March 20, 2005

Week 12 - Results Are In!

The results are in and the judges have spoken:

King of the Blogs Tournament: Week 12 Judging

All hail King Jeremy, who has earned his place in the Hall of Kings and steps aside this week to allow three pretenders to compete for his throne. Former King Warren of View from the Pew is one of this week's competitors, but he's got some stiff competition - let's see how this week's rulings shake out, shall we? *gets out ruler* Err...

Overall Blog/Design

GM's Corner: Nice, clean, simple layout, readable (and patriotic!) color scheme... what more can I say? Oh, well, I could mention several other good points: working comments and trackback, searchable archives, extensive "about me" information, and a healthy-sized blogroll. I'm also fond of the dropcaps, which I don't often see on many weblogs - they're not used consistently on every post, but where they are used they provide some emphasis and visual interest. If you've read any of my previous rulings, you'll know that I have to nitpick about something, and even here I've found something to nitpick about. In the header, the word "integrity" appears twice - the first time, it's misspelled. *sternly looks at George* Now fix it. There's also the little (but since I'm nitpicking I'll bring it up) matter of the sidebar fonts. They're not consistent. Most of the sidebar content, including the blogrolls, is in a Times New Roman-type font, but the category archives, monthly archives and recent posts are in a completely different (and smaller) font. Except for the "Queen, Freud and Baghdad Bob" post title, which is much larger and appears rather out of place. I'm thinking the sidebar fonts could use a little consistency in size and style, it would make the appearance much more polished and professional. But otherwise, what we have here is an attractive site with a good amount of personality and all the technical elements in order. GM's Corner earns a 4.

The Art of Getting By: I've seen this site before - don't remember where, but I remember really liking the graphic design. The theme here is cohesive: a 1950's era restaurant menu. Well, I don't know what the title has to do with that theme... but otherwise, graphically it holds together well. "About me" information is there, if a tad bit sparse - we do have a frame of reference for Janet's point of view, so I'll call it good. We have Blogger bar search for the archives, which works fine from what I can tell. We have Haloscan comments - good - but no trackback *gasp*... A jumbo-sized blogroll... It's just nearly perfect. Nearly. The Art of Getting By gets a 4.5. Nice job.

View from the Pew: It looks like Warren's promised site overhaul hasn't happened yet (that CSS stuff can be tricky, ask the Hubby-head), so there have not been many changes from the last couple of times I reviewed View from the Pew's site. I see Warren has been following the previous rulings, though, and his usual stained-glass window graphics in the banner have been replaced by a lovely pair of llamas in order to appease Ogre. I'm a little afraid to research this llama fetish of Ogre's, I think I'll just let it lie. Aside from that small adjustment, I don't see anything to change my previous comments or my previous ruling, so look here for comments. The Queen's ruling for View from the Pew remains a 4.

Submitted Post

GM's Corner: For his submitted post, George gives us a peek at his thoughts on the night of Dan Rather's final broadcast, complete with lyrics from the Wizard of Oz. I have to confess, I read this post and wasn't enthused. I took a break, played a few games, had some hot chocolate and a couple of Girl Scout thin mints, and came back to it... and I still wasn't enthusiastic about it. Perhaps it's that I'm sick to death of Dan Rather. Technically, the writing is pretty clear. I did notice a couple of punctuation issues, but the English Teacher is cozied up with her hot chocolate and isn't in the mood to be bothered with a lecture on proper use of commas. I, having been raised on the yearly "Wizard of Oz" tradition, did recognize the "If I only had the nerve" and the "King of the Forest" references, but I do wish George had explained his "Roy Clark" comment, perhaps with appropriate linkage. The Wizard of Oz stuff might have used a link as well for the younger or less culturally literate among us. George's submitted post gets a 4.

The Art of Getting By: Janet presents us with a long treatise on why she is still living at home with her parents six years after graduating from college. That, my friends, is a long story - she's had some crappy jobs, I see. I question why Janet chose this particular post to submit, it's a bit on the long side and while it gets her point across, the post is not one that inspires, provokes thought, or showcases her sense of humor. I think the Reality TV post from Wednesday would have been a better choice... Well, realistically it was written too late to submit, but something similar would have been a better submission if you ask me. All that aside, her writing is good. Of course I have to nitpick, so I'll do it with good humor: "But as you well know, whenever you point the finger, there are really two more fingers pointed back at you." Last I checked, that would be three fingers pointed back at you - unless you've lost a finger in a tragic cutlery accident or something, in which case I do apologize. There were a couple of typos and questionable word choices, but as one communications major (Radio/TV) to another, I can forgive that. I have been known to make up words entirely by accident. It happens. Sometimes I get lost in my own thoughts and don't re-read my posts before I submit them, and discover later that something made absolutely no sense. This was not the case here. So, informational but not inspirational, Janet's submitted post gets a 3.5.

View from the Pew: Warren is up to his old tricks, submitting a little rant for our perusal relating to a Bill Moyers article from the New York Review of Books. Discussions of eschatology are surrounding me these last couple of weeks - I joined the Thinklings Book Club and our first selection to study together is a book about eschatology... I haven't received my copy of the book I ordered from yet, so I haven't delved into the subject myself, but I am intrigued. In any event, for the most part this post is easy to read and well-worded... my one complaint is on behalf of those among us who have no theological training and/or very little curiosity about such things as eschatology and therefore haven't bothered to find out what it means. Many of Warren's readers I'm sure do have an interest or formal training in theology, but everyone else's eyes glaze over at the mention of words like "dispensational", "premillenialists", and "eschatology". Perhaps if you can find a website that explains theological concepts in layman's terms (Eschatology for Dummies, perhaps), it would be handy to link words like that back to something explanatory. If I hadn't just been exposed to discussion on the topic, I'd be one of those glazed-over folks. Otherwise, though, Warren makes his point very well, and I have to give him a 4 for this effort.

Challenge Post

This week's challenge question is:

You are going to have dinner with 3 different people. One is a fellow blogger, the next is a famous person currently alive, and the last is someone from the past not currently alive. Who are they and why did you select each.

GM's Corner: First off, congratulations to George, who has managed to avoid the hated Intro-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. *cheers from the peanut gallery* George has crafted an entertaining scenario in which his dinner guests include KotB creator Nick Queen, Sigmund Freud, and Baghdad Bob. This amuses me. Baghdad Bob. Hee. George tells the story well, sets the scene, and recounts a wonderfully imaginative conversation that manages to include quite a bit of obsequious flattery to the judges and Nick himself. I think the only mistake George made was not including co-host Stephen and the commissioner, King of Fools in his little link-fest of love. They may feel left out, and that would be a crying shame. Still, George made me laugh, and that means he earns a 5. Creativity rules.

The Art of Getting By: Oh, Janet. I was hoping to get through this week without the infamous Intro-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (look at last week's KotB review for an explanation, I'm tired of typing it over and over). Ah well... after the intro, Janet sets about choosing her invited guests, beginning with Wil Wheaton as the fellow blogger. At least she gives a compelling explanation of this selection... And then... she selects Wil Wheaton as the famous person currently alive... and then... Wil Wheaton as someone from the past not currently alive, since his acting career has died and apparently many of the less-informed believe Wil himself to have kicked the bucket. Maybe. Anyway, this is at least an amusing twist... I did chuckle at the selections. However, I value creativity in presentation as much as creativity in concept, and in comparison to George's effort (with the descriptions of the party and dinner conversation) I'm going to have to give Janet's challenge response a 3.5.

View from the Pew: Warren manages to avoid the dreaded Intro-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, although he sneaks a reference to the competition in his introduction - but it fits in seamlessly, as it is the reason for the party. Warren also manages to engage in some obsequious flattery of the judges - always appreciated, my friend. Truly. However, only one blogger can be selected for this imaginary party, so Warren selects Hugh Hewitt for the blogging pointers and potential linkage. Heh. Good reasoning. He then gets all kinds of obscure on us (and I thought Baghdad Bob was an interesting choice) and selects the advertising genius who created Apple's 1984 Super Bowl commercial as his living famous person. I'm not so sure this individual qualifies as "famous", since neither of us knows his or her name, but hey, I'll go with it. And as the non-living historical figure, Thomas Payne. Explanatory linkage provided, good deal. Creative choices, good reasoning... but again, in comparison to George's presentation, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give Warren a 4.5. I considered a 4, but there was some good sucking up to the judges going on there. That's worth an extra 1/2 point.

The Queen's Rulings

GM's Corner: 13

The Art of Getting By: 11.5

View from the Pew: 12.5

Good job, all... it appears to be a close one! Let's see how the other judges ruled... and then there's the all-important poll and trackback contest points that could sway the whole thing.

Judgment Day for the King of the Blogs! This week there are three new pretenders to the crown, valiantly battling to see who will be able to claim the throne and the title of King of the Blogs for the week. If you think you have what it takes to be the king, go make your

Another battle this week between three well-qualified pretenders. My overall advice, as always, if you want to rein as king, is to go read previous rulings. I assure you it will be worth your time.
The Judge


"You are going to have dinner with 3 different people. One is a fellow blogger, the next is a famous person currently alive, and the last is someone from the past not currently alive. Who are they and why did you select each."

Queen, Freud And Baghdad Bob from GM's Corner:GOOD POINTS: Well, it's certainly an odd entry. The asides from the muse, I think, were more entertaining than the overall story. Really let it rip -- don't hold back, this is supposed to be about silliness. Nice attempt to steal the crown by being awarded it by the current King! Good use of English and attempts at flattery of the judges.

BAD POINTS: Friday? March 16th isn't Friday? No need to mention that the post is for the King of Blogs, but at least it wasn't done in an overt manner.
SCORE: 2.89

href=>It's All About The Wheaton from The Art of Getting By:

GOOD POINTS: Nice job in creatively using the same person as all 3 selected.

BAD POINTS: No fair announcing that you're making the post for the contest. Just post and let your readers wonder what you're doing. The judges just don't like reading that they're reading about the contest.

SCORE: 2.22

What's Cooking? from View from the Pew:

GOOD POINTS: The most entertaining of the three submissions, IMO. Good sucking up and cheating the rules and inviting all the judges. There's nothing saying you can't cheat when you answer the questions, now, is there (as long as everyone keeps it within reason, of course)?

BAD POINTS: No need to announce that the post is for the contest. Just post away, who cares if your readers think you're off your rocker? The link to the Apple ad didn't work -- I couldn't find the ad. Why didn't *I* get offered beanies and weenies?

SCORE: 3.71


Warren writes of Bill Moyers and the End of Time:

INITIAL REACTION: I'm silly. When I read "Christophobes" followed two words later with "Kristof," I thought you were writing about people who were afraid of other people named "Chris."

GOOD POINTS: Well-written, excellent use of English. Good introduction, support, and conclusion.

BAD POINTS: I think the title could match the subject a little better. I see how it matches, but it took me a few minutes to get it. Most of the post focuses on Bill's hatred for people named Chris Christians, with only a few references to the end times.

SCORE: 4.22

Janet's 18 Planets provides "You
Wanna Be Startin' Something?"

INITIAL REACTION: (sung (badly by me)) "You wanna be startin' sumthin'; got to be startin' sumthin..."

GOOD POINTS: I'd mention that I think most businesses in NJ are "working for the mob," but I won't because I might disappear.

BAD POINTS: Two fingers pointed back at you? Are you a cartoon character? "Minuet detail?" A detail about a dance? "Cutthroad?" Come on, you've got to get that spell checker out!

SCORE: 2.09

Game Master's Corner gives us Courage!:

INITIAL REACTION: Gah. He (Rather) just won't go away, will he?

GOOD POINTS: Nice poems! You should have submitted them for the most recent href=>Alliance Assignment.

BAD POINTS: Why use the rather effective "smarm" twice so close together? Is "smarm" in a thesaurus?

SCORE: 3.68


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

George's Corner:
NOTES: Nice, clean, easy to read.
GOOD POINTS: Llamas! AND the llama song! All suggested elements in place and easy to locate. Nice search boxes without the silly "Search the Web" option. Very good, simple, layout and design with the proper focus on content.
BAD POINTS: I can't tell what the "GM" is for. I'm guessing it's first and middle initial, but why not GMR's corner? Or GR? Or Ropers? Just wondering -- perhaps explain in the "About" section? Alignment's off a tiny bit -- the header section is wider than the content section by about 25 pixels or so.
SCORE: 4.51

Janet's Ice Cream Shoppe:
NOTES: I'm hungry for some ice cream now.
GOOD POINTS: Good initial layout and use of white space. Nice job with a blogger site -- most don't do that much customization. I like the overall theme of the site and the categorizing everything into that theme. Excellent.
BAD POINTS: Too much white space further down -- if there's so much extra space, would it be better to place all the sidebar items on one side? I'm not sure, but there does seem to be an awful lot of wasted space near the bottom -- almost half the page is blank. I found the email address, but it's rather well hidden. No llamas!
SCORE: 3.16

Warren's Seat:
NOTES: Always nice to see a non-standard Blogger design.
GOOD POINTS: A llama up front is always nice. All suggested content exists. Good spacing and general organization and layout. Also good use of whitespace in most places.
BAD POINTS: The appearance is a little disorganized up top. Why is there so much red space before the actual content? Also, I understand the need for using more width, but when I surf the internet, I don't use maximized browsers, and I was forced to scroll on this page. I've never liked the mouseovers that make the text have a line through it. It's confusing to the novice user. The feedburner link chicklet should probably be with the other images, rather than in the text links list. And why is "Links" far to the left, but the next category title, "Web Comics I'm Reading" indented? They should probably be at the same indentation level.
SCORE: 2.46


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

Corner of GM: Nice linky-love. Good sucking up throughout, including links from posts that (allegedly) have nothing to do with the contest. And the words to "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling?" Very nice. The llama song is always worth extra. +1

Getting by Art: There's a few extra links in there, so that's worth something. +0.5

Smelly View (Oh, not that kind of "pew?"): I made the blogroll over there, but only ONE other link? I guess the llama bookends in a very prominent position can make up for that a little bit... +0.5


GM's Corner


Nice poem, a touching tribute to the liar, I mean newscaster who was Dan Rather. Oh wait, I'm not just looking at one poem, but three - with different metrics! Bravo... as a lover of fine poetry, especially along the line of the satirical, I was
overjoyed. Yet, in some childish nightmarish way, Oz scares me. 4 points.


When you see an old dead dude, a leprechaun, a dunce sitting in the corner looking wistful, and a foursome of llamas on the same page, it's clear you are perusing the blog of a rather fascinating individual. Visually, GM's blog is sharp and full of clean little boxes, corners, and brightly colored pictures. It's also clear that GM has a sharp sense of humor, knows
how to use a good meme, and by god! He knows how to separate posts! Overall, the posts are visibly clear and readable, and make good use of the gigantic first letter trick used by many well known magazines (though it escapes me what term they use for this). One small design tip - on your individual posts it helps if you keep references to the previous and next posts on the *same* line, not looking like it's word wrapping at 10 characters. 4 points.


Remember - I before E, except after C. Keep that little piece of 'advice' in mind, and life will be much more pleasant for you. Anyhow, I suspect GM's dinner guest, one Sigmund Freud, is likely to have his hands full with this piece... it goes this way and that, stops for an occasional moment of levity at the hands of Baghdad Bob, and makes a right turn at his competition. Sadly, Mr. GM is so obsessed with flinging five-syllable words around like a cheap trout, he doesn't realize his guests are falling asleep... though Siggy's disciple, Hunter S. Thompson, would be proud. 2 points.

The Art of Getting By


My, that was touching and surely your revelation left Janet vulnerable. Gosh, with a post this elaborate, I could employ her as my very own personal excuse writer (though I'd have to draw the line at including a full biography, as there are certain things I don't want made public quite yet). Such unsolicited soulsearching! Such longwinded manipulations! Gosh,
and you know what... Janet's probably one of the most interesting live-with-mom-n-dad adult children I've ever had the privilege of judging! 4 points.


Kitschy smiling 50's throwback waitress throws me a smile and shows me her... ice cream sundaes. Nice retro feel to this blog, and for once I see a blogger with some impetus to WRITE her OWN DARN TEMPLATE instead of using the crap that blog*s--t puts out. Finally! Love the 50's diner theme, the catchy titles, the hip 80's Molly Ringwald movie quote. The only thing missing is... a picture! Speaking of picture, I noticed a broken image line or two in one of the sidebars.. better inspect a little more closely next time. Comments - check... just missing the good old trackback. Pretty spiffy looking blog! 4.5 points.


Jeez, first she lives at home; now she confesses her adoration of ST-TNG refugee Wil Wheaton! Does this girl have any fear at all? I sense an obsessive streak in the tremendous amount of gathered data... did the research carry her into the dark depths of the night, finding out that he had precisely 877 links on Blogrolling? Gah, and to think she ignored the three most important bloggers in the universe at this particular moment - the judges! And for that she will pay in charisma
points! I mean, sheesh, I bet Mr. Perfect Wil Wheaton doesn't even have to eat dinner (being that he's dead and his blog is ghostwritten -- hehhehe) 3.5 points.

View from the Pew


Great little post about the idiotic, though creative, Bill Moyers trying to grasp the basic concepts of Christianity, what with a bias the size of Wisconsin distorting his views just a little bit and keeping him from simple logical reasoning. Thank goodness people like Warren are around to share his idiocy... otherwise we'd have to develop a cast iron stomach to listen to Moyers' drivel. 4 points.


What's this llama mess!?!?! To say the least, I'm distracted and disturbed and it goes against my sense of all that's good and right. They spit! Anyhow, whatwe've got here is another blog*s--t creation, again a good stab at an original template. These new bloggers are certainly ready to grow out of this skin and try them some big boy blogging tools. But he's got
everything a blogger should have, from the comment/trackback networking items, to the archives, lonnnnng blogroll, and.... holy moley, he's even got post separation. I don't think black on red lends itself well to readability, but I'm not incredibly picky. HOWEVER the titles of your sidebar sections are some unreadble color that hurt my eyes when I look
close enough to read them. 3.5 points.


Work late? Feh! I'm falllll.... oops, sorry... falling asleep writing these rulings; it's past my bedtime! Warren keeps it simple (hey, hasn't he been in this competition before?) and goes for the safe dinner guest in Songstress (who wouldn't pick the pretty one?). My guess, though, is that Tom PAine and Hugh Hewitt would actively engage in intellectual conversation and wouldn't be much fun as dinner guests. Safe, but good. 3.5 points.

So, the winner this week is.....

GM's Corner 40.62
The Art of Getty By 37.47
View From the Pew 34.85

GM's Corner wins by a slim margin! Great work to all of this week's blogs. The scores stayed tight throughout the contest.

Posted by christweb at March 20, 2005 01:32 AM
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