Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday - Election Research - Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are welcome.

Billi Pod

Friday - Election Research - Part One

As most of you loyal and faithful readers know, I spend most of my free time searching the various information sources available to me here in the Big Apple, to-wit: The New York Times, The Daily News, The Post, The Village Voice, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News looking for important items that may have suffered from lack of broad exposure, for whatever reason(s).

I also rely heavily on: The Jon Stewart Show, The Colbert Report, Bill O’Reilly (God, I love that man), The Onion, and the World Wide Web aka the Internet.

When I find things, regardless of their sometimes controversial nature, I feel it my sworn responsibility to report/post them as part of my obligation to you for fair and impartial reporting. I must remain true to my mantra ... I report - you decide.

My recent research has discovered several very disturbing items regarding the upcoming election, involving each candidate, and I feel obligated to report each of them, so ...

I will start with a mailing from Cindy McCain, the wife of Senator John McCain. This is it in its entirety:
“My dear American Voter:

Normally, I don’t get out front and center like this, preferring instead to support my husband from the sidelines and let the pundits do the talking. But as Election Day draws ever nearer, I’d like to take this time to urge you to put “Country First” and cast your vote for my husband, John McCain! Because a vote for John McCain is not just a vote for experience, fortitude and American values, it’s also a vote for me, Cindy McCain, not tearing your ribcage open and spilling your steaming viscera into the street.

Let’s take back Washington and make America great again! Barack Obama has never fought for this great country like John McCain has. That’s a fact. So when you're in the election booth, ask yourself, do you want a president who believes in the strength of the American worker, or do you want me to rip off your limbs and use them to beat your skull to a bloody pile of skin and bone fragments? I think the choice is clear.

If you really think that a junior senator with no executive experience is the best person to lead us out of this economic crisis, then by all means vote for Obama. Just hope to God I never find out about it and, say, drive to your house in the dead of night, crawl through your bedroom window, and, in a calculated moment of seething rage, strangle you with my bare goddamn hands.

Do you really think Michelle Obama has the grace and assertiveness needed to be a good first lady? Do you think she has the poise and composure it takes? Consider this: Mrs. Obama might be younger and prettier than I am, but will she pull out your spine and howl like a hyena while drenched in the blood of your children? Because that’s just the sort of sick shit I’m prepared to do if you don’t vote for my husband. You hear that you Obama-supporting swing-state fucks? I'll fucking destroy you.

Oh, sure, I’m all smiles now. Got to give the cameras a happy face when they pull in for a close-up of me. Look at me. Look into my beady little eyes. See the way my delicate, birdlike head sits daintily on top of my poised, slender neck? Now imagine that head lunging in for the gruesome kill like the beak of a crazed, razor-taloned raptor intent on ripping open your jugular vein. Got the picture?

Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for this? How many millions of dollars of my own money I’ve put up to help finance my husband’s campaigns, only to see his character assassinated by members of his own party for decades? To see a shitbird like Karl Rove spread a rumor that John McCain had an illegitimate black baby and steal the South Carolina primary for Bush in 2000? To have the same party that condemned him as a “maverick” turn to him in desperation and champion the very qualities they once abhorred?

After all that, do you seriously think I’m going to stand idly by when the Democrats trot out a charismatic outsider-type of their own and blatantly steal my husband’s outsider act just at the moment of victory?


Now, please please get out there and vote McCain/Palin on November 4th.


Cindy McCain”
source: The Onion - Vol. 44, Issue 44

Wow!! Remember, I report - you decide.

Billi Pod

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday - lots to report

Monday and Tuesday were super blah days for me, mostly because of nasty, rainy, cold weather. It wasn’t made any better by a recurring problem with an upper crown that keeps coming loose. Had an emergency session with my dentist on Monday and was supposed to have my semiannual “cleaning/flossing-lecture” session on Tuesday, but, happily that was canceled at the last minute.

So my loyal and faithful readers, in the name of truth and honesty in reporting, and to maintain my reputation for integrity in blogging, I have to reveal that I had no entertainment events for either Monday or Tuesday. Yes ... there ... I have said it ... nothing ... nada. I can’t remember the last time this happened - 2 days/nights in a row staying in the apartment. It really did feel strange, eerie in fact.

The downtime did give me an opportunity to fill out my entertainment schedule for the next 8 days and if you take the time to read to the bottom of this posting I think you might agree that I have caught up and perhaps even exceeded my usual frenetic Big Apple entertainment schedule, so, without further ado --

Wednesday - 2:00 - “LaGuardia” - Off Broadway. “LaGuardia” takes place in 1945 on the last day of Fiorello H. LaGuardia’s third term as mayor of New York City. With colorful language and emotional integrity Mayor LaGuardia relates his rise to power and his successful fight against Tammany Hall and political corruption in New York City. Starring Tony LoBianco recreating his Tony winning Broadway performance.” (complimentary ticket)

8:00 - “Farragut North” - Off Broadway. “Stephen (John Gallagher, Jr.) is a wunderkind press secretary who has built a career that men twice his age would envy. During a tight presidential primary race, however, Stephen's meteoric rise falls prey to the backroom politics of more seasoned operatives, and his one night stand with a teenage staffer proves to be more complicated than casual. Farragut North is a classic tale of hubris set against a contemporary landscape about the lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it.” (discounted TDF ticket). The advance buzz on this show is very good.

After the show I will go downtown to the Lower Eastside to the trendy “Spitzers” to have a bite with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed. He will be working.

Thursday - this day starts off a bit differently with a 2:00 matinee, something that rarely happens on a Thursday.

2:00 - “Sessions” - Off Broadway. “Dr. Peter Peterson listens, advises and tests his patients. What good therapist wouldn't? At once a drama and a comedy with poignant and hilarious moments alike, Sessions is a new musical for a modern generation. After all, couldn't we all use a little therapy? Sessions offers a humorous, poignant and relatable look into the familiar worlds of self-help, personal growth and those long hours that many have spent on a therapist's couch.” (complimentary ticket).

8:00 - “Back Back Back” - Off Broadway. This is the very first preview performance of the world premiere - “Does greatness always come with a price? Can only someone with nothing to lose tell the whole truth? From the acclaimed writer of last season's MTC Stage II hit The Four Of Us and Bach at Leipzig comes a stirring new drama about America's favorite pastime. Back Back Back follows the turbulent careers of three very different teammates in baseball's steroid era whose clubhouse secrets bring them under federal scrutiny. This New York premiere reveals a riveting portrait of pressure, paranoia and payback in professional sports.” (discounted TDF ticket).

So, this all adds up to 4 shows in two mid-week days. Not bad, but there’s more ...

Friday - 8:00 - “American Buffalo” - Broadway. “ This new Broadway production of David Mamets noted comedic drama stars John Leguizamo, Cedric the Entertainer, and Haley Joel Osment. The play follows three small-time crooks who wax philosophically about society while conspiring to steal a rare and valuable coin from a neighborhood collector. Mr. Mamets stark, rapid-fire banter fuels this heist comedy and a heartbreaking portrait of criminal desperation.” (discounted TDF ticket)

This will be the first preview performance of this show and I am really looking forward to seeing it.

Saturday - today will revolve around the 3:00 Gators vs. Georgia game. Hopefully the Gators will kick butt.

Sunday - 7:00 - “Romantic Poetry” - Off Broadway. “From John Patrick Shanley, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Doubt comes this crackpot musical romance. Connie of Woodmere has just married Fred of Newark, but her exes are back in the picture and not sure they approve of the union. Mary of Greenpoint climbs Frankie of Little Italy's fire escape with amorous erotic intent - but things go awry as she reaches for her dream. They are all mad and they are all sane and they are all creating Romantic Poetry. Genuine emotion and the excitement of living an ideal crisscross this evening like a night of shooting stars.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Hum, opening night for this show was Tuesday and the early reviews ain’t very good. We will see.

Monday - 8:00 - “What’s That Smell?” - Off Broadway. “An absurd musical parody that charts the career of eternally up-and-coming (and fictitious) musical theater composer Jacob Sterling. A rare, up close and personal visit with an artist of questionable gifts who performs from his songbook and shares his human struggle to keep musical theater alive and well in the 21st century.” (discounted TDF ticket)

Tuesday - ELECTION DAY!!!! I will give you the benefit of my predictions in a later post.

8:00 - “The Atheist” - Off Broadway. “In this humorous play, Campbell Scott plays a crooked journalist who will do anything to make news. When Augustine turns a prominent local politician's tawdry tastes into a front page headline, the scandal backlashes with shocking consequences.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Kinda fitting for Election Day, don’t you think?

Wednesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring Lang Lang; and, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9. (subscription series). Hopefully I won’t encounter the “Grabbing Women.”

IN SUMMARY - for the upcoming 8 days I will see: 1 Broadway show; 7 Off Broadway shows; and, 1 classical music concert.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Since the last posting I saw the following Off Broadway shows: “Saturn Returns” (very good); “The Rise and Fall of Anne Hall” (excellent); and, “Fault Lines” (super-excellent).

I hope The Rays can make a comeback, but I have a very bad feeling in my gut about it. If not, it still has been a terrific run for them.

Go Gators and Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday - back into my Big Apple lifestyle

It is Saturday afternoon in The Big Apple. It is gloomy out and the Gators really kicked Kentucky’s butt, winning their Homecoming game by a score of 63-5. Bring it on Bulldogs - we will kick your butt too next Saturday!!

I have finished all of the delayed Paris Adventure postings and will now bring everyone up-to-date, so, starting with the trip from Paris back to JFK --

Wednesday - it was dark and dreary when I got up, finished packing, had my last Parisian breakfast of a croissant and coffee and was ready to head out at 9:00am. David did indeed come with me. We took the bus to the bus terminal at Gare l’Est and then walked the few short blocks to the mammoth train terminal Gare Nord. David made sure I got on the proper train headed to Charles de Gaulle airport. It was a few minutes before 10:00am.

The ride out to CDG went fine. Was at terminal 2 at 10:30am and then began long long lines starting with the check-in process (wasn't able to get an exit row), then passport control and finally a snail-paced security check-point. At all 3 locations people were very upset.

When I got to my gate at 12:15pm I remembered I hadn't gotten the Paris T-shirt that my doorman Georgie had requested. Dammit. Luckily I was able to find a place and got one in the proper size for 13 euro.

We boarded at 12:40pm and my row was full, I had an aisle seat. Just before we pushed away a guy who had an exit row aisle seat asked me if I would like to change seats with him so he could be with his friends who were seated next to me. Of course I said yes. Awesome. Thank you HP!!

We pushed back at 1:30pm and were in the air at 1:45pm. The flight itself went OK and the meal was passable. I couldn't sleep and the choice of movies pretty much sucked, so I spent the time doing crosswords and playing solitaire on the iBook.

A very nice lady was seated to my left - in her 50s, Irish, married to a college professor, lives in Milan, works for some mega-big insurance company, and was coming to NYC to make a presentation to a group of executives of another insurance company that is considering a pending merger proposal. We had a nice ongoing chat and that helped pass the time.

Not sure what time we touched down. I do know that I had my duffle, cleared passport control and customs and was at the SuperShuttle station around 4:40pm NYC time, or 10:40pm on my body clock.

OMG!! - then The Norris Travel Curse made an unexpected appearance. I was picked up around 5:00pm and I was seated up front next to the driver. I thought I was the last pickup because the van looked full. Just before we departed the driver's cellphone rang and he got into a heated argument, in Spanish, with his dispatcher.

On our way out we stopped at the new Jet Blue terminal and picked up a young couple and that began the problem. Their destination was West 188th Street, which is at the very and I mean very tip of northern Manhattan. To make matters worse, it was rush hour and the traffic was horrible in every direction.

We finally made it up to their destination. Everyone else in the van lived in the Eastside between 51st (me) and 57th Sts. and it was obvious to me that the driver hadn't wanted to pick up the last couple for this reason. Everyone, except me, was really upset and were actually yelling at the driver after he dropped the young couple off and we started the long and snail-paced ride down and across Manhattan.

Much too long story short - it was 7:10pm when I opened the door to the apartment, yes, the ride from JFK had taken 2 hours, when it usually takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour, max. Oh well, at least I was home.

Immediately went to the grocery store for breakfast stuff and fruit and then to a pizza place for 2 slices and a sausage roll. Partially unpacked.

Settled in to watch the Rays/Phillies game, fixed the pizza, ate it (ummmmmmm, so good) and then promptly fell asleep and missed the final 3 innings of the game. As you know, The Rays lost.

Woke up after midnight and then didn't crash until 3:30am NYC time. It was a very lonnnnnnnnnnng day.

Thursday - can be summarized as getting settled back in, including finishing unpacking, going through the accumulated mail, going to the laundry, going to both grocery stores to stock up hot food for the weekend and spending time on the internet working on my weekend entertainment schedule and updating the Paris Adventure postings.

Oh, when I stepped on the scales this morning I wasn't surprised to see that I had lost 5 lbs. during my Paris Adventure. Just goes to show what reduced portions and lots of walking will do.

Went to an Off-Broadway show called Peep Show Male (complimentary ticket) - “a new musical comedy set in a gay New York City go-go boy bar, features an original book by Dave McCracken and musical gems mined from the heyday of Vaudeville and Burlesque. The bar is filled with a crazy collection of regulars that really let loose, derisively ripping into each other and anyone else who crosses their neon doorway, including a young shy guy just looking for a drink and a lost newlywed straight couple from Minnesota.”

Man, was this a God-awful mess. Thank God there was an intermission because I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I walked the 2+ miles back to the apartment while listening to the Rays/Phillies game - way to go Rays.

Friday - spent most of the day working on bringing the Paris blog up-to-date. In the evening I saw a show at Lincoln Center with a discounted TDF ticket - Saturn Returns - “The planet Saturn's orbital return to its position at the moment of a person's birth happens every thirty years. In Saturn Returns, playwright Noah Haidle uses this phenomenon to take a look at one man - Gustin (to be played at the three different stages of his life by Robert Eli, John McMartin and James Rebhorn) - during these pivotal moments as he confronts the three women in his life (all to be played by Rosie Benton).”

This was an excellent show with good writing and terrific performances by the actors and it was nice to get back into the theater groove.

Have a show tonight, of course, and then two shows tomorrow. Will detail about them later.

Go Gators and Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday - The Orsay - adventure almost over

When I woke up this morning it was dark and gray out and then later it began to lightly rain. Not good for my last full day in Paris. Over the evening David and I had discussed our plans and had decided that if the weather was bad he would opt out of the Orsay venture and that was fine with me. It would be another day on my own in Paree. We had our usual Parisian breakfast - croissants and coffee - and basically just chilled for the morning. Around noon it stopped raining but it was still nasty and chilly. I wisely decided not to walk to the museum this time, electing instead to take two connecting buses.

I left the apartment at 1:30pm, was on the first bus at 1:40pm and at the Orsay at 2:00pm. Big problem upon arrival - it had begun to lightly rain again and there was a long line at the ticketing area. Damn and double damn.

Now about the Orsay - the Musee d’Orsay houses French art of the 1800s (specifically 1848-1914) and picks up where the Louvre’s art collection leaves off. This means Impressionism. The Orsay houses the best general collection anywhere of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, Cezanne , and Gauguin. It is my favorite Paris art museum. The reason for the crowd? Well, the Louvre is closed on Tuesday, that is why, and this is something I knew about but had forgotten to take into consideration in my planning.

This is what it looked like outside when I arrived --

Dammit - no way was I going to leave Paris without the Orsay, no way, so ... at 2:05pm I took out my umbrella and got into line. Luckily in about 15 minutes the rain stopped but it still took a long time to get inside the exhibition area because of a thorough security check and mandatory checking of backpacks. I was inside and ready to go at 2:50pm.

This is the main concourse inside --

I walked the bottom floor and then went to the upper level, 5th floor, and began making my way through the various rooms. There was a special exhibition investigating Monet’s influence on Picasso but the line for it was way way too long so I reluctantly passed.

Somewhere around 4:45 I came upon 2 Monet paintings that seemed to capture the same scenes David and I saw on our Giverny day-trip. Here they are --

And these are the last pictures I took on this 2008 Paris Adventure - how very fitting.

It had stopped raining so I again decided to walk back to the apartment. I walked nearly the entire length of Boulevard St. Germain to rue Monge and later calculated the distance to be 2.5 miles.

David had a plan for my last night in Paris. We took the Metro back to the St. Germain des Pres district (through which I had walked) and went to a restaurant called the Brasserie St. Benedict. It was a great choice because the meal was outstanding - I had soup l’onion, baked salmon and then shared a creme brulee with David.

We were back at the apartment at 10:30pm and I began the packing process. Will get up around 7:00am in the morning so I will have plenty of time to get to the airport no later than 11:00am for my flight departure time of 1:15pm. David remains adamant in his plan to go with me to the train station Gare Nord, although I really don’t need to be escorted there. But, this is his decision.

This will be my last posting from Paris. The next one will be when I get back to The Big Apple and get settled in.

This wonderful time far exceeded my expectations and I want to thank my dear friend and fraternity brother David West for his hospitality and friendship. THANK YOU ROOMIE!!!

Billi Pod

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday - I Venture to the Tomb of the Known Soldier

As mentioned in the last posting, today was to be another “on my own” day. I had a multitude of options, of course, and I ended up electing to visit Napoleon's Tomb at the Hotel des Invalides, which also houses The French Army Museums, so I would get two cultural events for the price of one.

David urged me to take public transportation but the weather was so nice that I opted instead to walk, a distance I later calculated to be a little over 3.5 miles on the route I took from the apartment to the Seine and then along the Seine to des Invalides. I left the apartment around noon and was at the tomb at 1:30pm. On arrival I discovered that it was undergoing substantial maintenance in the entrance area but that was really no problem.

This picture is ... tada ... Napoleon’s Tomb.

Of course others besides the Emperor are buried in the church, including family members and other war heroes.

Oh, speaking of members - did you know that it is alleged that Napoleon's penis was removed during the autopsy following his death and ultimately made its way into the hands (pun intended) of a recently deceased American urologist. For reasons unknown to me, David seems to be obsessed with this little known so-called “fact,” so I want to share with him and you, my faithful and loyal readers, a website that debunks the myth:

Hey, I report - you decide.

Anyway, after completing my tour of the tomb I then went to The Army Museums. The east wing traces uniforms and weapons through French history, from Louis XIV to World War I, with emphasis on Napoleon. I have to admit that I was about to OD on Napoleon so I pretty much just walked through this exhibition.

The west wing is devoted to weapons through the ages, including World War I. I spent a bit more time here.

The World War II Wing was the highlight. It is a series of rooms devoted to different aspects of the war. beginning with the Treaty of Versailles and ending with the surrender of Japan. I’ll bet you, like me, didn’t know that it was General Charles de Gaulle who won the war for us. Yes, the message was loud and clear - without his leadership and the courage of the brave French military, the Eastern half of the US would be under Nazi rule and the Western half under the Japanese. Now you know.

Anyway, at 4:15 I had had enough, so I headed out. Thought I would take buses back to the ‘hood, but the weather was still awesome so I decided to walk back. I took a different route which took me up to the Montparnarsse tower and the district and then back along Boulevard Montparnarsse to rue Monge and the apartment. I calculated the distance to be 4.0 miles, making the total for today 7.5 miles, not including the walks inside the museums. Not bad, Billi Pod, not bad at all.

It was 5:45 when I got back to the apartment and I have to admit to being a bit tired. In fact, I took a brief nap to rest my aching legs.

I told David that no way was I walking outside of the ‘hood, so dinner later in the evening was at the same restaurant where we dined the night of my arrival. I had a great Veal entree.

This was another awesome day in Paree.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I think I will go to the Musee d’Orsay, just across the Seine from the Louvre. Not sure if David will join me or not. Rain is predicted. I can feel the beginning of the mental countdown to departure.

Billi Pod

Sunday in Paris with Bill, David, Napoleon & Josephine

It was a chilly but beautiful morning. After having the usual croissants and coffee we headed out to Napoleon and Josephine’s chateau at Malmaison. We took the Metro (subway) for about 20 minutes to La Defense and then switched to a bus for the 5 mile trip to the chateau.

This was the home, with three hundred acres, Josephine bought for them while he was away fighting in Egypt. He brought back obelisks, but not the money she had expected.

We arrived at the property at noon to find that the house was closed for lunch. We had double-checked the hours of operation before leaving Paris but we were informed that our information was in error. No problem because it gave us time to walk around the grounds where Josephine had planted acres of roses and other flowering bushes.

It also gave me an opportunity to talk with David about his recent trip to the Scandinavian countries, something that is still on my “places-to-go” list.

At 1:30 we, and approximately 15 other history buffs, went in and wandered through the small three story chateau. The two most interesting rooms for us was Napoleon's small consul room and his study were he wrote the Napoleonic Code which still is the basic law in France and some areas of the law in New Orleans. After their divorce, due to his unfilled desire to have an heir with her, she lived at the chateau until her death in her formal bedroom, which still has the original, bed, furniture, etc. She died before he was defeated at Waterloo, but he chose to return to this small empty chateau to await what the British would do with him. They eventually decided he should be shipped to the island of Helena, where he died.

His bed is on the top and hers is the bottom.

After leaving the chateau we took the bus back the the La Defense area to switch to the Paris Metro. It was around 3:30 p.m. When we got to the terminal David insisted that we take the escalators up and out of the station. I didn’t know why, but what the hell, why not, thought I - if this is what “he” wants to do. Well, the reason he insisted became evident when I saw the awesome complex outside. No joke, it was breath-taking. The ultra-modern high-rise buildings that make up the complex of La Defense, where 150,000 work each day, is very very strikingly different from any other place in Paris, to say the least. This picture doesn’t do it justice.

When we got back to the ‘hood we went into a brasserie to hear one of David’s friends perform. The guy’s name is Jessie and he is an Apache Indian and is a very talented performer.

Headed back to the apartment, chilled a bit and then had dinner at a restaurant in the ‘hood.

This was an great day. I am certain that I would never have gone to the chateau on my own and I have David to thank for this excellent experience.

Monday I will be on my own again and I think that I am going to do Napoleon’s Tomb and then The Army War Museums.

Again, thanks roomie for your help in preparing this post.

Hum ... maybe I will start “A Moveable Feast” tomorrow.

Billi Pod

Saturday - on my own in Paris

Last night David and I agreed that today I would be on my own during the day and then in the early evening I would come back to the apartment, chill, and then we would have dinner in the ‘hood.

So, we started the day enjoying coffee and croissants out doors at the Cafe Contrescarpe two blocks uphill from the apartment. It sits on the beautiful circular place Contrescarpe which is at the head of the famous pedestrian street rue Mouffetard. It is also the starting point for rue Cardinal Lemoine which goes past Ernest Hemingway's 1920s apartment where he wrote "The Sun Also Rises" and wrote about in "The Moveable Feast," his memoir of his early days in Paris. When we finished our croissants we went to a bookstore and David bought me a copy of “The Movable Feast,” which he gave to me with instructions that I HAD to read it while in Paris. Hum ... I wonder ...

While we were in the area we checked out the Hotel Grand Ecoles, across from Papa Hemingway's place, for future visitors who may not care for the limited space in David's apartments. I then headed down rue Cardinal Lemoine to the bus stop to head over to the art museum known as The Pompidou Center.

While some people hate modern art, I love it, and The Pompidou Center contains Europe’s best collection of 20th-century art. I got there at noon, bought my ticket for 9 Euros and the audio tour. When I was here in 2007 they didn’t have an English audio tour. As you can tell from the photos, the structure is somewhat “different” and it has been described as “exoskeletal,” and was quite controversial when it opened in 1977.

I went to the top, the 6th floor, and slowly worked my through works by Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Warhol and others, ending on the ground floor around 4:00. Chilled a bit in the cafe and then decided that I would walk back to the apartment, so out I went.

The weather was awesome. My walk took me past Notre Dame and across the Seine and back to the apartment. I estimate the distance to be about 2.5 miles.

In the evening it was dinner around the corner from Place Contrescarpe at a family restaurant for my first three course meal of this trip: Soup l’ Onion, lamb and a good - read great - American-styled banana split. It was a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we are going on another day-trip out of Paris, this time to visit Napoleon's residence at Malmaison.

So, more to come. Thanks again to David for his help in preparing this post.

Billi Pod

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bill, David and Claude Monet on Friday

I think it only proper to disclose at the beginning of this posting that David is largely responsible for most of the narrative, including the times and correct French names and references. I gave him this responsibility early on and after some griping and grousing, he accepted his assignment, so, without further ado --

It was a lovely morning on Friday, a bit chilly but not a cloud in the sky. We left David’s pad at 27 rue Lecepede (on the Left Bank) at 10:00am and took a bus to the rail terminal Gare Lazare where we bought round-trip tickets for the 55 minute trip to Vernon, where we would catch a bus to Giverny, the location of Impressionist Claude Monet’s residence.

The train ride was great. We zipped through the country-side as I was zoned-out listening to my Nano through David’s new Bose earphones. If I may digress a minute - I remain impressed with the quality of the public transportation system in France. The equipment is up-to-date, they run on a timely schedule, the cars are clean and the rides are very smooth. It was about 12:50 when we arrived in Vernon. We made a quick connection for the bus to beautiful Giverny.

In 1883 middle-aged Claude Monet and his wife and their 8 children from two families settled into a farmhouse in Giverny, located about 50 miles west of Paris. Monet would spend 40 years in his pastoral paradise which included a Japanese garden and a pond full of floating lilies. He died in 1925.

We first wandered around the gardens and then circled his lilly-filled ponds. Took lots of pictures. Then we went into his home which has been well-maintained. All of this took a couple of hours.

Had a nice lunch at an outside patio at a bistro at the Hotel La Musardiere. Then we walked to the Museum D’ Art American which displays works of various American artists who have formed a colony of artists in Giverny.

We caught the bus back to Vernon for our 6:05pm return train ride back to Paris. It was 6:50 when we got back to the terminal in Paris. I had thought we could come back to the apartment but David had something else in mind and I am so glad he did - he wanted me to see the sunset from the vantage point of the Basilica Sarce-Coeur in Montmartre. Wow!!

We had been there during my 2007 visit so I knew it would be quite a hike up stairs and steeply rising streets so I tried to talk David out of it, but he was determined to give me this opportunity, even though it would be extremely physically stressful on him. Bless his heart! That is called FRIENDSHIP. So, we took the subway from the train terminal and then a funicular (a cable car) up and up to the viewing point.

It was awesome to catch the sun going down as the city stretching out beneath us came to life. After resting a bit we took buses back to David’s pad, getting there around 9:00pm.

We opted not to go out, electing instead for a sandwich and stuff.

What a great day. We made tentative plans for Saturday - I will be on my own during the day and David will do stuff in the apartment and around the ‘hood.

Much more to come - be warned!!

Billi Pod

Monday, October 20, 2008

So long and farewell to The Fucksox!! Yes!!

Way to Go Rays!! Would anyone, and I mean anyone, have predicted the final outcome of the ALCS back at the beginning of the baseball season? I mean, really, the newly renamed Tampa Bay Rays beating the defending World Series Champions, those hated and reviled Boston Red Sox aka The Fucksox, and going from worst to first and on to the World Series?

No one, not even the most rabid Rays fans, and rabid being a word not often associated with this franchise, would have put this young and inexperienced team into the World Series. But, they are there and I have a very good feeling about their chances of winning the whole thing in 7 games.

Unfortunately, the 6 hour time difference between the east coast of the US and Paris did not permit me to watch the game, but I will be back in The Big Apple on Wednesday afternoon with plenty of time to get settled back in and watch the first game of the World Series.

About my Paris Adventure - having a wonderful time and will post more details (no doubt more than you, my faithful and loyal readers need or want) later on in the day.

Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yeah!! - I Am In Paris

I am so happy to report that I am in Paris. The Norris Travel Curse didn’t strike during any phase of the trip. The flight over went fine, except for a screaming baby the last 2 1/2 hours. The duffle arrived with me and I had no problems with clearing immigration/passport control. I had no trouble with the train into Paris or the walk from the train station to the bus depot or the bus ride to David’s Left Bank apartment. It was 11:00am when I arrived, or 5:00am on my NYC body-clock.

My body-clock is still on NYC time because, of course, I couldn’t/didn’t sleep on the flight over. During the mid-afternoon I got almost two hours sleep and that has helped a lot.

We have been on two different re-orientation walking tours and tonight we had a great meal at the same ‘hood restaurant where we ate on the first night of my 2007 trip.

At 11:00am tomorrow, Friday, we will head out via train for a day-trip to Giverny to see Claude Monet’s home and garden.

I regret that I was unable to make connection with Gisela Cardonne-Ely at JFK. Our departing flights were in different terminals.

OK, I have to admit that I am now tired. It is midnight Paris time and I will try to crash.

Go Gators and Go Rays.

Billi Pod

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ready for My Paris Adventure

I am in the final phase of preparing for my highly anticipated trip to Paris to spend a week with my former law school roommate David West of Gainesville, FL, and Paris, France.

I will leave the apartment tomorrow, Wednesday, a little earlier than usual so that I can make it to the international terminal at JFK to, hopefully, have time to catch up with longtime friend and colleague Circuit Judge Gisela Cardonne-Ely of Miami, FL, who will be on a layover to catch a flight to Rome. Her flight leaves at 5:00 and mine leaves for Paris at 7:00 from the same terminal. My SuperShuttle pickup time is 2:30, so we should be able to connect, unless, of course, The Norris Travel Curse decides to rear its ugly head early.

Here are the details of my upcoming adventure --

October 15 - Wednesday - 7:00pm - depart JFK - Delta #8581

October 16 - Thursday - 8:50am - arrive Paris - Charles de Gaulle

David West
27 Rue Lacepede
Paris, France
33-970-449-516 (from the US)

October 22 - Wednesday - 01:15pm - depart Paris - Delta #8550
03:15pm - arrive JFK

Monday night I was able to spend some time with Sandy Mullon of Anna Maria, FL. She and her friends had a nice upstate trip to see the foliage and to visit Woodstock, among other places. Sandy and I went to see “Rock of Ages,” which I described in an earlier post. Our seats were in row D, far house right, about 6 feet from the blaring (and that is a mild word) speakers. Luckily, just before the show started we were able to move a couple of rows back and over. That helped a lot.

The house was packed and the audience was full of younger energetic people who were really into the show. Frankly, so was I since I knew all of the rock songs they played. I am also happy to report that I wasn’t the oldest guy in attendance but I am sure I was the oldest guy who really enjoyed himself.

When the show was over we had a late dinner at Angus McIndoe and then I walked Sandy back to her hotel, the Algonquin, on 44th Street. I walked back to the apartment while listening to the last innings of Phillies/Dodgers game, which, as you know, the Phillies had a comeback win, putting the Dodgers in almost an impossible comeback position, in my opinion. I hope I am wrong.

You also know that The Devil Rays beat the Fucksox on Monday night and then tonight they put on another ass-whipping, beating the woeful Sucks by a score of 13-4 in the cess-pool known as Fenway Park. They lead the ALCS 3-1. All the way Rays!!

I will have my trusty iBook with me in Paris and David has wi-fi access so I will be able to post, so ...

Talk with you from Paree.

Go Gators and Go Rays.

Billi Pod

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attention!! - What Would Happen If ...

Dear loyal and faithful readers - I know that I have failed to keep you abreast of the frightening underbelly of the looming presidential election. I have been too self-centered these past several weeks, opting to immerse myself in a pity-pot over the failure of the Yankees to reach the post-season. I admit to being mired in funkdom.

Well, I am happy to report that the other night, after taking some new and stronger meds, I found myself once again able to return to my first loves, internet research, prognostication, and fair and unbiased reporting.

So, I want to share with you the results of my efforts regarding the future of this great country after the upcoming election. The fact that the same results are reached, regardless of who wins, is indeed frightening, but it is my job to report - you decide.


Barack Obama becomes President:

1. After long, costly and divisive recounts in North Carolina and New Hampshire, John McCain finally concedes to Barack Obama. The stock market surges with the news.

2. Upon his inauguration, Obama states once and for all that he is not a Muslim, disappointing Hamas leaders, who really regret throwing away their endorsement over what they saw as “coded phrases” during his campaign.

3. Critics of Obama are soon vindicated, however, when the president appoints William Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Oprah to cabinet-level positions, saying at a press conference simply: “Suckers.” The stock market tanks again.

4. Joe Biden spends his first two months as vice president checking in at the Oval Office every day to see if there's anything he can do, only to be turned away, muttering under his breath about Scranton or broken kneecaps or something.

5. All of President Obama’s attempts to alleviate the ever-worsening economic crisis come to naught, from the Great Additional Bailout of February ‘09 to the Even Greater More Additionaler Bailout of March ‘09.

6. On April 3, 2009, China finally makes good on its promises to buy the U.S. outright and turn it into an amusement park.

7. Shortly after being deposed by his Chinese overlords, Barack Obama admits, finally, that he is in fact Muslim. “Suckers.”

John McCain becomes President:

1. After long, costly and divisive recounts in Wisconsin and New Hampshire Barack Obama finally concedes to John McCain, insisting that it is time for our fractured nation to heal. Seven state Supreme Court Justices resign in protest. The stock market disintegrates.

2. While Chief Justice Roberts recites the presidential oath at the inauguration, McCain becomes flustered, throws up his hands and screams, “if you think you can do it better, fine. I didn’t want the damn job anyway.” He then storms off the stage and locks himself in his nearby condo.

3. Sarah Palin does her best to fill the power vacuum, but she soon begins publicly criticizing herself for succumbing to Washington-style big government. She soon steps down under the pressure of her own accusations.

4. Following presidential chain of command, Nancy Pelosi becomes president, but spends her first two weeks gloating, completely missing the economy’s last great freefall.

5. Completely broke, the U.S. has no choice but to accept China’s offer to buy it outright.

6. A bleary-eyed John McCain comes out of hiding and attempts to declare war on the Chinese. He fails.

So, there it is - I report - you decide.

Billi Pod aka The Fair and Unbiased Reporter


When I settled in to watch the 8:00 broadcast of the game between the 11th ranked Florida Gators and the #4 ranked LSU Tigers I had no idea that the outcome would be a 51-21 ass-kicking by the Gators. The game wasn’t even as close as that final score. The Gators kicked butt in every single aspect of the game behind the leadership of QB Tim Tebow.

Make no mistake about it, the Gators are back in the hunt for the National Championship.

The Tampa Bay Rays vs. The Boston Fucksox game also started at 8:00 on TBS so I was able to alternate between the two games, but honestly 98.9% of my energy and emotions were directed at the Gator/LSU game.

When the Gator game ended I switched channels and watched the rest of the baseball game, which turned into a nail-biter, to say the least. It went into extra innings with the score tied 8-8. The Rays won in the bottom of the 11th inning when B.J. Upton hit a sacrifice fly into shallow right field to allow the winning run to score from 3rd base. It was 1:36am. Wow!! Way to go Rays! The series is now tied 1-1 and the next game is Monday afternoon in ancient and fetid Fenway Park.

Unfortunately, things look pretty grim, in my opinion, for the LA Dodgers who now trail the Phillies 0-2. The series has moved to LA.

Just briefly - my show this afternoon, “Bedroom Farce,” was very funny and very well performed by an outstanding cast. I was really in the mood for something light and funny and this show fit the bill.

It was about 4:30 when I left the theater on 42nd Street & 9th Avenue and the weather was terrific - cool and clear, not a cloud in the sky. I felt great, so I walked the 2.5 miles back to the apartment.

I am happy to report that Sandy Mullon and her posse arrived and are now in upstate New York looking at leaves and stuff. They will be back in the City sometime tomorrow.

Wow, what a great day/evening.

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wednesday - Baseball & My Schedule

Well, the NLCS didn’t start off well for the Dodgers. They just lost to the Phillies in a very interesting game by a score of 3-2, and, yes, I stayed in tonight to watch it.

Tomorrow at 4:35 will be the second Dodgers/Phillies game and then at 8:37 will the first game of the ALCS, the Tampa Bay Rays vs. the Boston Fucksox, and, yes again, my current plans are to stay in and watch both games. Hey, don’t be judgmental, I am a baseball fan, what did you expect?

This afternoon I had a great late lunch with student/bartender/manager John Scott Reed at a very nice restaurant down in TriBeCa called the Landmarc (yes, that is the correct spelling, it is marc not mark). After lunch I had planned on seeing the movie “Ghost Town,” but at the last minute I changed my mind and came back to the apartment and started doing things and stuff in preparation for my Paris Adventure which begins next Wednesday.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was another entertainment doubleheader and both shows were very interesting. At 2:00 was the new show at the 59th Street Theater called “Body of Water” by Lee Blessing. I described this show in an earlier posting but briefly, it involves a man and a woman who wake up in a beautiful house on a body of water. They don’t know who they are, what they are, or where they are. They are visited by a 20s girl who may be (or may not be) their daughter. The show was 100 minutes, without intermission, and the sold-out house was spellbound by the writing and the acting. The problem - when it was over we still didn’t have an answer. As we were exiting the theater almost everyone was talking about the show. Lots of different opinions about the plot.

The second show was a 7:30 performance of a show called “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein” at the Baruch Performing Arts Center downtown at 25th and Lexington. It was 10 vignettes with a very talented group of younger (read 20s) performers, some, of course, better than others. It was 90 minutes without intermission. It didn’t blow me away but I am glad that I saw it.

When the show was over I decided to walk back to the apartment via Lexington Avenue, a total distance of just under 2 miles. It was a little brisk, but nice. I felt good.

Over the weekend Sandy Mullon of Anna Maria, FL, will be in the city with some female friends, Dee Brady and Alyce, and they will go upstate for a foliage tour. When they return Sandy and I will get together and do some stuff, including a show and dinner on Monday night.

So, this is how the weekend is shaping up --

Friday - stay in, do stuff and watch baseball. Stop IT!! I said don't be judgmental, dammit.

Saturday - 2:00 - “Bedroom Farce” - Off-Broadway. “THREE BEDROOMS, FOUR COUPLES, ONE HILARIOUS SLEEPLESS NIGHT. Trevor and Susannah are on the verge of a break-up - and they're determined to take their friends and family down with them! After Trevor and his ex-girlfriend, Jan, are caught kissing at Malcolm and Kate's housewarming party, all hell breaks loose. Susannah flees to her in-laws who are trying to salvage their anniversary celebration; while Trevor pays a midnight visit to Jan's in order to explain his misdeeds to her husband, Nick. As the evening progresses, this unstable pair travels from bedroom to bedroom, raining hysterical havoc on everything they touch and assuring that no one will get any sleep.” (complimentary ticket).

8:00 - The Gators vs. LSU @ The Swamp. The second Rays vs. Fucksox game is also at 8:00.

Sunday - 5:00 - “Love Child” - Off-Broadway. “The Marvelous Primary Stages presents a World Premiere, Love Child written and performed by Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton. It's opening night. The cast is unruly, the crowd is restless, and the play is obscure, but Joel has a larger worry: his mother is in the front row. The real and theatrical worlds collide in Love Child, the new comedy about the night a classic play spoke so loudly to its audience that its audience felt compelled to talk back. Daniel Jenkins (Mary Poppins, Big River) and Robert Stanton (The Coast of Utopia, All in the Timing) take you on a wild ride when they portray everyone on stage, backstage and in the house, all coming together on one riotous night in the theater.” (complimentary ticket)

8:27 - Dodgers vs. Phillies

Monday - As I mentioned above, Sandy and I have a show booked for 8:00 Monday night. It is a new Off-Broadway show called “Rock of Ages” - “It's the late 1980s and the final countdown is on for a legendary Hollywood rock club facing its demise at the hands of eager developers. When a young rocker hungry for his big break and a small town girl chasing her dreams land on the scene at this infamous venue, how far will ambition drive them? And will it be lights out for the club and all the regulars and rockers who have made it their home? Rock of Ages takes audiences on a musical trip with a story set to blazing hits from iconic rockers such as Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Reo Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and many more. The show features big chords, big dreams and big hair.” (discounted TDF ticket).

After the show we will probably have dinner at Angus McIndoe, my favorite theater district restaurant.

Sandy leaves on Tuesday. I have nothing scheduled for that day because I leave the next evening for Paris. My flight leaves JFK at 7:00pm.

Go Gators!! Go Dodgers!! Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Awesome Philharmonic Concert

The New York Philharmonic concert on Tuesday night was one of the best. I am happy to report that the “Arm-Tugging Women” were nowhere to be seen, in fact, my seat was on the aisle and seated to my left was a charming woman in her 60s and we had a nice chat before the concert and at intermission. The concert was sold-out.

The concert started with Bartok’s “The Wooden Prince Suite” and it was a nice 20 minute introduction for the rest of the evening. The second number was Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by 23-year old Rafal Blechacz, who looked no older than 16. It was a wonderful performance and when it was over the audience gave him a standing ovation. I can’t imagine what his emotions must have been - to be performing with one of the world’s premiere orchestras before a sellout crowd in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, and to receive a standing ovation and multiple curtain calls - OMG!!!

After intermission came the highlight of the concert, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.” As I previously posted, this is one of my favorite classical music compositions and the orchestra was at its very best from the first note to the last. I was transfixed during the entire 40 minute performance. I can’t remember a louder response from an audience as we rose to our feet clapping and yelling “Brava.” There was such a buzz as we made our way out of the hall and it seemed as if everyone was smiling, like we collectively were thinking ...”This is why I come to Avery Fisher Hall.”

It was cold and windy as I made my way down to the street level. Despite that, I just couldn’t make myself go downstairs to the subway because I didn’t want to get “From the New World” out of my head, so I started walking back to the apartment. I didn’t plug in my Nano as I usually do when walking, again, I didn’t want to erase the “New World” euphoria. Had thought I would take the subway at 53rd and 7th Avenue (about 1/2 way home) but when I got there my body/mind said “no way Jose” so I walked the rest of the way back and I am glad that I did even though it was windy and cold.

You know, it is 24 hours later and I am still smiling about the concert and how lucky I am to be living in the Greatest City in The World.

More reporting on entertainment things and stuff to come later.

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Rays vs. The Fucksox and Stuff

And so it shall be after the Fucksox won a very exciting game against the LA Angels by a score of 3-2, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th. The ALCS should be very interesting and I still think The Rays have a chance to go to The World Series, hopefully against The Dodgers. Time will tell.

You know, I am not certain why I felt compelled to write the “All Politicians Are Whores” post. I think it was largely due to my frustration with what is going on in politics, state and national government, and in both political parties. We are in deep trouble on the world stage, in the financial world and on the domestic scene and all we are getting from either side of the aisle is rhetoric and pontificating. I feel that Democrats and Republicans are equally at fault but we, the American Voter, are responsible for allowing our “system” to destroy itself. What do we have to do to restore faith in the Democracy our forefathers gave birth to and died to protect? I don’t know, I really don’t. I wish to hell I did, but I just don’t and I am scared. No joke.

Wow! Well, maybe on to lighter subjects, like entertainment and stuff, so ...

Saw some very good theater over the weekend starting with the Off-Broadway show “Boys Life” on Saturday night. As I have previously posted, Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame headed the very talented cast in this comedy/drama about 3 young men making their way in the city in the mid-80s. They were friends from college days. I liked it a lot and the house was sold-out.

Also on Saturday the Gators bounced back and kicked butt, beating Arkansas 38-7. Our next game is H U G E. We play #3 ranked LSU Saturday at The Swamp with the kickoff scheduled for 8:00pm on CBS. Go Gators!

Sunday was a theater doubleheader. My first show was an Off-Broadway comedy/drama called “The Night Carter Was Bad,” which I detailed in a previous posting. It was a 90 minute show and explored the difficulty some guys have in making commitments regardless of their feelings for the other person. I liked the show. Hum ... trouble in making commitments ... where have I heard that before, I wonder?

The second show was at 7:00 in a very small theater down on 26th Street. The show, “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me,” was also detailed in an earlier posting. It involves a gay young man who comes to NYC to escape his angry and dominating mother in order to have a chance for a career in the theater. A group of straight friends help him make the transition from small-town USA to The Big Apple. It was very well written and performed and was only 75 minutes long.

Now about the upcoming week --

Tuesday - 7:30 New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Bartok’s Suite from The Wooden Prince; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2; and, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.” This is a different series from the concert last Wednesday. I have checked and my seat is in a different row, so I doubt I will be between the two “Arm-Tugging Women.” Oh, please God, let it be so. I am looking forward to the concert because “From the New World” is one of my very favorite classical works..

Wednesday - 2:00 “A Body of Water’ - Off Broadway. “Who are we without our memories? Avis and Moss awake one morning in a house set in the forested hills above a picturesque body of water. The weathers great, the views magnificent. However, neither of them seems to know whose house this is or who they are. Will a stranger at their doorstep be able to help? A Body of Water is a haunting new drama that explores the slippery nature of reality and conviction. The cast features Michael Cristofer (Tony Award®, The Shadow Box), Christine Lahti (Emmy® and two Golden Globes® for her role in Chicago Hope) and Laura Odeh (The Rivals)” (discounted TDF ticket)

7:30 - “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein” - Off-Broadway. “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein is a provocative, farcical, cynical, and sometimes raunchy look into human relationships and interaction through a series of vignettes created by the late great author, giving a showcase to his incredible talent and irreverent wit. The ten sketches feature a cast of unlikely and neurotic characters from a husband obsessing that his wife is a bag lady, from two ladies of the night offering a bargain, to a courtroom scene where we learn the meaning of "meat and potatoes," and finally to a blind blues man and his talking dog, leaving us with a tail of "human" nature. An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein was first produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company in 2001, shortly after Silverstein's death. (discounted TDF ticket). Man, this should be fun.

The remainder of the week is unscheduled at the moment but I have a good idea that it will somehow get filled.

And, a week from Wednesday I head out to Paris.

Go Gators and Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Night - Way To Go Rays

The third out was just made and the Tampa Bay Rays win 6-2 over The White Sox to advance to the American League Championship Series against either the Fucksox or the LA Angels. Wow!!! Who would have thunk it?

I decided to stay in tonight to watch this game and I am so glad that I did. But, this didn’t mean I let down on my entertainment mania, oh no, no way Jose. This afternoon I saw the just opened “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” starring Michael Cera of “Superbad” and “Juno” fame. It has gotten mixed reviews but I found it to be charming.

Will now watch the Angels/Fucksox game (guess who I will be rooting for) and between innings will work on another post about the weekend and about what is already scheduled for this week.

Go Gators and Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, October 5, 2008

All Politicians Are Whores

Yes, I know that is a strong statement but before you tune me out, read my credentials and then judge --

I held my first elective office in the 7th grade and held other offices during high school, including a statewide office for Key Club International. As an undergraduate I was chairman of a campus political party. After graduation I was on the staff of a successful campaign for Governor of Florida and then served as an Administrative Assistant on the Governor’s staff.

In law school I was chairman of the student bar association and then after law school I become General Counsel to the Governor. Later I served on the campaign staff for an unsuccessful run for US Senate.

Before becoming a judge I was a lobbyist for the Florida citrus industry and as a judge I was elected Chief Judge for 3 terms and served as Chairman of the State Judicial Conference.

OK, enough about me - I just wanted to establish that I have experience being and dealing with politicians, and yes, I have worn the mantel of Whoredom myself, more times than I would like to admit.

So, you ask, what the fuck am I talking about? I am talking about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ploy to change term limits so he can run for a third term, that’s what. He is seeking a vote by the New York City Counsel to do just that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think he has done an outstanding job in the extremely difficult position as Mayor of the Greatest City in the World and I recognize that these are difficult, even scary, times. Rudy Giuliani made the same argument after 9/11/2001, but, ultimately no action was taken.

For the most part politicians are for term limits so long as the limits don’t effect them or their parties’ agenda. In New York City the people twice voted for term limits for all of the major elected political offices, limiting the office holder to two (2) four (4) year terms. Several years ago there was a movement to change the limits by a vote of the City Council (just like this current proposal) and Bloomberg’s response to that proposal was to call the attempt “disgusting.”

Oh, and speaking of opportunism - prior to his election as Mayor, Bloomberg was a life-long Democrat. He changed parties so he could have an easier path to City Hall. Last year, in order to distance himself from the debacle known as the Bush Administration, he changed his party affiliation to Independent. Nice.

There is legal precedent for the City Council to repeal or modify voter-imposed terms limits but I am certain there will be a legal battle to the bitter end.

And, folks, can there be any more whorish decision than John McCain’s decision to name Sarah “Madam Aw-Shucks Wink-Wink” Palin as his Vice-President? Come on now - do you REALLY believe she has the credentials to become President of the most powerful nation in the World? Be honest, do you? Don't shift focus to Obama or Biden, this once - just ask yourself about her - does she? In your heart you know the answer.

So, Mayor Mike, welcome to the Table of Whoredom. You will be seated next to Karl Rove, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain on your right and Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer and Ted Kennedy on your left. Oh, the old geezer across the table is “Boss” Tweed, you remember him don’t you? And, don't worry, there is a never-ending number of politicians who will be seated at the table with you in the future - you will have plenty of company.

Case closed.

I only report - you decide.

Billi Pod aka The Fair and Unbiased Reporter

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Early Saturday Morning - Things and Stuff

Earlier in the day I had my every 6-8 week finger-prick at my cardiologist’s office to monitor my coumadin level (OK, as usual) and then got my annual flu shot. Hey, remember, if you are over 50 - get your shot now!!!

When I got back to the apartment I settled in and watched The Tampa Bay Rays win their second game against The White Sox, putting them up 2-0 in the series. Way to Go Rays.

Then it was off to the theater district to see the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow,” which I had never seen. The blurb had said it was ...” an outrageous take on sex and power in Hollywood”... and, frankly, that kinda sounded a warning bell in my head, like the phrase “dark-comedy” does. Also, I am not a huge Mamet fan. Well, it was a terrific theater experience and the two male leads, Jeremy Piven and Raul Esparza, were outstanding. The 90 minutes whizzed by. Wow!!

After the show was over I walked back to the apartment while listening to the Fucksox/LA Angels game, which, dammit to hell, the Fucksox won 7-5, to lead their series 2-0. Oh, well ...

Have an interesting weekend lined up, as follows:

Saturday - 8:00 “Boy’s Life,” an Off-Broadway comedy/drama starring Jason Biggs about 3 college buddies making their way in NYC. (discounted TDF ticket).

Sunday - 3:30 “The Night Carter Was Bad” - Off-Broadway - “Big beers, tipsy walks on building tops, and pillow fights litter this dramatic comedy about the misbehavior and haphazard love life of a commitment-phobe named Carter. Stumbling through an office romance with a dancing personal assistant leaves him justifying overtime hours to a girlfriend who suspects he's being bad. This racy romantic comedy explores wild office shenanigans and one man's inability to commit in this disarming, funny and sometimes quite rueful new play.” (complimentary ticket).

7:00 - “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” - (Off-Broadway) “Think your life is screwed? Relive your own dramas with this manic, musical tale following gay LJ as he journeys from dysfunctional family members to fast friends, all the while referencing ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘Sex & the City!” (complimentary ticket).

On Tuesday I saw “Young Frankenstein” for the second time. The first time was in its last preview performance before Opening Night, with a very expensive ticket. I liked it then. This time was with a discounted TDF ticket in virtually the same location in the orchestra as my first ticket. I liked the show this time, too, and I really was in the mood for something zany and funny, which this show is.

Wednesday was a New York Philharmonic concert and it was OK, even though it included another one of those “World Premiere” atonal pieces of dreck that I hate so much. Had a rather unnerving experience, though, before the concert began, at intermission and then at the end. What you ask? My seat was the second-in from the aisle. Seated to my right, on the aisle, was a lady with a cane who proclaimed herself to be legally blind (I later learned she was 77). We started talking.

In a few minutes I felt a tug on my left arm and I interrupted my conversation and looked to my left and seated there was another older woman, also with a cane (I later learned she was 76). She started asking me about the program and we chatted until there was a tug on my right arm. And this went on and on as they were obviously vying for my attention. It did stop, thankfully, once the concert started.

At intermission I bolted out of my seat. Neither woman left and I noticed that they just stared straight ahead, no interaction between them. I got back to my seat just minutes before the concert began but the tugging resumed until the orchestra started playing. Oh, God. It was really awkward for me because I didn't know how to react.

As soon as the concert was over the lady to my right tugged on my arm and asked me to help her get up, which I did. As she was leaning on her cane she said to me: “tell that lady I said goodbye,” and then she slowly walked out as the orchestra got ready to play an encore.

When it was over I told the lady on the left what the lady on the right had said and her response was: “she is such a bitch and she’s a little crazy too.” Whoa. I asked if they knew one another she said yes, they had been friends for 25 years until this summer when, among other things ...”she stole my boyfriend.” OMG!!

I got the hell out of there as quickly as I could. Please dear God, don’t let them be subscribers to the same series as I am, please please please.

Thursday night I saw a very well written and performed Off-Broadway show called “Outside Inn” - “Paul, a disillusioned German civil engineer unintentionally participates in the death of his boss, a Svengali-like tycoon. Rather than going to the police, Paul runs away to a small town in Arizona. With his mistress Marina by his side, he steals the identity of his former boss and flees across the Mexican border. The husband and wife Paul and Marina leave behind must face a future alone and a past that continues to haunt them.” (complimentary ticket).

Damn, this has gone on much too long and it is getting very late, so ...

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Way to Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

What a story - winning the first game in their first appearance ever in the post season, beating the Chicago White Sox by a score of 6-4. A very impressive start. At the beginning of the season no one, and I mean no one, would have predicted that The Rays would win the AL East (hello Yankees and Fucksox).

Will they be able to go the whole way? I don’t know, but my gut tells me that they will not go down easily. They will give 110% until the very last out in the very last inning.

If you believe in cheering on the underdog, then hop aboard. It should be a very interesting ride.

Go Rays!!

Billi Pod

Thursday - The Vice-Presidental Debate

As most of you faithful and loyal readers know, I spend almost 75% of my waking time searching the print news and online sources for vital information to share with you so that you may be privy to the intricacies of modern-day life. This is an emotionally draining task, especially when I uncover important information that has been overlooked by the mainstream media, the so-called journalistic elite. But, when I find “important stuff” and share it with you, it becomes worth the time, effort and emotions. As I have long said - “Nothing is too much for YOU!!”

I recently found two extremely news-worthy items, one relating to tonight’s debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden and the other about Palin’s family history. This is information you need to have so you can become better informed voters. So, here it is:


1. Candidates will be cued to enter as the laser light show subsides, and should be on stage no later than the intro guitar riff to “We Are the World.”

2. Questions will only be asked about Alaska.

3. No reflecting light from watch into opponent’s eyes.

4. Each answer requires one piece of fluff or filler but cannot contain more than three.

5. Dan Quayle has no relevance.

6. References to Jesus or “God’s Will” limited to answers to questions about the economy, health care, education, and urban crime.

7. Candidates are forbidden from telling moving anecdotes about [insert name] of [insert city and state], who has three children and was laid off last May.

8. The first candidate to reach seven sound bites wins.

9. Everybody goes home with a PBS National Debate Participation Certificate.

Source: Confidential (thought to be Karl Rove)

And now the breaking Sarah Palin family news item:


CARBONDALE, PA - A month after introducing to the nation her developmentally disabled newborn and the 19-year-old son preparing for military service in Iraq, Republican vice presidential nominee and conservative Christian woman Sarah Palin delivered a speech Monday flanked by three heretofore-unknown relatives, including a naturalized Mexican half brother, a formerly lesbian niece, and a New York City firefighter cousin who saved several lives during the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. “John McCain and I will take on the Washington establishment and give the government back to the people,” said Palin, who several times gave the “thumbs-up” sign to her African-American coal-miner uncle seated in the audience. “We envision a better and brighter future for hardworking, selfless Americans like Ted, Anne, and Guillermo here.” Palin has a campaign stop scheduled next week in Texas, where she is expected to introduce her stepsister Linda, who, it is reported, usually appears with a $35 barrel of offshore-drilled crude oil wrapped in an American flag.”

Source: Fox News and The Onion, Vol 44, Issue 40.

So there you are my loyal and faithful readers. As I have said so many time - I report and you decide.

Billi Pod aka The Fair and Unbiased Reporter

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

OMG!! - September, What a Month!!!

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

6 Broadway shows (Gypsy, Spring Awakening, Equus, 13, To Be or Not To Be, and Young Frankenstein); 11 Off-Broadway shows; 2 New York Philharmonic concerts, including the Opening Night Gala; 1 movie (Burn After Reading); and 6 Yankee baseball games, including the final game ever at The House That Ruth Built. The Yankees record for my September games was 5 wins and 1 loss, making their season record for the 33 games I saw an abysmal 19 wins and 14 losses. It must get better next season, guys, it just has to.

I had a great time with my daughter Kathi Bendeck and her husband Dr. John, of Columbia, SC, during their Big Apple visit from September 2-8 - we did theater, walking, dinner and museums. I also gave them plenty of free time by not “hovering.” Had a nice but too brief time with Dwight & Joanne Wells who were visiting from Key West, FL.

Ahem - noticably absent from my log is any reference to John Scott Reed and/or Benjamin Sears - guys - WTF????

Oh well, when all of the events described above are factored in I find that I attended some entertainment event every single day/night during the month, a pretty awesome statistic, in my humble opinion.

September also marked: my oldest grandson Alex Falletta's 28th birthday; my sister Ann Parker’s 71st birthday; 5 years since my dear friend Ray Coker of Lakeland, FL, left us: and, 7 years since the horrors of September 11, 2001. On September 30th Howard Kilgore of Bartow, FL, passed away. Howard was married to Mary Frances, my first wife and Kathi’s mother, for 43 years. He was a good guy and will be missed by his family and friends, including me.

And, in accordance with my promise to keep my loyal and faithful readers up-to-date I posted 15 times to this blog. Yes, you are indeed welcome.

I have lots of other things and stuff to write about but will post this and then write another post when I get back from tonight’s New York Philharmonic concert.

Go Gators and Go Tampa Bay Rays!!

Billi Pod