December 24, 2004

KOTB - Rulings - Week 2

Final Ruling - Week 2

View from the Pew 39
Aggressive Progressive 34
Cyn's Sim 39.5

So that would mean that Cyn's Sim is the latest Queen of the Blogs!

Folks, this came down to the voting in the poll on the King of the Blogs site. View was in the lead, until we tabulated the points from the voting. And with the 3 points that Cyn got from the poll, she was able to claim the lead and become the new Queen of the Blogs.


One man sits on the throne, and a mixed double of challengers eye it hungrily.

Could this finally be the week when a warrior hottie claims SOLE possession of The Big Chair?

Let's find out.


If you are crowned King, what King from history or popular culture would you emulate and why?

Warren of View From The Pew
GOOD POINTS: Suave segue neatly disguises the fact that this is a mandatory assignment and NOT a typical, voluntary post. Future competitors should learn from the master and avoid bland, factual introductions. MAKE UP ANOTHER REASON FOR YOUR POST. It's much more entertaining that way.
BAD POINTS: "imitate his reign"... "surrounds himself"... "And this way"... didn't I warn you about stealing other people's typo shtick last week? You keep this up, and I'll be forced to vote on considering discussing a resolution - and maybe even eventually PASSING it!

T.A.P of The Aggressive Progressive
GOOD POINTS: Great off-the-wall angle on the King question. Bonus for pushing my nostalgia button by mentioning Quisp.
BAD POINTS: The Pat Robertson reference seemed a little forced & awkward. Probably could've been improved by referencing an intolerant bigot who held ACTUAL political power. Hitler, Stalin, or even the Pope maybe.

Cyn of Cyn's Sim
GOOD POINTS: Not one, but TWO pictures of big-eyed, long-haired brunettes. Either she's been reading my blog, or she's a lucky guesser. Either way - BONUS! Other great things - the mental image of the Blog War Dance just made me giggle; I liked the over-the-edge choice of RuPaul for "Queen"; finally, she gives explicit credit to BOTH of her image sources. VERY classy.
BAD POINTS: None visible


View From The Pew
GOOD POINTS: Extremely well-constructed piece on how Christians ought to be taking their message to those who need it most, whether they want to or not. I enjoyed how the tagline was woven throughout the essay to give it unity.
BAD POINTS: Perpetuates unfair stereotypes against Samarians as smelly sinners. VERY insensitive.

The Aggressive Progressive
GOOD POINTS: One of the most self-absorbed posts I've ever read - ME! ME! ME! Narcissism is a necessary trait in an effective monarch, so bonus on that.
BAD POINTS: Squanders bonus by failing to give link to the post he's complaining about. If you don't want to drive traffic to someone you don't like that's fine, but in that case, at least have the courtesy to quote the post extensively so that your readers know what you're talking about. A Fisking may have been more appropriate here.
SCORE: 3.5

Cyn's Sim
GOOD POINTS: The phrase "from the dirty but not stinky pile" just rocks. Also cool is the fact that - even wearing her dirty-but-not-stinkies, and having a head full of sleep and/or oil, she STILL can't look as skank as Britney.
BAD POINTS: She made me look at skanky ol' Britney. I'm sending her the bill for my retinal reconstructive surgery.


Here are some technical things I like to see on a blog:

King of the Blogs javascript thingy in the sidebar
Comments enabled
Permalinks working
E-mail contact info available
Blogger's name/pseudonym prominently displayed
Site search feature enabled
Link to an "About Me" post on the sidebar
Blogger's gender is easily discernable
Readable font style & size
Readable color scheme (for example, NOT bright red type on bright green
Divisions between posts clearly marked
Paragraphing in entries (NOT just writing one fat block of text)

Aside from the tech stuff, I also like to see a blogger's personality shining through, to
remind us of the person behind the words.

With that in mind...

View From The Pew:
GOOD POINTS: Nothing but. All his techs are in order, plus he actually took my corrective advice from last week. Color me flattered.
BAD POINTS: One more suggestion, but I won't subtract for it. The link to the "About Me" post should probably go right above the contact e-mail address. Currently, it's right under the Creative Commons License stuff. The CCL is one of those things that just shouts "IGNORE ME!", and it's zone of invisibility may tend to obscure the "About Me" link with it's psychological halo.


The Aggressive Progressive:
GOOD POINTS: Excellent non-annoying use of the color yellow in the sidebar - normally to be avoided at all costs, but T.A.P. makes it work. I also really like this template's use of thin lines to keep the title, post body, and footer-information separated. Easy on the eyes, easy to use.

BAD POINTS: A little skimpy with the contact info - this is nominally a group blog, yet only one of the listed authors has a contact e-mail in their profile. I guess it's a good thing that T.A.P. is pretty much the only one posting. Another irritation is that gender is not obvious with either T.A.P. or The Almighty. I'm a little uncomfortable writing about a blogger if I don't know which pronoun to use. I'm going with "male" though, because "mike" is part of T.A.P's e-mail address.

SCORE: 3.5

Cyn's Sim
GOOD POINTS: Technically flawless. She's got everything I like to see in a blog. Bonus for the quite fetching picture of herself displayed prominently above the fold. Bonus bonus for the KotB haiku. Other bonus for having blogged since pre-9/11. Talk about longevity! WOW! I hope *I* live that long!

BAD POINTS: Just a few minor things that raised an eyebrow. First... what is Cyn short for? Cynamyn? Cynara? Cyndee? Cyndi? Cyndy? Cyneria? Cynethia? Cynithia? Cynna? Cynth? Cynthea? Cynthia? Cynthiana? Cynthiann? Cynthie? Cynthria? Cynthy? Cynthya? Cyntreia?
...just curious.

Second, Cyn's blogroll is listed by the blogger's first name instead of the blog's name. There's nothing inherently wrong with that - her blog, her call - and it's functional if you're just surfing off it. However, Cyn, you might consider that your blogroll also serves as advertising for the people on it, and listing their blog names is more likely to get them random surfer traffic than listing their real names. Just something to think about.

Finally, the post title font is the same size as the post text font. For aesthetic purposes, you might consider making the title font a few points larger to give it a little more emphasis - more of a "headline" feel.

SCORE: 4.5


View From The Pew: 15
The Aggressive Progressive: 11
Cyn's Sim: 14.5

King of the Blogs Tournament: Week Two Judging!

Congratulations to last week's victor, Warren at View From the Pew... but alas, he was not allowed to rest easy in his reign, and immediately began defending his crown against this week's pretenders to the throne, the Aggressive Progressive and Cyn’s Sim.
Without further ado, The Queen's rulings:

Overall Blog/Design

View From the Pew: I see Warren has been hard at work and taking last week's comments from the judges to heart. The banner graphics on the sides that were broken have now been replaced, and he has an interesting new graphic for the title. The comments and trackback links have been moved to the bottom of each post, which was a very useful comment from Judge Harvey. I also see a link has been added to Warren's Blogger profile, which is a very good move. We now feel like we know a bit more about Warren without having t o read every single post in the archives - not that he doesn't want us to *wink*. My positive comments from last week still apply. However, my comments on the overall graphic design still apply too. It's nice, it's readable... but still missing some "pizzazz". The new graphic with the title is snazzy, but doesn't really fit with the color scheme and very basic fonts/layout of the rest of the site. I know what you need! MORE COWBELL! (Ahem. Sorry.) Anyway, I have seen improvements, and that is worth an upgrade in the overall rating: View From the Pew gets a 4.

Aggressive Progressive: Very nice design - a simple, clean look with a color scheme that pulls it all together and a banner graphic that looks professional and displays the author's - or at least the blog's - personality. As for other elements of the blog, comments and trackback are in place, the blogroll gives us a sense of community... overall I'm impressed. Now let's consider the all-important "about me" information. The Aggressive Progressive gives us a sidebar section on "Contributors" with links to several Blogger profiles. I assume each of these individuals is a contributor to this blog... Some of the profiles have precious little information; however since "The Aggressive Progressive" seems to be not only the name of this blog but the screen name of the main contributor, I'll just focus on this one. I'm going to have to assume that AggPro is male, because the "photo" cartoon provided has a moustache and goatee. I see the contact e-mail gives us the name "Mike". OK, Mike. We know your current profession, and your location, but other than what you write about we really don't know much else about you. Perhaps you don't want us to. That's your prerogative. It's also our prerogative to decide we don't care what you think. Reading his other posts, I sense a lot of vitriol in this Mike person, and I feel like I'm opening myself up for all kinds of abuse if I make any negative comments relative to the overall tone and content, so I'll shelve my thoughts on that and stick to the technical merits. I will say, though, that entering a competition where all three judges, both hosts and the commissioner are all political conservatives, with a blog that is so very aggressively liberal, Mike was probably expecting some politically-based bashing in this contest. In fact, he might even be hoping for it. I'm not going there. A few constructive comments instead: searchable archives would be a real plus. As a reader, I'd also rather not be assaulted with the Google Ads first thing. You're probably not getting a lot of revenue from them in any event, so perhaps bumping the contributors links to the top would give this a little more personal of a feel and less "I want this blog to make me money." The Aggressive Progressive gets an overall 4.

Cyn’s Sim: Positives: not one, but 4 simple, clean, cohesive designs to choose from. Working comments and trackback. Nice, understated banner graphics and color schemes. Searchable archives. A real photo. An "about me" post that gives us a pretty good idea about who Cyn is and what her interests are. Only one Google Ad to assault us upon our introduction to the site, and it's unobtrusively placed. A blogroll and other external links of interest that give us an even better feel for Cyn. Negatives: The "Simple Grey" skin has no banner graphic (or at least it doesn't appear whether I view it in Firefox or IE6.0) and appears to have some spacing issues between the photo and the skin chooser. Overall, the majority of the content is personal updates that few people but Cyn's friends and family members will find in the least interesting. I do a fair amount of that myself, so I can't complain too much. However, for those who are new to my site I do provide category archives and a list of "best of" posts for those who don't care about my electrical problems and what classic novel I am. I'd like to see more content aimed at people who don't know her personally that would draw them into her world: amusing stories, perhaps, or exposition about some of her interests. However, Cyn makes it clear that this site is intended to be merely a journal, and as such, it is what it she wants it to be. I really like this site, and I really want to like it more. More thoughtful, storytelling, or interest-sharing posts will draw new readers in, and put the more mundane journal-type entries ("Dishes done" updates and the like) in the context of an interesting person who we want to know. A good start, with a lot of technical merit. Cyn’s Sim earns an overall 4.

Submitted Post

View From the Pew: Another well written and thoughtful piece. I like the personal touch, bringing your little girl into the post and relating this spiritual lesson to the Veggie Tales Jonah movie. I now have "Jonah Was a Prophet" stuck in my head. Thanks. (No really, I love the Veggie Tales. I won't hold it against you.) Another 4 for the submitted post.

Aggressive Progressive: A poor choice for your submitted post. Aside from a couple of nit-picky spelling/word choice errors (fourth instead of forth, and a missing "T" in "them's fightin' words"), I have no complaints about the writing. You clearly have a way with words, which is as it should be given your career field. However, you have opened up quite the window on your personality by describing your penchant for picking fights with other bloggers, who do not appear to have done a single thing to deserve it. This contempt and abuse of your potential future subjects is unbecoming in a contender for the King of the Blogs throne, and I for one have reservations about crowning such a tyrant. Mike, seriously, your writing is good, but what you're doing here makes you nothing more than a particularly literate troll. I would not have chosen to comment on this post had you not submitted it as a featured example of your writing. You would have been better served to submit something that was more thought-provoking and political (such as this post), or more representative of your sarcastic humor (such as this one). Snark is fine - I read Television Without Pity, so I can appreciate a good snarky post. While I may not specifically agree with your views in either of those posts, I can respect your expression of your thoughts and beliefs, and set my personal feelings aside enough to judge those on their merits. However, given the post you elected to submit instead, I rate your submitted post a 2.5. It would be much lower if it were not for your quality writing. If you choose to enter this competition again, I hope you will take this as constructive criticism. Give us something thoughtful, or something funny, but not something mean-spirited and nasty.

Cyn’s Sim: See, this is what we should have gotten from illogicology last week. This is quirky and fun, and the not-so-subtle Britney-bashing earns points in my book. Ah, the glamour. You too can look like Britney. How the mighty pop star hath fallen. Hee. I can appreciate a light-hearted post as much as a thought-provoking one as long as it is well-expressed and draws me in. Thus, this one earns a 4.

Challenge Post

View From the Pew: The presentation is a little less creative than last week's "press release" style... but also a step up from the "this is the question, and this is the answer" type challenge response, which would get points knocked off for sure. On the merits of the response, bonus points for the Monty Python and the Holy Grail references. Good job applying each suggested role model for Kingship to the concept of your reign in the blogosphere. Humorous, with a good dash of sucking up to the judges and the Commissioner. And while extending your Arthurian reign analogy to the "once and future king" concept shows humility, you should know that the judges generally consider humility a sign of weakness *grin*. This fine challenge post earns a 4.

Aggressive Progressive: OK, what the heck? I have never in my life seen or heard of King Vitamin. This must be a regional thing. Having spent most of my life in the Southwestern US, perhaps it just isn't sold here. Some explanatory linkage would have been helpful for those of us who have been living in a cave - or maybe just Phoenix - for the last 30-some-odd years. However, I figure Mike just wasn't aware that this Quaker cereal brand isn't sold throughout the whole country, so I'll forgive it. This time. The reference to Pat Robertson beating the heck out of the Rice Krispies guys also lost me - if this was a mental adventure of yours, Mike, that is kind of amusing, but if you didn't come up with it yourself, explanatory linkage would be most appreciated. The Torquemada reference also really needed an explanatory link for those who have no clue about what you're getting at. Aside from all that, the nostalgic kids' cereal references were a nice touch. By this post I presume you mean to rule the blogosphere as a benevolent, peaceful King who is tolerant of all manner of "freaks" within the blogosphere and intends to be inclusive and make all feel valued? (Must I point out how starkly this contrasts with your submitted post?) But on to the ruling. A nice, creative choice of kings to emulate. The format of the post could stand a good shot of creativity, though. Perhaps done as an interview with Time Magazine, or the transcript of an episode of the Jerry Springer show. Photoshop attempts, even if not technically proficient, are always appreciated. Pretenders to the throne, take note. Just answering the question is not sufficient to wow at least this judge. The lack of format creativity in this response, along with the lack of explanatory linkage where it would have been most useful, earns this post a 3.5.

Cyn’s Sim: I have a feeling Harvey is really going to go for this answer. Being female myself, I admire your sense of style by choosing the Queen of Bollywood as your exotic role model. As one who appreciates a good, campy movie where folks break out into dance routines at the drop of a hat (have you ever seen Love's Labour's Lost with Kenneth Branagh?) I am digging the mental image of random dance scenes throughout the blogosphere and resolving international disputes with a good dance competition. Explanatory linkage is provided, which is a plus. More creative presentation, while time-consuming for a busy student-type, would have been a major plus. For instance, I can totally envision a video clip of Cyn in said Punjabi outfit, presiding over the resolution of international disputes via dance-off. Since this was in the "here's the question, here's the answer" format, I should probably go lower on the rating, but this response exhibits the proper confidence and poise of a worthy successor to the first and only Queen of the Blogs. I call it a 4.

The Queen's Rulings
View From the Pew: 12
Aggressive Progressive: 10
Cyn’s Sim: 12

I have no doubt my fellow judges will break this tie. It's going to be a close one in any event. Congratulations, worthy competitors all.

View From the Pew


I hold reigning kings to a higher standard. So... when I see absolutely no separation between posts (even, you know, a little dotted line), as I suggested last week, I start to thinking the king is getting a little too comfortable in his throne. Perhaps I should start removing some of those comfy cushions... Alas, it seems nothing has changed, and the readability of the sidebar has had little to no improvement. As if that weren't enough, I think I've managed to dig up an additional beef I have against blog*s--t. It's probably nothing, but I dislike intensely the inability to move quickly and efficiently from individual posts to the main blog page. Also, I think the archiving could have been done better. I expect great things from Warren - he has such great uplifting, challenging posts, but I fear he's not the well-rounded king I had hoped for! Please convince me! 3 points.

I'm getting to like Warren's posts - not merely because I'm overly knowledgeable on theology, or because I share the kinship of Christ with him... but more because of posts like today, which slammed me harder than the proverbial kick in the pants and challenged me personally. There are countless times in life when we are confronted with or by people we just don't like. What do we do in those situations? I know there are an awful lot of people like that whom I've come across in my life, and I regret the choices I've made when those situations have come my way. Truly, what value is love when you already like a person - the true test of the kind of love that Jesus had for us is to love our worst enemies as we love ourselves. Thanks for the challenge, Warren. (Still, there's something about funky breath that's just. Not. My. Responsibility. to take care of... I just tell the individual to pop a mint :).) 5 points.

Challenge Question:

Warren sticks with a safe answer here. As with gymnastics and diving, the difficulty level is the basis for the maximum amount of points given. In this case, he chooses to emulate Arthur, King of the Brits. With this historical tribute come the highly expected references to Monty Python, causing me to hesitate for a moment and imagine Graham Chapman (who is, coincidentally, dead as a parrot) in a leadership role. That's when I decide to stop the tape. 3 points.

Aggressive Progressive

Mr. Aggressive Progressive has quite a spiffy looking blog, and the title and caption simply leaps out at you. The color scheme is a bit subdued for the kind of image he's trying to portray; however the blues reflect his political leaning well, and the shades are complementary - Well, except for that distracting bit of yellow in the blogroll... Alright, enough metro sexual speak here. I freely admit that the AP's views are 180 degrees different from my own; but differences of opinion removed, everything is fully in order. Trackbacks and comments are in place, and archival information is done as good as blog*s--t can (ahem) handle it. AP should consider himself lucky - I used to take off MAJOR points for using Blogger. With regard to the overall substance of this blog's posts, I'm going to leave that to the other two categories. There's more than enough red meat here to barbecue, but that's not listed in my job description as King of the Blogs judge. It's too bad there's no search feature, as I was curious to see how many times 'Karl Rove' and 'Rush' were mentioned site wide. Perhaps I should make a search feature compulsory in future site judging. Perhaps I should go more anal on these critiques. Perhaps.... perhaps, in the event of a change of heart or politics, this blog has a potential. I'll go with my heart, not my head. 4 points.


Many people equate the word 'progressive' with meaningful, positive change.... you know, like learning from past mistakes. In this case, Mr. Aggressive Progressive apparently didn't learn from our reaction to the sprinkling of Language Rougher Than PG-13 within the confines of I Hate My Cubicle. Not only was that a lesson left unlearned, but the wound was further deepened by the inclusion of a less-than-family-friendly word, of all places, in the title. As much as I find the use of the word a**clown intriguing (it was pioneered by local talk show conservative personality Todd Schnitt BTW), I will from this point on substitute 'dolt'... it has the same general meaning, without compromising the integrity of the posterior anatomy. Now, having said that, if there's one thing that I hate worse than a blog bashing another blog, it's a blog bashing another blog for bashing a blog for no readily apparent reason (other than the opinion of the poster). This torrent of negative navel-gazing is the antithesis of the fabled Instalanch, and quickly compounds itself into a bandwidth-wasting exchange of empty, demeaning insults. In this instance, we have Mr. Dolt insulting Dr. Dolt without any semblance of constructive thought (i.e. ideas on how to improve)... and then Mr. Dolt is surprised when Dr. Dolt takes offense? In old-school lore, this would be considered a "flame war" - i.e, a bunch of flamers picking up big sticks and beating each other over the head for the sake of hearing that loud "thunk" of wood against skull. Oddly enough, it's usually the first offender who's most surprised that he's getting soundly decimated, as if he was just an innocent bystander. It's not like I'm an innocent bystander either. In fact, I'm extending the life cycle of this particular war, by being a blog bashing another blog bashing another blog for bashing blogs. But then again, if the Aggressive Progressive wanted to avoid such abuse, or if he thought so minutely of blogs who are allegedly 'unqualified' to review and/or criticize other blogs, then what's he doing scrambling for a position at the top of this hill? 2 points.

Challenge Question:

Hmm. Bad trip? And he just HAD to mention 'Jesus Freaks', didn't he? TAG leads me to wonder whether he was just checking if he would be 'discriminated' against because he was a lefty. This post confirms that the discrimination is against bad taste, not a difference of opinion. It's sad that I have to deal with both at the same time. 2 points.

Cyn's Sim


This is a crisp, cleanly-designed blog with a lot of personality. Cyn appears to be more of a life-blogger, which is quite alright, as she appears to have somewhat of a spicy life. Additionally, her dry sense of humor keeps readers like me glued. There are a few times in which the blog strays toward the hedonistic, but Cyn does a good job of reining the bawdiness in and settling for the more mainstream (and many may think more scintillating) double-entendre. The biographical information was a bit harder to find than I wanted, but it's there and quite well-written once you get to it. Comments and trackbacks are there, and archives are arranged monthly. The King of the Blogs logo is present, though the blogroll is not quite complete, if you know what I mean! I particularly like her little haiku on KOTB in the sidebar, as I happen to be a big fan of haiku. One more minor detail - I noticed that some of the pictures she's linked to for the various memes in which she's participated have broken links... it distracts from the overall clean, well-structured format of her blog. Other than that, fine going! 4 points.

Call me a lightweight, but I like people who do a better job at aping Britney Spears than the bubblegum queen herself. I also like people who sport homophones for things I shouldn't do. Awaiting those who dare to compare. 3 points.

Challenge Question:

If only all gang fights were like "West Side Story," right? If only all King of the Blogs contestants were good at portraying themselves as larger than life.... ah, but they do. I sure wouldn't mind a hottie as Queen (but I would demand my own summary execution should RuPaul assume the throne). I mean, Amidala did a pretty good job of governing Naboo, right? Oh, but wait; she gave an important job to Jar Jar. Never mind. I wouldn't want a queen dancing all the time. Some of the downwardly mobile leaders of the world wouldn't be able to relate. Bonus points for PICTURES! Negative points for mentioning the Unholy Trinity of queendom. 3 points.

Posted by christweb at December 24, 2004 03:11 PM

Thanks for the awesome reviews! I appreciate that everyone took time to review my journal during a busy holiday.

I'm pleased that I won against such great competition. I like being the new Queen, now I have a title to match my royal attitude!

Posted by: Cyn at December 26, 2004 02:28 AM

Bonus points if you post a picture of yourself wearing a crown!

Bonus bonus if that's ALL you're wearing ;-)

[dodges rocks thrown by Nick, Pietro, and Songstress7]

Posted by: Harvey at December 27, 2004 10:32 PM

ha! Now that would be a sight, now wouldn't it?

Posted by: Cyn at December 28, 2004 01:16 AM

Congrats to Cyn -- taking time off from blogging hurt me since I couldn't remind folks to vote for me. And thanks for all the nice things everyone said about the challenge post -- I really didn't think it was one of my best efforts, and thought of MANY other monarchs that could have resulted in a funnier post, but that is water under the bridge, or over the darn, or wherever.

The King is dead, long live the Queen!!

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