I have decided to take a short break for the torrent of news about the Ukraine to share with you an important development in the life of this blog: two days ago, last Thursday, the number of daily visitors to this blog has passed 10’000 to peak at an amazing 11’538 visitors! Now, some of them are webcrawlers, search engines, double visitors and my own, but the 10’000 visitors limit has clearly been passed now:
As for the total number of visitors to this blog since its modest beginning in 2007, it will soon pass one million visits:
In fact, since 2013 and especially recently, the number of visitors has literally exploded:
Which is wonderful, especially since the visitors come from all over the world:
That is the good news.
There is also bad news.
The bad news is that this is a one-man blog. I do that alone, with no help. Worse, I actually have a life outside blogging: a job, a wonderful and much beloved wife, three kids aged (13,16 and 17), I try to do sports (mountain biking, kayaking and free diving) and I have hobbies (reading, photography, jazz guitar and computers); I am working on a Master’s thesis in Orthodox theology, and I try to eat and sleep on a semi-regular basis. On the bad side, we also have a credit card debt we cannot reduce and we live literally from paycheck to paycheck, form month to month (I don’t make a single penny from the blog).
Since the beginning crisis in the Ukraine began, I have been getting something like 30-50 emails every day. And I have tried really really hard to answer them all.
On top of that, you can see for yourself that the number of comments on each post now is typically in the 30-50 comments, each of which I have to read and clear personally for blogger to display it. I also try to answer most comments.
And then there are the longer analytical post which I write from time to time like the one of the geopolitics of the Ukrainian conflict or the one on the roots of Ukrainian nationalism (roughly 7000 words!) which, even though I typically write them in one long session with no breaks, still take me a full day to write.
Oh, and did I mention I also spend several hours per day trying to inform myself about what is happening, trying to weed out the crap for the real fact in order to get a sense of what is really happening?
What I end up doing is doing all of the above simultaneously with me “normal” life. For that I use my computer, my Nexus 7 Internet tablet and my smartphone. I even often wake up at night to take a quick look at the tablet and clear any posts made during the night.
Now, please get me right, I am not complaining. In fact, I *LOVE* what I do and the immense outpouring of support and kind encouragements motivates me like nothing else. When I began this blog in 2007 I did it mainly to do something I could never do before in my life: to really speak my mind freely, with nobody to tell me not to say or write this or that, with no boss to fear or please, with no regard at all the reactions my writing might elicit. I made no efforts at all to advertise this blog, never promoted it anywhere, and I did not give a damn about what kind people would get offended or mad at me. My other goal was to create a space for free and intelligent discussion between people of different opinions who would know that no matter what they said I would never censor them. The only thing which I ever refused to post in the comments section was outright commercial spam. As for the rest, it was a 100% free environment in which the sanction for a ugly or stupid comment could only come in the form of a fact-based and logical reply, but never a ban.
In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined the kind of success this blog is enjoying now. And, believe me, I am delighted. But I cannot continue at the same pace, I am 50 year old now and I am physically compelled to decide on priorities.
I promise that I will do my utmost to keep things going as they do now, but I have to warn you about a few things which will have to change, at least somewhat:
1) I cannot commit to replying to every email I get. Sorry, but if I have to chose between a comment read by 10’000+ people or the email of a single person, I have to chose the former. I will still try to do my best but I cannot promise and answer to every email, so please do not get offended if you do not get a reply in the future.
2) The same goes for comments. If I have to chose between a comment which asks about something I have already covered elsewhere, or a basic question and a comment which can generate an interesting conversation of offers an interesting insight, I will have to chose the latter. I simply cannot keep up trying to answer most comments as before.
Guys, I BEG you: if at all possible, always chose to post a comment and only send me an email if that is to share something personal or confidential. If you want to share your opinion, ask for mine or ask a question, please, PLEASE use the comments section!!
Also, I want to clarify something about my mailing list. Guys, this is a low-volume mailing list. What I mean by that is that I only send out something if I want to draw the attention to something I posted on the blog or when I want to send out a message to my readers. This is not a way to let you know that something has been posted. For that, please use an RSS client and enter this feed into it:
Atom: 1.0: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS: 2.0: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Also – I want to reiterate something I wrote many many times here but which is worth repeating yet again: there is no such thing as “off-topic” on this blog! (well, except spam and truly moronic meaningless posts). Please feel free to use the comments section under ANY post to make ANY comment you want: share news, ask questions, provide links, etc. You will find out that amongst those who comment here there are FAR more interesting and knowledgeable people then myself. Enjoy that and don’t worry about ‘off-topicking’ – any interesting issue is interesting no matter where no matter when.
I want to conclude this personal announcement about this blog by thanking you all from the very bottom of my heart for the outpouring of support, kindness and (wholly undeserved) compliments. I had no idea that there was such a hunger for freedom and truth out there or such a rage and disgust at the lying corporate media machine. I feel honored and privileged at the thought that my modest efforts can be a part of a much larger “mental liberation movement” on the Internet and the citizen-reporter front. I will still continue to do the best I can on my own little section of the “battlefield” (especially when there are “hot” events taking place), but I ask for your understanding and indulgence if you notice that I cannot answer your email or post: this will in no way be a sign of my lack of interest or appreciation but only a sign of the fact that I am not 20 years old and that I have a finite level of energy I can use every day.
A big “thank you!!” to all, keep me in your prayers and kind regards,
The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA
Sett up a Flattr account or something similar. I’d be happy to donate.
…and i’m one of those who probably sends even more readers and even worse emailers to your blog via the usual recommandation combined with a link… dilemma !?
You know Saker? I am new here since Pepe Escobar mentioned your blog on RT). I like to learn and prepare for life through productive reading. I also have hardships just as you (credit card debt to the neck, lovely wife and three children. However, from time to time I can afford a good book or quality lecture material. So please do not be shy in pointing out an account where I can send a humble contributions ($5, $10 or more) from time to time. I will consider this as a quality reading expense.
First time poster long time reader (well not really a long time) I started following you after reading your article on asia times.
I just want to say that I really appreciate your work, you’re an important source of information and analysis for me, so I am always following even though not participating in the debate, just want to say keep up the good work.
Congratulations for the success of your blog.
And congratulations also for realizing that you have to conserve your power and energy.
I always thought I were inexhaustible, but on the other side of sixty one learns that is not true.
I was beginning to be seriously worried that you might push yourself too hard therefore I began to hold back comments so that you would not have to clear one more comment. Now you put my mind at rest that you see the problem and that you will not forget your life outside the world wide web … and I will happily post along again. Just disregard it whenever your personal life requires to do other things.
Greetings to your family and good progress with your masters’s thesis.
Hi Dear Saker,
I’d be happy to contribute and help, if you feel like accepting.
You utterly deserve my support.
Thanks for being!
Phew! For a minute there I thought by the time I scrolled down to the end of the post you were going to say “sorry, had enough, no more blogging for me, goodbye”.
You have posted a lot since the whole Ukraine issue kicked off and rightly deserve a rest!
Thank you for all your hard work and time!
It’s understandable that you’d like to keep a life outside of this blog, which probably can only be done by posting less often. I suppose your loyal following could probably live with one (much anticipated) post per week. (Though at the rate things are going in the Ukraine a lot can happen in a week.)
Many (most?) blogs have a PayPal ‘Donate’ button. The presence of such a button would not detract from the obviously non-commercial nature of your blog. And if just 1% of viewers respond, it will help pay the rent.
Also possible is a Bitcoin-donate button (well, not a button, just a Bitcoin wallet address) — some of your readers might prefer the anonymity of this.
I’d be happy to contribute too!!
I totally agree with Pushkin, I enjoy Reading this page so much more that all the Massmedia crap going around. In other Words, id definately would chip in.
/ greetings from a Swede
Hey Saker, your Masters thesis matters, that guitar is probably crying for attention (and the occasional new strings), and kids that age are always in need of more “stuff” (or so our grandchildren tell us…), so please take it easy and pace yourself! Meanwhile, we your devoted readers would love an opportunity to show our appreciation for your dedication to the truth and intelligent discourse thereof. How ’bout giving us a chance? ;~) You tend this vineyard superbly but that doesn’t mean we can’t pitch in now and then, you know?
Well Saker, it’s probably going to get even more hectic.
Since good (realistic) information on the Ukraine situation is hard to come by for the average lazy (that’s me, BTW) geopolitical news addict, you likely have just started to see the first wave of hits.
You could start to delegate some of the work associated with this growing mission creep to trusted associates. Vetting the comments to keep out spam would probably be one. You likely have some candidates on your short email list. But it’s a trust and security issue. There would be a number of issues you would have to address.
Your little acorn of a blog is growing into an oak. One question you have to think about. Is this going to burn out if as and when this issue matures or will it reach a threshold where it requires a major segment of your life?
Maybe it’s time to whittle the enterprise and your effort into manageable pieces before it pushes you to burn out. I’ve been there where you just take on more and more and more until your trapped.
Think of it as a “Breaking Bad” type of situation where mission creep corners you.
I’d volunteer (since I’m retired) but don’t know where I’d fit or even whether it would make sense for you.
The donation thing would address some of the financial aspects, but it seems your time is the more pressing problem.
My utmost respect Saker.
Keep it up, as much not to neglect own, be sure to take priority in the latter.
Saker,dear Saker, I was scared you would say you couldn’t keep going…as was Amonymous 13.01! Thanks God it wasn’t the case! Please, keep going,I came here several times a day to see your take so important matters and to check the comments people post, many of them so interesting as your own. While living in an austherity ridden countryI would help you in case you need!
Thank you so much for yor time and shared intelligence!
I am also extremely thankful for all your work, & became an addict of your blog.
Ready to contribute any way you’d like as well. Maybe a yearly subscription might be a good choice. Think it over & tell us how to return you the favor:).
Thanks for everything Saker. Even when you make me squirm, you do it in a way I have to consider thoughtfully. Good stuff.
Just figure out how you would like us to send a few $$$ your way. I can’t do yearly but could every few months make a donate. Please don’t take to long on this action.
It’s amazing how things turn out sometimes. I second the above comments. Don’t sacrifice your mental health or family for this. Your blog is amazing. I came to it as a result of the Syrian business and haven’t left since. I think in the short term until things calm down (if they ever do), you might take a breather on Russian history, which most of us already know or can find out for ourselves. Your sense of what is happening currently is priceless.
Good luck and God be with you.
Pardon me quoting the following comment from Nussiminen above in full but it is well worth repeating- I’ve added my brief comments in Nussiminen’s text
“ 01 March, 2014 14:52
Anonymous Nussiminen said…
At last, a long overdue firm response from Russia — accompanied by a ditto resolve — has been delivered now for all the Zionazi Western scum to hear. The “dirty little secret” of the West, mind you, is its limitless cowardice in accordance with the classical fascist template. In other words, unless you believe your enemy to be unarmed and utterly defenceless, you NEVER resort to overwhelming violence. Georgia’s Saakashviili is a most touching example indeed of how fascist imbeciles react upon realizing they have miscalculated badly.“
Like all bullies, the NWO types are cowards.
“ Now, there are two passages in the text I have to take issue with:
>> Last, but not least, the USA and Russia should get together to strike some deal >>
Wrong. The degenerate, moribund US Empire will NEVER resort to anything but confrontation, coercion and total deception all along the line. As I said: Whether Russia likes it or not, given the violent, extreme insanity of Western imperialism, Russia has no other option than to take down the beast once again in a merciless, ferocious battle. Nazism, after all, is the spawn of Americanism = the epitome of Western imbecility and depravity. Indeed, Ukraine’s Nazi style coup d’état furnishes an excellent proof positive of all these ideological connections.“
You cannot make deals with psychopaths and not get burned. There is zero advantage in making a deal with a liar. Russia has long experience with being burned by deals with the US
” >> The leaders of the USA and the EU have to understand now that they are playing with fire >>
Well, yes and no. More specifically, they understand full well what fire is from their centuries long, sweet experience of successful, global plunder and genocide. And, yes, they remain as dearly infatuated with this rewarding behaviour as ever — it forms a key part of their very class consciousness, mind you. But at such a historical juncture as this, they instinctively realize that the fire is becoming more and more unpredictable and erratic. Parasitic ruling classes, however, have little options than resorting to fire as their decline begins to bite — hence their “playing” with it.“
Exactly. Excellent summary, Nussiminen.
The International bankers are running out of time as the BRIC nations are eroding the $US dollar’s world currency status and when it goes, so does much of their power base. So they are both full of hubris thinking they can control chaos and at the same time desperate as their plans for complete world domination slip away. It’s the schizophrenic thinking of an addict.
Saker, hermano mio!
I hear and understand you. You definitely need to get hired part time or get paid a good penny for this. Your contributions are priceless. The em wear and tear was starting to show. You can’t be like the apostle Paul, all things to all men”
Please all of you internauts out there, lets get our dear friend the saker a side gig, involving what he is already doing for us. Writing on this site!
I love your blog and find your thoughts and analyses to be second to none. If you need donations to keep operating, I would be first in line.
Your blog is very valuable and your analyses and insight are second to none. If you set up a donation account to reward you for your, I would be first in line
Thank you, Saker, for all you do. This site is the first place I go as I try to make sense of the chaotic blur of geopolitics these days. I’ve learned so much from you, and from the comments here.
Reading the other comments reminds me what a special place this is. I was also afraid that you were about to say goodbye, and, just like Old Auntie, I’ve also been holding back on comments lately for the sole reason that I didn’t want to overload you unless I had something useful to add. So I’ve been the quiet kid at the back of the class.
I also want to make a contribution to help keep the site going if you would give us the means to do so.
You’re the patient and wise Virgil- who could ask for a better guide when all hell is breaking loose? We need you more than ever, but don’t let the rest of your life suffer.
@Sakar. I very much appreciate your reporting. Canada has a very large Ukrainian population and they are being fed (along with the rest of us) the US MSM BS. I’m with @Pushkin. Set up a donation box, and I’ll contribute. Also, there is nothing wrong with monetizing the left sidebar. I have complete confidence that you would choose responsible advertisers. Please, keep up the excellent work.
Dear Brother Saker:
You are a rare find. My few responses are only to encourage you and the gift you have for representing those of us who share the same sentiments. I have never and will never feel slighted by your non response to my posts because I appreciate more the in depth reporting and responses of others. There is nothing to answer when I post. Just wanting to show my love and appreciation for another ‘sound, blessed’ human being.
Your kind heart comes though in your writings, so a kindred heart will feel slight from you.
All the best to you, your loved ones, and fellow followers.
Thanks for what you do. It keeps us encouraged that there are more out there with like thinking.
This post is lengthy for the occasion. I will go back to shorter accolades as needed
Peace as always
pl don’t hesitate to ask for any sort of help – editing, research, money…
Prii viet Saker
Keep up with the great job you’re doing bro’.
I sincerely do hope you’ll find some generous funders so you can shift to full time writing. You deserve it.
PS : If you could make your “print friendly” works, would be great. Spassiba.
I’m fairly new to this blog and have already recommended it to several friends. I too would chip in from time to time if there was a donate button. The topics you cover I find very interesting and it’s so refreshing to get information other than the crap we are fed by mainstream media.
“PS : If you could make your “print friendly” works, would be great. Spassiba.”
Click on the list of blog entries on the left of the main page. That provides the blog entry with a print-friendly button
Thanks for the tip. Actually, the “Print Friendly” button appears on every pages of Saker’ blog, but doesn’t work when I click it.
Probably one of my plug-in interfering or some Java-Script issues.
You are strikingly popular in Canada. Canada has 1/9th population of U.S and like 2/5ths population of the UK, yet you would not know that by these numbers!