Friday’s BEST OF THE WEB: Interesting Stuff on Newspaper Sites

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By: Kathryn Blaze Carlson

Today’s picks from around the Web, focusing again on multimedia offerings.

RZA: Hip Hop and Chess
New York Times
Video by Jeremy Beiler and Dylan Loeb McClain

For some, the thought of a chess champion conjures images of a geek sporting thick-rimmed glasses and a fluorescent pocket-protector. But the chess guru featured here is pretty much the polar opposite — he’s famous Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA. Dorky glasses are nowhere in sight (he dons hip shades and just a touch of bling) as he maneuvers his rook and chats about WuChess, his recently launched Web site aimed at developing mind strength and social networks. This four-minute video was posted nearly two weeks ago, but it’s certainly still worth checking out — not only for the thrust of the story but also for the footage and editing.

Check out the related article and read about how chess is “part of the Wu-Tang essence ‘because it?s a game of war — it?s about battle. And Wu-Tang was formed in battles, from challenging each other.'”

Hi Barbie, Where’s Ken?
Kansas City Star
By Monty Davis

You’re probably kicking yourself for having missed the National Barbie Doll Convention in Kansas City, but have no fear: quirky and seemingly shameless reporter Brian McTavish was there to bring you the highlights. I couldn’t quite help myself when it came to this posting this video — it’s almost like a watching train wreck, you just can’t look away. Judge for yourself whether it’s a knee-slapper or just plain annoying.

What’s Not Working For Truck, SUV Sales
Detroit Free Press
Video by Jamie Butters, David Pierce, and Elisha Anderson

It’s no secret the price of oil has put more than a dent in people’s wallets (more like a crater), forcing drivers out of gas-guzzlers and into vehicles of the less flashy variety — like the modern-day station wagon. Indeed the “good ol’ days” are a thing of the past and, with the market “seeing a lot less green and a lot more red,” auto makers are feeling the burn. This tutorial-meets-Web video uses supply and demand graphs to explain how today’s “economic malaise” is affecting everyday Americans — and the suits who make the cars they drive. To watch the video, click here, and select the video called “What’s Not Working For Truck, SUV Sales.” The piece is about a week old, but the lessons are well-articulated enough to merit a quick watch.

The Makeup of Mystere
Las Vegas Sun
Video by Trent Ogle

Cirque du Soleil is known for the superhuman abilities of the gumby-like acrobats who dangle gracefully from ceilings, fold in half, and essentially defy science and reality. But the real question isn’t “Hey, how’d did she just wrap her leg around her body 12 times while spinning on her head and knitting a sweater?” But rather, “How’d she apply her makeup?”

If you’ve ever pondered this question (and even if you haven’t — which is more likely the case), then check out this video. Watch as a makeup technician and the Mystere performers offer a “behind-the-scenes look” at what goes into turning the average-looking guy or gal into his or her onstage persona, the Yellow Bird, for example. It’s a kick to watch.

St. Luke’s Time Capsule Revealed
Houston Chronicle
Video by Meg Loucks

Putting together a time capsule isn’t the trendiest of past times, but back in 1954 someone at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston “had the foresight” to compile a nugget of history for someone to discover in later years. The capsule was discovered behind the cornerstone of the soon-to-be demolished building. This short videocaptures the opening of the memento-filled capsule.
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