Do I prefer spam or Ask Roger Anything?

“your electric company”

Why are they wasting my time? Since I have used my cellphone more frequently, the number of spam calls has exploded. The only reason it hasn’t been worse is that I don’t always carry it around when I’m at home.

Because I’m old, a LOT of these calls are from “Medicare” – yeah, right – or even more hilariously, “your electric company.” National Grid is never going to call me up and say that. Most are purportedly from my area code, 518, and many are marked Scam Likely.

Sometimes, when I miss a call, I dial the number. “The number you have dialed is almost always not in service.”


Every damn politician, it seems, wants money. As an old poli sci major, I know cash can be the lifeblood of campaigns. But I’m annoyed to get an email solicitation from someone I never even heard of.

Here’s one from a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2024 that I received last month. “Roger, have you been getting my emails recently? If not, let me explain why I’m reaching out. My campaign has established an August fundraising goal of $12,000…”

I opt out of these things, but they’re too prolific. Obviously, they have sold my info to the next candidate. And by the way, it’s not just the Democrats. Because I get a lot of conservative publications, I get the pleas for money to save the country from the godless, baby-killing, left-wing Antifa anarchists.

What I prefer

I’d much rather be getting messages from people such as yourselves. You all can be the antidote for my spamola inundation. All you need to do is Ask Roger Anything. Anything at all, especially if you have a music theme, which I might use some Saturday.

And I will most likely answer to the best of my ability in the next 30 days.  Please make your requests in the comments section of this post, email me at rogerogreen (AT) Gmail (DOT) com, or contact me on Facebook. Always look for the duck.

Moving certain elections to even-numbered years

local elections in New York State

I went to the local Price Chopper grocery store yesterday to buy some items. There were two people at a table in the entryway. One asked if I was registered to vote. I said truthfully, “Always.” They were pleased as they were participating in National Voter Registration Day. I had no idea. 

Then I asked them about a piece of New York State legislation, Assembly Bill A4282B/Senate Bill S3505B, moving certain elections to even-numbered years.

It was passed in June 2023, but I hadn’t heard about it being signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. As it turns out, at least as of September 18, she had not. There are over 400 bills that “need to be sent to her desk for signature – or veto. “

Reinvent Albany, the Citizens Union of the City of New York, and Common Cause New York support the legislation. “We believe this legislation will strengthen local democracy in the state by bringing more people to vote for local offices, leading to a more representative voting population and a stronger mandate for elected officials.

“The benefits of holding local elections during even-numbered (‘on-cycle’) years have been thoroughly documented in research, and dozens of towns, cities, and states have successfully made that transition in the previous decade. Good government groups and election advocates support this reform, as does the public.”

Conversely, John Quigley, Ulster County Board of Elections Commissioner (Republican), notes, “While the intentions of these bills may appear well-intentioned, the move to align certain local elections with even-numbered years carries significant risks for voters.  Decreased turnout, diluted focus on local issues, limited voter engagement, reduced accountability, and the potential for increased partisanship are all concerns that should be carefully considered. “

My take

Do I agree with a branch of Common Cause or a Republican BoE official? The latter, big time. The voter initiative folks I met agreed with me, FWIW. There may be a greater voter turnout because of the top of the ballot. But will the voters have time/inclination to look at the local issues and candidates?

The even-numbered years encompass the US House of Representatives, state Assembly, and state Assembly races. Some of the even years will have the Presidential elections, the others, the statewide races for governor, comptroller, and attorney general. The US Senate races will also fall in an even year. How are local issues and candidates going to get the oxygen they need?

An interesting element of the bill is that it only pertains to local elections outside New York City. This rubs me wrong and could aggravate the ongoing upstate/downstate fissure.

Moreover, when vacancies exist in many offices, the state Constitution promptly mandates a special election.  So, odd-year elections wouldn’t be eliminated anyway. Also, I think a change of such magnitude should be addressed by Constitutional amendment, not legislation.

So I wrote to the governor. I do that too infrequently, but this issue roiled this old poli sci major’s stomach.

The Pirates lost the first World Series

I loved 1979!

It occurred to me that this is the 120th anniversary of the Fall Classic. The Pittsburgh Pirates lost the first World Series to the Boston Americans, who would become the Red Sox, 5 games to 3 in a best-of-nine series in 1903. But in 1909, the Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to 3. Fred Clarke was the Bucs’ manager in both series.

The Pirates also led the National League in 1901 and 1902 before the Series was initiated, their first two titles since joining the league in 1882 as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys; they became the Pirates in 1891.

The Bill McKechnie-led team of 1925 beat the Washington Senators, 4 games to 3. McKechnie was the first of only two managers to win a World Series with two different teams, also helming the 1940 Cincinnati Reds to the title. 

Donie Bush’s 1927 Pirates were swept by the 1927 New York Yankees, with  Ruth, Gehrig, and others of the Murderers’ Row.

The Pirates didn’t return to the Series until 1960 when Danny Murtagh led them to an exciting and dramatic win over the Yankees. Some claim Game 7 was the greatest ever played.

The Pirates won two Series in the 1970s over the Baltimore Orioles, 4 games to 3, in 1971 under Murtagh, and the exciting 1979 games when Chuck Tanner led them from a 3-1 deficit.

Downhill from there

They haven’t been to a World Series since. Of course, they have gotten to playoffs a few times with the ever-expanding playoffs. They lost the National League Championship Series in 1970 (to the Cincinnati Reds), 1972 (Reds), 1974 (Los Angeles Dodgers), and 1975 (Reds), all under Murtaugh, except 1972 when Bill Virdon led them.

Then they lost the NLCS when piloted by Jim Leyland in 1990 (Reds), 1991  (Atlanta Braves), and 1992  (Braves). I STILL remember former Pirate Sid Bream scoring the winning run in Game 7 of the 1992 series.

Since then, they’ve lost the NL Divisional Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, then were eliminated in the Wild Card game in 2014 and 2015 by the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Clint Hurdle was the manager.

Even those were the good old days. Since then, the team has had only one season above .500, in 2018 at 82-79, and lost over 100 games in 2021 and 2022. They were in first place in the NL Central in mid-June 2023, but they’re well under .500 again.  At least they can’t lose more than 95 games this season. 


Here are 13 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who spent most of their careers as Pittsburgh Pirates. Every year, I hope the team does better. Alas, no.  

Also, “Kent Tekulve, the closer for the 1979 World Series champion Pirates, Elroy Face from the 1960 World Series team, and the late Bob Friend and Dick Groat were all inducted into” the Pirates’ Hall of Fame.

Finally, you can VOTE for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award until October 1. It honors “the MLB player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

COVID is not dead yet

Strangulation for wearing a mask?

COVID is not dead yet. My daughter returned to college this month, and one of her suitemates came down with COVID-19.

My wife and I went to a performance at Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY, on Wednesday, September 13. We had been there a couple of weeks earlier, but on this day, the signage indicated that we should wear masks for this performance. We soon learned why.

They had someone on sound who had never done sound. The music director had to stand for one of the singers 48 hours before the program. The guitarist came in that day. All of this took place because the people they replaced had COVID. (A review of the show itself is forthcoming.)

As I’ve noted, I got COVID in August 2022, and I received my last COVID-19 shot in December 2022. I will get the new shot recently approved by the FDA. U.S. hospitalization rates for COVID are generally highest for people ages 75 and up, followed by infants under six months and adults ages 65 to 74; I’m in the latter group.

A person’s risk of progression to severe COVID-19 increases with the number of underlying medical conditions. Mine are:
65 years or older
Overweight or obese
A heart condition

Here’s some info from Johns Hopkins about the XBB.1.5 variant vaccine this fall. What you do for yourself is what you do. There are no mandates.

But please don’t be a schmuck about other people getting the shot, wearing a mask, etc.
“Former actor Will Keenan said he was left potentially blind in one eye after being attacked for wearing a face mask, leaving him with a detached retina.”

At-home tests

Why are my at-home COVID-19 tests no longer covered if my insurance has not changed?

From CVS: “The Federal Government announced that the public health emergency addressing COVID-19, (PHE) ended May 11, 2023. As a result, individual insurers and their clients can now make coverage decisions based on what’s best for their individual plan designs. Customers and patients should check with their insurer for information about current coverage to determine eligibility for at-home tests.”

Sunday Stealing: Pinterest


I do not know why this week’s Sunday Stealing is called Pinterest, but I stole the graphic from Alice’s Pinterest.

1. What is your favorite book?

I’m a sucker for a series of music charts books by the late Joel Whitburn re: singles and albums in the pop, soul, and country genres. As for actual books with sentences, it’s usually one of the ones I read most recently, such as How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

2. Are you afraid of the dark?

I don’t see well in the dark. For that reason, I like to get to my seat at the movies before the lights go down. Also, I fear tripping hazards that I don’t see well or at all.

3. Are you mean?

I understand that the mean in math is “the average of a data set, found by adding all numbers together and then dividing the sum of the numbers by the number of numbers.” My age is above the mean. My intelligence? Who knows.

4. Is cheating ever OK?

I was contemplating whether lying, for example, could be justified. Possibly yes, but I’m not finding the same gray area with cheating.

5. Can you keep white shoes white?

Goodness no. Grass stains, mud, et al.

6. Are you currently bored?

Never. I find bored people boring, which sounds snobbish, but there it is.

7. Would you change your name?

I considered it for a time, but the circumstances changed.

Mass transit

8. Do you like the subway?

I love the subway. And I’m pretty adept at the NYC subway, the light rail of San Diego, and other major city systems.

9. Who’s the last person you had a deep conversation with?

My sister Leslie.

10. Dumbest lie you’ve ever told?

I can’t even remember.

11. Do you sleep with your door open or closed?

Closed, in order to keep the cats out. Okay, really one particular feline.

12. Favorite month?

March, which not only signifies spring in the Northern Hemisphere but the real harbinger of spring, my birthday.

13. Dark, milk, or white chocolate?

Milk chocolate.

14. Tea or coffee?

I don’t like coffee. I realize this is a cardinal sin. And I do like several varieties of tea.

15. Night or day?

Summer nights, winter days.

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