Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bill Is Now In Columbia, SC.

Good afternoon my loyal and faithful readers.

I am happy to report that the trip from New York City down to Columbia, SC, yesterday went without any problems and my duffle and I arrived pretty much on schedule.

John and Kathi picked me up at the airport and brought me to their ultra-nice condo located in downtown Columbia, next to the University of South Carolina campus and just blocks away from the state capitol buildings. I love their apartment and its location.

After I got unpacked and settled in we basically just chilled for the remainder of the evening, ordering in pizza. I spent most of the evening watch baseball.

The weather right now is very iffy and it was rainy and nasty this morning. Thank God we aren’t the tornado path.

You know, our plans are very flexible, with everything depending on Alex’s availability. We will drive out to his house in Elgin, SC, sometime this afternoon for some face time.

Tomorrow, Friday, the whole family will have arrived and that evening we will have a family dinner which John and I are co-hosting.

Saturday is a “family” gathering at McEntire Airbase, which is mandatory for the servicemen. There will be entertainment, food and stuff. I don’t know at this point how long we will be there, but several hours I am sure.

Sunday, as I have previously reported, is the formal deployment ceremony, following which Alex and his mates will lift off in their respective Apaches and fly down to Fort Hood, TX.

I will keep you advised with as much detail as I feel comfortable giving.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finally Some Nice Weather In The Big Apple.

Good afternoon my loyal and faithful readers.

It is bright and warm today==>70º @ 10:00am and 81º @ 2:30pm - ‘bout time.

It feels great out and I have been walking around the ‘hood.

Yesterday I did all of my usual errands, things and stuff. Basically Billi Pod all ready for his trip down to Columbia, SC.

In response to several emails and texts ... the reason I am going down there [ahem ... read the older blog postings ...ahem}==> is to be present for the family program involving the deployment of my oldest grandson, Warrant Officer Alexander Falletta, who is an Apache helicopter pilot.

His unit, The 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, was recently activated and they are being deployed, first to Fort Hood, TX, and then to an undisclosed location overseas.

That’s why I am going down to Columbia, SC.

Had a nice dinner last night with John Scott Reed @ Southern Hospitality a BBQ restaurant in the ‘hood - huge servings of great food.

Tonight-7:05==>YANKEES vs. WHITE SOX @ Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees got shutout last night. AJ Burnett aka Loser Boi pitched an excellent game, but got the loss because the Yankee bats went totally dead.

Tonight Ivan Nova is on the mound for The Bronx, hopefully, Bombers.


Billi Pod

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Billi Pod’s Upcoming Columbia Trip

Good afternoon my loyal and faithful readers.

First, Billi Pod is happy to report that he has only a bit of stiffness but otherwise feels great following yesterday’s 7.7 mile birthday walkathon.

Thanks for all of the very supportive emails, posts, messages and texts. They really made me feel good.

As I reported last night, my Easter Dinner with my buds Michael Pederson and Dennis Dohman at their Chelsea apartment was awesome. It was a great group of friends and a terrific meal - THANKS GUYS!!

Monday is, of course, my errands day and I have lots of stuff to do, mostly in preparation for Wednesday’s trip down to Columbia, SC.

This is my schedule for the trip ...


Wednesday - April 27 - 4:15pm - depart LGA - Delta #6023; arrive Columbia - 6:23pm

John & Kathi Bendeck

Columbia, SC


Sunday - 9:00am - The 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion's (ARB) Deployment Departure Ceremony at the AASF, McEntire ANGS, Eastover, SC.

We anticipate that Alex will lift off in his Apache around 10:30am. They will be heading down to Fort Hood, Texas, for a later deployment overseas.

Gotta admit that I feel very very emotional about this. There will be a rather large family gathering to show our support for our troops and for Alex and his wife Gina.

Tuesday - May 3 - 6:20am - depart Columbia - Delta #6107; arrive LGA - 8:15am


Tonight will meet up with John Scott Reed, aka Fabson, for face time and dinner somewhere in my ‘hood.


Billi Pod

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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Billi Pod Did It Today - 7.7 miles!!

When I posted on my FaceBook Wall this morning I made the following observation --

“Damn it is really nice out. Why am I not doing my 77th birthday walkathon today? Ummmmmm ...”

And the more I thought about it the more Billi Pod thought that it would be dumb to miss the good weather opportunity today versus problematic forecasts for tomorrow, so ...

At around 12:15pm Billi Pod left PHC, on 42nd Street as you know, and walked over to 10th Avenue and headed North toward the Upper Westside. Yes, Billi Pod’s 7.7 Mile Birthday Walkathon was underway, one day late, but nonetheless underway.

The goal was to reach 196th Street & Broadway, 154 blocks, meaning ... tada ... 7.7 miles.

The weather was great. At the first mile I took off my sweater and stored it in my backpack. At each mile I took pictures of the street signs which I dutifully posted on my FaceBook Wall.

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that the last 2 miles were pretty tough, because of the steep inclines in that part of Manhattan, something I had anticipated.

Billi Pod reached 196th Street at approximately 4:00pm, tired but very very happy.

It had taken a bit longer than I had anticipated but I had made it.

Had my picture taken and then walked back to the 1 train subway station at 191st Street.

It being Sunday I had a wait for the train, which is local, so it seemed as if the trip back took almost as long as the walk, but, of course, it didn’t.

I was in PHC at 4:45pm, tired and a bit sore. Had a nice hot bath and took a couple of Tylenols.

Then it was time to head down to Chelsea for Easter Dinner with Michael Pederson and Dennis Dohman and their friends. It was awesome. THANKS GUYS!!

I have lots of other things to write about, but, frankly, I am too tired to do it tonight, so will post this and then probably crash a bit earlier than usual.

Yes, when I count the extra walking to the subway station and then the walking connected with dinner and stuff, I calculate that this 77 year and 1 day old guy walked at least 8.5 miles today. Not bad, not bad at all ...

But 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.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Billi Pod’s 7.7 Mile Walkathon Has Been Postponed!!

BREAKING NEWS==>Billi Pod’s 7.7 mile birthday walkathon has been rained out. It is now reset to begin at 11:00am on Monday, April 25th.

There was no way I was gonna be able to finish the entire 7.7 miles without being in the rain, according to the forecasts, and, of course, I wasn't gonna walk in the rain with an umbrella for all that distance.

So ... Billi Pod postponed the event and just scored a ticket for a show this afternoon in a theater just one block from PHC ...

2:00==>HONESTLY ABE - “A musical play about the early life of Abraham Lincoln, with a full score and much dancing.” (Off-Broadway complimentary ticket)

Then for tonight is ...

8:00==>ANYTHING GOES - “When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love ... proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.” (Broadway - Roundabout Theatre Subscription Series).

This show has gotten very good reviews and Billi Pod is really looking forward to seeing it.

Of course, as I am writing this, around noon, the rain has tapered off a bit and it is getting brighter out. However, the forecast still calls for rain for the remainder of the day and into the evening.

Soooooooooo ... on to other things, like ...

Last night I finally saw the terrific comedy/drama WIN WIN starring Paul Giamatti as a desperate attorney who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach.

Folks out there in the vast hinterlands==>this is a “must-see” film and I think it has been released nationwide. The cast is outstanding, particularly the young actor, Alex Shaffer, who plays the young wrestler, Kyle, who is at the center of the unfolding drama.

The show is laugh and smile inducing but also very insightful and thought-provoking. See it!!

In closing==>Thanks for all of the birthday calls, emails, texts and messages.


Billi Pod

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

Billi Pod is 77 years old. WTF????

OMFG!! It is now 12:30am on Saturday, April 23rd, and Billi Pod is officially 77 f-ing years old! Wow!! Who would have thunk it? OMFG!!

Weather permitting, I have opted to do the 7.7 miles, or 154 north/south blocks, later in the morning, probably around 11:00am.

I will leave PHC, which as you know is located on 42nd and 9th Avenue and walk up 9th Avenue to Columbus Circle, then on Broadway up to 196th Street. Then if I am still alive, the 1 train back to the ‘hood. With rest stops and all I am estimating it will take a little over 3 hours.

I probably will turn my cellphone off during the trek. For the evening I have a Broadway show and I will post details about it and yesterday’s activities when I get back to PHC.

Bill aka Billi Pod

Friday, April 22, 2011

Billi Pod Says==>Passover In Exile Was FANTASTIC!!

Last night’s concert by the AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Carnegie Hall, performing the US premiere of Paul Dessau’s “Passover in Exile” was fantastic!!

I have to admit that I had misgivings going in==>man, was I wrong. So glad I was there. It was awesome!! The stage was filled with the orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and at least 16 performers and soloists.

Yes, it was a bit long, almost 3 hours with one 20 minute intermission, but it maintained my attention throughout. It was performed in Yiddish, however, in the program was a 30 page translation which I was able to follow even though the lighting in my Dress Circle seating area was very dim.

When the concert was completed the audience gave the performers a roaring standing ovation, which they had more than earned.

I am happy to share with you loyal and faithful readers that yesterday’s CAT scan of my sinus areas went OK - it took only 9 minutes. Actually, it took longer to do the advance paperwork than the procedure itself. Go figure. Results will be provided to my ENT doctor next week.

The reviews are in on JERUSALEM, starring Mark Rylance, and they are generally very favorable. Rylance received across-the-board rave reviews. The other actors in the company were also universally praised, especially Mackenzie Crook and John Gallagher, Jr.

Dammit, all of the weather forecasts for tomorrow are dismal==>rain, rain and more rain. Billi Pod may not be able to do his birthday walking marathon as planned. Dammit!!

Tonight Billi Pod will finally get around to seeing the movie WIN WIN, a comedy about an attorney who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach.


Billi Pod

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Billi Pod Still Ain’t An Opera Fan!!

Sorry you opera fans out there in the vast hinterlands but last night’s SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON @ New York City Opera, just didn’t work for Billi Pod. He thought it was boring and bland.

My seat was excellent, row H, in the left orchestra area. I was one row ahead of my friends Michael Pederson and Dennis Dohman.

In the name of fair and unbiased reporting Billi Pod has to report that he fled at intermission. Also, he has to report that just released reviews have generally been unfavorable.

When I left the opera house the weather was nice so I decided to walk back to PHC, a distance of 1 mile. On the way I listened to the final two innings of the YANKEES/TORONTO game, which the Yankees won behind an excellent outing by Bartolo Colon, who made his first major league start since July 24, 2009.

Tonight’s entertainment event is ..

8:00==>AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Carnegie Hall - “US premiere of Paul Dessau’s Passover in Exile with the Collegiate Chorale and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.” (complimentary ticket).

I am really looking forward to this concert because I like both vocal groups a lot.

Still working on my birthday plans so stay tuned.

Let me give you loyal and faithful readers a brief summary of a developing “situation.”

About 10 days ago I noticed a swelling around my right cheekbone area. Ignored it, of course. Thought it would go away. It didn’t. Yesterday went to my eye doctor. It isn’t eye-related.

She referred me to an ear nose & throat specialist. He worked me in and did lots of icky stuff. Not sure what the “problem” is. Have a CAT scan of the facial area scheduled for this afternoon at 2:45pm. Follow up appointment with ENT guy when I get back from my trip down to Columbia, SC.

Bottom line==>I feel fine, really, I do. Will keep you advised.


Billi Pod

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The School of Lies Was Excellent

Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s THE SCHOOL OF LIES==>B+<==once I got my ears tuned into the verse-written dialogue I found this to be funny and extremely well performed.

Before the show started I met up with my friends and fellow theater junkies Michael Pederson and Dennis Dohman and we had a nice albeit brief catch-up time.

Michael and Dennis are hosting their annual Easter Dinner and about a month ago they were kind enough to again issue me an invitation to join their teeming mass of guests, around 35 in number, in their Chelsea apartment. Just joking, I think they said there will be 11 guests.

They have been kind enough to include me for at least the last 4 years. This is always an outstanding evening, with good food and very very interesting people and I am sooooooooooo looking forward to it.


When the show was over I walked back from the theater in Union Square, a distance of 2.5 miles, while listening to the end of the YANKEES/TORONTO game, which the Yankees lost in the bottom of the 10th. Mo blew his first save of the season. Barf!!

Dammit, it is very nasty and ugly looking out this morning - 42º @ 7:30am. I am soooooooooo tired of this nasty weather pattern. When will Spring arrive up here in The Big Apple? Come on ... it’s way past due.

OK, now my loyal and faithful readers, take a deep breath ... relax ... remain calm ... because tonight’s entertainment event is an O P E R A ... gasp ... yes, that is correct ... Billi Pod will see ... gasp ...

8:00==>SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON - “Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Wicked) brings his latest psychological thriller to the New York City Opera stage. Myra, an ambitious psychic, orchestrates an elaborate kidnapping scheme so that her "vision" can ensure a successful recovery, a generous ransom, and the fame she so desperately craves.” (Opera - discounted TDF ticket)

OK, folks, calm down ... it ain’t the end of the world as we know it. Yes, I know Billi Pod has stated on numerous occasions that he is N O T a fan of The Opera ... but ... he was drawn to this event by the name “Stephen Schwartz” so he thought he would give it a shot. Does he having misgivings? Yes, of course he does.

Oh, my buds Michael and Dennis and Dian Crystal will also be attending the same performance.

In response to your emails and texts ... Billi Pod is still in the decision making process regarding his birthday activities on Saturday. You loyal and faithful readers will remember that last year he walked 76 (76th birthday, get it?) north/south blocks up the Upper Westside, a distance of 3.8 miles and then did some additional walking to total 5 miles for the day.

Well, this year he is torn between two options: (1) walking 77 blocks, this time south down to the South Seaport, plus some additional walking later in the day to total 5 miles; or (2) concocting a walking schedule that would total 7.7 miles of continuous walking. He has a Broadway show (Anything Goes) for the evening.

One problem. Guess what? Weather. Rain is in the forecast. F**K!!

Why am I doing this you are no doubt breathlessly asking? Easy. Two reasons: (1) I want to; and, (2) I physically can.

Soooooooooo ... stay tuned.


Billi Pod

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Billi Pod Says==>Always Read The Fine Print!!


Yeah, but first ... Last night’s concert by the DISTINGUISHED CONCERTS ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS @ Avery Fisher Hall was excellent. My complimentary seat was in the orchestra, row M, house left - great!!

The program was kinda long with two intermissions, but no matter because the final number was an awesome rendition of Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

When the concert was over I walked back to PHC, 20 blocks or 1 mile. Nice!!

Have you noticed all of the “extra” walking? Well, of course you have because you are my loyal and faithful readers and you know that this may be in preparation for “something” in connection with Billi Pod’s 77th birthday on Saturday the 23rd. Well, the details will soon be forthcoming - just be patient.


OK, what am I talking about? Well, remember yesterday’s post in which I mentioned that I was going to go out to Yankee Stadium to exchange tickets for the 3 games scheduled during my time down in Columbia, SC? One of the benefits of being a partial season ticket holder is their ticket exchange policy and this is what I was taking advantage of as I have numerous times in the past.

When I got to Yankee Stadium yesterday around 1:30pm there was already a line at the ticket window but no problem. I had about a 15 minute wait. When it was my turn I gave the tickets and requested new dates to the nice young woman behind the glass partition.

She looked at them, looked at me, looked at them, looked back at me ... and then said ... “sir, you cannot exchange these tickets. You have to do it at least two weeks before the game.” “What,” I said, “I thought it was only a week before?” To which she replied ... “read the fine print, sir. It used to be one week but they changed it this year, so now it’s a minimum of two weeks. It’s in the fine print, sir.”

Damn and double damn!! Well, at least the trip wasn’t a complete bust because I had brought with me the 3 season ticket vouchers for 1/2 price tickets to 3 games and was able to score excellent seats for 3 extra games at the end of the season.

Last night I listed the seats on StubHub but, frankly, I doubt they will sell. Oh well ...


BREAKING SPIDER-MAN NEWS==>This is an excerpt from the "official" press release regarding the latest Spider-Man “event” --

“Following its historic matinee performance on Sunday, April 17, SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark embarks on a three-week hiatus for technical rehearsals before unveiling the new version of the mega musical on Thursday, May 12. The original staging of SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark played its final performances to sold-out houses. The official opening night of the new SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark is set for Tuesday, June 14th at the Foxwoods Theatre (213 West 42nd Street).

The revamping of SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark represents an unprecedented and historic moment on Broadway. The new version takes the best aspects of the original, adds great new songs by Bono and The Edge, tells the story from a different angle, and will offer an even more thrilling audience experience.”

Man, these people are insane. Why don’t they just admit they made a mega-mistake, take their losses and get the f**k out of town?

This funny SPIDER-MAN cartoon was in yesterday’s papers and I have posted it for your enjoyment and entertainment, for which Billi Pod could probably go to jail. But, nothing is too good for you loyal and faithful readers out there in the vast hinterlands.

Moving on with tonight’s entertainment event ...

8:00==>THE SCHOOL OF LIES - “A sparking take, in hilarious verse, on Moliere’s immortal comic masterpiece, The Misanthrope.” (Off-Broadway - complimentary ticket).

I have very mixed feelings about this show but my theater buddy Dian Crystal gives it a “thumbs-up” and I value her opinion(s).


Billi Pod

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

It Was An Awesome Doubleheader!!

Yesterday was an awesome doubleheader beginning with the BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONIC WINDS from England @ Alice Tully Hall.

My seat in the recently refurbished Alice Tully Hall was excellent, 6th row orchestra, in the middle. This is a very pleasant venue with lots of leg room and good sight-lines.

As expected, the program was an eclectic blend of English and American works, ending with “Humoresque on Swanee” by Sousa, which got a roaring ovation.

Side note==>about 15 minutes into the concert the woman seated in front of me, to the left, took out her phone and began texting. An irate Billi Pod asked her to stop and she did but her 300 lb husband gave me one of those ... “I’m gonna kick your ass” ... looks. Well, thought I, this ain’t gonna be nice but it turned out not to be a problem because at intermission they rushed to the exit. Whew!

Anyway, when the concert was over, around 4:00pm, the weather was very nice, so Billi Pod decided to walk back to PHC, a distance of approximately 1 mile. It was a bit windy but no problem.

I basically just chilled until it was time to head out to Yankee Stadium for the 8:05pm YANKEE vs. RANGERS game, the rubber game of the series.

At the last minute I opted not to bring my rain gear because it was nice and clear in Manhattan. Well, dammit, it was cold, windy and nasty looking in The Bronx. Not good.

The game was a nail-biter. CC pitched well and left the game with a one run lead, which Joba promptly gave up in his one inning of relief.

There was brief but drenching rain 3 times during the game and that was very uncomfortable. But, something else was even more uncomfortable for Billi Pod.

What, you are no doubt breathlessly asking. Well, seated to my right was an obese woman whose fat arms and butt encroached on at least a third of my seat space. Not joking, one third. It was very very uncomfortable for me, so I finally asked her if she could move over a bit. She looked me directly in the face and said ... “sorry, can’t”... It was then that I noticed that seated next to her was her husband/boyfriend who looked like Jabba the Hutt. Of course she couldn’t move over. Jabba gave me one of those ... “and what’s your f**king problem” ... looks. Oooooooooops.

No way could I win this, so I left my seat and fortunately found another seat in the same section under the overhang.

Back to the game ... The Yankees finally got the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th and went on to win when Mo came in to close out the top of the 9th.

Was back at PHC @ midnight. Very tired but happy.

You know, folks, I don’t want to dwell too much on what happened at the stadium but I do want to observe that when I moved to the other area I also started checking out the people seated around me and walking up and down the aisle and I would estimate that at least 25% of them were obese, not overweight, but ... OBESE.

Look around you folks. Look at the kids. This is a problem that must be addressed, not ignored.

OK, now I will get off my high-horse and talk about today ...

It being a Monday, it is my usual errands day, with a bit of a twist. What? Well, after I post this I will go out to Yankee Stadium and exchange 3 tickets for games that are scheduled during my trip down to Columbia, SC, at the end of the month.

Then tonight’s entertainment event is another classical music concert ...

7:00==>DISTINGUISHED CONCERTS ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS @ Avery Fisher Hall - "The Royals Meet the Blues: Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Todd’s Mass in Blue." (complimentary ticket)

OK, time to post this and head out to The Bronx.


Billi Pod

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

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Billi Pod Says==>Genderf*ck Cabaret Was Fun.

Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s THE ALL-AMERICAN GENDERF*CK CABARET==>B+<==an extremely talented young cast with a story line that skewers everything from feminism to sexting.

Drawing from surrealism, the play includes dream sequences, jumps in time, music, dance, and stylized movement.

I actually had a much better time than I anticipated and, in the name of fair and unbiased reporting, Billi Pod must admit to you loyal and faithful readers that he entertained the thought of just eating the $9.00 ticket and catching a movie instead.

But he obviously didn’t, but, having to walk almost a 1/2 mile each way in the nasty rain to get to and from the theater was a major bummer.

Thankfully, it is a sunny and nice looking day right now, with the temperature at 53º @ 10:30am.

Please God, let it continue because Billi Pod has a major doubleheader scheduled for today --

2:00==>BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONIC WINDS from England @ Alice Tully Hall - Palm Sunday - Atlantic Crossing - “This 45 member award-winning orchestra will present a blend of British and American pieces, including works by Holst, Whitacre, Gershwin, Sousa and Williams.” (complimentary ticket).

Weather permitting==>after the concert Billi Pod will walk back to PHC, a distance of one mile.

And then for tonight is ...

8:05==>YANKEES vs. RANGERS, carried on ESPN, with ace CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees. Billi Pod will be in his usual seat, Section 212, row 5, seat 17 until the final out, of course.

Because it is an ESPN game I already understand that the game will last forever and forever and it will be around midnight before I get back to PHC.

The Yankees won yesterday’s afternoon game behind an excellent outing by Freddy Garcia, making his first start as a Yankee.

Scary note==>Alex Rodriguez left the game in the 7th inning with a sore back and right oblique and is questionable for tonight’s game.

Dammit, it seems as if every time you pick up the sports section there is a report about another player with an ... “oblique problem.” WTF is going on?

In closing let me respond to several emails and texts about my upcoming birthday on Saturday, April 23rd==>Yes, Billi Pod has plans for this momentous event which he will share with you loyal and faithful readers early in the week. Thanks for asking.


Billi Pod

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