Wednesday, February 29, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: Panic Over Missing Poet Jay Walker! Please Help!

Click on photo to enlarge for detail!

Dear Readers:

The poetry world is in a panic tonight, as travelling poet Jay Walker has gone missing and has been out of communication for over 24-hours. For Mr. Walker, this is HIGHLY irregular behavior, and his friends, family, loved ones, and community are all very concerned for him.

If you have seen this man, please notify the Austin, TX Police Department's Office of Missing Persons!

Click on photo to enlarge for detail!

(His vehicle is actually a Ford Windstar; but the plate # is correct).

If you believe in a spiritual power, please pray to him/her/it. I will post an update as soon as more information is known.


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

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day!

Dear Readers:

Today is February 29th, commonly known as Leap Day or - in some circles - Sadie Hawkins Day! Many people think that the tradition of Sadie Hawkins Day started with American cartoonist Al Capp, but the truth is that the tradition of women asking me to marry them goes back several centuries. The first recorded celebration of what we now call Sadie Hawkins Day goes back to the 13th century - long before Sadie Hawkins' ugly mug graced the comics pages of American newspapers!

According to Irish-Catholic legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about having to wait so long for a man to ask for her hand in marriage. St. Patrick then gave permission for women to ask the man of their choice to marry them on February 29th (I suppose because it only came around once every four years, meaning the lady in question had probably been waiting some time!).

Old English Law held that February 29th was not a legal day, so citizens reasoned that tradition could be tossed out that day as well! As Leap Day existed to fix the problem of a broken calendar, it could also exist to fix the problem of unequal customs that favored men over women.

Whatever you choose to call this day - Leap Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, or St. Bridget's Day - celebrate in style! Ladies, approach that man you have been pining for (you don't need to propose marriage, just a date!); gentlemen, be aware that the woman who just asked you to join her for coffee may be interested in getting to know you better! As for me, I already have an aggressive female cat in my life; so just for today I will stop hiding under the deck when she comes looking for me! Just for today, though! Tomorrow, all will return to normal - including the AskTazi! entertainment that you have come to expect!


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

Monday, February 27, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: A Big Thank You to WJAR-NBC10/Providence-New Bedford!

Dear Readers:

The #1 NBC station in Southern New England is #1 in my heart tonight! WJAR-NBC10 has made a generous donation of $5,000 to local animal shelters as a thank you to their viewers for "liking" them on Facebook.

As a former shelter cat who, according to the staff, arrived "more dead than alive" I was nursed back to health when they could have just as easily (and much less expensively) put me to sleep. As much as I love to sleep, that is one nap no animal wants to take! It is thanks to the generosity of financial sponsors like NBC-10 that animals like me can find good and loving homes. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you!!!

Sincerest of Snuggles,

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

Soon-To-Be Graduate Needs A Flight Plan From Mother's Nest

Dear Tazi:

I will be graduating college in a few months and need to start looking for a job. My plan is to apply for work in all 50 states (plus DC) and move to wherever the best opportunity takes me. My mother does not think this is a very good idea, and is pressuring me to come up with a "more structured plan for finding employment". I am not sure if Mom is just trying to keep me close to home because she will miss me when I am gone, or because she is afraid that I will fall flat on my face living alone. Either way, I need to get across to her that this is my life and I need to live it my way - without hurting her feelings. After all, she is my Mom. Do you have any suggestions on how to tacitly tell her all this?

Future Superstar!

Dear Future Superstar!:

Congratulations on your educational accomplishments! I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Since this is your final semester of school, the time to start looking for work is now! Many employers expect college graduates to start sending out their resumes, and are waiting to receive them. Some are even setting up interviews for May start dates!

Although I admire your ambition - and your respect for your Mom - a more directed job search might be to your benefit. You do not say where you are from; but you have to remember that America is a huge country, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, and from the frosty winters of the Canadian border to the warmer climates of the Gulf Coast. Some states - like Rhode Island and New Jersey - are densely populated and small enough to travel from end to end by car; others - such as North Dakota and Montana - are sparsely populated, and require hopping an airplane to get to the nearest major city. Do you enjoy fine culture, such as museums; night-clubs; and the lights of Broadway? Or do you prefer wide-open spaces and the light of the stars in the night sky? All of these are things that must be considered before you accept a job offer that requires relocation. Often times, your personal happiness can have an affect on your work.

Remember to keep your requirements realistic; consider the changing weather patterns of the different seasons; and factor in the cost of a visit back home for the holidays or family emergencies (illness, funerals, etc.). Other things to consider are your marital prospects, should that be a step you would eventually like to make. Some states - such as West Virginia - have an extremely high population of senior citizens; while areas like Austin, TX and Tampa Bay, FL consist of large pockets of younger people. You do not say if you are a man or a woman; but states like South Dakota and Alaska are currently overpopulated with single men of marrying age, with far too few single women to go around.

Once you have figured out your preferences, you can narrow your job search to the regions that will accommodate your needs and desires - or at least balance your needs with your desires, if you are unable to find a place that has it all - including employment. Once you have narrowed down your list, your mother should feel more confident in your ability to take care of yourself. She still may not want you to move away, but at least she can be confident that she raised didn't raise a fool - and that she won't have to worry about you living in her basement.


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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tazi Recommends: 366 Random Acts Of Kindness

Dear Readers:

Last week, I recommended one of my favorite blogs, People I Want To Punch In The Throat. Lest you think I am a mean and nasty kitty (I am not, I am actually quite gentle!) I am offering balance this week by recommending another one of my favorite blogs:

366 Random Acts Of Kindness
by Ryan from In Or Near Chicago, IL

As the title of the blog suggests, the author has a goal of completing one random act of kindness daily for the entire 366 days of 2012. We have all seen the bumper sticker that encourages us to "practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty"; but how many of us actually do that? I mean really; do the owners of these bumper stickers even follow their own advice on a somewhat regular basis? Or would that make their acts of kindness less random? I digress...

The reason I like this site is because it points out the simple things humans can do to make the world a better place - from making a difference to one person to making a difference int he lives of many. This week, while my Mommie was riding on a bus, the driver got to preaching about how it is easier to hurt a stranger than someone you love; which is why people take their anger out on people they do not know - the cashier at the supermarket; the slow driver in front of us; the person who looks at us the wrong way while passing us on the street. Maybe, instead of ruining their day by reacting with anger, we could all try to act with understanding - which would be a random act of kindness in and of itself, now wouldn't it?

366 Random Acts Of Kindness blogs daily about the kindness planned or done; and even offers an update on how the pre-planned kindness went. One of my favorite kindnesses was one from this week - Day 54: Gave Away Free Wishes. The author describes how, as children we wish upon everything; but as adults many of us outgrow this charming habit. He has not; and shared the child-like pleasure by standing on a street corner in downtown Chicago, offering pennies as "free wishes" to anyone who wanted to throw them into a fountain. The results he describes are both touching and humorous!

366 Random Acts Of Kindness offers ideas for all of us - some of which can lead to stronger relationships with the people in our lives, like Day 46: Became A Pen Pal To A Sick Child or Day 33: Took A Soldier And His Family To A Game. Some are obviously more of a commitment than others - time-wise, and financially - but it costs no money and only a little time to do something like the author did on Day 42: Donated An Old Cell Phone (it took less than 10 seconds).

366 Random Acts Of Kindness is inspiring, funny, thoughtful...and if nothing else, a good way to brighten your own spirits! I recommend it to families with young children who are trying to teach those children the importance of being kind to others; or to people looking for community service project ideas, as many of these acts can be done on a group level; such as Day 48: Passed Out Free Soup (to the homeless). I also recommend it to people who are seeking to be more generous of spirit, but haven't a clue where to start; or even to people who need something to brighten their - or a friend's - day. The language on the site is family-friendly, so you do not have to worry about what young eyes might see; and you can even browse the site as a family! What could be nicer than that? I suggest you do that right now, so I can go take my nap on that luscious spread of Sunday newsprint!


P.S. For every Facebook "Like" and Twitter "Follow", 366 Random Acts of Kindness will donate 10-cents to charity! --T.K.

Confidential to Mr. FJZ and Ms. PYZ: My deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved kitty-cat.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Message About Tolerance From A Regular Ask Tazi! Reader

Dear Readers:

I have decided to take the day off from giving advice, and hand the reins over to a guest writer - Maya Lincoln, writer for the Community College of RI's student-run newspaper, The Unfiltered Lens, and faithful reader of Ask Tazi!

To follow is a thought-provoking opinion piece that Miss Lincoln wrote for original publication in The Unfiltered Lens; one that I thought it worthy of a larger audience. I do hope you enjoy it!


My feelings of how "tolerance" is being misinterpreted
Written by: Maya Lincoln

As someone who has an interest in promoting tolerance and acceptance of all diverse backgrounds, I question this very issue about tolerance. Why do I have such questions (and confusion) about what tolerance is and what it is not? Well, here is my reason:

Just recently, I have heard the same stories as everyone else about the removal of the prayer Banner at Cranston West and the renaming of the Christmas tree at the Rhode Island State House to "Holiday Tree" by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee. I have even gotten into serious discussions on my Facebook page with my friends and others who are on my "friends" list about these exact issues with the recent events and about what tolerance meant to all of us. Now I as a firm believer in tolerance, I am accepting of all the different diverse cultures, religions, and beliefs, in which the citizens of Rhode Island offer. However, when does having to rename a tree or even removing a banner at a school due to its religious significance have to do with tolerance? Well, this is a big confusion to me. As I was growing up in both the 1980's and the 1990's, there was a big emphasis on teaching tolerance of all diverse backgrounds and also the issue of political correctness. However, instead of teaching tolerance, my friends and I often see that we are inadvertently teaching intolerance. I was taught, by both my parents and my teachers, that tolerance is accepting everyone from all diverse backgrounds, no matter what they are. I was also taught that part of tolerance is being allowed to show pride for my background (a bi-racial woman with an Autism Spectrum disorder) without being harassed and/or judged by anyone else. That also includes anyone should be allowed to proudly display anything from their cultural background without being harassed and/or having to "hide" and not display it due to others who may not share the same background.

Now, I know about the laws dealing with the separation of church and state. This law allowed Governor Lincoln Chaffee to rename the tree displayed at the State House as the "Holiday Tree". But unfortunately, I have also witnessed such events occurring in situations, in which the "separation of church and state" law does not apply. Even in the apartment complex in which I live at, I witness others having to remove decorations from their own doors based on it "offending" someone else. My neighbors were quite upset and I happened to have "harped" in on their conversation, in which they had the same questions and concern that I had. How does displaying a Christmas wreath on one's door offend their non-Catholic neighbors? I know it may not be a part of their religious beliefs, but I would not get insulted if they were to display a Menorah or a decoration related to what their culture celebrates. How about when an openly gay student wears a Rainbow sticker with the words "Gay Pride" written on it and others say they are "offended" or "disgusted" by it? A person's sexual orientation should not offend anyone, nor should wearing a symbol that represents their community should either. I hear things where individuals feel uncomfortable and even offended by cultural or religious displays because those displays do not represent their own beliefs. I see that they may be uncomfortable, but to go as far as being offended, that is bit puzzling to me.

But just how is the displaying of cultural, religious, other diverse backgrounds offending? I could see if these displays had offensive words or signs such as ethnic slurs or even swastikas, in which it would be offensive. However, displaying a holiday decoration or wearing something that shows pride for one's culture is not offending, but actually beautiful. How about instead of complaining of being "offended" or even having someone remove a cultural or religious display, why not display something from all diverse cultures to that display. If anything, I would love such a diverse display because it shows the beauty that this world is: a world that has many diverse backgrounds, cultures, and religions all sharing this wonderful planet, living together in peace and harmony.

So my solution to all of this: Instead of hiding and removing our displays from our diverse background, we all should display something from all of our backgrounds. Whether it be a multi-cultural display of holiday scenes, or every student in the whole school wearing an article of clothing with a symbol or decoration of their heritage, it should be displayed and loved. No matter what your diverse backgrounds maybe, show it, be proud, and accept yourself and others, as well. Showing this pride will allow us to see all the wonderful diversity this world has to offer and that we all belong in this world. The world is meant to be a "colorful" place, one with all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and other beautiful and wonderful diverse differences. Besides if we all looked the same and did the same things, this world would be a very boring place to live in.

Copyright Maya Lincoln and The Unfiltered Lens. Used With Author's Permission.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Person Who Lied About Whereabouts On 9/11 Is Now Getting Burned By Pants On Fire

Dear Readers;

I received this letter about a month ago, and ignored it because I thought it was a fake letter. I am not certain of the writer's identity; but apparently, s/he is not the only one who has taken creative license with their whereabouts on 9/11. I am printing this letter for its relevance, and because it shows honest remorse. --T.K.

Dear Tazi:

I have told a lie that is beyond shameful, and I don't know how to worm my way out of it. On the anniversary of 9/11, I got caught up in the moment and wanted to share in the intense feelings of those who had experienced it first hand; so I lied about my whereabouts on that fateful day.

I used to live in the Tri-State area, so I was pretty close to the front lines when those planes crashed into the Twin Towers, but I was not there as I told people I was. I had taken a personal day from work because I was tired after staying up past midnight to watch the Giants-Broncos game on Monday Night Football. Fast forward ten years, and I have since moved away; to a different area of the country where nobody knows me, and I feel like an outsider. I just wanted to feel like someone with something special to offer; so I told people that I escaped from the Twin Towers that day.

Of course, everyone now looks at me like a local celebrity, and they all have questions of what it was like. Like a fool, I answered them; spinning tales of the destruction as I saw it occur on television and as I pictured it must have been like on the inside. With each retelling, the details get more and more graphic - I feel like I actually was there that day, as I should have been. My popularity has soared, but my conscience is dragging me back down to earth. How do I come clean about my lie[s]? Is it even possible at this point? A part of me wishes I could pick up and move far, far away and start over with an honest, clean slate; but that is not possible at this time. What should I do, little cat?

Not A Survivor

Dear Not a Survivor:

When I first read your letter, I thought that it had to be a joke. I never thought someone would have the chutzpah to lie about such a sacred and tragic event, until I saw a news article about another who also lied about being in the Twin Towers that day (at least I hope it's another, or I just outed you in a column with a world-wide readership!). If you would like, you can use this opportunity to come clean before your story is discovered to be false, too.

Will it be easy to tell people that you lied? No. Will you be harshly judged? No harsher than you are already judging yourself. Will it take courage to step forward and share the truth with those to whom you have woven your lies? Absolutely. However, telling the truth is the right thing to do - it may bring shame to you; but in the end, it may also restore your honor.

If you feel that you simply cannot come forward with the truth, than at least stop spreading lies! If people ask about your experiences on 9/11, simply tell them that you have said all that you have to say on the matter - and then follow through by keeping your mouth shut, so no more lies can fly out of it!

-- Tazi

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Waitress Misses Out On Tip To Hostess Who Stole Her Role

Dear Tazi:

I am a waitress, and I work very hard for my money. Like all waitresses, I have my pet peeves; the biggest being when someone does not tip me. I realize they are expressing displease for what they feel was poor service; but they have to understand that this is not always my fault.

The other day during a mid-afternoon shift, things were rather slow at the restaurant where I work; so the manager asked me to wipe down all of the tables and sweep the floors. While I was doing this, the hostess sat a single person in one of my booths for four. I figured the person was waiting for other people to arrive, so I went on with my cleaning. After about 15 minutes, the Hostess approached me and told me that my table guest was very upset that no server had arrived to even offer her a menu or a glass of water. I had no idea she wasn't waiting for others! The Hostess had not said anything to me! I apologized to the patron, brought her a menu and a glass of water and returned to cleaning. She did not seem too pleased with me but, short of throwing the Hostess under the bus, what could I do? Things went downhill from there.

Because I was cleaning, I lost track of the time and forgot that my one guest was probably waiting for me to take her order. By the time I got back to the table, she was already eating; having had already been served by the Hostess, who she had approached a second time. By the time the woman was ready to leave, she didn't even bother to ask me for the check - she just walked up to the register and asked the Hostess if she could please pay and be on her way. She then made a show of tipping the Hostess for the "all her assistance" and left me nothing!

I realize I was not as attentive to her as I should have been, but it was not my fault! The manager had set me to the task of cleaning - I can't keep an eye on my tables and clean, too! Rather than stiffing me on my tip and giving it to the Hostess (who makes several dollars an hour more than me) I would rather she have asked to speak to the Manager, so he could see that I was obviously overworked. This is not the first time I have been stiffed on a tip because people think tipping is optional, or a reward for good service. Tips are a large part of my income, and when I don't get them my paycheck suffers.

Thank you for allowing me to vent, Tazi!

She Works Hard For the Money (So You'd Better Treat Her Right!)

Dear She Works Hard...:

You did not ask for advice, so I will not offer any. However, I will take the opportunity to vent right back (because this is my column, and I can!).

As the immortal Mr. Pink (of Reservoir Dogs fame) so succinctly put it, "The words 'too busy' should not be in a waitress' vocabulary!" Now, Mr. Pink was being a real [French word for shower]-bag, but the fact of the matter is that if you are too busy to serve your tables, YOU need to be the one approaching the Manager to complain - not the guest, who is there to enjoy a relaxing meal free from the behind-the-scenes drama of your workplace.

After seating your guest, the Hostess should have approached you to tell you she was a single diner (why did she seat her at a table for four?); however, you should not have brushed her off as you did. Then, to get so absorbed in your cleaning as to forget you had a guest waiting for you? I'm sorry, sweetie, but that is just an unacceptable excuse for ignoring your primary duty of waitressing, which should be serving your customers. Your attitude gives waitresses everywhere a bad name! What happens when you have several tables to serve? If you cannot multi-task, perhaps waitressing is not the job for you.

I have nothing but the highest respect for good waitresses! They do a job that, as my Mommie puts it, "I could never do well, which is why I don't work as one!". Nobody ever said waitressing is an easy job - it is very demanding, both physically and emotionally - and from the tone of your letter you don't seem to be cut out for it. Could this be the reason you are getting "stiffed" on your tips on a regular basis?

As for the debate over whether tipping is optional, or a reward for good service...I will into get into that. If my Readers wish to debate it in the comments section, I welcome them to do so and eagerly look forward to reading their comments!

Perfunctory Snuggles,

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: Remembering The Fallen Of The Station Nightclub Fire

Dear Readers:

On a freezing cold February night nine years ago, the lives of Rhode Islanders (USA) were forever changed, when a local nightclub called "The Station" was engulfed in flames and burned to the ground. The sparks started just after 11:00 PM, when soundproofing material was ignited by an indoor fireworks display; and within minutes fire engulfed the entire building, killing 100 people and injuring countless others. That so many survived is truly miraculous; that so many died is a tragedy beyond understanding. The scars the survivors bear are both physical and emotional.

The Station Nightclub Fire was one of the worst nightclub fires in U.S. history, and the worst nightclub fire in Rhode Island history. At the time, it was referred to as "our own personal 9/11". Being such a tiny state (we are approximately the size of the country of Luxemborg) it can seem like everybody knows everybody else; and if you do not know someone, you know somebody that they know or to whom they are related. Not a single Rhode Islander went untouched by this tragic - and preventable - event.

This column is posting at 11:07 PM (the time of the first sparks) to commemorate the memory of those who died in The Station Fire; so that those who live may never forget, and so those who never knew may learn their story.

The names of the fallen are:

Louis S. Alves, 33, of Lincoln
Kevin Anderson, 37, of Warwick
Stacie Angers, 10/14/73 Worcester MA
Christopher Arruda, 30, of Coventry
Eugene Avilez, 21, of Burlington, MA
Tina Ayer,33, of Warwick.
Karla Bagtaz, 41, of Randolph, MA
Mary H. Baker, 1/26/71 Fall River MA
Thomas Barnett, 38, of West Greenwich.
Laureen Beauchaine, 35, of West Warwick.
Steven Thomas Blom, 38, of Cranston.
William Christopher Bonardi, Lincoln RI
Kristine Carbone, 38, of Taunton, Mass.
Richard A. Cabral Jr., 37, of Attleboro, Mass.
William Cartwright, 42, of Pawtucket.
Edward B. Corbet III, 31, of West Warwick.
Michael Cordier, 31, of Westerly.
Alfred Crisostomi, 38, of Providence.
Robert Croteau, 7/13/71 Fall River MA
Lisa D'Andrea, 42, of Barrington.
Matthew P. Darby, 36, of Coventry.
Dina Ann DeMaio, 30, West Warwick
Albert Anthony DiBonaventura, 18, of North Dighton, Mass.
Rachel DePietro (Florio), 31, of Providence.
Christina DiRienzo, 37, Plymouth, Mass.
Kevin J. Dunn, 3/25/65 Attleboro MA
Lori K. Durante, 40, of West Warwick.
Edward Ervanian, 29, of Cranston.
Thomas Fleming, 30, of Worcester, Mass.
Rachael K. Florio-DePietro , 31, of Coventry.
Mark A. Fontaine, 2/12/81 Johnston RI
Chief Petty Officer Daniel Frederickson, 37, of Coventry.
Michael Fresolo, 5/20/70 Worcester MA
James Gahan, 21, of Falmouth, Mass.
Melvin Gerfin, 46, Groton, Conn.
Laura Gillet, 32, of Pembroke, Mass.
Charline Elaine Gingras-Fick, Pawtucket RI
Michael James Gonsalves, 40, of Warwick.
James Gooden, 37, of Cranston.
Derek Gray, 11/4/80 Dracut MA
Pamela Gruttadauria, 33 Johnston, RI
Scott "Skott" Greene, 35, of Warwick.
Scott Griffith, 41, of West Warwick.
Bonnie L. Hamelin, 27, of Warwick.
Jude Henault, 37, of Lisbon, Conn.
Andrew Hoban, 22, of North Kingstown.
Abbie L. Hoisington, 28, of Cranston.
Michael Hoogasian, 31, of Cranston.
Sandy Hoogasian, 27, of Cranston.
Carlton "Bud" Howorth III, 39, of Norton, Mass.
Eric James Hyer, 32, Coventry
Derek Brian Johnson, 3/29/70 West Warwick RI
Lisa Kelly, 27, of Swansea, Mass.
Tracy F. King, 39, of Warwick.
Michael Joseph Kulz, 5/1/72 Warwick RI
Keith Lapierre, 29, of Worcester, Mass.
Dale Latulippe, 46, of Carver, Mass.
Stephen M. Libera, 21, of North Kingstown.
John M. Longiaru, 23, of Johnston.
Ty Longley, 31, of Northridge, CA
Andrea Mancini, 28, of Johnston
Keith A. Mancini, 34, of Cranston
Steven Mancini, 6/20/63 Johnston RI
Judith Manzo, 37, of North Providence.
Thomas Marion Jr., 1/17/76 Westport MA
Jeffery Martin, 12/9/69 Melrose RI
Tammy Mattera-Housa, 29, of Warwick.
Kristen McQuarrie, 1/13/66 Coventry RI
Thomas Medeiros, 40, of Coventry.
Samuel Miceli, 37, of Lisbon, Conn.
Donna M. Mitchell, 29, of Fall River, Mass.
Leigh Ann Moreau, 8/25/81 Providence RI
Ryan M. Morin, 6/8/71 Alston MA
Jason Morton, 38, of West Greenwich.
Katherine O'Donnell, 26, of Seekonk, Mass.
Nicholas O'Neill, 1/28/85 Pawtucket RI
Matthew James Pickett, 2/10/70 Bellingham MA
Carlos L. Pimentel Sr. 38, of West Warwick.
Christopher Prouty, 34, Pawtucket
Jeffrey Rader, 32, Danville, CAE
Teresa Rakoski, 30, of Taunton, Mass.
Robert L. Reisner III, 29, of Coventry.
Walter Rich, 40, of Attleboro, Mass.
Donald Roderiques, 46, of Mashpee, Mass.
Tracey Romanoff, 32, of Coventry.
Joseph Rossi, 35, of Pawtucket.
Bridget Sanetti, 25, of Coventry.
Rebecca "Becky" Shaw, 24, of Warwick.
Mitchell Shubert, 39
Dennis Smith, 36, of Pawtucket.
Victor Stark, 39, of West Yarmouth, Mass.
Benjamin Suffoletto, 43, of Glocester.
Linda Suffoletto
Shawn Sweet, 28, of Pembroke, Mass.
Jason Sylvester, 24, of Coventry.
Sarah Jane Telgarsky, 37, Plainfield CT
Kelly Viera
Kevin Washburn, 30, of Franklin, Mass.
Everett "Tommy" Woodmansee, 30, of Charlestown.
Robert Daniel Young, 29, of Taunton, MA

I thank you for taking the time to remember them.


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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tazi Recommends: People I Want To Punch In The Throat

Dear Readers:

Welcome to another edition of Tazi Recommends...I hope you are finding the blogs I recommend enjoyable, and that the cat in your life appreciates my efforts at distracting you from the Sunday paper. This week I am recommending a blog that is near and dear to my heart; a blog with a title that perfectly describes how felines feel about people who annoy us. The blog is called:

People I Want To Punch In The Throat
by Jen from Kansas (by way of New Jersey)

If the title made you laugh, you are going to love this blog! As its author has been known to say, "This blog is called People I Want to Punch in the Throat not Rainbows & Unicorns...", so be forewarned that the content is not appropriate for young children or anyone who is easily offended. Jen writes about life's annoyances - big and little; from the self-deprecating "Me: For Wanting A Minivan" to her regular jabs at Overachieving Moms who consider everything their child does a trophy-worthy achievement (Aighmee finally used the potty! Let's throw her a party!).

Jen's blog has gone viral on a few occasions, starting with the now legendary Elf On The Shelf rant that has been plagiarized all over the web (I verified it: she is the original author) and most recently with her blog on Rules For Parents Of Daughters. The Huffington Post has featured her work a couple of times now and, quite honestly, I think it would be smart move on their part to contract her as one of their columnists before someone else does.

People I Want To Punch In The Throat is unlike a lot of non-syndicated blogs in that the writer publishes daily; which is unusual (this just in: the Huff Post might start printing her stuff regularly, making People I Want To Punch In The Throat a syndicated column! Congrats, Jen!). What is even more unusual is that, most of the time, her blog is genuinely laugh-out-loud, pee-in-your-pants funny. Aimed mostly towards a female audience, there are some men who might get the jokes; but I recommend it more for the person who does everything for the family and still somehow manages to keep it all together (which is usually The Mommy Person, be they man or woman).

Many of the links in the letters I answer link to People I Want To Punch In The Throat simply for the entertainment value, not because I wish to punch any of my readers in the throat...well, maybe a few, like the [French word for shower]-bag; but on the whole, I do it because I believe humor is a great cure for stress. That being said, I am off to relive my stress by taking my afternoon-long Sunday nap on top of that glorious spread of newspaper that you have hopefully abandoned by now. You should be off to read People I Want To Punch In the Throat.


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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is It Autism? Or Is He Just Shy?

Dear Tazi:

I am really ready to lose it on my daughter and son-in-law! They have been married for seven years, and had their first child after three years of trying - so you can imagine how hypersensitive they are about anything and everything that relates to the child. If "Jack" so much as sneezes they are on the phone with the pediatrician, demanding a full check-up and possibly a trip to the allergist, just to be certain and rule out any underlying issues.

Ever since he was born, Jack has been the center of "Shirley" and "Earl's" universe, to the exclusion of anyone else. This past Fall actually had the nerve to ask my wife and me to reschedule our other grandchild's birthday party because the timing interfered with Jack's new nap schedule. I could see how this might be a reasonable request if Jack were still a newborn, but he is almost three years old! Can you see the picture I am trying to draw for you? It is very important, because here is the issue I am having: I think Jack might be autistic, but his parents are turning a blind eye to the problem.

Jack does not speak to anyone, although his parents say he speaks "when no one else is around". He does not make eye contact with people, and appears very uncomfortable around people in general. He does not like to be hugged or touched in any way, and is particularly sensitive to loud or unexpected noise. Shirley and Earl insist that this is all perfectly normal, and that Jack is just really shy. When I suggested they speak to his pediatrician about getting Jack screened for autism - they get him screened for everything else - they reacted with such offense you would think I suggested that they castrate the child! Shirley even went so far to say I was accusing their "baby" of being "less than perfect" simply because he "prefers the company of his Mommy and Daddy" over me.

Tazi, I am a Neurodevelopment Research Scientist. I have a PhD in my field, and conduct research that deals with autism spectrum disorders. In short, I recognize the signs of autism in children, and know that early-intervention is the best way to help a child overcome any difficulties that may limit him/her later in life. I do not want to see my grandson live a life where he is trapped inside his own mind; but I have tried everything that I can think of - short of kidnapping the kid - to get his parents to have him screened and treated. Do you think I should try calling Child Protective Services?

Dr. Grandpa

Dear Dr. Grandpa:

I am so happy to know that your grandson has someone like you looking out for him! The symptoms you describe do reflect those of autism, and Jack would be well served to be screened and entered into an early-intervention program, if it is shown to be necessary. The fact that his parents consider autistic children to be "less than perfect" shows a very ignorant attitude. Some of the most brilliant minds the world has ever seen - from Mozart to Albert Einstein - are though to have been autistic. Both your daughter and son-in-law need to be educated on this issue. The fact that they call the doctor about every little thing - but ignore the big things - tells me that they are overcompensating for something; and that something could be the fact that Jack is indeed autistic.

Calling Child Protective Services sounds pretty extreme. Is there anyone else (besides you) who can advocate for Jack? Could you write to the child's pediatrician and ask that he evaluate the child the next time Jack is in for what sounds like one of his many visits? Is Jack a member of a play-group or day-care, with trained professionals on staff? All of these people could be potential advocates on Jack's behalf, to pressure his parents into opening their eyes and getting their son the assistance he needs.

If all else fails, and you simply have nowhere else to turn, then I would agree that Child Protective Services must be called for the good of the child - but this call should be an absolute last resort. Keep in mind that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.


Today's column is dedicated to M.T.B., a kind and brilliant young man; and one of the world's next great genius'! --TK

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: Congratulations, Malachy!

Dear Readers:

I would like to take a moment and congratulate a member of the canine community on his Best in Show win at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

Congratulations, Malachy!

He may be a dog, but he's a small dog - heck, I weigh more than he does! - and we small animals must stick together!


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

Husband Is In The Doghouse After Bringing Home A Puppy

Dear Tazi:

Several months ago, my son Michael wrote to you as a homework assignment (he had to write a letter to someone, and he chose you). He wanted advice on how to get me to give in and allow him to get a puppy. I thank you very much for explaining to him why he could not have a puppy; I only wish my husband had bothered to listen to either of us. For Christmas, he bought Michael a black Labrador puppy.

"Charles" decided that a puppy would be a great gift for our almost-eight-year-old son and brought home "Frisky" on Christmas Eve. Michael was ecstatic, and once again promised to take care of everything the puppy would need. Fast forward two months, and guess who is stuck taking care of the animal? That's right - me.

Frisky is an adorable puppy, but a lot of work, and I get absolutely no help from my husband. When it is time to take Frisky for a walk/run after work, Charles claims he needs to go to the gym to exercise or that he just got back from the gym and is too tired. When it comes to taking Frisky to obedience training classes, Charles insists that he has work that he brought home from the office. Yesterday, when we had to take Frisky to the vet for his puppy shots, Charles could not go because he "had" to go play racquetball at the club! Michael comes with me for all of the above (walks, classes, and to the vet) but whines the entire time that he is bored.

I would never drop an animal off at the pound, but I am seriously considering trying to find a new home for Frisky; he is simply more than I can handle. When I mentioned this over dinner last night, Michael started to cry and the conversation was dropped until bedtime - when my husband accused me of being selfish. He thinks that because I am a stay-at-home-mom I don't do anything during the day, and have all the time in the world to schedule obedience classes, vet appointments, and walks with the dog.

Tazi, I would love to find time to go to the gym during the day; but between running the house, sewing clothes for my family, running errands, volunteering at school...there just aren't enough hours in the day! How do I get my family to start pitching in to help me out with the dog? Frisky is starting to get very attached to me.

Not Feeling Frisky, In More Ways than One

Dear Not Feeling Frisky...

It sounds to me like you have your hands quite full! Being a stay-at-home-mom can be a full-time job and adding a new puppy to the mix can be like working overtime; but please remember that Frisky will not be a puppy forever. Soon, he will be trained and the need for obedience classes will end; his visits to the vet will become a yearly event, rather than a monthly thing; and his walk/run schedule will become less erratic as you learn the difference between when he needs to be walked and simply when he wants to go for a walk. In the meantime, if Frisky is to become a full-fledged member of the family, the rest of the family needs to start pitching-in to help!

Unlike cats, which are solitary, dogs are pack animals. This means, unless trained to do otherwise, they look to one person as the pack leader and everyone else as pack members - members that rank higher than the dog would like to believe. This can lead to the dog obeying only the leader and ignoring or disrespecting other members of the family/pack. Your husband and your son need to make an active effort to include themselves in Frisky's obedience training and his regular routine.

I find it very convenient for Charles that he only brings work home from the office on the nights Frisky has obedience training classes. This is an issue on which you need to stand firm. Explain to Charles what I have mentioned: that Frisky will not see your husband as an "Alpha" pack member unless he is trained to do so - which means coming to the obedience training classes and learning how and when to exert authority over the pooch.

As for finding the time and energy to take the dog for an evening run, tell Charles that he can skip the cardio portion of his workout and go for a run with Frisky. This will give both of them the exercise they crave, as well as build a bond between the two of them, which will serve a two-fold purpose: It will give you time to yourself, and lessen - or even prevent - the possessiveness that will soon come if Frisky's attachment to you grows any stronger.

As for Michael whining that he is bored, remind him that Frisky is his puppy; and that he has to take the bad along with the good. In short, he needs to suck it up - although I wouldn't put it in those exact words.


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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Visit A Vet On Valentine's Day

Dear Tazi:

I read your very touching Veteran's Day message, and was hoping that you could promote the Ann Landers' tradition of asking your readers to visit a vet on Valentine's Day.

Almost every country across the globe has military veterans who are living in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes where each day is exactly like the last. The monotony is draining to the spirit, which negatively affects the physical health and recovery process these brave men and women must endure in their efforts to get back to the lives they lived before the war(s) in which they fought. A visit from someone who is willing to take the time to say hello, to read to them, to listen, or to encourage can do wonders to break the cycle of sameness that can lead to depression. I know, because I was once a veteran in rehab; and a Valentine's Day visit from a stranger who took the time to come see me made a huge difference in both of our lives, and sparked a friendship that has lasted for many, many years.

A (Prematurely Retired) U.S. Marine

Dear U.S. Marine:

I have always been told "once a Marine, always a Marine", and I salute you for your service and sacrifice! I received your letter late, so I could not suggest sending cards as Ann Landers always did; but as a small token of my appreciation, I am pushing it to the head of my queue; printing it on Valentine's Day; and hoping that it reminds people to take time today to visit those who need our attention, but would never dream of asking for it: the brave men and women of our armed services. You heard the man, Readers! Please take the time to visit a vet today!

Snuggles to all,

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Woman Breaks It Off With Man Of Too Many "Deal-Breakers"

Dear Tazi:

Back in November, I wrote to you about a man I was seeing (aka "Irwin") who had a long list of what he called "deal-breakers" in a relationship. You suggested that I "walk away" from Irwin ASAP without making excuses to stay because I did not want to be alone during the upcoming holiday season. You asked me to write back and let you know how things turned out, so I am writing to share my story.

I wasn't too thrilled with your advice, but kept it in mind as I gave Irwin a little more time and, as it would turn out, one more date. It was the week before Thanksgiving, and Irwin still had not mentioned what his plans were for Thanksgiving, so I finally decided to ask him to join my family and me for dinner. Irwin was delighted to accept; so I thought this meant he might actually be getting serious about me. I could not have been more wrong!

Thanksgiving was being held at my Aunt's house, and since she lives halfway between my place and Irwin's, I suggested that we meet there and gave Irwin explicit directions; complete with landmarks so he would not get lost. Dinner was to be served at 1:00 PM; so when Irwin did not show by 1:30 I got worried and tried to call him, to no avail. To make a long story short, Irwin did not show up until 4:00 PM, upset that we did not hold dinner for him! His explanation for being so late was that he does not like to eat a big holiday meal until halfway between lunch and dinner, so as not to be hungry again just before going to bed.

Not only did Irwin not offer an apology for his tardiness; but he gave my aunt an attitude about "scheduling dinner at a time that was not convenient for an honored guest". I do not know where Irwin got off thinking he was an "honored guest", but I was completely humiliated by his ungrateful behavior. To make matters worse, Irwin told me that the cool reception he received from my family was "a possible deal-breaker" and that I might want to suggest that they apologize to him for their rudeness if our relationship was to continue. Needless to say, I broke up with him on the spot.

I spent the holiday season single, much to the relief of my family, and realized that I would rather be alone than settle for someone who treats me like a lesser person. Valentine's Day is approaching, and although I am a bit disappointed to be spending it single; I realize that there are worse fates to suffer - for example, I could still be dating Irwin!

Footloose and Fancy Free

Dear Footloose and Fancy Free:

Thank you for writing to follow up with me and my other readers! I am sorry to hear that you had such an embarrassing experience over Thanksgiving; but you must remember that such events are the stuff that family legends are made of; and that someday, you will look back and laugh over it.

I wish you all the best in your hunt for Mr. Right, and am glad to know that you are refusing to settle for Mr. Right Now.


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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tazi Recommends: Closet Cooking

Dear Readers:

Do you like to cook? If you do, do you want to come cook for my family? Seriously, I love my Mommie and she is an awesome cook, but she is at her most disorganized when she is in the kitchen! The other day, it took her half an hour to make sandwiches! It is pitiful to watch her try and pull together a meal where everything comes out of the oven and is ready to serve at the same time. Invariably, the rice gets overcooked. It's pretty sad. What is worse is that this past month, my Co-Mommie (her Mommie) has been sick, so my Mommie has been doing all the cooking!! This is what brought her to the site I am recommending today:

Closet Cooking
by Kevin from Toronto, Ontairo, Canada

Mr. Kevin could teach my Mommie a few lessons. Like her, he realized that his meals were boring and uninspired; so I am guessing that he decided to actually open one of the one gazillion and five cookbooks that he probably already owned but never touched and share the recipes he finds on his blog, Closet Cooking. (For the record, my Mommie actually has one gazillion and five cookbooks that she never opens - I have counted them all!).

Now, I realize what the blog name implies, but that is actually misleading. Mr. Kevin is not a closet cook, nor does he cook in the closet or cook closets. Closet Cooking is a reference to the size of his kitchen - apparently, it is pretty tiny, so he does not have room to transform the place into Rachel Ray's studio or the Paula Deen Store. For this reason, all the recipes featured on Closet Cooking can be made with minimal kitchen equipment - there is no need to go out and buy a stand mixer or a dutch oven in order to prepare these recipes!

The great thing about Closet Cooking is that it has recipes that everyone will enjoy, from picky kids to the gourmand in your life. Are your cooking skills limited to making grilled cheese? This site offers several grilled cheese recipes, including a jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwich, a spinach-pesto grilled cheese sandwich, and my personal favorite, a buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich. For those with more sophisticated palates, Closet Cooking offers recipes like double-smoked, bacon-wrapped filet mignon and tilapia piccata. If breakfast and brunch are more your speed, you can impress your guests with an easy appetizer of cucumber and feta rolls followed by a main course of raspberry and Nutella crepes (or apple pie French toast if you want something heavier), and finish off with individual pots of orange chocolate mousse.

What I like best about Closet Cooking is that each recipe comes with easy to follow instructions and ingredient lists, as well as full-color pictures of every recipe; so there is no guess-work involved on your part. What you see is what you get! Plus, each recipe gives an estimate of the prep time, cooking time, and total time in the kitchen; so you know what you are getting into before you start cooking. There is also a Google search feature on the site, so you can type in a keyword (like "chicken") and page after page of recipes that match your search word will appear like magic - complete with thumbnail pictures of the completed recipe.

I would recommend Closet Cooking for anyone who likes cooking - or would like to learn how to cook - but does not have the kitchen of Martha Stewart. Many of the recipes featured can be done as a family project, with little hands handling the less demanding tasks of stirring, rolling, and layering; while larger but still inexperienced hands can cover the duties of peeling, slicing, and chopping while the main cook handles the job duties of pulling everything together.

All this talk of food has made me hungry, so I am off to have a snack and a post-snack nap on top of the newspaper (of course). Enjoy your Sunday, dear Readers!


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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wannabe Writer's Work Is More Blah Than Blog

Dear Tazi:

My life partner recently read that now famous Elf On The Shelf blog that went viral and has decided to start blogging in hopes of hitting it big as a writer. The problem is, she has no experience or training as a writer; and is absolutely awful at it! Her blogs are truly abysmal (I have included the web address so you can see for yourself). Her sentence structure is downright pitiful; her spelling is so bad that even spell check can't correct it; and no matter what topic she decides to write about, she rambles on and on without actually making a point.

I want to be supportive of "Joanie's" efforts, and have suggested that she take a few courses at the local community college in order to "polish her craft" but she doesn't take the hint, instead saying that "true writers do not need training; the muse lives inside them". Compounding the situation is the fact that Joanie suffers from issues of low self-worth. Writing this blog has really helped her spirits, so I don't want to crush them by telling Joanie the truth; but every day she checks her "hits" and wonders when her blog is going to go viral. I feel that by not being straight with her I am only adding to the problem. Tazi, do you have any advice on how I should handle the situation? And what kind of training Joanie needs in order to improve as a writer? And on how to make a blog go viral?


Dear J.J.:

I, too, have read the Elf On A Shelf blog and am a follower of the writer, so I am always glad when I can link to her work (which you can connect to here; just remember to come back to my page when you are done!). As for your life partner's work, I am not linking to it for two reasons: the first is to protect your privacy/identity in case she - or someone she knows - happens to read this column; the second reason is because the writing really is as bad as you say and I do not wish to promote it. I read several blog entries in Joanie's blog, and although I like some of her ideas (especially the one about why it is more fun to eat with a spoon than a fork) she took a long and winding road to her point, and the humor was lost along the way.

Editing for content and length are a few keys to successful writing. You could make these suggestions to Joanie, offering them up as constructive criticism, with the emphasis on constructive. This is one way you could help Joanie follow her dream of becoming a successful blogger. Another suggestion I will offer is for Joanie to lose the 'tude. True writers do need training - and a lot of it - in order to become great writers. It takes more than a great idea to be able to successfully write an interesting essay, which is why colleges and universities offer entire degrees in Writing and Rhetoric. Your suggestion to Joanie that she take a few writing courses at the local community college is an excellent one, and I would continue to encourage her to go that route.

If Joanie feels that she does not need to take courses in writing you can suggest a few courses in Communications or even content specific courses like Writing for the Internet or Online Communications. Blogging is very different than writing for a newspaper or a magazine, and these courses will offer plenty of tips on how to succeed - including what elements to include to help a blog go viral.

As for your question on how to make a blog go viral, there is no one answer - it is a combination of things, including readability; relevance of the topic; media outlet; target audience and where to find them; and a dose of pure luck, which is what I wish you!


P.S. What many readers do not realize is that a lot of people who blog semi-professionally are professionally trained as writers. Every letter I receive gets reviewed for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure and edited/corrected in order to make them easier for my readers to follow. Some letters - such as yours - need no editing at all; others practically have to be re-written in order to be understood. --T.K.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wife Wants More Sexually Than Husband Is Capable Of Giving

Dear Tazi:

I hope that you will take my letter seriously, because it is real. With all the talk in the media lately about Newt Gingrich and his request for an open marriage, my wife had decided this is the perfect time for us to explore the idea of an open marriage ourselves. I am not certain how I feel about this request.

On the one hand, I understand that my wife - who is a few decades younger than me - has needs that I am unable to meet, even with medication, due to complications from a prostate surgery several years ago. I love my wife and want to see her fulfilled, but I am afraid that she will find too much comfort in the arms of another man and leave me. On the other hand, I find the idea of watching another man pleasing my wife to be quite a turn on, and I think I would enjoy pleasuring her in the ways I am capable of performing as a second man takes care of the things that I cannot.

My problem is, I know that there is a fine line between fantasy and reality; and I am afraid that once the line is crossed I may discover that the reality is not what I expect or want. Would I then be stuck in an open marriage? Or do you think it would be okay to tell my wife that the whole idea just isn't working for me.

Newty, Newty Boy!

Dear Newty, Newty Boy!:

You are correct in your estimation that there is a fine line between fantasy and reality, as well as in your understanding that the reality of watching another man pleasure your wife - in ways you cannot - might not measure up to the fantasy you are playing out in your head.

You mention that your wife is "a few decades" younger than you, leading me to believe that yours is a May-December marriage, which presents problems unique to such a pairing. It sounds to me that your wife is seeking permission to cheat on you, and may already have someone in mind to participate in this "open marriage". If I were you, I would nix the idea of an open marriage and seek the advice of a neutral third party - be it a marriage counselor, clergy, or a sex therapist who can assist you through your mutual frustrations.

If you are not comfortable discussing such a delicate issue with an outside party, perhaps a visit to the local adult bookstore could provide some accessories that will assist in your efforts to meet your wife's physical needs while maintaining the sanctity of your marriage. I wish you luck!


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

Monday, February 6, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: A (Hopefully!) Final Word On The Prayer Banner Controversy

Dear Readers:

I received this letter in the comments section of the student response to "Falcon Forever", and am printing it as a letter because I feel it sums up the entire issue of the Cranston (RI) High School West prayer banner controversy. Enjoy!


P.S. Of all the comments and letters I have received on this matter, the overwhelming majority have been against keeping the banner.


Never felt moved to comment, although I love your work on this blog, until I followed your coverage of the "Cranston prayer banner" story. I have my own thoughts on the subject, and unless you decide that you've devoted enough time to the topic and want to move on (which I've seen cats do quite easily, which is why I love them so much), you have my permission to post this as a separate letter as well.

I've seen a lot of people commenting on the story suggest that Jessica could have just ignored the banner, but it doesn't change the fact that it is completely unconstitutional to have any prayer in a public school, regardless of what religion it promotes. I don't think it's about whether or not she thought that the Christian underground was out to convert her, or if she hated organized religion and all its manifestations. I believe she just thought it was illegal to have there. If alumni of an inner city school gifted a block of crack to their alma mater, it would be illegal for the school to have it, and no one would disagree. She thought that this was illegal for the school to possess/display as well. There seems to be this idea that she was out to destroy baby Jesus and succeeded, which is missing the point. She was pointing out a technicality, and the circuit judge agreed. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

One complainant mentioned on Facebook: "The prayer is never recited; no one even knows the damn thing, except that it's up on the [expletive deleted] wall; and no one ever sees the wall, 'cause no one is ever in the [expletive deleted] auditorium, and when they are there, the [expletive deleted] lights are off!" If that is the case, then why make a big deal about it being taken down? She made her case, and legally she won, and if no one has ever noticed the thing before, then they shouldn't have any problems with it not being there.

Finally, a random thought from my past: When I was in the sixth grade, after the Pledge of Allegiance, we would recite what was called a "Class Code" every morning, and I still remember it by heart: "As sixth graders, we must be respectful of each other, always strive to do our very best work, cooperate as a class, treat everyone as we would like to be treated, and be an excellent example for the rest of the school." It's no Our Father, for sure, but it's a valid statement, perfectly complete and respectable with no religious inclusions whatsoever, unless you want to count the Golden Rule, which to be frank was repeated by many great minds before, during, and after the time of Christ. Without the appeal to a "Heavenly Father" and the "Amen" closing, I'm sure even Jessica herself wouldn't see a problem with a "class code" or "code of ethics" or whatever you want to call it based on the remaining words:

"Grant us each day the desire to do our best,
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,
Teach us the value of true friendship,
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West."

That's beautiful! And it doesn't offend anyone. I suspect the only reason Cranston West didn't make such a change when public prayer was no longer allowed in schools is because, based on the complainant's words, successive administrations have forgotten the prayer was ever there. And you know what they say about forgetting: "If you forget something, invariably it'll come back to bite you in the behind." That's what I think happened here.


Tazi here again! Perhaps compromise can rule the day, and the opening and closing of this prayer/creed/code can simply be painted over so as to read as a School Code, as has been suggested by others. Cats don't usually believe in compromise - after all, whatever we want we consider ours - but we hate to see humans argue (the noise disturbs our inner peace). Thank you for sharing!


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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A SUPER Congratulations To The New York Giants

Dear Readers:

I want to send out a heartfelt congratulations to the New York Giants on their impressive Super Bowl win!

As for me, I managed to stay awake for the entire three and a half hours, which is no small accomplishment for a cat! I think that should earn me some praise, too!


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

Tazi Recommends: Blogging Disney - The Unofficial Blog For Everything Disney

Dear Readers:

Are you a fan of Disney Princesses? I'm more of an Aristocats fan myself; however, my Mommie's cousin is a HUGE fan, so in honor of her 5th birthday - which is this week - I am recommending:

Blogging Disney - The Unofficial Blog For Everything Disney

The author of the page does not self-identify, which is a pity because the site - and it is an entire site, not just a single-page blog - is amazingly well done, with numerous video clips and rich, full-color graphics that Disney is known for creating. The blog is set up with a categorical menu bar that runs across the top of the page, so readers can find blogs that match their targeted Disney interest - from finding their local Disney channel to finding the latest Disney Princess themed gaming apps (yes, they have them. They also have Disney Bridal, where the bride-to-be can view Disney-inspired wedding dresses! Who knew?).

Don't get me wrong - this site is not all about princesses. Whether you are looking to test your Disney movie IQ with the Disney Fairy Tale Quiz (I failed it!), catch up with the latest Disney theme park news, or even plan a Disney vacation (with or without the kids), Blogging Disney has something to offer all fans of everything Disney - and let's be honest: Who isn't a fan of the House of Mouse?

Speaking of the Mouse himself, at first glance the site seems to downplay Mickey and friends in favor of Disney's newer characters, but at the top of the page is a horizontal scroll of just about every Disney work ever created - from classic Mickey Mouse cartoons to the ever-popular Cars, so if you or your child are more into Buzz and Woody or Captain Jack Sparrow you, too, can find the latest and greatest on Blogging Disney - including information on the new Disney Broadway musical Newsies, based on the historically based 1992 movie of the same name! Overall, I would say that he site is geared towards...well, everyone! It covers not only Disney animation and Pixar Studios, but work by other Disney subsidiaries; such as ABC and ABC Family Channel programming, and even Marvel Comics, which Disney now owns - which also explains the recent rash of super-hero themed movies and merchandising (Wolverine cookie-cutter anyone?).

I suggest you drop that Sunday paper (it's time for my nap, and I want to sleep on it!) and head on over to Blogging Disney right now - if only to check out the synopsis and trailer of Disney Pixar's newest princess movie "Brave", an obvious response to the commercial success of Tangled; and a step in the right direction towards empowering princesses everywhere.


P.S. to MLM: A very happy 5th birthday to one of my favorite Disney princesses ever!

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

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Child Is Losing His Religion, Much To Mother's Dismay

Dear Tazi:

My heart is breaking. My son started college this past September, and when he returned home over the semester break he informed me that he would not be attending Christmas mass with me - or any mass, for that matter. "Jeff" told me that he realized that religion is nothing more than "pablum for the weak minded masses" and that he wanted no part of it.

I have tried talking to him about his sudden change in behavior, but the more I try the further he runs. With the whole hulabuloo in your home state over a prayer banner in the local high school, I am sure you have had it with issues of religion; but please, is there any advice you can offer me on how to break-through to my son?


Dear Devastated:

Your son's words are quite hurtful, for many reasons, but especially since you appear to be a devout Christian. Please know that you have my sympathies.

Many times, when a child leaves home for the first time it is a time of personal discovery. Whether your son is an atheist or is simply exploring different philosophies is something that only time will tell. In the Book of Matthew (13:1-23) the parable of the Sower and the Seeds tells the story of the various places seeds fell - "some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them..."

In times of adversity, some turn away from their upbringing while others cling to it; the same can be said in times of prosperity. I gather from your son's comment that religion is "pablum for the weak minded masses" that there is more going on in his life than he is willing to share. Perhaps he is the seed that is being choked by the weeds; or the seedling that cannot burrow into the rocky ground. Rather than chase your son back into a life in the church - as you have seen, that will not work - try to approach him on his own terms: Ask him why he feels as he does, what has happened to affect this sudden change in his beliefs, and why he feels he must use such hurtful language. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs; but nobody is entitled to be disrespectful to another - especially to their Mama!

If you can engage your son in an honest and caring conversation - one in which he does not feel attacked - perhaps he will be more willing to discuss his feelings on this sensitive matter. I cannot guarantee that he will return to the church - that is a decision that he alone can make - but at least you will know why he has walked away from it.


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