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.

Cleaning out the email closet

advocate reform

Misquoting JesusI’d been doing it all wrong. In cleaning out the email, I usually would get rid of the recent stuff I no longer needed: a ZOOM meeting link, a notice of delivery I now had received, or some other action item either completed or rendered moot.

But I hadn’t gone back to the oldest stuff. It’s been a much more profitable process. Deleting passwords for defunct websites, work-related material I no longer need.

In June 2009, my friend Dan wrote to me. “I’m currently reading a book called Misquoting Jesus, a readable explanation of the textual inconsistencies of the New Testament. The author is Bart D. Ehrman, who explains in the introduction that he was born and raised a hard-core Midwest Fundy.

“But after he grew up and became a scholar of biblical textual criticism he abandoned the notion of Biblical literalism, simply because he realized that it is completely impossible to know the original text.” It sounded interesting enough that I thought I might pick up, but I haven’t yet.

Dan noted, “If speaking in tongues is referred to in Acts, then it is a tradition that was grafted on to Christianity, like Xmas trees. There really is no textual basis for speaking in tongues, unless one considers Paul of greater importance than the guy from Nazareth.”

It’s such a consequential and controversial book that there have been whole tomes written to refute it, such as Misreprenting Jesus by Edward Andrews, and Misquoting Truth by Timothy Paul Jones.

Not political

Pat from Binghamton a friend of mine who died a couple of years ago, included this message:

In the sacred bonds of our common humanity, we give thanks for the life that we share and for our calling to care for each other. We acknowledge that we have failed to care for every member of our human family, and have not ensured that all may receive the healthcare they need for the life that YOU intend!

Strengthen us to use our hearts, hands, and voices to raise our vision for a healthcare future that includes everyone and works well for all of us

Gracious God, we remember that your plan for us is fullness of life, lived with love, mercy, and justice

Assist our leaders in Congress, our President, and all of us as citizens to advocate reform that will be fair for everyone.

Chief Tuffey

A senior at SUNY Albany was doing a story on then Albany police chief Tuffey. How/why she was writing to ME, I now have no idea. I have no recollection of this exchange, BTW.

What exactly did Tuffey mean by using the term spook? What was he indicating?

I don’t know Chief Tuffey. I don’t know what HE meant. But many of the white people of his generation who use it mean either a black person generally or a lazy and/or shiftless black person.

What do you think made him say this?

Not being a mind reader, I don’t know. In the context of the reporting, I think he was trying to say that [Richard Bailey] the young white man (and son of a cop!) is a priority. Black victims, poor victims happen all the time, but Bailey was special.

At the same time, the murder also took place in an “unlikely” neighborhood, and perhaps he feared an unsolved murder not in the South End or Arbor/West Hill would be a signal to the public about the safety of Albany generally.


How will this affect the African-American community? Could they possibly retaliate in some way?

I wouldn’t speak for the black community, but I think Tuffey’s departure makes retaliation unlikely. I’d be curious, though, if it will affect the primary next Tuesday between Tuffey’s prime supporter and a black man; unless there are exit polls (exit polls in a city primary?), we won’t know if the Tuffey issue resonated with voters.

Do you think Tuffey’s recent retirement has anything to do with this?

Yes, and the clear support that the idea of getting rid of him seemed to have had within the police rank-and-file, not only over this incident but that embarrassing “can he carry a gun?” issue in the last year, seems to bear this out. This recent incident was the final straw, not the singular cause.

Nope, don’t remember

Wow. I now have blocked Tuffey, and the incident, from my mind, possibly because Albany has had three (?) police chiefs since then. BTW, Tuffey died in 2019.

This is fun. At this rate, I should have my email box totally clear by 2027.

Email and mail: drowning in it

fifty cents for nothing

email-1When I was employed, I always had a lot of email. Much of it was sought intentionally, from news entities, so that I could purloin stories for our work blog.

One of the things I learned by trial and error: if you nick from one source, it’s stealing. If you take from several sources, it’s “procuring.” And the entities I was purloining from never cared as long as I did three things: link to the original article, take no more than three paragraphs, and not give away the ANSWER in the quoted material.

This was a task I often gave to the interns because we were posting five days a week for a time before we cut back to thrice a week. The site’s all but defunct, but so it goes.

My personal email was totally out of control as well. Last year, I whittled it down from an absurd 10K or more to a still insane 4000. A lot of them are things I want to write about or read about. Maybe THIS year I’ll create that Wikipedia piece about my late friend Raoul Vezina. There are about 100 emails, with attachments, on that topic alone.

And still, it comes

But that’s not my real problem. It’s the damn influx of NEW email. During the 2020 campaign, I could be getting maybe 20 emails per HOUR, and I’d skim most of them. Mostly they were political in nature. I thought they’d end after the November 2020 election. Oh, but then there’d be a new wave about the special runoffs in Georgia on January 5. Now, are we done?

Nah, there is always another issue. And most of the sources I didn’t solicit but had gotten my info from someone else. So I’ve gotten vicious with the Unsubscribe button. Most of the entities write, “Please don’t go. Would you like fewer emails?” Too late, Jack.

And on the print side

Actually, my snail mail has declined over time. Much of that is a function of paying bills online. Still, I get a lot of solicitations from not-for-profits for money. And they include “incentives.” More than one has included mailing labels. You might be amazed how many packets of those I’ve shredded each year.

A few include these little notepads. We use them for shopping lists. But we still don’t send money. One even sent a Kennedy half dollar to show that their cause was in the spirit of the 35th President. Or something. I wasn’t guilted into giving them anything either.

Louie, Louie

Much of my email lately is about how truly terrible Louis DeJoy is. He’s the Postmaster-General whose “leadership” has delayed stimulus checks, lost vital medication, and, boldly, try to sabotage democracy.

At a hearing in mid-February, pretty much promised to make the service worse. His plan seems to be to get rid of priority mail, eliminate overtime for postal workers, and raise the price of stamps.

President Biden can’t fire him outright. But he can nominate people to the USPS Board of Governors who can oust him. And that would be a good thing. 

Sherwin-Williams emails

Viva retirement?!

sherwin-williams.explore colorTime to start answering Ask Roger Anything questions. Judy, who I’ve only known since 1977, asked:
Isn’t it great not having to adapt to a different work environment? Viva retirement!

Well, you’d think so. But what’s different is that my wife and my daughter are home. And they are actually working too. My wife’s a teacher. She had to go into work on Monday and Tuesday last week, which I thought was crazy. Subsequently she’s been checking email, responding to requests. My daughter still has homework, which was due Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week.

So it’s a negotiation of using the two computers for the three people. My job is to wade through the influx of new emails. An article from eMarketing last week spoke to this:

Email overload

Social media users [are] marveling that every brand they had ever done business with was writing them to talk about COVID-19 and what those brands were doing to help. Email marketers do seem to have sent these messages to every address they have permission to use…

So, if you roll your eyes at that next email, try to remember that it’s probably important to someone else who’s wondering whether a product or service they regularly use is going to be available—or potentially endangering workers and consumers.

I may not have cared about each of the 100-odd marketer emails I received about the pandemic over the past week or so, but there were some I was waiting for anxiously… I didn’t need to hear from Sherwin-Williams that my neighborhood store would be offering curbside pickup for safety—but I know there are workers in my community who did need that message.

Look at it this way: There is an influx of brand emails being sent, but at least you have plenty of time at home to clean out your inbox.

My “Sherwin-Williams” emails

Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services. My primary doctor’s office has a COVID hotline.
The CDTA buses are operating on a modified weekday schedule resembling the Saturday service. But they’ll add several routes that do not normally operate on Saturday that serve medical facilities, grocery stores or other locations to which essential trips need to be made.
Are my bank and credit union changing their hours? Somewhat.
The videos I took out from the Albany Public Library aren’t due until the library reopens. Indeed, the return slots will be closed.
Early (6-7 a.m.) hours at the Price Chopper/Market 32 supermarkets for senior citizens. Like me, whippersnappers!

My Congressman Paul Tonko’s phone lines for the DC office at (202) 225-5076 and Albany office at (518) 465-0700 remain available for constituents to contact staff.
Tax day has moved from April 15 to July 15. That’s good because we’re about a month behind in preparing, in large part because of my FIL’s illness.
Free Pandora for three months. A lot of things that were behind paywalls are not, for now.
The SBA is providing low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.
Smithsonian Open Access is where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking.

The first e-mail I ever wrote

I sent some e-mail to a few people, including my colleague who was sitting in his desk perhaps three meters away. The adviser thought this was daft.

email-1005x1024Something I had forgotten:

When our work office was first going to get electronic mail, sometime c. 1995, it was all a bit mysterious as to what we would use it for. We all went to some computer lab, where it was explained what it was and how to send it. We were instructed to create messages. One of my colleagues wrote to me, “How did I get here?”, which is the first e-mail I ever received. I replied, “Same as it ever was.”

These, of course, are references to the Talking Heads song Once In A Lifetime, which was then stuck in my head, and now I’m going to stick in YOUR head. (If that link doesn’t work, try this one.)

Some things I remember:

I know we could NOT have gotten to the World Wide Web before January 1995 because our director at the time gave a talk about the Kobe, Japan earthquake, showing what was available on the web. I was annoyed that other offices in our building had email and web access before we did since we had what I felt was a more direct need.

Long before the e-mail etiquette has been codified – no SHOUTING, e.g. – there would be some unpleasantness about the “tone” of a message. There was a real learning curve, with some hurt feelings.

One of the business advisers from one of our outreach centers came to visit us in the central office, c. 1997. Their office did not yet have e-mail; given how ubiquitous it is now, I know that’s hard to believe, but was nevertheless true. I sent some e-mail to a few people, including my colleague who was sitting at his desk perhaps three meters away. The adviser thought this was daft. “He’s right here! Why don’t you just tell him?”
I had a dream the night after the “forgotten” info was revealed to me, and it featured a song giving the days of the week:

It’s Sunday
Monday Tuesday
It’s Wednesday Thursday Friday

I realized the tune was What You See Is What You Get by the Dramatics. Here’s the Soul Train rendition, which cuts off too soon, but is more fun to watch. I’m a sucker for the rolled tongue effect.

Not to be confused with WYSIWYG.

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