Wednesday, April 30, 2008



Melissa made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with "Mission," a Black Australian Shepherd, in tow.  Mission -- otherwise known as "the Leashless Wonder" -- routinely rides to Starbucks aboard Melissa's bike, then waits patiently, untethered, by the door while Melissa runs in for coffee.  I guess that's what makes it easier for Melissa to take on a new Mission:  She's trying to find homes for a Litter of Newborn Kittens.  Apparently, the kittens were inadvertently trapped for more than a week in some industrial equipment Melissa had purchased as an investment.  "It's amazing that they survived," she said, "Now we have to find homes for them!"  Good luck, Melissa ... Something tells me you're just the right person to give these kittens a New Leash on Life!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008



A Jittery Nutcase made the scene this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks, intent on scaring-up a cup of coffee and scaring away the customers.  "Hey, man," he said to me, "Buy me a cup of coffee, wouldya?"  "No, thank you," I replied, retreating into my newspaper like a turtle in a shell.  The next thing I knew, he went into "Nutcase Overdrive," running into the Parking Lot and threatening a Serious Athlete who was wearing a "Boxing Hall of Fame" T-Shirt.  "I don't care if you have a mustache," yelled the Nutcase, inexplicably, "I'll do what I damned well please."  For the record, the Athlete -- a man named "Castle" who doesn't have a mustache -- simply nudged the Nutcase aside and shrugged the incident off.  "That was nothing," said Castle, "Last week he called me a Little Old Lady ...!"

Monday, April 28, 2008



Tongues were wagging this morning at 7th and Montana as word spread that a Mazda 323 -- California License Plate 2XKT187 -- has settled-in for the duration in a Highly-Coveted Parking Spot near Our Favorite Starbucks.  "That car has been in the same spot for at least two weeks," said one Disgruntled Local, "It's high time someone moved it."  Others offered a more Pessimistic View.  "The Damned Thing isn't going anywhere ... it's held together by Duct Tape!," said another source close to the situation.  As for me, I can't help wondering how the Owner is going to deal with all his or her Parking Tickets.  Then, again, we're obviously talking about someone who specializes in Red Tape ...!

Sunday, April 27, 2008



An Anonymous Chair Thief made the scene at 7th and Montana today, intent on "stealing" some Prime Real Estate in front of Our Favorite Starbucks.  Brazen beyond belief, she walked right up to an occupied table, grabbed one of the chairs and dragged it away, leaving a Dumbfounded Gentleman in her wake.  "Wait, that's my wife's chair!," he yelled to no avail as the Chair Thief made herself comfortable at a table nearby.  Stealing chairs is a Capital Offense at 7th and Montana, especially on a crowded Sunday Morning.  That's why -- at the risk of sounding like the Judge, Jury and Executioner -- I think we should give this woman the Chair ...!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I spent my last morning in Athens today "sightseeing on steroids."  In other words, I grabbed a taxi and asked the driver to take me to some of my favorite spots in the city including:  Hadrian's Arch (a monumental gateway built to commemorate the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who was a benefactor of Athens); the Temple of Olympian Zeus (a colossal ruin);  the Panathenaic Stadium (built for the first modern Olympics in 1896 on the site of an ancient stadium); and the Changing of the Guards at Syntagma Square (a spectacle so bizarre it makes me wonder whether the guards are related to "Cuckoo the Clown").  As I traveled from site-to-site, it became clear that my Taxi Driver had a one-word vocabulary.  Everything was "archeological."  Perhaps he could learn some new words from Kathy and Genevieve.  Moments after I returned to Santa Monica tonight, they sent me a message from 7th and Montana where they were engrossed in a highly competitive Scrabble Game (pictured above).  While Kathy "slaughtered" Genevieve 340 to 300, rumor has it that Genevieve is staging a comeback ...!  

Friday, April 25, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Cuckoo the Clown," a Creepy Carnival Refugee who spends his days working the crowd near the Plaka district in Athens.  Much like some of the characters who hang around at 7th and Montana, Cuckoo specializes in making Funny Noises and Chatting with Strangers.  "Where are you from?," Cuckoo asked my colleague, Judy, who eventually told him that she works in Hong Kong and I work in Hollywood.  At the mention of the word "Hollywood," Cuckoo's eyes, nose and Big Red Shoes practically lit up with glee.  I beat a hasty retreat, only to be accosted by him 20-minutes later as he ran after me with a business card.  "Mr. Hollywood," he said, placing his card firmly in my hand, "You never know when this might come in handy."  Seriously, if he thinks I can land him a job on the Silver Screen, he's even more of a Clown than I realized ...!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


"Give my regards to Zorba!"  Those were the last words I heard at 7th and Montana before leaving for Greece on Sunday.  Little did I realize just how close I would come to actually meeting Zorba the Greek three days later.  The fun began last night, when my colleagues invited me to dinner at a quaint seafood restaurant in the Mikrolimano area of Athens, on the Aegean Coast.  Much to my surprise, the name of the restaurant was "Zorbas."  "Are you Zorba?," I asked the waiter as he wheeled a tray of fish in my direction.  He ignored me.  "Are you Zorba," I asked a Lowly Busboy as he cleared away my plate.  He grimaced.  Finally, just when I thought all was lost, a Gentleman in a Suit appeared at our table to pay his respects.  I "recognized" him at once.  "Zorba, I presume?," I said slyly.  "Actually, my name is Zorbas," he replied, "  Gregory Zorbas."  "Close enough," I said, "Regards to you from the Starbucks at 7th and Montana ...!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


You can't visit Athens without seeing the ParthenonNot only is it considered "the most important surviving building of Classical Greece," it's also a breathtaking architectural treasure, dating back to the 5th Century BC.  The Parthenon was originally built as a temple to the Greek Goddess Athena.  How the Ancient Greeks were able to build a temple of this scale --  it's 65 feet high with a colonnade of 46 perfectly proportioned columns -- is beyond me.  The fact that they built it atop the Acropolis, a flat-topped rock rising 490-feet above sea level, is nothing short of amazing.  I'm told the whole thing was built in 15 years.  Who knows, perhaps if the Architect-in-Residence at Casa del Bozo takes a page from their book, she can clean up the mess she's created in less time than that ...!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008



They say that "revenge is a dish best served cold," but tonight in Athens I had a chance to serve it up Piping Hot and Marinated in its Own Juices.  You see, my company is hosting most of the Movie Studios and Japanese Electronics Companies here in Athens this week.  Tonight, we held a Special Banquet featuring traditional Greek Cuisine and the Chef at our hotel went all out to create something "extraordinary."  I happened to be standing next to a Japanese Muckety-Muck when the main course was wheeled into the room.

Japanese Muckety Muck:  Ahhh ... Marty-san ... what is that?!?

Me:  It's a Complete Lamb, roasted especially for you. 

Japanese Muckety Muck:  Ahhh ... errr ...  

Me:  Doesn't it look delicious?  It's been divided into sections to fit into the pot, but don't worry ... it's all there!

Japanese Muckety Muck:  But .. well ... I can see the Head.  It's looking at me.

Me:  Yes, the eyes do tend to follow you don't they ... sort of like the Mona Lisa.

Japanese Muckety Muck:  Thank you, but I do not think I can eat that.  Not with the eyes ...

And so the Eyes have it!  Finally, after years of eating all manner of Wiggling, Jiggling Atrocities abroad, I've successfully managed to "gross out" someone whose idea of a good meal ranges from Fish Ovaries to Tentacles du Jour.  My work here is done ...!

Monday, April 21, 2008


"Greece was the Word" today as I arrived in Athens for a series of meetings all week at the Athens Hilton.  Athens is one of my favorite cities, but I arrived too late today to really see any sites.  The most I could do was admire the view of the Parthenon at Sunset from my hotel and then head for dinner atop Mount Lycabettus, one of the highest peaks in the city.  As for my flight here, I had the pleasure of sitting across the aisle from "My Big, Fat Greek Seatmate," a woman so Obese that every time she stood in the aisle, her Rear End landed on my Tray Table.  Just for kicks, see if you can tell the difference between Her Butt and the Acropolis in the photos above ...!

Sunday, April 20, 2008



Filmmaker Leslie made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, renewed and refreshed from her sojourn in Canada, Florida and the Caribbean where she was filming and having fun in that order.  She picked up a book in her travels -- Stupid to the Last Drop by William Marsden -- which covers the subject of her next documentary.  No, it's not an expose on life at 7th and Montana.  It's a behind-the-scenes look at the devastation that the Oil and Gas Industry is wreaking on Alberta, a systematic depletion of Canada's natural resources that experts call "an Environmental Armageddon."  Leslie's last documentary, The Pixar Story, airs Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on the Starz network.  Meanwhile, as for me, as soon as I can figure out how to capture video on my cell phone, I'll get cracking on a documentary about 7th and Montana.  Do you think William Marsden would mind if I "borrowed" his title ...?!? 

Saturday, April 19, 2008



Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as Dennis made the scene with Jack, the Amazing, Skateboarding Terrier.  As usual, the Dynamic Duo arrived on Skateboard, with Jack leading the way.  "Jack's been skateboarding for about a year now," Dennis explained, "He loves it."  Typically, Jack -- a ball of energy -- runs ahead, pulling Dennis on the skateboard as he goes.  When he gets Dog Tired, however, he joins Dennis onboard, always riding in front.  Not to be outdone, the Crazy Cat Lady of San Vicente is reportedly spending more time than usual with her Ferile Cats.  Rumor has it she's teaching them to surf ...!

Friday, April 18, 2008



"Has anybody seen or done anything Nutty yet today?" I asked upon arriving at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning.  You see, I was running late for a meeting and barely had time to grab a cup of coffee, let alone find and photograph an Unsuspecting Nincompoop.  "It's all quiet," said Barista Trina, "Nothing too unusual is happening."  "Shit," I thought, "Where have all the Buffoons and Maniacs gone?!?"  Then -- just when it looked like the only "hint of Nuttiness" to be found was in my cup of Pike's Place Blend -- I saw him.  There, sitting right near me, was a Gentleman carrying on a Heated Discussion with an Invisible Adversary.  That's what I like about 7th and Montana:  It's Always Open, Always Blogworthy ...!

Thursday, April 17, 2008



The Full Moon came early this morning at 7th and Montana as an Anonymous Exhibitionist bellied up to the Cappuccino Bar and treated the crowd to a glimpse of her Lopsided Buns.  "Talk about Tight Quarters," said Genevieve, who was live on the scene and sent me the photo above.  Rumor has it the Fashion Plate in Question is applying for a job as a spokesmodel for a new advertising campaign:  "Lycra is for Lovers."  Wish her luck ...!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



Our Favorite Starbucks has always been a Magnet for Celebrities, but to get the real scoop on their behavior, you have to talk to the Baristas.  For example, who but a Barista could tell you that Harrison Ford "is a jerk" who won't even wait a minute for a cup of coffee, Sarah Michelle Gellar is "nice," and Demi Moore has her friend fetch her Whole Milk Lattes.  Assuming the Barista Grapevine is correct, one starts to wonder who in Hollywood hasn't made the scene at 7th and Montana.  Thanks to Barista Amanda (pictured above, on break), we finally have the answer to that question:  David Cassidy -- perhaps best known for his turn as "Keith" in "The Partridge Family" -- has yet to grace us with his presence.  Why should we care?  Evidently, a Mysterious Fan Fatale shows up regularly at Our Favorite Starbucks wearing a David Cassidy T-Shirt, begging the Baristas to contact the '70s Superstar on her behalf.  "She keeps asking us to invite him to stop by," Amanda explained, "She even wanted us to send him a Christmas Card last year."  Warped?  Perhaps, but I, for one, would like to help this woman out.  David:  If you're out there, there's an Apple Fritter with your name on it at 7th and Montana.  Come quick, or we'll give it to Davy Jones ...!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



The Dog Whisperer made the scene today at 7th and Montana ... and, no, I don't mean Cesar Millan from the National Geographic Channel.  A Pugnacious Puppyphile swooped-in, intent on treating her lap dog to a seat inside Our Favorite Starbucks and, for all I know, a steaming cup of Pike's Place Blend.  I gaped in astonishment as the Young Woman in Question made herself comfortable, cooing and caressing her dog as if it were a Newborn Infant.  Don't get me wrong, some of my Best Friends are dogs -- and this particular puppy didn't slobber any more than some of the Regulars at 7th and Montana -- but I couldn't help thinking something was terribly wrong.  Oh, well ... hopefully the Little Animal has been Housebroken ...!

Monday, April 14, 2008



The crowd at 7th and Montana was aghast this morning as word spread that Jenny -- who began her career as Assistant Manager at Our Favorite Starbucks several weeks ago -- has mysteriously vanished.  In fact, rumor has it that Manager Gabe has already hired her replacement.  "I've seen Apple Fritters with more tenure than that," snorted one regular, "I guess we scared her off!"  Let's hope Gabe went after the Cream of the Crop to replace her.  Meanwhile, speaking of cream, Barista Veronica discovered an Ingenious New Use for Half-and-Half this morning:  as a Defensive Weapon.  "Oh, no you don't," she said, gesturing towards my Camera Phone as she brandished several containers of cream, "No photos, please!"  Little did she realize I had already taken her picture.  Sorry, Veronica, I guess there's no use crying over Spilled Milk ...!

Sunday, April 13, 2008



Tongues and tails were wagging this morning at 7th and Montana on speculation that Screenwriter Nat and his wife, Robin, might still be in the Doghouse weeks after what has become known as "The Great Grooming Incident of 2008."  The fun began several weeks ago when Joyce first noticed a "Puppy Pamper" truck parked in front of Nat and Robin's house on their usual Doggie Grooming Day.  For years, Nat and Robin have used another Groomer to keep their Bichon Frise, Einstein, Perfectly Puffed and Coiffed.  "Have you changed Dog Groomers?," Joyce asked, explaining that she had seen the Puppy Pamper Mobile in front of their house.  "Oh, no!," cried Nat, horrified.  "We haven't changed groomers and we were out of town that day ... If Our Usual Groomer drove by and saw that truck in front of our house, we'll be in Big Trouble!"  Apparently, their usual Groomer -- among the best in the business -- is a bit sensitive and it's likely that he saw the "Puppy Pamper" truck.  "He's great but he can be territorial ... just like his clients," explained Robin this morning.  For their sake, I just hope he doesn't decide to Mark his Territory ...!      

Saturday, April 12, 2008



It was a Picture Perfect morning at 7th and Montana today as 80-degree temperatures, a cloudless sky and a profusion of greenery transformed Our Favorite Starbucks into a Little Slice of Heaven.  It was the Perfect Setting for Tom -- Our Favorite Television Host -- to announce his latest project, a new series called Supper Club which will air on Discovery Communications' new environmental channel, Planet Green.  Based on Tom's description, the new show sounds like a cross between "The View" and "Rachael Ray" with a dash of "Greenpeace" sprinkled throughout.  Each week, Tom will discuss key environmental issues with a series of newsmaker experts -- politicians, authors and scholars -- over dinner prepared by a Celebrity Chef.  "I'm really looking forward to it," Tom said, "It lets me get back to my talk show roots."  Indeed, Supper Club sounds like fun.  Best of all, when Tom's done eating on Supper Club, he can work off the calories on Dancing With The Stars ...!

Friday, April 11, 2008



It was a Slow News Day today at Our Favorite Starbucks, which perhaps explains why my wardrobe took Center Stage.  Actually, it all began several days ago when Screenwriter Rob put me to the Fashion Test.  "There you are," he said, "all dressed in Earth Tones, as usual."  "Ahh, you've noticed," I replied, half-wondering whether I had been somehow criticized.  You see, I nearly always wear Brown.  With Brown, you never have to worry about spilling coffee on yourself.  It never shows.  And Brown, I've learned, is a Traveler's Best Friend because it's so easy to match.  "Why don't you mix it up?," Rob continued, "Don't you have Black Jeans, a Black Blazer and a T-Shirt?!?"  Moments later, Cathy arrived on the scene, offering a different suggestion.  "You should wear a Blue shirt," she advised.  By now it was slowly starting to dawn on me:  I usually look like Shit.  And so, today I unveiled a "new" look:  Black Jeans, a Black Blazer and a Blue Shirt.  I threw on a pair of "John Lennon" sunglasses for good measure.  "Now you look like an Agent," said Screenwriter Mark.  Good Lord, frankly, I'd rather look like Shit ...!

Thursday, April 10, 2008



It was a Double Dose of Mistaken Identity this morning when a Dead Ringer for Our Friendly Neighborhood Antagonist made the scene at 7th and Montana.  At first I thought I was seeing double, but then I noticed that the Stunt Double in Question had brown instead of white hair.  Just when I was wondering whether he was using copious amounts of Grecian Formula, he turned to me and said, "Hello, You look like Harry Potter."  "To each their own Doppelgänger," I chuckled, "I'm sure it could be a lot worse ...!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008



Howard burst on the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with what appeared to be Good News:  Starbucks is issuing free gift cards every Wednesday to get people to try their new Pikes Place Roast.  "Look," he said, "This card came in the Los Angeles Times and it entitles me to get a free cup of the new Starbucks coffee every Wednesday!"  Unfortunately, at the rate things are going, the only person likely to take Starbucks up on their offer is our Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief.  "There's a rebellion brewing," said Ace Photographer Kovar, "No one likes this new stuff."  To emphasize his point, he added, "Your Friend with the Lizard was just in here and she refused to drink it ... she made the Barista brew a new pot!"  Personally, I'm not sure what all the Brew-haha is about.  I like the new coffee ... but, then, again, I've always been a rebel!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008



Intrigue was brewing at 7th and Montana this morning as Our Favorite Starbucks rolled out the Company's much ballyhooed Pike Place Roast, an all-new blend of coffee that is hand-scooped, freshly ground and -- according to insiders -- "infused with the subtle, rich flavors of cocoa and toasted nuts."  I knew something was different from the moment I walked through the door.  Gone was the "Starbucks Promise" -- a pledge to Espresso Quality signed last month by each Barista -- and in its place was an advertisement introducing Pike Place Roast.  At first, I didn't know what to think ... but, fortunately, the Baristas were all wearing T-Shirts that described the new blend.  Trina was "Smooth;"  Amanda was "Fresh";  and Manager Gabe was "Bold."  I happened to be standing next to Gabe when I took my first sip, and I couldn't resist telling him what I thought.  "It's great," I said, "But you know what would make it even better?  Some cream!"  They had run out of half-and-half ...

Monday, April 7, 2008



Baby Helena tasted her first caper this morning at Marmalade Cafe and let's just say that she didn't take an instant liking to the pickled, salty "delicacy."  She was still grimacing from the experience when I saw her moments later at Our Favorite Starbucks though, of course, the prices alone at Marmalade are enough to make anyone grimace.  Meanwhile, it was a caper of another kind for Parents Greg and Natalie, whose latest Real Estate adventure went up in smoke when the offer they received on their condo fell through, forcing them to extricate themselves from a series of other potential real estate deals.  The good news is, this means they're likely stay in the neighborhood for a while longer ...!

Sunday, April 6, 2008



Old Mother Hubbard made an appearance this morning at 7th and Montana ... and apparently her cupboard isn't the only thing that's bare these days.  Indeed, she arrived at Our Favorite Starbucks wearing nothing but an oversized Cardigan Sweater which -- given that there was evidently nothing underneath -- left surprisingly little to the imagination.  "I'm speechless," said Cathy as Mrs. Hubbard sidled up to a nearby table and asked her husband -- "L. Ron" -- to bring her a Latte.  In the end, however, she went inside to help him place the order.  She was last seen at the Condiments Bar, stocking up on "Sugar in the Raw" ...!

Saturday, April 5, 2008



The Notorious Newspaper Nogoodnik -- known for quietly sneaking into Our Favorite Starbucks and stealing newspapers when he thinks no one is looking -- was up to his usual tricks this morning at 7th and Montana.  This time, however, the crowd was ready.  "Look," cried Richard, "There he is ... Get your camera!"  "I'm on it!," I replied, as I followed the Nogoodnik into Starbucks.  First, he went after the "low-hanging fruit," grabbing a discarded copy of The Los Angeles Times that was left at an unoccupied table.  Then, he went for the "Big Score," stealing a copy of The New York Times from the Starbucks Sales Display.  Like any hardened criminal, he somehow knew that he was being followed.  He glanced around suspiciously before slipping the newspapers into his jacket and heading out the door, no doubt to the cafe down the street where he's known to buy his coffee and read "his" newspapers.  Mark my words, one of these days he'll get what's coming to him ... and I just hope The Los Angeles Times is around to cover it!

Friday, April 4, 2008



An Apparent Psychopath made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, settling-in at the Condiments Bar as if it were his second home.  "You can't Panhandle around here," he said, glaring at me as I reached for the Half-and-Half.  "You'd better watch yourself or they'll lock you up," he added.  My first thought was, "Perhaps I've taken Casual Friday too far."  Then I realized that he wasn't talking to me.  He was talking to an invisible presence beside me.  "Life's too short," he continued, as I quietly backed away, "Panhandling will only get you into trouble!"  He's right, of course, but something tells me that in his case it might be a bit like the Pan calling the Handle black ...!

Thursday, April 3, 2008



It was a morning of surprises at 7th and Montana today as the Scribbler -- known for writing furiously in a notebook he keeps by his side at all times -- stopped scribbling long enough to introduce himself.  "I'm writing a screenplay," he said, "It's for an Independent Production."  Evidently, he comes to Starbucks every morning, writes whatever comes into his mind, and enters it into his computer when he gets home.  "I'll bet you get a lot of inspiration around here," I said, hesitantly, half-wondering whether his screenplay involved a Foolish Blogger who gets his Just Desserts when an Angry Architect in a Clown Suit pelts him to death with Apple Fritters.  "Yes," he agreed, "Lots of inspiration around here ...!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008



Now I've seen everything.  The Vicente Market in Brentwood is selling a new collection of "plush toys" designed to bring children of all ages up-to-speed on the Old Testament:  Ten Plagues Finger Puppets.  For only $12.95, you can stage your very own puppet show complete with Dancing Lice, a Laughing Locust, a Smiling Blood Clot and a First Born Corpse.  My personal favorite, "Billy Boil," is Brimming with enough Boils to create an Exodus from any dinner table.  I briefly considered buying the entire collection for my seven-month-old nephew, Jackson, but decided to Pass it Over.  If we wait long enough, maybe they'll come out with an Armageddon Marionette Show ...!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008



"Attention, Please:  Will the Moron driving a Black Nissan Pathfinder -- California License #4XGM211 -- kindly take a long walk off the Santa Monica Pier?"  That's what I felt like shouting this morning at 7th and Montana as an Anonymous Alarmist allowed his car alarm to blare on and on while he presumably grabbed a cup of coffee.  Don't get me wrong, I agree that safety comes first, but car alarms that go off by themselves for no apparent reason are not safe.  They're just a nuisance.  Besides, in light of the Mysterious Disappearing Baristas, we have enough cause for alarm as it is ...!