Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bill’s Upcoming Japan/China Travel Adventure

On Thursday, May 8th, I will depart The Big Apple to begin my next overseas travel adventure, a structured escorted tour with Globus of Japan and China. The bare bones details are below. I have traveled with Globus at least a dozen times in the past 10 years and I highly recommend them because they are very professional, first class and reasonably priced. As usual I booked this tour with the assistance of my A-1 Travel Agent, Blanche Bryant of International Sun Travel in Bartow, FL, 800-486-0511, If you ever need travel help, give her a call.

Other stuff - my nose is still running and I basically feel kinda out of sorts. I didn’t go out to Yankee Stadium last night and I am glad I decided not to because the Yankees sucked again. They can’t seem to get hits with men in scoring position.

Unless I get to feeling a lot better soon, and it warms up, I probably will skip tonight’s game too. Would I go if the game was part of my season ticket package rather than a $5.00 ticket? Yes, damn right I would, despite sneezes, running nose, fever, whatever. Go figure.

Going back to work on my trip To-Do List.


GLOBUS Tour OAE 0509

Day 1 - Thursday, May 8 New York/San Francisco

Day 2 - Friday, May 9 San Franciso/Tokyo

Day 3 - Saturday, May 10 Tokyo

Day 4 - Sunday, May 11 Tokyo

Day 5 - Monday, May 12 Tokyo/Hakone via tour bus

Day 6 - Tuesday, May 13 Hakone/Kyoto via bullet train

Day 7 - Wednesday, May 14 Kyoto

Day 8 - Thursday, May 15 Kyoto

Day 9 - Friday, May 16 Kyoto/Shanghai

Day 10 - Saturday, May 17 Shanghai

Day 11 - Sunday, May 18 Shanghai/Guilin

Day 12 - Monday, May 19 Guilin

Day 13 - Tuesday, May 20 Guilin/Xi’an

Day 14 - Wednesday, May 21 Xi’an/Beijing

Day 15 - Thursday, May 22 Beijing

Day 16 - Friday, May 23 Beijing

Day 17 - Saturday, May 24 Beiijing/Hong Kong

Day 18 - Sunday, May 25 Hong Kong

Day 19 - Monday, May 26 Hong Kong

Day 20 - Tuesday, May 27 Hong Kong/Tokyo/San Francisco

Day 21 - Tuesday, May 27 arrive San Francisco

Day 22 - Wednesday, May 28 San Franciso/New York City

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday - Yankee Game Tonight???

I have a deeply discounted ($5.00) Upper Tier ticket for tonight’s game against the Detroit Tigers, the first game of a 3 game series. My seat is halfway between home plate and third base but it is about 8 rows from the very top of the stadium, not under any covering.

It is gray, ugly and cold right now, 47 degrees, and the projection for tonight is a low of 42 with the possibility of rain.

I know what you are thinking - “why the f**k is he even considering going to the game?” The answer is, of course - because I am a Yankee fan, but ... and a big butt ... there is also another factor.

What is it you breathlessly ask? Well, last night I had a concert at Carnegie Hall featuring the New York Pops Orchestra in a Gala Benefit Concert honoring the Yankees and the Nederlander family (theater producers). My seat was excellent, in the orchestra, 11 rows from the stage, house right. About 1/2 way through the first part of the program I started to sneeze and cough. I was able to pretty well suppress the sneezing and coughing but my nose was like a broken dam. I know I was annoying my seat-mates. I have no idea where this came from because I had no symptoms when I left the apartment for the concert. At intermission I made the decision to leave, which I did, walking in light rain to and from the subway.

When I got back to the apartment, around 9:00, I immediately took an extra 1000mg of Vitamin C and began taking Echinacea & Goldseal, my time-proven remedy for early cold symptoms. I crashed around 11:30 and woke up this morning at, gasp, 8:30. Do the math.

My nose is running at I write this but I feel much better, so ...

OK, this is what is known as a “venting-blog” and I have just decided that it would be stupid as Hell to sit out in the wind and cold just 9 days before I begin my Japan/China adventure. No game for moi. There, case closed - it is so ordered.

Oh, have the same seat for Wednesday’s game with the projected temperature to be: high of 59 and low of 43. We will address that issue later.

On to other things - my weekend theater experiences.

Thurgood - saw it on Friday. It was excellent and Laurence Fishbourne did a terrific job in this one-man show. It is still in previews and I think it will get excellent reviews when it opens. I learned a lot.

Little Flower of East Orange - saw it Saturday matinee. This was another of the multitude of plays about dysfunctional families. The always wonderful Ellen Burstyn plays a frail Mother in a hospital bed who is yelled at for almost 90 minutes by her junkie son because she will not admit that her father abused her as a child. Apparently son is an addict because Mama won’t admit to being abused as a child (which may or may not have happened). The acting saved what would otherwise have been a wretched evening.

A Catered Affair - saw it Saturday evening. This well-performed musical is about yet another dysfunctional family, this time centering around Mother who insists that her daughter’s wedding be a mega-expensive Catered Affair, that the daughter doesn't want and the father can’t afford. Having said that, it was a very entertaining evening and the performances were uniformly excellent, including raspy-voiced Harvey Fierstein, who also wrote the book.

Oh shit, just looked at the computer clock and it showed 11:11, a number that taunts me and has for years and years.

Now I am going to work on info and stuff about my Japan/China trip. I leave on the 8th of May.


Billi Pod

Monday, April 28, 2008

Billi Pod the Tour Guide

As I have previously posted, Gina Falletta, my granddaughter-in-law, of Columbia, SC, was in the Big Apple over the weekend with a group of friends. This was her first visit to NYC so I had agreed to serve as her tour guide on Sunday. We were joined by her friend, Kelly Smith, who teaches art at the Elementary School level in SC. This was also Kelly’s first visit.

Per our plans I met them at 9:00am at their hotel, the posh W Hotel at 47th and Broadway, and after a brief stop at a Starbucks, the adventure began, in light misting rain. It was gray and kinda ugly. The forecast was for clearing weather later in the morning.

As we began, I took this opportunity to advise them of some of the basic “Rules of Being a New Yorker,” such as: (1) never stand on the curb, always stand in the street; (2) the traffic signals are only for drivers and tourists; (3) if at all possible, always cross mid-block, never at the regular crossing; (4) all drivers are assholes; and, (5) it is never OK to suddenly stop in the middle of a block to check out your map.

We walked over to Rockefeller Center, then to Saks to check out the window displays, then across the street to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Mass had just begun. G & K went inside for a brief visit. We strolled up 5th Avenue at a pace that allowed them to window shop, including going inside Trump Tower.

Luckily, it had stopped raining and was in the process of clearing up, but it was a bit windy and chilly.

When we got to the park entrance at 59th and 5th I pointed out the newly refurbished Plaza Hotel and then bored them with my too-long story about briefly living there with my parents during W.W.II when I was 9 years old. We went into the park and walked around covering about a mile I would guess.

After leaving the park I then took them to the awesome Apple Store. We went inside and I actually touched the new MacBook Air. I have avoided this because I felt it would lead me to purchase one, which I don’t need at this point (I don’t think). Whew, we made it outside, Airlessly.

Next was F.A.O. Schwartz. They went inside and I sat outside in the plaza area. When they finished it was time to get a bite but first we went through a street fair on 58th Street with G & K doing a lot of touching of sunglasses, scarfs and jewelry. They didn’t buy anything however.

My plan was to show them my neighborhood, Midtown East, so to start I took them to one of my favorite pizza places, Ray Bari at 56th and 3rd, where we each had a slice of the thick-crusted pizza and they had a beer.

We were now in my ‘hood so we strolled around and I pointed out some of my favorite places including my old 4th floor walk-up apartment on 53rd Street, known, as you may remember, as “the dorm room.” Beekman Place led us over the small park and dog run to the East River where I took their picture, with Gina on the left and Kelly on the right.

I then took them to my apartment on 51st Street where I showed them what an “alcove studio” is. When we left we walked by the site of the crane accident, which had resulted in 7 deaths. Then we walked to the E train station to head way downtown so they could get a glimpse of The Statute of Liberty.

OK, now, in recognition of full-disclosure I have to admit to a mistake in this part of the journey. What happened? Well, the E train wasn’t running on its usual route after W. 4th Street, so we had to change to the A train (which was running very slow). When we exited from the Fulton Street Station I took a wrong turn and actually had to be given directions. The result, we walked a lot further than we should have - my bad.

But, we finally made it to Battery Park where Lady Liberty was vaguely visible in the distance. Pictures were taken. Then G & K bought some art work and it was time to end our tour. We took the 4 train uptown to Grand Central and then the shuttle to Times Square. I gave them directions on how to get back to their hotel and then I made it back to the apartment at about 4:30, meaning I had about 1:45 to rest, shower and change clothes for our 7:00 dinner date at Angus McIndoe on 44th St. in the theater district.

We met for dinner at Angus at 7:00 where we were joined by Gina and Kelly’s friends Melanie and Claudia, also from Columbia, SC. They were in town for a hair fashion show at The Javits Center. Dinner was excellent and we had a nice time together. Unfortunately, my friend Angus wasn’t on site so I didn’t get a chance to introduce him to our table. Oh well ... maybe next time.

We split at 9:00 and I came back to the apartment and I have to admit that I was tired. Yes, even Billi Pod gets tired every once in a while.

So, Gina and Kelly, it was great being with you. Now all you have to do is drag Alex and Christian up here on your next trip. Right On!!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday - What A Great Upcoming Week

I know, I know, I must sound as if I am constantly patting myself on my back about all of the wonderful things and stuff I am doing, or will do, in The Big Apple, but this is my life-style now and I feel so blessed to be able to have so many opportunities to dip into the entertainment/cultural offerings of The Greatest City in The World.

The weather today is great with a predicted high of 73 degrees and a low of 53. Unfortunately the weekend isn’t as good with rain in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday - Sat. 64-49, Sun. 53-50.

Ok, for those of you who are panting in eager anticipation of what the next 8 days will be, here goes --
Friday - 8:00 - Thurgood, a Broadway show in early previews starring film actor Laurance Fishbourne, in a one-man show about the life and times of the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Discounted TDF ticket.

Saturday - 2:00 - Little Flower of East Orange (Off-Broadway) - “LAByrinth Theater Company and The Public Theater join forces to reunite the acclaimed writer/director team behind such groundbreaking urban dramas as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train. Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and Director Philip Seymour Hoffman bring us their latest collaboration, an inter-generational ghost story set in a charity hospital in The Bronx.” The show has gotten very good reviews. Discounted ticket from TDF

8:00 - A Catered Affair (Broadway) - “Nominated for a 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, A CATERED AFFAIR is a tender musical comedy about a '50s Bronx mother's efforts to give her only daughter the elaborate wedding she never had - and the bride never asked for. Based on a Paddy Chayefsky TV film and movie, this musical is written by and co-stars Harvey Fierstein, the Tony Award-winning author of Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux Folles, with a score by John Bucchino. The cast also features Faith Prince, who was also nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and Tony nominee Tom Wopat.” Discounted ticket from TDF.

Sunday - at 9:00am I will meet granddaughter Gina Falletta and her friend Kelly and we will have a day full of insider touring of the Big Apple, the exact locations will depend on what they were able to see on Saturday. Then that evening we will have dinner at my favorite theater district restaurant, Angus McIndoe. We will be joined by the rest of her friends and I am looking forward to meeting them.

Monday - in the evening I have an absolutely awesome concert by the New York Pops Orchestra, lead by Skitch Henderson - “The New York Pops 25th Birthday Gala Benefit - Superstars from popular music, Broadway, film and television will take the Carnegie Hall stage with The New York Pops in support of the orchestra and its education programs and free Summermusic concerts. The 25th Birthday Gala, entitled Play to Win, will honor The New York Yankees, James M. Nederlander and James L. Nederlander and will celebrate twenty-five years of bringing great music to New York City. With Guest Artists Nicola Congiu, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Andrea McArdle, Kelli O’Hara, Haley Swindal, Ronan Tynan, Steve Tyrell, and more!” I have a full price ticket.

Tuesday - 7:05 Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers - discounted nosebleed section ticket.

Wednesday - 7:05 Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers - discounted nosebleed section ticket.

Thursday - on Thursday at 1:00 I am having lunch with Stephen Gardner who is an attorney in The City and who attended the University of Florida at the same time I did. I had lost touch with Steve but luckily we were recently able to reconnect. I look forward to catching up with him.

8:00 - Glory Days, a Broadway show in previews - “This new Broadway musical comedy is the story of four high school friends who reunite one year after graduation only to discover how dramatically their lives have grown apart. While they attempt to reconnect and understand each others differences, nothing can compare to the simpler glory days of high school. A humorous and poignant coming-of-age story, featuring music styles from pop and folk to contemporary rock, with music and lyrics by Nick Blaemire, and a book by James Gardiner.”

Friday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners - season ticket package.

OK, since I am on the subject of my fabulous life-style, let me tell you about the rock concerts I have already scheduled following my return from my Japan/China trip --

May 30 - The Eagles @ Madison Square Garden

June 24 - Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band @ Radio City Music Hall

July 15 - Bon Jovi @ Madison Square Garden

August 14 - Neil Diamond @ Madison Square Garden - yes, I know, I know, but I can’t help it - I LOVE Neil Diamond.

I will go down to Orlando on June 16 to be with my son Bill when he has surgery to remove some cysts from his ear passages. The surgery is on Tuesday the 17th and is an outpatient procedure. I don’t know at this point how long I will be there although his Dr. advises him that he should be fine in 2 days following the procedure. I may be able to schedule some long overdue time with my Florida friends.

Finally, in closing - the Off-Broadway show I saw last night, Good Boys and True, about a sex scandal in an all male Catholic High School (not between the students and clergy) was excellent and the acting was terrific, especially the younger actors.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday Was An Awesome Birthday Day

For this momentous occasion for moi the Gods decreed a beautiful day in The Big Apple and I was able to totally take advantage of it from the time I got up around 8:30am until I crashed at 2:30am on Thursday morning.

First, I want to thank everyone who took the time to call, send eCards, email and text messages. Your thoughts and comments made this an unusually special day for me. Yes, even thanks to Evan at who took the time to write: “... yo, bro, even yanktards get to live long, sometimes ...” whatever in the hell that means. Anyway, thanks again everyone.

I have to admit that I do, in truth and fact, suffer from the Peter Pan Syndrome and have all of my life. What, some of you may ask, is the Peter Pan Syndrome? Well, this is from my web research:

“Peter Pan Syndrome is a deep-seated belief that one will never, and must never, grow up. It is named after the legendary character of the same name who lived in Neverland, a place where kids are immune to aging.”


“Peter Pan Syndrome is the expression commonly used to describe certain people, usually of high intelligence, who cannot face the outside adult world, and who, despite physical evidence of the contrary, keep seeing themselves as children, emotionally and socially. In short: "they don't want to grow up", and want to stay in Neverland for the rest of their life.”


Anyway, my matinee show was at 2:00 down at the Cherry Lane Theater in the Village. I left a little earlier than usual so I could walk around for a bit. I walked over to the famous John’s Pizza on Bleecker -- “John's Pizzeria was established in 1929. It is located on Bleecker Street, in the heart of Greenwich Village. John's Pizza has consistently been voted "The Best in New York City. Pizza available in small and large sizes only — No Slices.” -- so I could say hi to Ben Sears, but he wasn’t there because his shift didn’t start until 4:00.

I guess I wandered around for about an hour and then went to the show, Edward Albee’s two one-acts called The American Dream and The Sandbox, and both were typical Albee, meaning you spend a lot of your time trying to figure out just what the fuck he is talking about. The acting, however, was excellent and I am glad I saw it.

When the show was over i considered walking back to the apartment but since I had another show at 7:30 I opted to take the subway.

More calls and messages. Had a nice fruit and cheese plate, all fresh - pineapple, a whole pear, strawberries, red seedless grapes with brie and smoked cheddar on reduced-fat Wheat Thins. A nice snack.

Again I left a bit early for my New York Philharmonic Concert at Lincoln Center so I could take advantage of the awesome weather. I took the subways up to Columbus Circle. Walked from Columbus Circle up to Lincoln Center, stopping along the way to pick up a cup of coffee to drink while sitting in the Lincoln Center Plaza to enjoy one of my favorite things - people watching.

The concert was part of my subscription series so my seat was in the usual section, rear orchestra, house left. I have previously described the program and I have to say that it was terrific and the Philharmonic sounded great.

The concert was over at 9:30 so I decided to walk back to the apartment, a distance of about 2 1/2 miles. It felt so good to be in the balmy breezes coming out of Central Park. I listened to the Yankees/White Sox game on my Walkman and Mussina had his best outing in a while.

When I got back to the apartment I had several messages. I watched the rest of the Yankees game (they won 6-4), grilled an Omaha steak to go with a baked potato and a large glass of Fresca.

After dinner, which was excellent, I went online and was able to score tickets to two shows for Saturday. I had mentioned about my granddaughter, Gina, being in town Saturday and Sunday and my plans to be a tour guide. My services will not be required on Saturday, so this is what my new Saturday schedule will be:

2:00 - Little Flower of East Orange (Off-Broadway) - “LAByrinth Theater Company and The Public Theater join forces to reunite the acclaimed writer/director team behind such groundbreaking urban dramas as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train. Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and Director Philip Seymour Hoffman bring us their latest collaboration, an inter-generational ghost story set in a charity hospital in The Bronx.” The show has gotten very good reviews. Discounted ticket from TDF

8:00 - A Catered Affair (Broadway) - “Nominated for a 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, A CATERED AFFAIR is a tender musical comedy about a '50s Bronx mother's efforts to give her only daughter the elaborate wedding she never had - and the bride never asked for. Based on a Paddy Chayefsky TV film and movie, this musical is written by and co-stars Harvey Fierstein, the Tony Award-winning author of Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux Folles, with a score by John Bucchino. The cast also features Faith Prince, who was also nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and Tony nominee Tom Wopat.” Discounted ticket from TDF.

It was 2:30am when I finally crashed, thanking my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, for giving me yet another Awesome Birthday Day.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am writing this at 1:00am on Wednesday morning, April 23, and I am now officially 74 years old - who would have thunk it? Now, I don’t like the idea of being this old (barf and double barf) but when I consider the alternative(s) I guess I will stick with the hand that my Higher Power has dealt me, so ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: William, Willy, Bill, Billy, Billi Pod, Dad, Granddaddy, Uncle Bill or whoever in the fuck you are today!!!

Have some interesting things scheduled for today starting at 2:00 with two one-act plays written and directed by Edward Albee, The American Dream and The Sandbox - “The American Dream is an early, one-act play by American playwright Edward Albee. The play, a satire on American family life, concerns a married couple and their grandmother. They are visited by two guests this particular day who turn their world upside down.” - “The Sandbox is a one act play written by Edward Albee in 1959. The play is approximately 15 minutes long and touches on elements of the Alienation Effect by having the actors talk to the audience, acknowledge they are performers in a play, cue the musician, and deal with the sandbox as if it were the beach.” Discounted TDF ticket.

Then at 7:30 I have a New York Philharmonic Concert @ Lincoln Center featuring: Martha Argerich playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Mozart’s overture to Le Nozze di Figaro; Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances; and, Ravel’s La Valse.

When I get back to the apartment I will fire up the George Forman Grill for an Omaha steak, to be enjoyed with a baked potato and a glass of Fresca.

The remainder of the week is also booked.

On Thursday night will be an Off-Broadway show, Good Boys and True - “ A graphic and exploitive sex tape has rocked St. Joseph's, an exclusive East Coast Catholic boys' prep school. Top student and star jock Brandon Hardy is implicated as the boy assaulting a local young woman, although his face isn't clearly seen. Brandon denies his participation to his mother, Elizabeth, a local doctor, as well as to his fellow student and secret lover, Justin. Act I answers the question of Brandon's involvement, while Act II investigates the "why," largely through the sleuthing of Brandon's engaged but coolly-distant mother.” Discounted TDF ticket.

Friday is a Broadway show in early previews, Thurgood, starring film actor Laurance Fishbourne, in a one-man show about the life and times of the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Discounted TDF ticket.

On the weekend my oldest grandson Alex Falletta’s wife, Gina, (damn, that sounds awkward - she calls me Granddaddy and I think of her as my granddaughter) will be in town for the very first time. She will be with a group of friends and I will be in the role of tour guide. Looking forward to it.

Now it is time to finish this and crash, so ...



Monday, April 21, 2008

And Now The Story

I woke up at 8:00am this morning after a restless night laced with uneasy anticipation of the noon arrival of Scott Reed and Ben Sears. What had they planned? Where were we going? What was going to happen???????

As directed/ordered I dressed in black and was ready for their arrival. A few minutes after noon the doorman-buzzer rang and Georgie said that Scott was here. I told him to send them up and he did and the adventure began.

They refused to tell me where we were going and/or what we were going to do for the afternoon. When we got to the street, parked in front of the apartment was a purple Mini Cooper. Oh my God!! They had rented a Mini Cooper for the day. Awesome!! I love this make of car and will own one in a nano-second if and when I ever again need to have a car of my own. They knew how I feel about the Mini Cooper. A great beginning. We got in, with Scott driving, me in the passenger side and Ben in the back seat. They still would not tell me what was going to happen.

We turned South and headed downtown, making it over to the FDR Drive and then into the Lower Eastside. I was still clueless. We drove around this area a bit and then headed over to Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge but after driving around Brooklyn for a bit we came back to Manhattan, again via the Williamsburg Bridge. What the hell? Now I was really confused.

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was next and when we exited Scott got on the freeway leading to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which leads to Staten Island. Ah ... now I had a clue ... we were going back to Staten Island. Last year for my 73rd birthday they took me over to Staten Island for my very first visit there.

So, over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge we went, my first time on that bridge since I ran in the 1978 and 1979 New York Marathons, and then we were on Staten Island.

They still wouldn’t tell me where we were headed but at about 1:15 we turned onto Goethals Rd and then into the parking lot at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse. This was our final destination. How had they chosen this place? Simple. They just googled steakhouses on Staten Island and then selected Charlie Brown’s. Made sense to me.

We had an awesome lunch and a great time together. We talked about a lot of things and stuff including my upcoming Japan/China trip. The food was great and we all ate too much, topping our meal off with a decedent frozen desert, which we shared. They picked up the tab.

When our meal was over we had our picture taken and then we headed back to Manhattan, this time with Ben driving and Scott in the back seat. We retraced our route and I was back in the apartment at 3:40pm. I have to admit that I was overwhelmed with emotion over the fact that these two young men had devoted this much time to me. Why was I so emotional? Because, they both are in school and also have jobs and this was their first free time together in about 2 weeks, and ... they chose to spend part of it with me, just like last year. Wow!!

Speaking of last year, I also want to share with you what I wrote about Scott and Ben and our 2007 Staten Island adventure. This is from the May 26, 2007, Newsletter --
"I must honestly say that the highlight of the time was something entirely different. On Saturday, May 12, Scott Reed and his boyfriend Ben Sears gave me a belated birthday present. They surprised me by taking me on a trip to Staten Island via the Staten Island Ferry. Neither Scott nor I (I hate to admit) had ever been to Staten Island. We had joked many times about making a trip over there but never had. They planned everything without letting me know where we were going or what we would be doing. They absolutely refused to tell where we were going. When they picked me up at 2:30 I had no clue. They then took me on a 90 minute circuitous trip on the subways to further confuse me, and they succeeded. It was not until we finally ended up at South Seaport that I knew we were Staten Island bound.

We took the Ferry over to the Island and then rode the above-ground train the entire length of the Island ending up to Tottenville and back to the Ferry station. Then we returned to lower Manhattan where we had dinner at a restaurant called Big Daddys. I was back at the apartment around 9:30 overwhelmed with the fact that these two vibrant young men had opted to devote 7 hours of their time on a Saturday to a 73 year old uber-sarcastic guy whose legal name is now Billi Pod. So, again, thank you guys from the bottom of my heart."

So, again, thank you guys from the bottom of my heart!!!

Oh, in the picture below Scott is on the left and Ben on the right.


Thank You Scott and Ben

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Potential Elder Abuse

Dear family, friends and readers of this blog - I am taking this opportunity to alert you all to a potentially deadly instance of elder abuse, which may occur on Monday, April 21, in New York City.

Background: I have two young “friends” in their early 20s, John Scott Reed and his boyfriend Benjamin M. Sears, who reside in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Over the past several years I have been a surrogate parent to each of them, a counselor, and, yes, a Mentor. I have been present for each of them during times of crisis and given them advice and encouragement in times of their need.

In all modesty I have to say that neither one of them would have survived in the Big Apple had it not been for my willingness to make the personal sacrifices necessary to allow them into my life.

Unfortunately, as they have become older, and, in their own minds, more independent, I have noticed a decline in their respect for me, and, for reasons I don’t understand, a need on their part to cause me mental and sometimes physical anguish. I have tried to ignore their trip to the “dark-side” but it has been almost impossible to sever this long-term relationship. They still cling even as post-teenagers.

Last year, several weeks after my birthday, they showed up unannounced at my apartment, literally forcing their way inside. Once inside they insisted that I eat a Brownie that Scott had prepared “to honor your birthday.” I had no choice, so I took several bites and it tasted strange, very strange. The next thing I remember is being on a train headed to the southern tip of Staten Island, a wild and thinly populated territory to the south of the Island of Manhattan. I have little recollection of what happened during and afterwards except recalling their laughter at what they called my ...”shroom adventure”... Now, I have no idea what they meant by that.

I regained my cognitive abilities around 10:30pm that evening, alone in my apartment. I later discovered that one of my lessor-used credit cards was missing and the following month I disputed a charge of $7,520. for two Penis Enhancement Procedures. That event is still under investigation. I cannot say that they took the card but I can say that both Scott and Benjamin have the “This is Bob” smile made famous in the male enhancement ad on TV.

Needless to say, I have tried to distance myself from these two, so you will understand my deep concern when I received the following email from Scott --

RE: Birthday Abduction


You will be abducted by Benjamin and me on Monday, April 21st in order to celebrate your 93rd birthday.

Details can not be provided, so don't ask.

Specifics will be sent prior to the event, but estimate to be gone
around noon until 6pm-ish. Times are subjected to change during the course of the event without notice.

Wear all black. Bring an iPod or two.
For numerous reasons I felt I had no choice but to go along with their plan/plot, since from prior experience I knew that they would have shown up regardless of my response, if not on Monday then at some other time when I least expected it and would be even more vulnerable. So, I responded --


I have blocked out the time, and, hopefully, my heart will have stopped racing by then.

I will have updated my Last Will & Testament by then and also updated my shot/vaccination card.

Please remember that I had to send my passport out to California to the visa processing organization - hope that won't be a problem.

You two do realize, I hope to Jesus My Savior, that all of the sharp wit and sarcasm directed at you over the past year was meant in good fun and nothing personal - I hope?

I think I should also tell you that I will provide your names and addresses to my good friend Joel Nutcutter, who is an Assistant DA in the Lower Manhattan DA's office. Just to be on the safe side and so you will know ...

Anyway, gasp, thanks for your willingness to share your time and energy with this frail and semi-demented older person (remember there are specific laws directed at elder abuse).

Billi Pod


I am afraid, very afraid.

So, dear family and friends - if I haven’t posted on this blog by 10:00pm Monday night, PLEASE PLEASE notify the appropriate authorities.

I am not concerned about Scott and/or Benjamin being alerted by this post since they would never take the time to read it.

Oh, my friend Joel Nuttcutter called me on Friday to advise me that he has assigned his number one assistant, Howard Ballcrusher, to the case, and that makes me feel a bit better.

Thanks so much for your time,



Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday was an excellent day

The weather on Friday was super, warm and bright, perfect for the beginning of The Pope’s visit.

As I have mentioned before, security is very very heavy in my ‘hood and will be until His Holiness leaves on Sunday.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the delivery, via FedEx, of my passport with the People’s Republic of China visa appropriately attached. Now that is one worrisome thingy out of the way. I have been mentally working on my “Things to Do” list and will reduce them to an actual list the first of the week. Since I have done a lot of overseas travel in the past 10 years I basically know what I need to do prior to my departure. Things are a bit more involved this time because I have family staying in my apartment part of the time I am away. Yes, I understand, knowing and doing are two entirely different things, especially for those of us with the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile of INTP. I won’t even begin to try to explain what that means.

Did a bunch of grocery shopping and I am set into the middle of next week with a lot of prepared food, fresh fruit, and, of course, Fresca.

The concert last night by the American Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center was excellent. My seating was a first for me in Avery Fisher Hall. I was seated in the orchestra, first row, right in the middle, row A, seat 108. All of my New York Philharmonic concert seats are in the rear orchestra, but since this was a complimentary ticket, I had no say in the seating assignment.

Actually it was an interesting experience to be so close that I could actually hear the individual instruments. Me and my seat mates became one with the violin and viola sections. The house was almost full but at intermission I was able to find a seat further back and that was good.

When the concert was over I decided to walk back to the apartment. The weather was great and the City felt alive with energy even though it was 10:30 when I left Lincoln Center. Was back in my apartment on E 51st Street at 11:15.

Oh, the Yankees sucked again last night as they lost to the Orioles in Baltimore by a score of 8-2. Yet another one of the “young arms,” Phil Hughes, got knocked around again, losing his 3rd straight game. I know it is very early in the season but this team is dependent on its young pitching staff and so far they haven’t lived up to expectations.

About Saturday --

Had a bit of a change in my schedule. The show that I had scheduled for tonight, Almost an Evening, was canceled but I was able to book another Off-Broadway show called “Rafta, Rafta” about which there is good advance buzz: “RAFTA, RAFTA...By Ayub Khan-Din, based on the play All In Good Time by Bill Naughton, and directed by Scott Elliott. Recent winner of the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Rafta, Rafta... is a humorous tale of close-knit Indian family life in Britain. After their wedding feast, two nervous newlyweds are ready for some privacy, but the groom's father doesn't want the party to end and his brother won't let them be. Before long, the groom and his new bride begin to realize that having a honeymoon in his parents' house is not the ideal recipe for romance. Rafta, Rafta... is Ayub Khan-Din's comic look at the generational divide on sex and marriage.” Sounds interesting.

So, I still have a 2:00 and a 8:00 show. Nice!!



Friday, April 18, 2008

OMG! What A Weekend

My entertainment pallet for the weekend is now full and, man, it really looks like an outstanding time. This is what I will be doing:

Friday - 8:00 - American Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center - “A New Italian Renaissance - Giuseppe Verdi -Triumphal March from Aida (1871); Gian Francesco Malipiero -Pause del Silenzio I (1917)( U.S. Premiere ); Giuseppe Martucci -Symphony No. 2 (1904); Ildebrando Pizzetti -Three Preludes to Sophocles' Oedipus (1903)( U.S. Premiere ); Alfredo Casella -Italia, Rhapsody for Orchestra (1909); and Ottorino Respighi -Fountains of Rome (1914-16).” Complimentary ticket.

Saturday - 2:00 - From Up Here (Off-Broadway) - “Kenny Barret did something that has everyone worried. He wishes he could just make it through the rest of his senior year unnoticed, but that's going to be hard since he has to publicly apologize to his entire high school. At home, his family is struggling with second marriages, surprise visits, school dances and forgotten dry cleaning. A darkly funny and unexpectedly moving family story, this world premiere is written by newcomer Liz Flahive and directed by Leigh Silverman (Well). The cast will feature Jenni Barber, Arija Bareikis, Aya Cash, Brian Hutchison, Will Rogers, Tobias Segal, Joel Van Liew, and Tony Award winner Julie White.” Complimentary ticket

8:00 - Almost An Evening (Off-Broadway) - “Written by Ethan Coen and directed by Neil Pepe. Almost an Evening consists of 3 one-act plays: Waiting - someone waits somewhere for quite some time; Four Benches - his voyage to self-discovery takes a British intelligence agent to steam baths in New York and Texas, and to park benches in the U.S. and U.K.; Debate - cosmic questions are taken up - not much is learned. Cast members include: F. Murray Abraham and Mark Linn-Baker.” Discounted TDF ticket.

Then, ending the weekend on Sunday --

3:00 - Boeing-Boeing (Broadway) - “BOEING-BOEING follows Bernard, an architect living in Paris, who has been successfully juggling three fiances who are all flight attendants. Bernards housekeeper reluctantly plays romantic air-traffic controller as they fly in and out of his swank bachelor pad. However, when an old college pal visits, things get rather turbulent as schedules change, flights are delayed and chaos ensues.” Discounted TDF ticket.

8:00 - The Kids in the Hall. Full price ticket

Not bad, not bad.

Oh, I guess I should mention that I haven’t heard from Yankee Manager Joe Girardi but you Fuck Sox nit-wits are filling my in-box with spam - stop it already.



Thursday -Listen Up Manager Joe Girardi!!!!

Just back from the blood-letting known as the Yankees vs. the Fuck Sox, and ...

OK, new Yankee manager, you obviously failed to heed my advice in my post dated today, Thursday, at 4:52pm, in which I said:

“My advice to new skipper Joe Girardi: ‘Joe, never pitch to Manny again for the entire season - walk him even if it means loading the bases or walking-in a run (except when that would win the game for the Fuck Sox).’ Herein faileth not to follow this advice.”

What happened tonight? Well, in Manny’s first 3 at-bats he went homer, homer and single, driving in at least 3 runs and being responsible for the Fuck Sox beating the Yankees 7-5. Can’t you read? Don’t you get it? What part of don’t don’t you understand? Manny is killing us and you need to take action.

And, despite the final score, the Yankees were never in the game from the first miserable pitch by Mike Mussina. The game was another sell-out at 55,088 and lasted 3:08, but it was 3 hours and 8 minutes of torture.

So, Joe, I will take into consideration your newness in the manager’s spot this time, but if you continue to ignore my advice I will have no option but to call on my inside connections to GeorgeS and the Tampa office ... so ... you are warned, you are warned.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday - Great Game Last Night

Well, the Fuck Sox ... oooooooops ... sorry, the Red Sox got what they justly deserved - a butt kicking by the Yankees, losing 15-9.

Actually, and truth-be-told, the game was much closer than the final score indicates with the Yankees blowing an early 7-3 lead going into the top of the 5th when the Fuck Sox scored 6 runs, knocking Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang out. That put the FS up by 2 runs, but, thankfully, the Yankees came back to score 4 runs in the bottom of the 5th and then put the game away by scoring another 4 runs in the 8th inning to seal the win.

Manny Ramirez continues to plague the Yankees, going 3 for 4. My advice to new skipper Joe Girardi: “Joe, never pitch to Manny again for the entire season - walk him even if it means loading the bases or walking-in a run (except when that would win the game for the Fuck Sox). Herein faileth not to follow this advice.

The game took forever, 4:08, and drew a sell-out crowd of 54,667, as expected. The crowd began to get a bit unruly toward the latter part of the game and several times security and cops had to quiet things down. I didn’t see any fights.

Thank God I decided to dress “warmly” because even though the temperature was tolerable at the beginning of the game by the end it was very cold and windy in the stadium. It is a bit warmer today but I will dress the same as last night just to be safe.

It was 12:15am when I finally got back to the apartment. Ate some pizza and wings but didn’t crash until around 2:30.

Tonight Josh Beckett is pitching for the FS and Mike Mussina for the Yanks. I expect another longish game. Go Yankees!!

Other Big Apple items -

A heavy police presence is already very visible in my ‘hood due to the anticipated arrival of The Pope, who will address the UN in the morning. My apartment is only 4 blocks from the UN building and 5 blocks from St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he will perform Mass later on in his visit.

I have added an additional show to my schedule for Sunday, the Broadway musical Boeing-Boeing, in early previews, making my entertainment pallet for the rest of the week to be:

Friday - 8:00 American Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center

Saturday - 8:00 Almost an Evening - Off-Broadway

Sunday - 3:00 Boeing-Boeing - Broadway; 8:00 Kids in the Hall

Well, it’s time for the fruit plate and preparation for another Yankee win.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday - The Red Sox Are in Town

As I write this at 3:30pm the temperature outside is 66 degrees and I have just gotten back from my daily 3 mile walk, a routine that has suffered during the winter. I want to make sure my legs are in shape for the upcoming 20 day Japan/China trip. I leave on May 8th and get back to NYC on the 28th. Much more about it to come.

Tonight the Fuck Soxs .... oooooooops ... Red Sox are in town for a 2 game series and I will be at both games, of course. My seats for both games are excellent, in the Loge, of course, halfway between lst base and the right field pole. The Yankees ace Ching-Mien Wang will be pitching tonight and Mike Mussina tomorrow night.

I should be an interesting series coming so close to the games in Fenway. Security is always tightened whenever the Fuck Sox are in town and you are not permitted to war “degrading or inflammatory clothing.” No joke, they won’t let you into the stadium, so what most people do is wear their “degrading or inflammatory” T-shirts and stuff underneath something else and put them on once they are in their seats. That is what I will do. My T-shirt has Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbs) pissing on a Red Sox baseball cap. Right on!!

On another topic - I can’t say enough about the wonderful Actor’s Fund Benefit show on Monday night featuring Seth Rudetsky with a full orchestra and a cast of Broadway stars. I have taken the liberty of copying a post from the site that pretty much sums it up --


“I honestly can't remember when I've had a better time. Not a single weak link or weak moment in Mr. Rudetsky's Broadway 101. So many highlights --

The palpable thrill of seeing Andrea McArdle (the 7 pm audience wild from the get go). The Andreas (McArdle and Burns were funny funny funny in Seth's deconstruction of head vs. chest voice, but the two Andreas then turned on a dime and did an amazingly (okay, ahMAZingly) focused, strong, and poignant A Boy Like That/I Have A Love.

Lilias White, who tore off the roof of the New World Stages theater ... Seth's terrific deconstruction of the Tunick orchestrations for Another Hundred People, and then the still spot-on Pamela Myers to put it all together...

The gorgeous choral arrangements of Morning Glow (done by Schwartz himself per Seth), with Jonathan Groff taking the lead -- a bit nervous at first, I thought, but about breaking your heart by the end of the song.

The always glorious (and just drop dead gorgeous) Norm Lewis at the show's close (Lullaby of Broadway).

And above all the constant wit, generosity, and immense talent of Seth Rudetsky. These years we live in may not be the golden age of the musical, but it's certainly the Golden Age of Seth Rudetsky. blueeyedguynyc”


My show last night - God’s Eye - about a couple attempting to get over the loss of their child - just didn’t work for me nor from what I heard afterwards, for much of the audience. It is early in previews so maybe it can be fixed, but I doubt it.

OK, it is now time to post this, fix my usual fruit and cheese plate, dress warmly, and head out to see the Yankees kick Boston butt. Go Yankees!!!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eighteen Years of Sobriety

March 18th was the anniversary of my 18th year of sobriety. As I reflect on the events of the past 18 years it is apparent to me that much has changed in me, almost all of it for the better.

I guess the most important change has been my ability to live my life by one of the fundamental teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous, that is, "One Day At A Time." This concept was totally foreign to me prior to March 18, 1990. Now, on reflection, it was the major thing that saved me during that first tumultuous and frightening year when it seemed that my world was crashing down around me. People who I thought were my friends were calling for my resignation and my home was being picketed by the KKK.

I think I survived, especially during that first terrible year, because I came to believe that God would not deal me more than I could handle on any one day. I also began to make my way through the AA program by working the suggested 12 Steps Of Recovery, which are:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

As I have written before, at my retirement party in January 1995 I made reference to the role of Alcoholics Anonymous in my recovery by reading the following from the book called "Twenty-Four Hours A Day" --



There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day - today. Any one can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternity's, yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time. Twenty-Four Hours a Day, July 29, 30, and 31

This has been what I have attempted to live by for the past 6,570 days.

I deeply regret that 5 dear friends, David Patterson, Ray Coker, Marvin Mounts, Tom Macdonald, and Randy Bentley, who were with me at the beginning of my first steps toward recovery, are no longer able to share with me the wonderment of these 6,570 days lived One Day At A Time. I miss you guys, I really do. I also must add that none of this time in recovery would have been possible without the continued support of my family and so many of you on this newsletter list. Thank you so very much.

In closing - not to preach but the 12 Steps and One Day At A Time are pretty good guides to living a meaningful and manageable life, aren't they?


Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday - a change in plans

Now, about today - I have had a change in plans. I had originally booked a Roundabout Theater subscriber-only staged reading of Bell, Book and Candle, but TDF had tickets for the 7:00pm Actor’s Fund Benefit program featuring Seth Rudetsky, so I booked it.

Why? Well first about Seth: “If there's a Mr. Broadway Musical Theater on the New York scene these days, it's Seth Rudetsky. From his weekly live talk show Seth Rudetsky's Chatterbox, where he does in-depth interviews with leading players on the Great White Way, to his creating, guiding and conducting of the such benefits concerts as Dreamgirls and Hair for the Actors' Fund of America, the brilliantly talented writer/performer/musical director is a force to be reckoned with,” according to

And then, the program for tonight: “Seth Rudetsky's Broadway 101 will be presented April 14 at New World Stages as a benefit for the Actors Fund of America. Directed by Peter Flynn, the evening will feature actor, musical director and columnist Rudetsky as well as Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti, Andrea McArdle, Norm Lewis and Pamela Myers and a host of Broadway singers and dancers. The performers will be backed by a full orchestra. During the performance, Rudetsky, according to press notes, will show what is brilliant about Broadway, how the whole thing works and why it can sometimes be a splitting headache.”

So, it was a no-brainer at $20 for a ticket.

I also scored a great ticket this morning for the July 15th Bon Jovi concert at Madison Square Garden.

Finally, to you Fuck Sox ... oooooooops ... Red Sox fans who have been emailing (spamming) me ... yes, I know that you guys took 2 out of 3 at Fenway, but you just wait until you show up at Yankee Stadium this coming Wednesday and Thursday, just you wait!!! Go Yankees!!!

Billi Pod

Sunday was indeed awesome

I have to say that yesterday exceeded my expectations. It was an awesome day, beginning with the Minnesota Symphonic Orchestra concert @ Lincoln Center. My seat was great, row J in the orchestra. The highlight was Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The house was full and when the concert was over the audience gave the performers a standing ovation, something that rarely happens now days at Avery Fisher Hall.

After wandering through Barnes & Noble and then having a great slice of pizza, I was in my 4th row front balcony seat at The Beacon Theater at 7:30 for the 8:00 Comedy Central program “A Night of Too Many Stars." Security was very tight and they insisted that we be in our seats by 7:30.

It was very interesting to be a part of the audience for a live TV broadcast. The pace is slow because of the commercial breaks and scene changes. Even though it was a “live” broadcast I am sure there had to be a delay to allow for bleeping the profanity that was rampant.

The show itself was very funny and I thought all of the performers were excellent and it was definitely worth the rather expensive ticket.

Billi Pod

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday is gonna be awesome

In a few minutes I will begin getting ready to head out to Lincoln Center to start what I am certain will be an awesome day/evening, beginning with the 3:00pm concert by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and ending with the 8:00pm Jon Stewart hosted Autism Foundation benefit “A Night of Too Many Stars” at the Beacon Theater @ 76th and Broadway. In an earlier post I described both events in detail. Remember that the show will be carried live on Comedy Central with a repeat at 10:00pm

When my concert is over I will have about 3 hours to kill so I will probably spend some of it at the Barnes & Noble store at 66th and Broadway and then find a pizza place and have a slice.

I hate to say this, but ... Saturday pretty much sucked dog dicks, starting with the Yankees/Fuck Sox game, which had a 2 hour plus rain delay going into the 8th inning. Apparently Fox caused quite a stir when they opted to interrupt their broadcast of a Nascar Race in order to carry the final innings of the game. The Yankees lost largely on Manager Joe Girardi's dubious decision in the 6th inning to pitch to Manny Ramirez with first base open and the game on the line. The Yankees lost 4-3.

I didn’t get to watch the final innings because I was stuck in purgatory aka an Off-Broadway show called “Umbrella,” which I described in some detail in an earlier post. It is a one-act 90 minute piece of drek about two sad lonely people who are together on the roof of a 10 story apartment building on the Upper Eastside. He is a peeping Tom and she is a cutter. What is a cutter? A masochist who likes/wants to be cut with a knife and in her case, cut on her stomach. Now don’t get me wrong, I like cutting-edge stuff (no pun intended) but this was terribly written and lack-lusterly performed. The critics are going to kill it, if it gets reviewed.

The clock stopped moving and the 90 minutes seemed like an eternity. I kept thinking ... no wonder you two are sad and lonely ... you are fucking losers, so just jump off the roof already ... but they didn’t. The house was almost full and when the show was over there was perfunctory applause and then the audience fled, me included.

Oh well, today will be better, especially when the Yankees recover and beat the Fuck Sox.

Oh, as you can tell, I am really getting into writing this blog. Whether it will continue on a timely basis, only time will tell.

Billi Pod

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Take that Lakeland!

The following quote comes from a news story in Saturday’s New York Times about the teenagers charged with beating a classmate and recording it for the Internet. It describes their hometown, Lakeland, as follows:

“They and the two male classmates were charged as adults with battery and kidnapping in the March 30 attack in Lakeland a lower-middle-class town in Central Florida.”

...”lower-middle-class ... oh, yeah.

This is why I LOVE living in The Big Apple

I am working on this post while watching the Yankees/Fuck Sox game in Fenway Park and the game is tied 1-1 going into the 7th inning. Go Yankees!!!

Why am I staying in on a Friday night in NYC you no doubt are thinking? The answer is easy - I am retired so every night is the same. It is no big deal as you will see if you will take the time to read the rest of this post.

When I woke up this morning the left knee joint was very sore, so it is another reason not to be too out and about today.

Now, the theme of this post - why I LOVE living in The Big Apple. It is a no brainer for those of you who have known me over the years - the entertainment and cultural opportunities that are available on a daily basis here cannot be matched in any other city in the World.

To support this statement all you have to do is to take the few minutes necessary to read about what I have already scheduled for the upcoming 9 days --

Saturday - 8:00 - Off-Broadway show -“The Alchemy Theatre Company presents Umbrella, by L. Pontius, directed by Padraic Lillis. Umbrella is a mix of tragedy and comedy about the loneliness and despair of living in a big city and the choices we make to relieve the pressure. Helen and Frank are two strangers on a rooftop; one a peeping Tom, the other a cutter. They try to find a common ground, but it all changes as taboos and secrets are revealed and dreams fall apart. What began as an act of kindness turns into a war of wills.” Complimentary ticket.

Sunday - 3:00 - The Minnesota Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center - “Osmo Vnsk, conductor, Lars Vogt, piano: Sibelius: The Dryad, Op. 45, No. 1; Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54; Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major.” Discounted TDF ticket.

8:00 - A Night of Too Many Stars @ The Beacon Theater - a benefit for the Autism Foundation, hosted by Jon Stewart and featuring: Brian Williams, Matthew Broderick, Conan O’Brien, Jonah Hill, Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Kristin Chenoweth,Stephen Colbert, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Fallon, Ricky Gervais, Moby, Mike Myers, Paul Rudd, Martin Short, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. A full-price expensive ticket, but what the hell, it’s for a good cause. The show will be shown live on Comedy Central and it should be a lot of fun.

Monday - 7:30 - a subscriber only staged reading of Bell, Book and Candle by the Roundabout Theater. Free.

Tuesday - 7:30 - God's Ear - “The Vineyard Theatre Presents Jenny Schwartz's God's Ear, directed by Anne Kauffman. God's Ear is a compelling and moving new play about a young couple struggling through their relationship after the loss of their child.
The production features original songs by Michael Friedman, with additional lyrics by Jenny Schwartz.” Complimentary ticket.

Wednesday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox @ Yankee Stadium. Season ticket package

Thursday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox @ Yankee Stadium. Extra ticket

Friday - 8:00 - American Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center - “A New Italian Renaissance - Giuseppe Verdi -Triumphal March from Aida (1871); Gian Francesco Malipiero -Pause del Silenzio I (1917)( U.S. Premiere ); Giuseppe Martucci -Symphony No. 2 (1904); Ildebrando Pizzetti -Three Preludes to Sophocles' Oedipus (1903)( U.S. Premiere ); Alfredo Casella -Italia, Rhapsody for Orchestra (1909); and Ottorino Respighi -Fountains of Rome (1914-16).” Complimentary ticket.

Saturday - 8:00 - Off Broadway show - Almost An Evening - “Written by Ethan Coen and directed by Neil Pepe. Almost an Evening consists of 3 one-act plays: Waiting - someone waits somewhere for quite some time; Four Benches - his voyage to self-discovery takes a British intelligence agent to steam baths in New York and Texas, and to park benches in the U.S. and U.K.; Debate - cosmic questions are taken up - not much is learned.” Cast members include: F. Murray Abraham and Mark Linn-Baker. Discounted TDF ticket.

I end the 9 days on Sunday with an 8:00 performance by the Canadian comic group The Kids in the Hall which I will see with a full price ticket.

{Wow!! It is now 10:07 and the Yankees just beat the Fuck Sox 4-1 behind a 2 hit complete game pitched by Chein-Ming Wang. It was a great game to watch. Go Yankees!!!}

In summary for the upcoming 9 days: 5 Off-Broadway shows; 2 comedy shows; 2 classical music concerts; and 2 baseball games. And, in all likelihood I will schedule something for the matinee times on Wednesday and Saturday.

So, match this Boston, Chicago, Los Angles, Tokyo, London, Paris, Rome, Atlanta, Tampa, Lakeland, Bartow, etc ... yeah, right on Billi Pod, right on.

I rest my case.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Man, what a strange bleeping day

In case you haven’t noticed - I changed the name of this blog from Reverse Snowbird to Billi Pod Blogs.

I have to admit that as I write this at 12:30am on Friday morning the events of Thursday are stilling whirling through and around my head - it was one of the strangest days I can ever remember. What happened, you ask? Well, let me begin at the beginning of the day.

For whatever reason I got only 5 1/2 hours sleep last night, 30 minutes less than my usual, but not a big deal. When I woke up, I got up, feeling a little out of sorts. Peed, went into the kitchen to start the coffee maker and pour my glass of orange juice, and then went to the door to get the 3 daily paper. I noticed that apparently I had forgotten to lock the door when I went to bed last night - not a smart thing to do even in a secure doorman building. When I opened the door - no papers - dammit to Hell.

I immediately went downstairs to ask the doorman, Georgie, what the problem was. The lobby area is being renovated and it was chaos down there. To my surprise George insisted that he had personally put all 3 of the papers in front of my door. What the hell? Maybe one of the workman took them or something.

I went back up to the apartment and when I walked inside the first thing I noticed were the papers sitting atop the stack of Wednesday’s papers, in their usual place on the couch. Oh my God - obviously when I woke up I broke my daily routine and got the papers first and that explains why the door was unlocked. My bad. But the worst part was having to go back downstairs and try to explain the situation to Georgie, who couldn’t contain his laughter. He will not forget this, trust me. I felt dumb as hell.

Oh well, on with the day, thought I, so I read the papers and got ready to head out to the Yankee Stadium ticket office to make the ticket exchanges for games I had scheduled during my upcoming trip to Japan/China and to purchase an additional 8 games via my vouchers at half price in the Loge area.

Made excellent time to the stadium. The weather was awesome, in the low 70s with almost no clouds. There wasn’t a line at the ticket booth but the ticket agent I got was old and grumpy and I remember dealing with him in the past. He is an asshole. Had no trouble exchanging the two tickets but when I gave him the information about the 1/2 price Loge tickets I wanted he quickly and curtly advised me that no Loge seats were available for any of the games I wanted. Only upper tier seating was available. Damn and double damn. I opted to use them for $5.00 seats in the upper tier. I did save $20 per ticket and that was OK. I paid with my Chase Master Card. At least I had accomplished part of what I wanted.

But, on the way back to the apartment I got something in my left eye and I couldn’t flush it out with any of the drops that I have and I thought I was going to have to make an emergency visit to my eye Dr. Thankfully, whatever it was finally went away but the eye was pretty red. I was beginning to feel really out of synch.

Then, as I was chilling the phone rang and it was a representative from Visas International in California wanting to verify my credit card information because when they had attempted to process my payment for their services for the China Visa my credit card was denied.

What the fuck? Never in my ENTIRE life have I had a credit card charge denied - never. I verified the number on the payment form and it was correct. While I was on hold they processed it again and again it was denied. What the fuck? I gave them another credit card and everything went OK.

Immediately called Chase Customer Services and was finally able to talk with a live person who spoke English. I told him what had happened and when he reviewed my file he said that the Yankee ticket charge went through but when minutes later there was a charge from California, Chase Fraud Division had flagged the account. We got things straightened out but I was pissed that something like this had happened and I asked him to note that I travel a lot and to make a notation to that effect on the account and he said he would and he apologized.

Wow, not a very good day so far. It was 4:30 (as many of you know, I don’t eat lunch) and I needed to have my usual fruit and cheese plate since I had an Off-Broadway show downtown at 8:00. Fixed it and was just chilling while watching the news when I happened to glance down at my daily log and noticed that the start time for my show was 7:00, not 8:00. Holy double-fuck!! What is going on inside my head? But, in all fairness - a 7:00 start time on a Thursday is a rarity even for Off-Broadway shows.

I quickly got dressed and headed out. It was 5:45 so I had plenty of time to make it downtown to make the 6:30 pickup time. Not so fast Kimosabe, whoever or whatever is fucking with you isn’t finished. I hopped on a downtown rush-hour-jammed E train and, guess what ... as we were approaching 42nd Street the train ahead of us had a problem of some kind and we were stranded in a jammed and hot car for almost 30 minutes. Luckily the train ahead of us somehow got out of the way and on we went. It was 6:45 when I got to the theater, but no problem with the ticket people after I explained what had happened.

Now the good part of the day, the show: The Break-Up and The Happy Sad - “An evening-length work that features two thematically related one act plays by Tommy Smith and Ken Urban. In The Break Up, a man falls in love with his drug dealer, with disastrous results. In The Happy Sad, Stan loves Annie, but Annie doesn't love Stan; Marcus loves Aaron, but Marcus doesn't like monogamy: and, Annie may love Julie, but Annie doesn’t want to be a lesbian.” It was done without intermission and was about 90 minutes. It was very very funny and very well acted. I liked it a lot.

The Yankee/Kansas City game started at 8:10 so when the show was over I wanted to hurry out of the small dark theater so I could listen to the game on my Walkman on the way back to the subway station. I was pulling the Walkman out of my backpack as I was walking down the dark steps from the theater and, yep ... you guessed it ... I lost my balance and came down hard on my left leg causing a bolt of pain in my left knee, the one that has been bothering me for awhile. Luckily I didn’t fall, but I had to limp to the subway station, to the subway, out of the subway and back to the apartment. It hurt.

Now, the somewhat better news - I immediately put an ice pack on it and most of the pain has gone away although it is a little tender.

Hopefully the ‘puter will not crash when I try to publish this and tomorrow will be a better day. Sorry about the length but remember, one of the purposes of a blog is to give the blogger an opportunity to vent and to record, so ...

It is now 1:30am


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New York Philharmonic Concert on Wednesday Night

At Avery Fisher Hall @ Lincoln Center they don’t let you up to the concert area until 30 minutes before the concert is to begin. You have to pass through a rather ho-hum bag check by a security officer and then have your ticket scanned by a ticket-taker. Then you ride up the escalator one level for the entrance to the concert hall itself.

I usually get in line just before it opens so I can get a concert program and make one last pit-stop. For a 7:30 concert I like to be in my seat no later than 7:20. They are very strict about late arrivals and don’t allow seating while the orchestra is performing

Tonight’s concert was 7:30 and I was in line at 6:55 with about 5 people ahead of me. Both the ticket clerk and the security guy were in place but 7:00 came and nothing happened. The gate was not opened. At 7:10 the line had gotten long and people were getting restless. I heard someone ahead of me say that the scanning machine was broken and they were waiting for a replacement. Hum ...

Upon hearing this a very small fur-clad Jewish women in her late 70s pushed ahead and went up to the ticket-taker guy, glared at him and then said in a shrill ethnic New York accent ... “Well, why don’t you just tear the damn tickets and let us in?” You could hear a pin drop as the ticket-taker guy just stared at her. I thought ... this is going to get bad ... and then he said: “Yeah, I can do that,” and he did and we went up to our seats, with smiles on our faces. People were giving Jewish lady smiles and thumbs-up.

I had plenty of time for the pit stop and to find my rear orchestra seat. The concert was part of my 3 series subscription with all 21 concerts either on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the seating always rear orchestra, house left. When I found my seat I was astonished to discover that the 4 rows in front of me were filled with well-dressed teenagers who were talking, laughing, standing up, waving and texting on their cells. Oh my God, thought I, this ain’t gonna be good.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When the concert started they were all totally 100% focused on the stage. At intermission I found out that they were the band class from Brunswick High School, wherever that is. I guess this just goes to show the one shouldn’t make snap-judgements about young people.

The concert itself was awesome. The first part was the world premiere of a piano concerto composed by Tan Dun, commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, and performed by world class pianist Lang Lang. The work grew on me as it developed but I have to admit that I would like anything Lang Lang played, even if he just played scales. At the completion the audience gave a roaring standing ovation as the composer was brought onto the stage. Wow - another NYC first for me.

The second part of the program was the complete version of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite,” and it was breathtaking.

So, it was another awesome night for me in the Big Apple.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Tuesday was certainly a different day for moi in The Big Apple. What do I mean? Well, let’s begin at the beginning --

First on my agenda was my semi-annual cleaning and polishing session with my dentist Dr. Steven Gualtieri, whose office is on 54th Street. Now many of you who have known me over the years know that if I had to choose between the removal of a limb without benefit of anesthesia or going to the dentist for any procedure, the chopping off of the limb would win every time, so the day did not begin on a high note.

The procedure would be done by Dr. G’s assistant, Marsha, and in order to protect myself I presented her with a single red rose before she began the chopping, scraping and polishing regimen. It worked and everything went very well although I was emotionally drained when I got back to the apartment. I’m not joking, this is how I felt.

But, I didn’t have time for recovery because I had planned to have lunch with student/intern/bartender Scott Reed. We met up and headed out to a restaurant in the ‘hood known as McAnn’s. Scott was stressed out from his various activities and I was stressed out from the dentist and things I had to do after lunch. Actually lunch was fine even though the other patrons at McAnn’s made it look like a dining room at a St. Petersburg Senior Citizen’s Home.

When Scott and I split I then began the second stress-filled venture and that was to get a new passport picture, fill out the Visa Application Form from the People’s Republic of China (not an easy task), and then FedEx all of the stuff together with my passport (kinda scary) to Visas International in California. This whole process took about 3 hours.

So, I was back at the apartment around 4:00 with plans to watch as much of the Yankees 4:10 game at Kansas City as I could before heading out to Lincoln Center around 6:15 for the New York City Opera Company’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s version of “Candide.” The show started at 7:30. I had a discounted ticket from Theater Development Fund (TDF) for $37.

So, I lay down on the couch to watch the game and the Yankees basically sucked. Even though I had eaten lunch I fixed myself a small fruit and cheese plate and lay back down on the couch and ...

Holy Fuck - the next thing I remember is waking up to the announcer talking about the end-of-game summary (the Yankees lost). The clock said it was, gasp, 7:30 - damn damn damn - 7:30!! I had completely missed my show.

This was a first for me since being in the Big Apple, and, hopefully, the last. So, I blame everyone - Dr. G, Marsha, Scott, the People’s Republic of China, the Yankees for playing such a boring game, the calming effect of the fruit and cheese plate, and, I guess, Billi Pod.

The only positive things - later in the evening I was able to finally connect with Ginger Flowers in Atlanta for a long overdue telephone update, and, I finally figured out how to post a picture on this blog.

Monday Night @ Yankee Stadium

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Billi Pod - Yankee Stadium - Monday Night - Brrrrrrrrrr!!

Last night was my first Yankee game of the season. Yes, I had a ticket for the Opening Day game on Monday, March 31, but that game was canceled due to rain and reset for Tuesday, April 1, and I could have used my ticket for it, but ... and a huge but ... I had already made plans with my dear friend and fraternity brother Stumpy Harris of Orlando, a mega-Bull Gator, to see the Gators play UMass in the NIT semi-final game at Madison Square Garden, so it was a no-brainer - The Gators over the Yankees any and every time!!!

You know the results - the Gators lost but I had a great time with Stumpy and his friends and it was an awesome experience to see the game from the floor level seats directly behind the Gator bench and Billy D.

So, last night was my first game of the season as part of my 20-game Flex season ticket package. Under this plan I get to pick and choose my games prior to the beginning of the season and I always sit in the Loge area, the covered area between the field level seats and the upper tiers. I have been a season ticket holder since 1999, and I usually try to see games during the week rather than on the weekend because my seats are much better then.

As a season ticket holder I am able to purchase tickets to other games prior to their sale to the general public, and using that privilege, I now have a ticket to every home game against The Fuck Sox ... ooooops .... sorry I mean The Red Sox.

I have a ticket for the final home game in The House That Ruth Built for the September 21st game against Baltimore. Dumb me ... when they went on sale I only bought one ticket rather than two. The game sold out in a nano-second and seats, no matter where, are going for big bucks on eBay and Craigslist.

Another perk from my season ticket package are vouchers allowing me to purchase an additional 8 games at 1/2 price and I will make a trip out to the stadium either Thursday or Friday and purchase the 8 additional games I have selected.

When that happens I will have in hand tickets for 36 of the home games. Last year I saw 36 regular season games and 1 game in the post season.

Last night was a very cold and windy night in the Bronx and I wore everything warm that I own, trust me, I am not exaggerating, everything warm that I own ... and I was still freezing my ass off. I had a picture taken of me in all of my stuff, but I haven’t figured out how to post it as part of the blog. Oh well, luckily the Yankees won 6-1 behind excellent pitching from Mike Mussina and the bullpen. The bad news - Derek Jeter left the game after two innings with a leg muscle injury. No word yet on how long he will be out.

My next games will be the two games against the Fuck Sox on April 16th and 17th.

So, Go Yankees!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The first 3 months of 2008

Wow, it is hard to believe that the first quarter of 2008 has come and gone, and, as usual, it was crammed full of exciting entertainment events, but nothing topped what will be the highlight of the year 2008 - oldest grandson Warrant Officer Alex Falletta receiving his wings as a certified Apache (The Longbow) helicopter pilot - way to go Alex!!

In reviewing my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) I find that in the past 3 months I attended: 9 Broadway shows - Come Back Little Sheba, The Color Purple, Legally Blonde, 39 Steps, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening (for the second time on Broadway), South Pacific, Gypsy, and Sunday in the Park with George; 58 Off-Broadway shows; 2 comedy shows - Will Farrell @ Radio City Music Hall and Frank Caliendo @ The Beacon Theater; 1 rock music concert - Eric Clapton @ Madison Square Garden; 9 classical music concerts; and, unfortunately, the Yankees Opening Day was rained out. I was out of town for 5 nights for Alex’s graduation ceremony, and stayed in the apartment 11 nights without attending some sort of entertainment event. The nights I stayed in were almost always cold/nasty weather related.

During this time-frame I was able to spend some quality time in the City with: Dwight Wells of Key West; my former roomie David West of Gainesville and Paris; now retired Circuit Judge Susan Roberts and her husband Dan Brawley of Lakeland; new shop owner Dian Crystal (a theater nut like moi); and Hunter College student/intern/bartender Scott Reed.

Not bad for a soon-to-be 74 year old guy, is it?

As many of you know, on March 15 there was the crane collapse at the building site on my block, resulting in the death of 7 people. As I write this, many of the buildings nearer to the construction site remain vacant, including my drug store and a favorite Mexican restaurant. Construction on the site has not resumed.

On the political side was Governor Eliot Spitzer’s fall from grace and Rudy Giuliani’s dead-in-the water run for the Republican nomination. Honestly, who could have predicted either one?

Oh, and thanks to my son Bill, the iPhone has now become an integral part of my life.

So, more to come later as I try to figure out just what and when I will post on this new blog. Please share your thoughts and recommendations with me either on this blog or via email at:

Wow - thanks!!

Thanks so much for the flood of highly favorable and supportive emails and comments about this new blog. I have to admit that I am surprised at the number of emails I received, some from folks I haven’t heard from in a long time.

I am going to do my best to make this interesting and, hopefully, timely.

By all means, if you know of someone who might be interested, please direct them to this site:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Well, I Have Finally Joined the Blog Generation

WOW!! After all of the years of writing first timely and then less timely newsletters about my activities in The Big Apple, beginning in the summer of 1995, I am finally taking the big cyberspace step and have just created my own blog. WOW!!

I have a lot to learn about the creative process and I know I will make many missteps along the way, so to those of you who will join me for this new adventure - please have patience and understanding.

Where do I begin? Well, how about just begin about today and work from there? OK, I will. It was and is gray and chilly in the City. I had nothing planned for the day other than wanting to watch the Yankees/Rays game which began at 1:05, unless something showed up at the last minute on one of my ticket services. Nothing did, so I watched the game, which was an excellent pitching duel with Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera combining to shut-out the Rays.

When the game was over I thought about going out to a movie, probably "21" but then I had this almost overwhelming urge to create this blog, so I did and I have.

This will be brief because I have a lot of learning to do.
Tomorrow, Monday, will be: errands; filing my tax extension form; and at 7:05 out to Yankee stadium for the Yankees/Rays game.

Tuesday: at 10:00 my semi-annual dentist appointment for cleaning etc; 7:30 "Candide" by the New York City Opera @ Lincoln Center.

Wednesday: 7:30 New York Philharmonic @ Lincoln Center.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday: open at the moment (but not for long, of course).

Sunday: 3:00 Minnesota Symphony Orchestra @ Lincoln Center: 8:00 "A Night of Too Many Stars," hosted by Jon Stewart @ Beacon Theater.

There you have it - we have begun.