February 19, 2005

Results are In!

King of the Blogs Tournament: Week 8 Judging

King Bird (*snicker* - still sounds funny to me) retained his throne last week - but can he hold the crown for a third week, ensuring himself a spot in the Hall of Kings? His chances are better this week as he has only one pretender to defeat. Let the judging begin!

Overall Blog/Design

The Radical Centrist: No visible changes from last week... so last week's comments will stand. The Radical Centrist gets a 4.

The Engineer's Log Book: OK, I first viewed the site in Firefox, which was fine - but then I checked it in IE6 because Firefox informed me that I needed additional plugins, and I discovered that our friend the Engineer here has foisted music upon us with no way to turn it off. Bad move, my friend. It's not that I have anything against the song "Hotel California", but I find websites with music that plays automatically with no "stop" button in sight to be extreeeeeeemely annoying. In addition to this heinous crime, Sabri is using a Blogger template that I've seen a bazillion times. It's one of the more attractive Blogger templates, true. But still... *sigh* Otherwise, we have Haloscan comments and trackback, which is a plus... and the Blogger bar at the top allows us to search the archives acceptably well. Not too shabby... but I can't get past the music. The Engineer's Log Book gets a 2.5.

Submitted Post

The Radical Centrist: What? Using last week's challenge post as this week's submitted post? Well, it was funny, it was well-written... It just seems like a cop-out to me. I'd prefer to see something fresh and new. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I think we need a ruling from the hosts and/or commissioner on this issue. Last week I gave it a 5... but I'm knocking him down a point for lack of effort here. The Radical Centrist gets a 4.

The Engineer's Log Book: Methinks Sabri is another blogger whose first language is not English - his profile shows him based in Malaysia. There are certainly grammatical problems here - missing words, wrong tense, sentence construction issues... but overall they do not detract much from the readability of the post. Sabri's topic is an interesting one - fear, and how it impairs us in our daily lives. I'd have plenty to say about it myself, but I'm just looking at Sabri's thoughts here. He expresses himself well (taking the language issue into account) and definitely gets his point across. This submitted post gets a solid 3.5.

Challenge Post

The Radical Centrist: Hey! No lame intro! Bird jumps right into his post this time, which you know is going to make me a happy camper. As for the poem itself, he had me in the palm of his hand (good meter, nice job rhyming without stretching too much)... until the very end, when he obviously confuses me with someone who knows how to sew. If you really want to suck up to the judges, it would be a good idea to make sure to get their names right. Ya think? Aside from the fact that my blog is no longer pink (as of today), I am touched by the gesture... and I think I can find it in me to rate this challenge post a 4. I'd give it a 5, but c'mon, Seamstress?

The Engineer's Log Book: Sabri jumps right into his poem as well without the dreaded "this is the challenge question and here is my response" intro - a strong positive. As a poem, this entry is a bit disjointed - at the beginning, it seems Sabri was trying to set a meter and standard rhyming scheme (stretching it a bit, but trying valiantly)... but then gives up on meter and rhyme entirely after the third stanza and eventually ends with a haiku. The haiku is a nice touch, and my favorite part of the whole thing. Despite the fact that Sabri didn't pick me *sniff sniff*, Harvey is a worthy choice (as is Pietro - I love both of these guys)... so I'm giving it a 3.

The Queen's Rulings

The Radical Centrist: 12

The Engineer's Log Book: 9


There's nothing sadder than cowardice. One of the pretenders wasn't man enough to face the final trial, leaving only 2 men standing in the dusty street, hands sweatily clutching weapons, looking to draw blood...


Write a poem explaining which judge you like the most.

Jay of The Radical Centrist:
GOOD POINTS: I don't frequently laugh out loud, but my wife was poking her head in the room and asking me what was so funny. Curse you, you home-wrecker!
BAD POINTS: Insensitively homophobic about doing a little man-on-man blog-love. Someone, apparently, is not very secure in his manhood. Also, the meter was off on the poem for "Seamstress", thus immediately destroying every shred of good will built up by the preceeding 729 stanzas.

Sabri of The Engineer's Log Book:
GOOD POINTS: Hey, that's MY sweet, hairy tuckus he's kissing. Cool!
BAD POINTS: I'm making some allowance for Sabri not being a native speaker of English, so if he's a little short on making his idioms sing, that's ok. However, what bugged me about this one was that he didn't stick with one style in the poem. At first it seemed to have meter AND rhyme, then only meter, then nothing. I found the change irritating. Free verse all the way through would've worked better. Also, I don't think Haiku are 3/8/5.


The Radical Centrist: The Theory of Blogativity
GOOD POINTS: Give last week's well-received challenge post as this week's submitted post and save yourself a butt-load of work? BRILLIANT! Give that man a Guinness! Also, having read Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time", I found the presentation hilarious.
BAD POINTS: None visible. You ROCK, Jay! :-)

The Engineer's Log Book: We Live to Fear
GOOD POINTS: Love the positive message: "Live no fear".
BAD POINTS: Again, a small pass for not being a native speaker, I'll focus on the content rather than execution. Nice anecdotal start (Aladdin's lamp), good segue to the topic - fear is bad, fear holds you back, losing fear would be a good thing - and then... nothing. This piece would've been better if it had given some practical techniques for eliminating fear (take deep breaths, visualize yourself being successful, etc). Sadly, that part is missing, so all the build-up is wasted because there's no payoff.
SCORE: 3.5


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...

The Radical Centrist
GOOD POINTS: In the two weeks since I last judged this site, Jay has fixed all my complaints. Blind obedience to my whims is always a plus.
BAD POINTS: I've gotta whine about something, so I'll whine about this: the title "The Radical Centrist" is, ironically, more toward the left side of the page. Is this deliberate? Subconscious? Whatever. Also, that vast expanse of cream-colored background is a little dull, especially against the only-marginally-contrasting white background in the main column and sidebar. Might consider breaking it up, or at least making the background on the title banner a more strongly-contrasting color.
SCORE: 4.5

The Engineer's Log Book:
GOOD POINTS: All the technicals are in place, and bonus on Sabri for posting his picture so as to immediately eliminate any gender confusion (Sabri being a gender-neutral name in the ears of most Americans).
BAD POINTS: Standard blogger template with little color, style, flair, or personality. Sabri should consider poking around in his template a bit & changing a few colors or fonts. Now, on a personal note, I want to congratulate Sabri for having the stones to throw his hat in the ring. Although the more subtle nuances of English elude him, he's still young, and if he pays attention while immersing himself in American pop culture, he could be a Malaysian Arnold Schwarzenegger, living his dream.

Live No Fear, Sabri.
SCORE: 3.5


The Radical Centrist: 14.5
The Engineer's Log Book: 10

The Engineer's Log Book


I knew from the outset when I skimmed this blog that I would have been a tad unfair to revert to my stodgy old Grammar Cop (no relation of course to my smarter cop') persona. Chances are, Sabri is leagues ahead of me in multilingualism, and it's apparent from this choice post that the language of the heart often overtakes the language that's written when the theme and goal is true enough. Anyhow, Sabri divulges what to him what would be his first wish if he had the opportunity to take advantage of a three wish genie (i.e., one of the old 9th century models). For his most important wish, he would choose to be free of fear. He gives some very convincing points regarding relationships, life decisions, and success; though I tend to be of the belief that fear, when controlled, is our body's warning mechanism for detecting real, credible danger.. despite many of us being able to overcome unnecessary and overblown fear, if we ignore all of our fears we may become careless and foolhardy. We're not invincible creatures, you know. This post is well thought out and obviously the person behind it has given it a lot of thought. This was an excellent choice. 4 points.


I've noticed lately that our contestants have opted for more simplistic, black on white designs. I would challenge each of them to take a risk and use a little color. You don't have to be effeminate to appreciate and use a good color scheme. Having said that, I found the quaint little HR separators to be a nice touch - if only Sabri used them or something like them to
distinctively separate his posts. I'm not sure if this is a Blogger template, or if Sabri constructed the header himself, but the graphic is an attractive, clean design. I had to scroll down a bit to see the background graphic, he may want to make
use of CSS a little bit to facilitate the *whatever it is down bottom that looks pretty cool* as a fixed background - as long, of course, as he doesn't obstruct from the reading of posts. Archives are intact, and Sabri uses comments and trackbacks, as everyone should. I like the quote up top, and I see you've been doing your BRP (brownie points research) and inserted the three judges into your blogroll. Nicely done. Take advantage of the suggestions I've included, and yours will be a spiffy blog indeed. 3.5 points.


Oh! Poems! As many of us literati may know, poems present a difficult judging task. You see, some of the least literate and grammatically sound among us can fail miserably at prose, but separate the mess into quatrains and you have a perfectly legitimate poem! Poetry is to words what Cubism is to art. Poems don't necessarily have to rhyme (though Sabri essentially
tried his best at times); they don't have to follow a fixed meter (it's clear he establishes freeform early on); and they don't even have to be quatrains the whole way through. By the way, any resemblance of my blog to anything remotely resembling authoritarianism is purely coincidental, and is all Evil Glenn's fault. And what's with the cryptic "And I doubt/If he will ever pick me/Even if I said, it is he?" Do I come off as mean? Anyhow, good use of navel-gazing, though it's sometimes it's hard to decipher Sabri's mixed verb tenses. I promised not to be picky on the grammar... but I reserve the right to be picky on haiku (alright, so I do have a pinch of authoritarian in me). Haiku is practically my middle name... 5, 7, 5! There can be no other format for haiku! 3 points.

The Radical Centrist


What is this? Isn't there a law against rehashing old challenges for use in subsequent submissions? Granted, this post has all the content of about 3 or 4 of Jay's normal posts, but a force which he has not yet described - the deja vu quotient - has exponentially reduced the effectiveness of the original reading. 2 points.


I'm happy to see Jay didn't go crazy with his extended posts, my only beef against him for the prior weeks of his reign. I'm also happy to see he's included at least a first name or nickname; I'm not sure which, but I'm happy to be able to use it anyhow. Good enough for the missing point! 5 points.


Jay comes roaring back from his disappointing re-post post to stir his creative spark and create a renewed enthusiasm for his original work. It rhymes, it's vaguely Seussian in nature, and it contains all the right elements - The obscure reference to llama. The implicit homophobia. The obligatory jab at the Sunshine State. Using BoSox and favored in the same
paragraph. It's all there... it's all hilarious, and it's refreshing to see Jay up to his usual high-quality form. Just don't use this post next week, k? Oh,wait... I forgot it's his last week. 5 points.

Judges Totals:

Radical Centrist 38.5
Engineers Log Book 29.5

The poll results this week:

Engineer's Log Book 15
Radical Centrist 2

and the Trackback Challenge:


Bonus Totals:

The Radical Centrist 2
Engineer's Log Book 3

Grand Total:

The Radical Centrist 40.5
Engineer's Log Book 32.5

and The Radical Centrist has won yet again! Congrats to the new King!

The Radical Centrist has now won three tournaments in a row, and is therefore retired. Check back next week as three new contestants fight for the crown!

Posted by christweb at February 19, 2005 06:47 PM

Wow! Another close one! Glad it worked out or there would have been an ugly controversy. I didn't submit last week's challenge for this week! I just checked the email! I may be lame, but not that lame! Still, it worked out I guess. At least Bad Example noticed all my changes. I even found the source of the repeating header in IE (Thanks for the catch, btw)

Well, the King is glad that this office is term limited. Somehow I am writing for 6 sites now and I need to slow down a bit. Thanks for the fun! Good luck to next weeks pretenders!

Posted by: Jay Dean at February 20, 2005 03:02 AM

ack! I Goofed!
I Guess Now's as good a time as any to ask... would it be too imposing to ask for a kingly pardon?

Posted by: Pietro at February 22, 2005 09:52 AM

Very interesting! I liked it! Port aBuayar: http://www.allucher.com/sato_blog/archives/2005/04/post_110.html , Fantastic blog

Posted by: Peter Back at September 9, 2005 02:25 AM
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