Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Monday, March 24, 2014

He’s my African Gray parrot and he loves to imitate me. He loves to sing and whistle even more. I try whistling the tune to the Andy Griffith theme and he cocks his head and listens so intently trying to catch the rhythm and notes. And then a totally puzzled look comes over the intensity of his gaze and I realize how hard it is for him to try and imitate me since I can’t carry a note or a tune, even with help from music, backup singers and a wheelbarrow. Then he tries to imitate what he thought he heard and the notes wobble all over the scale. He knows this is not right. He knows these notes were randomly chosen by my larynx and hold no real meaning. He knows when he imitates me he sounds like an out of tune fool. Poor Abdul. He deserves someone whose singing is not an abomination and whose whistling doesn’t sound like the air being let out of an almost deflated balloon.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Sunday, March 23, 2014

I don’t mind them staring at me while I’m in the shower. I don’t mind them staring at me while I’m on the toilet. I do mind waking up in the morning to a dog standing on my chest and staring straight down at me. That is simply freaky.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:01 AM •
Saturday, March 22, 2014
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This is the scene right outside my bathroom door as I take a shower. They are ever vigilant lest a door suddenly open up on the other side of the shower and I slip away without them knowing. In case there is any doubt, this has less to do with their loyalty to me than with the fact that they don’t get breakfast until after my shower and they want to be very sure I don’t try to get out of it.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:38 AM •
Friday, March 21, 2014

We’ll be releasing a rehabilitated Northern Goshawk, #14-01, at the Bird TLC property above Potter Marsh (15510 Old Seward Hwy., Anchorage, AK 99516) this Saturday between 12:30 and 1:00 PM. The release is free and open to the public, hope to see you there!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 PM •

My excuse for not having something up earlier is that my little BuddhaBubba had her doggie dental work yesterday and had three teeth removed and I’ve been spending most of my time holding her while she looks pathetic. And god does she look pathetic. They took out her last front tooth so there is now nothing holding her tongue in her head. I’d show you a picture but her dogwalker threatened me if I ran such an unflattering photo of her with that dazed and drugged look and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 10:52 AM •
Thursday, March 20, 2014

After years of being viewed by the rest of America as a barely civilized wilderness, Alaskans have a bit of a complex about people from outside coming here to do jobs we’re capable of accomplishing. I can’t believe Governor Parnell doesn’t get this. If he did, he never would have tried to appoint someone from California, the land of fruit and nuts, to a position in Alaska, the land of guns and nuts.

While this distrust of outsiders has a long and storied history, and while some of that history could be used in a court of law to prove Alaskans are a bit nutty about defining what it takes to be a real Alaskan, in truth there are some actual reasons why Alaskans should fill Alaskan jobs. Despite the fact that it has become a cliché, the reality is that Alaska is different and if you don’t get those differences, then you can’t serve Alaska well.
Case in point – people in Alaska who cannot take care of themselves can have a conservator appointed by the court to assist them in using their money for their needs and protecting them from those who would exploit their vulnerabilities.  I recently spoke with a conservator concerned that her client, who lives in a small village, was not using the money set up for him at the village store for groceries. This conservator is one of the more dedicated people I’ve worked with in that position. She cares about her clients and worries if their needs are not being met.
She is also from outside, having moved here a few years ago, and has never experienced Alaska beyond the urbanity of Anchorage. This conservator had no idea of what life in the Bush was like. She’d never been in a village store. She’d never seen a $13 gallon of milk. She didn’t understand there was no guarantee there would even be milk available, that weather or flight cancellations could leave the store shelves empty.
I explained to her that most village stores didn’t have butcher stations, fresh stuff or lots of groceries. Often you are lucky to find some dried and canned goods on the shelves. The idea of living off what you buy in a small village store is ludicrous based both on cost and goods available. Unless you are an Alaskan aware of all of Alaska’s diversity, this is not something with which you’d be familiar. When she told me she was concerned that her client mostly bought cigarettes and pop in the store, I had to explain to her that those were the two commodities almost always available and that for meal planning, people went to their ice cellars.
It’s hard to fathom how the governor could be so deaf to the fact that Alaskans want Alaskans in Alaskan jobs because we understand Alaska is different than anything in the lower 48. Our governor should certainly understand this. A state that has thrived on oil money for over three decades must have residents who can fairly evaluate any number of oil and gas related issues.  So the question that must be asked is why Parnell went outside the state to find a nominee for the state board that determines the pipeline’s tax worth. Was he really so tone deaf to how Alaskans feel about outsiders being brought in for jobs they could fill or was this some kind of low key quid pro quo with the end game not visible until the governor completes his public service?
Since the governor has openly stated that he wants the tax value of the pipeline to drop, I think we can pretty much assume that he wants to stack this board with people who will do just that – or at least stack it with people he thinks will do that.  What puzzles me is why he thought he had to go outside of the state to find those people. I’m sure he could have found some locals who would be happy to downgrade the tax value of the pipeline to accommodate his wishes. Going outside the state just opens him up to all kinds of questions you’d think a man running for re-election would not want to answer.
If you’re the governor of Alaska, act like it. Choose Alaskans for Alaskan jobs.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson can take me anywhere he wants, in or out of this cosmos. When did astrophysicists become so damn sexy?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:48 AM •
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Now, this little man shares my bed and warms my back every night when he curls up into it and I’m as happy as Tom could have possibly ever made me. On top of which, Snowy doesn’t care what I look like when I get in bed so long as he’s allowed in too. So SCORE!
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:17 AM •
Monday, March 17, 2014
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But I think I can see Hawaii from here. If only this fence had a weak spot, that old lady who feeds me wouldn’t see me again until summer.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:12 AM •
Sunday, March 16, 2014
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I’m not stopping until I hit Coronado!
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:08 AM •
Saturday, March 15, 2014

We now have conclusive proof that Obama is NOT any better at being a comedian than he is at being president. On the other hand, I’d still prefer him over just about every Republican currently running for president.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:35 AM •
Friday, March 14, 2014

Saw Ronan Farrow on the Colbert Report. What a nice young man. Articulate. Caring. Educated.  Frank would be very proud.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:33 AM •
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Let’s discuss the reality of family planning reducing the number of abortions that might be sought in any given year. What, you say in shock, you mean avoiding conception unless it is planned is a good way to cut abortion numbers? Yes it is. And apparently everyone who is anyone seems to understand that fact except perhaps for some members of Alaska’s enlightened state legislature.


Senator Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River) seems to feel that if sex is fun, then the participating players should bear all responsibility for any costs associated with it. I assume he also thinks that anyone who builds a blaze in their fireplace and then has the house catch fire should have to have their own fire department to put out the fire. Because, after all, the house had a furnace so building a fire in the fireplace was recreational.
By the same token, recreational boaters should have to pay to have rescuers on call every time they go out. The state should not have to pay for the consequences of their fun. Ditto for people who ski or use snow machines in the backcountry and get caught in avalanches or lost. Why should I pay to have Search and Rescue people on call to save them? If it’s just recreational, let them fund their own backup.
If Senator Dyson is so concerned about spending other people’s money on recreational sex, why is he not fighting to overturn the federal requirement that health insurance cover Viagra? Does he really think all those little blue pills are being used for serious matters? Does he really think covering treatment that allows for recreational sex without a concomitant coverage making that activity safe for all concerned makes sense?
I find it a source of continuing amazement that so many men seem so involved with women’s reproductive choices in a punitive fashion while viewing male reproductive choices as sacred and worthy of total support. What is it about a woman wanting to make healthy choices that makes these men so nuts? The argument that they are not against choices as much as they are against paying for them holds no credibility so long as those little blue pills loom so large in the picture.  In a country that allows organizations to bow out of providing birth control for women while being required to provide a pill that does the exact opposite for men, we should probably be doing some serious soul searching about where our priorities really are.
Not only does the current crop of politicians want to cripple all family planning efforts except for those rich enough to afford them, they’d also like to cut back on the funding for all the “whoops” babies that may result from their short-sighted planning. Fund early education programs?  I think not. Expand Medicaid to cover our poor?  Nope. Provide food stamps and other help to families literally starving in a country with an embarrassment of riches? Nah.
Our current politicians would just prefer to punish women who dare to have fun when they’re poor.  As anyone who has seen Les Miserables can testify, the poor are not supposed to have fun. And if they do, they should be prepared to pay for it, even if that means skipping a few meals along the way.
Every year this country has a surfeit of children available for adoption who wait for what must seem like an eternity for their forever home. Now our esteemed legislators would like to add to that number by forcing those who can least afford it to have more babies. And then they cut every program that could support a family living in poverty, thereby guaranteeing that the child will suffer in some way if not given up for adoption. They do all this while piously proclaiming that the child’s parents should not have been having sex if they couldn’t afford it.
There is plain shortsighted and then there is idiotically shortsighted. Not only does Dyson’s proposal penalize people for having a bit of “recreation” in their lives, but you can almost see his little Puritan lips lifted in a half sneer as he proclaims them unworthy of his precious tax dollars if they are unable to control their basest instincts.
I guess the Republican war on women is real. Wow.
Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

There is bacon and there is turkey. They should not be confused. Chopping up turkey and reforming it to look like bacon fools no one… especially after the first few bites.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:15 AM •
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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I’m begging, goddess. Bring me someplace warm and sandy. I’m losing my normally cheerful disposition and starting to want to steal my owner’s credit card and make my own plane reservations.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:44 AM •

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