The CDP’s Top 20 Songs Of 2018.

20. DIRECT HIT! – ‘Perfect Black’
19. SNAIL MAIL – ‘Heat Wave’
18. THE LONGSHOT – ‘The Last Time’
17. DESSA – ‘5 out of 6’
16. SOCCER MOMMY – ‘Cool’

15. THE INTERRUPTERS – ‘She’s Kerosene’
14. ASH – ‘Annabel’
13. SMOKING POPES – ‘Amanda My Love’
12. EMINEM – ‘The Ringer’
11. THE PILLOWS – ‘Thank You, My Twilight’

10. LONGSHOT – ‘Just Dance’
9. CHROMEO – ‘Must’ve Been’
8. RUN THE JEWELS – ‘Let’s Go (The Royal We)’
7. PROF – ‘Andre the Giant’
6. JOYCE MANOR – ‘Think I’m Still in Love with You’

5. FOUR FISTS – ‘Dork Court’
4. MITSKI – ‘Nobody’
3. FOXING – ‘Slapstick’
2. SUPERCHUNK – ‘What a Time to Be Alive’
1. CULTURE ABUSE – ‘Dip’

A few notes about the Top 5:

‘Dork Court’ is my favorite Hip Hop track of 2018. It’s whimsical, winkingly boastful and jam-packed with quotable punchlines and banging production. Doomtree Collective stuff in a nutshell. Never miss P.O.S when he comes to your town.

‘Nobody’ is a mere snapshot from the outstanding mosaic that is Be The Cowboy. Perhaps the most accessible track on the latest offering from an endlessly talented musician. Mitski’s gonna be huge, right?

‘Slapstick’ was the track that floored me the most immediately upon listening. Foxing went for it this year; swung for the fences and connected. Like Mitski, 2019 is going to be bonkers for this band.

‘What a Time to Be Alive,’ for better or worse, feels like the most important track of the year. It sounds like it should be our National Anthem. If I’m lucky enough to be in a position to think back upon 2018 (and not foraging for gasoline in an irradiated wasteland), I will think of ‘What a Time to Be Alive.’ It’s a Big Song, and Superchunk will never do us wrong.

Which brings me to ‘Dip.’

‘Dip’ is a Small Song. Or at least that’s how it sounded the first few times I heard it. It’s kinda monotonous, cyclical, repetitive. I knew I liked it, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. But with each lyric I absorbed, it started to resonate more and more emotionally.

‘What a Time to Be Alive’ is the collective representation of how we all are coping right now; an angry, raised fist screaming into a megaphone at the enemy. ‘Dip’ is more like a series of late-night text messages, checking in on a loved one to make sure they’re holding up. The message in ‘Alive’ is “Things are bad.” The message in ‘Dip’ is “Things are bad; are you okay?“:

This is my sorry, I’ve been all over the place
I know that you haven’t had much time to yourself
And I know you’re busy
But when you wake up, could you please call me?

I wish you’d take care of yourself first
Before you worry about the others
And when it feels like it’s piling over
Will you remember you got my number?

This is my sorry, it’s been a long year
And I’ve been trying to take it easy
It never slows down, it just keeps going
You gotta get back, I gotta listen

I’m sorry

When Culture Abuse singer Dave Kelling croons “it’s been a long year,” I don’t just think about the exhaustion of 2018 and the criminal enterprise of goddamn evil dumbshit morons inside the White House. I think about losing my paternal grandfather this year. I think about my wife and the old friend she lost to suicide this year. I think about my sister and the life of her soulmate that was violently cut short this year. In each instance, the sentiment among the living was similar: “I should have called. I should have stopped by. I should have checked on you. It’s been a long year. I’m sorry.

Indeed, it’s been a long year. But I’m okay. And I hope you are, too.

But hey, we’re not leaving on a sad note. Check out the ‘Dip’ video above, then check this out:

This is a live performance from the Bay Dream release show earlier this year. It’s one of the most joyous, sloppy and cathartic clips I think I’ve ever seen. I love how it becomes an anthemic song when performed live. I love how celebratory everyone is. The fact that Kelling is a touring musician and punk rock frontman with cerebral palsy is a kick-ass triumph in its own separate right. The whole thing is just super touching and awesome to me, and it makes me like this song (and the entirety of Bay Dream) all the more.

Thanks for hanging out; take care and have a good weekend.

The CDP’s Top 50 Albums Of 2018.

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50. SKYLAR SPENCE
– Carousel/Cry Wolf (Single)

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49. SAVES THE DAY
– 9

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48. TURNSTILE
– Time & Space

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47. ALKALINE TRIO
– Is This Thing Cursed?

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46. ASH
– Islands

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45. THE WONDER YEARS – Sister Cities

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44. MAMMOTH GRINDER
– Cosmic Crypt

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43. SLEEP
– The Sciences

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42. LONGSHOT
– Parades

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41. PAUL McCARTNEY
– Egypt Station

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40. INTERPOL
– Marauder

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39. THE SAMPS
– Breakfast

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38. DAUGHTERS
– You Won’t Get What You Want

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37. EMINEM
– Kamikaze

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36. SHAME
– Songs of Praise

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35. MATT POND PA
– Free Fall

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34. PORTRAYAL OF GUILT
– Let Pain Be Your Guide

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33. PUSHA T
– Daytona

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32. THE PILLOWS
– FooL on CooL Generation

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31. AIR CREDITS/SIMS/ICETEP
– Arteria Verite

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30. PINEGROVE
– Skylight

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29. BEACH HOUSE
– 7

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28. THE 1975
– A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

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27. THE LONGSHOT
– Love Is for Losers

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26. SOCCER MOMMY
– Clean

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25. ARIANA GRANDE
– Sweetener

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24. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
– Thank You for Today

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23. CAR SEAT HEADREST
– Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

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22. FATHER JOHN MISTY
– God’s Favorite Customer

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21. DESSA
– Chime

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20. DRUG CHURCH
– Cheer

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19. RETIREMENT PARTY
– Somewhat Literate

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18. DEAFHEAVEN
– Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

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17. CHVRCHES
– Love is Dead

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16. SNAIL MAIL
– Lush

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15. SMOKING POPES
– Into the Agony

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14. IDLES
– Joy as an Act of Resistance

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13. PALE WAVES
– My Mind Makes Noises

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12. SPANISH LOVE SONGS
– Schmaltz

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11. JEFF ROSENSTOCK
– POST-

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10. LET’S EAT GRANDMA
– I’m All Ears

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9. FOUR FISTS
– 6666

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8. CHROMEO
– Head Over Heels

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7. THE INTERRUPTERS
– Fight the Good Fight

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6. DIRECT HIT!
– Crown of Nothing

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5. SUPERCHUNK
– What a Time to Be Alive

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4. JOYCE MANOR
– Million Dollars to Kill Me

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3. MITSKI
– Be the Cowboy

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2. FOXING
– Nearer My God
(‘Slapstick’ is also my #1 Music Video of 2018. Give it a click.)

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1. CULTURE ABUSE
– Bay Dream

Thank you. The CDP’s Top 20 Songs Of 2018 arrives later in the week.

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade Retrospectivus.

Today marks the halfway point in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11, and to celebrate, I wanted to take a quick, fun, selfish, borderline-masturbatory look back at the previous 10 Trades over the last 11 years. If you ever participated in a Trade and sent something my way, you’ll probably be included too.

And that includes a lot of people. Over 100, actually. And of those 100-some people, over 200 unique Mix-Tapes have been created and sent off to readers around the globe. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

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I had to climb a stepladder to take this picture. Here is nearly every Mix I’ve been sent since we started doing this in 2007. It’s a library onto itself. A vast collection down every mainstream and obscure rabbit hole of music from every corner of the globe since the advent of recording. Rarities. Entire discographies. K-Pop supergroups. It’s all here.

Just as importantly, what’s also in these Mixes are the personalities of their creators. With each Mix comes pages of explanation: What specific tracks mean to specific people, how they showed up in certain landmark moments of their lives, and what they hope the listener gets out of their carefully-curated playlists.

Most of the time, there is a theme assigned to Mix-Tape Trades. These have included:

Trade 2 (February ’08) – Love & Sex
Self-explanatory. It was for Valentine’s Day!

Trade 3 (June ’08) – Cover Songs
Self-explanatory.

Trade 4 (October ’08) – Catchphrase
Each person involved in the Trade also got to submit a phrase that would be the personal theme of a random participant. Some catchphrases include ‘Superman isn’t brave,’ ‘Misery loves company,’ and ‘That’s why I don’t drink gin.’

Trade 5 (March ’09) – The Top 10…Of Everything
Each participant got to turn their Mix into a countdown of whatever songs and whatever theme they wanted. I, for example, counted down the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. In tune, I only listened to it once, because it was the most depressing shit that has ever been digitally encoded.

Trade 6 (September ’09) – Six Degrees
This was a collection of six ‘mini-themes,’ including ‘Guilty Pleasure’ and ‘Parental Advisory.’ Each participant got to pick any theme (or combination thereof) they wanted.

Trade 7 (March ’10) – Your New Favorite Band
This was a chance for each participant to introduce someone to their ‘New Favorite Band.’ I usually give away prizes for every Mix-Tape Trade by random draw, but for this one I went with whatever Mix convinced me that I was listening to my ‘New Favorite Band.’

Trade 8 (August ’10) – Three Little Words
Any three little words will do.

Trade 9 (November ’11) – The End
It’s over. Or, at least I thought it was over.

And the artwork! A ridiculous landscape of creativity. Hand-drawn covers. Original photographs. Scrapbooks. I’ve seen it all. Here are just a few of my favorites:

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Ben (Killer Sandbox) does a fantastic job every time. Literally every time (more on that later). The combination of original artwork, photography, design and great songs make me envious whenever a new Mix shows up in my mailbox.

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Speaking of ridiculously talented, Levi Greenacres is another rare combination of art, music and love (the man is a phenomenal tattoo artist and author after all). In addition to hand-drawn, laminated covers, we also get copious autobiographical liner notes. Anyone who gets Levi in the Trade is guaranteed to get something great.

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Mix-Tape Trade OG Emily Mills not only sends out great albums with great artwork, but she’ll also send you her traditional end-of-year playlist if you’re really lucky.

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Heather and Fiona, another pair of Trade OG’s, once sent out scrapbook-influenced liner notes to lucky recipients.

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And I couldn’t forget Carly’s Lost-inspired ‘Man of Science/Man of Faith’ Mixes from 2010. We…were a little Lost obsessed around here back in the day.

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And no CD collection is complete without a watercolor squid/octopus thing drawn by Caitlin. It’s so cute!

So, out of 11 Trades, we have had dozens of people participate in just one or two, never to be seen again. And that’s awesome. But right now I want to focus on the lifers. The people whom, without them, the Mix-Tape Trade could not have existed for this long. Allow me to introduce you to…The 5-Timer’s Club.

5 Trades – Levi G. (Levi will become a 5-Timer following Trade 11. The crested jacket is in the mail.)

5 Trades – Bruce K.
5 Trades – Nicole H.
5 Trades – Heather N.

6 Trades – Jesse R. (Jesse will become a 6-Timer following Trade 11.)
6 Trades – Rissa D. (Rissa will become a 6-Timer following Trade 11.)
6 Trades – Caitlin R.
6 Trades – Brian I.

7 Trades – Mike I. (Mike will become a 7-Timer following Trade 11.)
7 Trades – Josh T.
7 Trades – Fiona N.

8 Trades – Scott F.
8 Trades – Emily M.

And finally, here are the people who have participated in every Mix-Tape Trade in CDP history. They are the very adequately-named 11-Timer’s Club:

Ben J.
Carly C.
Celia Z.
Mike H.
Sherry J.

Thank you.

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So, here’s me and my Mix this time around. I’m going the digital route this year (Spotify in particular), but I’m also sending out a physical copy to my recipient. Why? See everything above. Getting this stuff in the mail rules. It’s the whole point.

Again, the deadline is Monday, June 25. Any Mixes sent my way are included in a drawing to win a free, signed copy of my latest book, Neon Pines Mall. Yeah, I got a new book out!

Alright, have a good week. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

 

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11 Drawing.

It’s go time, kids!

After extensive laboring and building one of those spinny-wheels with the Bingo balls in them, we have drawn the 15 pairings for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11. Everyone who signed up has someone that they will create a Mix-Tape for, and in tune, they have someone who will make one for them.

The pairings are as follows:

Ryan Z will be making a Mix for Carly C.
Mike H will be making a Mix for Jessi H.
Mike I will be making a Mix for Nilajah H.
Ben J will be making a Mix for Sam W.
Levi G will be making a Mix for Alissa O.
Corbin U will be making a Mix for Ryan Z.
Celia Z will be making a Mix for Levi G.
Sam W will be making a Mix for Rissa D.
Alissa O will be making a Mix for Jesse R.
Sherry J will be making a Mix for Corbin U.
Carly C will be making a Mix for Mike I.
Nilajah H will be making a Mix for Sherry J.
Rissa D will be making a Mix for Mike H.
Jessi H will be making a Mix for Ben J.
Jesse R will be making a Mix for Celia Z.

Wonderful. Here’s what we all do next:

1. I will be sending a Facebook message out to everyone today (6/11) in a group (you’re all friends with me already or on Messenger), reminding them who’s creating a Mix-Tape for whom. We’re doing this step through Messenger this time around; it’s quicker and cleaner than e-mail. If you have an issue with this for some reason or are having issues, just let me know and I’ll take care of it.

2. It will then be up to the recipient of the Mix-Tape to contact the creator and give them their physical mailing address or best destination (depending on if you plan on physically mailing them a Mix or sending a streaming one). You can do this right in the FB group message I create, or you can contact them separately if you wish.

3. Once you get the mailing address (or relevant contact info) of the person you’re sending a Mix-Tape to, MAKE IT AND SEND IT!

I cannot stress this part enough: It’s an intimate group and everyone has a buddy; it would really suck if someone gets left out because you decided to go deadbeat on them. The deadline is to have ALL MIX-TAPES MAILED OUT BY MONDAY, JUNE 25. If someone gets left out I’ll feel personally responsible, so please don’t make an ass out of me or I’ll publicly shame you here on the CDP.

4. Once you receive your Mix-Tape, sound off in the comments section or share on social media so we all know the status of everyone’s packages (if you’d like). Half the fun is sharing the experience with everyone involved. I’ve been blown away time and time again by the amount of work and creativity that has gone into so many of the Mixes I’ve received over the years.

5. If you’re having a problem contacting anyone, have a question or anything else goes wrong, contact me any way you’d like and I’ll sort it out. I’m pretty neat like that. Remember though that people are busy, so give them a day or two to answer you back, but let me know if it’s taking a ludicrous amount of time.

6.
I always mention this (and I’ll mention it again when I contact you), but if you’re looking for an easy way to thank me for inventing something as awesome as the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, I would love a copy of your Mix. My mailing address is as follows:

theCDP
PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI
53590

Any mixes that make it to CDP Headquarters will get a public thank you and are eligible for a SUPER SECRET AWESOME PRIZE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE A SIGNED COPY OF MY NEW BOOK, NEON PINES MALL. Simple as that! Send one my way!

You should be receiving your instructional information by the end of the day today (Monday). So get out there, create a rad Mix-Tape and send it off to your partner by MONDAY, JUNE 25!

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11.

Get hyped.

For the first time in over two years, the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade has returned for the eleventh time!

Since it’s been a while, here’s a reset on how this works:

1. If you want to participate in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, just let me know by Friday, June 8 at 10pm Central Time. No exceptions. You can do this in the comments below, my Facebook page, Instagram or through Twitter or E-mail. Just tell me you’re in, that’s it!

2. On Monday June 11, right here on the CDP, everyone will be randomly assigned a participant who they will create a Mix-Tape for. I function as the middleman if you need any help contacting your recipient or have any questions.

3. Make a Mix-Tape and send it to your recipient by Monday, June 25. Pow.

Now, times have changed since the first time we did this, so you’re more than welcome to go the Streaming/Spotify/Google/iTunes route with your Mix if your recipient is able to receive it that way. HOWEVER, the spirit of the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade is to create a physical piece of media (usually a CD with artwork) and mail it out to your recipient. That’s the whole point of this thing. But again, whatever works best for you.

4. Just like last time, there is no theme for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 11. Make whatever you want, go whatever direction you want. It’s your call.

Okay, let’s do this. Sign up ASAP and enjoy your week. Names will be drawn and you will get further notification on Monday, June 11.

Neon Pines Mall.

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Happy Birthday to me!

I know it’s been awhile, but I’m going to be brief. I have a present for you!

The new book is called Neon Pines Mall, and it’s available for FREE right here. It’s also above in the ‘Books’ section. Again, this is a free download for the eReader of your choice.

The print version is available right here. The cover looks dope, there’s lots of cool photographs (yeah, photographs!) and it looks great on a coffee table. Also above in the ‘Books’ section.

It’s retro, satirical, Pop Culture-saturated, short-attention-span, vaporwave, nihilist absurdity. I don’t want to explain it any more than that. Don’t think about it too hard. You’ll either think it’s funny or you won’t, but either way, it’s on me.

Thank you. Later.

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Bought.

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Since 2002, CDP Headquarters has been at the forefront of Cat-Related Technology (hereby known as CAT TECH for the remainder of this essay). From complicated water bowls, to robotic litter boxes, to food more expensive and delicious than my own, never let it be said that we spare expense for the sake of our feline companions.

Our spoiled, entitled, Millennial feline companions who have never once said thank you.

I have a vivid memory of a litter box the Missus purchased in 2007. It had a motorized rake inside of it that (when working properly) would gently collect waste into a side reservoir for simple, hands-off disposal. It was on a timer and had a motion sensor that kept it from going off when the cats where inside of it, which would have permanently broke their tiny cat brains and ensured they never whizzed in a litter box again for the rest of their lives.

Problem was that no part of this box worked correctly. The rake would begin its slow, sifting journey through the minefield of turds, only to inevitably get caught on a large piece of detritus. Instead of shutting off, the rake would just dig harder into the clump, shaking and building kinetic energy until FWIP! A scone-sized rock of shit would catapult itself completely out of the box, sometimes landing halfway across the basement floor. It took weeks before we pieced together what was happening. It was a sight to behold, I can assure you.

Around the same time, we bought a Bubbler-style (or Water Fountain for non-Wisconsinites) water bowl. The Internet told us that oxygenated water was better for a cat’s kidneys and BLEE BLAH BLOO, so we busted out the debit card and made it happen. The next morning, this is exactly what happened to me–

Broken. Water all over the kitchen floor. I think we’re on our 10th water bowl, because they continue to break. You know what usually doesn’t break? A bowl-style bowl with nothing attached and no humming motor that needs to be plugged in. You know. A bowl.

But hey, whatever. I want to do right by my pets and wife, so onward we trudge, endlessly looking for smarter ways to keep the cats healthy and to keep our hands from touching feces. It’s a battle worth fighting.

But there are limits. There is a line of sanity that can be crossed when it comes to CAT TECH. An Uncanny Valley where Futurism and Logic blur into a steamy gumbo of confusion. A 4th Dimension of blind devotion where reality begins to fade, leaving us only with questions and regret. “How did we get here? I only wanted to do the right thing.”

This brings me to the Cat Genie, the single dumbest thing I have ever bought.

Now, it’s unkind to throw the Missus under the bus here, but I need to state for the record that it was her idea to order the Cat Genie. Not specifically apropos to CAT TECH, the Missus has a long and storied history with purchasing stupid things on the Internet. I do, too, but from the moment the Cat Genie was drone-delivered to my doorstep by Amazon (I assume), the Gold Standard had been set. We had a winner. From that point forward, if a more ridiculous thing was to be brought into our home, it would have to be done on purpose, solely for the occasion of usurping the Cat Genie from its Throne of Preposterousness.

The Cat Genie is what happens when an ordinary litter box has sex with a Japanese Billionaire’s toilet. Its primary function is to dispose of waste in a neat, efficient manner, but in the most complicated, exorbitant way possible. Here’s how it works:

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After the cat craps, the entire thing whirs, heats up and starts rotating. Water and a cleaning solution saturate the bowl as the waste is raked out and sent into a reservoir where it is then flushed out through your water supply. The litter is actually tiny plastic granules that are cleaned during these cycles, which of course is the only litter you can use inside of Cat Genie. The cleaning solution is also proprietary, as you would assume. The machine (above) is enormous; larger than a Human Being Toilet and almost half the size of a washing machine.

Not only do you have to plug this into a power outlet, you need to hook it up to your water supply, which means it has to be next to a sink, toilet or washing machine. My wife did not know this until it was too late. Here were my live tweets from that evening:

11:02PM My wife, sight unseen, just bought a cat toilet. Like, one that flushes with water and stuff.
11:11PM Oh God, now she’s rooting through my toolbox. I’m having an anxiety attack. This dumbass toilet is going to be the downfall of our home.
11:14PM If I find that monstrosity next to the toilet in my bathroom, I’m moving out. I’m not making eye contact with my cat while we both poop.
11:14PM I’m afraid to go upstairs. Halp.
11:15PM Alright, I’m going up.
11:20PM Good news. She’s hooking it up to her toilet in the master bath…right next to our bed. I can already see me stepping into it one night.
11:21PM I love this woman with all my heart.

That’s right. This thing currently sits between the bed and bathroom in the master bedroom, latched onto our plumbing like some sort of leech-like tumor. Ever want a toilet next to your bed? A toilet that you couldn’t use? Well, sleep easy. I’ve got just what you need.

Well, that’s your fault,” you may say. “You should have known that your house wasn’t equipped for a product as futuristic and advanced as Cat Genie.” And you’d be right, which is why I say that this is the dumbest thing I have ever bought, not the worst product on the market*. I’m sure this meets the needs of millions of cat owners in America who are so fearful of litter and feline urine that a fuse blows out in their tender brains and they willfully plop down almost $600 to pretend none of this shit exists. I salute those people and hope they get the help they sincerely need.

So anyway, let’s recap. It needs a power supply. It needs a water supply. The litter is plastic, mandatory and costs $25 a box. The cleaning solution also costs $25 a box. By the way, the cleaning solution smells like jet fuel, and when heated up with the granules and cat shit, is about as palatable as a hoarder’s crawlspace. For about five minutes during the Salad Spinner-esque cleaning cycle, it’s louder than any appliance in your home. The plastic pellets are tracked everywhere. Oh, and the cats refuse to use it because it scares them, which is the only thing that really matters.

For me, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. This isn’t for us. Let’s return it. But the Missus does not give up. This is why I married her. You know what they say: “Never make fun of your wife’s choices, because you were one of them.” To this day, the Cat Genie sits in the Master Bedroom. The cats sometimes sleep inside of it. It’s never once been used for its intended purpose, although I’m personally becoming more and more tempted each day.

I like Technology. I like new devices and I like anything that will make my life easier. The Cat Genie did none of those things. But I like my wife and cats, so rest assured that this CAT TECH journey will never stop.

Maybe they’d use a bidet.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever bought? Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

 

(*Please do not sue me. I have so little.)