The Top 30 CDP Essays Of All-Time (2008-2010).


Here are the Top 30 CDP Essays Of All-Time from 2008 to 2010, in bite-sized form. Click at will and enjoy in moderation.

‎#30 – ‘The Hole To Hell.
‎#29 – ‘Give Me All The Pomade You Have.
‎#28 – ‘Free MySpace Poetry Part II.’
#27 – ‘Eel The Pain.’
‎‎#26 – ‘I Have A Black Belt In Armchair Jiu-Jitsu.
‎#25 – ‘10 Hard-Hitting Questions.
‎#24 – ‘The Communist Search Party.
‎#23 – ‘Shoot To Kill.’
‎#22 – ‘A War Of Words With An Unarmed Man.’
‎#21 – ‘Top 50 Ska Albums Of All Time.’
‎#20 – ‘A Feral, Angry Cantaloupe Of Hellfire And Awful.
‎#19 – ‘The Greatest Depression Ever.
‎#18 – ‘The Broken Elbow Quadrilogy.’
‎#17 – ‘The Top 10 Albums Of The Decade.’
‎#16 – ‘The Leukemia Nickel.
‎#15 – ‘One Week In Dubuque.’
‎#14 – ‘The Basement Treadmill Of The New Millennium.
‎#13 – ‘Ga-Ga-Ga-Ghost!?!?
‎#12 – ‘I Still Do Weddings.’
‎#11 – ‘The Pre-CDP Essays.’
‎#10 – ‘A Decade Of Television.’
‎#9 – ‘Look At Me, I Can Use A Computer!
‎#8 – ‘It’s All Okay.’
‎#7 – ‘The Walking Dead Friday – Season One.’
‎#6 – ‘Play Don’t.
‎#5 – ‘Why I Will Never Be The Host Of This Old House.’
‎#4 – ‘Shop ‘Till You Drop (Or Stab Someone).
‎#3 – ‘To Here Knows When.
#2 – ‘Aerating The Mashed Potatoes.
#1 – ‘Lost Friday – Season Six.’

Thank you.

The 7th Annual CDP Fall TV Preview (’11-’12).


It’s that time of year again!

For the seventh year in a row, the CDP is back with the scoop on nearly 50 new, returning and canceled TV shows. These are the shows that I will be watching (or at least giving a chance to); all times are Central, and the premiere and time slot information are as accurate as I could get them as of the date this was written. I also stuck mostly with national (free) TV and some basic cable; I did not include premium channels.

As you’ll notice, I’m not excited whatsoever with some of the new shows. A few seem to have promise (which I’ll talk about later), but for me, it’s going to be mostly returning shows and longtime favorites. I’m actually watching less television than I ever have (anything close to 20 hours of programming a week is considerably less for me than years passed), and that’s perfectly fine. DVR as necessary. Watch as directed. You are owned by your television. Obey. Let’s go.



6:00-7:00America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC – Premieres 10/2)
7:00-7:30The Simpsons (FOX – Premieres 9/25)
8:30-9:00Bob’s Burgers (FOX – Premieres Midseason)
9:00-10:00Breaking Bad (AMC – Premieres 7/17)
9:00-10:00The Walking Dead (AMC – Premieres October)
9:00-10:00The Killing (AMC – Premieres Spring ’12)
11:00-11:30Metalocalypse (TOON – Premieres Spring ’12)

AMC officially owns Sunday night, and they will keep you entertained all season long with three of the most compelling dramas on television. Starting with Breaking Bad (which is on right now), and continuing into The Walking Dead (of which there is absolutely nothing comparable on TV), and wrapping up with Season 2 of the critically acclaimed (and supremely frustrating) The Killing, AMC is competing with HBO and Showtime when it comes to groundbreaking and envelope-pushing entertainment.

Sunday also gives us three of the best animated shows on TV, with The Simpsons continuing their reign as Greatest Show In Television History, Bob’s Burgers coming back for an unexpected (but happily accepted) Season 2, and Metalocalypse bringing all the surreal, bloody goodness you’ve come to expect from the longtime Adult Swim favorite.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – If drama is your thing, The Walking Dead is where it’s at. However, if you like comedy, The Simpsons/Bob’s Burgers is an hour you shouldn’t miss.



7:00-7:15Adventure Time (TOON – Currently Airing)
7:00-8:00Antiques Roadshow (PBS – Currently Airing)
8:00-9:00Alcatraz (FOX – Premieres Midseason)
8:00-9:00Hoarders (A&E – Currently Airing)
8:00-10:00Monday Night Raw (USA – Currently Airing)

One of the most promising new shows of the season will arrive on Monday nights, as Alcatraz premieres on FOX. Produced by J.J. Abrams and a few other Lost alumni (Hurley’s in it!), Alcatraz sounds like a great balance of mystery, paranormal, character depth and humor that Lost fans have been hoping to find in a new series for a couple of years now.

For me, Antiques Roadshow and Hoarders represent the Yin and Yang of reality-based programming, although I must admit that the Missus likes watching these shows a lot more than I do. Adventure Time is a phenomenon I finally caught up to, and I already think it’s one of the greatest animated series I’ve ever watched. Finally, Monday Night Raw (the highest rated show in all of cable television, haterz), continues their reign of live venue, sports entertainment, uber-fun insanity.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – Antiques Roadshow and Raw is essential viewing for a lot of people, but Alcatraz really looks to be the standout favorite on Monday nights. And for God’s sake, Adventure Time is the most awesome 11 minutes on TV, so there’s no excuse to miss that, either.



8:00-9:00Ringer (CW – Premieres 9/13)
8:00-9:00Destination Truth (SYFY – Premieres Midseason)
8:00-9:00Dirty Jobs (DISC – Premieres Midseason)

For me, Tuesday is the slowest night of the week when it comes to TV. Destination Truth and Dirty Jobs have been longtime CDP favorites, with the former taking a skeptical, humorous and always-entertaining look at mythic legends and creatures, and the latter taking an honest, humorous and always-entertaining look at the professions that keep American life running smoothly. Josh Gates and Mike Rowe are tremendous hosts, and these are shows that you should at least check out during rerun marathons or lazy Sunday afternoons.

Ringer is a new show I plan on giving a chance to, if only because Tuesday is such a slow evening. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (yay!) and premiering on the CW (boo!), the dual-identity storyline has potential, depending on the capability of who’s writing it. At the end of the day, Ringer will have to depend on the strength (and cuteness) of its main character if it is to succeed.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – Destination Truth is an original, funny, snarky, adventurous, cynical and legitimately dangerous show that should be watched by more people.



7:00-7:30The Middle (ABC – Premieres 9/21)
8:00-8:30Modern Family (ABC – Premieres 9/21)
8:00-9:00Mythbusters (DISC – Currently Airing)
8:00-9:00Ghost Hunters International (SYFY – Currently Airing)
8:00-9:00The Ultimate Fighter (SPIKE – Premieres 9/14)
8:30-9:00Happy Endings (ABC – Premieres 9/28)

Modern Family is, to me, still the funniest show on TV, even despite a fizzling out towards the end of Season 2 (Parks & Rec, Community and 30 Rock all place an extremely close second). The Middle and Happy Endings have moments of brilliance, but still seem to be depending on the Modern Family bump for viewership. Hey, it worked for me.

On the Reality side of things, Mythbusters, GHI and The Ultimate Fighter are very different shows that are played out in very similar ways. Mythbusters deals in scientifically debunking Urban Legends, Ghost Hunters deals in using pseudo-science in order to prove the existence of the paranormal, and The Ultimate Fighter deals with promising Mixed Martial Artists in a Mortal Kombat-style tournament to see who snags a lucrative UFC contract. They’re all awesome in their own weird way.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – Modern Family is a must-see comedy if there ever was one, but if Docu/Reality is more your thing, Mythbusters is the absolute best of its genre.



7:00-7:30Community (NBC – Premieres 9/22)
7:30-8:00Parks & Recreation (NBC – Premieres 9/22)
8:00-8:30The Office (NBC – Premieres 9/22)
8:00-9:00Person Of Interest (CBS – Premieres 9/22)
8:30-9:0030 Rock (NBC – Premieres Midseason)
9:30-10:00Louie (FX – Currently Airing)

The funniest night on television stays on top, as Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock all return for what could be the best ‘Must-See Thursday’ lineup ever assembled. To make things even better, FX has brought back Louie for a second season, allowing the funniest comic in America to do…pretty much whatever he wants for 22 minutes a week. Louie is one of those shows that seems to get more popular (and more surreal) each week, and as the popularity (and comedic brilliance) of Louis CK continues to increase, this will hopefully only ascend.

I’m crossing my fingers when it comes to Person Of Interest for a few reasons. First of all, I really like Michael Emerson (who played Ben Linus on Lost), and want him to succeed in carrying his own television show. Secondly, I don’t watch anything on CBS, and I’m hoping that Person Of Interest can break that cycle of bland crime and legal dramas.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – Community, Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock represent the Holy Trinity of must-see comedy. I cannot, in the name of all that is good, recommend that you skip any of these three shows.



7:00-9:00Friday Night Smackdown (SYFY – Currently Airing)
8:00-9:00Grimm (NBC – Premieres 9/23)

I have no faith in Grimm, but it looks like one of those shows that NBC threw a ton of money at (see The Cape, The Event and Heroes), so I owe it to them to at least check out the pilot episode. From what I can gather, this will be a present day show about a homicide detective taking on modern updates of Fairy Tale villains. This could either be terrible, or the most awesome thing on TV (next to The Walking Dead, of course), so we’ll have to see.

Of course, if you’re looking to see real-life superheroes, you’ll check out Sin Cara (pictured) and the like on Friday Night Smackdown, because if you’re at home on Friday night, you literally have nothing better to do. It’s a blast; you’ll have fun.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – That’s cool; skip them both. That way, you’ll have more time to catch up on the comedies you missed Thursday.



7:00-7:30Cops (FOX – Currently Airing)
10:30-12:00Saturday Night Live (NBC – Premieres 9/24)

Fun fact for you. From what I can gather, Cops and Saturday Night Live are the only two programs on network television that air new episodes on Saturdays (the recently-canceled America’s Most Wanted was formerly the third). And considering that these three shows have been on the air for a combined 82 years, I’d say that it’s working out pretty well for them.

SNL has once again found its stride with a great cast, quotable characters and sketches, and an eclectic selection of hosts and musical guests as of late. Cops continues being the only ‘real’ reality show on TV, a cinema veirte powerhouse that I sincerely hope stays on the air until the very medium of televised programming changes entirely. I mean that; I want to watch Cops for the remainder of my long, healthy life.

But I Can Only Watch 1 Show!‘ – Watch Cops and catch the best SNL sketches on Hulu the next day. Considering the syndication schedule of the 23 year old program, if you miss an episode of Cops, you may never see it again.



The River (ABC)
Awake (NBC)

There are two new shows arriving midseason that appear (on paper) to have some serious promise, none more than the enormously ambitious NBC drama, Awake. Starring Jason Isaacs (yes, that Jason Isaacs), it’s a combination of crime, mystery, surreal, alternate reality and…you know what? Just watch the official trailer and (hopefully) be blown away at what they are trying to accomplish. This is one of those shows that, if handled correctly, could be that shining light in a landscape of bland, knockoff programming that we always have to wade through to get to the good stuff.

Just as ambitious is The River. After a famous wildlife TV host goes missing, his family (and a film crew, naturally) go into the jungle to look for him. As you would assume, shit gets crazy. I should mention that this show is the brainchild of Oren Peli, the creator/writer/director of Paranormal Activity, and the Blair Witch/Lost/Ghostwatch comparisons are valid and worthy of excitement (if you’re into that sort of thing). Check out the official trailer here and cross your fingers that this kind of format can transition well from the big screen to a weekly series.

Please be awesome, please be awesome, please be awesome.



10. The Cape (NBC)
9. Lie To Me (FOX)
8. My Generation (ABC – Canceled after one episode, but I watched it!)
7. The Chicago Code (FOX)
6. Medium (CBS)
5. The Event (NBC)
4. Smallville (CW)
3. America’s Most Wanted (FOX)
2. V (ABC)
1. Friday Night Lights (NBC)

For the final time, I will tell you that Friday Night Lights (5 seasons, 76 episodes) was one of the greatest television shows I have ever seen, and I implore you to watch Season 1 in absolutely any way that you can. It’s on Netflix, and the DVD is available almost everywhere for something like $25 (it even came with a money-back guarantee at one point). There was nothing else like it on TV before or since; I wouldn’t lead you astray.

If you don’t like it, let me know and I’ll send you a free copy of Season 1 of Mike & Molly as a consolation gift.



5:00-5:30Pardon The Interruption (ESPN)
10:00-11:00Conan (TBS)
10:00-10:30The Daily Show (COM)
10:30-11:00The Colbert Report (COM)
11:30-12:30The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS)

Next to SportsCenter, PTI is the only show on ESPN that matters. Conan is beginning to find its stride on TBS; they have found their true identity and seem to be having a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, no talk show is more random (and at times, stupefyingly hilarious) than The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Finally, the 1-2 punch of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are essential viewing for anyone attempting to stay abreast of the current Idiocracy-esque landscape of Politics and Culture.

Well, there you have it, the scoop on my personal Fall TV schedule, for the seventh year in a row. Set your DVRs, sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Don’t forget to tell us the shows you plan on watching, and remember to come back all September long for the CDP Top 30 Of All-Time. Thanks much; have a good one.

THE CDP TOP 30 (2008-2010)

Nobody Works Harder For You.


Two announcements you’re going to enjoy.

For the seventh year in a row, we return on Monday, August 22 with the 7th Annual CDP Fall TV Preview. One of my favorite times of the year, you’ll get the scoop on over 40 new and returning shows for the 2011-2012 season.

Until then, bask in the recent nostalgia of former previews. Nobody works harder for you.

2010-2011 Preview.
2009-2010 Preview.
2008-2009 Preview.
2007-2008 Preview.
2006-2007 Preview.
2005-2006 Preview.


Following the TV Preview, we’ll be here all September long with the Top 30 CDP Essays Of All-Time (2008-2010). From the 1st to the 30th, we’ll count down everything that has made the CDP vaguely passable as entertainment for the last 2.5 years.

In case you missed the two previous countdowns, here they are in their entirety. Nobody works harder for you.

Top 30 Essays (2004-2006).
Top 30 Essays (2006-2008).

There you have it. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

I’ll Be On National Television This Sunday.


A longtime dream is coming true for me this weekend, and you can see it live.

On Sunday, August 14, the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes to Milwaukee for their first event in Wisconsin history. This is the largest MMA event the state has ever seen, and it’ll be broadcast (for free) to a global audience of millions. The fights will be fantastic, the show will be spectacular, and I will be in attendance.

Cageside. Working.

I haven’t talked about this very much online, but for the past year, I’ve been working with our MMA & Boxing Commission in addition to my day job, assisting with events all over the state. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time; I brought with me 16 years of MMA knowledge, a psychotic work ethic (60 hour work weeks are the norm), and a nonchalant attitude towards living out of my suitcase in casino hotels for days at a time (one time, the Missus came along, which was nice).

It’s easily the best job I’ve ever had. In fact, besides writing, it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do full time. I’ve ran events in some of the biggest (and most remote) parts of the state, seen crowds of thousands (and dozens), and facilitated shows from top-to-bottom. I’ve been privy to riots, severe injuries, shady promoters and a road diet consisting of casino food and Sour Patch Kids. I did this knowing that it would all lead to the ultimate goal of working a UFC event, which is finally coming to fruition. I’ve earned it, and I look forward to it immensely.

I won’t get into my duties, the rules of MMA or anything like that. What I will tell you is that you can see me do my job on SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 at 8PM EASTERN/7PM CENTRAL on VERSUS NETWORK. I’ll be busy all this weekend, so remember to follow me at and so you don’t miss a thing.

Sound off in the comments section if you have any questions. Can’t wait.

The La Crosse Incident.

(The following is a transcribed conversation on my Facebook wall on the night of April 16, 2011. I was alone in a hotel room in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, when this took place.)

April 16 at 8:39am – Ryan wrote:
Question Of The Day: Can somebody tell me what this is a picture of?

April 16 at 8:46am – Dawn wrote:
Well, its measuring megahertz or radio frequency…and decibels or strength of sound. I’m guessing its testing a ham radio’s receptivity. Wait…is it on a TV?

April 16 at 8:47am – Ben wrote:
Is it a VU meter?

April 16 at 9:01am – Ryan wrote:
So can anyone tell me why it was on my hotel’s television last night? I ran into it at about midnight, on a channel that wasn’t part of the guide. You obviously can’t see it in the photograph, but the graph and all of the numbers were spinning around like crazy. Creeped me out.

April 16 at 9:20am – Ben wrote:
VU meter wasn’t what I was looking for, but it looks like a meter that monitors the image being broadcast by a television signal. I’m not sure what it’s called. that might explain why it was on the television.

April 16 at 9:25am – Ryan wrote:
Okay. The graph was moving around for the time that I watched it (about 5 minutes), but it’s weird that it randomly showed up in my guide. Why does it need its own channel, specifically one that I (a random d-bag) can see? And why have I never seen it before in my life?

April 16 at 9:36am – Ben wrote:
It might have been a mistake and it was accidentally being broadcast. Weird.

April 16 at 9:44am – Ryan wrote:
Okay, I just checked my TV and it’s not there anymore. I had my own personal ‘Wyoming Incident‘ last night, apparently.

April 16 at 12:02pm – Ryan wrote:
In a moment of paranoia, I actually wandered around the room and jumped around and made noise just to make sure it wasn’t reacting to me. You can never tell in these hotel rooms.

April 16 at 2:43pm – Caitlin wrote:
Is it something to do with the Dharma Initiative?

April 16 at 2:52pm – Ryan wrote:
I kind of hope so.

April 16 at 3:32pm – Aaron wrote:
Is it a network analyzer?

April 16 at 3:35pm – Ryan wrote:
Would a network analyzer be something that normally appears on a (supposedly) blank TV station in the middle of the night?

April 16 at 3:40pm – Aaron wrote:

April 16 at 3:56pm – Ryan wrote:
Yeesh. This is officially the 9th weirdest thing that has ever happened to me at a hotel.

April 16 at 11:53pm – Ryan wrote:
11:50pm, and the mysterious broadcast is BACK. Most of the numbers and patterns are identical to last night. I’m going to keep an eye on it, because I literally have nothing better to do.

April 17 at 12:09am – Ryan wrote:
Okay, check this out –

This is a picture someone else took of the same station at a DIFFERENT hotel in the La Crosse area…almost two years ago to the day. This city is beginning to freak me out.

April 17 at 12:19am – Ryan wrote:
Here’s a clip someone shot; yes, it’s exactly this creepy: –

According to a weird message board I found, this channel is analog, so you can’t see it unless you remove the box and hook the coax directly to the TV (like at this hotel). Basically, it’s supposed to be hidden, and you can only see it if you hook up the TV wrong. That may explain why the only other photo I found was in another La Crosse hotel; maybe they were all installed wrong by the same people?

April 17 at 12:28am – Ryan wrote:
Here’s a similar photo –

…In San Juan, Puerto Rico. These are literally the only photos I can find. I…yeah. I don’t know what the deal is.

April 17 at 12:37am – Ryan wrote:
That’s enough for one night. I guess the mystery isn’t so much what it is, but what the magic circumstances are (time, location, hookup) that allows someone to actually SEE it. What a bizarre thing.

Any information you can shed would be helpful as to why this showed up on my TV. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.