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March 13, 2005

Results Are In

Let's get started!

SmarterCop

Razor's Kiss

Post:

This is perhaps one of my most favorite passages in the Bible, and Razor tackles it with much enthusiasm (and length). I mean, he really tackles it, bit by bit, cell by cell, molecule by molecule (Greek word by Greek word). This guy knows his Biblical studies, from all appearances. Unfortunately, he makes a single post of what could effectively be turned into an entire weekly study. I know for a fact that my Tues. night Bible study couldn't cover the first section in a night. Regardless, this is red meat for the scholar, and I enjoyed reading it.

4 points.

Site:

Attractive site, lovely imagery, stunning color scheme. This is a very good loooking site, with a lot of substantive posts, a decent size blogroll. On the flip side, not to nitpick but the KOTB banner is a bit subdued; I understand, though that it's keeping in synchronicity with the rest of the site. Would not want to interfere with a truly impressive schema. Got comments, but no trackbacks? So how could there be a trackback policy without trackbacks? Great looking site, lots of stuff, for the most part I like!

4 points.

Challenge:
Nice little bit of prose, but really nothing spectacular to grab me here. Razor's only partly right - a few links would have helped, but so would something more than a sentimental anecdote. I love feel-good stories, but this one seems incomplete, not much more than a brief glimpse into a childhood memory.

3 points.


Political Nightmare

Post:

Liberalism in a nutshell. Excellent. Enough said. For the content of his posts alone, this guy should be king.

4 points.

Site:

NICE heading banner! I took a look at both posts this week, and was duly impressed by the content of the material, and from behind this screen it looks as if the design is equally impressive. Actually, to tell you the truth, it reminds me vaguely of an 80's C-64 video game, but that's irrelevant. The real question is, is everything here and in the proper place? The question is... is this really a blog, or some other kind of opinion-related journal? I had the hardest time finding any kind of comments mechanism, and the trackbacks are practically non-existent. Archives? You have to go somewhere else to find these, too. In fact, getting somewhere else in this blog is like taking a family vacation. But I love the articles,so I have to rate it up there for uniqueness.

4 points.

Challenge:

Wow. This is a challenge response of a different sort. I didn't quite get the gist of it until the end, when the secret is subtly revealed in true Shymalanian style. What an incredible sojourn into a fictional past, dripping with irony from everything since the introductory date. Clearly Cary has shown an incredible creative talent, and it takes a unique brand of writer to reward his reader at the end like he has. Outstanding work; only now, one wonders if Mr. Churchill had anything close to this nurturing of a childhood.

5 points.

American Warmonger

Post:

It doesn't help that the link to the post was broken and I had to go searching for it from the top page of the blog. It might have been an honest mistake, but it was kind of distracting for someone who's been immensely busy lately. By the way, thanks for lettingme know two pages down that the post was almost over. :) Jeremy seems to have a lot of first-hand experience dealing with the INS, so he brings a lot of insight into the issue of immigration. This makes an otherwise dry article into one of relevance, and makes the issue more personal (especially by mentioning his wife). A+ for heart and substance, C+ for readability late at night with the lights dimmed.

4 points.

Site:

Geez, what did I write two weeks ago? I'll be doggoned if I can remember. The site, from what I can recollect about my last impressions, has gotten to look quite a bit better than it did. My compliments, both for the crisp headers, the fact that everything's where it's supposed to be and the little icon graphics are now collectively managed and organized. If there's one thing I would change this time, it'd probably be the date format... of course I probably wasn't reading the results when one of the other judges thought the condensed date format would look nicer. Oh yeah, there's the llama! Some cool items: the translate section, and the spiffy little mouseover links menu. Great job! Am taking 1/2 point off however for that broken link above.

4.5 points.

Challenge:

Alright, alright, I get it, I get it! For heaven's sake, you can't cut a guy any slack, can you? Ahem, yeah, it's all the fault of the network *cough*. Anyhow, what spectacular piece of film blog noir! The only regret I have is by being absent, I probably missed about five or six additional links in this utterly link-saturated challenge answer. That, and the whole calling your daughter 'Sweet Thing'. There's only one Michael Jackson in the world, thank goodness.

4 points.

Razor's Kiss 11

Political Nightmare 13

American Warmonger 12.5

News From the Great Beyond

King of the Blogs Tournament: Week 11 Judging

King Jeremy of American Warmonger put forth some effort this week and redeemed himself from the lack of sucking up (and lack of mentioning my blogiversary)... So, pretenders to the throne, be grateful, my mood is better tonight - it could be that, or it could be the fabulous crab dip I made for dinner tonight. Recipe will be posted for this week's Carnival of the Recipes if you're interested. Check back Thursday night. ;) And now! Forthwith! Judging!

Overall Blog/Design

American Warmonger: Hmm. I could be remembering incorrectly, but it strikes me that Jeremy has done a bit more work to his sidebars - nice big sidebar item headings with borders, it really sets them off well. The header graphic is still not showing up for me in Firefox, by the way, but it's working fine in IE. I dun' get it. American Warmonger gets another 4.5. Good stuff.

Razors Kiss: Oh, wow. Now this is a well-designed site. Very cohesive color scheme, attractive graphics, good "about me" information, working comments and trackback... Just gorgeous. I have only two constructive comments for Joshua: First, searchable archives would be a great thing. Second (and this is kinda nitpicky, but...) the sidebar content is a little bit unbalanced between the left and right side. The left side is a lot shorter than the right - it does happen, but if there is anything that it would make sense to move from the right to the left, it would help keep me from listing to the right while scrolling down the page *wink*. However, these are very small issues, and I'm just in awe of how fabulous this site looks. I'm gushing. Shut me up. Razors Kiss earns a 5.

Political Nightmare: OK, so this is a blog? Because it seems very un-blog-like to me. Overall, the graphics are slick, and the color scheme holds together well. The sidebar text is a bit teensy (white/red on black is harder to read when it's that small than some other color schemes) but all in all that's not terribly significant. What is significant, when judging a blog is that it seem like... well, a blog. In an earlier round of this tournament, Judge Harvey took pretender Dawn Xiana Moon to task because her blog wasn't "bloggy" enough - and it was a heck of a lot more like a blog than this one. No comments, no permalinks, no trackback, no blogroll, no searchable archives, no "about me" information... I'm sorry, just because you put up new content on your website on a daily basis (or thereabouts) does not a blog make. It's a lovely website, really. But it's not a blog. And as such, in a competition for King of the Blogs, Political Nightmare gets a 1. I'm not even sure why I gave it that much. Probably because it's got good graphics.

Submitted Post

American Warmonger: A thoughtful and well-written missive regarding immigration (legal and illegal)... There are a couple of word choices that I'm not sure are correct, but the meaning is clear. It's getting to be too late at night for me to drag the English Teacher out when the need to nitpick has not overwhelmed me. American Warmonger's submitted post gets a 4.

Razors Kiss: Another wow. In his submitted post, Joshua gives a detailed point-by-point study of Ephesians 6:10-20, the "full armor of God" passage. I need to get these reviews done, so I can't take the time to read the entire thing right now, but... wow. This post is written very well, and (unusual for most posts of this type I've run across) very conversationally. It's easy to read. It makes a lot of sense. It's like going to church, but in the comfort of my living room wearing my jammies and listening to U2. Spiffy. Color me impressed - I'm giving Razors Kiss a 5 for this effort.

Political Nightmare: Political Nightmare's submitted article (I can't call it a post - can you even get to this article from the main page, anyway?) is a theory on why liberals behave the way they do, from a self-described student of human observation. Something about the phrase "student of human observation" sounds redundant to me. The English Teacher is threatening to jump out of hiding and take her Red Pen of Death to this article... there are missing apostrophes, missing punctuation, and even the dreaded split infinitive to be reckoned with. However, the most distracting thing about reading this submission is the sentence fragments. Let me assure you, I have nothing against incomplete sentences used judiciously in informal writing - it makes the writer's "voice" more conversational, and it is more natural to the ear if you are reading it aloud. I use incomplete sentences myself every now and then. It's pretty common to begin a sentence with a preposition now and again... but as often as Cary does it in this article, following full stops (periods) instead of pauses (ellipses or dashes), it's just distracting. I don't mean to insinuate that this is badly written... It's just that my fingers are itching to take a pen to the printed page and mark up a host of nitpicky corrections that distract me from reading this smoothly. Political Nightmare gets a 3.5.

Challenge Post

Again this week, since I think it's a good way of going about it, let's review the Challenge Question our contestants were given:

Finish this story. I'll give you the first few sentences.

Turning quickly I saw trouble walk in my door in the shape of a nine year old. Completely unexpected, and completely unwanted.

American Warmonger: Jeremy launches right into the response without the hated "this is the King of the Blogs challenge question and here is my response" intro - many thanks for that... Jeremy also takes the opportunity to use this post to do some mighty sucking up to the judges, making all three of us characters in his private detective story. Of course, I ended up being a nine-year-old in this story, but I'll forgive that. I got the requested links and trackbacks and an apology for missing my blogiversary, so all is well. Jeremy also takes the opportunity to address Pietro's unexplained absence from last week's rulings. The story is fun, easy to read, and best of all, written capably in a very much "1940's detective show" voice. I enjoyed reading it, and I thoroughly enjoy giving American Warmonger a 5 for this challenge response.

Razors Kiss: Joshua also manages to avoid the despised Intro-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (heh. I like that. I'm keeping it.) - the explanatory note is at the end of the story, where it doesn't tick me off so bad. He takes some liberties with the challenge, seeing as how the "first few sentences" that the hosts provided were not actually used as the first few sentences... But the story does begin in a fashion that fits well with the sentences that were given, and explains why the writer was "turning quickly" in the first place. The revelation that the first-person character in this story is the 14-year-old brother of the 9-year-old troublemaker surprised me... The older brother's early interaction with the 9-year-old made him sound more like a father or father-figure type. This sounds almost like it could be a true story, however. It's not as dramatic and over-the-top as American Warmonger's, but it's a nice piece of writing. Liked it. Razors Kiss earns a 4.

Political Nightmare: Why do I get the impression that this was never posted on the front page (or anyplace accessible for that matter) of this site? At least not having any of the normal readers of the site run across this story unexpectedly means there was no need to explain it with the despised Intro-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Cary also takes liberties with the form of the challenge, adding a few scene-setting sentences prior to the sentences that were given in the challenge question. Cary's story is set in the late '50's, which seemed to be a pointless convention until the very end, when we are given the final pieces of information that tell us without explicitly saying that Indian Boy is supposed to have been Ward Churchill as a young boy. While it was clever and topical, some of the dialogue was kind of stilted, and the bit about telling the boy of a future in which everyone could broadcast their opinions and people could access them from their homes, offices, and handheld devices was just incongruous. Unless the man in this story was a time-traveller, I don't think anyone in 1956 could have envisioned wireless Internet access on handheld devices or anything similar. And the foreshadowing of 9/11 was kludgy, awkward and forced. Sometimes a story should just be a story, you know? Political Nightmare's challenge response gets a 3.

The Queen's Rulings

American Warmonger: 13.5

Razors Kiss: 14

Political Nightmare: 7.5

Ogre's Politics and Views

Judgement:

Judgment Day for the King of the Blogs! It is once again time to see who will be King of the Blogs. Will American WarMonger retain his crown for the third consecutive week and retire undefeated? Or will Political Nightmare or Razor's Kiss, this week's challengers, dethrone the king?

This week it is quite a battle. The King is working hard to retain his crown, but the challengers are tough competition this week. In early polling, the king is behind in votes, but the king knows the judges well now, after three weeks, and is fighting for his very crown.
The Judge


THE CHALLENGE QUESTION:

"Finish this story. I'll give you the first few sentences.

Turning quickly I saw trouble walk in my door in the shape of a nine year old. Completely unexpected, and completely unwanted."


American WarMonger:
GOOD POINTS: ROFL! That's an incredible riot. Tons of linkage, apologies, featured characters from the previous week -- just absolutely awesome.
BAD POINTS: Dang, why did I put this heading in this section?
SCORE: 5.00

Political Nightmare:
GOOD POINTS: Nice twist at the end, I didn't see that coming! Neat story.
BAD POINTS: Alignment was off so the text was overwriting the border, making this very hard to read.
SCORE: 3.46

Razor's Kiss:
GOOD POINTS: Nice. Really cute. Not crazy or outlandish, but still very nice. Good start without that annoying, "I'm posting this for the KoB..."
BAD POINTS: You know it -- the lack of linkage hurts in this game, even when you point it out yourself, sorry.
SCORE: 3.89

SUBMITTED ENTRIES:


American Warmonger responds with La'Migra!
INITIAL REACTION: Huh? Lami who? And the first line contains Congress? Where I am?
GOOD POINTS: Very well written for a novella (That one post weighs in at over 2,000 words).
BAD POINTS: Titles of all the acts should be capitalized (Field Act). Unadulterated? That's not really a good use for that word there -- it's meaning doesn't really apply.
SCORE: 4.42

Razor's Kiss gives us The Battle We Are In: The Full Armor
INITIAL REACTION: 2,500+ words. Did someone add a minimum word count to this contest without telling me? (That's a joke, son) Amen!
GOOD POINTS: Excellent job with punctuation with large numbers of quotes -- that's tough to get all right. Very nice use of links to define the more obscure words.
BAD POINTS: Missed one apostrophe in "Strong's" at one time. That's all I see in 2,500+ words.
SCORE: 4.84

Political Nightmare presents Why Liberals Do What They Do
INITIAL REACTION: Nice, compact, detailed.
GOOD POINTS: Excellent writing, paragraphs, and content. Good development of the idea and chronological sequence.
BAD POINTS: Between "half empty" and "Meaning," there should be a semicolon instead of a period.
SCORE: 4.84

WHOLE BLOG REVIEW:



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
Blogroll
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)
LLamas
Overall good use of space vs. content vs. whitespace
I view using FireFox most of the time, sometimes checking things with IE.

The Great Satan Fighter Site
NOTES: The king returns. OMG! Flashing text! Ahhhhhhhh!
GOOD POINTS: Again improvements on last week. I like the stack of chicklets, but perhaps its just a phase. Imitation IS the most sincere form of flattery. Good stuff.
BAD POINTS: Ok, ok, he's figured out how to fix everything. I checked this category late this week, so I got slapped with the dang blinking text!
SCORE: 4.99

Suicidal Lips
NOTES: Excellent first impression. Good design, but a little wide (I had to widen my browser or scroll)
GOOD POINTS: Good contrast and font. Very clear posts, links, and effective use of limited graphics. Nice blockquote formatting.
BAD POINTS: No llamas. No search feature. In some of the category tabs down the right side, the words are too close to the edge and appear to slip out of the edges.
SCORE: 3.55

Dreams of Communism
NOTES: Hmmm..."Warning: This page contains a Java Applet. Allow or Deny?" I'm going to deny for now...
GOOD POINTS: Flames, nice graphics, a new design. Very good first impression.
BAD POINTS: Are there permalinks? Or comments? If they're there, I can't find them. Way too many underlined words that are not links -- very confusing. No search function. Lots and lots of stuff -- good layout, but words run into the edges of things -- should have at least a 2-3 pixel margin. No llamas.
SCORE: 2.12

BONUS POINTS:

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

Battle-Lover: Links, llamas, and the llama song continue. The king will be hard to de-throne: +1
Knife Make-out: Very few links at all. -0.5
Nocturnal Dissenting Viewpoints: Former Marine. Sorry, everyone else, that's automatic bonus points -- but only one other link: +0.75

FINAL SCORES:

Judge's Totals

Razor's Kiss 32.5 Political Nightmare 31.5 American Warmonger 41

Bonuses

Poll:

Who should be the next King of the Blogs?

Political Nightmare 131
American Warmonger 122
Razor's Kiss 15

Trackbacks:

American Warmonger 7

For a bonus total of:

American Warmonger 5
Political Nightmare 3
Razor's Kiss 1

and a Grand Total

American Warmonger 46
Political Nightmare 34.5
Razor's Kiss 33.5
Posted by Nick Queen at March 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Comments

Thank you to the judges.

Just as an aside... I DO have trackbacks. I use wordpress, where trackbacks are shown along with comments.

It's just a bit different from MT.

Sorry I didn't really "play along" that much. I had an incredibly busy week.

Posted by: RazorsKiss at March 14, 2005 11:07 AM
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