February 27, 2005

Results Are In!

Before we start I must say this was one of the most pitched battles ever for the throne. It was close throughout the week on trackbacks and the poll, and whatever happens I will be inviting the second runner-up back the week after next. Woe to the pretenders next week facing the lion from this week. This week Radical Centrist is retired as a three time King. I just created a crown for those kings who hold a dynasty, and here it is:

Also welcome the new judge, Ogre. Hi Ogre! On with the tournament!


American Warmonger


I have limited time to judge this weekend, so I'll make these crucial rulings quick so they can meet the deadline, whenever that is. First, except for the little blurb about me, I thought this challenge post was quite clever, though it started off a little slow.. but once Jeremy got down to KOS SMASH! he had me rolling. Negatives for allowing that creative instinct to deaden on the vine by swiping my cute little Einstein graphic; balanced out, however, by a flattering photo of Keith Olberman.

4 points.


First thing, I just about jumped out of my socks at that sudden hit of music, not that it was bad or anything. Anyhow, once I peeled my fingers from between the keys of the keyboard, I found that Jeremy pays astute attention to detail; from the picture that was so carefully cropped so that we couldn't see what was atop his dark-haired pate, to the pseudo quote from Glenn Reynolds (how does that guy manage to say so much about so many people?), to the obsession with llamas, all of the optional goodies are there. But what of the necessities? He's got the blogrolls, the trackbacks (creative monikers in tow), the comments, the mandatory KOTB banner.. even a pretty cool color scheme that lends itself to readability without being too stark.

Additionally, I appreciate the multiple, like dozens or so, trackbacks I've been getting from this site. Not only that, but I've spotted my blog on Jeremy's blogroll.. he's obviously read up on the finer points of buttkissing.

On the negative side, there's not much to gripe about. I've been pretty picky about separations between posts; unfortunately there are none that I can see. Plus, I'd make the music optional instead of letting it rip as soon as someone accesses the site. Nice job.

4 points.


Wow. Gripping account of where Jeremy was on September 11.. he was in the military, as he describes being on a Navy ship working as a crypto. It kind of gives a good background behind his blog's title, and works in a lot of his principles and beliefs about war, national defense, and current affairs. Very good story, lots of self poured into it.

4.5 points.

Dr. Sanity


There's no need to fear, Underdog is here! I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm hungry for a Baby Ruth bar right about now. She shows she's definitely a Dr., nothing less, by mentioning the names of those I only recognize from the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (you know... when the Norwegians take over).

3 points.


I hope nobody bugs me about the conflict of interest here, but Doc happens to be one of my fellow Watcher's Council members. An elite group, Dr. Sanity has come up with some fantastic posts and won quite a few times of late for the content of her blog. Nevertheless, she puts herself at my mercy this week. Muhahaha and all that.

We're talking plain blog*s--t template, nothing fancy here. Not a whole lot of post separation, and pretty much just the basics. Which is fine, since the posts more than make up for the site's simplicity. This is a very good blogger, folks, but the aesthetics need a bit of a makeover.

3.5 points.


Dr. Sanity contributed, as I was hoping, one of her very best posts, and a previous Watchers Council winner! Not a whole lot of people can lay claim to having been involved in space exploration, especially something as historic and tragic as the Challenger, but Pat has a pretty intriguing, riveting story to share... and it brings back a lot of vivid memories (I was just a high school student back then). Great article, an obvious fiver.

5 points.

Ogre's News and Views

Judgement Day for the King of the Blogs! With last week's winner, Radical Centrist, retaining his crown for three consecutive weeks, he is now officially retired. Therefore this week we have three brand new pretenders competing for the crown.
As usual, I will be judging the blogs in 3-1/2 categories: A challenge question, where each blog author responds to a question presented by the host; a submitted entry where each author provides a post; an overall blog rating where I evaluate each blog overall. The half-point is for extra bonus points.
The Judge
On to the judging ...


"Assemble a group of bloggers to be a Superhero team. Explain their powers, and who they will be fighting, and why."
American Warmonger GOOD POINTS: That's good. Very good. Excellent post. Great descriptions, photographs, details showing clear quality sucking-up knowledge of the judges. BAD POINTS: Rusty is the retired llama-steed. A little more research would have borne that out. SCORE: 5.00

Dr Sanity
GOOD POINTS: No humility in naming Dr Sanity as the first superhero. That's a good trait to have in a king (or Queen). Good attempts at buttering up the judge (that's me).
BAD POINTS: Explanation of the reason for the post semi-defeats the purpose of the post. Just answer the question and damn the people who don't get it!
SCORE: 4.11

Blue Glow Worm
GOOD POINTS: There are none.
BAD POINTS: No submission.


Dr Sanity with Challenger: A Flight Surgeon Remembers
INITIAL REACTION: Wow. All I can say is, "Wow."
GOOD POINTS: Very personal and very interesting. I was in Florida at that time as well, standing outside in the parking lot of a strip mall, looking up to the sky, watching what was unfolding without completely comprehending. Well written.
BAD POINTS: A little to serious and heavy for a king. And too emotional. Heck, I've lost my buzz now.
SCORE: 3.97

American Warmonger with Reflections of my military past:
GOOD POINTS: Well-written, with just enough humor "or I would have come back rather crusty." Nicely done, if long, way to describe why a blog is named the way it is.
BAD POINTS: Forrestal is spelled wrong -- it's the USS Forrestal (CVA-5).
SCORE: 3.99

Blue Glow Worm
INITIAL REACTION: Apparently, Blue Glow Worm dropped out of the competition before the week was up. Obviously, it was not kingly material. However, I had already started the review process, so it shows up in the judging!
GOOD POINTS: Once again, none.
BAD POINTS: How many times do I have to tell you? There was no submission!
SCORE: -0.28


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
Readable font style & size
Readable color scheme (I am a HCI computer design expert)
Divisions between posts clearly marked
Paragraphing in entries (NOT just writing one fat block of text)
Overall good use of space vs. content vs. whitespace

American Warmonger
NOTES: Interesting. There is a post at the start of the blog that actually explains the blog and it's layout. I'm not sure how to interpret that. It's good that he explained things, but I'm not sure it's so good that things needed explaining...
GOOD POINTS: All suggested content exists. Unique blogroll with mouseovers to expand the blogrolls -- good use of limited space. Nice, prominent, pair of llamas.
BAD POINTS: Translations to how many languages? I always wondered if people reading blogs in Chinese could actually read the part that says, "Translate to Chinese."
SCORE: 4.88

Dr Sanity:
NOTES: Gaaah! Nothing personal here, but when this page first loaded, there were things all over the place. I usually surf with a browser non-maximized on a 1280x1024 screen -- this gives me lots of real estate, just short of a maximized 800x600. The various sections on the left and the main section jumped back and forth -- one on the right with blanks on the left, then one on the left with blanks on the right. Needs some good fine-tuning with divs and boundary lines, quick!
GOOD POINTS: Content is king, and content is where the focus goes right away. There's nothing wrong with black text on a white background, and it quickly allows the reader to see the content, which is the whole reason for having a blog! Good writing with effective use of white space.
BAD POINTS: Missing most of the suggested items for a blog (listed above). Next time I want to go shopping, I'm headed here -- there's books, Dr. Sanity's book, a tip jar, and other things to buy...not what I'm looking for on a blog site. No llamas.
SCORE: 2.17

Blue Glow Worm
NOTES: Clean layout and quick to load. Text size is a little small small, but individuals can adjust that in their browser (if they know how).
GOOD POINTS: Nice, quick search feature box on the page. I like the mouseover menus at the top of the page. Nice setup of categorized blogrolls. Good contrast, easy to read content with effective blockquote sections.
BAD POINTS: No King of the Blogs thingy. Mouseover items on the top of the page good, but inconsistent. Why do two have drop-down and two do not? Are the other two broken, or do they actually have nothing to drop-down? I can't tell. Why is there a link to HOME on the home page? No "About Me" section that I could find. No llamas.
SCORE: 3.33


From unabashed bribing, linky-love, and obscure references that actually show the contestants know who the judges and other contestants are.

American Warmonger: +1 for serious suck-up links, including llams and the classic llama song, even if he doesn't have the llama song automatically load when visitng.
Blue Glow Worm: -0.5 for not one single King of Blogs link to me, the Judge. I was linked on the page, but it was through two other blogrolls...
Dr Sanity: +0.5 At least some attempt at the linky-love bribing and appropriate sucking up.


News From the Great Beyond

Well, the Radical Centrist retained his crown last week and has now been retired to the Hall of Kings, wherever that may be, never to be seen again. *ahem*

This week we have two pretenders vying to succeed him on the throne of Blogdom... so with no further delay, the Queen's rulings!

Overall Blog/Design

American Warmonger: Mr. Warmonger - I mean, Jeremy - gives us a very patriotic/military theme, which is not a bad thing. He's consistent with the desert fatigue colors and the red, white and blue throughout, with American flags in the background and a nicely done header graphic centered on the page. The color scheme is easy to read and doesn't annoy me in the least, which is more than I can say about many other blogs I've seen lately. Even my own previous design annoyed me after a while *wink*. Decent - if a little sparse - "about me" information is provided, and a photo. Haloscan comments and trackback - check. Blogger bar searchability, cool. Music playing automatically when the page is opened - boo, hiss!!! At least (unlike our friend The Engineer from last week) this one has a "stop" button. Still, automatically playing music is intrusive and annoying. That said, Jeremy's site has a lot of personality and good technical elements. I'll give it a 4, despite the music.

Dr. Sanity: This is one of the less attractive standard Blogger templates I run across on a regular basis. I know, Harvey's Beloved Wife uses it as well... and I'm hoping she gets some assistance in designing a new look as soon as possible *wink*. Similarly, Dr. Pat gives us some "about me" information, which is better than none, and a photo... Haloscan comments and trackback here as well... Blogger bar search... All in all, good on the technicals, but a bit short on the individual personality. I can't complain too horribly much about Blogger templates, but for a potential future Blogosphere ruler, I hope to see a bit more effort put into the aesthetics. There are blog design companies out there (Web Divas, Elegant Webscapes and Blog Moxie are ones I can think of off the top of my head) that have very reasonable rates to design Blogspot skins or templates - $45 to $55 is not a bad deal. That would be my suggestion for future wanna-be competitors, to provide a unique but polished look to a Blogspot blog. Dr. Sanity gets a 3.5.

Submitted Post

American Warmonger: Obligatory nitpickiness: Something about the phrase "each time it has met with good review" makes no sense - either "a good review" or "good reviews" would be better... "World Trade Center", "White House" and "Pentagon" should probably be capitalized... some typos or wrong word choices here and there, but mostly nothing that detracts from reading this gripping story about 9/11 and its aftermath from Jeremy's point of view. Jeremy wanders off topic for a bit in there, and realizes it - the bit about the President (Clinton I assume) disrespecting the office and causing international embarassment - but for the most part, this is a coherent essay and kept my interest. I'll give American Warmonger a 3.5 for this submitted entry.

Dr. Sanity: More obligatory nitpickiness: The fifth paragraph, there are so many parenthetical comments that one of the sentences ends up being a sentence fragment with a parenthetical comment that never closes... could have used a bit more proofreading there, as well as a few other spots with typos. I am frequently tempted by the parenthetical comment bug as well, and at times I need to force myself to re-read a paragraph and rewrite it to do away with some of the parentheses. It can be done! *wink* As for the post itself, wow. Another gripping story, this time of the Challenger disaster, through the eyes of the NASA flight surgeon who was responsible for the crew and their family. I was absolutely fascinated by Pat's account of that day, and chilled by her description of the internal culture of NASA and its near-refusal to learn from past disasters. A very effective piece, well-written and well-crafted. Dr. Sanity gets a 4.5.

Challenge Post

American Warmonger: Jeremy launches right into his challenge response without the dreaded "this is the question, this is my answer" intro - bravo! In fact, the intro he gave was so subtle that I almost didn't recognize it as being related to the challenge question. I think that's a good thing. A couple-few typos stand out, but like the submitted post, they mostly don't detract from the post itself. Jeremy has included images of his superhero bloggers and their nemeses (is that a word?), the MSM villains. He also starts out by properly sucking up to the judges. Nice job, there. On some individual superhero/villain descriptions it seemed he was losing focus and a bit short on creativity... and frankly, I'm not sure Rush Limbaugh belongs in the ranks of the MSM or the villains - he may be a bit of a blowhard and have a well-publicized drug problem, but talk radio isn't really considered mainstream media by most. Overall Jeremy seems to have come up with a pretty good answer - he covered all the elements of the question, and presented it pretty well. I know it's tough to be "blow-me-away" creative in the presentation in the short amount of time the pretenders have to answer the challenge question, but I'm still hoping for something more one of these days (see my comments on Dr. Sanity's challenge response as well). American Warmonger gets a 4.

Dr. Sanity: Ahh, the dreaded intro. I'm sorry, but I have to knock points off for lack of creativity in the intro here - I should just copy and paste my suggestions from every other time one of the pretenders has used it. "If your regular readers would be so freaked out by a post like this out of the blue, try posting an explanation right before posting the chalenge response indicating what you're up to..." Other than the distinctly non-creative intro, Pat earns points for sucking up to the judges *ding ding ding*... I felt the response was a little lacking, though... it would have been nice to have a villain or three to round out the cast. In fact, speaking of the "cast", wouldn't it have just been really cool and creative to write this challenge response as a script? Or a comic strip? *ahem*... Hey, this challenge question seems kind of familiar, now that I think about it. Pat obviously did a bit of reading the judges' blogs to come up with her response - that's always a plus. Nice "Atlas Shrugged" reference, too. But... I'm left feeling just a bit unsatisfied. Dr. Sanity's challenge response earns a 3.

The Queen's Rulings

American Warmonger: 11.5

Dr. Sanity: 11

Judge's Totals:

American Warmonger: 39
Dr. Sanity: 33.5

On to the bonuses. The poll has went back and forth all week. The final shows this:

American Warmonger 88
Dr Sanity 87

and the Trackback Challenge:

Dr. Sanity 7
American Wamonger 5

For a bonus total of:

American Warmonger: 5
Dr. Sanity: 5

and a grand total of:

American Warmonger: 44
Dr. Sanity: 38.5

Congrats to the new King, American Warmonger!

Posted by Nick Queen at February 27, 2005 08:35 AM

nemeses (is that a word?)

It's almost a word. It's spelled nemesis with an I.

Thank you all for your true to life critiques. I shall try harder next week....and start checking for more typos.

Posted by: King Jeremy of Warmonger at February 27, 2005 04:53 PM
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