Friday, June 9

Lost Friday - 20 Reasons Edition.

Watch Out For Snakes!

In the summer of 1996, Comedy Central issued a press release stating that they would be cancelling Mystery Science Theater 3000 after 7 seasons on the air. MST3K, in my opinion, was the single greatest television show ever; so far ahead of its time that networks still haven't caught up to their all-encompassing style of humor, satire and slapstick. I've been collecting MST3K memoribilia for the last 10 years, and I think I have a collection that rivals some of the bigger Cult TV nerds out there (feel free to contact me if you want to trade anything).

Anyways, the rabid and obsessive MST3K fanbase fought back, using their brains and the power of the rapidly-expanding internet to round up donations and media contacts. Later in the year, these fans purchased a full-page ad in Daily Variety magazine, begging any and all TV execs to somehow take notice and revive the show. I'm pretty sure this is one of the few times in TV history something like this had happened, but when MST3K is involved, I'd expect nothing less.

Wouldn't you know it? It worked. The Sci-Fi Channel saw the viewer outcry and picked the show up for an additional three seasons, sending MST3K into Season 10 and 198 total episodes before finally bowing out in 1999 (including a feature film). Bear in mind that an episode of MST3K was 2 hours long, so 10 seasons is more like 40 seasons, easily outliving and outlasting any show with half of their talent.

When fans of other shows saw this grassroots revival campaign work, they sprung into action when their shows were put on the chopping block. In recent days, we've seen fan outcry for shows like Family Guy, Arrested Development, Futurama, Freaks & Geeks (which featured many MST3K players), the list goes on. To this day, MST3K is constantly mentioned as one of the biggest and best Cult Television shows of all time, behind only Star Trek, which as we all know, sucks.

Why am I bringing all of this up?

Well, a couple weeks ago, I announced that I was pulling the plug on Lost Friday, which has (let's face it) been the main source of my web traffic for the last 8 months. As the season continued, I wanted to put more and more time into the posts, but without neglecting all of the other writing projects I wanted to work on. I got burned out, and by the time the Season Finale rolled around, I was so sick of talking about Lost I wanted to spit. In fact, I did spit a few times. I didn't want to turn my blog into another deadline-based project, so I decided not to pursue Lost Friday next season. I honestly didn't think anyone would miss it.

The day I made the announcement, my mailbox filled up with somber e-mails and requests to reconsider my decision. I could only assume that these people were sick individuals playing a practical joke on me, knowing full well that I was already psychologically damaged to begin with. I ignored it for a bit, but the kind messages kept on coming. I was floored.

Here now, 20 selected quotes from the letters and comments I received that week:

1. "I will dearly miss Lost Fridays. No one ever covered the show with the same ass-smackery as you have."

2. "I look forward to your insightful rambling (almost) as much as the show itself."

3. "You have to keep writing about Lost, it's the only way I really understand it."

4. "You tie the whole thing up in a nice, efficient, witty package."

5. "Man, I really looked forward to you keeping it up throughout the series (with a generous option to step down to 50% coverage if the show is still running when you turn 65)."

6. "I read your "Lost Friday" every week. Thank you so much for it. You truly do rock."

7. "Keep up the good work. You have an awesome site going, thanks for doing it."

8. "I have made myself a fine little tradition of getting my dose of post-Lost analysis through your amusing and detailed Lost Fridays."

9. "I am writing about Lost and your "Lost Friday" series; I love your insights and blog design."

10. "I love the recaps and the little tidbits about what's to come, and what that might mean. Keep it up."

11. "I have been reading Lost Fridays each week, for a few months now. It is the only blog that I frequent. Thank you for taking the time to write and link the plots together."

12. "I also really liked your photo captions - very Mystery Science Theater."
(This was one of my absolute favorite compliments.)

13. "I will surely miss Lost Fridays. At first it was the only reason I stopped by, but then you turned me into a McPheever convert and I couldn't stop talking about your page. It was the only way at the end of the week I could unwind and keep the horrible feeling that is Lost-withdrawal from consuming my life. You wrote like no other Lost board has in a long time. You didn't make me feel stupid for missing a small hidden secret in any Lost episode and you made recapping and previews of an otherwise damn-near-mind-blowingly-confusing-show seem so easy. Thank you."

14. "I just read your last entry on Lost and can't believe that you won't be back next year. Your site is the best. My sister-in-law is even MORE addicted to Lost than I am, and she loves your site."

15. "Nooo! We totally rely on you to make sense of Lost! You confirm our suspicions and raise new ones! Your blog is the one and only blog that I ever read on any topic."

16. "I've been reading your Lost Fridays faithfully for about 6 months now, after my boyfriend directed me to your site. Thanks for all your hard work, humor and insight. You've enhanced my Lost experience immensely. I will be sad to see Lost Fridays come to an end."

17. "It was truly something I look forward to every week."

18. "Thanks again for all the Lost Fridays- they were all superbly crafted and very much appreciated."

19. "You have the best Lost recap site I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty."

20. "I hope that you get a million of these letters saying that they are going to miss your Lost Fridays, and that maybe, over the summertime, you may reconsider and bring back this most wonderous thing that I have come to depend on and love."

Wow.

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Don't get me wrong, 20 people saying 20 nice things is a far cry from a full-page Daily Variety ad, but it's a darn big deal to me. Never one to turn my back on wanton web traffic or the status quo, I am officially waffling on my position to quit Lost Friday. I mean, if I don't do it, someone else will, and they'll probably stink it all up. To hell with that!

Consider Lost Friday officially renewed for another season. Your voices have been heard. I'm glad you used them to bring back something else besides Family Guy.

Sound off in the comments section, send all fan/hate mail to communistdance@yahoo.com. For the skinny on Lost Friday, check out all the links:

SEASON TWO - EPISODE 23/24 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - FINALE EDITION 2
SEASON TWO - FINALE EDITION 1
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 22 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 21 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 20 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - CLIP SHOW EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 19 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 18 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 17 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - TEMPORARY EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 16 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 8
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 7
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 15 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 14 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 13 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 6
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 12 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 11 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 10 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 5
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 4
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 3
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 9 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 8 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 7 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 6 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 5 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 4 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 3 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 1 REVIEW
SEASON TWO PREVIEW

Thursday, June 8

The Day Of The Beast - Part III.

Day Of The Beast.
(Rated SB for Slight Blasphemy. It's all in good fun, though.)

I told the two of them to settle down so we could start working towards a compromise. Satan was in the La-Z-Boy next to the TV, fully reclined, his cloven hooves pointed towards the sky. I was sitting on the love seat with Jesus, who was petting both my cats.

SATAN: "Sure, take His side right away!"

CDP: I'm not taking anyone's side, this is about the two of you making this world a better place."

JESUS: "You're not on My side?"

CDP: (whispering) "Of course I am, I just-"

Just then, Jesus' cell phone started ringing. If you ever wanted to know what Jesus' ringtone is, it's Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, by Glenn Medeiros. Satan's ringtone is Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani.

JESUS: "Sorry, I've got to take this."

"Hey, Dad!"

"Nah, things are going fine right now."

"Yes, it's in the garage, next to the lawnmower."

"Okay, bye."

SATAN: "What was that all about?"

JESUS: "What are you all about?"

Again with the staredown.

I knew that this wasn't going to go anywhere, so I chimed in with suggestions. The first thing I proposed was a trade-off system, whereby Satan and Jesus would alternate control of the planet by days of the week. This was shot down by both of them rather quickly, as the odd number of days in the week played into their neurotic sides.

I then suggested that Satan should stick to ruling hell, Jesus could stick to ruling heaven, and leave the humans in charge of earth. Jesus slapped me in the back of the head for that one, and I kind of deserved it. He told me that He tried this once, and when He came back to check things out, George Bush got re-elected and Arrested Development got cancelled. Satan chimed in and immediately took credit for both of those atrocities.

I was starting to think that I had wasted both of their times, but then the idea hit me like a Mack truck.

Jenga.

One game of Jenga. Good versus evil. Winner take all.

I pitched the idea to them, and they reluctantly agreed. Satan claimed that he once played a perfect game of Jenga, but Jesus pointed out that this was an impossible feat, which left Satan sulking. I went upstairs to look for the game, while the two calmly chatted.

When I got back downstairs, they were gone. Nothing remained but the scent of sandalwood, a plume of smoke and a crudely-written note. It read:

"Decided we like things the way they are. Struggle is necessary to maintain balance. Without good and evil, there would be no way to tell if you're living a life of purpose or sin. Besides, the human race is a lost cause anyways. In the future, we plan on focusing more on marine life and pieces of toast with our images burned into them. Toodles, J&S."

I couldn't help but agree with them.

I can't believe I didn't take a picture.

TOMORROW: LOST FRIDAY?

Wednesday, June 7

The Day Of The Beast - Part II.

Day Of The Beast.
(Rated SB for Slight Blasphemy. It's all in good fun, though.)

About 5 minutes before noon, as I was getting my apartment all cleaned up, my cell phone rang. It was Jesus, who got lost on the way to my place. I informed Him that He should consider investing in a GPS or, at the very least, check Mapquest before heading out. He told me that Heaven's wireless connection was down, so I let him off the hook. Worse still, this meant that Satan and I would have to shuffle around awkward conversation while waiting for the Son of God to make his appearance.

True to his word, the bowels of the earth cracked open at precisely quarter after 12, the horrid sounds of billions of suffering souls howling out for rescue. Satan was wearing a t-shirt crudely fashioned out of the skin of sinners. It said "I shot J.R." on it. He wore no pants and didn't remove his shoes upon entering my freshly-vaccuumed foyer.

SATAN: "Like my shirt? HAAAA-HAAA!"

Flames shot from his fingertips and plaster rattled loose above my head.

CDP: "It's fine, I guess. I'm assuming that you air nothing but Dallas reruns in hell?"

SATAN: "You know it; the only channel we get is TV Land. Where's the can?"

CDP: "First door on your left."

As Satan excused himself, I went back into the kitchen and sliced up cubes of Provolone cheese. After a minute I heard a flush, but Satan didn't emerge. That was followed by another flush, and then another. Then silence for what seemed like forever. Finally, I heard the unmistakable gurgling sound of the Prince of Darkness trying feverishly to plunge my clogged toilet. After more trial and error, he came out, looking sheepish and embarrassed.

CDP: "Hey...I'll take care of it."

SATAN: "....thanks, man."

After putting out that fire (seriously, the toilet was on fire), me and Satan split a beer (Hamms Light) and watched SportsCenter until Jesus found his way to my doorstep. He was holding a plate of tortilla roll-ups and wearing a white t-shirt that said "Johnny Damon is my homeboy." Apparently, novelty t's are still quite the rage in far reaches of the galaxy. Jesus smelled fantastic, as I figured he would; sandalwood, pine and forgiveness.

JESUS: "Hello, my son. Like my shirt?"

CDP: "Hey Jesus; yeah, it's pretty funny. Big Red Sox fan?"

JESUS: "You know it. Is irony still considered hip on Earth? I haven't been down here in a while."

CDP: "Well, I hope it's still cool; I don't keep this moustache for my health, you know!"

We then shared a laugh and hi-fived. Jesus set the roll-ups on my dining room table and craned his neck around.

JESUS: "Beautiful place you've got here. Um...do you have a bathroom I could use?"

I didn't want to further humilate Satan, who was already staring at his feet to begin with, so I lied and said that the plumbing was shot. He understood, but I think he knew I was fibbing. I asked him if he wanted some wine, and he told me that a glass of water would be plenty. He's a funny guy.

As soon as Jesus walked into the living room, Satan started in with the trash-talking.

SATAN: "Typical. Instead of doing it Himself, God sends His Son in His place. Does that guy even exist?"

JESUS: "Do you even exist?"

Then the room got really quiet, and they stared each other down for a bit. Then they noticed each other's shirts and started cracking up.

"Okay," I said. "Let's get down to business."

TOMORROW: Part 3 of 3.

Five Awesome Things:

1. Cartoon Network's Adult Swim has bought the rights to episodes of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and will start airing them this summer.

2. Season Three of Arrested Development will be released on August 29.

3. Cheap Seats is back on ESPN Classic with new episodes.

4. Meat Loaf is releasing Bat Out Of Hell 3.

5. Erin's back from Spain.

It's going to be a good summer.

Tuesday, June 6

The Day Of The Beast - Part I.

The Day Of The Beast.
(Rated SB for Slight Blasphemy. It's all in good fun, though.)

Today is a special day; one I believe will finally put the CDP on the global map.

I honor of The Day Of The Beast, I busted out my Holy Rolodex and gave Satan a call. His voice mail said that he was away at the outlet mall, but I should leave a message and he'd get back to destroying my life and tempting me with sinful desires as soon as possible.

I told him I wanted to settle this silly 'good versus evil' business once and for all, and have him participate in a friendly-but-firm debate with God. I was sick of millions of people killing each other in the name of good and evil, and I thought it would be diplomatic at best to hear both sides of the story. His receptionist called me back and told me he'd be there (surprisingly, he had an opening), but would arrive 10 minutes late, as he is the Master of Torture and Agony. And just to prove he wasn't kidding around, he made it 15 minutes instead. I was also told to have plenty of Fresca available, as it was his favorite beverage.

Next, I got Heaven on the line and dialed the Big Man's extension (*0002; I guess *0001 is reserved for Jimmy Carter). He didn't pick up at first, because He has caller ID and was trying to dodge me for forgetting my birthday this year. I left Him a message telling Him that He was forgiven, and He called me back personally, no less than a minute later:

(click)

CDP: "Hello?"

GOD: "Hey, CDP. It's Me."

CDP: "Hey! What's up, 'G?"

GOD: "Not much, man. I'm rhyming and stealing like MCA, and I'm dropping more miracles than Dr. J."

CDP: "Sweet. Listen, thanks for calling me back so soon. By the way, that whole birthday thing-"

GOD: "I have an excuse. My intern was supposed to get you a card, and-"

CDP: "Water under the bridge, man."

GOD: "Thanks for understanding."

CDP: "So anyways, you know that today's the Day of the Beast, right?"

GOD: "Dude, don't remind me. I've had people praying to me all day today. Fox News has the country on an Orange Alert, for My sakes. I've been working so hard up here, I haven't even taken My lunch break yet. Don't people remember that I help those that help themselves?"

CDP: "I thought that You never actually said that."

GOD: "Well, if I didn't, I should have. What's your point?"

CDP: "Well, I was wondering if you could stop down here for a bit this afternoon. I've got Satan coming up to debate you- you know, maybe settle this matter once and for all?"

GOD: "You really should have asked Me about this beforehand."

CDP: "I guess I didn't think You'd have a problem with it."

GOD: "It's not that I have a problem with it, but I'm going to be busy this afternoon. I'm having abdominal surgery. It's nothing serious, but I'm not supposed to walk for a while afterwards, you know?"

CDP: "Oh. Sorry, man."

GOD: "I'll be fine. Listen, how about if I send Jesus down in My place? I mean, we're basically the same person, and He needs to get out of the house anyways."

CDP: "Sweet! Send him down at noon, and tell Him to bring some tortilla roll-ups."

GOD: "You guys still have Fresca down there? He loves that stuff."

CDP: "No problem. Hey, before you go, can I ask you a question?"

GOD: "Sure, what's on your mind?"

CDP: "When I get up there, what's my room going to look like?"

GOD: "Right now, I've got you in the 'Aloha Room,' which is sort of Hawiian theme. It's right next to the ice machine, but you're only two doors away from Marilyn Monroe."

CDP: "I'll take it."

(click)

TOMORROW: Part 2 of 3.

On an unrelated note, I want to wish a happy birthday to Benjamin:

Happy Birthday, Ben!

This stache's for you, buddy:

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Sound off in the comments section; see you tomorrow.

Monday, June 5

The Champ Is Back.

Link Party - Summer Edition.

1. "Hey, what's going on?"

Plenty. I enjoyed my very first blog vacation last week, but it's good to be back. I've got a lot of things lined up over the summer, so tune into the CDP each day; it's like an ice-cold glass of Awesomeade, and the flavor's always Blue Raspberry.

The biggest thing I'm hoping to undertake this season is Grilled Cheese Wisconsin, which will be a video series documenting my road trips to some of the smallest towns in the state, taking in the sights and searching for the greatest grilled cheese sandwich in the Dairy State. I already have a few interesting places lined up, including taking part in a cheese curd eating contest* and visiting the self-proclaimed 'UFO Capitol of the World.' It was nice to call these people up and ask "Are you still doing UFO Days this year?" without sounding completely insane. I'm looking forward to it, and so are you.

*(The cheese curd eating contest fell through last weekend, due to false advertising. Let's just say that the town of Little Chute wouldn't know an actual 'cheese festival' if it was firmly latched to their spinal cords. I rolled tape for five minutes before I realized that it was nothing more than a 4-H sponsored carnival. Live and learn.)

May was the biggest month ever here at the CDP, with over 13,000 people tuning in to chat about the Lost and American Idol finales. That's amazing to me, and a big thank-you is in order (last May, I had 400 total hits). The June hit total will tank now that summer's here, but it was a sweet run while it lasted.

As for the 11,994 of you who choose not to sound off in the comments section, there's no better time than right now to stop in and say hello. I'm not nearly as big of an ass as those negative TV ads would have you believe; I'd love to have a conversation with you, provided you're not a complete idiot, the current President, or both.

The Twilight Zone, fool.

2. "Hey, what are you watching?"

Nothing, jackass.

Actually, I'm using this time to watch all of the DVDs and TiVo'ed programming I've accumulated over the year but never had the time to watch. For example, I TiVo'ed the entire second half of Supernatural's first season, along with a bunch of Twilight Zone episodes I'd never seen before. Add that to my Seinfeld Season 3&4 DVDs, my Simpsons Season 6 DVD, my Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 2 DVD and Looney Tunes box set, and I'm more than prepared to deal with the summer rerun season. So You Think You Can Dance? can take a bullet train straight to hell, and so can natural sunlight.

(In addition to this, I'll be working over 40 hours a week, writing until all hours of the night and visiting most every town in the state, so please save the 'go outside' crap. Trust me, there's plenty of time to do all the things you want to do, provided you're a workaholic/insomniac with messed-up ambitions, like myself. That's what's known as a 'pre-emptive strike.')

Islands, fool.

3. "Hey, what are you listening to?"

Here are the last 10 albums I've listened to:

1. Return To The Sea - Islands
(This could be the first must-own album of the year. Fantastic stuff.)

2. In With The Out Crowd - Less Than Jake
(This is quite simply LTJ's worst album ever. Pure pop drivel.)

3. Power Destiny - VCR
(Not nearly as manic as their debut EP, but still fair enough.)

4. Everything All The Time - Band Of Horses
(Moody and ambient, yet structurally sound and sonic. Quite good.)

5. Exhibit A - The Features
(Why don't you own this album yet? Impossible not to love.)

6. Hot Nuggets! - IfIHadAHiFi/Modern Machines
(The Hi-Fi's third major release contains mostly covers done better. Wisconsin's best band.)

7. Pray For Mojo - Mustard Plug
(I bust out the ska albums every summer; makes me happy.)

8. Sound The Alarm - Saves The Day
(I had high expectations, but STD comes off a bit too forced this time around.)

9. We, The Vehicles - Maritime
(Like The Promise Ring? Like Maritime.)

10. Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
(The best album of 2005? Yeah, probably.)

Laika, fool.

4. "Hey, what are you Wiki-ing?"

Instead of reading actual books with pages that turn, I've been quenching my thirst for Total World Knowledge by reading every Wikipedia page one at a time. Here are the last 10 articles I've checked out on said greatest page on the web; they are all great reads in their own right:

1. The art of Cold Reading.
2. Clever Hans, the horse that learned to cold read.
3. James Randi, magician and skeptic overlord.
4. Laika, the doomed Russian space dog.
5. The disastrous Stanford Prison Experiment.
6. The groundbreaking Milgram Experiment.
7. The biography of Uri Gellar.
8. The best show TV you've never seen, The Prisoner.
9. Dr. Strangelove, the best Kubrick film ever?
10. London After Midnight, the most famous 'lost' film ever.

The CDP, fool.

5. "Hey, how much you weigh?"

I tipped the scales last week at 153, finally putting me over the 150 lb. mark that I set for myself many a year ago. As you may remember, my goal last year was to run that 5.5-mile race; this year, I just wanted to get heftier. After taking in about a hundred grilled cheeses this summer, I plan on not only breaking the 165 lb. mark, but also having a heart attack and dying.

So, what's my secret to packing on the pounds? Carbs and calories, baby.

I'm a vegetarian, so when I'm not at home, you can usually find me at an Italian restaurant, shoveling plate after plate of pasta and ricotta down my maw. I eat pasta more than probably anything else, and that's really nothing but flour and water. Add about a gallon of Alfredo sauce and subtract all heavy lifting, and you have a recipe for weight gain.

The biggest problem hindering my growth was my metabolism. It was lightning-quick, and I was eating about 8 small meals a day just to satisfy it. That had to stop, so I gave up breakfast and stuck to nothing more than two large meals a day (note: I'm eating less than I used to). I won't eat anything until noon or later, opting to drink about 40 ounces of water instead (it's good for you and calms your appetite; I also fear kidney stones).

Finally, when lunch rolls around, I break the 16 hour fast and take in a meal that contains fruits, vegetables, soy proteins, grains and sugar (the essentials). If I pack a lunch myself, it normally consists of two bananas, mandarin oranges, applesauce, some sort of main course (a vegetable meatloaf with potatoes and corn, or pasta with broccoli does the trick) and some sort of a snack. Or if I'm feeling lazy, I'll just eat a 16-inch veggie sub. I'm not Tony Little or anything.

This holds me over until dinner. We usually go out to eat, so I tend to get pasta or a veggie burger, depending on where we are. With this, I make sure to get a salad and something with potatoes in it. It's a shock to me that I'm not actually bigger than 153, although it would seem that I eat healthier than most people I know. Them's the breaks for being so sexy, I guess.

So, there you have it. The Summer Of The CDP has officially begun, and I thank you for tagging along. Sound off in the comments section about your plans for the season; I'll see you along the way.


TOMORROW - 06/06/06:
THE DAY OF THE BEAST TRILOGY.
(and Ben's birthday.)