The morning rush took on a new meaning at 7th and Montana today as an Adorable Tyke made the scene in a zippy red convertible. "Beep, Beep!," he cried, passing the pastry counter at lightning speed. He seemed somewhat distracted, and weaved a bit in and out of traffic. I couldn't help wondering whether he was ordering Decaf or Hi-Test ...!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
It was Comedy Central at Our Favorite Starbucks yesterday at our very own Mr. Mayor personally apologized to each and every person waiting to order their coffee. The scene went something like this: Barista Nada wished the Mayor a belated Happy Thanksgiving. The Mayor -- always looking out for his constituents -- told Nada to clam-up. "Less small talk, more coffee," he joked. He then went from person to person apologizing for any delay. "It's all Nada," he continued, "She's causing the back-up." Everyone laughed, but I couldn't help wondering if this is how good politicians get elected: Pass the (Star)bucks and appeal to the base. At least it wasn't a Tea Party ...!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Skullery Maid, an attractive young woman who made the scene at 7th and Montana last week wearing nothing but a jacket, an oversized T-shirt and a pair of skeleton tights. What, you might ask, are skeleton tights? Take a close look at the photo above. They're multi-colored tights adorned with alternating horizontal stripes and -- you guessed it -- skulls. I guess you could say she was Dressed to Kill ...!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as the Zombie -- known for sitting in the same chair, in a daze, for hours on end -- made the scene wearing a skirt. "Yikes," I said, "Do you see what I see?" The Zombie shuffled by wearing a gossamer-thin, see-through, skirt cut just above the knees. Mercifully, he was wearing a pair of rolled-up blue jeans underneath. "It's a Sports Kilt," said Joyce. But I had my doubts. What possible sport could he be playing that requires a Kilt ... the Somnambulist Olympics?!? Off-Kilter is more like it ...!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
They say that chivalry is dead ... and if that's true, I'd like you to meet two of the vultures who have been quietly picking at its bones this week at 7th and Montana. The first, a young woman in her early thirties (pictured above), backed into me and stepped on my foot while we were both waiting in line to order coffee on Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong ... the fact that she backed into me didn't bother me at all. Accidents happen, and we all have our klutzy moments. It's what happened next that came as a shocker. Instead of the usual "I'm sorry" or "Pardon me," she turned around and glared at me as if I did something wrong. Next up was the Charmer who stood in line behind Joyce this morning. Every time she thought Joyce wasn't looking, she jockeyed for position like a racehorse ... quietly trying to cut to the front of the line. Ultimately, one of the Baristas had to tell her to wait her turn. I realize these aren't isolated incidents -- stories like this are all too common -- but the whole thing has me wondering. Where do people get such an inflated sense of self worth? I guess it must be that old Hollywood affliction: A case of mistaken nonentity ...!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Space Cadet -- a high flying oddball who recently brought his very own Flight Simulator to the Starbucks at Powell and Sutter in San Francisco. According to Kathy, who forwarded the attached photo to me, the Space Cadet spent hours flying planes on his computer screen -- soaring and steering with headphones on -- while onlookers gaped in astonishment. Some say he was going for his pilot's license, but I think he's just plain cracked. Speaking of cracks, an Anonymous Newcomer treated the crowd at 7th and Montana this morning to a delightful view of her butt crack. Who knows, maybe she's trying to convince the Powers that Be to add Half Moons to the pastry menu ...!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It sure is nice to get off for Thanksgiving ... and if you don't believe me, just ask the Anonymous Dog Lover who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning. No sooner did she arrive, then she made a beeline for the lonely Pit Bull pictured above. "What a doll!," she said, "Do you mind if I pet him?" The dog belongs to Mr. Transistor, the Local Loon who usually tunes everything out except his transistor radio. "Be my guest," he replied. The Dog Lover, however, did my than just "pet" the Poor Beast. She lovingly stroked its genitals, again and again. The crowd was aghast. "Get a load of that ... look what she's doing!," cried Genevieve. "Oh, don't mind her," I said, "It looks like she's having a ball ...!"
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Rigolatte – the local loon known for walking up and down 7th Street belting out opera tunes -- made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning after a brief hiatus. Last month, he was banished for handing out religious literature. But today he was back … with a vengeance. He poked his head in the door, looked all around to make sure there weren’t any managers around, then made a bee-line for Barista Tyler. “Here,” he said, “I want you to have this.” It was a black and white religious image, which Tyler promptly handed to me. It looked evil. “Who is this, Satan?,” I asked. But by that point it was "mission accomplished" for Rigolatte. He stole two handfuls of artificial sweetener and slipped out the side door. As for the religious image, it turned out to be St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate cases.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Fall was in the air this morning at 7th and Montana ... and if you don't believe me, just as the Elderly Gentleman who took a nasty spill at the corner of 7th and Palisades. The accident happened at about 8:00 a.m. when the man -- a semi-retired writer -- hit the curb with his bike and went flying. He didn't seem to be seriously injured, but I'm pleased to say that literally every passerby stopped to help. One woman called the man's wife. Another called 911 and offered to store the man's bike at her house for the time being. "Be careful with that bike," the man croaked, "I'm very proud of the fact that it only cost me $60 at Target." The woman who called 911 asked me if I could bring her dog home for her and let it into her house while she tended to the man's wounds. The story has a happy ending: The paramedics, who arrived at the scene within minutes, said that the man's injuries weren't serious, but they took him to the hospital just in case. Meanwhile, it seems like a good sign that so many strangers stopped to help someone in need. It just goes to show that the Thanksgiving spirit is alive and well in Santa Monica ...!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tension filled the air at 7th and Montana this morning as a dead ringer for Charles Manson made the scene ... and the resemblance was more than just physical. According to inside sources, he arrived at 5:30 a.m. and almost immediately began raising a ruckus, throwing chairs and umbrellas on the sidewalk. At 6:30 he enjoyed a cup of tea, following which -- renewed and refreshed -- he began pacing up and down 7th Street like a caged animal. By 9:30, he was back to throwing things around and cackling like a hyena, albeit this time under Police Surveillance. Two squad cars arrived and a group of police officers watched his every move for about 30-minutes. At one point, they told him to calm down, but it didn't work. After the police left, he started pulling branches off trees, kicking furniture, knocking down signs and frolicking in the middle of the street. The only thing that seemed to calm him down was the arrival of Lucky, the Wonder Dog. "I know this dog," he said, "I kidnapped him 25 years ago. I wanted to kill him but he got away." Lucky wisely fled the scene. As for Mr. Manson, he took off shortly thereafter, leaving a Helter Skelter pile of chairs, branches and umbrellas in his wake ...!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! That was the cry this morning at 7th and Montana as a dead ringer for Russian KGB Cartoon Agent, Natasha Badenov, made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks. Indeed, her outfit -- a black fur hat and a black jacket with leopard trim -- made her look like a refugee from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. "Maybe she's here to make sure we pass the nuclear disarmament treaty," I said. Then, again, maybe she planted a few Apple Fritter Bombs on the pastry shelf ...!
Friday, November 19, 2010
They say that crime doesn't pay, but try telling that to Neighbor Robb. The budding young producer announced his latest project at 7th and Montana this morning, a documentary about a convicted felon who has just been released from state prison after serving most of a 78-year sentence. Robb has been following this hardened career criminal -- a man found guilty of several bank robberies, grand theft auto and miscellaneous other misdeeds -- for the past week with a camera, trying to get a sense for whether or not he's been rehabilitated. "Hmmmm," I said, whipping out my Spycam, "Isn't that rather dangerous?" "Maybe," Robb conceded, "But I've been getting some great stuff!" I guess I can relate. Afterall, I've been pointing my camera at Unsavory Characters for years ...!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "No No Nanette," a delightful young toddler with a one word vocabulary: "No." She made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with her mother and brother, and from the moment she walked in the door to the moment she left, it was a rousing chorus of "No! ... No! ... No! ... No! ..." Nanette and her brother sat at a table waiting while their mother ordered coffee and juice. "No ... No ... No ... No ... No ... No ... No!," shrieked Nanette, for No apparent reason. Her brother tried to calm her down. "No!," said Nanette, imperiously. I couldn't resist introducing myself. "Why hello there, young lady," I said, smiling, "Are you a Republican?" "No!," she shrieked. "That's funny, you sound like one," I replied. Some might say Poor Nanette is going through a phase. I sure hope so. Otherwise, I'm afraid we have a budding young No-it-All on our hands ...!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
They say the early bird gets the worm, but every so often I've found that the early bird gets a photo opportunity, instead. Today I woke up extra early and was rewarded with a fleeting glimpse of the Yellow Breasted Booby, a rare specimen who zips up and down 7th Street every morning at the crack of dawn in a bike festooned with plastic flowers and stuffed animals. For months, I've made it a personal mission to get a photo of her in mid-flight and for months she's eluded me. But today I was ready. I saw her pedaling towards me, got my Spycam into position and ran discretely alongside her as she crossed San Vicente. "Nice plastic flowers!," I yelled, "and I like your stuffed animals, too!" She just looked at me out of the corner of her eye and pedaled faster, leaving me in the dust. I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers ...!
Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as the “Zombie” – known for sitting motionless in the same chair for hours on end – snapped out of it. All at once, he opened his eyes, pulled the earphones out of his ears and looked in my direction. “Hey, mate,” he said in an Australian accent, “You wouldn’t happen to know what time it is, would you?” I couldn't have been more surprised if King Tut's mummy walked in the door and ordered a Grande Americano. “Ummmm … what?!?,” I replied. “You know, the time … what time is it?,” he repeated. He looked at me like I was the one in a semi-catatonic state. “Oh, sure,” I said, “It’s 7:25.” “I’m late!,” he said. And with that, he stood up, brushed the dust off his jacket and set off on a journey ... all the way to another table, closer to the pastry counter. Was it something I said ...?
Monday, November 15, 2010
It was a battle of canine good versus evil at 7th and Montana this morning as everyone's favorite golden retriever, Lucky, canvassed the neighborhood for a good cause: the Guide Dogs of America. What a mensch! No wonder Lucky already has 18,223 friends following his exploits on Facebook. On the other end of the spectrum, "Hannibal" -- the evil poodle -- made the scene again yesterday wearing his "protective" mask. I tried to pet him, but he just looked at me like he wanted to eat my liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti ...!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that three new bakeries will be catering to the growing number of folks who have taken to smuggling pastry into Our Favorite Starbucks. Sweet Lady Jane, the popular Melrose bakery to the stars -- voted the "#1 patisserie in the world" by National Geographic -- is opening a branch at Montana and 17th; Valen Dolce, an all-new "French Patisserie," just opened at Montana and 15th; and Nothing Bundt Cakes, a high-end bakery specializing in bundt cakes -- whose motto is "so yummy you'll wish it didn't have a hole" -- is coming to 927 Montana. Can these entrepreneurs fight a battered economy with batter? Will Nothing Bundt Cakes be a home run or a bundt? Stay tuned ...!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
It was "X-Men: The Battle at 7th and Montana" this morning as a dead ringer for everyone's favorite mutant, Wolverine, made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks. He was tall, covered in tattoos and sported a pair of mega mutton chops on each cheek. I couldn't help wondering whether, like Wolverine, his fingernails turned into menacing, indestructible claws at the drop of a hat. It was almost funny when he ordered a Grande Soy Latte. I guess I expected something more primeval ... like the hair of the dog that bit him!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Kudos to Neighbor Leslie, who's in the news today for completing her latest documentary, Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the special effects company established by George Lucas 35 years ago. Lucas gave Leslie and her team a rare glimpse into the magic behind such movies as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean. Narrated by Tom Cruise, the documentary is chock full of rare footage and interviews with the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams. I attended a screening and panel discussion at the USC film school last week and it was standing room only. Leslie has shied away from my Spycam ever since the day last year when I took a candid, somewhat suggestive photo of her eating a banana, but you can catch a glimpse of her with George Lucas in this article from cnet. The documentary airs tonight at 9:00 on Encore and will be repeated throughout the weekend.
The stars were out last night at the Whole Foods on Montana ... or at least one of them was. Sort of. There I was, minding my own business, when I ran into someone I thought I knew standing in front of me at the cash register. We said "Hello" to each other, but I kept thinking "How do I know her ...?" And then it dawned on me: I recognized her from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She played a smart and sophisticated Space Botanist. Later research revealed that her name is Rosalind Chao and she's been in a lot of TV shows and movies. As she left, she smiled and said to the cashier: "No one earns what they deserve except those who don't deserve it!" The cashier readily agreed, but I just stood there looking confused. I always thought Star Fleet took good care of its people ...!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Magic filled the air at 7th and Montana on Sunday as the proverbial "genie with the light brown hair" made the scene wearing baggy, blue harem pants, sandals and a sweater. It was hard to tell what she was going for: A taste of the bazaar or a taste of the bizarre. "Quick," I said, "Make three wishes!" But evidently no one was listening because she didn't turn into Barbara Eden ...!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have another Zombie in our midst. Don't get me wrong, I like Zombies as much as the next guy, but the appearance of yet another semi-comatose somnambulist in our midst can only mean one thing. They're breeding. Oh, well ... at least they're easy to photograph!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana yesterday as an Anonymous Local made the scene driving what can only be described as a Modern Day Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was bright yellow with a red flame motif and no doors. The driver, a woman in her thirties, was accompanied by two Hounds from Hell who sat right behind her in a wooden crate. She even looked a bit like Sally Ann Howes, the actress who played Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with a kerchief tied around her head. All I can say is, if she's not careful, her driver's license will end up like Howes' film career: on Permanent Ice. While other drivers might have been paying attention to the road, she was busy chug-a-lugging cappuccino with one hand and feeding her dogs bottled water with the other ...!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "the Unicorn," a mystical creature who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning wearing a ponytail that hung over the front of his head. "Good God," I said, whipping out my Spycam, "He has his head on backwards." And that wasn't the only hairy thing going on. He spent the morning flitting from trash can to trash can like a demented butterfly, collecting the dregs from other people's used coffee cups to create a brew all his own, a drink I like to call the Deadly Strepto-coccocinno. I've never tried it myself, but I hear it's "Good to the Last Drop ...!"
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Sparks were flying at 7th and Montana this morning as "Mr. Transistor," the man known for blaring his transistor radio for all to hear, made a new friend. An Unwitting German Tourist, finding that there were no other seats available, sat at his table. He smiled at her, switched off his radio and turned up the volume on what quickly became a heated debate. As near as I can tell, Mr. Transistor expressed his frustration that so many "foreigners" are getting into the United States while at the same time stealing American jobs right out from under our very noses. The more he talked, the more upset the German Tourist became until finally she said, "Ach, this conversation is over!" She grabbed her bike, loaded it onto a bus and disappeared, leaving Mr. Transistor in the dust. He tried to chase after her, sputtering all the way, but by that point it was too late. The tourist was on her way to Pacific Palisades. I can't say as I blame her. He was giving her more static than a transistor radio ...!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Another update from Last Night's Event: I was surprised to see in some of the reports this morning from last night's event that a photo and caption ran over the wires of me and Kathy, positioned as "Exclusive Coverage." It's part of a whole set of photos from the reception prior to last night's award program: VIP Reception Coverage. And if you think this is news, just remember, folks, there are plenty more World Exclusives where this one came from. The corner of 7th and Montana is full of them ...!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
It was Hollywood meets the U.K. tonight at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' annual Britannia Awards and -- for the first time at any Hollywood event -- I didn't have my Spycam on me. You see, the event invitation was specific: "No cell phones or cameras allowed." Since I was representing my company, I didn't want to create a scene. So, there I was, together with Kathy, surrounded by celebrities but without my trusty Spycam. Not only were the award winners -- Betty White, Jeff Bridges, Tony and Ridley Scott, Michael Sheen and Chris Nolan -- milling about, but tons of other Hollywood heavyweights were there as well, including Kevin Spacey, Dakota Fanning, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick. At one point, Producer Harvey Weinstein whipped out his cell phone and I was tempted to knock it out of his hands. Then he yelled "Hey, Frenchie!" across the room and Actress Marion Cotillard came over and gave him a big hug. By far, the funniest line of the evening, however, came from Bette White, who won the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy. After delivering a heartwarming acceptance speech, she held the statue aloft and said, "No matter what you've heard, Chuck Chaplin and I never had a relationship." Then she kissed the statue and added, "Well, maybe one time ...!" Wire photos from the event can be found here: Britannia Awards. The ceremony airs Sunday night on the TV Guide Network.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Yule never guess what happened this morning at 7th and Montana: Christmas arrived. Yes, it's true. Starbucks is ringing-in -- and ringing-up -- the holidays with the return of the Peppermint Frappuccino, the Gingerbread Latte and the Egg Nog Latte. "Oh, Joy," said one insider, "Now the only thing left to wish for is Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men!" "Not to worry," I replied, "Starbucks will deliver that, too ... for a price." Indeed, between now and January anyone who buys a warm beverage gets a snazzy, new holiday message on their cup: "I talked to a stranger once over coffee ... we're not strangers any longer." I defy the folks at Starbucks headquarters to put this message to the test at 7th and Montana. Something tells me they could yak all day with some of the characters at Our Favorite Starbucks and they'd still be just as strange ...!
I usually don't like to mix work-related topics with my blog, but I was involved in an event yesterday that was so cool I thought it was worth mentioning here. Director James Cameron joined us at a special event to give an insider's perspective on why he likes Blu-ray. Even for someone like me, who has been talking about Blu-ray for years, his remarks were inspiring. "I love Blu-ray," he said, "It's the image quality, it's the color, it's the quality control, it's everything about the image that's so vibrant." He also gave us a sneak peek at some new Avatar footage he's created that will appear on the upcoming Blu-ray collector's edition of Avatar. The whole thing had me a-twitter, literally: I used my Spycam to twitter from the event to my company's news blog, proving once and for all that a Spycam can be used for good as well as evil ...!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Chewie," the delightful young woman with table manners from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. I met Chewie this afternoon at the "lunch counter" at Whole Foods in Beverly Hills. She was eating a bran muffin the way Foghorn Leghorn eats an ear of corn: one tiny kernel at a time. She slowly, painstakingly pinched one crumb after another from the top of her muffin, then chewed each piece separately at least 32 times. I pointed my Spycam at her and took her picture, only to realize with a shock that I hadn't put it on mute. A loud camera shutter went off right in her ear. She looked at me. "Oops," I said, trying to cover my tracks, "I never can get this silly thing to work right. Don't you just hate crummy merchandise?" She completely ignored me. I guess one person's crummy is another person's crumby ...!