Tuesday, September 30, 2008



It was History in the Making today at 7th and Montana as word spread that Barista Nada is celebrating her Ten-Year Anniversary with Our Favorite Starbucks.  That's ten years of grinding beans, serving pastries and smiling in the face of adversity.  "It's been ten years," said Nada, beaming, "Can you imagine?!?"  "Congratulations," I replied, though I couldn't help wondering what Starbucks Corporate in Seattle does to reward such Hard Work and Loyalty.  Something tells me the answer is ... "Nada."

Monday, September 29, 2008



If you're wondering whatever happened to those "Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer," look no further than 7th and Montana.  An Anonymous Barista caused a stir this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks by simply standing near the Pastry Counter and doing little else.  "Isn't it strange?," said one onlooker, "He's just standing there, leaning against the counter, almost as if he's waiting for something."  Moments later, the Barista, as if in answer to our question, announced in a loud voice, "I'm waiting for Oatmeal Lids."  Frankly, the whole incident was enough to make me Flip my Lid.  Why pay someone perfectly good money to wait for Oatmeal Lids when rumor has it there's a whole shipment of Apple Fritters on the way ...!

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Kathy dropped a Bombshell on the crowd at 7th and Montana this morning when she confided that she has struck up an acquaintance with the Local Eccentric known as "the Unabomber."  Famous for what can only be described as a wardrobe inspired by Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber is a fixture at Our Favorite Starbucks.  Every morning, he walks up and down 7th Street wearing a Tactical Assault Vest with rolls of duct tape strapped to each wrist.  Now, at last, his story can be told.  "He's working out," said Kathy, who met up with him at Blockbuster Video, "He straps weights to himself -- instead of bombs -- and calls it the best cardiovascular workout money can buy."  While the Police and others routinely remind him of his resemblance to the Unabomber, he prefers to be called "Steve."  As for me, based on Kathy's lengthy description, I still can't help thinking he's the slightest bit Bombastic ...!

Saturday, September 27, 2008



It was a Bittersweet Moment at 7th and Montana this morning as word that Barista Robb -- long known for his ability to mix quality cappuccinos with a touch of local gossip -- is "retiring" from Our Favorite Starbucks.  "I like it here," he said, "But it's time to move on."  Robb has no regrets.  Thanks to the connections he's made at Starbucks, he is pursuing his dream of working in movie and television production and has been hired for projects with Leslie Iwerks Productions and E! Entertainment Television.  Robb's last day at 7th and Montana is October 4.  No word yet on how Starbucks is replacing him, but I plan to pop an idea in the Suggestion Box:  "Candidate must be willing to Dish Dirt.  Proficiency with Camera Phones is a plus ...!"

Friday, September 26, 2008



Heads were turning at 7th and Montana this morning as Gal-about-Town Sarah made the scene in a Snazzy, New Toyota Camry.  Indeed, her car was a Big Hit in more ways than one:  She backed it into a Pedestrian while trying to maneuver her way into the Parking Lot from Hell.  "Oops," she said, peeking out the driver's side window, "Did I just hit something?"  "It was nothing," I replied, "Just a Pedestrian."  The man she hit -- a Nincompoop in his Mid-Thirties -- was sitting precariously near the "strike zone" behind Our Favorite Starbucks.  When he saw Sarah's car approaching, he simply smiled and leaned forward, allowing the Camry to hit his chair with a Satisfying Crunch.  In the end, no one was hurt but the incident did leave me wondering:  What happened to Sarah's old car and why haven't we seen hide nor hair of the Jittery Nutcase for two months ...?

Thursday, September 25, 2008



A funny thing happened at 7th and Montana this morning.  While dozens of Unsuspecting Customers were getting wired at Our Favorite Starbucks, a team of workers toiled underground to get everyone unwired.  Specifically, they removed miles of copper wires that criss cross the neighborhood.  "Now that Verizon has installed Fiber Optics, no one needs the Old Copper Wires anymore," said one of the workers, "So we're ripping everything out!"  Evidently, Verizon was forced to pay taxes on the Old Network whether they used it or not, so they came up with an ingenious solution:  They're selling their used wires to China.  Now that's what I call digging for China ...!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



Traffic stopped at 7th and Montana this morning as a Local Eccentric known as "the Boy Named Sue" took a brief, rush hour stroll down the center of 7th Street.  Last seen on July 31st sporting a pair of Fuzzy, Blue Slippers and a Bright, Red Handbag, Sue today unveiled a Bold, New Look.  He was wearing a miniskirt and a pair of Perky, New Breasts.  "Now I've seen everything," said a man sitting at the table next to mine, "I hope you got a picture of that!"  "Not to worry," I replied, "I got all the photographic evidence I need."  Afterall, someone has to keep the neighborhood abreast ...!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008



It was Death in Venice today -- of Kathy's pride -- as she took a nasty spill while riding her bike in Venice Beach.  While she banged up her knee pretty badly, she simply jumped back on her bike and pedaled her way to 7th and Montana, where she drowned her sorrows in caffeine and covered her knee in ice.  Tomorrow she goes horseback riding at Griffith Park.  Now that's what I call Fortitude ...! 

Monday, September 22, 2008



Shiver Me Timbers and Swab the Poopdeck!  A Dead Ringer for the Gorton's of Gloucester Fisherman made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning ... and something tells me had more than Frozen Fish Sticks on his mind.  Indeed, he seemed strangely fixated on Genevieve.  While Genevieve went about her business, reading the newspaper and waving at friends, the Fisherman weighed anchor at a table nearby and gave her what can only be described as an Uninterrupted Fish Eye.  By the time she left for work, he seemed completely hooked.  And why not?  Everyone knows that Genevieve's a Great Catch ...!

Sunday, September 21, 2008



It was a Peter, Paul and Scary revival at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Songbird made the scene, intent on serenading the crowd whether we liked it or not.  There was just one problem:  She couldn't carry a tune.  The fun began when the crew at Starbucks started playing a medley of 60's tunes over the sound system.  At first, the Songbird seemed content merely to hum along but, moments later, she started screeching the lyrics to "If I Had a Hammer."  "Good God," I thought, "Now I know why they invented Ear Plugs."  As for the Songbird, I admire her courage but she can be grateful no one at 7th and Montana actually had a hammer ...!

Saturday, September 20, 2008



Make way for the "Power-Packed Super Fruits!"  Local Singer/Actress/Entrepreneur  Susan made the scene today at 7th and Montana with an interesting proposition:  "How would you like to go to a MonaVie Party?," she asked.  For those who haven't heard, MonaVie is a new Vitamin Drink filled with "a blend of 19 Power-Packed Super-Fruits," all designed to boost your health and energy levels.  Susan recently signed-on to become a MonaVie Distributor, meaning that she's been hosting Tasting Parties all over town.  "Sorry, but I'm trying to keep my schedule free," I explained, "With all the travel I've been doing lately, I just want to avoid any obligations these days."  "No problem," she said, slipping me a MonaVie Information Sheet, "I can bring the party to you ... We'll have a MonaVie Party next week right here at 7th and Montana!"  I've got to hand it to Susan ... she's among the most Determined, Resourceful and Downright Energetic people I know.  It must be all the MonaVie ...!

Friday, September 19, 2008



Heads were turning at 7th and Montana this morning as a Chauffeured Town Car delivered a Dead Ringer for King Farouk into our midst.  "All Hail the High Potentate of Coffee," I said, as the Gentleman-in-Question marched imperiously into Our Favorite Starbucks.  "Yikes," said Richard, "He must get his wardrobe at the Santa Monica Tent and Construction Company."  Strangely enough, the man seemed to disappear moments after entering Starbucks.  By the time he finally emerged -- more than fifteen minutes later -- his Chauffeur was pacing nervously up and down 7th Street.  Inside Sources suggest he was on the Throne ...!

Thursday, September 18, 2008



Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as Ace Photographer Kovar made the scene with a cell phone.  "Tell me," he said as he was attempting to send someone a text message, "How would you abbreviate Starbucks?"  "Bucks," I responded, shocked to see Kovar using a cell phone, even if it did look like he pulled it out of moth balls.  "I hate these things," he said, "You can never hear anyone half the time, the reception is always so bad."  I agreed, but couldn't help wondering whether Kovar, like the rest of us, will become addicted.  Who knows, maybe he'll start using a Blackberry.  Then, again, something tells me he's strictly a One-Celled animal ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



Quick, call Pokey, the Octogenarian Security Guard at 7th and Montana!  A crime so heinous has taken place at Our Favorite Starbucks that news of it reached me clear across the Atlantic.  It seems that an Anonymous Evildoer has pelted Julie, Assistant Manager Extraordinaire, with a Chocolate Cupcake.  Who could sink so low?  The list of suspects is as long as the line at Starbucks during the morning rush.  While the nature of the crime has led some to suspect the Jittery Nutcase, local authorities have already ruled him out as a suspect.  "The Nutcase specializes in throwing Hot Chocolate," said a source close to the situation, "Cupcakes aren't his style."  Rumor has it this may have been an "inside job."  As for me, I'm rushing home to launch an investigation of my own!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Once again, welcome to "Shock that Yankee," the exciting online gameshow that proves once and for all that if you look hard enough, you can find strange and bizarre behavior wherever you go.  Playing is easy.  Just guess which one of the photographs above came from 7th and Montana.  The rest are from various cities in the Netherlands.  (1)  A shop that specializes in Snot;  (2)  A woman with a Princess Leia fixation;  (3)  A Coffee Joint that serves Joints;  (4)  A Cafe that serves Nasty Coffee;  (5)  "Sissy-Boy" Incorporated;  and (6) A Disheveled Doomsday Prophet. 

Monday, September 15, 2008


Ladies and Gentlemen, It's time to play "Shock that Yankee," the all-new online game show that asks the musical question, "Which of these things belong at 7th and Montana?"  Every day, our team of experts scours the Netherlands for items of interest.  Some might be found at 7th and Montana.  Others are Uniquely Dutch.  You get to decide which is which.  Tonight's items include:  (1)  The Museum of Sex(2)  The Museum of Vodka(3)  A Hangout for "Sappies and Shakies";  (4, 5) A Sidewalk Chocolatier specializing in White and Dark Chocolate Penises, Vaginas and Breasts;  and (6)  A Cancerous Lump masquerading as a Pastry.  Go ahead, send in your entries.  Winner gets a Big Surprise.  And remember to tune-in tomorrow for another exciting Chance to Win ...!

Sunday, September 14, 2008



One of the things I've always liked about visiting the Netherlands is that the people here are so down to Earth.  I couldn't resist confiding this to my friends Marijke and Sander yesterday as we took a walk through the Rembrandtplein. "It's so nice to get away from the Hollywood Razzmatazz for a few days," I said.  Moments later, as if on cue, a Chauffeured Range Rover pulled up beside me, nearly knocking me to the ground.  The door opened and out popped a Beautiful Blonde Woman.  A Camera Crew appeared out of nowhere and a crowd quickly gathered around us.  Photographers began shouting "Hanna, Hanna ... Over Here!"  "Who's Hanna?," I asked my friends, as we backed away from the commotion.  "I have no idea," said Marijke.  "You see," said Sander, "We have celebrities, too, but no one's ever heard of them!"  Moments later, it all became clear.  We were standing in front of the Tuschinski Theater during the premiere of a Dutch Film, De Zeven van Daran: De Strijd om Pareo Rots.  The actress was none other than Supermodel Hanna Verboom.  Hanna is perhaps best known for her starring role last year in the Crowd-Pleasing Comedy Deuce Bigalow European Gigolo ... an appearance that no doubt made her career go "Verboom" in more ways than one!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


It was a rousing game of "Fun with Fatima" this morning at the Starbucks in Amsterdam as I arrived on the scene just in time to put the local Baristas, including Fatima, to the test.  There are only two Starbucks locations in the Netherlands, both at the airport in Amsterdam, so whenever I'm here, I make it a point to order my usual Grande Half Caff.  Invariably, the Baristas are stumped.  "A Half Caff is what Starbucks in the U.S. calls a simple drip coffee with half caffeinated, half decaffeinated coffee," I explained to a Confused Fatima.  "What?," she asked, "You want something mixed?"  In the end, the Baristas are always happy to make what I want but it's fascinating to watch them scramble to figure it out.  After I finished my Half Caff, I trekked over to one of my favorite cities, Utrecht, where I'm staying.  Utrecht dates back to 50 BC and you can see the history -- from the Roman times onwards -- reflected in its architecture.  The city is dominated by "the dom," a 368-foot church tower constructed in the 1300s, surrounded by a series of canals, shops and restaurants.  This morning a Marching Band stood near its base playing what sounded like a Dutch rendition of "You're a Grand, Old Flag."  Anyway, I'm here in the Netherlands for a series of meetings in Amsterdam and Eindhoven.  Utrecht is between the two and makes the perfect "jumping off point ..." 

Friday, September 12, 2008



Suspicions ran high at 7th and Montana yesterday as an Anonymous Bumpkin made the scene, intent on loitering in front of Our Favorite Starbucks.  He stood by a table near me for about ten minutes, nearly motionless, clinging to a file folder he kept by his side.  He didn't go into Starbucks.  He wasn't waiting for a ride.  He just stood there, gazing at the Montana West Hair Salon across the street.  "Perhaps he's looking for a job," I thought, "Something he can really sink his teeth into."  My suspicions were confirmed when, without warning, he reached into his file folder, pulled out some Dental Floss and began cleaning his teeth.  Moments later, he disappeared, leaving a trail of floss in his wake ...!

Thursday, September 11, 2008



Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that our Friendly, Neighborhood Bearded Dragon, Sophia, got a Clean Bill of Health.  According to Susan, who brought the Beloved Reptile to the VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital yesterday, Sophia was simply suffering from a Case of Cold Feet.  "I need to keep her warmer," said Susan, "Her basking place needs to be kept at a temperature around 80 degrees."  In fact, not only did Sophia's Physician, Dr. Anne Dueppen, say that Sophia was in Tip Top condition, she also called her "quite cute and sweet."  "I guess Sophia really just likes to be hot," said Susan, cheerfully, "Then, again, don't we all ...!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008



It was a Warm "Welcome Home" today at Our Favorite Starbucks as Howard and Cathy made the scene, fresh from their Summer Sojourn in Vail, Colorado.  Actually, in Howard's case, the welcome was more than just warm ... it was Piping Hot.  Friend Fernando was so happy to see Howard that he ran up behind him and surprised him -- mid-sip -- with a Big Bear Hug, setting off a Chain Reaction that caused Howard's coffee cup to erupt like Mount Vesuvius.  Of course, that was nothing compared to the explosion Howard and Cathy left behind them in Colorado where one of the buildings they own caught fire.  Fortunately, no one died in the two-alarm blaze, but someone should have a serious talk with the Mysterious Resident of Unit 212 who presumably skipped school on the day they explained what happens when you combine a lit cigarette with Propane Gas and an Oxygen Tank ...  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008



It was a sad day at 7th and Montana as word spread this morning that Sophia, Our Friendly Neighborhood Bearded Dragon, is gravely ill.  "She looks terrible," said Susan, "She's all skin and bones ... She hasn't been drinking her water or eating her greens.  At this point, I'm just feeding her Live Crickets to keep her going."  Known for basking in the sun -- and the limelight -- at Our Favorite Starbucks, Sophia has become something of a Local Celebrity, attracting a following ranging from California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger to children of all ages.  News of her illness prompted much local speculation.  "She's lovesick," said Kathy, a former Clinical Psychologist, "Her eggs have all dried up and she's scaling back her activities."  Sophia was last seen on Sunday afternoon, perched atop a table in front of Starbucks, mere steps from the Apple Fritter display ...

Monday, September 8, 2008



It was a touch of Shakespeare this morning at 7th and Montana as an Attractive Woman known among insiders as "Juliet" made the scene with "Romeo," her High-Strung Pekingese Pup.  No need to ask wherefore art this Romeo, however.  Juliet keeps him in her purse.  This morning, in a rare break with tradition, Romeo flew the coop.  He poked his head out of the purse, yapped up a storm and jumped onto the sidewalk, scaring an Adorable, Three-Year-Old Girl in the process.  "Mommy, mommy," cried the Little Girl, running to my table for safety, "It's a Scary Dog!"  I waited for the mother to calm the little girl down before offering-up an explanation.  "I know it must have been frightening for your daughter to see a dog jump out of that woman's purse, but that's nothing," I whispered to the Little Girl's Mother, "You should see where she keeps her husband ...!"

Sunday, September 7, 2008



They say that Crime does Not Pay ... but just try telling that to the Notorious Newspaper Thief, a Repeat Offender known for stealing the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times at 7th and Montana.  Back in March, the Newspaper Thief was caught on camera stealing newspapers from Our Favorite Starbucks and high-tailing it away on his Getaway Bike.  In April, he was again caught red-handed, thanks to the efforts of a Mysterious Vigilante who plastered the neighborhood with "Wanted Posters" seeking a reward for his capture.  Now, five months later, the Newspaper Thief has resurfaced, this time at the Starbucks in Pacific Palisades.  "I guess he thought no one would recognize him outside of Santa Monica," said a source close to the situation, "But he wasn't banking on the Power of the Internet."  The Thief was again caught on camera, this time by Jackie who sent the photo to Robb to send to Robin to send to me.  Let this be a lesson to Newspaper Thieves, everywhere:  You can run, but you cannot hide ...!   

Saturday, September 6, 2008



It was a Perfect Day for Perfect Oatmeal at 7th and Montana this morning as I decided to put Starbucks' Controversial, New Breakfast Cereal to the test.  The commotion started as soon as I placed my order.  "Marty's ordering the Oatmeal!," cried Barista Amanda.  "I'll go grab the fixin's!," said Barista Robb.  "I'll start harvesting the Oats," said Barista Tyler.  Moments later, there it was:  A steaming, cardboard container of Oatmeal topped with dried fruit, nuts and brown sugar.  The Peanut Gallery was quick to chime-in.  "It's just a bowl of Hot Mush," observed Screenwriter Nat, "I can't stand Hot Mush ... Cold Mush is one thing, but Hot Mush is something else!"  I stared at the Mush, allowing it to cool, while passersby offered-up various other opinions.  "I'm sure all the fruits and nuts make it better," said Joyce, charitably.  "Trust me," said an Anonymous Insider, "It's just a bag of Instant Oatmeal -- nothing special -- you could make it the same way at home!"  By this point, my Oatmeal had congealed into distinctive lumps under a blanket of dried fruit.  How did it taste?  Delicious ...!

Friday, September 5, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Snoring Nora, my seatmate aboard United Flight #227 from Denver to Los Angeles.  I knew Nora was trouble from the moment she sat down.  "Miss!," she called to the Flight Attendant shortly after take-off, "I'd like two Beers and an Apple Juice."  She drank the beers at supersonic speed and then reached for her purse, which appeared to be filled to the brim with Trail Mix.  "Want some?" she asked, spitting a half-chewed pecan in my direction.  "No thanks," I replied, "I just ate."  The next thing I knew, she dropped her book -- a Harlequin Romance entitled Julia:  La Noche Mas Bella -- into my lap.  Was she trying to tell me something?  I doubt it.  She was sound asleep and snoring louder than a Jet Propulsion Engine ...!

Thursday, September 4, 2008



The Democratic National Convention may be over, but you wouldn't know it from the continued hoopla here in Denver, where I arrived yesterday for a home entertainment trade show.  From the moment I checked-in to my hotel, the Hyatt Regency, I felt like I was walking in the shadow of Barak Obama.  Everywhere you look -- from the coffee shop to the hotel lobby -- you are surrounded by Barak Obama merchandise for sale.  I couldn't resist asking the Nice Lady at the hotel's "Altitude Restaurant" for a little inside information:

Me:  What's with all the Barak Obama merchandise?  Did he stay here during the Convention?

Nice Lady:  No.  He stayed at the Westin ...

Me:  Oh, I guess you just really, really like him.  How about Hilary ... did she stay here?

Nice Lady:  No.  She stayed at the Ritz-Carlton.

Me:  You can't win them all.

Nice Lady (whispers):  They did come here for Breakfast.  They ate upstairs.

Me:  Really?  What did they order?

Nice Lady:  I don't know.

Me:  Let me guess ... "Perfect Oatmeal?"

Nice Lady:  I don't know!

Me:  Apple Fritters?

Nice Lady:  I don't know!

Me:  I give up, then.  Good luck with the Obama T-Shirt sales!

Nice Lady:  Would you like to be seated?

Me:  No, thanks ... I've already had room service.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008



Step aside, Quaker Oats Man, there's a new Oatmeal in town.  Starbucks unveiled its very own "Perfect Oatmeal" today in an announcement that caused quite a stir at 7th and Montana.  "What will they think of next?," I asked, leafing through a brochure that describes the Oatmeal as one of "the wholesome, delicious foods you've been asking for."  I must admit, I haven't been asking for Perfect Oatmeal -- and didn't have time to sample it today -- but I promised Barista Nada I'd give it a try in the near future.  "Look what it comes with," she cooed, "A Fruit and Nut Medley!"  Just what we need at 7th and Montana ...!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008



Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana yesterday as a Yankee Doodle Dandy made the scene, sporting a Red, White and Blue Top Hat, a Matching Baggy Outfit and Sparkling Silver Sneakers.  "It was Bizarre," said one witness, "He looked like a cross between Uncle Sam and the Cat-in-the Hat.  If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that Dr. Seuss threw-up on him!"  The Doodle Dandy seemed oblivious to the fact that all eyes were on him.  He walked through Starbucks like a Zombie on Parade, boarded a "Big, Blue Bus" and was last seen heading towards Pacific Palisades where, rumor has it, he stuck a Fritter in his cap and called it Macaroni ...!

Monday, September 1, 2008



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Surly Shirley," the scourge of the United Airlines check-in desk at Boston's Logan Airport.  Shirley specializes in making Frequent Flyers feel like Pond Scum ... and here's how she does it.  First, she stares at you as if you are beneath contempt.  Then, without saying a word, she gestures to one of the Self-Service Kiosks that allow travelers to check themselves in.  Finally, as if to say "You're on your own, Moron," she glares at you and storms off.  I put Shirley to the test this afternoon when I checked-in for my flight back to Los Angeles.  "Excuse me," I said, as she tried her best to ignore me, "Nothing against your Computers, but I prefer to deal with an Actual Human Being."  Believe it or not, she continued ignoring me for an additional five minutes until finally one of her colleagues stepped-in to help me out.  This, I might add, was at the "Premium" Check-in Area United reserves for its most Frequent Flyers.  As I was leaving, I went up to Shirley, smiled broadly and commended her for her Outstanding Service.  She looked at me, dumbfounded, as if to say ... "Surly, You Jest ...!"