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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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 That is way too far out of date!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: Into Knots

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Ivan and Sam cover all the big items from the last crazy week. They’ve got tariffs and North Korea, but also that Seychelles meeting, Russia maybe vetoing Romney, the Belarusian escort, Nunberg’s meltdown, the poisoned spy in the UK… and there is still more! They didn’t forget Kellyanne Conway, or Stormy, or Trump’s hotel in Panama, or Zinke’s door. A fun packed week for sure!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-03-09
Length this week – 1:56:47

  • (0:00:15-0:07:51) Intro Stuff
  • (0:08:28-0:36:20) Policy Stuff
  • (0:38:20-1:26:56) Russia Stuff
  • (1:28:23-1:56:26) Other 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.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Chaos Show

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about the chaotic week that was. Donald Trump throwing grenades into the gun and trade policy debates, the mounting reports of corruption within the administration, and the usual, but seemingly intensifying, chaos within the White House staff itself. Oh, and Ivan caused some chaos himself by accidentally calling 911 from the airport. A fun filled show!

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Recorded 2018-03-03
Length this week – 1:42:36

  • (0:00:15-0:13:06) Phone Chaos
  • (0:13:51-0:50:51) Issue Chaos
  • (0:52:10-1:15:02) Corruption Chaos
  • (1:16:25-1:42:16) Staffing Chaos

 

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: Saving the World

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam is joined by guest hosts Ed and Alex. Sam and Ed discuss the ongoing gun debate in the wake of Parkland, as well as the latest developments in the Mueller probe. Alex is Sam’s son. Alex is 8. Alex talks about video games. Alex also gives a few thoughts about the gun debate. And he is adamant that the podcast is too long, and we should have stopped at about the one hour mark. Was Alex right? Judge for yourself!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-02-24
Length this week – 1:49:53

  • (0:01:00-0:25:32) Video Games
  • (0:26:48-1:17:40) Parkland and Guns
  • (1:18:25-1:49:33) Mueller Advancements

 

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: Not on the Radar

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Ivan and Sam talk about the Parkland school shooting, the controversies around White House security clearances, and the budget and immigration debates, all rounded out with a little update on Stormy and Donald. They recorded about 14 hours before the newest Meuller indictments though, so discussion of that will have to wait… oh well!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-02-16
Length this week – 1:36:27

  • (0:01:40-0:11:58) Stormy Situation
  • (0:13:07-0:39:43) Parkland School Shooting
  • (0:40:23-1:08:25) White House Security Clearances
  • (1:09:10-1:33:32) Budget and Immigration

 

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: Revamping the Dog

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about a number of developments in the Trump-Russia world, including Trump’s attempt to fire Mueller last year, the Dutch hacking the Russians, McCabe’s retirement, Trump not agreeing to an interview, Gates possibly flipping, and more. Then on the eve of Release The Memo Day, a discussion of the expectations for the memo, the objections being raised, and the possible implications. Oh, and it is Ivan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ivan!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-02-02
Length this week – 1:26:20

  • (0:00:15-0:12:33) But First
    • Ivan birthday
    • Show length
    • Agenda
    • Show schedule
  • (0:14:33-0:51:55)Trump Stuff
    • Things not getting attention
    • Trump tried to fire Mueller last year
    • Dutch hacking of Russian DNC hackers
    • McCabe retirement
    • Trump Russian sanctions announcement
    • Trump not agreeing to Mueller Interview
    • Gates flipping
    • Acceleration
  • (0:52:32-1:25:59) Release the memo
    • Expectations on what is in the memo
    • Objections to the memo
    • Who is the audience, what are the goals?
    • Republicans Attacking Republicans
    • Predictions
    • Trump Affairs

 

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: Implanting Thoughts

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about the politics of the short government shutdown and what that means to the continuing immigration debate, then they move on to reviewing many of the latest developments related to the various scandals surrounding the Trump White House. Along the way, Ivan also reports on his recent trip to Thailand.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-01-25
Length this week – 1:39:38

  • (0:01:20-0:22:18) But First
    • Agenda
    • Ivan in Thailand
    • Ivan on a Zipline
    • Baby on a plane
    • Climate change migrations
  • (0:24:21-0:54:17) Shutdown and Immigration
    • Should the Dems have forced this?
    • Should the Dems have agreed to end shutdown?
    • What next?
  • (0:56:00-1:39:18) Trump and Mueller
    • Wendy Murdoch and Jared Kushner
    • Russia to NRA to Trump?
    • Mueller/Trump negotiations
    • Trump’s prospects if he testifies
    • Discrediting Meuller
    • Release the Memo
    • Trump and McCabe
    • Are we near the end?
    • Trump Live

 

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: Dental Maneuver

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Jenn joins Sam as cohost and does the major rant on gender issues she didn’t get to do last time she was on the show. She covers Aziz Ansari, different standards for men and women, what people are taught is “normal”, the pitfalls of zero tolerance, and the built up anger that is exploding from women (and many other groups that aren’t straight white males) these days. Being a straight white male, Sam mostly tries to keep his head down during this part. Then of course they hit some of last week’s Trump craziness, from porn stars to girthers to shithole countries. Finally they wrap it up with a bit on the government shutdown (sorta), FusionGPS again, and the grand bargain Republicans are making with Trump.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-01-19
Length this week – 1:38:41

  • (0:00:15-0:10:48) But First
    • Agenda
    • Corrections and Updates
  • (0:12:04-0:51:17) Gender
    • Aziz Ansari
    • Standards for men and women
    • Zero tolerance
    • Built up anger
  • (0:52:26-1:19:16) Trump I
    • Stormy Daniels
    • Changing rules
    • Medical review
    • Ed’s comment
    • Shithole countries
  • (1:20:55-1:38:20) Trump II
    • Government Shutdown
    • FusionGPS House testimony
    • Grand bargain

 

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: A Longer Beard

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Ivan and Sam talk about the aftermath of the Fire and Fury book, the possibilities for Oprah 2020, and the implications of the FusionGPS testimony. There is also a little bit about Sam going to the gym, and Ivan’s travel plans. But wait you say, what about shithole countries, paid off porn stars, and false missile alerts? Yeah, this was recorded before all those hit. Maybe next week if nothing more exciting happens first. :-)

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Show Details:

Recorded 2018-01-11
Length this week – 1:56:31

  • (0:03:00-0:22:19) But first
  • (0:23:28-0:53:58) Fire and Fury aftermath
  • (0:54:37-1:19:40) Oprah 2020
  • (1:20:25-1:56:11) FusionGPS testimony

 

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: Milk This

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan do their duty and talk about the tax bill… how the Republicans managed to get it done, how it will impact people, and what the political ramifications are. Then they put politics aside for a bit and talk about movies. All kinds of movies. From Star Wars to Dunkirk to Ninjago and others. Rounding out the show, some bits on Apple slowing down phones, Bitcoin, Ivan meeting an (acting) ambassador, an update on Puerto Rico… and more!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-12-23
Length this week – 1:47:01

  • (0:01:16-0:13:56) Intro
    • Agenda
    • Ivan and the Ambassador
    • Ivan ankle twisting
  • (0:14:36-0:47:40) Tax Bill
    • How’d the R’s pull it off?
    • The actual bill
    • The politics
  • (0:49:23-1:08:16) Movies
    • Ivan: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
    • Ivan: Her (2013)
    • Sam: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
    • Ivan: X-Men Movies (2000-2017)
    • Ivan: Dunkirk (2017)
    • Sam: The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
    • Ivan: Rough Night (2017)
    • Sam: Calling All Engines (2002)
    • Sam: Escape from Witch Mountain (1995)
    • Sam: The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)
  • (1:09:31-1:46:10) Random Stuff
    • Ivan: Atlanta airport power failure
    • Sam: Feedback from Diane
    • Ivan: Apple slowing down phones
    • Sam: Puerto Rico update
    • Ivan: Bitcoin
    • Sam: Swiftkey and Swype
    • Ivan: Trump challenge coin

 

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.