Sunday, October 31, 2010


No one does Halloween better than Hollywood, and the creative community near Our Favorite Starbucks -- with its collection of talented writers, directors, actors and set designers -- is no exception. I checked out the festivities tonight and they were about the best I've seen. Houses -- especially around 15th Street -- were festooned with enough spider webs, skeletons, ghosts and pumpkins for a horror movie. A set director on Georgina Avenue transformed his home into a genuine theme park, complete with a pirate ship, vintage trucks and carnival attractions. Others staffed their homes with witches who looked like they flew in from central casting to dole out goodies from their cauldrons. But my favorite part of the evening, by far, were the costumes.

Gone are the days of dime store masks and cheap, polyester costumes. Kids today -- like the dinosaur pictured above -- wear custom jobs that could win an Academy Award in costume design.

And most of the parents were more dressed-up than their kids. I couldn't resist taking a photo of this Tin Woodman with his father, the Cowardly Lion. "Hey," said the Lion, "I know you ... we've done some work together, I'm sure of it!" "Of course," I said, "I'm the great and powerful Oz." He laughed. "Listen," I continued, "You just missed Dorothy ... she went skipping down Euclid in that direction." "Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for her," he said. I didn't have the heart to tell him that Dorothy was a middle-aged man with a receding hairline and five o'clock shadow.

Moments later I came face-to-face with a grown man in a Bunny Suit. "That's some costume!," I said. "What costume?!?," he replied, and hopped along his merry way.

I couldn't help wondering, as I concluded my tour, what makes people go all out like this on Halloween? Why do they literally in some cases open their homes to strangers? I think it's more out of a sense of community than anything else, an effort -- ironically staged on the scariest night of the year -- to love thy neighbor. Maybe that's why everything seemed so welcoming. I walked around for more than an hour, and the only scary thing I saw was a solitary sign in an otherwise empty front yard reading: "Vote for Meg Whitman" ...!


Halloween is the trickiest day of the year at 7th and Montana ... and I don't mean that in the "trick or treat" sense of the word. It's virtually impossible to tell who is wearing a costume and who isn't. The fun began this morning when a large woman walked by carrying a Gargantuan Walking Stick that made her look like Yoda on the Planet Dagobah. We couldn't tell if she was disguised as a Yeti or a Yentl. Then came a dead ringer for ex-Dodgers Manager Joe Torre (pictured above). I was going to compliment him on his costume, but am pretty sure it actually was Joe Torre. Next up was Rigolatte, the local Opera Loon with a Holier than Thou attitude (pictured below). He left no question about his disguise. "I AM THE SON OF GOD!," He bellowed, "I WAS BORN UNDER THE SIGN OF THE CROSS AND I AM TO BE WORSHIPPED!" He walked right into Our Favorite Starbucks, accepted a Holy Offering in the form of artificial sweetener, and disappeared down 7th Street, giggling all the way. But the winner of this year's costume contest, hands down, was a woman first discovered by Neighbor Hunter. "Look everyone," he yelled, "There's a Pirate!" Sure enough, a woman drove by wearing a patch over one eye. I was about to yell "Ahoy, Matey," when it became clear that she was no pirate ... just a woman with an eye problem. She glared at Hunter out of her good eye with such venom I was afraid he might have to walk the plank ...!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


It's a well known secret that many of the employees at the Friendly Neighborhood Supermarket on Montana are ex-convicts, and for the most part, everyone is fine with that. Sure, there's the occasional bag boy who looks at you with dagger eyes and no one who values their life goes anywhere near the butcher counter, but other than that, it's all good. That's why it wasn't too surprising to find one of the employees stalking the frozen foods aisle this evening wearing an Orange Jumpsuit. "Can I help you?," he asked. I took a slight step backwards and said "No thanks." He laughed and said "Happy Halloween" but I, for one, had my doubts. It's always difficult this time of year telling the difference between who's wearing a costume at 7th and Montana and who isn't ...!


Something sinister is afoot at 7th and Montana ... and if you don't believe me, just ask Our Friendly Neighborhood Zombie, the man known for sitting in one place for hours at a time, staring blankly into space with his hands on his head. I first noticed something was up yesterday. It was a particularly quiet day at Our Favorite Starbucks ... so quiet, in fact, that I couldn't even find anything to blog about when I poked my head in at 7:30 a.m. I came back nearly twelve hours later, but it was still "all quiet on the Western front." The Zombie was still seated, motionless, in the same chair, but I expected that. Flash forward to this morning and it all became clear: Another gentleman was sitting in the Zombie's chair, and judging from the looks of him, he was well on his way to Zombieland. His hands were on his head, just like the Zombie, and his eyes were starting to glaze over. Mark my words, something fishy is going on. Could it be that Starbucks management is trying to convert us all, one-by-one, into Zombies? That's probably what it would take to increase their pastry sales ...!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Tempers flared at 7th and Montana yesterday as Mr. Transistor, the local crackpot known for blaring his transistor radio as he waltzes up and down 7th Street, made the scene during the morning rush hour. First he treated us all to the traffic report, then the news. Everyone was distracted, except for Mr. Transistor himself who was busy reading the newspaper and paid practically no attention to his radio. "There ought to be some kind of jamming device we could use to stop his signal," said Bob. "There is," joked Howard, "It's called a fist ...!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


It was a breath of fresh aria at 7th and Montana yesterday as Local Opera Loon Rigolatte was shown the door. "You can't approach our customers like that, you can't approach our staff like that," said the Starbucks manager on duty as she escorted him off the premises. My mind reeled. Rigolatte has pulled a number of stunts at Our Favorite Starbucks over the years. He's been known to lock himself in the rest room and belt out opera tunes for hours on end, cackle like a hyena for no apparent reason, and to flap his arms, run down 7th Street and squawk like a bird. In his more lucid moments, he goes from table to table handing out religious literature and, when he thinks no one is looking, he stuffs fistfulls of artificial sweetener into his coat pocket. So what, exactly got him kicked out of Starbucks? The world may never know ...!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Cheers erupted yesterday at 7th and Montana as Barista Kevin emerged, renewed and refreshed, from what some locals have taken to calling the Great Shitstorm of October 17. In case you missed it, on that fateful day, Kevin was forced to clean a steaming pile of shit off the bathroom floor. "Howdy," I said, "Have you cleaned up any more shit lately?" Kevin simply smiled and said, "Just my own ...!" For what it's worth, inside sources report that the flagship Starbucks at Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade -- birthplace of the Frappuccino -- has it worse. One of their Angrier Customers defecated near the Condiments Bar several months ago, then grabbed a fistful of feces and threw it at the Espresso Machine. Crappucinno, anyone ...?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It was a Taste of Toontown at 7th and Montana this morning as an Unfortunate Fashion Victim made the scene wearing a pair of skin-tight Lycra pants festooned with comic book scenes. "Now I've seen everything," I said, "Could anyone look more like they've walked right out of a comic book?" Moments later, as if on cue, a woman arrived looking like something out of "Tales to Astonish." She wore a sideways baseball cap with a skull on it, an orange bandanna, and large, leopard-print sunglasses. Her hair was like a vision from 1976, the year the FDA banned the use of Red Dye #2. Plastic skeletons dangled from each ear. "Holy Mary, Mother of God," I said, "Duty calls." I whipped out my Spycam and followed her into Starbucks. Unfortunately, she saw me walk in behind her. I put the phone to my ear briefly to create a cover story, then held it aloft. "I'm on hold," I said, quickly taking her picture, "Don't you just hate when that happens?" She ignored the question but surprised me with a comment of her own. "You look just like the actor who played Harold in Harold and Maude, one of my favorite movies!," she said. Her voice was raspy, almost as if her vocal chords had been dipped in nicotine. "Yes, that's it," she continued, "Harold and Maude. A great movie about a young man and an older woman. They don't make movies like that, anymore." Now it was my turn to feel like a Comic Book character. A thought bubble appeared over my head reading "Abbadee ... abbadeee ... abbadee ... That's All, Folks ...!"


It was Puppy Love at 7th and Montana yesterday as Reggie, the adorable Polish Lowland Sheepdog, attracted a bevvy of beauties -- ranging from grown women to schoolgirls -- all gushing over him in increasingly glowing terms. "What a chick magnet," I said, laughing, as a girls soccer team swooped-in to take turns petting him. One especially enthusiastic fan (pictured above) went through a verbal checklist as she pet him. Adorable: check. Cuddly: check. Hypoallergenic ... check. On and on she went, until she came to the inevitable conclusion that Reggie leads the pack in every conceivable canine attribute. No one had the heart to tell her that Poor Reggie will be losing one of his most important attributes later this week. He's getting neutered on Tuesday ...!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Halloween is fast approaching and you know what that means: our Friendly Neighborhood Zombie is on the move. That's right, folks, the man known for sitting motionless in the same chair at 7th and Montana for hours on end has changed tables. One minute he was seated at his usual table, and the next -- poof -- he was sitting somewhere else, clear across the room. "How did that happen?," I asked Genevieve. Genevieve looked at him thoughtfully as he slipped into his usual, semi-catatonic state and said, "Maybe he's into meditation." "Correction," I replied, "Maybe he's into medication." We both watched as he slowly put his hands on his head, switched on his iPod and closed his eyes. I don't know what he listens to, but something tells me it's not exactly "The Daze of Wine and Roses."

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that the Accountant -- known for spreading out his confidential paperwork all over Our Favorite Starbucks -- is more than just a simple numbers cruncher. He's also a marketeer, drumming-up business for his wife's dental practice. I found this out the hard way last year when -- completely out of the blue -- he suggested that I needed major dental work. Since then, I've heard from a former patient that the dental office in question is run out of the Accountant's home. Work ranging from simple check-ups to more complicated procedures is done in a converted bathroom. I guess it all makes sense: If they're going to scare the shit out of you, they might as well do it in the bathroom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as a four-year-old Princess made the scene, intent on casting her spell on the crowd. She was dressed in a bright pink Princess Gown and armed with a Deadly Banana, which waved in my direction like a sword. Unfortunately, just as I was about to get a decent photo of her, my phone rang, and I had to take the call outside. She watched me go outside, then stood on her chair and began making faces at me through the window. After several minutes went by, she peeled the "Chiquita" label off her banana, stuck it on her forehead and began yelling "Look at me, I'm a Banana!!" "Bananas is more like it," I thought. She continued carrying on until I walked back inside. "Hi there," I said, finally acknowledging her. It was at this point -- after practically begging for attention for five full minutes -- that the Little Princess decided to ignore me. She spun around in her chair and pointed her butt at me. I turned to her mother and said, "Your daughter really cracks me up ... What a handful." But her mother was preoccupied. Her head was buried in a book and she was taking copious notes. It was entitled: "Divine Intervention: Help is Just a Prayer Away" ...!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It was a wild and woolly morning at 7th and Montana ... and if you don't believe me, just ask the Unfortunate Fashion Victim who made the scene today wearing a Gargantuan Cardigan Sweater, a floral nightgown, a pair of bright, pink crocs and a ski cap. The look was part Woolly Mammoth, Part Minnie Pearl. "Someone call Al Gore," I said, "It looks like the next Ice Age just rolled in and I'm afraid we're facing an Inconvenient Truth ..."

Monday, October 18, 2010


Fasten your seatbelts, folks, there's a New Loon in town and this one makes Norman Bates look like Pippi Longstocking. I first noticed him standing in line this morning at Our Favorite Starbucks, waiting to order an Americano. He was rail thin, with stringy blond hair, piercing blue eyes and the kind of nervous twitch one comes to expect at 7th and Montana. No one seemed surprised -- or took any special notice -- when, all at once, he waved his arms in the air and screamed, "I'm going to strangle you with my bare hands!" The Baristas simply smiled and handed him his drink. He continued muttering "kill ... kill ... kill" all the way to the Condiments Bar but, again, no one seemed to notice. "If I were you, I'd stay away from the cream and sugar for now," I said to Actor Scott, who famously played Sergeant First Class Bob Brown on CBS-TV's The Unit. "Oh, that's nothing," said Scott, "Every now and then you need someone bizarrely flamboyant like that to spice things up." "Scott's fearless," added his wife, Marike. By this point, the Loon had grabbed a container of half-and-half and was busy throttling it within an inch of its life. He uttered a few more death threats to no one in particular, then left abruptly, nearly pulling the door off its hinges in the process. And that's when the crowd came alive. "Isn't it great?," asked one insider, "There's a new loon in town!" I, for one, am still not sure whether to call the Welcome Wagon or the Men in White Coats ...!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It was Much Adoo about Something this morning at 7th and Montana as word spread that someone crapped all over the floor in the rest room at Our Favorite Starbucks. "You're kidding," I said, "Who would do such a thing?" "Who knows," said one insider, "But believe me, we've seen a lot worse!" I grabbed my Spycam and set out to solve the mystery. I started by compiling a list of potential suspects, then narrowed the field one-by-one. Was it Mayor Bobby? Unlikely: It's his brother-in-law, the Governator, who shovels the shit in that family. Was it Neighbor Robin? Impossible: She's been dealing with enough crap already, this weekend. Could it be Academy Award-winning Actress Renee? No way: She grabbed her coffee and ran today. That left two major suspects.

Rigolatte, the man known for locking himself in the rest room and belting out opera tunes for hours on end. He had the means. He had the motive. But did he have the street smarts? He was up to his old tricks this morning -- yodeling loudly while handling out biblical literature -- but defecating in public has never been his strong suit.

Then there was Proud Papa Hunter, who made the scene this morning with two-week old Baby Bryce. Bryce, it must be said, is off-the-hook. He was wearing a diaper. As for Hunter, he's an unlikely culprit. He was completely engrossed in taking care of Bryce. But if years of watching Law and Order have taught me anything, it's that crime knows no boundaries. Could he have been using Bryce as a decoy? I took Hunter off the list of official suspects, but decided he was a person of interest.

Time was ticking away. I knew I had to act fast, before the trail went cold. "Excuse me," I said to a Nice Lady who was sitting next to me, "Dooty calls!" I went directly to the scene of the crime. The door to the rest room was closed. I pointed my Spycam at it and waited. Minutes later, Genevieve emerged with a big -- practically shit eating -- grin on her face. "Aha!," I cried, "Gotcha!" "I'm innocent!," she said, "Besides, I arrived after the deed was done!" It was time to interview the only surviving witness, Barista Kevin.

"So," I began, "I hear you were first on the scene?" "Yes," he said flatly, "I cleaned it up. It's nice to know I have a talent in life." I asked him to describe the evidence in detail. He gave me all the poop ... and it didn't take long for me to add two and two. "Eureka!," I cried, "You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to crack this case. What we have here is a simple case of Mistaken Identity. Someone was just trying to use an Apple Fritter as a door stop!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010


My Nose for News went into overdrive this morning at 7th and Montana as Veteran TV Producer, Actor and Political Analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, host of the new MSNBC show "The Last Word," made the scene. I've been enjoying his show since it started airing three weeks ago, and didn't mind telling him so. The fact is, too many cable hosts these days seem more interested in pushing their own agenda than conducting a balanced interview. O'Donnell, on the other hand, is gracious enough to allow his guests to get their point across without ceding control of the interview. "It's a tough balance," he said, "But you really have to give your guests time to answer the questions." I especially enjoyed his recent interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. During the interview, it became clear -- at least to me -- that Steele, as O'Donnell said today, is "in a tough position." He's forced to embrace Tea Party candidates with views so extreme they seem to have stepped right out of the Funny Pages. O'Donnell rightly asked Steele whether he agrees with certain Tea Party candidates that the Minimum Wage is unconstitutional. Steele hemmed and hawed, then made it painfully obvious that he didn't even know what the minimum wage is these days. O'Donnell remained balanced and polite through it all. He even publicly apologized to Steele the next day for a comment he had made in his lead-in -- a suggestion that Steele has been dancing to please his "masters" in the Republican Party -- which evidently rubbed the RNC Chairman the wrong way. On his show, O'Donnell allows his guests to have "The Last Word" when they have something meaningful to say. Today, however, he let me have the honor. I said "It was nice to meet you" ... and I meant it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Ace Photographer Kovar made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning ... and if anyone ever needed a coffee break, it was him. When I asked him what he's been up to lately, he smiled, took a deep breath and said: "I've just been to Aspen, Taos, Sante Fe, Albuquerque, back to L.A. briefly, then on to Big Sur, Monterey, San Francisco, Bozeman, and Wyoming including visits to Rapid City and the Indian Reservation at Wounded Knee." I felt like I had a Wounded Knee just listening to him, but, then again, this is the same Kovar who conquered Kilimanjaro. This time, he was taking photos for Neighbor Charlie's Explore program. Highlights of the trip included hosting a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a man named Honore who addressed a group of USC students on his first day in the U.S.; a screening of Charlie's new documentary, Raindrops Over Rwanda, at the Hatch Film Festival; and a meeting with famed Native American Activist Russell Means. When I asked Kovar how he accomplished all this, he said, "It was just another Day Trip!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010


No visit to Tempe would be complete without a tour of Arizona State University (ASU), the largest research university in the United States and the main attraction in town. The campus wasn’t far from my hotel, so -- after my meetings ended today – I grabbed a map, donned a backwards baseball cap, and set out to give myself a tour. I started with the oldest building on campus, the “Normal” building which dates back to when the school was founded in 1885. ASU was originally known as the Tempe Normal School and the “Normal” building (pictured above) was the center of campus life.

Just to make sure I was in the right place, I decided to ask one of the “locals.” More than 70,000 students attend ASU, so I sat myself down on a nearby bench and waited for one of them to walk by. It didn’t take long. A young student sat next to me. “Pardon me,” I asked, “Is this the Normal building?” “What?!?,” he asked. He was wearing a thick, red wool ski hat, complete with ear flaps, despite the 90-degree heat. “I’m just wondering if this is the Normal building,” I continued. “What?!?,” he repeated. I gave up. Something told me “Normal” wasn’t in his vocabulary. I guess we all have our cross to bear. Speaking of which, a quick glance around revealed another unusual site. A young couple was scurrying by, carrying a cross.
I decided follow them, keeping a safe distance, just to see what they were up to.
They strolled down Palm Walk, one of the main pedestrian walkways which criss-cross the 642-acre campus, passing the Health Services building, the Engineering Center and the Life Sciences building. Everything looked so clean. Even the Palm trees lining the walk on either side of us seemed brighter than the ones in Los Angeles. According to one of my colleagues, it’s just an optical illusion: the fact that the desert sky is much brighter than it is back home makes everything else seem more vivid. By now, the couple with the cross had reached their destination, a Volkswagen Beetle that was parked on Normal Ave. They hopped in and drove off into the sunset, no doubt in search of a Crown of Thorns.

I continued walking North towards the heart of the campus, past the Hayden Library and the Student Union. I couldn’t help noticing a small, cozy building which turned out to be the original University’s “President’s Cottage.” Today it’s the Virginia G. Piper Writers House, a center for creative writing where folks gather to share ideas and fine-tune their writing skills. Robert Frost stayed there twice. I'll bet these days it's a haven for bloggers.

My next stop was the Global Institute of Sustainability. This building, pictured above, proves that ASU practices what it preaches when it comes to the environment. Not only do they teach “sustainability,” but the building itself uses a set of roof wind turbines (pictured above) to generate its own power. I didn’t want to get too close – I'm told the building was constructed using recycled materials – but the whole thing makes a bold statement, I must say.

Equally interesting were the solar-powered trash cans that could be found throughout the campus. Actually, according to the manufacturer – a company called BigBelly – they’re not trash cans at all, but rather “intelligent waste collectors.” Just throw in your trash, stand back and watch in amazement as a solar-powered compactor crushes and prepares it for efficient recycling. I just hope no one sticks their arm in when the silly thing’s on!

I wrapped up the tour by retracing my steps down Palm Walk, crossing a pedestrian bridge that led to the Sun Devil Stadium (home of ASU’s Pac-10 champion football team, the Sun Devils), my hotel and the airport in that order. Tomorrow, it’s back to the Normal grind!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I had a butte of a morning today in Tempe. I woke up extra early, so I could climb to the top of the highest point in Tempe, the Hayden Butte, to watch the sunrise. Hayden Butte is 1,500-feet high and was considered a sacred place by the area's early settlers, the Hohokam Indians. I didn't find any signs of the Hohokams (even though there are supposed to be ancient petroglyphs at the summit), but the students at nearby Arizona State have certainly left their mark: They've attached a 60-foot yellow "A" on the side of the butte directly facing the Sun Devil Stadium.

The view was spectacular. At dawn, the sun casts a glow over the desert horizon that paints the sky in shades of dark blue and pale pink. You can see the whole Valley of the Sun from the summit, from the University to the shops and restaurants nearby. I admired the view for a while, then let gravity pull me towards the Starbucks at Mill and 5th Street.

I could grow to love the Starbucks around here. The local characters are as colorful as the desert. I couldn't help noticing that a woman at the next table (above, far right) was reading Tarot Cards for her friends. "This is interesting," she said with a smile, "There's change in your future ... and a little fame or notoriety, too!" I whipped out my Spycam and pointed it in their direction. Call it destiny ...!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It was time for Tempe today as I made my way to Arizona for two days of industry meetings. It's been a while since I've been to Arizona and I forgot how much I like it this time of year. Tempe is famous for its hot climate ... and I got a taste of it this afternoon in more ways than one. No sooner did I leave my hotel, than I stumbled into what appeared to be a heated political debate among a number of Arizona's Congressional candidates. Banners were hung around the City Hall reading "Stop Spending Our Money!" Libertarian Candidate Nick Coons (below right) was milling about. Coons, it should be noted, thinks Social Security is "one of the worst financial scams ever perpetrated by our government." His view on welfare and poverty is as follows: "Government-run welfare is an abysmal failure and must come to an end if we're truly serious about helping the poor." I walked around muttering "Spend our Money ... Spend, Spend, Spend ... More Government, That's the Answer!" If you don't hear from me tomorrow, perhaps it's because Coon's view on gun ownership is that there should be no government restrictions, whatsoever ...!


It was Lights, Camera, Action at 7th and Montana yesterday as Barista Tyler announced his latest Hollywood career move. "I'm breaking into the soaps," he said, "I'm going to appear on the Bold and the Beautiful." Before I could ask what he was playing -- the Bold or the Beautiful -- he boldly walked outside and began offering to sign autographs. Surprisingly enough, he found a taker. An adorable toddler (above right) was more than happy to get Tyler's autograph. "Make sure it's on a blank check, kid," I said. Stay tuned for further details on Tyler's soap opera debut ...!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana yesterday as Rigolatte -- the man known for spontaneously breaking out into song when he's not busy laughing like a hyena or passing out biblical literature -- performed an impromptu version of The Marriage of Figaro in front of Our Favorite Starbucks. "There he goes, again," said one witness, "Singing opera." As if on cue, Rigolatte started waving his arms wildly from side-to-side. It looked like he was conducting an invisible orchestra, accompanied by strains of "Figaro ... Figaro ... Figaro" as he wandered down 7th Street. The whole thing left me scratching my head. Should I call the Met, or get the net ...?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Everyone knows we have our share of Local Loons at 7th and Montana but today we celebrated a visit from a bird of a different kind: the Stork. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Baby B, a bouncing baby boy who made his way into the world on Tuesday, weighing-in at a whopping 8 pounds and 1.3 ounces. Proud father Hunter made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning grinning from ear-to-ear and in need of caffeine. Said Hunter of his newborn son, "He's large and in charge!" Congratulations Hunter and Kamila ... and welcome to the world, Bryce!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Producer Jude captivated the crowd at 7th and Montana yesterday with news regarding her latest project, a new reality TV show called Shedding for the Wedding. The concept is straightforward: Overweight couples compete with one another for a chance to win their dream wedding. As with NBC-TV's The Biggest Loser, the winner is the couple who sheds the most pounds. But it's not quite that simple. Nutrition and fitness experts teach the couples not just to lose weight, but to keep it off by living a healthier lifestyle. Before they say "I do," these couples have to learn to say "I don't" to a host of bad habits that made them fat to begin with. As for the winners, their wedding will be a blubber-free zone ... that is unless you count their tears of joy. Shedding for the Wedding is scheduled to air next year on the CW.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"%#$^%$##%@" ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!

It was a rated PG -- or Perfectly Grouchy -- morning today at 7th and Montana as a Tough Cuss-tomer made the scene, spewing forth a stream of obscenities. The fun began shortly after 8:00, when an Attractive Blond woman pulled-up in a white Volkswagen Golf. She parked on 7th Street, ran across the street towards Our Favorite Starbucks and stopped right in front of my table. "Jesus F--king Christ!," she screamed, for no apparent reason, "This is F--king ridiculous!" She sounded mad -- not to mention stark and raving -- so I buried my head in my newspaper and pretended not to notice her. Seconds later, she turned around and ran back to her car, swearing all the way. She drove off without getting any coffee ... but, in her case, maybe that's a good thing ...!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


It was Many Happy Returns at 7th and Montana this morning as Neighbor Robin made the scene after a ten-day hiatus. "Where have you been?," I asked, "We've missed you!" "I gave up coffee for ten days," she explained, "But I missed the taste." One thing's for sure, she didn't miss the sight of my Spycam pointing in her direction. She tried her best to distract me. "Look, there goes Renee Zellweger," she said, pointing towards the door. It didn't work. "You're much more newsworthy than Renee, today," I said, smiling. Nothing against Renee -- she's a beautiful, friendly addition to the crowd -- but an entire posse of Paparazzi follow her every move. On Monday alone, no less than twelve photos of her made the wire, all featuring Bob, Joyce and Baby Ben in the background. But when it comes to the fact that Robin's back, I knew I had an exclusive. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll get a photo of Robin's front, too ...!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to turn out quite right? If this morning was any indication, the crew at 7th and Montana seemed to be having one today. The fun began at around 7:30 when an Attractive Brunette threw a polite hissyfit. "I specifically asked for lowfat milk," she said, "This is nonfat. If I wanted nonfat, I would have asked for nonfat. When I order lowfat, I expect to get lowfat ..." She went on and on, not that she needed to. Any Starbucks will replace your drink for free if it isn't right. Barista Nada made her a new drink, this time with lowfat milk, and called out the next order. An Attractive Blond Regular (pictured above) picked it up, looked at it suspiciously and said, "This isn't right. I asked for nonfat milk and you gave me lowfat. Can you make it, again?" Maybe they should just start giving everyone decaff ...!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Calling all cars ... calling all Cars: Be on the lookout for a black Infinity QX4, California License Plate 4GSR888. The suspect was last seen blocking traffic at Wilshire and Westwood during rush hour this morning. Actually, the driver -- a well-manicured woman who looked like she was in her mid 30s -- stopped traffic when she tried to take a left, despite the fact that there was "no left turn" from her lane. I had the misfortune to be right behind her, watching helplessly as cars backed up behind me. Some of them beeped, others were able to weave around her. I beeped once, quickly, to alert her that she was holding-up traffic. She ignored us all. After several minutes, I whipped out my Spycam and took a picture of her car. She saw me, and gave me the finger just as a police officer drove by. At least there was no need to 'finger the perp.' She fingered me ...!


Wonders never ceased at 7th and Montana yesterday as -- faced with a rare, steady drizzle -- the man known as the Zombie for sitting in one place for hours on end in front of Our Favorite Starbucks moved inside. "It's a sign!," said one insider. "Yes," I agreed, "It means there'll be one less table available inside until it stops raining ...!"

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Tongues were wagging at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Newcomer known as "the Chairman" made the scene, intent on showing everyone who's in charge. He walked right up to my table, grabbed a chair without saying a word and brought it to his own table ... where he promptly used it to prop up his feet. "Sure, go ahead, no problem!," said Joyce, dryly, as he walked away without bothering to ask whether the seat was taken or not. The incident left some of us scratching our heads. Then, again, as one observer noted, perhaps he just needed a stool sample ...!