June 29, 2003

The New Weblog Showcase Review IV

There actually did not seem to be much interest in entering the Showcase this week. The number of entries was the lowest since I have been doing reviews. I also saw the highest number of bloggers submitting entries at the very last moment with 3. I have been advised that I was a little stricter with my ratings this week than I was last week. That may be so. With less entries, I had more time to pick those nits. As always, those of you who actually appreciate the effort I put into this, give a blurb somewhere!

STOP! GO NO FURTHER! READ! Anyone who is offended by my review of their entry, remember I am merely stating my opinions and they may not necessarily be the opinions of any other single person [on this planet, unless they are from Estonia or Fiji. Additionally, I have been contacted and told that my opinions were officially adopted by an entire alien sub-culture in the Ming Sector and 92% of the species in the Gamma quadrant.]

5.0=exceptional 4.5=excellent; 4.0=great; 3.5=very good; 3.0=good; 2.5=par; 2.0=sub par; 1.5=fair; 1.0=poor; 0.5=tried. ALL RATING IS SUBJECTIVE; Listings within tied ratings are arranged from my most favorite to my least favorite based upon my personal preferences.

5.0~The World Around You: Opposition Makes No Sense ~[BEST OF SHOW]Kristopher put a couple of inanitarians in their place. While this post has more to do with local politics in Alabama, and I generally do not rate entries that are of interest to only a select group of readers, this post does not actually fit into that category. In countering those complaints lodged by his detractors, Kristopher established those actual powers Governor Bob Riley of Alabama does actually have. Such powers are very similar to the general powers held by all executive heads in United States. He provided a well-written response to those who had no understanding of the political machine. Of course, I doubt they will ever see what he had to say. As an example of what is offered on this site, this post was a worthy entry: well written and concise.

5.0~The Chicago Report: Kant Lives ~The only thing I saw to criticize about this posts was one quote which I would like to have seen blockquoted. However, I reflected upon this and felt such did not actually detract from the flow of the prose. The post was extremely well-written and exhibited a good command of vocabulary. I actually had to look up the word hegemon, which did not appear in my dictionary There was, however, an entry for hegemony. I was not using an unabridged dictionary and do not question the existence of the word. Although the post was essentially a discussion of theory based upon a work by Jurgen Habermas, the author, within his prose, provided sufficient reference to such work that an actual reading of the work was unnecessary for an understanding of his commentary. Unlike Matthew, discussed below, Alexander did not propose an impossible solution to a recognized problem, but, instead, stated his agreement with the proposition that the seeds of change are already in place and need to be nurtured. The blog itself appears to be a team blog. I attempted to discover something about Alexander and the other members of the team, but could not locate such. This was the best post visible from those I examined. However, the remaining posts were equally well written. I suspect that the members of the team are all academics. Except that the vocabulary used may be over the heads of the general public, there is very little I could find wrong with this post.

4.5~PrometheusSpeaks: Get a Baby Bib Just Like Dubya Wears! ~[My link goes to post, contest link goes to blog] Right off, the title had me convinced I had another left leaning zealot who was going to mindlessly bash Bush and his administration. I was partially right. I do have to retract the mindlessly part. This post was delightfully humorous. It was so craftfully constructed that it could rival Dave Barry or James Lilieks on one of their best days. I would have gladly given it BEST OF SHOW had Prometheus linked to the actual post.

4.5~o.t.p.: Triteness Studies ~I am not in total agreement with Ron's conclusion:

I can't really think of any subject matter less useful to a college student than this.
I can easily see this type of study to be beneficial for sociology majors. Ron did bring out several good points in a clear and concise manner. This post convinced me to read other entries which I found to be equally well written. This post will be controversial because the subject matter is controversial. However, I do pick the nits. I would have prefer Ron to paraphrase the crux of the article and give me a link. He gave me a link and required that I had to read it to understand his comments. In my opinion, a post should generally stand on its own unless its sole purpose is to urge you to go read something someone else has written. Quote, paraphrase and comment. Close, but no cigar.

4.5~Occasional Subversion: Biotechnology and Hunger ~Not actually titled as such, but the link works. I thought this was a well composed and written posting about an interesting topic. I suppose the only reason I did not give this one top marks is because Matthew did a pretty good job of describing what he felt was the problem but concluded by suggesting impossible solutions:

But if we want to end hunger, we've got to do more than allow our big agricultural businesses to impose their own brands of crops on the world. Instead, we need to help countries develop economies which do not inhibit agriculture and we need to find diplomatic means of dealing with totalitarian governments which impede their citizens' access to food. And we need to stop war, for the costs of reducing conflict in the world are far less than the costs of continuing it. [emphasis supplied]
Maybe I am picking nits more aggressively than last week, but again, this one was only close, but did not ring the bell.

4.5~The Right Christians: Dreams of the Future (3): Without a Future ~I found this posting extremely hard to rate, because I am not a Biblical scholar. I found it ironic that a blog called The Right Christians was attacking the views of the Christian Right. And then there were phrases such as premillenial dispensationalism. Even after I hit the link within such phrase was in, I could not find any means of deciphering the meaning of this phrase. In addition, though again I am not a theologian or Biblical scholar, I had to question the need for those who believe that the coming of the end is near would need to convert Jews and Catholics. I thought the Jews were the chosen people. Wasn't Christianity God's way of allowing the Gentiles to find their way into Heaven? AND are not Catholics Christians? This was a very long well written post. The blog was very nicely designed. However, like the dream blog of two weeks ago and the truck story blog of last week, I feel like this is one you either will really like or in which you will find absolutely no interest. If there had been a glossary provided, I would have given this one a top rating. As I am still confused as to the meaning of premillenial dispensationalism, I am not doing so.

4.5~Web Dawn: Rebirth of the Social Marketplace: Forum View for blogs ~The blog was attractive and the post was blurbing some new feature that looked very interesting, and something most of us would probably like to see, especially on blogs that have a lot of commenting conversations on them. Mark Carey, did link the script used in link in response to one of the comments to this post. Is this part of the post? If the comment had not been made, the response would not have been made. As such, I must subtract such from the rating. In fact, for a super non-techie like me, just seeing the script without any explanation as what to do with such was of no benefit anyway. So, does this post tell us much about the blogger and the blog? I had to actually peruse the other entries to discover if such was true, and I would say it is. This blog seems to be mainly about development of blogging as a social communication tool. This post was about one of the tools developed. However, it was a confusing post and I am not sure this post was an ideal showcase of the blogger's talents or properly identified the theme or subject matter of the blog. As such, I rate it one notch below the top mark.

4.0~Practical Penumbra: Some People are Mean ~Let me start off by saying this is a post I have read previously and to which I have even commented. I read this blog every day. I have told Susie that I love her color combination more than any I have seen. We use the same MT template, and she did a much better job of altering hers than I did with mine. However, Susie, I agree that blockquoting the email did make it look better than the first attempt, but you still needed to reformat the end line returns which would have perfected your formatting of the email. I love what you said, and think you are a great writer who has a terrific sense of humor, however, I am so thrown with those links:

"and, if you are a Palestinian, Buck the Marine." [into which I would have added after Palestinian "you should fear']
Ok, I'm done channeling Bill Whittle. [I did not understand the meaning of this, and really hate having to go somewhere else to find out what it might mean]
Susie writes great stuff, and I urge people to read her blog regularly, especially because she points out all the great stuff I write on my blog. This is a great post, but not excellent or exceptional. Sorry Susie, please don't hate me now.

4.0~CavBlog: Bad Advice ~Eugenio is a pretty new blogger but seems to have a pretty good idea of what he is doing already. This is not a bad post, in fact, it is a pretty well written commentary. He needs to use blockquotes to set off the text of articles. I was pretty sure this was not his best post, and looked around at the rest of his stuff. Mostly he comments on the commentary made by others. This one was actually commentary on a news story, and he provided a link to some added information. Eugenio shows great promise and I believe he means what he said in his very first posting:

This is likely only a temporary name for this site (and this is definitely only a temporary format).
Welcome to the Blogosphere, Eugenio. I am almost sure we can expect profound commentary in the future, and hopefully his formatting will improve.

4.0~UltraBlog: Words Ending in "opelessness" ~This is a very late entry. I first read it and I was befuddled as to what point Lewis was trying to make. I thought I was just tired, went to bed and awoke refreshed. I wanted to read it again. It does make some sense if you read it very slowly. I am sure we have all had similar thoughts to those expressed in this posting. I guess I would not go into my theory that our entire universe in actually contained within atomic structure of a cell on the back of a parasite living in the intestinal track of a migratory gypsy moth in a superior reality. I can not quite put my finger on what it is that bothers me about this post: the inanity of the subject matter, the reckless use of compound sentencing, or my lack of comprehension as to the purpose of the titling. I did read some of Lewis' other posts, and this post is fairly consistent with his writing style. It fits in right about here.

3.5~As if Nothing Happened: What are people thinking? ~When I first saw the excerpt posted on the New Weblog Showcase page, I was not enamored because it looked like Rene had entered 3 separate posts. Well, in a way, that did prove proved to be true. However, in actuality, it was also only one post. As is commonly done by most new bloggers, including myself, Rene is placing several posts into one day's entry. As is often the case with new bloggers, a weblog is believed to be about creating one post each day about interesting items from that day. Of course, that does not work well with permalinking and trackbacking. Such essential blogging tools work best if you enter items as individual posts. It is not uncommon for bloggers, including myself, to combine more than one story into the same post, especially if they have a common theme. As such, I determined that this entry was within the rules of fair play for the contest. Regrettably, for the reasons I have discussed, such is not a good blogging method. Additionally, there were portions of the postings that read like they might be quoted materials, but I was unsure. I also thoroughly dislike having to read stories first in order to place the blogger's comments into perspective. Rene writes well and exhibits a very keen sense of humor. I loved this line:

. . . [W]hat else do you do about a 58 year old woman who dances like a flopping fish in a skirt so short you can see something you reeeaaally don't want to[?]
hanging participle and all! Rene has excellent potential, as is exhibited by some of her other writing. She needs to discover blockquoting. Surprisingly to many, there is an actual learning curve to becoming a top notch blogger. This was not the best post and this one could have been done much better. Rene should improve over time.

2.5~Bob's Bits and Bites: Bob's Thoughts ~[This is not the title to the post but the link works.] Bob began blogging yesterday and shares a lot of inane thoughts. However, Bob is an avid collector of tires and would likely hire Michael Jackson to babysit before he would allow Ted Nugent to watch over his kids. What about Bob? This might take some watching to see. So far, Bob has posted twice, two very long lists of mostly utterly inane thoughts. OK, there is a chuckle or two to be found. He tried, the link worked, it was grammatically correct, it was formatted well, there was some funny stuff, just not much. Not that bad for a start but a long way to exceptional.

1.5~OLDCATMAN SPEAKS: Sat. June 21, 2003 [Entry Link=NZB 404 Page MY LINK WORKS!] ~Catman Speaks, but does anyone really want to listen? Another really neophyte blogger who is still needing to get a clue as to what it is all about. First off, do individual posts. Do not put all the things you have to say into one day's post. What is it with your formatting? Are you cutting and pasting from another program? Your lines are extremely ragged. Is that a template from Blogger? I am almost sure the most atrocious Blogger template looked better than that. Several stories were mentioned, and yet not one solitary link. Actually, I did notice a fairly good sense of humor in the post, and I think Catman can evolve into a blogger with some regular following once he gets the hang of blogging. I did actually find a few of his comments to be quite funny. Hang in there Catman. Too bad you wasted your one and only chance of entering the New Weblog Showcase before you were ready to shine. He tried, I found it, and another notch for good measure.

Posted by Tiger at June 29, 2003 12:00 AM

Hi--was wondering if you would tell me how to post something to keep it at the top of the page?

I've voted for people in New Weblog Showcase and half the time, it doesn't get counted because by Sunday night, it goes into archives. I then decided, Ok, I'll just wait till Sunday. Sunday rolled around and I forgot. argh.

If you have some time, please let me know how to do this.

Posted by: serenity at June 26, 2003 07:20 AM

I DO think you are grading more strictly than last week, and NOT just because of the mean things you said about my entry! :P
I will accept (though disagree with) your quibble regarding the Buck the Marine link (muttering to myself "He's just jealous that I linked to Frank..."). However, how could you not get the Bill Whittle reference? Everyone teases poor Bill about how long his essays are, and since that post was MUCH longer than mine normally are.....sigh.
I still love you, Tiger! And I'm happy to get a "B" when the professor is a really tough grader....

Posted by: Susie at June 26, 2003 08:06 AM

Got your email. Thank you!

Posted by: serenity at June 27, 2003 12:54 AM

Thanks for the comments. Here's your blurb:


Posted by: PrometheusSpeaks at July 2, 2003 01:25 AM

Thanks, I read it and loved it!

Posted by: Tiger at July 2, 2003 09:48 PM

director: oldcatman, all years ''G-R" ratings......DO PREFER THE GROUP 'FART' FORMAT.................... I WILL GET THE UPDATE PAID VERSION OF BLOGSPOT WHEN THEY TELL ME HOW TO PAY BY CHECK.............................UNTIL THEN, WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET ...THANKS FOR THE COMMENTS...................

Posted by: oldcatman at July 13, 2003 04:54 PM