them ... not even as an elegant garnish on her Birthday Cake (pictured here). I think the crowd at 7th and Montana should plan an intervention!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Call him "mellow yellow" at your (yellow) peril. The resident of the bright yellow monstrosity on 7th Street made a brief appearance at 7th and Montana today. Interestingly, photographic evidence suggests that his wardrobe is more subdued than his house. I always thought he'd have more of a Ringling Bros. look to him!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
There are so many comings and goings at 7th and Montana these days you need a scorecard to tell who's in town. Comings: Terri (returned from Firenze); Leah (returned from Israel); Karenina (returned from vacation). Goings: Howard and Cathy (to Vail ... see "file photo" of their departure from 7th and Montana on Sunday). MIA: Our Favorite Building Manager!
Monday, June 26, 2006
The crowd at 7th and Montana was treated to an impromptu concert this morning courtesy of a dazed and confused gentleman (picture here) who for some reason decided to belt out tunes at the top of his lungs between sips of coffee. In the words of Our Favorite Barista, Nada, "He's drunk out of his mind ... you should see some of the weirdos we get in here." Present company excepted, I hope ...!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Sirens were blaring and tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana today as five police cars and an ambulance showed up to arrest a screaming adolescent. The demented youth -- who according to reports was on acid -- had offered me $1 Million for my cell phone shortly before authorities removed him from the scene on a stretcher. No doubt the poor kid was unaware that my cell phone doesn't even have a zoom lens!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Nincompoop of the Day Award goes to the gentleman driving the silver Volvo who -- unable to curb his need for caffeine -- accidentally beached his car in Our Favorite Parking Lot. Perhaps someone should tell this Knucklehead that Starbucks doesn't offer curbside service!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Animal activists were aghast this morning on reports that Starbucks coffee is fatal to Brine Shrimp. According to the man standing in front of me in line at 7th and Montana, tests indicate that a shrimp will die if you drop it into a Starbucks Grande Drip. By the time I thought to ask him how he came by this information, he was gone ... no doubt to prepare his favorite lunch: Shrimp in a PETA pocket!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Kudos to Howard and Kathy on the conversion of their home into a solar powered paradise. Imagine watching a meter tell you each day how much energy you're pumping back into the city, not to mention how much money you're saving. Congratulations to you both ... we always knew you had a lot of Solar Flair!
Monday, June 19, 2006
They say one person's trash is another's treasure and that must be true for our friendly neighborhood sanitation worker. Every morning this Maestro of Garbage arrives at 7th and Montana -- music blaring -- to rock the neighborhood as he empties the trash. His visit today was so distracting, I couldn't resist capturing this photo for posterity.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Imagine starting the day at Starbucks in Kyoto and ending it at Starbucks at 7th and Montana?!? I guess it's fair to say I covered a lot of grounds today. In between Starbucks, I toured the ancient Kiyomizu Temple (#1-17), strolled through Kyoto's famous Geisha District (#18-19) and checked out a Palace of Gold (#20-22). My favorite attraction? Lunch at Patrick's Roadhouse, followed by a walk on the beach!
People often ask me when I return from Japan, "What's the most impressive technology you saw?" The award this time goes to the toilets at the Hotel Granvia in Kyoto. The so-called "Toto Washlet" features a control panel that even the Starship Enterprise would envy. It "oscillates," "ventillates" and more. Admittedly, I didn't press any of these buttons. Let's just say I was afraid to find out what happens if the system crashes!
Friday, June 16, 2006
What's purple, putrid, pustulent and a taste sensation in Japan? I'll bite. On second thought, maybe I won't. Anyone who can identify the mystery substance in my Bento Box (see Photo #1) wins a big surprise. Meanwhile, dessert, featured in Photo #2, consisted of bright pink and blue nut-filled bean paste resembling an igneous rock formation. Bon Appetit!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The sun rose early in Kyoto today and so did I, intent on exploring this city known as the "capital of capitals" before my day began. Imagine my surprise on encountering locals ranging from a formidable little old lady with a walking stick to homeless vagabonds wheeling carts of trash ... all meandering their way to the local "Coffee Boss." It might not be 7th and Montana, but I guess it really is a small world!
I'm writing this entry from 36,000 feet, just as United #877 to Osaka is crossing the International Dateline. We just passed over the Gulf of Anadyr, but one look at the Japanese businessman beside me tells me we've crossed into the Twilight Zone. He began the flight by reading a Japanese newspaper but quickly switched to porn once the lights went out. Now he's reading a Winnie the Pooh book!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
They say bats fly pretty well despite their less than 20/20 vision, but imagine my surprise when the Captain of United Flight #840 to NY stepped into the cabin, gave me a nice big smile and said, "How-dee-do! I just had my eyes checked and got these terrific new glasses. Whadya think?" Then, as he cackled his way back to the cockpit, a Flight Attendant noted, "He sure is a trip!" Personally, I think he's a bit batty ...
If anyone has been wondering why that tasteful Hearse (with the slogan "Rent and Live with Westside Rentals") has been inching its way up 7th Street these past few weeks, I think I have the answer. Today marked the beginning of the end for eleven of Our Favorite Eucalyptus Trees, as an eager beaver crew began hacking away branches at a feverish pace. Why the rush? I'm stumped!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Kudos to Melinda for the work she does with her charitable organization, The Next Big Thing, a group which helps underprivileged African children get badly needed medical attention. Today Melinda brought a special guest to 7th and Montana, a 2-year-old girl from Ghana who just arrived for an operation she can only get in the U.S. What a great cause!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
O.K., I'll admit it. I'm a chair thief. This morning I lurked in the shadows, just waiting for a poor, unsuspecting couple to turn their backs so I could pounce on one of their chairs. And I almost got away with it, too ("if it hadn't been for those meddling kids ..."). On the other hand, as a certain unmentionable Slumlord once said, "What are they going to do about it ... send me to the Electric Chair?!?"
Friday, June 9, 2006
News Flash: Noah reigns supreme as the official "chick magnet" of 7th and Montana. In the five minutes I spent watching the lovable pooch this morning, virtually every woman who walked by stopped to pet him. Later in the day, I decided to put my own "animal magnetism" to the test with an excursion to the Hustler Cafe near my office on Sunset (see photos 2-3). Where was Noah when I needed him?!?
Thursday, June 8, 2006
Every morning we see her -- our Favorite Lady in Black -- and every morning we wonder: What gives?!? Is she Bela Lugosi's daughter, an understudy for Elvira: Mistress of the Dark or merely a Southern Belle in disguise, sent to establish a beachhead at 7th and Montana? In any case, as today's photographic evidence suggests, she drinks coffee (not blood). How does she take it? Black, of course ...!
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
The political aspirations of our neighbor Jonathan Levey were put on hold last night as he lost his bid for California State Assembly. Meanwhile, it was aspirations of another kind for our very own Melinda, who had her knee aspirated to increase her mobility in the wake of her recent injury. Judging from today's photo, the procedure came not a moment too soon. Something tells me she aspired to beat a hasty retreat!
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
The prospect of today's statewide elections sent a shriver down my spine this morning as Our Favorite City Councilman -- Bobby Shriver -- took me by surprise by repeatedly urging me to vote. Ironically, mere seconds before Shriver made the scene, Tom loudly proclaimed him a modern day "Carpet Bagger." In any case, by the time Shriver left (see the back of his head receding into the distance), he had convinced me to vote!
Monday, June 5, 2006
It's official: Montana Avenue is infested with idiots ... and I don't mean the kind who leave remnants of their vehicles at Our Favorite Curbside. The Aero Theater is running a special screening of Lars von Trier's memorable film The Idiots. Still, one wonders what type of person would pay admission to see Idiots on Montana!
Sunday, June 4, 2006
Welcome to "Guess that Color" -- the guessing game we played at 7th and Montana this morning to identify the precise color of that garish monstrosity just North of Our Favorite Starbucks. Is it "Dirty Gold?" "Yucko Stucco?" "Sickly Urine?" You decide. But whatever you do, don't ask the owner. According to the Online Color Test, this particular color -- whatever it is -- reflects an especially "stubborn and pompous" personality!
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Friday, June 2, 2006
Come one, come all! Our Favorite Building Manager announced that on Saturday morning he will personally conduct a grand tour of the house being refurbished across from Our Favorite Starbucks. "Not to worry," he said. "The owners are good friends of mine. They'd be thrilled to know I'm bringing the neighborhood through their new home before they move in!" Perhaps we shouldn't mention anything to Officer Mike ...
Thursday, June 1, 2006
The crowd at 7th and Montana was in shock today on rumors that popular Barista Tristan was hit by a car. According to Leah and Karenina, Tristan -- the victim of a recent hit and run accident -- was back behind the cappuccino machine today. While Tristan was apparently vague regarding details of the accident, at least he's well enough to return to the daily grind. Here's to your continued recovery, Tristan!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
It was my lucky day at Starbucks as I was personally chosen to take an online customer survey. Actually, the honors went to the person standing in front of me in line, but he deferred to me. After answering questions about the cleanliness and quality of Our Favorite Starbucks, the company wanted to know: "Do our employees remember your name?" I guess "Grande Drip" is close enough!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Some call her the Crazy Cat Lady. To others she's the Cat's Meow. Who could have imagined that Greg and Natalie's unusual neighbor would be the same screaming banshee who yelled at Kathy on Ocean Avenue and the same sweet friend of my colleague Lisa? Coincidence? I think not. I haven't met the lady in question ... but something tells me it's just a matter of time!