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The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

On flights, and flights of fancy

I’m in the aisle seat waiting for the plane to fill so we can leave Phoenix. While I can’t understand how 700 tons of metal can zoom through the air without suddenly plunging earthward and erupting into a giant fireball, I’m not afraid of flying. That’s probably due to my amazing ...

It was the best of tines

Having studied magic most of my life, I learned one thing for sure: Magicians are born, not made. I first encountered this in childhood but never understood it till I was an adult. (Note: In keeping with the nature of men in general and magicians in particular, I did not say “till I grew ...

Cap’n Pat and hands across the water

Let’s face it, we never forget our First Love. And on the other side of the coin, we don’t forget old grudges, either. But there’s a crucial difference. First Love can make us sigh wistfully and fill us with sweet melancholy for what is so long gone. A grudge, on the other ...

The cookie that took the cake

Anyone who wasn’t comatose during their American History 101 class knows “A Day That Will Live in Infamy” refers to Dec. 7, 1941. But Liz Clark of Garden City, Long Island, had her own DTWLiI — April 3, 1959, when she was 13. Liz was my sister-in-law’s college roommate. She had ...

Ships of fools

Discovering whether a rural legend is true or not can take all sorts of time and effort, and even then you might never find it out. First, they’re almost always spread by word of mouth, and rarely in writing. And even if they’re written down, typically it’s long after the event itself ...

The Great Skelley End-Around

Last week’s column, about the chopping down of Paul Smith’s College’s major landmark and school logo, the Leaning Pine, had some inaccuracies in it. I said that because the college prez, Dr. Buxton, hated everything about the state, he wouldn’t have had the miscreant arrested, but ...

The unkindest cuts

In mid-November 1971 I was in the Navy, doing what I did most of the time — taking Morse code — when my friend Frank walked over. “Hey,” he said, “you went to Paul Smith’s College, right?” “Yeah,” I said. “Why?” “’Cause there’s something about it in today’s ...

Chasing our own tales

As a lifelong history buff, I was always bugged by urban legends. Well, not exactly always: As a kid, I believed them. And how could I not? First, I was pretty much a literal babe in the literal woods. And second, while I was naive, so was whole country. We thought good always triumphed ...

Truths, half-truths and Saranac Lake truths

One of our most famous summer residents, Albert Einstein, came up with the groundbreaking physics’ theory of the relativity of time. Sadly, he did not win the Nobel Prize for it. Essentially, it means that time isn’t an absolute thing, but is relative to the people perceiving it. Or to ...

Taking the plunge

I started writing this column the way I’ve started doing almost everything — on a whim. As a result, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I was so out of it, I referred to what I was writing as “an article,” a gaffe so egregious that then-editor John Penny about apoplexed when ...

Flippin’ my lid

According to the old chestnut, the best things in life are free, and in a lot of cases that’s true. One look at our scenery will tell you that. Then, too, there’s convos with friends, books from the library, a joke well told, poring over old photos ... and on and on. That said, many of ...

Fightin’ the fever

I was a hipster of 11 when I heard my first jazz song. It was “Fever” by Peggy Lee — her signature song — which had just been released. The only verse that stuck I my mind is: Everybody’s got the fever. That is something we all know. Fever isn’t such a new ...

Levity overcoming gravity

One of my last columns was a response to people who complained about this year’s Winter Carnival having so many fewer activities. Briefly stated, my reply was Tough Nougs. But a detailed three-part reply is as follows: 1. They should be grateful for what we had, because it happened only ...

Of carnivals and critics

Winter Carnival 2021 started off with a bang — literally. Under the supervision and choreography of Peter Henry, the Pasha of Pyrotechnics, the fireworks show was even more magnificent than it usually is. If you missed it in person, Good Guy Productions has posted them on the internet. ...

Winter Carnival 2021

Ever since it was announced that Winter Carnival events were minimized this year, I’ve heard someone or other, either in person or on social media, carping about it. And every time their sad refrain reaches my jaded ears or eyes, my gorge rises. Dig this: The last thing anyone in My ...

Frozen in time … and an unheated bedroom

If you write something and a bunch of your readers say they love it, you’d better watch out. Thing is, the writer’s first reaction to that is to think what they wrote was, if not a work of staggering genius, then at least uniquely brilliant. But the sad truth is it’s probably neither. ...

Chilling revelations

Something that bugs the bejammers out of me is people complaining about our winters. You know their rap: They’re sooo long. They’re sooo cold. They’re sooo snowy. Oh yeah? Listen, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re under 50, you don’t even know what a real Adirondack ...

CRITIC critic

Any bureaucracy’s rank-and-file workers are almost all competent, because if they’re not, they get canned. But the higher you go up the food chain — and salary scale — the more it’s clogged with pompous asses and blazing incompetents. I first learned this in the Navy watching The ...

Gettin’ the business from big business

Whenever I buy anything, I’m guided by two principles: I try to buy American, and I try to buy locally. Buying American is a real chore since almost nothing’s made in America anymore. From my experience, American-made goods are still first quality. Unfortunately, you’ve got to look long ...

Pointed recollections

No matter how anyone cuts it, as a whole, Americans are woefully ignorant of history — especially their own. When I say “history,” I don’t mean all the esoteric nonsense that drove us nuts in high school, like when the Articles of Confederation were approved, or who was FDR’s ...