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The Inseide Dope, by Bob Seidenstein

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 ...

A shining example

When it comes to remembering dates, I’m hopeless. I know few peeps’ birthdays, some national holidays and an odd occasion here and there. If something significant happened in my life, I might remember the year and season, but never the actual day. The only exception to this is April 29, ...

The luck of the Dope-ish

As much as I hate superstition, so many things went wrong Saturday morning, I could only think I was having one very UN-lucky day. It started as soon as I got up. Frankly, no matter how late I get up, I’m non compos mentis for at least an hour. Then again, since I don’t do anything that ...

On the Q, not on the Q-T

When I was in my mid-teens, if you’d asked me or any other young lad what “Q” stood for, I’m sure almost all of them would’ve had the same answer: Q stood for Q. It wasn’t the letter itself, but the man Q. He was the crusty old guy in the James Bond movies who supervised all ...

The Dope and the lunatic fringe

It seems our traditional greeting has been replaced, and for good reason. Used to be you saw someone you knew and you said, “Hey, how ya doin?” A rhetorical question if ever there was one. Now it’s, “So, how ya holdin’ up?” Not a rhetorical question at all. Of course, the ...

School daze: reading, writing and retching

Last week I wrote about the reliability of memory. Or more precisely, about the un-reliability of my memory. The column revolved around my memories of an old Winter Carnival parade and one float in it. As I’d remembered it, it was Carnival ’66, and the float was Chuck’s bar’s, ...

Recall — total or otherwise

A while back, Diane Griffin and I were chatting on the phone. And as might be expected, after the usual exchange of pleasantries, the talk turned to our usual topic — The Good Old Days. Specifically, I’d mentioned that little hole in the wall on the first floor of Petrova school where ...

Slainte!

Chicago canceled theirs. New York canceled theirs. Boston canceled theirs — even Dublin canceled theirs. But My Home Town’s happened took place right on schedule. I am, of course, referring to our St. Patrick’s Day parade. A week before the parade, Jen-X asked me the perfect ...

Damned if ya do, damned if ya don’t

It’s true you can have a lot of fun while you’re aging. But unless you’re a card-carrying masochist, aging itself is no fun at all. The Golden Years are rife with all sorts of aches and pains, shakes and strains, worries and weaknesses. Young people don’t believe it’ll happen to ...

What goes up must come down … and sometimes vice versa

Most of us are suspicious of statistics, and rightly so. Not that their conclusions can’t be accurate — of course they can. But it all depends on how the conclusions were arrived at. If they were based on unrepresentative or inadequate cross-samples, then they’re dubious at ...

Now you see it …

If you ever decide to become a magician, you must learn The First Law of Magic, which is this: There’s no such thing as magic. Huh? What? No such thing as magic? Am I toying with you? Not at all. There’s a very good reason magicians never reveal a secret: namely, to spare ...