Tofurkeyducken Depression.

Today is special for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s Thanksgiving; a time for all of us to get together with our families and friends, and take a moment to think about all of the things in our lives that have not yet gone horribly wrong.

In my life, I have a few of these things. Our furnace, for one. That’s all I can think of right now- the furnace, but I’m sure there are others. Oh, the garage door, too.

Secondly, today is the Missus’ 25th birthday, so please take a quick second to wish her a good one. She has to live with me and see me naked and stuff, so each year on Earth must feel like seven or eight for her. I love you more than toast, Monkey Bear.

Your mission over the next few days is to flood the comments section with the answer to one simple question: What Are You Thankful For?

I’ll leave this post up until Monday, so at anytime over the next few days, when you feel inspired or reminded of something that has brought you joy at least once in your lifetime, please pop in and let the rest of the CDP Network in on your joy.

I’ll get us started:

1. John Madden Football 1992-1996 for the Sega Genesis.

2.
When Brock Lesnar superplexed the Big Show on Friday Night Smackdown!, and the ring exploded.

3.
Every second that Samuel L. Jackson is on screen in Pulp Fiction. Oh, and Vincent’s bathroom monologue, too.

4.
Pinkerton.

5.
Having symmetrical nipples. Let’s face it, if you didn’t have them, you’d be fairly self-conscious about it. Don’t take things for granted.

Do it up. Have a safe and happy holiday; the CDP will return on Monday.

The Greatest Depression Ever.

2,750 Words On Financial Responsibility (With Poop Jokes!)
By: Ryan J. Zeinert

PART I – “Bathtub Moonshine.”

Make no mistake about it, our nation is starting straight down the barrel of the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans are losing their jobs. Multi-billion dollar companies are closing their doors. Gasoline is currently $1.80 a gallon. Truly terrifying stuff.

For those of you who weren’t around for the first Great Depression (scoff if you must, but I have an abnormal amount of Nonagenarian fans), allow me to shed a little light on what you can stand to learn from it. My Great-Grandmother was a Depression-era woman, and when she passed away last year, I was asked to root through her house to see if there was anything I’d like to bring home. It was there where the family found age-old collections of bottle caps, newspapers, long-dead appliances and…gahh…Band-Aids. The place was absolutely stacked to the rafters with a lifetime of hoarding and thrifty-ness barely holding everything together. She came from a generation that had no credit, threw nothing away and had to fend for themselves when the Stock Market crumbled around them.

Oh, and she was also a pack-rat that probably would have behaved the same way had the Depression never happened at all, so you may want to bear that in mind. I love her and miss her very much, but yeah, she had a bit of a problem with throwing stuff away. Nonetheless, we can all learn a little something from Great-Grandma Milly: the Government will probably help Wall Street when they fail, but they certainly will not help us, so stock up and prepare for the Apocalypse, ‘cuz it’s a comin’.

Signs of careful spending are everywhere these days. Why just yesterday, instead of buying my usual 10-year Scotch at the liquor store, I had to settle for the inferior 2-year Scotch at the grocery store. Hey, what can you do? Corners need to be cut, and I’ll get drunk just as fast either way. Besides, when alcohol functions as both your dinner and breakfast, you’ll end up saving in the long run.

Since alcohol is recession-proof, however, you can fully expect me to get on board with my own signature brand of bathtub moonshine in the near-future.

PART II – “Coffee + Apples = Instant Enema.”

It was this looming fear of going broke, losing my job, losing my house, losing my wife, losing feeling in the tips of my fingers and inevitably losing my ability to remember that I don’t like touching wieners at the bus station for money that led me to a Financial Planning seminar offered last week at one of the many State agencies that could buy and sell my life about a jillion times over without blinking (feel free to take a second; that was an embarrassingly long sentence). I attended because not only did it make me feel responsible and hopefully plant a seed of responsibility and long-term planning in my head, but also because it was a paid afternoon off of work with free coffee and apples.

Oh, and by the way: Coffee + Apples = Instant Enema. You’ve been warned. I swear to God, there wasn’t a single minute of that seminar where someone wasn’t out using the can.

For the first time ever (and for the sake of this essay), I’m going to give you a quick peek into how me and the Missus manage our money. Not surprisingly, it’s based on equal parts Libertarianism and Socialism, if such a thing is even possible. It more or less breaks down like this:

1. Your money is your own. We have separate checking accounts and trust that the other will not become suddenly irresponsible or develop a drug habit of some kind. When you’re out of money, you’re out of money, and can no longer buy stuff. In the six years that we’ve lived together, I can only think of one time where one of us had to pay for something that was normally purchased by the other. Works like a charm.

2. We have one joint Savings account for emergencies, vacations, royalty checks and sweet, sweet Pampered Chef money. This is how we make large, joint purchases; we try to put a certain amount of money into it every month, but this rarely, if ever happens. I honestly think we have 17 dollars in there right now. We blame this mostly on purchasing a house earlier in the year, and also on the fact that we’re allergic to saving.

3. After calculating how much monthly income the two of us bring in, we adjust the bill-paying so that we both have excess spending money that’s relative to the amount of income we bring into the house over the amount spent on bills. Basically, we split things up so we’re both comfy on a month-to-month basis. I’ll pay for this, you pay for that, and we’ll both have about the same cash left over. Spread the wealth, and so forth.

The Missus covers groceries, the mortgage and her car payment, and I pretty much pay for everything else. This means that if she wants to divorce me, she could afford the house and food, but she wouldn’t be able to keep the lights and water on. I, on the other hand, would be homeless, but I’d have a nice cell phone and cable TV service, if I had a television, which I would not. It forces us into mutual dependence while still remaining independent spenders.

4. Other things, such as investments, retirement, Deferred Comp and whatnot, have been set into motion years ago through our employers and don’t factor into our day-to-day. Also, considering the current state of the economy, we don’t even look at these statements when they’re mailed to us. They are immediately lit on fire and thrown into the garbage disposal, unless we’re looking for a reason to cry for five to six straight hours. We have a good retirement program, conservative, diverse investments and a few other things that put money away for us because we’re too irresponsible to do it ourselves. If anything, it’s an excuse to watch MSNBC and pretend I know what everyone’s talking about.

5. …that’s it. We’ve been running with this plan for over six years now, and it’s been absolutely rad and headache-free. No late payments, nothing past due, no arguments, nothing.

But, as I’m sure most of you can surmise from this (well, those of you who are smarter and wealthier than I), this doesn’t work for crap when it comes to anything long-term. Sure, we have the monthly formula down to a science, but when it comes to a five-year plan, sudden emergencies, paying off debt in a shorter amount of time or accumulating a savings, it’s complete junk. We’re living too well, too soon, and nothing is carrying over. It’s stagnant, and unless we both start making more money or serious financial changes, we’ll be treading water for eternity. No finished basement with a pool table, no new cars, no mewling babies with poopy pants, nothing.

Let’s face it. Socialism and Libertarianism doesn’t work, even in tandem.

PART III – “Asses & Assets.”

Of course, most of us would take ‘treading water’ over ‘bankrupt’ in a heartbeat, but when I look at our monthly income, I know we can do better to protect our asses and assets for the oncoming trainwreck of an economic collapse, and I had hoped that this semin-izar would siz-et me striz-aight. All I really wanted was someone to hypnotize the love of sub sandwiches, bagels and Pay-Per-View violence out of me, and I’d probably pocket an extra $400 a month from that alone. I don’t know about you, but it makes me sick to think that there’s enough cash for a 2009 Mercedes-Benz tucked in my wallet, but it’s being pissed away in the form of potato salad and honey-almond cream cheese. Completely unacceptable. And fattening.

Instead of tips and tricks for better saving, this seminar put the fear of God and guilt into me in a way that not even 16 years of Catholic church had ever done; a remarkable feat, to say the least, and they didn’t even have to touch my Swimsuit Area to get their point across. By the end of this seminar, I was convinced that not only was I going to go broke at the hands of some tragic and unavoidable accident that would surely leave me paralyzed and inhaling puree’d ‘Hungry Man’ TV dinners through a straw, but that I deserved it because I didn’t plan ahead. Now I’m dead and char-broiled in hell, and my wife and cats will soon be joining me because we didn’t repent before it was too late. It was like watching a Chick Tract unfurl before my very eyes. However, unlike Religion and God’s love, this wasn’t a figment of my imagination; this was serious business, and I needed to change in a hurry.

Rapture!

I’ve seen the light! I’ve seen the error of my ways! I’m ready to embrace the love of savings and reasonable budgeting! I hope it’s not too late to turn things around! Praise the Wisconsin Investment & Risk Management Firm! They have truly saved me and my family! Praise the Excel spreadsheet! Praise the amateur-quality PowerPoint presentation!

After my fiscal awakening, I couldn’t wait to come home and share the Good News with the Missus. Tell her about all the wonderful things that had happened to me, and all the wonderful things that were about to befall us if we just obeyed the Gospel of the Semi-Balding Accountant. I had full-color pamphlets and literature, too; just to drive the point home.

I snapped out of my good mood quickly, however, when I realized that I was about to explain to my wife that we could never spend any money on anything that made us happy ever again for any reason, forever and ever, until the end of time, Amen. Even though I was on a high, I still didn’t think that she was going to go for this. Our spending habits were about to change. Nay, our lives were about to change in the name of Spending. We were about to argue over Money; something we’ve successfully avoided for years now. We were going to live our lives for the future instead of paying for the past, and it wasn’t going to be comfortable.

PART IV – “Phantom Smells.”

Now, telling your wife that you want to be 100% in control of her money is a…how shall I put it…born-with-half-a-brainstem retarded argument to start for no good reason. Especially when your wife makes significantly more than you do annually and could probably take you in a fight if push really came to shove. However, telling your wife that you want to be 100% in control of her money because you fear she’s not handling it responsibly is almost certain death, and instantly on the Top 10 List of the Craziest Things I’ve Ever Done and Expected My Wife To Be Cool With, somewhere in between passing out in the driveway on Halloween and drunkenly grabbing my co-worker’s ass at a wedding reception. For this current outburst, I wouldn’t even have the excuse of inebriation working for me, for crying out loud.

After days of charting, projecting and calculating, I was about to pitch the idea of a joint-checking, joint-savings household to the Missus, with me calling the shots, budgeting out cash, determining purchases and accumulating a savings. There’s wasn’t a Pie Graph or Hi-Lighter in the world that was going to make this work in my favor, so imagine my extreme shock and incredulousness when she not only didn’t murder me, but totally agreed with me.

Holy sweet Goddamn. How did I pull it off? I wasn’t prepared, sprung it on her at a bad time and failed to have any of my note cards on me. I must have really had the charm working overtime that night, which led me to believe that either I was being double-crossed, or the Missus had developed an inoperable brain tumor that she wasn’t being entirely honest with me about. I asked her if she was experiencing any ‘phantom smells’ before I continued on with my argument. But the truth of the matter was this: she admitted that she wasn’t handling her money as well as she should be (me too, of course), and something needed to be done to develop some sort of long-term plan for the future. Now, you don’t know my wife as well as I do, but she must have sincerely hated balancing her checkbook to turn such a responsibility over to me so flippantly, even more so than I ever knew. Expecting more of a backlash and subsequent stabbings, the realization that I was now in charge of our financial future was a feeling of equal parts maturity, nobility and full-blown pantal urination.

Inspired by President-Elect Obama, I drew up a battle plan and instantly went to work. I had earned this unenviable household task, and I wasn’t about to let down those who helped me to get there. Excel spreadsheets were created, budgets were handed out and toilet paper was purchased in bulk. A plan was put into play to cut our credit card bills in half within a certain amount of time, cut excess monthly costs, and create a long-awaited emergency fund for when I shatter my pelvis installing the new garage door. It was finally going to happen; we were finally going to get ahead.

I was forgetting one tiny little detail, however.

I never get ahead.

At all.

Ever.

PART V – “Tinker, Monkey, And/Or Fiddle.”

If you recall from this hilarious and brilliantly-penned essay, I am the living representation of Even Steven. This assurance of breaking even comes in handy when faced with hard and troubling times, but leaves me powerless to accrue any sort of insurance for the future. Surely, something was going to happen that would stomp my well-researched plan into the dirt. Would it be a gardening accident, perhaps? An illness? Pink slip? Unexpected pregnancy? Unexpected divorce followed by an unexpected pregnancy caused by a gardening accident? Answer me, damn it!

My main fear lies in not the potential for arguments or figuring out a new system for day-to-day survival, but of the sheer unknown of it. We’re about to tinker, monkey and/or fiddle with something that maybe didn’t deserve to be tinkered, monkeyed and/or fiddled with in the first place. What if it’s a disaster? What if me and the Missus become passive, vindictive people to each other because of our newfound budgeting and the inevitable power struggle that accompanies it? Then again, what if it’s a complete success, allowing us to move onward and upward in the constantly-rigged game of Life? Honestly, that outcome might be a fate more frightening than failure, for a number of reasons only a lifelong pessimist could possibly rationalize.

This pretty much brings us up to speed. The Great Experiment is a few weeks away from its estimated launch date, and despite my former optimism and life-changing fiscal awakening, I’m left nervous and trembling by the looming, greedy hand of Fate. What will come of this? Will everything work perfectly, allowing us to save money and yet remain happy in our luxuries? Will tension, arguments and poor planning slip us into a debt larger than ever before? Or will Fate step in and give me cancer of the balls? Only time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. If you’re feeling especially charitable, let the CDP Network in on how you budget your money, and offer us a quick tip on saving cash each month. I’ll start us off with a few that I’m currently using concerning ‘Luxury Expenses’:

1. By only going out for lunch once a week, I will save over $40 a month.
2. By only going out for dinner once a week, I will save over $100 a month.
3. Thanks to eMusic.com, my monthly music budget is only $20 a month.
4. Cutting back on UFC and WWE Pay-Per-Views will save me over $40 a month.
5. Carpooling would probably save me $60 a month, but I’m totally not doing it.

Cheers.

A War Of Words With An Unarmed Man.



(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.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.
(NoOnProp8.com)

Clever Post Title Not Yet Determined.

Let’s talk Writer’s Block.

As a public service to you, the CDP Reader, I absolutely refuse to force an essay out just because I feel I’m due for one, nor will I write a sub-par essay on Tuesday when I feel I can turn it into an awesome one by Friday. As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been hit with an ever-so-slight bout of Writer’s Block, and until it decides to run its course, I’m left to sit here and play Excitebike until the Humor Blog Gods decide to give me my gift back.

Of course, the Gods have typically been good to me. I can’t think of many blogs out there that crank out as much quality stuff as the CDP does, so I suppose I have nothing to apologize for. However, when there’s something interesting that I want to say, and for whatever reason, I cannot find the words to say it, it’s unbearably frustrating, annoying, and more than a little frightening. As a writer, feeling the urge to write and yet, not being able to do so, feels a bit like unrequited love. Why has this become so difficult? Why can I no longer function? Why am I listening to Louder Than Bombs on a constant loop?

The sports fanatics (which I am) would refer to this as ‘Steve Blass Disease.’ Quick history lesson for you, courtesy of Wikipedia:

In the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Steve Blass pitched two complete game wins, allowing only seven hits and two runs in 18 innings. He finished second in the voting for World Series MVP behind teammate Roberto Clemente.

Besides his Series performance, Blass is best known for his sudden and inexplicable loss of control after the 1972 season. His ERA climbed to 9.81 in the 1973 season. He walked 84 batters in 88 innings, and struck out only 27. Blass suffered through the 1973 season, then spent most of 1974 in the minor leagues. He gave it one last try in spring training of 1975. Failing to regain his form, he retired from baseball in March 1975.

Thereafter, a condition referred to as ‘Steve Blass Disease’ became a part of baseball lexicon because such a change in a player’s skill was identified with him. The diagnosis is applied to talented pitchers who inexplicably and permanently seem to lose their talent.

Mark Wohlers had it. You could argue that Mike Vanderjagt had it. But me? Come on. I’m the guy that did 1100 words on killing a spider. 1800 words on American Gladiators. Almost 3000 words on just kissing, for Christ’s sake. What is going on, here?

Am I done? Washed up? Have I run my course? Sound off in the comments section and let us know what you do to ward off Steve Blass Disease and stay fresh when it comes to your talents.

I Enjoy It When People Say Nice Things About Me.

Several months ago, I was e-mailed by a High School student and CDP fan named Eric Silver. He had been asked to make contact with a well-known author or blogger, secure some sort of an interview with them and write a report about their style, voice and overall themes of their essays or literature. Well, he must have been getting mighty desperate or nearing deadline, because he decided to make me the topic of his report. I gladly accepted, did the interview, and now want to share with you his finished work.

As you know, I very rarely turn over the CDP for the sake of outside essays and interviews (even if they are about me), but today is a very rare instance. I’ve done a lot of things through the CDP for a lot of different people, but I’ve never been directly responsible for helping a guy from New York pass his Senior Literature class and eventually graduate from High School. As someone who isn’t far enough removed to forget how tremendous a pain in the ass reports like this are to write, I consider it an honor and privilege to help in any way that I could.

Here now, Mr. Silver’s wonderful write-up on yours truly. It’s better than anything that I ever wrote in school, but then again, I’m probably a little biased because it’s entirely about how freaking awesome my blog is.

Enjoy.

I’m not a Communist! I’m Just Funny!

The Internet is beautiful. Okay, n00bz, stop laughing at me. My inner geek might be a tad stronger than yours, so I can differentiate the beauty from the bawdy, but just consider this: the Internet defined a generation, substituting a great war or protesting that great war for battles of cybernetic proportions. The Internet stretches the boundaries of information, instilling the power of expertise to any simpleton with motor skills, and lets the simultaneous search for Jesus and Kodiak bears commonplace. But the true radiance of the World Wide Web is exactly what the prefix to all websites suggests. It encompasses the entire globe, and cultivates a freedom of expression that just wouldn’t be possible without an audience. And as that freedom is transferred, translated, and transfigured around the globe, somewhere among the ridiculous majority of horrible spelling, Counterstrike, racist lunatics, and porn, diamonds of genuine intelligence and humor shine.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon one of these gems while searching for a blogger that I could identify as entertaining enough to write an essay about. I typed in “pop culture blog” into my trusty sidekick, Google, and it sniffed out the Communist Dance Party, written and patrolled by the unflappable Ryan J. Zeinert. Don’t let the Marxist name fool you, this blog is as American as telling stories to millions of people for personal amusement and enrichment can be, and is slowly overtaking baking apple pie as the #2 most patriotic activity.

I am now addicted to the CDP. It might seem strange, because why would I really want to take time out of my busy schedule of Facebook, teen angst, and sleeping, to read someone else’s life stories? Really, I don’t, but as I skimmed the first stories, I noticed the two true strengths of Zeinert’s writing. The first is how in every single one of his posts, he maintains his belief in small, mundane things and how much they really matter in life. This shows up mainly in the content, but it is equally reflected in his diction in totally unrelated topics. The second is his voice. Zeinert’s voice is endearing, awkward, confident, alive, super-awesome, and always there. Without it, the blog would just be another sad attempt at getting random people to care, kind of like the news. The Communist Dance Party is better than every other column or blog because Zeinert invites the reader into his own stories through tone that is focused on the appreciation for the little things in life and word choice in his own voice that is always present in his writing.

Something monumental does not happen every day. I should not expect to inherit a million dollars, fall in love, lose that love, endure a death in my family, and then find out my love is with child in five successive days; my life is not a soap opera, and there is not a cliffhanger every Friday. Sometimes, days are mundane and routine. But that doesn’t mean there is not something to learn from each day we live on this Earth, no matter how boring or seemingly ordinary that day is. The CDP embraces the little things and makes them extraordinary. “When something vaguely humorous happens to me,” Zeinert wrote in an e-mail to me, “I like to tell it in a way that makes it seem more epic than anything. People like to hear unbelievable stories, but it’s the everyday minutiae that resonates with them the most, and forms more of a familiar bond between the writer and the reader” (E-mail).

One of my favorite posts points out that even a bag of chocolate chip cookies can bring out a revelation about life and yourself. One day, in the middle of a work day of monotony, our fearless author came across a bag of chocolate chip cookies that he had stashed away and forgotten about. He then proceeds to gorge himself on said cookies, and, while realizing the hilarity of a twenty-six-year-old shoving cookies into his mouth in proper work attire, bursts out laughing and takes in “the absurdity and triviality of the Human Experience” (‘A Ziploc Bag Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies’). But wait, there’s more!

In less than a minute, I had learned a powerful life lesson. I also had a mess to clean up…Don’t be embarrassed of what makes you happy. Even if it’s just a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies, dig your fat ass in and enjoy the moment…Take the time to admire the sadness in the realization that it’s the honest truth, then allow yourself to enjoy it with every fiber of your being… Let the crumbs fall down your shirt; you deserve it (‘A Ziploc Bag Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies’).”

The subjects of the posts are just what happen in his life: working, watching TV, killing insects, etc. And each post is littered with life lessons like in “Chocolate Chip Cookies” or introspective verbs like “admire”, “remember”, and “learn.” This proves that you learn something new everyday; it just takes a trained eye, a blog, and an open mind to accept that ordinary things teach values.

Removing the voice from any piece of writing is literary suicide; it turns the piece into the news. Huckleberry Finn becomes a report on racism in the antebellum South, The Great Gatsby turns into an article about amorality in the 1920’s, and Gone with the Wind is suddenly a harrowing interview with a lot of Southern accents. So, I would never have gone near the CDP without searching for a voice in the letters, phrases, and clauses on the screen. Luckily, I did not have to look very far. Zeinert describes his own use of voice in his writing as, “the most important part of my job…[P]eople read my essays because they like what I’m doing on a personal level, not necessarily what I happen to be talking about on a that particular day. The voice is everything; it’s what makes you better than everyone” (E-mail). It defiantly shows through in every post Zeinert that graces his readers with.

The CDP’s most famous essay is a three-part piece that chronicles the three years that Zeinert worked at a gas station/co-op in his hometown in Wisconsin. I gradually become envious that I never worked at a gas station while making my way through the first two chapters about a death threat and the fantasy sequences that follow it, and three distinct stories about explosions. But the previous posts were only a build up for a beautiful biopic of “Chet”. Now, his real name is not Chet, but, as Zeinert clearly explains, “I’m protecting his identity strictly for my safety, for you see, ‘Chet’ is completely insane” (‘Customer’). The blog post recounts some of the meetings between our author and Chet, and the voice is not forgotten. The voice of Ryan J. Zeinert is extremely flexible, ranging from sarcastic–“I don’t think you’re supposed to operate heavy machinery when you’re constantly inebriated and have no license” (‘Customer’)– to antagonizing–“Within a few months, Chet lost his driver’s license due to him being a filthy drunk” (‘Customer’)– to thoughtful–“So long Chet, wherever you are. Ya’ crazy bastard” (‘Customer’)–. The word choice is hilarious and conversational, and allows the reader to enjoy and become absorbed in the story.

The appreciative tone and the diction charged with Zeinert’s voice propel the “Communist Dance Party” to the highest echelon of the blogosphere. The tone reminds you there is more to life than just this blog and the horrible job that you despise going to day after day after day; there’s also a little bit to be learned in between groggily falling out of bed in the morning to passing out on that same bed late at night. The voice is like that guy; that friend everyone had or was in school, the geeky, outspoken kid who couldn’t help but make fun of his surroundings and himself.

Zeinert’s ability to talk about himself with an open mind and an open server signifies the rise of the blog and the need for personality in our generation. Newspapers and journalism are afraid of personal voices, and are turning away witty writers because of the oppression of individual voice. Now, no one tunes into CNN unless they want to watch highlights of ridicule from a debate, or laugh at the stature of Wolf Blitzer. We thrive on entertaining opinion, and the CDP is the double-shot of fresh Wisconsin sass that gets me up in the morning.

Eric Silver.

Awesome. Thanks much, Eric; I’m glad to help. What did you end up getting on this report, anyway? I’d be crushed if I was in any way responsible for you failing the class, not getting enough credits to get into that college you’ve been dreaming of, getting depressed, hitting the bottle, getting kicked out of your parents house, driving your car through a Wendy’s, entering the New York state prison system and more or less disappearing into ex-con obscurity for the next 30 to 40 years, only to have you re-emerge in 2035 and gun me down after approximately three decades of carefully plotting your revenge for the day that I did you so very wrong. Gosh, that would suck pretty hard.

Sound of in the comments section and enjoy your day.

NEXT: Has The CDP Procured Genuine Photos Of A Ghost?

MMA! UFC! CDP! OMG!

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.

10 QUICK MMA PICKS!
Fedor over Arlovski and Barnett.
Lesnar over Couture.
Nogiera over Mir.
St. Pierre over Penn.
Silva over Jackson.
Griffin over Evans.
Anderson Silva over everybody times eleventy billion five.
Junie Browning over Bi-Polar Medication.
Gina Carano draped seductively over my King-Sized bed.
Bas Rutten over Jesus.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.