The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

The Dope and the silver-tongued devil

Late Saturday morning I was walking my dogs, when suddenly I heard an ungodly rumble, followed by a shock wave that sent me stumbling. An earthquake? A gas main explosion? A plane crash? Thankfully, it was none of those. In fact, it wasn’t anything external. Instead, it was the ...

Admission omission

This time of year is popularly known as “Back to School.” But to me it’s always “Not Back to School.” In fall 1965, after a college freshman year that could generously called “abysmal,” I found myself all dressed down with everywhere to go. Essentially, I was too immature to be ...

Pups, pain and pills

If I had to give last week a label, it’d be Medical Mishegas Week. It started simply enough. I noticed one of my dogs had a thickening on her tail, under the fur. That was OK, till she started licking it and then broke the skin, making me take her to the vet. What was it? ...

On — and off — the waterfront

Although I was a lousy Boy Scout, I loved Camp Bedford. And how could I not? It offered every activity a 100-percent American boy could possibly enjoy. We played with fire, knives and hatchets, had archery, heard ghost stories and drank unlimited glasses of Kool-Aid at lunch and dinner. We ...

Grid lack

As a student of history, I’ve always enjoyed reading old letters. And it doesn’t matter whose letters either. The rich and famous, the poor and unknown — all of them said something. And that’s the essence of letters: No one takes the time and effort to write a letter unless they do ...

Tat II

In last week’s column I made a mistake that must be corrected. I’d said when I was a kid the only people with tattoos were veterans. For the most part, that’s true, but a small number of The Inked Set were never in the service for all sorts of reasons, antisocial behavior not the least ...

The old skin game

I still remember the first tattoo I ever saw. I was 6 or 7 and it was on my neighbor Russell Demerse’s left arm, which though I didn’t know at the time, was its perfect location. The tattoo had three parts. At the top was an eagle, under that was a pair of crossed cannons, and under ...

The Dope’s guide to instant indolence

The Luddites were a swinging lot — in some cases, literally. They were weavers in early 19th- century England, which was a highly skilled and highly paid profession. When machine looms started to take over, they found themselves about to become vocational has-beens. What to ...

The Himalayan Hammer strikes back

I like a bargain as much as the next dope. But the real issue is what, exactly, makes something a bargain? Or to put it crudely, when does a “bargain” turn into a crappy deal? If price is the sole consideration, you might doom yourself to some serious disappointment. Cheap, no-name ...

The Music Boy

On what’s now the Hotel Saranac’s parking lot was once a beautiful yellow, turn-of-the-century wood building called the Odd Fellows Hall. The Odd Fellows was a fraternal organization that was never active in my time. But what was active in the building was our summer theater. Summer ...

A weighty matter

Monday I partook in one of The Golden Years’ most emotionally-conflicting experiences — my annual physical. At this point I liken my physical to embarking on a voyage in the early days of sail. I hope for smooth seas and a successful conclusion, but all the while I’m keenly aware of ...

Big Fred’s finest hour

Since Potsdam State was a small school, I must’ve seen Fred Norris Jr. around, but I never took notice of him till I saw him in a school play. And then, take notice I did! The play was The Music Man and he had the lead as Professor Harold Hill, a personable, persuasive, and ...

U.S. Navy blues and screws

I suspect everyone who was ever in the service has had the same revelation at some time, namely there’s a huge difference between the official chain of command and the real chain of command. I know I sure did. I’d been in the Navy about a year and a half, a year of which had been in boot ...

Bottle returns

On my way to the Enterprise early in the week, I had a delightful surprise. I ran into Champ Branch. If you don’t know Champ, you’ve missed one of the best treats My Home Town has to offer. Champ (And don’t ask me his real name. For all I know, Champ is his real name ... or ...

Ticked off

Can anyone remember a spring/summer like the one we’ve been having? I can’t. If I had to make it into a formula, it’d be this: Ten parts overcast, seven parts rain, five parts unseasonably cool temps, one part hotter than the hubs of hell. May was a soggy drag, but I endured ...

Wheels of misfortune

The debate about legalizing assisted suicide is raging nationwide, and now New York state has joined the fray. By law, New York prohibits assisted suicide. Nonetheless, it’s promoted in My Home Town. Don’t believe me? Just start riding your bike around town some ...

The downhill slide from 1952

One of my fondest childhood memories is of the May Festival. As the name implies, it was a celebration of spring, which after those old-time Adirondack winters was something well worth celebrating. It was a grade school event, but I still remember a lot about it. One was its ...

Crosswalk talk

There’s something bothering me so much I can no longer keep it to myself. What is it? you ask. It’s those performers from the ’60s and ’70s who are still performing ... but in name only. If you haven’t been to one of their concerts recently, don’t feel bad, ...

Seaman Recruit Dope learns the ropes

Forty-eight years ago today, I’d finished my second week of boot camp. I was still in shock, and it was a good thing. The enormity of a four years in This Man’s Navy hadn’t dawned on me. Instead, from minute to minute I struggled, just to figure out what was going on. I was ...

A not-so shy and retiring kinda guy

Last Saturday, I did something for the last time that I’ve done every year for the past 44. I went to the Paul Smith’s College graduation. I retired three years ago, so this was the last class I taught, during their freshman year. Given the number of students I had then, combined with ...