Wednesday, January 29, 2014


They say the early bird gets the worm, but at 7th and Montana, all you get is more birds.  I arrived at Our Favorite Starbucks yesterday just as the sun was rising, and was greeted by an Anonymous Loon with a Parrot.  "Is this your bird?," he asked, pointing at the parrot, which was perched on his shoulder.  He apparently found it wandering aimlessly up and down 7th Street.  "No," I replied, thinking quickly, "It's not mine, but why don't you let me take a picture and we can use it to help find the owner."  "Oh, thank you, that's very nice!," he said.  "Think nothing of it," I replied, "I'm just performing a community service.  Now watch the Birdie!"  I don't know if he ever found the bird's rightful owner, but something tells me that the mysterious, new neighbors at 7th and Marguerita -- the ones who installed a noisy aviary next to their house -- have an escapee on their hands.  And maybe the parrot is theirs, too ...!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Tuesday was National Squirrel Appreciation Day and you know what that means.  The nuts were out in full force at 7th and Montana.  Meet Mr. Baggins, a jovial newcomer who made the scene wearing a shopping bag on his head.  I've heard of having bags under your eyes, but wearing one on top of your head seems a bit -- well -- squirrely.  The handles hung down over either side of his head, like jaunty ear flaps on a demented World War I flying ace.  "What do you think," said one witness, "Is he in the running for Squirrel of the Year?"  "Oh yes," I replied, "He has it in the bag ...!"

Sunday, January 19, 2014


It was time to turn over a new tea leaf today at 7th and Montana.  In addition to my usual early morning stop at Our Favorite Starbucks, I paid an afternoon visit to the newest cafe in Santa Monica, the "Holy Grounds" at Saint Monica's Church.  Granted, I'm Jewish, but the whole concept of a cafe in a church was so intriguing I had to give it a try.  "Hmmm," I marveled as I crossed the threshold, "I wasn't hit by a lightning bolt.  That's a good sign."  The staff, all volunteers, couldn't have been more attentive.  Perhaps that's because I was the only customer.  I ordered an "Ave Maria" tea, a blend of God-Knows-What, but with a name like that, who can resist?  "What do you do, make it with Holy Water?," I asked.  The volunteer chuckled and replied, "If that's what you want, I can certainly say a prayer over it."  And that's exactly what he did.  I almost paid him in Hong Kong Dollars, just to see if he would convert them.  "Tell me," I asked, "What's the plan for this place, does the money go to charity?"  "It does," he replied, "We support a group of incarcerated young men.  Eventually, some of them will be working here, too."  If that's not putting the Bar in Barista, I don't know what is.  My mind raced ahead to my next visit:

Barista:  Here you go, sir ... one cappuccino, hold the Hallowed Grounds.

Me:  Thanks.  What are you in for?

Barista: A minor offense, really.  I laced my father's coffee with cyanide.  But don't worry, that's all in the past.  I'm turning the other cheek, now.  Sugar ...?

Seriously, Holy Grounds is worth a try.  Their coffee and tea is all organic, from Urth Caffe.  I think the only reason they're not more crowded is because they're not promoting the place enough.  They could try to call their coffee 'heavenly,' but that slogan was taken years ago by 'Chock Full 'O Nuts.'  And besides, we all know where to go for 'Chock Full 'O Nuts' ...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


It was a Devil May Care attitude at 7th and Montana on Sunday as an Anonymous Demon Hunter made the scene intent on protecting the crowd from evil.  I knew something was up as soon as he began stacking chairs on top of each other to create a fortress.  "Uh oh," I said, "I smell trouble."  He pulled a set of rosary beads out of his pocket and began pointing it at oncoming traffic.  "Beelzebub, Begone!," he shouted.  Two daring Baristas asked him to leave, but their efforts backfired.  He merely walked inside and grabbed a table by the pastry case.  "Evil is nearby," he cried, "I can sense it!"  The poor guy was obviously in the wrong place.  He should try the new Holy Grounds CafĂ© at Saint Monica's Church, where I hear the coffee is a religious experience ...