Elise Sereni
Saturday, June 09, 2007

Am I the only one who thinks that Paris Hilton is being a tad too dramatic? It’s not like she’s been sentenced to a life of hard labor. She’s in a cell by herself, separated from the general population, which should preserve her purity. All she has to do is sit there twenty three hours a day, shower and exercise for one hour, for about three weeks and then go home.  From her histrionics, you’d think she’d been sentenced to clean AIDS babies with her tongue.  Or maybe being so close to us every day folk is just more disgusting to her than we can imagine?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:40 AM •
Friday, June 08, 2007

Take an overweight pig raised on a farm to not be afraid of people, put it in an enclosure it can’t escape, give an 11 year old boy a gun, let him kill it and call it hunting. Way to make a man! 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:02 AM •
Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Anchorage Daily News is looking for input into what it should carry on its comics pages.  Berkeley Breathed of Bloom County is back producing the strip Opus on Sundays. If you haven’t seen it in its recent incarnation, it’s carried by the Seattle Times and you can go online and check it out.  Please write to and tell them to get their heads out of their behinds and start publishing Opus instead of that insipid Prince Valiant or even worse BC.  It’s the right thing to do.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:38 AM •
Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Since I am on sabbatical until July 4 from my column, you’ll only find daily scribblings here on Wednesday until then.  In fact, the column will move to Thursday here on my blog when it restarts but will continue to be published on Wedneday in the Anchorage Daily News.  I think it’s appropriate that my column will start on Independence Day. I don’t know why.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:17 AM •
Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The first time I took Mr. T through a carwash, we had just moved to Anchorage. He was sitting on my friend Janis’ lap when the water hit the car. He leapt into my arms.  After that, Mr. T didn’t go for car rides very much. They were just never his cup of tea.
But Blue and Blondie love car rides. So I didn’t think twice about bringing them with me on errands that included a car wash.  I have to tell you, the last thing in the world you want is to be in a car wash with the jets of soapy water hitting the car and two dogs, who weigh 35 and 40 pounds respectively, both trying to climb into your lap and, if possible, under your skin. 
I don’t think they liked the car wash.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:15 AM •
Monday, June 04, 2007

My cataracts are out. My new glasses are on. The world is an amazing place once again. I hadn’t realized how much vision I had lost since it happened so gradually. But suddenly I’m looking at a world of bright colors and sharp edges and focus...I know I’ll eventually get over this and it will just be another humdrum day again, but right now I am absolutely fascinated and amazed at all I’d lost and have suddenly regained.
And yes, I know I could have had my eyes made 20/20 so I wouldn’t need glasses. But reading it my life and I want to always be able to take off my glasses and read so that no matter how tired my eyes are, they will work on print. That doesn’t happen with reading glasses.  I would not be a very nice person if I couldn’t read so you should all be grateful I went this route instead.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:11 AM •
Sunday, June 03, 2007

A sixty year old woman just gave birth to twins...voluntarily, not as part of some sick and twisted experiment. And then she stated that this event will redefine aging.  I can only say, DEAR GOD, HAVE WE ALL LOST OUR MINDS!  It’s bad enough that I can’t be my grandmother’s sixty when I feel I have done to much to earn that right.  I can’t wear comfortable orthopedic black tied shoes or a shapeless black dress with an apron or spend a lot of time sitting in my chair regaling young people with tales of life in the dark ages before tires were round. No, I have to wear decent shoes and pants with waists and go to Curves and pretend that age has slowed me not a whit. I have to pretend that sixty is the new forty and that I’m happy with it. And now this lady wants sixty to be the new twenty. Now I have to feel guilty about not wanting to run after kids and change diapers into my seventies.  Is she insane?  She’ll be a seventy years old running after twins. TWINS!  Sweet lord, take me. Take me now.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:25 AM •
Saturday, June 02, 2007

I just want to thank all you people up north who keep reading my stuff and sending it around. I wouldn’t have as many readers as I do without you. Keep up the good work. Remember, as that wise old sage whose name I can’t remember once said, it doesn’t matter what they say about you so long as they spell your name right.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:11 AM •
Friday, June 01, 2007

I’ve decided that one of the scariest things in life is walking around my neighborhood in the spring without my glasses. Now you would think that walking around my old Brooklyn neighborhood would win the prize in this category. But until you’ve accidentally run into a moose and her calf, you really don’t know what heart stopping fear is. Of course, if my dogs would bark half as much at the moose as they do at my neighbors, I’d have some early warning. But no, they just lift their heads a bit and sniff the air and I’m supposed to figure out that means danger is close by.  Since I can’t see much without the glasses, I pretty much have to be on top of the moose before I realize the big, dark thing in from of me is moving so It’s probably not a tree.
Thank god I get my glasses today.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:52 AM •
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last year this time, Alaska had the most unpopular governor in the country. This year we have the most popular. Since her views are actually to the right of the former governor on many issues and would cause great heartburn among her many admirers if she actually pushed those views, this popularity can only be viewed as a case of brilliant PR. This woman understands the media and uses it judiciously.  Whoever her advisers are in this area, you all deserve a raise.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:53 AM •
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The pictures in the paper last week of the Barrow boys’ football team frolicking in the ocean off Florida were geared towards only one response.  Everyone was supposed to say, “Aw.”

Once we get past the cute factor, however, some hard questions need to be asked. Perhaps first and foremost should be how a community justifies the hundreds of thousands of dollars it will spend on a handful of boys on a football team while cutting back on academics, eliminating many bilingual education programs and totally ignoring the entire female population of the school.  Or did I miss the mention of a sport for girls that’s been started for anywhere near that amount of money?
I know all the arguments for the football program. It will encourage young men to stay in school and graduate. It will give them a taste of discipline and working as a team. It will enhance their feelings of self-worth and perhaps make them feel good enough to go out and succeed in life and not succumb to drugs, alcohol and the kind of despair that leads to suicide. Anyone living in Alaska has got to be aware of the horrifying statistics of suicide rates among young Native males.  So it should be a no brainer to support this program, right?
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but all those reason for starting an extremely costly program that will ultimately affect very few students, are the same reasons I heard for years in Barrow to justify maintaining an equally expensive basketball program. The only difference is that at least the basketball program included girls.
I have to wonder if any studies have actually been done on the North Slope to show that students who participated in basketball did better after graduation than those who didn’t.  Or even so basic a study as to show how many basketball players actually went on to graduate with a degree as opposed to a certificate of attendance when compared to non-players.  Wouldn’t you think that before pouring that much into starting up a program that will only suck money from a shrinking budget, some proof would have been required of its ability to deliver on its promises?
And let me add again, what about the girls?  Do they already graduate in sufficient numbers that we don’t have to worry about them? Will the school board find another couple hundred thousand dollars in order to start a program specifically designed to keep them in school until they graduate?  Maybe we should just eliminate academics altogether and focus on sports since that seems to be what people think these kids do best. I’ve certainly not heard of any academic competition getting anywhere near this much funding.
A whole lot of money is being spent on a feel good program that ultimately has questionable value at best if the hoped for outcome is a better future for the students. And putting this much money into the program in a time of tight budgets that lead to cuts in academic programs gives the absolute wrong message to students about where the emphasis should be.
High school is supposed to be about learning skills and knowledge for your future. Sports are a great adjunct to academics and used wisely can enhance the experience. But at a time when many high school seniors can sink a basket but can’t read and comprehend the front page of a newspaper, to put this much money into a sports program that affects so few is questionable at best.
When do these kids get to learn that it’s about more than scoring a point? When does someone stand up and cheer because they received an 800 on their math SAT or are graduating with a 4.0? When will we have pep rallies before sending students off to a battle of the books?
Most employers are more worried about how well you read than how many three-point conversions you can make. That’s a cold bath in reality for a student who has coasted through school simply because he was a good athlete. If we’re worried about young men feeling good about themselves, then we should be very worried about the first day they wake up after graduation and find that being a good ball handler won’t get them anything but a pick up game at the school gym after their friends get off work.
(One a personal note: This is my last column with the Voice of the Times. I’ve had a great run and great fun.  My editors have always shown me and my work the utmost respect. I appreciate that and wish them well in their new endeavor.)

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:21 AM •
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

When I rub Blue’s belly, her jaw goes slack, her eyes glaze over, tiny drops of drool come out the sides of her mouth and she makes very odd moaning sounds. I’ve never gotten that good of a reaction from any human whose belly I’ve rubbed. And that’s why I have dogs instead.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:12 AM •
Monday, May 28, 2007

One of my birds, Kenya the Senegal with a big boy attitude, got hysterical when I first showed up without my glasses.  Didn’t recognize me at all. Went to the corner of his cage and just glared at me with his little red eyes pinning.  I thought he’d eventually figure it out after the first few meals and cage cleanings. Apparently not. He still acts like an unknown monster has entered his space every time I get near his cage. I wonder how he’s going to feel when I have glasses again this week but they have a different frame. Will his little brain be able to grasp that concept? Or does he just see this as an opportunity to show attitude and he wants to milk it for all it’s worth?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:10 AM •
Sunday, May 27, 2007

I have eliminated carpet from almost every part of my home and yet when one of my dogs has an accident at night, she always seems to find the little bit of carpeted space left and uses it. Why is that?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:38 AM •
Saturday, May 26, 2007

What in the hell is it with this new trend of keeping vegetables soaking wet at the store? I bring home a bag of little carrots for the birds and the carrots are dripping wet inside the bag. I try to dry them out so they won’t rot before I use them and they grow a slimy something all over them. I nuke them in the microwave in an attempt to then kill the slime and I end up with slimy, nuked carrots that the birds won’t go near with a ten foot pole. Who was it decided we needed to keep vegetables soaking wet in the store? And whoever it was, stop it.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:34 AM •

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