Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 31 2008 - Happy New Year’s Eve Everyone!!

It is early afternoon on December 31st and it is lightly snowing, a rather fitting way to usher in the end of 2008, a year of mixed blessing, to say the least. Oh, it was a great year for me entertainment-wise but so many other things were going on that I feel strange about even reporting all of the good things and stuff I did during the year. None-the-less, for you loyal and faithful readers, I am working on the 2008 statistics and will post them in the next several days, I promise. First the month of December, then the year 2008.

Tonight at 7:30 I have a special concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center. This is the program: “Ring in 2009 with an evening of festive music perfect for the occasion: overtures by Rossini and Verdi, dances by Brahms, Saint-Saens and Offenback, and popular arias by Mozart, Lehar and Bizet’s Carmen featuring opera superstar Susan Graham. It’s New York’s most glamorous New Year’s, and you’re invited.”

This special New Year’s Eve concert has become a tradition with me. When the concert ends around 9:30 I will come back to the apartment and settle in to watch the ball drop in Times Square. No way will I brave the crowds and snow to be there in person, no way. It is predicted that the wind-chill will bring the temperature down to -4 degrees. Nope, been there, done that, and each time I almost froze to death. The last time, I think, was in 2001, something I just had to do following the horror(s) of 9/11 2001. So, I will bring in 2009 in front of my TV while enjoying a Fresca and noshing on fruit and cheese.

Had a wonderful Christmas in Columbia, SC, with daughter Kathi and son-on-law Dr. John, son Bill and his 165 pound Rottweiller Zeko, and oldest grandson Alex and his wife Gina. Unfortunately, youngest grandson Chris and his girlfriend Sally were unable to join us due to work related issues. The Norris Travel Curse reared its ugly head on the return trip, however, when my flight was delayed almost 2 hours due to weather conditions.

I got back very late on Friday the 26th. Of course, for the following week I returned to my usual entertainment routine, as follows:

Saturday - 2:00 - “The Black Monk” - Off Broadway. “A stunning new musical inspired by Anton Chekhov's story, The Black Monk, follows the life of a gifted young artist. After five years at school in Moscow, Andrei returns home to his adopted father Igor and childhood love Tanya. As his artistic talent blossoms, will Andrei be able to hold on to love, family, and his sanity or will the power of the mysterious Black Monk drive him into the unknown?” (complimentary ticket).

Well, The Black Monk did indeed drive Andrei into the unknown and the show almost drove me crazy. Music and Chekhov? I should have known better.

8:00 - “Pig Tale: An Urban Faerie Story” - Off Broadway. “Set in the wilds of the East Village, Pig Tale is a witty, sexy urban faerie tale with a twist. When the handsome love interest suddenly turns into a real pig one night, his boyfriend has to wonder: doesn't that break all the rules of casual dating in the city? A look at what it takes for some humans - and especially some New Yorkers - to come to terms with commitment, cuddling and settling down together in that mythical house upstate.” (complimentary ticket)

This is a funny and very well performed show and it saved my day.

Sunday - 7:30 - “The Day the Earth Stood Still” - Movie. This is a remake of the classic 1951 movie, this time starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, who is on a mission to save earth by eliminating its destroyer, the human race. I really wanted to like this movie, which opened to very mixed reviews, but it just fell short. For example, they omitted the classic line “Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!”

Monday - 8:00 - “My Sinatra” - Off Broadway. “Cary Hoffman turns his highly-rated PBS Special and concert show "My Sinatra" into a musical play about his obsession with the legendary Frank Sinatra and the affect it had on him, a Long Island teenager growing up after losing 2 fathers and moving in with his 3 studio musician uncles, who played on some of Sinatra's ground breaking records. Using his strong, surprising Sinatra-like voice and over 30 Sinatra songs, Hoffman creates a musical score to his and his hero's life by weaving them into a compelling story of how an exquisite vocal obsession affected his life.” (complimentary ticket)

I had very mixed emotions about this show but the options for Monday night are pretty limited, so I decided I’d give it a shot and I am so glad I did. It is a very well written and performed production and if you close your eyes Hoffman’s voice will bring up the picture of Sinatra singing into your head.

Tuesday - 7:30 - “Striking 12” - Off Broadway. The press blurb is: This Zipper holiday tradition returns! Take a hip trip with the indie pop-rock band GrooveLily as they spread some holiday warmth on cold winter nights performing their critically acclaimed musical, Striking 12.  Combining pop-rock, musical comedy and old-fashioned uplift with a healthy dose of 21st-century skepticism, Striking 12 is the story of a Grumpy Guy who decides to avoid the hectic, loveless world on New Year's Eve, until he’s visited by an incandescent salesgirl with the promise to chase away his winter doldrums.” (complimentary ticket).

The house was sold-out for this performance, which was excellent. The 3 member group is extremely talented. This was a very enjoyable evening of theater.

OK, this is the past - what about the rest of the week? Well, tomorrow I have nothing planned by design. I intend to spend the entire day/evening watching bowl games.

On Friday I have a Broadway show, in early previews, called “American Plan.” The press blurb for the show is: “Lili Rabe and Mercedes Ruehl head the cast of this Broadway revival of Richard Greenbergs acclaimed play set in the Catskill Mountains in the early 1960s. Lili Adler and her mother Eva are spending the summer across the lake from a bustling hotel where comics entertain and buffets overflow. When a handsome young stranger enters their world, the emotionally fragile Lili finds herself falling in love. But once her imperious mother learns of their relationship, lies are exposed, alliances are forged and Lilis one chance to escape her mothers control may be lost forever.” (discounted TDF ticket).

At this moment Saturday and Sunday are open but I know I will spend time watching more bowl games.

Speaking of bowl games - I can hardly wait for the BCS Championship game on January 8th. My son Bill, who is a longtime Sooner fan, and I have made a very interesting bet on the game, the details of which I will post later.

Closing on a personal note - today my favorite doorman, Jorge Ramirez, (I call him Georgie) retired after over 20 years of service in the building. It is both a sad and joyful occasion. We will all miss him. Be well, Georgie, and have a great time in your new life!!

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday - the Big Apple is freezing

It is very very cold in the Big Apple at the moment as a result of the snow we got on Friday afternoon which accumulated and turned the streets and sidewalks into accidents waiting to happen.

I had a show scheduled last night downtown in The East Village. The show, “Here Comes the Change,” was at a venue I like, Theater for the New City, and the press blurb is: “The premiere of award-winning playwright Bina Sharif’s hilarious and timely new play is a satirical look back at the recent Presidential Election. We are taken on a whimsical journey to the Presidential debate, where Senator McCain appears more worried about losing his own house than winning the White House. His opponent, cool, collected Senator Obama, calls for both social and economic change, in an effort to win over his most ardent opponents.” It sounded very interesting and I had a complimentary ticket, meaning I had to go or face problems with the ticket service, so I headed out.

Well, first of all, it was very windy and bitterly cold and the sidewalks were covered with slush in the process of turning to black ice, the most dangerous kind because it is so difficult pick up. I walked very slowly and made it to the theater OK, and the use of OK about arriving was the only OK thing about the rest of the evening. It sucked!!

There were 8 people in the cast and 10 people in the audience, one of whom made a very noisy exit during the show. I have to say that the show was one of the very worst, writing and acting, that I have seen this year, bar none. It was worse than TERRIBLE. It was 90 minutes without intermission and the clocK stopped moving. I seriously thought I had died and was in purgatory. When it was finally over everyone bolted for the exit.

I put on my coat and gloves and headed to the bus stop where I had a long wait for the bus, of course. When it finally arrived there was another one right behind it, something that always drives me crazy and one of the reasons I rarely ride buses.

When I got back to the apartment and thawed out I checked the weather forecast for today, Saturday, and the projected high was 23 degrees. I had nothing scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday so I decided that unless something really really good turned up on my ticket services I would opt to stay in Saturday for sure and maybe Sunday too.

Well, nothing showed up so in I stayed. I don’t think it has gotten over 23 degrees all day. I had a couple of errands to run, picking up my ‘scripts from the Duane Reade drug store on the corner, picking up the laundry from the laundry across the street and getting some fruit from the grocery store on the next block.

When I first went out the sidewalks were still very icy and on each of the 2 trips (I combined the ‘scripts and laundry) I slipped and almost fell even though I was walking as carefully as I knew how. That was it - no fucking way was I going to go out for the evening, no way. And I didn’t.

Not sure about tomorrow. Time will tell. It is supposed to warm up just a bit but probably not enough to take care of the accumulated ice and snow.

On to other things.

I will be heading down to Columbia, SC, on Tuesday to spend Christmas with my daughter Kathi and son-in-law Dr. John Bendeck. We will be joined by my son Bill, who lives in Orlando, and oldest grandson Alex Falletta and his wife Gina. Unfortunately youngest grandson Chris Falletta and his girlfriend Sally will be unable to be with us and they will be missed. I will come back to the Big Apple on Friday evening, the 26th.

Have lots to report about the shows and stuff since the last posting and will probably do that tomorrow, so ...

Go Gators!!

Merry Christmas.

Billi Pod

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To Each and Everyone:

".......and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty GOD, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."THE MESSIAH, G. F. Handel

Yes, I am still alive and well in New York City, the greatest City in the World. I pray that 2009 will be as wonderful for you, your families, and your loved ones as 2008 has been for me.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Condom on the sleeve - NYC 12/22/95

Several people have emailed for the now almost classic, and true, “condom on the sleeve” story back from the winter of 1995, my first December in the Big Apple, so here it is in the original form:
Date: Fri, Dec 22, 1995 11:53 PM EST
From: Wanjr
Subj: December 22 - Only in the Big Apple
To: Email list

Fellow cyberpersons:

This is just too good to wait until the newsletter. It just happened to me.

Picture this - coming home from the theater at about 10:45 and riding the E train to the Lexington Avenue station. It is very crowded with a lot of shoppers and a lot of women. At the station there is a long escalator ride up to the exit and transfer platform, I would guess it to be about 3 stories. People are crowded onto the escalator and no one is racing up the steps due to the crowded conditions.

To my left, dressed to the nines in a very expensive fur, is everyone's matronly Grandmother. Immediately in front of us is a very very blond young man of about 20, I would guess. Very Nordic looking and rather tall. He has a large back-pack and a very large duffel bag which he puts down beside him. About 1/3 of the way up, he bends down very awkwardly and opens the duffel bag, reaches in and starts to pull out a scarf, which apparently is stuck on something. He gives it a tug and when he does, out fly two condom packages.

One of the condoms lands at my feet. The other one lands on, and sticks to the right sleeve of Grandmother, who does not appear to be aware of what happened because she is staring straight ahead with that far away look only New Yorkers can get. The kid turns ten thousand shades of red, as only blonds can do. I reach down and pick up the one at my feet and hand it to him with a smile but without saying a word. He mumbles something. Grandmother, however, is still staring straight ahead, with the condom on her sleeve, so the kid just turns back around facing up the escalator.

Nothing is said and I decide that silence on my part is the better part of valor. When we get about 20 feet from the top, Grandmother reaches over with her left hand and takes the condom off of her right sleeve. She holds it in her left hand and taps the kid on the shoulder. He jumps a foot. Just before we get off, I hear her say, with the sweetest Grandmotherly smile: "You forgot this one young man, you may need it in this city." She gets off the escalator and walks to the exit without looking back, the kid heads to the transfer platform, still red in the face, and I can hardly walk because I am laughing so hard.

Only in New York, folks, only in New York.


Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, December 11, 2008

“WHAT I SAW IN ATLANTA" - by an Alabama fan

This is making the rounds on the internet, so I thought I would post it here for you, my loyal and faithful readers --
“I saw the third quarter. I saw Tebow get sacked. I saw Florida go 3 and out. I saw the Tide go 91 yards in workman like fashion. I saw a helpless UF defense. I saw Bama tie the game. I saw UF respond by missing their only FG of the season. I saw Bama march again. I saw a UF team that was beat. I saw a defense with hands on hips gasping for breath getting absolutely trucked. I saw an Alabama team rolling downhill through Gator players. I saw the UF players give all that they had left to keep Bama out of the end zone. I saw the Tide take the lead heading into the 4th quarter. I saw the end of a championship dream.

No way could the UF defense recover from the extended pounding they had just endured. With two DTs out there was simply no reserve left to call upon to stem the Tide. All that had been claimed pregame by the Crimson and White faithful about how their lines would wear UF down and control the game had come true. There was no hope.

And then things changed. I saw Tebow rally his offensive teammates and take them down the field. Run after run after run after run after run and they had Bama on their heels at their own 27. A throw a run and a throw and Tim has UF on the doorstep. Two more runs and Demps is leaping in the end zone. Florida has wrested the lead away and hope is reborn, dreams live again.

But this was not enough. Tebow leads this team, this university, not just its offense. He comes down the sideline toward the end zone where the Gator fans are thickest and exhorts them to cheer, to roar, to believe. He turns and runs to the special team players huddled for the upcoming kick. He slams into their huddle like a bowling ball knocking aside so many pins. He urged them to make the stop, to finish the play. And they did. He turns to the bench and gets in the face of his defensive teammates and makes his will theirs. He inspires them, he challenges them, he leads them. They face the same Bama players who had owned them in the third quarter, who had worn them down and controlled them. They faced those same Bama players and they stuffed them. Julio Jones who had tormented the Gators all afternoon saw a pass come his way only to have Joe Haden drill him so that the ball fell harmlessly to the ground. Julio would never see another pass (Mark’s editorial note here…I was amazed a 5’11” guy could take on a guy 6’4” and beat him). They held the line and stopped Coffee for a short gain. They crushed the line that had moved them at will and finally sacked Wilson. With the game on the line they had stuffed Bama for a 3 and out.

Then Tim Tebow went out to win himself and the University of Florida a championship. Two runs and it was 3rd and short. Tebow keeps it, meets Mount Cody in the hole and carries all 360 pounds of him for the first down. Tebow thr ows for 33, Tebow throws for 15, Tebow runs for 5. Bama is done. Tebow throws the last five yards to Riley Cooper on a pass that had no room for imprecision resulting in the TD that made dreams into reality. I have never seen a single player so impose his will on both his teammates, his opponents and the crowd as Tim Tebow did in that fourth quarter. I am in awe. His teammates understand. Carl Moore: "You knew he was going to lead us to victory," Louis Murphy: "I have never doubted him. He's our quarterback." Jeff Demps: "That's Tim Tebow. That's what he does, He's been putting us on his shoulders ever since the Ole Miss game, but I've never seen him like he was today." His opponents understand too. Rashad Johnson: "He kept those guys motivated. He kept them in the game when they had the opportunity to give up and wouldn't let them." Terrence Cody: "You give him a chance, and he's going to beat you,"

He's not Superman. He's not unbeatable. But he will never give less than everything he has and he will never shy away from a challenge. He is the best team leader I have ever seen in college sports.

He willed a victory for UF, not on his own, but by giving his teammates the strength to believe and an example to follow.
And that they did.”
Does he deserve to win The Heisman Trophy for the second time? Remember, it is supposed to be awarded to the best "overall player,” not just the best quarterback.

I report - you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, December 7, 2008





Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Friday, December 5, 2008

An Awesome Upcoming 14 Days in the Big Apple

Yes, yes, I know - there is that overused word “awesome” again but my dear faithful and loyal readers what else can I say about an upcoming 14 days that looks like this already --

Friday - 8:00 - “We All Fall Down” - Off Broadway. “Written as a reaction to the unnecessary drama created out of boredom in the stale and sterile existence of office life, We All Fall Down is an existential comedy of epic proportions. The plot follows the downward spiral of Galahad A Smith who takes a nothing position in a mysterious corporation for an inexplicably large salary. Before long Galahad finds himself trapped as a pawn in a twisted game with life and death stakes and no discernible rules. If Galahad survives the game there is just no telling who he's gonna kill. What happens when money and power fall overwhelmingly into the hands of perverted psychotics The title pretty well answers that question.” (complimentary ticket).

Saturday - 4:00 - Gators vs. ‘Bama for the SEC Championship on CBS. The winner of this game will more than likely play in the BCS Championship game on January 8 2009.

I feel so antsy about this game. Have been wearing my Gator clothes wherever I go and I have been amazed about how many guys make some comments, not about the upcoming game, but about how much they admire Tim Tebow.

Regardless of the outcome of the game I knew I would have to get out of the apartment, so I scheduled something a bit different for later at the 59th Street theater --

9:30 - “Jeff Harnars The 1959 Broadway Songbook” - Off Broadway. “A musical revue celebrating the 21 musicals running in New York during the Golden Age of Broadway. From Gypsy, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Bells Are Ringing, The Music Man and more, a cast of four toasts this pinnacle of The Golden Age of Broadway.” (complimentary ticket).

On Sunday my dear friend and mega-Bull Gator Stumpy Harris and his wife Dottie, of Orlando, will arrive in town so Stumpy can attend various events involving The Football Hall of Fame. They will be coming from Atlanta after, hopefully, witnessing the Gators kicking ‘Bama butt. I will have some face-time with them.

7:00 - “The 29th Annual Lennon Tribute @ The Ailey Studios” - Off Broadway. “A stellar line-up of singer-songwriters: Rosanne Cash, Cliff Eberhardt, Vance Gilbert, Carrie Rodriguez, The Kennedys, Erin McKeown, Karlus Trapp and a surprise guest! Plus two acclaimed NYC dance companies -- Wendy Osserman Dance and Dietz Marchant Dance -- will present new Lennon-inspired works. And comedian Joe Raiola will bring his special brand of humor and satire.” (complimentary ticket).

This was a last minute addition to my schedule because it sounds so interesting.

Monday - noon - I will meet Dottie Harris and her friend Sue for lunch.

8:00 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program for this non-subscription concert will be Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.,” performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir. (extra full price ticket in the rear orchestra).

This concert will be 100 years to the day after Mahler himself conducted the NY Phil in the US premiere of this work.

Tuesday - 8:00 - Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular @ Carnegie Hall. (full price orchestra ticket).

This has become part of my holiday tradition and it is always very entertaining and a lot of fun.

Wednesday - 8:00 - “Spring Awakening” - Broadway. “Winner of 8 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score, this Broadway musical is based on the 1891 Frank Wedekind play, a frank and challenging take on adolescents grappling with sex and death.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I first saw this wonderful musical in early previews when it was Off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company. After it moved to Broadway I went back at least 3 times. It will close (much too early in my opinion) in January 2009 and I just had to see it one last time.

Thursday - 8:00 - “Shrek the Musical” - Broadway. This, of course, it a musical version of the 2001 movie and it is in previews. I have a discounted ticket. There is interesting buzz about the show with the online commentators falling basically into two camps - “I Love It” or “Shrek is Drek” - with very little middle ground. I am looking forward to seeing it and forming my own opinion.

Friday - is open for the moment because I have so many options that I am having trouble making a choice this far in advance.

My friend John Horne of Anna Maria, FL, and his posse of 19 will arrive in the Big Apple today and will be here until the 15th. John is the owner of several highly successful restaurants in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. I look forward to seeing him.

Saturday - 11:00am - The Little Orchestra Society Presents “Babes in Toyland” @ Avery Fisher Hall. “Just in time for the holidays, The Little Orchestra Society celebrates Victor Herbert's 150th Birthday with the world premiere of a new version of this classic, including musical favorites March of the Toys and Toyland. An eccentric toymaker with a struggling business receives unexpected assistance from mysterious investors. But, when the toymaker's new partners try to make some unwelcome changes, can the toymaker's young apprentice and the shop's collection of toys save the day?.” (complimentary ticket).

This should be fun. I have several options for the evening that I am mulling over.

On Sunday afternoon is the event that really starts my holiday season --

3:00 - New York Philharmonic Principal Brass with the Canadian Brass @ Avery Fisher Hall. “A New York tradition! The Philharmonic’s Principal Brass and the Canadian Brass present their annual Holiday classic, filled with wit, virtuosity, and the glorious music of the season.” (full price orchestra ticket).

Monday - 8:00 - “The Who’s TOMMY 15th Anniversary Benefit Concert.” Broadway. “This is a reunion of the original cast and band. The proceeds from the concert will go to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and Broadway Dreams Foundation. The production will be presented concert style with the cast and band on stage during the entire performance. Projections and photographs from the original production will be used to express the design elements and feel of the show.” (expensive full price ticket).

I love The Who and I loved “Tommy’ when it was originally on Broadway so this was a no-brainer when tickets became available.

Tuesday - 7:30 - “Streamers” - Off Broadway. “In this powerful American masterpiece, four young soldiers fresh from boot camp wait anxiously in 1965 Virginia, watching the Vietnam conflict escalate. As they struggle to make sense of their new life in the army, tensions rise over race, sexuality, and class, culminating in an explosive act that changes them forever.” (Roundabout Theater subscription).

This drama has gotten excellent reviews and I am looking forward to seeing it.

Wednesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Handel’s “Messiah,” performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir. (series subscription).

For me there can’t be a holiday season with Handel’s “Messiah.”

Thursday - 8:00 - “Pal Joey” - Broadway. “This revival of the 1940 Rogers and Hart classic is about a scheming nightclub gigolo with romantic and financial headaches. Joey dumps his wholesome girlfriend, Linda, to get in with wealthy older lady Vera Simpson.” (Roundabout Theater subscription).

So there you have it my loyal and faithful readers. I have reported, now it is up to you to decide whether “awesome” is an appropriate description for the upcoming 2 weeks.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

FLASH!! - Breaking Economic/Travel News

As you know, my main purpose in life is to keep everyone informed regarding current news items before they hit the mainstream outlets, so that you, my faithful and loyal readers, may remain ahead of the herding masses in these difficult economic times.

I don’t know why what I am about to provide you hasn’t been the topic of anything on the AP, or MSNBC, or CNN, or my favorite news outlet Fox News, but so far nothing. So, I feel honored for the privilege of being able to share this information with you, in a condensed form --
AMERICAN AIRLINES NOW CHARGING FEES TO NON-PASSENGERS - Seeking New Revenues From Regular Customers and Everyone Else.

FORT WORTH, TX - Cash-strapped American Airlines announced a new series of fees this week that will apply to all customers not currently flying, scheduled to fly or even thinking about flying aboard the commercial carrier.

The fees, the latest introduced by American Airlines in a continuing effort to combat its financial woes, will take effect on Monday, December 15th. According to company officials, these charges will include a $25 tax on citizens traveling with any other airline, as well as a mandatory $30 surcharge for passengers who decide to just stay home for the holidays instead.

“Tough times unfortunately mean tough measures,” American Airlines president Gerard Arpey said. “It’s never an easy decision to ask our loyal customers, as well as thousands of people chosen at random out of a telephone book, to pay a little extra, but that’s just the reality of today’s economic climate. We hope all Americans will understand this when receiving one of our new bills in the mail. These charges will be incurred simply by being a citizen of the United States and having a valid Social Security Number.”

“We are confident that these new measures will not discourage customers from flying with American Airlines,” vice-president Margaret Wilkinson said, “However, we’d like to remind our customers that there is a ‘discouraged-from-flying-with-American-Airlines charge if they do in fact choose not to fly with us.”

It is also reported that the Bush Administration will codify these additional charges by the end of the month, making the likelihood of repeal by the incoming Obama Administration extremely difficult, if not impossible. (source anonymous - believed to be VP Cheney)

In response to American’s move, other airlines have begun offering more competitive rates. United this week unveiled a new $99 “spend the weekend quietly reading indoors” offer, while Southwest is introducing a $125 round-trip fare for those walking to their corner store for some groceries.

JetBlue, a commercial carrier known for its thrifty rates, has come out ahead of the pack, however, and is being lauded for its decision not to charge non-passengers not to fly.
Source: The Onion - Vol. 44, Issue 49

Well, there you have it my friends. I have no clue how this can be avoided and I hope my reporting it doesn’t dampen your Holiday Spirits or interfere with your holiday travel plans.

Please remember - I report and you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday's Report

I just got back from seeing the very first preview performance of an Off Broadway play, “Beasley’s Christmas Party,” and this is the press blurb: “A new holiday classic full of humor, heart and hope! From the American author of The Magnificent Ambersons comes this story of a curious journalist and his extremely unusual next door neighbors - a turn of the last century midwestern gubernatorial candidate, his amazing house guests, and their wide circle of very special friends (but are these house guests and friends real or imagined?).” (complimentary ticket).

I found the show to be charming and just the right touch for this time of year. Not sure if the critics will feel the same way but it worked for me.

Last night was a staged reading of a dark comedy - “Grand Delusion” - Off Broadway. “This brand-new, biting black comedy from playwright David Rock, imagines a secret confab of world leaders in the days immediately preceding World War I. The zany cast of historical and fictional characters includes a paranoid and narcissistic Kaiser Wilhelm; his foolish cousin Czar Nicholas II; and an Austrian foreign minister hungry for a war that will suitably impress his beautiful girlfriend. It's a dark and hilarious depiction of how the gears of diplomacy just might have turned to alter history forever.” (complimentary ticket).

The Off Broadway venue called The Zipper (because it was once a zipper factory) was full with lots of theater-type people and almost everyone seemed to enjoy the outrageous and very risqué material, even though the results would lead to World War I. I enjoyed it too.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, should be an interesting day. As I have previously posted I will go up to Lincoln Center for the 3:00pm annual meeting of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, to be held in the Helen Huntington Hall on the 4th floor of Avery Fisher Hall. This should either be very interesting or a complete waste of time. When I get bored or the meeting ends, whichever comes first, I will then catch a movie, either the recently opened “Milk” or “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” Then at ...

7:30 - The New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6; Schumann’s Symphony No. 4; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. (series subscription).

Yes, I know, to those of you who carefully read these postings, both the Schumann and Beethoven symphonys have been parts of recent concerts but this sometimes happens when you exchange tickets like I do and I certainly don’t mind hearing them again.

Strangely, at the moment both Thursday and Friday are open but I am certain I will book something for both days. Saturday, of course, will be devoted to the SEC Championship game.

Speaking of which - I am nervous as hell about the game and I wish it were tomorrow. I have a prediction - yes, this is it - are you ready, my faithful and loyal readers? The game will be tied at the end of the first half and then the Gators will win by a score of ... tada ... 35 - 21 ... and advance to the BCS Championship to play Oklahoma.

Oh, for this entire week when I go out for whatever reason, I intend to shelve my usual black outfits and wear instead blue pants, blue shirt, blue Gator sweater and, of course, my Gator cap.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Monday, December 1, 2008

November 2008 in the Big Apple

Now that the books are closed on November 2008 I am most happy to report that it was another terrific month for me in the Big Apple.

Before I begin the numbers report I think it only proper to acknowledge that the highlight of the month had nothing to do with entertainment - it was, of course, the bordering-on-a-landslide win by Barack Obama and the defeat of the woeful McCain/Palin ticket. As a yellow-dog democrat I can only hope and pray that Madame Sarah “Wink-Wink” Palin is the Republican nominee in 2012. Yeah, keep on giving us the benefit of your words of wisdom and inspiration, Sarah --- oh yes!!

Now, on to other things, that being, what I did during the month. In reviewing my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) I find that during the month of November 2008 I saw/attended/did the following:

6 Broadway shows (A Man for All Seasons, Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, All My Sons, Dividing the Estate, and The Seagull); 16 Off Broadway shows; 6 classical music concerts (mostly with the New York Philharmonic); and 4 movies (Sex Drive, Role Models, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Slumdog Millionaire).

I had a great Thanksgiving dinner with Scott Reed, his mother Donna of Lakeland and Scott’s friend Ava, at the trendy Lower Eastside bar/restaurant Spitizers Corner. Thank you Scott.

Kept in contact with many of my AA buddies (you know who you are) and we are maintaining our sobriety, together, during these extremely difficult financial times. Proud of you guys, I really am - just keep on keeping on - “One Day At A Time.”

Even with all of these activities I was surprised to find that there were 2 days/nights during the month without some entertainment event (gasp). I think I will blame it on the nasty weather - yes, that’s what it was.

I was also a bit surprised to find that I only posted 12 times during the month and I consider this to be a broken promise I made to you, my faithful and loyal readers, to keep the blog current. In defense, it isn’t that I failed to report about everything I had done during the month, it was that the postings weren’t as timely as they have been since the blog was created on April 6, 2008. I will do better, I promise!!

In that regard I will give an update on things and stuff I did since the last posting on Wednesday in a later posting, either tonight or tomorrow morning.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on how great it is to be a part of the Gator Nation. The ass whipping we put on the ‘Noles during the rain at Doak Campbell Stadium was awesome. During the month of November the Gators won 5 games, with a combined point total of: 262 - 64. Now, it is on to the SEC Championship game on Saturday against the number-one ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama. It should be a nail-biter of a game.

Oh, before I post - let me make a prediction - not about the game - about who will win the Heisman Trophy - it will be Oklahoma Quarterback Sam Bradford. I want it to be Tebow again but I don’t think it will happen.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quick Update

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is a big day entertainment-wise. I guess it can properly be called a doubleheader. As I have previously posted, at 2:00 is Arthur Miller’s drama “All My Sons” and then at 8:00 is Horton Foote’s new drama “Dividing the Estate,” both clocking in at 2hrs. 15mins. with an intermission. I doubt I will come back to the apartment between shows.

Let me give you a quick report of the shows I have seen since the last posting on Sunday --

Sunday night was “Spamalot” with a discounted TDF ticket, which was in the front of the mezzanine - very good. I was really in the mood for a zany funny show and this filled the bill, as I knew it would. I think this was my 4th time since it opened nearly 4 years ago. As I posted, it is closing on January 18, 2009, although I have heard that the actual closing date has been moved up to January 11th. Clay Aiken is listed as the “star” but it is really an ensemble cast of very talented and funny actors. Needless-to-say, I left with a big smile on my face.

On Monday night was the new comedy/drama “Zero” which I have described in an earlier posting. I think this poster pretty much sums up what the play is about. It was very well written and performed but, you know what ... I guess it is because I have almost 19 years of sobriety, but ... 2 hours of drinking, puking, passing out, blacking out, wasted effort and then remorse etc etc etc - finally began to wear on me. I think it would be better at 90 minutes without intermission. Oh well

The New York Philharmonic Concert tonight was excellent, especially Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, which ended the program. I had previously exchanged a ticket for this concert and my seat was terrific, very center of the orchestra, row KK.

Time to post this and crash, so ...

Talk with you later.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Last Week of November

I have just finished making the final reservations for the upcoming week and as usual my entertainment pallet is full. Some shows are on a “holiday” schedule which means weird performance times in order to make up for Thanksgiving, when most Broadway shows are dark.

So, without further ado ... tada ... here is Billi Pod’s schedule for the next 7 days --

Sunday - I will stay in for the afternoon and watch the Jets vs. Tennessee game, and then ...

7:00 - “Monty Python’s Spamalot” - Broadway. Clay Akin heads the cast of this very funny show, which is closing on January 11, 2009. I have seen it several times and just wanted to see it one last time before closing. It is a lot of fun if you like Monty Python humor (and I do) and I feel in the mood for a zany show. (discounted TDF ticket).

When I get back to the apartment and thaw out I will turn on Comedy Central to see: “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” In NYC it is showing at 10:00 and then a repeat at midnight but check your local listing. The advance buzz is very good.

Monday - 8:15 - “Zero” - Off Broadway. “A shockingly hilarious, gritty day in the lives of six distinct characters that offers a glimpse into the speed bumps a man goes through as he realizes he's crossed that threshold into the dreaded adulthood he fears, wants, worries about, and wrestles with. At what point is he forced to let go of who he was in high school and stop making getting drunk and 'getting some' his number one priority? Or does he ever? Warning: Zero is intended for Mature Audiences Only, and is not a play for children or younger teens due to crude and sexual humor.” (complimentary ticket).

Tuesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1; Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5; and, Schumann’s Symphony No. 4. (subscription series).

Wednesday - 2:00 - “All My Sons” - Broadway. This revival of Arthur Miller’s 1974 drama stars John Lithgow, Patrick Wilson and Kati Holmes and is about a businessman’s World War II dealings with government. It has gotten generally very favorable reviews. (discounted ticket).

8:00 - “Dividing the Estate” - Broadway. “The decay of values, in both property and personal conduct, is the subject of Horton Foote’s latest elegy for small-town American Life. A multigenerational Texas clan sorts through its material and emotional heritage in this 13 character production.” (discounted TDF ticket).

This show has just opened and it has gotten decent reviews.


2:00 - “The Big Apple Circus: Play On!” @ Lincoln Center. “If music be the food of love, PLAY ON! So begins the BIG APPLE CIRCUS 31st season. Set to a jazzy mix of classical, rock and soul, Play On! features tightwire acts, feats of balance, juggling, acrobatics, trapeze artistry, clowns and more, with focus of one ring with no seat more than 50 feet away.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I try to catch a performance at least once a year. It is always different and usually very entertaining.

Friday - 2:00 (yes, that is the correct time and date) - “The Seagull” - Broadway. “This complex romantic ecology of Anton Checkov’s 1893 classic is a daisy chain of she-loves-me-nots and stars award-winning actress Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).” (discounted TDF ticket).

I have to admit to having second thoughts about booking this show. I know I have seen it before but I remember nothing about it except leaving the theater wondering ...”what the fuck was that all about?” I hope I have it mentally mixed it up with some other show. It has gotten very good reviews, however. it clocks in at 2 hours and 50 minutes with one intermission.

8:00 - “Prayer For My Enemy” - Off Broadway. “Between wars, what is there to do but recall the last and plan for the next? As the Red Sox fight the Yankees for the AL title, and an enigmatic outsider unspools a tale of filial responsibility, an American family confronts its demons - a son returning from Iraq, a father battling the bottle, and a triangle of unresolved romantic tension. Crag Lucas’s new play is a keenly-layered drama about the preciousness of life and the grace to share common ground even with those we love the least.” (discounted TDF ticket).

This is in very early previews. Doesn’t it sound interesting? It has an outstanding cast, including Jonathan Groff, late of “Spring Awakening.”

Saturday - 3:30 - Gators vs. FSU @ Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL - carried on ABC. The Gators should kick-butt again. Hell, I could write a whole posting about this rivalry but I won’t except to say that I continue to pray that Bobby Bowden remains the ‘Noles head coach for as long a Joe Paterno is at Penn State. Go Gators.

So, my faithful and loyal readers, I know you will agree with me that the upcoming week will be very interesting.

But, wait - there’s more to report. What you are breathlessly asking? Well, about things and stuff I did since the last posting on Thursday, so ... Oh, come on now ... keep on reading ... you know you love it ...

On Tuesday night I saw “Dust” in very early previews, maybe even the first preview performance and ... it was strange. I wanted to like it because of the lead actors, Richard Masur and Hunter Foster, but it just didn’t work for me and it had one of the oldest of all theater clichés ... a gun on stage, meaning, someone has to die, and, I didn’t care a flipping fuck who it was. Funny thing happened ... as the female character was leaving the stage in a scene she had trouble opening the apartment door and had to yank at it several times before it finally opened. It was awkward.

The New York Philharmonic concert on Thursday night was excellent, except for a discordant cello piece by Penderecki. All was made well though with a rousing performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

I had more classical music on Friday night, The Dresden Staaskapelle, performing at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. My complimentary ticket was very good, Tier One, row AA. The concert was opened by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 - awesome. At intermission I ran into my theater-going friend Phil Parnes, who is a retired violinist, and he told me of some open orchestra seats, so I left the First Tier and joined him in the rear orchestra, not far from where my NY Phil seats are located. Oh man, the concert ended with Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 - wonderful. A great concert with a comp. ticket - it doesn’t get much better than this in The Big Apple.

Saturday was a busy day. It was very cold. I had a matinee ticket to see a show called “The Language of Trees” - Off Broadway. “When an American translator is sent into a U.S. war zone in the Middle East, a friendly neighbor volunteers to help out his wife and young son. As events abroad spiral out of control, the lives of all the characters are turned upside down. The Language of Trees is about the fragility of language, the ecology of war and the meaning of neighborliness in an age of terror.” (complimentary ticket).

This show was very thought-provoking and very well acted and I am glad I finally got a ticket to see it.

During the afternoon The Gators kicked butt, beating The Citadel by a score of 70-10. Wow!! The game was not carried locally.

I stayed in Saturday night (hey, don’t be critical - I am retired so every night is a Saturday night for me) to watch the Oklahoma vs. number 2-ranked Texas Tech game, with The Sooners favored by 7 points. My son, Bill, is a huge Sooners fan and we talked several times during the game, which as you know if you are a football fan, Oklahoma won by a jaw-dropping score of 65-21 Who could have possibly foreseen this? No one, that’s who.

I would love to see The Gators play The Sooners in the BCS Championship game. All we have to do it get by FSU and ‘Bama, not an easy task.

OK, folks, this has gone on for too long, so ...

Talk with you later.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Billy Elliot" Is Terrific

I am very happy to report that, in my humble opinion, “Billy Elliot” successfully made the transition from London’s West End to the bright lights of Broadway’s Great White Way, and, based on the response from the sold-out show last night, this opinion was shared by the enthusiastic and diverse audience.

One of the concerns I read about in advance of the transfer was whether an American audience would understand the depth of the labor movement’s animosity toward Margaret Thatcher and her role in the privatization of the coal industry. I thought it was very clear from the outset and was handled in a straight-forward manner. It wasn’t a problem.

There was also concern over the heavy accents and profanity but both are integral to the story and even the profanity spewed out by the children feels real and in character for the times and situations.

The young teen playing Billy was Kiril Kulish and he did an excellent job and it is certainly understandable why it is necessary to rotate the 8 weekly performances between the 3 boys.

The only thing that really struck me about this staging verses the 2 that I saw in London, was the depth of the anger and frustration between Billy’s father and Billy’s older brother. In this staging they get physical and I don’t remember that in the London productions.

Frankly, the only quibble I have about the show itself, Broadway and London, is the appearance of the Ghost of Billy’s mother. It added nothing to the story, in my opinion, and was overly and needlessly dramatic. But, this is a minor quibble.

So, bottom line - I restate my prediction that “Billy Elliot” will have a long-life on Broadway and I highly highly recommend that you add it to your “Must See” list.

Speaking of Broadway - two of my favorite shows, “Spamalot” and “Spring Awakening” are ending their Broadway runs in January 2009. I just had to see them one last time, so I have discounted TDF tickets for the Sunday, November 23rd, performance of “Spamalot” and “Spring Awakening” for Wednesday, December 10th.

In reviewing my recent postings I noticed that I failed to mention that I saw the movie “Role Models” on Sunday afternoon, November 16th, and that I loved it. The show stars Paul Rudd and Seann (yes it has 2 n’s) William Scott as two frat-pack guys with dead-end jobs who get into trouble with the law and can only avoid jail by agreeing to participate in a Big Brother program for troubled kids. As might be expected they are paired with two kids who have a world of problems. One of the kids is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse who played McLovin in the 2007 hit movie “Superbad” and his performance alone makes “Role Models” worth seeing.

Meaning, if you like gross-out jokes, cussing and frat-boy humor then this is the show for you. If not, stay the hell away.

In closing - in a posting last week I discussed an Off-Broadway show, “Garden of Earthly Delights,” and mentioned that my jury was still out regarding it. Well, the jury has returned its verdict and it is overwhelmingly favorable in all of the reviews I have read. Let me quote The New York Times ....”this singular work of dance theater is without a doubt one of the most eerily hypnotic spectacles of flesh in motion ever put on a New York stage.”

Oh, an interesting bit of political gossip is going around. What, you breathlessly ask? Well, here it is: Obama appoints Hillary as Secretary of State and then Governor Patterson appoints Bill to replace her in the Senate. Hey, I like it. So, if it happens please remember where you heard it first.

Hey, I report - you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday - Reporting from The Big Apple

It is cold in the Big Apple and I guess I can say that Winter has actually arrived. I think the combination of getting older and my blood-thinner meds have made me much more sensitive to the cold. Please understand, however, I am not complaining or whining because I am in New York City this time of year by choice. I could literally be anyplace in the World I want to be and I have chosen to be in The Greatest City in the World. I mean, why be warm and bored? Right? Yes, I thought you, my faithful and loyal readers, would understand.

Now on to other things - I am still basking in the glory of the Gator’s crushing those little cocks from South Carolina. There is no question about it - the Gators control their own destiny - win out and we play in the BCS Championship Game. To my amazement the local sportswriters in all three of the daily papers have become enamored with the Gators, with the writer for The Daily News ranking them as his number one team.

The basketball team is also off to a good start, winning Friday over Toledo by a score of 80-58 and then over Bradley (wherever in hell that is) on Sunday by a score of 81-58. The Bradley game was carried locally, which is a rarity.

After the game on Saturday I went to an 8:30 show, The Sandbox and The First Time, at the theater on 59th Street. The small theater was full. Both shows, which I have previously described, were funny and very well acted.

On the way back to the apartment I stopped at my favorite pizza place, Ray Bari’s @ 56th and 3rd, and got several slices and some wings. That took care of my “dinner” for the next 3 nights.

Last night was an excellent concert at Town Hall called “Broadway Unplugged,” which I have described in a previous posting. My discounted TDF ticket was great, in the orchestra, house left, 11 rows from the stage. The house for the 3 level theater was full, and it being a Monday night when most of the Broadway shows are dark, the audience was full of theater-type folks. All of the performers sung without microphones.

I have previously described the Off-Broadway show that I am seeing tonight, Dust, starring Richard Masur and Hunter Foster. Luckily it is only a block away from the 43rd Street subway exit, so I won't freeze.

Now, the big news - I scored a super excellent seat for tomorrow’s performance of “Billy Elliot,” which just opened to mostly rave reviews. The press blurb: “Based on the film about a working-class British boy with dreams that run contrary to family expectations, the London smash-hit musical arrives on Broadway. Set in the North East against the backdrop of the 1984 miners' strike, Billy Elliot is a funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one young boy's dream to become a ballet dancer and triumph over adversity.”

I love this show. I first saw it in London in 2005 just weeks after it opened to rave reviews. It went on to win all kinds of awards, including Best New Musical. I saw it again in London in 2006. Last Thursday I went to the box office and was amazed that I was able to get a super-excellent seat in the front mezzanine.

As some of you may know, the role of Billy is alternated between 3 young (13 year old) dancer/singers. I predict that it will have a long long life on Broadway.

When I left the Billy Elliot box office I then went on a Broadway rampage and got excellent discounted tickets to see the revival of “All My Sons” for the November 26th matinee and “Shrek - the Musical,” for December 11th. More about them later.

Thursday night is The New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6: Penderecki’s Cello Concerto No. 2; and, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. (subscription series)

For Friday evening I was able to score a free (complimentary) ticket to a Great Performers concert at Avery Fisher Hall by The Dresden Staaskapelle, which was founded in 1548. The program will be: Brahms’ Symphony No. 4; and, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Awesome.

At the moment Saturday and Sunday are open. I do know that the Gator/Citadel game is not being carried locally.

Huge question locally about whether Hillary should become Secretary of State, assuming the position is offered to her. Frankly, I would hate to lose her presence in the Senate. She has done a good job for the State of New York. I do, however, think she will accept the appointment, despite Bill’s baggage, and will be confirmed.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Leonard Bernstein @ Carnegie Hall & 1957

On November 14, 1943, 25 year old Leonard Bernstein made his New York Philharmonic Orchestra directorial debut when he stepped in at the last minute to replace an ailing Bruno Walter for a concert at Carnegie Hall. Just two months earlier Bernstein had been named the Philharmonic’s assistant conductor - the first American and the youngest person ever chosen for the position. The next day the story of his debut made the front page of the New York Times.

Now, 65 years later to the night I was sitting in the best seat I have ever had for a concert at Carnegie Hall, center orchestra, row K, seat 106, a ticket purchased only a few days earlier. I was mega-charged, as was everyone seated around me, for the "Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds" concert.

The conductor for the evening was young Alan Gilbert who was recently named Music Director beginning in the 2009-10 season.

To say that the evening was electrifying doesn’t do it justice. The opening number was the Symphonic Suite from “On the Waterfront.” Awesome. The second was a 33 minute work called “Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) for Violin,” featuring Glenn Dicterow, the Concert Master for the Philharmonic. Beautiful.

After intermission came the pieces that everyone was waiting for - works from the ground-breaking 1957 musical “West Side Story.” The first piece was Suite No. 1, featuring a Tenor and a Soprano in the roles of Tony and Maria. They sang: Maria; One Hand, One Heart; Somewhere; and, The Balcony Scene. This received a roaring ovation. It was breath-takingly beautiful.

Then a group of 25 singers came on stage to join Tony and Maria. They were from the New York Choral Artists. The final number of the evening was Suite No. 2: I Feel Pretty; Jet Song; America; and, Tonight. I cannot adequately describe how wonderful this was.

At the conclusion the audience gave everyone a roaring standing ovation. Luckily, it wasn’t over. They did two encores: Rumble from West Side Story and The Overture to Candide.

I was once again reminded about how much better the acoustics are in Carnegie Hall versus Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

During the West Side Story numbers I felt my mind drifting back to 1957 and my unique experience involving the show when it was in its out-of-town previews. I will share the story now in the form of a verbatim copy of a posting I made last year to the New York Theater Chat Board called “All That Chat” --

“In the summer of 1957 I was coming to the end of my tour of duty in the Army and was stationed in Washington, DC, living off-base with a bunch of army buddies, including one who had a part-time job with the afternoon newspaper (the name escapes me).

One night he came in from work and told me that his Editor had given him two tickets to a musical that was finishing up its out of town tryout and would soon open on Broadway. He asked me to go with him because he knew of my interest in the theater, even back then, and, also, the tickets included an after-performance party with the creative team, cast members and the press.

I asked him about the show and he said all he knew about it was that it was a musical based on a modern version of Romeo & Juliet. To this I replied - “no f**king way am I gonna see something like that, no f**king way.” He begged me and begged me to go with him and kept emphasizing the party afterwards. Finally I gave in and said I would go. According to some old notes I have the date was August 19, 1957 and it was the opening night at The National Theatre in Washington, DC.

Well, we were both blown away by the show. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, or, frankly, since. I remember though that some of the older people (I was all of 23yrs. old) seated around us were horrified by the “coarseness” of some of the lyrics, especially in “Gee, Officer Krupke,” and there were audible gasps with the final line:

Gee, Officer Krupke,
Krup You!

I don’t remember too much about the after-party other than it was at one of the posh hotels and had plenty of free booze and food. Someone pointed out a person named Leonard Bernstein and a very young looking guy named Sondheim, but neither name registered with me at the time.

The rest of the story is history., of course. I don’t know how many times, thousands I am sure, that I thanked the Gods of the Theatre for making me go to see a musical of a modern version of Romeo & Juliet.

Bottom-line I count this as the highlight of all of the theater experiences I have ever had.


Let me summarize my feelings about the concert - ONE OF THE BEST EVER!!!!

I have just scored tickets to some major Broadway shows and will share the info with you in a later posting.

It is raining and ugly out and I am killing time until the 3:30 kickoff of the Gator/So. Carolina game on CBS.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday - A Man for All Seasons (and more)

I am writing this on Thursday afternoon and it is nasty out - chilly, windy and rainy. Thankfully the apartment is nice and warm and cozy. Hopefully things will clear up before I head out this evening.

On Tuesday evening I saw the revival of “A Man for All Seasons” starring Frank Langella in the role of Sir Thomas More. This was part of my season subscription to The Roundabout Theater Company so my seat was excellent. I was a bit apprehensive about the show for several reasons: (1) I have seen the show numerous times, on Broadway and in regional and community theater productions; (2) it is kinda long at 2:45, with an intermission; and (3) this production has received basically luke-warm reviews.

Well, all of my apprehensions were for naught (damn, I wonder where that stilted phrase came from?) because I found the show to be riveting and Langella’s performance Tony-worthy. Yes, it is long but it is great theater, in my humble opinion, and I am so glad that I had a chance to see it.

Last night, Wednesday, was an excellent concert by the New York Philharmonic, concluding with Stravinsky’s "The Firebird Suite." I did have a problem during the concert, however. I became highly annoyed with the older couple seated in front of me. Why you ask? Well, she kept dozing off, laying her head on her husband’s shoulder and then suddenly jerking back upright when she woke up. She did this about every 2 minutes. He was dozing off too. I prayed they would leave at intermission but they didn’t and the cycle repeated itself during the entire concert. What was I to do? I just didn’t feel comfortable saying anything to them, so ... I mentally repeated the Serenity Prayer several times and focused on the orchestra.

This is my entertainment schedule for the next 6 days --

Thursday - 7:00 - “The Middle Ages” - Off Broadway. “A. R. Gurney’s play focuses on the family. Set in one room - the trophy room of a men's club - from just after World War II through the late 1970's, the play illustrates the conflict between long-standing traditions and the pressure for change. Son Barney needs to break free, but his father Charles, the president of the men's club, locks him in the trophy room when he misbehaves. On one such occasion, he meets the shy Eleanor, falls in love, and spends the next 30 years trying to win her over. Meanwhile, her mother, a social climber hungry for stability, strives to break into this rapidly failing world.” (complimentary ticket)

Friday - 8:00 - The New York Philharmonic Orchestra in concert at Carnegie Hall. This is the Carnegie Hall press blurb: “Bernstein - The Best of All Possible Worlds Festival. Arguably the most symbolic concert of the entire Bernstein series, tonight’s event marks the 65th anniversary of Bernstein’s first podium appearance with the New York Philharmonic in the hall where it happened. This all-Bernstein program includes selections from ‘West Side Story’ and ‘On the Waterfront.’” (full price expensive ticket).

How could I pass this up? I couldn’t for many reasons - I love the NY Phil, of course, and they sound soooooooooo much better in Carnegie Hall, and, West Side Story is my all-time favorite musical, for reasons I will detail later. My seat is in the orchestra, row K, in the middle - super excellent.

And, speaking of the New York Philharmonic - as I have posted numerous times I am a 3 series subscriber and a modest donor, and have been so for a number of years. Somehow this combination has earned me “membership” in the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, which I believe is the orchestra’s governing board. I got a notice of the annual meeting on the afternoon of Thursday, December 3. It asked whether I would attend the annual meeting, and if not, granting my proxy to someone.

Hey, thought I - this sounds interesting and another first for moi, so I returned the card stating that I would be attending the meeting. If it gets too boring I will just leave. I am sure they will have nice snacks and stuff too. Will report about it.

Saturday - 3:30 - Gators vs. South Carolina on CBS. Hopefully the Gator coaching staff will not let SteveS get into their heads and we will continue our journey to the BCS Championship game.

8:30 - “The Sandbox and The First Time” - Off Broadway. “These two one act comedies are presented as part of the Made in Poland Festival. The Sandbox is about a couple's inability to articulate emotions, except through the language of globally mass-marketed brand names and advertising. While sitting in a sandbox, Him and Her try to figure out how to love each other despite their linguistic challenges. In The First Time, He and She try to have a sexual relationship, but are thwarted at each step by the weather, family, hunger, and the punctured illusions of a post-communist society.” (complimentary ticket).

This is being presented at the 59E59 Theater, one of my favorite venues. It is only 8 blocks from the apartment.

Sunday - open at the moment. Will probably see the just opened movie “Role Models.”

Monday - 8:00 - “Broadway Unplugged” @ Town Hall. This is an annual concert involving at least 20 current Broadway performers who will sing without the usual sound enhancements. I have attended several of these in the past and they have all been very good. (discounted TDF ticket).

Tuesday - 8:00 - “Dust” - Off Broadway. “Martin is an executive with money and a paunch. Zeke is an ex-con with street smarts and a minimum wage position. Early one morning, in the fitness center of the Essex House, the battle of will begins over the most trivial of requests. And when Martin's daughter Jenny becomes entangled in the situation, the stakes are raised even higher escalating a war for respect into one for revenge and survival. Who will be standing when the dust settles? Starring Emmy Award nominee Richard Masur and Tony Award nominee Hunter Foster, Dust is a new thriller in the old tradition it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final curtain!” (discounted TDF ticket)

Oh, is anyone else sick and tired of seeing Sarah “wink-wink” Palin in every known news media in her pathetic attempt to put a positive spin on the disaster known as the McCain/Palin ticket? Lady, you lost and you were a major reason why your team tanked, so get the fuck over it. YOU LOST!!!!

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday - Belated Report on My Weekend Things & Stuff

Sorry my faithful and loyal readers for the lateness in reporting on my activities since the last posting on Thursday. Truth-be-told I did so much that I just didn’t feel like taking the time to post - my bad.

I had previously posted my scheduled activities and I added to them by scheduling two frat-boyish gross-out type movies: “Sex Drive” for Friday afternoon and then “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” for Sunday afternoon.

So, let me give you my reactions to the various events in an abbreviated/summary fashion (hey, please hold the applause, OK?):

Thursday - “Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk" - my seat for this show was excellent, center orchestra 11 rows from the stage, in the smaller Madison Square Garden venue. I only wish the show itself had been as good as my seat, but it wasn’t. I think the smallness of the venue had a larger impact on the production than had been anticipated. It felt more like a vaudeville show than a circus. I didn’t hate the show but it didn’t set me on fire as I had expected it would.

Friday - afternoon - “Sex Drive” - “’All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun,’ wrote Jean-Luc Goddard. Sex Drive has both, plus raunch, a 1969 GTO and Seth Green as a sarcastic Amish farmer. Our nerdy hero is encouraged to pursue an IM crush in Tennessee and complications ensue - jail time, violent hicks, a raging older brother, etc., yielding sly and lowbrow laughs.”

I couldn’t have said it better. I loved the movie and laughed a lot.

8:00 - “My Vaudeville Man” at the York Theater. This was the first preview performance and the story is based on a series of letters between the young tap-dancer and his disapproving mother. A great show and very well performed.

Saturday - afternoon - “Mouth to Mouth” - I had earlier posted that I had misgivings about this show about an HIV positive writer and his relationship with his female best friend and her family. I still have misgivings. It is a powerful show and the acting is outstanding but ... why must playwrights portray most of their gay characters as “nellie-queens?” I find this to be very distracting.

8:00 - Gators vs. Vandy. Well, as you know, the Gators kicked ass again winning 42-14. The score could have been 84-0 had Urban Meyer not pulled his starting offense and defense midway into the 3rd quarter. The win means the Gators will play Alabama for the SEC Championship. A win there will probably propel the victor to the BCS Championship game. Go Gators.

Sunday - afternoon - “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” - “Faced with a mountain of debt, longtime roommates Zach (Seth Rogan) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) decide to make a porno and self-distribute it. Zach and Miri’s friendship is obviously love but for them to realize it, they much first do a porn scene together. Think of it as When Harry Fucked Sally.” Oh, yes ...

OK, back off - this is the kind of movie that I love, so there. If the above description piques your ‘interest’ then I highly recommend this show, if not - then stay the hell away. It’s as simple as that.

Which makes a good segue to the evening’s entertainment event - “Garden of Earthly Delights.” I described this show in detail in the last posting and this is what I predicted: “Make no mistake about it - I will either love or hate this show, there will be no middle ground.” Well, the jury remains out because I am still trying to process what I saw. This is what I mean ...

First, it didn’t help things that the show was delayed for 30 minutes for “technical reasons.” I almost bailed but decided to give it a shot. It is described as ...”A seamless fusion of theater, dance, music and flight”.... The Playbill lists the scenes as: “Paradise. Seven Deadly Sins. Hell.”

Well, the dancers did indeed fly around the stage in a hour long twisting whirl involving, among other things: vaginal and anal sex, violence, urination, death, torture, impaling with a Cello (don’t ask) and farting. Yep, it was different, to say the least.

Monday - night - “Basic Training” - as previously posted, this one-man show is about the writer/performer’s experiences in the Air Force as a member of the entertainment troupe “Tops in Blue.” He portrays 23 different characters. The show was 80 minutes and it totally captured my attention. I highly recommend it.

So, this brings you up-to-date. It is dark and gray and cold out as I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon. Tonight I have “A Man for All Seasons” which clocks in at 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission. I know I will need my before-the-show-begins coffee jolt.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday - Things and Stuff

First of all - I am happy to report that my sister Ann Parker, now living in Indio, CA, has successfully completed what is, hopefully, her last surgery addressing clogged neck artery issues. And, thank you Donna Parker Jadamec of Denver, CO, for your willingness to be with Ann during her time of need.

There is still an almost surreal feeling in The Big Apple over the election results as the significance of Obama’s historic election sinks in. Yesterday all of the daily newspapers sold out. I have all three and will store them together with the papers dated 9/12/01. Maybe one day in the future my great-great-great grandchildren will find them interesting.

Now, on to other things, like my entertainment schedule for the next 7 days. Do I need to use the term “awesome,” or do you loyal and faithful readers now automatically utter that word without my urging? I don’t know, but ... here it is:

Thursday - 7:30 - “Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk" - “Wintuk is an exciting adventure about a boy's quest for snow. This celebration of winter weaves thrilling acrobatics, breathtaking theatrical effects and memorable songs into an extraordinary journey to an imaginary land called Wintuk. The boy and his companions –- a mysterious female shaman, a fearless young girl and a yellow-bellied man –- deliver endless excitement, exhilaration and intrigue. The show is playful, musical, and bursts with the energy of the city and the magic of a wonderland. Featuring a cast of 50 performers from Cirque du Soleil, this seasonal story will have the whole family wishing for snow!” (complimentary ticket).

Friday - 8:00 - “My Vaudeville Man” - Off Broadway. “A rousing tap dancing new musical based on the life of legendary eccentric tapper Jack Donahue. Jack’s mother struggles to get him to see vaudeville as a ridiculous pursuit and that he needs to come home to work alongside his father at the docks. As Jack tap-dances his way to stardom, will his family finally recognize he’s meant for greater things?” (discounted TDF ticket).

This show is playing at the York Theater in the basement of the Citicorp Building. I have been a financial supporter of the York Theater Company for almost 10 years and I consider their Artistic Director, Jim Morgan, to be a friend. They usually do very good stuff.

Saturday - 2:00 - “Mouth to Mouth” - Off Broadway. “Frank, a gay writer living with AIDS, attends a party at his friend Laura's house to celebrate the return of her teenage son from abroad. As the story shifts back and forth through time, it's clear that Frank may have played an unscrupulous part in the unraveling of his best girlfriend's family. Nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play, Kevin Elyot's West End smash is a haunting, twisting tale of undeclared passion and the fine line between intimacy and betrayal.” (complimentary ticket).

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this show but several of my theater-going buddies (all female) have recommended it so I thought I would give it a shot before it closes.

8:00 - Gators at Vanderbilt - ESPN2. I hope the Gators don’t look past this game because Vandy has a good team and they have given the Gators a hard time over the last several years. Go Gators!!

Sunday - 7:00 - “Garden of Earthly Delights” - Off Broadway. “The performers fly through the air as if they were heavenly bodies released in space in this breathtaking flight of imaginative genius from Martha Clarke. A seamless fusion of theater, dance, music and flight,that is at once sensual, stunning, disturbing and unforgettable. Using state-of-the-art aerial devices Clarke takes you on a journey from creation through Eden, earthly existence, damnation and redemption.” (complimentary ticket).

Make no mistake about it - I will either love or hate this show, there will be no middle ground. This show, following so closely on Cirque du Soleil, may result in sensory overload on my part. I hope not. We will see.

Monday - 8:00 - “Basic Training” - Off Broadway. “Basic Training, created by and starring Kahlil Ashanti, is a new comedy based on one soldier's outrageous experience in the U.S. Air Force. It chronicles Ashanti's amazing tour as a member of the elite entertainment troupe "Tops In Blue" in the U.S. Air Force. A life altering event forces his attention home to face the childhood he tried to forget. Ashanti plays twenty-three unforgettable characters that tell his funny true story.” (complimentary ticket).

Tuesday - 8:00 - “A Man for All Seasons” - Broadway. “A revival of the award winning drama about Sir Thomas More, played by Frank Langella, who stands up to government on moral principals, with disastrous results.”

This show is part of my Roundabout Theater subscription series. Unfortunately, it has gotten just lukewarm reviews.

Wednesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Violin works by Lyadov, Khachatorian, and Kancheli (none of whom registered with me) and then Stravinsky’s "The Firebird Suite." (subscription series).

So, there it is - for the next 7 days: 1 Broadway show; 4 Off Broadway shows; 1 Circus performance; 1 New York Philharmonic concert; and 1 Gator game broadcast on local TV. I very likely will add a Sunday and a Wednesday matinee show.

Yep, the word “awesome” certainly leaps into my mind as it knocks aside “entertainment-excess” and “obsessive-compulsive behavior.” What do you think?

Hey, I report - you decide.

Much more to post concerning past events. Will do so later, I promise.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I was born in the deep south 74+ years ago and attended segregated schools. Fortunately the most influential person in my life, my mother, Ruby, was a progressive liberal in the truest sense of the word and as a result, I always thought of myself as being “color-blind” on the racial issue.

In my wildest dreams, however, I never imagined that a black man would be elected President of the United States of America, in my lifetime - no way could it happen.

At 11:00pm EST on Tuesday, November 4 2008, when all of the media declared that the President-elect was Barack Obama, I felt a wave of emotion I hadn’t expected and these emotions built until they reached a crescendo at midnight when the President-elect, his wife, and their two children, took the stage at Grant Park in Chicago. I was witnessing history in the making. I thought his remarks were right on, setting the proper tone for his upcoming administration.

A short time before, Sen. John McCain showed that he is indeed a classy man of character and integrity. I predict that Obama will reach out to McCain and ultimately he will become part of the Team for Change. Just remember where you heard it first.

I know that in the heavenly upstairs two of my dearest friends, Bill Mullon and Marvin Mounts, are smiling with Ruby.

The people have spoken. It is now time to begin the process of changing campaign rhetoric into action.

Mr. President-elect - the ball is now in your court.

Oh, I think I did a pretty good job in my predictions, especially calling the results in the swing states.

Billi Pod, a Proud American

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day Predictions

OK, my faithful and loyal readers, who span the voter demographics of this wonderful country of ours, the United States of America, your wait is now over. Yes, I have decided to post my predictions for the outcome of the election tomorrow.

So, without further ado or fanfare, here they are:


Obama - 52%

McCain - 44%

Other - 4%


Obama - 353

McCain - 227

In the so called “Battleground” states the results will be:

Ohio - Obama
Pennsylvania - Obama
Colorado - Obama
Nevada - Obama
Virginia - Obama
Iowa - Obama
Florida - Obama

Missouri - McCain
North Carolina - McCain

I also predict that the Democrats will add to their margins in both the House and the Senate but will fall just short in the Senate of reaching the so-called “filibuster-blocking” 60th seat.

In planning your evening on Tuesday - I also predict that the major news sources will begin calling the election in Obama’s favor between 11:30 and midnight. I have a show scheduled for Tuesday evening but will be back in the apartment around 10:30.

Am I correct? Who knows. These predictions do not necessarily represent my personal views because I remain committed to fair and unbiased reporting, so, “I report - you decide.”

Oh, a totally off-topic moment - yesterday was the running of the New York City Marathon. Did you know that Billi Pod ran in and successfully completed both the 1978 and 1979 New York Marathons? Well, I did and I have pictures to prove it. Of course I wasn’t known as Billi Pod back then. Just thought you might like to know this bit of biographical information.

Go Gators!!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, November 2, 2008

October 2008 - Another Awesome Month!!

I know, I know - I use the word “awesome” too much, especially as it relates to the life-style that I am so blessed to be living in The Greatest City in the World, but please understand, I am not bragging or anything like that, I am merely reporting. OK?

I have just finished reviewing my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) for the month of October 2008 and it confirmed my feeling that it was another “awesome” month entertainment-wise. I find that during the month I saw/attended/did the following:

2 Broadway shows (Speed the Plow and American Buffalo); 18 Off Broadway shows; 2 New York Philharmonic concerts; and, 1 movie (Nick & Nora’s Endless Playlist). Noticeably missing is any reference to post-season activity on behalf of The Yankees.

Was able to spend an evening, including dinner and theater, with Sandy Mullon of Anna Maria, FL, and have face-time twice with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed. Got my annual flu shot and finally got around to filing my 2007 tax returns (we won’t go into the reasons why I always, and I mean always, get an extension).

Reconnected with some of my old AA buddies (you know who you are) and we have been able to share and discuss some of the stresses caused by the current economic implosion. It ain't pretty. Hang in there guys, One Day at a Time.

I was in Paris for 7 nights with my former roommate and fraternity brother David West of Gainesville, FL, and Paris, FR, in his rental apartment in the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank. We had a terrific time together, including out-of-Paris day trips to Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s residence and to Napoleon and Josephine’s chateau at Malmaison. We also had excellent meals at various restaurants. I had several days on my own to visit the Pompidou Center, Napoleon's Tomb at the Hotel des Invalides, which also houses The French Army Museums, and the Musee d’Orsay.

Again, David, thank you so very much for your continued friendship and hospitality. I look forward to seeing you back in Paris in the Spring of 2009.

With all of these activities I was somewhat surprised that I had, gasp, a total of 4 days/nights during the month without some entertainment event. Oh well ... what can I say?

In accordance with my promise to keep my loyal and faithful readers up-to-date I posted 23 times to this blog, making a total of 144 postings since the blog was created on April 6, 2008. Yes, you are indeed welcome.

I have lots of other things and stuff to write about but will post this and then will probably write another post when I get back from tonight’s show, an Off Broadway play called “Romantic Poetry.”

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

49 - 10. It is Great to Be a Florida Gator!!

Yessir, yesterday’s major ass-stomping by the Gators over those pathetic puppies, Oh, excuse me, I meant - the Bulldawgs, made up for last year’s un-sportsman-like conduct by the Georgia team, an act that will live in football infamy.

Let me share with you the headlines in the local papers:

“GATORS ROMP & STOMP - Tebow sizzles, Urban doesn’t call off Dawgs.” The Daily News



I had to leave the apartment with 5 minutes left in the game and the score 49-3 - I had a show downtown and had to pick up my ticket by 7:00pm. I wore the usual outfit, black, except for my Orange and Blue Gator cap. During the trip downtown 4 people hollered out - “Go Gators, etc. etc.”

As I was waiting in line to go inside my theater two women in their early 60s came up to me and said - “Go Gators.” Both had graduated from UF and both had children who were Gator grads. As I was leaving the theater after the show a young guy came up to me and said: “You guys played a hell of a game.”

On the subway back to the apartment I got a thumbs up from a huge black guy wearing a Penn State cap.

Yep, I am still glowing, basking if you will, over being a part of The Gator Nation. We are everywhere.

Can we go all the way to the BCS Championship Game? That I don’t know. We have two tough games as part of the regular season, South Carolina and Florida State, and then the SEC Championship game, probably against Alabama. Time will tell. We pretty much control our own destiny.

In the meantime, I just hope we take it one game at a time.

Have lots of other stuff to post and will so do later.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday - Election Research - Part Two

Now, dear readers, this is the second piece of election research for your consideration, this time involving Barack Obama and a series of admissions he made during his recent campaign trip in the crucial swing-state of Florida.

I have no idea why it didn’t get major media coverage, well, yes, maybe I do know, but it is not my job to be judgmental - it is up to you to decide.

This is the report in its entirety --
‘I Would Make A Bad President,’ Obama Says In Huge Campaign Blunder.

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- In a campaign gaffe that could potentially jeopardize Sen. Barack Obama’s White House bid, the Democratic presidential nominee told nearly 8,000 supporters Tuesday that, if elected, he would make a terrible president.

The blunder, captured by all major media outlets, but for some reason not widely distributed, occurred when the typically polished Obama fielded a question about his health care policy. Obama answered by saying he would give small business owners a tax credit to help them provide health care for their employees, and then added, “Now, I’m not completely certain that my plan would work because, overall, I think I would make a bad president.”

According to sources, before those on hand could fully process what Obama had said, the Illinois senator continued to stumble, claiming that, were he to win the general election, he’d have absolutely no idea what to do.
“My youth and inexperience would definitely make me an awful president,” said Obama, whose seven-minute misstep was further exacerbated when he called himself ‘no expert’ on the economy, “To be perfectly honest, I'd be worried about putting me in charge of the most powerful military in the world because I’m not any good when it comes to making important decisions. Also, I'm not sure how much I care about keeping this great nation of ours safe.”

“I’m an indeed elitist, I hate Israel, and I want to lose the war in Iraq,” Obama concluded, and then, seemingly unaware of the magnitude of his blunder, smiled, gave a thumbs-up to the stunned crowd, and urged his supporters to get out and vote on Nov. 4.

Immediately following the speech, Obama campaign officials released a written statement alleging that their candidate’s comments had been taken out of context. In addition, Obama’s top adviser David Axelrod claimed that the senator was quoting former president Abraham Lincoln when he said, “I am not the guy to head the executive branch of the United States government. Trust me. I’m really not.”

Beltway observers agreed that the gaffes could come back to haunt Obama on Election Day.

In notes taken by various sources, but for some reason never released, the following observations were made: ABC political analyst George Stephanopoulos said - “It’s just not the message you want to send to voters when you are up in the polls. Swing states like Ohio and Florida have historically leaned toward the nominee who thinks he’d be a good president, rather than the nominee who thinks he’d probably just screw everything up worse.”

An analysis of historical documents supports Stephanopoulos’ claim, and confirms that the past 55 winning presidential candidates - with the exception of a dying Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 - all strongly maintained they would be good or great presidents throughout their campaigns, and never hinted otherwise.

Interestingly, an unreported CNN poll taken moments after Obama’s speech reveled that the candidate’s misstep may have simply gotten lost amid the 24-hour news cycle. Though most citizens said they would prefer a candidate who thinks he’d be a good president, 23 percent said they would still vote for someone who thinks he would make an “okay” president. Furthermore, 35 percent of citizens said they would vote for a a nominee who promised to be a serviceable, or even a so-so president. Forty-two percent of citizens polled said that, at this point, a “just plain bad” president would also be good enough, so long as the campaigns would finally be over and done with.

As of press time, the McCain camp has yet to respond to the potentially damaging blunder(s). However, many feel this is exactly what the Arizona senator needed following a mistake he made earlier in the week when he said that “a vote for McCain is a vote for mass gentrification.”
source: The Onion - Vol. 44, Issue 44

Wow and double Wow!! Why hasn’t this been reported, I ask you?

Both of these postings, McCain/Palin and then Obama, are the result of hours of tireless research. Process them as best you see fit, and then you decide who gets your vote.

You are welcome.

Billi Pod