The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

A fond farewell

When I drove to Pisgah last Thursday for Jack Lawless’s celebration of life, I did so with trepidation. It had nothing to do with Jack himself. He’d led a long fruitful life, died at the tender age of 85, and as far as I knew, never had an enemy to his name. So what was the ...

Poetic injustice

I was blessed by a public school education that exposed me to a lot of poetry. I can’t remember if we read any in early grade school, but certainly in Miss Pattinson’s sixth grade class we read our fair share. I specifically remember reading “Excelsior” by Longfellow, because before ...

A walk on the mild side

I started running at 22 and quit 45 years later, but not because I wanted to. I had a hip replacement and couldn’t run anymore. Actually, strictly speaking I could run. But my orthopod Dan Bullock told me it wasn’t a good idea, since it could wear out the replacement. When my hip went ...

Of lugs and laughs

“I’m returning the rental car now,” my brother said. “So I need you to bring me back.” “OK,” I said, trying to sound neutral. This conversation took place last week in Vienna – Virginia, not Austria. My extended family was there for my great-niece’s Bas Mitzvah, ...

When two rites make a wrong

Last week I wrote about the Teen Canteen and claimed my Canteen “career” was unique. I still think that’s true, and until someone refutes it, I’ll stick by my guns. The Canteen was essentially our youth center from the ’40s to the late ’60s. It was held in the town hall ...

A wrong of passage

The word “adulation,” meaning excessive admiration, is fairly common. The word “adultation,” meaning excessive desire to be a grown-up, isn’t just rare — it’s unique. In fact, it’s only been recorded once, in today’s column. Of course, that’s because I just made it ...

Between rock and a good place

With rare exceptions, the only music I listen to, or even care to listen to, is rock and R&B from the mid-’50s to mid-’70s. This is due to imprinting at its finest, and I remember the moment perfectly. It was fall 1958, I was 11 years old and in seventh grade. Ah ...

At sea in Plattsburgh

If I ever have to divide humankind into two categories, it’d be those who can do math, and those who can’t. And just FYI, I can’t. Something else I can’t do is deal with government forms of any ilk. In fact, whenever faced with one, I go darn near cataleptic. And this is why I ...

Hijinks jinxed

It was late April 1967, after a very long, very hard Old Time Winter. Now a note of enlightenment: I’ve been hearing all around town about what a long hard winter we just had. Hate to be the one to tell ya, but we didn’t. First, it wasn’t hard. We didn’t have a lot ...

Damn! What a column!

I have always been fascinated by words, in any form: puns, anagrams, palindromes, rhymes, rhythms and especially word origins. The only word activity I don’t like is crossword puzzles, since they’re either too easy or too hard, and each is as frustrating as the other. Lots of people are ...

In the Lions’ den

While most performers have a lot in common with each other, magicians are in a class of their own. Let’s say you’re a vocalist giving a recital and you hit the wrong note. If your audience notices, it’s no big deal. They’ll give you a pass, and you’re still a singer. Or how ...

It’s nothing to sniff at

People complain that our national politicians are a bunch of self-righteous thieves who aren’t responsive to the people, but I disagree. Sure, they are self-righteous thieves, but they’re also responsive to the people — especially if “the people” are lobbies, corporations and ...

Nothing to LOL at

A couple weeks ago my attention got snagged by an Enterprise headline: “Students detox from cellphone use.” Turns out our local high school, as an exercise in enlightenment, encouraged students to give up their cellphones that Friday, and approximately 65 percent of them did it. ...

And then along came Russ

Last week’s column was about my struggle to get accepted into a Master’s program. The struggle had only one cause — I wanted an MA in English lit, but I’d been an American history major. Here’s the thing: Grad schools are fueled by a near-bulletproof fiction. It is in ...

Student, teach thyself

Rarely does life give us a perfect match, but it happened with me and Paul Smith’s College. And it happened by sheer coincidence A week before second semester 1973, without giving notice, three English teachers walked out. Two days later, having been told of the walkout, I walked into Dr. ...

The water test

I went to grades one through 12 in Petrova School. But even though all grades were in the same building, for the difference between grades one through six and the others, I might as well have gone to school on different planets. For me, grade school was a diddy-bop through paradise. I ...

A set of real Navy blues

It was early July 1969, in Pensacola, Florida. I was there for Navy Class A School, and once I stepped off the plane I realized how far out of my Adirondack element I was. I was wearing wool dress blues, and both temperature and humidity were in the low 90s. As soon as I hit the tarmac, ...

It takes a whole village …

I rapped my gavel three times, and my two colleagues fell silent. “This Executive Committee meeting of the Brothers of the Bush is now in session,” I intoned gravely. Joe Dadey and Jack Drury gave me their undivided attention. Actually, I just embellished a bit. First, I ...

Iced out

Last Saturday and Sunday if you saw a bunch of folks milling about in Prescott Park, you might’ve wondered what was going on. Well, I can tell you – they were either building the Arctic Golf course or playing on it. And what, pray tell, is Arctic Golf? Essentially, it’s ...

A pro con

One of my favorite quotes from Damon Runyon is: “Someday, somewhere ... a man is going to come to you and show you a nice brand new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in ...