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New Weblog Showcase Review (Filling In For Tiger)

Tiger sent out the message for a volunteer to fill-in this week. My specialty is reviewing the bottom of the Ecosystem, but I should be able to get serious and do a little serious analysis of the entries in this week's New Weblog Showcase.

I'll continue to update this post as I get through the reviews.

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. If you are offended by my review of your post please blame Tiger (because he is on vacation and I'm not).

Here is the rating scale:
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.

The reviews are starting to trickle in, see them below...

5.0 - Catallarchy.net: Patriotism vs. nationalism

I’m not really going to address the validity of the argument made by the author. What I give this entry high marks for is using a salient example from a well known movie (with dialogue and background included) to illustrate the point he was trying to make. Agree or disagree with the author’s conclusion as you see fit, but you will understand his reasoning by the example and analysis he gives. The whole issue may seem trite to some, but the author does a good job of explaining his reasoning for making the distinction between patriotism and nationalism. I’m not entirely sure that there is not a murky middle ground between the two, but the entry is praise worthy none the less.

5.0 - All Day Permanent Red - Cruising for Howard Dean

The author and I could not be more different, but I really enjoyed this entry. Perhaps it is the subtle satire of the “gay scene” and the way that the author portrays his quest for Dean converts (who will hand over a phone number). I’m not sure if this is a true story or an invented story, but either way I found it hilarious. This is a late entry in the contest, and is unlikely to win, but for those who enjoy sly humor, don’t miss it. I sure hope he was trying to be funny…

4.5 - Apropos of Nothing - Cat Hair Drama

If you’re going to “cat blog” you better do it well. In my opinion this entrant does it pretty well. There are only so many things you can say about bathing a cat, but the author does give you an idea of the trauma inflicted on all parties. My favorite quote: “Whoever said that domestic animals have no long-term memory have never tried bathing a cat.” Another late entrant…

4.5 - under the fire star - Chitra Talkies

I knocked the Carnal Conflict entry for only hinting at a complete portrait of a miserable existence. Well Chitra Talkies is an example of how to paint a portrait of pathos in an entertaining way. There are some minor readability issues for readers not familiar with the Indian terminology, but on the whole this entry is excellent. The post takes you to a far away village in India and in a first hand account details the foibles of the manager of the local theater. I was reminded of the theater from “The Majestic”, but in this case their was no mysterious stranger washed up on shore to help the theater reclaim its former glory. The post makes good use of pictures from inside and outside the theater to illustrate the dilapidated state that the theater owner describes.

My only quibble with the post is that the first paragraph describes the theater as demolished and replaced with an office building, then it jumps back to the story of the new manager. While the ending of the post finishes on a high point, I was left wondering at the time frame of the new manger’s story as it relates to the demolition. Does the story take place days, weeks, or years before the demolition? Those details are not provided.

4.0 - Rush Limbaughtomy - GOD'S OTHER SON GEORGE

The author did a good job of actual investigative reporting in finding the story, following up with the HAARETZ reporter who attended Aqaba meeting, then noting when the President would be available to answer the questions raised. For that alone the post starts out at with high marks. The problem is the author was not content to leave well enough alone. Making, perhaps, a beginners mistake the author formats the post terribly (it was painful to look at) and adds Photoshop 101 graphics that really do nothing but expose the political leanings of the author.

The author had a good scoop and added value to it by verifying with the reporter that Abbas had made the statements attributed to him. The Scopes Trial tangent was unnecessary and unimpressive. The formatting foibles and illusory analogies detracted from the post greatly. On the positive side the author was wise enough to link to others who supported his viewpoint and another who did not. Tip: Visit Kevin Drums post to see how good formatting (not the comic strip variety formatting used in the Showcase entry post) enhances the experience of the reader.

4.0 - HD Blog - Ethics & Genetics

This entry makes a good point, but fails (In my opinion) to quantify "bad research". A couple of links are provided that to point to what the author thinks are bad research projects, but the slippery slope of genetic research is not fully examined. The blog is a Huntington's Disease blog, so it is safe to assume that genetic research will be supported by the author and the post.

The entry does note that there are powerful forces aligned in the business of genetic research that provide some incentive for bad research. I guess I expected too much from the post, and perhaps that is my fault, but after a good buildup I expected a more detailed analysis of "good" and "bad" research.

4.0 - The Populist - The De-Evolution of Warfare

I'll make two points about this entry. First, guerilla tactics predate the Boer War. The American Revolution featured many militia units who used guerilla tactics. You can make the case the guerilla tactics date back to Attila The Hun or earlier…

Second, one of the authors main points of contention is that "only repressive regimes can finally defeat guerrillas and terrorists", which is so patently absurd it is laughable. The entry points out numerous cases where guerillas have achieved a clear (or moral) victory, yet omits conflicts that do not support his thesis.

The writing style is clear and concise, yet I am left with the impression that the author failed to learn any lessons from the prosecution of the war in Iraq. Small groups of guerillas are but nuisances when they are not organized and controlled centrally. Much of the speed of the drive to Baghdad was achieved by end running the rag tag guerillas and striking at their control structure (such that is was).

3.0 - Mazes and Walls: Complaining about Marriage

The author came up with a good metaphor for marriage “a warm bath”, but the analogy to dating as a roller coaster ride didn’t impress me. The closing sentences about letting the bath water get cold wraps up the post nicely. The author should have found a bath or shower reference (like perhaps a hot tub visit) for dating. I must be missing something, but the Shirt: Annoyed reference must be window dressing, that by the way makes no sense. A good post, but not a great post.

2.0 - UnPundit - A mighty wind?

This is a showcase entry? Sure it’s a mildly amusing story, but it hardly compares to the other entries. At least it is humorous…

1.5 - Geek Rants- Reverse logic

Save yourself the pain of locating the contest entry, the full post is reprinted below:

When you don't know what you are doing, don't make a schedule. The you can't be late in delivery. True you can't get early either, but then remember the goal is to avoid complaints, not to do the best job. Further there can't be complaints that you left out features, as they were never in the schedule to be done.
Where to start... If the entry contained well written sentences that would be a nice start…

1.0 - Cowgirl Cries: Carnal Conflict

I was actually going to rate this post lower, but repeated reading lead me to wonder what kind of life this person actually has. The author appears to be in a loveless marriage to E, yet the reasons for that situation are not addressed. The use of initials for people makes the post meaningless to anyone but the author, even if she does turn a good phrase with "bodice-ripping fantasies". While I applaud the author in her recovery from alcoholism, the fact that you day dreamed about P does not make for a showcase entry, especially when my review of your post is longer and more detailed than the post itself.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New Weblog Showcase Review (Filling In For Tiger):

» Tiger: Raggin' & Rantin' linked with This week's New Weblog Showcase

» The Truth Laid Bear linked with Wizbang Showcase Reviews

» Tiger: Raggin' & Rantin' linked with Bloggy goodness & other boring minutae

» All Day Permanent Red linked with New Blog Showcase Again

Comments (2)

You ought to email NZB and ... (Below threshold)

You ought to email NZB and give him this link and tell him you are doing the reviews this week.

RE: Mazes and Walls<... (Below threshold)
Sean:

RE: Mazes and Walls

Sorry you weren't impressed with the "dating as roller coaster" business. Maybe it's just because I'm a moody MF but dating never seemed to have any in-between and that's what it occurred to me to compare it to. The business about the shirt - it is the writer's present mood - comparable to wearing one's heart on one sleeve - obscure I know.

--SP




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