Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009 - Happy New Year's Eve Everyone!!

Hello!! And a very Happy New Year’s Eve to each of you, my loyal and faithful readers. When I woke up this morning the first thing that I noticed was how white it looked outside my bedroom window (ah yes, bedroom window - how nice to be able to say that) and then I discovered that it had snowed during the very early morning hours. This is what it looked like around 9:30, looking down from PHC to the intersection of 42nd Street and 9th Avenue. It has been lightly snowing since and it is reported that snow flurries will occur for the remainder of the day and into the evening. The high is predicted to be around 36 degrees with the low around 34 degrees so it will probably be cold, slushy and nasty out there.

In answer to your question(s) ... now calm down - no, Billi Pod will not be in the Times Square area tonight for the dropping of the ball that will usher in 2010 and end 2009 and the first decade of the 21st century. Been there, done that, more than once. I will instead go to a New York Philharmonic concert and then come back and watch all of the festivities from the confines of my warm and cozy apartment, known as Penthouse C in 420 W. 42nd Street.

I had a wonderful Christmas-time in Columbia, SC, with my family: Kathi and John Bendeck, Billy Norris, Alex and Gina Falletta. and Chris Falletta and his fiancé Sally Goldman. I went down south on Tuesday, December 22nd and returned to The Big Apple on Sunday, December 27th. The Norris Travel Curse did not appear on either flight. It was a great family time.

Kathi and John are embarking on a new adventure. They have just bought an awesome, and I do mean AWESOME, 3 bedroom 3 bath apartment on the top floor (5th) of a new high-rise condo complex in downtown Columbia, meaning they are moving from the ‘burbs to a trendy area adjacent to both the University of South Carolina campus and the state government complexes. They were their usual gracious hosts while packing and preparing for the arrival of the movers on Monday the 28th. THANK YOU GUYS FOR A WONDERFUL TIME!!

When I got back to The Big Apple I immediately began arranging my entertainment schedule, and, of course, it looks very very interesting.

On Monday evening, December 28, I saw the movie “Me & Orson Welles.” This is the plot synopsis: “In a whirlwind week in 1937 in New York City, a young aspiring actor named Richard (Zak Efron) is thrown into the middle of Orson Welles (Christian McKay - outstanding) Mercury Theatre Company on the eve of the opening of Welles historic staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. During this week he will find romance with a worldly older woman, become immersed in a creative experience few are afforded and learn the downside of crossing the imperious, brilliant Welles. Richard is about to grow up fast.”

This movie has had a very limited release and I am not sure it has been released nationwide yet and when it is I am certain it will only be in “arty” theaters. Regardless, if you get a chance, I highly recommend it. Zak Efron has a breakout performance and the guy playing Welles is amazing. If you have ever performed on-stage with an egomaniacal star/director you will really relate to what goes down. See it if you can.

On Tuesday at 7:30 was the New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Lincoln Center. The program was: Webern - Im Sommerwind; Webern - Symphony, Op. 21; Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23; and Schumann - Symphony No. 2. (subscription series). Great as usual.

Last night @ 8:00 was the Off Broadway show - “Fascinating Aida is Absolutely Miraculous!” The press blurb for this show is: “Absolutely Fabulous meets Noel Coward, sung by the Andrews Sisters. There are three inspired women: irrepressibly versatile Dillie Keane, a sort of naughtier Angela Lansbury; statuesque, subduedly sexy Adele Anderson, deadpan poison-dart thrower; and the relative newcomer, curly-blonde Liza Pulman, sassy specialist in soprano pinpricks. These women revel in the here and now. They are bawdy and political; loopy and whimsical.” (complimentary ticket).

I had some misgivings about this show, for some reason. Boy, was I wrong. It was/is gut-busting funny and very very risqué. I had an absolutely fascinating time.

OK - enough about the past - what about the future you are no doubt breathlessly asking. OK, OK, this is what the next 9 days will be for Billi Pod in New York City, The Greatest City in The World:

Thursday - New Year’s Eve - Goodbye 2009 - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Lincoln Center. The special gala program is: Copeland - Suite from Appalachian Spring and Old American Songs; Cole Porter - musical selections; and, Gershwin - An American in Paris. (full price ticket).

I have done this New Year’s Eve Gala concert for the last 5 years and it is a great way to welcome in the New Year. The concert will be over around 9:00 and I will come back to PHC and settle in to watch the festivities on TV while drinking my Fresca and noshing on fruit and cheese.

Friday - January 1, 2010 - Welcome 2010 - 8:30 - Gators vs. Cincinnati - Sugar Bowl. (Fox).

Man, am I nervous about this game for several reasons: One is that the Gator’s are 11 point favorites over an unbeaten team: Two is the fallout of the Urban Meyer “I quit, no I don’t” soap-opera-like drama; and ... gasp ... Three is the bitter and unresolved dispute between Time Warner Cable and Fox which may result in the game not being carried in the New York area if an agreement is not reached by Thursday midnight. Oh please please get the damn things settled.

Saturday - 3:00 - “The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever” - Off Broadway. “It's time for the annual holiday production for a struggling gay theatre company in West Hollywood. Jim, the pot-smoking straight tech guy, offends M&M, the eclectic playwright, causing him to walk out and take his script with him. Now the crazy and drama-addicted team has just a few weeks to produce The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever. This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialog and over-the-top characters.” (complimentary ticket).

I know, I know - Christmas is gone but this show has gotten really good reviews and I had planned to see it earlier but my complimentary ticket was withdrawn when the show sold out.

Sunday - 3:00 - “Smudge” - Off Broadway. This is the very brief press blurb about this show in very early previews: “The world premiere of a dark comedy about the changing face of the American family and the limits of love and cheesecake, as a hopeful young couple gives birth to a smudge.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Now, as required by fair and honest reporting - I have no clue what ...”gives birth to a smudge”... means. I have a feeling this show will fall into the Love It or Hate it category. We will see.

Monday - open at the moment. Will probably see a movie. Thinking about “2012” and/or “A Single Man.”

Tuesday - 7:00 - “Time Stands Still” - Broadway. The press blurb for this show in very early previews is: “James and Sarah, a journalist and a photographer, have been together for nine years and share a passion for documenting the realities of war. But when injuries force them to return home to New York, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Wednesday - 2:00 - “Fela!” - Broadway. The press blurb for this very well reviewed show is: “This award-winning new musical portrays the extravagant, decadent, rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and features the music of this groundbreaking African composer and performer. In a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies, FELA! explores his controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Thursday - January 7 - 8:00 - BCS Championship Game. Alabama vs. Texas (CBS). I’m for the SEC, so ... Roll Tide!! And, yes, I did honor my bet with my son Billyboy by wearing a Crimson Tide T-shirt and cap during Christmas dinner and then the exchange of presents.

Friday - January 8 - 8:00 = “Ernest In Love” - Off Broadway. “The musical of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. This adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy features all of its beloved characters - Lady Bracknell and the creme de la creme of London society singing and dancing in this comic musical. The music and lyrics faithfully re-create a time when wit and grace ruled the world and the right address and proper behavior was paramount except when it came time to pay your creditors.” (discounted TDF ticket).

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

I am working on the stats for December and for 2009 and will post in the next several days. I do know that my preliminary draft supports, as might be expected, my love for this city and all that it has to offer. I also hope to be able to post some thoughts about the decade.

So, to those of you loyal and faithful readers who have survived to the end of this overlong posting - I

again wish each of you a happy and healthy 2010.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

PS: A big shout-out to S. L. and Mary Frisbie of Bartow, FL, as they begin their retirement years after serving multiple decades in the newspaper business - HAVE FUN ON YOUR NEW ADVENTURE!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Time Flies - 45 Years Ago

Good morning my loyal and faithful readers. I want to take a moment for just a tiny bit of reflection on just how fast time does fly by in our lives. This morning I was reading the online Saturday edition of my former hometown newspaper, The Polk County Democrat, Bartow, FL, and I came upon this item:


History From Our Files

Compiled from the files of The Democrat by Loyal Frisbie

45 Years Ago

“Allie H. Lane resigned as city attorney to accept appointment as a circuit judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. The new city attorney is William A. Norris, Jr.”


As an addendum to the above - 10 years into the future, almost to the exact date, there would be a story in the paper about Judge Allie H. Lane resigning as a circuit judge and the appointment of then county judge William A. Norris, Jr. as his replacement.

Wow!! Did this get thoughts whirring through my head. And, yesterday I got an email from a dear friend and colleague, Circuit Judge Gisela Ely-Cardonne, of Miami, commenting on the fact that at the end of the month I will have been retired for 15 years.

Yep, time does indeed pass fast. We need to make the most out of each day. Good things and bad things will happen but all are manageable if taken “One Day At A Time.”

As I write this The Big Apple is preparing for the first snow storm of the season with predictions of up to a foot of snow in Manhattan, beginning in mid-afternoon and into the night. Well, that is what “they” say but it doesn’t look that bad out right now, at noon. As previously posted, I have a show at 3:00 down in the East Village and then a Broadway show at 8:00. Will keep my fingers crossed.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

From The Supreme Court of The Clan of Norris

To: Kathryn N. Bendeck aka Kathi; John Bendeck, MD aka Dr. John; William A. Norris, III aka Billyboy aka The Bill; Alexander Falletta aka Army Guy aka Lex; and Christopher Falletta aka Topher.

From: The Supreme Court of The Clan of Norris

Re: Order and Directions for Time Frame December 22 to 27, 2009

Based on past history and other considerations and in order to maintain the integrity and reputation of The Clan of Norris, it is hereby:


1. If one William A. Norris, Jr., DOB 4/23/34, aka Dad aka Granddaddy aka Billi Pod utters the phrase :


or any similar phrase, at anytime, under any circumstances, you, individually and/or collectively, MUST immediately and without hesitation respond loudly and directly, with:


2. You must continue with the above response until the aforesaid William A. Norris, Jr., does indeed SHUT THE FUCK UP!!

Herein failith not under dire consequences only the undersigned can and will administer.

Signed: The Supreme Court of The Clan of Norris

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday - It is freezing cold in The Big Apple

Good morning my loyal and faithful readers. It is freezing cold in The Big Apple. When I woke up this morning at the usual 8:00am the temperature was 16 degrees and with the gusting wind it feels like 9 degrees (according to the local news stations). The sun is out and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, so it looks great - great that is until you step outside the front door of 420 W. 42nd and then the wind howling off of the Hudson River cuts you like a knife. Light snow is predicted for Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, it is supposed to clear up by the first of the week and my Tuesday departure date is predicted to be in the 35-24 range and cloudy.

Luckily PHC is nice and warm and cozy even though it has lots of windows and very high ceilings. I have a ballet show tonight down in the Village and the venue is only a block away from the subway exit. I do have to brave the cold this afternoon for a quick trip across the street and down the block to the grocery store. Will put this off as long as I can in hopes that it will warm up a bit.

OK, now I have a confession to make in the name of fair and unbiased reporting. Now calm down, it ain’t that bad, although I guess it does fall into the category of a sin, so ... “Please Forgive Me, Sister, For I Have Sinned.” You see, as I previously posted my entertainment event for Thursday night was “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” at a theater on 46th Street. For whatever reason(s) I just didn’t feel in the mood for this kind of show but because it was a complimentary ticket from one of my ticket services I had to at least show up at the box office, pick up my ticket and have my name crossed off the ticket list. So, I did just that - bundled up in everything warm that I own, walked up to the theater, picked up my ticket and then ... I sinned ... I left the theater and walked down to a movie theater on 42nd Street and saw the recently opened “Up In The Air” with George Clooney.

Up In The Air” is a dramedy about a commitment-phobic businessman, more comfortable in a hotel than at home, who flies around the country working for a company whose job it is to fire people. It has gotten very favorable reviews and has received several award nominations already, including Clooney. I loved the show and highly recommend it. So, “Sister, Please Forgive Me For My Sins.”

Wow - I feel soooooooooo much better now that I have been forgiven.

I have added two events to my already awesome weekend schedule, the details of which are in an earlier posting.

Tomorrow, Saturday, at 3:00 I am seeing - “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” - Off Broadway. “Carson McCuller's classic novel is a timeless tale about the universal need for human connection, follows the story of a deaf man, John Singer, as he navigates the world without his dearest friend who has been committed to an insane asylum. When Singer moves to a small Southern town, the locals flock to him as a new found confidant, seeking compassion and understanding from the one person who needs it the most. Singer's isolation in the world is mirrored in a few of the townspeople he meets along the way a cafe owner, a rebellious teenager, a black physician, and an idealistic labor organizer whose dreams have been shattered.” (discounted TDF ticket)

This show has received very good reviews and I have been planning to see it but for some reason kept putting it off for other shows. Well, it closes on Sunday, so I had to grab it. As previously posted, at 8:00pm I have the Broadway musical “Ragtime.”

My second addition is Sunday afternoon at 3:00 at Town Hall - “New York City Gay Men's Chorus 30th Anniversary Concert.“ - The press blurb is: “A Holiday Celebration of the Power of Love. Over 250 talented singers will be joined by the amazing Tony Award-winning Victoria Clark (Light in the Piazza; Encores-Follies) performing holiday favorites and songs by Jason Robert Brown; Stephen Sondheim; Jule Styne; and Peter, Paul, and Mary.” (discounted TDF ticket).

They usually perform at Carnegie Hall but for some reason are scheduled for Town Hall this season. No matter, they put on a wonderful concert.

Sunday evening at 7:00 I have “Basically Brandenburg” @ Symphony Space, which I described in an earlier posting.

Yesterday, Thursday, I had a great lunch with student/bartender/manager John Scott Reed. It constantly amazes me how he is able to maintain his sanity with school, full-time work, and an awesome social life. He is living life to its fullest in The Greatest City In The World and I am so happy for him and so thankful that he finds time to include me in his social network. And, to top all of that off - he is being the “super-son” over Christmas by hosting his Mom, who lives in Lakeland, FL, for an extended Christmas visit in The Big Apple. Yep, Scott, you are indeed a Fabson.

Well, it has “warmed” up to 26 degrees so I think I will post this and run to the grocery store.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hmmmm - Christmas, another look

You know, maybe all of this feel-good hype about Christmas needs to be re-examined. And that is a task Billi Pod has undertaken in my responsibility for fair and unbiased reporting to benefit you, my loyal and faithful readers out there in the hinterlands of cyberspace.

Now I do not claim authorship of the following material. I found it during the internet research I do daily for you. I shamelessly copied it in order to give you something to think about. Here goes:


“I was recently struck by the inherently depressing messages of TV Christmas classics:

A mentally disturbed child suffers peer rejection, then kills a plant. (A Charlie Brown Christmas)

A community mocks and shuns a deformed youngster until they learn that they can exploit his freakish physical difference for profit. (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

It's okay to steal a hat if it belongs to somebody you don't like. (Frosty the Snowman)

A burglar avoids prosecution and is instead feted by his gullible victims. (The Grinch That Stole Christmas)

Hmmmn ... maybe the problem is that we need to go back a bit farther. How 'bout some good, old-fashioned Christmas movies from the good ol' days?

Fiscal irresponsibility and banking irregularities are okay if you seem like a nice guy. (It's a Wonderful Life)

A single mother learns that it's okay to lie to your child as long as the lie is backed by powerful corporate interests and corrupt politicians. (A Miracle on 34th Street)

Uh-oh. Well, so much for the 20th Century. What does 19th Century literature have to say on the subject?

Miser grows wealthy by exploiting workers, but buys his way out of eternal damnation with a pittance in indulgences. (A Christmas Carol)


Kinda interesting isn’t it? There is no need to flood me with endless thank-you emails. I was only fulfilling my responsibility for fair and unbiased reporting for you, my loyal and faithful readers.

Remember - I report - you decide.

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To Each and Everyone

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

Yes, I am still alive and well in New York City, The Greatest City In The World. I pray that 2010 will be as wonderful for you, your families, and your loved ones as 2009 has been for me.



Monday - Billi Pod Is In A Holiday Mood

Good evening my loyal and faithful readers. I hope that each of you has been able to get into the holiday spirit/mood because Christmas is fast approaching. I can honestly say that Billi Pod is now in a yuletide frame-of-mind, a Holiday Mood. Yep, I am. Bring it on!!

I am happy to report that Sunday afternoon’s concert with the Brass Quintet of The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Brass & Percussion sections of the West Point Military Band was everything that I had wanted it to be and then some. They were terrific and the sold-out audience was really into the program. No, it wasn’t like the prior concerts with The Canadian Brass. This one was much more classical music orientated. I can sum it up by saying - “I left Avery Fisher Hall in a very festive holiday mood,” and that is what I wanted. Ah yes ...

Today, Monday, has been a major errands day and some Christmas-related chores in anticipation of my up-coming trip down to Columbia, SC, to be with family for Christmas.

I have a very diverse entertainment schedule booked for the upcoming week - 1 Broadway show; 3 Off Broadway shows; 2 classical music concerts; and, 1 ballet. The details are --

Tuesday - 12/15 - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: “Handel - “Messiah.” Performing with the orchestra and soloists is the Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart Chorus. (subscription series).

As I wrote in a previous posting, this is a holiday staple for Billi Pod and I am really looking forward to it

Wednesday - 8:00 - “The Toxic Avenger” - Off Broadway. This is an edited version of the press blurb: “He's New Jersey's first Superhero and he takes to the stage in this rock 'n roll monster of a comedy. Thrown into a vat of toxic goo by two bullies, a mild-mannered science student named Melvin Ferd the Third is reborn as a one-of-a-kind environmental crusader, The Toxic Avenger! Armed with superhuman strength and a heart as big as Newark, he's out to save New Jersey, end global warming and woo the prettiest, blindest librarian in town.” (complimentary ticket).

I saw this show about a year ago in very early previews and loved it for what it is ... funny gross-out humor, very well performed. It it closing in January, I think, so when it showed up on one of my ticket services I immediately booked it.

Thursday - 8:00 - “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” - Off Broadway. “Retelling the story of the nativity, as only Sister can, she poses the burning question, "We know what happened to the myrrh and the frankincense - Mary used them as a sort of potpourri. They were in a barn after all. But who was the culprit who made off with the gold coins and left Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus in that lousy stable without any chance to upgrade to a suite?" Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any seen before.” (complimentary ticket)

Oh yeah, this is going to be fun. The performer has done several other “Sister” shows and they were all gut-busting funny, unless, of course, you are The Pope or a Cardinal, then ...

Friday - 7:00 - “The Nutcracker - Joffrey Ballet School” - “The Joffrey Ballet School returns with a new production of The Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky's beloved score. Generations of audiences have enjoyed this charming tale of holiday adventure that follows a little girl's journey through a fantasy world of dolls, toy soldiers, an army of mice, snowflakes, princes and fairies in the land of sweets. The production features the students of the Joffrey Ballet School performing all of the traditional roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.

(discounted TDF ticket)

It has been years since I have seen a production of The Nutcracker. I am not a huge ballet fan, but I have always liked this show, so ... why not? Again, just right for my Holiday Mood.

Friday - 8:00 - “Ragtime” - Broadway. This is the press blurb for the revival of this Tony-winning musical: “At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing... and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, RAGTIME weaves together three distinctly American tales -- that of a stifled suburban mother, an inventive Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician -- united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Their compelling stories intertwine to form a rich tapestry of hopes and dreams, struggles and triumphs, rhythm and rhyme.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I saw the original production back in 1998 and remember liking it but not being totally blown away. This revival has received generally favorable, but mixed, reviews. I thought I would give it a shot to see for myself.

Sunday - 7:00 - “Basically Brandenburg” @ Symphony Space. “Bach is Back! Chosen from among New York City's finest musicians, the triumphant Symphony Space All-Stars celebrate the holidays with a festive and joyous performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach. Among Bach's most often-performed and best-loved works, the six joyful, exuberant Concertos make for a holiday treat for friends and family alike!” (discounted TDF ticket).

Oh yes!!

Monday - 8:00 - “Altar Boyz” - Off Broadway. “Chosen as 2005's Best Off Broadway Musical by the Outer Critics Circle, this musical comedy portrays a struggling Christian boy-band's first visit to New York City. Riding the wave of America's latest fascination with religion and armed with catchy melodies, freaky moves and product in their hair, the self-anointed apostles of pop (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham) bring their soul-saving tour to New York City with all their hits like "Girl, You Make Me Wanna Wait" and "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone." (discounted TDF ticket)

This has been one of my favorite Off Broadway shows over the years and I have seen it numerous times and have sent lots of out-of-town folks to see Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham do their stuff. It has had a long run but, unfortunately, is closing, so I just had to see it one last time. You Guys Rock!!

Tuesday - 12/22 - 4:00pm - depart Laguardia for Columbia, SC; 6:10pm - arrive Columbia, SC. (hopefully)

! will be in Columbia, SC, for Christmas with my daughter, Kathi Bendeck, and son-in-law Dr. John; son William A. Norris, III, aka Billyboy, of Orlando, FL; oldest grandson Alex Falletta aka Lex and his wife, Gina, of Elgin, SC; and, youngest grandson Chris Falletta aka Topher and his fiancé Sally Goldman, both of Gainesville, FL. It has been a long time since we were all together at the same time in the same place and I am really charged about it.

You know, one thing Billi Pod has learned while getting old and older - “family” matters more and more and more with each passing year.

Sunday - 12/27 - 7:00am (yep, that is the correct departure time) - depart Columbia, SC; 9:03am - arrive Laguardia (hopefully).

Happy Holidays and Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Condom on the sleeve - NYC 12/22/95

Good morning my loyal and faithful readers. Several people have again emailed for the now almost classic and true “condom on the sleeve” story back from the winter of 1995, my first December in the Big Apple following my retirement on December 31, 1994, so here it is in the original form:


Date: Fri, Dec 22, 1995 11:53 PM EST

From: Wanjr

Subj: December 22 - Only in the Big Apple

To: Email list

Fellow cyberpersons:

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

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

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

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

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

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



Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday - Billi Pod's Next 7 Days

When I posted my November 2009 activity summary yesterday I failed to note that on November 30th I had been in Penthouse C at 420 W. 42nd Street for 6 months. My how time does fly. I love this place. Thank God I was able to amend my original 1 year lease to 2 years. I have been working on a posting regarding my 6-month thoughts, observations and impressions regarding this apartment and my new ‘hood and will probably finish it in the next couple of days.

This posting will outline my entertainment schedule for the next week in The Big Apple - The Greatest City in The World. Here goes ...

Wednesday - 12/9 - 8:00 - “Effects of Suburbia On An Otherwise Normal Brain” - Off Broadway. “This comedy explores the traps of suburban life: where one not only struggles to summon the courage to express their emotions, but must also develop a vernacular to do so; where external obligations clash with free will; where the obligatory mask of superficial perfection creates isolation and threatens empathy. The comical, albeit honest exploration of suburban life also includes a musical group of “Up With People”-style singers.” ($9.00 TDF ticket).

This sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Thursday - 8:00 - St. Cecilia Orchestra & Chorus @ Carnegie Hall. The program is: "Mozart - “Great” Mass in C Minor and Hummel - Mass in B Flat." This is the press blurb about the program: "Mozart's Mass in C Minor,called the "Great" Mass, contains double choruses requiring great virtuosity on the part of the singers. The composer Hummel, somewhat forgotten today, was recognized in his own day as a rival of Beethoven's. The Mass in B Flat is deceptively simple, filled with subtle harmonies and beautiful melodies. The concert features a full orchestra." (discounted TDF ticket).

Thursday will mark the 3rd year since my colleague and dear friend Randy Bentley left us way way too soon. My best to Randy’s wife, Sue, and his family.

Friday - 8:00 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: "Mozart - Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola; Bruckner - Symphony No. 4.” (subscription series ticket exchange).

Saturday - 7:00 - “The Flaming Idiots” - Off Broadway. This is the press blurb for this show: “The wise-cracking, whip-snapping Flaming Idiots are back with an outrageous onslaught of crackerjack juggling and zany shenanigans. This time, the buffoonery blazes throughout the yuletide season in Chestnuts Roasting on the Flaming Idiots as Gyro, Pyro and Walter bounce between awesome antics and gross-out goofs, tossing machetes and lit torches and creating deli delights with their toes." (discounted TDF ticket).

I have seen this group at least 3 times and each time was one of the funniest shows of the year for me. If you like funny frat-boy gross-out humor with extreme athleticism then this is the show for you. I can’t wait.

Sunday - 12/13 - 3:00 - “Holiday Brass” @ Avery Fisher Hall. This will be the Philharmonic’s Principal Brass Quintet performing with the West Point Band Brass and Percussion sections. (full price ticket).

Let me comment about this show. As many of you longtime readers know, The Canadian Brass performing with the New York Philharmonic Brass has been a Christmas-time favorite of mine for years. In the past it has gotten me into the yule-tide spirit so I eagerly look forward to each holiday performance of the two groups. The concert always sells out. It was only after I got my ticket to this performance, about 6 weeks ago, that I noticed that The Canadian Brass wasn’t performing. Damn - I wondered what the problem was but there was nothing I could do since I already had my ticket. I assumed there was some sort of scheduling conflict on the part of The Canadian Brass.

Well, two weeks ago when I was at Town Hall for a program I happened to peruse their upcoming show schedule and guess what? At 3:00pm on Sunday, December 13th, The Canadian Brass is performing at Town Hall. Yes, that’s right - the exact same date and time. I couldn’t f**king believe it - the exact same date and time - what the F?.

Obviously there was a problem between The Canadian Brass and/or Avery Fisher Hall and/or The New York Philharmonic. I discussed the “situation” with several of my fellow concert-goers and no one had an answer and everyone, and I mean everyone, was majorly disappointed. Oh, well .... life goes on.

Monday - open at the moment. (gasp).

Tuesday - 12/15 - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: “Handel - “Messiah.” Performing with the orchestra and soloists is the Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart Chorus. (subscription series).

Seeing the “Messiah” at least once is also a part of Billi Pod’s holiday tradition.

And speaking of the “Messiah” - my daughter Kathi Bendeck of Columbia, SC, will be singing in two “Messiah” concerts, December 13th and 21st, with The Columbia Choral Society and The South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. “Wish I could be there Kathi - I am sooooooo proud of you. Hallelujah!”

On this happy note I will close this out.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

November 2009 - A WOW!! Month

Good afternoon my loyal and faithful readers. It is time to give you a report on my activities for the month of November 2009. When I checked the stats for the month I arrived at the conclusion that November was another WOW!! month for Billi Pod entertainment-wise, and once again highlighted the benefits of living in New York City - The Greatest City in The World.

November marked my return to the theater-scene once the baseball season was officially over on November 4th when the Yankees beat the Phillies in game number six of the World Series to win their 27th National Championship in the storied history of the franchise. I have to admit that it felt a bit strange for the season to finally come to a close. Luckily I had an opportunity to get back into my theater modality and I did just that. So, without further ado - here come the numbers.

In checking my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) I find that during the month of November I saw/did/attended the following:

5 Broadway shows (“Race.” “Wishful Drinking,” “After Miss Julie,” "Bye Bye Birdie,” and “The 39 Steps.”); 21 Off-Broadway shows (including a comic show by SNL comic Andy Samberg and a concert of Broadway musical numbers called “Broadway Unplugged.”); 2 New York Philharmonic Orchestra concerts; 1 post-season baseball game; and 2 movies ("The Men Who Stare At Goats” and “Old Dogs”).

The highlight of the month was, of course, being present at the final game of the World Series. I was also able to spend time with out-of-town visitors Bruce Davidson and Tony McCormack of Atlanta, GA, and with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed.

I posted 13 times to this blog.

I spent only 2 nights in Penthouse C without attending some entertainment event either during the day or evening, both having to do with sporting events.

Speaking of sporting events - on November 27th I renewed (and paid for) my 41-game season ticket package, beginning with Opening Day on April 13, 2010, against the Los Angeles Angels and then every other home game for the rest of the home season, ending on September 26, 2010, against the Boston FuckSox. I opted to remain in the same seat location: Main Level, Section 212, Row 5, Seat 17. I will probably buy 9 - 11 additional tickets once they go on sale. As a partial season ticket holder I will have access to single-game tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

So there you have it my loyal and faithful readers. I hope you will agree that November 2009 was a very good month for Billi Pod in The Big Apple.

But, I only report - it is up to you to decide if indeed it was a WOW!! month.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Will Not Whine, I Will Not Pout!!

Thank you everyone for the texts, emails and calls in response to my posting regarding the Gator/’Bama game and my pledge that: “I will not whine, I will not pout.”

Homer Hooks of Lakeland, FL, and I have been friends for more years that I care to count. We are both U of Fla. graduates, members of Florida Blue Key, avid Yankee fans and, of course, Gators to our inner core.

I want to share with you a poem that Homer composed in response to my posting ....


“I Will Not Whine...,” by Homer Hooks

I will not whine; I will not pout;

The Tide rolled in; the Tide rolled out;

And grabbed the Gator by the snout.

But let no one sneer at us;

We loyal fans of the Orange and Blue,

Know exactly what we have to do;

We’ll make like the Romans at Cincinnattus!!


Thank you Homer and ... Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Crimson Tide 32 - Gators 13!!

In all aspects of the game ‘Bama whipped our butt and they deserved to win. They will now play Texas for the BCS Championship.

I will not whine, I will not pout. ‘Bama beat us and we lost.

As a result of the loss Billi Pod will be required to wear Crimson Tide gear at Christmas Dinner in Columbia, SC, the outfit to be chosen by my son Bill, of Orlando, FL, who is a longtime ‘Bama fan.

I will not whine, I will not pout. We made a bet. He won and I lost.

And, yes, come the BCS Championship game I will be pulling for The Crimson Tide to win because they are the SEC Champions and the Number One team in the country.

I will not whine, I will not pout. The better team won today.

Billi Pod

Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Bama Sucks

Yes, it is almost 1:00am on Saturday morning and Billi Pod is nervous as hell about the Gator vs. ‘Bama game, with coverage starting at 4:00pm on CBS. The weather here in the Big Apple is supposed to be very nasty with the possibility of a snow flurry or two. That will not help my pre-game mood.

I know that I will spend my entire waking moments before the game pacing around PHC, thumb in mouth, and glancing at the clock, which will have slowed down to a snail's pace. It will be a long morning and afternoon, without a doubt.

The game - it will be a nail-biter until the very end but I believe Tebow will make the necessary clutch plays to carry the Gators to a victory and a chance to repeat as National Champions.

The final score - 24 - 17.

Go Gators!!!

Billi Pod

“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New York Philharmonic Concert - A New York Moment

Itzhak Perlman was afflicted with polio at age 4. Tonight, 60 years later, the world renowned violin virtuoso performed with The New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert called “A Concert To End Polio,” and it was as awesome as I expected it to be.

But, that is not the reason for this posting. I just got in from the concert and I want to share with you, my loyal and faithful readers, a very moving experience I had at the concert, an experience that can only be classified as a “New York Moment.”

This concert was not a part of my season subscription series but my seat was excellent, in the rear orchestra, row HH, seat 17, which is house left. Seated to my immediate left was a man in his 40s and seated to his left was a really nice looking young boy with blond hair, obviously his son. The man and I struck up a conversation and I asked him how old his son was and he told he was 12. I then told him how much I admired him for bringing his son to this concert, on a school night.

His response was: “Oh no, you got it all wrong. I didn’t bring him, he brought me. The kid is a very talented violinist.” He then went on to tell me that the kid was the Concert Master (Principal Violinist) for his school’s orchestra, took private lessons and had just received a full scholarship at a prestigious private school (the name went into and right out of my head). Wow. I don’t think the kid heard any of this conversation because his nose was buried in the program notes.

Just before the concert started the two changed seats so that the kid could have a better view of the stage.

When the NY Phil Concert Master came out I leaned over to the kid and said: “That could be you someday.” The kid got a puzzled look on his face and turned to his dad, who told him something. The kid then turned back to me and said: “Thank you, that’s so cool.” Damn, I got a lump in my throat.

Itzhak Perlman came on stage to a roaring standing ovation. He is on crutches and it is obviously difficult for him to move around, but he does it totally without assistance, including getting up on a riser, where he sits in a chair during his performance.

Perlman performed 3 numbers: Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1; Williams - Theme from Schindler’s List (he performed the violin solo’s in the movie); and, Kreisler - Tambourin chinois.

The kid was absolutely transfixed. I don’t think he blinked or moved an inch. He didn’t even appear to be breathing. I am not being overly dramatic, just reporting what I observed.

When the final number was over the audience leapt to its feet and the place shook with thunderous applause. We had hoped for an encore but it wasn’t to be.

As the kid was getting ready to leave I said to him: “Young man - follow your dreams.” It was then that I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. His dad pointed at me and simply said: “Thank you.”

This is what I wanted to share with you.