Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rickey’s Token Decade Retrospective!

This week, we close out 2009 and the decade at large with something special: a fond look back at some of our greatest hits over the past several years here at Riding with Rickey. And while you’d think that a mere three years of blogging might not qualify somebody to post a decade retrospective about their blog posts, that most certainly will not stop Rickey. Not today.

Today, we give you the greatest holiday gift of all: yet more Rickey. Some posts are intentionally funny, while others… not so much intentionally. And now, without further delay, we present some of our greatest hits here at RwR, sorted categorically for your OCD-driven pleasure. Strap in folks, because from here on out, it’s hyperlinks a go-go!

Rickey’s Far-Flung Travels! Generally, whenever Rickey ventures out of the apartment, seriously horrific shit occurs. Witness:

In which Rickey barely escapes fiery death enroute to a Mets game
In which Rickey wreaks havoc at a a bat-mitzvah in Williamstown (the irony is that Rickey pretty much forecasted this turn of events the day before)
In which Rickey seeps himself in Americana in its finest in Las Vegas
In which Rickey travels to an Irish bar and is regaled with a rather shocking story about a deer
And of course, there’s the ultimate: In which Rickey gets stuck in the mud in Costa Rica. If you read just one story this year about getting stuck in the mud on the way to Mal Pais and having to trade your wife for a horse, make it this one!

Rickey’s Middling Movie Reviews! Hey kids, what does one college cinema theory class and the gift of gab give you? Some seriously uninformed movie criticism! Behold:

Rickey reviews Tom Hank’s crazy Catholic romp in “Angels & Demons”
Rickey attempts to spell M. Night Shyamalan’s name 25 times correctly while reviewing “The Happening”
Rickey tries to shoehorn “Iron Man” into a tenuous political argument
Rickey reviews “The Dark Knight” (our one and only positive movie review!)

Rickey’s Guide to Blogging! The internet is a lawless realm of fuckwitterey, and somebody’s got to enforce some order. That somebody is Rickey. Because it’s just plain old fun to make up rules for blogging, we give you:

Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part I
Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part II
Rickey’s Commandments of Blogging, Part III

Rickey’s Cutting Edge Sports Commentary! For a website revolving around a famed athlete, it’s rather ironic that we know relatively little about sports. However, this hasn’t stopped Rickey from churning out the following sports-centric rib-ticklers:

Rickey Previews the 2008 Shea Stadium Promotional Games
Rickey Reports from the Johan Santana Press Conference
Rickey Live Blogs the 2008 Superbowl
Rickey analyzes thrilling advancements in the world of heckling
In which Rickey previews the 2008 Subway Series!
In which Willie Randolph gives one of his last pep talks to the Mets
In which the effects of the recession are felt within the Mets locker room
In which Rickey brings news of Billy Joel crashing his car into the Mets clubhouse
In which Rickey attends a Mets game and sits next to Susan Sarandon and Tim Robins (even two years ago, Rickey saw the warning signs!)
In which Rickey noshes with Joe Girardy and Mike Francessa
A Boston Red Sox employee arrested for public indecency? Oh you better believe Rickey was gonna write a “Dateline NBC” spoof about it…

Rickey’s Prescient Political Punditry! Again, a field that Rickey knows scant little about, a trait that by no means has stopped him from reveling in the absurdity of American political theater. For those longing to relive the craziness the 2008 Election, we think you’ll get a kick out of:

Sarah Palin’s New York City Itinerary
Rickey foolishly attempts to find logic in the rantings of Joe the Plumber
Rickey’s preview of the Vice Presidential debate
Rickey’s Republican National Convention drinking game!
Henry Paulson to Wall Street: “Nothing is Fucked Here Dude” followed quickly by….
Henry Paulson to Wall Street: “Repent Fuckers, the End Times are Nigh”
To kick off a new era in politics, we give you Rickey’s Guide to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration
And wrapping things up is President Obama’s Pick for the next Surgeon General

Rickey’s Beard Bloviation! Nearly two years later, we’re still not entirely sure why Rickey felt the need to constantly blog about his beard. We’ll let future generations weigh the cultural merit of journaling one man’s relentless quest to grow scraggly facial hair. Judge for yourself:

Day 5 of Beard Watch 2007!
Day 18 of the Beard!
Day 25!
Day 89!
In which Rickey bloviates about famous bearded politicians
In which Rickey completely goes off the deep end with this beard thing and imagines himself as a modern day Ernest Shackleton

Cooking with Rickey! Want to know what Rickey’s most excited for in his new house? The nice big kitchen. Rickey can’t wait to spread his culinary wings in an area far larger than a galley kitchen. In the meantime, marvel at some of the most delicious man-food recipes you’ve ever seen crafted, courtesy of Rickey:

Rickey cooks his Recession Blues Chili
Rickey cooks Steak Diane, Dish of the Huntress
Rickey cooks Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Rickey cooks Matzo Ball Soup (this stuff will cure cancer)
Rickey cooks his Tasty Tamil Tenders
Rickey cooks Irish Stew

Rickey’s Potent Potpourri! Pretty much any random cultural item that Rickey blogged about goes here. Stuff like..

Rickey’s mishaps on the company softball team! And back by popular demand, here’s the second installment
Rickey’s expose on the thrilling world of Finger Jousting, complete with angry response to Rickey’s post from the “Lord of the Joust” himself!
That time Rickey made the mistake of hosting a blog carnival about “24
That time Rickey bought a pair of aviator sunglasses and somehow wrote 5,000 words all about it
That brilliant post Rickey wrote about Indiana Jones’ accountant
That awkward post enumerating Rickey’s obsession with a children’s videogame about Piñata animals
That time Rickey reviewed a rather odd piece of food left in the second floor staff kitchen at work
In which Rickey tells you why the Sopranos finale was sheer genius and that you’re a philistine for disagreeing with him
And finally, there's that time Rickey went completely apeshit when his blog got a handful of negative reviews. Good times all around!

Wrapping things up, there’s the always enjoyable….

Rickey Recommends (The link will take you to a page containing all of ‘em. Every freaking 'Rickey Recommends' post. Every single piece of advice you need to live a life worth blogging about.)

Whew, well, that’s it we guess. Did we miss something? A funny post that Rickey omitted, perhaps? Feel free to let Rickey know in the comments section. Happy New Year’s everybody. See you all in 2010.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Obligatory "Avatar" Review (Now Complete with Christian Fundamentalism!)

The Hendersons stepped out last night and caught an evening showing of this “Avatar” flick that the kids are talking about and we’re pleased to report that we had a pretty damned enjoyable time seeing it. It’s a helluva great spectacle, even if it can get a little overwhelming at times when the movie pretty much devolves into the “can you believe all the crazy shit we’re throwing at you?!!” trend of cinematography. A subtle movie this is not. It’s just a good rollicking epic with blue cat-like people set in a lush alien world.

Think "Lawrence of Arabia" in space and you’re on the right track. The prerequisite battle scene at the end of the flick is 20 minutes long and yes, it is assuredly mind-blowing. An immense and beautiful movie, “Avatar” is visually stunning—an experience probably very similar to what audiences felt seeing “Wizard of Oz” in Technicolor for the first time. Trust me, seeing this thing in IMAX 3D is absolutely the only way to watch this. Go check it out if you haven’t already. You'll be a far more entertained person for it and overall, a more valuable and productive member of society.

Speaking of productive, sometimes, after seeing a movie, I’ll scour the internet to get others’ takes on it just for giggles. There's an unwritten law that a movie this widely enjoyed absolutely has to attract the critical wrath of some recluse lunatics. This time, I’m pleased to report that I've hit the motherload of craziness. Via a site known as Movieguide, a Christian film review site that implores it’s visitors to “Help us bring God's light to an industry with much darkness,” I found this blurb:

AVATAR is a visually stunning, but slow, shallow and abhorrent, science fiction adventure pitting evil human capitalists against heroic, spiritually sensitive aliens on the planet Pandora, who worship a false diety and nature. Too graphically intense for children, AVATAR has an abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race.

Mmmmm, that's good crazy. I haven’t heard this sort of righteous indignation since “March of the Penguins” hit the theaters! Come on now, who wouldn’t enjoy watching blue aliens practice a religion that’s 50% Wiccan and 50% Al Gore? (humorless Christians, that’s who). I think we’d all benefit from a closer analysis of their review, don’t you agree? Continuing on…

If only someone had edited this movie, it may have been more interesting.

I’m pretty sure that after spending the better part of a decade making this movie, James Cameron took the time to edit it a few times. He’s the Howard Hughes of movie making for crying out loud. But it’s always enjoyable to learn that the full extent of Movieguide’s in depth cinematic criticism is: “just edit the freaking thing, that’ll fix it!”

Those who want to be blown away by special effects, or who are on drugs, may disagree.

Yes, and I most certainly do.

Great entertainment puts plot first, character second, dialogue third, idea forth, music fifth, and spectacle last, as Aristotle noted. James Cameron, the writer and director of AVATAR, reverses this. And, all too often, when you put spectacle first, you turn a great little movie like KING KONG into KING BORE.

Ha ha! A pun! An atrocious pun! But seriously now folks, visuals are more than enough to sustain a movie. Have you not seen “2001”? Couldn’t make it past the "Dawn of Man" opening segment minutes with all the monkeys, I’m guessing?

The Na’vi have a special hair like sexual appendage that enables them to physically connect in a spiritual, mental, and even sexual bond with the creatures they ride or fly.

I, like most other moviegoers who saw this, was thinking “oh neat, USB cords in their hair!” but leave it to those wholesome god-fearing types to find the kinky subtext in all this!

There are Na’vi versions of prayer and worship throughout the movie, which are presented as if they’re something noble and beautiful. In contrast, the only use humans have for God is to spit out his name in profanities.

Pardon me while I petition 20th Century Fox to cast Nick Nolte in the sequel. There were not nearly enough belligerent exclamations of “aw, Jesus Christ!” in the script for my liking.

This is a huge Christmas season movie. What audiences need to know is that the God profaned in this movie is real.

As opposed to the make-believe fluorescent Gaiaesque deity who is clearly the biggest threat to core Christian beliefs since Henry VIII went apeshit. Really? You people don’t have better fish to fry? Moving on, this is where the movie review pretty much devolves into a full blown Catholic mass:

The goddess and the spiritual concepts presented in the movie are fiction. The Spirit we need is the Spirit of Almighty God, our Creator, who is only available when we accept the loving gift of His redemption in the name of Jesus Christ, who is God made flesh, who died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised from the dead to secure eternal life for each of us who accept Him. While we remain here, we are to be stewards of the other living things on earth, not equals.

Hm, yes. I see your point. And it is interesting. Counterpoint: Zoe Saldana is smoking hot.

The reality of life on earth is that there are millions of Christians who worship a loving and compassionate God. Christians who engage in free enterprise are not brutal and greedy. Many of them are kind and generous. They also support missionaries around the world who help the poor and the suffering.

Yep, that’s exactly what “Avatar” needed: Christian missionaries! Kindly folks who tell the blue skinned Na’vi that “yes, those USB cords in your hair are snazzy, but listen guys, I’m here to talk about Jesus.”

The major problem with this movie is that Cameron tells a story that hates people. This self-loathing eventually has the group think natives triumph over the evil human corporations and sends the humans back to a dying earth where they can all die.

Well, let’s be honest now, we do kind of suck. Have you seen photos of that massive floating garbage island in the Pacific lately? It’s twice the size of Texas and it isn’t exactly the Sistine Chapel…

Aside from the theological and philosophical problems with the movie, it is amazing so little attention was made to the dialogue and characters of the alien natives.

Believe me bub, this will not discourage scores of nerds from painting themselves blue and walking around next year’s ComiCon speaking the Na’vi language.

Even the names of the exotic items are ridiculous. For instance, the rare mineral the earth needs to survive is called “unobtainium.” The planet AVATAR takes place on is Pandora. Pandora is a moon that orbits Polyphemus. Thus, most of the names sound like they came out of a midnight session where everyone was smoking dope.

As opposed to this insightful film review, which sounds as if it was penned by Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character from SNL.

Ultimately, AVATAR is bad news. What the people in the movie need to deliver them from their greed and the aliens in the movie need to deliver them from their severe group think is the loving salvation available only through the true God, Jesus Christ.

I get the feeling that 99.998% of this website’s visitors uttered a solemn “amen” under low breath after reading that last paragraph.

Cameron’s anti-capitalist ideology is more dangerous than Michael Moore, whose recent anti-capitalist documentary will be seen by far fewer people. The truth is that we live in amazing luxury today under capitalism, compared to what we’d have if we lived like Pandora’s aliens. Would you like to get up each morning from a hammock in a tree and hunt for food with a bow and arrow? Capitalism can be brutal and ugly if the capitalist is brutal and ugly, but so can every other economic system. Capitalism can be a beautiful thing in a nation where capitalists live by God’s golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Ugh, that last paragraph would’ve made even Regan cringe. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that modern Capitalism and the value system you’re preaching are essentially antithetical. And I’m assuming that your interpretation of capitalism doesn’t have as much to do with rewarding success as it does with “I don’t want to pay taxes. Ever.”

If you want to live in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world, don’t go hug a tree or look for some earthly version of an Earth goddess. Give your life to God through Jesus Christy and let Him use you to reach out to those trapped in selfishness, greed, pride, and hatred.

As of this post, they still haven’t corrected the typo “Jesus Christy” which tells you pretty much all you need to know about these people. (Unless “Jesus Christy” is actually what they’re referring to him as these days).

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yesterday, a real American hero attempted to throw tomatoes at Sarah Palin but missed by ten feet and hit two police officers in the face. His intentions were laudable, but his follow through was sadly lacking. Come on now, would a few practice tosses in the backyard have killed you?

If this guy isn't a candidate for 2010 Mets starting pitcher, I just don't know who is.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Televisions, Trees, and the Joy of 30

So because I am now married, I am also now by law mandated to blog about banal husband/wife exchanges that occur in the household. Behold:

Me: "So I ordered a TV online the other day through one of those Cyber-Monday deals."

Her: "Nice, was it pricey?"

Me: "Well for a Sharp 47” display that boasts 1080p and a 120hz refresh rate, I think I did pretty damned well. This is my last hurrah. A powerful crescendo to wrap up the chapter of my life when I still had meaningful disposable income and wasn’t chained to a mortgage like Prometheus to his rock." [editor’s note—perhaps I’m taking a bit of creative license here: my domestic conversations typically do not involve Greek mythical figures]

Her: "Uh huh, good. So you’re going to leave it in the box until we move into our new house, right?"

[sudden sound of a record needle scratching]

Now let me explain to you why this is ten wild flavors of unacceptable. A hulking behemoth like this is not to be contained within a box. This electronic monster has been engineered with one purpose and one purpose only: massive ocular assault. To bombard one’s rods and cones with an image so vivid that it leaves them a stuttering mess, sitting in a pool of their own flop sweat. Will I keep this in a box? Would Michelangelo have dared to leave “David” sitting in a crate somewhere while he waited to close on his new Italian villa? Methinks not.

Meanwhile, it bothers the wifey that I am reluctant to put up a Christmas tree this year due to the upcoming move. The reason for this is easy to understand really: compared to setting up a TV, decorating a Christmas tree takes multiple hours, and I’m sorry, but no matter how good the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas album is, once you hear it the seventh time while hanging glittery ornaments, the urge to stab things becomes rather strong.

In other news, I turn 30 next week. 30, people. 30. It sucks. And don’t bother telling me it doesn’t and that I should be glad that at least I’m not [insert whatever age you are here] because when I am, it’ll most certainly suck even more. Ugh.

Today, I received bedsheets yesterday for my birthday. Bedsheets. The only thing more depressing than getting bedsheets for your birthday is the fact that I ACTUALLY REQUESTED THEM. Because presumably, once you hit 30, this is the sort of thing you're supposed to ask for instead of mammoth TVs or fun stuff like this.

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