January 16, 2005

Results are In

Exciting contest this week, with the reigning Queen being poisoned, and the highest level of , uh, flattery going to all the judges, hosts and even the Commish. It all comes down to the rulings, and here they are:

Bad Example's Ruling

The Warrior Queen falls victim to a mysterious illness, and will probably fall from the throne.

Was she poisoned by one of her usurpers?

Doubts will linger, but let's see who's next to sit the King of the Blogs chair...


You have just been cast in a new 80's or 90's sitcom. You are the star and the judges, hosts and commissioner are the co-stars. What is the show about, who are you in the show, and who were each of the co-stars cast as? Be sure to include the title, and theme song of the show!

Cyn of Cyn's Sim
Due to being poisoned by usurpers, Cyn was unable to complete the assignment. Off with her head!

Jon of Personal Trainer
GOOD POINTS: Forgoes both sleep and personal hygiene in a marathon of blog-reading to find out enough about his subjects to make accurate casting decisions.
BAD POINTS: Nothing really, aside from the always dull "this is my required entry" intro. Next time try just launching directly into the post and giving a hyperlink to the assignment page.

Mostly, though, Jon just had the bad luck to be up against Dory, who went the extra mile on her entry.

Dory of Wittenberg Gate
GOOD POINTS: Obviously did some homework to find out who these bloggers in her cast are, but then takes liberties with her artistic license. I was especially amused by the phrase "Harvey's left-wing bias". Bonus for writing her own theme song.
BAD POINTS: The only smudge on this entry is that there's no link to the assignment post on the KotB home page. However, I'm going to let the song bonus make up for this.


Cyn's Sim: "The Fling Is Over"
GOOD POINTS: Lots of pointers on how to manipulate men, plus proof that unshaven skinny white guys are hot. Key word "skinny", Michael Moore.
BAD POINTS: The intro is a bit rambly & convoluted. While I understand the need to warm up the mental engine, it frequently improves the post to excise the early noodling parts. Also, the post covers two topics (seducing men and the joy of scruffy). Although it does both well, this probably would've been better covered as two separate posts

Personal Trainer: "A Theodicy Proposed"
GOOD POINTS: Very educational. I learned what a "theodicy" is, plus I discovered that Karma is a concept common to both Buddhism and Hinduism - I thought it was just one of them, but I wasn't sure which.
BAD POINTS: Works very hard to tell the story, but crashes on the ending. Could've had a very powerful close by simply stating HIS position in the same form that he stated everyone elses. Something like: "Personal Trainer: Learn from Job and don't try to guess "why". In the interim..." Since he didn't go for the callback and the closure, the result was that same empty feeling one gets from watching the Cubs chase the pennant.

Wittenberg Gate: "God Does Not Believe In Atheists"
GOOD POINTS: Love the rhetorical zingers: "Are there atheists railing on about the Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? Black helicopters?" EXCELLENT point.
BAD POINTS: Toward the end of the piece I stumbled over a gap in the entry's flow that sucked all the force out of the conclusion. Third-to-last paragraph is about Christians judging atheists. Second-to-last paragraph is about Christians' belief in their worthyness before God. There's no transition between the two topics, and the change is jarring.


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 Blogroll Readable font style & size Readable color scheme (for example, NOT bright red type on bright green background) 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...

Cyn's Sim:
GOOD POINTS: Just as good last time, with all the technicals in place, plus her pretty picture.
BAD POINTS: Ignored my advice about boosting her title font a few points. Now my feelings are hurt, but I guess I can only put up a nominal ding for that.
SCORE: 4.5

NOTE: Cyn has switched over to an Expression Engine driven blog now, which doesn't have this problem. However, she doesn't have a KotB javascript thingy there, so I'm judging her old site because otherwise I'd have to give her a 0 - the KotB banner is life or death in this tournament.

Personal Trainer:
GOOD POINTS: Good technicals; subtle, understated use of church colors for text and dividing lines. I also ADORE his choice of banner picture, because it PERFECTLY illustrates his tagline of "hope in the shadowlands" by showing... land with shadows. It seems obvious, but I'll bet he searched a long time to find that shot. Also, bonus for excessive use of suck-up linkage to the judges, commissioner, and hosts.
BAD POINTS: There's some hiding of the name that leads to a gender-identification issues (see technicals list). Since Jon lists his name in his "about me" post, I assume he's not seeking anonymity. I strongly recommend that he change the bottom line of his entry template to read "Posted by John at [time]" so that people know that 1) he's a man 2) named Jon. Doing so increases the warmth & welcome quotients of the blog.

Also, rethink the excessive use of extended entries. Hiding text does NOT significantly (or even noticably) reduce load times. However, the time I have to waste clicking that link and waiting for the page to load is VERY noticable. And quite irritating to those on dial-up. Don't irritate your readers. See also my philosophy on extended entry usage.

Wittenberg Gate
GOOD POINTS: Good technicals, and a blog whose posts are reliably on theme.
BAD POINTS: Small gender-identification problem. I was surprised to find out Dory was a woman. Probably because I was thinking of the dwarf Dori from "The Hobbit". Might consider changing tagline to "One woman's thoughts on..."

Those colors - burnt orange and gold? My mom used to have those in her kitchen in the 70's. I'm just grateful to be spared the avacado green. Maybe a bright, cheery pastel of some kind. Aesthetics aside, the black type on the burnt orange sidebar is a little eye-strainy. Consider a combination with better contrast.

Finally, another victim of excessive use of extended entries. I want to read you and you're slowing me down. Bad blogger! Don't make me wait for that page to load! Like I told Jon, see my philosophy on extended entry usage. Think about your readers' convenience. Or at least take a survey.


Cyn's Sim: 8.5
Personal Trainer: 12
Wittenberg Gate: 12

News From the Great Beyond's Ruling

All hail Queen Cyn! Her reign has been an extended one due to the lack of tournament during the holidays, and lack of participation last week... unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and we have two pretenders to the throne that must be reckoned with.

I must say, Jon of Personal Trainer and Dory of Wittenberg Gate took Nick's instructions to heart, especially the part about sucking up to the judges. I feel well and truly sucked-up-to. Jon took the time to post a "Homage to the Court" roundup each day of this week's tournament... and Dory found my toothpaste post much more fascinating than anyone who is not sucking up had a right to. Heh.

And now, on with the Queen's rulings! (Hrm. Now that we have a new reigning Queen, does that make me the Queen Mum or something? I don't think I want to know.)

Overall Blog/Design

Cyn Sim: Since I reviewed Cyn's blog in depth last round, and she has made no significant changes that I can see, I'll keep this rating at a 4.

Personal Trainer: What you have here is a very nice color scheme and a lovely header graphic, clean layout and lots of good technical points. I see some "about me" information that gives us a clue who we're conversing with here. The one thing I think I'd suggest you add is a "search this site" box - Google has a free search tool you can add to your sidebar with very little hassle. Harvey will tell you the same thing. There seems to be something trippy going on with your Archives listing in the sidebar - it's got an extra 12/27/04 through 1/2/05 week showing, and it's out of order - but that's probably a Typepad glitch and I won't mark that down. Frankly, there's not a lot negative to say here. I'll rate Personal Trainer an overall 4. Very nice.

Wittenberg Gate: Another very technically good site - Typepad helps, doesn't it? I'd never have gotten my site set up this well without it... I see a link to Dory's Bio (which I found rather amusing... Dory is a brave, brave woman homeschooling a high-schooler). I see a search box. I see lots of good linkage and working comments and trackback. The color scheme is neutral and easy-to-read. If I had to offer a constructive comment, I'd suggest adding some punch with a banner graphic (perhaps incorporating your sidebar art), but it's not really necessary. I like the listing of favorite posts in the left sidebar: it gives new readers a chance to go back and read some of the posts you feel define your writings without having to sift through your entire site archive. Wittenberg Gate gets a 4 also.

Submitted Post

Cyn Sim: Cyn entertains us this week with a post from July of last year about TV crushes. I've never seen this "Outback Jack" show of which she speaks, but I'm mildly amused by the descriptions of the tricks the girls use to win Jack's attention. I've seen these very ploys used by... well, mostly high schoolers. I gather we're talking about a reality show here. I'm not so much into reality shows, with the exception (and I don't really know why) of The Apprentice. While this post was well-written, it didn't engage me as much as last round's "How to Look Like Britney" slam. Queen Songstress gives Queen Cyn a 3 for this effort.

Personal Trainer: Oooh, big words. OK, so "theodicy" isn't really a big word, just one that's not really used by those who don't study theology and the like. OK, at least I don't use it. But now I know what it means, thanks to Jon. Jon's given us a meaty post to chew on, discussing the variety of religious responses to the Southeast Asia Tsunami, and relating our feeble human attempts to explain why God does something to the Book of Job. I'm strangely drawn to the Book of Job. It's like a giant cosmic case of irony or something. Here we have poor put-upon Job, knowing he did nothing to deserve the calamities that have come upon him, having to defend himself to his three friends for what seems like forever. Then God shows up, and you'd expect Him to tell Job "You're right, you didn't do anything wrong. Your friends were flat-out wrong and you're one of the good guys." But no, He says "Who are you to question me anyway?" And we're left with the understanding that God has the ability to control every circumstance for His purposes, but He will not necessarily explain Himself to us even if we ask. That takes faith. Anyway, enough expounding on Jon's point. He makes his point well, and I'm giving him a 4 for this post.

Wittenberg Gate: Dory presents us with this gem of a response to atheism - don't try to convince them intellectually that God exists. This is another very well-written post, and one that takes an approach to this issue that I've never heard before. Maybe I've had my head in the sand, and volumes have been written making her exact points - but I don't read volumes of books like that anyway. I read the Bible, and I read a few devotional books, and I read a whole lot of mystery and suspense novels to give my brain a break. Dory's insight here is interesting. Another 4 for this effort.

Challenge Post

Cyn Sim: Cyn was dealing with an illness and did not complete the challenge question this week. Unfortunately, this is sure to cause her to be dethroned in this round - but I for one hope she will throw her hat back into the ring for a future tournament round. I was so looking forward to seeing her creativity on this question, too.

Personal Trainer: OK, it seems we must go through this every week. Future competitors take note: We judges really prefer it when contestants find a more creative way to introduce their challenge response than "I had this question to answer for the King of the Blogs Tournament, so here's the question and here's my answer." Creativity in the format of the response is almost as important as the creativity of the response itself... however, due to the short turn-around time for an answer, I think my expectations are too high. Four days is perhaps not enough time for someone who works (or attends school) full time to come up with a great idea and then draw a comic strip or photoshop some images or film a short TV show pilot or some such thing. I think a short script would have been a pretty good way to present this challenge post, though. Oh well. Enough of what I can't have. What I do have here is a very good question to work with, and Jon, who obviously spent a great deal of time and effort researching the judges', commissioner's and hosts' interests and lives. His premise sounds just like a 1980's sitcom, and the characters he's developed are spot-on funny. Especially Harv. Great job, Jon... You're getting a 4.5. I reserve a 5 for someone who wows me with the presentation. *wink*

Wittenberg Gate: Same deal with the desperate desire for a more creative presentation format... but here we have another good job with both the premise and the characterization. Dory gets a bonus for writing the theme song herself... Am I to presume that the evil Rey Glenn is intended to refer to the Puppy Blender himself? I am amused at the mental picture of myself as a singing sports reporter... and I do like sports other than baseball, but you probably would never be able to tell by my blog, since I do expound at length about MLB and pretty much ignore every other major sport. But that said, Go SUNS! *ahem* Seriously, or as serious as I can get when looking at this campy show premise - I mean that in a good way - I was a bit confused by your reference to Harvey's left-wing bias. I've got to figure that was a bit of a fudge of the facts just to give your show an antagonist? Because good ol' Harv may be an atheist and on the racy side, but I think he'd take offense to being characterized as left-wing in any way, shape or form. All things considered, a very promising idea that I'd love to have seen fleshed out a bit more. Lamentations about the lack of a script again. Dory gets a 4, only because I think Jon put more effort into the research.

The Queen Mum's Rulings

Cyn Sim: 7
Personal Trainer: 12.5
Wittenberg Gate: 12

Smarter Cop's Rulings

My rulings:

Cyn's Sim


Bonus points for spotting the word 'lapdance' as I perused the blog.

Stylewise, it remains true to form, with a crisp quality, bits of humor and personality (including the arousing haiku) wrapped inside. Still didn't get the hint from last week about the blogroll, but I'm satisfied that she fixed the broken links from last week.
Excellent design! 4 points.


Alas, I keep trying to explaining to my significant other why I don't shave every day, and she doesn't believe me. Cyn's got the goods on how to attract a guy and how a guy should just, er, let himself go to win over a girl's attention, if not her heart. Of course, she should have explained to her man-friend that the four-o'clock shadow is probably not the best idea for job interviews and loan applications. Not bad, entertaining, a little fluffy with the snark. 4


The reigning Queen, alas, has contracted a rare and deadly disease, and could not participate in this weeks challenged. Or, was she poisoned?!?!

Personal Trainer


KOTB banner is right up front and on top, which is good. The About banner is precisely where it should be. It doesn't have to be a life story, but it helps to be able to refer to a blogger by his/her name/alias.. Egads! I thought I'd seen the last of the Calendar archive formats! Good division with posts, excellent three-column format, with no
incongruity. I like the way the categories are listed at the bottom of the post. I've seen several blogs do this, and appreciate the referential capability. Everything's there, right where it should be, though I wish some that the sidebar font could be made more visible. 4 points.


Boy, did I get a theology lesson and a half! I've heard every explanation (including the ones Jon lists in his posts) for why bad things happen to people, and why there can be such calamity in the world. And shame on me for not noticing the simple, subtle, yet dead-on message found in the book of Job.... that we are in no position to
question God, but that we should trust that what God has planned for us is far better than anything we could ever hope for from this world. I particularly like the breakdowns by different religions. 4 points.


Talk about stereotypes! Next thing you know, Jon will be casting me as Irish! Heh.. sounds like a pretty decent show with the capacity for some, er, odd situations. I'm impressed with his ability to keep up to date with his blog reading, especially the blogs belonging to those in whom his blogospheric destiny is entrusted. Needless to say, I'd be interested to hear if he is able to incorporate this motley group of personalities into his next sermon. 4.5 points, the .5 being added for mention of my favorite teams.

Wittenberg Gate


This site immediately established one of those subconscious connections; perhaps because I have actually been to Wittenberg gate, and am familiar with the life of Martin Luther. Anyhow, up top is the KOTB banner and an email address, with a nice compact, informative About page. In many ways Wittenberg Gate and Personal Trainer have a similar format... I'm led to wonder if there was a similar collaboration here. One thing that Wittenberg Gate doesn't have (thank God) is that Calendar. I don't know
why I dislike it, it just makes no sense to me to have one. There hasn't been a whole lot done to the template; I find the brown and blue/black color scheme a bit distracting. At least the color scheme or font size should be altered to make the sidebar a little bit easier to read. 3 points.


Dory makes an outstanding point on the pursuits of atheists who spend much of their lives merely trying to prove to people that God doesn't exists and remove Him from their lives. Then Dory concludes that we're trying to reach out to atheists from the wrong perspective, one that tries to prove something to them that they already
know. This is certainly a unique and refreshing perspective; I'm liking the lot of the blog postings this week, but this one stands above the others. 5 points.


I know more than to give up on a post halfway through reading it, and this time I was not disappointed. At first, Dory's entry was a bit thin, a bit dry, with some rays of sunshine sprinkled within (for example, how did she know that my second career choice was a meteorologist?).. but blaming the weather on Democrats? Everyone knows that I blame it all on that jerk holding up traffic in front of me, with his tied-on exhaust pipe and his devil-may-care-if-the-light-is-green attitude, and his blinker pointed in the opposite direction... it's all HIS fault! Anyhow, it was to my utmost relief that I came across her delightful little poem, and being a lover of poetry (and of Gilligan's Island), I had a change of heart about Dory's Challenge post. Though I simply can't imagine working under a Ted-Turneresque Evil Glenn, I appreciate the late night broadcast of seven castaways on a deserted island. 4 points.

Cyn's Sim: 8
Personal Trainer: 12.5
Wittenberg Gate: 12

Judge's Totals:

Cyn's Sim: 23.5
Personal Trainer: 37
Wittenberg Gate: 36

Poll Results:

personal trainer 122
Wittenberg Gate 27
Cyn's Sim 8

Trackback Results:

Personal Trainer: 2
Cyn's Sim: 1

So total bonus points for each is:

Personal Trainer: 6
Cyn's Sim: 3
Wittenberg Gate: 2

Grand Total:

and the winner of this week's Odd Contest is Spreading His Word. Congrats!

Posted by Nick Queen at January 16, 2005 01:27 AM

Songstress - I assumed that Dory's casting of me as a liberal was a bit of creative irony, sort of like nicknaming a fat guy "Slim" or a bald guy "Curly" :-)

Posted by: Harvey at January 17, 2005 09:22 PM
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