Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "The Schlub," an unscrupulous nerr-do-well who threw caution -- and his shirt -- to the wind at Our Favorite Starbucks this weekend. Granted, 7th and Montana isn't far from the beach, but people just don't go around shirtless. Not since Boobs Mahoney has there been such a blatant and disgusting display of what some people like to call Moobs. For the record: Man + Boobs = Moobs.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Heads were turning -- if not rolling -- this morning at 7th and Montana as a pair of Worker-Bees got a surprise visit from their Boss. "Oh, no," one of them yelled, trying to duck under their table, "It can't be, it just can't be ...!" I looked at him, astonished and he explained, "I just spotted our boss and he's heading this way." "It's still early," I explained, "The workday hasn't even started yet, don't worry!" Moments later, a Black Porsche pulled-up and out popped "the Boss," an unassuming British Gentlemen who looked like he was trying to play the part of a Hollywood Mogul. "Howdy, mates," he said, "Fancy meeting you here." "We were just discussing work," said one of the employees, turning to me for support. "You betcha," I chimed-in, "Work, work, work ... that's all these guys were talking about. You're lucky to have a pair of employees like this." As I left, I couldn't help overhearing the Boss explain that layoffs were afoot in several "field offices." No wonder they were trying to lay low ...!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Make way for the Queasy Rider: Robb surprised the crowd at 7th and Montana this morning by arriving on a motorcycle. "Wow!," I shouted, "I didn't know you rode!" "I've had it for a couple of years now," Robb said, "Every time I ride it, I'm reminded of how much easier it is to get through traffic." I'm sure Robb saves a bundle on Gas, too. His License Plate reads: I POOTED. As for the engine, I hear it's silent but deadly ...!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


It was "politics, politics" at 7th and Montana this morning as Our Favorite City Councilman -- pictured above at last year's Democratic National Convention with Sis, Maria -- addressed growing speculation that he'll run for California State Attorney General next year. "So what's it going to be?," I asked, "Are you running?" "Well, I'm seriously considering it," he said, "But at the moment I'm sort of leaning against it." The fact is, Bobby just had a baby recently and the prospect of all that time away from home isn't necessarily appealing. "Tell you what," I said, "If you throw your hat into the ring, I'll be your 7th and Montana Campaign Manager." "Right," he laughed, "If I lose this Starbucks it will be all your fault!" I didn't have the heart to tell him that the last candidate who made me his "Starbucks Precinct Manager" suffered a humiliating defeat three years ago in his bid for State Assembly.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as a Dead Ringer for "Norman," the Henry Fonda character in the Academy Award winning movie On Golden Pond made the scene. "The resemblance is uncanny," I said, as he walked by with his grandson -- otherwise known locally as Tyrannosaurus Boy -- in tow. What's an "Old Poop" like Norman doing at Our Favorite Starbucks? The same thing as me, I guess: Watching the Loons ...!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


It was a quiet morning at 7th and Montana today. In fact, it was almost too quiet. The sun was shining, people were smiling and, wherever you turned, the conversation was flowing as freely as the coffee. "This is unacceptable," I muttered after nearly eight minutes, "Someone, for the love of God, do something Zany!" And then, there it was, like a bolt out of the blue, Deliverance. An Anonymous Hillbilly made the scene carrying a bag of garbage in one hand and hoisting a guitar over his shoulder with the other. "Cover me, I'm going in for a close-up," I announced. "Be careful," warned Joyce, "He might use that guitar as a weapon." Seriously, what's the world coming to when we have to live in fear of Deadly Guitars? What's next, Dueling Banjos ...?!?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It's tax season, folks, and you know what that means: "The Accountant," known for spreading out his clients' personal files all over Our Favorite Starbucks, is up to his eyeballs in paperwork. What this guy lacks in office space, he makes up for in Chutzpah ...!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The air in Bel Air just got a bit more pungent thanks to a Mysterious Motorist who stopped his car tonight on the right, West-bound lane of Sunset Blvd., not far from the West Gate to Bel Air, and urinated copiously into the shrubbery of the rich and famous. The suspect, a Hispanic Man in his mid-fifties, was wearing a beige jacket, slacks and a baseball cap and driving a gray Honda Civic (California License #5VXA749). His rear bumper was held in place with white duct tape. He was last seen at 6:45 p.m. heading Southwest on Crescenda Street in Brentwood. He's wanted by authorities for a variety of Penal Code violations including: 288 (Lewd Conduct), 311 (Indecent Exposure) and 374 (Illegal Dumping).


It was Pennies from Heaven this morning as Barista Amanda seemed surprised at the exact change I handed her for my Grande Half Caff and the Los Angeles Times. The fact that I'd pay using exact change didn't phase her, but she seemed strangely mesmerized by one of my pennies. She looked at it for several minutes before finally handing it back to me. "What's this?!?," she asked. "I thought it was a penny," I said, "Was I wrong?" "Well, I don't know," she said, "It sure doesn't look like any penny I've seen!" In the end, she put it in the cash register, anyway. We both decided it was close enough. Later, I looked it up on the Internet and found out what it was: A brand, new One-Cent Redesign featuring the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky.

Monday, March 23, 2009

THE CAT'S MEOW ... AT 30,000 FEET!

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Cat Stevens," the Crazy Cat sitting across from me tonight on my flight back to L.A. At first glance, he seemed like a run-of-the-mill business traveler -- perhaps a tad eccentric given that he boarded the flight clutching a "Mary Poppins"-style carpet bag covered with embroidered flowers -- but otherwise harmless. A closer look closer, however, revealed the unmistakable signs of a Purrfectly Certifiable Lunatic. I knew something was up as soon as someone tried to sit in the seat next to him. "This seat is taken!," he hissed, placing his carpet bag on the seat next to him and eyeing it protectively. Moments later, a series of high-pitched moans and whines began to emanate from the bag. "Cat" tried his best to mask the sounds with his jacket, but it was all to no avail. The cat was out of the bag, so to speak. It was an Orange Tabby and it didn't seem too happy to be flying the friendly skies. In fact, it urinated somewhere over the Great Lakes. What was this guy doing traveling with his beloved cat? Rumor has it they're eloping to Kathmandu ...!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Eyes were popping at the Au Bon Pain near Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital as a Surgeon in Scrubs made the scene, scrutinized the Pastry Display and took copious notes in a Mysterious Clipboard. "What's he doing?," I wondered as I watched him inspect a particularly appealing Glazed Cinnamon Roll, "Drumming-up future business?!?" Then I looked at the prices and was relieved to see a Cardiac Surgeon on the premises. Au Bon Pain is the closest thing to a Starbucks near my father's hospital room. No doubt the Good Doctor was inspecting the premises for any signs of an Apple Fritter ...!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


It turns out that my father isn't the only one in the family keeping the doctors busy these days. My nephew, Jackson, now 18-months, went in for a check-up this week, during which an Enterprising Young Medical student was called-in to test his vocabulary. The Medical Student began by pointing at various parts of Jackson's body and asking him to name them. He worked his way from eyes, ears, nose and mouth to arms, hands and fingers. He continued on to feet, toes, knees and legs and finally worked his way back up to Jackson's personal favorite, the belly button. The Medical Student, satisfied with Jackson's progress, jotted a few notes on his notepad and prepared to go along his merry way. But to Jackson, at least, it was clear that the student needed an anatomy lesson of his own. "Penis!," Jackson yelled with a mischievous smile, "Under diaper! ... And Tushy, too!"

Friday, March 20, 2009


Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and good thoughts. My father's operation went well today. The doctor said that immediately following the operation my father's heart was already beating more strongly than before, and the prognosis is great. I think now he really is on the road to recovery ... a road that will likely take several months but he'll be better off for it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


It was a sad day at 7th and Montana as Barista Tyler resorted to begging for inclusion in my blog. "Please, please, please put me in your blog again, Marty," he said. Evidently, Tyler -- as aspiring actor -- comes from the "any publicity is good publicity" school of thought. Who knows, perhaps my blog will give him his big break? On a more somber note, speaking of begging, I am begging for prayers. My father is in the hospital for heart surgery and I am on my way to Boston to be with him. Please keep him in your prayers and thoughts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Heads were turning and stomachs were churning at 7th and Montana this morning as an "Illustrated Man" made the scene, covered in some of the most unusual tattoos I've ever seen. My favorite, pictured above, was the image of what looked like an Anorexic Woman smoking a cigarette running down the back of his left leg. I wonder what would happen if we called the City of Santa Monica's No Smoking Hotline on him ...!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Blarney Rubble," a frequent visitor to 7th and Montana who made the scene this morning with mischief in mind. He was wearing a hat suggesting that he went to Baghdad University. "That's some cap you have there," I snorted, "What did you major in, Weapons of Mass Destruction?!?" "Well," Blarney replied, "A friend of mine had this hat made for me as a joke. I also have one suggesting that I'm the Dean of the University!" Evidently, spelling isn't a priority at Baghdad U. If you look closely at the hat (pictured above), you'll notice that Blarney's friend misspelled the word "Baghdad." Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Folks breathed a collective sigh of relief this morning as a local Emergency Medical Technician brought us up-to-speed on the latest "brush with death" at 7th and Montana. Evidently, just days after the grisly discovery of a corpse in our midst, a local pedestrian was struck by a car. "Fortunately, it wasn't anything major," I overheard the EMT explaining to an attractive young woman, "This guy was just hit by a car, that's all." I couldn't resist interjecting. "Did I just hear you say someone was hit by a car?!?," I asked. The EMT looked at me suspiciously. "Yes, but it just grazed him, that's all," he replied, "He was obviously a drunk, unsteady on his feet ... He said all he needed to steady himself would be a pint of whiskey!" Is it my imagination, or is Our Favorite Starbucks fast becoming a Half Caff Halfway House ...?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, make way for the Samurai Swiller, the latest addition to the cast of characters at Our Favorite Starbucks. "Sammy," as I like to call him, made the scene this morning in full Samurai regalia. And why not? Nothing goes better with a Black Belt than a nice belt of steaming Pike's Place Blend. Hey, Sammy, if you're looking for Mothra, rumor has it she's hanging out at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Wilshire these days ...!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


It was a quiet morning at 7th and Montana. The so-called "marine layer," a thin shroud of fog that sometimes permeates the area, kept the weather cool but comfortable, the scent of jasmine perfumed the air, and folks seemed content just to relax and watch the world go by. Perhaps that's why no one noticed that a Corpse was sitting in our midst. Yes, friends, evidently that man sitting at the Bus Stop all morning wasn't just waiting for Line 1 to Venice Beach. He was dead. I found out about it from Genevieve, who called -- moments after I had returned home from my morning coffee run -- to suggest that I head back to Starbucks to investigate. I was back on the scene within five-minutes. By that time, Police had cordoned-off the area and were directing pedestrians to walk around the corpse. Genevieve looked at me expectantly. "Didn't you notice anything peculiar this morning?," she asked. "Well," I responded, "Now that you mention it, his posture did seem unusually erect but otherwise, no, everything seemed pretty normal." Here are the facts, based on interviews with several eyewitnesses:

  • The man-in-question was evidently homeless. His identity has not yet been released;
  • Police discovered him late last night, very much alive, loitering around Starbucks. They asked him to leave;

  • The death was discovered at approximately 11:30 this morning by a Mysterious Newcomer, known among insiders as "The Loon" for his tendency to honk like a Canadian Goose at bicyclists and skateboarders;

  • "The Loon" (pictured below) brought the corpse to the attention of workers at the nearby Montana West Hair Salon, prompting one Brave Hair Stylist to hold a mirror in front of the man's mouth to see if he was breathing. He wasn't;

  • The Hair Stylist called the police at approximately 11:45; They responded within minutes.

  • The Coroner -- a woman in her mid-thirties -- arrived approximately 30-minutes later to investigate; She removed the body at precisely 1:04 p.m.

  • Inside sources report that "The Loon" claims he knew the deceased and that the man had only just been released from a nearby hospital after suffering from a serious ailment.

If you ask me, this last bit of information is the most tragic. If true, it suggests that health care practitioners quite possibly turned a homeless man out on the street yesterday to die. That he died at the Bus Stop at 7th and Montana, in full view of the Hoi Palloi at Our Favorite Starbucks, is the Ultimate Indignity.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Shhhhh ... don't tell Howard! There's a new Bagel Fiend in town and his strange fixation for Bagels makes Howard's Habit look like child's play. Let me explain: As everyone knows, Howard cannot start the day without his Perfectly Toasted Cinnamon Raisin Bagel from the Bagel Nosh of Beverly Hills. He and Cathy buy them in bulk and individually freeze, wrap and -- when necessary -- ship them wherever they go. If my calculations are correct, that means they've brought enough bagels with them on their flight to Colorado to occupy a Business Class seat. But that's nothing compared to the Bagel Fiend (pictured above) who, just this morning, proved once and for all that it is possible to borrow your table manners from Toontown. He didn't just eat his bagel. He carefully and methodically devoured it, taking tiny, ferocious bite after bite, working his way around the circumference of the Bagel in ever-diminishing circles. It was like watching Chip 'n Dale go nuts over a pile of acorns or Foghorn Leghorn attack an ear of corn. Rumor has it, as he swallowed the last morsel, he could be heard muttering "Abadi-abadi-abadi ... That's All Folks ...!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Hanna Montana," an attractive blond regular at Our Favorite Starbucks who might look familiar to some of you. I had the pleasure of meeting Hanna recently via some mutual friends, only to to get a 'terrible surprise.' "Don't you recognize me?," she asked, "I'm Pajama Girl!" My heart sunk. "Oh, no," I thought, "The jig is up!" Pajama Girl, you might recall, made the scene wearing her pajamas on January 21. At the time, something seemed suspicious: She glared at me every time I pulled out my camera phone, as if she knew exactly what I was up to. It turns out, she did. "Not only am I 'Pajama Girl,'" she continued, "But I'm also the lady who flipped her lid last year!" Sure enough, back on October 30, Hanna announced that she lost her top ... and I was right there to record the moment for posterity. God knows how many other times she's appeared in my blog. With my luck, she owns Casa del Bozo ...!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The Clean Air Act went up in smoke at 7th and Montana this morning, thanks to Barista David who lit up a Stogie in the parking lot behind Our Favorite Starbucks. "Yikes," I said, "Are you smoking?" "Yes," he replied, "It helps me deal with all the Crazy Characters around here!" I quickly put my cell phone away. "Crazies?!?," I asked, "What exactly do you mean?" "Oh, not you," he said, "I mean all the other Crazies." "I can imagine," I replied, "Still, that's no reason to light up a Cigar!" "It's not a Cigar," he corrected, "It's a Cigarillo!" Right ... and I guess smoking isn't a Dangerous Habit, it's a Peccadillo ...!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as "Anne O. Tate" -- the woman known for spreading newspapers and other paraphernalia across the Handicapped Table at Our Favorite Starbucks and carefully, painstakingly taking notes on every page -- made the scene. At least I think it was Anne. It's been so long since I've seen her that I couldn't be sure. Last spotted on June 21, 2007, Anne has become something of a Local Legend. She's obviously well-read and, pardon me for saying so, but about as detail-oriented as they come. Today she could be found carefully reading, and taking notes on, a Pink Slip of paper. Something tells me we'll be seeing more of Anne in the near future. Perhaps one day I'll get her full story ... the Annotated Version, of course!

Monday, March 9, 2009


It was a sign of the times this morning at 7th and Montana as an Anonymous Entrepreneur posted his version of a "help wanted" sign in front of Our Favorite Starbucks. "Earn CEO Income from Home!," the sign proclaimed. I decided to put the "opportunity" to the test by calling for more information, but all I got for my efforts was a recorded message. "This is the perfect, home-based opportunity," the message began. "You can earn $3,000 to $5,000 per week with no experience necessary ... all thanks to our Remarkable, Proven Marketing System!" Nowhere was there any mention of the name of the company or what the job entails. I left a message, using my very best Crotchety Curmudgeon voice. "Greetings," I croaked, "I'm so tired of stealing newspapers from Starbucks and riding a bike at my age doesn't do much for my Lumbago. I'm ready for a CEO salary. Please send me all the details!" The sad fact is, signs like this are popping-up all over the place and -- let's face it -- people are cutting back like never before. Why, just this morning Neighbor Robb made a Drastic Cutback of his own, slicing his pant-legs off above the ankle. "Interesting pants you have there," I said, sympathetically. "Don't you dare," he replied, casting a sideways glance towards my Camera Phone, "These are my Work Out pants!" Something tells me either Robb's been working out on the Flood Plains of Mozambique or he, too, could use a CEO salary ...!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Tension was mounting at 7th and Montana this morning as a Mysterious Space Cadet arrived on the scene wearing a Camouflage Hat with Ear Flaps. Evidently, his hat wasn't quite camouflaged enough. "Look out," quipped Bob, "His Ear Flaps are down ... He's coming in for a landing!" "That's not right," said Joyce, "You put your Flaps up when you come in for a landing." The debate raged on for some time, but the Space Cadet remained oblivious. He flew in and out of Starbucks faster than you can say "My Favorite Martian." For my part, I always thought that an airplane's flaps were "extended" when it lands ... but perhaps it's best to drop the subject. Something tells me we've had enough Flaps for one day ...!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Sneezy," the Unfortunate Newcomer at 7th and Montana whose allergy attack was nearly enough to summon the National Guard. You see, when this guy sneezes, he also emits a high-pitched scream, the sort of sound you'd expect from a Damsel in Distress ... at the Bates Motel. "Yikes," said one onlooker, "That's certainly a Unique Sneeze." "Correction," I replied, "It's a Eunuch Sneeze ...!"


Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that Ace Photographer Kovar finally bit the bullet and bought his very first Cell Phone. "I don't believe it," I said, as he whipped out an entry-level flip phone and pointed it in my direction., "I thought you said you'd never get a cell phone ... ever!" "Well," he explained, "I got one but I'm not giving anyone the number ... and I'll probably end up throwing it away in a few weeks, anyway." I couldn't help noticing that the phone was still wrapped in the manufacturer's protective plastic coating, though Kovar has obviously used it at least once. "I have a photo for your blog in here," he said proudly, "If I could just figure out how to get it out of the phone." I guess it goes without saying that Kovar has been dragged into the Digital Age kicking and screaming. Here, in his own words, are his views on some of the technologies that have changed our lives:
  • On Digital Photography: "It's crap. Pure crap. But if that's what my clients want, that's what they'll get."
  • On Television: "Why would anyone watch that garbage? I chucked mine out the window years ago. Why do you need it, anyway, when you have the radio?"
  • On Facebook: "I deleted everyone. What the hell do I care if someone else is walking down the street or whatever? And why would I want to know what all their lame friends are doing, too?!?"

Congratulations on your purchase, Kovar! What next, a Horseless Carriage?!?

Friday, March 6, 2009


There were Bats in the Belfry this morning at 7th and Montana as a Dead Ringer for Quasimodo made the scene, intent on scaring me out of my wits. Moments after I arrived at Our Favorite Starbucks, a hooded, hunch-backed figure shuffled right up to me, groaned and waved his arms in my direction. "Just what we need around here," I thought, carefully avoiding eye contact, "another Psychopath with a Grim Reaper Fixation!" That's when all hell broke loose. "Quasimodo" jumped right in front of me, ripped off his hood and yelled, "Alms for the Poor, Marty ...!" It was Barista Tyler in disguise. Tyler, it seems, was meeting-up with Neighbor Roderigo, a local equestrian and author of a new book on "Getting Rich Quick." The next thing I knew, the two of them jumped into Roderigo's Bentley Convertible and zipped off to Greener Pastures. Now that's what I call a Rags-to-Riches story ...!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Sorry that I haven't been able to post updates these past couple of days, but -- unfortunately -- I've been holed-up in meetings day and night. The good news is, my meetings are in a nice location, the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles and, for a change, I didn't have to go to Japan or some other destination. My Japanese colleagues all flew to Los Angeles this time. In fact, the highlight of my week so far has been a lengthy presentation from one of my Japanese colleagues entitled: "The Parameters of BS." Evidently, no one told him that the abbreviation "BS" means something else in the United States. Speaking of BS, Genevieve and Susan both win the prize for correctly guessing the identity of the Mystery Pop Star in our midst. It's none other than Screenwriter-Actor Eland ...!

Monday, March 2, 2009


The crowd at 7th and Montana was rocked this morning on news that one of "our own" is making inroads in the music industry with his own CD. Guess who?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Bells were ringing at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning as the Alarm System -- designed to warn employees of a problem with the pumps in the back room -- went off incessantly. "Sorry about the noise folks," said one insider, "The alarm is supposed to signal a potential plumbing problem but we don't have the keys to turn it off." Perhaps that's what prompted one Anonymous Local -- a man I like to call "Uri" -- to avoid using the Men's Room altogether. I ran into "Uri" (pictured below) on the beach yesterday doing what he does best: Urinating into the Pacific while his two children and a fisherman frolicked nearby. Let's hope no one catches anything, fish or otherwise ...!