A lot of stories fly across our radar here at The Blotter on any given day. We never know what's coming next, and we're never really sure what readers are going to latch onto -- with a few notable exceptions.
With that in mind, here's our Top 10 list of the most-viewed stories of the year.
These are the stories you picked. See if they surprise you, and offer your nominations in the comment section.[jump]
In January, we carried a national story noting that there has been a concerted thrust to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, for the plain old joy of getting stoned, and for a gold mine in profits to be reaped by those who control the multipronged industry.
Along with a serious public policy story, we offered a mellow take: A list of 10 celebrities who've helped raise marijuana awareness and show the ridiculousness of prohibition: Snoop Dogg, Woody Harrelson, Michael Phelps and Willie Nelson were among our happy stoners.
One of the unexpected surprises of the Twins' new outdoor digs at Target Field has been the spontaneous adoption of a new mascot: An American Kestrel that loves to perch on the right foul pole and catch moth snacks in the stadium lights.
Nicknamed Kirby the Kestrel, it's a welcome distraction for fans as well as announcers, who roar as cameras catch it dismember moths, consuming the meaty parts and shucking the wings like peanut shells. Check out the video here.
Remember when a tornado struck downtown Minneapolis last year and broke the cross atop a downtown church? Minneapolis Pastor Tom Brock asserted that the twister was God's retribution for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America passing a resolution at its national convention in Minneapolis that allows for openly gay clergy to serve as ministers.
"The apostasy is now complete" in the ELCA, he told conservative Christian radio host David Wheaton not long afterward.
"And do you know what percentage, David, by which this sex statement passed?"
"By one vote, wasn't it?" Wheaton replied.
"One vote, 66.6 percent," Brock said. The mark of the Beast!
But then Brock himself was struck by a perfect storm: Lavender outed him with some controversial undercover reporting.
Jenn Sterger parlayed a sideline crowd shot at the 2005 Florida State-Miami football game into a leap of fame thanks to ABC's Brent Musberger. As the camera lit on Sterger and some friends, Musberger deadpanned: "15,000 red-blooded American men just signed up to go to Florida State next year."
Cover shots for Maxim and Playboy followed. She wrote for Sports Illustrated. And then New York Jets hired her in 2008 as game-day host -- the same season they brought Brett Favre aboard at quarterback.
In August, Gawker reported that Sterger subsequently received lewd text messages, come-ons and cock shots from Favre. It didn't publish the pictures -- that came later (see below) -- but the rumored photos became the story about Favre that everyone wanted to read.
Life around us shorter folks must be a bit of an ordeal for Rochester's Igor Vovkovinskiy. It can't be a whole lot of fun spending one's life ducking through doorways, folding into cars, finding clothes that fit and pointing the shower head up, not down.
But, owing to the fact he's 7 feet 8.33 inches tall, there's at least one benefit: He's officially the tallest man in America.
The tale of the Guinness World Record tape was announced in May.
Igor beat out the previous record-holder, Virginia deputy sheriff George Bell, by a third of an inch, according to Guinness.
All thanks to a tumor in his pituitary gland, evidently.
A blizzard on Dec. 11 paralyzed the Twin Cities, and punctuated the Vikings' dismal 2010 season by puncturing the Metrodome's roof -- and the whole debacle was caught on video.
And as it happened, Fox Sports was in town to prep for what it thought would be the following day's game between the Vikings and the Giants. The broadcast's producer, learning the dome's canopy had a history of failures in bad weather, ordered that a camera be left on overnight in the facility.
Sure enough, at 5 a.m. on Sunday, the roof came down in spectacular fashion. Check out the video here.
Thanks to Fox News, we now have something called the Tea Party, and Michele Bachmann is their queen. These folks are quite sure they know a lot more about the Constitution than the rest of us. They're pretty sure Barack Obama isn't an American. They hate being called tea baggers. And they are really, really bad spellers. See for yourself.
In January we realized that it's been 80 years since the Golden Age of science fiction, and we got to wondering, where are the flying cars, robot maids, hoverchairs and space resorts we were promised? Where's the telepathic communication? Where, for that matter, are the food replicators? So we presented our Top 10 list of technologies that we ought to have, if only scientists weren't obsessed with boring stuff like finding a cure for cancer and ending poverty.
Jacoby Laquan Smith turned himself in to St. Paul police in April for what must be the most unmanly crime on record: beating up Tiesha Bell, his armless, legless girlfriend.
Smith allegedly punched Bell in the face at least 10 times on March 22, trying to convince police that, even though she'd lost her arms and legs to a childhood illness, she had managed to cheat on him, and physically abuse him.
"She'll swing, push me down and choke me with her nubs," Smith told the Pioneer Press.
That's right, Smith was being cuckolded by a quadruple amputee.
That can't be good for the self-esteem.
Deadspin said they had the Brett Favre penis pictures, and on Oct. 7, they offered evidence, posting images said to have been sent by the gridiron gunslinger to former Jets sideline host Jenn Sterger.
We saw them. They didn't leave much to the imagination. But we posted them.
Favre was asked about the photos during a press conference.
"There's an e-mail report today that accuses you of sending some inappropriate text messages to a female employee of the Jets during your year there. Would you care to respond to those allegations?"
Favre took a swig of water and said, "No, I'm not getting into that. I've got my hands full with the Jets, and trying to get some timing down with our guys. So that's all I'm going to discuss."
And he's pretty much remained silent on the matter ever since, with one exception: He's admitted to sending text messages to Sterger, but not the photos.
Sterger, meanwhile, lawyered up and demanded that Favre be punished by the NFL for sending the unwanted messages.
The league's investigation continues.