The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

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 ...

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 ...