68: “Put it back on the menu”

Didn’t Neil Diamond write that?

For all those years not divisible by 5, or otherwise significant (double numbers such as 66, 57 Heinz variety, 52 cards in a deck), remembering my age is sometimes a challenge. What does Wikipedia say about 68?

“It is the largest known number to be the sum of two primes in exactly two different ways: 68 = 7 + 61 = 31 + 37.” Now THAT is exciting. Isn’t it?

“68 is the atomic number of erbium, a lanthanide.” What?
“In the restaurant industry, 68 may be used as a code meaning ‘put back on the menu’, being the opposite of 86 which means ‘remove from the menu'”. I had never heard that.
“The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament has involved 68 teams in each edition since 2011 when the First Four round was introduced.” And I’ve always hated those play-in games, especially the 11th seeds.

The photo, taken by my daughter on her phone, was for her Environmental Science course. Apparently, it takes 170 gallons of water to create that 750 ml bottle of wine.

Anyway, I don’t blog on my birthday. See you manana.

Me, mentioned in newspapers

three-car collision

Roger singing
Roger singing, Trinity AME Zion Church, age 6
After I did a meme that included the number of times I was on TV, I decided to look when I was mentioned in newspapers. I have this Newspapers.com account, which I initially got for genealogical research. So I get to research me.

I decided to limit the search to the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin from 1953 to 1976. There are some hits from other people named Roger Green. Searching the Albany papers will be much more difficult because there was a state legislator with my name who was often mentioned.

Sat, 17 Dec 1960 – City Protestant Churches to Hail Nativity. I would be singing Little Drummer Boy at Trinity AME Zion Church.
Sat, 16 Dec 1961 -Area Protestants to Celebrate Glorious Nativity. I would have a solo at Trinity AMEZ.
[I was still a boy soprano then.]

Sat, 7 Feb 1970 – City Schools will mark Negro week. A number of students, including my sister Leslie and me, would be reading the works of black poets at an assembly the following Friday at Binghamton Central High School.
Sat, 3 Apr 1970 – King Memorial in City Tomorrow. “Eulogy and benediction will be given by Roger Green.”
{I was moving away from the desire to become a pastor by then.]

Mon, 23 Feb 1970 – Green Family Life Harmonious. I wrote about this HERE.

14 Sep 1970 M-E Girl leads Albany panel. Governor’s Council on Children and Youth; I represented Binghamton Central HS. [The first time I ever flew in an airplane was a little thing with about a dozen seats, flying from Binghamton to Albany in a thunderstorm! The return flight was calmer.]

The accident

23 Jun 1972 – two identical posts titled Hospitals. “CHARLES JOSEPH, 37, of Endicott, and ROGER GREEN, 19, 29 Ackley Ave., Johnson City, fair condition, Ideal Hospital. Injuries not immediately available, after a three-car collision in Endicott.

“Endicott police said that Green was a passenger in a car driven by Joseph. The Joseph car was stopped in the westbound lane of North Street at McKinley Avenue when it was struck in the rear by a car driven by Dorothea…, 41, Endwell, they said.
The impact forced the Joseph car into a car driven by Robert Smith, 24, which was stopped in front of it.

“They said Joseph was taken to the hospital with head and neck injuries, Green was taken with shoulder and jaw injuries, and Smith, who was not admitted, was treated for a neck injury.”

[I hitchhiked to work. Charlie picked me up because he recognized me as my father’s son. In hospital for a day and a half, followed by six weeks of physical therapy.]

3 May 1975 ‘The Boys’ BHares Homosexuality. (Review of Boys in the Band at the Roberson Center.) “Bernard (Roger Green) is the black faggot of the play, the ‘African Queen’ as he’s referred to at one point, and later as the “queen of spades.” His role, too, jells only in the second act. It is minor, but as painful as the others.”

[After reading that, no wonder one of my grade school classmates thought I was gay before she was corrected by another one of my old friends.]

I might have missed some articles, but I didn’t want to look through over 20,000 records.

Off topic

My blog provider’s host machine went down on the afternoon of July 4. It took over 24 for them to restore data and web services. But MY site took another message from me and an additional four hours. The trick was that I was supposed to give a presentation ABOUT MY BLOG and its content about race on the morning of July 5, while my blog was still down. I muddled through. Thanks to my kind audience.

“As my provider noted, “We understand how important your online presence is to you, and we apologize that in this case, we weren’t able to meet the high standards for service you’ve come to expect from us… To help prevent this type of event from happening in the future, we will be doing a full internal investigation of this issue, working to thoroughly determine the root cause and the scope of its impact.

“Thank you for your patience, we greatly appreciate it!” I wasn’t all that patient, but what can you do? Watch three MCIU movies so I wouldn’t keep checking my site every 10 minutes.

Music. Birthday. Roger. Chaos. 67.

Annie Haslam, Judy Collins, Odetta

Roger.babeWe have the convergence of Saturday, when I generally write about music, and March 7, which is my birthday. Save for the obvious, there is isn’t much I play every year.

Now there WAS a song I played on March 8, a lot. Have a Good Time from my favorite Paul Simon album.

Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life’s a mess
But I’m having a good time

I’ve been trying to remember what music I have received on my birthday. A couple years back, I received an album of Odetta singing Bob Dylan. A couple of those tracks appear here.

There was an album I got on my 16th birthday called Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Judy Collins. I wrote about it back in 2008, but somehow all the YouTube links got mucked up. So here it is again.

I was thinking about a particular song from the album, The Story of Isaac, written by Leonard Cohen. It’s because my Bible guys have been rereading the book of Genesis. Specifically Genesis 22, when Abraham is tested by God.

In 1977, I was in Charlotte, NC, crashing on my parents’ sofa. What I wanted for my birthday was the album Scheherazade & Other Stories by Renaissance. I played it. Don’t think my family appreciated as much as I did. So it goes.

Anyway, 67 suggests sixes and sevens. Chaos. Or at least that’s how I’ll remember how old I am.

Arthur says: “You should write a book!”

The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol

write a bookArthur, who is experiencing that brutal Kiwi winter right now, was the first person to both Tell AND Ask Roger Anything.

TELL: You should write a book!

ASK: What obstacles would you have to overcome, and/or what would you need in place to write a book?

Back around my birthday in March 2019, I thought what I might do in my retirement. Writing a book was not even a consideration. What would I write it about? Me? I wasn’t feeling it.

Then in May, I came around to maybe writing about the house in which my mother grew up. I’d actually floated this to one of my cousins a couple of years ago. She was doing some genealogy about our common ancestors. It was beyond the scope of what she was working on, but I spent a lot of time there myself.

Moreover, my sister Marcia has a LOT of photos that she’s scanned. the pictures are mostly of the exteriors, but also a lot of people over a roughly 60-year span.

There’s another book that I thought about, involving the year I turned 19. A momentous year in my life. The problem is that I’d have to reveal my own shortcomings publicly.

The good news, however, is that I had kept diaries as far back as March 1972, so I have detailed accounts of at least some of what I did. And I mean OVERLY precise. What I ate, and where, et al.

I think I got the idea from my college roommate in my freshman year, a grad student named Ron, who wrote down EVERYTHING he spent, a candy bar or going out to dinner. One day, he spent $1,000 on a car, which really skewed his daily averages.

My diaries, and there are about a dozen of them, continued to about 1986. It’s not the entire period, because several of the journals were destroyed in the flooded basement of the apartment building I was living in c 1997. I genuinely don’t know what I have and what was lost.

At the time, I was quite upset, but now I am somewhat relieved that at least part of my ever-present past has been obliterated. It means, though, that EVENTUALLY, I’m going to read those remaining chicken scratching. Thus, the advantage and the obstacle are the same.

Some of it will be great. Is THAT when I saw that concert! I’ll get to relieve some of the history of FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked in the 1980s.

Some of it will be awful. My, was I petulant? Or unkind! Or oblivious! I’ll probably get to relieve heartbreak that I caused, or received! Oh, boy.

And, ha! now I’ll probably have time to read the damn things. The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol.

From that mess of a life, I’ll have to figure out what the STORIES are. 1972, which I remember surprisingly well even without the prompts, has a certain dramatic arc. Other than that year, I’m not at all sure about a narrative. And how do I write about other people I’ve mentioned, many of whom are still around?

Once I DO start writing, if I start writing, I realize that I need to do it when I’m mostly alone, when my wife and daughter are asleep, or downstairs watching some dance show on TV, or off to work/school. I work best in the presence of semi-loud, generally familiar music.

Roger turns 65; doing nothing

more than a ream

If I had forgotten that I was turning 65, the flood of mail I received from various Medicare insurance companies would surely have tipped me off. Dozens of solicitations, from most vendors multiple times, totaling, and I am not exaggerating here, more than a ream of paper.

The truth is that since I’m not retiring just yet, what I need to do is: NOTHING. Not a thing except to put all that material in the recycling bag or the shredding bag, depending on how much information about me is on that particular sheet.

Speaking of nothing, I’m not going to work today. I started that practice years ago, based on a model of the Albany Housing Authority, where I interned around 1980.

Oh, and I don’t bother blogging on my birthday, either, lazy writer that I am.

Ciao until manana.