Saturday, May 31, 2008



Heigh-Ho Silver, Away ... !  Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as the Lone Ranger of Fashion made the scene wearing a Shimmering Silver Skirt that appeared to be made of Aluminum Foil.  "Doesn't she look radiant?," I asked, breezing by on my way to the Condiments Bar.  Actually, on closer inspection, it looked as though she had taken a "NASA Space Blanket" and draped it around her torso.  Could she be another Astronaut on the Loose?  That, I suppose, "Depends" on her choice of undergarments ...!

Friday, May 30, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "The Secret Agent," a Top Hollywood Talent Agent working for one of the Big Agencies in town, representing a "who's who" of celebrities and pop stars.  Mr. Agent has been trying to meet with me for months.  Why?  Because he thinks he can convince my company to do "big deals" involving movie tie-ins.  Truth be told, we don't necessarily need "Mr. Agent" if we want to do one of these deals, but finally, after months of badgering, I agreed to "do lunch."  "Great," said Mr. Agent, "I'll set it up at Cafe Med!"  Our appointment was set for today.  I don't normally enjoy meeting with Agents but I must say, this meeting was better than most.  Perhaps it's because he didn't show up.  After keeping me waiting at the restaurant for 25 minutes, he called me on my cell phone.  "So sorry," he said, "I've been slammed.  I'm leaving the office now."  "Don't bother," I replied, "I just ordered the Halibut ... and I'm charging you a ten percent commission!"  "That's funny," he laughed, "Let's reschedule for next week."  I tentatively agreed, and suggested he work out the details with my Assistant.  Who knows ... By the time he realizes that I don't have an Assistant, I might be willing to reschedule ... just for the Halibut!

Thursday, May 29, 2008



The Paper Chase was on at 7th and Montana this morning as a Local Newshound, known among insiders as "the Paper Pusher," made the scene.  Known for poring through the New York and Los Angeles newspapers each morning -- and leaving them outside, spread across his table when he leaves -- the Paper Pusher gives new meaning to the term Litter Bug, especially on windy mornings.  However, he's also doing a Good Deed ... if only we could find someone interested in reading his used newspapers before they scatter to the winds.  I know what you're thinking:  "This sounds like a job for "The Notorious Newspaper Thief!"  The only problem is, we scared the Newspaper Thief away for good last month by placing a "Wanted" poster -- complete with photos of him stealing newspapers from Our Favorite Starbucks -- on his Getaway Bike.  Now I feel guilty.  Like the Irresponsible Nincompoop who introduced Killer Bees to the Americas, I've upset a Delicate Ecosystem.  Just don't tell the Environmental Protection Agency ...!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008



It was "Zbogom" -- which means "Goodbye" in Bulgarian -- for Neighbor Liz yesterday as she packed her bags and hit the road for an extended visit to Bulgaria.  Just how extended?  That depends on her Rowing Coach, who promised to give her a Rare, Insider's Taste of Bulgaria.  For her sake, I hope she doesn't end up tasting Shkembe Chorba, a Bulgarian national treat which, roughly translated, means "Tripe Soup."  A quick glimpse at the official Bulgaria News list of cultural activities suggests that Liz will be busy.  The site offers links to useful resources ranging from "Wonderland Bulgaria" to "Girls:  Very Young, 12-14 years."  Seriously, I'm sure Liz will have a great time and -- if not -- she can always row her way back to 7th and Montana ...!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008



"Daisy, Daisy, Give me Your Answer, Do ..."  Actually, forget about Daisy.  The crowd at 7th and Montana went "half-crazy" yesterday at the sight of Malissa, Preston and Mission, all precariously perched on an impromptu Bicycle Built for Three.  The three of them -- two adults and a dog -- had somehow squeezed onto Malissa's one-seat bike and were pedaling their way to Our Favorite Starbucks.  "Now there's something you don't see every day," I said, as the Daring Trio arrived on the scene, "All that's missing is a high-wire!"  For her part, Malissa seemed to be in her element.  She was last seen pedaling North towards Casa del Bozo where, rumor has it, they keep a garage full of Unicycles ...!

Monday, May 26, 2008



Controversy was brewing this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks as a Dead Ringer for Juan Valdez made the scene.  Granted, Valdez, known the world over as "the public face of Columbian Coffee," is a fictitious character -- created by a New York advertising agency in the 1950's to sell more coffee -- but don't tell our Visitor.  He was having too much fun cavorting with the crowd, waving to passersby and picking the leaves off the neighborhood Eucalyptus Trees.  He was last seen hopping on a bus headed towards Pacific Palisades with a woman closely resembling Mama Celeste ...!

Sunday, May 25, 2008



It was a parade of "Arnolds" this morning at 7th and Montana as not one but two high-profile Arnolds made the scene.  First came Actor Tom Arnold (or someone who looked exactly like him), who rushed into Our Favorite Starbucks at 9:00 and promptly wolfed down a Roast Beef Sandwich.  Moments later, Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger himself appeared, driving by on his way to church with his usual cadre of Not-so-Secret Servicemen in tow.  I lingered on the scene long enough to start a crossword puzzle with Kathy and Genevieve, but I admitted defeat rather quickly and headed home.  Sorry, gang, but I was getting hungry ... Just call me Benedict Arnold!

Saturday, May 24, 2008



When it rains, it pours in L.A.  Just ask Pete, our Friendly Neighborhood Autobody Repairman, who has been enjoying a flood of new business this week based on the fact that most Angelenos can't drive in the rain.  Take Our Favorite Starbucks, for example:  Two Baristas were in car accidents after just two days of scattered showers.  I can sympathize.  On Thursday, a Careless Buffoon in a Trailblazer accidentally Blazed a Trail right into my rear bumper, resulting in minor damage which I've already had repaired.  While I was picking up my car this morning, I witnessed the Ultimate Bonehead Accident:  An Uninsured Motorist (pictured above) crashed his Saab right into Pete's Autobody Repair, nearly plowing a hole in the wall.  "I'd better go," I said to Pete, hastily, "I can see that business is booming ...!"

Friday, May 23, 2008



It was "Lights, Camera, Action" at 7th and Montana this morning as Dr. Natalie announced that she's gone Hollywood.  Effective immediately, she's supplementing her duties in the Emergency Room with an all-new role as Executive Producer for an upcoming special on the Discovery Channel.  Her topic of choice?  Venomous Snake Bites!  What next ... a starring role in "Shark Week" ...?!?

Thursday, May 22, 2008



Stop the press, folks!  Something was cooking last night at the 'American Idol' season finale, and I don't just mean a victory for winner David Cook.  While nearly 32 million Americans were watching Cook's upset victory on TV, Robin was live on the scene both at the show and the after-party, where she was on-hand to congratulate Cook in person.  Rumor has it the two became fast friends.  Let's hope she brings him to 7th and Montana ... if only to hear him sing a duet with the One-Eyed Bandit over a steaming cup of Hot Chocolate!



Shock Waves rippled across Santa Monica this morning on reports that the fugitive known as The Jittery Nutcase -- wanted by authorities for Assault with a Deadly Beverage -- has friends in high places.  Aware that the authorities are on his tail, "Mr. Jittery" has employed a new strategy:  He hovers around Goose Egg Park, asking Influential Passersby to bring him coffee.  His ploy almost worked yesterday with City Councilman Bobby Shriver, who not only offered to buy the Controversial Panhandler a coffee, but invited him into Our Favorite Starbucks, as well.  According to sources on-the-scene, Manager Gabe refused to serve the Nutcase and threatened to call the police on the spot.  "It's unbelievable," said Ace Photographer Kovar, "We should put a sign out front to warn people:  'Don't Feed the Psychopaths!'" 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008



Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana last weekend as word spread that City Inspector Pat Martin was on the scene, sizing-up the number of real estate signs promoting Open Houses in our neighborhood.  "The City Council has me investigating the situation," he said, "There's a chance that these "Open House" signs might need to go."  Let me guess, this Marvelous New Initiative is brought to us by the same people who like to strictly regulate the size of our hedges and to use taxpayer dollars to "relocate" the City's Ficus Trees.  Why don't they do something useful and impose a ban on Apple Fritters ...?!?

Monday, May 19, 2008



Our Favorite Starbucks has always been a Mecca for Colorful People, but one group that made the scene last week really takes the cake.  I knew something was up when Terry turned to me and said very quietly, "You might want to get in position with your camera."  Moments later, a parade of women walked by, each wearing an outfit that was more brightly colored than the next.  First came "Rotund Rhonda," practically busting out of a dress so "dazzlingly" green it looked like she poured it on, straight out of a beaker in Dr. Frankenstein's Lab.  Then came "Patty Pink," glowing in a Neon Ensemble that must have been designed for her by Chernobyl & Co.  One by one they walked into Starbucks, a shiny, glittery Rainbow of Bad Taste.  "They must be on their way to a wedding," said Joyce, dryly.  "Yes," I responded, "I hear it's a Same Sex Marriage:  The union of Polly and Esther ...!"

Sunday, May 18, 2008



They say the best defense is a good offense.  That's why -- exactly a week after what insiders are calling the "Great Hot Chocolate Incident" -- I presented Genevieve with the means to defend herself against future attacks:  a squirt gun filled with Hot Chocolate.  A week ago today, the Local Fugitive otherwise known as The Jittery Nutcase threw a Hot Chocolate at Bicyclist Greg, splashing Genevieve and others in the process.  While he's been on the lam ever since, authorities have reason to believe he'll be back.  "You can't be too careful," I told Genevieve, "Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do ...!"  I gave her two squirt guns, one filled with water, for practice, and the other with Hot Chocolate, for emergency use only.  The good news is that, within minutes, Genevieve developed a draw that would make Annie Oakley proud.  The bad news is that she kept forgetting which gun was loaded with Hot Chocolate.  By the time I left Starbucks, she was armed, dangerous and shooting at anything that moved ...!

Saturday, May 17, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Tag-along Tillie," an Anonymous Fashion Victim who made the scene this morning at 7th and Montana wearing a large Sales Tag on her neck.  "Tag, You're It," I mumbled as I zoomed-in for a close-up.  Rumor has it she's putting herself up for sale today at the annual Montana Walk.  Or maybe she's just channeling Minnie Pearl.  Speaking of channeling, Cathy is hosting a seance this afternoon featuring Renowned Psychic Laura Lynn.  She invited me to attend, but I'm afraid I would create "a negative aura" ...!   

Friday, May 16, 2008



It was Revenge of the Panhandlers this morning at 7th and Montana as a Downbeat Deadbeat had a good laugh at my expense.  For years, I've been picking on the Poor Slobs in our neighborhood who beg for cash in front of Our Favorite Starbucks, giving them clever nicknames, taking candid photos and chronicling their adventures on the Internet.  It's heartless, I admit, but it's Hollywood.  I finally got a taste of my own medicine today when the Deadbeat-in-Question (pictured here) took one look at me, smiled broadly, and burst out laughing uncontrollably.  I was taken aback.  Were my pants down?  Did I have Toilet Paper on my shoe?  Was there spinach in my teeth?  The more I tried to figure it out, the harder he laughed.  Next thing you know, I'll be making a Guest Appearance in his Blog ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008



"Calling all Cars, Calling all Cars:  The Suspect Known as the "Jittery Nutcase", wanted for Assault with a Deadly Beverage, has been spotted at 7th and Montana.  Send all available units ..."  Intrigue was in the air this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks as Police again arrived on the scene in search of the "Jittery Nutcase," wanted for throwing a Hot Chocolate at Greg and Genevieve on Sunday.  The fun began as soon as I arrived.  "Howdy," said the Nutcase, waving a cup of Hot Chocolate in my direction, "Spare some change?"  "Yikes," I thought, "He's Armed and Dangerous."  Naturally, I whipped out my Camera Phone for protection and ran out the door to notify the Authorities.  Mr. Jittery, of course, fled the scene as soon as the Police arrived.  He was last seen, pictured here, heading North across San Vicente towards "Casa del Bozo."  Could he ask for better cover ...?!?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008



Quick, call Disneyland ... Sleeping Beauty is on the loose!  Indeed, eyes were popping at 7th and Montana yesterday as a Young Somnambulist waltzed her way into Our Favorite Starbucks, plunked herself down by the Pastry Case and settled-in for a Snooze.  "She must be under an evil spell," I said, moments after receiving the above photo from Genevieve, "Someone slipped her an Apple Fritter."  I dashed to her rescue, but she was already gone by the time I arrived.  Perhaps she got "the 7th and Montana Wake-Up Call:"  A cup of Hot Chocolate in the Face ...!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008



Sirens were blaring at 7th and Montana this morning as an early morning fire broke out in the building next to Our Favorite Starbucks.  "It was quite a scene," said Barista Trina, who sent me the photo above.  "All these fire trucks pulled up and the street was shut down."  According to authorities who were still on the scene when I arrived at 8:00, a small fire broke out in one of the apartment units in the building next to Our Favorite Starbucks.  While there was a lot of smoke, the fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured.  According to some reports, a Mysterious but Jittery Hero tried to douse the flames with a Grande Hot Chocolate ...!

Monday, May 12, 2008



It's that time of year at 7th and Montana.  Spring is in full bloom, cool ocean breezes waft through the neighborhood, the birds and the bees are up to their old tricks ... and the Hot Chocolate is flying everywhere.  Yes, you heard me right:  Hot Chocolate is in the air at Our Favorite Starbucks.  Apparently, after weeks of trying unsuccessfully to get someone to buy him a cup of coffee, the Jittery Nutcase -- long known for his "aggressive panhandling techniques" -- hit paydirt yesterday when someone bought him a Grande Hot Chocolate.  How did he respond?  By throwing it all over the place, of course.  According to eyewitnesses, he marched right up to Bicyclist Greg, threw the Hot Chocolate at him and yelled, "Shut Your Mouth!"  Greg -- who hadn't uttered a word to begin with -- was speechless as the Hot Chocolate splattered his new Bike Suit, worked its way into Genevieve's Jacket and went flying all over the surface of the chair, table and sidewalk.  "We all got free drink tickets from Starbucks," said Kathy, gleefully, "But it happened so fast no one got pictures."  As for me, I'm not taking any chances.  I supplemented my usual Starbucks order this morning with a Hot Chocolate.  "I know you," said Barista Robb as he handed me the Hot Chocolate, "You're up to no good."  "A man's got to defend himself," I responded, "I'm Locked and Loaded ...!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Whitey," the Happy Peddler of Sunset Strip.  Whitey has a job he can really sink his teeth into:  He sells Tooth Whitening treatments door-to-door in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area.  He stopped by my office on Friday, unannounced, to spread the word about a "one-time only, extra special offer for Mother's Day." "Hello," he chirped, in a voice that sounded like Minnie Mouse on Nitrous Oxide, "I work for the Dentist across the street.  May I interest you in a little Tooth Whitening for Mother's Day?"  He handed me a Voucher entitling the recipient to a complete Tooth Whitening Treatment ("valued at over $400") for the low, low price of only $60.  "Wow!," I exclaimed, reaching for my camera, "That's less than $1.88 per tooth!"  "Yes," he said, "But you have to act now.  This offer is only good for Mother's Day."  After much discussion (and several candid photographs), I finally said, "Sorry, I'll have to take a pass" and escorted him to the door.  Let's face it, in the Pantheon of Mother's Day Gifts, a "Tooth Whitening Treatment" from a door-to-door salesman seems a bit insulting.  I'd rather give Mom a little Plaque ...!

Saturday, May 10, 2008



Tension was mounting today at 7th and Montana as word spread of a "211 in progress" last night at the Wachovia Bank near Our Favorite Starbucks.  A "211," I'm told, is Police Lingo for a Bank Robbery and, indeed, there has been a robbery in our midst.  At approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday, an Anonymous Nogoodnik barged into the bank and demanded that the employees "fork over" all their money.  Word spread quickly throughout the neighborhood and, within minutes, Barista Robb had chased me down and Robin was text messaging me.  "You have to check it out," Robb urged, "The Bank was just robbed!"  "I'll take a look," I said, marveling at how nice it is to have friends who urge you to attend a Bank Robbery.  I timed my arrival to be "fashionably late," making sure that the Nogoodnik was nowhere to be found.  "What's going on?," I asked a Police Officer wearing a Surgical Mask.  "I'm getting fingerprints," he answered, "There has been a robbery here."  "Yikes," I said, "What's the world coming to?!?"  "We've already apprehended a suspect," the Officer volunteered.  The Parking Lot behind the Bank was swarming with Police Officers and Bank Employees.  I quietly befriended several Tellers.

Me:  Tell me, were you scared?

Teller(s):  Not really.  This is the most entertainment we've had all year.

Me:  Wow ... I never would have imagined that being held up at gunpoint could be entertaining.

Teller(s):  The guy was unarmed.

Me:  Unarmed?!?  I guess he had an Especially Nasty Note.  Tell me, what did he look like?

Teller(s):  He sort of looked like a Derelict.

Me:  Really?  Did he by any chance have an Orange Bandana covering One Eye?

Teller(s):  No.

Me:  Was he riding a bike and carrying a stack of Old Newspapers?

Teller(s):  No.

Me:  I know this must be difficult, but try to remember ... Was he wearing a Clown Suit ...?

Teller(s):  No.

And so it went.  I ran through a Littany of Local Looneys and all of them seem to be Completely Innocent.  Then, again, I wouldn't Bank on it ...!

Friday, May 9, 2008



The Long Arm of the Law arrived on the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, intent on investigating reports of a Mysterious Local Nuisance.  "What seems to be the problem, Officer?," I asked, quietly reaching for my Camera Phone.  "We've received complaints about an Aggressive Panhandler," he said, "Have you seen anything?"  "You just missed him," I responded, "But I have some photos that might interest you.  Here he is last week, begging for a cup of coffee ... Here he is on Monday, Laughing Maniacally ... Here's a nice shot of him in repose ..."  "That's fine," interrupted the Officer, "I know who he is, we'll keep an eye out."  "Good," I responded, "By the way, you might want to try running a Google Search on Jittery Nutcase ...!"

Thursday, May 8, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Sicko Brothers -- "Sammy" and "Sid" -- a formidable pair who specialize in loudly discussing every conceivable ailment in a three-mile radius of 7th and Montana.  Want to know about Lennie's Lumbago?  Carole's Chemo?  Helen's Halitosis?  Just ask the Sicko Brothers.  They leave no Gallstone unturned.  Whenever I find myself sitting near the Sickos, I try to tune them out.  However, yesterday -- somewhere between Nancy's Knee Caps and Davie's Diarrhea -- I had my fill and fled the scene as fast as my legs could carry me.  Call it Restless Leg Syndrome ...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008



Excitement was brewing at 7th and Montana this morning and if you don't believe me, just ask Baristas Trina and Amanda.  "Have you heard the news,?" said Trina, "Natalie is expecting another baby!"  "Yes, I've heard," I responded, "Isn't it great?  Baby Helena is going to be a sister!"  Trina, herself more than 8-months pregnant, looked at me expectantly.  "So, have you put it in the Blog, yet?," she asked.  "Well, err, not yet," I admitted.  A brief, Pregnant Pause ensued, during which I could almost feel my News Judgement being called into question.  "I'll mention it today," I promised, and went outside to lick my wounds.  Moments later, Greg, Natalie and Helena walked by.  "Word is spreading," I told them, "Everyone in Starbucks is talking about your Big News!"  "I know," said Greg proudly.  "By the way, they were asking if it's in the Blog yet ..."  So, remember, folks, you heard it here Second:  Please join me in congratulating Greg, Natalie and Helena and watch this space for further updates ...!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008



Make way for the Ring-A-Ding Kids!  A steady stream of Frank Sinatra Wannabees has invaded 7th and Montana in recent days, all dressed in a style best described as Rat Pack Retro.  "That's the sixth Fedora I've seen in two days," I said to no one in particular this morning as yet another Hep Cat strolled by.  Where do these "throwbacks" come from and where are they heading?  If they're looking for the Hollywood Canteen, they're 63 years late ...!

Monday, May 5, 2008



Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as an Artistic Vigilante arrived on the scene with copies of a Homemade Wanted Poster designed to help Authorities nab Our Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief.  "Wanted:  Paper Thief.  Steals the LA and NY Times from Starbucks at 7th and Montana ... Reward," read the Poster-in-Question.  Sadly, it had little effect.  "Look, there goes the Newspaper Thief," cried Amtech Jeff, pointing at a Gentleman who had just poked his head into Our Favorite Starbucks, reached into the Newspaper Bin and snagged a copy of the L.A. Times before our very eyes.  "Nope," I responded, "Wrong thief."  Moments later, the right thief arrived, but he, too, seemed unphased, despite the fact that the Artistic Vigilante even placed a copy of the Wanted Poster in the basket of his Getaway Bike.  As for me, I can't help wondering why Starbucks doesn't do something about this Constant Shoplifting.  Then, again, I guess if they're robbing you blind, you don't care so much about the Daily Newspaper, anymore ...!

Sunday, May 4, 2008



Top Hollywood Agent David knows better than anyone how to deal with Temperamental Talent ... but when it comes to negotiating with his Gigantic Newfoundland Retriever, Riptide, he could use some lessons from the Dog Whisperer.  The Dynamic Duo made the scene this morning at 7th and Montana and, as usual, Riptide "refused" to leave.  For the record, Riptide weighs-in at 170-pounds.  When he wants to stay put, he simply "plunks" himself down for the duration.  Last week, David had to "bribe" the Precocious Pooch with a Large Frozen Yogurt just to get him to move.  Today, however, he resorted to more Desperate Measures:  He called his Assistant who, moments later, pulled up in a Lexus to bring the dog home in True Hollywood Style ...!

Saturday, May 3, 2008



Suspicions were aroused this morning at 7th and Montana when an Anonymous Shutterbug arrived on the scene with a Hidden Spycam.  At precisely 9:07 a.m., the Shutterbug-in-Question -- a Male Caucasian in his Mid-Twenties with Dark Hair, wearing a Black Barney's Beanery T-Shirt, Blue Jeans and a Baseball Cap -- pulled into Our Favorite Parking Lot, glanced around as if to avoid detection, and began taking photo after photo of the Unsuspecting Crowd.  At 9:08, he shifted position, running across 7th Street where he continued his Covert Operation.  At 9:10, he snuck back into his car -- a Silver Mercedes CLK 350, California License #5ZGA241 -- and took off.  I, for one, am outraged by this Obvious Invasion of Our Privacy.  What's the world coming to if you can't even drink a cup of coffee in Peace without some Looky-Loo pointing a camera at you ...?!?

Friday, May 2, 2008



Quick, call the Unibrow Institute:  One of their inmates has escaped and he's raising more than a few eyebrows at 7th and Montana!  The fun began this morning when a man sporting the largest Unibrow I've ever seen walked into Our Favorite Starbucks and ordered a cappuccino.  "Wow," I thought, reaching for my camera, "That's the most impressive Eyebrow I've ever seen."  Just when I was about to get the perfect photo, however, I was caught in the act.  "You're not actually taking a picture of that man's eyebrow, are you?!?," asked one onlooker.  "Of course not," I replied, "I only go for High-Brow Entertainment ...!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008



It was "Lights, Camera, Action" this morning at 7th and Montana as Barista Tyler regaled the crowd with tales from the Hollywood Trenches.  The Eager Beaver Barista spent 12 hours yesterday working as an Extra on the set of Grey's Anatomy, rubbing shoulders with the likes of "Katie" Heigl, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey.  Of course, Tyler is no stranger when it comes to dealing with celebrities.  Just last week, he served-up a cappuccino to Arsenio Hall"It was great," said Tyler, "I asked him, 'So what have you been doing these days?' and he looked me right in the eye and said, 'Drinking Coffee' ...!"