Curmudgeon Corner: Reader Mail

Ah, the country life

Ah, the country life

I don’t know if any real Saugerties people read this paper, but it seems the way this town’s going, I need to cast a wide net to stay relevant.

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Rod Selway. I’ve done a little bit of everything. Navy, farmed, cement plant, had my own paper, speculation, some activities best not committed to paper under my own name! For many years I wrote the “Highwoods Hullabaloo” column for the Kaatsbaan Kourier (subscription only). Unlike most newspaper columnists, I tell it like it is. That means no dancing around the point, generalizations or equivocations, dead horses beat, straw-men or red herrings! Just old-fashioned horse sense from a guy who’s too old (or dumb) to care if his opinionating ruffles feathers, steps on toes or causes general consternation among his fellow men.

I had a few left-over letters from my last column, so I’ll answer them here. My editor says this is “not what you were hired for” but as my father used to say, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.



I heard you have a foolproof way of removing would-be Wobblers from your neighborhood. Is this true and if so how. Thanks-Roy Fram

Yes, it’s true. For new readers, Roy’s using one of those short-hand terms which has developed quite organically among readership denoting an especially undesirable brand of person who moves to our town for reasons of economy and promptly focuses his gaze on our neighbor to the west which shares its name with a thrice-held festival located there exactly never: Woodstock-Oriented Bumptious Beatniks Lamentably Eschewing Real-estate Surcharges.

The procedure for repelling these folks is quite simple. Most formerly lived in a large city or its suburbs and are seeking an idyllic country home in which they can see the stars and hear the crickets. The only use they have for us locals is on the other side of the table at the farmer’s market. Their greatest fear is that their neighbors may turn out to be the “wrong kind” of country folk and it is this fear which my method exploits.

  1. Erect several repeal ny “unsafe” act signs, pointing them not at the road but directly at your neighbors’ domicile. Acceptable substitutes include: gun control means using both hands or i support a woman’s right to choose: revolver or pistol.
  2. Place deer, bulls-eye or Nancy Pelosi target near shared property line. You don’t need to open fire or even feign doing such — the target’s location alone will accomplish the desired effect.
  3. Call your neighbor over and, once you ascertain he doesn’t know the first thing about economics, inform him of the imminent crash of our fiat currency and the vast arsenal you’re building for the apocalypse. Invite him and his wife to join you when all hell breaks loose. Do NOT take no for an answer.
  4. Play country & western music at maximum volume or, better yet, if you’re a musician, have band practice in the garage at inconvenient times. Your neighbor, who by his very nature is of the type to appeal to a rigid principle enforced by a third party rather than resolve problems man-to-man by way of accommodation, will call the police chief and seek to lodge a complaint (as long as officers promise to say something along the lines of, “We’ve received numerous calls about the noise” so as to avoid suspicion falling on him alone). At this point he will learn that the town has no noise ordinance and, despite the issue occupying the bulk of the town council’s 2014 meetings, it seems it never will. The suspicion that there is a conspiracy of “good old boy” locals against him will begin to fester.
  5. Two words: Confederate flag.


Is the Chev. Pick-Up Truck (Black) you advertised prev. still available and if so would you take five hund. ($500). –Moody

As I said in my ad, as long as the ad is running, the truck is available. Doesn’t anyone read anymore? Why do people ask stupid questions? I spend a lot of time in my chair in front of the television. If the Mrs. wants to ask me something and my eyes are even half-shut, the first thing she says is, “Are you awake?” Well, if not you’ve asked a question for naught. If so (as is usually the case), and I can answer, well, why not just ask the question you want to ask? You’ve lost nothing in the first case and saved a sentence in the second. Anyway you haven’t even looked at the truck and I just listed it so no way I’m taking less than half the asking price, the parts alone are worth more.


Why don’t you use Twitter and Facebook? -Caleb Winthrop

I can’t afford it and moreover I don’t want to.


This column originally appeared in the Dec. 18, 2014 issue of Saugerties Times. Read The January column here