Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Honest Abe," a budding, young diplomat who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning wearing the kind of top hat that was in style four score and seven years ago. He couldn't have been more than four-years-0ld. "Howdy," I said, "That's some fancy hat you have there!" He just smiled and hoisted what looked like a Grande Cappuccino in my direction. "Good God," I thought, "Coffee at his age ... that's one way to get him to Rushmore." I didn't recognize him or his parents, so my guess is they're just in town visiting. No doubt they have a Gettysburg address ...!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but this morning it was rolled-up into medicinal joints and available for the low, low price of only $85 in the parking lot behind Our Favorite Starbucks. "Look what I saw at 7:30 this morning," wrote Genevieve, who sent me the photo above in a text message, "It really woke me up!" The marijuana is reportedly being sold as a cure for depression, insomnia and pain, but I know a smoke screen when I see it. No doubt the Powers-that-Be at Starbucks are trying to give us all a collective case of the munchies. The question is, how many bushels would it take to make one of their Apple Fritters look appealing ...?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It was a Red Alert at 7th and Montana this morning as I made the scene seconds before Our Favorite City Councilman, who also happens to be the founder of Product (RED), the non-profit group that's supporting the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa through charitable tie-ins with companies like Starbucks. For every purchase you make using a Starbucks pre-paid (RED) Card, five cents goes to the Global Fund. "Uh oh," I thought, "My (RED) card is empty ... I'll never live this down." "After you," I said, holding the door open. I wasn't being polite. My plan was to ensure that I was at the end of the line, thus minimizing the chance that he would notice that I wasn't using my (RED) card. It worked ... but much to my surprise, Our Favorite City Councilman didn't use his, either. "Shoot," he said, "I must have given my (RED) card away ... I'm getting old!" Given that today was his birthday, I guess he had an excuse. I, however, had none. I'll put more money on the card tomorrow ...!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Sloppy Jo," an Anonymous Newcomer who made the scene yesterday at 7th and Montana no doubt hoping to slip in and out unnoticed. But she was hard to miss. The reddish-orange stains all over her baggy outfit practically screamed "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and the splotches in her hair made her look like an escapee from an explosion at Sherwin Williams. Surprisingly, she went to great lengths to make sure the lid of her coffee cup was fully secured. God forbid she should spill anything ...!
Monday, April 26, 2010
He's baaaaaack! Rafaelo, "Our Favorite Building Manager," made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus. For those who don't know him, Rafaelo's history is as colorful as a Hollywood screenplay. He used to manage his cousins' building near Starbucks, but spent most of his time regaling the crowd with fanciful stories from his past. One day, he was Canadian, the next, Italian. A retired Green Beret, he would spend hours plotting to open new businesses on Montana ranging from a Jewelry Emporium to a Filafel House. So, where has he been these past few years? "Everywhere!," he said, smiling, "I travel all over, I tell you: Canada, China, Oxnard ... you name it, I've been there!" He also has a new job, managing his cousins' clothing outlet in Hollywood. "Again with the cousins?," I asked. "Different cousins," he said, "You want suit? We get you suit!" For now, the clothing will have to wait. Rafaelo is busy supervising an important renovation at 7th and Montana. Who knows, maybe there's a Filafel House in our future, afterall ...!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as a group of Census Workers made the scene for a brief training session before going door-to-door across the neighborhood. "Ay, ay, ay," I said, grabbing my Spycam and zooming-in for a closer look, "Don't these people have a dress code?!?" One wore sandals, another a "hippie/beatnik" sweatshirt and a third seemed intent on tuning the rest of them out with his iPod. The woman did most of the talking. "Remember," she said, "We're just here to help ..." I'm the first person to recommend filling out the Census form, but these people looked more Senseless than Census. The good news is, they can add one to the local tally: Neighbor Hunter (pictured below) announced yesterday that he and his wife, Camilla, are expecting a son in September. The crowd immediately began suggesting names: Shamus, Chauncey, Maurice, Chance, Gatherer and Instinct were among the top contenders. "Don't you worry," I told Hunter, "We'll come up with something ... I'll open it up to the Internet!" If any of you have any bright ideas, by all means propose them. Otherwise, I'm afraid we'll be stuck with a Monty in our midst ...!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It was true Hollywood Royalty at 7th and Montana this morning as "The Countess of 10th Street" -- a mysterious woman with connections to the Golden Age of Hollywood -- made the scene. The story behind the Countess is the stuff of legend: As a young girl, her mother, a member of the Eastern European Aristocracy, traded-in her castle for a movie career and became a celebrity in the early days of Hollywood. Tragically, she died under suspicious circumstances just as her fame was starting to spread. "The Countess" has been trying to sell a screenplay about her mother's tragic life ever since, but -- strangely enough -- the studios seem less than interested. Meanwhile, she's been keeping busy by pushing a baby carriage filled with Bladder Control Pads up and down Montana Avenue ...!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Rigolatte, the Local Loon known for locking himself in the restroom at Our Favorite Starbucks and belting out Opera Tunes for hours on end, was in rare form this morning. "What a beautiful day," he boomed, "I can barely contain myself!" His message would have been a bit more uplifting had he not been clutching four rolls of toilet paper, but still, for him it was a rare moment of lucidity. "Sing us a song, why don't you?," said Barista Tyler, egging him on. "No," cried Rigolatte, "You sing!" "No!," replied Tyler, "You sing, I'll listen." Back and forth they went, each refusing to sing, until finally Rigolatte gave up. He quietly made his way to the rest room and started warming-up his pipes. I don't know what happened next, but judging from the fact that he brought his own toilet paper, I'd say there's a pretty good chance he's still in concert ...!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tax Season may be over, but business is evidently still booming for the Accountant. He made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with a large, red bag of papers which he proceeded, as usual, to spread out in front of him. I couldn't help noticing that one of them seemed to be a request to extend the deadline on an application for a real estate tax license. I leaned-in for a closer look but, alas, he finished filling out the document before I could whip out my Spycam. To make matters worse, while I had my back turned, the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper Thief snuck through the side door, grabbed copies of both the New York and Los Angeles Times and ran away as fast as his spindly legs could carry him. Oh, well, I guess tomorrow's another day ...!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Head for the hills, folks, there's a Shady Lady hanging out at the Pavilions supermarket at Lincoln and Montana ... and if her taste in hats is any indication, she's 65 watts short of a light bulb. She made the scene last night wearing what looked like a lampshade on her head. I whipped-out my Spycam and followed her at a safe distance, watching closely as she put one of the Pavilions employees through her paces. "Are these tulips fresh?," she asked, harshly. "Yes, Miss," said the employee. "And what about the roses?," she continued. "Yes, Miss," said the employee. "And where are the rest of the succulents ... is this all you have ...?!?" She went on and on. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear she thought she was at a florist instead of a supermarket. I wonder where she buys her groceries, Lamps Plus ...?!?
It was "Baby's First Coffee" this morning at 7th and Montana as Our Favorite City Councilman gave his Adorable Daughter Rosemary her very first taste of a Caramel Macchiato. The one-year-old took to it like mother's milk, toddling up to my table with a big smile on her face. "Do you like it?," I asked. She looked at me, smiled and nodded her head in enthusiastic agreement. Then she dropped it on the ground. To be clear: She didn't actually drink any coffee ... it was just a small sample of milk foam on a stirrer. But it seemed to be enough to get her hooked ...!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Mrs. Tutu" and her husband, "Desmond," a delightful young couple who made the scene at Palisades Park yesterday dressed to ill. The Mrs. wore a pink mini tutu, a black leotard and a fedora. The Mr. was more conservative in black jeans and a plaid shirt. "Good God," I said, "She's raising the barre in bad taste!" Every so often an ocean breeze would catch her Tutu and lift it upwards. Maybe she should have asked if they had it in a three-three ...!
It was a surprising start to the week today as my friend Mal swooped-in from New York on business and was waiting at Starbucks when I got there this morning. Mal, you might recall, made a guest appearance in my blog last month, which of course explains how he knew where to find me. But it also presented me with a challenge: How could I possibly grab another 'Spycam' photo without him noticing? I tried to fake him out by taking obvious photos of The Dignified Walking Lady and Barista Tyler, even though neither of them did anything particularly newsworthy today. And then I introduced him to Neighbor Carole, who turned out to be the perfect foil. Carole, you see, was interested in learning how Mal landed in my blog last time. Mal was halfway through an explanation about Candid Camera dynamics -- waving his own cell phone in the air for emphasis -- when I whipped out my Spycam and snapped his photo as quickly as possible. I'm not sure whether he caught me in the act, but I was moving my camera so quickly that the image came out distorted. For the record, especially if you're from the U.S. Immigration Agency, Mal is not at all Warped in any way ...!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Mr. Oink," the self-absorbed ne'er-do-well at 7th and Montana who seemed determined this morning to pick-up where Our Friendly Neighborhood Slumlord left off. For those who don't remember, the Slumlord was a local character who used to steal other people's chairs right out from under their very noses. He went into hibernation several years ago, shortly after The Los Angeles Times ran an article exposing him as "one of Los Angeles' most notorious landlords." Today, Mr. Oink took a page from the Slumlord's book when he walked right up to my table and snatched a chair I was saving for someone without saying a word. "Excuse me," I said, "Isn't it common courtesy to ask whether a chair is taken?" He ignored me and proceeded to use the chair as a footrest. I couldn't help noticing that he was was wearing a baseball cap that said "Commander-in-Chief." Let's hope they impeach him ...!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
It was a Battle of the Loons at 7th and Montana this morning as "The Philosopher King," a neighborhood newcomer, vied for the babbling rights in front of Our Favorite Starbucks with "Rigolatte," the man known for belting out Opera Tunes at the drop of a hat. The Philosopher King (pictured above) won hands down. He sat himself down at a table facing 7th Street, stared off into space, and kept repeating the same words over and over in a perfect monotone: "Boys ... Bunch of Funny Jokes ... Bea Arthur ... Her Majesty's Secret Service ... I'm a little off today ..." Rigolatte took one look at the competition, sang a few bars from Madame Butterfly and scampered down Montana Avenue with his tail between his legs. Only then did the Philosopher King seem to snap out of it. He looked me right in the eye and said, "My hygiene isn't what it used to be ...!"
Friday, April 16, 2010
Don't mess with the Parking Gods at 7th and Montana. An Anonymous Newcomer (pictured above) learned that lesson the hard way yesterday when she parked her car in the parking lot across from Our Favorite Starbucks, behind the building formerly occupied by Blockbuster Video. An Unsightly Parking God -- evidently hired to guard the premises -- appeared out of nowhere and chased her across the street. "What are you doing parking behind my building?," he asked, "That parking lot is reserved." The woman just smiled and shrugged him off. "It's fine, I'm a customer over there," she said. The Parking God paused for a moment -- no doubt baffled that there could be a customer left in his mostly vacant building -- and disappeared in a cloud of confusion. I'd say this woman got off pretty easily. Had she been looking for a spot in the garage at my office, she'd have a real fight on her hands. A Pair of Pugilists -- complete with boxing gloves -- made the scene there this morning, intent on fighting each other for a space.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
It was Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind yesterday at 4th and Adelaide as I stumbled on the scene of what looked like a major traffic accident. The trouble began when a Goofy Teenager started doing tricks on his skateboard amidst oncoming traffic. I watched in horror as a station wagon (pictured above) pulled out of nowhere and hit the teen dead-on. The poor kid went flying, landed on the hood of the station wagon and began screaming. I ran over to offer assistance and was starting to dial 911 when the kid started laughing. "I knew something like this was going to happen," he said, "None of this is real, we're just filming a movie." "Really?," I asked, "What are you making, Death Wish 3?" "It's an independent production," he replied. It must have been real independent: There wasn't any sign of a camera or crew.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
It was "Drill, Baby, Drill" at 7th and Montana yesterday as construction went into overdrive at Greens-up!, the salad restaurant that has been trying for months to establish a beach head -- or even a lettuce head -- in the vacant space next to Our Favorite Starbucks. Drills were drilling, hammers were hammering and ear drums were bursting. "What's that racket?," I asked several of the Baristas on duty. Nobody knew for sure, but it sounded like the folks at Greens-up! were digging a hole to China for some Crispy Fried Won Tons. I walked next door to check things out, opened the door just a bit and shoved my Spycam through the crack. "Hey, what's that?," yelled one of the workers, no doubt in reference to my camera. I snapped a photo and fled the scene faster than you can say Balsamic Vinaigrette. It wasn't until later that I realized what the drilling was all about. If you examine the photograph above closely, you'll see what looks like a construction worker on the far right using a jack hammer to drill a hole in the floor of what appears to be a bathroom. Let's hope he doesn't find any Natural Gas ...!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as Kathy regaled the crowd with tales from last night's Streamy Awards at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Billed by the event organizers -- The International Academy of Web Television -- as "the first and most prestigious awards ceremony devoted to honoring excellence in original web television programming," the event apparently sent most of the audience streaming towards the nearest exit. Said the Hollywood Reporter, "technical difficulties plagued (the event) ... which is somewhat fitting for a ceremony that honors web series." Tech Tremor was more blunt: "The Streamy Awards sucked (up a lot of time)." The big winner of the evening was Zach Galifianakis whose "Between Two Ferns" took top honors in the Comedy and Acting categories ... but most folks would have gladly traded-in the Ferns for a couple of Fig Leaves. Midway through the ceremony, two insiders (pictured above) stripped off their clothing and streaked back and forth across the stage. Poor Kathy. I'm sure by that point she was about ready to say, "The Envelope Please" ... if only for something to vomit in!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
There were no cross words, but a bit of disappointment hung in the air this morning at 7th and Montana as the Sunday Crossword Clatch not only started, but finished today's puzzle without me. Actually, even though I arrived on the scene 30-minutes before our usual start time, Kathy and Genevieve had made plans to get an even earlier start and pretty much wrapped-up the puzzle before I got there. The incident prompted me to wonder: Do I smell? Am I a nuisance? Am I one of those annoying interrupters who blurts out answers at the drop of a hat? "We just thought you might be around, anyhow, since you're usually early," said Genevieve. So, I guess it's true what they say, the early bird gets the crossword. In the end, I did the puzzle myself... but it wasn't as much fun.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Hot Pants are in this season and if you don't believe me, just ask "Burn-adette," the Unfortunate Fashion Victim who made the scene recently at 7th and Montana wearing a pair of black, skin-tight leggings emblazoned with red-hot flames. "Look," I cried, "It's Greased Lightning!" Whoever designed these Fancy Pants should be fired. Then, again, I guess some people just like their coffee Double-Roasted ...!
It was a case of K-Fed Incognito at 7th and Montana yesterday as Kevin Federline, the former husband of Britney Spears, quietly made the scene. At least I think it was him ... he was somewhat disguised in a dark ski-cap so it was hard to tell. After his split with Britney in 2006, Federline became a big man in Hollywood in all the wrong ways, ballooning to more than 240 pounds on a diet of pizza, macaroni and cheese and 24 cans of soda per day. He just staged a comeback this week, shedding the pounds on the reality TV show Celebrity Fit Club, so it's entirely possible he was celebrating over some famous Starbucks pastry. If that doesn't keep his appetite in check, nothing will!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
If it's a Dog's Life at 7th and Montana, where do I sign up? Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the dog I like to call "Fifi," a pampered pooch who made the scene at 7th and Montana this week in her very own, customized baby carriage. "Awwww, what a cutie," said one woman as she passed by, "Your mommy wuvs you doesn't she?" My stomach churned with each wuvable sywwable. What I want to know is: Has mommy been breastfeeding ...?!?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
All eyes were on the Dignified Walking Lady -- the woman known for wearing Arctic attire in 90-degree heat -- this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks. After my post last week (INK-A-DINK-A-DOO ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!), everyone, it seems, is keeping a close eye on the poor woman in the hopes that she'll do a little tap dance and sing like Jimmy Durante. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but that post was an April Fool's joke and, quite frankly, I'm amazed at the number of people who fell for it. "What do you expect?," asked my colleague, Chuck (who also fell for it), "You have a guy at your Starbucks who locks himself in the Men's Room and belts out Opera tunes ... why wouldn't we believe that the Dignified Walking Lady sounds like Jimmy Durante?" For the record, there's really not much to say about this woman except that she's dignified, she walks and she's probably somebody's Aunt Arctica ...!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
It was Bon Voyage for Neighbor Susan -- and "all's well that ends well" -- as she returned to Texas today with some good news: The "Nogoodnik" who had taken over her apartment in Santa Monica and refused to reimburse her for the rent finally did the right thing and moved out. Why the sudden change of heart? Rumor has it someone threatened to give him a good kick in the Orbs ...!
Monday, April 5, 2010
It was a case of mistaken identity at 7th and Montana this morning as I searched -- in vain -- for Joann. You see, on Saturday, Joann, who I haven't met in person, left a comment on my blog that she was thinking of swinging by Our Favorite Starbucks on Monday. Thanks to the Blogosphere, I knew that Joann is from Southern California and she has expressed an interest in visiting 7th and Montana. The only problem is, during the work week I'm usually only around for the five-to-eight minutes it takes for someone to do something zany. Today it was me. "Joann?!?," I yelled at various intervals. The only person who sort of responded was Barista Tyler, who poked his head out briefly from behind the Espresso Bar. Who knows ... maybe if he was wearing his Black Fright Wig (pictured below) he could have passed for Joan Jett ...!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Humpty Dumpty may have sat on a wall, but his wife -- Mrs. Humpty -- seems obsessed with the curb in front of Our Favorite Starbucks. In fact, she spent what seemed like hours yesterday having mad, passionate sex with it while onlookers gaped in astonishment. "I guess it's mating season at 7th and Montana," said Screenwriter Nat, as Mrs. Humpty arched her back, let out a primeval grunt and thrust her pelvis again and again towards the pavement. Joyce took one look at her and proposed a toast in her honor. "Bottoms up!," she chuckled. As for me, I have a different opinion: I think she's just plain cracked ... but for God's sake, don't let her anywhere near all the king's horses or all the king's men!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Eliot Spritzer," an Anonymous Newcomer who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with something to get off his chest. Moments after sitting at a nearby table, he dug deep into the depths of his soul, coughed up a prodigious amount of phlegm and spit it out on the sidewalk. "Uggggh," said Joyce, turning away from the glistening pile as it congealed near 7th Street, "That's something I wish I didn't see." But Mr. Spritzer was oblivious. He merely smiled and asked us to save his seat for him while he went into Starbucks to cough-up $3.75 for a cappuccino. He emerged ten minutes later, renewed, reinvigorated and ready to schmooze-up a storm with the neighborhood dogs. "What a beautiful dog," he said of Charlie, the irascible sheepdog, "What's his name?" "Sam," replied Richard. "Sam, a great name for a dog," said Mr. Spritzer, "Here Sammy ... Come on Sammy Boy. Sammy! Sammy! Sammy ...?!?" The pile of phlegm on the sidewalk was more responsive than Charlie but then, again, Charlie's name isn't Sammy. "What's wrong with this dog? Why is he ignoring me?," asked Mr. Spritzer, irritated. "He doesn't speak Flemish," I said.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as Singer/Actress/Entrepreneur Susan made the scene after spending the last several months in Texas. Actually, she returned under police escort. You see, while she was away, she found a new roommate -- an Anonymous Nogoodnik -- who has been staying in her apartment. Susan paid all the bills -- rent, electricity, cable TV, telephone and etc. -- and the Nogoodnik reimbursed her for the rent. At least that's how it was supposed to work. The Nogoodnik had other ideas. Once he got settled-in, and Susan left for Texas, he stopped reimbursing her. Things came to a head when Susan's sister, who lives nearby, knocked on the door to find out what was going on. "If you want to collect all the rent I owe, you'll have to take me to court," said the Nogoodnik, slamming the door in her face. And so, today Susan made the scene under Police Escort to remove her belongings from the apartment. Unfortunately, no one can remove the Nogoodnik. But if I were him, I'd look out. It's a well-known fact that Susan sees Orbs, little balls of energy that hover around our heads, sometimes protecting us and sometimes not. I, for one, wouldn't blame Susan one bit if she sent a Humongous, Bouncing Orb on a one-way trip up the Nogoodnik's rear end ...!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
It's Tax Season and you know what that means: The Accountant, known for spreading out his confidential paperwork all over Our Favorite Starbucks, has gone into Overdrive. He made the scene yesterday not only with his usual stack of papers, but with a laptop and a speakerphone, as well. He put one of his clients on speaker and conducted a loud conversation with her about her finances for all to hear. As far as I could tell, the Poor Woman was upset that should couldn't deduct all the costs of her home office on her taxes this year. If that upset her, imagine how she'd feel if she knew she the whole crowd at Starbucks was listening ...!
Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as the Dignified Walking Lady, known for wearing Arctic Attire in 90-degree heat, spoke a few words. "Good God, she speaks," said one astonished witness, "All these years I've assumed she was mute." Indeed, not since Helen Keller broke her radio silence in 1890 have so few words meant so much to so many. And it wasn't just what she said, it was the way she said it. There I was, minding my own business, when she turned to me and -- in a deep, gravelly voice not unlike Jimmy Durante's -- said, "Put that cameraphone away, you punk ... I've had it up to here with you and your silly blog!"