Friday, August 14

What The Hell Am I Doing In The Tri-State Area?


(Before we call it a week, I wanted to share just a few more photos from my jaunt to the Tri-State area. The photo here is from the endless main drag of Galena, Illinois; a haven of knick-knack shops, candle boutiques and steakhouses. I've never seen so many Escalades in conjunction with so few black folks in my life.)


(We had to leave Galena early, as a tornado was fast approaching our temporary location in Dubuque, bringing baseball-sized hail that more or less demanded we not be on the road at the same time. You know you're in trouble when you turn on The Weather Channel, and all they're talking about is where you are. We avoided the hail, but the storm was amazing.)


(Call me un-American, but I don't recall any 9/11 firemen going to the Moon.)


(I also don't remember Jack Sparrow hanging out with Don Corleone, but hey, what do I know?)


(Wooden Transvestite Uncle Sam wants me...to leave him alone.)


(Jameson whiskey and a vegetarian hummus platter. If I ever happen to find myself on Death Row, you now know what my last mean request will be.)


(I had a lot of questions about what Dubuque would be like, but what I never would have predicted were all the terrifying and hopelessly out-of-date mannequins that littered the main drag.)


(180 Main. Main Street, Dubuque. Don't say I never did anything for you.)


(Cherry Lanes was attached to the casino, and they had a special 'VIP Lanes' room that housed 4 private and catered bowling lanes. These, of course, are reserved for only the highest-rolling and most morbidly obese of gamblers.)


(Mr. Bowl vs. Baby Panda was a battle for the ages.)


(Ever get drunk and throw a bowling ball so hard that you accidentally crapped in your pants? Well...me neither.)


(Whenever I think of Jesus, I always think of Knippels. Thanks much, Dubuque.)

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week.


(LISTEN UP! The Communist Dance Party is inching ever closer to Post #1000! As part of the festivities, the CDP will devote the entire week of August 17-21 to answering any and all questions you may have about the Little Blog That Could. So think of something you've always wanted to ask about Ryan J. Zeinert or theCDP.net, post or send it to communistdance@yahoo.com, and wait until the week of August 17 for the answer. You can stay anonymous and can ask as many questions as you want. Thanks in advance!)

(BONUS! If I feature any of your questions on the CDP next week, you are then eligible for a drawing that will net you a FREE CDP T-SHIRT of your choice! What do you have to lose? Send me those questions, and you might end up winning!)

Thursday, August 13

What The Hell Am I Doing In Galena?



Here are a handful of photographs from The Atomic Toy Co., the coolest toy store I've ever had the fortune of stepping into, and the current reason why my office is cluttered with various new forms of subterfuge.

If we were on a guided tour, this would be the point in the day where I stopped talking and let you take in the majesty amongst silence, while I passed out souvenir postcards that were available for purchase. Enjoy.


(Me and my friends still play Ker-Plunk! The only rule is that when you pull out a stick that sends any marbles tumbling into your basin, you must scream 'Ker-Plunk!' at the top of your lungs. My house, my rules.)


(New Viewmaster slides! X-Ray Gogs! UBER-MACHO CHEST RUG! I could have spent $100 on novelty eyewear alone at this place.)


(The Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots ring was out because, get this, they were having a tournament! Screw your Street Fighter IV and Madden '09, here's a gaming contest I can get behind.)


(The brilliance of a toy store like this is that, yes, there are a lot of items here that are legitimately rare and expensive. But there are also tons of new, little retro toys that cost less than a dollar, virtually guaranteeing a sale from everyone that walks through the door.)


(It is what it is. A full-size bathtub, stacked to the rafters with rubber ducks.)


(Rule of thumb: If it's locked inside a glass display case, chances are more than likely that you cannot afford it.)


(When my Great-Grandmother died, I was given her television set, which looked exactly like this. I had big plans to restore it somehow, but it eventually took residence in a corner of the basement, and ended up on the curb when we moved into our new house. I still feel bad about that, and it was good to know that someone actually saw this neat idea through.)


(This was the view from the storefront, and my first introduction to The Atomic Toy Company. It's equal parts difficult and suspicious to walk around a toy store with an erection, but it was for the greater good...Why must I always take things too far right at the end like that?)

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.


(LISTEN UP! The Communist Dance Party is inching ever closer to Post #1000! As part of the festivities, the CDP will devote the entire week of August 17-21 to answering any and all questions you may have about the Little Blog That Could. So think of something you've always wanted to ask about Ryan J. Zeinert or theCDP.net, post or send it to communistdance@yahoo.com, and wait until the week of August 17 for the answer. You can stay anonymous and can ask as many questions as you want. Thanks in advance!)

(BONUS! If I feature any of your questions on the CDP next week, you are then eligible for a drawing that will net you a FREE CDP T-SHIRT of your choice! What do you have to lose? Send me those questions, and you might end up winning!)

Wednesday, August 12

What The Hell Am I Doing On The Mississippi River?


(Here you see me getting some tips from the master. Of course, when I say 'Master,' I mean 'One of the Most Overrated Humorists in American History. He cracked me up with a dick joke, though.)


(One of the things I was most excited for on the Mississippi was to climb aboard a riverboat casino, troll up and down the great River, win some cash and maybe get into a gunfight or two. When the Missus assured me that the riverboat casinos never left the dock, I wasn't quite the same for the duration of the vacation. Everything used to be better.)


(Nobody gets more tail than Lizard Einstein. Nobody. Get it? Tail? Lizards? LOLOlL!1!)


(Read the above caption, freak out, puke, pass out, wake back up and read it again. Christ, look at that stream! If I could do this, I'd...well, I'd pretty much be doing it every waking second. Line at the Supermarket taking too long? GAAAAHHHH!!! Instant Express Lane.)


(Outside of the Riverboat Museum, an elderly attendant was, erm, attending an old-fashioned calliope, which was so loud and grating that he required industrial earplugs. As me and the Missus slunk away, we took bets as to the exact date when his psyche would snap like a twig, causing him to push the entire steam-powered organ into the River and start shooting.)


(!!!MANNEQUINS JESUS GOD HELP!!!)


(I could have been a Riverboat coal miner, I just never owned one of those cool, soot-covered hats.)


(Touring the authentic riverboat was cool. What was even cooler was that, for a fee, they'd let you sleep in the actual bunks overnight as part of a 'roughing it' excursion. I like that you have the opportunity to experience such American history close up. I especially like that people are willing to pay good money to sleep in a thousand-year-old cot. That night, I drank whiskey in the shower and slept on a bed stuffed with hundred dollar bills.)


(This is the bridge that you need to cross to get from Wisconsin to Dubuque. As I saw this from a distance for the first time, I became acutely aware as to why my mom never took me to Dubuque as a kid. She has an insane fear of bridges, especially the ones that are particularily cumbersome looking (you know, the ones that are almost impossible to collapse). I now know where to hide should she someday snap and attempt to murder me.)


('FULL STEAM AHEAD, BITCHES! WHOOP-WHOOP!')

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More photos tomorrow.


(LISTEN UP! The Communist Dance Party is inching ever closer to Post #1000! As part of the festivities, the CDP will devote the entire week of August 17-21 to answering any and all questions you may have about the Little Blog That Could. So think of something you've always wanted to ask about Ryan J. Zeinert or theCDP.net, post or send it to communistdance@yahoo.com, and wait until the week of August 17 for the answer. You can stay anonymous and can ask as many questions as you want. Thanks in advance!)

(BONUS! If I feature any of your questions on the CDP next week, you are then eligible for a drawing that will net you a FREE CDP T-SHIRT of your choice! What do you have to lose? Send me those questions, and you might end up winning!)

Tuesday, August 11

What The Hell Am I Doing At The Hotel Julien?


(Greetings! I am 'El Albino Enmascarado' (The Masked Albino), and I had the recent fortune of spending time at the newly-renovated Hotel Julien in Dubuque, Iowa. Before I get to all of the stories about riverboat knife fights and a drunken shoving match with Mark Twain, I would be remiss if I didn't give you a quick tour of my temporary home.)


(The place was absolutely top-notch. They took all of the historic awesomeness of the original hotel, added $30 million worth of state-of-the-art renovations and emerged with something truly beautiful. You pretty much felt like an old-timey gangster in the place (especially since I walked around with the mask on for most of the trip), and hey, it still had that New Hotel Smell! Bonus!)


(I'm not even going to begin telling you what this shower had to witness over the course of several hot, Summer nights. You'll quickly notice that despite being a vintage hotel, the modern sheen is amazing. It also was one of the most energy-efficient and 'green' places I've ever stayed at, too; what with its fluorescent and LED lighting scheme, motion detector lights in the hallways and whatnot; they managed to build a grandiose place that's also limiting its carbon footprint.)


(I figured that by staying directly in the heart of Main Street in Dubuque's Historic District, I'd be smack-dab in the center of a culture hub. And while staying on the Mississippi River, surrounded by beautiful, historic architecture, I soon realized that Dubuque isn't a 'hub' of anything. I suppose meth, maybe, but that's about it. Okay, I kid Dubuque. The people were very nice, there just weren't too many of them. A few strolls down Main Street had me thinking I was the last survivor of a Tri-State zombie apocalypse.)


(I didn't care how much fun I planned on having, I knew better than to get drunk and start raiding the mini-bar. I had the good sense to bring a ton of liquor beforehand as to not start getting the shakes at 2am, leaving me with a six thousand dollar room charge.)


(The Missus was very proud of this photo; she claimed it looked 'like a photograph in a High School Yearbook.' Yeah, because we all remember how great those turned out. I had my Senior photos taken in 1999, when Photoshop airbrushing was still a consumer novelty. The photographer claimed they could airbrush out my braces, when in fact they decided to airbrush my entire mouth area altogether, making me look like someone had tried to scribble-erase my picture from the yearbook. Thanks, guys.)


(To you, this may look like I am hard at work, uploading photographs and answering e-mail; 'Genuis At Work' business. Truth of the matter is that I'm locked in a death stare with the snack basket, begging myself not to just dive in and start tearing into every salty bag with reckless abandon.)


(The view from my window. Now wait a minute; before you get all 'eww, that's depressing!' on me, consider the following. Main Street went for miles, and when viewed as a whole, this Historic District was quite beautiful and downright surreal. The cliffs in the background showcased multi-million dollar homes, and the river behind us was stunningly beautiful. Every morning before my wife woke up, I'd watch people meander up and down the street for about an hour, and it made me happy. Mainly because I was already on my third scotch of the day.)

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More photos tomorrow.


(LISTEN UP! The Communist Dance Party is inching ever closer to Post #1000! As part of the festivities, the CDP will devote the entire week of August 17-21 to answering any and all questions you may have about the Little Blog That Could. So think of something you've always wanted to ask about Ryan J. Zeinert or theCDP.net, post or send it to communistdance@yahoo.com, and wait until the week of August 17 for the answer. You can stay anonymous and can ask as many questions as you want. Thanks in advance!)

(BONUS! If I feature any of your questions on the CDP next week, you are then eligible for a drawing that will net you a FREE CDP T-SHIRT of your choice! What do you have to lose? Send me those questions, and you might end up winning!)

Monday, August 10

What The Hell Am I Doing In Dubuque?



I knew unequivocally that I had a terrible time at the Mystique Casino the night before, but I didn't understand the full magnitude until I was in the shower the next morning.

In my naked, bleary-eyed, hung-over stupor of failure and fiscal tragedy, I actually checked my wrist to see what time it was, fully expecting to see a watch there.

And there was.

They don't allow cameras in the casino, and it was probably for the better. Sweet Jesus Goddammit, I sure do hate gambling. Although I can always seem to find some sort of justification for going, it really is a ridiculously depressing and asinine way to spend your evening. Even the rare luxury of winning doesn't even justify how mind-numbingly dumb it is.

It's for two types of people only. One, Professional Gamblers, the likes of which make up approximately .000000019% of the population. And no, you cannot refer to yourself as a 'Professional Gambler' if you've never net a profit and have no other primary source of employment. That simply makes you a dude from my hometown.

Type II, inarguably the lion's share of Casino-goers, are RV-Driving Chainsmokers Who Want To Get Rid Of Their Nickels. Without question and without any sort of ego attached to this statement whatsoever, me and the Missus were the best-dressed, best-looking and youngest people in the entire Mystique compound. This is not because Dubuque is some jerkwater berg that ran their culture out of town on a rail decades ago (that would be Oshkosh); it's because me and my wife are idiots and every other 20-something in the world probably knows better than to throw heaps of cash into the toilet.

In the end, we lost a few hundred bucks (a steal, all things considered) and more importantly, our pride. The pain of this is magnified tenfold, however, when you take into consideration that the Missus had us up $250 and promptly whizzed it all away in...let me count on my fingers, here...no more than 15 minutes. When she initially hit the proverbial 'We broke slightly better than even!' jackpot, I should have grabbed her by the scruff, dragged her the Cashier's Station and made sweet love to her atop a bed covered in deposit receipts. But nope. I circled the Blackjack table for the billionth time while she, presumably whacked out of her mind on complimentary soda and oxygen-rich air, lost everything.

Seriously though, the air-purification system at Mystique is top-notch. The vacuum in the ceiling was so vicious, I figure they're just one step away from sucking the spare change out of people's pockets as soon as they walk in, shooting them directly upwards into some sort of collection basin or reservoir. Every other casino I've ever been to contains that unshakable funk combo of Cat Food and Asshole that clings to you like a pube on a bar of soap.

Come to think of it, I think I saw Cat Food & Asshole open up for Clyde Stubblefield a few years back. 'Funk combo,' you see.

Here's one final piece of evidence as to how I not only have no business being in a gambling establishment, but also precisely how low-rent of an individual I am. When I approached the blackjack table, they had a sign stating what the minimum and maximum bids were. The minimum read '5,' and the maximum read '500.' I, of course, thought they were referring to a spread of five cents to five dollars. "Great," I doofusly hypothesized. "I can play nickel hands! I didn't even think they made five cent chips!"

How I made it back home is anyone's guess.



(LISTEN UP! The Communist Dance Party is inching ever closer to Post #1000! As part of the festivities, the CDP will devote the entire week of August 17-21 to answering any and all questions you may have about the Little Blog That Could. So think of something you've always wanted to ask about Ryan J. Zeinert or theCDP.net, post or send it to communistdance@yahoo.com, and wait until the week of August 17 for the answer. You can stay anonymous and can ask as many questions as you want. Thanks in advance!)

(BONUS! If I feature any of your questions on the CDP next week, you are then eligible for a drawing that will net you a FREE CDP T-SHIRT of your choice! What do you have to lose? Send me those questions, and you might end up winning!)