Drought, Climate and Agriculture. Like it or not, Change is coming.

Water is an increasingly precious commodity across the country, and lack of water has become an extremely serious issue in Southern California where a years long drought continues. I ran across this item over at Ag Professional’s website and while brief and far from in depth, it does talk a bit about the problems that are going on and the changes that are starting to take place.  California Drought is a U.S. Problem | Ag Professional

The ongoing drought in California is driving a lot of farmers over there into bankruptcy and causing others serious problems as they scramble to fight with cities and other users over an increasingly scarce resource. During his campaign Donald Trump claimed that there is no real drought in California and the other south western states, and he could bring the water shortage to an end if he was elected. But no, Trump is not going to end the drought by simply claiming it doesn’t exist. Even if the new administration changes or repeals existing water regulations, it doesn’t do you much good when there isn’t any water to begin with, which is the situation southern California and Nevada are facing.

With ground water being pumped out of aquifers at rates so high it’s causing the ground to sink, that wells are drying up wells all over that part of the state, and with surface water already being rationed, simply declaring there is no drought and blaming it on regulations is ridiculous. Sooner or later those aquifers are going to be completely depleted or drawn down so far that it is no longer possible to drill deep enough and build pumping systems powerful enough to deal with it.

Are there things that could be done to improve access to water? Sure. But it would take tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars in new infrastructure, new dams, new aqueducts, new pumping systems, etc. And even then they’d have to steal water from other parts of the country, suck rivers dry and pretty much ruin every river system they tap into in order to do it. From an engineering standpoint it could be done, but economically and politically? No state is going to stand by idly and allow it’s water be siphoned off to irrigate crops, water lawns and golf courses and fill swimming pools in states like California and Nevada.

Could the situation out there be solved some other way? Sure. But it would require change. And people don’t like change. The agricultural industry would have to fundamentally change how it works. Not just changing how they farm, but what they farm. Water intensive crops that require irrigation would have to go. Some types of agriculture, like dairy, would probably have to move elsewhere entirely. Consumers would have to get used to the idea of not having “fresh” produce of certain types available every month of the year. It would require a lot of changes that a lot of people don’t want.

And it isn’t just in California and the other states in the south west. How we use water, how we manage our water resources, is going to have to change. The changes are coming whether people like it or not.

Agrimoney.com | Revival in US milk prices to continue, says Dean Foods

 

Source: Agrimoney.com | Revival in US milk prices to continue, says Dean Foods

This is one of those situations where I don’t know where they’re getting their information because what they’re saying here isn’t what I’ve been reading in the ag news.

Dean Foods seems to be trying to claim farmgate prices are going to go up significantly, that US dairy exports are robust and growing, and that the markets are giving off “buoyant signals”.

But well, no, the market is doing no such thing, and there seems to be no indication that we’re going to be seeing any kind of significant increase in farmgate prices in the US any time soon.

While milk production in NZ and the EU is trending down a bit, here in North America it has continued to rise significantly, with significant numbers of new cattle being added to milking herds and continued increases in milk production. Texas was up about 11%, Minnesota and Wisconsin were up about 2% or a little less. Overall US production is around +1.2% to +2.3%, depending on the numbers you believe, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign that’s going to stop.

As for cheese, yes, there was a blip in the cheese price last week, but that happens all the time, especially as we get closer to major holidays, and we haven’t even begun to make a dent in the truly massive amounts of cheese and butter already in storage. The USDA’s recent purchase of about $20 million in surplus cheese (if I remember the number right) didn’t even make a dent in the amount of cheese in storage. And as of this morning, cheese prices have already started to fall again, down 6 cents over the weekend.

And the statement that “foreign buyers are lapping up” US dairy products is, aside from being a horrible pun, simply not true. Exports of dairy products actually dropped 2% in September.

There is always an uptick in prices this time of year as we approach the holiday baking season. Cream, cheese and butter prices almost always begin to rise around this time of year as retailers and suppliers try to cash in on increased demand. It’s a seasonal blip that doesn’t really indicate any kind of significant improvement in the market.

Maybe Dean foods is just trying to make investors feel a bit better about the fact that Dean’s profits fell by 28% last quarter?

Agrimoney.com | ags dip, as funds succumb to pre-election nerves

Agrimony is one of my favorite sites to go to for current information on the ag markets, and for good reason. They avoid hype, clickbait headlines and pretty much focus on what is actually going on. And one thing that’s going on right now is that people in the ag business are very, very nervous. You can take a look at the current situation here: Source: Agrimoney.com | ags dip, as funds succumb to pre-election nerves

The article only mentions Trump once, but he is really the elephant in the room, and he makes a whole lot of people in the ag industry very nervous indeed.

No one has been able to really pin him down on anything, really, but one thing is certain, is he has an extremely antagonistic attitude towards China. His campaign speeches and his off-the-cuff comments have portrayed China as some kind of economic super villain that has decimated the US economy. While most people understand that most of his comments are largely campaign rhetoric and could very well change 180 degrees the next time he opens his mouth, it makes a hell of a lot of people in the ag business very nervous indeed, and for good reason.

China buys massive amounts of US agricultural products, and making vague threats and uttering dire warnings about what he’d do to interfere with China’s business interests, is a very dangerous thing to do when China could easily put barriers in place to restrict the importation of US farm products.

Has China damaged our economy? Probably. But it was done with the full cooperation of the US companies who gleefully started snapping up Chinese products instead of making them here because it was more profitable. And with the full cooperation of the US government which did little or nothing to try to stop it.

But that point is moot right now. It’s already happened. Pointing fingers and uttering vague threats isn’t going to do anyone much good at this point in time. And it could make things far worse. If Trump gets elected and continues to try to use China as a scapegoat for our own largely self created economic problems, the end result could be very nasty indeed.

Like it or not, we are in a world wide economy. US ag exports are a relatively bright spot in what is an otherwise overall mediocre or even worrisome economy. If Trump becomes elected and continues his blustering, threatening attitude, China could simply take its business elsewhere.

Meal Kits? What the heck is a meal kit?

Yesterday I ran across an item over at Mother Jone’s website talking about meal kits, which are supposed to be the hot new thing in the food service industry. These things started up a fairly short time ago, offered by companies like Blue Apron, HelloFresh and many others, and according to the press (some of it anyway, not all) meal kits are the best thing ever.

So what exactly is a ‘meal kit’? The idea is this: Every day a box arrives on your doorstep. Inside of it are all the raw ingredients to make a dinner. Everything you need from the entree, to side dishes, to seasonings,to condiments are pre-portioned and individually packaged. And a recipe telling you how to make it.

And that’s it. You get a box full of raw ingredients and a recipe.

You still have to cook it. You still have to use a stove, oven, etc. You still have to mix and stir. You still have all of the dirty dishes to deal with.

Well, they at least deliver it to your door so you don’t have to shop, right?  Uh, well, no, because these are only dinners. Unless you’re eating breakfast and lunch at a restaurant every day, you still have to go shopping for food.

So you still have to shop. You still have to mix, stir and actually cook. You still have to clean up afterwards and deal with the dishes. So this is useful for, well, who, exactly? People who can’t plan a meal, I suppose?

Then there is the cost. These things seem to be just a wee bit on the pricey side. We’re looking at anywhere from $9 to $50 or more per meal, per person depending on the service you’re talking about. Now I don’t know what restaurant prices are like where you live, but around here that basically means you’d be paying more for a box full of raw ingredients that you have to cook yourself, than  you would pay for a comparable meal at a restaurant, even at the low end of the meal kit price structure. I took a look at some of the menus from these places and figured that one chicken based meal they were sending out for $9 per person could be made for about $3.75 per person.

So just what is the point of all of this? Apparently the only thing this service does is relieve you of the horrible responsibility of — of planning what to have for dinner?

The ads for these places tout the ‘freshness’ of their ingredients. They wax poetic about ‘sustainable’ this and ‘environmental’ that, about how their “chefs” partner with “trusted farmers”. And all of that means pretty much nothing because all of those terms could be applied to just about anything.

The Mother Jones article linked to at the start of this turned up some rather troubling information about these meal kit companies. It seems that I’m not the only one who looks at meal kits with a skeptical eye. Apparently their own customers do as well.

According to independent marketing data that MJ dug up, half or more of the people who sign up for these things cancel the service within the first week. And only 10% or less kept the service after six months. Despite massive injections of venture capital, none of these companies have managed to achieve a positive cash flow from the scanty data I’ve tracked down. They’re continuing to exist only by burning through hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital as they desperately try to attract new customers to replace the customers who almost immediately cancel the service once they’ve tried it.

The companies themselves vehemently deny that their customers abandon them in droves after trying the service for only a brief time, but refuse to show any data that supports their claims.

Still, the hype goes on. Celebrity chefs are hooking up with these places, the food service press waxes poetic about the ‘potential’ of meal kits. There are services that offer specialty kits, like strictly vegan, or “all organic” or vegetarian or, hell, places that only ship their product in ‘free range’ cardboard boxes, I suppose.

I don’t know, is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks this whole concept is, frankly, ridiculously silly?

Disconnection from Reality in Agriculture

I often find myself irritated by what appears to be a serious problem with how some ag news outlets and their various pundits report on the dairy industry. Ever since milk prices plummeted a couple of years ago, I’ve been reading an endless string of opinion pieces by the so called experts, the pundits, even actual news reports, that indicate that milk production is dropping, or is going to drop, the number of milking cows is going to shrink, and there is going to be a significant improvement in farmgate(1) prices.

Even as I was reading some of those items I was scratching my head because the actual data I was seeing was telling me exactly the opposite of what the pundits at the ag web sites were claiming. While there was some shrinking numbers in some parts of the world, like New Zealand, what I was seeing in the rest of the world was a significant increase in production almost world wide.

The experts were claiming that production in the US was shrinking as well. They were claiming that production was flat or even shrinking as farmers culled herds and halted expansion plans.

The problem was that at the same time I was seeing new permits for mega farms being applied for, news stories about expansion plans, and other indications that exactly the opposite was happening.

The new USDA report that came out yesterday supported what I’d been seeing in the news, and indicated that the pundits don’t read the news reports in their own magazines or websites.

August milk production was up almost 2% in the US. Texas’ production was up 11%. The report said that 16,000 milking cows were added in July alone, and 45,o00 were added over the past year. And just ten minutes ago I was reading about yet another application here in Wisconsin for a dairy CAFO(2) to expand to 5,000 head.

The problem with a lot of these experts seems to be that they look at a specifically local condition and extrapolate from that and apply it world wide, while ignoring what’s really going on.

Some of the claims that production in the US was in decline was due to California. Production there has been declining significantly for the last ten years for a variety of factors. But they’ve been ignoring the fact that almost everywhere else in the US production has been going up. Wisconsin, North Dakota, Arizona, Minnesota… almost every state with any kind of significant dairy farm presence has been increasing production, often dramatically, as with Texas.

It’s been the same thing with the EU. They focus on a single country that’s seen a decline in production, and from that claim production is going down through the entire EU. When it isn’t.

It’s been a similar story when it comes to demand for milk products. They seem to focus on a small part of the world that is experiencing an increase in demand for milk products, and apply that world wide.

Even worse, they’ve gotten in the habit of looking at Global Dairy, a milk marketing system in New Zealand, as an indicator of world wide demand. But they tend to ignore the fact that GD is not an independent market. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fonterra, the New Zealand milk processing giant, and that it has a history of deliberately manipulating supplies flowing through the market in order to manipulate prices. Neither the amount of product flowing through GD, nor the prices of the products sold, is an accurate picture of supply and demand.

 

 

  1. Farmgate price is not the commodity futures price, but the actual price that the farmer gets for her/his product. There is often a significant difference between the commodities prices and the farmgate price. For example, a couple of months ago when the corn price on the Chicago market was running about 3.49, the actual price farmers in this area were getting for their corn was 2.78.
  2. CAFO is the term used by government for a mega farm. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. It applies not just to dairy farms but to any animal operation that has more than a certain number of cattle, pigs, etc. Generally around 500 – 700 animals.

The CEO of Soylent Is Enraging LA by Throwing Parties in a Shipping Container | MUNCHIES

The CEO of Soylent has run into trouble with the city of LA over his sustainable living experiment.

Source: The CEO of Soylent Is Enraging LA by Throwing Parties in a Shipping Container | MUNCHIES

If you aren’t familiar with Soylent and it’s more than a little irritating CEO, Rhinehart, let me give you the background.

Soylent Green was a 1973 movie starring Charlton Heston about a dystopian future where the world suffers from out of control over population, horrific environmental pollution, dying oceans and a seriously degraded climate due to climate change. Abject poverty is the norm. Housing is so bad a dozen or more people can be crammed into a single room. You know, sort of what like the “small house” movement wants to do to us, only they’re trying to make us think we want to do it.

Oh, dear, I just realized something. Horrific environmental pollution, dying oceans, seriously degraded climate, housing so bad a dozen people are crammed into a single room… Sort of like, well, what’s going on right now, isn’t it?

Never mind…

The movie was named after a food product, Soylent Green, which is the primary food source, often the only food source, for the vast majority of the population. Heston is basically a drone, an unthinking cop, an enforcer for the government/big corporations, mindlessly following orders and committing what are just flat out atrocities, all in the name of keeping the ‘peace’, including one horrific scene where they deal with a riot by bringing in huge armored garbage trucks and simply scooping up the protestors, dumping them into the back of the trucks, and presumably, well, squeezing them like garbage.

A key element in this new culture is death, and the promotion of death. Basically trying to talk people into committing suicide voluntarily in the hopes of attaining some kind of peaceful, more pleasant afterlife (I think — it’s been decades since I saw the thing).

The kicker to the whole story is that Heston’s character discovers that Soylent is made from people. Presumably the people the friendly government has been scooping up in garbage trucks and talking into offing themselves in pleasant, luxurious government operated death palaces.

Anyway, the new Soylent is all about food, as in not having to actually eat any. Seriously.

Rhinehart, well, apparently he doesn’t like to eat. (I say ‘apparently’ because I don’t really know. Never met the guy. While he’s probably a nice person, doesn’t kick stray dogs, doesn’t yell at the hired help too much and all that good stuff.) He seems to think eating, cooking and all that fun stuff that normal people like you and I enjoy, even relish, is evil. Total waste of time. He thinks everyone should just gulp down this green goo he calls Soylent a couple of times a day, and you’re good to go. This way you don’t have to cook, don’t have to go through all the hassle of, well, what he thinks are stupid things like enjoying time with your friends over dinner, and eating really tasty food.

The green goo (i.e. Soylent) is, he claims, supposed to supply everything you need to survive, all crammed into a drink a bit smaller than a Big Gulp.

Now as silly as this may sound, he apparently isn’t the only one who thinks this way. There are people, allegedly real live actual people, who actually pay allegedly real live money for this stuff, and allegedly even (down stomach, down boy…) drink it.

(Easy there, stomach. Hang in there, we don’t have much farther to go.)

And not just a few people. Him and his company are now supposedly worth about $100 million, for heaven’s sake.

Oh, and ignore the fact that there is at least one lawsuit going on at the moment over the alleged safety of this goo.

Rhinehart, not content with attempting to utterly destroy the joy of food, seems to be trying to expand his realm into also destroying our enjoyment of living in general. His solution to the world housing crisis is — shipping containers. As in shoving in a chemical toilet, cutting a few holes in the side to let in light, and living in them. And like all good ideas, he basically stole it from someone else. Using shipping containers as housing has been going on for a long time with mixed results.

And judging from the example he’s set up out in California, well, let’s just say that living in the original Soylent Green’s conditions is pleasant when compared to what he’s got set up.

The thing is, well, it’s just flat out horrific. It’s an old shipping container, a few holes cut crudely into the walls, a chemical toilet, and, well, that’s about it. Looks like there’s no insulation at all, so under the hot California sun interior temperature will… Well, let’s face it, you’re inside an uninsulated metal box. In California. You could roast a turkey in that sucker for heaven’s sake.

The photos, well, dear lord, it looks just bloody horrible, there’s no other way to put it. If this is Rhinehart’s “vision” of how he wants people to live… Well, considering what he wants us to gulp down instead of real food, trying to shovel people into what is little more than an oversized coffin with windows shouldn’t be surprising.

Rhinehart has, of course, never actually lived in the thing. No thank you. He claims that he has, true, but according to at least one source cited in the article, he’s never actually lived it in. He has a perfectly nice, luxurious real home to go to at the end of the day.

He has, however, used it for parties. Although how he got anyone to actually go there is beyond me. Now I admit that some of the frat houses from my college days were pretty much real, live, waking nightmares and you’d want to dip your entire body in sanitizer just looking at them. But this — this thing? Oh, my…

Well it seems the local government feels pretty much the same way, and is going after this pusher of green goo and his rather curious idea of what constitutes “housing”.

To get to the point, though…

Rhinehart reminds me of something my father once said about a particular Christian church with a reputation for being — irritating, shall we say. I was still a child and was curious about this bunch and asked him what in the world was going on with them

“They’re the kind of people,” he told me, “who live in constant fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun, and believe it’s their job to put a stop to it.”

Those weren’t his exact words, I’m sure, but it’s close enough.

But that’s not why I’m posting this. Oh, no.

This is a test. For the next thirty seconds, this station will be conducting…

Oh, all right, I know, really, really bad joke, but I tend to do that. Sometimes a lot, I fear. I blame my father. I think I inherited his snarky sense of humor. Which is curious because I’m not actually related to my father. Or to my mother for that matter. Or to my sister.

But that’s a different story entirely. I also tend to go off track, I fear.

Ah, now I remember!

This was a test. And a kind of shot across your bow, you poor people out there reading this. I just found the “Press This” tool! One click and bang! Up pops my editor, I drop in a few pithy comments, and instant post!

Well, okay, so I had the ‘press this’ thing for a while now, but I didn’t actually use it because the one from Tumblr is so wonky it hardly works at all and I figured this one was probably going to be wonky too.

But it works!

Oh brother, you’re in trouble now…

The Decline and Fall of Yahoo and The Death of Tumblr?

Screen Shot 2016 07 27 at 6 20 25 AM

If you follow the business news, you’ve probably heard about the problems of YaHoo, the former internet giant that has, through an extensive series of bad management decisions, questionable, high cost acquisitions and other problems, driven itself into the toilet. Once valued at over $120 billion, Yahoo ended up selling itself, or at least large parts of itself, for just $4.8 billion.

Apparently unable to come up with new products, new technology or new business models to keep itself functional, YaHoo instead tried to buy itself out of trouble. It embarked on a spending spree, snapping up high profile start up businesses, often at premium prices.

Sometimes this works. If done correctly. Microsoft, Apple and other successful companies do this frequently. They discover a new company with new technology or new business models that would fit in with their core  business plans, buy it or invest in it heavily, nurture it, foster it, and develop it into a successful part of the new parent company.

Unfortunately Yahoo didn’t seem to have either the expertise or the motivation to do that in many cases. A few were successful, but not many. Most performed poorly at best. At worst, Yahoo’s incompetent management and corporate policies quickly drove them into the dirt and many failed completely. If you scrounge around on the net and look at sources like Forbes, Bloomberg and other financial media organizations, you can find entire lists of the companies Yahoo bought, and ruined over the years for one reason or another.

How did they ruin them? Mainly through mismanagement, poor decisions, and often attempts to squeeze as much cash out of them as they possibly could while investing as close to nothing in them as possible. I know a few people who worked in ‘silicon valley’ over the years, and a lot of them were terrified about the possibility of being acquired by YaHoo because it meant they’d be looking for jobs in a very short time. An acquisition by Yahoo became regarded as sounding the death knell. It was automatically assumed, justifiably or not, that acquisition by Yahoo meant mass layoffs as it tried to squeeze as much cash out of it as possible, or being mismanaged into extinction.

But let’s talk about Tumblr… I’ve been on the service for more years than I care to think of now. By and large I’ve enjoyed it. Yes, I have other outlets if I want to blog, put photos or stories or bad jokes or whatever up for public view. This is one of them, after all. Most of those outlets are, frankly, a lot more flexible, more useful, and allow far more creative outlet than Tumblr ever did. Nor is the fact Tumblr is free much an incentive. There are, frankly, a lot better, much easier to use free services out there which allow far more creative freedom.

What Tumblr had going for it was a sense of community. It was as much a social network as it was a blogging service. A lot of the users developed friendships with other users of the service. The people reading your blog were almost certainly other Tumblr users themselves, with their own blogs, and you quickly accumulated an enormous collection of other Tumblr users you read, followed, and exchanged thoughts with. Some of us became pretty good friends. I know maybe a dozen people over there that I now consider friends because our interactions through the system. I’ve even visited some of them.

When Yahoo bought Tumblr for the utterly ridiculous price of $1.1 billion, a lot of us regular users over there saw, frankly, doom on the horizon. And not just because of Yahoo’s well deserved reputation of driving their acquisitions into the toilet.

Tumblr was a ridiculously popular service. But it had a serious problem. No one was able to figure out how to make money off it. The system that made it so popular made it very difficult to try to monetize it without destroying the very features that made it popular.

Tumblr’s main way of making money seemed to be silly things like trying to sell users stuff like ‘premium’ templates, fancy, pretty formatting for their blog’s home page. That’s fine, but I haven’t even seen my home page over there since I set up my account for the first time. Nor have I ever seen the home pages of any of the blogs I follow there. One of Tumblr’s features is that registered users have a dashboard, a more or less bare bones, distraction free system that aggregates all of the posts from the blogs you follow into a single page. Since virtually all of the readers of Tumblr blogs are also Tumblr users, we all have dashboards, and we do everything from them, reading, posting, commenting, everything. I follow a lot of blogs over there and I’ve never even seen the home pages of any of them. So why waste the time and money setting up a fancy premium template when no one’s going to see it anyway?

Tumblr survived largely by infusions of capital from outside investors. I’m not sure if it ever made a profit to be honest.

At the time Yahoo bought Tumblr, well, we figured that was going to be the end of it. Yahoo, with it’s reputation of running new businesses into the dirt, mismanagement, laying off the very people who had created the startup to begin with to save money, and above all, it’s desperate need to make money any way it could because the CEO was under pressure to resign or be fired and stockholders were up in arms, well, we figured this was going to be it. Yahoo would either utterly wreck the service, or gut it and turn it into a ghost town.

Yahoo did indeed try to do just that, but the enormous backlash from users forced them to pull back or at least make it’s attempts at monetizing the system less obnoxious. Attempts at censoring the massive amount of outright porn on the service pretty much failed as Tumblr users fought back, left in droves and otherwise forced the company to back down. They did a lot of annoying and damaging things that often made no sense at all, like completely removing the ability to comment on posts, one of the things that had turned Tumblr into a successful social network. Eventually they brought it back, but in ways that made it harder to use, more difficult to follow and extremely irritating. “Improvements” they promised either never materialized, or were completely useless, and often made the system more difficult to use.

They made a real dog’s breakfast of it, but somehow managed to keep from completely destroying it. Barely.

But now… YaHoo just sold off almost all of it’s internet businesses to Verizon. The CEO will get a $53 million buyout. I suspect she’s the only one actually making money off the deal.

As for those of us who use the service…

We just got word now that they are going to be injecting ads into blogs. In order to make this less painful, less obnoxious, they’re even offering to actually pay the bloggers. With real money! Ooo, be still my beating heart…

Well, maybe they are. They’re “still working out the details” about exactly how they’re going to pay the bloggers, how much they’re going to pay, But we all know that any amount that eventually filters down to us, the people who actually write the content, well, we will be lucky if we make enough for a cup of really, really bad coffee. All we know for sure is that they are going to start injecting advertising now, and later, maybe, they’ll figure out a payment system for the actual bloggers. Yeah, right.

The advertising can, they claim, be turned off if you wish. We’ll see how that goes. A dozen or more people I’ve talked to are claiming that as soon as they turn it off in the settings, it somehow mysteriously turns itself back on again… sigh. Mine is turned off. We’ll see if it stays that way. Or if it does any good.

Some will probably do pretty well. Like the porn blogs, the spam blogs, the scam blogs. They’ll probably do very well indeed. They have tens of thousands of followers, largely due to the use of bots that tamper with, manipulate the system. I’ve heard rumors that something like half of the “users” of Tumblr are actually bots that fish through the system, following random bloggers in the hopes that it will lure them back to follow some automated porn or spam site.

Most of us, though? We’re lucky if we have a few hundred. Any money that would filter down to the majority of us would be little compensation for putting up with the advertising, and quite possibly could prove to be an enormous headache.

I took a look at the comments attached to the announcement from Tumblr’s staff, and they were about what I expected; Lots and lots of cursing, frustration, anger, outrage, and a nearly universal impression that this was the beginning of the end. This time for real.

Is this the end of Tumblr? Well, that’s why there’s a question mark up there in the headline. I really don’t know. I suspect not, but I do know I’m not really happy with what’s going on over there. Neither are most of the other users I know.

I’m not going to leave Tumblr. I have too many friends over there. But I don’t think I’m going to be over there as much.

Tumblr is — comfortable, like an old pair of shoes. Easy to slip into, kind of ragged around the edges, but who cares, it feels good. But sometimes you have to admit that it’s time for them to go live in that great dumpster in the sky.

I don’t think Tumblr has reached that point. Yet. But it’s getting close.

I’ve often asked myself why I didn’t switch over to this forum completely. It’s easier to use, I have an excellent off-line editor that let’s me write, edit, proof-read material easily. Grouchyfarmer is easier to use, give me more creative freedom over formatting, I don’t have to deal with Tumblr degrading my photographs, don’t have my drafts mysteriously disappearing (that’s happened a dozen or more times over the past year, so often I don’t even bother to try to save anything as a draft over there any more). The commenting system here is light years better than Tumblr’s… I have wonderful tools here that let me quickly refer to outside websites and sources. Basically this system here is light years beyond anything Tumblr has to offer.

I suspect that as time passes, as the ads start to become more obtrusive over there, as the service continues to degrade as the new owners try desperately to make it profitable, I’ll be turning up over here more often than there.

We’ll see…