The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

Heavy breathing at the Good Earth

One summer about 20 years ago there appeared in town a fully-restored 1965 Ford Mustang. It was a real beaut. The chrome was flawless, as was the paint job. Plus you could tell the engine was in perfect tune by its low-throated growl as it cruised the streets. And on the trunk in ...

E-gads!

It’s amazing how many things we think have always been with us but are actually recent additions. And I’m not talking about high-tech, cyber-world whiz-bangs. I mean real old school, no-tech stuff. For example, belt loops. Belt loops a recent invention? Well, it depends on your ...

A walk on the mild Seide

I started running for only one reason — to get in shape for boot camp. I’d just graduated from college, where I’d spent four years majoring in history ... and four years minoring in coffee, cigarettes and sleep deprivation. I was, by any measure, a burnout. But luckily, I was a ...

Frozen in time, space and a VW Bug

By 1960s American standards, I was an old man before I got my first car at 25. But as much a greybeard as I was, my car was more of one. It was a ’64 VW Beetle with nine years and over 150,000 miles on it. The mileage was unknown and never could be known because the speedometer-odometer ...

The air apparent

The Luddites were a secret group of early 19th-century English weavers who, when machine looms were put in the mills, saw the end of their highly skilled (and high-paying) profession. In retaliation, for a short while (all too short for them), they broke into mills, smashed machinery, shot up ...

The long and short of it

Everyone knows great nations eventually fall. We also know, in retrospect, how and when they fell. But I’ve always wondered how many people in a country on the verge of collapse were aware that everything was about to hit the fan. There are all kinds of predictors of societal collapse. ...

Gimme shelter

Nostalgia has always been a big business, and for the Baby Boomers the best-selling decades are the fifties and sixties. Ah yes, the Glory Days! Of course, looking back at our salad days always involves selective vision filtered through fully-tinted rose-colored glasses. The fact is ...

Saved by the bell … and the bell ringer

I’ve always considered myself lucky, especially with my health: The fact is I’ve never been sick. Oh sure, I had all the usual childhood maladies that have since been eliminated by vaccines. And as a kid, I had my share of sneezes and sniffles. But in the 50 years, from my going to ...

Clipped!

According to the traditional cliche, women are obsessed with hair styles. Well, I can tell you from personal experience, males aren’t exempt from that mania. I’ll never forget my first bout of hair style madness, especially since I came out on the losing end of it. It happened ...

A lad of letters

With their cellphones, computers, tablets, and whatalls-electronic, kids today have access to almost ever piece of information there is, or ever was. And as far as I’m concerned, more’s the pity. Face it: Information, of and by itself, means nothing. There’s wrong information, ...

A class act

I knew I’d be a teacher from the time I was ten. And it wasn’t like I thought I’d be a teacher or I wanted to be one — I knew I would. I don’t think that phenomenon is unique or even all that unusual. I’d bet a lot of adults knew what they’d do from early childhood. ...

The Bey of Biscayne

If you were a denizen of My Home Town in the mid 1960s and heard the phrase “south of the border,” you would’ve either thought of one of two things, or both. If you’d never traveled to All Points South, it would’ve referred to Mexico. If, however, you’d driven down the East ...

Puttin’ on the dog

My dog Lulu and I were in Riverside Park, waiting for our photo op. Actually, it wasn’t our photo op — it was Lulu’s. Photo op for what, you ask? Dogs of the Blue Line calendar? NPR’s Canine du Jour? The cover of the Weekender? It was none of those things; in fact, it was better ...

DNAism and badrappin’ the Neanderthals

It was happy hour in the Rusty Nail, but I wasn’t at all happy. Bellied up with me and chatting like magpies were my “dates,” Joe Dadey and Jack Drury. Jack, as expected, was raving about his motor-assist bicycle and how he never actually uses the motor, or at least not very ...

Backstory Babs and the thousand-to-one shot

I was but a mere slip of a lad when I saw the word “serendipity,” and it was love at first sight. First, the word itself was so odd, so seemingly-unrelated to any other word I knew, kinda rolled off the tongue magically. And its origin, itself, was almost magical. It was coined in ...

Backstory Babs and the uninvited guest

‘Scaramouche is a classic novel — at least according to Mark Twain’s definition. Twain said, “A classic is something everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Not that I didn’t try. I did — at least three times over 50 years. But it was always no-go. On ...

Door jam

For the past half-century I’ve owned cars, all of them used, some of them very used. As a result, I’ve learned two things. One is patience. Used cars are not new cars. As a result, things will go wrong with them, if not off the bat then a lot sooner than with a new car (unless the new ...

The best medicine, the worst comedians

From my vast and objective study of the professions, I’ve concluded the least funny are doctors. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that they can’t have wit, humor, or senses of irony. They can. And some do. But when it comes to thems what can dish out the rib-tickling, side-splitting, ...

King of the road (rash, that is)

It was summer 1968, and Bernie Branch was riding high, wide and handsome, literally, in his ’55 Cadillac hearse. Bernie was the lead guitarist of The Mad Men, a good local rock band who played all over the North Country. Of course, lots of good bands played around the area, but only one ...

Crossing their hearts … and their electorate

There was a time I paid very close attention to politics. I read the New York Times cover-to-cover, daily and religiously. I studied every new development, every new candidate, every new promise, and almost simultaneously, every new lie that came with them. As a teacher I ...