Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Elderly Reader Has Something To Say!

Dear Tazi:

I am 91 years old and have seen a lot on my day! During my lifetime wars have been fought, women have been granted suffrage, a Civil Rights movement was begun, computers were invented, a man landed on the moon, and so much more! I am truly surprised we don’t have flying cars by now!

During my lifetime I married, birthed seven children and buried two of them; along with two husbands, both of whom left me widowed. I am financially comfortable thanks to prudent investments and modest living. My life has been a blessed one, and I will leave this world with no regrets. I bet you are wondering why I am writing to you, eh, Tazi?

My youngest child, “Mary”, and her children have been after me to move out of my home and into a retirement home. They claim that I am getting too old to live on my own! Tazi, I live in a senior condominium association and am perfectly capable of looking after myself and my neighbors! I do not need some nurse checking in on me all of the time! I think their true goal is to get me to quit smoking (which I would not be able to do in a retirement home) and to take over my condo, since the market is too soft to sell right now. Mary’s youngest is starting college in the fall, and her school is only a half an hours drive from my condo. Mary has “generously” offered to stay in my condo for me and take care of the place once I move out, but I think she is only trying to keep tabs on her girl. Mary is only 48 (she was my surprise baby) so she is far too young to move into my condo community!

My other children (ages 63 – 72) are all looking into their own retirements, and have offered to buy my condo from me if I choose to move, but insist it is my decision to stay or to sell. I want to stay, but Mary is making herself a pain in the behind over it! I’d like to enjoy what years I have left without her constant nagging, but it’s been two years now and she just won’t let up on the matter! Maybe if she sees my letter in print she will get the message:

And I ain't gonna quit smoking, and I ain't gonna stop taking a nip of ginger brandy for when my digestion needs it! I am a gonna continue to eat bacon and eggs and biscuits and gravy, and if I die from it I am a gonna die a happy old woman!

Thank you, Tazi, for letting me have my say! I have enclosed a picture of my Miss Mittens. Isn’t she a cutie?

Florida Flo

Dear Florida Flo:

Miss Mittens IS a cutie! If I lived down in Florida, I would have to court her. Do you think she would be interested in a long-distance relationship? Oh, look at me! Acting all lovesick and forgetting your problem! We cats can be self-centered, on rare occasions such as this one!

I really like the fact that you put your message in animated type – it really gets the message across! I do hope that your youngest finally gets it, too. You did not ask for advice, so I will not offer any. I will presume that by 91 years old, you pretty much have life well figured out. God bless you, and thank you for your letter! It had spunk! (And I LIKE spunk!).


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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Med School Drop-Out, Divorcee Seeks Advice On Moving On

Dear Tazi:

My life is a mess and I am an idiot for allowing all of this to happen. I am in my late twenties and was in my last year of med school when I failed out after the break-up of my marriage. I was warned not to get married while still in school, that the pressures of marriage and med school were far too much to handle, but my girlfriend wanted to get married NOW, so we did. We were dating for eight years – since high school; we were married exactly six months when she left me. I couldn’t handle the heartbreak, and now I am where I am today – divorced and broke with no future; over $200,000 in student loans; and unemployed. I don’t know if you can offer me any advice that the job counselors haven’t already, but I am hoping you could tell me how to at least try to put my life back together.


Dear Drop-Out:

First let me say that I am happy you have spoken to job counselors; this would have been my first suggestion to you in order to get your life back together. Once you have steady employment with a paycheck that will do more than simply sustain you, you will have to concentrate on paying off your student loans. I suggest that you take 10% of every paycheck and put it towards this burden. While this may sound like a lot, the good news is student loan interest is tax deductable, so be certain to list this when you file your 1040 tax forms at the end of the year and lessen the financial burden to yourself. Six-percent annual interest (the average rate of a Federal student loan) on $200,000 is $12,000 – more than enough to merit the filing of a 1040A as opposed to the ease of a 1040EZ.

Regarding the break-up of your marriage, you have my sympathies. It sounds to me that the pressure to get married overruled your sense of responsibility to put your medical studies first. You mention that you and your girlfriend had been together since high school. Is it possible that she wanted to get married “NOW” because she felt the two of you had grown up and grown apart, and was afraid of losing you? Did she have the desire to marry a doctor more than the desire to marry you? I realize that med school is highly stressful and can put undue pressure on any relationship; but six months is an awfully short time for a marriage to go kaput, especially after an eight year relationship. I suggest that you speak with a mental health counselor to work out the issues that are still haunting you from the break-up of your marriage; it may help to put things in perspective, and assist you in your goal of picking up the pieces and moving forward with 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, July 18, 2012

When Is A Dog Not A Dog? When It Is A Wolf!

Dear Tazi:

My sister, “Frances” has always been the type to “rescues” animals. I do not mean taking in an occasional stray dog or cat, although she does that, too; I mean going to the pet store and buying up all of the feeder animals (fish, mice, crickets, etc.) and freeing them. Frances also goes to the animal shelter to frequently adopt animals that are there. Thankfully, she lives on a large farm and has room for all of these critters. Frances works as a schoolteacher, and will often teach on the importance of ecological balance and why it is important to treat animals with respect – spay and neuter your dogs and cats; do not keep exotics as pets; and do not abandon animals into the wild. Unfortunately, frances does not always follow her own advice.

This summer, Frances started volunteering as a docent at our local zoo, which sits just outside a wooded area. During one of her shifts she noticed what she thought was a stray dog. She spend several weeks coaxing it to come to her and teaching it to trust her. After she succeeded in doing this, she brought it home to her farm. Tazi, a half-blind moron could tell by looking at this creature that it is more wolf than dog! When I mentioned this fact to Frances, she said that she had managed to tame it, so it must have a good amount of dog in it. I say the creature is dangerous to own and that she should return it to its natural habitat; but Frances refuses, saying it has come to depend on her and that putting it back into the wild is the equivalent of a death sentence.

Where Frances and I live, it is illegal to own a wolf hybrid. I admit the animal has not hurt anyone yet, but I am simply not comfortable with the idea of a wolf living among humans. It is unnatural. However, I cannot find it in my heart to turn Frances in to the animal control; they would see the animal put to sleep, and I do not want that hanging over my head. Do you know of any way to convince Frances of the error of her decision?

Animal Lover, Too

Dear Animal Lover, Too:

A wolf is a wolf is a wolf, and the wolf in a wolf-dog hybrid trumps the dog portion of the animal. A wild animal can be tamed to an extent – meaning it can be taught through a system of punishment and reward to live among humans – but it will never be domesticated, which means it will never view a human as its master and its behavior will always remain unpredictable.

Your sister’s new “pet” was born in the wild, which means it will not adjust to domestic living – to try to force this lifestyle on the animal would be cruel and dangerous, not to mention illegal. If the animal was brought in as a pup I might argue differently, but from the sound of your letter this is a full grown wolf-hybrid; it will not adjust to captivity (which is what domestic living is for a wild animal). Furthermore, is your sister lives on or around an operating farm she is putting the lives of the surrounding livestock in very real danger. Even though it is half-dog, Frances’ hybrid will have no qualms about attacking sheep, chickens, and other slow-moving livestock – be it her own or the neighbor’s. Should it be a neighbor’s livestock that is damaged, you can bet that they will have no issue with calling animal control to see your sister’s “pet” put down, and your sister charged with keeping a wild/vicious animal.

The wolf-hybrid your sister has taken in has not lived with her long enough to become acclimated to human presence and regular provisions. It will have no problem readjusting to living in the wild, and I suggest that your sister return the animal to where she found it immediately.


P.S. As for the animals she is "freeing", she is sentencing them to certain death. Feeder animals are bred in captivity, and cannot survive in the wild. Although I am personally against feeding live animals to pets (mice have claws and teeth, and can scratch and injure) their freedom will lead to a much more painful death than being eaten by someone's pet. --T.K.

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: A Rich History Provides For Friday The 13th Superstition

Dear Readers:

Another Happy Friday the 13th from a black cat! I promise not to bring you bad luck for crossing your path; instead, I bring you the history of this "unlucky" day! This is a re-post from April, so if you missed it - or simply want to enjoy it again - read on!

According to National Geographic, the idea of Friday the 13th being unlucky is believed to be rooted in Norse myth. A dinner party of 12 gods and goddesses was crashed by Loki the god of mischief and chaos, which is exactly what ensued with the death of a favored goddess to follow. Thus the idea that 13 is an unlucky number, and the superstition that "13 at dinner" is an omen that one of the diners will not live out the year.

Furthering the idea that 13 at dinner is bad for your health is the Christian belief that Christ dined with his 12 apostles (setting the table for 13) right before being betrayed by Judas. Coupled with the belief that Christ was crucified the very next day - a Friday - the two events combined create the concept of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day, as is the early Christian belief that Cain killed his brother Abel on Friday the 13th. However, the idea of 13 being an unlucky number actually pre-dates Christianity. The ancient Babylonian code of law, The Code of Hammurabi, actually skips over Code #13' presumably because it is an "unlucky" number. (Some say the ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission would have fared better with a different name).

In the Middle Ages, fears of witches - and their familiars, the black cat - were said to gather in groups of 12; should a 13th appear, it was assumed to be Satan himself.
The idea of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day did not receive wide-spread belief until the 20th century, thanks to the popular culture of the time. In 1907, a businessman and popular author of the time Thomas Lawson wrote a book called Friday the 13th, the plot of which detailed how an unethical businessman tried to crash the stock market. In 1916, the book was turned into a silent film, furthering the idea that Friday the 13th was an evil, unlucky day; and in a case of life achieving a poor imitation of art, many Wall Street traders of the time blamed the 1925 stock market crash on the fact that three Friday the 13th's occurred in that calendar year (see for yourself by clicking on the link). Nonsensical or not, the damage to Friday the 13th was done: according to Time magazine, Friday the 13th holds a record for being the least active day on the stock market and it is estimated that $700 - $800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th because people refuse to conduct business or travel on that day. And then, there came Jason Voorhees and his Friday the 13th horror-film franchise...it's enough to give anyone triskaidekaphobia (that's a fance word for a fear of the number 13)!

Courtesy of Time magazine, here are a few Friday the 13th superstitions for you to enjoy - or to beware of...

• If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.
(I'm a short-haired cat, I don't need to worry about this one!)

• A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
(My Mommie has three cousins born on Friday the 13th, and they all seem to be doing quite well...)

• If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.
(Note to self: Avoid mousing in any cemeteries today).

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1879288,00.html#ixzz1ruqLr863

Tazi the Advice-Giving Black Cat

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

Friday, July 6, 2012

Children Only Act As Good As They Are Raised

Dear Tazi:

My sister has four children, two girls and two boys, all under the age of 8. I love my nieces and nephews dearly; what I do not love is the fact that my sister refuses to control them. She claims that children need to be allowed to express themselves freely, that it will help them grow up to be assertive and successful later in life. My problem is that every time they come to visit they scream so loud that it disturbs the peace of my quiet neighborhood. I have tried to calm them down myself, but my sister will intervene and insist that the children are simply expressing their excitement at seeing me.

I have tried to institute a “my house, my rules” policy, but my sister refuses to respect it, claiming that she has the right to raise her children by her rules. She even sends her children to an alternative school that encourages children to behave as they would like, so long as they are not physically harming themselves or another child. I have put up with the bad behavior for so long now that I thought I had learned to just take a Xanax before they arrived, but their last visit was over the top – even for them.

On Father’s Day, I hosted a barbecue for my father. My sister wanted to jointly host it, but since she did not have the time to assist it ended up being just me. I have no problem with this, but my sister did. She was pouty all day because people kept telling me how nice of me it was to host a special party for Dad; because of my sister’s bad mood she paid even less attention to her children than usual. I was busy with my hosting duties and could not keep an eye on them, either. This is how my Bichon ended up covered in bright pink blush; how my late Grandmother’s cut crystal vase ended up shattered; and my Lenox® comforter torn down the center.

I know how rambunctious my sister’s kids can be, so I put my dog in my bedroom so he would not be terrorized by them. I then closed the bedroom door to signify that this room was off-limits, just in case the children jumped over the baby-gate I had put up at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to my bedroom. Any other child would understand that these barriers meant to keep out, but not my sister’s kids! While I was outside serving drinks and my husband was manning the grill these little hellions went straight upstairs to search for my dog. From what they say, they were chasing the dog around the bedroom because they wanted to paint him pink (with my blusher) and the vase accidentally got broken and the comforter accidentally ripped when they chased the dog across the bed. I was livid and my husband, who was even more upset than I was, quietly escorted my sister and her kids to their car and told them not to return until they “learn how to behave like civilized human beings”. My father was kind enough to keep the party going, in spite of the mishaps, so the rest of the guests were none the wiser.

My sister feels that since her children have apologized – and that the damage “was accidental” – that I should accept their apologies and let bygones be bygones. Tazi, I can’t. I just can’t. The comforter was part of a $500 set – I worked overtime for a month in order to earn the money to buy it! The vase was a wedding gift from my Grandmother’s personal collection of Polish crystal, which she had brought over with her from the old country. I will not even go into the trauma they caused my poor dog or the grooming costs to remove the blush from her fur! My father would like to see peace kept within the family, but he has told us that he will not get involved in our “fracas” and that we should do what we feel is in our best interests. I am not sure what to do, Tazi. I know my physical property was just stuff, in spite of its sentimental value; but my dog? That oversteps a line.

Frazzled Aunt

Dear Frazzled Aunt:

As backward as this may sound, please do not be angry with the children. I say this because they are all still very young and do not know any better. This is because they have not been raised to know any better. Their mother (and father?) is raising them with few or no boundaries, and they are being sent to a school that encourages the same. You do not mention whether or not you have children, so I will assume you do not. This means that they do not have your children to look to as an example of how to behave when they come over to visit. What they do see is their mother overruling your attempts to discipline them, making you appear to be someone that they do not have to obey.

If you seek to be angry with someone, your sister should be the target. Children should be allowed to express themselves, but not as freely as she is allowing. Children also need structure in order to grow up to be successful and to learn that there is a proper time to be assertive and a proper time to be passive.

I cannot help but wonder if there is something deeper going on between you and your sister. You mention that she wanted to help with the barbecue; was too busy to do so; and then got “pouty” when people complimented you on your efforts. You also mention receiving a precious heirloom as a wedding gift; your sister’s defensive attitude about her parenting; and your father’s champion job in handling the whole situation. If I read between the lines, I get a much clearer picture of a sibling who feels that they do not measure up to you. Your sister could secretly be deriving joy from your misery (the German word for this is schadenfreude, which means to delight in another's misfortune). It appears that your sister is using her children as tools to inflict misery upon you.

The financial damage that your nephews and nieces caused is significant, and you should be reimbursed for damages. I will not suggest that you sue your sister, but you should present her with an itemization of the costs and an explanation as to why she is responsible for them. You can even tell her from me that if she plans on allowing her children to “express themselves freely” wherever they go she will have to get used to paying such bills, and then some. I realize this may cause further enmity between you and your sister, but I am only thinking about what is best for her children. Only when she is held responsible for her children’s behavior will she start teaching them to be responsible which, in the long run, is a lesson that will always serve them well.


P.S. If all else fails, you can file a claim with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for reimbursement of your costs. This will not replace the precious heirloom that was destroyed, but it may help drain some of the bitterness you are feeling.

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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tall, Dark, And Handsome Only Goes So Far...

Dear Tazi:

I am from the Pacific Northwest and my wife is from Northeast Kentucky. We grew up with very different upbringings, and even though we have been married for almost ten years now (together for twelve) I sometimes wonder if she married me because she loved me or because I was an acceptable choice to her family. I say this because I think my wife prefers the forbidden fruit: black men. Where she is from, interracial dating is frowned upon, to put it mildly.

“Beth” gets all excited and claps her hands like a little kid whenever she sees a movie trailer for a show starring Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, or Will Smith. She exclaims that she “simply MUST see that movie” and begs me to take her on the opening night. I love my wife, and I know how much she loves going to the movies (something she did not get to do growing up, since she grew up poor), so I always oblige her. During the show, she is obviously enjoying the show; but I am not sure if it is because of the plot or who is in it. I have asked Beth why she likes black actors so much, but she just looked at me funny and said that she liked good actors. I dropped the issue with her, but it is still gnawing at my mind. The summer movie season is here, so I have a feeling I will be seeing a lot more of these three men on the big screen. Am I being unreasonable and insecure, Tazi? Or do you think my wife would prefer tall, dark, and handsome to a plain guy like me?

Short, Pale, and Average Looking

Dear Short, Pale, and Average Looking:

I had to think about your predicament for a bit, so I decided to take a nap on it. While snuggling into my favorite blanket, the following thought came to me: Is Eddie Murphy on your wife’s list, too? I have to ask because Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson are two of the best dramatic actors in Hollywood today. Rarely do they sign on to a bad script (I will excuse Snakes on a Plane because of its awesome title), so when they headline a movie you can pretty much be guaranteed that the show will be worth the price of admission. Will Smith has proven himself to be an excellent dramatic actor, too (The Pursuit of Happyness; I Am Legend); but has been known to make more that a few bad choices, especially when it comes to comedies (I won’t hold Men in Black II against him, since he was contractually obligated to do it, but what was he thinking with Wild, Wild West?). This brings me to the Eddie Murphy factor:

Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy was an amazing actor. 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, Dreamgirls – drama, comedy, or a combination of the two Mr. Murphy was the best. Then, he made a box-office bomb called The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which is considered one of the biggest box-office flops EVER. In order to compensate for this mistake, Murphy lost his edge and has mostly concentrated on playing Donkey ever since. Therefore, if you wife has included anything recent by Eddie Murphy on her list of must-see movies, I would say that your suspicions are correct. Otherwise, you recommend that you take her at her word. Remember that tall, dark, and handsome only goes so far; it is what's on the inside of the package that counts!


P.S. If Mr. Murphy is reading this, I want you to know that I loved you in Tower Heist! Here's to hoping you're getting your groove back!

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

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Special Announcement From Tazi-Kat!

Dear Readers:

Today I have a special announcement to make; so if you could, please put down your Sunday paper and give me your full attention!

Thank you! As you may or may not know, I have started posting my advice column to BlogHer.com. In addition to enjoying writing my column, I enjoy reading other blogs as well - this is why I write Tazi Recommends... on Sundays, to share the love (we cats are so thoughtful!). However, we cats bore easily; and I have been looking to try my paw at something new but did not know what until I discovered BlogHer. With blogs covering subjects from Food to Feminism there is a niche for everyone - even a little cat like me! With no further ado, I would like to announce that next Sunday will mark the premier edition of

Tazi's Corner
Life As Your Pet Sees It

Why this new direction? Well, what you probably do not know is that my Mommie, who types this column for me, holds more than a degree in Communications. Really, the woman is highly over-educated with an Associates in General Science (Biology/Chemistry) which she has continued to study, resulting in a near-complete Bachelors in Biology; a minor degree in Writing and Rhetoric (she attained a 4.0 GPA in that one!) and yet another degree in Women's Studies, which she is completing this summer. Sitting by her side while she studies all this stuff is me, her beloved cat, learning along with her. I would now like to put my learning to use by writing a commentary blog one day a week, similar to my Special Edition column posted earlier this week.

I would never, ever abandon the main purpose of this blog which (contrary to what some may think) is not pimping out PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com but answering requests for advice from you humans. Really, how do you manage to get by without an advice-giving kitty of your own? I love answering your letters for advice, but sometimes I want to caterwauler about something that has not been asked.

Since Andy Rooney passed, there has been a definite lack of commentary that encompasses a cat's point of view. I do not dare to even dream of filling the void left by the absence of Mr. Rooney's giant eyebrows, but I would like to try and post my paw-prints on history by writing about issues of human importance - from a cat's point of view, of course! You can't escape my smugness that easily!

I look forward to this new project; and I hope that you do, as well. It's you and me against the world, dear readers - let's attack!


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