|I've Got Two Words For You:
Dentistry and Politics
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
TWO WORDS: No, not those!
Root canal! You see, Im basically a
chicken. I dont even try to pretend. I grew up being scared of the dentist and any
dental procedure more than filling out an insurance form has always been on my list just
above an IRS audit.
Now, I have a wonderful dentist. Charlene
Berkman in Forest Hills. Shes great. Never hurt me. Inspires confidence, relaxation
and is pleasant to be with. As a matter of fact, weve become friends with Charlene
and her husband Richard, even though theyve never invited us to their boat. Anyway,
shes a wonderful dentist. Im not petrified; but Id rather meet her at a
restaurant than her office.
Thats me as seen by Mitchs digital imaging
Ive been going to Charlene for
years without problem until my last visit. She said those two words: root
canal. No, Charlene was not going to do the root canal work. I had to go to an
Enter Mitchell Greenberg. He too has an
office in Forest Hills. I didnt know him and really would have rather lived my life
without having to meet him. Charlene said I had to go. So I went. It was still probably
going to be a step up from an IRS audit.
Forget all those horror stories. Really!
Mitch did what endodontists do painlessly and almost comfortably. In just the first
visit thereve been two so far Mitch demonstrated to me that the
terrible fear of "root canal" that we all grew up with, was just unfounded. In
brief discussion, Mitch asserted that little pain and few problems arise when competent
endodontic professionals perform the procedure. If you know what youre doing, you
can do it well.
If you gotta go, it aint so bad.
Ive been there.
However, if you do go for a root canal, I
have two words for you: nitrous oxide.
And if you get called by the IRS man for an
audit, I have two words for him too!
THOUGHT: By the time you get to the
point where you can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends.
PADAVAN: As always, itll
be a year for incumbents in this election cycle. The only local race worth talking about
this year (other than Crowley), is the primary for the right to lose to State Senator
Padavan, one of the Republican deans in the
Republican controlled NYS Senate, has owned his seat for almost three decades. Over the
years, he has fought off strong challenges from the impressive community activist Nick
Garaufis (who later became Council to the Queens Beep and is now Chief Council to the
Federal Aviation Administration) and a redistricting challenge from fellow State Senator
political pro Jeremy Weinstein (who is now an NYS Supreme Court judge).
The Dems, energized by some recent
successes in neighboring Nassau and an ever-popular Dem President (lol) have fooled
themselves into believing the invulnerable is vulnerable. Theyre lining up to take
Civic activists Rory Lancman and Morshed
Alam are both acting like they intend to fight it out in a Dem primary to eventually have
their brains beaten out by Padavan.
Both hopefuls have a decade of service and
political experience. Alam however, was Padavans opponent last time out and lost on
the Democratic line by about 18 percent a trouncing by any standards. Look for
Alams political "rabbi" the astute senior east Queens Democratic
District leader Chet Szarejko to pull Morshed from this race. Chet is well aware
that a primary battle does the Dems no good and that the entire effort is a losing
proposition anyway. Look for Alam to be rewarded for stepping aside with a job or
political appointed position. Thats the stuff that makes political deals.
Padavan over Lancman: give 13 points.
Szarejko and Alam, the real winners.
LOL: A common online chat room
abbreviation for "laughing out loud."
RABBI: In politics, one who watches
over you. A mentor.
ELECTION.COM: Just a week ago, it
was votation.com and now after spending some major league bucks, theyre election.com.
And our old friend, former Nassau County Democratic Chairman John Matthews has been named
as a director of the first global Internet election company.
Garden City-based election.com
offers voters the option of voting online as opposed to traditional polling places with
the expectation of increasing voter turnout. The Arizona Democratic Party and election.com
recently digitally signed a contract to hold the first-ever, legally-binding public
election over the internet for the March 11, 2000 Democratic Primary.
TROJANS: So, its late at night
and Im watching one of the network late shows and on comes this ad for Trojans. Now,
when I was a kid no, its not that long ago you wouldnt find
commercials for Trojans on television.
Then again, when I was a kid, you
wouldnt find Trojans on kids.
BENEFITS: AN EVENING OF FINE FOOD:
Cerebral Palsy of Queens at Terrace on the Park on Feb. 9, 2000 6:30 p.m. honoring
Queens Joel Miele, Commish NYC Dept Environmental Protection. A Gastronomical
Tour of the World, with a variety of restaurants and bakeries participating, plus a
silent auction. Sounds like a gas for $85 per. Info (718) 380-3000.
WE TAKE YOUR LUNGS TO HEART: American Lung
Assoc. of Queens at Terrace on Friday, Feb. 11, 2000. 7 p.m. Reception & Silent
Auction, 8 p.m. Healthy Living Awards to Barry Freedman, president Mount Sinai Medical
Center & others. Black Tie Optional. $150 per. Info (718) 263-5656 ext. 15. "When
You Cant Breathe, Nothing else Matters."
LANGUAGE: A linguistics professor
was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "A double
negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative
is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a
A voice from the back of the room piped up,
Pictured with Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Alan
Hevesi is Trib Associate Publisher Mike Nussbaum after being installed as president
of the American Jewish Congress Met Region. Tribune Photo by Dee Richard
AJC: Monday night was an
interesting night. I attended a mini-conference of the American Jewish Congress at which
my friend, Trib Associate Publisher Mike Nussbaum, was installed as AJC Met Region
Now, Im not into religion the way
Michael is (please, dont send letters). However, I found the evening intriguing and
The purpose of AJC is far more global and
humanitarian than just fighting for the survival of the Jewish people. As part of its
mission, it advocates activism committed to the preservation of democratic principles:
civil and religious freedom, the separation of church and state, the advancement of social
and economic justice, womens equality and human rights. Whew!
If Monday night was typical, they fulfilled
their mission well and I understand Michaels motivation in devoting himself to the
organization. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. spoke with passion about preserving our environment.
Other impressive participants included Israeli Ambassador Schmuel Sisso, Alan Hevesi,
Bronx DA Robert Johnson, Herman Badillo, Mark Green, Bd. of Ed Prez Bill Thompson and
Borough Halls Melinda Katz and
Councilmembers Morty Povman and Helen Marshall turned out to salute Mike and the
We take pride when one of the Trib
family accepts the challenge to work for the good of others. We know Michael will do the Trib,
the borough and the city proud.
We wish him well.
CLAIRE: Its no surprise; Claire
Shulman loves her job and enjoys serving the people. The Citys Charter prevents her
from seeking reelection. So what is her Beepship going to do in 2002?
Dont bet the ranch on it.
Claire would not be happy sitting at home
or leading the life of luxury in Florida. The Claire Shulman I know would miss the action.
Whats she planning?
Insiders tell us that the Queens Borough
President is leaving her options open. However, were told that shes been
approached by a coalition encouraging her to run for Public Advocate and shes
giving it serious consideration.
On March 2, Friends of Shulman will be
hosting a Flushing Town Hall fundraiser to lay the groundwork for the Beeps future
move. Look for a room filled with people doling out $250 to $1,000 per to launch a new
career for the matriarch of Queens.
Claires not done.
You can take that to the bank.
Michael Nussbaum contributed to this column.
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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