The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

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 ...

Schooling in the classroom of life

I remember when and where I first saw the word “maelstrom.” I was a pre-teen in a town barbershop, reading a men’s magazine. The magazine was one those that featured “true” articles that were actually fiction of the uber-macho kind. Titles ran along the lines of “Shipwrecked in ...

Wrap artists

The Scandinavians have an expression, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Supposedly, in Scandinavian languages, it rhymes. But rhyme, shmyme, all that matters is if it’s true – which it is. And it was just this that Jane Mandeville and I were talking about in Aldi’s ...

Seven’s company

Two things I inherited from my mother are my support of charities and my love of animals, but my approach is different from hers. With charities, I pretty much give only to local organizations. If you don’t know why, just look up what percent of contributions to national charities ...

A cold hard look

Unlike meteorologists, I can’t predict our cold snaps. But I can predict what inevitably follows them on Facebook: My news feed gets clogged with postings from all my local “friends” who have since settled south of the Mason-Dixon Line. They all say the same thing — how glad they ...

A Norman Rockwell dream come true

It didn’t seem like it’d happen, but it did. What happened, you ask? The Old Adirondack Winter Cold Snap, that’s what. How long it’ll last is anyone’s guess, but it has for the past few days and (at least according to the weather wizards) it still has a ways to go. It ...

When more is less

The subject came up in a coffee klatch with Brother Clark and Sistah Lisa. I don’t remember the specifics of the convo; I only remember the flash point, which was the word “choice.” Essentially, after rappin’ ’bout this and that, we agreed that while having no choices is ...

Albert E. and me

I’ve always been a modest lad, if I do say so myself. Which is why I’d never say I’m smarter than that famous part-time resident of My Home Town, Albert Einstein, even though it could be true. Me, the Dope, smarter than Einstein? How can that be? Simple. While he may have ...

Seeing the light

If you’ve bent an elbow in downtown Saranac Lake, you already know where Adirondack Hamlets to Huts’ headquarters is. And how could you not, since it’s directly across from the Waterhole, right next to Saranac Lake Wines and Liquors, and two doors down from Grizle T’s. But even if ...

The white badge of boyhood

You often hear people referred to as “mechanically inclined,” but I’ve never been one of them. In fact, if any label fits me, it’s “mechanically de-clined.” It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have. But it’s always been in vain. And even when a mechanical problem is simple ...

The day the curtain dropped

It was to my generation what Pearl Harbor Day was to my parents’ — a moment etched so deeply that everyone remembered exactly where they were when they found out. The bell for eighth period had rung and I’d just left the art room, headed to French class, when Kathy Klein ran up to me, ...

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 ...