Saturday clearout

In which I make up for lost time this week:

– Hey, black people play chess! So say The New York Times and The Washington Post in a neat fit of coincidence. The NYT piece on RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan is a fun read. The Post piece is a failed attempt at sociology. Wonder what’ll happen when both papers realize today’s chess players are pondering poker careers.

– Josh Waitzkin, the subject of the great film Searching for Bobby Fischer, has blossomed into a young adult with interesting thoughts on how we should live and learn. He seems to have moved successfully from one discipline to another – chess, then tai chi, then Brazilian jiu jitsu. (I will laugh myself silly if I see a guy known as a chess player pop up on an Elite XC mixed martial arts card.) He’s well-rounded, but he raises a persuasive argument here against multitasking. At least, I think that’s what he’s arguing — I’m also watching Spongebob with the little one at the moment.

– Speaking of the little ones, I felt a little guilty after a bad traffic day this week. I saw a truck blocking an intersection for an entire traffic-light cycle. I saw a policeman who didn’t feel any need to help out with that mess, but he was content to stop one of the few moving lanes to yell at a guy whose tires had gone on the curb as he went around a car trying to merge into the neighboring lane. Then I stopped at a green light to avoid blocking an intersection, only to see cars from the right-turn-only lane zip ahead of me.

And so I found myself trying to answer the question: “Daddy? What does asshole mean?”

– Now this is cool multimedia journalism: An NYT tribute to Mad magazine fold-ins.

– A pointy-headed journalism mailing list to which I subscribe has been pondering Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer’s comments that print would be dead in 10 years. Online Journalism Review cheekily refers to all the previous “print will be dead” comments with the headline “Writing print’s epitaph – v6.5.08 (service pack 3).” I’ve long been the semi-official list heretic, so I decided it’d be fun to note the coincidence of Ballmer making those comments the same week that Deadspin founder Will Leitch announced he was taking a magazine job. So far, the response has been, “Well, New York also has an aggressive online strategy.” OK, but it’s kept in business with tons of glossy ads for stylish condos way outside the typical journalist’s price range.

– Radio show to which I hope to listen: BBC Radio 2’s satirical comedy On the Blog, featuring at least one name I recognize from Whose Line Is It Anyway? I love the English.

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