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Posted on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

A requiem for Arbor Update's six-year run online

By Edward Vielmetti

The long running local commentary weblog Arbor Update is shutting down. One of the features it has had is a sidebar of "other local bloggers."  This week's link roundup captures that list before it's frozen in amber, and notes what the Arbor Update crew is moving on to do.

One of the things clear from reviewing this list is that AU's run from 2004 to 2010 is remarkable. The typical weblog doesn't last all that long before the author moves on to the next thing. Here's what Arbor Update used to pay attention to, back in its heyday.

Ann Arbor is Overrated went completely dark on Feb. 9, 2009 after a run that started in May 2002. AAIO's author's identity was secret for a long time until Julia Lipman let it be known who she was on the occasion of her exit from Ann Arbor for the greener pastures of Annapolis.

NEgatrive reporting, in all aspects, is nothing short of something awful to read ... Julia Lipman is no exception to this. Her writing is continuously sarcastic, negative, and raw in a bad way. - a quote from someone on LiveJournal that Julia uses to headline her page.

Carfree ann arbor went dark on May 11, 2008, after a run that started in 2006. It was about "resources, tips, tricks and ideas for the car-free (and car-lite) community in Ann Arbor, Michigan." Most of these suggestions are still good, and most of the problems that author Scott identified haven't changed since he wrote them up.

Common Monkeyflower is a weblog from Richard "Murph" Murphy, who started it in 2005 with this statement: 

Having taken down the last iteration of this blog, I find myself wishing I still had a blog that wasn't ArborUpdate. That project has become strangely high-pressure now that it's experienced a modicum of success. 

Murph kept at it until his last post in January 2009; his writing pace was slowed down by his position working for the City of Ypsilanti as a City Planner.

Ed Vielmetti. Some guy who types a lot; in fact, he's writing this post. The link went to my old weblog Vacuum, which has slowed down a lot since I started working here at

GetDowntown is a program encouraging alternative transportation to downtown Ann Arbor. Its tag cloud gives you a pretty good idea of what it is up to:

AATA, advocacy, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor-Detroit Rail, Ann Arbor Construction, awesome, bike, bikerack, bikes, bike to work, bus, bus to work, carpool, carsharing, climate change, commute, Commuter Challenge, Commuter Challenge Prize Patrol, commuting, DDA, downtown, driving, fitness, go!pass, Google Kids, money, motorcycle, Park & Ride, parking, private transportation, prize, public transportation, rail, stats, sustainable, sustainable commute, TDM, UM vanpool, walking, WBWC, winter commuting, Ypsilanti, Zipcar

Larry Kestenbaum started his weblog "Polygon, the Dancing Bear" in May 2002, and posted his last update in July 2008. Larry started the effort before being elected County Clerk and Register of Deeds, and it's understandably harder to maintain both a personal blog and a position as an elected official. His long running Political Graveyard database of American political history is still under active development.

Local in Ann Arbor is the work of Vivienne Armentrout. It's one of the relatively few blogs in Arbor Update's list that is still being actively written. Vivienne writes a requiem for Arbor Update in her post Ann Arbor Blogs: the Moving Finger Moves On, quoting this apropos line from Omar Khayyam:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Mark Maynard hasn't slowed down a bit in the whole time that Arbor Update has been running; he's been at it since 2002. As ever you can get an idea of the breadth of someone's interests by their category list.

Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Ann Arbor, Architecture, Art and Culture, Church and State, Civil Liberties, Corporate Crime, Coupon, Crimewave USA, Detroit, Economics, Education, energy, entrepreneurism, Environment, Food, Found Objects, Free Speech, geneology, Global Warming, Health, History, Ideas, Local Business, Locally Owned Business, Mark's Life, Marketing, Media, Michigan, Monkey Power Trio, Observations, OCD, Other, Photographs, Politics, Pop Culture, Predictions, Rail, Rants, Religious Extremism, Retail, Science, sex, Shadow Art Fair, Site Admin, Special Projects, Sustainability, The Spitting Cat, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti

Ron Suarez is linked from the Arbor Update home page, but his current page is a "coming soon" home page from his hosting provider. Ron, a former First Ward City Council member from 2006 to 2008, has mostly moved to Brooklyn, NY.

Teeter Talk was started by Old West Side resident Dave Askins in 2005; it is an interview series with local residents and the occasional out of town guest. 

This website is accident-free, with 177 teeter totter rides and zero recordable injuries. 

At its peak, Dave was interviewing six people a month; the site was last updated in December 2009, with no interviews in January 2010 posted.

Edward Vielmetti has been typing things into the Internet daily since 1985. You can reach him at


Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

There is some unintended hilarity in the "related articles" list for this item. I'm curious about how's software comes up with these lists.