The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

Poetic injustice

I always thought I was an open-minded guy, but once I started teaching I had to prove it. A salient example: In an interview, Charles Bukowski, maybe the finest unknown American writer, was asked to name the three worst poets. Without hesitation, he said, “Rod McKuen. Rod McKuen. Rod ...

A laughing matter

When I was a kid, a popular hobby was stamp collecting. Or at least it was popular with other kids. With me, it was distinctly UNpopular. Not that I didn’t try, and not that I wasn’t interested. I loved looking at the amazing variety of stamps – the colors, designs, sizes, countries of ...

More expensive by the dozen

“Caveat emptor” is a Latin term that means “let the buyer beware.” It started as a legal term, from an English court ruling in 1603. Basically, what it means is it’s up to the buyer to either ask the right questions about the product or have it covered by guarantee before buying ...

Window pains

When I was a kid, adolescence was called “The Awkward Years.” I think the awkwardness was due to wanting to belong to some group or other, but not making the cut. Luckily, it wasn’t an awkward time for me. It’s not that I was an enlightened being who’d risen above all the ...

Between Pop Rocks and a hard place

I’m not a great fan of holidays because almost none of them celebrate the reason they were created. The most egregious example is Christmas, which now seems less a celebration of peace on earth goodwill to all, than a manic spending spree and shlock-a-palooza. The commercial hype used to ...

Spies a’plenty

If you ask100 people to name the most famous 1960s spy, I’d bet at least 99 of them would say James Bond. But while Bond may’ve been the spy, he wasn’t the only one — not by a long shot. During the ’60s, thanks to the Cold War and its runaway nationalism and paranoia, spies were ...

Just say yes to ‘No’

If you weren’t an arms dealer or a politician (pardon the redundancy), the Cold War was just one long, seemingly endless mess. But being an upbeat lad with a perpetually sunny nature, I try to always see things in a positive light. So you’d expect I’d find something good in the ...

Strokin’ out

As we waited for the meet to begin, Robbie Bradford nudged me and asked, “What’s he up to now?” I looked over at KK Monroe, who was grinning like a jackass eating prickly pears as he talked a mile a minute to Roundman. “No idea,” I said. “But it looks like whatever it ...

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 ...