Monday, September 29, 2008

The Barf Days Are Gone

I am happy to report that Sunday brought an end to The Barf Days, thankfully, so, yes, you loyal and thoughtful readers can stop sending the emails of love and encouragement, although some flowers would be nice.

Sunday’s weather wasn’t that great but it was tolerable. I pulled myself out of my “We got our asses kicked by Ole Miss” funk and watched the rain-delayed first game of the day/night doubleheader against the Fucksox up in decaying and fetid Fenway Park. Mike Mussina won his 20th game of the season for the first time in his 18-year career. Way to go Moose. The night game was anti-climatic and the Yankees lost, making their season record 89 wins and 73 losses, the same as the Mets. In this game the Yankees once again failed to get key hits with runners in scoring position.

My show last night was an Off-Broadway drama, “Kindness,” written by Adam Rapp, whose brother was in the original cast of the recently closed “Rent.” In an earlier post I gave a synopsis of the plot. The show is very well written and very well acted and the sold-out house at Playwrights Horizon was really into it, as was I. After the show I spotted Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live.

Today, Monday, started out with bright sunshine and few clouds. It is now mid-afternoon and it has gotten cloudy and gray again. I did most of my usual Monday chores, including my two trips to the ‘hood grocery stores. I am now set food-wise for the week.

Tonight I will see “Burn After Reading” at the ‘hood theater at 62nd and 1st. Looking forward to that.

The rest of the week is shaping up, as follows:

Tuesday - 7:00 “Young Frankenstein” - Broadway. I saw this Mel Brooks musical in its very last preview performance and enjoyed it a lot. When it appeared recently on TDF I thought that I would like to see it again, so I will. I kinda need to laugh. (discounted TDF ticket)

Wednesday - 7:30 New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5; Bernice Rands’ chains like the sea (yes, it is all in lower case and it is the world premiere of a work commissioned by the NY Phil - Oh, dear?); and, Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3. (series subscription)

Thursday - open at the moment.

Friday - 8:00 “Speed the Plow” - Broadway. “Two-time Emmy Award winner Jeremy Piven, three-time Tony Award nominee Raul Esparza and televisions hottest new star Elisabeth Moss star in Speed-The-Plow, the brand-new production of David Mamets outrageous take on sex and power in Hollywood. It is a behind the scenes story of handshaking, dealbreaking, backstabbing and moviemaking as only Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet can tell it” This will be the second preview performance. (discounted TDF ticket).

Saturday - 8:00 “Boys Life” - Off-Broadway. “20 years after its acclaimed world premiere, Howard Korder's Boy's Life will receive its first major New York remounting. Originally produced in 1988, Boy's Life is a stinging and candid look at three college buddies making their way in the big city. As they maneuver between life and sex in New York, Korder lacerates the prolonged adolescence that often takes the place of modern manhood” In the cast is Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame. (discounted TDF ticket).

Sunday - open at the moment.

Yep, I think the Barf Days are over.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod.

The Yankee & Mets Season

For the first time since 1993 (excluding the 1994 strike) neither New York team will be in the post season. They both had their shots and they both choked, bringing sadness and then anger to their loyal fans. I don’t know which team is more demoralizing - the Yankees playing like a AA team for most of the season or the Mets imploding in the final 10 days ala 2007.

Both teams will be in new stadiums at the beginning of next season resulting in higher everything for fans. Trust me, expectations will surpass the increased costs and it will turn ugly unless both teams reach the playoffs.

Do the fans expect a World Series ring every year? No! But, we expect these two premiere teams to be active in October.

You are warned Yankee and Mets ownership - you are warned!!!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Barf Days!!

A week ago I posted about a Four Bang Day in the Big Apple. Now 7 days later, in the name of Truth and Honesty in Reporting, I have to record multiple Barf Days, so, please take a deep breath, locate your Pepto-Bismol, and follow me on this journey into Barf Land.

Day One - Friday - The weather was nasty, gray and rainy, so I basically just chilled in the pad during the day. My long-term planning had been to watch the first of the final 3 games of the Yankee season, to be played at Fenway Park against the Fucksox. You know now that the Yankees have been eliminated from the post season and the only issue was whether the Rays or The Fucksox would win the AL East. No way was I going to stay in to watch the game, so I had gotten a complimentary ticket to see an Off-Broadway show, “Love, Peace, Robbery,” at the theater on E 59th Street, one of my favorite venues.

I should have been warned because I knew that the show was set in Cork, Ireland, and involved two serial thieves just released from prison. It was 90 minutes without intermission. It, unfortunately, involved every Irish stereotype, including almost indecipherable brogues and slang. The guys drank, got drunk and yelled and cursed at each other and the other characters. It was bad, very bad. Barf One!!

When I got back to the apartment and turned on the TV I found out that the Yankee game had been delayed due to rain and that they were kicking butt, ultimately winning 19-8, thereby giving the AL East title to The Tampa Bay Rays. Fuck you Fucksox.

Despite the Yankee humiliation of The Fucksox, it was still a Barf Day, so, Barf One!

Day Two - Saturday

It was another dark and gloomy day. My schedule for this day was built around the 12:30pm Gator/Ole Miss game. I knew it wasn’t being carried on local TV but I had planned to listen to the radio broadcast online. Well, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the radio feed, so I had to resort to watching it in 30 second summaries on That sucked. Barf Two!!

How can I describe the agony of the game? I can’t. To lose to an unranked team while ranked #4 and playing in The Swamp is unfathomable, but, as you know, it happened. The Gators were terrible when it counted and they paid the ultimate price, humiliation in front of a stadium full of loyal fans. This has to rank at a double barf - Barf Three and Barf Four!!!!

The Yankee/Fucksox game was rained out so a day/night doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday. The only important thing about this is Mike Mussina's attempt to win 20 games for the first time in his ML career.

I pulled myself out of my deep funk and headed out to my Off-Broadway show, “Johnny On A Spot,” which was described as ...”a screwball comedy”... and, man, did I need something funny. Well, I didn’t get it. The show, which I described in a previous post, was written in 1942 (which I didn’t know), is set in an unnamed state in the deep South, and features every conceivable southern cliché - racism, sexism, alcoholism, cronyism, bible-thumping, corruption, etc., etc., etc. The large cast spewed out southern accents so deep and phony that even I couldn’t understand half of what was said. The house was almost full. At intermission I joined a stream of people headed out of the theater. Barf Five!!!!!

Back at the apartment my spirits were somewhat bolstered by watching ‘Bama kicking Bulldog butt. It didn’t save the day, however.

This is being written on Sunday afternoon and it has been lightly raining most of the day. I am watching the first of the two Yankee/Fucksox games. Tonight I have a 7:00 Off-Broadway show, “Kindness,” and I am praying that it will stop the barfing experiences - enuff is enuff, already.

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday - A Rainy and Gloomy Day

It is a rainy and gloomy day in The Big Apple and I think it reflects what is happening on Wall Street, in Washington and in all of the nooks and crannies across the U. S. of A.

I don’t pretend to understand what has happened to the economy, who is to blame, what needs to be done (and by whom) to keep this country from sliding further into “the economic crater,” to borrow John McCain’s phrase.

And, speaking of McCain - what is it with him? Now as all of you faithful and loyal readers know, I have stayed away from the political scene since this blog was born back in April, but ... really ... he calls Letterman and cancels his appearance because he is “heading back to Washington” and then he is taped getting a makeover prior to appearing with Katie Couric. And, then he stays in NYC until Thursday morning???????

And, the whole “I am suspending my campaign and canceling my appearance at the Presidential Debate” thing and then he changes his mind and will appear??????

There is a rumor floating around that he is on the verge of a emotional and physical breakdown. I’m not making this up, the rumor that is.

Are we sure we want a self-proclaimed “MAVERICK” in the White House with his finger above the nuclear red button? I can almost hear it now ... “Oh, what the fuck, I am tired of all this, no more talk, we’ll just nuke ‘em, there, it's done - now it’s time for my nap.”

OK, OK, I know I have invited rants and raves, so ... have at it. Now on to other things --

My entertainment pallet for the rest of the week is now complete. It is not what I expected to be doing, which was watching the last 3 regular season Yankee games against The Fucksox up in Fenway Park, but ... I do have some interesting sounding shows lined up.

Friday - 8:30 “Love, Peace, Robbery” - “Uproarious and bittersweet, this play spins the escapades of Gary and Darren- both straight out of prison. Living with a curfew and the broken pieces of their pasts, they confront life back on the streets of Cork. Two guys who prove that there may actually be honor among thieves.” (complimentary ticket).

Saturday - 12:30 Gators vs. Ole Miss @ The Swamp;

8:00 “Johnny On A Spot” - “A screwball comedy about a politician who dies in a whorehouse on the eve of his election to the United States Senate. His campaign manager's frantic efforts to cover up the story should seem very familiar in the wake of the Eliot Spitzer scandal. Attempts are made to keep him “alive” long enough to win the election.” (complimentary ticket).

Sunday - 7:00 “Kindness” - “An ailing mother and her teenaged son flee Illinois and a crumbling marriage for the relative calm and safety of a midtown Manhattan hotel. Mom holds tickets to a popular musical about love among bohemians. Her son isn't interested. So Mom takes a kindly cabdriver instead, while the boy entertains an enigmatic, potentially dangerous young woman from down the hall. Adam Rapp's Kindness is a play about the possibility for sympathy in a harsh world, and the meaning of mercy in the face of devastating circumstances.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Wednesday night’s show, “Break Out,” was entertaining and the cast of young Korean dancers was very talented and energetic. Broadway's “To Be or Not to Be” was very well acted and for the most part funny, if a bit dated.

Already have things lined up for next week, including two Broadway shows, a New York Philharmonic concert and an Off-Broadway show starring Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame. More details later.

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday - Good Day from the Big Apple

Man, it is a nightmare on the streets in and around my Eastside ‘hood due to all of the activities at the United Nations. The whole area is in a lock-down mode and police are everywhere, directing one long convoy after another of black cars with flashing lights and black tinted windows. Everyone in uniform looks grim, mean and unhappy.

I ask you - all of this to what avail? I mean, seriously, what does the United Nations accomplish? It very much reminds me of the lyrics from the song that John Adams sings about the Continental Congress 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....”

OK, on to other more important things, like what has happened, and is happening, in my life --

Last night the Yankees were officially eliminated from the post season even though they won their game against Toronto. They have 2 more games up there and then the final 3 games against The Fucksox at Fenway Park. Regardless of the outcome of those games it will be a bitter pill to swallow, to say the least. It is so anti-climatic and disheartening to have the Yankee season over before the season is officially over. I hate it. Fuck!!

Monday night I saw the newest version of Forbidden Broadway called “Forbidden Broadway Goes To Rehab” - “The latest edition of New York's favorite musical comedy pokes fun at South Pacific, In The Heights, August: Osage County, Gypsy, Young Frankenstein - and more - all in one evening! Featuring costumes by legendary designer Alvin Colt, hilarious spoofs of Broadway's best songs, and madcap impressions by a stellar cast, Forbidden Broadway is more uproarious than ever before!” (discounted TDF ticket).

It was very funny as usual and the audience was really into it. Several members of the cast of “13” where in attendance and after the show I got an opportunity to talk with them briefly and told them how much I had enjoyed their show. They seemed to appreciate my comments and I could almost read their minds ....”Wow, this guy is at least 107 years old and he liked our show - maybe we do have a chance to make it on B’way after all.”

Bad news - after 27 years Off-Broadway "Forbidden Broadway" will close on January 15, 2009. I understand, unofficially of course, that the creative force behind the show, Gerard Alessandrini, is just burned-out. I hope he changes his mind.

Speaking of closings - [tos] just couldn't find an audience and is closing soon. Too bad for us tossers. It was a lot of fun. Rumors are that it might move back to Off-Broadway. We will see.

Last night was the first of my series subscription New York Philharmonic concerts. The program was: The U,S, premiere of Steven Stucky’s Rhapsodies for Orchestra (commissioned by the NY Philharmonic); Rachmanioff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by Yefim Bronfman; after intermission - Ravel’s Suite from Mother Goose; and, Bartok’s Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin.

I hated the new work, which was another atonal dissonant piece of drek, loved the Rachomanioff, tolerated the Ravel, and hated the Bartok, which was another atonal piece of crap. The audience in my area wasn’t too happy overall with the concert and were pretty vocal about it afterwards.

Tonight, Wednesday, I am going down to Union Square to see a new work called “Break Out” - “Direct from London and Seoul comes BREAK OUT, an electrifying, new show from SevenSense, Inc. and the producers of JUMP! Hip-hop and break-dance meet cops-and-robbers comedy in this jaw-dropping, action-packed adventure, featuring a B-Boy crew that's simply dazzling. Featuring a cast of nuns, nurses and break-dancing villains in the craziest jail break of all time, Break Out is a fun-packed, madcap night out featuring top quality performers, including some of Korea's internationally award-winning B-Boys.” I have a complimentary ticket. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it? There is a lot of favorable buzz about the show.

Thursday night I am seeing a new Broadway show in previews called “To Be Or Not To Be” - “ This new Broadway comedy is based on the 1942 motion picture of the same name. David Rasche (Moonlight and Magnolias) and Jan Maxwell (Coram Boy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) portray Joseph and Maria Tura as they are about to open yet another smash with their theatrical troupe in the Polski Theatre in 1939 Warsaw. As the German invasion gets underway, the theatre is closed by the censors, forcing the troupe to face desperate times. But when a handsome young bomber pilot enlists their help to catch a spy, what is a group of actors to do? This black comedy is an ingenious commentary on the World War II era and a tribute to the timeless joys of the theatre.” (discounted TDF ticket).

At the moment Friday, Saturday and Sunday remain open, but you know what? I think I will be able to find something interesting to do in The Big Apple. One thing for certain - high on my agenda are two movies, “Burn After Reading” and “Ghost Town.”

Oh, I can’t find my old Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball cap so I will buy a new Tampa Bay Rays cap at Modell’s ... I mean, any team other than the Fucksox, right?

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday - The Final Game At The House That Ruth Built

The weather for the last game to be played at The House That Ruth Built was great, in the 70s as game time approached. I took the precaution of putting on a light black sweater under my timeworn NY Yankee game shirt that I have been wearing to each game since 1999. Yes 1999, and it will be retired just as will the stadium.

I left the apartment at 5:30 and was at Yankee Stadium at 6:15. The ceremony was to begin around 7:00. I had my iPhone and a disposable 27-shot camera. I began walking around the stadium taking pictures and it was my intention to walk all the way around the stadium for the last time but when I got about 1/2 way around I came up to a police barricade and was informed that this was as far as I could go. When I asked why the cop just shrugged and said he didn’t know. So ...

I decided to go into the stadium. Security was somewhat tighter than usual. I was in my seat, Loge Section 530, row E, seat 5, at 6:45. The stadium was full already. Seated to my left was a late 30s couple who had their 8 week old son with them and enough camera equipment to have shot an independent film. The guy said that he could hardly wait until his son is old enough to understand that he was at the final game in The House That Ruth Built. Pretty awesome.

The ceremony started just a bit before 7:00 with the US Army Band playing the National Anthem. Several people around me commented afterwards that they thought it should have been the recording of the rendition sung by Robert Merrill and I think I kinda agree.

Anyway, the ceremony consisted of introductions of living Yankee legends and the family of those legends no longer with us. Babe Ruth’s daughter threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Interestingly, the person who received the loudest and longest ovation was Bernie Williams, who was making his first visit back to the stadium in two years. Second was Yogi Berra. The whole thing was very emotional, of course.

When the field was cleared there was a special presentation to Derek Jeter in recognition of his historic milestone in surpassing Lou Gehrig’s record for most hits in the stadium.

Then it was time for the game to begin with the first pitch at 8:35. Once the game got started the stadium got eerily quiet as if all of the emotion of the fans had been drained by the ceremonies. I know I felt that way for awhile. As the game went on the enthusiasm returned and the crowd got really into what was happening on the field. Literally every play was the subject of almost blinding flashes.

I won’t bore you with the details of the game. If you are a baseball fan you know them, if not, you could care less. Suffice to say that the Yankees won 7-3. It was fitting that the last Yankee at-bat was by the Captain Derek Jeter. In the bottom of the 9th future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera came in to a stadium shaking roaring ovation. He got the final three outs and it was over. It was 11:47pm

As soon as the final out was recorded the police raced on the field. There was one streaker but he got only about 10 yards before he was swarmed by law enforcement. The players came back on the field and Jeter thanked the fans for their support and then the team, as a group, walked all the way around the stadium and back to the dugout. Again very emotional.

I left the stadium, boarded a packed subway at midnight and was back at the apartment at 12:45. It had been a long day and one I will never ever forget.

The first thing that I did was officially retire my worn and tattered NY Yankee game shirt as shown in the following photograph -

Go Yankees and Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 20, 2008 - It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This!!!

What an awesome day/night in The Big Apple.

It started with a very nice lunch and visit with Dwight & Joanne Wells of Key West, FL, at Angus McIndoe on W. 44th Street. When lunch was over I walked with them up to the theater on 50th Street where Altar Boyz is playing and then I walked back to the apartment while listening to the Yankees/Orioles game. The weather was terrific. Bang One!

It was a great game. The score was tied 0-0 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. Robinson Cano hit a single to drive in the winning run and the sold out crowd went crazy and the Yankees remain alive, at least until tomorrow’s games. Bang Two!!

The timing of the baseball game was great because as soon as the winning run scored it was time for the kickoff of the Gator/Tennessee game and, as all of you know by now, the Gators kicked butt, winning 30-6. It is great to be a part of the Gator Nation. Bang Three!!!

When the game was over it was time for me to head back to the theater district to see the new Broadway musical 13, which is in early previews. My discounted TDF ticket was excellent, in the orchestra, third row. The story follows a soon to be 13 year old Jewish boy who has moved with his mother from Manhattan to a small backwater town in Indiana. All of the 14 cast members are teenagers and the orchestra is also composed of mostly teens. Wow, there was so much energy and talent on that stage and the audience really got into the show. I liked it a lot and I just hope it can survive the critical reviews this type of show always receives. I will see it again, without a doubt. Bang Four!!!!

I was so energized by the show that I walked back to the apartment again.

Man, 4 out of 4 - doesn’t get any better than this.

Tomorrow will be the historic final game in The House That Ruth Built. They have moved back the schedule a bit with the ceremonies beginning at 7:00 and the first pitch of the game at 8:05 rather than 9:05 as previously reported. On both the radio and the TV broadcasts for the past several games, references have been made to a “super-special” surprise event right after the game ends. I have no clue what or who will be involved but my gut tells me it will be a musical performance from someone of the caliber of a Bruce Springstein or a Paul McCartny. We will see. I will take lots and lots of pixs.

Go Yankees and Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Friday, September 19, 2008

Breaking News - Paris Here I Come

Yep, the details are now complete and I will be making an October trip to Paris to spend a week with my former law school roommate David West of Gainesville, FL. Actually, I think it would be fairer to describe David as 1/2 Floridian and 1/2 Parisian. He feels about Paris the same way I feel about New York City so when he retired at the very early age of 58 1/2 he began traveling and spending ever increasing time in Paris.

He has gravitated to the Latin Quarter area and has rented apartments for extended periods of time in basically the same ‘hood. In 2007 I spent a week with him following a week in London. I had been to Paris twice before as part of Globus structured tours but this time was certainly different because it gave me the opportunity to see Paris thorough the eyes of a non-tourist. I spent a lot of time just wandering around, getting to know different areas of the city. This is what I expect to do this time also.

David has rented an apartment for 3 months this fall and was gracious enough to extend me an open invitation, which I happily accepted. This apartment is just blocks away from the apartment he had in 2007 and that is good because I feel very comfortable in his ‘hood.

I will depart JFK at 7:00pm on Wednesday, October 15th, arriving at Paris at 8:50am on Thursday. The apartment address is: 27 Rue Lacepede. I will depart Paris at 1:15pm on Wednesday, October 22nd, arriving at JFK at 3:15pm EST the same day.

Really looking forward to this new adventure.

Oh, the final home game ticket didn’t sell on Stub Hub, so I wasn’t presented with the dilemma of choosing between baseball history and ka-ching ka-ching.

On Saturday I am having lunch with longtime friends Dwight and Joanne Wells of Key West, FL, who are in The City for a week or so of theater stuff and other things. We will meet up at my favorite theater district restaurant, Angus McIndoe, on 44th Street. When we finish I will come on back to the apartment to watch the Gators kick Tennessee’s butt. Dwight and Joanne will see Altar Boyz, at my suggestion. On Thursday night they saw Spring Awakening, also at my suggestion. I am sure we will get together again sometime during their stay.

Tonight is my next-to-last game at The House That Ruth Built. Even with the win last night the Yankees record for games that I have seen remains woeful, 17 wins and 14 losses. I was seated in a area with lots of other season ticket holders and to a person we were really upset and down about this season and expecting only bad news when the results of the “Relocation Pool” are released. Oh well ...

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday Night - Back From the New York Philharmonic Opening Night Concert

It is difficult for me to adequately express in writing how I feel right now as I have gotten back to the apartment after being in the audience for the Opening Night Concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. It was awesome.

The audience was filled with tuxes and gowns and bling-bling because there was a patrons only cocktail party before the concert began. It didn’t include moi. I was, however, properly dressed in a suit and tie, black, of course. The concert was televised live on PBS.

My seat was in the general area of my seats for my series subscriptions, although the Opening Night is not included in the subscription package. I am in the rear orchestra, house left, where I have been for the past 5 years.

Midway into the opening number, Hector Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, I was almost overcome with emotion as I thought about how fortunate I was to be in this particular moment in time, in this historic venue in the Greatest City in the World. I had tears in my eyes, no joke. I silently thanked my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, for continuing to give me the opportunities to live out the dreams of a lifetime. Kinda dramatic, I know, but it is actually how I felt and I just wanted to share it with you.

The second number was Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra featuring Sir James Galway. It was beautiful. After intermission was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor and it was breathtaking. When it ended the audience gave the orchestra a thunderous standing ovation, including multiple curtain calls for the conductor Lorin Maazel.

As I walked out of Avery Fisher Hall it was 9:30 and the weather was cool but nice, so I knew that I just had to walk leisurely back to the apartment, a distance of about 2.0 miles. As I walked I also listened to the end of the Yankees/White Sox game, which the Yankees won 5-1. I say walking, but it felt as if I was floating. it really did. As I write this I still have a smile on my face.

Now, more about the 2008/09 New York Philharmonic season for me. I have subscribed to 3 series of 7 concerts each, beginning on September 23rd and ending on June 24th. As a perk for being a subscriber I am given vouchers for free tickets to 3 additional concerts, which I haven’t selected yet. In addition to tonight’s Opening Night concert, I have also purchased tickets to 2 additional special concerts: Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. Resurrection, on December 8th; and, The New Year’s Eve Concert on December 31st. And, in keeping with my long-standing holiday tradition I will purchase a ticket to the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass with the Canadian Brass Holiday Concert on December 14th.

I have lots of other stuff to write about, including an upcoming trip, but I will wait until tomorrow, so ...

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Monday, September 15, 2008

Baseball and Classical Music Upcoming

I have previously posted that the upcoming week will be mostly devoted to baseball, it being the final home games in The House That Ruth Built, but I also have other stuff already scheduled to add to the mix. This is what the upcoming week looks like:

Monday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox (season ticket package).

Tuesday - 9:45 - followup appointment with eye doctor;

7:05 - Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox (extra ticket).

NOTE: Tuesday will mark five years since my dear friend Ray Coker, of Lakeland, left us. Ray, you are still missed!! My thoughts and prayers go out to Bud & Louise; Hack & Sarah; and, Ginger.

Wednesday - 7:30 - The New York Philharmonic Opening Night Gala @ Lincoln Center. This is Lorin Maazel’s last season as Musical Director. The program is: Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture; Ebert’s Flute Concerto; and, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. ( very expensive full-price ticket)

Thursday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox (extra ticket).

Friday - 7:05 - Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (season ticket package).

Saturday - 3:30 - stay in to watch the Florida Gators kick Tennessee’s butt. Go Gators!!

8:00 - “13” - Broadway - A musical, in previews, featuring an all-teen cast, about a popular New York kid who must relocate to Indiana. (discounted TDF ticket),

Sunday - 8:05 - Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles. This is the final regular season home game to be played in The House That Ruth Built. It is my understanding that the ceremonies will start at 8:00 and that the first pitch won’t be until 9:05. Thank you ESPN. (extra ticket).

OK, in the name of truth and honesty in reporting to you, my longtime friends and readers, I must at this point make a disclosure. I put my ticket up for sale on Stub Hub a week ago for, gasp, $1500.00. No takers yet and there probably won’t be. But, if there is then I will have to decide which wins out - baseball history or offsetting the price increase in next year’s season ticket package. Will keep you advised.

So, I think you will agree that it will be an interesting week for moi in The Big Apple.

In closing, I want to say HAPPY 28TH BIRTHDAY to my grandson Alex Falletta of Elgin, SC. Also, congratulations on the new job - great!!

Go Yankees and Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday’s Game Was A Rain Out

It was a dark and nasty day on Friday and my entertainment event was the 7:05pm Yankee/Tampa Bay game at The House That Ruth Built. I have tickets to 6 of the remaining 10 home games, all bought early in the season in anticipation and expectation that the games would be meaningful in the pennant race. Well, I was wrong, dead wrong. Yes, I know, the Yankees are still technically in the wild-card race but everyone, including the team, knows that they are out of it. I mean, get real people, the season is fucking over.

Well, after about a two hour rain delay the game was postponed and was rescheduled today as the night game of a day/night doubleheader. I will be there, of course. That will make my total for the season - 33 games.

I don’t intend to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what went wrong, but I sensed something wasn’t right with these guys early on in the season. The following is an extract from a posting way back on May 1st:

“I didn’t go out to Yankee stadium last night for the second game against Detroit - I just didn’t feel like it. Actually, not a bad thing because once again the Yankees sucked. Even worse news - Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes are all on the Disabled List. Not good. I know it is early in the season but I just don’t see any fire in the team and they appear to me to be lethargic and lackadaisical, almost as if they were sending a message to Ownership that Joe Torre should never have been let-go, fired, whatever. Maybe that is overly dramatic but it is how I honestly feel at this point.”

It will be interesting to see what changes will be made in the off-season.

Speaking of next season - I finally got the information package for season tickets for next year and it is called the “Relocation Program Guide For The New Yankee Stadium.” It is huge - 45 pages with a CD. “Relocation Plan” - doesn’t that sound scary? Yes, it does, but the real scary part is the draconian language in the “Plan” as they attempt to describe the changes, which are many. I had only 5 days to decided what I wanted to do for next year.

For me, the biggest change is the elimination of the 20-game Flex Plan that I have purchased each year since 1999. This plan included the Opening Game and then your choice of dates for the remaining 19 games. Of course, I also bought extra tickets. For next year it is replaced with a 20-game plan that begins with the second home game and includes every 4th game thereafter. Damn!

There are other options for lesser game packages, including Friday, Saturday or Sunday games. None of them interested me, so I opted for, gasp, the 41-game package - every other game, beginning with Opening Day. The program does permit ticket exchange but the details are not spelled-out. I opted for a seat location in the area which appears to be similar to the Loge section in the old stadium.

Having made these decisions I then had to go online and fill out The Relocation Program Questionnaire, about plan type and seat location preferences. The completion of the questionnaire placed me in a “Relocation Pool” and, I think, the seat assignments will be based on prior season ticket history.

Once I receive my notification of seat assignment I will have only 72 hours to make a down payment or I get tossed out of the “Relocation Program” and lose my seniority. Only thing, no info about when the notifications will go out.

Thank you Yankee ownership, thank you so much. You really care about your loyal fans.

Damn, as I am writing this I am watching the first game of the Yankees/Tampa Bay doubleheader and it is the top of the 6th inning and the Yankees have been playing their usual lackluster game and they are losing 0-7. They suck!!!

Have things to do, so I will post this.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Friday, September 12, 2008

We Must Not Forget September 11, 2001

I have pretty much been in a funk for most of the day, something that has happened on each September 11th since 2001. Just got through watching a special 2 hour program on MSNBC that basically covered the tragedy as it was developing. It was so eerie and it brought back memories and feelings I thought I had stowed away.

I want to post two emails that I sent to friends and family back then, one around noon on 9/11 and the other on the next day:
Subject: September 11 - I am OK - NYC Under Siege
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 @ 12:07PM
From: Wanjr
To: Internet and Snail Mail List


Thanks for the emails. I am OK.

NYC is presently in an under-siege mode. I have just gotten back from the grocery store to put in supplies. It reminds me of Fla. just after a hurricane warning. On the corner of 51st and 2nd Ave. looking south you can see the dense smoke downtown. All mass transit is shut down. Manhattan is isolated now, no transportation in or out of the city. A steady stream of people walking uptown. It is scary and very emotional out on the street. Not sure how long my internet connection will stay up. On the TV they just announced that the police now want to clear the streets in Manhattan.

You know, I feel personally violated and very emotional about this whole thing right now - will keep you all advised.
Subject: September 12 - Thank You Dear Friends
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 @ 02:09PM
From: Wanjr
To: Internet and Snail Mail List

My dear friends:

The email and calls have helped me during a most difficult time - thank you my dear friends.

Like hundreds and thousands of New Yorkers I went to bed very late last night and awoke this morning very early. When I opened the door to get the 3 daily newspapers there was nothing so I dressed and went to the newsstand and only The Post and The Daily News were available - no New York Times. At 7:30am very few people were on the streets and there was almost no traffic. Was able to get a Post and a News, but no Times.

I feel very very unsettled and more emotional than I expected I would be, partly, I think, because I had such a link with the World Trade Center area. As many of you know, the beginning of the Norris Downtown Tour is the World Trade Center and its outside plaza. On Tuesdays the 1/2 TKTS booth offers advance tickets to Wednesday matinees and I had planned to go down there later in the day to get a matinee ticket, but I wouldn't have been there until noon or later.

I can understand the concept of the buildings being damaged, but the fact that they no longer exist is beyond my comprehension.

I felt so restless that I just had to get out of the apartment so I decided that I would take the subway up to Yankee stadium to swap my last night game ticket for the game tonight. It would be something to do, a distraction perhaps. The streets in the neighborhood were still virtually empty. On the way to the subway entrance you pass a Fire Department station and as I was walking past I observed groups of fireman still in dust covered gear washing each other with fire hoses. Their trucks and other equipment were covered with dust and soot. According to TV reports the fire department sustained major casualties yesterday when the buildings collapsed. I got tears in my eyes as I walked past and then I turned around and hollered ..... God bless you guys .... and several guys waved back. I cried and I am not ashamed to admit it.

I collected myself and got on the train. The subway was about 25% full. No one, and I mean no one, was talking even those who were traveling with someone. When I got to Yankee Stadium none of the businesses that border the stadium were open. The stadium was cordoned off with yellow tape and there was a very visible police presence. I asked the police officers about tonight's game and they said that the remaining games for the week had been canceled. I am not surprised. I came back to the apartment and the subways downtown were the same as the uptown ones with the exception that almost everyone was reading either the Post or the News - still no sign of The Times.

Reading between the lines from all of the local coverage I believe that the final death toll will be horrific. The scope of the physical damage is beyond description, the most often used phrase is ...... this looks like a war zone.

I don't know why I am writing this or even if I will send it.

We must never ever forget 9/11/01


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Early Wednesday Morning - Everything Is OK, Really.

Thanks for the emails, calls and stuff wanting to know why I haven’t posted in a week. Let me answer one and all - my daughter Kathi and son-in-law Dr. John were in the Big Apple for almost a week and they did lots of things and stuff, some with me and some without me. When I wasn’t with them I was doing my usual go-go-go routine. That’s it, plain and simple.

I have a lot to report and a lot of things to comment on, so ... be warned that stuff is coming in the next couple of days - I promise.

Billi Pod

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Awesome August 2008 Stats

Now that the record book is closed on August 2008 I have checked my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries), I find that during the month I saw/attended/did the following:

1 Broadway show ([title of show]}; 5 Off-Broadway shows; 12 shows at the 12th Annual New York Fringe Festival; 3 classical music concerts at the Mostly Mozart Festival @ Lincoln Center; 1 rock music concert (Neil Diamond); 3 Yankee baseball games (1 win and 2 losses) - through August I have seen a total of 27 games and their record is an abysmal 14 wins vs. 13 losses; and, 6 movies (Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, The Rocker, Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2, and College).

I had a nice lunch with Scott Reed and Benjamin Sears at Hooters and actually got them to begin texting me again. Thanks Guys! On Thursday the 28th I had the laser procedure, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), to reduce the intraocular pressure in my right eye and it was successful.

Was out of The City 4 nights for my trip down to Columbia, SC, to be with my granddaughter, Gina Falletta, when she received her BS degree from the University of South Carolina - way to go girl!

When all of these events are factored in I find that there were ONLY 2 nights that I stayed in the apartment without having attended some entertainment event either during the day or evening. That in and of itself is pretty awesome, in my humble opinion.

And, to keep my faithful and loyal readers up-to-date I posted 23 times to this blog. Yes, you are indeed welcome.

September will be interesting. I already have tickets to: 5 Broadway shows (Gypsy, Spring Awakening, A Tale of Two Cities, Equus, and 13-The Musical); The New York Philharmonic Opening Night Gala @ Lincoln Center; and 6 remaining Yankee games, including the last regular season game at The House That Ruth Built against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday night, the 21st.

The college football season has started and the Gators have begun their run toward the BCS Championship Game. Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday - An Interesting Upcoming Week

Yep, the first week of September is going to be awesome. On Tuesday my daughter Kathi Bendeck and her husband, Dr. John, from Columbia, SC, will arrive in the Big Apple and they will be staying at the Doubletree Hotel at 51st and Lexington, just 2 blocks from my apartment. They will be here until Monday the 8th.

As of this moment they have tickets for: “Young Frankenstein” (Broadway) for Wednesday matinee; “Enter Laughing” (Off-Broadway) for Thursday evening; and, “Jersey Boys” (Broadway) for Friday night. They intend to fill in the rest of their schedule once they get here and get settled in. We will get together on Tuesday evening for a “Welcome to The Big Apple” dinner. Both of them have been to The City before but they still have several tourist sites on their “to-visit” list. I have promised them that I will not hover over them (too much). Yeah, right ...

So, this is what my week looks like, factoring in Kathi & John --

Tuesday - meet up with K&J for dinner

Wednesday - 2:00 “Gypsy” with Patti Lupone - Broadway. I saw this in late previews and loved it so when it showed up on TDF I had to see it again. (discounted TDF ticket)

8:00 - “Spring Awakening” - Broadway. I love this show, having seen it when it was Off-Broadway and then during its Broadway previews with a stage seat, and then once it had opened with an orchestra seat. It has a new cast so I just had to see it again. (discounted TDF ticket)

Thursday - 8:00 “Enter Laughing” with K&J. This Off-Broadway show is playing at the York Theater, just 2 blocks from J&K’s hotel. I am a Patron of the York Theater Company. The show is a musical based on the book written by Carl Reiner about a Bronx teen-age boy who is trying to break into show business, much to the chagrin of his parents.They want him to become a pharmacist. I saw this earlier this year as a staged-reading and loved it. (discounted TDF ticket)

Friday - 8:00 “Beast” - Off-Broadway. “Two Iraqi War veterans - badly mutilated but as fiercely patriotic as ever - make their way home from a military hospital in Germany. Their marauding adventure across America takes them to Crawford, Texas, where they meet up with their Commander-in-Chief and offer a surefire solution to all his problems.” This is billed as a comedy, believe it or not. (discounted TDF ticket)

Saturday - 8:00 “A Tale of Two Cities” - Broadway. “A musical adaptation of the classic Dickens novel, set during the French Revolution” In previews. (discounted TDF ticket).

Sunday - open at the moment

Monday - 8:00 “Equus.” - Broadway. This show is in previews following an acclaimed run in London. It stars Daniel Radcliff of “Harry Potter” fame and Tony winner Richard Griffiths (“History Boys”). The story line is about a troubled young man who blinds six horses with a hoof pick. It features about 10 minutes of Radcliff in full-frontal nudity. I saw it and him 2 years ago in London and, of course, just had to see it and him again. (full price ticket).

So, I think you will agree with me - this is going to be a very good week in The Big Apple.

Saturday night I saw the just released movie “College” about 3 high school seniors who make a trip to a college to check out the party scene. They are “captured and used” by a fraternity that makes the guys in “Animal House’ look like choirboys. It is the very definition of a gross-out movie. TimeOut Magazine says: “See this and you will never take the SATs.” I agree.

My right eye is feeling and looking OK and I see my eye Dr. on Tuesday morning for a followup appointment.

I have lots of stuff to say about the woeful Yankees and my entertainment stats for the month of August, but will save all of that for a later posting.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod