According to a Pew Research Center survey released last week, hardly anyone wants to live in the Twin Cities. Which is just fine, since part of the "We like it here" mantra always has been that we want outsiders to like it, too, but not enough to move here.

Still, it's a mite disconcerting that of the 30 cities in the survey, only four were rated less desirable places to live by 2,260 respondents. Until you look a little closer at the rankings: Kansas City, a marvelous municipality by virtually any standard, lags one spot behind us, and cities with weather every bit as off-putting as ours landed in the top 10.

If we're going to be regarded that poorly anyway, let's bag all that Minnesota Nice stuff and point out which higher rated cities are, well, clearly crummier places to live:

Seattle (#3): Remember a few years back, when a long stretch of cloudiness prompted Fingerhut to take its employees on a plane ride to catch a glimpse of the sun? Bet that's a lucrative business in this dreary burg.

Tampa-St. Pete (#5): Hot, muggy and buggy, with cockroaches the size of chihuahuas. And take a Valium before you drive, lest you pop a gasket dealing with the fits and starts of all those drivers of a certain age. (I call 'em "Q-Tips," because from behind all you see are their cottony white craniums.)

San Francisco (#6): Beautiful, diverse and progressive. Just be sure to bring a down vest for summer -- and a couple of thousand bucks a month to rent that oversized closet they call an apartment.

Phoenix (#7): Smoggy and stupefyingly hot. "But it's a dry heat!" locals proudly proclaim. Uh, it's a hundred-and-freaking-fourteen, folks. Love those scorpions, too.

Boston (#11): Pahk your cahr in Hahvahd Yahd, because the world's rudest drivers and dumbest traffic engineers have converged here. Even when not behind the wheel, the locals are obnoxiously arrogant on their better days.

Las Vegas (#20): Garish, cheesy glitz in the middle of a dusty desert. Even if you like to visit, would you really want to live there?

Houston (#19): Abject poverty, relentless humidity, mosquitoes that dwarf ours, no urban charm and people who think the sun rises and sets on their vast wasteland of a state: a hard combination to not beat.

Bill Ward • 612-673-7643