It was a long day's journey into fright on Lufthansa Flight #457 to Berlin yesterday as a Hyperactive Young Tyke used the plane as his own personal jungle gym. He repeatedly tried to climb over one of the bulkheads ... and, much to my surprise, no one stopped him. Then, again, he wasn't the only person climbing the walls. Another Problem Child, sitting directly in front of me, spent most of the flight moaning loudly in what sounded like Pig Latin. "Oiby boiby doiby yutz ...!," he yelled, "Grawbly wobbly glub glub glub!" "What kind of language is that?," asked the man sitting next to me, after about five hours of nonstop babbling. "Oh, it's a little known tongue spoken mainly in the German countryside," I replied, "Allow me to translate: He just said, "You call this rubbery mess chicken? I ought to feed your entrails to Colonel Sanders!" The child continued babbling. "Yunk Yunk Plunk Plunk Grrrrrrrr!" "Now he's complaining about the bathroom," I added, "He's just told the Flight Attendant: 'That sewer you call a lavatory is nothing but an overgrown petrie dish. Mark my words, the sanitation department will hear of this!" Anyhow, I finally made it to Berlin safe and sound, just in time to climb another wall. The remnants of the Berlin Wall (pictured below) are right outside my hotel.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Turnabout was fair play at 7th and Montana this morning as I turned the tables on Robb, the friendly neighbor who for weeks been trying to beat me at my own Spycam game. Sure, he's more creative than I am. He hides behind bushes, jumps out from behind trees, lays an ambush that would make General Petraeus proud. But I have a superior Spycam with a faster shutter speed. "Aha," I yelled, clicking away. "Take that. And that. And that ... Ha, Ha, Ha ...!" I was descending into madness, and Robb seemed to realize it. He quickly admitted defeat -- chalking up my victory to the fact that he was using an "older" generation iPhone -- and continued along his merry way. Just remember, folks, the Spycam is mightier than the sword ...!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
They say desperate times call for desperate measures. During the dawn of the Great Depression, Republicans promised Americans "a chicken in every pot." Today, however, it seems more like there'll be a pot on every head. That is, if "Potsy," the Anonymous Street Performer known for traipsing up and down Third Street with an array of pots and pans on his head, has anything to say about it. I spotted the eccentric entertainer this afternoon with a collection of cookware on his cranium, including a whistling teakettle which balanced precariously from a perch between his teeth. Reviews of his performance were decidedly mixed. Serious critics panned him. But I say, "Let's cut the guy some slack." Afterall, he's obviously just a pot-head ...!
Things went from "Daddy Day Care" to "Daddy Don't Care" at 7th and Montana yesterday as an Anonymous Nincompoop treated the crowd to some avant garde parenting advice. First, he got Baby Bryce's attention by laughing like a hyena on helium. "Hee hee hee ... The babies, they all just love me!," he tittered. Before anyone could respond, he went on. "The secret to keeping the babies happy is to hang them upside down," he said, "I like to put them up in a tree." He was serious. "Don't worry," he said, "I always strap them in with a harness ... it's good for their circulation!" No one said anything. "Of course, it's always better when I join them. God didn't invent Inversion Boots for nothing!" He laughed a bit more for Baby Bryce's amusement, but no one joined in. Something tells me if he was hoping for a job babysitting Bryce, he was barking up the wrong tree ...!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
There was an extra spring in Barista Tyler's step at 7th and Montana yesterday ... and I think I know why. He had just returned from the dead. You see, Tyler's latest acting gig has him playing a corpse on NCIS New York. As I understand it, he lies on a gurney in the background while all hell breaks loose around him. "Weren't you tempted to sit up and say 'Hi, Everyone?'," I asked. "The thought might have occurred to me," he admitted, "But it wasn't in the script." I guess he's right. You have to stick to the script. In the immortal words of Mr. Ed, "A corpse is a corpse, of course of course ...!"
Friday, August 26, 2011
Smoke was practically coming out of my ears this morning at 7th and Montana as for the second day in a row, the same Crusty Crabapple deliberately smoked up a storm in front of Our Favorite Starbucks, even though he knew he was breaking the law. The fun began yesterday, when Richard tried to explain to the Crabapple that smoking within 20-feet of the door to a restaurant or a bus stop is illegal in Santa Monica. The Crabapple ignored him and something in me snapped. I flew into a rage. I have no problem if someone wants to smoke. That's their prerogative. But second-hand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control, contains at least 250 known toxic chemicals, including more than 50 that cause cancer. I have no intention of being exposed to that if I can help it. "Excuse me, you're not listening," I growled, "You're breaking the law. Put your cigarette out or leave." The Crabapple tried to ignore me but I wouldn't let him. "Did you hear me?," I continued, "Do you want me to call the Police?!?" That got his attention. He turned to me and said, "I can smoke here. I'm within the law." I recited the law to him. Finally, exasperated, he tried to reason with me. "So," he said, "Do you want to live a long time?" "Yes," I replied, "As a matter of fact, I do." "Well, let me tell you how you can do just that ..."," he began. "Tell me whatever you want," I said, "As long as you do it from at least 20 feet away." He huffed (and puffed) off -- and I thought we'd seen the last of him -- but no. He returned again this morning, hell bent on exposing us all to more of his toxins. I didn't waste any time whipping out my Spycam. I took his picture and called the authorities faster than you can say Lucky Strike. Mr. Crabapple: If you're out there, you'll be pleased to know that the Santa Monica No Smoking Hotline now has several not-so-flattering photographs of you on file puffing up a storm in a no smoking zone. Please come by tomorrow so they can slap you with a fine ...!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Boo Boo the Jester. I hesitate to call him a clown as that would be an insult to working and retired clowns everywhere. Boo Boo made the scene at the Trader Joe’s near my office today wearing a pair of droopy patchwork pants so colorful one would think Barnum and Bailey took turns throwing up on him. And that’s not all. His sneakers matched …!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
It was Another Day, Another Ambush at 7th and Montana yesterday as yet again I was caught on camera walking towards Our Favorite Starbucks. Ever since that fateful day several weeks ago when Robb and Robin took their first surprise video of me walking down 7th Street, I’ve been fair game. They’ve jumped out of bushes, whistled from behind trees, yelled at me from their balcony ... you name it. Not that I can complain. The Spycam works both ways, I always say. But I must say, Robb and Robin have been getting increasingly covert. Yesterday, I got an e-mail on my cell phone just as I was walking into Starbucks. The subject line read, “Spying on the Oblivious.” I knew before even opening the attachment that I was "the oblivious." What surprised me was the camera angle. In order to get this shot, Robb must have seen me coming, jumped into someone's front yard and peeked out from behind their hedges. All I can say is, this means war ...!
Monday, August 22, 2011
It was Many Happy Returns at 7th and Montana this morning as Malissa made the scene after a brief "disappearance." You see, the last time I saw her -- about a week ago -- she was in her Nancy Drew mode. An Anonymous Evildoer had stolen her backpack, which contained her wallet, and the police had told her that the only way they would get involved was if she was able to produce some leads for them. So, Malissa, eager to see justice served, went off searching for clues. When days went by and she didn't turn up, I began to fear the worst. Don't forget, this is the neighborhood where Whitey Bulger went undetected for years. Who knows what could have happened to Malissa. Anyhow, she resurfaced today, happy, healthy and refreshed. It turns out she was on vacation in Michigan ...!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Rin Tin Tinsel," an Attractive Young Fashion Victim who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning with a dog of a hairdo: Strands of tinsel were woven into her hair. "It's the latest style," said Joyce. "I guess she could always string a few lights on her head during the holidays to save money on a Christmas Tree," said Bob. "And while she's at it, she could always shove a Yule Log up her ass to make the season bright," I added. Richard, however, came to her defense. "She has a big job in Hollywood," he said. That's what I like about L.A., you never know when you'll rub shoulders with the Tinseltown elite ...!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
It was one of those "Only in L.A." moments at Euclid and Wilshire this afternoon as I tried to run an errand, but ended-up on another planet. I walked into what I thought was the UPS store, only to find myself surrounded by an eclectic mix of 'healthy' merchandise ranging from bottled enzymes to fuel enhancers. "This isn't the UPS store, is it?," I asked, tenuously. "Ha, Ha ... No, my friend," said the shopkeeper, "They're next door. But something tells me you're in the right place. You're into healthy living, no?" He had an indefinable accent, the kind that always brings me back to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. "You bet," I said, "Healthy living is what I'm all about." "Great, then take a look around." I quietly whipped out my Spycam and asked him about the pendant he was wearing around his neck. It looked like the kind of hokey necklace an extra might wear in an Indiana Jones movie. "Oh this," he said, "It's made from natural lava and it protects you from all forms of unhealthy influences which every day poke holes in your biosphere. It's wonderful for your aura." I expressed as much enthusiasm as I could muster. Maybe I went overboard because what he said next came as a real shock. "I can see you're a man of discriminating taste. How would you like a free store? Yes, completely free!" He handed me a pamphlet which read "Ask me how to get a free store!" and detailed the many benefits of running a store without any overhead whatsoever. "NO geographic restrictions; NO financial risk!; NO monthly expenses!, NO cost of goods!" The brochure went on and on. It even included an ad for the pendant he was wearing, which retails for $196, but thanks to the fact that the store doesn't have any expenses whatsoever you can get it for only $120. "Do you sell any lollipops?," I asked. "No," the man chuckled, but we sell everything else. I guess that proves my point. There really isn't a sucker born every minute, afterall ...!
Friday, August 19, 2011
It was a sign of the times at 7th and Montana as a local homeowner posted the following message in front of his or her house: “PLEASE STOP STEALING MY N.Y. TIMES. I LIKE IT AND IT’S MINE.” I first saw the sign several weeks ago and later realized that a peculiar kind of dance was going on. Every evening, the sign would appear in front of the house and every morning it would be ripped out of the ground and tossed in someone else’s yard. Someone, it seems, has been stealing the newspaper and yanking out the sign for good measure. Today, I noticed that a new sign appeared: "FOR LEASE." The homeowner-in-question is leaving. I hope they don’t forget to cancel their New York Times subscription. In related news, the Notorious Neighborhood Newspaper thief hasn’t been seen at Our Favorite Starbucks since February 27th. Coincidence? I think not ...!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Cameras were rolling at Palisades Park last night as an NBC news crew made the scene to do an interview ... but unfortunately I didn't notice what was going on and almost walked right into the interviewer. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and found that I had inadvertently stumbled upon an interview with Our Favorite City Councilman. "Oh, hi there," I said sheepishly. I gave Bobby a quick wave and skedaddled out of sight. In case you're wondering what the interview was all about, apparently a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the apprehension of suspects involved in the shooting deaths of two sea lions, one this month and another in 2009.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Competition reared its ugly head at Lincoln and Montana last night as not one but two Opera Loons made the scene at the same time. There I was, minding my own business in the Pavilions Parking Lot, when I stumbled across a brand new Opera Loon (above right, in the distance, wearing a blue shirt). He was singing an aria of his own creation and the words went something like this: "Lower my taxes ... Oh Lordy they're high ... Lower my taxes they're high as the sky ...!" A Pavilions employee (above right, in the distance, wearing a black shirt) asked him to leave. But that was nothing compared to the reaction from Rigolatte, the man known for locking himself in the men's room at Our Favorite Starbucks and belting out Opera Tunes for hours on end. Call it fate, but Rigolatte happened to be walking by just as his 'competition' was reaching a crescendo. I egged him on. "Hey, why don't you join him in a duet?," I asked. Rigolatte just looked at me and snarled, "I don't need to stoop to his level." His response couldn't have been cattier if he were singing a rousing chorus of "Oh Solo Meowwww ...!"
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Ever get the feeling you were being watched? That’s how I felt yesterday at Our Favorite Starbucks as a Mysterious Presence hovered over me while I was reading the daily news on my cell phone. The Mysterious Presence, it should be noted, seemed to be reading each headline out loud. “Obama Talks Up Entitlement Changes” … “German Economic Growth Slows Sharply” … “An Hour of TV can Shorten Your Life by 22 Minutes.” On and on he went. I would have turned around to see who it was, but a certain stench was hanging in the air like a miasma. I waited a few minutes, switched my cell phone to Spycam mode and took a discrete, over-the-shoulder photo. Later, when the coast was clear, I was surprised to learn that the Mysterious Presence was none other than the Guru, the local gadfly who is known for knowing everything. At least now I know how he stays so current on all the headlines ...!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana yesterday as the Attractive Motorcycle Mama, known for zipping around in her souped-up Harley, made the scene wearing a bold, new helmet. The only problem was, it made her look like Kaiser Wilhelm. "Ach!," I said, "That's some Helmut ... I mean helmet!" Oh, well, whatever floats her S-boat, I always say ...!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Strum Thurmond," an Anonymous Newcomer who made the scene at 7th and Montana yesterday with a song in his heart and a bizarre musical instrument on his knee. "Look, there's a balalaika," said Joyce, "I hope he plays it." I whipped out my Spycam and zoomed-in for a closer look. It indeed looked like a balalaika, the Russian stringed instrument with a triangular body and elongated neck. "What's that?," I asked, half expecting "Strum" to break out in Lara's theme from Dr. Zhivago. "It's a fluke," he replied. "A fluke?!?," I asked. "Yes, a fluke," he confirmed. To make a long story short, a fluke is a hybrid ukulele. But if you ask me, it was no fluke that he should bring one to Our Favorite Starbucks, especially given the colorful assortment of musicians we've seen over the years. The only thing that surprised me was that it wasn't a zither ...!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
We interrupt our regularly scheduled coverage to bring you this breaking news alert: A Local Loon -- quite possibly the oddest ball in the neighborhood -- was just seen peddling a 'hi-rise' bicycle at 7th and Montana. The bike was bright yellow with oversized tires and a 15-foot, double-decker frame. The rider, a Local Loon in his early thirties, was dressed in lederhosen and hiking boots. He had Antlers strapped to his head. I whipped out my Spycam and chased him halfway to the beach. "Hey, Mr. Elk," I screamed, panting, "Wait up ... I want to get a picture!" He peddled faster. The best I could do was get a grainy photo of him from a distance as he turned south on Ocean Avenue. I guess some people prefer to remain incognito ...!
It was a day in the doghouse today at 7th and Montana for an Anonymous Pet Maven who made the scene intent on promoting her Doggy Daycare service. It's not that anyone had an issue with the concept of Doggy Daycare. Lord knows Our Favorite Starbucks went to the dogs years ago. It's the way the Pet Maven chose to promote her business. She literally stopped traffic by stopping her car, jumping out into the street and handing out coupons for her service. "Your dog deserves the comforts of home," says the ad. It all sounds great, but I -- for one -- was left with a question. If this woman thinks nothing of jumping out of her car and running into a crowd to hand out coupons, what does she let your dogs do when they're "off leash"...?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this week as a dead ringer for Buffalo Bill made the scene wearing a suede jacket with tassels and a ten-gallon hat. "Now there's something you don't see every day," said one witness, "Who does he think he is, Roy Rodgers?" I, for one, think his jacket with all that stuff hanging off it, was tailor-made for Our Favorite Starbucks. Where else would you expect to find the lunatic fringe ...?
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet “Willie,” an Anonymous Newcomer who made the scene this afternoon at a local health club. While he tried like the dickens to remain circumspect, his mere presence at the swimming pool caused a commotion. You see, Poor Willie has a problem. His head, when viewed from behind, bears a striking resemblance to a Giant Penis. “Sheesh,” I said to my friend who sent me this photo, “Talk about being dealt a bad genetic hand … can it get any worse?” Willie’s identity remains a mystery (my friend didn't know or wouldn't say) but if you ask me, it’s ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner in disguise …!
Monday, August 8, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Wretch, an Anonymous Nincompoop who made the scene at Palisades Park today looking like he was about to retch. He was frozen in position, hunched over as if in pain and clutching his stomach for dear life. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear he'd just swallowed an Apple Fritter from you know where. "Are you O.K.?," I asked. "I'm fine," he growled, "Just working out." Moments later he assumed what I guess some might call a Yoga position. Something tells me his Lycra workout suit was cutting off the circulation to his brain ...!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
It was Queasy Rider strikes again at 7th and Montana this morning as a Wobbly Motorcyclist and his girlfriend hit the road in more ways than one. At first, they looked super-cool as they zipped-up 7th Street on their fancy bike, but then all hell broke loose. The bike started getting a little tipsy and the girlfriend abandoned ship faster they you can say "Hit the Road, Jack!" She leaped off the bike -- making it even more unstable -- and the whole thing came tumbling down including her boyfriend. He was fine ... all except for his ego which seemed a bit bruised. The pair looked around to make sure no one was watching, then quietly slipped in the back door to Our Favorite Starbucks. To the riders, in case you're reading this: Not to worry ... Your secret is safe with me. To everyone else: Pictures of the happy couple without their helmets are available on request ...!
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Cuckoo Chanel, a fashion plate who made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning dressed for a night on the town with Aristotle Onassis. Unfortunately, Onassis died in 1975. She wore a long, black skirt, a black and white flowered jacket and an oversized pillbox hat. My guess is that she was an Asian tourist, just trying to look her best at Our Favorite Starbucks. Some say she was going for the Jackie O look ... but it came off more like Jackie Oh No!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Once upon a time, in a quaint little neighborhood in Culver City, nestled between bungalows that once belonged to MGM employees and the back-lot that in the 1930s served as the location for the burning of Atlanta in "Gone with the Wind," there was a convenience store that time forgot. Local rumor has it that the store, owned by the same family for more than forty years, has been there since the Dawn of Time. I've been visiting the store ever since my office moved nearby with one purpose in mind: To keep a close eye on the Hostess Fruit Pies. "Look," I said to my colleague shortly after first noticing them last week, "Their expiration date is next week ... they're about to expire on August 9. Do you know how long a Hostess Fruit Pie has to sit on a shelf before it expires?!? Eons must pass!" One look at the ingredients -- a delicate blend of beef fat, partially hydrogenated animal shortening, apples, artificial flavor and sodium propionate -- was enough to convince me that these pies could survive a nuclear holocaust. And so, each day I've been making a pilgrimage to the Convenience Store just to see if the pies are still there. What will I say to the proprietor when they expire? Probably nothing. It looks like he's passed his Freshness Date, too ...!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Conspiracy Theorist made the scene in a customized “Lennon Murder Mobile." The Theorist (presumably pictured above, behind the wheel) is promoting the idea that John Lennon was actually murdered by three powerful suspects: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and -- hang on to your hat -- Horror Novelist Stephen King. The man convicted of the crime, David Chapman, is simply a decoy whose very existence proves just how far some people will go to brainwash the American public. I gleaned all of this and more just by reading the side of the van, which is emblazoned with a bloody logo promoting the website LennonMurderTruth.com. If you're like me, you're wondering right about now how all of this came to light, not to mention how it ended up on the side of a van. The truth, according to the website, has been buried for years in Secret Government Crypto Codes. Either that, or a certain Theorist had a Hard Day's Night ...!
Monday, August 1, 2011
There must be something in the air. Days after an Anonymous Hothead raised a ruckus at Our Favorite Starbucks, a Skateboarder with An Attitude threw a temper tantrum near my office in Culver City. Actually, to say he threw a temper tantrum is an understatement. As I was walking by with a colleague, he threw his skateboard on the sidewalk with all his might and screamed “All you A---holes in Los Angeles can go F--- Yourselves. I’ve had it. DO YOU HEAR ME?? I’VE HAD IT!!!” He went on and on, yelling at the top of his lungs. “I RIDE SKATEBOARDS. THAT’S WHAT I DO. NO ONE IS GOING TO STOP ME FROM DOING THAT. EVER. DO YOU HEAR ME??? EVER!!!!!” And with that, he hopped on his skateboard and zipped up Higuera Street like a bat out of hell, leaving a trail of obscenities in his wake. “It looks like someone’s not having a good day,” said my colleague, dryly. I waited until the Skateboarder was a dot on the horizon before whipping out my Spycam. There’s a fine line between zany and psychotic … and far be it from me to distract anyone while they're crossing the border!