March 07, 2005

Results are In! (Finally)

Hi folks. I was waiting for one of the Judges, but decided that it was time to post the results from the two judges that we did get results from.

So, here goes:

Judgment Day for the King of the Blogs! The reigning king is Jeremy of American Warmonger. All hail the king! There's two new pretenders this week, making the attempt at usurping the throne. Today is judgment day for all three of them.

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


"The blogosphere has just been cast in a "Scoobyesqe" new Saturday morning cartoon, complete with surprise famous guests. Cast the episode with bloggers, pick a surprise guest, and pick a surprise villain. Extra points for lyrics to theme song and other extras"
American Warmonger GOOD POINTS: Long, detailed, and very well-thought out. With long posts, my attention span sometimes wanders, but this one kept me reading and laughing throughout! Great job! BAD POINTS: No drink warning before the post so I know to not be caught drinking while reading -- my nose hurts. SCORE: 4.83

Blue Glow Worm GOOD POINTS: Nicely done. Good casting with clear knowledge of bloggers and judges. Excellent format and layout, too. BAD POINTS: No need to describe the post or the reason for doing it -- just make the post and let people wonder.
SCORE: 3.81

Thoughts of Mike GOOD POINTS: Well-designed and good poking fun at the other pretenders. Hilarious surprise guest! BAD POINTS: A little much on the foul language. No need to introduce the post, just post and if people don't get that it's the submission, all the better!
SCORE: 4.54


American Warmonger INITIAL REACTION: Billy's Beanatorium has white mints in the toilets now? Excellent, I'm going there tonight! GOOD POINTS: Well-written and thought out. Good plan, even if I think it would be crap when implemented. I still don't like the approved use of "its" vs. "it's," but it was done correctly. BAD POINTS: 3rd paragraph, after "welfare" should be a semi-colon to avoid a sentence fragment. Dollar sign always appears before the number: $250, not 250$.
SCORE: 4.16

Blue Glow Worm
INITIAL REACTION: Well-designed, excellent layout, compact and very easy to read.
GOOD POINTS: Well-thought out and outlined post. Good development of a thought from beginning to middle to end with closing. Very good writing.
BAD POINTS: Censorship paragraph -- 5th sentence -- extra comma after fear, and it's a run-on sentence: after "violence" should be a semicolon, not a comma. A few extra commas in the "Freedoms" paragraph, too. Yeah, I'm picky, but I'm the judge.
SCORE: 4.79

Thoughts of Mike
INITIAL REACTION: Good story. Was the original title, "A Wallet And It's Emptying Story?"
GOOD POINTS: Excellent. With all the various quotations and conversations, it was sure to have grammatical errors, but I saw none. Brilliant. Nice staying with story line, including pictures and score keeping.
BAD POINTS: The first watch picture is out of focus, while the second is not. How many margaritas did he have that night?
SCORE: 4.95


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: Excellent, an improvement on last week, and last week was good! This is going to be a tough category to beat the King in.GOOD POINTS: Minor changes and fixes to last week, based on judge's feedback. Good move. And a new llama for the week? Even better!BAD POINTS: You know, I actually can't find any. And that's rare for me, especially in this category. Wait, there is it! There's a broken link to an image at the bottom (for blogspotting) with no alternate text. Do not include images without alternate text. Ever.
SCORE: 4.94

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: 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

Thoughts of Mike:
NOTES: Awful standard and boring.
GOOD POINTS: Good layout, spacing in posts, and contrast. Easily readable content, good blogrolls and King of Blogs thingy.
BAD POINTS: Optimized for Firefox? Then why do I have to scroll? My window is the same size as the blogger frame at the top of the page, but the content is wider than that, causing scrolling. Also, there is no margin between the text and the side of the page -- very hard to read. No llamas. Whitespace strange -- sometimes large and wide, sometimes narrow.
SCORE: 2.41


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

American Warmonger: +1 Even more linky-love and llamas (and the classic llama song.)
Blue Glow Worm: +0.5: a few suck-up links on the page -- strangely enough many through various different blogrolls...
Thoughts of Mike: -0.5: Not a single link to the judges other than the King of Blogs thingy.


King of the Blogs Tournament: Week 10 Judging

The Queen is cranky this week. Oh, yes, pretenders to the throne, you would do well to tremble at that thought. You see, the lot of you - even the King, such as he is - have failed miserably at sucking up to the judges. At least this judge. Oh, sure, Jeremy managed to leave a comment or two on my blog... but I see no obsequious flattery, no trackbacks or daily link roundups (a la King Jon of Personal Trainer), and most of all, NOT ONE OF YOU RECOGNIZED ME ON MY BLOGIVERSARY. Off with ALL of your heads. And now, if you are sufficiently chastised, on with the rulings. You have been warned.

Overall Blog/Design

American Warmonger: Jeremy has taken my advice and removed the auto-play aspect of the music on his site. Which is good, because have I mentioned how much that annoys me? Other changes from last week... well... let's see, in Firefox his banner graphic doesn't show up (at least, it doesn't today - it did earlier this week). Also earlier this week I know I saw some additional "about me" information which has now disappeared, guess it was a bit too much for him. Overall the site looks better in IE than it does in Firefox - you can't see the blue borders and the separation between the center column and the sidebars in Firefox, for instance. But still a very nice design... and no annoying music this time. American Warmonger gets a 4.5.

Blue Glow Worm: I found Blue Glow Worm a couple of months back through Blog Explosion, so I was already familiar with Dean's site (and was on his blogroll). Dean has an attractive site, easy on the eyes, laid out well and easy-to-read. Working comments - but no trackback (gasp!). Searchable archives, but no "about me" information. This is a frequent complaint of mine, for those who read my reviews often. I like to have a bit of information about the author just to be able to put the opinions expressed on the blog in some sort of context - age range, profession, religion, geographical area, marital status, or something where, as a new reader, I can say "Oh, so that's where he's coming from!" If I feel like I know the author, at least a little bit, it makes me care more about what he or she thinks. You dig? Blue Glow Worm gets an overall 4 - good job.

Thoughts of Mike: White text on a black background, with a splash of pale green, light blue, and purple accents... hmm, sounds familiar - I can't complain about that color scheme. However, Mike (I'm assuming redhairblueface is the Mike whose Thoughts are in question) hasn't done much else to really give this basic black theme personality and pizzaz. I'd like to see a banner graphic of some sort to provide some punch. The "redhairblueface" photo does give a bit of personality, I'll grant that. "About Me" information is sparse and mildly amusing, between interests listed to include "You", "Them", "George W. Bush", "Simple Green", "Sock", "The", and "Tar"... and the "I can't read" under favorite books... Well, it's either mildly amusing or annoyingly cryptic. Whichever. Anywho, on technical merits, we have Blogger system comments (not as much teh suck as they used to be) and no trackback... Blogger bar searchable archives... We have no blogroll, which kind of makes Mike seem as if he's not really "part of the community" as it were. Not a bad site overall, but nothing really "wows" me here - it's almost as if Mike hasn't really put in much effort to make his blog different, special... personal. There's nothing wrong with that in general, but for one who would be King, I expect less apathy. Thoughts of Mike gets a 3.

Submitted Post

American Warmonger: Wow, welfare has been in the back of your mind for a long time? Sounds like that could cause some swelling and discomfort. (Sorry, I'm incapable of not being a smarta$$ every now and then.) Jeremy has given us a very compelling post, and an intriguing suggestion to solve the problem of how to get people off welfare and into the work force if they cannot find full-time work that pays more than their government check. Overall the post is really well written... However, you know you can't escape without a little bit of nitpicking, yes? I know when you say an amount of money you say the word "dollars" after the amount, but when writing it, it really is easier to read if the dollar sign comes first. Otherwise I have no complaints. I'm too tired to address the suggestion itself, but it does bear further consideration. If it had been downright stupid at first glance I'd have to point that out, trust me. This submitted post earns a 4.

Blue Glow Worm: Dean presents us with a sober look at the new Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. He also presents us with liberal use of punctuation, sometimes where it is not warranted: "Additionally, there are many people in Congress, who talk about freedom." (Hi, my name is Songstress7. I'm not an English Teacher but I play one on my blog.) This post is well written (unneccessary commas aside) and thought-provoking... I'm not entirely sure I agree with all the points he's made, but the sticking point with me (and the point that sticks with me) is the fact that the FCC's definition of indecency is very vague. I was a Radio/TV major, I was required to take a broadcast law class and that was one thing I recall particularly well. Indecency is entirely too subjective under the current FCC policies, and the threat of huge fines - while most likely sparing us from further "wardrobe malfunction" incidents - does have a chilling effect on free speech. For Christians, the serious question then becomes "When does society decide that the name of Jesus Christ is offensive and indecent?" It's a smaller step than you think. For prompting this mini-lecture, Blue Glow Worm's submitted post earns a 4.5.

Thoughts of Mike: OK, wow. Interesting story. You missed censoring one of the "F" words, by the way. Mike's writing style is pretty clear, but I do have to nitpick something in every post and this one really bothered me: the story changes from being told in past tense to being told in present tense several times. Distracting. Another thing that distracts a Grammar Cop like me: "When Golf-Hat Boy explicitly expresses the need, nay, the requirement of his superior intellect to use such words like "planarly", I feel the need to remind him of the Orwellian rule to never SPLIT AN INFINITIVE!" I won't say I never do it myself. Sometimes it's the easiest way to make a sentence sound natural and understandable at the same time... but every time I do it, I HATE IT. Oh, and my biggest complaint - based on the title of this post, somehow I expected a little more drama than getting conned out of one dollar by a random college girl. What.A.Let.Down. This submitted post earns a 3.

Challenge Post

Just for a reminder... the challenge was:

The blogosphere has just been cast in a "Scoobyesqe" new Saturday morning cartoon, complete with suprise famous guests. Cast the episode with bloggers, pick a suprise guest, and pick a supruse villian. Extra points for lyrics to theme song and other extras.

American Warmonger: First, no lame intro *cheers*! Thanks, Jeremy, you have no idea how annoying that is for the judges. Great jorb, Hamstray! I do like the topical segue into the challenge response - it could have been just another post on the sorry state of the movie industry, but it morphs seamlessly into a very entertaining Scooby-esque cartoon. Nice homage to the judges - Jeremy is the only contestant to have included the judges in his cast, and therefore will be rewarded. Additional props for explaining the genesis of "Evil Glenn". Barbara Boxer, disguised as Dan Rather, disguised as Glenn Reynolds - quite the show. Jeremy has done an admirable job of responding to the challenge - we have the blogosphere-related cast, the surprise guest who is also the villain... no attempt at the theme song, but a resounding success nonetheless. Jeremy gets a 4.5 for this challenge response.

Blue Glow Worm: Dean has attempted to intro the challenge response with a bit of gratuitous linking to the judges and something a tad bit less annoying than the "here's the King of the Blogs challenge question and here is my answer" intro against which I rail on a weekly basis. Something about the cast Dean has assembled disturbs me... I know technically he qualifies, since there is a blog on his site, but I just don't think of Ted Rall as a blogger. When I think of him (and I prefer not to think of him at all), I think "irritating racist left-wing moonbat quasi-cartoonist". I was kind of hoping for more than a cast list out of this response - perhaps a photoshopped picture of the Scooby Doo gang with the new blogger cast faces added... or like Jeremy did, a script or episode summary. A badly sketched storyboard would have sufficed. I was left unsatisfied, wanting more creativity from this response. Blue Glow Worm gets a 3.

Thoughts of Mike: Lame "here's the question for the King of the Blogs contest and here's my response" intro. Very loosely covers the "Scooby-esque" portion of the challenge... I suppose Paris Hilton qualifies as the surprise guest and surprise villain? There is a script... and a theme song... but you know, I just didn't find it all that entertaining. Extra points for the creativity shown in providing a theme song and script... points docked for lame intro. I'll try to avoid letting my distaste for the coarse language and anything involving Paris Hilton in general color my rating... Thoughts of Mike earns a 3.5.

The Queen's Rulings

Did I mention that I was extremely displeased with the lack of sucking up to the judges this week? Did I mention that NOBODY so much as commented on the fact that Tuesday was my first Blogiversary? No links, no flattery, no congratulations. Therefore, all contestants will have their score cut in half for this round of the tournament. The Queen has spoken.

American Warmonger: 13 6.5

Blue Glow Worm: 11.5 5.75

Thoughts of Mike: 9.5 4.75

So the results are:

Thoughts of Mike 23.9
American Warmonger 29.93
Bule Glow Worm 24.93

This week's winner is once agan American Warmonger.

Next week's Challengers should pay attention to the Judges' ruling this week. One judge took off points for lack of links and sucking-up. And Judge Songstress hacked everyone's points in half for not mentioning her blogiversary.

Be warned, no links could very well lead to no crown.

Posted by christweb at March 7, 2005 12:27 AM

are you guys for real?

seriously, mike kicked the other guys ASSES.

if this shit was just about WRITING, (like it should be), HE SHOULD BE THE KING.

end of rant.

Posted by: heather deeeee at March 7, 2005 11:32 AM

Writing is only ONE part of the competition -- there's also links, blog design, voting, trackbacks, and more!

Posted by: Ogre at March 7, 2005 12:49 PM

"My name is Blog Queen, and I've found a way of masturbating that forces my brains out through my uterus! Yaaaay!!"

Posted by: Keith at March 7, 2005 09:57 PM

How many points is having actual fans worth?

Posted by: Michael at March 7, 2005 10:35 PM

personally, i don't care what people's "blogrolls" look like, just if i can read their writing. it's the absolute most important thing about a blog. writing.

and "foul" language? please...

Posted by: heather deeeeeeee at March 7, 2005 11:30 PM

So much complaining over something so trivial.

Posted by: Norrin Radd at March 9, 2005 08:23 PM
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