Friday, April 06, 2007
Your picks, your voice
Fires, floods, explosions and a mailbox shaped like R2-D2 -- they all fit together perfectly in the wonderful world of I-Reports. We’re rolling out some of the best of March’s diverse and amazing photos and video for you to rank. It’s always tough deciding which are the cream of the crop, and this time around, we got into quite the thought-provoking discussion about the meaning of I-Reports. As a result, we’ve reaffirmed that this ranking interactive is something special: an opportunity for readers to talk back to us in the most absolute sense.

When you rank an I-Report as a No. 1, we take that very seriously. Sure, we’re starting out picking ones that we like, but it’s ultimately you that show us the best of the best. And for February, you overwhelmingly selected “Your news reports,” which included James Brierton’s first-person weather report. Brierton has caused quite a stir among us with the amount of journalistic talent he demonstrates while a high school student.

This month, you’ll find a wide variety of subject matter, from breaking news to downright silliness. We encourage you to check out the ranking interactive and gallery, and then send your own thoughts. What makes a good I-Report? Is it the storytelling, the photography, the news value of the piece, or perhaps its personal impact? Post a comment below to let us know what you think. If you speak up, you can be sure we’ll be listening.

Zeina Yacoub
Matthew Cheek
Sourabh Banerjee
Ed DePinter
Troy Reynolds
Matt McKenna
James Brierton

February's picks

James Brierton
Winter weather
Read more
Alex Woods
Florida tornadoes
Read more
Joel Fine
Los Angeles fire
Read more
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Chess for non-dummies
For many people, chess is easy to learn and difficult to master. But for New Yorker Joshua Small, it's a way of life. He plays regularly by the corner of 112th street and Broadway, near Tom’s Restaurant in New York. It’s “the ‘Seinfeld’ diner,” referenced in Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner.”

He describes a colorful mix of people who play there, including “people standing around these makeshift tables and chairs on the New York City sidewalk, playing chess and talking trash.” There’s the postman who bicycles over after his route, a writer and poet, an older English gentleman and a building superintendent bearing a strange resemblance to Simon Cowell of “American Idol.” They even have their own vernacular. On a retreat, you say, “Back up and live, G.” Moving the bishop to a “strong square,” one might say, “Post!” When a player is surprised by a move, they say, “You had that.”

It’s serious, he says: “Winner keeps the board and a sturdy milk crate is the seat of choice.” During a major New York blackout a couple of years ago, he and an area book seller with whom he often competes “played past dusk on that night, enjoying some beers, and playing only by the lights of the passing cars.” He’s not the only one of his kind. Check out our hobbies gallery, or comment below and tell us about your leisure time.
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