Elise Sereni
Thursday, January 18, 2007

What with all these headlines about the California citrus crop being destroyed by the freezing cold, one can only ask why no one is reporting on the cold’s affect on California’s most lucrative and largest crop. How’s the pot?  Will there be a shortage?  Will the cold affect the quality? Will those poor growers have to freeze their little tootsies off harvesting the crop in the cold? These are the important questions we should be asking.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:52 AM •
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sometimes it’s just harder than others to remain the pleasant sweet person I usually am.  No, seriously, ignore the hysterical laughter coming from friends and family alike.  Normally, if left alone and not annoyed too much by state and national headlines, I can be a relatively fun person to have around. 

There is one thing, though, that will set me off beyond all belief - people who do not control their dogs.
I’m not referring to the occasional mishap. That happens to all of us dog owners once in a while. I recently came back from my walk to find my neighbor’s dog bounding down the block towards my dogs and me. This never happens. These people are usually very responsible dog owners and when they heard me calling, they immediately brought their dog under control and apologized. That’s called, for those of you who don’t recognize it as such, a responsible dog owner’s response. 
Here is what’s called an irresponsible dog owner’s response. Take the same situation - I’m coming down the block with my two dogs on leash. I see your dog, unleashed, bounding ahead of you towards me. I pull my dogs in to as short a leash as possible and call out to you to please control your dog.  You respond in one of three ways.  A. You cheerfully call back that your dog is friendly, thereby ignoring the fact that my dogs may not feel the same way.  B. You call your dog who totally ignores you and you stop trying and watch as I get tied up in two leashes and three snarling dogs. C. When your dog blatantly ignores your call, you turn around and go back into your house as though this somehow relieves you of the responsibility of your dog who is now engaged in pitched battle with mine.
Can you see why none of these responses would strike me as proper, correct or even vaguely appropriate?
I am probably one of the most animal oriented people you will ever know.  This has occurred slowly over the years as I’ve realized that, at the end of a day spent with a variety of clients and their kids, I’d much prefer the company of my animals than anything else.  All they ask of me is that I feed them, play with them, love them and, if dogs, walk them. They never expect me to listen to the hardships of their lives...well, actually, if they live with me they don’t have any.
But that’s beside the point. The point is that I am a committed and committable animal lover. So when I come home from a walk using every four and five and six letter word I’ve learned over many, many years, you know that something is wrong. I should be walking in the door with a smile of contentment on my face because I’ve had an hour of peace and quiet on a nice back road, surrounded by trees and mountains and the occasional moose, with my dogs excitedly sniffing every spot of yellow while I daydream about the day Paul McCartney will realize he loves me and comes to take me away to a life of leisure and...I’m sorry, where was I?
Oh yes, on a walk that should leave me relaxed and at ease.  Instead, I frequently return from these walks with my eyeballs bursting from my head because I have had to dodge loose dog and idiotic owners for an hour.  My god, the moose show more sense than some of the dog owners I run into on my walk, and moose have got to be some of the dumber quadrupeds walking this earth.
So, in case you missed the memo, let’s review the laws of common sense and dog ownership.  First, love your animals. Second, control your animals.  Third, never let them know they get everything in the will.  You’ll never be able to sleep with both eyes closed again if you do.
Loose uncontrolled dogs frequently end up tragically.  Even worse, your loose and uncontrolled dog can leave me with a tragedy on my hands if the dog tangles with mine and mine lose.  You are expected, as the human, to be minimally more responsible and intelligent than the animal you are caring for.  Most importantly, I don’t care who’s in charge in your home. you are supposed to be in control whenever you are outside. Just so we’re perfectly clear on that last point, your dog is NOT under your control unless he actually responds when you call him even if his interest at that moment is occupied elsewhere. If he doesn’t immediately shift his interest to your voice and return to your side, you do not have control and your dog should be on a leash. The only exceptions to this rule are when your dog is in your enclosed yard or you are the police and your police dog is chasing a suspect..
Now those are simply not hard rules to either understand or follow. If you think they are, you should perhaps rethink whether you are really meant to be a pet owner.  In fact, let me rethink that for you.  No, you are not meant to be a pet owner if you can’t control your pets for both their safety and the safety of others.  It’s that simple.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:38 AM •
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Let’s see....we let the communists take East Berlin and we took the west.  We let the communists take North Korea and we took the south. We let the communists take North Vietnam and we took the south.  Is there a pattern here that might help us get out of Iraq?  I’m hearing East Iraq and West Iraq...or North Iraq and South Iraq. We divide the country, get the hell out and let the civil war follow its natural course. Why is that so hard for all those big brains in DC to figure out?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:18 AM •
Monday, January 15, 2007

Forget Martin Luther King.  Today is the Golden Globes. Can you feel the excitement? I’m always happiest when America gets its priorities right.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:32 AM •
Sunday, January 14, 2007

The state of Alaska has a jet for sale. It’s actually a very nice little jet that never did anything to anybody to deserve the treatment it’s getting. But it made the mistake of being associated with possibly the most unpopular governor our state has ever had and now it’s paying the price. Won’t someone give it a good home, please?  It even has a toilet!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:35 AM •
Saturday, January 13, 2007

There is a new underarm deodorant out with Olay in it as a conditioner. I’m almost sixty years old and I never knew my underarms needed conditioning.  How have I survived for so long?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:33 AM •
Friday, January 12, 2007

In Barrow, my cutoff point for a walk was 29 below - or 20 below if there was a windchill.  It was only 10 below in Anchorage the past two days with just a slight wind blowing yesterday and I was too cold to walk.  Am I just becoming an urban wimp or is age catching up with me?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:02 AM •
Thursday, January 11, 2007

According to a Bush administration official, not capturing Osama Bin Laden is not a failure on their part. It’s a success that has not yet happened.  All you kids out there remember that the next time you bring an F home on your report card. It’s not a failure. It’s a success that hasn’t yet happened.
May god have mercy on the English language.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:06 AM •
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As the new legislature convenes in Juneau, at least some members are determined to make health benefits for same sex partners an issue whether the public wants it to be or not.  According to an article in the Anchorage Daily News recently, Representative Mike Kelly of Fairbanks is quoted as saying, “The people of Alaska are sound asleep on this and they better wake up.” Adding to the general fun being had up there where the cold seems to be freezing brains at an astonishing rate even for legislative gray matter, House Majority Leader John Coghill of North Pole added that he would introduce legislation to strip benefits from everyone, stating, “That’s the only solution we’ve got.”

Well, no, it’s not, The other solution would be to provide these benefits and get on with some of the real problems facing this state instead of creating ones that don’t exist.
I think the best moment was when John Coghill added that he wished the governor had defied the law and gone to jail to defend whatever it is he thinks he’s defending here, despite the fact that such an action could have led to a constitutional crisis.
So let’s go back and see what all this fuss is about.  The people of Alaska amended their constitution to say that marriage can only be defined as the uniting of people of the opposite sex.  Fine.  What in the world does that have to do with benefits?  No one is trying an end run around the constitution and saying that this makes people married.  It just extends to same sex couples benefits they can never receive any other way because they are banned from marrying.
Some people ask why these benefits wouldn’t apply to opposite sex partners living together without the benefit of marriage. Simple. They can marry.  No constitutional amendment has taken that right from them. They have a way to access state benefits for their partner that is clearly denied to same sex couples. It’s the same as singling out a group of our citizens and denying them the right to learn to read and then saying you have to read to vote.  It’s called discrimination.
But let’s set aside the legal issue for a moment and look at the human issue.  Health care costs are exorbitant.  Caring for an ill person in this great country of ours is almost impossible without insurance.  Many people in the lower middle class fall into that great hole in our safety net where the don’t qualify for government programs because they make too much money but they aren’t working for an employer who can afford to offer them coverage.
Wanting to take care of your life partner is a human impulse we can all relate to.  Why would this make anyone so angry that they would jeopardize the health care of others to prove some point?
Well, I hate to bring this up but it seems that Christianity is once again being designated the fall guy for why we cannot allow same sex couples to receive state benefits.
I’m certainly not qualified to get into a theological discussion with people on this, nor do I want to get into a discussion of separation of church and state or the fact that, once again, this is not about same sex marriage. I simply want to pose one question to the Christians whose panties are in a knot over this.  And that question is simply, “What would Jesus do?”
The God of the Old Testament was a vengeful god.  I always thought that the big change that Jesus brought to us was the love and compassion he showed to everyone. The only time he got angry was at the moneychangers in the temple. And that should certainly give some televangelists cause for concern.
The poor, the lepers, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, all were welcome to come to Jesus.  So I’m betting that if Jesus were alive today, he would respond to the request for health care benefits for same sex couples with kindness and love. I’m even willing to wager that he would stand outside our legislative halls in Juneau with same sex couples holding up a sign demanding they be treated in a truly Christian manner.
I am honestly unaware of the passages in the New Testament where Jesus adds any caveats to his love for all of us, sinners and saints alike. His message, I believe, goes something like this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Why do some people find that so hard to accept?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:48 AM •
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you eat a whole bag of sugar free red licorice sticks before you go to sleep, you will not feel all that good when you wake up in the morning.  Trust me on this.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:57 AM •
Monday, January 08, 2007

OK, I get it. I live in Alaska and it snows a lot here. Now could we please have a little break so I can restock my emergency grocery supplies?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:22 AM •
Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pat Robertson has announced that god has told him there will be a terrorist attack in America this year.  If there really is a god, that attack will happen in Robertson’s pants and we will be rid of him and his gospel full of hate forever.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:32 AM •
Saturday, January 06, 2007

For those of you idiots out there who think Bush is escalating our troop levels in an attempt to do god know’s what in Iraq, please be assured this is not an escalation. It’s a surge.  LIke those power surges that destroy your hard drive.  Or those tide surges that destroy shorelines during storms. This surge will, in all likelihood, destroy whatever shred of credibility we have left in the world.  You’ve got to love the surge.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:27 AM •
Friday, January 05, 2007

I have two dogs. They poop a lot. My yard is full of their poop. But the snow that keeps falling hides it faster than I can get out to scoop it.  OK, I don’t exactly rush out to scoop it up but still.  The only down side to this is that while I am enjoying no poop scooping in the winter, my yard this spring after everything melts should resemble Calcutta in July.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:53 AM •
Thursday, January 04, 2007

I walked the dogs the whole three miles yesterday despite the forty foot of snow that had fallen since morning and despite the fact that I was often wading in snow above my knees. I came home pumped up on adrenaline and caffeine. Then the high wore off. It was, ultimately, a painful victory.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 05:26 AM •

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