Saturday, April 19, 2014

Milk Is Expensive; Should He Buy The Cow?

Dear Tazi:

Do you know the expression "Why buy the cow when milk is so cheap?" Well, milk is no longer cheap. In fact, the price of it is continuously climbing, with the price of local, organic milk topping $7.00 a gallon!

I live in a rural area, and would like to buy a cow in order to produce my own fresh, organic milk. The cost of the cow would be amortized over the years and, in the end, I believe the cost of owning and caring for a milking cow will be cheaper than continuing to buy milk. My wife says I am crazy, and refuses to even consider my plan. She likes you, Tazi, and always says your advice is spot-on, so I know she will listen to you if you agree with me about buying a cow. What do you say? Cats like milk!

Milk Lover

Dear Milk Lover:

You are really talking about milk, right; and not a metaphor for something else? And for the record, a cat's love of milk is an old wives tale. Most cats lack both the ability to taste sweet foods and to digest lactose. If offered milk, most of us cats will drink it for the moisture and promptly get sick.

I just re-read your letter to make sure I wasn't missing anything - you really are considering buying a cow? - and have to ask if you have considered all the angles, including the facts that:

1) a cow has to be milked every day, 2 - 3 times a day, so long as she is producing.

2) a cow is a mammal, and like all mammals does not produce milk (without chemical encouragement) unless she is lactating - which requires her to have recently calved and be regularly pumped in order to keep producing, lest her milk start to dry-up.

3) a good producer can produce 8 - 10 gallons of milk per day; so unless you are Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar or you are planning on sharing your product with the neighbors, you are going to be drowning in milk.

It is possible to purchase a genetically hybridized cow that is smaller and therefore produces only 1 - 2 gallons of milk per day; but you imply a preference for organic milk, so I am not certain this would be the avenue for you to take. WikiHow offers detailed information on how to keep a milking cow, including important considerations on feeding, grazing, and medical care (did you factor veterinary bills into your amortization?).

If at the very least you are not willing to wake every morning at 5 AM to milk your cow - no days off, no holidays, no vacations, and no sleeping-in - and rush home after work every evening to milk her again (no drinks with friends or working overtime), then you should not be entertaining the idea of getting a dairy cow. This is in addition to all of the other responsibilities that come with owning a farm animal. Milk is suddenly looking a whole lot cheaper, huh?

If it is fresh, local, organic milk you seek for a reasonable price you could probably buy it directly from a local diary farmer. Many rural areas have local farms that sell their product to large, commercial dairy producers - a solution to your problem that is much cheaper than buying the cow.

Snuggles to you and your wife,

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Teamster Finds That Others See Him On The Wrong Side Of The Goal

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a union worker and proud of it. Because of this, a lot of people - who don't even know me - bash me as selfish, and a part of the reason the economy is in such a slump. Union workers have had to share their part of the pain, too, with many of us accepting concessions that were once unheard of for a union worker! Plus, as union membership gets smaller and smaller, many former union jobs are being shipped overseas where cheap labor and questionable quality lead to cheap imports, further devaluing the American economy. Once upon a time, all manufactured goods were Made in USA and the economy was humming along. What can I say to get people to realize that unions are not the problem - and to get them off of my back? Sometimes, I think they are just jealous of the good life that I lead.

Proud Teamster

Dear Proud Teamster:

Once upon a time all goods were manufactured in America because most of the countries where manufacturing occurs - nowadays, China - were insular countries that did not have foreign relations with the U.S. Government. This led to great job opportunities for Americans, who could afford the higher prices of union-made goods because they, too, had higher paying jobs. Additionally, CEO pay was less because CEO's were not expected to work around the clock, 365 days a year; basically selling themselves to the company in exchange for multi-million dollar contracts and stock options (which were also worth a lot less back in the 1950's because fewer people played the market).

Nowadays, Americans are angry about the economy and unions are an easy target to blame. In some cases - like the American automotive collapse a few years ago - union contracts were to blame (with rubber rooms, minimum starting wages of $20+/hour, etc); in others, it is simply greed on behalf of the corporation. Right now, many state governments are on the verge of receivership due to public employee union benefits, which outstrip those of the private sector but are paid for by private sector monies (i.e. taxes). Can you see why people see a big ol' bulls-eye on your back when you comment that you are a "union worker and proud of it" and that you think people are "jealous of the good life" that you lead?

If you want to get people off of your back, you are going to have to lead by example: Buy American everything, from your car to your underwear to the gasoline you put in your rig. Pay full price for everything by refusing to shop at places like Wal-Mart, Target, or Costco; and try to get your fellow union members to do the same. This will not be an easy task, but it will leave you with a clear conscience when people harp on you about how unions are running down the economy, and it will give you a fighting chance against those who seek to argue.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Real Life Is Not As Seen On TV

Dear Tazi:

I am a young adult with absolutely no skills. I did horrible in high school so college is out of the question and I have no job skills. I am not handy in any way, shape, or form and have never had a job. I live with my parents who have told me that I need to get a job or else they are going to cut me off financially. I like playing video games, but no place is hiring a video game tester (I looked); not even the local arcade. My father works for a newspaper and I was hoping he could get me a job as a movie or video game critic, but he just looked at me like I was crazy when I asked him that and told me that you needed to be a journalist to get a job like that.

I was watching some reruns of King of Queens when I heard the dog walker on the show mention how much money a dog walker can make in one week. The job seems pretty easy, and I like dogs, it just seems like a lot of walking but I suppose I could take a rest once I reached the dog park and let the dogs run free before taking them home again. Do you think this would be a good idea for a job? I want to hang up some flyers and get a few clients before I tell my parents, because I don’t want them to laugh at my idea. Do you think this is a good idea?


Dear Unemployed:

I am happy to hear that you have found your motivation, but are you fully aware of all the responsibilities that go into being a professional dog walker? It is more than just dropping the animals off at the dog park for a run and then bringing them home again. There are issues of licensing and insurance – you cannot get one without the other – that will indemnify you if a dog under your care is injured or injures another, be it a human or another animal.

A professional dog walker must also work with scheduling of clients – you can only walk so many dogs at once and only certain dogs together. If two dogs do not get along they must be walked at different times. Additionally, there is the matter of bookkeeping and customer accounts. When you run your own business you are responsible for keeping track of and paying all of your expenses, from charging the correct customer for doggie treats to paying your own social security and Medicare taxes.

As easy as it sounds, being self-employed is often much more difficult than working for somebody else. I strongly suggest that you pick up the phone book and look for a social services agency that provides career counseling and job placement. If you think employers are going to knock on your door to offer you work based upon your video gaming skills, you are sadly mistaken – and your father is correct, in regard to the need for professional training or a degree in journalism to work as a product reviewer. Do not fall for those easy-money Internet schemes that promise otherwise; they will only cost you money that you do not have to spend.

I wish you the best of luck in finding a job and some sort of career interest, because it sounds like you are in dire need of it. Please write me back in a few months to let me know how things are turning out for you!


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