Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Various news updates and housekeeping issues

Dear friends,

A boring but important post today about housekeeping issues along with a news update. First the housekeeping:

1) We are working on the new blog and we will display most of the logos/pictures you have sent me. These are the ones selected so far:

Can I ask each one of you who sent me these pictures to please email my webmasters at saker-webmaster@yandex.com and say which picture you sent and how you want to be identified (real names, alias, nickname, anonymous - whichever).

2) The next blogs to join our Community will be: Italian and Latin American (Spanish). Both are being worked on, so please be patient, but rest assured that "it is happening" - the teams have been organized, they have chosen a leader.

3) Complaints: at least two people have complained that I was not posting as many military updates about the Ukraine as before. Guys, this is due to the fact that right now there is a kind of an ugly-non-full-war taking place where the Ukies are shelling Donetsk up to 8 hours in a row, but with no real offensive and no other purpose than terror. I cannot make up events to keep things interesting, sorry. At least when the Net flooded with rumors of a Ukie attack I told you that this was not so. That is also what I get "paid for" - to say that nothing happens when nothing happens. But I assure you that my information sources are every bit as good before and that I am keeping a very close (hourly) eye on what is happening (or not happening).

4) Charge: "you are too busy". Plea: "Guilty as charged, your honor". Right now my schedule includes:

i) a full time job in meatspace
ii) a family (including 3 teenagers and health problems)
iii) 8 hours of sleep (in theory)
iv) writing for this blog and monitoring the Ukraine
v) working on the new blog (giving input to the team working on it)
vi) trying to get the ball rolling on the Italian and Latin American blogs
vii) trying to get several translations done
viii) preparing the podcast
ix) working on the upcoming book
x) replying to no less than 50 emails each day (out of over 200)
xi) writing for Russia-Insider (I try do to that once a week)
xii) deal with submissions to the blog
xiii) moderating (including the recent surge of nasty comments)
xiv) research on a topic which, I promise, will generate plenty of controversy
xv) assorted corresponence with good people I don't want to offend by not replying

As for my thesis - I had to put in on hold until January.

Finally, I will be gone for 3 days (19-20-21) to celebrate my birthday with my wife (We need the time alone, together in nature and away from all of the i-xv above).

So yes, I am over-worked and over-stretched, but please remember that most of that is done on your behalf, to deliver to you want you appreciate in this blog, and to strengthen and grow our global community. And remember this: I love doing what I do, I love every second of it, I finally am doing what I wanted to do all my life: be free to do analysis and writing with no boss to censor me. So while I am outlining the reasons why I am over-stretched, I am not complaining. I am happier today than every before in my life :-)

5) Donations: new update here: besides the podcast which I shamelessly use as a reminder for donations, and the book which I am working on with some fantastic folks to help me out with, there will also be a few other things I will offfer soon to donor. But I must come back to the true deluge of donation which followed my appeal of October 21st: if before this appeal the donations had shrunk to a truly *tiny* trickle, after that they surged and in one month I got more donations than in the previous several months combined. The number of first-time donors, in particular, truly exploded and if most donations were modest, a few were not, and all of this combined really has helped me out in a tough situation. For that I want to thank you all!

The only drawback form that is that there are so many donors to list that I have decided to refrain from doing this in November as that would take up too much of my time. Of course, If you have any doubt or want to check whether I got your donation (electronically or by snail mail) just please email me and I will let you know. But since now I am really in a race for time and each minute counts, I will forgo the usual "list of initials" donation acknowledgement, okay?

6) Several of you have requested a transcript of the podcast. Okay - if any of you are court-reporters or stenographers or simply fast typist and if you are willing to help, please email me and let me know.
That's it for today "housekeeping and news update".

Kind regards to all,

The Saker