I want to thank all of you who generously donated at the October MAGIC GARDEN benefit for Southern relief efforts. We raised a bunch of money for Family-to-Family, founded by Pam Koner (Performing Arts). We have a couple of unclaimed raffle prizes, so email me if you are holding the remaining golden tickets: #653852 and #653819. And a hugely special thanks to designer Lara Kazan (LaGuardia), and writer and personal trainer Tim Haft (Birch Wathen), for donating such excellent gifts!

Last night I sadly discovered that the slogan, "It's 10pm, do you know where your children are"? was still being announced on Channel 5 at, uh, 10pm. Sadly, because that almost meant that I couldn't use it as a password (since MAGIC GARDEN passwords are retro, to weed out the interlopers). But I am using the ominously spoken 70s and 80s version, which evokes something completely different than what we hear today. I am fairly certain that Channel 5 stopped saying this at 10pm for a number of years and started again not too long ago, but that could simply be because I never watch FOX News. And I don't have any children (that I know of ...). And I frequently curse FOX for taking "Freaks and Geeks" off the air. This been the opening line of the 10 o'clock news on WNYW-TV (now FOX 5) for many moons. The 10 O'Clock News debuted on this station on March 13, 1967, as New York's first 10pm newscast, and is now one of America's longest running primetime local newscasts. This question is now asked all over the country at 10pm, but it is in NYC where people were the most concerned about the shenanigans of their wee lasses and lassies (or cugines and cugettes) in the 70s; though we all know NYC kids are way more responsible than their suburban peers - less drunk driving (how many kids have a license in NYC?) and fewer basement orgies (who has a basement?). Kids in NYC are safer and more well adjusted than kids anywhere else in the country. And more neurotic.

It's time once again for the Election Day MAGIC GARDEN. I usually engage in an irreverent political rant somewhere around this time, but this year I've got little material to work with, as we've got no Texans, Terminators, or Colemans running. So I would like to educate you heathens (and me heathen) on some of the lesser known candidates that you will be choosing from on Tuesday, November 8. And I want to congratulate MAGIC GARDEN's and Staten Island's own Brian Kavanagh (Regis) for running for City Council in the primaries (Democrat - Manhattan's District 2) and doing a really great job. Yippee for Brian! Here are some random highlights from the profiles of this year's random candidates:

Public Advocate
Bernie Goetz, Rebuild Party

Yes, Subway Vigilante, former mayoral candidate in 2001 is taking a stab again. Is it just me or is it ironic that Bernie Goetz has a photo on his website of him chillin' with some squirrels and a caption that reads: "A Friend to the Animals"? But even better is the photo of a mouse inside the hole of a hunk of Swiss cheese, with a caption reading: "Imagine Mike Bloomberg in Albany." See it to believe it: Here's some stuff that Bernie believes in:
"City administered food facilities (public schools, hospitals, mental hospitals, and jails) should offer a vegetarian menu in addition to the standard menu. This will lead to a kinder and gentler world, less bullying and alcoholism and misery, is good for the environment, and will result in lower long term health care costs to the city. I think vegetarianism could solve one-third of the world's problems."
"Decriminalize pot: Marijuana should be taxed like cigarettes and regulated like alcohol. It should be legal to grow, sell, or use, at least on a trial basis. Other states should try it too."

Public Advocate
Jim Lesczynski, Libertarian

Prior public experience: Overburdened taxpayer
Q-What is the most important issue in the city you would address if elected?
A-Eliminate the position of Public Advocate. Want to save the taxpayers of New York City millions of wasted tax dollars every year? Simply eliminate the position of Public Advocate, fire the staff, and board up the offices... If I am elected Public Advocate, I promise to report to work just long enough to fire the staff and padlock the office.
Q-What other important issues would you address if elected?
A-I am running for Public Advocate to be the voice of freedom in the wilderness of New York City statist politics. If you like your liberty straight-up and your politicians rare (as in rarely messing with your life or your money) then I'm your man.

Ron Moore, Libertarian

Prior public experience: None - I'm a business man - not a politician (now help jog my memory folks, who does this sound like?)
Q-What makes you the best candidate for this office?
A-Do you believe the politicians know what's best for you or do you believe you should be free to make your own decisions about your business, your school, your charities and your lifestyle? Believe in yourself. Believe in freedom.

Manhattan Borough President
Barry Popik, Republican, Liberal

A contributor-consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, and the forthcoming Yale Dictionary of Quotations. He is recognized as an expert on the origins of the terms Big Apple, Windy City, hot dog, and many other food terms, and he is an editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2004).
And even more fascinating information that I can't comprehend:
Q-What makes you the best candidate for this office?
A-I will never forget finally dedicating "Big Apple Corner," alone, in the rain, while my mother was dying. No one needs to question my dedication to New York. But you shouldn't vote for me for that, or because I found the first "beep" (borough president), or "hizzoner," or New York "Yankees" (they played in Manhattan as the "Highlanders"), or the Manhattan cocktail, or Manhattan clam chowder, or the origin of "the Great White Way." The difference is the qualities I've displayed to do all this. A past Manhattan Borough President had ignored the African American who called us "the Big Apple." I had asked for help from some of the city council members running for this very position, but I didn't get a response. And I guess a dead black man won't get you many votes. But I love New York, and I care, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Organizational affiliations: American Dialect Society, American Name Society; New York Culinary Historians
(not too applicable to public office, but certainly interesting).

Manhattan Borough President
Scott Stringer, Democratic, grew up in Washington Heights

Organizational affiliations: Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, Mitchell Lama Residents Coalition, NAACP

Manhattan Borough President
Jessie A. Fields, Independence

Organizational affiliations: Manhattan Central Medical Society; American Society of Hypertension (I know what the real "hypertension" is, but it sounds funny for a candidate to be hyper tense)

Manhattan Borough President
Joseph L. Dobrian, Libertarian

Q-What makes you the best candidate for this office?
A-Most candidates for public office run out of a desire to control others. I, by contrast, will protect your right to be left alone to govern yourself.

Brooklyn Borough President
Gloria Mattera, Green

Occupational background: Special Education preschool teacher
Q-What is the most important issue in Brooklyn you would address if elected?
A-High end and high rise construction projects are displacing long term residents and dramatically pushing up rents. Housing is becoming unaffordable. Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards, the Brooklyn Bridge park, and the waterfront development in Greenpoint-Williamsburg are schemes that have brushed aside legitimate community concerns about traffic, air quality and cost to taxpayers. Big box stores like Wal Mart threaten Brooklyn's diverse network of small retailers and suppliers.

Seth Blum, Education Party

Q-What other important issues would you address if elected?
A-... students should go to school free of discrimination and all people have the right to live free of rodent infestation and leaking roofs

Anthony Gronowicz, Green

Organizational affiliations: Member of Park Slope Food Coop Inc., Bronx Green
Q-What other important issues would you address if elected?
A-Emphasize energy conservation and decentralized alternatives to fossil fuels, like neighborhood co-generators, solar cells, and wind and wave turbines... Promote the establishment of food coops in every borough where all employees are adult shoppers who work less than 3 hours a month to enjoy the benefits of cheap, nutritious food and a wonderful cooperative spirit.
Q-What makes you the best candidate for this office?
A-I am a native New Yorker who has lived and been schooled in the city that is my living, my laboratory, my life. I will never sell out to the real estate moguls who have inflicted their mercenary values on the citizenry of this great city.

Audrey Silk, Libertarian

Occupation: Police Officer (NYPD), Retired
Organizational affiliations: Founder of NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (NYC C.L.A.S.H.)
Q-What other important issues would you address if elected?
A-Repealing the smoking ban. Yes, I'm the founder of a city-based smokers' rights group, but still, I'd oppose the smoking ban even if I weren't.

And my personal favorite profile (I know I'm supposed to be subjective - wait, who the hell said that I was supposed to be subjective?) that exemplifies how unqualified our candidates really are:
Jimmy McMillan, Rent Is Too Damn High Party
- go to website: to automatically hear the best campaign song, ever! It beats Mondale using Crosby, Still & Nash "Teach Your Children" or Clinton using Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)."
Q-What is the most important issue in the city you would address if elected?
A-RENT Is Too Damn High there is nothing else to talk about. All poor people are being ran out of New York
Q-What other important issues would you address if elected?
A-RENT Is Too Damn High there is nothing else to talk about.

And that my friends, is a sample of our choices. Pick educatedly, or wear a blindfold, or get really drunk the night before you vote and get a moment's peace and solace in the haven that is your voting booth.

For past MAGIC GARDEN emails related to elections and voting, check out: and

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