Well, the Radical Centrist retained his crown last week and has now been retired to the Hall of Kings, wherever that may be, never to be seen again. *ahem*
This week we have two pretenders vying to succeed him on the throne of Blogdom... so with no further delay, the Queen's rulings!
American Warmonger: Mr. Warmonger - I mean, Jeremy - gives us a very patriotic/military theme, which is not a bad thing. He's consistent with the desert fatigue colors and the red, white and blue throughout, with American flags in the background and a nicely done header graphic centered on the page. The color scheme is easy to read and doesn't annoy me in the least, which is more than I can say about many other blogs I've seen lately. Even my own previous design annoyed me after a while *wink*. Decent - if a little sparse - "about me" information is provided, and a photo. Haloscan comments and trackback - check. Blogger bar searchability, cool. Music playing automatically when the page is opened - boo, hiss!!! At least (unlike our friend The Engineer from last week) this one has a "stop" button. Still, automatically playing music is intrusive and annoying. That said, Jeremy's site has a lot of personality and good technical elements. I'll give it a 4, despite the music.
Dr. Sanity: This is one of the less attractive standard Blogger templates I run across on a regular basis. I know, Harvey's Beloved Wife uses it as well... and I'm hoping she gets some assistance in designing a new look as soon as possible *wink*. Similarly, Dr. Pat gives us some "about me" information, which is better than none, and a photo... Haloscan comments and trackback here as well... Blogger bar search... All in all, good on the technicals, but a bit short on the individual personality. I can't complain too horribly much about Blogger templates, but for a potential future Blogosphere ruler, I hope to see a bit more effort put into the aesthetics. There are blog design companies out there (Web Divas, Elegant Webscapes and Blog Moxie are ones I can think of off the top of my head) that have very reasonable rates to design Blogspot skins or templates - $45 to $55 is not a bad deal. That would be my suggestion for future wanna-be competitors, to provide a unique but polished look to a Blogspot blog. Dr. Sanity gets a 3.5.
American Warmonger: Obligatory nitpickiness: Something about the phrase "each time it has met with good review" makes no sense - either "a good review" or "good reviews" would be better... "World Trade Center", "White House" and "Pentagon" should probably be capitalized... some typos or wrong word choices here and there, but mostly nothing that detracts from reading this gripping story about 9/11 and its aftermath from Jeremy's point of view. Jeremy wanders off topic for a bit in there, and realizes it - the bit about the President (Clinton I assume) disrespecting the office and causing international embarassment - but for the most part, this is a coherent essay and kept my interest. I'll give American Warmonger a 3.5 for this submitted entry.
Dr. Sanity: More obligatory nitpickiness: The fifth paragraph, there are so many parenthetical comments that one of the sentences ends up being a sentence fragment with a parenthetical comment that never closes... could have used a bit more proofreading there, as well as a few other spots with typos. I am frequently tempted by the parenthetical comment bug as well, and at times I need to force myself to re-read a paragraph and rewrite it to do away with some of the parentheses. It can be done! *wink* As for the post itself, wow. Another gripping story, this time of the Challenger disaster, through the eyes of the NASA flight surgeon who was responsible for the crew and their family. I was absolutely fascinated by Pat's account of that day, and chilled by her description of the internal culture of NASA and its near-refusal to learn from past disasters. A very effective piece, well-written and well-crafted. Dr. Sanity gets a 4.5.
American Warmonger: Jeremy launches right into his challenge response without the dreaded "this is the question, this is my answer" intro - bravo! In fact, the intro he gave was so subtle that I almost didn't recognize it as being related to the challenge question. I think that's a good thing. A couple-few typos stand out, but like the submitted post, they mostly don't detract from the post itself. Jeremy has included images of his superhero bloggers and their nemeses (is that a word?), the MSM villains. He also starts out by properly sucking up to the judges. Nice job, there. On some individual superhero/villain descriptions it seemed he was losing focus and a bit short on creativity... and frankly, I'm not sure Rush Limbaugh belongs in the ranks of the MSM or the villains - he may be a bit of a blowhard and have a well-publicized drug problem, but talk radio isn't really considered mainstream media by most. Overall Jeremy seems to have come up with a pretty good answer - he covered all the elements of the question, and presented it pretty well. I know it's tough to be "blow-me-away" creative in the presentation in the short amount of time the pretenders have to answer the challenge question, but I'm still hoping for something more one of these days (see my comments on Dr. Sanity's challenge response as well). American Warmonger gets a 4.
Dr. Sanity: Ahh, the dreaded intro. I'm sorry, but I have to knock points off for lack of creativity in the intro here - I should just copy and paste my suggestions from every other time one of the pretenders has used it. "If your regular readers would be so freaked out by a post like this out of the blue, try posting an explanation right before posting the chalenge response indicating what you're up to..." Other than the distinctly non-creative intro, Pat earns points for sucking up to the judges *ding ding ding*... I felt the response was a little lacking, though... it would have been nice to have a villain or three to round out the cast. In fact, speaking of the "cast", wouldn't it have just been really cool and creative to write this challenge response as a script? Or a comic strip? *ahem*... Hey, this challenge question seems kind of familiar, now that I think about it. Pat obviously did a bit of reading the judges' blogs to come up with her response - that's always a plus. Nice "Atlas Shrugged" reference, too. But... I'm left feeling just a bit unsatisfied. Dr. Sanity's challenge response earns a 3.
The Queen's Rulings
American Warmonger: 11.5
Dr. Sanity: 11