What was your most memorable comment? We had one negative comment from an awful, mean person. I don't remember what they said. I've tried to block it out. I can't think of an actual quote, but we have some regular commenters. Alex is really good at wordplay. He and the commenters play back and forth and get silly. It takes a lot to comment. You have to feel something.

Provel, yes or no? I'm cool with Provel. And I'm not even a native St. Louisan.
— Aimee Levitt


Where others see a shabby old building left to rot, Michael Allen sees a treasure needing love. For years, he's posted photos, maps and blueprints on Ecology of Absence to highlight specimens of St. Louis' architecture threatened by brick rustlers or the wrecking ball. Best known for being the first to identify Paul McKee as the one amassing parcels of land in north St. Louis, Allen has become one of the most thoughtful and prolific commentators on historic preservation policy in the city.

Matt Sebek, JoeSportsFan.
Emily Good
Matt Sebek, JoeSportsFan.
Michael Allen, Ecology of Absence.
Emily Good
Michael Allen, Ecology of Absence.

Age: 29

How long has your blog existed? Since 2004.

Why did you start the blog? This info I put out there on vanishing buildings and historical buildings will inspire action, hopefully. And getting it out to the largest number of people possible is my goal.

What's your traffic like? I get 400 unique users on an average day. Sometimes it gets up to 500 or 600.

When do you blog? Early in the morning. Readership is really high before lunch.

Where do you blog? Almost exclusively from my computer in my home office. I never blog in cafés or bars. I try to keep a wall of separation between business and pleasure.

What's your comment moderation philosophy? I started out allowing anything and everything. Now, the ones I weed out are the ones that attack somebody that's not key to the message of the post. Ultimately I want people to focus on preservation and the architecture I want to cover. I don't just want to be a forum for ranting and raving.

Most memorable moment as a blogger: I was at Whole Foods and this young man in the wine department came up to me and said, "Aren't you from Ecology of Absence?" That was kind of fun.

The first time I met Paul McKee, he was coy about whether he read the blog. But by the third meeting he was referring to specific posts. It was like, "Wow, you really were reading."

Blogs he loves: B.E.L.T., Confluence City, Creative Saint Louis, Exploring St. Louis.

Provel, yes or no? Not at Imo's. But at Riley's, yes.
Nicholas Phillips


A few years ago, computer programmer Joe Stumble purchased a 45 by a California band called the Deadbeats. After finding out that the record had sold for a large chunk of change on eBay, he was shocked and appalled at how this type of music was being exploited.

"And so I came up with this idea that I was going to do a Robin Hood thing," he says, "where I was going to lower the sale price of records by sharing them with people." Enter Last Days of Man on Earth, Stumble's MP3 blog. Mixing smart, insightful commentary with free downloads, the site has become a must-read for fans of obscure punk, new-wave, hardcore, noise, power-pop and post-punk music.

Age: 39

When did you start the blog? February 2006

What time of day do you blog? I usually do it in the early morning, which is not rock & roll at all. I usually am up pretty early, and my brain is relatively fresh in the morning. I'll usually have coffee and sit down and start writing stuff out.

What blogs do you read? Good Bad Music, Armagideon Time, and Egg City Radio.

When was the last time you thought about stopping your blog, and why did you keep it going? I've stopped my blog all the time, and I generally keep going at this point because of audience feedback.

What do you like least about blogging? The time commitment of it. I don't get paid or anything, so it really is a labor of love, a free-time thing. I hate to say that, because it sounds like I'm complaining — and it's actually been a great thing for me — but sometimes you're tired, and you don't want to spend a couple hours fooling around with your computer. You want to go watch a movie or something.

Provel — yes or no? Absolutely, unequivocably, yes.
— Annie Zaleski


"Everybody assumes because I'm a Republican, that I'm an old cranky white guy. I'm more of a young cranky white guy," says St. Charles-based blogger John Combest. By day, he's a PR man for Monsanto, but he's better known as the top hyperlink aggregator of Missouri political news. For more than eight years, he's posted a daily list of stories in a bare-bones fashion and gained an audience of policy-makers and political junkies.

Age: 32

What's your blog's birthday? October 2, 2001.

Why did you start this blog? Nobody was really amalgamating and collecting these stories. If you really cared about Missouri politics in 2001, you had to go to 40 newspaper and TV websites. A lot of those little newspapers, I link to today.

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