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Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? (MLS laughs)



I’ve been out of town awhile, but the MLS has not let me down in my absence. Like a confused turkey, the MLS ran amuck again with hilarious misspellings and baffling comments. Thanks to my partner, Patrick Martin, for keeping a watchful eye on the MLS, the LA Times and the L.A. Magazine ads. I also picked up a few in my travels, so I now know Los Angeles is not the only town with a spelling problem (remember Dan Quale?). Here are my faves:

Fools Rush In…

“Big spackling fool with new spa” (Big spewing fool with new listing.)

“Extra Doom upstairs” (Proudly offered by Freddy Krueger)

“Shot sale” (That’s better music to the ears than “Oh Danny Boy,” eh, Uncle Paddy?)

“Two giant oafs and an elm” (And one giant oaf at the helm…)

“Old but sturdy, some tilting” (Hmmm…sounds like Uncle Paddy…)

…Where Wise Men Fear To Tread

“Open House. Nice. Good place for ranters” ( Hosted by Jerry Springer, I presume.)

“House really has god view” (A house in the fast lane of the 405 freeway no doubt.)

“Extra swelling in back is nice” (Cue the music: “ I like big butts and I cannot lie…”)

“Hammereod copper tub”  (A place to soak those sensitive areas with “extra swelling.”)

“Only need a horrors notice” (Thank you, Alfred Hitchcock.)

“Large driveaway with big carpart” (Future home of the Pep Boys.)

“Guardian just planted” (My condolences…)

And Now For the Hard Sell!

“Please remove shoes – boobies provided” (Now that’s the way to sell a house!)

“Come for beverages and buffant.” (Offered by The Real Housewives of New Jersey)

“Lusting is brand new!” (Not in Hollywood, pal – we invented lust!)

Pick ‘o the Litter:

“House shlitter needed for lovely BelAir home” (I thought their shlitt didn’t smell…)

“Pool with two diving broads” (Let me guess…boobies provided?)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Lani Rosales

    May 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    LMAO “boobies provided.” If that one didn’t get a lot of lookie lous, I don’t know what else to say!!

  2. roydevoll

    May 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I wonder why all the interested buyers seem to all be single males? lol

  3. Bob Stahl

    May 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the laughs!

  4. Gwen Banta

    May 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks, Lani – it would be a great slogan for a Hollywood plastic surgeon, dont you think?

  5. Gwen Banta

    May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Roy, I think that has to do with the “boobies provided”!

  6. Gwen Banta

    May 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you, Bob!

  7. Gwen Banta

    May 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Author’s Note: This blog was written and schedule on 05/24 before the unfortunate news of Gary Coleman’s hospitalization this morning. (Gary Coleman is the actor who is famous for the title quote for this blog, which is from the television show, “Different Strokes”). I considered changing the title this morning after I heard the news, but I changed my mind. Gary Coleman was a marvelous child actor, and it was his delivery of the line that made it so funny and famous. Thus, I want to keep the title in honor of his contribution to television history. I know I am not alone in wishing him a complete recovery.

    • Fred Romano

      May 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      You may want to update – He passed away today.

  8. Gwen Banta

    May 29, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Thanks, Fred. I’ve been on the road all day so I was unabble to comment further. I will always chuckle at the memory of his delivery of “Whatchu talkin ’bout, Willis?” It is my catch phrase for whenever I am utterly confused…which is most of the time! May he rest in peace.

  9. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    RIP Gary.

    Thanks for the laughs Gwen and welcome back! My heart is lighter knowing you escaped the parking garage unscathed!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Gwen Banta

    May 30, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Thanks, Joe, but I just took my life in hand as I cut down Sunset Blvd on a Saturday night… on a holiday weekend no less. I must have been two bricks short of a patio. It was a death-defying stunt and not recommended for the faint of heart. I have seen calmer scenes at Italian soccer matches…

  11. Bruce Dietz

    May 30, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for keeping us posed with these MLS gaffs. They are funny and it’s good to be reminded that real estate can be fun.
    I love that line.
    RIP Gary

  12. Bruce Dietz

    May 30, 2010 at 8:42 am

    posted not posed 🙂

  13. Gwen Banta

    May 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Your are so welcome, Bruce. And incidentally, I often use that line, which why I chose it as the title for the blog. I can still see that chubby little scrunched up face delivering that line with such committment!

  14. Roscoe Properties

    June 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you for keeping it light and hilarious! A+ post. Very well done.

  15. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    @ Roscoe Properties: Thank YOU, and be sure to read today’s blog on AG for more humor to start your weekend.

  16. Doug Francis

    July 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I just came across, “GREAT PRICE!!!. New fregeratot”… which I think is code for refrigerator.

  17. Gwen Banta

    July 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Hmmmm…”fregeratot” – that must slang for Friggin Tater Tot.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.



small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.



skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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