Wednesday, July 31, 2013

College Bound And Afraid She Won't Make The Grade

Dear Tazi:

I live in the great state of Texas, may God forever continue to bless Her, and I am faced with a conundrum (that’s a word from my SAT’s) that even my independent Texas breeding cannot help me solve. I will admit that I am too proud to ask for help from anyone I know, so I am writing to you to seek your advice. Farm animals have a great deal of what where I come from we call horse sense, and although a cat is not technically a farm animal unless it’s a barn cat, you seem like a smart little critter.

One of the many amazing things about the state of Texas is its terrific higher education system. It seems like every red-blooded American wants to get into it, which is why Texas limits the number of non-Texan admissions and, in order to please the affirmative action fanatics, accepts every applicant who places in the top 10-percent of their high school class. This way, we get a great cross-section of races because some school districts have a lot of one race and others have a lot of another race and since each race has its smart kids they are bound to end up at the top of their school regardless of their race. I am one of those students.

I’ve grown up on a farm, which I suppose is to say I have grown up poor although I never wanted for the best of what Texas and Mother Nature have to offer. I know there is more out there than what farming can offer and I see what that farm-girl Carrie Underwood has done and I want to do more with my life, too. I knew I would not be able to afford college so I worked hard to earn scholarships and I graduated at the top of my class! So now you’re probably wanting to know what my problem is, huh?

I am afraid that I will make a dang fool of myself if I got to college. I have been accepted to the University of Texas (the main campus in Austin) and I have enough scholarship money to pay for my first year, but I am afraid that my high school wasn’t one of the best in the state and that I will shame myself and my family by making a fool out of myself by failing out of college.

No Texan has ever given in to their fears before and I will not be the first one to do it, so I am going to go to college this fall. I was hoping you might have some advice for me on how to do well and not flunk out and embarrass myself and all that.

College Bound Cowgirl

Dear College Bound Cowgirl:

Your state pride is admirable and your desire to make your state – and its citizens and your loved one’s – proud of you will take you far in life. Personally, I think it is the desire to succeed at something that pushes us towards success far more than our knowledge of how to do it. Knowledge can be learned, but ambition is not something that can be taught!

Normally acceptance into college and high school class standing are two things that you should be proud of, and they should give you the confidence you need to move forward; however, if your school was not a good one you are right to question the validity of these criteria. Your high school must maintain certain standards to achieve state accreditation (required to remain open and as a diploma-granting institution) so I am not worried about the level of education you received. So long as you were in a college preparatory program and earned a “B” average or better (without a scale in grading) you should be fine going to college. If your grades or your standing were somehow inflated – graded on a curve, taking non-college preparatory classes – or your average was “C” level you may want to consider starting at a junior college or community college close to home and then transferring to a four year school once you have had some experience learning and working at the college level.

I run a spelling and grammar check on all of the letters I print, and had to do quite a bit of fixing on your sentence structure, but this could be because you used a colloquial form of writing. (Was “colloquial” one of your SAT words?). Every college that I know of requires freshman students to take a Writing class where they teach the importance of grammar and what is expected of you in college writing, so I am not too worried about how you will fare with the written word.

Can you guess which one is the freshman and
which one is the senior?

If you are having trouble in any of your classes, the most important thing to do is to talk to the professor immediately; not after you have failed your first exam, but as soon as you realize you are having trouble understanding the material. Professors have office hours during which they are happy to meet with students! Many colleges and universities also have free peer tutoring programs for enrolled students. These programs can make the difference between failing and passing and between passing and excelling!

Last of all, always buy the book for the class and keep up with the assigned reading! Once you get settled into school, put together a schedule allowing for free time, reading/study time, and anything else you need to fit into it and then stick to that schedule. Half the battle of making it through college is being disciplined enough to get all of your work done.

In the end, if you have done all you can do and discover that college is not the best fit for you, hold your head high and know that even The Alamo was lost after a long and arduous fight.


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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Like Michael Jackson Said, "It Doesn't Matter If You're Black Or White!"

Dear Tazi:

I am white and my girlfriend is black. Although all of my friends seem cool with this, her friends have given her a lot of attitude about dating a white guy. We were at a party the other night when she finally had enough of her girlfriends calling her a sell-out and asking her what's wrong with the black men she knows and she went off on them.

"Shawnice" told her friends that too many of the black men she knows have been locked up for doing drugs or selling them, have dropped out of school or not gone to college, or have fathered children by "way too many baby mamas" for her liking. She went on to say that "all of the good brothers, the ones with education and a future" are dating white women, so why shouldn't she go after a white woman's man if one wants her? Tazi, this little speech shut her friends up but left me with a lot of questions.

I asked Shawnice if she was only with me because she couldn't find a black man who met her standards and was interested in dating her. She rolled her eyes at me and told me to let it go, that she is with me because she loves me, but I can't let it go. I am seriously wondering if she will leave me if a college educated black man were to come along and sweep her off of her feet. Should I just let sleeping dogs lie or should I push this issue? She really has me feeling insecure.

The Vanilla One

Dear The Vanilla One:

Here in America a lot of people are hung up on race. I am a black cat and a lot of people don't like me because they think I am bad luck, but under my fur I am as white as snow! What "race" does this make me? Am I any more lovable because my skin is white or because my fur is black? Do you love Shawnice any more or less than any past girlfriends because of the color of her skin? (If you do, your issues go much deeper than can be resolved with a letter to me!).

You have told Shawnice how hurt you were by her "little speech" to her friends, and she let you know that you have nothing to worry about; that she loves you for what you are on the inside (figuratively speaking) not the outside. Would she leave you if a college educated man with deep brown colored skin were to sweep her off of her feet? I don't know. What if his skin were lighter brown, or reddish brown, or coal black or burnt umber?

I hear once you go burnt sienna you never leave...

Being with someone for their looks - and skin color is a part of someone's looks - gets old very quickly. While being Black (as opposed to black) represents a culture of which you are a part, this does not mean that Shawnice wants a man who shares everything about her culture. My Mommie is Polish-American and my Daddy is from the Azores (Portuguese) but that is a part of what keeps things interesting for them - together they are constantly experiencing new things that they would never have discovered without the other. Together they have created their own traditions - just like you and your girlfriend can do, if you get over your concern that your worlds are strictly black and white (pun intended). Let things blend and find the beautiful shades of grey that can be created.


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

Monday, July 29, 2013

To Err Human, To Forgive Divine, But Penance Is Another Story

Dear Tazi:

Several years ago, when I was newly married, I cheated on my husband with the man I had dated before meeting my husband. It was not a one time fling, but it only lasted a couple of months before I came to my senses and ended things. Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant and since I thought it was my boyfriend’s baby (and not my husband) I secretly had an abortion and told my husband it was a miscarriage.

A few years after all of this happened I found God and was saved. I confessed my wrongdoings to God and to my husband, who mercifully decided not to leave me. In return, I have been a devoted wife to him and have not so much as looked at another man in all those years. I am truly penitent for my sins and hold a grateful heart for the second chance I have been given.

I am as open as I can possibly be with my husband, including sharing a personal email account with him so he can see that I am not hiding any secret messages from men. I do have a separate email address for my work; I work from home as a freelancer and keep my business mail separate from my personal mail so I can have a more businesslike email address and a personal sounding email address. I keep a portfolio of my work online with my business email as the contact address.

Last week, a very old boyfriend (not the same one I cheated with) contacted me, telling me he was Googling ex-girlfriends to see what had become of them and he found my portfolio. He complimented my work and told me he was happy for my success. Tazi, I was quite happy to receive his email, not because I have feelings for him (I don’t) but because I was a struggling art student when I dated this man, and he always encouraged me to give up on my dream and pursue “a more realistic goal”. To know that he knows he was wrong and that I am a successful artist was a boost to my pride. I know pride is a sin, but Tazi this man was very cruel to me and I feel that recognition of my success is his penance.

I immediately told my husband that an old boyfriend had contacted me via email, and showed him both the email and my haughty response. My husband flipped out on me, accusing me of contacting old boyfriends behind his back. I told him that was not true and showed him my entire email box. When he suggested that I had deleted my secret emails I showed him my deleted mail, too, but he suggested that I knew he would ask to see them and so I deleted them from my trash bin.

My husband is now demanding complete access to my business email account, saying he cannot trust that I am not up to my “old tricks” again. It has been fifteen years since I cheated, and I thought our marriage was secure and healthy. My husband’s accusations have hurt me deeply, and I would like him to apologize but he has told me that I am the one who wronged him and that this is a part of my penance. Do you think he is being unreasonable, or should I give in to his demands? I would ask the people of our church, but I would rather they not know of my marital spats and deeply embarrassing behaviors that no longer represent the person I am today.

Reform Artist

Dear Reform Artist:

So often, the most difficult part of forgiveness is penance for our sins – not only performing that penance, but accepting it as proof of true remorse for hurtful actions. Why you ever told your husband that you cheated on him is something you do not share here, but many social workers believe that sharing hurtful information that would otherwise never be discovered is a way of assuaging our own guilt over our hurtful actions. You need to ask yourself what you hoped to gain by telling your husband you were unfaithful and then lying to him about the true cause of your pregnancy’s termination. Clearing your conscience at the cost of someone else’s well-being is not a very Christina action. While you may have been left to think that your marriage was on solid ground all these years, did you ever stop to think how your husband has felt?

You speak a lot about penance, yet you think that a small loss of privacy is a large enough penance for the sins of adultery and lying, and that shaming someone who did not believe in you as a youth is deserved. Lady, you have a very warped idea of what a just and deserved penance is. It has been decades since your ex-boyfriend told you to give up on your dream, yet you hold onto this slight like it was a precious gem, all the while expecting your husband to forget that you broke your wedding vows within months or even weeks of saying your “I do’s”. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting; it means accepting that people make mistakes yet moving on, and allowing that person to remain in your life.

While I believe that your husband is being unduly harsh with you I think it is in response to your light-handedness of your past behavior. While you deserve a pat on the back for immediately telling your husband about this email – and please tell him that I said that – you should also be willing to give him the password to your business account, on the condition that he does not delete, respond, re-file, or otherwise molest any of your email. I will remind you both that this is a business account; I suggest that you both treat it with the accordant respect. I also suggest that you see a marital counselor to help each of you deal with this unresolved issue.


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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Business Plan Gives New Meaning To Ice Cream Treats

Dear Tazi:

My grandmother just died and left my brother and me a small inheritance as well as the recipes for her blue-ribbon winning ice-cream. Our plan is to move to Nevada and open up a brothel and ice-cream parlor, but we can’t decide on a name.

We figure people will stop into our place for ice cream and a little something more. I want to call the place "I' Scream" (get it? I'Scream/Ice Cream) but my brother thinks “The Churn and Turn” sounds better because the girls will be churning ice cream and then turning tricks. This is the one snag in our otherwise brilliant business plan to make prostitution more acceptable. Once successful, we would open a partner shop for women called “Licks and D----“. THAT name we can agree on, but we don’t think America is ready for a male brothel just yet. What’s your opinion?

Two Brothers With Big Plans

You want sprinkles on that? It's a few dollars extra...

Dear Two Brothers With Big Plans:

Gee, neither of you were creative enough to think of “Ho’ Made Ice Cream”? Oh, dear...did I just give you the perfect name for your tasteless plan? 

My opinion is that you are both a couple of creeps and that your grandmother must be turning in her grave right about now while my stomach is what is doing the churning. 

-- Tazi

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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Daughter Seeks To Fly Away From Helicopter Mom

Dear Tazi:

My mother is the type of Mom who feels the need to control my entire life. Last week we were out running errands and I had to stop for gas. She got out of the car and insisted on pumping it for me because she is convinced that I don’t know how to do it right and I am going to end up somehow damaging the car. Another time I was weeding the garden and she took over for me because I was doing it wrong. Other things she is convinced I cannot do include without hurting myself or the appliances are filling my freezer, vacuuming, or doing any kind of cleaning.

As a child I was not allowed to roller blade or ride my bike because she was convinced that I would fall and end up in traction. She does not know that I know, but Mom drives by my house late at night to make sure that I am home alone; she actually called the police once because she saw “a suspicious car” outside of my house after midnight. Tazi, it was my boyfriend’s car, and yes, he was spending the night!

I am very seriously considering taking a job opportunity that is on the other side of my state (I live in a big state) just to get away from my Mom, but I am afraid she will just pack up and follow me. I know this sounds paranoid, but she actually said once that I would be lost without her and wouldn’t know the first thing about living on my own without her nearby. I know this is not true. I think my mother is actually referring to herself.

Tazi, do you think I should take this new job just to put some distance between me and my mother? I am happy with my current job and my current home town and I don’t want to risk losing it all and having the same problem with my Mom wherever I end up living.


Dear S’Mothered:

Are you by chance the only child of a woman who lost her husband at a young age? It just sounds to me that your mother lives for you and is afraid that if she loses you she will have nobody left. While every mother should love her child, she must also give her child two very important gifts: roots to ground her and wings to let her fly. Your mother has done well in providing roots; now it is time she give you your wings. Try phrasing your argument in this kind manner when you talk to your mother about needing more space and freedom.

...along with a request to put down the bull horn!

Whether or not you should take a job opportunity on the other side of your large state depends upon your reasons for taking it. If you are accepting the job solely on the hope that it will take you away from your mother than it is not a good idea to take the job; if you are looking to take the job because it will offer you a better financial picture and more career stability with better opportunities for advancement than take the job without questioning your judgment!

If you take the job I suggest you allow your mother to help you with your move, simply so she can feel secure in the knowledge that you are secure and well cared for in your new home. Take her out to explore the area and let her see that it is safe and you will be, too, living there. Tell her that you will call or email her regularly with the highlights of what is going on in your life and hope that she will do the same (and then follow through on this). Let your mother know that you appreciate all that she has done for you, but that it is now time for both of you to move forward with your lives. Every mother bird must eventually see her chicks fly from the nest; your time is now.


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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One Man's Fantasy Quickly Becomes A Nightmare

Dear Tazi:

I am a horrible, horrible man. I got drunk at a party and cheated on my girlfriend with her twin sister, who I got pregnant. I knew what I was doing so I took advantage of things when her sister came onto me, telling me that she has always wanted me.

After I sobered up I pretended that nothing happened and never told my girlfriend. When her sister told me she was pregnant I congratulated her and asked who the father was, and then acted like I had no clue what she was saying when she said it was mine. She hasn't told her sister yet – she wants me to tell her – but I know if I do I will lose my girlfriend forever.

I have offered to pay for an abortion, but she says she wants to keep the baby and would like me to be an active part of its life. Tazi, I want to eventually marry my girlfriend and this is seriously going to mess up that plan. I am thinking of telling my girlfriend that her sister tricked me while I was drunk and that I thought I was having sex with her (my girlfriend) and not her sister, but I am afraid if I do that she will never speak to her sister again and I don’t want that to happen, either. Can you think of any way out of this problem?

Seeing Double

Dear Seeing Double:

If you are immature enough to get so stumbling drunk that you are willing to throw caution to the wind and have (unprotected) sex with someone other than your girlfriend than I think you are a long ways away from being mature enough to get married. What you have done to your girlfriend is despicable and I will not give you my blessing to dump the blame for your actions on her sister. While the pregnant twin is not entirely blameless – she did come onto you with the hope of bedding you – it takes two to tango.

I think the two of you should sit down with your girlfriend and tell her together what you have done. Expect her to be angry, expect her to be hurt, expect her to never want to speak to either of you again…but in time, expect her to want to know WHY the two of you would do such a thing to her! I suggest you start to think long and hard about how to answer any questions she may have for you.

Because there is a child involved – yours – and your girlfriend is going to be an aunt to her (soon to be ex?) boyfriend’s child there is simply no way for all of you to avoid being in each other’s lives, so I suggest that you find an experienced and well-qualified family counselor NOW and work towards working through the anger and the hurt that all of you must be feeling. If your girlfriend refuses to go, go without her and ask her to join you when she feels ready to discuss things.

You are going to have to step up to the plate and be man; you are going to be a father whether you are ready or not. Your child’s mother has asked you to be involved in the baby’s life and although it does not seem like it now, as the years pass I think you will decide that your child is the greatest blessing life could have ever bestowed upon you. Give that child all that it deserves by working to heal the hurts caused by your actions so his/her presence isn’t a constant reminder of questionable behavior.

No Snuggles For You!

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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shawn White Didn't Find Fame And Fortune While Sitting Around In His Underwear!

Dear Tazi:

I work a job that I hate and would like a better one but I don’t have many skills and I don’t have the money to go back to school, even if I wanted to make the effort to do that. I would love to find a job where someone will pay me to sit around in my underwear all day and play video games. Do you think a job like that exists? Like maybe a video game tester or a video game pro?

I would love to make a living by winning enough money in video game competitions that I wouldn't have to work but I can’t get the practice I need because I have to work during the day. Do you think someone might sponsor me to stay home and practice playing World of Warcraft and other cool games like that? How would I go about getting sponsors?

I see how race car drivers get sponsors to practice driving their cars and dirt-bike riders get sponsors that let them devote all of their time to their craft and even people like Shaun White have sponsors that let them do nothing but skateboard and snowboard all day. How do I get a gig like that? Someone told me I should tell my doctor I am depressed and try to get disability benefits so I can stay home all day and work on getting better at my gaming. That sounds tempting, but the paperwork I have to fill out is really involved and I can’t be working while I am waiting for approval of disability benefits so I don’t think that idea is going to work. Do you have any other ideas?


Dear Drifting:

Your life sounds pathetic and sad and I am wondering if you actually are suffering from depression or simply a complete lack of work ethic. I do think that you should see your doctor to discuss the possibility of needing mood stabilizers.

It's a tad cold out here for boxer briefs...

People like Shaun White did not reach their level of success by sitting at home in their underwear playing video games all day; they worked regular jobs and dedicated themselves to their craft on the side until they were good enough to enter competitions and win prize money and sponsorships to help them along their path. While sponsorships can make practicing a skill a little easier because it allows for more free time to do it, the other side of the coin is that you have to show continued improvement – making your best even better and your even better your new best, repeatedly until you are the best of the best. Quite honestly, the tone of your letter makes me wonder if you have this kind of commitment in you.

I suggest you look up the number of your local social services provider to see if they offer any kind of job placement testing or job training. While they may not be able to find you work that allows you to sit around in your underwear and play video games for an eight hour shift, they may be able to find you something that is more to your liking. And seriously, I cannot stress this enough – visit your doctor for a complete physical. Your disenchantment with life could be health related.


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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vocational Education Can Lead To Great Things!

Dear Tazi:

I am thirteen and will be entering the ninth grade this coming school year. My local high school has a vocational school on campus, and students who go to the main school can take classes there in addition to their regular classes on the main campus. I would love to take classes in auto body work or auto mechanics, but my parents refuse to let me. They say that no child of theirs is going to grow up to be a “grease monkey” and that I need to take courses that will get me into a good college.

Tazi, I have loved cars since I was a little kid. I want to learn how to restore classic cars, and this would be a great opportunity for me to learn how to do that. I could take these classes along with my regular college prep classes, so its not like I have to trade one for another. My parents think it would be better for me to take an extra history course or art appreciation course to “round out” my “educational curriculum”. I have tried to convince them that classic cars are a form of art but they are standing firm. How can I convince them that this is what I want more than anything? My guidance counselor is cool with this, but I need at least one parent’s signature before she will sign off on me signing up for these classes.

Hot Rodder

Dear Hot Rodder:

What decade are your parents living in that they think auto mechanics are “grease monkeys”? Today’s cars are all computerized and require a high degree of skill and technical training to repair. Expensive post-secondary education is required to learn how to fix mechanical problems with cars and most shops and auto dealerships prefer that their employees come on board with at least some knowledge of how to make these repairs.

Or is this guy their mechanic?

Auto body restoration and repair is also skilled work that many consider an art. People who are well trained and show talent in this field generally have no problem finding well-paying jobs after high school graduation – well paying jobs that can assist with the cost of college tuition, thus reducing the financial burden on your parents. Do you see where I am leading you?

I suggest that you ask your parents for a compromise: If they let you sign up for the automotive classes you want you in turn will promise not to let your grades slip in any of your other classes. This will require a lot of hard work on your part, but the result will please both you and your parents: you will get to take the classes you really want to take and you will be getting good enough grades to get into a good college.

Many vocational schools have open houses or informational pamphlets for parents to learn more about the programs offered to their children; I suggest you look into both and find what you can as you prepare to make your case to your parents. If they agree to let you take the classes, you will not only need to keep up your end of the bargain but also keep your parents in the loop on what you are learning and why you enjoy your classes so much. Good parents want two things for their grown children: for them to be happy and for them to be successful; show them that these classes you want to take can bring you to both ends.


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

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Than A Good Résumé Is Needed To Get A Job

Dear Tazi:

I am currently unemployed and I don’t know why. My skills are current and my résumé is excellent. I am a hard worker and I have excellent references and letters of recommendations from previous employers. I lost my last job when the company went out of business, but that had nothing to do with me; I did my job accurately and well.

I asked some friends to review my credentials and let me know if I am doing something wrong, but they said everything looks good and that they will let me know if they hear of anything within their businesses. I get plenty of interviews, but never make the final cut.

I am starting to think that the fact that I am morbidly obese (5’3”/425 pounds) is what is keeping me from finding work. I think employers take one look at me and assume that I am lazy and unhealthy and will drive up their health care costs. This is simply not true; I have a gland problem that caused weight gain and have settled comfortably into my size. I hate dieting and would rather spend my free time doing low-impact exercise like gardening or going for a stroll than sweating at the gym. And yes, I do love dessert but I am not diabetic and my cholesterol is fine. I am considering trying to work these details into my next job interview, but I am afraid I would be getting too personal and make things worse. What are your thoughts on this problem?

Heavy Hitter

Dear Heavy Hitter:

Right now it is an awful time to be out of work for anybody; the economy is picking up slowly and hiring is occurring, but some areas of the country are still flat out financially. Detroit just declared bankruptcy! If you live in an area that is still hard hit by the recession this could be why you are having a difficult time finding work.

While there are some ignorant people out there who assume that overweight/obese means lazy and unhealthy, most hiring managers have seen enough of a cross-section of society to know not to judge someone by their physical traits. Even the thinnest person you know could be grossly out of shape on the inside.

The questions you need to ask yourself before interviewing are along the lines of how you present yourself. Are you well-groomed? Do you smell nice without smelling overpoweringly like perfume or cologne? Are your clothes well cared for, clean, and pressed? Do you stand with proper posture and look your interviewer in the eye when greeting them and answering their questions? Do you give direct answers or do you beat around the bush or ramble on before getting to the answer?

I suggest that you set up a mock interview or two with the friends and colleagues who reviewed your résumé and ask them to critique your presentation skills. This will not only give you the opportunity to practice these skills but will provide you with honest feedback about what you are doing right and what needs improvement.

When on a job interview, it is not a good idea to delve too far into the personal – especially when it comes to private matters like your health. However, many hiring managers will ask if you have nay hobbies or what you do for enjoyment; this will present the perfect opportunity for you to mention that you enjoy gardening, walking, and other healthy activities that show off your energy levels in a good way. Do not concentrate on your physical size, especially if it makes you feel in any way insecure. Show off your personality and your stellar job skills so employers can see that you are the fit they want for their company, regardless of what clothing size fits you.


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

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tazi's Corner #49 - Where's The Outrage?

Dear Readers:

Have you ever noticed how the people on the People of Walmart site are mostly white? My hypothesis on this (can’t call it a theory because it isn’t proven) is that white people have just stopped caring.

This week, while perusing the website for a mood lift, here are a few of the pictures I found:

Is that poop?


Why, God, why?

"Willie the Pimp" is always stylin' with the ladies!

With the exception of Willie the Pimp, all of these people are white. I know it’s just Walmart, and yes I know it is close to 100 degrees outside, but you could at least act like you care about your appearance! This past week, my dear Mommie went to the salon and she wore a lounger – what her brother calls a “Mrs. Roper dress”, although in her defense it was one solid color and she had matching shoes. 

Uh-oh....maybe she did look like Helen Roper!
I thought she looked cute, and she looked white person cute, but once she got to the salon she realized that no woman of color (black or brown) would have been caught beyond the pool in a lounger. She realized, with a deep sense of humility, that she has gotten lazy about her appearance. Lucky for her, she was at the salon and surrounded by people with the training to help her!

Another great place to people-watch is a state fair. I think Jeff Foxworthy covered this one when he described the people you will see at a state fair:

"If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty."

What he did not mention is that most of these people are white; it’s like I said, it seems that white people have just stopped caring.

Back in the 1960’s people of all colors protested what they felt was wrong with our government and our society. Where now is the outrage when our government criticized the citizens of Egypt for rising up against their oppressors? Have Americans forgotten that we were once a country that overthrew our own government? No, I am not talking about the American Revolution; I am talking about the War Between the States (aka The Civil War or the War of Northern Aggression, depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you live).

I hear a lot of complaining about how middle class Americans (which, according to sociologists, are primarily white) are bearing the brunt of the country’s tax burden; how the poor cannot afford to pay taxes for the social benefits they receive and how the über-wealthy manage to find loopholes and offshore accounts in order to pay less and less in taxes. What I do not see or hear are organized protests against all that is unfair! Has the middle class grown too comfortable for their own good?

So why am I addressing this and not the elephant in the room that everyone else is discussing elsewhere? I will not get into the details of what has been on my mind following the verdict of the Trevon Martin/George Zimmerman case because I refuse to fan the flames of the issue, but one thing I will comment on is the fact that I keep seeing a Facebook posting about a white child who was killed by a black teenager, with the caption “Where is the outrage?” I think that is a question that white people need to answer; the Black community does not seem to have an issue with expressing their displeasure when they feel that their rights have been trampled. (Incidentally, there was national coverage for this story when it first occurred; it just seems that people have forgotten).

After Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trevon Martin, on the basis of self-defense, protests erupted across the county. I have watched the news…I have read the papers…I have seen pictures online…and there are very few white faces seen participating in these protests. Where is the outrage, white people ask? Perhaps it is they who can answer their own question. But first, they really should take a look in the mirror and make sure that they look like a person that people are going to take seriously. Pants on the Ground is not just an anthem for Black youth anymore.



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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Question That Won't Go Away: Which Way Should The Toilet Paper Hang?

Dear Tazi:

I am having a stupid argument with my husband and we are hoping you can settle it for us. He says that the toilet paper roll should face under so the pretty pattern on it can show while I say it should go over the top so you can reach it easier and get more play out of it. I also say that not all toilet papers have a pretty pattern to see so his excuse does not hold water. Which of us is right?

Midwest Muddle

Dear Midwest Muddle:

I addressed this issue in my column once before, but I believe the late, great Ann Landers addressed it at least once a year so in her honor I will address it again: My opinion is that the toilet paper should hang in such a way that is it accessible to the person who needs to use it. This means that it should not be hung from the shower curtain rod or over the towel bar on the other side of the bathroom.

As a feline, my preference is to have in hung facing over the top so I can play with it, but I do not think this is what you meant when you said you want to get more play out of it.

This is how we do it, baby!

I am going to leave the answer to this question up to my readers. What is your opinion? Please vote below by choosing FRONT, BACK, or DOESN’T MATTER. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!



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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moving In Together Too Soon Can Lead To The End Of A Promising Relationship

Dear Tazi:

I am no longer in love with my boyfriend. I thought I loved him, which is why we moved in together, but after two months of living together I have come to dislike him. He is a slob who expects me to clean up after him, cook all his meals, do his laundry as well as all of the other housework, and pay most of the bills because I make more money than him.

We were together only six months before we moved in together, to see if we could make things work and get married, and I think I should have waited to get to know him better. I would like to move out, but we have signed a one year lease and there is no way “Joey” would be able to afford the place on his own and my name would still be on the lease, so I would be legally responsible for whatever he does not pay.

I am considering finding him a new roommate and then moving out into my own place – and obviously breaking up with Joey in the process, but I am afraid he would not go for any of that, refuse to pay the rent or keep up the apartment, and leave me on the hook for back-rent and any property damages. Do you think I should just suck it up for the next nine months and leave during the last month of my lease? The last months’ rent was due at signing, so Joey can’t skip out on paying it. I want my freedom but not at the cost of ruining my credit.

20/20 Hindsight

Dear 20/20 Hindsight:

Was Joey a dependent slob before you moved in together or are his behaviors new? If you knew what you were getting into and moved in with him anyway I will say that you made your bed (literally and figuratively) and you must now lay in it. If Joey’s behaviors are new it could be a sign of mental illness or depression or some other problem related to the two of you living together, such as passive aggression. Could Joey be trying to push you out of the apartment?

I think you and Joey need to sit down and have a talk about what is going on in your living situation and in your relationship. Tell him that you are not happy and he needs to clean up his act or you will be moving out as soon as the lease is up – sooner if that is what he wants. You may be surprised to find that Joey is not adjusting well to living with you but is afraid that you will leave him if he suggests separate living quarters.

You should also talk to your landlord or apartment manager about getting your name off of the lease. Tell them that your living situation has become untenable and that Joey will be remaining in the apartment as the responsible lessee. Some landlords will allow a person out of a lease so long as they are not losing the tenancy all together; others will remove you from the lease but you will have to pay a fee for it – usually the equivalent of one or two months rent. This time around, think things through before changing your living arrangement.


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

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When Is It Time To Let The Security Blanket Go?

Dear Tazi:

My husband and I are having a disagreement over our daughter’s security blanket. “Caroline” has had blankie since birth and the wear and tear on it makes this fact quite evident. I wash her blanket at least once a week, but the thing is permanently stained and has several holes that can no longer be darned. I want to throw the thing out, but my husband is firmly set against it and tells me that I need to find a better way to clean it and “preserve” it. I have suggested that we “lose” blankie while at the grocery store or shopping center or even while on vacation, but he is firmly set against my plan and insists that Caroline will give up her blanket when she is ready.

Tazi, my daughter is five and a half years old and will be starting first grade in the fall. She went to half-day kindergarten and was able to live without blankie through that! She will be in school for a full-day starting next month. I say this is the perfect time for her blankie to find its way into the garbage pickup. I have talked to Caroline about ditching the blanket, but she only holds onto it tighter, so an intervention seems to be what is needed and I am getting no support from her father. Am I being too strict, as my husband claims, or is he being too soft?

Southwest Mom

Dear Southwest Mom:

While blankie sounds disgusting, believe it or not this is how animals (including humans) form attachments to stuff. For a creature with a superior sense of smell – such a moi and my fellow felines – an unwashed blanket smells like us and the humans and home we love; it provides us with a sense of belonging. The stains on your daughter’s blanket form a history of her short memory and give her a sense of security in unfamiliar places and situations. To rip this away from her without warning would be callous; however, she is reaching an age where she should naturally want to shed the blanket. If she doesn’t do it soon (as in by the time of her first slumber party) an intervention may be necessary.

Here is an idea that may work for you: You say that the blanket’s holes are beyond darning, so don’t do it. Allow the holes to get larger and eventually the blanket will tear in half - on its own or with a little assistance from the washing machine (hint, hint). When blankie tears, tell Caroline that she needs to choose which half she wants to keep (you can help this decision process by making sure one half is much more ragged and nasty than the other). The half Caroline does not keep gets thrown away. Repeat the process as necessary (once every few weeks so as not to arouse her suspicions). Eventually, blankie will be a pocket-sized square that she can tuck inside her coat. Surely you cannot object to that?

My bigger concern is your husband’s attitude; by outright overruling you and refusing to compromise he is disrespecting you as his wife and partner and treating you like another child. I have no idea if he is like this in other areas of your marriage or just when it comes to your daughter, but try not to lose your tenacity; you are going to need it in the coming years.



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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Are Home Sales Parties Really "Parties"?

Dear Tazi:

My friend’s wife has a habit of inviting me to what she calls “girls’ night” parties, about once a month. I started going because I wanted to show support for her and their marriage (which is rocky) and to let her know that no matter how things end up I would like to maintain a friendship with both of them by currently maintaining friendship with them separately, as well as together.

The problem with “Paula’s” parties is that they are the kind where you feel pressured to buy something. What she calls a girls’ night is usually nothing more than a home sales party for products ranging from kitchen products to sexy lingerie. Once I am there, Paula will tell me that I don’t need to buy anything, she just wanted the opportunity to get all her friends together for some wine and conversation and the chance to try new things. These “new things” are usually something that she would like for herself and will get for free if enough people buy stuff from the person selling it.

I generally do not buy the things that Paula’s parties sell for the simple fact that I have no interest in the products. I always bring a small hostess gift with me when I go to Paula’s, and it is always something that I know she wants – from a bottle of her favorite liquor to a small piece of jewelry I know she would like.

At the last party Paula threw, I brought her a bottle of Patron tequila because it was supposed to be her birthday party (it ended up being a Mary Kay party; I don’t use that brand). When I did not buy anything, one of Paula’s oldest friends pulled me aside and threatened to “kick my [backside]” for not showing Paula more support. I stood my ground and told the woman that I would like to see her try, and then left the party early because I felt unwelcome.

I have not gone to any of Paula’s parties since, and she keeps asking me why I do not attend. She keeps telling me that I do not have to buy anything, just to come and have a good time. Should I tell her the truth as to why I am not going to her parties (because her friend threatened me and I am not comfortable being around the woman)? Or should I just tell her that I have other plans; invariably, her parties are on Saturday nights, so I could easily make other plans so as not to lie to her.

Partied Out

Dear Partied Out:

Does Paula tell you in advance that her “girls’ night” parties are going to contain a sales pitch and what product it will be for, or is this something you discover when you arrive? If you know in advance what she is pushing, you could tell her that the product is not to your tastes and that one of her guests expressed severe upset over the fact that you don’t buy anything, feeling that you are not being supportive of your mutual friend. Let her know that if she is hosting a product party that interests you that you will be happy to attend. If Paula knows her friend as well as she should know a lifelong friend she will have no problem figuring out who said what to you and handling things from there.

If Paula like to surprise her guests by springing a sales pitch on them when they enter the door, you can and should be more frank with her, letting her know that you are uncomfortable sitting through a sales pitch for a product you have no intention of buying, and that at least one of her friends finds your behavior unacceptably rude. Again, there is no need to name names; that would get you nowhere, and besides the onus is on Paula to ensure her guests comfort. The issue at hand is her surprise sales pitches, not her friend’s threatening behavior.

I suggest that you tell Paula that you would love to spend time with her but that a home-sales party setting is not where you are most comfortable. Suggest an inexpensive restaurant that welcomes groups and see if the others in the group would be interested as well. The amount they spend of product that they probably do not need could go towards a girls’ night celebration that is enjoyable for all and full of pressure for none.


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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Asking A Favor Can Require Courage; Respond Accordingly

Dear Tazi:

I have been dating a man I will call "Ernesto" for three months, and I like him a lot. He is not native to this country, but his English is pretty good. It could use improvement, but it is better than my high school Spanish so I don't make a big deal out of his grammatical mistakes. My problem is that Ernesto does.

Ernesto is very self-conscious of his speaking skills, having learned English by watching TV and listening to educated people talk. He has asked me to please correct him when he speaks "imperfectly". I have told Ernesto that a lot of native English speakers do not speak proper English and to not make a big deal out of it, but he has told me his dream is to speak flawless English and in order to do so he needs to have his mistakes corrected as he makes them, or else he will not know that they are mistakes.

Tazi, I am his girlfriend not his ESL teacher! I suggested to Ernesto that he try taking a few adult education courses at the local community center, but he was offended and told me he didn't think his English was that bad. I explained to him that he took what I said the wrong way and told him that I am not comfortable pointing out his errors. Ernesto has told me that my "reluctance" to help him with his problem shows and that he fears it will create "vicissitude" in our relationship. Tazi, I am not even sure what that word means and I told Ernesto to stop talking like a Word a Day Calendar, that no real American talks that way!

Ernesto was very hurt by my reaction and has barely spoken to me for a week. We still see each other; he just does not say more than a few words. Do you think I was too harsh on him? Should I risk embarrassing him to help him learn better English?

Not A Teacher

Dear Not A Teacher:

I can think of a few words to describe what you are, but I am afraid that they are not very nice - in any language. To ask the kind of favor Ernesto asked of you can take a lot of courage and the way you responded - with disinterest and insults - was downright cruel. I realize you do not wish to embarrass Ernesto by correcting him in front of others, but he has requested that you do so. Might you reach a compromise and make a mental note of his errors to bring up with him in private?

You give me the impression that Ernesto's native language is Spanish. Might you ask him to teach you Spanish (because knowing a second language is a huge career boost) while you assist him with his English? In doing so you will learn that the Spanish you learn in high school is much more formal - and a lot less accurate - than the Spanish spoken in most areas of the world, especially in Latin America where the vernacular is much different than mainland Spain.

If you really like Ernesto, you will learn to be more sensitive of his feelings, be more willing to assist him when he asks a simple favor, and be open to compromise in order to find a solution to the challenges of dating someone from a culture that is different from your own.


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