Less Ashtrays to Clean in Fergus Falls

This is the first report I’ve seen from a newly smoke-free area of the state. Apparently, life has indeed gone on without smoking in bars and restaurants:

New faces, atmosphere since ban on smoking

“The first few weeks, there was an initial buzz where that’s all everyone was talking about,” Shol said. “But then things got back to normal. We haven’t lost any regulars. We gained a few we haven’t seen in a while — they couldn’t come in here because of the smoke because they had health restrictions.”

“It smells good and I can breath better,” said one Viking regular, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s not so smoky.” However, she said, she wouldn’t have stopped patronizing the Viking even if it hadn’t gone smoke-free.

It’s funny that some people were told not to go into smoky bars by their doctors. That’s kind of like the warnings on the side of cigarette packs. You may not want to smoke if you’re pregnant. Actually, you may not want to smoke if you’re lung-dependent.

Top-25 Minnesota Blogs by Google Subscribers

Google has a new feature that lets you see how many subscribers a given site has through Google Reader. This isn’t a measure of all subscribes to a site but just those subscribing through Google’s Reader (and probably personalized homepages on Google). For example, the number below for Technology Evangelist represents around 1/4 of the site’s total subscribers and for The Deets it’s showing around 1/5 of the total subscribers.

I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few. I put this together based on Minnesota sites I read or know about. I have not included subscriber numbers from traditional media sites (with the exception of blogs contained on media sites like Jason DeRusha’s).

Rank  Readers    Site
1	1410	  Powerline
2	926	  Pharyngula
3	599	  Technology Evangelist
4	210	  MNSpeak
5	124	  Blogumentary
6	 77	  Minneapolis Metblogs
7	 63	  More Cowbell
8	 51	  Girl Friday
9	 50	  Roadguy
10	 36	  Chow & Again
11	 36	  St Paul Real Estate
12	 28	  Garrick Van Buren
13	 26	  Aaron Landry
14	 24	  Jason's Deblog
15	 22	  Tech~Surf~Blog
16	 21	  The Deets
17	 21	  MNBeer
18	 19	  Bex Huff
19	 18	  Big Time Attic
20	 16	  Doodledee
21	 12	  Real Estate Snippets
22	  9	  Afterglide
23	  9	  PF Hyper
24	  6	  bencredible
25	  6	  Twin City Sidewalks

How to Look Up Subscribers

Login to Google Reader (if you’re not already using it, you should be), click the “browse” link on the left, then search for blogs near the bottom of the page. The resulting page lists the subscriber data.

If you find blogs I’ve missed or want to share additional findings, please do so in the comments.

MN Journalism Recognitions

The Online New Association’s Online Journalism Awards have a few Minnesota names among the nominees this year:

Outstanding Use of Digital Media: The Star Tribune for A PEOPLE TORN: Liberians in Minnesota

Beat Reporting: Minnesota Monitor for GLBT issues based on the link.

The winner get $5000 from the Knight Foundation. It’s not clear to me if that means the winner if each category or the winner of the primary category. I’m hoping it goes to someone other than ESPN or the NY Times since it would might cost them more than $5000 to receive $5000.

It’s interesting to see what journalists find interesting. Would the Liberia piece in the Star Tribune have been ranked #1 by web users in Minnesota for Outstanding Use of Digital Media? What would web stats tell us?

Why Was The Brackett Rocket Removed in the First Place?

When I read the following snippet from Building Minnesota’s article on the return of the Brackett Rocket, I thought, “Was Cara Letofsky’s daughter’s head responsible for the removal of the rocket from Brackett Park?

The return of the Brackett Park rocket

“Two summers ago, Cara Letofsky’s daughter managed to get her head stuck in between the vertical slats on the rocket’s third level.

“”She freaked,” Letofsky said.

“Letofsky, who was pregnant at the time, couldn’t squeeze through the 15-inch openings between levels. However, she had the foresight to have another adult follow her two-year-old up the rocket. That person unlodged the young girl, who wasn’t injured.”

I’ve mentioned before that other kids have gotten their heads stuck in the rocket and have grown up to become healthy adults.

So, what was the real motivation for the change?

Taxi vs. Star Tribune

Taxi vs. Star Tribune, originally uploaded by edkohler.

I don’t know if the coverage of the airport taxi issues at MSP by the Star Tribune is to blame, but something aparently inspired this taxi driver to aim his cab at the Star Tribune’s HQ along 4th St in downtown Minneapolis this evening.

The Deets was immediately on the scene after taking down some bangers & mash at Keiran’s.

The Minnesota Meme

Paul Jahn tagged me with a Minnesota meme a while back where I’m supposed to post three things about Minnesota. It looks like he got it from the source, Aaron Weiche, who breaks it down like this:

Minnesota Meme: Trip around the state

So I’m talking matters into my own hands and starting a Minnesota Blog Meme. Requirements are simple, fill us in on three things about MN ….anything … what you love, what you hate, where you visit, where you party, where you blog from, just keep it Minne-sooo-tan. Then tag three other MN bloggers.

Progressive people: Minnesota – at least MY Minnesota – has people who care about each other and try to make life better for people beyond themselves. Yet you don’t find yourself struggling over which ribbon you need to wear before leaving the house like SFO.

Seasons: Brings variety to outdoor sports where I can play ultimate and broomball. It’s important to have variety in pre-beer sports.

Trails: You can get just about anywhere on a bike in Minnesota. The big cities have plenty of trails, and everywhere else has so little traffic you can bike without too many problems.

Okay, moving on. Now it’s time to do some tagging. Here are three great local bloggers who are in need of a nudge. Here’s their excuse for a fresh post:

Life by the Falls – Nathan
TV Snacks – Anne
Jackalope Ranch – Mike

Hey, Pisser, You’re Being Watched

Caught in the act., originally uploaded by pinkzilla.

Remind me to make sure pinkzilla isn’t within camera shooting distance the next time I need to pee in a park.

She explains that this dog tried to pee on her bike bag not once, but twice at the Lake of the Isles dog park. That may fly at some of the other dog parks around town, but Lake of the Isles’ dog park is for refined dogs who graduated from finishing school.

Frustrated Skyway Protestors

School of Americas Protest, originally uploaded by radio.sputnik.

The photographer taking this picture of a woman passing out information regarding the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) (formerly the School of the Americas) in the Minneapolis skyway system mentioned that few people (1:10) bothered to acknowledge the group and even less (1:25) would take printed materials.

radio.sputnik (the person writing the photo description) concluded, “I guess we are just too busy with our own lives to concern ourselves with human rights abuses.”

Frankly, I think that’s an unfair description of the people in the skyways. Chances are pretty good that they were rushing to or from work, rushing to grab a quick lunch, rushing to get their driver’s license renewed, rushing to their court date, or rushing to a job interview.

Chances are pretty good that they didn’t head downtown to walk the skyways to with excess time on their hands, just waiting for an opportunity to arise where they can educate themselves about an issue others are clearly passionate about.

The same people who brushed by the issues group may be open and receptive to the same information in a different situation, so assuming they’re “just too busy with their own lives” to listen to every skyway pitch is a dangerous proposition.

Woodpecker Sighting (and hearing)

Woodpecker, originally uploaded by edkohler.

This guy was making a racket down in the gorge along W River Rd near 27th St E. He’s been gorging on that branch for some time now from the look of it.