Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I sit on my balcony listening to the Mediterranean Sea crashing on the beach in front of the hotel and its soothing roar is broken by the sounds of wild parrots squawking and calling to each other. Our guide says they are not indigenous but escapees from an outdoor market that have successfully established themselves in their new environment. He adds that they are being aggressive towards local birds and something will have to be done about them.
We humans forcibly bring new life to a foreign land and then punish that life for adapting and thriving.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 05:32 AM •
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Have had free wifi In all the hotels we’ve visited in both Portugal and Spain. That’s the good news. Bad news is that I’ve become spoiled by fast connect times. Here, where the living is not as rushed as in America, you get a lot of time to contemplate life while waiting for your e-mail to load, assuming it actually loads and doesn’t just drop your halfway through the process. But that’s okay too because then you have the perfect excuse to just go back to your main goal of rereading all of the Harry Potter books before the vacation ends.
Speaking of which, the Quidditch World Cup is about to begin…

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:49 AM •
Friday, September 26, 2014

The view outside my hotel window in Lisbon is a medieval castle high on a hill.  If only I were a princess… and I wouldn’t need a prince, just my puppies and birds.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:21 AM •
Thursday, September 25, 2014

I listened to Sean Hannity on Fox News last week talk about how his father not only disciplined him with a belt but also once punched him in the face when he was doing something wrong. Hannity claimed that he was just fine, grew up great, doesn’t need therapy, and is happy with the way he was disciplined. I’m betting the child he once was would have a different take on that. Mostly I wish he could have met my father.

Neither my father nor my mother ever really hit us. Oh we got the occasional swat across the bottom but it was just that. In fact, it was more of a “move it along” swat done with their hand over our clothes. And it happened so rarely that I barely even remember it.
Discipline in my family was handled through respect and love. My mom did most of it. She had a way of speaking loudly when she needed us to really pay attention. And pay attention we did. She never hit. She never threatened to hit. But we somehow knew that it was best not to push her.
The worse punishment that could ever happen though would be to have dad look at us and see disappointment in his eyes. It was devastating.  My father generally thought his children were pretty amazingly wonderful and we never wanted to do anything to cause him to think otherwise. Mom, on the other hand, was pretty sure we had our flaws and worked on us to iron them out.  But with dad it was a mutual admiration society. He was, and remains, one of the finest men it was ever my privilege to know. He never had to raise his hand to us because as kids and adults, we would have done just about anything possible to make him proud of us.
Adrian Peterson, the football player who was suspended from his team for a felony child abuse arrest, beat his 4 year old son with a tree branch so badly the boy’s body had welt marks and open lacerations on his thighs, lower back and hands. What in the name of all that is human could a four year old have done to deserve that? Yet Sean Hannity suggested that we are becoming a soft nation in which a parent cannot legally discipline their child without facing criminal charges. He added that he hoped that Peterson would get off on the charge and that it wouldn’t ruin his football career. I heard him make these statements and thought that maybe he should have gone into therapy because there is something very sick and sad in his statements.
If Adrian Peterson has any real interest in making a family with his children and raising them correctly, he should start by winning their respect and love through the way he lives his life. That’s what my dad did, and his values still reverberate throughout my generation. My two siblings and I are probably more honest and decent than anyone would have expected us to be and it’s because the man we grew up with was also decent and honest. I’m not trying to downplay my mother’s influence. This was the fifties and sixties. Men worked and fixed things around the house. Women raised the kids and cooked. My mother was always the active disciplinarian in the family and she still influences every part of our lives. But when we transgressed enough to be sent to our rooms, it was the look in our dad’s eyes that broke our hearts.
If you’ve reached the point when beating a child is the only answer you have to a discipline problem, then you’ve already lost the game. You have clearly so lost your child’s love and respect that they simply don’t care what the consequences of their behavior might be. And, most importantly, when you are talking about a four year old, you are talking about a child who has not yet developed to the point where a beating means anything other than pain and violence. The only lesson being learned is that one human being can inflict pain on another human being if they are bigger and stronger.
Yep, I wish Adrian had met my dad. Then he’d know how a good father raises decent children.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:25 AM •
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I figured out how to post from my iPad. Well, this may make me rethink not blogging while I’m in Europe.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:00 AM •
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It certainly doesn’t resemble the place where I grew up anymore but every once in a while I’ll catch a glimpse of something iconic to my childhood that still exists and suddenly I’m a child again.
Hello, Lucy the Elephant.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:00 AM •
Monday, September 22, 2014

I arrive on the East Coast today. Get to see my brother who has been very sick but now insists he’s ok. I’ll be the judge of that. And then on to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. And so, for the first time since I started this blog, I am taking a two week hiatus unless I figure out a way to blog from Europe. And given my technological expertise, that’s a pretty slim chance.  This Thursday my regular column will still appear because I am nothing if not anal-retentive and so have already filed it with the paper. But that will be about it unless I get much better on my iPad between now and two days from now.
See in when I get back.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:26 AM •
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thank you for the first ad of this never ending political campaign that has a sense of humor and doesn’t make me want to take a gun to my tv set. If people haven’t seen it yet, it features his mom and his wife. It’s not going to upend the campaign or anyone’s idea of either candidate, but at least you can watch it without wanting to scream. A little more humor from ALL the candidates would be very welcomed.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Saturday, September 20, 2014

But I want some of whatever it is that the Fox News Team takes to make them so hysterically funny while they keep the straightest of faces.  They do know they’re funny, right?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:08 AM •
Friday, September 19, 2014

Got called last night for a Public Policy poll. One of the questions they asked was, “Who do you think started the fight that involved the Palin family? The Palins? The other family? You’re not sure?” Seriously? This is what is getting polled? Too bad they didn’t offer me “Don’t give a rat’s hairy behind” as a choice.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Let’s check in on the progress women are making in the world today. According to some, we no longer have any reason to complain. We have, in fact, become such “nazi-feminists” that men can no longer be men. You know, like in the good old days.  Of course, that would be the good old days for men, not necessarily women. So let’s see how we’re progressing in the early years of the 21st century.

Let’s start with the rate at which men murder women in Alaska. That would be two times the national average. Once again, Alaska’s number one, though I imagine if women are waving their finger at this news, the finger lifted would not be the polite one.
Of course, Alaska has no monopoly on treating women badly. No, the NFL is determined to retain that honor. Apparently an organization with amazing technological expertise in inserting cameras into the smallest possible places on a football field was unable to figure out how to get a copy of a video from a casino elevator. Imagine, all those NFL lawyers and not one of them able to get the footage that TMZ did. To the NFL’s credit (and I mean that as sarcastically as possible), the minute there was proof that Ray Rice had popped his girlfriend in the elevator, he was suspended and subsequently fired by the Baltimore Ravens.  This leaves one to wonder exactly what they thought when they saw him dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. Oh wait, that’s right. She must have tripped and hit her head on his fist. To add insult to injury in this situation, there are still people blaming his now wife for staying with him. It’s as though the past decades of information on the psychology of abuse simply did not happen.
Let’s move on now to college campuses. On these campuses of hallowed learning, women are told to be very careful about partying, getting drunk or putting themselves in dangerous places where men can do horrible things to them. In other words, it’s still the woman’s fault. Women are responsible for protecting themselves from men who, apparently, do not have to be responsible. You rarely hear about men being told to not put themselves in the dangerous situation of drinking so much that rape becomes a seemingly good idea. No, we’re still told that men will be men and women must dress modestly, not raise their eyes in public and keep away from any party where drunkenness makes them fair game for any heinous act alcohol might fuel.
So how do you think women are doing so far? Not enough info yet? OK, how about we check in with the National Guard here in Alaska. Oops. Bad idea. Seems that the National Guard was operating under the theory that you can have no better guards for the hen house than wolves.
In China, baby girls are still considered less desirable than baby boys and are often “disposed” of in one fashion or another. In the mid-east, women walk around as veritable ghosts, hidden head to toe so they don’t raise carnal thoughts in men. Women are condemned to death for being raped, drowned by their families if they fall in love with the wrong person, and get beaten in public by any man who decides they’ve broken some rule of Islam. Meanwhile, the worldwide sex trade in young girls and women continues to rage unabated.
If men think that women have an “attitude”, they are very, very right. You’d have an attitude too if the tables were turned. If women are angry, then men need to face up to their part in creating that anger. To men who are reading this and saying, “But I treat all women with respect. I’m not one of the bad guys”, I ask if you still cheer the NFL despite the criminality of many of its players. That includes players who have obstructed a murder investigation, run a dogfighting ring and now beaten a woman with no greater penalty than a two game suspension until the video forced the NFL to do otherwise. Are you as horrified as I am that articles are already appearing discussing what Rice has to do to get back into the game?
Yep, women are angry. Men should be too. And it is now their turn to do something about it.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Happy Anniversary (a little late) Sandra and Harris. It’s nice to know some things do last.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I’m just saying…

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:32 AM •
Sunday, September 14, 2014

It’s been less than a week since Ray Rice lost his job for punching his now wife’s lights out in an elevator and there are already stories appearing about the road he will have to travel for his comeback to professional football. Sigh. Am I the only one who thinks most of professional football is made up of assholes who think their shit doesn’t stink and they can get away with anything so long as they can throw or catch a ball. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much defines the NBA too. American rings its hands over proof of domestic violence while celebrating perpetrators ad infinitum.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:34 AM •
Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eisenhower had it right all those years ago. Today the military/industrial complex is out biggest economic engine. We export guns, missiles, bombs and planes to the world. We are the world’s army, navy and air force. How terribly, terribly sad. When did we decide to fuel our economy with death?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:51 AM •

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