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  Tuesday, February 24, 2004


One of the perks of being the King of the Blogs is that you have the right to issue a Royal Edict, which is a post of your choosing that all the KotB judges must link to (commentary optional).

Good King Bill of WalloWorld picked an excellent topic to play with - the left's hypocrisy regarding the effects of imagery on people's minds:

Countless hours spent playing violent video games of course have no impact on kids (nor could they ever contribute to an environment where kids shoot their classmates), but The Lord of the Rings can reinforce racial sterotypes or The Passion is likely to lead to anti-Semitic violence?

After raising the question Bill sums it up in a quick point:

images have power. They may affect different people in different ways, but every image has an impact.

Dang. After all the times I've harangued Bill for prattling on and on and on, he picks THIS occasion to say his piece & shut up. I wanted to see this issue get chewed & tasted instead of being swallowed whole. I hope he chases this down in the future and talks about which images have what impact, and what, if anything, should be done about the effects of negative images.

For my part, I'm of the belief that images don't matter nearly as much as the message surrounding the image. Take, for example, the often maligned violent Bugs Bunny cartoons of my youth. People were getting beat up & hurt left and right. But the moral was always the same: Bugs was just minding his own business, trying to lead his happy little bunny life, and some jerk started messing with him. Well, Mr. Jerk got what was coming to him. He deserved the trouble he got. Justice was served.

Same thing with Popeye. I don't recall him ever throwing the first punch. He was a peaceable sort of fella.

And even my VERY maligned violent video games (especially the first-person shooters I love like Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake, Jedi Knight, Soldier of Fortune, etc.) have a message. Evil people need to be killed by good people to protect the innocent.

My point being that, while I recall the cartoon punches or the splattery image in the game, I more strongly recall the message - sometimes good men must fight.

I think it's a distraction to argue over whether the image is good or bad. Argue the principle that image supports.

posted by Harvey at 7:04:59 PM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME


Last week was the off-week for the King of the Blogs tournament, which meant that Good King Bill of WalloWorld got a chance to lounge around on his throne, pick at his bunions, watch the Royal big-screen HDTV, and be serviced by nubile slave girls.

For six of his kingdom's peasants, however, this was no vacation week. They were locked in a virtual life-or-death struggle to see who would go on to battle Bill for the crown this week.

The results are posted here, and the entries are below them in a separate entry.

Here are my reviews. The rest are at the KotB site. Also, if I didn't link a Rumblor, it's because said Rumblor was a doofus and e-mailed his entry instead of posting it - thereby passing up a good opportunity for linkage.

(Rumblors were ranked by relative strength and then awarded points relative to their positions. 6 points was the highest score, 1 point was the lowest)


CHALLENGE: Insanely over the top!
AD: Goofy & obscene enough to be in the Superbowl halftime, but where's the salesmanship?


CHALLENGE: Multifaceted & hilarious!
AD: Smug, cocky, and threatening, (which is good) but doesn't really SELL…


CHALLENGE: A truly heart-wrenching tale… * snicker *
AD: Excellent pandering, but no selling.


CHALLENGE: Grinworthy, but pretty straightforward
AD: Now THERE'S a sales pitch – shame on you for giving away the fine-print secret,


CHALLENGE(see KotB site): A good running gag. Needed a little more set-up, but shows potential.
AD: Whatever it lacks in humor it makes up for in enthusiasm.


CHALLENGE(see KotB site): A bland effort
AD: Bleah!

posted by Harvey at 7:12:05 AM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME

  Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Apparently beal causes more than just writer's block - it's causing poster's block (where thought you posted an entry, but it's just sitting there in draft mode, mocking you). Happened to me at Alliance HQ, had a posting failure a couple days ago right here, and now at KotB.

Nevertheless, the results are finally up.

Walloworld is the new King of the Blogs, and, as I predicted, his self-absorbed narcissism will serve him well as he rolls the betrayed and murdered corpse of Christweb off of what is now HIS throne. I expect he'll link himself at least a dozen times in his acceptance speech.

As for the reviews themselves, it's nice to see Marty of Vigilance Matters back in the thick of things, swinging his Louisville Slugger around. He's always been the Oscar the Grouch of the Judge's bench, but I think someone whizzed in his Wheaties the morning he wrote his reviews. He seemed slightly more uncharitable than normal.

Susie's a little more descriptive than usual, and spent a little time fawning over Charlie's gratuitous ass-kissing.

Mr. Dodge - still stuffy.

Pietro - well, for all his Fozzie-bashing, I was shocked at how kindly & supportive he was when doing Charlie's review. Elsewhere, he gave a detailed breakdown in the whole-blog review section that new KotB participants will want to pay close attention to. I think I'm gonna like working with this guy.

Rick & Dawn were probably out drinking all weekend & missed the review submission deadline. Pity, that.

Coming later this week, while Good King Bill sits on his throne, idly tossing stones & knives at his Royal Lackeys for his own amusement, there will be a free-for-all amongst a select list of next week's potential King of the Blogs participants: The Royal Rumble. Participants will all answer a single question in 150 words or less, the top 5 entrants will advance to do battle with the current King of the Blogs in the next tournament.

The losers? - back to the end of the line.

More news on that as it becomes available.

posted by Harvey at 7:58:16 PM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME

  Saturday, February 14, 2004


Here are my judgments with scores omitted to retain suspense. The final results will be available at the KotB home page soon, and I'll let you know the outcome. If you're a betting man, put a couple on ChristWeb. He's gonna be tough to beat forever.

The Challenge Question this week: Why do you think what you have to say is important to blog readers?

GOOD POINTS: Wants his readers to attain enlightenment. Will make a fine Buddha some day.
BAD POINTS: Forgot to drop Jesus's name in the list of important things he has to say. Stephen should probably expect a small box of wrath to be FedEx'd to his door in the near future for the omission.

GOOD POINTS:  Bill comes clean about the source of his succinctness phobia. Apparently it was something he picked up in law school. He also takes the opportunity to LINK HIS OWN BLOG SEVEN FREAKING TIMES in one post. Such self-absorbed narcissism will serve him well should he step over Stephen's twitching corpse to ascend to the throne.
BAD POINTS: Took so long to finish reading this post, that, before I got the end, I had to stop to shave. Twice. This isn't the OJ trial, it's a blog entry. That nascent wit you're working on? Brevity is the soul of it.

GOOD POINTS: "I don't." he says. "YES!" I say.  Someone finally got the answer right by rejecting the premise of the question. Kudos, Charlie. Bonus for the phrase "upsnort Sanka".
BAD POINTS: I was going to take about 5 points off for tossing in all those gratuitous, stream-of-consciousness asides, but I had a growing-Grinch-heart epiphany – this sort of unplanned bizarrity IS Charlie. That aside, I must still remind him that throwing darts at stamps has nothing to do with chewing on gems. Please don't met your mixaphors.

NOTE: While it might seem unfair that I dinged Bill for prattling on, but not Charlie, I do so with reason. With Charlie, it's a deliberate technique – the shotgun approach to comedy: say enough things, and something will hit somebody's target. Bill, on the other hand, is a professional wordsmith, and should be able to tighten up his writing without losing anything in the process. I think he has the talent to do better in this area.


Technical things I look for:

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)

GOOD POINTS: He was technically perfect last week, he's still technically perfect this week.
BAD POINTS: I'm going to ding him slightly on the personality issue. I still don't understand his penchant for hiding his thoughts in an extended entry. Your thoughts are the reason people come to your site. I can see using extended entries to hide a joke's
punchline or to hide a picture as a courtesy to people on dial-up, but "too many words" isn't a good reason to use it. If people read an entry half way, they'll read to the bottom. Don't make them fumble for their mouse for no reason. It's distracting and unnecessary.

GOOD POINTS: Technically excellent. I like that he prominently displays a fix for a known bug in the sidebar.
BAD POINTS: If Stephen's misuse of extended entries is a misdemeanor, Bill's is a felony. Stop holding your words as political prisoners behind the iron bars of the extended entry links. Other minor flaws would be that the bug fix should be a little higher
so it can be seen without having to scroll down, and you might want to place that contact e-mail address on the front page as well as in the "about me" post.

GOOD POINTS: Technically perfect, plus I really like the contrasting color scheme between the sidebars and the middle column. I also like the prominent featuring of the search feature in the header, which space is usually eaten up by a banner on most blogs.
BAD POINTS: Gave KotB Judge Susie's ass a firm, wet smooch with his finely-tailored blogrolling of her, and completely ignored my hairy hinder. However, considering the rosy-cheeked delight that is Susie's sittin' spot, I guess I can't blame him.

posted by Harvey at 9:06:56 PM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME

  Wednesday, February 11, 2004

LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD BLOGS... participate in the King of the Blogs Tournament. I'm stealing the short description from the KotB site:

I would like to introduce everyone to the King of the Blogs tournament, open to all blogs under size Large Mammals in the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem.

This contest is a two round competition, with a bye-week after the second round. In week one five blogs will enter to compete against the reigning "King of the Blogs" for the crown. The first round judges a submitted post, and a an answer to the Host's Challenge question. From these six blogs three advance, where their entire blog is judged, and once again the Judge's challenge question. There are six judges that will be judging your blog, and they change from time to time. In the end only one blog moves on, and the rest may comeback another day to try again.

Currently we are starting a new competition to pick the entrants to the tournament. This is the mini-challenge. Each bye week (the week after round two where the king reigns a week unchallenged) a slate of 10 blogs compete to enter the tournament, and challenge the king. To win, and thus compete in the next tournament, they must impress three judges with an answer to a challenge question, which can be no longer then 100 words long.

Interested? There's a sign up form here.

If you're looking for attention, I really recommend throwing your hat in the ring. I got my first big break in blogging through a blog contest, and had a lot of fun doing it.

posted by Harvey at 7:31:25 AM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME

  Sunday, February 08, 2004


After taking a little time off for some conceptual re-tooling, the King of the Blogs Tournament has returned and this time around it's pretty darn good. I'm a little sad that Marty from Vigilance Matters wasn't around to judge this week. He has some of the best reviews. That, and he appreciates goofy humor, which some of the stuffier judges don't.

Here are my takes on the contestants' entries. The other reviews are here.

GOOD POINTS: Loved the quote from the idiot liberal professor, as well as this zinger: "Is this rise of conservative viewpoints among youth caused by liberal mothers aborting their children?"
BAD POINTS: This post covers 2 topics: "idiot liberals on campus" and "the decline of liberalism as a youth trend". Mixed together as they were, the post seemed a little jumbled. Might've been better as 2 separate, more tightly focused posts.
SCORE: 7.5

GOOD POINTS: You are puny. Dan will crush you. Arnie rocks, and Dan's in top form in this homage to one of my favorite silly violent action flicks, Commando.
BAD POINTS: None visible

GOOD POINTS: Female Groomsmen? Obviously a sign of the apocalypse! However, it's still a well-constructed piece. Gives you just enough background to understand the players and never prattles off onto an irrelevant tangent - an easy thing to do when telling a wedding story.
BAD POINTS: My personal preference. More active verbs, fewer passive ones. Forgo, when possible, the evil verb "be" and its dark minions. They dull your writing.
SCORE: 8.5

GOOD POINTS: In her introductory musings, she lists several strong female movie characters worthy of emulation. In her answer, she gives us an honest glimpse of who she is by her selection.
BAD POINTS: I think Anastasia missed the point on this question somewhat. You could have been ANYONE, but you played it safe by sticking with a fairly earthbound character. Next time, dream big.

GOOD POINTS: Well-written, well-argued, informative. I had no idea that the border patrol had a catch & release program
BAD POINTS: Went off on a couple tangents toward the end. The point about needing to spend more money on renting detention cells is well taken. The side thoughts on jobs and terrorism were off-topic, and didn't belong in this post.

GOOD POINTS: There can be only one, and Stephen makes a compelling argument that being that immortal one would be fun, exciting, and fulfilling.
BAD POINTS: Has the audacity to disagree with Zefram Cochrane that immortality consists largely of boredom. However, since Stephen wouldn't be spending his life trapped on an isolated planet with a gaseous girlfriend, I'll give him a pass.

GOOD POINTS: Manages to blather on for 12 pages on the sorry premise of being a stand-up comedian. I find myself not bored. Entertained, in fact. Ok, amused. All right, all right, I confess. I laughed.
BAD POINTS: Yet another blogger that I'll never be funnier than. I hate these people.

GOOD POINTS: Talks about naked Heather Graham
BAD POINTS: Insane stream of consciousness humor, while generally a good thing, doesn't work here. A question needed answering, and a more focused format was in order.

GOOD POINTS: Makes a compelling argument that iTunes 99 cents per song pricing model is flawed, and that older, less popular songs should be cheaper.
BAD POINTS: Must've gotten paid by the word for this piece. Could've made the point more succinctly.

GOOD POINTS: Really got into the question and makes half a dozen cogent analyses of which character would be good to be.
BAD POINTS: Uh, you REALLY only needed to answer the question ONCE. I know that sometimes you have to do some preliminary writing to get the creative juices flowing, but once you have the gold, discard the silver & bronze. Make the DELETE key your friend.

After everything was totaled, Where the Hell Was I?, Walloworld, and Christweb made it to the next round. Southern Musings and Pragmatic Conservatism get beaten with sticks, tossed in the dumpster, and left for dead.

We'll see how it goes next week. Should be interesting, since the top 3 scored within a 2 point range.

posted by Harvey at 11:00:06 PM  permalink    Crappy Broken Radio Comments (do not use) [] trackback []  HOME

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