This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Figure the Angle

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan’s first topic is about racist morons like Schlossberg, Cunningham, and others. Second up is all the latest on Trumpgate, including ZTE and China, Qatar and Kushner, Trump Tower Moscow, Ice Cube, and of course more Cohen. Finally, some thoughts on the latest developments in Israel and Gaza. Before all that, they also squeeze in a few thoughts on the Santa Fe shooting, and on Sam finally canceling services he has been wasting money on for years. Fun stuff!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-05-19
Length this week – 1:36:55

  • (0:00:45-0:16:52) Intro
    • Agenda
    • Santa Fe shooting
    • Unused services
  • (0:18:35-0:49:53) Racist Morons
    • Schlossberg
    • Calling the Cops
    • Swatting
    • Cunningham
    • Trump
  • (0:52:07-1:18:13) Trumpgate
    • ZTE and China
    • 666 5th Ave and Qatar
    • Scandal Fatigue
    • Trump Tower Moscow
    • Ice Cube Thing
    • Informant outed
    • Cohen SARs
  • (1:18:49-1:36:34) Israel / Gaza
    • The incidents
    • Rosenberg’s 13 truths
    • Longer view

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: What the Ever Loving

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner with Sam and Ivan, three main themes: Schneiderman, Cohen, and international messes. On Schneiderman and Cohen, they hit all the developments in those scandals, as well as talking about the possible implications for the future. Internationally, they hit the developments in North Korea and with the Iran deal, as well as the newest blow up in the Israel/Iran/Syria conflict. To round things out, bits about sharpening knives, milkmen, fresh bread, and even a bonus rant about Skype. Enjoy!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-05-12
Length this week – 1:54:32

  • (0:03:06-0:14:02) Intro
    • Knife Sharpeners
    • Milkmen
    • Fresh Bread
    • Agenda
  • (0:15:21-0:44:49) Schneiderman
    • The accusations
    • Information sourcing
    • Why didn’t Trump use this?
    • How did this last so long?
    • Comparisons
  • (0:46:05-1:17:34) Cohen
    • Kickbacks to Trump?
    • Normal in DC?
    • Follow the money
    • Speculations
    • Disqualifiers
  • (1:18:42-1:54:12) International
    • North Korea
    • Iran Deal
    • Israel/Iran/Syria
    • Incompetence good?
    • Election 2018

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Crap the Whip

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about the scandals with the various Trump-related doctors. More on Dr. Jackson. Some on Dr. Bornstein. And even a little on Dr. Pena. Then it is time for Rudy! Not quite Rudy all the time, but Rudy Giuliani did make quite a mess this week, and we talk about it. Finally, a bit about Judge Ellis’ comments about the Mueller investigation, the efforts to impeach Rosenstein, and would it be wise for the Democrats to impeach Trump if they get the chance? To round things out, a bit on Cinco de Mayo and Wiki of the Day. Busy show! Enjoy!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-05-05
Length this week – 1:46:54

  • (0:01:50-0:17:41) Intro
    • Cinco de Mayo
    • Wiki of the Day anniversary
    • Agenda
  • (0:18:49-0:50:36) Trump Doctors
    • Dr. Ronny Jackson
    • Dr. Harold Bornstein
    • Dr. Jennifer Pena
  • (0:51:51-1:13:58) Rudy!
    • Reimbursement
    • Jared and Ivanka
    • Master plan?
    • Emmett Flood
  • (1:15:18-1:46:30) Other Controversies
    • Judge TS Ellis
    • Impeaching Rosenstein?
    • Impeaching Trump?

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

A Year of Wiki of the Day

A year ago yesterday, the first episode of my Wiki of the Day family of podcasts was published. It was about, well, Load Testing.

A few days later, once there were episodes of each of the variants of the podcast, I officially announced that I had launched three new podcasts. Soon after that, the podcasts were included in the Apple podcast directory and we were off to the races.

For those who don’t remember, these are COMPLETELY AUTOMATED podcasts. Each of the three variants pick one Wikipedia article per day to highlight (they just use different ways of picking which article they highlight) and use Amazon Polly to do text to speech on the article summary along with some intro and outro text to generate the podcasts themselves. Apart from the increasingly rare situations where something goes wrong and I have to debug something, this all happens without any human intervention from me at all. Which I think is kinda cool. :-)

At the 100 day mark, I posted an overview of how it was doing, but I figured now that we are at the one year mark it would be good to look again.

This is looking at unique downloaders in the trailing 7 days for all three variants combined based on IP address and UserAgent, excluding some obvious robots. In the first couple months, downloads went from zero to about 250 a week. After that, aside from spikes, the number slowly declined, so by early this year, it was more like 150 a week usually.

There were three big spikes though.

The first spike, in July 2017, was driven by the episodes about Chester Bennington and Linkin Park after Bennington’s death.

The second spike, in October 2017, was driven by the episode about Tom Petty after his death.

The third and biggest spike, which is still in progress as I write, was initially looking like a small bump for the episode about Avicii after his death, but that was then overwhelmed by the article on the Golden State Killer after Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested for those crimes. As I write, that episode has been downloaded 848 times and counting.

Also, by pure happenstance, serendipity, and coincidence (I’m practicing my redundancy), on the exact one year anniversary, the three podcasts combined exceeded 1000 unique downloaders in the previous 7 days for the first time ever. Now yes, this is from the Golden State Killer spike, and it will recede soon, but maybe we will have picked up a few long term subscribers who found the podcast through that. We shall see.

Now, the other thing to point out is that the “popular” variant is BY FAR the most popular. Excluding spikes, over the last three months or so the breakout has been something like this:

  • popular Wiki of the Day: 100-200 unique downloaders per week
  • random Wiki of the Day: 10-20 unique downloaders per week
  • featured Wiki of the Day: 10-20 unique downloaders per week

By comparison, my actual human recorded current events podcast I do with Ivan Bou has been in the range of 150-250 unique downloaders per week over the same time period.

Of the Wiki of the Day podcasts, popular gets all the love, because it highlights Wikipedia articles that were at the top of the most viewed Wikipedia page list the day before. So it is topics people are searching for information on anyway. So people search in their podcast players and find these episodes. Now, when they get there, they just get a 2-3 minute quick summary of the topic, not an in depth discussion of the subject, so it is quite possible some of the people who find it are disappointed with what they get. But hopefully at least some folks find it interesting or helpful, and end up subscribing to hear more.

They are certainly “different” sorts of podcasts though, and I can understand why it might be an acquired taste.

But it was fun to set up, and I at least find them fun to listen to each day, and sometimes I actually learn new things!

If you want to support Wiki of the Day, you should of course search for these three podcasts in your podcast player of choice, subscribe to all of them, and start listening on a regular basis! :-)

Anyway, so that is where it is after a year. It generally seems like it is in somewhat of a steady state at this point, so aside from big spikes when celebrities die or other news events, I don’t really expect much more growth. But we’ll see where it ends up in another year…

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Trial and Error

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan once again do an all lightning round show. They talk about allergies, the McCabe report, Hannity’s real estate deals, the “incel” movement, Barbara Bush’s passing, the Korean summit, and much much more! What is “more”, do you ask? Well, the Bill Cosby verdict, a review of a book Sam read, the end of the Ronny Jackson nomination, the SESTA/FOSTA law, more on Cohen, the incident with the black men arrested in the Philadelphia Starbucks, and a bit about a nice video of Comet 67P. Is that enough? No? OK then… Sam’s son Alex also gives his own, uh, unique, description of a shooting at a waffle house, just not the one that actually happened. So, all in all, a jam-packed show!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-04-27
Length this week – 1:36:34

  • (0:00:35-0:14:17) Intro
    • Allergies
    • Agenda
    • Alex: Waffle House Shooting
  • (0:14:55-0:48:15) Lightning One
    • Ivan: Cosby and other MeToo
    • Sam: Book: The Man from Berlin (2013)
    • Ivan: Dr. Ronny Jackson
    • Sam: SESTA/FOSTA
  • (0:49:00-1:11:40) Lightning Two
    • Ivan: Cohen taking the 5th
    • Sam: McCabe
    • Ivan: Hannity Real Estate
    • Sam: Starbucks black guy arrests
  • (1:12:56-1:36:14) Lightning Three
    • Ivan: Incel
    • Sam: Barbara Bush
    • Ivan: Korean Summit
    • Sam: Comet 67P Video

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: See How It Plays

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Ed and Darryl join Sam. Ivan was gallivanting in Brazil or something. Four main topics this time. Syria. North Korea. Comey. Cohen. Maybe a few other things around the edges, but that’s the gist of it.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-04-19
Length this week – 1:31:03

  • (0:00:15-0:02:29) Intro
  • (0:04:29-0:28:36) Syria
  • (0:29:56-0:47:18) North Korea
  • (0:49:00-1:05:01) Comey
  • (1:05:40-1:24:47) Cohen
  • (1:25:23-1:30:43) Outro

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Failed Lightning

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan try to do an all lightning round show, but fail spectacularly. Their first segment is… movies!! Both Sam and Ivan talk about their thoughts on some movies they have seen recently. Then they do a segment on the Cohen raid and all the implications that arise from that. Then a mini-segment on Syria… recorded before the US/UK/France airstrikes… then FINALLY they do an actual lightning round to finish things up, including brief discussions on Scooter Libby, Zuckerberg’s testimony, international corruption, an update on tariffs, and much much more!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-04-13
Length this week – 1:43:26

  • (0:01:05-0:26:11) Movies
    • Ivan: Darkest Hour (2017)
    • Ivan: Burn After Reading (2008)
    • Sam: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
    • Sam: Coco (2017)
    • Sam: Black Panther (2018)
    • Sam: The Luck of the Irish (2001)
  • (0:27:32-0:52:17) Cohen Raid
    • The raid itself
    • Repercussions and reactions
    • Clarifications on predictions
    • Love child payoff
    • Lordy there are tapes!
    • Firings coming?
  • (0:53:59-1:02:33) Syria
    • Chemical Weapons
    • What good will a strike do?
    • Americans killing Russians
  • (1:04:33-1:43:06) Lightning Round
    • Ivan: Scooter Libby
    • Sam: Changing approach to Russia?
    • Ivan: Trump/Panama thing
    • Sam: UK/Russian spy recovering
    • Ivan: Zuckerberg testimony
    • Sam: Corruption around the world
    • Ivan: Paul Ryan decision
    • Sam: Boehner and marijuana
    • Ivan: CBO deficit estimates
    • Sam: Did China blink on tariffs?

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Tic for Tac

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan start out talking about getting vaccinations for travel, and how the crazy news of the last two years has resulted in Sam reading fewer books, and what he will do about it. But quickly enough, the conversation gravitates where it almost always does these days. Trump! First they try to stay focused very specifically on policy issues. Trump on Syria. Trump on tariffs. Trump on Mexico. Things like that. But for the last segment, they do once again concentrate on Trump’s various scandals. The Mueller investigation. Stormy and McDougal. Pruitt. Sorry, it just can’t be avoided!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-04-06
Length this week – 1:43:54

  • (0:01:00-0:19:41) Travel Vaccinations / Not Enough Books
  • (0:21:23-1:05:50) Stupid Trump Policy Stuff
  • (1:06:29-1:43:34) Stupid Trump Scandal Stuff

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

I’m not reading enough. I blame Trump. And Twitter.

I’ve been thinking lately about how I have not been reading nearly enough books lately. This is a problem.

I’ve been tracking the books I read since 2006. The graph above quantifies it. Although I was bad in 2007-2009 too, I’d been keeping up a decent pace of reading from 2010-2015.

A decent pace for me anyway. My average in those years was 13.5 books per year. I know a lot of people read much more than that… and I even read more than that myself when I was much younger… but I think I’m OK with anything above 12 per year at the moment. One per month.

In 2016 I fell off a cliff though. I only finished FIVE books. In 2017 it was even worse. Only THREE.

I semi-joke that I blame Trump and Twitter, but there actually is quite a bit of truth to it. Starting with the 2016 election year, and going forward into the Trump administration, it has felt like if you turned away for even a few moments, you would miss something important happening. So all those spare moments that I previously might have spent reading a book (or even listening to an audio book), instead were spent on Twitter, listening to live news, listening to news related podcasts, or whatever.

The key being it had to be real time or near real time. Reading tweets from a few minutes ago? Of course! Reading an article that was written earlier today? OK, fine. Reading an article that was written yesterday…  MAYBE, if it was a really important one, but you’re stretching it. That is way too far out of date! A magazine article from a week ago? Don’t make me laugh! A book written years ago? Doing that felt like every moment spent on that was a moment I was disengaged and out of the stream of what was happening. What did I miss in the time it took to read that chapter? That was just painful.

All of that is of course silly. Nothing bad will happen if I disengage with the news for a few minutes to read a book. Frankly, if anything really big happens, I’ll get an alert anyway. But even if I didn’t, it isn’t like I have to DO anything with that news in real time. I’m not going to be the one making big decisions in reaction to that news. I’ll talk about it on my podcast maybe, but that is a weekly thing. Maybe I’ll want to tweet, or even though I haven’t done it much in recent years, write a blog post. But all that can wait. And is frankly optional anyway.

I can take 20 minutes (or more!) at the end of the day before bed or pull up my Kindle app sometimes on my phone instead of Tweetbot when I have spare moments here or there. I can listen to an audio book on my commute home instead of a news related podcast or live news channel stream! I can! I really can!

So a few days ago I made a resolution. Lets call it an April Fool’s resolution even though it wasn’t quite on April 1st. I decided that for 2018 I’ll make a conscious effort to do a bit more book reading than I have in the last two years. Maybe I won’t exceed the 17 books finished that I hit in 2011 and 2014, but maybe I can at least beat my average over the last decade of 9.9 books per year by finishing at least 10. Maybe I can even manage a one book per month average!

I’ve finished only 1 so far this year, so I’ve got to get to it. In the last week I’ve probably already read more and listened to more audio book content than I had in the previous three months, so I guess I’m off to a decent start…

I’m way down on watching TV shows and movies too, but dealing with that can wait for another day, or maybe that is just fine…

The last “book” post I did was the list of all the books I finished in 2011. To catch up, here is a list of all the books I finished from 2012 to 2017. I used to do little mini-reviews of each book as I went along, but no time for that, so just a list… I’ll report back on 2018 once it is over to see how I did.

2012 (3 Physical, 8 Kindle, 0 Audible = 11 total)

  1. 2012-02-10, Fiction, Kindle, We the Living by Rand
  2. 2012-03-16, Non-Fiction, Physical, Beautiful Evidence by Tufte
  3. 2012-03-18, Fiction, Kindle, 2nd Chance by Patterson
  4. 2012-05-09, Non-Fiction, Physical, Alex and Me by Pepperberg
  5. 2012-05-28, Fiction, Kindle, Heavy Planet by Clement
  6. 2012-06-10, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Lies and Outliers by Schneier
  7. 2012-06-22, Fiction, Kindle, Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis and Hickman
  8. 2012-07-14, Non-Fiction, Kindle, The President’s Club by Gibbs and Duffy
  9. 2012-09-02, Fiction, Kindle, Roots by Haley
  10. 2012-10-01, Non-Fiction, Physical, The 4-Dimensional Manager by Straw
  11. 2012-10-07, Fiction, Kindle, Containment by Cantrell

2013 (1 Physical, 8 Kindle, 0 Audible = 9 total)

  1. 2013-01-13, Non-Fiction, Kindle, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Morris
  2. 2013-01-16, Fiction, Kindle, The Wandering Falcon by Ahmad
  3. 2013-02-06, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Kanban by Anderson
  4. 2013-03-02, Fiction, Kindle, A Time to Kill by Grisham
  5. 2013-05-20, Non-Fiction, Physical, Steve Jobs by Isaacson
  6. 2013-05-27, Fiction, Kindle, A Drink Before the War by Lehane
  7. 2013-10-04, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Bayesian Data Analysis by Gelman, Carlin, Stern, and Rubin
  8. 2013-10-19, Fiction, Kindle, Things Fall Apart by Achebe
  9. 2013-11-24, Non-Fiction, Kindle, You Are Not So Smart by McRaney

2014 (2 Physical, 7 Kindle, 8 Audible = 17 total)

  1. 2014-01-28, Fiction, Physical, The Last Town on Earth by Mullen
  2. 2014-05-21, Non-Fiction, Audible, Fear Itself by Katznelson
  3. 2014-06-20, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Making Things Happen by Berkun
  4. 2014-07-05, Fiction, Kindle, A Spark of Death by Pajer
  5. 2014-07-09, Non-Fiction, Physical, Change the Way You See Everything by Cramer and Wasiak
  6. 2014-07-16, Fiction, Audible, 11/22/63 by King
  7. 2014-08-04, Non-Fiction, Audible, Hidden America by Laskas
  8. 2014-08-18, Fiction, Audible, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Sloan
  9. 2014-09-02, Fiction, Kindle, The People of the Ruins by Shanks
  10. 2014-10-01, Non-Fiction, Audible, The Fabric of the Cosmos by Greene
  11. 2014-11-11, Fiction, Audible, The Many-Colored Land by May
  12. 2014-11-26, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Head First Java by Sierra and Bates
  13. 2014-11-26, Non-Fiction, Audible, My Beloved World by Sotomayor
  14. 2014-11-27, Fiction, Audible, Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Sloan
  15. 2014-11-29, Fiction, Kindle, Shadows in Flight by Card
  16. 2014-12-15, Non-Fiction, Kindle, The Final Days by Woodward and Bernstein
  17. 2014-12-18, Fiction, Kindle, The Ice Dragon by Martin

2015 (1 Physical, 1 Kindle, 13 Audible = 15 total)

  1. 2015-01-09, Non-Fiction, Audible, Reckless Engagement by Morgenson and Rosner
  2. 2015-01-20, Fiction, Audible, No Longer at Ease by Achebe
  3. 2015-02-12, Non-Fiction, Audible, American Emperor by Stewart
  4. 2015-03-02, Fiction, Audible, Darkness Take My Hand by Lehane
  5. 2015-03-27, Non-Fiction, Audible, Writing on the Wall by Standage
  6. 2015-04-09, Non-Fiction, Physical, The Online Advertising Playbook by Plummer, Rappaport, Hall, and Barocci
  7. 2015-04-17, Fiction, Audible, Earth Unaware by Card and Johnston
  8. 2015-05-15, Non-Fiction, Audible, The Selfish Gene by Dawkins
  9. 2015-05-18, Fiction, Kindle, Storm Front by Butcher
  10. 2015-05-22, Fiction, Audible, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Adams
  11. 2015-07-31, Non-Fiction, Audible, Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1 by Twain
  12. 2015-09-01, Fiction, Audible, The Scarlatti Inheritance by Ludlum
  13. 2015-10-05, Non-Fiction, Audible, The Son Also Rises by Clark
  14. 2015-10-13, Fiction, Audible, The Scarlet Plague by London
  15. 2015-12-23, Non-Fiction, Audible, Conversations with Myself by Mandela

2016 (0 Physical, 2 Kindle, 3 Audible = 5 total)

  1. 2016-01-20, Fiction, Audible, Prince Caspian by Lewis
  2. 2016-05-28, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Dutch by Morris
  3. 2016-07-02, Fiction, Kindle, Earth Afire by Card and Johnson
  4. 2016-11-15, Non-Fiction, Audible, Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 2 by Twain
  5. 2016-11-29, Fiction, Audible, 2001 by Clarke

2017 (0 Physical, 1 Kindle, 2 Audible = 3 total)

  1. 2017-03-08, Non-Fiction, Audible, Stiff by Roach
  2. 2017-04-08, Fiction, Audible, With the Night Mail by Kipling
  3. 2017-05-30, Non-Fiction, Kindle, Spam by Brunton

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Not As Bad As It Sounds

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan discuss Ivan’s impressions of attending the DC “March for Our Lives” event in person… including the implications for the wider gun debate. Then they talk about the online privacy issues that have been around for years, but are now getting more attention because of the recent headlines about how social media was manipulated during Election 2016. Oh, and Ivan recently returned from a trip to Singapore, so he shares his impression of that city too.

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-03-30
Length this week – 1:34:36

  • (0:01:30-0:04:06) Agenda
  • (0:05:14-0:15:28) Singapore
  • (0:16:43-1:01:06) March for Our Lives
  • (1:01:42-1:34:16) Online privacy

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.