The gloves were off at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Matron known among insiders as "Polly Purell" made the scene, holding what appeared to be a large oven mitt over her mouth and nose as she drove down 7th Street in her Silver Ford Taurus. At first, I thought she was whipping up a batch of cookies on her dashboard, but then I realized she was probably taking unusual precautions against the Swine Flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reported 109 confirmed cases of Swine Flu from 11 states, up from 91 cases in 10 states yesterday. Authorities in Europe have launched an advertising campaign urging folks to sneeze into a tissue and wash their hands. The campaign, called "Catch it, Bin it, Kill it" says nothing about Oven Mitts. The good news is that Oven Mitts are probably as effective as surgical masks in preventing the spread of the potentially deadly virus. The bad news is, they don't do much for your driving skills. "Polly" was last seen weaving perilously from lane-to-lane as she headed South on 7th Street ...!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as an Unsightly Motor Home (California License #: 4PBZ551) rolled into town and settled into a parking space near Our Favorite Starbucks. Could it be that the King of the Road, known for parking his RV for days on end on 7th Street and draping it with advertising promoting his various "creative ventures," has returned after a long hiatus? The King went into exile two years ago, following a particularly nasty scrape with a local homeowner who got a restraining order against him. But I, for one, think it's time we buried the hatchet. I hear there's a perfect parking space -- fit for a King -- right in front of Casa del Bozo ...!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Leah, the owner of Milky Way, the Kitschy Kosher Kitchen on Pico Blvd. Whenever one of my colleagues from New York, Mike, is in town, he always suggests we have a dinner meeting at Milky Way. At first I thought it was because of the Potato Pancakes, but last night I finally realized that he really wants to see Leah. I guess you could say they speak the same language: Schmaltz. Get a load of their conversation last night:
Leah: It's always so nice to see you ... and in such good health. You're looking great.
Mike: Awww ... well ... I am going gray, you know!
Leah: Nonsense, it's barely noticeable and on you it looks distinguished.
Mike: Well, you're looking terrific yourself.
Leah: Really? Well, I'm lucky enough not to have any gray at all. We blonds just get ... well ... blonder!
Mike: That's what makes you such a bombshell!
Leah: You bet ... tomorrow I think I'll wear a bikini. You'll have to stop by to see it!
Mike: I wouldn't miss it!
Before you start thinking that Mike and Leah have a little Harold and Maude thing going on, I should point out that Leah treats Mike more like a son. I just hope her real son -- Steven Spielberg -- doesn't get jealous ...!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Ever wonder what Hanna -- aka Pajama Girl, known for occasionally shuffling into Starbucks in her Pajamas --does when the Slumber Party's over? She's a sound engineer working on some of the most interesting projects in Hollywood, that's what. She recently sent me a photo (above) from one of her more offbeat productions, a Sponge Bob Square Butt Burger King Commercial featuring a group of otherwise svelte actresses inexplicably wearing prosthetic square butts while hoofing it up with America's Creepiest Burgermeister. According to Hanna, between takes, the actresses would plop themselves on the floor, point their big, square butts toward the heavens and answer their cell phones. I just hope it wasn't Nature Calling ...!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Where do all good Christians go on Sunday? To Our Favorite Starbucks, of course. Actor Christian Slater made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning and wasted no time ordering-up a latte. Perhaps he was licking his wounds from the recent cancellation of his NBC-TV show, My Own Worst Enemy, which lasted for only nine episodes and was panned by critics as "a clunky secret agent mess masquerading as a morality play." Speaking of which, Actor-Barista Tyler proved that he, too, can be his own worst enemy today when he introduced the crowd to his latest "co-star." "Look," he said, trying to steal the limelight from Christian Slater, "My new co-star is a snail!" And with that, he plucked a snail out of the flower bed on 7th Street and waved it in front of my face. Tyler will appear on the NBC-TV supernatural thriller, Medium, on June 1. As for the snail, I understand it's playing an exclusive engagement tonight -- for "one night only" -- at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks. Now that's what I call "Dinner Theater" ...!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The crowd was buzzing this morning at 7th and Montana in the wake of last night's widely-reported shooting near Palisades Park. Apparently, an Unknown Assailant fired a handgun at three women who were standing near 105 San Vicente Blvd. (pictured above) at 9:30 p.m. Two of the women were rushed to the hospital, one in critical condition, and the third was unharmed. "What did you make of all the helicopters and police?" asked Bob, eager for the scoop. "What helicopters and police?," I asked, naively. "The ones that were hovering around your condo last night," he replied, "We thought you'd be on the scene in the crowd we saw on TV." Granted, in the past I've responded to tips suggesting I cover such local happenings as last year's robbery at Wachovia Bank and the more recent discovery of a corpse sitting at Starbucks but, for the record, I have my limits. I draw the line when it comes to Armed Assailants. Besides, I was lucky enough this morning to stumble across a large group of witnesses at 7th and Montana. Jehovah's Witnesses, that is ...!
Friday, April 24, 2009
The Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief showed his true colors today at 7th and Montana ... and they're black and white and read all over. One would think after being caught on camera numerous times stealing newspapers from Our Favorite Starbucks -- after a group of "Local Vigilantes" even went so far as to circulate a Wanted Poster offering a reward for his capture -- that the Thief would see the error of his ways. But, no. He's simply become more sneaky. This morning he went to great lengths to avoid detection. "You just missed it," said Bob, "Your friend the Newspaper Thief poked his head around the corner, took one look at you, and headed the other way. He's sneaking-in the side-entrance now." Naturally, I ran around to the "other" side of Starbucks and cut him off at the pass faster than you can say Kleptomaniac ...!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Stradivarius," the Local Virtuoso who just this morning took the fine art of parking behind Our Favorite Starbucks to musical, new heights. The fun began when, like so many before him, he beached his car -- a Shiny, New Lexis -- on the Curb from Hell. "Here we go again," said Kathy, "Another one bites the dust." Unlike most drivers, however, who simply back their way off the curb or continue driving over it, Stradivarius seemed confused. He backed up, then went forward, again and again, each time scraping his axle loudly against the pavement in an almost sinister, screeching violin concerto. Poor Stradivarius. He tried to rush in and out of Starbucks unnoticed but his performance got him a standing ovation ... and a spot in my blog!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The recent heat wave that sent temperatures soaring into the 90's and 100's across the Southland meant only one thing for the crowd at Our Favorite Starbucks: A visit from the Dignified Walking Lady. Known for wearing the "coolest" possible outfits in the warmest possible weather, the Dignified Walking Lady has become something of a local enigma. I caught up with her recently and, as usual, she looked like she was ready for a cruise to Ice Station Zebra. She wore a heavy, woolen coat (buttoned to her neck), a scarf tied around her head to protect her ears, leather gloves, dark sunglasses and a floppy hat. "Hi there," I said, "What a scorcher, eh?" "Hello," she replied. I tried another approach: "They're predicting record high temperatures today, isn't that great?" It didn't work. As usual, she simply smiled, nodded and continued along her merry way. Dignified, yes, but something tells me that underneath all those layers of wool, she's sweating like a pig ...!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Calling all aspiring actors: Kathy is in the midst of casting her Top Secret Production and rumor has it she's been drawing on at least some of the crowd at 7th and Montana for extras. "I'm telling you, Bob, you'd make the perfect corpse," she said in passing this morning. Bob (pictured above) declined the offer, but I was quick to chime-in. Months ago, Kathy had laughed out loud at the notion that I might be considered a "romantic lead" and now, it seems, she can't even see me as a corpse. "Now wait just a minute," I said, "What are you looking for in a corpse? I can do Rigor Mortis, you know!" "No," she replied, "I'm looking for someone to play a fresh corpse and he has to look like a Banker." Too bad Kathy wasn't around for our Grisly Discovery on March 14 ... She could have killed two birds with one stone!
Monday, April 20, 2009
It was a Hair-Raising Experience at 7th and Montana on Saturday as an Anonymous Frump made the scene fresh from the Beautician. Actually, she looked a little "too fresh" if you know what I mean. Her head was encased in a plastic bag, she wore a towel around her shoulders and a mysterious, pungent liquid oozed down the back of her neck. Evidently, she thought she could slip away from the hair salon long enough to get a cup of coffee and a newspaper without being noticed. Rumor has it she's the Bride of the Notorious Grease Monkey who dashed into Our Favorite Starbucks last year with a head full of Grecian Formula ...!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
It was Serendipity at its finest this morning at 7th and Montana as an Anonymous Tourist arrived on the scene just in time to help Kathy and me with the Sunday Crossword. You see, we had finished most of the puzzle but were stuck on one remaining answer: A five-letter word for "Help, to Helmut." Obviously, we needed to know a little German to finish this puzzle. Just as we were about to get "desperate" and look-up the answer on Kathy's iPhone, the Tourist interrupted us. "May I borrow ziss chair?," he asked. I looked at Kathy. She looked at me. We both looked at the Tourist, a German named Rolf, amazed. We traded him the chair for the answer. Rolf, if you're out there, thanks for the HILFE ...!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Stomachs were turning at 7th and Montana this morning as a small group of Paparazzi made the scene, trailing after Actor Scott Foley like bankers around a bailout package. "Scott, Scott," cried one particularly aggressive cameraman, "Over here, look over here." "Oh, brother," muttered Joyce, "Here we go again: Another bunch of Class B Paparazzi following someone nobody has ever heard of." Naturally, I joined their ranks, intent on scooping them for my blog. Foley -- perhaps best known for his role as Bob Brown on CBS-TV's The Unit and for being the ex-husband of Actress Jennifer Garner -- took the attention in stride, which is more than I can say for the Paparazzi where I was concerned. The Cameraman looked at me briefly like I was something unpleasant on the bottom of his shoe. "Scott, Scott," he cried, "Did you call Jen on her Birthday?" Scott merely laughed, jumped into his Prius and took off. As for his ex-wife, who turned 37 yesterday, rumor has it she spent the day surrounded by Paparazzi of her own, promoting her latest film, which -- appropriately enough -- is entitled Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "The Whistleblower," the latest loon to grace us with her presence at 7th and Montana. This morning she could be found hovering around the Bus Stop on 7th Street, clutching a festive "Welcome Home Balloon." Where exactly has she been? I leave that to you to decide. Shortly before 8:15 a.m., she walked up to the entrance of Our Favorite Starbucks, poked her head inside and blew a loud police whistle for no apparent reason. Then she boarded a bus to Pacific Palisades. Now that's what I call a Whistlestop Tour ...!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Hold your horsepower, folks! Jaws were dropping at 7th and Montana as a five-year-old tyke rolled up to Our Favorite Starbucks on his very own Kiddie Vespa. "Now I've seen everything," I said, eyeing the scooter suspiciously, "I wonder what kind of mileage he gets?" The Vespa, manufactured by Peg Perego, is described in promotional literature as "a sporty scooter that is as fun as it is attractive." It features dual rear motors for high performance, a rechargable 8-volt battery and two speeds: 2.25 or 5 miles per hour. "The fun can go on and on," said one review. So can the parents, apparently. Just watch the father (pictured below) holding up the rear as his son took off for greener pastures ...!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It was a case of Double Trouble this morning at 7th and Montana as Ladies Professional Golf Legend Amy Alcott made the scene with a Startling Revelation. "You should know you have a double," she said to me, smiling, "His name is John and he's a fundraiser at The Living
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Extra, Extra, read all about it: Local Man Caught in Newspaper Recycling Scam! Eyes were popping and stomachs were turning at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Newshound made the scene, intent on borrowing a copy of The New York Times. I knew he meant business from the minute he walked in the door. He rushed, like a man on a mission, to the newspaper sales display, grabbed a newspaper and raced into the bathroom. He emerged five minutes and 12 seconds later, renewed, refreshed and ready to get on with his day. And that's exactly what he did. He spent a few minutes finishing up the newspaper, then placed it back in the sales bin and left ... without even ordering a cup of coffee. If there's any poetic justice in this world, the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief will strike before anyone else touches that paper ...!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, make way for the Holy Roller, a heavy-set woman in her mid-forties who made the scene at 7th and Montana yesterday with a gaping hole in the back of her sweatpants. "Yikes," I said, pointing to a generous portion of her left butt cheek, "She's not wearing any underwear!" No doubt she thought she could slip in and out of Our Favorite Starbucks unnoticed, that no one would pay any attention to her rear end. And she might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for two things: Me and my Zoom Lens ...!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as the man known locally as the "One-Eyed Bandit" for his tendency to wear a sporty orange bandanna covering one eye made the scene after a brief hiatus. As anyone who knows the "Bandit" can tell you, he is a master of disguise. When he's not wearing his signature bandanna, he's been known to sport underpants on his head (October 2008), a frycook's cap (June 2008) and a purple pillbox (December 2007). Today, he wore none of those things. Instead, he crouched on the sidewalk for quite some time in what appeared to be a passable imitation of Jedi Master Yoda. "Crazy must he be ... hmmm," I said to no one in particular as the Bandit maintained his crouching position. "I don't know how you even sit like that," said Bob. "Sitting is easy," quipped Joyce, "It's getting up that's the problem." For his part, the Bandit remained oblivious. Rumor has it he was trying to lay an Easter Egg ...!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Rigolatte, the Local Crackpot with a song in his heart and a latte on his mind. Known for belting out Opera Tunes while wandering aimlessly up and down Montana Avenue, Rigolatte has long been a fixture at 7th and Montana. This morning he could be found standing in front of Drugtown, across from Our Favorite Starbucks, treating oncoming traffic to what sounded like a particularly emotional rendition of Madame Butterfly. His voice carried halfway to Santa Monica Pier. "At last," I thought, "Now is my chance to get the scoop on this demented songbird." I grabbed my Camera Phone and went in to investigate. Rigolatte saw me approach. I looked at him. He looked at me. And then, faster than you can say Aida, he began gesturing wildly, waving his arms in sync with his music like Pavarotti on Acid. I abandoned my plan to "interview" him. Let's just say his style was far too op-erratic for my taste ...!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Tongues and tails were wagging this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks as word spread that Local Pooch Einstein will become a "Case History" at an upcoming meeting of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. The Beloved Bichone Frise startled fans last June when he fell off the Chuck Wagon, tearing a ligament and leading handlers to check him in for a stint at California Animal Rehabilitation, a "doggie rehab" center in Santa Monica specializing in tough love. It took months of gentle massages, conditioning exercises and hydro-therapy in a customized swim tank, but experts say that Einstein is finally back on the straight and narrow. "It was rough," said one insider, "But something had to be done. Now Einstein is like a new dog ... he has a new leash on life!"
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The crowd at 7th and Montana wigged-out this morning at the sight of Kathy who emerged after two days of cleaning sludge out of her apartment with a Bold, New Look. "Wow, look at that," I said, "You've totally changed your hair!" Indeed, her hair was at least seven inches shorter than usual. "I LOVE it," said Robin, "It's just so ... SASSY!" Robb and Leslie both agreed. As for me, I must admit, I couldn't help wondering at first how Kathy -- surrounded as she was by raw sewerage -- found time for such a Glamorous Makeover. But then it all became clear. "It's a wig!," she announced, cheerfully, "I'm on my way to the Hair Salon, now!" Way to go, Kathy, and good luck with the new Do(o) ...!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Teddy the Tedious. Teddy, one of the Early Birds at Our Favorite Starbucks, specializes in placing Ludicrous Orders. "I'll have a Bucket," he told Barista Veronica this morning, "Heavy on the Buffalo Wings, throw in some Spare Ribs and ... oh ... how about a Denver Omelet, hold the tomatoes?" "Of course," replied Veronica, dryly, "Will that be it?" "Yes, that's it," said Teddy, "a Bucket." I whipped out my Camera Phone and watched as Teddy paid for his order and meandered his way to the Espresso Bar. "Did I just hear that guy order a Bucket of Chicken?," I asked, "Who does he think you are, Colonel Sanders?!?" "I don't know, I stopped listening a long time ago," replied Veronica, "He's always ordering stuff like that, but we all know what he really wants." In case you're wondering, Teddy's "Bucket" of choice is really a Quad Venti Cappuccino.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Watch your step, folks, there's some Major Shit going down at 7th and Montana this morning and you know what that means: No Bathroom Privileges. "Our bathroom is closed," said one insider, "We've got a plumbing problem." And they're not the only ones. The pipes at the elegant apartment complex at 527 San Vicente -- home to Kathy, Robin and a host of other regulars at Our Favorite Starbucks -- staged a rebellion on Sunday, spewing hundreds of gallons of waste into several apartments. Robin emerged unscathed but the incident left Kathy with a new nickname: The Sister Sludge.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Tension was mounting yesterday at 7th and Montana as a Perky UCLA Student made the scene with an Annoying Questionnaire. "I'm conducting a little survey," she chirped, "It will only take a few minutes, do you mind answering a few questions?" I usually don't agree to these things, especially when I'm engrossed in the Sunday Crossword, but -- like I said -- she was Perky. "Sure, I'll take the survey ... no problem," I replied. "Great," she smiled, "It's all about the Economy. We're trying to get a handle on just how anxious everyone is!" And with that, she handed me the most depressing one-page questionnaire I've ever seen. Questions ranged from "Do you worry about losing your job?" to "How much sleep per night would you say you are losing due to the economy?" and "How would you describe your mental state: Anxious, Depressed or Simply Worried?" In other words, she was stacking the deck. I know a thing or two about surveys and, trust me, this one is guaranteed to generate another round of Gloom and Doom headlines. So, I marched right up to her and exchanged a few Cross Words of my own. "Here you go," I said, handing her back the questionnaire, "Now I have a few questions for you: "What's an 11-letter word for Squab Sycophant?" and "How about a four-letter word for the Composer of 'Rule Britannia'"?!? She looked at me sheepishly and took off for Greener Pastures, heading due East towards Peet's Coffee ...!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
It was a Warm Welcome Home for Howard and Cathy this morning as they made the scene at 7th and Montana fresh from their decidedly cooler digs in Vail, Colorado. "We got five feet of snow in Vail last week," said Howard, cheerfully, "Even our Snowman was completely buried!" The highlight of their trip seems to have been when they were doused with hot coffee, courtesy of a flimsy table at the Starbucks in Vail. True to form, the manager of their other Starbucks gave them a coupon which they redeemed today for a free "extra dry" cappuccino here in Santa Monica. Welcome Back, Howard and Cathy. You arrived just in the nick of time: Rumor has it the folks at the Bagel Nosh of Beverly Hills were getting ready to call out a search party ...!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
They say that crime doesn't pay, but try telling that to the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief, a local felon known for stealing copies of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times from Our Favorite Starbucks when he thinks no one is looking. The thief made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning, but this time we were ready: Robb provided a professional, play-by-play account of the thief's activities, Robin offered color commentary and I worked the camera. "There he goes," announced Robb loudly, "He's walking to the Newspaper Bin ... He's reaching, he's reaching ... but wait, he's going for one of the freebies in the leftover bin, instead ... No, don't do it, don't settle, don't settle ... You're clear, just grab a whole newspaper from the sales display ... no one is looking!" The thief was tricky. First he grabbed someone's leftover classified section, then he quickly slipped a New York Times inside it and scuttled out the door faster than you can say highway robbery. "And that, my friends, is why newspapers are going out of business," said Robin, archly. Insiders estimate that the thief steals a minimum of $1,106 worth of newspapers from Our Favorite Starbucks each year.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Intrigue was brewing at 7th and Montana yesterday as a Hysterical Woman made the scene, screeching into her cell phone at the top of her lungs. Regrettably, I missed it, but Screenwriter Nat was quick to clue me in. "Oh man," he said, "I wish you were there ... this woman kept screaming like a banshee into her cell phone. You would have loved it!" Evidently, the Banshee was trying to locate someone ... most likely a person she had never met before ... someone who had agreed to meet her at Our Favorite Starbucks and probably told her he would be wearing a Brown Baseball Cap. But, alas, some things just aren't meant to be. The more the Banshee screamed, the less likely she was to find her man. She was long gone by the time I arrived, but in her place was a Nondescript Man (pictured above) wearing a Brown Baseball Cap. I tried several times to get his attention but he obviously couldn't hear me. Sounds like a case of Acute Acoustic Trauma if you ask me ...!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Ever wonder what it would be like to have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card? Just ask Screenwriter Marc, who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning fresh from a trip to New York where -- together with his brother, Screenwriter Robb and Director Kevin Smith -- he was busy casting and scouting locations for their upcoming movie, A Couple of Dicks starring Bruce Willis. Apparently, the New York City Police Department is especially nice to Hollywood Insiders who use Gotham as a film location. They even give them a Laminated Friendship Card, complete with a special hotline to call in case they get in trouble. In other words, don't worry about getting thrown in jail for a minor infraction, just flash your Laminated Friendship Card at the Arresting Officer and all your problems disappear. Maybe that's why Marc and Kevin decided it was O.K. to leave Robb in New York while they returned to L.A. ...!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
It was another dose of Politics at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning as a Mysterious Insider made the scene, intent on making small talk. He walked right up to me like we were old friends, patted me on the back and said, "Nice jacket, is it cashmere?" I'm about as friendly as they come, but I must say I was a bit surprised. "Why yes, thanks," I replied, "Err ... No offense intended -- but am I supposed to know you?" He paused briefly, just long enough for me to catch the faintest glimmer of what I like to call the "doesn't-everyone-know-who-I-am look," and replied, "I think we've probably met." "He must be a politician," I thought and then, as if on cue, he grabbed a seat with City Councilman Bobby who had evidently witnessed the whole exchange. "Don't you know the Mayor, here?," Bobby asked, sarcastically. I was about to apologize -- after all, how could I not recognize our own Mayor -- when it became clear that Bobby was talking about me. "This guy here is the Mayor of Starbucks," he said, "I'm telling you, he's the Mayor!" I've been called worse. Meanwhile, as for our Mysterious Insider, it turns out he's on the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board.