Friday, April 30, 2010

milwaukee's mean streets

having driven a vehicle in virtually every major city in the country, i'd have to say that if milwaukee's streets are not the absolute worst, they are certainly in the top, oh, three. and i live – and drive – in new york city. i'm curious – anyone out there find that another cities streets and potholes are just as bad or even worse?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

spill, baby, spill

from the associated press:
Faint fingers of oily sheen have reached the mouth of Mississippi River, the vanguard of a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The slick is making its way toward a delicate environment of birds, marine life and some of the nation's richest seafood grounds.
By sunset Thursday, the oil had creeped into South Pass of the river and was lapping at the shoreline in long, thin lines.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

quote of the day

“In 2004 the social question that animated the campaign was gay marriage. Before the election season had unfolded, I had talked to George about not making gay marriage a significant issue. We have, I reminded him, a number of close friends who are gay or whose children are gay. But at that moment I could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead."
– former first lady laura bush
(hat tip andrew sullivan)

$1,040 a night (but that includes breakfast)

cool hunting covers alila villas uluwat, a sustainable luxury "green resort" along the southern coastline of bali on the bukit peninsula (special internet rates are available.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

quote of the day

"Obama's not a radical brown-skinned antiwar socialist giving away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus."
– actor, comedian john fugelsang

this is alabama.

"we speak english. if you want to live here, learn it."

a letter to a friend

elton john writes to ryan white.
Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

fifty miles from the louisiana coast

drill, baby, drill.

Monday, April 26, 2010


if anything could make vincent kartheiser less attractive, it's this.

late to the party: the apples in stereo

this band has been around since the early 90's and none of you bitches ever told me about them?

bullish on barry

time's mark halperin says ignore the far-right and the far-left, obama is "on a path to be a huge success by the time of November's midterm elections."
By Election Day 2010, Obama will have soundly achieved many of his chief campaign promises while running a highly competent, scandal-free government.

Not bad for a guy whose opponents (in both parties) for the White House suggested that he was too green in national life to know how to do the job — and whose presidency began in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis that demanded urgent attention and commanded much of his focus.
Read more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


sometimes the only appropriate comeback is "nice hairdo, douchebag."

david brooks ♥ obama

conservative columnist david brooks, "six notches to the right" of barack obama, provides a moment of clarity for most, and -- by not bashing the president -- likely loses any credibility he has left with the far right. interesting that this moderate conservative seems to be describing exactly the person i voted for 17 months ago. from this morning's meet the press:

quote of the day

"Under a blazing mid-afternoon summer sky, we see the Seine flooded with sunshine. People are strolling, others are sitting or stretched out lazily on the bluish grass."
– georges seurat

Thursday, April 22, 2010

a frog without lungs

barbourula kalimantanensis, a lungless frog that breathes entirely through its skin. one of 123 new species scientists have discovered in the remote forests of borneo. more here.

picking a fight above her weight belt

marcia smilack neatly disassembles sarah palin:
Palin’s comments on START reveal a disturbing truth; that when she doesn’t have an expert to tell her what to think, all she can do is recite the factoids that were drilled into her during the campaign. Switch to the GOP Southern Leadership Council where Palin is seething. Without Randy Scheunemann to advise on foreign affairs, she has to wing it. She reaches in and pulls out a card from the past:

“With all the vast nuclear experience he acquired as a community organizer, a part time Senator and a full time candidate, all that experience and still no accomplishment to date with North Korea and Iran.”

She retaliates like an Israeli commando, striking back twice as hard as she is hit, and yet there is a new element that is decidedly odd. Why is she speaking in campaign slogans from two years ago? Obama has been commander in chief for over a year, a period in which he has met or spoken with the Russian President sixteen times to personally negotiate details of the treaty.

Can it be that her real beef is not about policy, but the suggestion that she knows less than he?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

kind of like being a chicken in a coop

a fascinating little video by kenichi tanaka -- "japan: the strange country." (the original version, in japanese, is here.) tanaka explains:
"My objective is to make Japanese people to think about that everything happening here in Japan, isn't that normal. So I created this video from foreigner's point of view, rather than Japanese people's point of view. By the way, please don't call me racist, because I am one of short, small eyes Japanese."

the difference between email and a pager

the u.s. supreme court is run by a group of cavemen.

the little nail bits go flying

from artist jay shells' subway etiquette poster campaign. and yes, these things really do need to be said.


leave oz alone.

aren't movies like this always a bad idea?

my new d.o.d. vaginal-rectum microchip

several lawmakers down in atlanta are paying far too much attention to the scary oogity-boogity email forwards they've been getting from their crazy aunts. (you know -- the ones you can go to to debunk.) so much so that they've introduced legislation designed to prohibit... well. just read it:

Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee entertained SB 235, the bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings.

At the House hearing, state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Kennesaw), who is shouldering the legislation in the House, spoke earnestly for better than a half hour on microchips as a literal invasion of privacy.

He was followed by a hefty woman who described herself as a resident of DeKalb County. “I’m also one of the people in Georgia who has a microchip,” the woman said. Slowly, she began to lead the assembled lawmakers down a path they didn’t want to take.

Microchips, the woman began, “infringe on issues that are fundamental to our very existence. Our rights to privacy, our rights to bodily integrity, the right to say no to foreign objects being put in our body.”

She spoke of the “right to work without being tortured by co-workers who are activating these microchips by using their cell phones and other electronic devices.”

She continued. “Microchips are like little beepers. Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission,” she said.

It was not funny, and no one laughed.

“Ma’am, did you say you have a microchip?” asked state Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold).

“Yes, I do. This microchip was put in my vaginal-rectum area,” she replied. Setzler, the sponsoring lawmaker, sat next to the witness – his head bowed.

“You’re saying this was involuntary?” Weldon continued.

The woman said she had been pushing a court case through the system for the last eight years to have the device removed.

Wendell Willard (R-Atlanta), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, picked up the questioning.

“Who implanted this in you?” he asked.

“Researchers with the federal government,” she said.

“And who in the federal government implanted it?” Willard asked.

“The Department of Defense.”

and the tony goes to...

...without a doubt, american idiot. the times' charles isherwood gushes:
“American Idiot,” directed by Michael Mayer and performed with galvanizing intensity by a terrific cast, detonates a fierce aesthetic charge in this ho-hum Broadway season. A pulsating portrait of wasted youth that invokes all the standard genre conventions — bring on the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, please! — only to transcend them through the power of its music and the artistry of its execution, the show is as invigorating and ultimately as moving as anything I’ve seen on Broadway this season. Or maybe for a few seasons past.
if the new york production comes anywhere near the ragged intensity and stunning theatricality of the original berkeley rep production (i haven't seen the ny version yet, but i believe it is largely unchanged) then we have a (tony) winner. hands down.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

americans increasingly satisfied

recent gallup polling shows that democrats, and to a lesser degree independents, are increasingly satisfied with the direction the country is headed. republicans not so much.

draggin' peecrust out the closet...

...even if he's not in it. poor guy's been called many things on this blog, including the most appropriate moniker gaysey gaysome. the daily beast's thaddeus russel has a great suggestion for peecrust:
Even if he is heterosexual, Ryan Seacrest should consider being gay.

The Idol host, whose erratic behavior this season has intensified the speculation about his personal life, is hounded about his sexuality even outside the show.

At the 2009 Oscars, where Seacrest worked the red carpet for E!, co-host Jay Manuel, the openly gay makeup artist and star of America's Next Top Model, noted Seacrest's unabashed enthusiasm for one actress' gown. With a smile, Manuel told the audience that "Ryan was loving that dress" then asked his colleague, "fashion's your favorite subject, right, Ryan?"

And when Seacrest served as substitute host on CNN's Larry King Live he received a most unwelcome compliment from CNN anchor Anderson Cooper:

let me get out my surprised face

talking points memo: dems unprepared for gop filibuster.

the first "sunday" in milwaukee

stephen wormley as george and danielle scampini as dot. (photo by lauren stoxen.)

stephen sondheim and james lapine's "sunday in the park with george" has never been produced in milwaukee. until now. i was lucky enough to be asked to direct marquette university's production of the show, which opened last thursday. there are five more chances to see it - wednesday, april 21 thru sunday, april 25. get tickets here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

losing ground

expect more crazy from mccain.

quote of the day

"We can’t let the debate veer so far into hatred that we lose focus of our common humanity. It’s really important.

We can’t ever fudge the fact that there’s a basic line dividing criticism from violence or its advocacy, and that the closer you get to the line and the more responsibility you have. You have to think about the echo chamber in which your words resonate.

What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or we should reduce our passion for the positions that we hold, but the words we use really do matter. They go across space, and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike.

And I am not trying to muzzle anybody, but one of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have, and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have."

– president bill clinton

Thursday, April 15, 2010


and yup:
A study released last week by the University of Washington... discovered that people who think that “the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks” were 36 percent more likely to support the Tea Party than those who didn’t think so. Among whites who approve of the Tea Party, only 35 percent said they believe blacks are hard-working, only 45 percent believe blacks are intelligent, and just 41 percent believe that they’re trustworthy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010




show me a crowd of angry white people. then show me a diverse crowd of hopeful, passionate people from all walks of life – brown, black, white, yellow, gay, straight, christian, muslim, atheist, young, old.

i'll pick the second crowd every time.

mccain becomes a joke

yes, it's all politics. but it's as though john mccain thinks none of us can remember back to 2008. mccain's desperateness has now gone from humiliating to just plain sad:
John McCain — who built his political persona and his 2008 presidential campaign around the claim that he’s a “maverick” — told Newsweek recently: “I never considered myself a maverick.”

When POLITICO asked McCain about the contradiction at the Capitol this week, the Arizona Republican grew visibly irritated and snapped: “I’ve been called a thousand things. It’s absolutely ridiculous."

look out mary poppins

"acerbic," "biting" and "offends everybody" is coming to broadway.

what people are saying about me

i googled my own name this morning, to see what people are saying about me. here are some choice quotes:
  • That solo was played by Tony Clements, and it wasn't an English horn.
  • A two-hour night of humor and music featuring the clean comedy of Tony Clements.
  • “Tony” Clements, Director of Campus Recreation, recently announced his retirement at the end of January 2009.
  • Tony Clements' "African Violets" book is an excellent, one-stop reference with a wealth of information.
  • A funny story of the coming of age of Tony Clements. Tony's policeman father was killed in the line of duty and Tony wants to be like him.
  • Tony Clement was first elected to the House of Commons in 2006 and re-elected in 2008.
  • Tony Clements has been at your service ever since.
  • He is also known as Leo Clements, or Tony Clements.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

quote of the day

"[Barack Obama] is a very comfortable partner, it's very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people -- I won't name anyone by name -- he's a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.

Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don't want to offend anyone."
– russian president dmitry medvedev

the $12 million woman

who says quitters never win?

new york's theatrical myopia

on monday, next to normal – the broadway musical about a mother struggling with bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family – won the 2010 pulitzer prize for drama.

on tuesday, l.a. times theatre critic and chair of this year's pulitzer jury charles mcnulty wrote this:
In an era in which important new dramatic works rarely get their start in New York, the board's geographical myopia, a vision of the American theater that starts in Times Square and ends just a short taxi ride away is especially disheartening. Does anyone really believe that "Next to Normal" would have been chosen had it been submitted when it was at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

quote of the day

"I think [same-sex couples becoming adoptive or foster parents] is not about trying to create statements for people who want to change the basic fundamental definitions of family. And always we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults. Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?"
– mike huckabee
there are currently 270,000 children in the u.s. living with same-sex couples. one-quarter, or 65,000, have been legally adopted. more fascinating and frightening opinions from the huckster here (including comparing same-sex relationships to incest.)

hello [insert your town here]!

look, i'm not stupid. i knew this kind of stuff happened. really. in fact, i've written a jingle or two (and even sold a couple.) so. i know.

but still. listening to this old wisn "hello milwaukee" tv spot just made me kinda warm and cozy and even a little sad.

until i saw this:

and this:

and... please. this one?

pittsburgh. disco.

and what is this?

ohhh... sneaky.

and even canada.

Friday, April 9, 2010

we are (the addams) family

not exactly the way you want your new york times review to begin.
Imagine, if you dare, the agonies of the talented people trapped inside the collapsing tomb called “The Addams Family.” Being in this genuinely ghastly musical ...must feel like going to a Halloween party in a strait-jacket or a suit of armor. Sure, you make a flashy (if obvious) first impression. But then you’re stuck in the darn thing for the rest of the night, and it’s really, really uncomfortable. Why, you can barely move, and a strangled voice inside you keeps gasping, “He-e-e-lp! Get me out of here!”
here's christine baranski, peter macnicol, christina ricci, jimmy workman and mercedes mcnab in the best addams family musical number ever. and you won't see it on the broadway:

every little detail plays a part

alec barniskis attaches a reverse canvas of an "in progress" version of george seurat's painting "a sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte" to a metal frame in marquette university's helfaer theatre.

quote of the day

"I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues. If the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
– president barack obama
on palin's recent criticism of his nuclear stance

you know it's bad...

...when even the klan doesn't want anything to do with you:
NOTE: The Ku Klux Klan, LLC. has not or EVER will have ANY connection with The "Westboro Baptist Church". We absolutely repudiate their activities.

ophelia so bad for yourself!

"Instead of drowning yourself, you're gonna write a sad poem in your journal and move on!"
the second city's brian gallivan thinks ophelia (and shakespeare's other leading ladies) might fare a little differently if they had a sassy gay friend.

(hat tip scampini/wickey/mitchell/braun/tsikalas)

Monday, April 5, 2010

there's only color and light

at marquette university's helfaer theatre. april 15th - 25th. more info here.

"i can’t tell you exactly what the deal is."

did you hear the one about the florida doctor who posted a sign on his door - "if you voted for obama, seek care elsewhere?" the punch line is, he just admitted he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

well, that tweedle-dee-does it!

jack benny! shirley macclaine! liberace! ruth hussey and her eyebrows! it's a cavalcade of stars performing for "crippled children" on the 1955 easter seals teleparade!

jay can do it does everydamnthing

in less than 15 minutes, young over-achiever jay builds a fire in the fireplace, helps his brother assemble a hi-fi set, bakes macaroons, builds a treehouse, rescues the family pooch, plays the blue danube on the piano for his mother, and colors easter eggs - pink first.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

crack is whack

why didn't i listen to these people?

19 years ago today

you know the story: her name was claudia. she was a heroin addict. she told us she'd been clean for 15 years, and i thought, "christ, i won't last 15 minutes."

that was nineteen years ago.

Friday, April 2, 2010

the easter bunny vs. jesus christ

the easter bunny has nothing to do with jesus. nothing.

the positive side of the curve

employers added 162,000 jobs last month, and employment numbers in the previous two months were revised upward. there is good and bad news in these numbers. but adding jobs is always a good thing.


who said priests don't have balls.
ROME — A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church — which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases — to the persecution of the Jews.
right. when exactly do we send the child molesters to the concentration camps? oh, that's right. we don't. we send them to northern wisconsin.

the internet in my lifetime

“You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'”
George Bernard Shaw
three fascinating and distinct moments in the history of the internet: 1969, 1981, and tomorrow – april 3rd, 2010:

the capsizing island of guam

rep. hank johnson (d-ga) had better start telling folks this was an april fool's joke.

english as a second language

teabonics: the signs and slogans of teabaggers. if having a dictionary in my home makes me a liberal elitist, i'm guilty.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the cruelest joke of all

the best and most evil april fool's joke played this year.

via Phyllis Cudworth, a kindly spokeswoman for In-N-Out, confirms that "someone is playing a fool's joke on us." Cudworth says In-N-Out doesn't have any plans to open locations in NYC. When asked why the hell not, she explained, "We're a small, family-owned business out here on the West Coast. We grind all our own all beef patties and deliver them to our locations every day, so because of the logistics it's just not something we're considering."


for anyone confused by catholic league president bill donohue's argument that the catholic church's sexual abuse problem is one of homosexuality not pedophilia, let's clear something up: a sexual preference for post-pubescent individuals is not homosexuality. it's either ephebophilia (mid to late adolescents), or hebephilia (earlier pubescent). and often, the term pedophilia is used – rightly or wrongly – to encompass all sexual preferences to minors.

homosexuality is a sexual preference for an individual of the same sex. it has nothing to do with minors or children - post or pre-pubescent.

and lest mr. donohue forget, there's another term for sex with a minor: statutory rape.

i'm not sure if there's a separate term for statutory rape that occurs while in the confessional.

who knew?

the grinch actually has a heart.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly will pick up the legal tab of the father of a fallen U.S. Marine after a judge ruled that he must pay the court costs incurred by the members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, whom he sued for protesting his son's funeral.

This particular church is infamous for protesting the funerals of U.S. servicemen with signs saying that God killed the soldiers because of homosexuality in America, among other things.

O'Reilly called the legal fees an "outrage":

"I will pay Mr. Snyder's obligation. I am not going to let this injustice stand."