It was a strangely uneventful Halloween at 7th and Montana. No bizarre characters popped out of the woodwork. No lunatics threw anything at the Baristas. No ghosts or goblins made the scene. "It was just a perfectly normal day," said Screenwriter Mark who spent most of the day with his brother, Rob, at Starbucks putting the finishing touches on a script before the witching hour -- and the Writers Guild -- could strike. "This is the one day of the year when everything around here seems normal," added Rob. I guess they're right. Indeed, it might surprise you to know that not a single one of these photos was taken on Halloween ...!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It was a case of Assault and Battery with a Deadly Swizzle Stick at 7th and Montana last week as a Disgruntled Nincompoop hurled a handful of Coffee Stirrers at Barista Extraordinaire Rob. In what insiders describe as a simple misunderstanding, the Nincompoop-in-Question apparently thought Rob was insinuating that he had Bad Breath. Rather than check his facts, the Nincompoop proceeded to raise a stink and -- faster than you can say "Halitosis" -- he grabbed a fistful of wooden stirrers and threw them all at Poor Rob. For his part, Rob took the incident in stride. Rumor has it he was shaken but not stirred ...!
Monday, October 29, 2007
The crowd at Our Favorite Starbucks was Singing the Blues this morning as word spread that the Monstrosity Under Construction at 7th and San Vicente -- better known as Casa del Bozo for its resemblance to a circus attraction -- has been painted an Eye-Popping shade of "Periwinkle Blue." "It can't be," said one local resident, "What are they trying to do, blind us?!?" Actually, I've done some research on the architect, Jennifer Wen, and it appears that she's simply trying to get our attention. According to her website, her mission is "to create uplifting architecture that profoundly influences people's everyday lives." Congratulations, Ms. Wen, you've profoundly influenced us. The question, however, isn't "Wen" but "Why." For the love of God, "Why ...?!?"
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The "Dignified Walking Lady" made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, stopping briefly at Our Favorite Starbucks before continuing on her usual patrol through the neighborhood. Known for her Arctic Sense of Style in 80-degree heat, the Dignified Walking Lady (DWL) is always prepared for anything ranging from a snow squall to a monsoon. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate her sheer tenacity. Today, I struck up a conversation:
Me: Good Morning
Me: Nice, warm weather, isn't it?
Me: Why, it almost feels like Summer!
Me: Oh, well. I'd better be going ...!
DWL: No English ...!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Ever dreamed of being locked-up in Starbucks? For Baby Helena, that dream became a reality this morning as she toddled her way into Our Favorite Starbucks but couldn't quite figure out how to leave. Last time I checked, she was teething on an Apple Fritter ...!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Whoever said "Red Sky in Morning, Sailors Take Warning" must have had 7th and Montana in mind. Thanks to the fires dotting Southern California's coastline, we've been enjoying a series of "breathtaking" sunrises and sunsets in Santa Monica all week. This morning, for example, the sun looked like a glowing red ball rising over a hazy curtain of airborne smoke, gas and dust. According to The Los Angeles Times, the soot particles in the atmosphere are dangerous for the young, the elderly and anyone with breathing problems. So much for the "smoke free zone" we've been trying to create at Our Favorite Starbucks ...!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tires were screeching and tempers were flaring at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Hothead crashed the party in more ways than one. The fun began when the Hothead-in-Question -- a man in his mid-fifties -- rammed his pick-up truck against a pillar in Our Favorite Parking Lot and burned rubber trying to extricate himself. Onlookers gaped in astonishment as he threw his coffee cup out the window and quickly accelerated his way into oncoming traffic, narrowly missing a head-on collision. "Why don't you just chill-out, man?!?," suggested a Scrawny Teenager who was standing nearby. In response, the Hothead jumped out of his truck, put his hands around the teenager's neck and threatened to strangle him before moving on to the rest of the crowd. "Stop looking at me," he shrieked, "I'm having a bad enough morning as it is!" His morning got worse, however, when Robin -- ever handy with the cell phone -- dialed 911. Officer Duke Torrez arrived moments after the Hothead fled the scene, but just in time to get a description of him from the crowd.
"He was a doughy man, rather long in the face, not a snappy dresser," said Tom Bergeron, host of the hit TV series Dancing With The Stars. "I got a photo of him," I chimed-in, helpfully, "but unfortunately it was of his rear end." "That was his best feature," said Tom.
Moments later, Officer Torrez set off in hot(head) pursuit, but the Hothead -- perhaps aware that the police were on his tail -- circled back to 7th and Montana to apologize for his emotional outburst. "I'm so sorry," he said, "I had spilled coffee all over myself and got upset." While everyone accepted the apology, I, for one, am grateful that he spilled his coffee. Can you imagine this guy fully caffeinated ...?!?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It was a doggone shame at 7th and Montana as word spread this morning that Ginger, the Pampered Pup with her own Baby Buggy, has passed away. To be honest, I didn't really know Ginger or her owner very well. I met them briefly on June 4 when they posed for this picture ... but it was obvious at a glance that the pair were wheel crazy about each other. The cause of death remains unknown.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Eyes were popping in Santa Monica yesterday at the latest addition to the Monstrosity Under Construction at 7th and San Vicente. The "whimsical" home, known as Casa del Bozo for its triangular-shaped windows, inexplicable staircases within staircases and walls that twist and turn like a funhouse mirror, is starting to rust. Curiously, weeks after builders applied a "decorative" layer of Mottled Metal sheeting to the top story, multi-colored rust has settled-in for the duration. In some places, the rust gives the home a Reddish Brown appearance. In others, including the side facing my bedroom, the rust has created an Orange Hue, not unlike the rusticles on the Titanic. I don't know who designed this blight on our neighborhood. May they Rust in Peace ...!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Excitement was in the air this morning at 7th and Montana as Howard celebrated his birthday in High Style. For the record, High Style at Our Favorite Starbucks means that the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to Howard over a Blueberry Muffin. It was the least we could do, given that Howard, his mother and his son were all born on October 22. Interestingly, when asked how he was marking the occasion, Howard held up his new Medicare Card and replied, "I'm having my eyes examined." No doubt he'll need a new pair of glasses just to read all the fine print Medicare has to offer. Happy Birthday, Howard!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Dr. Fartsworth," the silent but deadly passenger sitting near me tonight on United Flight #167 from Boston to Los Angeles. At various intervals during the cross-country flight, Dr. Fartsworth would glance furtively around him before letting loose a fart so pungent that it gave new meaning to the word "flatulent." "There must be some mistake," I mused as we passed over the Great Lakes. "The rest of us are heading to LAX but he seems to flying into EX-LAX." On the other hand, perhaps we were lucky. With someone like Dr. Fartsworth on board, you know the plane will never run out of gas ...!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I decided to stop in Massachusetts on my way home from Las Vegas to meet my new nephew Jackson. Here is a photo of him awake. He seems to spend much of the day sleeping but when he's awake, he's really awake ...! He's actually quite alert and sociable considering that he's only six weeks old. Just yesterday, he left me a voicemail message urging me to hurry up and get to the airport ...!
Friday, October 19, 2007
I left Lake Las Vegas behind last night and took a quick trip to Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt and New York. Frankly, I was getting bored with the stagnant, man-made "lake," so, together with some colleagues, I made the rounds on the Las Vegas Strip. We hit "Paris," "Caesar's Palace," "The Venetian," "Luxor" and "New York, New York," followed by dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here, Sensi at the Bellagio. I'm leaving Las Vegas for real tonight ...!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
On hearing that I was in Nevada this week, Our Friendly Neighborhood Cappuccino Connoisseur Mel -- known for his penchant for iced cappuccinos topped with hot foam and prepared "just so" -- sent me the following message: "I'm told it's the law in Nevada that you can't mix hot foam with ice ... thus no dry iced cappuccinos with non-fat foam in Nevada ... Sorry." Call me a rebel, but I decided to put Mel's theory to the test. "You have to help me," I said to the Barista at the Starbucks in my hotel, "I'm a real foam-a-holic. Could you make me an iced cappuccino with lots of extra hot foam?" Moments later, I was enjoying a dry iced cappuccino with gobs of hot foam ... and no one arrested me. Here's mud in your eye, Mel ...!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I've just arrived at Lake Las Vegas -- a resort area "sculpted from the rugged desert terrain of Southern Nevada" -- where I'll be in meetings for the rest of the week. Not surprisingly, there's something "fake" about Lake Las Vegas. First of all, it's not in Las Vegas. It's 17-miles away, which in Nevada can mean the difference between being in the thick of things or the middle of nowhere. Secondly, it's not really a lake (it's a "man-made body of water."). Oh, well ... Maybe if I'm lucky I'll run into our notorious "One-Eyed Bandit." Better him than a One-Armed Bandit, I always say ...!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It was the Sale of the Century at 7th and Montana as the folks living across from Our Favorite Starbucks set-up a card table in front of their house on Sunday and began selling an array of "eclectic family treasures." Granted, I'm not usually a fan of Yard Sales, but this one was organized by Ms. Mukluk, the woman known for wearing snow boots in 80-degree heat, and I simply had to know what she might be selling off for the winter. Merchandise ranged from a Used Skateboard to a Genuine Bowl of Fog. Howard bought a pair of Gigantic Foam Fists for $5.00. As for me, I beat a hasty retreat before Ms. Mukluk pulled out any other Foam Appendages ...!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Eyes were popping yesterday as the so-called Lizard Lady returned to Our Favorite Starbucks with her reptile in tow. Once again, Robin was on the scene and sent me a photo, this time of the Reptile-in-Question sipping what appears to be a cup of coffee through a straw. While I wasn't there to witness the event, I've heard directly from the Lizard Lady herself who stumbled across my blog and was kind enough to offer a few corrections. First of all, the Lizard Lady has a name: It's Susan. Her reptile -- an Australian Bearded Dragon -- is named Sophia. As Susan puts it, Sophia "trundles around kind of like a dinosaur, with her body lifted off the ground ... and because she's indoors most of the time, she really enjoys sitting at Starbucks with me, getting some real sun and looking at the birds, butterflies and cars that pass by." Susan: Please forgive me for ever suggesting you were "eccentric." I guess I was speaking with a Forked Tongue ...!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
It was history in the making this morning at 7th and Montana as Mel revealed how he gets the crew at Starbucks to make his unusually "detailed" cup of coffee each morning: He sends his wife, Paulette, in to place the order. Apparently, his order is so precise that the Baristas only take it seriously when it comes from Paulette. Mel's drink of choice is a four-shot, non-fat Iced Cappuccino made by starting with a layer of ice at the bottom, followed by a layer of Sweet & Low, followed by the Cappuccino and topped with Foam. "It's all in the preparation," Mel explained, as he called inside to see what was taking his order so long. Evidently, there was a backlog of finnicky customers today ...!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
They say that Charity Begins at Home but Howard and Cathy -- among the most charitable people I know -- took the phrase to a new extreme this week by opening up their house in Colorado for a good cause. In fact, as a prize in a Silent Auction to benefit The Vail Jazz Foundation, they offered a full gourmet dinner at their house. Not only did they fly to Colorado for the occasion, but they also waited on the winners -- a group of Lucky Gluttons if there ever was one -- hand and foot. Howard and Cathy: You've inspired me. I've decided to auction off the contents of my freezer for charity, starting with the Garlic Bread and Vodka that were already there when I moved in ...!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Bells were ringing at 7th and Montana this morning as Our Favorite Building Manager, Raphaelo (aka Ralph), returned to California once and for all after a ten-month absence. Known for his tall tales, the former Green Beret with a hankering for yachting in the Adriatic, skiing in the Alps and fishing in Oxnard spent recent months doing what he loves best: Traveling. "I was everywhere, everywhere I tell you," said the Exuberant Jet Setter. He especially enjoyed the Seychelles Islands, a chain of small islands in the Indian Ocean where he lived in a Floating Palace ...!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
A Happy-go-Lucky Newcomer -- "Mr. Jiggity" -- arrived on the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning, dancing and swaying to his own peculiar beat as he stood in line. Perhaps he was hoping to audition for Dancing With The Stars Host Tom Bergeron, another regular at 7th and Montana. Or maybe he had Restless Leg Syndrome. Either way, I doubt that the two cups of coffee he ordered improved his performance!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The crowd at 7th and Montana was buzzing on reports that the mysterious One-Eyed Bandit -- a white, male caucasian in his mid-sixties, wearing a bright orange bandana over one eye and answering to the name of "Popeye" -- has evidently hit the trail in search of Greener Pastures. As one local put it, "He may be gone, but he's not forgotten." Actually, the Bandit is probably just temporarily missing, but, thanks to the artistic efforts of Ace Photographer Kovar, we can now imagine where he might be. If anyone comes into contact with the Bandit -- or happens to "discover" other interesting photos of him -- please let me know!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Poor Dennis was squinting up a storm yesterday at 7th and Montana as he tried to perform "emergency surgery" on his reading glasses using a knife. "I'm caught in the ultimate Catch 22 situation," he said, "I can hardly see these tiny little screws without my glasses!" Indeed, the screws were tiny, much smaller than the knife he was using as a makeshift screwdriver. Then, again -- no offense to Dennis -- but anyone who would try to fix their glasses with a knife might have a few screws loose to begin with ...!
Monday, October 8, 2007
Leapin' Lizards! An Eccentric Newcomer shocked the crowd at 7th and Montana yesterday by walking into Starbucks with a large Australian Water Dragon perched on her shoulder. While I missed the incident myself, Robin was on the scene and has the following report: "I was standing in line wondering why this lady was carrying a stuffed animal around on her coat ... and then the damned thing moved! I just had to get a picture to show the latest fashion trend. It is L.A., afterall!" I, for one, think it's high time they banned reptiles at 7th and Montana ...!
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Heads were turning at 7th and Montana this morning at the arrival of a vintage De Soto Station Wagon in our midst. "I didn't even know De Soto made a station wagon," said Howard as the classy chassis rolled by. As it happens, De Soto briefly introduced a Station Wagon in 1957 as part of its flagship Fireflite brand. In an advertising campaign that no doubt offended Native Americans everywhere, De Soto proclaimed: "There's heap plenty room in a new De Soto Wagon ... Room for a tribe or tepee! And look how much more De Soto gives you for your Wampum!" An illustration at the bottom of the ad shows a father shoving a Grandmother, a dog and two kids dressed like "Indians" into the car's rear-facing "Vista Seat." No wonder De Soto went out of business by 1960 ...!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
It was Many Happy Returns this morning at 7th and Montana as Marlene made the scene, fresh from New York and bursting with good news. Her independent video -- "Plus" -- an amusing, behind-the-scenes look at the world of "Plus-Sized" models, has been nominated for a Kids First Award. Apparently, competition in the world of Plus-Sized models has become so fierce that women have taken to wearing "padding" to get business. As for Marlene, she won't have that problem for a while: She's expecting her first child in February ...!
Friday, October 5, 2007
Ever wonder what Santa Monica Beach looks like at 5:30 a.m.? Just ask Robin the Early Bird, who regaled the crowd at 7th and Montana with tales from this morning's Oxygen Mentor Walk, a crack-of-dawn stroll along the beach with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis and "many, many more." Organized by Oxygen, the only cable television network owned and operated by women, the Mentor Walk brings together high-profile women from all walks of life. Just imagine ... hundreds of Hollywood Power Brokers traipsing around the beach before they've had their morning coffee. That's enough to make anyone scream for Oxygen ...!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Heads were turning at Goose Egg Park this morning as an Anonymous Loon brandished a seven-foot bamboo pole in a what appeared to be a deadly battle with an invisible opponent. Granted, Goose Egg Park -- the neighborhood oasis near 7th and Montana -- attracts a peculiar crowd, but rarely are the people who hang out there armed and dangerous. For my part, I kept my distance, getting just close enough to take this photo. Any closer, and I fear my Goose would be cooked ...!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Barista Rob was up to his old tricks this morning on the early shift at 7th and Montana. My suspicions were aroused when I overheard Shift Supervisor Nada tell Rob, cryptically, "Don't write his story" shortly after I arrived on the scene. "What story would that be?" I asked, innocently enough. "Oh, nothing," Rob replied, "I just sometimes add little notes to people's cups." Sure enough, my cup contained a message: "Marty Tha Party!!!" I've been called a lot worse. Meanwhile, I wonder what one would put on the cup of a Screaming Banshee ordering Hazelnut Coffee ...
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
It was my lucky day today at 7th and Montana as Hollywood Good Guy Mark foot the bill for my Grande Half Caff. Mark, together with his brother Rob, cranks out hit TV shows from a table outside Our Favorite Starbucks. Every morning, the pair can be found dreaming up plot twists and creating new TV shows while watching the world go by. In other words, if you ever happen to see a TV show where a One-Eyed Bandit, a Ghoul, a Friendly Neighborhood Antagonist, and a Bevy of Blonde Bombshells join forces over coffee, you'll know where they got the inspiration ...!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Halloween came early at 7th and Montana today as Our Favorite Starbucks rolled out a flood of "Trick or Treat" merchandise ranging from Fuzzy Stuffed Jack-o-Lanterns to Colorful Creepy Critters. "Isn't it a little early for Halloween?" I asked, turning to the man standing behind me in line. To my horror, he looked like a Ghoul or a Zombie-in-Training, complete with a Pasty White Complexion and a Frizzy Black Fright Wig. As I stood there gaping, he simply smiled at me, adjusted his Fright Wig and walked out the door. Let's hope he's not interviewing to become a Barista ...!