Saturday, December 31, 2011


Good Morning!!

Happy New Year’s Eve to each and everyone!!!!

It is bright, cool and brisk==>47º @ 8:30am on this final day of 2011.

In response to your emails and texts ... no, Billi Pod will not be in Times Square tonight for the dropping of the ball, saying good riddance to 2011 and ushering in 2012 - been there done that.

Instead ... he has a terrific doubleheader scheduled ... beginning with ...

2:00==>LYSISTRATA JONES - “A musical about Lyssie J. and her girl-power posse who won’t “give it up” to their basketball playing boyfriends until the boys win a game.” (Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This will be my second visit to this Broadway musical that has received very mixed reviews. I saw back in November and gave it a grade of A.

Unfortunately, it has failed to develop an audience and I have my doubts about how much longer it will remain open and that is sad because it is a lot of fun with an extremely talented young cast.

Then for this evening is ...

8:00==>NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ Avery Fisher Hall - New Year’s Eve Gala. The program is:

Bernstein: Overture to Candide and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; and, Gershwin: “Rhapsody in Blue” and Concerto in F - each performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. (full price extra ticket)

This has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for Billi Pod. I have done this event for the past 7 years and it has always been a very enjoyable evening.

It will be carried live on PBS stations nationwide.

When the concert is over I will come back to warm and cozy PHC, grill a steak (with baked potato and grilled onions), watch everything on the tube and then toast the New Year with my favorite libation==>Fresca.

Before I give you my report card on last night’s entertainment event, the Off Broadway show HOW THE EARTH BEGAN, I want to share a bit of drama about the event.

What, you are no doubt breathlessly asking ... well ... I had recorded on my log and reported in this blog that the show had an 8:00pm curtain time. It is playing at a theater directly underneath my apartment building, so I didn’t dress in layers as I usually would, just a light sweater and my trusty windbreaker.

I knew that a couple of my theater buddies were also going to the same performance so I had decided that I would leave PHC at 7:30 so I would have time for a brief visit.

As I was gathering my stuff, including my voucher, I noticed that ... OMFG ... the curtain time was 7:30, not 8:00 ... OMFG!!

OMFG! I knew that the actual starting time, as is theater custom in NYC, would be between 7:35 and 7:37. Could I make it? Was it even worth the try? OMFG!!

Yes, said Billi Pod ... and ... out I went ... got on the elevator, watching the time on my iPhone. Of course, the elevator made 3 stops. The lobby was packed. I rushed out of my building and arrived breathlessly at the ticket booth at 7:34. OMFG!!

Got my ticket ... row A, seat 15 ... not good for a late arrival. The ticket booth guy called up to the theater. The theater was on the 4th floor, of course. OMFG!!

It was 7:36 when I got off the elevator and was at the theater entrance. An usher was waiting for me. The show had just started. Luckily there was a seat available in the next to last row near the aisle so I didn’t make a scene getting seated

Thank goodness I hadn’t layered because I couldn’t have taken anything off without creating a big disturbance.

OMFG!! I had made it. Billi Pod took a deep breath ... briefly thanked the Theater Gods ... and settled in to watch ...

HOW THE WORLD BEGAN, a drama about a high school biology teacher who leaves Manhattan for Kansas and becomes engulfed in controversy over an offhand comment about the origins of the universe.

Billi Pod’s report card==>B+<==excellent acting, especially from the young guy who plays the protagonist.

The only reason it didn’t receive an A is that I thought it had a kinda formalistic story line but it doesn’t “neatly” wrap up everything at the end, and that works.

I recommend the show and think it will receive good reviews.

Let me close this end of year posting with something that I copied from a FaceBook posting that I think is very thought provoking ...


“Your car is German. Your pizza is Italian. Your falafel is Lebanese. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your number's Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together!”


Billi Pod

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


Friday, December 30, 2011

Billi Pod Was A Total Couch-Potato Yesterday

Good morning everyone.

CONGRATULATIONS (and not kidding) to all of my FSU friends out there in the vast hinterlands for an amazing comeback win (18-14) yesterday afternoon over Notre Dame in The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

It was a very exciting game to watch and the ‘Noles came back from a 14-point second-half deficit.

The victory was FSU’s fourth consecutive bowl win, which is pretty awesome.

Yes, Billi Pod was a total college football couch-potato yesterday, including the Baylor/Washington game in the Alamo Bowl that didn’t end until after midnight.

In this highest scoring bowl game in history Baylor beat Washington 67-56.

Yes, I know ... this was another evening spent in front of the tube in the cozy confines of PHC, but ... remember ... Billi Pod has previously, on numerous occasions, admitted/confessed to being a huge college football fan, regardless of who is playing whom.

Tonight’s entertainment event is ...

8:00==>HOW THE WORLD BEGAN - “A high school biology teacher leaves Manhattan for Kansas and becomes engulfed in controversy over an offhand comment about the origins of the universe.” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This show is in very early previews and is playing at a theatre on my block.

Actually, the theatre is directly underneath my building. I walk out my door, walk 20 feet and there is the theatre. Can't beat that.

On to other things and stuff ... like ...

In Thursday’s New York Times there was an article called: “The 75 Things New Yorkers Talked About in 2011.” To give you a flavor from the article, this is 5 "topics" I selected at random:

1. The G.O.P. debates. The best reality TV show not on Bravo.

12. Steve Jobs. Fittingly, many people learned the news of his death on their iPhones.

24. Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC to go to Current TV, is never heard from again.

45. The heat wave in July. The hurricane in August. The blizzard in October. Mother Nature must be awfully angry about something.

61. “The Book of Mormon.” Never has blasphemy been so hilarious.

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, as much as Billi Pod admires and respects The New York Times, in this instance they are again 110% wrong because the truth is, there are only 5 things REAL New Yorkers ever talk about, and, as Billi Pod posted last year in response to a similar article, they are ... tada ...

1. How much better New York used to be.

2. How much better New York is than anywhere else.

3. Rent.

4. Food.

5. Yankees vs. Mets.

Once again, you are so very welcum.


Billi Pod

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


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Doubleheader Report Cards; NY Times Screws Up; and, More Breaking News

It is bright, very cold and windy in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World.

It was only 22º @ 8:30am, but it has “warmed” up to 30º @ 1:30pm.

I am not complaining because this time last year Manhattan was still recovering from the “Christmas blizzard” and most of the outer-boroughs were still without power.

So ... let’s get going with Billi Pod’s report cards on yesterday’s entertainment doubleheader ... starting with ...

HAPPY HOUR by Ethan Coen==>C-<==one of the most unfunny so-called comedies that I have ever seen.

Why? Well ... “mix two ounces of misanthropy, one ounce of anomie and a jigger of acrid humor. Add two splashes of bitters and serve with a twist of tedium. That’s the nightly special — three for the price of one — at ‘Happy Hour,’ a wearying evening of short plays by Ethan Coen."

Actually, I cannot claim credit for the above because it is a verbatim copy of the opening paragraph by one of the New York Times’ theater critics.

Not a good beginning for the doubleheader ... but ... then for the evening there was ...

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ Avery Fisher Hall==>A<==mezzo-soprano Anne Sofia von Otter was absolutely sublime. The works by Haydn and Ravel were beautiful.

The sold-out audience was really into this concert and it was just what Billi Pod needed.

As I write this posting I haven’t an entertainment event scheduled for the evening. This is one of the slowest times of the year for my ticket services and I have no reason to believe anything of interest is going to show up ... so ...

Maybe I will get around to finally seeing either THE TOWER HEIST with Ben Stiller or THE SITTER with Jonah Hill ... we will see ...

Yesterday The Gray Lady aka The New York Times really got caught in a pr blunder. What am I talking about you are no doubt breathlessly asking? Well ... here it goes ...

At 1:06pm yesterday I received an email from The Times advising me that my home delivery subscription had been canceled. It contained a reinstatement offer. WTF thought I, this can’t be right. I was on my way to my matinee show so I waited till I got back to PHC to try to figure out what was going on.

I called the number listed in the email but kept getting a busy signal, which wasn’t a surprise. I kept trying ... still busy.

As I was watching the 5:00pm news there was an item that the email was a “mistake.” WTF??

Well, to make a long story somewhat shorter ... the paper sent out 8.6 million emails begging people not to cancel their subscriptions and to renew. Then, when the problem was called to their attention, management initially blamed spammers, stating that the emails had not been sent by the NYT.

Only later did The Times admit that the email had indeed been sent by them and that it was only intended for approximately 300 former customers.

As you might expect the other local papers have had a ball ....

On the front page of The New York Post ...

BAD TIMES - Caught in lie over 8.6 million ‘spams’

and then on page 5 ...

TIMES THEY ARE A-LYIN - E-gaffe & spam ‘coverup’

On page 8 of The Daily News ...

Times sez egads over mistakenly sent email

What about The Gray Lady? Well, on the lower right corner of the front page, in very small print, is a notice directing the reader to an article buried in the Business Section, with the title ...

Mistakenly, Times Sends Mass E-Mail.

Midway in the article the Times assumes responsibility. They had also sent out a corrective email late yesterday afternoon.

Ah, yes ... only in NYC folks, only in NYC.

BREAKING NEWS==>have just made the final plans for my trip down to Polk County aka PFC (standing for Polk F**king County) for the birth of my great-granddaughter.

Briefly - on Thursday, Jan. 5th, will fly down to Tampa, arriving in the afternoon, rent a car and dive over to Bartow, where I will be staying at The Holiday Inn Express. Will return to NYC on Wednesday, Jan. 11th.

In closing==>when I ran across this photograph I was reminded that Half Ass U will be playing Notre Tame at The Chumps Sports Bowl in Orlando, FL, at the Lake Howell High School Stadium, @ 5:30pm today. I can hardly wait. Be still my beating heart!! Go ‘Holes.


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 28, 2011

Billi Pod Is Officially Back

Good morning my loyal and faithful readers. It is a much better day, physically, mentally and emotionally for Billi Pod.

Overnight he sent a message to self that he was tired of being mired in the morass known as BLAH and ... self being the usual ... well ... self ... responded by sending BLAH the Hell away ... so ... Billi Pod is back!! Thank God and Thank Self.

In the name of fair and unbiased reporting I must admit, however, that last night Billi Pod opted to stay in the warm confines of PHC for the second consecutive night. Yes ... I know ... I know ... but it happened ... so just live with it ... blame it on the nasty weather ... or whatever ... just get over it and let’s move on ... OK?

Anyway ... as an indication that Billi Pod has returned to his usual New York state-of-mind ... tada ... today is an entertainment doubleheader ... YES!! ...

2:00==>HAPPY HOUR by Ethan Coen - “Three one-act comedies: An embittered barfly has a theory--or two--about what the world has become; A lonely young man and lonely young woman can't see how right they are for each other; and, His motel room is so ugly a business traveler wants to end it all.” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This show has received mostly tepid reviews but it is playing at a theater only one block away, so I thought I would give it a shot.

And then for this evening ...

7:30==>NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ Avery Fisher Hall - The featured performer is mezzo-soprano Anne Sofia von Otter doing selected songs from Schubert.

Also on the program: Haydn - Symphony No. 88; Ravel - Mother Goose ballet; and, Ravel - La Valse.

(subscription series).

I am really in the mood for a classical music concert.

Yes==>Billi Pod is indeed back!!

Have begun the mental countdown to becoming a Great-Grandfather. Awesome!!


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 27, 2011

Billi Pod’s Update and Some AWESOME Breaking News!!

Well, my loyal and faithful readers - at last Billi Pod has overcome his writer’s block, runny nose and raspy cough, overall feeling of BLAH, general angst etc etc etc enough to make himself sit down in front of his iMac and attempt to bring you hinterland dwellers up-to-date on the things and stuff in Billi Pod’s World.

Yes, a whole week has transpired since my last posting, the longest period between postings during 2011. My bad.

I am appreciative of the various inquiries via email and texts, even though some of them had an underlying snarkiness, attempting to pass as genuine interest.

In my defense I did post daily on my FaceBook Wall, so some of you know what has been going on.

It is Tuesday morning in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, and Billi Pod must confess to still being mired in the morass known as BLAH, but he will not let this keep him from posting ... because ...

Last night I made a promise to self ... “self, I promise that I will write something on my blog tomorrow, I promise.”

Well ... self, being totally uncompromising, has held me to my promise ... so ... tada ... we now have this posting, such as it is.

Billi Pod will give you loyal and faithful readers a condensed version of the past week ...

Wednesday - December 21

The dentist appointment went OK - emotionally draining but OK.

Billi Pod’s report cards on his entertainment doubleheader ...

STICK FLY - A Broadway comedy about a wealthy Afro-American family==>B<==wanted to like it more but way too much screaming and cussing.

CLOSE UP SPACE - David Hyde Pierce’s character has a breakdown after a shattering confrontation with his fiery daughter==>C<==actually this is giving it/him the benefit of the doubt.

Dysfunctional family to the nth degree. I am getting more than tired with this persistent theme.

Thursday - December 22

Flight out of LGA to Philly left on time and went OK, then things got weird. My flight out of Philly was delayed until 5:15 for "maintenance" issues. Free WiFi was quirky. Alarms kept going off in the gate area.

We were two hours late getting into Columbia. Certainly glad I was using my new carryon bag.

Dr. John and Kathi picked me up. We stayed in and had salad and pizza.

Friday - December 23

We basically just chilled, waiting for son Bill III aka The Bill to arrive from Orlando. He drove up.

He got in around 7:00pm and then the 4 of us had a great dinner at a trendy restaurant in da ‘hood called “California Dreaming”==>way-too-much superrich food.

Saturday - December 24

Dr. John spent hours and hours preparing our Christmas Eve dinner==>prime beef tenderloin. It was absolutely AWESOME. We exchanged gifts before dinner.

Dr. John gave me a new Swissgear carryon bag to replace, in his words ... “that piece of shit you just bought.” Nice. Thank you Dr. John.

Happily Alex aka Army Guy was able to communicate directly with family and friends.

Sunday - December 25th

Dr. John went to work in the early morning and The Bill and I headed out around noon, him back to Orlando and me back to The Big Apple.

My 2:30pm flight out of Columbia was only 1/3 full but the airport at Charlotte was a madhouse, which was a bit of a surprise. Was unable to get an earlier flight but was able to get an exit row seat on my flight, without any additional fee. Nice.

Flight left basically on time and arrived in LGA on time. LGA was also teeming. Took the express bus to The Port Authority.

It was cold and windy. On the way to the apartment I picked up a couple of slices and was back in Penthouse C aka PHC at 9:30pm.

Man, was I tired. My nose began running and I started sneezing and coughing. Damn.

Scanned the mail, read the 3 daily papers, ate some pizza, had some grapes and then crashed at 1:00am, a bit earlier than usual.

It was great being with family during Christmas. As I have become older it has become more and more important for me to be able to spend quality time with my family.

Monday - December 26

This was Billi Pod’s usual errands and stuff day and he was able to accomplish everything even though his nose was still running and he was coughing and sneezing a lot. He felt very BLAH.

Nothing of any import showed up on his ticket services so he considered a movie, but in the end he just opted to stay in. Yeah, I know ... but this is what went down.

Did watch the Saints/Falcons game to see if Drew Brees would break Dan Marino’s record for most passing yardage in a season (5,084). Yes, he did it on his final pass of the game, a TD, giving him 5,087 yards.

OK, my loyal and faithful readers, you are now basically up-to-date. You are welcum.

Woke up this morning at the usual time, 8:00am, and I have to admit that I feel basically kinda BLAH. The nose isn’t running yet and I am not coughing or sneezing at the moment, but I just feel BLAH and kinda out-of-sorts.

Have nothing planned yet for the evening, so I might catch a movie, either TOWER HEIST with Ben Stiller or THE SITTER with Jonah Hill - we will see.

Damn, though, Billi Pod still feels BLAH at 1:00pm

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, I have also been holding back some breaking news, but now I feel comfortable sharing it with you ... so ...

BREAKING NEWS #1==>the due date for the arrival of my great-granddaughter has been moved back. Unless something changes, Gina will go into the hospital in Lakeland on Friday night, January 6, and labor will be induced (or a C-section) the next day. Awesome!!

BREAKING NEWS #2==>unless something unforeseen happens - Alex aka Army Guy will be physically present for the birth of his daughter. YES!! He will be on leave. AWESOME!!

Once the actual dates are known I will make my plans to head down there to be with them.


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 20, 2011

Monday’s Doubleheader Was Excellent

Had a great time yesterday @ Angus McIndoe, my favorite Theatre District restaurant, with Dian Crystal (on the left) and Vera Olichney (on the right).

Dian finally got around to redeeming my 2011 birthday gift.

Not only did we have a great meal but we also had a lot of fun talking about our respective theater obsession(s) and how much we loved living in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. Dian was born and raised in The Lower Eastside and Vera has lived here for at least 25+ years.

When dinner was over we split ... they had tickets for ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER and I was scheduled to attend a staged reading of THROUGH THE DOOR.

THROUGH THE DOOR was produced by my FaceBook friend Kenny Howard and directed by my FaceBook friend (and now NYC resident) David Lee. It was a very entertaining event and the cast was excellent, headed by Kerry Butler.

Nice job guys. Hope the show is able to move on to the next level.

Today is yet another entertainment doubleheader for Billi Pod ...

3:30==>A TOMATO CAN’T GROW IN THE BRONX - “A dysfunctional blue-collar Jewish family is languishing under the thumb of a patriarch, who employs emotional tyranny over his fragile middle-aged daughter to keep everyone in line.” (Off Broadway - free ticket)

This is another staged reading and in the stellar cast is ... tada ... Brooke Shields, currently starring in the soon-to-close THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

Then for this evening is ...

7:00==>SISTER ACT - “Disco diva Deloris Van Cartier has dreams of hitting the big time. But when she walks in on a ‘hit’ of a different kind, the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look - a convent.” (Broadway - discounted TDF ticket).

While this Broadway musical received only so-so reviews from the critics, every one of my theater buddies who have seen the show have uniformly loved it, so I am going in with a very open mind. I hear that it is basically==>just fun<==and Billi Pod is just fine with that.

Tomorrow is going to be another event filled day starting with a 2 hour dentist ordeal and then a brief finger-prick session with my cardiologist and then a matinee performance of the well-reviewed Broadway show STICK FLY and then, for the evening, a new comedy in previews called CLOSE UP SPACE, starring David Hyde Pierce of Fraiser fame.

Somewhere in that schedule I am hoping to work in Paul Hughes of Lakeland, who is in town on a pre-Christmas theater-binge.

I have to admit that my mental countdown to heading down to Columbia has begun and I am beginning to get into the ... “why can’t I just teleport myself there?” mode.

Getting there from NYC ain’t the easiest of tasks because the number of nonstop flights is now down to only one each way and this holiday season Delta almost doubled the fare. Bastards!!

No way was Billi Pod going to play their “game” so through his trusted Travel Agent Blanche Bryant he booked other options, saving at least $300+, all on US Air. Yes, he has layovers but so what ...

Briefly ... I will leave LGA on Thursday @ 1:30pm and arrive in Columbia, via Philadelphia, @ 5:48pm.

On the return trip I will leave Columbia on Christmas afternoon ... OK ... OK ... now calm down ... calm down ... Dr. John has to work on Christmas day and overnight ... so we are doing everything on Christmas Eve ... anyway ... leaving Columbia at 2:23pm and arriving at LGA, via Charlotte, at 8:07pm.

On the return flight there is, maybe, the possibility of scheduling an earlier flight, once I arrive in Charlotte. We will see ...

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, I hope each and everyone is becoming filled with the Holiday Spirit ... so ...

Oh ... what a positive feedback on yesterday’s “Condom on the Sleeve” posting - thanks everyone.


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 19, 2011

Condom on the Sleeve - NYC 12/22/95

Several people have again emailed and texted about the 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 again in its original form, totally unedited, with no revisions:


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

From: Wanjr

To: Email list

Subj: December 22 - Only in the Big Apple

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.




Billi Pod

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