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The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

A Dope of the cloth

I first heard the term “Caveat emptor” when I was in my mid-teens. It’s an ancient Latin phrase that means “Let the buyer beware,” and it seemed a fine rule for the marketplace. That was then. For today’s shopping we need a phrase that’s less exotic but much more appropriate. ...

Clippedtoemania

You want to know what bugs the bejammers out of me? It’s people my age (73 on Jan. 13 — Pendelton Large, if you would) whining about aging. I mean, what do they want? NOT to age? Because, let’s face it, bubbeleh, there’s only one way that can happen naturally. And if it hasn’t ...

The myth of ‘new and improved’

I never forgot those little rubber oval coin purses from my Gilded Youth. They took up almost no room in my pocket, held my coins securely and lasted forever. I figured they were as long gone as other ’50s mainstays like church keys, mechanical watches and Prince Albert in the can. So imagine ...

Fifteen pounds of fur, froth and freakout

As a wee tyke, if I learned nothing else, I learned this: I would never, ever, upon pain of flogging, act out in a doctor’s office. There was a good reason for this — my father was a doctor. So while my mother demanded we always behave well, she was absolutely fiendish about our behavior ...

In for a groszy, in for a zloty

Until fairly recently, I’d been a letter writer my whole life. When I say “my whole life,” that’s not an exaggeration. In grade school I had pen pals, and as soon as I learned to print, I wrote thank-you notes. Granted, the thank-you notes were written under both duress and my ...

Lessons from the classroom of life

As a kid, I knew one thing for sure: All adults were right. If a grown-up said it, they knew it, and it was gospel. By my teens, compulsive reader that I was, I realized that not only were all adults not always right, but a lot of them were poorly informed, and another bunch were total ...

A serpentine tale

It’s obvious that writing, in any meaningful sense, is dying out. Likewise, the art of conversation is headed in the same direction — both doomed to the same fate as the carrier pigeon, woolly mammoth and great auk. Since our primary mode of communication is the cellphone, and its ...

The root of all goodness

While I drink soft drinks, I cannot be considered a “soda drinker.” If I average a soda a month, I’d be surprised. I wasn’t always like that. In my gilded youth my consumption of anything sugar-laced was prodigious and promiscuous. Candy, soda, baked goods, ice cream — you name it, ...

The Promised Land’s broken promise

From the time I was hatched, I knew what Mount Pisgah was. It was My Home Town’s local ski slope. What else could it be? Well, as I was to learn, long after my hatching, it was a lot more. In the Old Testament, Mount Pisgah was the peak from which Moses got to see the Promised Land. And ...

What’s in a name?

Since I’m an unabashed Saranac Lake chauvinist, there’s no doubt what’s my favorite town. But what’s my second favorite? I’ve never been secretive about that either, but in case you didn’t know, it’s Tupper Lake. Why Tupper? Good question. I have a raft of reasons, but ...

The Original Bug Shirt and an unoriginal joke

If I know nothing else about the climate and entomology, I know this much: It’s been one helluva summer for flies. Black flies, mosquitos, deer flies — the usual villains. But what wasn’t usual was how many there were. It was so bad that, like something out of a Hitchcock movie, even ...

Deepest, darkest and densest …

If you read this column regularly, you’ll notice it wasn’t here the last two weeks. Then again, neither was I. In fact, I was about as far away from My Home Town as I could be without heading back to it. Specifically, I was in Tanzania, on Seidentour. Seidentour, simply put, is a vaction ...

Dog spelled backward is God

When I first heard the word “anthropomorphism,” I began to understand all sorts of things that had previously eluded me. It’s from the Greek words “anthropos” (human being) and “morphe” (form), and it means giving human characteristics to non-human beings and objects. For ...

The boys (and one old man) of summer

Even as late as the mid-’70s, five bucks was a hefty bit of chump change. To give you an idea, for a mere fin you could get five packs of cigarettes, 10 beers in a bar, 20 cups of coffee, a full tank of gas for a VW Beetle, three gallons of milk, or two theater tickets. By contrast, ...

Mad, again

Last week I wrote about our latest national disaster — Mad magazine going out of business. OK, so as far as disasters go, it can’t match the Hindenburg. Then again, since almost no one today knows about the Hindenburg, much less would care about it if they did, the death of Mad is ...

Sad about Mad

This week when Mad Magazine announced it had stopped publishing, I wasn’t surprised. It was bound to happen in a society like ours — post-literate, if not il-literate. So while I wasn’t surprised, I was sad. And why wouldn’t I be, since Mad was one of the major influences of my ...

Put your best Foote forward

It’s been over 20 years since The Foote Rest closed, and no fortnight has gone by that I haven’t mourned its passing. The Foote Rest was a cafe across from the Adult Center, before it was the Eat ’n’ Meet. Its owner, CFO, chief cook and bottle washer was Don Foote, who in my ...

A close call

I got up at the crack of 10, refreshed, renewed and ready to fly over the asphalt. OK, maybe “fly over” is too strong a term. How about “hobble sorta quickly”? Normally, while I want exercise, I don’t really push myself on my daily constitutional. And why would I, since I ...

The Dope with the dope on dope

It happens every time I run into someone in My Home Town. “It’s been a great summer—” I start to say. “Whattaya mean a great summer?” they say. “It’s been raining. It’s been cold. And we’ve hardly seen the sun.” Of course, by cutting me off they don’t hear the rest ...

Smooth operator

Whenever I hear someone say, “You’re only as old as you think you are,” I immediately know two things about them. One, they’re a lot younger than me. And two, they have no idea what they’re talking about. The theory makes sense: If you think young, you are young. It ...