Sunday, February 19, 2012

THE LUG NUT ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



Cheers erupted at 7th and Montana yesterday as the Lug Nut, a local fitness fanatic known for strapping weights to his body with duct tape and lugging them up and down 7th Street -- set a new world record. The mounds of duct tape he is now using to attach what look like bricks to each of his hands have grown to such proportions that they could give the world largest ball of twine a run for the money. Some say he's starting to resemble a Human Dumbbell, but I say "Leave him alone ... He's in training!" The Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival, a three-day event celebrating all the "wacky and fun" uses of duct tape, is scheduled for June 15 in Avon, Ohio ...!

Friday, February 17, 2012

LIGHTS, CAMERA, SLIM WHITMAN ... !



A funny thing happened as I was pulling into my office this morning. An Anonymous Schmo wearing a headset and a baseball cap ran into the middle of the road and blocked my way. He waved his arms wildly and told me to stop my car and turn off the engine. I rolled down my windows. “What seems to be the problem?,” I asked. “We’re shooting a movie in the next building and, believe it or not, we’re picking up the sound of your engine,” he said. I thought for a moment. I was at my office building, right in front of the garage, and merely needed to pull-in. And this was, afterall, just an Anonymous Schmo, not a police officer. “This is my office,” I said flatly, “I’m right in front of the building and I need to get inside.” “Well, we’re shooting a movie next door,” said the Schmo, still blocking my way. “OK, then” I said, perturbed, “You’re shooting a movie and I’m listening to a CD.” I rolled down all my windows, turned up the bass and blasted Coldplay in full surround sound. He paused, not knowing quite what to do. I turned the volume down. “Tell you what,” I said, “That was just a sample of what I can do. I’ve got a Slim Whitman CD in the trunk and I’m not afraid to use it!” He spoke briefly to someone on the other end of his headset, presumably the sound engineer, then turned to me. “OK, you can go now,” he said. All I can say is, Thank God for Slim Whitman. And no, I don't own any of his CDs ...!

CASANOVA, AHOY ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as an Anonymous Codger ‘put the moves’ on nearly every woman in sight. The Codger, an affable-looking guy in his late ‘60s, wore a bright yellow and black parka which – combined with his Casanova tendencies – made him look like an enormous bumblebee as he flitted and flirted his way across the room. Starlets, businesswomen, baristas … no woman was immune to his charms. “Quick, Marty, get your camera ready,” said Robin, “That guy over there is something else.” His behavior had everyone chuckling, but the Codger had the last laugh. He was last seen sitting with a woman who resembled a supermodel.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

COUGH-Y AND COFFEE ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Smoking Dope, a Puffed-Up Buffoon who made the scene at 7th and Montana yesterday with a chip on his shoulder and a cigarette in his mouth. He huffed and puffed his second-hand smoke in my direction ... but I was ready for him. For weeks, I’ve been researching applications that would turn my Spycam into an Anti-Smoking Device and I finally found one. It’s called “Sick Guy” and it transforms your iPhone into a virtual hospital ward. Just tap the screen or give your phone a good shake and it coughs up a storm. I pointed my Spycam at the Smoking Dope, turned up the volume and began shaking it vigorously in his direction. It worked like a charm. My phone started wheezing and choking as if it were about to cough up a lung. As for the Dope, he pretended to ignore me but I just shook my phone faster and faster at him until he turned tail and disappeared down Montana Avenue in a puff of smoke. “It worked!,” said Joyce, as the Dope receded in the distance. “Indeed, it did!,” I replied. And to any of you out there who think you might try blowing smoke at 7th and Montana in the future, let me assure you, you’re just Smoking Dope ...!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

HIT OR MISSILE ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!


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Disaster struck at 7th and Montana this morning just as Kathy and Genevieve were sitting down to tackle the Sunday crossword puzzle. "Tell me," said Genevieve, "What's a seven-letter word for incoming projectile?" "I don't know," said Kathy. And then the answer struck them! Film at 11:00 ....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

BEWITCHED ... AT RAY & STARK'S



It was Double, Double Toil and Trouble yesterday at Ray & Stark's restaurant as a couple of women in their early 60's made the scene, ordered some pizza and then -- to my surprise -- started casting spells. There I was, having lunch with some colleagues, when one of the women pulled what looked like a ceremonial pendant from around her neck, dangled it carefully over the table for about 10 minutes, then started chanting in what sounded like Romanian. "Good God," I said, "What do you think she's doing?" "I'm not sure," answered one of my colleagues, "But I think it's a Wiccan ritual used to determine the sex of a baby." There was a pregnant pause as I looked from one woman to the other. "Don't you think it's a bit ... err ... late for that?," I asked. The women, meanwhile, cackled loudly as if on cue. Who knows, maybe they ordered some Eye of Newt to go ...?

Friday, February 10, 2012

COP OUT ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



Drivers beware. Santa Monica's finest have been out in full force all week writing ticket after ticket for anyone caught using their cell phone while driving. Personally, I like the fact that there is a cell phone law, but I must say, after watching four cars get pulled over on Tuesday in the space of 30-minutes, it seems clear to me what the police are up to. They're raising revenue. Last month they went after jaywalkers. And if you think that's bad, I can tell you it's much worse in Culver City, where police have set-up what amounts to an ongoing sting operation in front of my old office at Higuera and Hayden. Officers there hide behind the bushes all day, often four abreast, waiting for people to fall into an almost unavoidable trap. At that intersection, Higuera -- a main thoroughfare -- is blocked. A barrier forces drivers to turn on Hayden. If they turn right, they enter a quiet, dead-end zone. Nearly everyone in that case -- trapped as they are -- makes a quick U-turn to get back onto Higuera and that's when the police swoop in. "Tsssk, Tsssk ... didn't you see that tiny No U-Turn sign over there?!?" It's like shooting fish in a barrel. We all know times are tough, but I wish the City would find some other way to raise money. Bake sale, anyone ...?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GIFTSOFTHANX ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



I like Social Media as much as the next guy, but have you ever wondered whether something’s been lost in the mad rush to Facebook, whether we’re all just tweeting our lives away? If, like me, you still value a real person-to-person connection, then check out Robin’s new website, Giftsofthanx.com, an online boutique featuring all kinds of gifts ranging from greeting cards to placemats. Like Robin herself, the site “nurtures gratitude and uplifts the spirit.” Her handmade greeting cards, especially the Thank You notes, are enough to make anyone feel grateful. Maybe that’s Robin's strategy, to get us all hooked on thankfulness. I could easily imagine the following exchange: “Thank you for that beautiful Thank You note.” “No, Thank You for thanking me for that Beautiful Thank You note with such a nice Thank You card.” And so on, in an endless loop of gratitude and customer retention ...!

Monday, February 6, 2012

SEEING STARS ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



I'll never win any awards for photography, but at least I garnered something this morning. Jennifer Garner, that is. The beautiful actress made the scene at 7th and Montana today with a Parade of Paparazzi in her wake. Actually, the Paparazzi hovered in their usual spot -- the Parking Lot from Hell -- while Jennifer cooled her heels inside. "Sheesh," I said, watching the photographers get into position, "Those blood-sucking leeches will stop at nothing to get a photo. Have they no shame?" Seriously, one has to wonder what kind of low-life spends his time hanging around the Starbucks parking lot waiting for photo opportunities. Jennifer's next movie -- Butter -- is due out on March 16th, but that's hardly her biggest premiere this season. Her third child is due this Spring ...!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

BRINGING UP BABY ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



It's an unspoken rule at 7th and Montana -- and everywhere else I suppose -- that there's no such thing as an ugly baby. But this morning I met the exception to the rule, thanks to an Unfortunate Matron who stood behind me in line with a baby carriage. I turned around, smiled and tried to get a glimpse of the baby, but the Matron kept the carriage covered. "Good Morning," I said. Before the Matron could answer, the baby started fussing. Actually, it emitted a low growl. "Shhhhhh," said the Matron, rocking the carriage back and forth, "Mommy just has to get a little coffee, then we'll go back outside." The growling grew louder, increasing in intensity until it sounded like the little Bundle of Joy was foaming at the mouth. Then it began barking. "That's no baby, it's a dog!," I cried. The Matron seemed mortified, but what else was I supposed to say? ... "I can see where Junior gets his good looks?!?" "The Alpo doesn't fall far from the tree?!?" The Matron spun around and fled the scene, presumably to tend to her "child." I just hope she's not breast-feeding ...!

A WHEEL LOON ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



It was a Low Speed Chase at 7th and Montana yesterday as a Crusty Curmudgeon in a white sedan putt-putted his way down 7th Street, followed by no less than four police cars, all blaring their sirens. One of the officers was shouting "Pull Over ... Pull Over!" at various intervals, but the Curmudgeon would have nothing of it. He clutched his steering wheel for dear life, gritted his teeth and kept shaking his head back and forth like a human bobblehead, as if to say "You'll never take me alive!" The fact that he couldn't have been going more than two miles an hour -- and that any police officer worth his salt could have outrun his car -- made the whole thing seem surreal. "He's probably just confused his horn with the Life Alert button," I said as the Curmudegon made a left on Montana. Later, the whole thing was in the news: Pursuit Winds Through L.A. Evidently, the Curmudegon was first spotted "driving erratically" in Malibu, then chased down Pacific Coast Highway through to 7th Street. A helicopter joined the chase shortly after his rendevouz at 7th and Montana. The whole thing ended 90-minutes later in Mid-City L.A. where he crashed at the corner of Pico and Redondo and was taken to the hospital. I hope he's O.K. -- at least well enough to lead hospital officials through a merry chase down the corridors of Cedars-Sinai -- but the whole thing is really a cautionary tale. Remember, folks: The same loons who serenade us at 7th and Montana spend their spare time driving around the streets of L.A. ...!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

BABBLING ON ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!




Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the King of Babylon, a Royal Pain in the Ass who specializes in babbling on and on -- on his cell phone of course -- in a strange tongue that might as well be ancient Babylonian. "Is this seat taken?," he asked me. "It's all yours," I replied. But I might not have been so generous had I known what he had in mind. He dragged the chair behind mine, situating it within inches of me, all the better to soak up some sun. And then he did what he does best. "Blachma ... Drachma ... Bleckety Bleck!," he screeched into his phone, and then went on and on in his peculiar language for at least twenty minutes. I swear, one of these days someone's going to take that phone of his and crown him with it ...!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

MAD HATTER ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA!



Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Mad Hatter, a man who made the scene at Our Favorite Starbucks this morning with a chip on his shoulder the size of a Ten Gallon Hat. The mere presence of a Mystery Hat on an an extra chair at his table caused him to fly into a rage. "Excuse me," I said, gesturing to the chair, "Can I use this chair? It looks like maybe you have it saved for someone." I was trying to be polite, but needed a chair. "Are you kidding me?!?," he said. I was dumbfounded. "No," I said, "I'm just looking for a chair." "That's ridiculous," he scoffed, "It's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" I thought of saying "Right back at you," but kept my mouth shut ... and I'm glad I did. It turned out he thought I was trying to claim his whole table and that the Mystery Hat on his 'extra' chair was mine to begin with, as if I had snuck into Starbucks in the dead of night and dropped a hat at his table, just so I could later evict him. When he realized his mistake, he got very sheepish and apologized profusely. Frankly, I'd prefer to see him eat his hat ...!