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the Twin Cities

BEST LOCAL BLOG

Mediation

Taylor Carik, local blogger and polymath, has created what may be the Twin Cities' most eclectic web log—and one of its oddest. Take the inscrutable title, for example, which appears nowhere on the home page. Or Carik's rigorously minimalist approach to blogging: Unlike so many bloggers, Carik doesn't use his platform to disgorge treatises on his political views or journal the minutiae of his daily life. Instead, his stripped-down site simply offers links to other web pages he finds interesting, with perhaps a sentence or two of comment, as if he's doing this simply as a public service. What sets Mediation apart, however, is the sheer range of Carik's posts. There seems to be no area of human endeavor he isn't interested in: politics and current events, science and mathematics, art, music, theater, pop culture, history—it's all grist for his digital mill. In recent weeks, for example, visitors found links to a complex maze puzzle, a YouTube video of a 10-year-old Japanese girl playing Kansas's "Carry on My Wayward Son" on an electronic organ, a Business Week article criticizing the Treasury Department's plan to overhaul the financial regulatory system, and a story on the smallest black hole yet discovered. His posts are almost always informative, oddly fascinating, or amusing. And they invariably raise two questions: 1) Where does he find this stuff? and 2) Exactly how much time does he spend on the internet?

BEST (NON-TV) WEATHERPERSON Jimmy "Dutch" Gaines

BEST AMUSEMENT PARK Valleyfair

BEST BEACH Hidden Beach at Cedar Lake

BEST BIKE TRAIL Cannon Valley Trail

BEST BOCCE COURTS Nomad World Pub

BEST BOWLING ALLEY Ran-Ham Bowling Center

BEST BOXER Jason Litzau

BEST COACH Tubby Smith

BEST COLUMNIST Nick Coleman

BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP Big Brain Comics

BEST DAY TRIP Stillwater

BEST FAN CONVENTION CONvergence

BEST GAY-FRIENDLY SPORTS LEAGUE Twin Cities Gay Hockey Association

BEST GOLF COURSE Hiawatha Golf Club

BEST ICE SKATING Centennial Lakes Park

BEST INDOOR RUNNING SPACE Metrodome

BEST JOCKEY Paul Nolan

BEST LIBRARY Minneapolis Central Library

BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD Alex Pareene

BEST LOCAL BOYS MADE GOOD Joel and Ethan Coen

BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Diablo Cody

BEST LOCAL WEBSITE MnSpeak

BEST LYNX PLAYER Seimone Augustus

BEST MAKE-OUT POINT Fillmore Avenue, St. Paul

BEST MAYOR R.T. Rybak

BEST MINNESOTA SWARM PLAYER Nick Patterson

BEST MINNESOTA THUNDER PLAYER Nic Platter

BEST NATURE IN THE CITY The Quaking Bog at Wirth Park

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD FOR GARAGE SALES Macalester-Groveland

BEST NEW BRIDGE Hiawatha Bridge

BEST NEW VIEW OF THE RIVERFRONT Guthrie Theater's "Endless Bridge"

BEST PARKING LOT The one behind the Mixed Blood Theatre on the West Bank

BEST PICNIC SPOT Hidden Falls Regional Park

BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE Lake Elmo Park Reserve

BEST PLACE TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR SCANDO HERITAGE Ingebretsen's

BEST PLACE TO BREAK UP Science Museum of Minnesota

BEST PLACE TO GET A PIñATA Litin Everything Party 'n' Paper

BEST PLACE TO GET ARRESTED FOR SOLICITING SEX IN PUBLIC Crosby Farm Regional Park

BEST PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL WITHOUT LEAVING TOWN Canoeing on Lake Nokomis

BEST PLACE TO JOG Crosby Farm Regional Park

BEST PLACE TO MEET OTHER PARENTS Riverview Café

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY) The Minneapolis Eagle/Bolt

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT) Dave and Buster's

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (GAY) Pi Bar and Restaurant

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT) Bolder Options

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH Pizza Lucé downtown after 1 a.m. on a Saturday night

BEST PLACE TO PLAY GAMES OF WORLD DOMINATION WHILE EATING SEASONED FRIES Chatterbox Pub

BEST PLACE TO SAY IT WITH A CARD Mitrebox

BEST PLACE TO SHOOT POOL Fat Boy Billiards

BEST PLACE TO SPEND A DAY DOING SOMETHING FOR FREE Como Park

BEST PLACE TO STUDY WHILE SIPPING BEER Common Roots Cafe

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS Stone Arch Bridge

BEST PLACE TO WANDER INDOORS Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

BEST POLITICIAN Neva Walker

BEST PUBLIC PARK Lebanon Hills Regional Park

BEST SCANDAL Carol Molnau's shameless land deal

BEST SELF-PROMOTER Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek

BEST SIGN OF SPRING Outdoor dining

BEST SILVER LINING TO THE 35W BRIDGE COLLAPSE Four lanes on 94

BEST SKYSCRAPER The Capella Tower

BEST SLEDDING Theodore Wirth Park

BEST SPEED TRAP The bridges over the Mississippi near 35W

BEST SPORTS BAR FOR CHEERING OUT-OF-STATE TEAMS Gabe's by the Park

BEST STRIP CLUB The Seville

BEST TENNIS COURTS Tower Hill courts

BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER Al Jefferson

BEST TWINS PLAYER Joe Mauer

BEST USE OF NEON LIGHTING First National Bank Building

BEST USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY Land conservation grants

BEST VIEW Lake Hiawatha at sunset on an autumn day

BEST VIKINGS PLAYER Adrian Peterson

BEST VILLAIN Par Ridder

BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE TWIN CITIES WITHOUT ENDURING THE WEATHER Twin Cities Flickr Photo Pool

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY The North Shore

BEST WILD PLAYER Marian Gaborik

BEST WINTER SPORTS RESORT Lutsen Mountains

BEST YOGA St. Paul Yoga Center