Saturday, September 10CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #21.
#21 - 'The Top 50 3rd Wave Ska Albums Of All-Time.'
(Originally published 9/20-24/10.)
Part 1 - #50-#41
Part 2 - #40-#31
Part 3 - #30-#21
Part 4 - #20-#11
In the 7-year history of the CDP, I’ve done countless lists and countdowns. Some are driven by popular culture, some by personal preference, some by no tangible criteria whatsoever. One thing I try to never do, however, is create a list that doesn’t reflect my honest opinion about something, regardless of if that betrays whatever knowledgeable hipster-facade I’m attempting to create here. If I think that Excitebike is a better Nintendo game than The Legend Of Zelda, I’ll say it is with no fear of a Internet Tough Guy beatdown. I’m a man; I drive a Mercury Sable.
What I’m getting at is this. 3rd Wave Ska was, for most people, a moment in time that captured a lot of memories, positive nostalgia and a multitude of wide-eyed options for the future. It was the soundtrack to a lot of important times, and that attachment to music is always a more accurate connection and critique as to whether something is merely ‘Good’ or ‘Bad.’ A good song is the file tab in the Card Catalog of life (Dewey Decimal codes notwithstanding), and as long as it resonates personally, that’s all that matters. That’s what Art is. For example, if I touch a breast while ‘History Of A Boring Town’ is playing in the background, you’re never going to convince me that Hello Rockview is a shitty album, because I like breasts. Especially in 1998. That’s literally the best way I can describe what music means to me in a philosophical sense: Context is everything.
Context is everything.
10. Slapstick - Slapstick (1997)
Possibly the most influential 3rd Wave act not named Operation Ivy, this career retrospective of the Chicago Ska-Punk outfit inspired hundreds of bands and is a staple of the genre.
Give Them A Listen!
9. The Hippos – Heads Are Gonna Roll (1999)
The final proper release from The Hippos, this album should have been titled The Shape Of Ska To Come. More organ-driven than their previous effort, this is wall-to-wall solid songwriting and a band that seemed ready to transcend the genre. Alas, it wasn't to be.
Listen To A Song I Wish I Wrote!
8. Mustard Plug – Evildoers Beware! (1997)
I credit Mustard Plug for the abdominal six-pack I had in high school (really, I did). Skanking for two straight hours in a sweltering concert hall is akin to about a billion crunches, which reminds me that I should probably market 'The Ska Workout' to pudgy 30-somethings.
Don't Let 'Em Take It All Away!
7. The Impossibles - Anthology (1999)
From a personal standpoint, few albums were more influential to me than Anthology. However, from a 3rd Wave standpoint, it's not as high up as more deserving bands. The Impossibles were never too comfortable being labeled a Ska band, eventually abandoning the upstrokes altogether by the time Return dropped. That being said, the energy, hooks, nostalgia and lyricism of Gabe & Rory is about as good as any pretentious music I now keep in daily rotation.
Hi, We're The Impossibles From Austin, Texas!
6. Less Than Jake - Pezcore (1995)
What is 'Ska-Punk?' Reel Big Fish are too Ska. Rancid is too Punk. Less Than Jake? Just right. Pezcore inspired a new genre with introspective lyrics, sing-along choruses, a high-energy live show and a following that keeps LTJ selling out huge venues to this day. Easily one of my favorite bands of all-time, and one of those albums that I can see myself listening to forever.
Give Them A Listen!
5. Reel Big Fish – Turn The Radio Off (1996)
This was it for me. This was the album that blew my senses out the back of my head, introducing me to Ska in the funnest possible way. It's all here: the humor, the phenomenally-catchy songs, the cynicism, the Hawaiian shirts...RBF had it all.
Turn The Radio Off is known for being one of the most popular and influential Ska albums ever, and that's due mostly on the part of their opening track, 'Sell Out.' If you aren't a fan of 'Sell Out,' don't get the humor or think that the style is a bit out of your comfort zone, do yourself a favor and steer clear of the genre for the rest of your life. You're never going to appreciate it.
Listen To My Favorite 3rd Wave Song!
4. The Suicide Machines - Destruction By Definition (1996)
No band has ever copied the Operation Ivy model to more precision. The energy. The huge, singalong hooks. The distorted upstrokes. The machine-gun drumming. The attitude and brethren. The album cover that, to Ska fans, is nearly as iconic as London Calling. To this day, Destruction By Definition still kicks ass, still makes me drive 30 miles over the speed limit, and still makes me long for a sweaty circle pit.
Give Them A Listen!
3. Less Than Jake – Hello Rockview (1998)
Shortly after the release of Losing Streak, I became a huge Less Than Jake fan. I purchased as much of their extensive back catalog as possible, saw them in concert about three or four times, and waited patiently for their next release. One night, while attending a Ska show in Green Bay, the yet-to-be-released Hello Rockview was playing over the PA between bands, and I was more riveted with that than I was with the actual show. To me, it was perfect. The exact album that a band like LTJ should have made at that point in their career.
For years, I joked that Hello Rockview was my bible, and that any question about ones’ moral character or hardships would eventually be answered by one of the songs within. I still kind of mean that, as the classic themes of faded youth, broken friendships, maturity and uncertainty run rampant. For a kid that was nearly homeless at age 17, hearing a song like ‘Al’s War’ would simultaneously break my heart and make me stronger. Not to mention, the artwork, production and lyrics have never been better for Less Than Jake before or since.
Give Them A Listen!
2. Operation Ivy - Energy (1991)
Number two? Blasphemy! Well, not really, but this might rub some people the wrong way. Operation Ivy is easily one of the most influential Punk bands (not just the smaller genre of Ska) ever, and Energy is one of those rite of passage discs that has a reason to sit in everyone’s cabinet or hard drive.
What Jesse Michaels, Tim Armstrong and company did so well was capture the raw urgency of punk, while writing songs that embodied the roots of Ska. Shining a spotlight on everything that was wrong with their city, and simultaneously telling everyone that it would be okay if they stuck together. Later efforts like Rancid and Common Rider fared well, but Operation Ivy was a moment in time, and they know that. I'm just glad it happened at all.
STOP THIS WAR!
1. Catch 22 – Keasbey Nights (1998)
This was, for all intents and purposes, not supposed to happen.
These kids came out of essentially nowhere, releasing a debut album that spawned a 10th Anniversary re-release, a completely re-recorded Streetlight Manifesto version, and the almost-universal opinion that Keasbey Nights is the greatest 3rd Wave album ever. I mean, look at them all on the back cover. How old are they, 16? The matching suits; it all just screamed ‘This has been done before.’
What we didn’t know about Catch 22 was that not only was Thomas Kalnoky as original and prolific of a songwriter as we’ve ever seen in any scene, but that he surrounded himself with the best musicians the genre had to offer (especially drummer Chris Greer, who owns Keasbey Nights from start to finish). When Keasbey Nights began its upward momentum, however, the entire world took notice.
Nobody sounded like these guys. Nobody understood more influences. Nobody had more to say than Kalnoky. No band was tighter, cannonballing themselves into breakneck bursts at the most unexpected of times. These guys felt like your friends, too; the chatter at the end of ‘1234,1234’ is charming to say the least. The energy was through the roof, the talent incomparable. Keasbey Nights is a masterpiece of any genre, and as most of us know, this was the only proper Catch 22 album released with Kalnoky at the helm.
Streetlight Manifesto continues to redefine Ska at every turn, while Catch 22 still tours and releases albums (with limited activity since 2007), but Keasbey Nights can never be duplicated by either of them (even though they tried, literally, to do so). The intro to ‘Dear Sergio.’ The chorus of the title track. The bassline from ‘Walking Away.’ Hell, even the instrumental track kicks ass. Let’s also not forget the closing ‘1234,1234,’ which contains one of my favorite verses ever (which I’ll recite from memory):
Look around, little brother, can you tell me what you see?
You’re a big boy now, so take responsibility.
You never had it hard, and now it’s getting tough,
So you whine, whine, whine, and you say you’ve had enough.
You say I’m full of shit, that I’m a hypocrite.
I shouldn’t talk when I can’t take the advice that I give.
Well maybe you’re right, but open your eyes,
The main difference here, is that I try, try try.
Keasbey Nights tried and succeeded beyond the wildest expectations of the band, and perhaps beyond the wildest expectations of the Ska fans at the time. I went to a Ska show a few months ago to see some of the young bands who now view some of these albums as classics, and almost every group I saw played a cover of a Keasbey Nights song. That warmed my heart, because I knew that, while the 3rd Wave might be dead, timeless music is simply that.
Friday, September 9CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #22.
#22 - 'A War Of Words With An Unarmed Man.'
(Originally published 11/17/08.)
(The following message was sent to me via Facebook awhile back. I've edited nothing, and I apologize in advance for the homophobic slurs.)
Subject: What's up man!
Message: Just kidding, I do not know you, just looking up Mike Crain's name and saw all your wastefull writing about him and his album cover..
1. Site design, weak
2. your pics show you as part chubby part homo looking
3. I wish you could get match with Mike, all of the 3>3>haha comments here youd get smacked down
4. Get a real job fag.
5. WI sucks, go Buckeyes!
lol, what a queer little boy you are.
Nice. Where to start?
If you haven’t been following the CDP saga that is Mike Crain & His Roving Cavalcade of Psychopaths, allow me to catch you up as quickly as possible:
Years back, I included Mr. Crain’s album cover in my ‘Worst Of All-Time’ list, which not only introduced thousands of readers to my site, but was also the funniest thing in the history of the Internet. I’ll wait while you go and check it out.
If you notice, I didn’t really make fun of Crain’s album cover at all. In fact, I only included it because I thought it was amazing and remarked as such. So, just to make things clear, I didn’t say anything bad about this guy. Done. Let’s move on.
Several months later, I get a hilarious piece of e-mail from someone who really needs to have their computer and Electroshock machine taken away from them. This led to The Legal Battle That Never Was, forcing me into what I consider to be the funniest conversation I’ve ever had with an attorney, and also marking the first time I’ve ever challenged a Man of God to a bare-knuckle fistfight. Read that essay, too; it’s funny, will bring you completely up to speed and remind you that stuff like this only happens to me.
Now, more months later, I get the above rambling Facebook message, and I fully realize that the calloused and holy Pimp Hand of Mike Crain is still strong, cracking through the cinder blocks of agnosticism, slander and doubt. Good for him! I’m a Reverend too; we should totally hang out sometime.
Now, I don’t know if crazy people are naturally attracted to the concept of Religion, or it’s Religion itself that drives otherwise normal people insane, but I know I need to stop spending so much damn time thinking about it. It’s like trying to find the final digit of Pi, or determining the exact point when Cameron Diaz became the least-attractive woman in Hollywood; a colossal waste of time and a recipe for failure and sadness.
While I don’t support or follow any sort of organized religion (anytime more than 6 people get together and do things in synchronization, I get scared), I admire people who live their lives for their Creator and spread the joyous, peaceful and sometimes guilt-riddled words of their Lord for eternity. You have to hand it to them, it takes a ton of dedication and blind faith to constantly turn off the voice of logic in their head that screams, “This is entirely irrelevant and makes absolutely no sense at all; can we please do something fun now, like learn about Science?” I couldn’t do it, and I feel that I’m a better man because of it. I don’t worry about my eternal soul, I don’t worry about the Afterlife, and I do what I can to be as nice as possible to everyone, every day, knowing full well that this probably all we’ve got. Srsly. Try it some day; being civil to your fellow man is always more well-received than using your faith as a weapon. I'm cool with Religion, just as long as it's cool with me.
But, for the time being, I want to step back and tear this ignorant nimrod a new asshole. As you can see, living by your own rules has its perks.
First off, I’m not going to give out this guy’s name and photograph (both of which I have), but I want to assure you that this man is an actual college student from Ohio, and not a tar-paper shack-dwelling neanderthal from…well, Ohio. He looks intelligent, appears as if he can dress himself and doesn’t appear to garner any lobotomy scars. I didn’t bother to ‘friend’ him and check out his profile, but I’d hypothesize that he has approximately 200-300 friends, lists his Political Views as ‘Conservative Christian’ and probably has one of those annoying sidebar Apps that tells everyone how the Buckeyes are doing. Typical Facebook stuff. How he managed to get accepted to college with the combined writing talent of a burlap sack filled with farts is completely beyond me. He must be majoring in Human Resources.
I also want to give this guy props for being at least varied with his rampant gay bashing. He could have just as soon called me a ‘fag’ three times in a row and jettisoned his message to my inbox, but no! He an artist! He decided to mix it up a little bit by dipping into the Encyclopedia Homophobia, and I commend him for that. If you’re going to be ignorant, at least put some effort into it. In the future, may I also recommend the term ‘fruit.’ That was always my favorite gay slur, back before I turned eight years old and stopped using them to get my nonexistent point across.
So the guy goes on to say that my site design is ‘weak.’ It’s personal preference, really, so I can’t entirely argue with him. I’d love to know what he expected to see on a personal blog, though. A header with a logo on it, a main body for essays and a sidebar for links and archives. Seems fairly cut-and-dry to me. It must suck to be this guy, knowing that approximately 99.998% of all websites in the Universe don’t meet his criteria of non-gayness. Every time he goes online, he must be in hysterics at all of the template atrocities that exist on the Internet. Perhaps he’s a MySpace fan. Hell, perhaps he invented MySpace.
Oh, and I do look chubby and ‘homo-looking’ in my photographs, so he’s kind of got me, there. I’m a 26 year-old man that doesn’t work out and loves Express Men. I suck in my gut when I’m in public and I have a penchant for argyle vests. Hey, when you’re right, you’re right. Score one for the lunatic.
Say what you want about their lifestyle, but as a generalized rule, gay guys know how to freaking dress. I also wish that I was classless enough to show you this guy’s photograph, because I swear to you that he’s wearing something that came directly out of my closet, no pun intended.
For his next point, I feel the desire to paste it here again, so you can read it once more and take in the full beauty of the thoughts that are trying, and hoplessly failing, to be conveyed.
“I wish you could get match with Mike, all of the 3>3>haha comments here youd get smacked down"
I’ve included a translation for those that he might have lost along the way. Like, you know, everyone.
A.) The author in question desires to see Mike Crain accept my challenge to a Mixed-Martial Arts match.
B.) The author in question feels that my readers have innaccurately placed me in a position of authority and respect, something he feels that I do not deserve. For this, the author in question has a lack of respect for my readers, and believes that they do not possess proper grammar and English skills.
C.) The author in question believes that Mike Crain, a man that, to the best of my knowledge, is barely clinging to life in a hospital somewhere, would emerge as the victor in his Mixed-Martial Arts match with me.
Now, I’ve done a lot of things for the good of the Communist Dance Party. I’ve attended a Timeshare pitch. I’ve attended an all-female Baby Shower. I’ve devoted thousands of hours over the course of almost five years to refine my writing style and point of view into something that could positively resonate with as many people as possible, in the hopes that it would somehow unite people across the nation with the overreaching message that even though we all have different experiences in our lives, we are all one, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all in this together, and we should strive to make each day as enjoyable and memorable as can be.
What I haven’t done, however, is beat the living hell out of a dying Reverend to one-up some Internet Douchetube that couldn’t accurately encapsulate a coherent thought if his soul depended on it. And although I’d probably find it rather satisfying, I’m taking the high road on this one.
The author goes on to instruct me to ‘get a real job,’ and once again makes a crack at my sexual preference, albiet slightly inaccurate, as I’ve been married for five years and have a very soft spot in my heart for vaginas.
At this time, I’d like to stop the essay for a moment here and remark that this is the first time in CDP History that the word ‘vagina’ has ever been used by me. This is a big moment, so take a second to revel in it. It’s okay to get misty-eyed, too; Lord knows I did. Also note that after approximately 10 minutes of deliberating, I chose the line ‘very soft spot in my heart’ over ‘very hard spot in my pants,’ in a close-but-decisive and overall necessary victory.
Stay with me, kids; we’re going to make it through this. Let’s continue.
So, this guy lets it slip that he thinks I blog for a living! God bless this man; how nice of him to assume such a thing! Believe me, if I were offered a full-time job where I could write stories about times that things almost happened to me but then didn’t, and also make fun of complete nutballs that totally had it coming, I’d be one very content little homo, believe you me.
He then goes on to insult my current state of residence and proclaim the sports team from his general region to be greatly superior to the sports team in my general region. This is so sad that I barely want to linger on it for too long. You can have that victory, if it makes you feel superior, dude. Furthermore, it’s not congruent to anything else referred to in the message, and frankly feels a little tacked-on. Stay on task, buddy; insulting someone is a fine craft, and you cannot be perceived as both desperate and serious at the same time.
He then closes out the message by calling me a ‘queer little boy,’ which actually sounds fairly adorable, if you ask me. I’d kill to look as handsome as some of those scene kids out there. See, I have this natural curl in my hair once it reaches a certain length, so I can’t wear it swooped over my eyes like I really want to. I’ve tried my wife's straightener, and it barely makes a dent in the damn thing.
Of course, you know that this guy has won. He spewed five lines of garbled text onto a computer screen in a desperate attempt for attention, and I responded exactly the way he wanted. But you know what? This was fun! It was cathartic, funny and actually shook me from the crippling case of Writer’s Block that has plagued me for the last six weeks. In terms of entertainment and positive effects on my life, it saddens me to say that this is probably the best e-mail I’ve received all year. I don’t get hate mail very much, mainly because I tend to keep to myself, make fun of the absurdity of life, and not bust on blatantly weird people with devoted masses of zombified, religious idiots to do their deathbed bidding.
Whoops, probably shouldn’t have said that. Nonetheless, you get my point.
Thursday, September 8CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #23.
#23 - 'Shoot To Kill.'
(Originally published 1/18/10.)
"Tell About A Fishing Or Hunting Experience."
My dad has very transparent interests. He likes to hunt, he likes to fish, and he likes to talk about hunting and fishing. If he died tomorrow, I would bet that his love of hunting and/or fishing would show up no later than line two of his obituary. It's his life; in fact, he makes a living running a game bird farm in the town I grew up in. He has his business, he has his beautiful stretch of land, he has his guns, cold beer and friends; I'd argue he's living a far happier life than I am.
You may think that I'm being condescending, but I'm really not; I envy my dad's life. Considering how miserable he seems to be at any given time, however, this is a bit of a conflicting statement.
When I was younger, I can imagine that dad was worried about me. Sure, I played sports and stayed outdoors and active on the family farm, but my love was always writing, drawing, acting things out and essentially living in a liberal, fruity fantasy world (as an adult, I moved to Madison, an actual liberal, fruity fantasy world). That being said, he tried to get me to see the world his way- his family's way- and signed me up for a Hunter's Safety course with the payoff being an eventual deer hunt with me and my old man.
The Hunter's Safety course was spectacular. I got to hang out with my friends, watch woefully out-of-date PSA's about getting lost and subsequently going apeshit in the woods, and most importantly...handle and fire weaponry. The first time I fired a shotgun, I was knocked backwards and onto the ground, but I hit that cardboard deer right in the face (I would later find out that the goal wasn't to blow a deer's head clean off). I passed the test with flying colors, and weeks later, I was decked out in blaze orange, accompanying my dad on the first of what I figured would be many deer hunts in my life. A true bonding experience.
This venture was obviously doomed from the start, but I want to let you know that I tried. I was at a point in my life where I still ate meat, still didn't care what lived and died. I had slaughtered virtually hundreds of small animals with BB guns, and thought that my natural graduation to larger weapons and larger game was just something I was born to do. In a way, I was.
The first morning, I almost instantly fell asleep in the deer stand. Getting up at 3am shouldn't come normal to anyone, and by the time I woke up, it was time to go home for lunch.
That afternoon, though, was when I faced a defining moment in my life. There we were, my dad and I, chatting about some arbitrary topic, when a good-sized doe came scampering out of the woods. I did not have a doe tag (you need to purchase specific licenses when you hunt), but my dad did, and told me that he wanted me to take the shot.
I nodded and took aim. The doe was absolutely beautiful, wandering and looking around with no idea that she was in the crosshairs. It was at that moment that I thought about why people kill animals that they love and find beautiful. I hold no position against hunting and I don't think that hunters are bad people in the least, but at that moment, I knew that killing wasn't for me.
"I can't do it," I said. The doe ran off before any more danger could befall it.
As you can imagine, I never went deer hunting again. I don't think my dad held any ill will towards me for my epiphany; he was always fairly patient with my quirks and bizarre behavior as a kid (ignoring stuff didn't hurt, either). Even now, on the rare chance I get to visit his Game Farm, he will normally parade around his latest trophy with glee, and I can't help but be happy for the guy. He's doing exactly what he wants to be doing right now, and how can you dislike a guy for that?
Wednesday, September 7CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #24.
#24 - 'The Communist Search Party.'
(Originally published 7/6,14,20,27,31/09.)
Beloved Writer Snaps, Disappears.
Award-winning author and blogger Ryan J. Zeinert has been reported missing since the early hours of July 5.
No more than a week after deleting his Facebook account on the evening of June 26, it appears as if Zeinert, creator of the humor blog ‘The CDP,’ suffered a traumatizing anxiety attack, causing him to strip off his clothes and scatter wildly into the Nature Preserve located near his home in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He has not yet been located, but is presumed to be alive and sweaty, traveling with a small pack of coyotes that frequent the area.
Rumors have surfaced concerning the cause of Zeinert’s recent mental difficulties. These range from crippling OCD, a ‘shameful’ caffeine addiction, or as a way to somehow avoid paying off the remainder of his student loans, which now number in the low seven-figures.
Rampant egotism and questionable anger management skills could have also played a sizable role.
Zeinert, a State employee, husband, cat owner and Civil War-era Barbecue Sauce historian, had been reported as acting ‘a little off’ in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. His wife Celia, notes that drastic changes in his behavior caused concern, such as laughing out loud during episodes of the television series Scrubs, taking a newfound interest in Lo-Fi music, and making seemingly incoherent cultural statements, such as, “I don’t know…Jim Belushi seems like a funny enough guy.”
“That Belushi thing was a red flag for me,” said an openly-weeping Celia. “Towards the end…I didn’t even know who he was anymore.”
Other members of Zeinert’s family voiced their concerns.
“He has little-to-no experience in the wild, or anything outdoors, really,” quotes his mother, Tami. “If he didn’t remember his sunscreen, we might as well start selling his comic book collection off right now, [be]cause he’s never coming back.”
Zeinert, a legally-recognized albino with a medically-untraceable amount of natural skin pigment, will have to deal with unseasonably-warm temperatures throughout the month of July if he is to somehow survive the elements. “He probably just did this to get out of going to the Flag Parade with me downtown,” said his wife. “He’s always doing selfish [things] like that.”
“What an asshole,” she added.
If Zeinert surfaces or any updates should arise, they will be posted here immediately.
(The last-known, unfathomably fruity photograph of Zeinert.)
EXCLUSIVE! Missing Author Possibly Caught On Camera.
Beloved author and blogger Ryan J. Zeinert, missing and presumed uncomfortable since July 5, may have been photographed by a local hiker/alcoholic.
Benjamin Jenkel, an outdoor enthusiast and amateur whiskey connoisseur, took the following vivid snapshot while on a hike of the area where Zeinert is presumed to be hiding out and/or crying softly.
“I was reaching for my flask when I saw this…thing emerge from the brush,” recalls Jenkel. “I just grabbed my camera and started shooting.”
“The stench was unbearable,” he added. “He literally smelled like [excrement].”
Jenkel then rocked back and forth on his heels for eight seconds, before vomiting and passing out in the parking lot of the ‘Wok-N-Roll’ restaurant where he was interviewed.
Zeinert has not been seen or heard from publicly since July 4, when he suffered an anxiety attack and ran into the nature preserve that surrounds his Sun Prairie estate. If this photo is indeed of him, it would offer a relative amount of comfort to his wife, family and legions of dedicated fans who have been praying for his safe return.
One such fan, known only as ‘Sherry,’ has kept a candlelight vigil on her porch every night since Zeinert’s June 27th ‘colossal freak-out.’ When asked to comment, Sherrry apologized for the confusion, stating that “the candlelight just kept the Junebugs away.”
She added, “Who the [expletive] is Ryan Zeinert?”
We will have more information as this story develops. The CDP continues to run archival and 'lost' essays in his absence.
(In this anonymously-submitted photograph, it has been speculated that the background figure is Zeinert.)
Since being initially reported missing at the beginning of July, popular blogger and humorist Ryan J. Zeinert may have once again been accidentally photographed within the Nature Preserve surrounding his Sun Prairie estate, where he is believed to be currently hiding.
A local hiker, taking a candid photograph of his daughter Sunday afternoon, snapped the above image, which unbeknownst to him at the time, contained a mysterious humanoid figure in the background. After careful scrutiny and analysis, photograph experts at Kodak have verified that the image is genuine.
It has not yet been concluded that the image is indeed of Zeinert, but he has been known in the past to wear a spacesuit outside of the house in moments of extreme duress and/or intoxication. In a recent interview by Zeinert's wife, she has verified that his spacesuit is missing from CDP World Headquarters.
"He's...such a goddamn idiot," she remarked, burying her head in her hands and sobbing lightly.
If any additional news surfaces, it will posted here immediately. In Zeinert's absence, the CDP continues to run 'lost' and archival essays.
EXCLUSIVE! PHOTO OF MISSING BLOGGER VERIFIED BY WIFE.
Ryan J Zeinert, the beloved author that has been missing since July 5, has finally been legitimately photographed by an unknown source that is now verified genuine by Zeinert's wife. Previous submitted photographs of the missing writer have now been proven false.
The above picture, taken by what is assumed to be an underage escort hired by Zeinert to criss-cross the Tri-State area with him, is indeed Zeinert, in what appears to be an elevator within the Hotel Julien, a newly-renovated lounge in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. This had added credibility to the swirling rumors that Zeinert has been traveling along the Mississippi river for the last three weeks, working on his next book.
"What the hell is he doing in Dubuque?" wondered his wife, Celia. "And why must he always wear that disgusting plaid shirt everywhere he goes? He looks like a bulimic lumberjack."
Authorities say that they are now closer than ever to capturing Zeinert and getting him back to Wisconsin safely, where he will be forced at gunpoint to continue writing essays.
"He owes us big," chimed one lifelong CDP fan. "His site has been borderline unreadable all Summer. Even more so than usual."
As always, if you have any tips or news to share, please send them to email@example.com. The CDP will continue to run archival and 'lost' essays in Zeinert's absence.
(Photo of Zeinert as authorities kicked down the door of his penthouse suite.)
EXCLUSIVE! ZEINERT CAPTURED!
The search is officially over. Ryan J. Zeinert, the beloved blogger, author and freelance whore who has been missing since July 5, has been located, captured and dragged screaming into custody by authorities.
After many false-starts and misinformed leads following his disappearance, Zeinert was finally photographed late last week by an anonymous tipster in Dubuque, Iowa, where he had been seen galavanting/cavorting with an underage escort. This escort turned out to be an informant called in to track down and located Zeinert as he cris-crossed the Tri-State and Mississippi River landscape. We have now learned that not only was she was responsible for providing police with information behind Zeinert's whereabouts, but that she was actually a man.
When questioned, Zeinert replied, "B*tch set me up."
While it is still unknown why Zeinert fled his home at the beginning of the month and began his reclusive trek, the question on everyone's mind is how soon he can get back to writing essays for the CDP, and how soon can we expect his next book to be completed.
Zeinert's remarks were cryptic. "Never. Never and shut up," he replied.
The CDP should return with a month's worth of all-new essays next month.
Tuesday, September 6CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #25.
#25 - '10 Hard-Hitting Questions.'
(Originally published 8/18/08.)
1. You wear glasses or contact lenses. Suddenly, a miracle pill comes along that will fix your eyes perfectly, without the aid of surgery. For a relatively low price, your eyes will remain 20/20 until the day you die. The only catch is that after you take this pill, you can never again wear glasses, hats, earrings, or any other cranium-based accessory for the rest of your life. Eye makeup is also not allowed.
Do you take the pill?
2. You want to be in a band. One night, the Devil makes you a deal that will instantly rocket you to super-stardom, multi-platinum success, instrumental and songwriting talent, adoring fans and critical acclaim for the duration of your musical career. The downside is that in exchange for this fame, your all-time favorite band will cease to exist. Any memory of their music or historical legacy will disappear forever, and you will never be able to hear any of their songs ever again.
Do you take the deal?
3. You are offered the sum of one billion dollars to never engage in any type of sex again. Breaking of this rule will result in instant death.
Do you take the offer?
4. You've been offered one of two options. One, you are allowed to continue living life as normal with your significant other, with the knowledge that he or she will die in exactly three years. You can never share this information with them, and they will never be aware of this fact. Or two, you can immediately terminate the relationship, and he or she will live a long, healthy live and die comfortably at the age of 90. The only downside is that you can never explain your actions to your significant other, and you will never be able to see them again.
Do you terminate the relationship?
5. You are offered a guest-starring role in the series finale of the ABC TV show Lost, where it is revealed that all of the happenings on the island have been taking place in the head of an autistic boy or girl, played by you. Should you choose to take this role, you will be a part of television history forever, but the backlash will be instantly and universally panned. Should you choose to not take this role, however, the finale will conclude under significantly more plausible circumstances, cementing Lost's place in history as the greatest television drama of all-time.
Do you play the role?
6. You are granted the power of x-ray vision for clothing only; you are now able to see anyone in the nude. However, you are unable to toggle the x-ray vision. For the rest of your life, everyone you look at will appear naked, and you will never be able to see clothing again.
Do you want this power?
7. Through an address mix-up at the CIA, you are mailed an envelope containing the unbelievably true stories behind the moon landing (faked), Kennedy assassination (cover-up), Roswell crash (UFO) and the interpretive ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey (beats me). Once you open this envelope, you will know the truth behind all of these events, but from that point forward, everyone you meet will be convinced that you are insane. No matter what facts you present, arguments you make or books you write, you will be branded a loon and be permanently ostracized from the life that you once knew. You will never be believed by anyone.
Do you open the envelope?
8. While getting the newspaper one morning, a Brinks truck crashes outside of your house, spilling tens of millions of dollars into your driveway. The driver, fearing losing his job for not following standard security protocol and for being drunk, offers you half of the money in exchange for your testimony that says you saw him get robbed at gunpoint by a street gang. In addition to this, the money contained in the truck was originally headed for the American Cancer Society to assist in the invention of an experimental device that may cure cancer (the odds of it working are about 15%). Without this specific cash delivery, the machine will not be able to be invented for another 17 years. The money can not be traced back to you in any way, and your testimony will be perceived as the truth by a judge and jury. If you refuse the money from the driver, he will shoot you in the kneecaps and flee, causing you considerable mobility problems and pain for the rest of your life.
What do you do?
9. Through a post-apocalyptic Death Race competition, you are crowned the champion and rewarded with anything you want for the rest of your life. The only drawback is that every time you blink, you will crap your pants. This is incurable and unavoidable in every way.
Is it worth it?
10. You're in a passionate and long-term relationship with a significant other named Pat. In fact, you love Pat so much that you end up getting the name tattooed across your windpipe, which can never be removed or covered up. Months later, you and Pat are forced to part under frustrating circumstances, and you're left to find someone else to spend your life with. Soon enough, a wonderful person named Chris enters your life, bringing with it just as much love and passion as your previous relationship with Pat. However, you also start a relationship with a new person named Pat. Your relationship with this new Pat isn't on the level as your relationship with Chris, yet it's decent enough to fulfill your needs.
Do you choose Pat over Chris because you already have a 'Pat' tattoo?
Think them through.
Monday, September 5CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #26.
#26 - 'MMA! UFC! CDP! OMG!' &
'I Have A Black Belt In Armchair Jiu-Jitsu.'
(Originally published 11/6/08 & 8/21/09.)
I don’t talk about it very much on the CDP, but I am a huge fan of Mixed Martial Arts. I own stacks of DVD’s, get most of the pay-per-views and watch all of the shows (on Spike as well as the constant stream of programming on HDNet). I’m even considering starting a MMA podcast, because, you know, the Internet really needs another guy yammering into a microphone with his pajama bottoms on.
The Missus is also a pretty big fan, which pleases me on a level that’s far beyond what I could properly summarize in print. I’m just not that good of a writer, even though I’m actually a pretty awesome writer that hasn't written anything awesome in well over a month, including the essay you're reading right now. I'm of the opinion that you will find it somewhat scattered, random, and lacking a worthwhile ending. I ask you to cut me some slack; it's been awhile.
Moving on, I want to also make it clear that I’m not some fairweather MMA fan; some douche that jumped on the bandwagon when it became popular a few years ago. I shelled out $40 for UFC IV in 1995, at the age of 13, during a time when the UFC was on the verge of getting banned nationwide. Classless, out-of-touch nimrods like John McCain classified the UFC as ‘Human Cockfighting,’ the sport went underground and re-emerged in the 21st Century as the defining sport of a generation, after being sold to promoters that believed in strict regulation, solid marketing and the legitimizing of the brand. In Middle School, I wrote every report and made every speech I could in defense of MMA, explaining the rules, virtues and standards applied to a sport that had received such negative publicity in its mishandled infancy.
And yes, I’m writing all of this out just in case Dana White, the President of the UFC, is reading and possibly looking for an Executive Assistant of some sort. I make great coffee and don't wheeze when I breathe.
I honestly see a time in the near future where MMA becomes an Olympic event, and when you really think about it, it should probably be the only Olympic event. At the end of the day, events like badminton, luge and field hockey all boil down to one burning question: "You think you can kick my ass?"
Well, maybe not the luge; that just looks like a lot of fun. I bet all of the competitors go out for pizza afterwards and high-five each other with the bewildering amazement that they get to ride a sled for a living. I suppose some of them do get shot out of the tube and die every once in awhile, but I'd take those odds.
Nonetheless, my love for MMA has began to actually trick my body into thinking that I should attempt to enter the world of MMA. Start training. Take classes. Get my body into fighting shape and step inside the Octagon. This, as you can already tell, is a recipe for a failure so rich and buttery that even I know it’s a shade more retarded than anything I’ve ever bothered to talk myself into thus far. In fact, should I ever get myself into an MMA fight, I’d wind up a legitimate shade more retarded than I already am, and this is from a strictly medical and psychological standpoint. When I told my Physician about my aspirations, he told me that my wife should start casket shopping. I’d leave on a stretcher if I was lucky. In reality, I’d probably leave on two stretchers.
See, me and exercise don’t get along. I stay in shape, eat decent food and maintain a Lightweight density of approximately 155-160 pounds at any given time, but it’s due to fast metabolism, anxiety and coffee, not Hindu squats, wind sprints and Tony Little. Drumming keeps my arms strong, running from the Paparazzi keeps my legs tight and good-old-fashioned HGH takes care of the rest. The mood swings and non-existent testicles are a small price to pay.
So, the other day, I saw a commercial for a new MMA gym that was opening in my area. The place was beautiful; it had pretty much all of the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that you see the UFC guys using at the Las Vegas gym on The Ultimate Fighter. The trainers were experienced, decorated and taught by some of the most popular and greatest MMA fighters of all-time. The urge to become a part of this was getting harder to ignore; I wanted to go to this gym badly and kick some ass. Practice Round Kicks on those rubber cylinders that look like crude, doughy humans. Do victory laps around the Octagon like I had just knocked out Anderson Silva. Jog in place, pee in the sauna; stuff like that.
Logically speaking for a moment, there are easier ways for me to get involved with the MMA game than merely being a fighter with no professional experience to speak of (as I’ve stated before, my street fight record is 2 wins with 1 loss and a draw, and these all took place before the 7th Grade; Kimbo Slice I am not). I could be a promoter. I could be a reporter. Hell, I could be a lot of things in the fighting World that didn’t involve slipping in and out of consciousness while the medics reset my femur and placed what was left of my nose into a plastic bag full of ice cubes and shattered dreams.
Furthermore, they do frequent drug testing in MMA, which meant that I would finally have to accept the fact that I could never freebase meth again; something I wasn’t quite ready to deal with at the age of 26. I still have too much expendable income and almost all of my adult teeth.
Even with all of the damning evidence mounting against me, I still logged onto the MMA Dojo’s website and saw what they were all about. Then I saw the price tag, and remembered just how popular MMA is right now. Then I passed out, hit my head, woke up the next morning in front of the computer, saw the price tag again and proceeded to pass out and hit my head once more. It appeared as if the decision was made for me.
If I could afford what they were asking to train me as a fighter, I wouldn’t need to fight for a living in the first place. Apparently, the only way you can be expertly trained in MMA is if you were already sponsored by a company, or are some maverick billionaire with nothing better do to than choke people. Sir Richard Branson should jump at this in a second, just as soon as he gets sick of taking his rocketship to the Moon, or wherever the hell takes it nowadays.
I'm down but not out, however. My path will converge with MMA at some point in the near future. With any luck, I'll have the good sense to kick it in the balls and run like hell.
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take in my first-ever live MMA event, when I attended the Madtown Throwdown here in Madison, Wisconsin. The show was fantastic, the production and talent were top-notch, and I honestly think that we have an awesome group of up-and-coming fighters that could potentially make waves worldwide in the next few years.
The Missus had a prior engagement that night, so I flew solo for the event. This caused a slight bit of discomfort, as I was given a bleacher seat wedged between two of the fattest dudes I've ever seen outside of the Guinness Book of World Records. I'm a small enough guy, but it was a tight fit to say the least, and the event itself lasted for somewhere in the neighborhood of six hours. Still, I faught through the pain; they were nice guys and took great pleasure in drunkenly shaking me back and forth whenever they delivered the punchline of a sexist joke. Good people.
As I sat there and attempted to immerse myself in the action taking place inside the cage, I began to hypothesize (absurdly so) about my own potential talents as a Mixed Martial-Artist. I mean, I'm in good shape, adequate height and weight, good diet, lots of energy, free of cigarrettes and drugs, great knowledge of the MMA game and all it entails. Hey, why not me?
Who's to say that after a solid year or two of serious gym training and getting whipped into fighting shape, that I couldn't step inside the Octagon and have an honest crack at knocking some bitches out? I'm smart, I'm tough, I'm dedicated and I love the sport! Yes...YES! I'm going to peel myself off of the proverbial Couch of Life and GO FOR IT!
This epiphany had made me quite hungry, so I decided to take a break from the previous four hours of decrepit, fetal bleacher seating and grab some nachos. Without stretching and with an unnecessary amount of upward propulsion, I squirted myself free from the crushing Black Hole of the huge guys on my left and right, took a big step forward and promptly pulled my groin.
Read that again. I pulled my groin at the Madtown Throwdown...as a spectator...because I stood up too fast to get nachos.
I tapped out to nachos. It finally went away entirely early this week, but it taught me a very important lesson about not only the ravages of age and mortality, but that I should never, under any circumstances whatsoever, try to fight for a living.
Sunday, September 4CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #27.
#27 - 'Eel The Pain.'
(Originally published 1/7/09.)
Over the past couple weeks, me and the Missus have been catching up on the unbelievably breathtaking documentary Planet Earth. This Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series is more or less the greatest nature spectacle ever produced, taking over five years to shoot and capturing almost 11 hours of never-before-seen footage. I encourage all of you to either buy the DVDs or watch the repeats on the Discovery Channel when they re-air; you’ll piddle a little, and that's a promise.
Of the many things that Planet Earth has reinforced for my eternal respect and love of the world we live in, it’s also done some irreparable damage to my psyche in the form of a brand-spanking-new fear: Eel Schools.
I’m a guy that has very few fears. I don’t like the water, the infinite and certain inevitability of my death is constantly looming over my shoulder, and if a grinning midget peeked around the corner of my cubicle at work, I’d probably crap straight through the seat of my ergonomic chair. But that’s about it. However, upon watching the ‘Shallow Seas’ portion of Planet Earth, I saw footage of about ten billion eels slithering in tandem through the waters, and I freaked out so hard that I dropped my veggie burger onto the remote control and cranked my head away from the TV until a Bowflex commercial came on and cooled me out.
I honestly don’t know where this came from. I love eels. I always check them out at the pet store, and even contemplated owning one for a time (“You can’t keep it in the tub” was the Missus’ final ruling). Perhaps it was the sheer number of the damn things, or the terrifyingly precise way they sliced through the water like flying snakes. And goddamn it anyway, can you even fathom how scary life would be if snakes could fly? I mean, can you?
If, for some unforeseen reason, someone where to strap a scuba tank onto my back and heave me into the fringe waters of the Indian Ocean, I’d assuredly curl into a tight ball and vibrate until I exploded upon first sight of a roving Eel Mob. Sadder still, I just discovered a giant, animated eel in the ‘Koopa Cape’ track of MarioKart Wii, and I’m now having a hard time even wanting to play it anymore. And that was my favorite track, you bastard-ass eels!
This is serious stuff, it seems; and completely out of nowhere, I might add. I always figured that me and eels were cool. I wanted to get to the root of the problem and find out just where this was all coming from, so I called my mother, who reminded me that I was raped by an eel at a family reunion when I was five.
Totally forgot about that; mystery solved.