Friday, November 30, 2012

Should He Ask Her To Marry Him On A Gift-Giving Holiday?

Dear Tazi:

I am preparing to propose to my girlfriend of almost one year.  I would like to do it on Christmas Day, but my buddies are all telling me not to do it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  They say that if our engagement breaks off before we get married the ring could be considered a Christmas gift and she would have the right to keep it, whereas if we got engaged on a different day - say New Year's Eve - I would have the legal right to retain the ring if the marriage doesn't take place.  Do you know if this is true, Tazi?

I love my girlfriend very much, and I don't see us breaking up before we get married, but you really never know what is going to happen.  I have paid a lot of money for the ring, so if we were to break up I would want to get it back.  Should I wait until New Year's Eve to ask her to marry me?  Or should I go ahead with my original plan?

Almost Engaged

Dear Almost Engaged:

I think you should wait.  Indefinitely.  Your girlfriend has not yet said yes to marrying you and already you are planning what should happen to the ring if your engagement ends. While you may see this as a manner of practical thinking, I see it as placing a higher value on the ring than on the woman you love.

I am also wondering why you are so concerned about the possibility of a break-up before you get married.  If you think your engagement will not last than you should not be getting engaged.  Furthermore, you give your girlfriend very little credit in the class department.  If your theoretical engagement were to break up, why are you so certain she would not offer to return the ring?  If she were to leave you, giving the ring back would be the first item on her "to do" list; if you were to leave her and ask for the return of the ring, a gentleman would give the lady time to mourn the demise of her relationship, a lady would return the ring within a few months time.

If you are dead-set on getting engaged this holiday season, I suggest that you buy your girlfriend a spectacular Christmas gift and hold the engagement ring until New Year's - not because I foresee a legal battle for the ring, but because this plan should ease your fears of losing the rights to what you consider yours.

Perfunctory Snuggles,

P.S.  You do realize that diamonds have a horrible resale value, right? If you were to try and sell the ring, you might get back as little as 10% of your purchase price.  Not many people want to buy a ring from a broken engagement - they see it as tainted with bad luck, and I can't blame them for their superstition (said the black cat!).  If you were to keep the ring, do you honestly think another woman would accept an engagement ring purchased for someone else?  My mailbag tells me no.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughtless Gifts Take The Fun Out Of Giving, Receiving

Dear Tazi:

It's the gift-giving time of year again, and the economy is bad.  This is a combination that, in the past, has resulted in my receiving really bad gifts.  I would rather my friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones save their money than give me cheap items that I neither need, want, or have any use for whatsoever.

Last Christmas, my nephew gave me a copy of my favorite classic movie, Gone With the Wind....on VHS tape.  In case you are going to say that it's the thought that counts, know that it was obvious that he had picked it up at somebody's yard sale (the price dot was still on the back of it); I do not even own a VCR and have no way of playing the tape; and I already own a much nicer copy of it on Blu-Ray.  My nephew is in college, so he is not a young, clueless child.  Other gifts I received from people who felt obligated to buy me a gift included a set of plastic salt and pepper shakers with the matching napkin holder; a Christmas sweater (given to me on Christmas Day); a size 2XL two-piece bathing suit (I am a large woman, but not a 2XL and would never wear a two-piece anyway!); and, my personal "favorite", a Powerball ticket with the disclaimer that if it won I would have to split the winnings with the giver.  I no longer participate in the office Christmas exchange after getting cheated into accepting a summer themed shot glass that was on clearance at the local discount store for 75-cents (the price point was $20; there is no way that piece of [poopie] cost anywhere near $20!).

Tazi, I am not looking for bling or amazing swag under my Christmas tree; just a thoughtful gift that took some kind of effort on the part of the giver.  I have told my family that they need not worry about buying for me if they cannot afford it, but they insist on giving something because I "always give such great gifts"!  This year, I am considering making charitable donations to organizations that I know my loved ones support.  This way I get the joy of giving, a charity gets a much needed donation, and I don't have to worry about receiving needless junk in return for my "great gift".  However, I am afraid that some people might be offended that they are not getting a physical gift from me this year.  Can you think of a way that my plan can be tastefully executed?

Gifts In Bad Taste

Dear Gifts In Bad Taste:

So often, people feel obligated to give a gift to every member of their family, right down to their great-Aunt Tillie who they have not seen since last Christmas.  The "need" to give everyone a gift can get quite expensive, resulting in some questionable purchases.  The gifts you have been receiving are definitely inexpensive, but also uninspired, so I can see why you are upset.  It is not the cost of the gift that matters, but the thought that goes into it, and it appears that your loved ones do not think before purchasing your presents.

I have a few suggestions for gift-giving among you and your family that are not as extreme as writing a check to charity on behalf of someone else.  The first is try a Secret Santa gift exchange, like many people do at their office (I presume this is how you ended up with a 75-cent shot glass).  This method of gift giving is good natured and fun, and allows the gift-giver to spend more money on one present and less money overall since they are buying only one gift.

The second suggestion is a Yankee Swap, where each participant buys a thoughtful gift and participants choose a gift in turn and "swap" the gift taken for something they like better.  So long as everyone sticks to the rules (and an agreed upon price point), this is a fun way to exchange gifts.

The third suggestion is to simply not exchange gifts at all.  You could explain to your loved ones that your house is becoming overwhelmed with knick-knacks, scented candles, VHS tapes, and other presents given in thought of the holiday season.  From there, if you would like to make charitable donations on behalf of your loved ones, make certain that it is a cause that they support!  Some will be bitter about this choice - they would rather that you hand them the cash - but others will be touched by your kindness.

One last suggestion comes from my Mommie.  Her family has a silly tradition that they picked up from watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Christmas From the Dollar Store.  Silly gifts are purchased; a Yankee Swap commences; many laughs are shared; and nobody misses the traditional gift-giving exchange, which still takes place among the immediate family circles of parents/children/grandchildren, just not aunts/uncles/cousins/nephews/nieces/etc.

Be sure to check out "Hell Kitty"!

However you choose to celebrate the season, remember that it is the intangible gifts that we give each other - love, happiness, laughter, and kindness - that last the longest and mean the most!


Or you could just give yourself a present instead!

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Husband's Alleged Affair Revealed Post-Passing

Dear Tazi:

My husband of fifty years passed away this past September.  Our marriage was not a spectacular one, but I thought we had a mutual respect for each other and the vows we once took.  About a month after "George's" passing, a woman knocked on my door during Sunday dinner.  She seemed pleased that my children and grandchildren were gathered around the table, and told us she had an announcement to make: that she and George had been "involved" with each other for over two decades - she she had been a young intern at the company where he worked - and that she had only just learned of his passing.  She informed us that he had promised her certain accommodations upon his death and that she would appreciate if we would hear them out.

Tazi, I was too shocked to say or do anything, but thankfully my children were not.  My eldest son took the lead and told her that she was not welcome in our home with her outrageous claims and to leave and not come back.  My afternoon was ruined, and I retired to my bedroom as my children cleaned up from dinner.  Since that incident, I have been going through George's personal effects, looking for proof of an affair.  I figure one that lasted as long as this woman claimed would leave some sort of evidence, but there is none; no photographs, cards or letters, emails,or tokens of affection.  My children assured me that their father was a faithful man, and that this woman was probably just a scam artist.

I have started to feel a little better about this whole situation and am working on moving forward with my life, but this woman contacted me again this week.  George's will is in probate, and the proper channels have been taken, including the advertisements in the legal section of the paper.  The woman who claims to have been George's paramour has told me that she will be making a claim against the will, unless I wish to avoid the public humiliation of George's infidelity and come to a private accord with her and give her all that George promised.  She did not specify what she sought, so I told her I would need to think things through first.

Tazi, my children tell me that I should call the police and report this woman for blackmail. but I am afraid if I take the issue public it will only tarnish the memories people have of George and of our marriage.  I am considering hearing this woman out and seeing what it is she wants before making my next move, but my children tell me this is a bad idea; that this woman seems manipulative and that I would be playing into her hands.

Please respond to my letter as soon as possible, Tazi, before my choices are made for me.


Dear Cuckolded?

There are some low-down, dirty, rotten scoundrels out there who prey on those they think are too addled to think straight.  After the death of a spouse, many who are left behind become the victim of these louses; do not let yourself become one, too.

When a person dies, their obituary is generally full of personal information - including where they worked for any length of time; their hobbies; and other personal details, which could be how this woman knew where your husband worked and how she concocted her story.  In order to make any kind of claim against a person's estate, said claimant needs to have written proof of debts or other promises to pay or bequeath property.  From the sound of her behavior, I doubt that this "other woman" has any of that.

Before getting the police involved, which would make the entire sordid situation public, I suggest you call this woman's bluff and ask her what proof of claim she has against your husband's estate.  Since she has not been forthcoming over what your husband allegedly promised to her, it seems to me that she does not know exactly what assets he left behind; that she is waiting for you to reveal what properties or accounts your husband held so she can make claim on them.  I do not believe that this woman will be able to produce a single scrap of paper legally detailing what George left her, nor will she be able to offer an accurate verbal assessment.  Without legal proof of a claim, she has no way of making a claim against your husband's estate. If you decided to get the police involved at this point, that is your decision alone.

Sadly, you must also face the slim possibility that this woman is telling the truth.  If that is the case, she still has no legitimate claim to your husband's estate (no rings = no things), but I would suggest that you employ the services of a grief counselor to help you sort through everything.


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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tazi's Corner #20 - Remembering The Spirit Of The Season

Dear Readers,

First we had Black Friday, then we had Small Business Saturday; tomorrow is Cyber Monday.  Does that mean that today is a day to sit back and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday season? I hope so, because those are the kind of thoughts I will be sharing with you today.

As I have mentioned so many times in the past, I have a wonderful home, full of people who serve - I mean love! - me and want me to be happy.  One of the people who makes me happy is the little girl who lives next door.  "Missy" is unlike any child I have ever met; she is "seven going on sixty" as my Mommie describes her, but that is okay with me.  I am generally not fond of young children; they chase me under the furniture and try to pull me out by the tail. (Yeah, there's a good way to endear the cat to you!  Torture it!).  Missy, however, is not like that.  Missy is like an adult in miniature.  Like many children of a certain age, Missy is starting to doubt the existence of Santa Claus and the magic of Smiley, her Elf of the Shelf.  It is for all the Missys out there that I say this:

To all of you raising the Missys of the world, to all of you struggling to conquer your own personal battles; to you I would like to say that I understand that it is hard to keep believing. I know how difficult it can be to keep trying when all you want to do is give in and hope somebody else can pick up the slack, if only for a moment.  I may be just a little kitty, but I witness the trials of my humans, and the anguish of those who write to me.  We live in a world where it is so easy to lose our faith. Disappointments in our personal and professional lives sap our desire to keep trying; trying moments sap our reserves to the point where we wonder where we will find the strength to go on another step.  I say, keep trying, in spite of the hurt; you never know which attempt will lead to success.  

Don't be afraid to take naps between tries!  Just remember to try again when you wake!

Discouragement is a natural, human emotion - everyone feels it, but remember this the next time you feel the need to verbalize yours: Children - even those that are not your own - can have mighty good hearing when it comes to things we would rather they not hear; once spoken, words cannot be unsaid. The next time you catch yourself losing your temper or drowning your spirit over something you cannot control, think of the lesson you are passing on to a child. Better yet, if you find yourself stressed to the point that you are losing your temper or drowning in misery, maybe it is time that you have a "time out".

Remember that you will quickly reach the point where you can do no good for others if you refuse to first be good to yourself.  Brew a cup of coffee or tea; take 15 minutes to yourself with a newspaper or a good book; make time for yourself! While you are indulging in your "time out", ask yourself: Are the gifts you "need" to buy really so necessary that you must toss civility to the side to get them?  I'll bet you a Cabbage Patch Kid, a Furby, and a Tickle Me Elmo that they are not.  Do you really want to give your child a gift that required you to stampede over others to get it?

Zombie apocalypse or Wal-Mart on Black Friday?
In the consumer culture that has developed over the past several decades, is it any wonder children no longer believe in the magical?  Or do they?  As I overheard Missy explain to my Mommie that she didn't think her Elf was real, that her Mom moved him around after she went to sleep, I saw a glint of doubt in her eyes at the sound of her own words; a small fear that maybe - just maybe - she was wrong. Something tells me that there is a seven-year-old underneath that serious demeanor after all...a seven year old who wants to continue to believe, in spite of a gut feeling to the contrary.   Hope springs eternal in the hearts of youth, but just as with adults those hopes need to be nurtured.  Is there any way that we can make the magic last just a little while longer?

Please ignore the bad hair and take a minute to listen to the message!

Santa Claus, The Elf, and other characters of Christmas (does Hanukkah have any?) are only symbols of a greater good that dwells within our hearts, a good that often gets shoved aside in favor of other responsibilities, real and imagined.  This year, don't let the stresses of creating a "perfect" holiday season shove aside the reasons that we celebrate the season - the miracles, big and small, that come about as a result of faith, hope, charity, love, and the indefatigable strength of the human spirit. At seven years old, Missy and most other children her age are still too young to understand the spirit of good will behind the concepts of Santa and the Elf on the Shelf; it is up to you humans to illustrate it for them.  Are you up to the task?


P.S.  It is exactly one month until Christmas; thirteen days until the start of Hanukkah, so don't wait too long to start displaying your holiday spirit!  --T.K.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tazi's List Of Thankfuls - A Thanksgiving Message For All

Dear Readers:

Today is Thanksgiving in America, a day we set aside each year to give pause and think about the blessings in our lives. Whatever your personal beliefs about the holiday - political, religious, or a lack of either - today is a day to give appreciation for those who make our lives special. Today, I would like to use this space to offer praise to those who make my life special; and thanks for the things that make me a happy kitty!

I am thankful for:

My Mommie, who rescued me from the shelter when I reached out to her - literally. More dead than alive when the shelter brought me in, I would huddle in the back of my cage; fearful of everyone. When she walked in, something about her attracted me. My instincts told me she would be a good Mommie, so I rushed forward; stuck my paw through the cage; hooked my claws into her sweater; and pulled her close to me. We have been inseparable ever since.

My Co-Mommie, who is actually my Grand-Mommie, but she does not like being called that. Every night, after a long day of napping (on my part, not hers) she provides a lap for me to curl up in and cuddle. I love my evening snuggles!

I don't bite when given snuggles, but belly rubs are another story!

Every morning, Co-Mommie wakes early to keep me company and take care of my needs. She claims that she wakes early to get ready for work, but I know the truth: she just wants some alone time with me, before my nap schedule kicks in for the day.

My Daddy, who was recently promoted from "Uncle Person".  He comes over every day just to visit with me! (He claims he comes by to see my Mommie, but I know better!). He recently made a special trip to let me into the house when I got locked out on a work day! How many men do you know would punch-out of work to rescue their girlfriend's cat from the impending rain?  Exactly!  Now you know why he is my very favorite person in the whole, wide world, and I know that he feels the same way about me! How could he not?

Or maybe Daddy just knew the consequences of wetting a cat!

For something my humans call "treats". I am not sure why they taste so much better than my cat cereal (what my humans call "dry food") but there is something about them that makes me want to gorge myself...and then throw them all up on the rug to make room for more!

Pancakes are Mommie's favorite, and so I loves them, too!

I also love helps me barf, making more room for noms.

Please not to use Chemlawn stuff on your grass?  I eats it!

For cat-nip; and for the fact that humans have yet to discover how awesome it is! of the gods!

For soft blankets, on which I take my naps, and for those holes in the walls and floors where warm air blows out of when it is cold. What a great invention!

Whoever invented these things was a genius!

And for something (someone?) new to my pet mouse Jingles!  She was supposed to be snake food for the snake where Mommie works, but the snake refused to eat her.  I think it was because she was too cute to eat!  She is so sweet she would have given him diabetes! Mommie brought her home as a pet for me, but Jingles won't come out of her tank to play with me!  I wonder why...
Meet Jingles, The Wonder Mouse!

For all of you, who read my column; write me letters; and leave me comments. I truly enjoy writing this column; and thank you for letting me be a part of your life!

Once upon a time, I was an abandoned kitty; left on the streets to fend for myself in the cold and the snow. Now, I am safe and warm; pampered and attended to; surrounded by people who care about me, who love me no matter what (even when I jump on their pool table in the middle of a game!).

Do YOU want to be the one to tell "Morris" to move?
I have a lot for which to be thankful...and it is my hope, dear Readers, that you do as well! A Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

-- Tazi-Kat

P.S. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Think globally and act locally by giving your turkey scraps to the cat in your life!

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Threat Of Black Friday Shopping Leaves This Man Feeling Blue

Dear Tazi:

My wife is one of those crazy people who like to go shopping in the wee hours of Black Friday.  I say whatever floats her boat works for me, so long as I don't have to go with her. We have been married for thirty years, and remained so because I tend to go with the flow and not make mountains out of molehills.  I love my wife, and would do almost anything for her, but she has made a request of me and I am drawing a line in the sand.

"Monica" slipped and fell on some wet leaves earlier this season and broke her foot.  She is in a cast and will remain in one until sometime in January.  Because it is difficult for her to get around, I have been doing all of the grocery shopping and other errands that she usually runs while I am at work.  I also promised her I would do the Christmas shopping for her this year; that she could order stuff online and I could pick it up at the store, or she could circle stuff in the sales flyers and I would go find it.  I failed to specify that my offer did not include going Black Friday shopping before 10 AM, and now that is coming back to bite me in a sensitive spot!

Monica is insisting that I hit the stores starting at 8 PM on Thanksgiving night and stay out until past midnight to shop at the places that do not open until midnight.  I say that Thanksgiving is for family and celebrating, not standing in line all day waiting for a store to open so you can save $100 on an iPad.  Monica feels differently, and has been pouting about it all week, threatening to go stand in line herself, in spite of the doctor's orders to stay off of her broken foot!

Tazi, I want to be a good husband to my wife and I feel that I have been over the years, but I also feel that my wife is taking advantage of my good nature.  I know this letter is late, but I am hoping you can print it before Thanksgiving.  If you think I am being unreasonable in not accommodating my injured wife, I will give up my Thanksgiving to do as she asks.

Feeling Like Walter Mitty

Dear Feeling Like Walter Mitty:

Your letter arrived just in time for me to get it posted before Thanksgiving, which I am doing because you sound like a saint!  My ruling is that you are correct: Thanksgiving is for family and loved ones, and not for spending the day in line at Wal-Mart waiting for its 8 PM opening so you can save $100 on a 16 GB iPad (which is the kind that nobody wants anyway!).

I realize that your wife feels like she is missing out on something that is obviously important to her, so I suggest you ask her the following: how much is having the family together for Thanksgiving worth to her?  If she responds that you cannot put a price on something like that, ask her why she is.  Tell her that Black Friday sales may save you a few hundred dollars, but at what cost to your marriage and relationship with your family?

Luckily for your wife, Cyber Monday has just as many great deals as offered on Black Friday, and she can buy everything from the comfort of her own home.  Trust me, she is not missing out on anything.  Retailers hold back items until Cyber Monday so they have great deals to lure people into shopping online during office hours, when the brick and mortar stores are generally very slow.  The sense of urgency that surrounds Black Friday is an artificial sense of urgency, created by retailers to convince buyers that they will be unable to find the products they want at prices that they can afford in the coming weeks.  According to Time Magazine, 10% of Black Friday purchases are returned before Christmas as shoppers come down from the frenzy-doped euphoria of the day and discover that what they purchased wasn't such a great deal after all.  May this information give you the courage you need to tell your wife "no"...and may you and all of your family enjoy Thanksgiving together as a family, around the dinner table as Thanksgiving was meant to be celebrated!


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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tazi's Corner #19 - Texas to Secede?

Dear Readers,

I was hoping to write about a return to normalcy after the election for this week's Tazi's Corner, but discovered that normalcy is still a long way least in Texas.

Over 100,000 (and counting!) Texans have signed a petition stating they would like for Texas to secede from the United States and return to being an independent country.  That’s 100,000 in a state of more than 25,000,000 citizens.  In other words, less than 1% of Texas is seeking to secede from the United States because it is unhappy with the political direction the country is headed.  Is 1% of the general public is all it takes to get a referendum on the ballot in Texas?  I know that is all you need to get the President's attention, which seems like an awfully low number.  My other question is – and please explain the answers if you know them - what gives this 1% so much power?  Are they the 1% who control the oil rigs?  The 1% who control the banking system?  The 1% who make Warren Buffet look like a pauper?  If they are, I say let them go…this could make for an interesting experiment.

However, I do wonder about the remaining citizens of Texas.  What if they don't want to secede?  Will they be forced to pack up and move?  Ugh...what a pain in the butt!  I hate moving!  All the digging out and packing...deciding to keep and what to toss...and then seeing your most prized possession - in  my case, a half-rotted chipmunk that I was saving in the crawl space - accidentally thrown out because someone doesn't realize it was something important!  [Ed. note: True story.  It was disgusting.  The worst part was that Tazi deposited it on his Mommie's favorite throw pillow, where it would not be missed].  I think I would rather just stay put and go with the flow than have to move again.  

I have read up (over Mommie’s shoulder) how Secessionist Texans feel that America is headed in the wrong direction, both politically and socially; I have read comments that the rest of America should be more like Texas!   I have read claims that Texas is #1 in the country for job creation; I have also read that the jobs being created pay minimum wage, which doesn't even bring workers up to poverty level wages.  I am trying to imagine how Texas would run itself if it was an independent country.

Texas has the highest rate of capital punishment in the United States.  Since it has been proven that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime (just to recidivism) it is safe to believe that Texas will remain an area high in violent crime.  This means that Texas will need to beef up its force of Rangers and other law enforcement agents, since the DEA, ATF, FBI, and other members of the alphabet soup that make up the Federal branches of U.S. law enforcement will no longer be assisting Texas in its capture of crazy ax murderers that wander the state (and you thought they only used chainsaws!) or the war against the Zeta drug lords who live just across the Rio Grande.  Texans, I realize that you value your right to carry a concealed hand-gun anywhere you please, and from the look of it that gun is going to be a necessity when the Zetas no longer have to worry about keeping their violent arguments south of the Rio Grande

If Texas secedes from the United States, it will also have to hire its own Border Agents and National Guardsman.  If Texas were an independent state, America would no longer work to keep undocumented immigrants out of Texas; rather, it would be working to keep Texans out of America.  Like all others who look like they were not born in America (i.e. our tan-skinned brethren), Texans would have to prove that they are United States citizens while moseying around on American soil.  I would pay to watch this, as would others so maybe Texas could work that income into its Federal budget, which they are going to need since they will no longer be able to depend on the U.S. Federal government for aid.  Any assistance to Texas would be in the form of foreign aid, and quite frankly Texas is not geo-politically positioned to assist the U.S., so any request for assistance may take a while to get noticed.

What does Texas have going for it if it secedes?  It has been argued that Texas is a rich source of oil, and Americans need oil.  Can you imagine the profits to be made, now that all that oil will be on the open market and not in the U.S. Reserves?  I admit, we are drunk on oil, but you need to remember that the State of Texas does not own the oil rigs.  Oil rigs and processing plants are privately owned businesses.  In order to earn any kind of income from them, the Texas government would have to tax these entities!  How well is that going to fly among the owners of these multi-billion dollar enterprises?  Isn't one of the reasons for secession the belief that Americans are overtaxed?  Just wait until you move out of Uncle Sam’s house, Texas, to see how high taxes can get! 

Another concern regarding oil is the Gulf of Mexico.  This oil-rich body of water does not belong to Texas, and if Texas tries to claim it they are going to wish that they had some kind of military to back up their actions – but they won’t, because the military is Federal; so all of those military bases in Texas (all 15 of them!) will actually be foreign bases, protecting the interests of the motherland, the United States. 

Texas, what is going to happen to your tourist trade?  When it became required for Americans and Canadians to use a passport to cross the Northern border, a lot fewer Americans decided to cross that border.  Passports are not cheap; I for one can think of a lot of things that I would rather do with my $140 application/renewal fee – like put it towards a vacation somewhere on American soil!  What can I do in Texas that I can’t do somewhere in the other 49 states?  Okay, I will admit that I cannot carry a gun to church in the other 49, you've got me there!

My biggest question of all, should Texas secede, is what would happen to the fence that the U.S. built on the Mexican border?  Will it be dismantled and carried, mile by mile, to the U.S.–Texas border, since that will be the new dividing line between the U.S. and its southern border?  Just think, it would reunite Texans living on the wrong side of the fence with the rest of their country!  [Ed. Note: There is a 50,000 acre area of U.S. soil that is on the wrong side of the border fence].  I suppose there are bright spots to secession after all. 

Another bright spot to Texas seceding would be that the U.S. trade deficit would be slashed, since Texas would now have to import everything it needs from the U.S. – one cannot live on oil alone, now can they?  Food, clothing, cars…suddenly Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” slogan makes more sense!   

Suddenly, it all makes sense!
Further question: Would the Texas Federal Drug Administration allow for imports of U.S. medications, or would they hold the strict line that the U.S. now does with Canadian prescription drugs?  Would Texas even have an FDA, or would that department be cut as a part of the overhaul to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary government bureaucracy?  I hear that in Mexico, Valium is an over the counter medication!  In order to compete, would Texas do the same for Oxycontin? 

Speaking of competing with Mexico, the first time Texas seceded it was from Mexico.  Texas remained independent for nine years before asking the U.S. to annex the state, due to attacks from Mexico (which tried to re-annex it); threats from the British (who still sought a presence on the continent, even after two failed wars); a failed attempt by Texas to annex New Mexico (in order to increase its mineral holdings); and a $10,000,000 deficit (that’s in 1840’s dollars!) that left the country financially unstable (you can read all about it – and more – at  The United States went to war with Mexico over the decision to annex Texas, and claimed not just Texas but the entirely of the American Southwest as spoils of that war.  Quite honestly, I think America is big enough without adding to our southern border.  Should Texassecede,  I say we let them fight their own battle this time.

Texas, are you sure you have thought this through?

Paw Slaps of Disgust to the 100,000+; Snuggles ot the rest of you,

[Ed. Note: As of this writing, 19 other states are also seeking to secede, but Texas is the only state to get so many signatures on a petition, in so short a time, so as to seriously petition the White House with such a plan].

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sometimes, The Past Must Remain There

Dear Tazi:

Ten years ago our beautiful daughter "Denise"was murdered.  Her case remains unsolved.  Our daughter was raised in a good Christian home, and she was given all the advantages she needed to get ahead in the world, but when she turned 18 she also turned her back on all of that and started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

At first the police believed Denise's death was drug related, but her autopsy showed no evidence of drug use; there were no further leads, few suspects, and the case went cold fast.  She became just another black youth who fell victim to the streets.  My husband and I were understandably inconsolable - and furious: at the world; at ourselves for somehow failing her; at the police for not finding evidence as to who killed Denise.

At first, all suspected her boyfriend - a seedy, older man who smoked and drank and was rumored to be violent, but he swears he was "on a three day bender" when Denise was killed.  He had no one to witness his alibi, and was the prime suspect but there was no evidence against him.  He has since cleaned up his act, found God, and works as a volunteer for the Church.  He feels guilty that he was unable to save Denise, and we have accepted his pleas for our forgiveness.  We realize that he did nothing wrong.

As you can see, we have all tried moving forward with our lives.  The pain of losing our daughter will never cease for my husband and I, but it does change.  Like an old wound, scars remain and some days the pain is more noticeable than others, but it is nothing like the raw wound it was when we first lost our daughter.

Now that ten years have passed, her high school class is having a reunion and would like us to attend to witness a short memorial to Denise (she was very popular in high school).  My husband and I would like to politely refuse.  We would also like to ask that the planners refrain from having a memorial.  The time for that was ten years ago.  We are happy that people remember her for the wonderful young woman Denise was, and we would like that memory to remain.  We fear a memorial will simply bring up the details of our daughter's killing - they are gruesome - and replace the memories that people have of her.  We do not want the old wounds torn open.

I have written to several advice columnists on this issue, Tazi, but none have responded.  Could you please respond?  The reunion - and memorial - quickly approaches!

Grieving Parents

Dear Grieving Parents:

You have my utmost sympathies on the loss of your daughter; your pain and grief are unimaginable, so it is completely understandable that you do not wish to attend an even that would tear open your wounds.  I am hoping that I have printed your letter in time for you to show it to the planners of the reunion and memorial.  I realize how much fortitude it must have taken to write your letter; speaking such sentiments may prove to be too much.

I suggest that you enclose a copy of your letter in with a note to the planners of your daughter's reunion, asking them to understand your feelings on the issue.  Sometimes, people do not consider the harm that they may be doing when they try to attempt something good.  Although you cannot prevent Denise's former classmates from holding a small memorial if that is their wish, you do not have to attend it.  It is my hope that they will honor your wishes, and instead place a small table off to the side, with the pictures of all from the class who have passed - including your daughter - with a small "We Remember..." sign.

Extra Snuggles,

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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tazi's Corner #18 - A Tribute To Our Nation's Veterans

Dear Readers,

Last year I printed a tribute to veterans for Veterans' Day.  I have received several requests to reprint it, so for today's Tazi's Corner I will be re-printing  my tribute to veterans, with a great big thank you to all who have served!


A Tribute To Our Nation's Veterans

by Tazi-Kat

Dear Readers:

Today is Veteran's Day. Whether your political stripes are Republican red, Independent white, or Democrat blue, today is a day to remember those - living and dead - who put our country and Her interests above their own, and signed on to serve in the U.S. Military.

The jobs of our Soldiers, Airmen/Airwomen, Navymen/Navywomen and Marines are not like our own. They cannot call out sick because the weather is nice and they wish to take a personal day. If, after signing on, they decide they do not like the job, they cannot simply quit - they must honor the multi-year commitment they have made to serve. When they are told that they are being transferred or deployed, they cannot say "no"; they go where their leaders send them, be it across the country and away from family and friends; or across the world and into imminent danger. How many of us show such loyalty to our employers? 

Whether an enlisted member or an officer, employment in the U.S. Military is more than just a job, more than just a career: it is a way of life. When they leave the "office" for the day - whether the office really is an office, or whether it is a ship or a training field or a battle site - the members of our U.S. Military do not stop representing, even if they are out of uniform and even when they have long since retired from active duty. How many of us show such pride for our profession?

Our country's laws protect our civil rights, preventing our employers from forcing us to complete tasks that we find morally objectionable. The members of our U.S. Military give up many of these protections when they join the service. For the most part, they do not get to choose their job assignment; it is chosen for them based upon their abilities, and they do their job to the best of their abilities, even if they would prefer to be doing something else. How many of us are so accommodating of our employers?

If we, as civilians, disagree with a decision our company leaders make, we can openly argue. If a Military Journalist finds the U.S. position on foreign affairs objectionable s/he had better keep that opinion out of the articles, Editorials, and opinion pieces they write; and keep cheering for the decisions of their Commander in Chief, regardless of his or her true feelings. The rest of our U.S. Military must also tow the "company line" and keep dissenting opinions out of their blogs and away from the ears of their commanding officers. How many of us are so supportive of our Chief Executives? And how many of us could learn to keep our mouths shut so well?

Being a member of our U.S. Military involves sacrifice that civilians will never understand, but it also provides rewards that civilians will never experience. Being a member of the U.S. Military means you are part of a brother-and-sisterhood that goes beyond self-interest, beyond cultural background, beyond the color of your skin. It is to know that whoever you are, and wherever you are, there are those who are willing to put their life on the line to protect the importance of your mission. How many of us can say that about our co-workers?

Whatever your political stripes; whatever your beliefs on war and military spending; please take the time to say "Thank You" to a Veteran for the sacrifices they make to secure, protect, and preserve our American way of life. In the words of one Veteran - who I am certain speaks for more than self - a Veteran of the U.S. Military has "defended those who hate me, fought those who where afraid of me, aided those who didn't know me, and took shots for those who were with me". How many of us can claim to be so selfless? 

Wishing you all a Happy Veterans' Day, and sending a great big THANK YOU to all of our country's Veterans!  I would also like to wish a very Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps which turned 237 yesterday!  Snuggles of appreciation to all!  (Do Marines snuggle?).

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Out And VOTE, Americans! Tazi-Kat For President 2012

Dear Readers,

Today is Election Day in America, a day to exercise your privilege to choose your government leaders.  I will not lecture you on the importance of voting (I gave that chore - I mean honor - to Mommie this past Sunday) but I do ask still undecided voters for YOUR vote!  That's right!

Tazi-Kat for President 2012!

If elected the first thing I will do, aside from poop bricks from both shock and fear, is resign the office so that an election between candidates the vast majority of Americans would actually want for President can take place!  In the meantime, can you think of a better candidate for President than a cat?  Cats are un-corruptible - we treat everybody with equal disrespect, regardless of who they are or how many cat treats they may offer!

Think about it, Americans...think of all the wars that could be avoided if we just handed out Paw Slaps of Disgust instead!  Think about it...but not too hard, because then you might see just how ridiculous voting for a cat really is!



In the immortal words of George Orwell, "FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD!"

Snuggles, America!

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: Set Your Clocks Back One Hour!

Dear Readers:

As a cat, I tend to sleep a lot, regardless of what the clock says; but for those of you who must obey time, please remember to set your clocks one hour BACK! Daylight Savings Time ended at 2 AM this morning, November 4th. extra hour of sleep?  Who dreamed up this beautiful idea?

While you are at it, please do one more thing, to make sure that your home is safe and secure: change the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms!  BONUS: If the batteries are still good you can use them in the TV remote!


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

Tazi's Corner #17 - The Importance Of Your Vote

Dear Readers:

I was going to use this space this week to talk about all the Halloween loot I dragged home this week, but having to watch political ads ad nauseum  crushed my creative muse.  While searching for it, I came across an old essay by my Mommie, and decided that it needed an audience.  Since nobody reads her blog (seriously, it has something like 700 hits over three years) I have decided once again to give her this space.  Sheesh, two weeks in a row!  I am telling you, we cats do nothing but give!

Without further ado, I present to you Mommie's essay on why she votes.


Why I Believe in the Importance of the Vote
by Guest Writer Tazi's Mommie

My Aunt's late mother, "Claire", was born in the early 1900's - before women were extended voting privileges. I remember how Claire once shared a memory with me, of how she went into the voting booth with her mother during the first (national) election in which women were allowed to vote. It was a powerful image, indeed, especially since she was around 90 years old when she shared it with me. For 85+ years that memory lived in her must have been important to her.

As a Women's Studies major, I have studied the history of women's suffrage in America; from its earliest roots at Seneca Falls, to the racism of Alice Paul that split the fight into a black and white issue, to the protest down Pennsylvania Avenue. The images of women being beaten, jailed, and even killed as they fought for suffrage is brought to life for me as Claire's memory echoes in my mind. How many of us now take our voting privileges for granted? That's correct, I said "privilege", not "right". How many are foolish enough to refer to suffrage as the "right" to vote? Voting is not a right - rights are something extended to all, without restriction. Think about that, and consider yourself lucky if you are one of the millions in the world who do have that privilege.

Throughout U.S. history more people have been denied the vote than have been granted it. When our country was founded, only white, property-owning men were allowed to vote. The standards were eventually relaxed to allow all white men to vote; but it took a Civil War, a Constitutional amendment, and countless lives lost to secure the vote for minority citizens. Excuse me, black male citizens. The 15th amendment did not extend the vote to black women, or to Native Americans (who were not considered to be citizens, in spite of the 15th amendment's wording). It took a second Constitutional amendment and even more lives lost to secure suffrage for women; and it took the Civil Rights Era and yet more lives lost to guarantee that those who were extended voting privileges could actually exercise them. Now, we have voter ID laws cropping up around the nation, including in my home state of Rhode Island. Is this an attempt to secure our polls or, as many claim, an attempt to revive Jim Crow? Is this a law that the average American wants to see enforced?

Copyright Garry Trudeau.  All Rights Reserved.
I realize that many people will not vote because they do not like the choices they have.  Do you choose the rock or the hard place?  Do you make a joke of your vote by writing in "Tazi-Kat" for President?  Before you do either (although I am sure my cat would appreciate the publicity) remember that many in the world do not have the opportunity to freely elect their political leaders. Oh, sure, elections are held! In fact, before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sadaam Hussain had been getting elected President by a unanimous vote for decades. If you can't smell bullsh-- coming from those election results, I've got a bridge I would love to sell you!  

Before you refuse to vote on the grounds that it is just too arduous, stop and think about what is going on in Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria right now.  It is called the Arab Spring and young people are fighting and dying for proper representation in their government, governments that are openly abusive of their own people; governments that are openly corrupt; governments that don't listen to the needs of the masses, but only to the voices of those who have money (sounds a bit like what is starting to happen in America, huh?).  The suffering of these brave young people makes the few hours you have to wait at the polls suddenly seem like a much less strenuous ordeal.  If you are handicapped or disabled, let the poll workers know - they will accommodate you.  No eligible voter should feel as if they cannot due to age or debilitation.  

Her crime?  Protesting her government leaders.  
She was beaten near to death.

Perhaps the most important reason to vote is this: If the average American does not make their voice heard, the only voices being heard will be those of the extreme - from the Tea Party (Michele Bachmann and Rand Paul) to Socialists (Bernard Sanders and, some would say, Al Franken).  From what I read in the blogs; letters to the editor; and other places where opinions are expressed, this is not what most Americans want.  Please do your part to keep it from happening - vote this Tuesday, November 6th.  Polls are open from 7 AM to at least 8PM, so regardless of what shift you work, the polls will be open before you go in or after you get out.

This week, as I mark my ballot, I will think about Claire...and smile because I know she would be happy that I voted!

A prosperous Election day to All!

--Tazi's Mommie

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