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.

Spectrum Mobile clusterf### redux

Yay, Discover card

spectrumOne of the great sources of anxiety, not to mention a massive timesuck, is the online Spectrum mobile clusterf### I’ve been dealing with over the last two months.

Indeed, it’s been so exhausting that I can’t give an exact blow-by-blow, as I did three years earlier when a variation of the same damn thing happened.

This time, I got a phone delivered that I didn’t order. I immediately got a call from someone purporting to be from the company telling me that I received it in error and that I should ship it back to them via UPS to an address in Kissimmee, FL, which I did.

That was a fraudulent address. And Spectrum Mobile, I’ve since learned, always ships and receives returns via FedEx.  After my initial call to Spectrum Mobile, after I got an email for two MORE phones, I was told to reject the package, which I did.

I talked to Spectrum’s customer service for at least five hours on four calls involving eight representatives since late February.  Retelling the same stories was exhausting. The sixth person, in particular, read the script without thought. I’ll admit that I got irate on the phone. It’s something I rarely do, and I hate when that happens.

Only the last representative had a scintilla of what was happening. They recommended I not use the Spectrum app, and they disconnected it. I changed the account code.

The two phones I refused are still on my bill because Spectrum Mobile has not restocked them. For several days, all their systems said there was “trouble with the delivery.” An $843 account in my name is due to be paid before the end of the month.


Meanwhile, I changed my Discover card number. The person I talked to there, Heather in Delaware, was great. She was going to pass me io to another department, but then she looked to see that another department had passed me on to her.

(When I was a business librarian for over 26 years, being passed from A to B to C, back to A was particularly frustrating.)

Discover card blocked bills from Spectrum Mobile, yet paid other recurring bills, even when I had not contacted those entities that my number had changed. So if the Mobile bill is still in the system, Discover will refuse it.

As I said, a massive and enervating timesuck.

My (sort of) brand-new iPhone 8!

He MAY text

apple iphone 8 blackFor the longest time, I wasn’t really all that fond of cellphones. Part of it was an aversion to being available all of the time. Is this a societally GOOD thing?

And now that almost everyone has a camera, they all feel the need to share the most mundane content. I will acknowledge that it is has been important in pointing out abuse and injustice. But it has so distorted what news is. Is a cat falling, but caught by people holding a flag, newsworthy? It is as if there’s an amateur video. Otherwise, it doesn’t exist, or so I’m told.

Still, the real issue apparently is that I have managed to acquire a series of duds for Android cellphones. They were unreliable. My most recent one would drain the battery by 5% from the time I turned it on until it was fully functional. And then it would continue to lose power so rapidly that it’d be pointless to leave it on. It was passive/aggressive behavior on my part towards the phone that I’d misplace it so often.

Then months ago, I bought an iPhone 8. It wasn’t the latest and greatest, but it had to be miles better, didn’t it? And it was reasonably priced, so if it didn’t work out, the investment wouldn’t have been too bad.

I started the process of setting it up, but I was interrupted and didn’t get back to it for a couple of weeks, by which time I couldn’t remember my two-step authorization number. Or something. Anyway, I just gave up on it for a few months.


Finally, I went to the Apple store in the mall – I hate the mall – and they reset it to the original mode. I was able to set up a better authorization process. And it was all good.

Well, except that I didn’t have a SIM card. My previous phone always said No SIM card, yet worked; not so on this phone. So I waited for the new card to arrive. I called my carrier to get my service switched to the new device.

I couldn’t get the card on this little tray, and my carrier’s customer service guy couldn’t talk me through it. So I went BACK to the Apple Store, and five minutes later, voila.

This means that now, probably, I’ll text! You can send photos to me by phone instead of emailing because that’s been so onerous for some people. I’ll add apps, which I was shedding on the old phone – and I didn’t have that many – because it didn’t have enough memory.

But I’ll still use my watch to tell time because pulling out my phone while riding my bicycle doesn’t seem like a good idea. 

My fear now, of course, is that I’ll become so enamored of my new phone – it’s at least like at first sight – it’ll be disappointing if I break/lose it. 

Mostly unrelated: Arthur is doing something, and I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Thoreau as a finder of things


ThoreauThis, or a variation of it, happens to me all of the time.

I bought a new phone. It’s an Apple 8 or whatnot, my first iPhone ever. I open it up and start trying to figure out whatever needs to be done. Invariably, I get interrupted. A couple days later, I’m back trying to set it up. But the iPhone apparently wants some settings on my old Android phone. And, of course, I can’t find it anymore.

Then my wife comes home. She’s been to the farmer’s market. She doesn’t have enough cash, and the vendor doesn’t take credit cards or checks, But he does take Venmo. She doesn’t have Venmo, but I do, on my old phone, naturally. After she tells me she needs to make this payment, I redouble my efforts. Not in the backpack or in any drawers or in some clothing in the hamper. After an hour, I give up.

The Albany Public Library had a book sale the previous weekend, which I worked at. I bought a few items, one of which was a CD called Best of Beck. This is by Jeff Beck, not the other guy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open it, because the plastic encasement was locked. Alas, a dollar wasted.

Wait, I’m going to try to liberate the disc without destroying it. Using a couple of pairs of scissors, I succeed. I need to put the CD in a new case. Fortunately, I have a bunch of empties. I go to that drawer. Sitting right next to that dresser, in the bay window, is my damn Android phone.

It always happens

This happens a LOT to me. When I stop looking for something – total surrender – I often find it. There is a saying attributed to Henry David Thoreau that goes, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you.” But why is it always inanimate objects for me? it’s most often keys because I have an irrational disdain for them.

But it is also true that “if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.” Though the woods are never the same. Or wherever.

Attestation and other curiosities

it’s a good thing I know our license plate number

attestationAttestation seems like a very fancy term, maybe a serious disease. It is actually “a legal acknowledgment of the authenticity of a document and a verification that proper processes were followed.” When I digitally enter my Census timesheet, I have to attest that I worked those hours. Before my wife goes to school, she has to promise that she’s taken her temperature and is well enough to come in.

We both need to wear masks to work. As noted, my head is bigger than hers, bigger in fact than most people’s. She apparently didn’t notice this at first and randomly assigned the first masks to us and our daughter randomly. But now she can tell, just by looking, which mask belongs to whom; I cannot.

It always reminds me of The Price is Right

We got A NEW CAR! Most of the summer, my wife admittedly obsessed with the price of used RAV4s. This editor’s letter in the August 28 issue of The Week actually mirrored her experience.

“Every dealer I spoke with had sold out of decent and affordable used autos…” This is a function of the pandemic, but also “some of the cash they might have splashed on vacations or restaurant meals is instead going to new wheels.”

That was certainly true of us. We had a vacation budget that went unspent. So the used vehicle is instead a current one. My wife bought it out of town for logistical reasons, so I never saw it until four days after she purchased it.


I only recently discovered that my wife is also a fan of finding helpful hints on YouTube videos. I’ve been watching them for years – here’s one on changing the battery on a CVS bathroom scale, which is similar to one I used.

The recent requirement I had involved not just recording on Zoom, which I figured out. My question was to FIND my #ZOOM RECORDINGS, which I needed to retrieve so I could read to our Sunday school class.


On my cellphone recently, I received a text that read “[Tik Tok] **** is your verification code, valid for five minutes. To keep your account safe, never forward this code.” Since I’ve never been on Tik Tok, I will assuredly abide by this.

Speaking of cellphones, I got some bogus company calling my Census phone to say it was needing to update my system. Spammers are everywhere. I ignored it, correctly.

I’m rich!

Surprise money. I got a check from Wells Fargo for $159.13 for some fiscal malfeasance that they had undoubtedly committed. I’ve gotten these types of checks before, but usually, they are for $7.81, or at the most $24.59.

The good old days

I was looking to find a list of the current members of the Cabinet because, geez, who can keep track? On Google, page one, there’s a pulldown list that lists Barack Obama’s cabinet, fueled from this page. I have a… certain disdain for the current batch, especially Bill Barr. But you knew that, didn’t you?

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