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Posted on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Five notable Ann Arbor area weblogs for 2010

By Edward Vielmetti

For the end of the year, a look at only a few of the weblogs that I've been following that cover Ann Arbor and the surrounding area with some level of thoughtfulness and depth.

Blogging is a hard routine to keep up, and many of the blogs listed on the Arborwiki list of Ann Arbor bloggers are partly or thoroughly defunct, either because the author has left this "overrated" town, the collective has given up tired of dealing with off-topic comments, or the author simply stopped mysteriously in mid-thought.

Here are then a few notable authors, writing about town in general, about food and cooking, taking photographs and watching local politics, that are worth taking a look at.

All purpose group weblog

Damn Arbor is "a blog about life, Ann Arbor, and life in Ann Arbor. We are grad students, townies, and derelicts." Six regular contributors write for it, with brief takes on goings on around town, commentary on news stories, the occasional restaurant review and other friendly banter about town. The overall sense is of a set of friends writing about things mostly that they like about the area, from the point of view of the person who is as likely as any to be an ex-Michigander (Michigoner?) when graduate school is over.

Food and drink

Mother's Kitchen is about "cooking and the lost domestic arts like home canning and sewing. You know, the stuff they used to teach in home economics. Ironically, I hate housework." Cynthia, the author, has been at it for five years, and in that span of time has accumulated an impressive collection of recipes on topics like canning, the Yooper bar snack of pickled eggs, and favorites like Bob Talbert's White Chicken Chili.

Four Obsessions is Kate's blog about "reading, writing, cooking, and crafting." As you expect from the description, food and drink is only a fraction of the whole. Dozens of tasty recipes are arranged neatly on the sidebar, but the centerpiece during the growing season is her farm share blogging, with a nice photo of the week's vegetables from a Tantre Farm CSA share and links to the recipes she's planning for the week to use them. If you are looking for recipe ideas for vegetables in season, this is a great place to go.


Useless Creatures is Jorie O'Brien's photography weblog. The subject matter is distinctive; Jorie has been photographing the bodies of wild animals after their deaths. You might not think that this makes for a compelling display — she notes that "their bodies are often viewed as disgusting, offensive, and useless things" — but the photos of dead birds and mammals are taken with great care and appreciation for the circumstances of the animal's life. Her photo collection on Flickr also includes over 1,000 photos of Ann Arbor, her home town, and as big a collection of photos of Marquette, where she recently graduated from Northern Michigan University.


Local in Ann Arbor is Vivienne Armentrout's weblog on local politics. With topics like civic finance, this is the kind of writing that can be appreciated for its care and attention to the details of municipal governance. To really appreciate this, you have to be one of a relatively small number of people who care to read about ten thousand words in five parts (A, B, C, D, E) with a detailed analysis of the financial models behind the proposal for a hotel on the Library Lot; if you are, you will appreciate that the politics are of the form about which "reasonable people can disagree."

Edward Vielmetti reads the entire Internet, looking only for the good parts, for


Jorie O'Brien

Thu, Dec 30, 2010 : 7:51 p.m.

Thanks for featuring Useless Creatures, Ed! Now I must check out the other featured blogs, they all sound great.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Dec 30, 2010 : 7:23 p.m.

Thanks for the mention of my blog also. I'm a regular reader of Mother's Kitchen and already following Damn Arbor (damn, they're good, and environmentalists too: who else would post about wooly adelgids?). Have to check the others. You may not have known that Mom is nationally published (her beet salad is in One Big Table

Moms Kitchen

Thu, Dec 30, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

thanks for the nice shoutout Ed! Everything I learned about blogging I have learned from you....

Ben Connor Barrie

Thu, Dec 30, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

Thanks for mentioning Damn Arbor! I also really like The Useless Creatures.