Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try. So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's. Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place. The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.

Bonjour! Mesherfin! Hasta la vista! Your barista.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Killing Your Audience

The holiday spirit infected the Point Called Fell’s like rabid ratcoon. Le café was no exception. Gingerbread chai’s aside, the barista hauled in a 7-foot, snow-sprayed fake pine, Shelly strung up the cellar dwelling multi-colored Christmas lights and about 30 patrons carried a holiday dish to the café bar to hoot it up over some freshly shucked oysters and booze.

“Hey, how’ve you been? Where’ve you been?” Frank was so excited after the barista walked in the shop, he just missed spilling his glass of red wine on his finely pressed slacks. Instead a puddle collected on the floor before his table.

“Wow, and I thought I was early,” said the barista.

“So what’s with you? It’s been weeks,” Andrea inquires as the barista handed Shelly a jug of eggnog and potato chips.

“So much, where to start? Well, the book I’ve been editing for my friend is now released.”

‘The musician—about forming a band?”

“Yes—exactly. Killing Your Audience…and Why They Deserve It. Are you on Kindle?”


“It’s available for download this week. Check it out.”

“Let’s try out these oysters,” the barista made his way towards the back of the room.

“Be careful of them raw shuckers,” Curmudgeon Jim advised. “I have more than one friend who got hepatitis C from them.”

“That’s why you’re supposed to shoot them with vodka,” explained Jawbone holding out a bottle.

“So who is this fellow that wrote the book,” Curmudgeon asked.

“A guitarist I played music with in San Diego. We had a nice run in a band called Riot House.”

“Look here guys!” Picture Jim snapped a photo.

“He volunteers at a high school music program. Couldn’t find a book to guide his students, so he decided to write it.”

“Guide them how?”

“It brings the young, aspiring musician out of his bedroom, through his garage and into the clubs—practically step-by-step. Will’s more a storyteller than a writer—and his stories are priceless, candid.”

Slurrrrrrrrp!!! “Mmmm…tasty oyster,” exclaimed the barista. “Get me some eggnog, I don’t want to catch anything.”

“Save some room for my chicken-fried steak,” said Jawbone.

“I can’t get too filled up, man. I’ve got to perform in about an hour.”

“What? Where?”

“Baltimore Songwriter’s Christmas party. The encore performance of the new eggnog song!"

“Well since you’ll be here tonight, come by Leadbelly’s Christmas night. Odds are I can talk Curt into letting me play it then. This baby’s goin’ straight to the top!”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Noggin’ It Up

 When the brisk wind whistles by
And brown leaves float to the ground
The trees they stand there naked
‘Til winter’s snowflakes abound
 This is the season
To roast a yule log
And settle by the fire
With a glass of eggnog

Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up

Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up
Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up
 Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up!

Be it rum, brandy or bourbon
Cognac, vodka or beer
Mix me up an eggnog
I’ll spread your holiday cheer

When this cup fills me up
And my belly’s a heavy load
Pour one more before I reach the door
And keep me off the road

The ‘nog goes way back
To the Middle-Aged centuries
At full moon near the Caves of Odin
Skulls were raised in ceremony
Later Cluniac monks got real drunk
On a posset of egg, milk & fig
They drank so much of that righteous stuff
Their stomachs got real big

Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up

Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up
Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up
 Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up!

Be it rum, brandy or bourbon
Cognac, vodka or beer
Mix me up an eggnog
I’ll spread your holiday cheer

When this cup fills me up
And my belly’s a heavy load
Pour one more before I reach the door
And keep me off the road

Then along came America
With a plethora of farms,
Cheap Caribbean rum & nutmeg
And a heaping of Christmas charm

Nananana, nananana noggin’ it up...


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Angels

I'm a beat up old soul stuck in a town with no heart
If I hear that damn song again I'm gonna swallow real hard
Where are the angels with flowers in there hair?
There aint no such women here, in my beer I will stare

The barmaid is kind enough to hand me a smoke
The sidewalk is cold but that woman's a joke
She can't name a song to play to save her own life
So I stick out my thumb and I hitch the next ride

The club down the road is much of the same
I can't find no coffee & I can't find your name
I'm running in circles & seeing in doubles
Can't you tell my heart's broken? Don't you know I'm in trouble?

So I throw back my beer & I trip down the stairs
And I notice the stars, never knew they were there
Then I felt a warm touch, soft lips on my mouth
She said, "Let's get out of here & travel down south."

The angels are out there sometimes in disguise
Never expected, always a surprise
I picked a flower & duly prepared
And placed it upon her angelic soft hair

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Coast-to-Coast in a Tesla

Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe is on a hiatus, as our barista has been recruited on a coast-to-coast road trip in an electric car.

 Please follow along at http://arniesadventure.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stinky Joe, part one

Sunday morning’s yawn was a wider yawn than most mornings. But this morning the barista nearly cramped his jaw his yawn was so deep. His commute to open the doors of le Harbor Bungalow Café morphed from a brisk 90-second walk into a 90-minute highway drive. Departing at 6 a.m. from his folk’s Old Creek Home, he navigated his newly acquired set of wheels. A 36-foot Holiday Mansion it was not—though he was dangerously close to acquiring a 30-year old houseboat. So close, in fact, he was forced to scrap a previous story:

“Greetings Landlubbers!”

The barista had been waiting months to utter those words as he walked into his sunny Friday afternoon shift.

“Well if it isn’t Popeye himself!” Steve yelped.

“I can’t sail yet,” the barista spoke. “Gimme a year.”

“You actually bought a boat!” Buck exclaimed.

“Livin’ the dream, baby,” the barista said, matter-of-factly. “Housewarming party next weekend. You’re all invited.”


The barista was docked at a wharf on the east end of the neighborhood—a serene spot relative to the bustling square. A cast of characters trickled over throughout the humid day: Hound, Abby, Buck, Jawbone, Shelly, Leon, Skip, Angie.  Most of the usual suspects were mingling about the deck, cabin and dock. An old-timer named Blu who is a staple at Leadbelly’s sparked a joint. The barista squinted. It’s actually a pocket vaporizer. Angie strummed a guitar while Buck mixed the drinks and Jawbone told jokes. After sundown a couple of the guys lowered themselves in kayaks and paddled beyond the dock while the others at the party indulged in cocktails and cigarettes on the deck of The Walrus.

The skies glowed with a gray haze from the city lights. The moon challenged the red, neon Natty Boh face for the brightest reflection in the harbor. The harbor was a mildly chunky, mossy green. (Think the color of the Incredible Hulk.) Blu paddled his vessel around Hound and attempted to pass the pipe from his canoe to the barista’s kayak, but lost his balance in the transfer and tipped both vessels over—with Hound nearly joining them. The barista got a full swallow of yacht-disposed gray-water as he submerged. This dumping is not only legal, it’s encouraged by city slip managers. Attempting to re-enter the kayaks was as fruitless as a sunbather attempting to unscrew a fresh jar of garlic-stuffed olives, so Blu and the barista swam through the indecipherable muck while Hound and Steve towed the kayaks.

The barista was sick for months. He broke out in a horrible rash and his tongue turned green. No more making out. Unable to work, he was late paying his health insurance and his policy was canceled. Unable to secure a loan due to poor credit from mistrusting a friend in a San Diego real estate investment, the barista was forced into bankruptcy. Depressed, he intentionally jumped overboard with The Walrus’ anchor tied to his leg. His body decomposed—coincidently over the remnants of Fister Mishy, whose limp body Leon tossed into the harbor a month earlier after he died from a fungus infection acquired from the barista’s previous apartment in Fells.

Thank the patron saint of coffee the barista never bought that boat. Now he sports a ’97 Astro Van. Cruising the United States’ route numbered 83 that morning, his excitement bubbled like the contents of a keg transported on its side in the back of a large station wagon. For his new lifestyle was intended to broaden the 90-percent of his life he spent within a six-block radius. This excitement was short-lived, though. As he concluded his 90-minute drive into the city, an impatient woman trying to get around the turning Astro rear-ended him. Unable to wait for two cars to pass, this woman desperately needed to get to the red stoplight 20-yards ahead of the barista’s van. Sunday morning. Seven-thirty a.m.

 “Any word yet?”

Philip Cole limped into le Harbor Bungalow Cafe with the help of his cane.  Phil is a kind old fellow, but his once-happening life has been reduced to a morning blueberry bagel, an afternoon routine of feeding cats, with evenings wishing he never agreed to have back surgery. He and the barista have a few things in common. They both spent substantial time residing in Philadelphia and Harrisburg; they each are performing musicians and they share a disdain for climbing steep staircases to get to their rooms—which, for two-and-half years were 50-yards apart from each other on the same block of Fells. Phil’s question refers to their second commonality, as listed.

“Our next meeting is a week from tomorrow. I should have an update then,” the barista explains.

“It’d be neat if we made it, huh?”

“I have a good feeling—but I hope it’s not too risqué. We’ll see.”

Phil is a classically trained pianist. He plays two or three restaurants or clubs a year. In his heyday, Phil warmed up for Frank Sinatra and scored movies for Andy Warhol. (“He’s an asshole,” Phil once said about Sinatra.) Phil’s been playing piano for as long as Frankie Avalon has been singing—they grew up together in the same South Philly neighborhood.

The barista had been sharing his songs with Phil—copying compact discs for Phil to listen at home—when an idea floated across his mind. Maybe Phil will collaborate on a song for the Baltimore Songwriters competition.

Last spring, Phil agreed.

“So which songs did you like?”

“The first one on the second disc caught my attention.”

Stinky Joe! Folks request that ditty in all three of my acts.”

“It’s clever. Reminds me of early Tom Waits and Jonathan Richman.”

“When are you free this week?”

“How about noon Wednesday at Big Bertha’s?”

“I’ll bring my bass and recording gear.”

So the duo met at the back door of Big Bertha’s—an oyster house in the neighborhood square where Phil often gigs. The barista carried his acoustic bass, microphone stand and cable bag. Phil carried his black cane. He knocked and the door opened. Phil greeted the chef as they walked by the kitchen.

“Hey, Cole! What’re you doin’ here?”

“Oh, just helping Reg with a project. We’ll be upstairs for a bit.”

On the second floor they entered a room with a 25-foot ceiling. One of the walls was mirrored giving the space more natural light from the windows on the street side—and giving the barista a deceptive feeling there was more than met his eyes. Cafeteria-style folding tables and chairs congregated in the center of the room. A large serendipitous angel hung opposite the windows with white Christmas lights strung from her wings. Underneath, Phil bellied up against the house piano. The barista set up his gear to the right of Phil, tuned his bass to the piano and sipped Chai. Phil nodded at the barista who engaged the recorder.

To be continued…

Friday, May 17, 2013

S.O.S.—“I’ve Been Kidnapped”

The computer keyboard lie soaked on the barista’s desk. Scales lined the keys. The key of C scaled through the 1970's, wood-grained, stereo speakers—Cole’s piano. Startled by the scene having just keyed into his apartment, the barista dropped his gig bag, plopped onto his new desk chair, rubbed his eyes and read the open letter on the computer screen:

I’ve been kidnapped! Again! Save me! Get me a bigger tank! And more food while you's at it! And not that “optimal growth formula” bottom feed! I am not a science experiment!

I’ve lost all track of time. Somehow I ended up in the barista’s apartment—but I much preferred Leon’s basement. Of course le Harbor Bungalow Café—after Leon found that heavenly lake-of-a-tank, was the salt of the water—But now that tank lays unused in this sucker’s kitchen! Then he either wrapped this smaller tank with Christmas lights or dropped acid in my water; I haven’t quite got it figured. Either way, hearing him croon about warm beer and cold women, and stinky ‘ho, is downright abrasive. But Philip Cole? Now that cat can play!

Serenity!—Wisp me away to shining seas of tilapia schools! Anywhere but here! I’ll do anything! Even…even…Wean me on harbor water! I should be wondering when the next tide is coming ashore, not wondering why the barista needs to dry his hair so many times a day.


Mister Fishy

—and that’s another thing. This whole dyslexia-as-clever whaleshit has got to end. Pey-pey named me and if the barista thinks I’d be insulted because I share the name with a human-run company that hunts and sells my cousins for dinner, he’s wrong!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

City Cries Po'

An unsuspecting tourist finds herself lost when looking for one of Baltimore’s museums. With a friend she approaches a man walking along the streets made famous by the popular television crime drama The Wire.

“Which one of these is the Poe House?”
“Look around lady, every one of these is a po’ house!”

Claudette relates the story to the barista as he prepares a couple of lattes for her co-workers at the Fleet Street Market. Discretely in the back of the cafe, a painting leaned crooked on the wall.

Oil Painting by cafe patron & Baltimore native Frank King 

The barista has been preparing a follow-up to his 2011 story Poe-etic Licensing. Since that time, what decisions have been made regarding one of the City of Baltimore’s literary museums—the Edgar Allan Poe House? Research led the barista to the following stories:

Los Angeles Times 08/08/11

Baltimore Post-Examiner 09/14/12

The Baltimore Sun 09/25/12

The Huffington Post 11/26/12

Winnipeg Free Press 01/26/13

Salon 02/03/13

The City of Baltimore made international news by refusing to continue to fund the museum. It seems Poe carries as devout a following as the Raven football squad named after his poem, just more geographically diverse. Yet the city government is distancing itself from Poe’s legacy? The barista is confused. He realizes money greases the wheels of government, but he also thought tourism accounted for a sizable fraction of the city’s coffers. According the Salon story, Baltimore City claimed it could not afford the $85,000 a year it cost to run the museum. Yet our elected officials afforded an $180,000 commission fee to do its job—restructuring the operation.
The commission recommended the nearby B&O Museum operate and renovate the Poe House, according to the Huffington Post story. So the city afforded another $180,000 to make that happen. Let’s do the math: $180,000 for a commission, $180,000 to a city funded museum, Poe House operational cost $85,000. That amount of funding could have kept the museum open for over four more years.
According to the Baltimore Post-Examiner, the non-profit Poe Baltimore will take over the operations this year, with guidance from the B&O Railroad Museum during its first year. But the city-led transition began on a sloppy note. From the November Huffington Post story:

The (wooden) stairs disappeared days after the (Poe) museum was closed, said Steve Sharkey, acting director of the Baltimore Department of General Services. The graffiti (on the front door) occurred more recently, and was painted over within a week.

A gap in funding left the Poe house vacant and vulnerable—like many of its neighbors. But the city is not the only local entity with a stake in Poe’s legacy—and with the resources available to preserve it during the museum’s time of need.

The barista remembered that not only could he e-mail Poe, but he also could bring Poe to school and even download Poe’s coloring page! From the Salon story:

The Baltimore Ravens have yet to step in and help support the Poe House, in its past or future incarnation, despite many, many calls and newspaper Op-Eds asking them to do so (including the barista’s). The problem? According to a spokesperson for the Ravens, the city hasn’t asked (italics mine).

The Baltimore Post-Examiner elaborated:

Chad Steele, director of media relations of the Baltimore Ravens told the Baltimore Post-Examiner, “We are not aware of anyone approaching (the team) on this. This is an important project, but we can’t do them all. We’re very involved in a number of community projects right now.”

            The barista’s initial stance—offering the Ravens operational duties—changed after reading the Ravens’ lame excuse. “Screw them! I bet their fans don’t even realize why they drape themselves in purple every Friday.”

            “Because it’s the team color,” an unsuspecting patron quips.

            “Because it’s the color of the curtains in the poem,” the barista snarls. “The house is probably better under a nonprofit’s watch anyway—people who actually appreciate the spirit of ‘The Raven’, rather than just the licensing-free marketing appeal. ”