Elise Sereni
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is it with spammers and my website?  Seriously, what is it???? What is attracting them? Or is it the story of my life...I’m just one of many convenient sites so they might as well try me when they try all the others. I mean, seriously, that pretty much defines my dating life back when I had one.  And now they’re hitting on my site instead of me.  Sigh.  I guess that’s progress. Better my website than me.

Elise Patkotak • 03:32 AM •
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

As I was leaving Providence Hospital after visiting a friend, I noticed a note taped to the exit doors. It read simply, “Watch out for moose”.  Immediately outside the exit door was a very large mound of moose nuggets.  And I thought again how hard it would be to live anywhere else in the world.

Elise Patkotak • 03:52 AM •
Monday, March 31, 2008

When I was young, a drug fueled evening of debauchery meant pot and lots of munchies. Now, when I really want a drug filled evening of debauchery, I take Advil PM and some tums.  Ah old age......

Elise Patkotak • 03:05 AM •
Sunday, March 30, 2008

When I was little, my mother bought me a coconut cream filled white chocolate Easter egg for my Easter basket every year. It even had yellow food dye in the middle to resemble the yolk.  I don’t remember who made them, could have been Russell Stover. I do know that if I was given one now, I’d fall face first into it, eat it till I went into a diabetic coma, and then die happy.
Such are the fantasies of an aging diabetic with much too much time on her hands.

Elise Patkotak • 03:50 AM •
Saturday, March 29, 2008

This was the first year that I over-wintered my fuchsias in my garage in an attempt to save the money it would have cost to over-winter them in a nursery. So I took them out of the garage when the gardening columnist said I should. I watered them and put them in a light filled, sunny room. And the only things growing are weeds. Isn’t that amazing? Even in a flower pot in my house, I grow weeds. As for the fuchsias, well, let’s just say that they make very pretty and decorative pieces of wood sticking up from the slightly moldy soil.  My own little garden of slimy zen.

Elise Patkotak • 03:46 AM •
Friday, March 28, 2008

George Clooney would be made king of America and then we wouldn’t have to worry about a leader for the next fifty years. Even if he made you mad with what he did, he’d at least be cute to look at.

Elise Patkotak • 03:45 AM •
Thursday, March 27, 2008

When my mom died, my sister, brother and I cleared out some closets in the back of what had been our family grocery store. In one, I found the old ledger book that my father used to keep his finances straight when he ran the store.

Back then the only computer available was in his head. And despite the fact that math has always been a skill glaring in its absence among me and my siblings, the one skill that seems to have survived through multiple generations was the ability to add and subtract in our heads.  Granted, calculators have made that skill somewhat antiquated, but since it’s the only one my family possesses, we stubbornly cling to it.
No one wanted most of the stuff my mom had stored in those closets.  There were things like my nona’s depression era pots and pans that were so thin you felt like you could put your fingers through them, odds and ends of what had once been someone’s good china and the occasional jelly glass.  And then there was dad’s green ledger book with the red leather spine. 
I took it home with me because of the memories it generated every time I looked at it.  My dad would sit in a little room behind the store that we euphemistically called his office and balance his books every week. I’d walk by and see him sitting them, pencil in hand, scanning rows of numbers and putting a final tally at the bottom. All this was done in his head. He rarely had to erase or correct the totals in any way. That was always one of the things that made him awesome in my mind.
One lesson this exercise taught me, without either mom or dad really saying anything, was that a responsible adult took responsibility for his or her finances. You paid your bills, you accounted for your debt, and you did not think you had a surplus if that debt outweighed the money that came in that week. This meant that some weeks there was extra for some frivolous thing like going to a movie or dinner, and some weeks you stayed home and watched Make Room For Daddy while eating pasta e ceci.
So you can understand how confused I am by the math used in both Juneau and Washington.  On a local level, our politicians in Juneau talk about this huge surplus we have because oil prices are so high. Yet in almost the same breath, we hear about the repayment owed to the budgetary reserve, the overwhelming under-funding of the state’s retirement systems and the lack of money to cover multiple infrastructure needs in this state.  And I find myself wondering how anyone thinks we have a surplus.  It’s as though my dad announced one Friday night that we were all going out for a steak and lobster dinner because the store made $50 profit that week while ignoring the fact that we owed $300 to the fresh produce supplier.
It’s the same on the federal level. We are operating in a huge deficit because of a war begun soon after huge tax cuts were initiated by the current administration. Not only haven’t those cuts stimulated the economy as promised, but we seem to be now headed into a recession. So we find ourselves a gabillion dollars in debt, a large chunk of which is owned by China.  Social Security is in a world of hurt and Medicare costs continue to rise.  We have no money to pay those costs. But some politicians still insist that we don’t need to raise taxes.  Instead, they seem to be relying on the Tinkerbell Economic Theorem which states that a little fairy dust will rain down on Washington and turn all their hot air into thousand dollar bills.
It’s too bad my dad wasn’t allowed to run his business the way our government runs the people’s business. My family would have had lots more lobster dinners and lots less Make Room For Daddy. But that’s the price we paid for having parents who felt obligated to pay their debts before thinking of their income as a surplus. They called it being responsible adults.  That’s not a description I attribute to many politicians.
I would love it if we had a budget surplus.  But we don’t. We have programs in serious debt.  We need to start paying those debts.  If my dad were alive, he’d tell you it’s the adult thing to do.

Elise Patkotak • 03:30 AM •
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

...when the bug hits, I do major damage. Which is my excuse and defense for driving into the Subaru dealership last week to get my car its sixty thousand mile checkup and driving out in a new used car.  Impulse buying is not a good thing when you are standing in a car dealership.  On the other hand, you literally have to shove a Subaru off a cliff or shoot it to kill it so I justify this on the basis of the fact that I won’t need to buy another one for twenty years. I also won’t be able to afford another one for twenty years but that’s a whole other story.

Elise Patkotak • 03:51 AM •
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I made my grandmother’s Easter sweet bread last week. My friend getting chemo is eating it and not having a problem keeping it down. Just proves what I’ve always said, Italian food has curative powers.  It’s as fattening as hell but oh so curative.

Elise Patkotak • 03:48 AM •
Monday, March 24, 2008

Thanks to the heroic efforts of my technical team, the site is back in business and better than ever. AND.....we beat the Russians once again. Americans 1...Russian Bot computers 0.

Elise Patkotak • 09:45 AM •
Thursday, March 20, 2008

I think I will spit up if I have to see the picture one more time - a seemingly contrite politician who has been caught with his pants down apologizing for his betrayal of the public and his family’s trust. And behind him, circles under her eyes, grim expression on her face, stands his wife.  Why, if she isn’t an accomplice, does she have to do the perp walk with him? Why, when he has already embarrassed and humiliated her in the worse way possible, is she now expected to publicly stand by her man and become a victim twice violated?

Just once I’d like to see the scumbag who betrayed her NOT ask her to be by his side. Just once I’d like to see her spared the public humiliation following the private devastation.
Barring that, then just once I’d like to see her reach her hands up to his throat as he makes his pathetic announcement of shame and disappointment in his behavior and have her throttle him until he wets himself in public. Then it would seem at least a little fairer.
I don’t have any doubt as to why the men in these situations ask their wives to stand by them. I think it’s clear that they have an extremely inflated opinion of themselves as somehow being above and outside the laws that govern us mere mortals.  When you have that kind of bloated ego, there is no question that you would assume that your wife will stand beside you no matter what. These men figure that in America there is always a second act and theirs will be easier if they can convince their wives to be loyal to them.
But my real question is what are these women thinking? Or are they thinking at all? If you look at the pictures of Mrs. Spitzer, she looks like someone in such shock that she doesn’t yet realize where she is or what she’s doing. Maybe someone pushed her onstage and she just went where they pointed...the good little wife of a powerful politician. Otherwise, why would she be out there on that podium being publicly shamed by the fact that her husband doesn’t feel she’s enough woman for him.
Check out pictures of Hillary Clinton during Bill’s public mea culpa. She has a look in her eye that should have caused Bill to sleep with the door securely locked and as many secret service people as possible surrounding him. Hillary doesn’t look abashed or humiliated. She looks very, very mad. If a woman chooses to go public with her husband during this kind of bad time, that’s at least a better look.
There was a time when men indulged in this behavior with impunity because of an unwritten agreement with the media to close their eyes to what was going on. This is probably the only thing that kept Jackie Kennedy from the humiliation of the same sad fate. But ever since Gary Hart, the gloves have been off and any politician worth his salt knows that his peccadilloes are fair game for press coverage. And the press has figured out they should most closely scrutinize those who protest the loudest about the sad level of morals in this country. It seems that the louder the politicians’ scream against homosexuality, promiscuity and drugs, the more likely they are to be indulging in all three.
Last week I wrote a column about a powerful woman in this state. There is probably not a snowball’s chance in hell that we will ever see the First Dude standing beside her as she admits to illegal acts of infidelity.  (Well, honestly, where would she find the time?) But the fact is I don’t know of any instance in which we have had a female politician doing the moral turpitude perp walk with her husband by her side. It’s an area in which I hope women never catch up with men.
My dream is that no woman is ever again asked to stand by her husband’s side while her humiliation becomes the subject of late night comics. But if the inevitable occurs, I hope the men can find enough honor to leave their wives out of it. And women, if you feel obligated to stand by their side, at least take a page from Hillary’s book and give him a look that makes it clear his public penance is nothing compared to what he’s about to pay privately.

Elise Patkotak • 06:23 AM •
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My friend handed me his cell phone as I sat down to have lunch with him. A mutual friend was on the line who wanted to say hello. After a very few brief minutes of uncomfortable conversation, I told her i had to go. And I realized then why I will never be able to do what others do so easily...carry on a cell phone conversation in public. It’s because I feel positively open, exposed and vulnerable in a way I don’t when speaking to someone right there. And that’s because I can’t lower my voice or keep the conversation private. I have to speak loudly and I feel as though I am imposing my conversation on all around me and all around me are hearing my private conversation. And I hate that. So I guess I never will see the need to own or carry a cell phone. Thank god.

Elise Patkotak • 06:14 AM •
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It occurs to me that I should mention the problem that took the site down for a few days so that you are all assured it probably won’t happen again. I would explain it if I understood it fully. It had something to do with track backs and spammers trying to get a free viewing on my website. Lucky for me I have the best person in the whole world taking care of my website. She has put a stop to those evil people trying to misuse my track back...whatever the hell that actually is.  Mostly, you should all know that no one’s security was compromised in that no one got your e-mail address because you stopped by for a visit.
So all should be ok from now on. Everyone is safe. Track backs are under control and constant scrutiny. And the sun will come out tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar.
Take that, you evil mis-users of track backs!

Elise Patkotak • 06:54 AM •
Monday, March 17, 2008

Will the pope consign me to hell if I wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s day during holy week? What if I do it with great sadness?  Great reverence?  Not the hint of joy? Only yellow, not green, beer?

Elise Patkotak • 06:12 AM •
Sunday, March 16, 2008

Because every morning when I get the birds out of their sleep room, Captain (my Amazon parrot) and CB (a bare eyed cockatoo who is the love of his life) have sex down on their main perch for all to see.  Since they are different species, this will amount to nothing more than sterile eggs laid by CB. But oh the look of bliss on their faces as they have their morning delight.  It’s nice to know that someone or something in this house is having sex, I guess.

Elise Patkotak • 06:00 AM •

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