Sunday, October 28, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Wild Bill Hiccup, an Anonymous Newcomer who made the scene yesterday dressed like he took a wrong turn at Rodeo Drive.  He wore an expensive leather coat with fringe and a matching hat with tassels.  All that was missing was a lasso.  He looked every inch like Wild Bill with just one hiccup:  His beard and mustache were strictly from the Colonel Sanders school.  I can't say I blame him.  I'd be chicken, too, if someone asked me to ride a bucking bronco or rope a steer ...!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana on Sunday as an Anonymous Newcomer tried to throw her weight around.  "Watch my stuff, will you?," she asked, placing her purse and an appointment book on an empty table.  Gen and I were focused on the crossword puzzle at a table nearby.  "I can't promise to watch your purse," Gen said politely, "We're doing the crossword puzzle.  But I'm happy to watch it if you leave it at our table."  The woman was perturbed.  "The whole point is that I want you to save this table.  Whatever!"  She left her stuff on the table and huffed away.  I took a quick picture for future reference.  For all I know, her stuff is still sitting on the table.  But now, thanks to the miracle of the Internet, we can all keep an eye on it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Howard is All Ears
What do you get when you combine three birthdays, a derelict, a mariachi band and a flash mob?  A party, 7th and Montana style, that's what.  Today marked the celebration of Howard's 70th birthday and when you combine that with the fact that he shares the same birthday as his son, Greg, and his mother, otherwise known as Supernana, well, let's just say something extraordinary was in order.  Howard's wife Cathy, daughter-in-law, Jude, and Greg cooked-up a plan so devious it belongs in the Surprise Party Hall of Fame.  It went something like this:

"I Did it My Way ...!"
Greg disguised himself as a Local Loon, complete with a black fright wig and beard, sunglasses, two dogs, a pushcart and a ukulele.  He arrived early and sat at the bus stop, blending in with the crowd.  Meanwhile, at least 30 of Howard's friends and family, including Supernana, gathered in secret around the corner.  A number of us 'regulars' arrived extra early and grabbed the "table of choice" near the bus stop.  I should add that Jude, a TV producer, distributed manuals in advance that were so detailed and professional one would think we were planning the Invasion of Normandy.  It all hinged on everything looking "normal."

Howard and Cathy arrived and took their seats, as usual ... and that's when the fun began.  Greg grunted, danced and wobbled around the bus stop, acting increasingly demented, rocking-out to tunes only he could hear.  "I hope he's listening to Jazz," said Howard, unaware it was his own son, "Maybe I should recruit him for the Vail Jazz Festival!"  One by one, Howard's friends, people who usually don't go to 'Our Favorite Starbucks,' began walking by in a series of staged "coincidences" -- the Flash Mob -- until finally the jig was up.  The full crowd swooped-in, Greg revealed his identity and everyone ripped off their jackets revealing that they were wearing "Happy Birthday Howard" Starbucks Shirts.  A mariachi band materialized out of nowhere, playing Happy Birthday.

Three Generations, Same Birthday!
When they were done, the band played the only other English song they knew, "My Way," joined by Greg who still looked every inch the LoonAs Cathy later said, the song was completely appropriate for Howard, who truly has lived his first seven decades his way.  It was, as the T-Shirts said, "The Best 6-Minute Birthday Party Ever."  Congratulations, Howard, and many happy returns to you, Greg and Supernana!

Friday, October 19, 2012


A funny thing happened a few weeks ago while I was reading a local restaurant review in The Santa Monica Lookout.  Two words in the review -- "tragically hip" -- really struck me.  I've only heard one person use that expression, my friend Barbara who I hadn't seen in 20 years.  I scrolled-up to the byline and, sure enough, it was her.  Barbara coined the term years ago to describe a restaurant called Tryst -- one of those trendy celebrity spots that come and go in L.A. faster than you can say "B-List" -- and I never forgot it.  You see, Tryst slapped us in the face.  Shortly after Barbara and I ordered dinner there one fateful night, the maitre d' told us we had to move to a 'lesser' table so they could give ours to Sylvester Stallone.  We left in disgust -- which was "tragic" for them -- as it was just a matter of time before the next "hip" replacement came along.  Treat enough customers the way Tryst treated us, and your business will be Rocky in more ways than one.  Now, 20 years later, Barb is in a position to help folks make more informed restaurant choices.  I e-mailed her right away and we made plans to meet for lunch.  Not only that, but she encouraged me to pick the location -- a place I had never tried -- and said she'd review it.  I picked "Cora's Coffee Shoppe" on Ocean Avenue, mainly because their 50's style neon sign has always intrigued me.  The food was good but the company was better.  You can read all about it in Barbara's "Good Taste" column:  Cora's Coffee Shoppe.  And guess what?  I'm now officially part of the "Good Taste" entourage!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet “Terry,” a local matron who popped out of her home near 7th and Montana yesterday wearing nothing but a Terry Cloth bathrobe.  The poor thing must have assumed no one would notice her schlumping around her driveway, but you can’t be too careful these days.  For my part, I took the incident in stride.  I just wish the lighting was better and that there were curlers in her hair ...!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I interrupt our regularly scheduled coverage of 7th and Montana to bring you an important news bulletin:  Police have released a sketch of the suspect wanted for a sexual assault last Wednesday at the 800 block of Palisades Beach Road.  And in an interesting twist, some say he matches the description of the local “Spiderman” who has scaled two buildings on San Vicente in an effort to break-in to upper story apartments.  The suspect is described as a white male, about 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches with a thin, muscular build.  He has short, dark brown hair and a full beard.  Oh, and for whatever reason, witnesses report that when he scales buildings, he’s only half-dressed.  If you see him, call the police right away at 310-458-8495.

Monday, October 15, 2012


 The Guru -- a local expert known for knowing everything -- was full of surprises this morning at 7 th and Montana.  It turns out that he’s much more politically savvy then I gave him credit for.  He used his cell phone to call a man who sounded like an advisor of some sort, turned on his speakerphone and said, “Trust me, I have a plan.  There’s not enough time in the world for me to explain it to you, but I have a plan!”  I must say, I was impressed.  “You belong in the White House!,” I said.  Of course, I really meant a certain facility in a faraway land where men in white suits escort you to basket-weaving classes and the walls have more padding than the beds, but who needs details ...?


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Sooie, a larger-than-life local 'Diva' who decided yesterday that her feet deserve a chair more than anyone else at Our Favorite Starbucks.  Despite the fact that it was 'standing room only,' Sooie refused to let any of the various customers who were looking for seats -- including Neighbor Larry -- have the chair.  It was clear that she wasn't saving it for anyone, and she didn't seem to have any other reason, like a medical condition, requiring an extra chair.  She just liked having a foot rest.  I felt like shouting, "Move your ham hocks, you sow!," but others were already making the point for me.  It's been my experience that people like this never learn basic manners.  Obviously, no one ever taught her to chair and chair, alike ...!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Hot Lips," a mysterious newcomer whose lips made the scene at 7th and Montana this morning several minutes before the rest of her.  Her lips were so full of collagen they looked like two zeppelins on a collision course as she growled -- in Russian -- into her cell phone.  Who knows, maybe her plastic surgeon was on the other end, telling her "You look maahvelous."  If so, I guess there's no end to his Lip Service ...!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Eyes were popping at 7th and Montana this morning as Malissa revealed a deep, dark secret.  “Have I told you all how I communicate with birds?,” she chirped.  Evidently, a pair of Blue Jays raps on her window every morning, looking for breakfast.  Malissa calls out to them – “I’ll be right there!” – then opens the window and smiles brightly as they alight on her hand.  She feeds them a variety of nuts, then sends them on their merry way.  “What are you, Snow White?!?,” I asked.  Melissa laughed and went on.  “It’s not just birds, either” she said, “I’m friendly with a variety of local squirrels and mice, too!”  One thing's for sure, Malissa has Animal Magnetism to spare ...!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


It was a collective Big Gulp at 7th and Montana last week as an Anonymous Loon seemed intent on proving what happens when you drink too much coffee in one sitting.  The fun began when the Loon -- a man in his mid-fifties wearing short-shorts atop skin-tight black leggings, with more implements dangling from his belt than Batman -- filled what looked like a 32-ounce "Thirst Buster" cup with Starbucks' finest.  He added half a container of sugar, chug-a-lugged to his heart's content, and the rest was history.  Within minutes, he made a beeline for the bathroom and hasn't been seen since.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


It was Lights, Camera, Action at 7th and Montana this morning as word spread that the pilot episode of Nat's latest TV show, See Dad Run, aired last night on Nick-at-Nite.  The show stars Scott Baio as a former sitcom actor who suddenly finds himself in his most challenging role yet, that of being a stay-at-home father.  And there are some familiar "local" faces, too.  Barista Tyler (pictured above, next to Scott Baio) was an extra in last night's episode.  Congratulations, Nat, on a great, new show!  And for the rest of you, See Dad Run airs weekly on Sunday's at 8:00 p.m. on Nick-at-Night. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Love was in the air at 7th and Montana yesterday as Malissa and Adam spread the good news:  They've been seeing each other for exactly one year.  And they met at Our Favorite Starbucks.  "Wow," I said, "That makes 365 lattes and yogurt parfaits for each of you," I said.  "Probably more than that," said Adam, "Sometimes we go back for more."  Congratulations to the happy couple ... and many happy refills!

Friday, October 5, 2012


We've all seen our share of spectacles at 7th and Montana, but get a load of this:  A woman made the scene on Wednesday wearing Apple Eyewear.  Her sunglasses were shaped like Red Delicious Apples.  "Good God," I said, "She must be sauced!"  What next, Kiwi Contact Lenses?  Banana Hearing Aids?  Cabbage Leaf Underwear?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Al Pine, our Friendly Neighborhood Ski Bum.  Never mind that it's 80-degrees in Southern California and that the only moguls around here run movie studios, Al's ready to tackle the slopes with his ski poles in tow.  "Where does he think he is, North of Montana?," asked one witness.  "Oh, Shoosh," I said, "Give the guy a break.  Somehow he's been able to convince himself he's on a Ski Slope."  Now that's what I call mind over Matterhorn ...!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Just when I thought I'd seen it all, a Fashion Victim made the scene at 7th and Montana this weekend wearing a get-up that left the neighborhood -- well -- floored.  Meet the "Rug Rat," an attractive young woman who proved once and for all that furry shag carpet samples don't make attractive ponchos.  Not since Tommy Toupee went two-tone has so much rug been used to so little effect.  And it gets worse:  I think it was real fur, despite the 80-degree temperatures.  I felt like saying, "Excuse me, I have Conan the Barbarian on line one.  He wants his shirt back."  But you know what they say, "Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned ...!"