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The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

Lens craft

Even as a little kid, I couldn’t relate to formal ceremonies. And it didn’t matter what they were: religious, civic, school, Cub Scouts — you name it, I couldn’t relate to it. In all fairness, my alienation was probably due less to the ceremonies themselves than to my universal ...

The weighting game … and the waiting game

Since I retired, the biggest change in my life is my lack of attention to detail. Routinely, I find I’ve run out of butter or milk or bread. With laundry, it suddenly seems clean skivs have become either a faint hope or a distant memory. As for appointments? Well, I missed my last oil ...

A voyage in time

Every September, as if drawn by some psychic gravity, my thoughts turn to school. It’s only reasonable since my whole life, man and boy, was spent as either a student or a teacher. This week’s gravity drew me to my glorious student days at Potsdam State. I say “glorious” with a ...

Meet your maker

My beverage of choice is coffee and has been for more than the past half-century. I started drinking it as a social ritual at the tender age of 18 — because my friends drank coffee, I joined in. Shortly afterward, I started traveling around the country, and diners and truck stops offered a ...

Old soul

I was a fan of “soul music” long before I knew it, for the simple reason I’d never heard that term then. Instead, it was all part of rock n roll, of which I was a rabid fan. In 1956 Elvis jump-started my fanhood, and by ’57 Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard cemented it. After ...

Safe havens for hipsters

I clearly remember the first time I heard the Kingston Trio. It was fall 1958, I was in seventh grade, and I was at my friend Harry Pierce’s place. The reason I remember it so well is because it was also the first time I’d heard folk music. OK, if you want to get fussy about ...

If you ain’t rockin’ it, don’t be knockin’ it

A couple weeks ago I wrote a column about the rock music of my Gilded Youth, which elicited an interesting ADE Guest Commentary. In it, Steve Lester of Lake Placid attempted to explain why the music most people like is that of their adolescence and early adulthood. His source was a book, ...

The loco motive

Last week I wrote about some much-loved but hopelessly schlocky songs of my youth. Though I didn’t expect it, I got a lot of feedback from my fellow Boomers. As a result, I decided that since you can’t get enough of a bad thing, I’d devote this week’s column to rock oldies’ worst of ...

Schlock and roll

Let’s face it: We all think we are, to use that old saw, smarter than the average bear. And let’s face something else: We all can’t be. Average is average for a good reason — it’s how the numbers shake out. Add ‘em up, divide ‘em by the population, and that’s it. It’s how ...

Outtasite!

I hit the rummage sale scene as a mere tyke, not yet in double digits. My maiden voyage was the Free Library sale, and I branched out from there. Various churches held rummage sales, but from time to time they were also in the town hall, I think sponsored by the golf club (no pun intended, ...

It’s all Johnson-Smith

My 11th and 12th years were a magical time, but not like I was afloat on a cloud of joyous delight like some hick version of Peter Pan. Au contraire, in fact. By fall 1958 I’d been cast out of my grade school cocoon and herded smack-dab in the middle of junior high. I was caught completely ...

All the way with JFK, part 3: When three’s not a charm

James F. Krueger, petty officer first class, first-class conman, and our putative leader, called us together. “OK,” he said, ‘here’s how we’ll approach it.” “It” was the world’s largest folks march in Nijmegen, Holland. “We” were the self-anointed Navy Long ...

All the way with JFK (Part 2) — bloody but unbowed

Part One ended with James F. Krueger, Petty Officer First Class and first-class con man, off to work his ju-ju on the Captain. Krueger’s mission: To persuade the Captain to sponsor our nonexistent hiking team, which in addition to money for entry fees and transportation, would require we ...

All the way with JFK (Part One)

On Tuesday’s so-called speed walk my left knee started hurting before I was half-way through it and it caught my attention. My rule of running and walking and pain is if the pain either goes away or stays the same, I’m fine. But if it gets worse, I stop immediately, walk back, and take ...

Thinking outside the box

To city dwellers, the country bumpkin has long been a figure of ridicule. We’ve all seen the cartoons and skits where he’s a gooch-eyed dimwit, loveable perhaps, but dumber than a bucket of bolts. Millions of laughs were had at the rube’s expense, and still are. Because let’s face ...

The eyes don’t have it

All the cops I’ve known were skeptical of eyewitness testimony. And that’s putting it mildly — almost to a person, they thought it was total bumpf. I found their dismissiveness infuriating. Then again, how could I not? My memory was impeccable, if not flawless. Or at least that’s ...

Memorial Day 2020

In my youth, Memorial Day was a village-wide event. The parade was big. It seemed every organization from the Brownies to the Knights of Columbus had an entry, plus the crowds lined the sidewalks, three-deep, from start to finish. Once the parade ended at the town hall, everyone went to ...

Long live the king!

If writing has one rule, it is this: Show, don’t tell. In other words, instead of simply describing things, ILLUSTRATE them. It’s easy enough to say it, but it’s mighty difficult to DO. That’s why a piece of writing can be technically perfect — no mistakes in spelling, ...

The sweet taste (and sounds) of success

My parents were from NYC, so we always went there four times a year or so, to do city things. Among them, we visited museums (which has stuck with me), rode the subway (which has NOT stuck with me), and generally took in city sights, sounds and smells (whether or not I wanted to). But no ...

The best things in life are free —like libraries

I’ve been an avid reader almost all my life. Of course, that was no big deal when I was a kid since everyone was a reader of one kind or another. TV hadn’t yet become the national drug of choice, and reading was pretty much the only game in town. Sure, there was radio, and everyone ...