Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday - My Right Eye and Stuff

On Thursday morning I had the laser procedure, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), to reduce the intraocular pressure in my right eye. It is an outpatient procedure and was done by my eye specialist, Dr. Dina Weintraub, at New York Eye & Ear Infirmary at East 14th Street and 2nd Avenue.

I was told to be there no later than 9:45am for my 10:00am appointment, so I arrived at 9:30 thinking there would be a lot of paperwork to fill out. Well, there wasn’t - none, nada, zip. At 9:45 a technician took me into the exam room and administered some drops to numb the eye. At exactly 10:00 Dr. Weintraub came in. As an aside, I have been seeing her for about a year at her office on East 49th Street, just two blocks from the apartment, and I have to say that she is highly professional and is one of the nicest persons I have ever met.

She put some more gook in the eye and then inserted a cup to hold the eyelid open. The procedure began and there was a lot of bright light, of course, but absolutely no pain or discomfort. It was over at 10:21 or about 15 minutes from the start. Wow.

I went out to the waiting area and had to wait for 30 minutes for the gook to clear out and to have the pressure checked. Everything was OK and I was outta there at 11:00. My eye was red and itchy but I had been told to expect this. My vision was somewhat blurred. Dr. Weintraub had said it was OK for me to go to the afternoon Yankee/Fucksox game which started at 1:05.

Took a bus back to the apartment, dropped off the prescription the Dr. had given me and was in the apartment at 11:45. Plenty of time to change clothes and head out to the game, but ...

For some reason I suddenly felt emotionally drained and very tired. My eye was a bit itchy but no real problem. I took a deep breath and decided to skip the game, opting instead to watch it on TV. So, I settled in on the couch to watch it and promptly fell asleep, something I rarely ever ever do. I woke up several times during the course of the game but went back to sleep. Fortunately I was awake when the Yankees won it in the bottom of the 9th inning when Jason Giambi singled in the winning run. The win technically keeps the Yankees in the AL East wild-card race.

I didn’t go out in the evening either. Just didn't feel like it. Instead I opted to watch the South Carolina vs. North Carolina football game and then Obama’s remarkable acceptance speech.

This morning the eye looks and feels fine and so do I.

Now, I also gotta ask: “What is it with John McCain’s selection for his VP running mate?”

Got things to do, so ...

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday - The Yankees Post-Season Quest Is Over!! Fucksox 11 - Wankies 3.

While technically the Yankees are not out of the wild-card race in the AL East, tonight’s implosion sucked all of the life out of this lackadaisical band of buffoons and embarrassed their loyal fans yet again. Everything went wrong: starting pitching, the bullpen, defense, base running, basic hitting, and hitting with runners in scoring position. The fans seated around me were really down, and, of course, the game was another sellout.

So, it does look like the last regular season home game against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, September 21, will indeed be the last game in The House That Ruth Built (and, of course, I have a ticket).

Was listening to the post game wrap-up (I guess I must have a masochistic side too) and an incredible statistic was given - the Yankees are 8 wins and 43 losses in games when trailing after 4 innings, meaning, simply, when they fall behind mid-game it is all over, regardless of how many runs they are behind. This stat validates a feeling I have had all season.

I have tickets for 7 of the remaining home games and, of course, I will be there until the bitter and painful end.

Once the regular season is over I guess I will have to dig out my old old Tampa Bay Devil Rays cap. Man, that is sooooooo f**king weird - Tampa in and New York out. Who would have thunk it? No one, that's who.

Oh well - closing on a positive note - HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY TO JOHN SCOTT REED!!!!


Billi Pod

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday Night - The Fucksox 7 - The Wankies 3

It was a frustrating night at The House That Ruth Built as the woeful Yankees lost to the Fucksox by a score of 7-3 but that score doesn’t do justice to the lack of performance by the Yankees in every area of the game, starting pitching, fielding, and hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. The same old lackluster performance yet again. ARod was pathetic. He grounded into two double plays, one with the bases loaded, struck out twice, including the final out, and made a fielding error. He was loudly booed, as he should have been. It was really painful to watch the game, which was, of course, sold-out. This was my 26th game and their record for those games is a pathetic 14-12.

The only thing that saved the day from being a total disaster was the time I was finally able to spend with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed and his student/server/ boyfriend Benjamin Sears. We had lunch at, gasp, Hooters, located on 56th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. Yes, guys, I said Hooters, and it was so ordered by Scott. Frankly, I did entertain the thought that when I arrived I would get a text message that I had been punked. But, that didn’t happen. They arrived and we went inside the testosterone-fueled restaurant. We ordered 50 wings and curly fries and let our big-boobed server flirt with us. When we finished 44 of the wings I asked the server to put the remaining 6 in a take-home bag. Then we walked down 7th Avenue to The Stage Deli where we shared a massive piece of cheese cake.

When we split I walked back to the apartment and Ben and Scott went to God-knows where. So, guys, it was great being with you and thanks for saving my day.

It is 1:30am and I need to post this and crash.

Billi Pod

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Welcome Back to Yankee Stadium Fucksox

Tonight begins a crucial 3 game home series against the Boston Fucksox and if the Yankees have any hope of making the playoffs in the final year of The House That Ruth Built, they must take 2 out of 3. I don’t want to sound like a nay-sayer but I remind everyone that I have predicted problems with making the playoffs from the very beginning of the season. I have a ticket to each game but there is a chance that I might not be able to go to the game on Thursday afternoon because that morning I am having a laser procedure on my right eye to address a pressure problem.

I had a very good but kinda different entertainment program over the past 3 days in that I didn’t see a single theater event. Wow!! It has been a long time since that has happened. What I did do was see 3 movies. As I had posted earlier, on Saturday I had planned to see “Tropic Thunder” then “The Rocker” and then watch the Yankee/Baltimore game that evening. It didn’t quite work out that way. What happened you ask? Well, when I got to the ‘hood movie theater on 62nd and 1st Avenue where “Tropic Thunder” is playing there was a line stretching around the block. Damn. No way. So I hustled over to the theater at 64th and 2nd Avenue just in time to get a ticket to “The Rocker.”

“The Rocker” is about Robert “Fish” Fishman who is unjustly ousted as the drummer for the band Vesuvius just before the group’s megafame. Fish harbors 20 years of self-destructive resentment that finally forces him to move in with his sister’s family. His nephew’s band, A.D.D., has a gig at the prom but suddenly their drummer quits and the group is forced to turn to Fish for help. What happens next is a steady rise to fame and fortune as Fish tries to teach his young protégés how to be “rock stars.” They sign a deal with a record company and are booked to be the opening act for Vesuvius at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh yes ... enough details. It is a very funny show, particularly if you like the Jack Black style of anarchy and badassitude.

When the show was over I swung back by the other theater and there was another line already forming, so I scratched “Tropic Thunder” and spent the time just wandering around the Upper Eastside. Came back to the apartment and settled in to watch the Yankees/Baltimore game with Carl (on the DL) Pavano pitching his first game of the season. And, Thank You Higher Power, he pitched a good game and the Yankees won.

On Sunday I planned my day around the afternoon Yankee/Baltimore game, which took forever and ever. But, bottom line, the Yankees hung on to win 8-7 and remain alive. I actually alternated watching the game, doing my usual Internet research for you, my loyal readers, and watching The Little League World Championship game, won by Hawaii.

“Tropic Thunder” was still on my agenda so I chose the final show time of 10:15pm, thinking that it wouldn’t be a problem, and it wasn’t. The house was only about 1/3 full. Let me say right off the bat, I loved this show and everything about it. I didn’t find it at all offensive. I am certain most of you know the plot line - a Vietnam war epic in filming finds that it’s pampered cast is engaged in real jungle combat with a drug cartel. The cast is headed by Ben Stiller, who co-wrote and directed, and Robert Downey Jr. as a method actor who undergoes a skin-darkening procedure so he can play a black soldier. Downey was sensational as was the rest of the cast, including Jack Black as an over-the-top drug addicted actor and Tom Cruise as a vulgar studio mogul. As I said, to me the show was gut-busting funny and I highly recommend it if you like this kind of in your face humor.

Monday was the usual errands and chores day and then last evening I saw my third movie, the just released “Hamlet 2” starring British comedian Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz, an inept high school drama teacher. When budget cuts kill the school’s drama program Dana is determined to go out in a blaze of glory with an original idea: he writes a sequel to Hamlet, which includes time travel and a musical number called: “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” Interestingly, Coogan completely loses his English accent. The show is spotty in parts but, again, it is the type of in-your-face humor that I like, so, I also recommend it.

It is Tuesday morning and I am actually writing this as I am waiting for student/bartender/manager Scott Reed to get his lazy ass out of bed and text me the details of where and when we are to meet for lunch.

So, anyway, I will post this now - Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday - Some Help for the Female Gender

In recognition of my unsullied reputation for Fair and Unbiased reporting, and in response to a number of rather testy emails, I feel that it is incumbent on me to reveal that I have also done extensive Internet research into why females have such a difficult time understanding the male universe.

I doubt that many of you loyal and faithful readers knew this, but several years ago I presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of W.O.M.A.N. (Woman Over Men Always, Numnutz) in Boise, Idaho, wherein I attempted to explain the female perception of what a man says versus what the man actually means. I thought it was so obvious that it didn’t need to be reduced to written text, but the reaction of my audience seemed to indicate that perhaps we males overestimate the extent of female logic and cognitive skills.

So, having said all of this, and in order to be of assistance to my many female friends and loyal readers, I will now share some (actually just a little bit) of the material I presented to W.O.M.A.N.--

"Will you marry me?" REALLY MEANS, "Both my roommates have moved out, I can't work the washer/dryer, and there is no more peanut butter."

"It's a guy thing," REALLY MEANS, "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it.

"Can I help with dinner?" REALLY MEANS, "Why isn't it already on the table?"

"It would take too long to explain," REALLY MEANS, "I have no clue how it works."

"We're going to be late," REALLY MEANS, "Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac - get the f**k out of my way people."

"Take a break, honey, you're working too hard," REALLY MEANS, "I can't hear my game over the vacuum cleaner."

"Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love," REALLY MEANS, "Dammit, I forgot our anniversary again."

"It was a really good movie," REALLY MEANS, "It's got guns, knives, fast cars, and naked women."

"You know how bad my memory is," REALLY MEANS, "I remember the words to the theme song of "F Troop,” the address of the first girl I ever kissed, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself. It's no big deal," REALLY MEANS, "I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit I'm hurting."

"I missed you soooooo very much," REALLY MEANS, "I can't find the remote, the kids are hungry and we are out of toilet paper."

"I'm not lost, dammit, I know exactly where we are," REALLY MEANS, "No one will ever see us alive again."

You are so really welcome.

Billi Pod aka The Fair & Unbiased Reporter

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Reasons Why Males Are Happier Than Females

As many of you faithful readers no doubt remember, back on July 28th I posted the results of some extensive Internet research regarding the logical reasons why we males are happier in this World of ours than our female counterparts. I directed you to the acclaimed website: to post other reasons/factors and over 650 of you did, in fact, post additional reasons. After further review I have conclude that it is important to share this additional information with you, my faithful readers.

I also must unhappily report that the July 28th posting unleashed a torrent of virulent emails from the Feminazi clique, but, they will not and cannot stop me from my responsibility of continued Fair and Unbiased Reporting, so ...

Some additional reasons males are happier than females -

We know stuff about tanks.

Dry cleaners and hair cutters don't rob us blind.

We can go to the bathroom without a support group in tow.

We can leave the motel bed unmade.

We can kill our own food.

If we are 34 and single, nobody notices or cares.

We can quietly enjoy a car ride from the passenger's seat.

We don't have to cleanup if the meter-reader is coming.

We can quietly watch a game with a buddy for hours without ever thinking: “Why is he mad at me."

Gray hair and wrinkles only add character.

We can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift.

If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, we just might become lifelong friends.

Our pals will never trap us with: "So, notice anything different?"

Remember - I just report - you decide.

Billi Pod

My Internet Research - The Blue Pill

I am posting this information as evidence to you, my loyal and faithful readers, that I am still doing the Internet research that you have come to love, respect and need, so, without further delay --

Generic Names For Viagra - “The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were: Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.”

More research results cumming soon.

Billi Pod aka The Fair and Unbiased Reporter

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday was an excellent theater day!!

For starters, the weather in the Big Apple for the whole week has been terrific and Friday was no exception. It felt sooooo good to be out and about.

When the day began I had only two theater events scheduled for the day/evening, one Fringe Festival performance and one Off-Broadway show. I left the apartment around 1:00pm and took the 6 train down to Canal Street and then walked over to Walker Street and located the venue, aptly named “walkerspace,” between Broadway and Church Street. The show was at 2:30 so I had time to wander a bit and people watch.

“Parental Indiscretions” is written and performed by Steve Hayes and Tom Cayler and is about two twin brothers, one gay and one straight, who discover that they might not be brothers after all and how they deal with these revelations about family secrets and deceptions. The actors play many roles and the whole thing is very fast-paced. I liked it, but have to admit that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It gets a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 on the Billi Pod scale.

When the show was over I had an unfilled gap until my second and last scheduled show at 8:00, so I rushed to the subway to see if I could get a ticket to the 4:45pm show “The Fabulous Kane Sisters in Box Office Poison” playing at The Cherry Lane Theater in the West Village. When I got to the theater the ticket-purchase line had already formed so I thought, what the hell, and got in line. I passed the time by playing solitaire on my iPhone. The line got longer and longer. I was able to get a ticket and it turned out that the house was about 98% full.

This is the blurb about the show: “Murder, mayhem and muscular bodies fill the stage as the Fabulous Kane Sisters attempt to solve a mystery and prevent their own murders in this bawdy, burlesque. It’s like a trip through the sewer in a glass bottom boat” and it doesn’t really do the show justice. The Kane sisters are played by the two co-authors, in drag, and is set in a performance space in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1956. The sister are desperate for a gig and accept a booking in this venue even though there has been a series of unsolved murders of previous lead performers. I have to say that this show was, to me, gut-busting funny. It was racy, profane, politically incorrect, and wonderfully performed. The audience was really into the show. It gets a 5 star rating from Billi Pod and I hope it has a life after The Fringe.

When the show was over I had about 90 minutes to kill until my next show at an Off-Broadway venue located on E. 24th Street between Park and Lexington. I decided to take the subway rather than walk. Began listening to the Yankee/Baltimore game with The Moose pitching and it didn’t start off well for the Yankees as they quickly fell behind. I thought it was kinda ironic that my show for the evening was about baseball.

I have described “National Pastime” in a previous post but, briefly, it is about a 1930s radio station, located in a backwater town, that creates a fictional baseball team, The Cougars, who only play against All-Star teams in Europe. The station’s ruse is much more successful than they imagined, but things become really confused when Major League Baseball shows up with a request/demand to play an All-Star game against The Cougars. The show has been performed twice at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but this is its first performance in New York City. It was funny, well written and very well performed and I liked it a lot.

When the show was over I immediately turned on my trusty Walkman and learned that the Yankee bats finally woke up late in the game and the Bombers won 9-4 although The Moose didn’t get the win. At this point every game is a must-win.

Tomorrow will be something kinda different. I plan it to be a movie day. I want to see “Tropic Thunder” and “The Rocker” and then come back to the apartment to watch the Yankee/Baltimore game at night because I want to see Carl Pavano pitch his first game of the season. If you are a baseball fan you know the Pavano saga. The local newspapers have branded Pavano as ...”perhaps the biggest bust in Yankees’ franchise history considering he has worked only 19 games for the $40 million bestowed on him before the 2005 season.” So, I gotta watch this game even if it is a Saturday night in The Big Apple. Hell, being retired means that every night is a Saturday night for me.

I will bring my Fringe Festival report and ratings up-to-date tomorrow, I promise.

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Has Happened to Us??

I just don’t understand, I really don’t. Tuesday evening I was in the Times Square area to pick up my subscription ticket for the 7:30pm performance of The Marriage of Bette & Boo. I had a little time to kill so I just walked around a bit. As a New Yorker I usually avoid the Times Square area during the height of tourist season, for obvious reasons.

The place was teeming with people, as I had expected, and that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the massive number of obese people, males and females, who were waddling around with their also obese children in tow.

Don’t these people ever look in mirrors? Don’t they care about what they are doing to their own health and the health of future generations?

I actually stopped at a corner and counted the number of men over 40 who passed me. I counted for about 10 minutes and the results - 8 out of 10 guys over 40 had protruding potbellies. Gross!!

This is wrong America. Wake up before it is too late.

Sorry, I just had to rant.

Billi Pod

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Fringe Festival Reports

Monday is usually my chores and things and stuff to-do day, and this Monday was no exception. The most time consuming was, of course, the two trips to the grocery stores in the ‘hood but I am now stocked up food-wise for the week.

On Monday my first Fringe Festival show was at 5:00 in a newly renovated theater on Bank Street in The Village. “The Chronicles of Steve: the bossy bottom” was one of the WORST shows I have seen in a long long time. It was 1:15 of pure drek as the writer/performer shamelessly invoked every dreadful gay stereotype in the world. It gets 0 stars. Barf and double barf.

I had about an hour to kill before my next show so I just wandered around The Village and people-watched.

“For Reasons Unknown” attracted a full house at The Barrow Street Theater and there was good reason - the show was excellent. The blurb said that it was based on a real event. Wow! Briefly, the male lead (and co-writer) comes home to his Midtown East apartment to find that someone has “pooed” on his couch, then all hell breaks loose as he and his female best friend attempt to find out “who done it.” The cops are called; his next-door neighbor is questioned; the building superintendent, a gun-toting anti-pigeon fanatic, appears; and, in the final scene the apartment is almost destroyed by a falling crane. Oh my Gawd thought I, this is set in the building at the end of my block, and it was indeed I discovered after the show. It was very eerie. I award the show 4.5 stars.

So, that was Monday. Now, what about today, Tuesday? Well, I have two Fringe Festival shows and one Off-Broadway show:

2:30 - “The Deciders.” Musical/Comedy. 1:10 - “Patriotism! Power! Paranoia? A driving rock score reveals in song and satire the secrets, dreams, motives and misinformation of those who make the decisions and those who live with the repercussions from the Washington Power Elite to Baghdad and beyond.” Fringe Festival.

5:00 - “Raised by Lesbians.” Comedy. 1:15 - “No sixteen-year-old wants to be seen with his parents, lesbian or otherwise. Sprung from the laboratory into the shopping mall, feral freak boy Joe is badgered by his dad, picked on my classmates ... oh, and mom has a new girlfriend.” Fringe Festival.

At 7:30 I have the Off-Broadway show “The Marriage of Bette & Boo” which I have described in a previous posting. This show is part of my Roundabout Theater season subscription. It has gotten excellent reviews and I am looking forward to seeing it.

My entertainment schedule for the rest of the week is --

Wednesday - 3:00 - “The Disappearance of Jonah.” Comedy/Drama. 1:15 - “Small-town golden boy Jonah Thompson disappeared two years ago. Against the backdrop of Manhattan and the the scattered people Jonah once knew, his brother Finn sets out to find him.” Fringe Festival.

8:00 - Mostly Mozart Festival Concert @ Lincoln Center. Mozart: Serenade for Winds; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3; Mozart: Symphony No. 39. (discounted TDF ticket).

Thursday - 3:00 - “The Gay No More Telethon.” Musical Comedy. 1:40 - “Tonight, Reverend Wiley Ray Henderson's Religious Broadcasting Network presents The "Gay No More" Telethon. Your generous contribution will help turn every homosexual straight by the Rapture or the 2014 Winter Olympics ...whichever comes first. "Let's Get One Thing Straight ... You!" Fringe Festival.

Friday - 2:30 - “Parental Indiscretions.” Comedy. 1:30 - “Two brothers - one gay, one straight - discover they may not be, and their Aunt Pearl's prize winning petunia patch holds more than just the key to their past.” Fringe Festival.

8:00 - “National Pastime” - “National Pastime is the story of a small 1930's radio station which cannot compete for the rights to broadcast a real baseball team's they create their own team! Written by Algonquin Theater's Artistic Director Tony Sportiello and directed by Nancy Robillard, this popular comedy has appeared twice in Cooperstown at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and is in the Literature Library.” (complimentary ticket).

Saturday - gasp, open at the moment

Sunday - “The Naked Elephant in the Middle of the Room.” Comedy/Drama. 0:45 - “A novice playwright struggles to write a really great comedy for FringeNYC while his characters come to life onstage. But what sells? Sex? Gay humor? Naked men? Or an audience warning" CONTAINS ADULT THEMES and NUDITY! How great is that!” Fringe Festival.

In closing, I am happy to report that my sister, Ann Parker, now living in California, is recovering from the surgery required to repair the shoulder she broke in an unfortunate accident while walking her dog. Her daughter Donna has stepped forward and is now with Ann - way to go Donna!! Thanks!!

Billi Pod

A Great Three Days in the Big Apple

I don’t want to sound like a broken record but the past 3 days have been great, both entertainment, weather, and, finally, Yankee baseball-wise.

Let me start first with Saturday, which was devoted to theater and people watching in the East and West Villages. My first show, “Untitled Masterpiece," started at noon and ran for an hour. It was a very funny and well performed comedy about making the transition from college to the workforce. I give it a rating of 4 stars out of 5 (my rating schedule).

When the show was over I had almost 2 hours to kill, so I walked over to the pier at the end of Christopher Street and sat in the shade in the breeze and did some major people watching while listening to the Yankees/KC game.

The second show was “KABOOM!,” a frantic comedy about a con-man playing multiple roles who is trying to save a scam gone wrong. I give it a rating of 3.0 stars. The acting was better than the book.

When the show was over I was shocked to learn that the Yankee game was into extra innings, so I listened to it while walking East along Bleecker Street headed for my 3rd and last show, “The Grecian Formula.” Had time to find a nice park bench in the shade to listen to the rest of the game, which the Yankees finally won in the bottom of the 13th inning. Trust me, they had plenty of opportunities earlier but just couldn’t get the crucial hits with runners in scoring position, something that has plagued them all season. And, dammit, guys, time is running out!!!!

The house was full for “The Grecian Formula,” a truly madcap comedy about the beginning of writing drama for theater in the world of ancient Greece. Lots of barbs at the current theater scene. The cast was excellent and the audience was really into the risqué show, which ended with the presentation of the Golden Phallus Award. It wins 4.5 stars.

I have to admit that I was a bit tired when I got back to the apartment around 10:45 but it had been an excellent Big Apple Day.

And, Sunday was more of the same. My first show was at 2:30 at the same theater on Bleecker Street. I took a bus downtown because I wanted to listen to the Yankee/KC game which began at 1:00 with The Moose pitching. It didn’t start off well. Mussina gave up 3 runs in the top of the lst inning but the Yankee bats woke up and ARod tied the game in the bottom of the lst with a 3-run bomb and then in the next inning Giambi hit a grand slam. The Yankees cruised to a 15-6 win.

The show, “Gargoyle Garden,” was much more of a kids show than I had anticipated and it just didn’t work for me. Thankfully, it was only one hour long. It gets only 1.5 stars.

When the show was over I had to kinda hustle over to the next theater, located on Barrow Street at 7th Avenue. When I got there I spotted the cast of my show sitting together across the street, waiting for their turn. How did I know? Well, the name of the show is “The Redheaded Man” and one of the guys sitting on the sidewalk had flaming red hair. And, I was right.

As an aside, I have to comment on the rigorous scheduling and timetable for each show. At each venue there are 5 shows per day/night, scheduled back-to-back. When one show is over the next show crew and cast has about 30 minutes after the set of the previous show is struck to get their show set up and running. The box office doesn’t open until 15 minutes before show time and that is also when the house opens. It is general admission seating. Every show I have seen thus far has started right on time. There is no late seating permitted. My hat is off to the casts and crews.

Now about “The Redheaded Man.” The redheaded man shows up in the mind of the lead, a 25 year old young architect who is heavily medicated to treat his “manic depression.” It starts out kinda funny then it gets darker and darker and darker until it ain’t funny at all. The cast is excellent, especially the young guy playing the architect. Even though I left the theater feeling a bit creepy, I still have to give this drama 4.0 stars. It may get a higher rating later as I finish processing the whole thing.

When the show was over I had to hustle uptown via the 1 train to the Theater District to meet a representative from one of my ticket services in order to pick up my complimentary ticket to [title of show]. My God, my ticket was in the orchestra, row K, house right. Excellent. Oh, I was able to give my un-used Fringe ticket to a friend of my friend Paddy, who works outside the TKTS booth on 46th Street.

I have already talked about [title of show]. This was my second time seeing the Broadway run. I saw it twice when it was Off-Broadway. It is developing a “cult” following and I guess I have to admit that I am one. We are called “tossers” (I understand in England a tosser is a wanker - no matter). The show is so much fun. It is too bad that the weekly grosses are not enough to keep it running much past September when the tourists leave and the new season begins.

When I got back to the apartment I have to admit that I was tired but very very happy about being a New Yorker. I crashed at the usual 2:00am.

This is being written on Monday night and I saw two more Fringe Festival shows today and booked most of the rest of the week. This is getting to be too long, so I will post it now and write about everything else tomorrow morning, hopefully.

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Friday, August 15, 2008

“Excess” - Thy Name Be Billi Pod

Yep, I plead guilty. When I went down to Fringe Festival Headquarters yesterday I had a list of 14 shows I wanted to see. The selection process is kinda difficult for a variety of reasons. First is the number of shows (200), followed closely by the limited number of performances (usually 5) and the location of the performance venues, which pretty much run across all of lower Manhattan from The East River to The Hudson River.

As a further example, for this Saturday there are 81 shows available, beginning at noon and ending with the last performance time of 10:15pm. The running times range from 45 minutes to 2 hours, 15 minutes. There are plays, musicals, one-person shows, dance performances, multi-media, and combinations of all of the above. Very rarely do the shows get reviewed and when they are the shows have usually completed their 5 performance run.

You pretty much have to rely on the blurbs contained in the 64 page Festival Guide. So, this is my Festival and entertainment program for Saturday, Sunday and Monday:

Saturday - noon - “Untitled Masterpiece” - Comedy/Performance Art. 1:00 - “Untitled Masterpiece is a fresh take on the life after college graduation. Everyman Joe Meursault struggles to find himself through a barrage of changing scenes and rotating characters that try to reduce his life to a series of TV shows.”

3:15 - KABOOM! - Comedy. 1:55 - “After his drug factory explodes, San Francisco's slyest swindler has one day to recoups his losses. Nothing can stop him ... except, maybe a neurotic New Yorker, a misplaced kazoo, and a 37-minute orgasm. Hipster satire meets old-school farce.”

7:30 - “The Grecian Formula” - Comedy. 1:45 - “How far would you go to win the phallus? Commanded to write the world's first drama, Homeric celebubard Thespiotis orders his servant, Alidocioous, to ghostwrite. And so the witty slave does write on cue, though mayhem, masks, and choral odes ensue.”

Sunday - 2:30 - “Gargoyle Garden” - Musical. 1:00 - “Jeff LaGreca Edgar Allen Densmore is a weird, lonely little boy who has trouble fitting in at the Piedmont Private School. Spending his time alone up in the decaying rooftop garden, he one day receives a mysterious invitation to a strange and raucous moon-lit party.”

4:30 - “The Redheaded Man” - Drama. 1:30 - “A gifted young architect is plagued by visions that inspire his designs, yet render him a walking social disaster. He calls it "insight," others call it “insanity.” A darkly funny multimedia experience about navigating the secrets our minds keep.”

7:30 - {title of show} - Broadway. I had booked a Fringe show called “The Johnny” for 9:00. When I got back to the apartment and went online to check my ticket services [title of show] was up so the choice was - see a Broadway show for free or see an unknown Fringe Festival show, and, of course, Broadway won even though I had seen the show in early previews. This is the blurb for [title of show] - “This new Broadway musical portrays two nobodies named Hunter and Jeff who decide to write a completely original musical starring themselves and their attractive and talented friends, Susan and Heidi. Their musical, [title of show], gets into the New York Musical Theatre Festival and becomes a hit. Then it gets an off-Broadway production at the Vineyard Theatre and wins three Obie Awards. Then its announced that their musical is going to Broadway. With direction by Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse, [title of show] explores inside the creative minds and hearts of these young theatre artists as they face all the challenges, triumphs, setbacks, joys and heartbreaks of creating a new and hopefully great American musical. PLEASE NOTE: This musical deals with adult themes and contains strong language.”

Now, on to Monday - 5:00 - “The Chronicles of Steve: the bossy bottom.” Comedy/solo show. 1:15 - “With his new one-man comedy show, David LeBarron weaves a sex-quest that fully inflates the biggest sexual organ, the heart.”

7:30 - “For Reasons Unknown.” Comedy. 1:30 - “Nathan Halvorson Bradley comes home and finds a present on his sofa. The gift? A big poo. What does he do? Or perhaps, what did he do? Inspired by a true story, this new whodunit comedy explores what happens when shit happens.”

I have also scheduled Fringe shows for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Details will be posted later.

Yes, I plead guilty to "EXCESS."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Billi Pod

Thursday - Neil Diamond in Concert Tonight

I have to say that the concert tonight was everything that I have come to expect from a Neil Diamond concert and I think 99.99% of the crowd agreed with me. The photo is a stock photo, not one taken at the concert.

He came on stage at 8:20. There was no opening act (and no intermission), and from that moment the lights went up on him he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He was backed up by the band he has been performing with for over 30 years.

He did 3 numbers from his new album and they were warmly received but the “Diamond Standards” are what really turned the audience on and we sang along with him on most of them. The song that got the longest applause was “Brooklyn Roads” about him growing up in Brooklyn. My favorite was “I Am ... I Said” followed by “Sweet Caroline.”

The concert was over about 10:30 and I left feeling very very happy with the World.

This afternoon I went downtown to the Fringe Festival Headquarters and got tickets for 13 shows, which I will detail in a later post.

Billi Pod

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back In My New York State Of Mind

Yes, I have gotten back into my Big Apple groove and it feels so good to be in New York City, The Greatest City in the World. Ah, yes ...

On Tuesday I spent a lot of time doing chores, sorting stuff and taking things to the laundry across the street from the apartment and making two extended trips to the two grocery stores in the ‘hood. One of the minor annoyances of big city living is that the grocery stores are much smaller and often the choices are meager. This means I usually have to go to both stores even if I have only 5 or so things on my list. I have learned to live with it but it is still annoying.

I saw an early evening showing of the recently opened stoner-comedy “Pineapple Express” - “Process server Dale (played by co-writer Seth Rogen) scores some weed off of his lonely dealer Saul (played by James Franco), who’s peddling Pineapple Express, which smells “like God’s vagina” and smokes “like killing a unicorn.” Dale witnesses a murder committed by Saul’s super-bad-guy dealer and a corrupt cop, and in short order Dale and Saul are on the run, dodging bullets, wreaking cars, smoking weed, and slowly ... falling in love with each other.” I was in the mood for a silly/dumbass movie and this was it. I loved it.

Speaking of movies - I can hardly wait to see the just released “Tropic Thunder,” co-written, directed by, and starring Ben Stiller, with Robert Downey, Jr., in black-face and Jack Black. There is another must-see on the horizon too - “The Rocker.”

When the show was over I came on back to the apartment and settled in to watch the Yankees/Minnesota game, which the Yankees won in extra innings after Mariano Rivera gave up a game tying three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning. It was another game where the Yankees played sloppy ball and seemed to be sleepwalking. And, Derek Jeter had to leave the game with an ankle injury. With each passing day the playoff chances seem to diminish. I have tickets for 9 of the remaining home games.

Today, Wednesday, was another excellent weather day. In the afternoon I had my every 6-8 weeks finger prick to check my Coumadin level and everything was fine, as usual

Spent most of the afternoon just wandering around the Eastside while listening to the Yankees/Minnesota game and the Yankees sucked dog-dicks again and lost another game they should have won. Thankfully, that ended a terrible road trip with their record only 3-7. Hank Steinbrenner has basically shifted into a “wait till next year” mode and that ain’t good.

Had an interesting Off-Broadway show this evening downtown in the East Village. It was “Day In Dig Nation” - described as: “After smash runs in Boston, Seattle, Edinburgh, and Prague, a Day in Dig Nation arrives at Performance Space 122 for two weeks in August. A mash-up of media, sound and live performance, this one-person adventure, performed by Michael McQuilken, features Rex, a man so consumed by technology that he forgets how to communicate with actual people.” It was only 50 minutes long, was extremely well performed and written and took head-on our ever increasing reliance on cyber-communication and digital programming over face-to-face experiences. I had a complimentary ticket.

At the present time my entertainment schedule for the next week is:

Thursday - Neil Diamond @ Madison Square Garden (full price ticket)

Friday - Mostly Mozart Festival Concert @ Lincoln Center - Sibelius: Pellas och Melisande; Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major; Beethoven: Symphony No. 2. (discounted TDF ticket).

Saturday - open - probably The Fringe Festival

Sunday - open - probably The Fringe Festival

Monday - open - probably The Fringe Festival

Tuesday - “The Marriage of Bette & Boo” - “Christopher Durang's award-winning dark comedy takes a look at the complex marriage of Bette and Boo. Three decades of marriage, divorce, alcoholism, nervous breakdowns and death - all blended in a unique mix of irony, humor and farce - are played out in 33 quick scenes. At turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, absurdist and honest, the play is a seminal work in the Durang canon and a ferociously funny family portrait.” Off-Broadway. This is part of my annual subscription to the award winning Roundabout Theater.

Wednesday - Mostly Mozart Festival Concert @ Lincoln Center - Mozart: Serenade for Winds; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3; Mozart: Symphony No. 39. (discounted TDF ticket)

OK, OK, you want to know - what is The Fringe Festival? Well, first of all, the correct title is: “The 12th Annual New York International Fringe Festival,” and it is 202 plays offered at 19 downtown venues from August 8th through August 24th. The tickets are $15 or $10 for us senior citizens. Tomorrow I will go down to the Festival Headquarters and purchase tickets for a least 9 shows for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

I have scored a ticket for The Who concert on October 29th in New Fucking Jersey.

OK, I am tired of writing, so I will post this and crash at or around the usual 2:00am.

Oh, Scott & Benjamin - it is 401 hours and counting.

Billi Pod

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Gawd!! Why Me???

{this is being written at 10:15pm on the way to LGA]

Since the last posting - I got another call from Delta to tell me that there had been another flight change, and my heart began to pound - this is it thought I, but, good news, the new estimated departure time was set back from 10:20pm to 9:00pm. Great. My son-in-law, Dr. John Bendeck, drove me to the airport and I would guess it was around 7:00pm when we got there.

I checked in but was unable to get an exit row seat. No matter. I cleared security without any problem and was at the gate at 7:30. Ate a rather nasty looking turkey sandwich and just killed time online. This airport has free wi-fi.

About 8:30 our plane arrived. I asked one of the arriving passengers what the problem had been and she said there had been a mechanical problem. The flight had originated in Atlanta. Hum, so it wasn’t the New York area weather problem that I had thought.

The gate agent said we would depart at 9:00 and that was great, so we boarded about 8:50. I estimate the plane to be 75% full. Then there was a delay, with no explanation.

Then the Flight Attendant (female) asked two very very large black people, one male and one female, in the front of the plane to move to open seats in the rear, “at the request of the Captain,” she said. The female moved back, muttering, but the male went absolutely ballistic, cussing and yelling and saying that the Flight Attendant was a racist bitch for making him move to the back. He finally moved back but continued to yell and cuss. He went postal. To make a long story a bit shorter, the cops came and he was physically removed from the plane. It was quite a scene. You could feel the hostility directed toward the Flight Attendant by the remaining blacks on board. And, it has continued. Very uncomfortable, to say the least.

We pushed away from the gate at 9:48 and were airborne at 9:55. I am writing this and wondering what else is going to go wrong.

In the middle of the flight I took out a 3 x 5 card and wrote my name, address, phone number, seat number and a statement that the Flight Attendant and crew had done nothing wrong, that the passenger was 100% at fault, and gave it to the Flight Attendant to use, if necessary. She said she deeply appreciated it.

{written in the apartment]

The rest of the flight went OK. We touched down at 11:26pm, actually only 2 hours 45 minutes late. We assembled at the baggage carousel and after a short wait the bags started to arrive, including my duffle. Thank God.

Then yet another glitch. When I went to the transportation desk and called SuperShuttle I was told that there would be at least an hour wait for the next van but they would credit my account if I wanted to seek other transportation. No way was I going to wait another hour, so I opted for a taxi.

Of course, the taxi line was long but the wait wasn’t actually that bad.

Bottom line, at 12:33am I opened the door to the apartment. Man, did it feel good to be home. I have unpacked, sorted through the accumulated mail, had a Fresca and am now finishing this. Will post and crash around the usual 2:00am.

Have nothing planned yet for tomorrow or Wednesday. On Thursday I have the Neil Diamond concert at Madison Square Garden and on Friday a classical music concert at Lincoln Center.

Whew!! Glad today is finally over.

Billi Pod

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday - The Norris Travel Curse Is Flying Rampant

I can’t believe that The Norris Travel Curse has struck yet again. It simply will not go away and it taunts me by striking randomly.

What am I talking about? Well, on the flight down to Columbia, SC, on Thursday everything went as scheduled. The flight departed and arrived on time and my duffle also arrived with me.

The weekend was excellent and I will write more about it later. What I am doing now is simply venting --

It is Monday afternoon around 4:45pm and I should be at the Columbia airport for my departure at 6:50pm heading back to the Big Apple, arriving at 8:45. But, I am still at Kathi’s because I received a call on my iPhone informing me that the flight had been delayed until 8:45 for an arrival at 11:09. Damn ... but liveable.

Well, it has gotten worse. Another phone call - the flight has been further delayed - departure now at 10:09, arrival 12:04am. Now, that isn’t good. I am going to head out around 7:00 but my gut tells me that the flight is going to be canceled.

Problem, of course, is the difficulty in getting from Columbia, SC, to LGA, without going through that hellhole known at Charlotte.

Why, or why does this happen to me?

Billi Pod

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Gina, all of your family and friends join together to say - CONGRATULATIONS - and JOB WELL DONE!!

We were honored to be able to share this momentous occasion with you today, August 9, 2008, at The Colonial Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, when you received your Bachelor of Science Degree.

Yes, it has been a long and laborious trip - “nine years, three states and five schools,” but, you did it girl, you did it.

But you didn’t do it alone. It was you and Alex and what a great team you two make. We are so proud of the both of you.

Love from the bottom of our collective hearts.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ever Had One of “Those” Days?

You know, the kinda day that isn’t bad but isn’t good either. The kind, that when it is over you wonder ... “where the fuck did it all go and why didn’t I do ‘something’?” Well, that was Tuesday for me. I didn’t feel bad physically or mentally or anything like that, it was just ... ugh ... blah ...

It very much reminded me of the lyrics from the song that John Adams sings in the musical 1776:

“You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Nothing's ever solved....”

I was going to do lots of things and stuff in preparation for my trip down to Columbia, SC, on Thursday. I had nothing scheduled for the evening but I was certain that something would show up on one of my ticket services. If not, then I could always catch a movie or comedy show or something.

Well, nothing showed up and I just wasn’t in the “mood” for a movie. I did go out walking for an hour or so in the early evening. When I came back I resigned myself to watching the Yankees@Texas game which started at 8:00.

In keeping with the tone of the day, the Yankees were blah and they lost a game they should have won. The score was 6-8. I have an increasingly bad feeling in my gut about the chances of the Yankees making the post-season.

Today, Wednesday, will be a much better day. I still have some cleaning and stuff to do and then tonight I have a classical music concert at Lincoln Center with a discounted TDF ticket. It is part of The Mostly Mozart Festival and will be: Mozart - Overture to The Marriage of Figaro; Mozart - Piano Concerto in C Major; and, Beethoven - Symphony No. 4.

I also want to report that the series of short plays I saw on Monday at the 59@59 St. Theater on Sunday were excellent. That night I saw the movie “Step Brothers” with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly and I loved it. Now, if you didn’t like “Superbad” and/or “Knocked Up” I suggest you save your time and money. If you did, however, this is a must see, as are the upcoming “Pineapple Express” and “Tropic Thunder” with Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downy, Jr. Can’t wait.

My Monday night show, a benefit concert called: “Variations on Shakespeare: An Evening of Songs Inspired by the Bard,” was OK, not as good as I had anticipated but OK. One problem was the sound system which was never corrected.

Oh, yes, thanks to all of my attorney friends for emailing me warnings about posting the Dave Barry article and plagiarizing and then altering the lyrics to Neil Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.” Yes, I am still a member of The Florida Bar, and, yes, I understand that everything must have consequences, but in the case of Scott & Benjamin I thought it was worth the risk. Well, apparently it wasn’t since it has now been 220 hours and counting since I have received a text message from either one of them. Oh well ... nothing ventured nothing gained.

In closing, my schedule for my trip to Columbia, SC --

Thursday - 10:21am - depart LGA - Delta #4585; 12:38pm - arrive Columbia, SC. John and Kathi Bendeck - 803-736-6657.

Saturday - 10:20am - graduation ceremony for Gina Falletta @ University of South Carolina.

Monday - 6:50pm - depart Columbia - Delta #4793; 8:45pm - arrive LGA

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Monday, August 4, 2008

MONDAY - To Scott and Benjamin

"I remember when
You couldnt wait to text me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after doing each other late at night
When its good for only you
And youre feelin alright
Well you just roll over
And turn out the light
And you dont text me anymore

It used to be so natural
To text about forever
But used to bes dont count anymore
They just lay on the floor
til we sweep them away

And guys, I remember
All the things you taught me
I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
Well I, too, learned how to text
Even learned how to lie
Youd think I could learn
How to understand goodbye
cause you guys dont text me anymore"

I guess this pretty much says it all.

Billi Pod
aka A Diamond in the Rough

Understanding Professional Football

Even though it is the first week of August, the professional football season has returned in all of its preseason glory with the first games scheduled for this Thursday. The real season doesn’t get underway until Thursday, September 4, but season ticket holders can watch all of these meaningless games that they are required to purchase as part of their “privilege” for being loyal and dedicated fans and season ticket holders.

It has been brought to my attention that not everyone understands the complexities of professional football in all of its bone-crushing glory. As usual, I felt it was my responsibility to do research in this area and to make the results available to you, my loyal and unbiased readers.

After hours and hours of work I finally came across the ultimate explanation by none other than that guru of all things complex, Dave Barry. I couldn’t have said it any better myself, so here it is in its entirety --
By David Barry

Football is played on a field that is 100 yards (374 kilometers) long and is covered with lines called hash marks to indicate where players have lost their breakfasts. On either side of the field are the benches, where the 350 players who are not involved in the game sit and wave to their moms. Behind each bench is a big plastic jug of Gatorade. The object of the game is to be the first team to dumps this on the “coach,” a very angry man who hates everybody.

The game is divided into four 15-minute quarters, each of which last a little over three hours. Time outs may be called by anybody at any time for any reason, including political unrest in Guatemala.

The game begins when a small man of foreign extraction kicks the pigskin, or ball, as far as possible, then wisely scuttles off the field. The referee then places the ball on an imaginary line of scrimmage, which is visible only to the referee and his imaginary friend, Mr. Pootywinkle. On either side of this line, the two teams form huddles, where they decide who will perform the celebratory dance when the “play” is over. Then here’s what happens:

1. A large player called the center squats over the ball, and the “quarterback” touches him in a way that would get them both executed in the Middle East.

2. All the players run into each other and fall down.

3. Certain players leap to their feet and perform celebratory dances, while referees add to the festivity by hurling brightly colored flags into the air.

Now comes the heart and soul of football: Watching slow-motion replays of the players falling down. You’ll see this from every possible point of reference, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

When the replays are finally over, the referee formally announces that the play does not count. Then it’s time for eight commercials featuring sport utility vehicles climbing Mount Everest, and then it's back to the huddles for more nonstop action.

There is no need to flood me with thank-you emails. This is my calling. I report - you decide.

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday - Back to "Normal"

I feel as if I am back to “normal,” if that word can ever be used in reference to moi. Crashed last night at the “usual” time, 2:00am, and got up this morning at the “normal” time, 8:00am. It is a bright and sunny day out.

When I got up I immediately checked out the iBook and, Thank You Higher Power, it is working OK, so I will cancel my 4:15am “Genius Bar” appointment. Of course with my recent luck as soon as I cancel, the iBook will go bonkers (or Windows) and the next available appointment will be in 10 days or so. I will keep my fingers crossed.

The Yankees have a brutal month ahead of them, most of it spent on the road. I have only 3 games scheduled for the rest of the month, the 3 game series against The Fucksox on the 26th, 27th and 28th.

I have a show scheduled at 3:15 this afternoon at the theater on 59th Street. It is a series of short one act plays: “Summer Shorts returns for a second summer season of new American one-acts featuring original plays by some of the country’s top playwrights -

The Waters of March - A woman who has devoted herself to her career comes to the ultimate crossroad.

Crossing the Border - South of the border, a father and son get caught up in baseball fever -- but not for the usual reasons.

On a Bench - A teenage boy sits in a New York park reading a book about the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots. When he is joined by a middle-aged woman, their brief encounter reveals hidden truths.

Deep in the Hole - There's something amiss in the Heartland as Ben, Glen, Cindy, and Lindy drink cheap vodka and hookup.”

Sounds very interesting, doesn’t it. (complimentary ticket).

When this show is over I will walk over to a movie theater on 62nd and 1st Avenue to see “Step Brothers.”

Monday will be the usual errands and chores during the day. For the evening I have something a little bit different. One of my ticket services was offering tickets to a benefit concert. The face value of the ticket is $150.00 but the cost to me is $20. The program is: Variations on Shakespeare: An Evening of Songs Inspired by the Bard - “The New Globe Theater hosts a benefit concert entitled Variations on Shakespeare: An Evening of Songs Inspired by the Bard. This benefit highlights songs from musicals based on the works of William Shakespeare with performances by some of Broadway's hottest stars!

The works of William Shakespeare have always served as a true inspiration for many playwrights and composers over the years, with some of the most famous musical theatre pieces inspired by the Bard's plays. Kiss Me, Kate was Cole Porter's musical transformation of the classic Taming of the Shrew, and gave us such great songs as "Too Darn Hot" and "So In Love." The Comedy of Errors was the play that inspired Rodgers and Hart to pen the hit musical The Boys From Syracuse and the most famous musical of them all, West Side Story, is a beautiful musical re-telling of Romeo And Juliet set in 1950's New York City.

The evening is hosted by Tony Award winner Mark Rylance (Boeing-Boeing) with appearances and performances by Tom Cavanagh (TV's Ed, Urinetown, Shenandoah), Anthony Rapp (Rent, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Christian Hoff (Tony Award winner for Jersey Boys, upcoming Pal Joey), Alice Ripley (Tony Award nominee Side Show, Next To Normal) and Michael Arden (Ring of Fire, Bare) with more names to be announced shortly!”

How could I pass this up? Well, I couldn’t.

Great news - my oldest grandson, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alex Falletta, has completed his reactivation assignment in Arizona and has been deactivated and just got back to Columbia, SC, so he can be present with the rest of us on Saturday when his wife, Gina, receives her degree, with honors, from The University of South Carolina. Looking forward to seeing you guys.

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saturday - What a Crazy Crazy Day

Yes, I had one of those strange and crazy days and, actually, it isn’t over quite yet. Today was supposed to be a mega-good day built around the Old Timers Game at Yankee Stadium beginning at 1:45 and then the Yankees vs. Angels game at 3:55. I was pretty hyped about both. My anticipated schedule was to head out to the stadium no later than 12:45 so I would be there in time for the introductions.

To start off - for reasons I don’t understand, I didn’t go to bed last night until 4:00am. I just wasn’t sleepy. I actually had to make myself go to bed but when my head hit the pillow I immediately went to sleep. I woke up at exactly 10:00 and it was nasty and gray looking out and the forecast was for thunderstorms later in the afternoon. Damn.

I had breakfast, scanned the 3 newspapers and then went online on my iBook to check my email and for whatever reason AOL was acting strange, not that that’s so unusual. I actually had to get into my AOL account via the internet rather than directly from the program. Weird. After I read the emails it was time to shower and get ready to head out. It was still nasty and had begun to lightly rain.

After I showered I put on the usual Yankee garb and began pondering whether I should even go out to stadium for the Old Timers game because, if it was rained out, I would then have a long long wait at the stadium to see if the regular game would be played. The rain stopped and I determined I would indeed head out.

Just before I left the apartment I went to the iBook to check email one last time and ... gasp ... it was completely dead ... frozen up. What the hell? It was plugged into the power source so it couldn’t be the battery, so what happened? Man, this sucked because I use the iBook for internet access now (the reasons are too complicated to explain now) and I always take it with me when I travel and on Thursday I head down to Columbia, SC.

Oh man. I quickly found the start-up disk and inserted it and nothing happened and, of course, I couldn’t get the disk out. And, it was time to head out.

So I did. Just a few yards from the subway entrance it started to pour, so I raced into the station. At least I didn’t get soaked. Do I go back or do I head out to the Bronx? I took a deep breath and opted to head out to The Bronx.

When I got on the local train, which I always take up to 125th Street, I took out my iPhone so I could play some solitaire and, dammit, I had forgotten to refresh the program while I was outside, so it wouldn’t work. Damn. Oh well, nothing I could do about it. I passed the time by writing a bitch note to myself on the iPhone.

We made great time to 125th Street and the connecting 4 train wasn’t jam-packed as it usually is. When we got to the 161st/Yankee Stadium and got off we were horrified to discover that the MTA assholes had forgotten to open the two major exits from the platform so we had to go inside the station and down really crowded narrow stairs. People were really pissed. It was 1:30. What more could go wrong, thought I?

It was very lightly raining and when I got to my seat the infield was covered with a tarp but, and a big but, it stopped raining and began to clear up. OK. I would just settle in and listen to the pregame broadcast on my trusty Walkman. Got the ear pods out of one pocket and reached into the other to get the Walkman, and ... it wasn’t there. I had left it in the apartment. Fuck and double Fuck!!!

Nothing I could do about it. To make this long story a bit shorter, the weather cleared, the tarp was taken off and the ceremony started just 15 minutes late. There were 72 former Yankees in attendance and the introductions took almost an hour. It was very moving. They had only time to play one inning before it was time for the regular game to begin. Its starting time couldn’t be delayed, of course.

And the game started on time and I resigned to seeing it without the benefit of the John Sterling broadcast. Oh well ...

Seated behind me was a rather large guy in his 50s and his teenage son. He is a partial season ticket holder but he usually sits with The Bleacher Creatures in the right field bleachers. He had gotten his seats for this game though a friend. He was listening to the game. At the end of the first inning we struck up a conversation and I mentioned that I always listen to the game but that I had left my Walkman at home and I held my ear pods in my hand. Now what happened next is amazing ...

He said ... “wait a minute” ... then he reached into a paper bag and brought out another small AM radio. “You can use this,” he said. It turned out that his son had left his ear pods at home. I offered him/them mine and the guy said, “no ... you go ahead and listen to the game, my son and I will share my ear pod.” How about that? Later during the game I offered to buy him a beer or a soda but he very pleasantly declined.

The game itself was great. The Angels got off to an early 2 run lead due to some lousy Yankee fielding but Moose recovered and then pitched shutout ball through the 7th inning and the Yankees won 8-2.

Also seated behind me was a family of 4 from Nevada who had come to NYC for the sole purpose of seeing their first and last game in The House That Ruth Built. Their 10 year old son is a huge ARod fan and he had brought a sign with him about wanting ARod to hit a home run. The kid didn’t show it on A-Rod’s first at bat and he struck out. On his second at bat the kid raised the sign and we all had a good laugh and then .... bam ... ARod hit a bomb to right center field and we all went crazy and I took the picture. This will be a moment this kid will never ever forget. Awesome.

I got off the subway at the 59th Street station to walk over to the Apple Store at 59th and 5th to see about making an appointment with their “Genius Bar” to try to get the iBook up and running before I leave for SC. The Apple Store and the “Genius Bar” operates 24x7. The store was jam-packed. I talked with a very nice young female rep and was told that the first appointment time was on Monday, so I made an appointment for the first available time, 4:15am, yes, that is correct, 4:15am. As I was about to leave she whispered to me that it might work if I would come back between 1:30 and 2:00am tonight and I might, just might, be able to sneak in between appointments. I thanked her and walked back to the apartment.

Yes, I would definitely give it a shot.

When I got back to the apartment it was around 8:00 and I was delighted to see/hear that the 30s gal in the apartment directly underneath me is having an outdoor BBQ party and it was in full swing. She did have the grill properly placed in the middle of the yard so that wouldn’t be a problem but ... yeah ... they are loud and are having fun and there ain’t nothing I can or will do about it, so ... hopefully they will be done by 1:00am.

I went over to the iBook and just for the hell of it, plugged it in and hit the power button and ... it booted up and everything is running fine. I have no clue what the problem is or whether it will recur but for now everything is OK. Isn’t life strange?

So, I fixed a huge fruit and cheese plate, downloaded some pictures and began working on this much too long post, which I will now end with a simple ...

Go Yankees!!!

Billi Pod

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday - July Is In The History Books - WOW!

I have just finished recording the stats for the month of July 2008 and in doing so even moi is in awe over the number of things and stuff I was able to do during the month. In checking my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) I find that in July 2008 I saw/attended/did the following:

1 Broadway show ({title of show]); 17 Off-Broadway shows; 1 rock music concert (Jon Bon Jovi); and, 15 Yankee baseball games (their record - 9 wins and 6 losses).

I had brunch with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed and passed my semi-annual finger-up-the-butt session with my Urologist with flying colors (PSA 1.1). I regret that I didn’t get to spend the usual amount of time with my AA buddies (and you know who you are).

Of the 31 nights in the month there was only one, repeat, one where I stayed in the apartment without attending some sort of entertainment event either during the day or the evening. I think that in and off itself is pretty awesome.

Now let me talk just a bit about my life-style in The Big Apple. When I retired in 1995 I knew I wanted to spend extended time in New York City and for the following 3 years I spent ever expanding periods of time here. My time in the City was spent becoming one with The Big Apple at a rather frenetic pace because I viewed myself as being on vacation. In June 1998 I made the conscious decision to become a full time resident and I did. The thought did occur to me that I might become jaded once I settled into the routine of living here on a full-time basis. I did begin traveling overseas, usually for the month of May.

I had nothing to worry about. If anything my entertainment appetite increased and I found that I had developed an interesting mind set and that was ... “I am still on vacation,” so, if you are in NYC on vacation you simply cannot, repeat, cannot stay in your apartment, even if the weather sucks and you feel like shit. And, that has pretty much been my mantra since June of ‘98.

It is helped by the fact that I have very diverse entertainment interests - theater (Broadway, Off and Off-Off Broadway), music (classical and rock), baseball, movies, art, museums and galleries, walking, being a tour guide for out-of-town guests; and, people watching.

From a financial standpoint I save a great deal of money through my memberships in 4 papering services and The Theater Development Fund (TDF). If I can get a ticket to a Broadway or Off Broadway show for the cost of one of those fancy Latte’s from Starbucks, why the hell should I not take advantage of it? And this option is presented to me 365 days a year. Money is also saved by being a subscriber to The New York Philharmonic and by being a partial season ticket package holder for the Yankees.

Before the creation of this blog I wrote a newsletter to friends and family wherein I detailed my activities in The City, the good and the bad. I have tried to do the same since creating this blog in April. It is important for me to be open and honest about what is going on in my life. I am what and who I am.

What I don’t want, however, is to be viewed as writing and posting for the purpose of saying ... “Hey, Look At Me, I Am So Much Better Than All of the Rest of You Retards.” That simply is not me. That is not why I write and blog.

I know deep in my heart that I have been blessed beyond my ability to comprehend for the past 13.5 years. For that all I can say is ...

Thank You Higher Power.