Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and most of Conan O’Brian made the Emmys bearable.  Other than that, YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:15 AM •
Monday, August 28, 2006

Yes the man married to Britney Spears is as annoying as holy hell. But no more annoying than his wife. And after all, shouldn’t we pretty much feel sorry for them both for being so inane? 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:07 AM •
Sunday, August 27, 2006

I give up. Each summer for the past few years I’ve saved money by turning my heat off sometime in early June and not putting it back on till early September. But this year it has been a battle of putting the heat on, feeling terrible that I’m such a wimp I’m putting the heat on in the summer, turning the heat off, getting cold, turning the heat on again...well, you get the picture. So now I give up. I concede.  Anchorage is not planning to have a summer this year and I’m a wimp who needs the heat on when the temperature outside hits the 40s at night.  My heat is on, my gro lights are set, let winter begin.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:15 AM •
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today is my sister’s birthday. She is officially older than dirt. Congratulations, Judy.  Just remember not to get too drunk tonight at Nightmare in Strathmere.  At your age, you can’t handle it as well as when you were young.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:20 AM •
Friday, August 25, 2006

OK, I’ll give you all your chance. Nominations are now officially open for people, places and things that annoy you the most.  Remember that Tom Cruise has been retired into the Hall of Fame so he’s not eligible. Nor are political elections in general, though I will give some consideration to specific ones that warrant extra special attention.  And please leave Donald Trump’s hair. Scientology and ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING that at ANY TIME may include the words Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.  We do need to establish some standards.
This year’s winners, and new inductees into the Hall of Fame, will be announced before the end of the year or whenever I damn well feel like it. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 04:38 AM •
Thursday, August 24, 2006

After the results of yesterday’s primaries came in last night, I realized that for the first time in forever I will go to the voting booth in the fall and know that no matter which candidate for governor wins, I’l be happy because we’ll have a good governor.  I thought for sure I would die before that would come to pass.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:33 AM •
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ah yes. It’s my favorite excuse in the whole world, right up there with “the dog ate my homework”.  It is, of course, “Alcohol made me do it.” Isn’t there any personal responsibility left in this world? If we do something wrong, must we always find a scapegoat on which to fix the blame?

And so Mel Gibson comes out with the trite old saw that he isn’t anti-Semitic.  It was the alcohol talking.  Yet the words came out of his mouth.  Do you think there might be a reason alcohol chose Mel’s mouth for those remarks as opposed to someone from, say, the B’nai B’rith?
I’ve lived in Alaska a long time and have heard alcohol blamed for everything from child abuse to cultural degradation to unfortunate marriage proposals. I fully expect that the next thing we will hear is that alcohol was the cause of the pipeline leaks that necessitated a shut down of half of Prudhoe Bay by BP.
Alcohol has often been called a social lubricant. But it can’t lubricate that which isn’t there.  Few of us have not, at one time or another, imbibed a tad too much and said or did things we later regretted. But if we were being brutally honest with ourselves, something most of us are loathe to be, we would see that our words or actions represented something deep within us that needed only the lifting of a few inhibitions to come to the surface.
All of us have these little dark spots that we long ago learned to keep secret.  In our sober, sane and rational moments, we know they are inappropriate. Society has taught us that they do not belong in what my mother referred to as “polite society”. And so we hide them until that one drink too many causes our guard to slip.
For those of you who question this truth, let me put you to a test I learned many years ago.  Everyone reading this column who has ever gotten drunk, or even just a little tipsy, raise your hand.  OK, I see lots of hands up out there. But now comes the real test. All of you who, while drunk, raped someone, molested a child or committed any other felony, keep your hand up. Hmmm...seems like just about all hands went down.
And that is the best indication of just how much credibility we should give to the excuse that alcohol made me do it. The alcohol may have lowered your inhibitions enough to act on an impulse or make a statement about your boss’s intellectual capacity that you would otherwise have kept secret, but it didn’t cause you to do or say anything that wasn’t somewhere inside you to begin with. 
Our laws and courts recognized this years ago when they stopped allowing it to excuse the murder and mayhem on our roads caused by drunk drivers.  That attitude soon spread to other criminal matters and it is now commonly accepted that being drunk does not excuse any crime you may have committed while in that state or relieve you of your responsibility for your actions. 
Mel Gibson would have been better off admitting that what he said was wrong and that without alcohol he would never have actually expressed those thoughts even though they were obviously somewhere inside him. He would then have committed to not only sobriety, but to working out the hate that seems to lurk somewhere in his darkest recesses.  After all, there were not words that automatically come to most people’s minds when drunk.  They are, in fact, very specific, ugly and scary. 
Let’s repeat that test.  All those who had their hands up before admitting to having perhaps been intoxicated at some point in their misspent past, put your hands back up.  Now all those who spewed forth hate filled statements against a specific group of people based on their religion, color or national origin, keep your hands up.  Hmmm...a few more hands stayed up this time.  Maybe that’s telling us all something we’d rather not know about the dark places in our souls.
The sober Mel knew those statements were not acceptable to society. The drunk Mel used them as his first line of defense against whatever imagined enemy his inebriation caused him to see. Maybe we all should examine our dark places.  Exposed to the light of day, we can at least hope they will wither up and die away.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:33 AM •
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Today is primiary day and we actually have choices in this election with some credible people running. So go vote and make sure the assholes don’t win again.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:05 AM •
Monday, August 21, 2006

I’ve been sitting here e-mailing with my friend Sherie about our trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and I realized that even though I have traveled to every continent in this world except for Antarctica, and visited every exotic place I could reach by land, sea, air or legs, Best Friends is still one of the greatest highlights of my life.  Anyone who loves animals, or believes in the idea of gentleness and kindness as an antidote to hate and violence, should treat themselves to at least one trip to this place. It will heal your soul in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:23 AM •
Sunday, August 20, 2006

It is now official. My dog has announced he will never go outside again because of the rain. He is totally unamused by it and finds the carpet of the guest bedroom (yes, Judy, YOUR bedroom when you visit) much warmer and drier for meeting nature’s call.  I can’t say I blame him.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:20 AM •
Saturday, August 19, 2006

So Bird TLC is having a Bye Bye Birdie event on September 23 to say farewell to our migratory birds as they head out for warmer winter climes. My question is why the hell they are still here considering the crappy summer we’ve had. They should have gone someplace with a warmer summer. Now that would have been smart.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:04 AM •

So Bird TLC is having a Bye Bye Birdie event on September 23 to say farewell to our migratory birds as they head out for warmer winter climes. My question is why the hell they are still here considering the crappy summer we’ve had. They should have gone someplace with a warmer summer. Now that would have been smart.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:04 AM •
Friday, August 18, 2006

Well, there goes my social life. Mr. Whitekeys is shutting down the Fly By Night Club and now Kate and I will have to find another sleazy bar to hang out in every four months or so while she takes a break from family and I take a break from the birds.  Tell me it isn’t so!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:11 AM •
Thursday, August 17, 2006

Every time I think that my dog is finally so old he’s going to bite the dust, he comes roaring back.  The weather turned colder this week here and he perked up like someone on speed.  I guess he will always be an Arctic dog who loves the cold and hates the heat. When the sun is out, he walks slowly and reluctantly and I think his time has come. Then it gets cold, starts to rain and the wind blows and he walks like a six year old, not a sixteen and a half year old.  Go figure!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:40 AM •
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It is the year 2010. The war on terrorism continues unabated.  And airline travel has kept up with the need for tighter security with each passing year.  I am preparing to depart from Anchorage for a flight to the East Coast.

I drive my car to the parking lot in Wasilla, the nearest point private vehicles are allowed to Ted Stevens International.  Oops, I mean Ted Stevens National.  All international air travel must go through either Los Angeles or JFK in New York. Traveling to Europe or Asia now involves checking in two days in advance to get through all the security.
An armored bus picks me up in Wasilla.  I show my identification and ticket to the driver.  My bags are screened and transported in another armored vehicle after first being sunk into a tank of salt water for 30 minutes to ensure I have nothing in there that might be dangerous.
I arrive at the terminal 12 hours ahead of my scheduled flight. I am cutting it close.  At the ticket counter, I present my government issued ID that clears me for flying domestic flights; my driver’s license which now has both my fingerprints and corneal imprint scanned on to it; and a letter from a government approved mental health therapist saying that I am able to endure a six hour flight with no books, music, conversation or other external stimuli without going completely crazy.  I am cleared to the next checkpoint.
I enter the security line.  It has a wait time of three to six hours.  I do not make any contact with those around me during the wait for fear I’ll arouse suspicion of being a terrorist reviewing last minute details with my cohorts.
When I finally arrive at security, I am led into a little room where I strip off all my clothes and don the clear paper gown and slippers provided by the airlines free of charge to first class passengers and costing a mere twenty dollars for the rest of us. This is what we all must wear on our flight.
I enter the next waiting area holding my head high and trying not to look down past anyone’s chin.  Some things are better left to the imagination.  The room is once again completely silent.  Having gotten this far, no one wants to risk being asked to leave the departure area for talking to someone else, even if that someone is a spouse or child.
The next security area is the one most dreaded.  It is here that the body cavity searches are conducted.  For a few extra dollars, the attendants will send the results on to your family physician to alleviate the need for your annual woman’s exam or colonoscopy. After spitting in a cup to prove I have not somehow converted my saliva to liquid TNT, I am finally allowed to actually approach the plane.
At the plane I am met by flight attendants carrying bear spray and side arms who are authorized to shoot to kill first and ask questions later.  This has dramatically cut down on the number of arguments flight attendants get into during the flight with passengers. Jittery attendants have been known to kill a passenger and be exonerated based on the fact that the passenger made them nervous when he asked for another peanut.
Yes, peanut.  Because nothing can be brought on the plane by anyone that is wrapped, peanuts are brought around in a bowl and doled out one at a time to avoid anyone trying to build up a supply to use as weapons to take the plane down.  Books have been banished for fear that someone might read something that would upset them. This is called the Franken/Coulter rule. Music is banned because, as we all know, music incites the passions. George of the Jungle 2 is the only movie that can be shown.
So the flight progresses in total silence but for the occasional timid ringing of the call bell when a passenger needs an attendant to accompany him or her to the lavatory.  It’s just as well.  Conversation between strangers sitting next to each other in see through paper gowns is never really going to be anyone’s idea of a fun social moment.
And it occurs to me, at this point, that the terrorists may have already won.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 02:11 PM •

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