Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No Joke! Tazi Presents The History Of April Fool's Day (And Recommends The Museum of Hoaxes Blog!)

Dear Readers:

I recently came across an old copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica while sniffing around the bookshelf for a good place to nap - a la Fredrick the Literate. Being the curious cat that I am, I pulled out the first book in the series - subjects beginning with the letter "A" - and started reading about the history of April Fool's Day. I did not know that humans needed a special day to play pranks on people. We cats do it all the time, regardless of the occasion. Anyhow, in lieu of a full blog review, I have decided to share my new-found knowledge with you!

My man, Frederick!

There are many tales of the origin of April Fool's Day. The most widely believed is that it dates back to the mid-1500's, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in England; switching the feast of the New Year from March 25 - April 1 (a week long celebration in honor of the Spring Equinox, which actually makes sense) to January 1, a single day in the middle of the winter. News traveled slowly back then and, as now, people were not fond of change. Because of this, there were still many who insisted on celebrating the New Year on April 1. Those who celebrated on January 1 would then make fun of those celebrating the New Year on April 1, and would often play good-natured jokes on them. Although this historical event popularized the April 1 date as a day for pranks, it is not what originated it.

As far back as the mid-5th century (1,000 years earlier) the Persians (now Iraqis) celebrated their own New Year with the celebration of Sizdah Bedar (literal translation: getting rid of 13) which falls on the 13th day of the New Year and the final day of celebration, generally April 1. It is a day to play pranks on each other and to be festive and joyful; and is actually one of the older holiday traditions still active in the world today. It is believed that this tradition was carried from Persia (Iraq) by European traders, who found the practice befitting their own celebration on that date.

April Fool's Day is a holiday celebrated by many countries throughout the world; especially those in Europe, where the celebration often takes on a life of its own with the media getting involved to assist in the perpetrating of jokes and hoaxes. Perhaps the most famous April Fool's Day hoax was the one about the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest, reported as actual news by the highly reputed BBC News, the perpetrators of the joke.

To go with all the meatballs, ja!

For more interesting tales of April Fool's Day jokes, check out the blog The Museum of Hoaxes. The British are also responsible for what might also be the longest running April Fool's Day joke: sending people to the Tower of London to witness the annual Washing of the Lions. Started in 1698, the prank continued to fool citizens right up through the mid-19th century; when, presumably, communications had improved through the printing of newspapers.

However you decide to spend your April Fool's Day - whether you try to convince someone that the restaurant chain Taco Bell has purchased the naming rights to the Liberty Bell (and is renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell) or you decide to try and shut down your downtown business district, have fun doing it! And for more ideas on various hoaxes to pull, check out The Museum of Hoaxes multi-blog article on The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time - each hoax intro leads to a full-page article (no joke!) that will keep you busy all day, leaving your cat the entire day to nap on top of your Sunday newspaper. It's a win-win situation!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Thin Twin" Wants Sister To Lose the Attitude (And Maybe Some Weight, Too)

Dear Tazi:

I recently lost a lot of weight, and am looking forward to wearing a sexy bikini on the beach this summer. My problem is that my twin sister "Ursula" is still quite heavy - and quite bitter about how good I look. She keeps making nasty comments about how we are "no longer twins" and how people are going to start calling me "the thin twin" and even joking that she is going to pretend to be me so people will think that I am her!

Tazi, we both have thyroid problems which is what caused the weight gain in the first place. The only difference between us is that I adjusted my diet after being diagnosed and she did not. I cut out sugar and starch and eat more whole grains and green, leafy vegetables. Ursula often forgets to take her medication, which complicates her thyroid problem, and has a sweet tooth that she constantly indulges.

I have tried to encourage Ursula to eat better, but she says that she can't afford it; that fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive and that she does not like the taste of whole wheat breads and pastas; and, worst of all, that she will never lose weight so why should she bother trying. While I admit whole wheat pasta is and acquired taste, there are so many other grains to try! Quinoa, amaranth, winter wheat...

Yummies for my tummy!

I have invited Ursula to go to the Farmer's Market with me to buy fresh veggies for less, but she always says she is too busy; I suggest that she go shopping at Whole Foods with me to see how affordable it can be (especially when you use your Oreo and ice cream budget to buy nutritious foods) but she refuses. Can you think of any way I can get Ursula to at least try to help herself? She is my twin sister, and I am missing the closeness we once had!


Dear "Phoebe":

I see from your choice of pseudonyms that you are a Friends fan and not making cracks at the expense of the Sea Witch. Cool...I like you already, so I am going to print your letter!

I would like to congratulate you on all of your hard efforts to eat right and lose the extra weight you have been carrying. From the sound of your letter, you are feeling great, as well as looking great! This, however, could be what is causing your twin sister such distress. Once upon a time when she looked at you she saw herself; now, she sees the person she would like to be but feels she will never become. That has got to hurt!

A common symptom of hypothyroidism is depression, and it sounds like your sister may have a touch of it. Please encourage her to take her medication EVERY DAY! A 7-day pill organizer can make it easy to remember to do this, so long as she keeps it in plain sight and remembers to take her pill as soon as she wakes up every morning. She can keep the organizer on her dresser and grab her daily dose on her way to the bathroom after she wakes each morning. If this process does not improve her outlook on live, please encourage her to see her endocrinologist; she may need a higher dose of thyroid medication. If this is not the case, she should talk to her general practitioner about being screened (and possibly treated) for depression.

Once Ursula has her medication and her moods under control, try talking to her about eating healthier. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains should play a starring role in all diets, with sugary foods taking a back seat to naturally sweet foods that are low in calories - think strawberries and blueberries and other seasonal fruits! Now that summer is approaching, store freezers are full of frozen fresh fruit pops, a fun way to satisfy a sweet tooth and get your nutrition!

I suggest that you work with Ursula at a level that works for her. She may not have time to go to the Farmer's Market, but does she have time to join you for dinner? Why not invite her over to enjoy a healthy meal at your place, complete with a dessert of fresh sorbet and fruit accompaniment? Once Ursula sees that eating healthy does not have to be dull, she may be more inclined to try it. Slowly, work with her to make-over her pantry until it contains more healthy products and less junk; invite Ursula to go for a walk with you; go shopping with her for an attractive, plus-size bathing suit (they do exist). In other words, do all of the sisterly things you did together before you lost weight! In time, Ursula will see that she has not lost her twin simply because her twin has lost weight.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Yoga Pants Require Greater Coverage Than Regular Pants!

Dear Tazi:

My daughter is a very large woman, so finding clothes that fit proper can be difficult for her. Because of this, she wears a lot of knits, most notably "stretch pants". Unfortunately, "Clara" does not realize just how dreadful these pants make her look. Clara wears these pants without any kind of covering, like a long blouse or a tunic; worse, she will tuck her shirt into these pants, making for a bunchy, wrinkled look that from a short distance looks like a bad case of cellulite.

I have suggested to Clara that she wear a more flattering top with her stretch pants - like a long top or a tunic style blouse, but she just gets angry with me, telling me that she is who she is and a shirt isn't going to hide it. Tazi, I am not trying to get Clara to hide her bulk, I am simply trying to get her to dress is a more appropriate manner. I would not dream of leaving the house with visible panty lines, but this is exactly what Clara is doing  - and worse - every time she wears those hideous stretch pants with nothing covering her bottom. Furthermore, the fabric of these pants is stretched awfully thin, and when she wears lighter colors her panties show right through! It is positively humiliating!

Please understand that I am NOT embarrassed by my daughter's weight; I love her regardless of her size. I am, however, upset that she is straining the rules of decency. Can you think of any way to address this issue so that she will not think it is about her weight? Because it really isn't!

Patience Stretched

Dear Patience Stretched:

I don't care what size you are, or even if your butt looks like this in a pair of yoga pants:

The rules of fashion dictate that leggings are not pants and that a long shirt or tunic length blouse should be worn with them. Recently, the CEO of Lulumom stepped down over the scandal that their yoga pants are so sheer you could see right through them! 

Just say NO to crack!

Wearing pants like this in public could get you fined or arrested for public indecency. If Clara's leggings are causing problems such as those illustrated above, I suggest you snap a photo of her behind so she can see for herself just what she is showing to the world. I realize this is extreme, and sounds cruel, but she has thus far refused to listen to reason and is making it about her weight; you need to show her that it is about dressing appropriately. Unless she is going out to a dance club to pick up a man looking for a one-night stand, I cannot see how wearing these kinds of pants would be considered appropriate dress. I am quite surprised that her employer has not said something to her already.

I suggest that you stress once again - and again, and again until Clara gets it - that this is not about her weight. She may need counseling to deal with the low self-esteem she seems to be suffering, and you may want to go along to show her that you are on her side. If it offers any comfort, you are not the first Mom to find her daughter's wardrobe completely odious; it is an argument that goes back generations upon generations.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.