Showing posts from September, 2017

The music video for "Rapper's Delight" is a treasure

The Sugarhill Gang revolutionized the music scene in 1979 when their single "Rapper's Delight" was released. It was the first song to feature an artist rapping from start to finish, and the tune itself was catchier than athlete’s foot in a Planet Fitness locker room. It helped make hip hop mainstream and pave the way for future artists like Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC to make careers out of their rhymes.
[Not totally unrelated: this mega-article from Complex is a dynamite read and has tons of great finds starting with Grandmaster Caz, the man whose lyrics were ripped off to help make “Rapper’s Delight]
If you’re like me, you haven’t only memorized the radio versions of the song (which can check in at 3:55 or 6:30), but the entire 14:35 album version as well. Sure it’s impressive when I do it in the car, but what’s even more amazing is that the group actually recorded the whole thing in a single take.
Until recently I was completely unaware the song had a music video. I’m not su…

Update: Forrest Gump is no longer my favorite movie

A staple of American cinema and part of arguably the greatest movie class ever, Forrest Gump has long been my favorite movie of all-time. So much so that I even tried to dress up as Forrest a few years ago for Halloween.

A few Christmases ago, my sister decided to buy me the book, as well as the book's sequel, so I might understand where the greatness of the movie was born.

I didn't read it right away. It sat on my shelf alongside a bunch of other great books I still have yet to read. But I finally decided it was time to open up a book and read something for my own enjoyment for the first time in many years.

I picked up both Gump books as well as Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (which will be a re-read but I know it'll be fantastic). I'm now a little more than halfway through Forrest Gump, and let me tell you -- it has ruined the movie for me in all the right ways.

*** Spoiler alert ***

I knew there were differences between the book and the film adaptation. But I didn'…

Does anyone in Syracuse know how to make a good garlic parm wing‽‽‽

As a man of my word, I had to deliver what was promised.
Coming Wednesday to birtmc dot com:

This idea has actually been in my drafts folder for a couple weeks now, but I needed to have a recent example to discuss rather than weeks-old recollections.
--- The lead up ---
It all started in July. Me and some of my coworkers decided to take a long lunch and try a few wing places around town over the course of the coming weeks. We would each order a different flavor wing, distribute them amongst ourselves, and rate and compare them. I even made up a Google Sheet for the occasion and named it Band on the Run. Shame on you if you don’t understand why.

Our first place was J. Ryan’s. On the whole, the wings were adequate, but here’s my description of the garlic parm wings:
Where's the sauce? There was none. And the lack of sauce killed the possibility of any flavor. Very dry, with only to…

Old Team Tuesday: The Buffalo Hunters

Old Team Tuesday is a weekly feature taking a look at former teams that have gone by the wayside. This week’s edition is about as ultimate as it gets.
The concept of a professional ultimate Frisbee league isn’t as far out as you or Marty McFly might expect. In fact, it’s a reality that found a home in Western New York in 2012.
The American Ultimate Disc League prepared for its first season set with eight teams stretched from the east coast to the Midwest. One of those teams was the Buffalo Hunters, who played in the AUDL’s Eastern Division alongside the Philadelphia Spinners, the Connecticut Constitution, and the Rhode Island Rampage. They took the moniker “Hunters” as a tribute to Hunter Kelly, the son of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly who passed away at the age of eight from Krabbe disease. 10 percent of all the team’s profits for the season were to be donated to Hunter’s Hope, a charitable organization the Kelly family establi…

Response to Trump's speech demonstrated NFL's unwillingness to deal with concussions

Donald Trump’s speech at a rally for Luther Strange on Friday has garnered plenty of attention because of his comments directed at athletes who do not stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, his diatribe against players who sit or kneel for the national anthem has completely overshadowed another radical stance he took when he said that the game has become too soft because of rule changes that were enacted to protect players from head injuries.

By now we have all heard that the repetitive hits to the head that accompany football can be life-threatening. The day before Trump’s speech, the family of Aaron Hernandez announced they would be suing the NFL after evidence of “the most severe case [of CTE] they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age” was found by researchers at the CTE Center at Boston University. Hernandez hanged himself in his cell in April after being sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd and after standing trial for a double homicide of which he …

Southtowns Clowns eke out a dub

I think I’m just as shocked as you are, but the Clowns managed to weasel their way to victory over the ALB Men of Mayhem by 5.2 points. It was the team’s second win of the season, bumping their record to 2-1 overall.

--- Pregame politics ---
After Donald Trump made headlines on Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday decrying NFL players who kneel or sit for the national anthem, tension was high at One Clowns Circle and across the league. After an emotionally-charged, late-night team meeting Saturday, players, coaches, and management felt it prudent to voice their displeasure at such abrasive and abusive comments from the president. After management released a brief statement of support for the players on Twitter prior to kickoff on Sunday, Several players knelt or stood with their arms linked to demonstrate that they supported the fight against racially-based injustice in the criminal justice system.
And then they played football.
--- An over-performing bench ---

Wow. It’s hard to leave 90 poin…

Reinventing waste removal

Windy garbage days are, quite possibly, the worst kind of days. Cans tip over, trash flies everywhere, and bins end up halfway down the street. I can’t tell you how many times I’d get home and would have to search all over the neighborhood to retrieve my missing recycling bins.
After one particularly blustery Tuesday back in April, I came home to see my neighbors’ garbage cans and recycling bins scattered up and down the street, so I came up with an idea to make sure days like that would never have to happen again.

"Be the change you want to see in the world of waste removal." — Matt Birt (@BirtMC) April 4, 2017
Instead of attending the town board meeting that month, I decided to write an email to our town supervisor. For some reason I never got a response, so I’m taking the idea off the shelf myself to get it rolling again.
Here’s the idea:
Garbage cans are generally designed to be taller than they are wide. This means that when they are left outside in…

On a scale of Leo Hart to Jim Kelly, how good are Sweet Heat Skittles?

A few weeks back, I was cashing out at Walgreens when a small display next to the register caught my eye. It contained black pouches of Skittles labeled “Sweet Heat.” Being a fan of spicy things, sweet stuff, candy, and ill-advised decisions, I gambled and bought a bag.
I opened them a few days later with my girlfriend, who tried one, hated it, tried a different one, hated that too, and then stopped. I, however, actually thought they were kind of interesting. So I closed the bag and brought it to work, where it remained in my desk until today.
It is my intent to describe each of the five flavors of Sweet Heat Skittles for you on a spectrum featuring Buffalo Bills quarterbacks, from Leo Hart (1972: 0-1 all-time with 53 yards) to Jim Kelly (1986-1996: 101-59 all-time with 35,467 yards). Rankings will first be sorted by wins, and then by total passing yardage with the Bills. Please enjoy.
--- The Skittles ---
Based on the picture below, the five flavors that are part of the mix are as follow…