Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Child Support Does Not Cover All The Child's Expenses

Dear Tazi:

I like to consider myself a good father - I support my kids - but I am really starting to resent paying child support only to see it go to luxuries for their mothers. I have two children with ex-girlfriends, and pay $300/month to each of them for a total of $600/month in child support. I pay on time every week ($75/week to each) and have never missed a payment, even if it means going without for myself.

I would really like to buy a new iPhone; I think it would be a good investment as I am trying to launch my own side business as a disc jockey, and a DJ without the latest swag is going to get left in the dust by the competition. My problem is, I can't afford a new iPhone - not with the size of my monthly child support payments. My problem is, BOTH of my ex-girlfriends (the mothers of my kids) have iPhones! I feel like the child support I pay should be going to support my kids, not their mothers' iPhones; and if their mothers can afford the cost of iPhones on their own, than why am I paying so much child support? Shouldn't they be using some of that money to pay the cost of raising the kids? I am seriously considering going to court to ask for a reduction in child support, but want an impartial opinion first.


Dear iBroke:

There is a big difference between being a good father and simply offering court mandated child support, but I will not go there today; I will stick to the issue at hand. It appears that you do not understand how child support works: it's purpose is to cover your fair share of raising your child, and $300 does not appear to come close to covering 50% of a child's monthly expenses. I spoke to a few single/divorced mothers, and here is a conservative breakdown of monthly expenses:

1. Housing. A child is required to have their own bedroom, which means higher rent. the cost-differential between a 1-bedroom and a 2-bedroom apartment is an average of $200. A 50% share of that would be $100, or 1/3 of your monthly child-support payment.

2. Food. A child needs a nutritionally balanced diet, and food is not cheap. Giving a conservative estimate, it costs around $10/day to feed a child. Assuming you have the children for visitation, this leaves their mothers responsible for the food bill approximately 20 days a month - that's 60 meals + snacks - coming to a total of $200/month for food. A 50% share of that would be another $100, or another 1/3 of your monthly child support.

This leaves $100 left over to pay for:

3. Transportation
4. Increased utility expenses
5. Clothing
6. Incidentals (from baby aspirin to medical co-pays and life insurance)
7. Entertainment/Sports Leagues/Scouts/Etc.

If $100 is enough to cover these expenses in the world where you live, single mothers everywhere would like to know where it is so that they can move there!

It sounds to me that the mothers of your two children are making sacrifices in their own lives - or simply have higher paychecks than you - that allow them to afford the luxury of an iPhone, because the child support you pay each month does not come close to covering even half the expense of raising a child. Unless you have proof positive that your children are being neglected/going without so that their mothers can afford their iPhones, I would suggest you leave well enough alone and stay out of the court system - because you may find yourself counter-sued for higher child support payments.

-- Tazi

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

War Of Words Over World Of Warcraft Creates Real Life Miseries

Dear Tazi:

I have an embarrassing problem that is too recognizable for my local advice column, so I am hoping you will print my letter online. I have been dating a woman you would call my "lady friend" for two years now, and everything is great with one exception: our sex life is practically non-existent.

My girlfriend’s 23-year-old daughter “Maxine” lives at home and almost never leaves the house; my girlfriend is not comfortable being intimate while her daughter is in the house (or having me sleep over or sleeping over my place) so it is difficult for us to have any time alone. I know that this problem would solve itself it the problems with Maxine were solved, so I hope you can suggest how to fix her.

At 5’5” and 300+ pounds Maxine is grossly overweight and I believe the reason for her weight problem is her addiction to junk food and to playing World of Warcraft, which she plays like it is her job. Maxine has tried to claim that it is her job to play WOW because she blogs about the game. Tazi, her blog is poorly written and posts sporadically; she makes no money from it and its readership is probably non-existent. Aside from her WOW activities, Maxine has no outside interests, not even a paying job. Her mother has encouraged her to get out and look for a job, but does not push beyond that. She continues to pay all of Maxine’s bills, including her WOW subscription, which is not cheap.
I was left alone with Maxine last week when I stopped by just as my girlfriend ran out to the store for a few items. I snapped on Maxine after she made a rude comment to me – while her mouth was full of junk food. I told her exactly what I thought of her behavior and that she was a disgusting excuse for a human being. Maxine walked off in a huff and, unbeknownst to me, proceeded to eat an entire apple pie that her mother had baked for the church bake sale.

When my girlfriend arrived home about 30 minutes later, she was devastated that her pie was gone and asked what had happened to it. I was disgusted when Maxine blamed me for its disappearance, saying I had upset her so much she sought “comfort food” to assuage her hurt feelings. Tazi, she was wolfing down an entire box of Twinkies when I walked in the door! What was her excuse for that? My girlfriend was not happy about being put in the middle, and we had a huge argument that boiled down to my telling her that our relationship would never advance (she’s hoping for a ring) as long as her daughter remained a “greedy, gluttonous, slothful lump of human flesh” that sponged off of others. I told my girlfriend to think about that and stormed out the door before she could respond; it’s been a week and I still have not heard from her. I miss my girlfriend and would like to make things work, but not as long as Maxine remains...well, to be blunt, a greedy, gluttonous, slothful lump of human flesh that sponges off of her mother.

Stuck With A Package Deal?

Dear Stuck With A Package Deal?:

It does not appear that you are “stuck with a package deal”; not after you called a part of that package a “greedy, gluttonous, slothful lump of human flesh”. I cannot see why your girlfriend would want anything to do with you after you said such cruel things about – and directly to – her daughter.

I do not think anyone is going to fall for the “comfort food” excuse Maxine used to excuse herself from eating her mother’s bake sale pie, least of all her mother who lives with her and has seen her daughter’s eating habits. It appears that Maxine was lashing out at her mother in punishment for your comments. However, this is a different issue altogether. It is not up to you – or me – to “fix” Maxine; it is up to you to try to mend your relationship with both Maxine and her mother if you wish to continue with your romantic relationship. The first step in this process is to apologize for your hurtful words – to both Maxine and your girlfriend. Nobody, no matter how greedy, gluttonous, or slothful, deserves to be called a “lump of human flesh”. We are all fallible, and the list you started has four more vices that accompany it: pride, lust, envy, and wrath; you are guilty of at least one of them. You hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of your own eye, and then shall you see clearly to pull out the mote that is in your brother's eye. (Luke 6:42 KJV). See how I am learning to control my wrath? I quoted scripture instead of paw-slapping you!

However, my lady friend has not yet found inner peace through God

I would be remiss if I did not address Maxine’s behavior, and I do hope that her mother is reading this because Maxine clearly needs help. Video games – especially large scale, multi-player, online games like World of Warcraft are extremely habit forming. This particular game has torn apart marriages as one spouse has neglected the other to play the game; a Google search will reveal other horror stories such as loss of jobs due to this gaming addiction. At 23 years of age, it is beyond time for Maxine to shelve the full-time gaming and grow up; this means getting help for her addictions, learning to adopt and adapt to a healthy diet, and getting a job; higher education; or job training. Her mother needs to stop enabling her and give Maxine a reason to look for work and to get a life; suspension of her WOW account, Internet connection, and mobile phone service might be just the incentive Maxine needs.

Perfunctory snuggles,

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's Tazi's Third Anniversary - Let's Celebrate!

Dear Readers,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your loyalty over the past two years! It has been a wonderful, bumpy, amazing ride here at Ask Tazi! but I would not have it any other way! Another year has rolled by and this "two week" experimental project is reaching greater and greater heights! For all of you who have shared, re-posted, and forwarded my columns, thank you! Word of mouth is the only way my column travels, and it is closing in on 150,000 lifetime page views. While that is only a drop in the bucket compared to the big, viral blogs out there I am proud that my part-time, barely marketed gig with no merchandising whatsoever has done so well!

In honor of my anniversary, I am presenting my Top 5 favorite letters and/or columns - I hope your favorites are among them! In fact, I am pretty sure they are, since they did so well the first time they were published. Share the love!

...and my web address!

I indulged my ego, and you dear readers indulged me! This one was a very popular piece!

Mother-in-Law letters are common, but this one just about broke my heart...although the visual images I was left with made me want to scrub my brain with lye soap!

Dating is complicated (my lady friend recently left me for another cat!!) and these letters discuss one aspect of relationships: dealbreakers. What are your dealbreakers?

I re-posted this one while I was on vacation, in honor of my Mommie's graduation from the University of Rhode Island - summa cum laude, with her degree in Gender and Women's Studies

Do you have a favorite letter? Request it in the Comments section of today's column or tweet me @TaziKat and I will re-run it for you! Got a problem of your own that you would like me to discuss? Email me at tazikat@yahoo.com or through the form provided on my site!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Great-Grandma Needs To Keep The Faith!

Dear Tazi:

I am a 92-years-old and a great-grandma, and I am concerned about the state of today’s youth and the world where they live. When I was a young mother the television shows we watched were wholesome, not the trash they have on today; our music was light and breezy and the lyrics were nothing like the smut they sing today; and our clothes covered up what was not meant to be seen!

I raised my children to be ladies and gentlemen and they turned out to be fine adults and good parents, and so did their children; but I still worry about how my great-grandchildren will turn out, what with the Internet being a part of their lives now. When I was young the birds were happy, not angry! Modern Warfare was something you tried to dodge, not a video game to play on your Xbox! Real Housewives were nothing like you see on TV! And if you were gay it meant you were happy, unlike those aforementioned birds of today!

I read your column every day, Tazi, down at the Senior Center where they have the Internet, and you give some good answers to some crazy problems! Other times, the questions people ask are the same issues I had to address when I was raising my children and I like to think how I would answer before reading what you have to say. Some things never change, do they? Sometimes, you have questions to problems my generation never had to ask but my great-grandchildren now do, and I worry about how they are going to act when they get a bit older. If I am still around when that happens, I would like to be able to offer them some good advice that isn’t dated. Do you have any to give so I can be prepared?

Great-Grandma Sally

Dear Great-Grandma Sally:

I understand how shocking the culture of today must be for someone who was raised during the Great Depression and the Golden Days of Radio, but with time comes progress and with progress comes change; some of it welcome, some of it not-so-welcome, depending on your point-of-view. If you are remembering the 1950’s as “the good old days” you are probably white, middle-class, and heterosexual and certainly not a working class minority. For those who differed from the accepted ideal of the time, the “good old days weren’t always good”; to complete that unintentional Billy Joel lyric, “tomorrow is not as bad as it seems”.

Hey look! It's Billy Joel when he had hair!

What made your good old days good were the same things that make our current culture good: kindness and respect for others; good manners; a healthy curiosity for the world around us; the desire to make personal gains in life; charity towards others; and a sense of civic duty towards community and country.

If you seek to offer advice to your great-grandchildren, I suggest you give them the same advice you gave your own children, who raised the parents of your great-grandchildren. Whatever advice that was, by your own admission it seems to have worked, since they all grew up to be “fine adults and good parents”. Most problems that humans face are really same, deep down, that prior generations faced; the only difference is that they have been updated to reflect the changes to our broader and more open society.


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

Friday, September 26, 2014

In Old Age, Neglectful Father Reaps What He Has Sown

Ed. Note: This letter was edited for length and content. Left out was the reader's comment that she suggested her father sell his house and move in with her; he refused, and called her a "selfish, ungrateful brat of a child". I hope this clarifies my response. --T.K.

Dear Tazi:

I have tried my whole life to win my father’s love and respect, but the problem is one that I could never resolve. He has never gotten over his disappointment that I was born a girl. When I was a child he used to dress me in gender neutral clothing and take me to the playground, where he would encourage me to play sports with the boys. As I got older, he saw that I was enrolled in Little League baseball and the community basketball team. Thankfully, both sports were co-ed, so I was able to fit in with my peers and my mother never objected because she believed sports were good exercise and that team sports would make me a well-rounded person.

By the time I reached junior high, I was tired of androgynous clothing and team sports. I wanted to wear skirts and dresses and try out for the cheerleading squad. I did all of that, and that was the last my father ever paid any attention to me. Over the years, I have tried reaching out to him but it was never any good; I could not do anything right. If he was walking the dog and I offered to go with him he would refuse me, saying the dog would act up in front of me because he liked to show off in front of people. If he was washing the car and I offered to help, he told me it was easier to do it himself. No matter what I tried, it never worked, so I finally gave up and accepted the fact that I had lost my father for good. The last time I saw him was a few years ago at my mother’s funeral.

I am now in my thirties and my father is in his seventies and in failing health. Out of the blue he called me and asked me to move home to be with him because he can no longer live alone and does not want to go into a nursing home or pay for an assisted living facility. Although I am single, I own my own home and have a very fulfilling life in my own community, which is about a two hour drive from my father’s house.

Being an only child of late-in-life parents, a part of me feels like I am obligated to honor my father’s wises; but the larger part of me wants nothing to do with him! He pushed me away when I finally got up the nerve to act like a girl instead of a tomboy, and now that he is old and failing he wants me to come play nursemaid to him. It has taken me a long time and a lot of counseling to accept our distant relationship, and I do not wish to upset the fragile balance I have achieved; but I am afraid that if I refuse his request I will have regrets when he is gone.

Orphan Annie
Dear Orphan Annie:

You have both my sympathies and my understanding over your tenuous relationship with your father. He strikes me as a selfish man who, rather than pay someone to assist him (like a visiting nurse), would rather take advantage of the child he rejected.

Some men have difficulty relating to their daughters which can come off as a lack of caring, but it appears that your fathers issues run deeper than that. By dressing you in gender neutral clothing and sending you off to play with the boys it appears that he was indulging in some warped fantasy that you were, indeed, the son for whom he had hoped. Only now that his life is nearing its end does he wish for you to embrace the traditional female role of personal nurse, and that is only so he can save some money that he will…what? Pass on to you when he dies? Money is best spent while we are still living, so if he has the means I would suggest that he consider hiring a visiting nurse or look into an assisted living facility.

Your father’s gross ignorance of your life outside of him can be forgiven considering the fact that he probably was unaware of it; however, it is up to you to explain to him why you will not – and cannot – drop everything to come live with him. This is the only thing you are obligated to do for him. Do not feel guilty for not honoring your relationship to him, for there is no relationship with him to honor.


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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Love Triangle Causes Rift Between Brothers

Dear Tazi:

Have you ever watched the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina, the one where two brothers compete for the same woman? I am in a similar situation as that, and I need someone to referee. I will call the woman in question "Katherine".

My brother and I are both divorced and in our fifties, so we are not kids. Katherine is about a dozen years younger than both of us and has never been married, although she has not lacked for male attention. Until recently, I thought her reason for avoiding marriage was because she had never bothered to grow up; but I could not have been more wrong about this amazing woman.

I have always known Katherine from the community but never paid any attention to her except to say hello when our paths crossed. My brother knows Katherine better than I because his ex-wife used to babysit her; however, I never knew he harbored feelings for her until I asked her on a date. That was when [everything] broke loose.

I recently attended a charity fundraiser as a way to network with some business acquaintances (and to support a worthy cause) when I spotted Katherine talking to a potential client of mine like they were old friends. I was surprised to see her there, but was pleased when she waved me over to join the conversation so she might excuse herself for a moment. It was in talking with my potential client that I discovered there is more to Katherine than I realized. I discovered that she is not chronically unemployed and a career student, but works from home as an Event Planner and holds two Masters degrees. I also discovered that she donates her talents to charities and was on the planning board for that evening's event. Seeing her in this new light I was completely taken with her and barely left her side all evening. Before the night was over, I had a date with her for the following weekend.

My mother happened to see a photo from the charity event in the Society pages of the local newspaper. It was a group photo, but my proximity to Katherine caught her eye. My mother has always loved Katherine (they are in the same garden club) so she posted the picture on the refrigerator, which is where my brother saw it when he came to visit. This is where things got ugly.

I won't give you a blow-by-blow, but suffice to say my brother has expressed interest in dating Katherine. He claims that he has been waiting for the right time to ask her out, out of respect for his ex-wife's relationship to her. Tazi, it has been five years since my brother's divorce and he has dated a string of women in that time. It has been seven years since my divorce, and I have dated one woman (a long term relationship that ended two years ago). I am not one to ask a woman out on a whim, and I think Katherine and I really have a connection. My brother has told me if I go out with Katherine I can cross him off of my Christmas card list. I think he is being selfish, he thinks I am being traitorous. I asked our youngest brother to moderate the argument, but he refused to get involved. I saw a copy of your column taped to my mother's refrigerator and thought, "Why not?".


Dear "Linus":

It was only after I looked over the IMDB listing for Sabrina that I understood your signature. I suppose I am going to have to watch the movie now, huh? With regard to your problem, I have one question for your brother: Is Katherine even interested in you? As for you, what made you view Katherine in such a negative light before you got to know her better? A Paw Slap of Disgust for each of you, and be glad I am not forwarding your letter to the woman who gives out throat punches!

Photo courtesy of LOL Cats

If this woman means all that your brother claims she means to him, why has he been dating a string of other women while biding his time to ask Katherine out on a date? If she is at all interested in him this has to have broken her heart! It sounds to me that he is jealous because you have "scored" something he wants but cannot have - a date with this woman.

Since Katherine accepted a date with you - that will have most likely occurred by the time this letter is printed - it would be rude of you to suddenly break off all contact with her. If things are going well with Katherine, I say continue to see her. Your brother will have to grow up and get over it. If things are not all that you hoped between you and Katherine, graciously bow out and allow your brother the opportunity to ask her on a date. Whatever you choose to do, you and your brother need to stop talking about Katherine like she is a piece of property. She is a woman, with feelings and a mind of her own.

Perfunctory snuggles,

P.S. to your Mom: Thanks for printing and posting my column! It means a lot to me! -T.K.

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Closet Cross-Dresser Seeks To End Double Life

Dear Tazi:

I am a cross-dresser. Most people do not even notice that I prefer to wear clothing of the opposite sex because I have very effeminate features and take a great deal of care with my appearance – more so than many real women.

I moved away from my hometown straight out of high school and I have managed to maintain a duel life by telling people that I have a reclusive twin brother – this way, if I am recognized out of makeup and wig, I can tell people that I am “Trudy’s” twin. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop I have been able to create very convincing portraits and pictures of myself and “Tommy” sitting side-by-side. I have also created a back-story for Tommy and of our childhood growing up together. I do not use social media sites, so I do not have to worry about the people from my past finding out about who I am now.

Tazi, I am so tired of living a double life and would love to be able to show the world who I really am – a heterosexual man who prefers to wear women’s clothing! I have the opportunity to take a new job in a large metropolitan city, the kind of place that would accept me for who I am and not judge me. The problem is that I have made many friends where I am now and would hate to simply drop out of their life; however with them it is a case of where I go Tommy goes, too.

I am afraid it would seem rather strange to people that Tommy followed me to my new city (currently he supposedly lives a few towns over from me) and I know that there are people who would want to stay in touch with him, so I am considering killing him off! I am thinking of saying he went on vacation and committed suicide – which would explain a closed casket – but I hate the idea of making those who have met him go through the mourning process. Do you have any better ideas on how to kill off an imaginary person?

Just Trudy

Dear Just Trudy:

I am happy that you have finally found the courage to stop living a lie, even if moving away from the place you have lived it is what has given you the needed strength. I am impressed that you were able to pull off such a “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” escapade, in spite of my distaste for lies; self-preservation sometimes requires such measures.

Killing off your imaginary twin brother sounds like an expensive ordeal. A funeral is not cheap, plus there is a matter of a death certificate. No funeral home will perform the service without first viewing the body to ensure that the person is actually dead, and a death certificate must be issued. I suppose you could get around this matter by declaring that “services will be private” and them not hold a funeral; but this still leaves the issue of the grieving populace.

You mention that your imaginary twin brother is “reclusive”, which tells me he is rarely seen about town. Are you sure that his presence will even be missed? A better way to make your imaginary twin disappear would be to have him drop out of sight after you move; being a recluse he will not be expected to be seen, especially if his twin sister – his one reason for coming to town – is no longer living nearby. Anyone who wishes to stay in touch with him will surely understand that he prefers to be left alone, a la Boo Radley. As for people who wish to stay in touch with you, it will be your decision whether or not to come clean with them. I wish you all the best!


P.S. Most “real women” do not have the time to make themselves up like a queen! I commend your commitment, but condemn your critical tone! --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, September 23, 2014

Love Of Animals Does Not Lead To Hoarding Them

Dear Tazi:

I love my girlfriend and my girlfriend loves her cats. Actually, she loves all cats, which is what scares me. "Angela" has often commented that if she could afford it, she would adopt every cat in the shelter and take them home with her. She puts food out for the strays in the area and is on a first-name basis with the local Paws Watch, which comes by once a season to perform spaying and neutering services, but there always seem to be more cats every year.

Right now, Angela has two indoor cats, which I can handle, but I am afraid that time will change her into the crazy cat lady, and she will end up with fifty cats and a house full of cat hair. Angela talks about getting married, and I would like to ask her to marry me, but this one fear is what is holding me back. Being a cat (person?) what is your opinion on this situation?

Allergic To Crazy

Dear Allergic to Crazy:

Not knowing Angela, I have to ask: does she dress her cats up like this?

If the answer is yes, I think you should run - as fast as you can - in the direction opposite Angela; but not before rescuing those poor, put-upon indoor kitties of hers!

The possibility of a cat lover becoming a crazy cat person has more to do with their overall mental health than their love of animals. In fact, the more a person loves animals the less likely they are to hoard them because they know that having too many animals under one roof is not fair to said pets. If Angela is psychologically well-adjusted, and not prone to hoarding, I do not think she will suddenly turn into an animal hoarder (or, as you put it, a "crazy cat lady"). This in turn begs the question: Are you sure that you are not just looking for excuses not to marry Angela, and posing them as genuine concerns?


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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mother Seeks Favor With Un-favored Daughter After Favorite Sons Say No

Dear Tazi:

I was born out-of-wedlock, and my mother never misses a chance to remind me that she could have had an abortion or put me up for adoption, but no; she carried me to term and kept me in spite of the social scandal it was at the time. Growing up, I was made to feel like I was not good enough; and when Mom got married and had five children (all boys) with her husband, I became a persona non grata.

When I turned eighteen I escaped my parents’ house and moved away with a friend. I met my husband, “Donald”, while working at a coffee shop. He was in his final year of business school at the time and really could not afford to buy a coffee every day; but he really wanted to see me, too! (This explained why he always bought a small coffee, and paid for it with loose change). When I told my parents how we met, they said it would never last and that a man who could not even afford a coffee was not the kind of man I should marry.

It has been ten years since our wedding (which my parents refused to attend) and Donald and I are still happily married. He owns his own investment firm, and he are financially stable in spite of the difficult economy. Overall, we are successful as a couple and individuals and I am happy with my life. Now, my mother is trying to ruin it.

Mother’s husband recently left her for a younger woman, and she is devastated. She is unable to support herself and has not worked in years – my step-father is well-off – and has no marketable skills or the desire to learn any; instead, she is demanding to move in with Donald and me.

Once again my mother is reminding me that she could have had an abortion or turned me out, but she raised me anyway, and now that she needs a home and someone to care for her I am coldly turning my back on her. Before I could say anything, Donald stepped up and told her off! He told her she was a horrible mother to me and that he would never, ever allow her to live with us; that anyone who would dare speak so abusively to his wife was not welcome in our home. Tazi, have I told you yet how much I love my husband?

My problem now is that my mother has told everyone she knows that my husband is an ogre who refuses to allow her to set foot in my house; that he is keeping us separated against my will. My five half-brothers have all called and left nasty messages for us saying how awful we are that we won’t take Mother in during her time of need. Tazi, all five of them own their own homes and have plenty of room for her! They simply refuse to offer her living space because, as the youngest told me, “you’re the daughter; you get her, that’s how it goes”.

Tazi, I do not mind what my brothers say about me and Donald – I know that it is simply their way of trying to get me to buckle so they won’t get stuck with Mother – but I am upset that Mother’s friends think my husband is some kind of evil, controlling beast. Should I try to make contact with them to correct the impression my mother has given? Or do you think that would further complicate things?


Dear Cinderella:

I am so glad you found your Prince, because your mother sounds like a very abusive woman. You sound like you have adjusted quite well in life, in spite of your difficult upbringing, and I am very impressed with the way your husband stands by your side to protect you. Normally, I would question whether or not you were okay with him speaking up to your mother on your behalf; but it sounds like you had no problem with him handling this particular fastball. So long as he allows you to speak your mind independently, and only acts the role of Knight in Shining Armor when he knows this is your preference, I have no issue with his actions. Is your mother aware that this is the dynamic between you and Donald? If not, I can see why she would think him “an ogre”.

Moving forward, I would give your mother’s friends more credit than you currently are; remember that your half-brothers have also refused to take dear old Mother into their homes, and this is not something that will go unnoticed in the gossip circles. Calling your mother’s friends to give your side of the story will only add fuel to this raging fire.

Your mother is obviously in a bind, one that I am certain she will manage to get out of on her own. As cruel as her statements to you have been, they do hold a lot of truth; only a strong woman would have been able to go against the tide of the times and have a child out-of-wedlock. Do not allow your mother’s guilt-tripping to derail your life.


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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #39 - Social Media Does Not Excuse Bad Manners Or Other Indiscresions

Dear  Readers,

This week, while perusing the social media sites, I have seen everything from a video of a man in his early twenties singing about how much he loves to smoke pot to a comment from a woman of similar age making threats against those who would “aggravate” her. A little deeper digging showed that each of these people seeks to work in positions of the public trust – police work and as a medical provider. Do you think either of them would stand a chance of getting a job in either field if this information showed up on a pre-employment media search? Do you think either of these people would be proud to hear that their mothers-in-law viewed this information? I can just see it now!

“My, Sparky, I am so proud of you! That chant about how much you love to smoke pot was truly inspiring! Now, about that inheritance I was planning on leaving you…”

“Griselda, with that temper you would make a wonderful match for my son! A mentally and emotionally abusive wife is exactly what he needs!”

Social Media does not make you special. Announcing through your Facebook or Twitter feed that you are in a bad mood so people should just lay-off or look out does not give you the right to address someone with a stream of expletives and then expect them to let it go without apology because, after all, you did warn them on Facebook! Singing about how much you love to smoke pot will not make you immune to drug laws; rather, it will probably expedite your prosecution for possession of a controlled substance! Being a member of any interactive society – in person or online – requires that certain protocols be observed. Among dogs and cats, a certain amount of ass-sniffing is required; among humans the expectations of basic courtesy and abidance of the law are the norm. While, judging by the populations of inmates vs. free citizens, most laws are still being followed, but the rule of common courtesy for all has fallen by the wayside.

Although I have not done any research into the actual topic, I am certain that most humans do not want their butts sniffed. So why would they act like a dog in other ways, barking to show people how tough they really aren’t? It is not the barking dog that you must fear, but the silent, snarling dog that bares its teeth. In a human sense, announcing that you are in a bad mood and telling people off with expletives does nothing but show the world that you are at best a tiny little person, incapable of socializing with others; at worst, mentally unstable. In the animal world, you would be judged a menace to society and “put to sleep”. What would happen in the human world? What would happen, indeed…?

More and more social media is becoming the yardstick by which a person is measured. Your LinkedIn profile is not the only online presence that potential employers can see; they find ways to access a person’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram pages. You may sign a contract insisting that you will obey your employer’s drug-free office policy, but that picture of you smoking a joint speaks louder than your pledge to eschew illegal substances; if you call in sick to work on Monday, make sure that nobody has posted pictures of you partying like a rock star all weekend. Although we do not have much control over what other people post, we do have control over what we post – including the language we choose to use when posting.

Adulthood 101 teaches that this is a bad idea!
Potential employers are not the only ones watching what it posted to social media feeds. Friends, family, future business contacts, loved ones, and people we don’t even realize are watching can see what is posted to our social media sites. Is your site representing you as you would like to be seen? Did you inadvertently tell off your husband's favorite cousin with your blanket "Leave me the $%# alone" status update? Or worse, the sister-in-law you fought with last week?

The errors of youth are commonplace and practically universal, but there was a time before social media when these errors could be buried in the past. Now, with the ever-advancing means of social media, these follies are also being committed by people who are old enough to know better - and are being permanently preserved. Is this what you would like to leave for posterity? Think before you post...and remember your manners. Just because you are posting on a social media site is no excuse for acting like a putz.


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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Personal Views On Santa Claus Have Mom At Odds With American Traditions

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a devout Catholic woman, and the mother of a three-and-a-half year old daughter. I have taught her the story of Christmas, but not of Santa Claus; rather, I have shared the history of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (the man upon whom Santa Claus is loosely based).

This year, "Jillian" started attending pre-school/day-care a few days a week and I have noticed that many of the children are started to ger excited about a visit from "Santa". At three-and-a-half, I realize that my daughter is too young to spill the beans to these children that Santa Claus is not real, but I am concerned about what to tell her if she starts asking me about Santa Claus. Furthermore, I am concerned that she will repeat whatever I tell her to her classmates, and I do not want other parents to be upset with me or Jillian for ending the tradition for their children. However, I simply will not have my child believing in such nonsense!

My husband says that I am worrying about a bridge that will not be crossed this year, but I know that by next year Jillian's speech will have developed enough that she will be better able to voice her thoughts. I would like to nip this whole Santa problem in the early stages, before the materialism that has taken over Christmas takes a hold of her; my husband says to let it go for now. What do you think we should do, Tazi-Kat?

Mary, Mother Of Jillian

Dear Mary, Mother Of Jillian:

Although it is admirable that you seek to teach your daughter the true, religious meaning behind Christmas; you must understand that not everybody celebrates with the purity that you celebrate. You call the tradition of Santa Claus "nonsense", and you are well within your right to an opinion; but many would disagree with you. I fall somewhere in between, taking the Willy Wonka view that "a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men".

At three-and-a-half, your daughter is very impressionable, so I can understand your concerns that her views on Christmas will be warped by the materialism that Santa Claus has come to represent in our American society. Should your daughter express confusion over Santa Claus, explain to her that not all people believe the same things as you and her Daddy; and that not everyone celebrates their December holidays with Santa Claus. This should be enough to convey to her that Santa is not a part of your celebration, while preventing her from ending the tradition for other children. If your daughter's pre-school is a secular one, she probably has classmates of various, non-Christian faiths; so she will not be the only one who does not celebrate with Santa, and should not feel singled out of the crowd.


Friday, September 19, 2014

An Unlocked Door Is A Burglar's Best Friend!

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a widowed woman who lives with my elderly mother-in-law, "Millie", so as to assist her around the house. This arrangement allows her to stay in her own home, and helps me to feel more secure - both financially (I do pay rent, but much less than I would pay for a private apartment; Millie has no mortgage) and personally. My problem is my feelings of personal safety are starting to dwindle.

About six months ago, Millie and I brought home a shelter cat, for companionship and to keep the field mice that have invaded our yard in check. Since we do not have a pet-door installed, we must personally see to letting "Bruiser" in and out of the house. Millie does not sleep well at night, and has taken to letting Bruiser out in the middle of the night - and then forgetting to lock the door behind her when she returns to bed. When I wake up in the morning and find the door unlocked, I am completely unnerved; and I find that Millie's bad habit is now affecting my sleep. Whenever I hear a strange noise in the night I am petrified that someone has entered the house to rob us.

I have mentioned my concerns to Millie, but she just pooh-pooh's me, as if I am acting like a scared child. Tazi-Kat, my late husband was a police officer. He always insisted we keep the doors locked against the risk of home invasion; and passed this lesson on to Millie and her late husband, as well. He would tell me that most robberies occurred due to unlocked doors and windows, and as a police officer he saw more than his share of heartbroken homeowners who wished they had taken such simple precautions against theft and other crimes!

With the holidays so near, the annual rise in home invasions is set to occur, and I do not care for our house to be on some burglar’s hit-list! Do you have any advice on how to get Millie to see the seriousness of the situation?

Not A Scaredy-Cat!

Dear Not A Scaredy-Cat:

You do not say how old Millie is, just that she is "elderly"; but with age can come stubbornness. Millie is probably very set in her ways, so trying to get her to develop new habits is going to be an exercise in futility. However, if Millie's forgetting to lock the doors is a new habit - did she ever follow her son's advice about locking doors? - perhaps she should be screened for illnesses that affect memory - Alzheimer's, senility, dementia, or other issues that will escalate if not caught and treated early. According to WebMD, early signs of these diseases include difficulty exercising good judgment and sudden changes in personal habits.

As for the problem of the unlocked doors, perhaps a pet-door would be the solution to your problem? They are relatively easy to install, as well as inexpensive. A pet-door for a cat - even one as large sounding as one named "Bruiser" - will not be anywhere near big enough for a human to squeeze through, so it will not compromise your safety. Some pet doors also come with locking mechanisms, so you can secure them if that is your preference. As for wild-life finding their way though it, once Bruiser starts using it your friendly neighborhood squirrels and field mice will give it a wide berth; so this should not be a cause for concern, either.

-- Tazi-Kat

P.S. I compliment you on your wise choice to adopt a shelter cat! Although most people want kittens, you don't know what kind of cat they will become! With a grown cat, you know the personality of the cat you are adopting. (Yep, my Mommie lucked out when I chose her! She got herself a top-of-the-line quality feline who loooooves to snuggle!).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Co-Worker's Refusal To Work Puts Big Burden On Others

Dear Tazi:

I work in a small office that handles customer relations for a mid-sized company. I enjoy my job; but some days I get stressed and need to slow down, just like any other job. Overall I am very happy to have a job, and very blessed to work for such a great company. So why am I writing to you? My new co-worker is driving me crazy.

“Jeff” does not lift a finger to do anything – ever. He sits at his desk all day playing video games through his portable console or through his iPhone, so the company cannot trace his usage. Customers and clients will come into our office to speak with us and he will not even look up from his desk to greet them, so the onus falls on me to assist them. If I am with someone else, Jeff makes them wait until I am available. Since we do not file daily activity reports, Jeff’s lack of work activity has gone unnoticed by those in charge.

It has been two months since Jeff started working with me, and I am stressed to the breaking point. I would love to report him to Human Resources, but at the same time I wouldn’t feel right reporting a co-worker for poor work performance. Besides that, I recently discovered that Jeff is the nephew – through marriage – of the company owner; the owner’s wife’s twin sister is Jeff’s Mom, which means to fire Jeff would mean trouble at home for the owner. Right now, my work level has doubled but my salary has stayed the same; Jeff, who does nothing, collects a paycheck each week, and I am finding my resentment building to a dangerous level. I am afraid I am going to explode any day now. What should I do, Tazi?

Ready To Go Postal

Dear Ready To Go Postal:

I suggest that you talk to your Human Resources department before you say or do something that you will regret. You do not need to rat out Jeff in order to do this; just keep a record of your work and bring it with you, to back up your words when you tell HR that you are overwhelmed with work and could use some extra help. When HR mentions that you have Jeff to assist you, simply respond that you are uncertain of his work-load, but are pretty certain that it is lighter than yours. Being a new employee, HR probably has a review of his work already scheduled. He will be required to show his contributions to the company and how he fits into the office.

I realize you are in a tough position, so if you are not comfortable approaching HR about Jeff’s employment in your office you could approach them about yours. If there is another department with an opening that interests you, apply for a transfer. Once you are out of your small office Jeff will be the only one left to do the job – at which point he will have to shape up or ship out.

I also realize that the family connection Jeff has to the company owner makes it difficult to bring his deficient work-ethic to the attention of those in charge, but the fact that he is acting as he is shows a lack of respect for the family member who gave him a chance at gainful employment. You give your company’s owner far too little credit. Should he – or one of his managers – choose to fire Jeff his defense is Jeff’s poor attitude and the disrespect shown to one who tried to assist him. I have a feeling that Jeff’s lack of work ethic is well known to Jeff’s mother.


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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bathroom Privacy Becomes An Issue Once Children Come Along

Dear Tazi:

I am the mother of two and a half year old twin girls. They are old enough to run around and get in trouble, and big enough to climb out of their crib without getting hurt. I am a stay-at-home Mom, so some days the only moment I have to myself is when I have to use the bathroom. I have always closed the door when I do my business and value my privacy in this area.

My husband “Marc” came home one day this week for lunch to find the girls playing quietly while I was in the bathroom relieving myself. He flipped out on my for leaving the girls unattended, and has demanded that I never leave them unattended again; that it only takes a moment for a child to get into life-threatening danger. Although I am not comfortable with having an audience while I use the bathroom, I agreed to Marc’s request, simply because it was easier than arguing.

This weekend I came home from grocery shopping to find almost the exact same scene that Marc had walked in on earlier in the week! The girls were quietly playing while he was in the bathroom with the door closed – and locked. I just about went through the roof on him for his hypocrisy, when he defended his actions by saying it is inappropriate for young girls to see a man naked below the waist. For this reason, he thinks that he should be excused from his very own rule that affects my bathroom privacy.

When I pressed Marc on this issue, he reiterated that it would be inappropriate for the girls to see him using the toilet, and that people may misunderstand them should the girls talk about what they see. I could not believe that my husband is trying to imply that people might think he is molesting our children, and that is why he should be allowed bathroom privacy. I am just disgusted, and have no intention of doing as Marc wants until he follows his own rule.

Tazi, am I being unreasonable, as my husband has suggested? I don’t think I am putting my children at risk; but what if I am?

Private Pottier

Dear Private Pottier:

Your husband’s excuse as to why he will not follow his own bathroom rule is pathetic, at best, and scary at worst. The fact that he fears people might think he is molesting his own children makes me wonder why he would think such paranoid thoughts. Was he molested as a child, or in any way related to a child molester (family, baby sitter, or neighbor)? As for his argument that a young girl should not see a man naked below the waist, I have news for him: by the time she is five years old, she will probably be curious enough to “show hers” if a boy will “show his”. This behavior is in no way, shape, or form sexual; it is simply part of the natural curiosity that all children possess.

By suggesting that nudity is somehow forbidden or shameful your husband is sending a mixed message to your toddlers (I am certain that he sees them naked at bath time and changing time). I suggest that you both teach your children proper bathroom etiquette, including your feelings on nudity, which seem to fall along the lines that our naked bodies are to be kept private (and this is a perfectly acceptable view). This is also the perfect opportunity to educate your children the difference between good touching and bad touching, as well as the physical differences between boys’ bodies and girls’ bodies. You do not have to get too intimate; just explain that boys have different parts than girls.

Just in case there was any confusion

Now, regarding the closed bathroom door policy in your house: Your husband is correct that “it only takes a moment for a child to get into life-threatening danger”, which is why I suggest you toddler-proof your house if this step has not already been taken. Your next step should be to educate your daughters on how to behave while you are in the bathroom and unable to watch them. Since they have been “playing quietly” on both occasions that you mention, you can offer them a small reward for their good behavior (a cookie or other special treat). These steps should greatly reduce the chance of injury during the two to five minutes you take to relieve yourself.

In the end, if your husband still insists that the door be left open while you are in the bathroom, try to honor his request in order to keep the peace. In a few short years you will have your privacy back, as your daughters will be begging you to close the door when you are in the bathroom.


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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Embarassing Problem Leads To Office Theft...And Painful Consequences

Dear Tazi:

I have a very embarrassing problem, made worse by the way I have handled it. I have hemorrhoids, which leave me in agonizing pain and unable to sit still. I am too embarrassed to buy Preperation H at the store, and since they keep it behind the pharmacy counter I cannot secretly take it and leave the money on the service counter.

Last week, I was rummaging through a vacationing co-worker's desk for some white-out when I came across a huge stash of personal needs - feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, floss...and a brand new tube of Preparation H, still in the unopened box. Although I am ashamed to say I took it (and left the money for it), I have to say I am feeling great relief in other areas. My problem is, my coworker returned from vacation to find her product gone as well as the money that I left for her! She reported the "theft" to Human Resources, who sent out a memo about respect for others' personal belongings.

Tazi-Kat, although I am not proud of my part in this whole debacle, I am outraged that someone would take the money I had left! Should I approach my co-worker and explain what I did? Or just let the whole issue pass? What should I do when I need a new tube of cream? I just can't go back to living without it!


Dear H.:

I have to say, I am intrigued by your sense of morality. To steal is morally wrong, and I admire your desire to pay for your purchases; but your co-worker's desk is not your personal pharmacy. Since you appear to be positively humiliated over the concept of purchasing hemorrhoid treatment, I would suggest a compromise:

Write a letter of apology to your co-worker for taking her hemorrhoid cream, explaining that you were looking for white-out when you saw your tushy's salvation in a tube and could not resist "borrowing" it before realizing that once you used it the owner would probably not have wanted it back [Ed. Note: The nozzle of the tube is inserted rectally]. Mention that you left money for the product, so she knows your intentions were honorable, but pay for the tube a second time (consider it a penance for your actions) by enclosing money with the letter in a sealed envelope that is clearly addressed to your co-worker.

In the future, you might want to consider home delivery of pharmaceutical products through Internet sites like Drugstore.com or CVS. It will reconcile your embarrassment over being seen purchasing the product with your need to buy it.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Young Man Discovers That Making Money Does Not Bring Happiness

Dear Tazi:

I have the worst job on earth and I hate it. It’s a total McJob with no future and it barely pays the bills, but in this economy what hope does a young person have of making it? I graduated high school this past June and since I’m not going to college I’m working. I figured why spend money on more education when I could be paid to work? A college education is no guarantee of success.

Now that it is August all of my friends are packing up and moving away to college while I am stuck here mopping floors and emptying waste cans. I was reconsidering going to college until I saw the price tag. Tazi, one semester at a state school would cost me three months pay! Plus, I would have to quit working full time, so it would be costing me more than just tuition to go to college. What a scam!

I have considered joining the military, but even if I could pass the physical tests I am not sure it’s what I would want. I am afraid I would be sent overseas and killed. Even if I am not on the front lines, I could be in a truck that gets blown up by an IUD. I don’t have any job skills like carpentry or electrical work, and schools that teach that stuff are way expensive. I have asked around to see if anyone would train me, but nobody took me up on the idea. My future is looking pretty rough, Tazi old boy. What would you do if you were in my situation?


Dear Joe:

Not to dump on you any further, but it’s an IED – improvised explosive device – not an IUD, which is a form of birth control (intrauterine device). Since you are uncertain about the military and fear the thought of serving in a war zone, I discourage you from following this path.

You mention that you do not have any vocational job skills (carpentry, electrical, etc.) and that schools for these programs are “way expensive”. While this may be true, many community colleges offer certificate programs in these areas. A certificate is not a degree, so the only classes required would be the ones that are somehow connected to the trade you are learning, and most programs can be completed within 12 – 18 months. Many of these programs are designed to fit around a work schedule, too, so you would be able to continue working half-time or more, if not full-time, and financial aid is available, including grant monies (which, unlike student loans, do not need to be repaid). Is this something that might interest you?

It is obvious from your letter that you hate your job, see no future in it, and fear for your own future. For now, you must “suck it up” as R. Lee Ermey might say (only in more colorful language) and be grateful for the opportunity to earn your living – many Americans and Europeans have been out of work for an extended period of time, with the 18 – 25 year old population suffering through unemployment rates greater than 50%. Plus, you could have to deal with people like this guy.


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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #58 - In Praise Of Autumn

Dear Readers:

Today I am a sad kitty. Summer is officially over this week and autumn is here, which means my long naps in the summer sun are also at an end for another year and (since I live in New England) that dastardly white stuff that falls from the sky will soon be making its annual appearance! I decided to ask myself for some advice, since everyone tells me I give the best, and I told myself to make a list of all of the good things about autumn, like:

Hiding in the fallen leaves.

Surely nobody can find me in here, right?

My brother Koko always was better at hide 'n' seek

The smell of apple and spice scented candles. My Mommie single-handedly keeps Yankee Candle in business with the number of candles she buys, and each season must have its own scents. She finally managed to work her way through the summer scents – summer berries, ocean scents, and coconut oil – and has moved on to apples and spice, blackberry tart, and pumpkin.

Beer tastings. New England is home to several microbreweries, all with various seasonal ales – from Sam Adams Oktoberfest to the Woodstock Station’s Harvest Brew. Unlike the ubiquitous light, citrus-infused summer brews that flooded the marker this past season (Bud Lime-A-Rita, anyone?) autumn brews have a heavier and heartier flavor that leave even the uninitiated understanding why some people drink beer because they like the taste. From Newport, Rhode Island’s Newport Storm to Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Smuttynose I can look forward to watching my loved ones (and my cousin, Rocky the boxer dog) enjoying a cold, crisp one. ( am a teetotaler!).

Hiking trails. Hiking is hard work that makes you humans sweat, so I can see why most of you avoid it during the heavy heat of the summer, but that sweat makes autumn the perfect time to explore the hiking trails in your area. I plan of sneaking off to work with my Mommie and exploring the trails of her state park, where plentiful bunches of wild grapes grow; apple trees offer their fruit for the plucking; and butterflies flit merrily back and forth across your path. I will leave the heavy hiking in the Berkshires to her and Daddy, although I might join them for a ghost tour through Haunted Providence or even Colonial Boston, so long as someone carries me the entire time! Cobblestone streets do not agree with my tender paws. 

Blankets, blankets, blankets (oh, and sweaters)! Who doesn’t love a soft, cuddly blanket? I have several placed around the house in my “Tazi spots” – under the end table, on the bed, behind the reclining chair... – but they are just too warm to snuggle into when the weather is hot! Now that autumn is here, I am ready for them! As far as I am concerned, a sweater is simply a wearable blanket!

Just please don’t make me wear one!

Halloween and Thanksgiving. Two holidays centered on food. How can you beat that?

What are some of your favorite things about autumn? Share them in the Comments section or tweet them @TaziKat! I really do want to know, so I can make my autumn the best that it can be!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Before Paying It Forward, You Should Really Pay Others Back

Dear Tazi:

I’m the kind of guy who can never catch a break. I am unemployed more often than not because employers do not understand my special circumstances. I am an actor/performer, so when opportunities to audition or perform arise, I must take them, meaning I will call out of work (sometimes with only a few hours notice) or quit altogether if they will not release me for a leave of absence for the run of a play or television filming session. Because of this, I have had to accept the charity of others to make my way in the world.

I am the kind of guy who believes in giving others the opportunity to pay it forward, so to speak, but the people in my personal life and professional network do not see it the same way. A theatre group that I have been auditioning with for years (I am trying to secure a place as a regular member of their company) recently called me in for what I thought was a leading role audition! They told me they had something important to discuss with me! It was not an audition; it was an intervention. They basically told me that they cannot continue to assist me in my goals since all I do is take without giving. Tazi, that is not true! As I have already mentioned, I am providing the opportunity to “pay it forward”. Plus, I offer to volunteer my time to help with set building and other odd jobs that need to be done. I do not think it is fair that I have been asked to leave this community of actors because I am a bit more needy than the rest of them. Someday, I am going to make it big – make it HUGE, in fact – and a part of my wants to turn my back on these people when that happens and they all come running (as I am sure they will). Another part of me thinks I should forgive them. What do you think is the best course of action?

Shooting Star

Dear Shooting Star:

I think accepting this Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust would be your best course of action, before paying back – not forward – all of the people whom you owe.

Second, if you are over the age of 30, I think you should accept that acting and performing are not your primary source of income, so it is time to stop quitting jobs that interfere with your preferred career because it appears to me that ship is never going to leave the dock. I hate to have to put it so bluntly, but the only reason you are seeing stars is because that is what is in your eyes.

When a community theatre group stages an intervention and tells you that you are no longer welcome among them, this tells me you that you lack the kind of talent that would make up for your shortcomings. Furthermore, your offer to “volunteer” to help with set-building and “other odd jobs” is plain insulting. These jobs are done by people who are skilled and/or trained in the artistry required to create theatre sets. It is neither unskilled labor nor an “odd job”. You strike me as someone who suffers from delusions of grandeur. Counseling could help.

To answer your question as to whether or not you should ignore your old colleagues or forgive them once you “make it HUGE”, I doubt this will be a bridge you have to worry about crossing; however, since you asked, I recommend forgiveness – just as they have forgiven you numerous obligations that you imply you are going to “pay forward”.

Perfunctory snuggle (but just one),

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

An Elvish Wedding Leaves Guest Out Of Her Element

Dear Tazi:

This past June I attended the wedding of a dear friend’s daughter; it was the most unorthodox wedding I have ever attended and I am not certain how to handle the fallout from events that occurred that day.

“Phoenix”, as my friend’s daughter now calls herself, insisted on holding the wedding outdoors; down a long, brambly trail near a swamp where a man dressed in the strangest robes I have ever seen performed the ceremony in a language I have never heard. Later when I asked, Phoenix informed me that the language was Elvish; that we were on their lands and that we needed to be respectful of their culture. With this in mind, she requested that I remove my shoes because the heels were poking holes in the soil. Tazi, I was not going to remove my shoes in that swampland and informed Phoenix of this fact. She refused to accept my decision and told (not requested – told) me to leave. I left, but not before retrieving the generous wedding gift I had offered to the couple.

Tazi, you can imagine my shock when my friend called me this week to ask about the wedding gift I had given to her daughter. Phoenix claims that it “went missing” around the time I told her that I had a headache and left early. Tazi, I was speechless! I did not claim to have a headache and leave; I am angry that Phoenix would lie to her own mother to cover for her rude behavior; and am shocked that she still expects to receive a wedding gift after she dismissed me from her reception! Unprepared to answer, I told my friend I would see to replacing the check I had written to Phoenix as a wedding gift and suggested that the wind may have blown it away – or perhaps the elves that lived in the swamp commandeered it as a damage deposit. My friend did not know what I meant by this, so I told her that her daughter would understand perfectly.

Tazi, I like to think I got my message across to Phoenix, but I cannot be sure. Do you think I should write her a note explaining why I took back the card and enclosed check I had offered as a gift? Or should I just let the whole thing go? I am not sure what to say if my friend brings up the subject again.

Madame Tradition

Dear Madame Tradition:

I can understand why you took your gift back when you left, although it was a terrible breech of etiquette when you did. I will allow you to get away with it, considering the way you were treated, if you give the correct answers to the following questions:

1. Was Phoenix aware that you had presented a gift? Or was she just guessing that you put a card with a check in it into the collection basket? (The latter is the correct answer).

2. If Phoenix was aware that you provided a card, did she know that there was money in it? Or, again, was she just guessing that a gift was enclosed? (Again, the latter is the correct answer).

3. Did you write a check for Phoenix and her husband or did you slip cash in the envelope? (Wrote a check is the correct answer).

4. Was the envelope opened when you took it back and left? (Please say that it was unopened).

If Phoenix was aware that there was a gift enclosed in the card and knew of the amount enclosed, you are obligated by the rules of etiquette to return it to her. If this is the case and you provided cash in the envelope, you are obligated to return it to her because once a gift is given it becomes the property of the recipient. If Phoenix is merely guessing that you provided a gift and/or a card, you are under no obligation to give it back, but your friendship with her mother may depend upon it.

I would not write a letter to Phoenix, as this would provide tangible proof of the riff that has occurred between the two of you, and will most likely drag your friend into the middle of it. A short phone call to Phoenix can straighten the entire situation. Tell her that in her distress over the Elves she must have mistaken your reason for leaving, and offer to let her mother know the true reason for your early departure. If the woman has any scruples at all she will drop the demand for a gift.


P.S. I'm a cat and even I know that Elves habituate in the woods, not the swamps! J.R.R. Tolkien must be rolling in his grave right now!

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11

Dear Readers:

It has been 13 years since that fateful 11th day of September. In honor of this solemn day, I will not be printing any letters; nor offering any words, for all that can be said has already been spoken by those whose words are much more eloquent than mine. I will just offer a simple reminder to never forget…(email readers, please click here to view this article online, so you can see the graphics and videos).

Song: "Where were you when the world stopped turning?" by Alan Jackson

But don’t let your rage turn into hate…

No words were needed for the most touching tribute of all...

My Mommie was at Yankee Stadium on 9/9/01, watching the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees...and she is forever grateful that Al-Qaeda chose not to strike there.

For those who seek to do more in remembrance of this sacred day, please visit www.911day.org.


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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Indiscriminate Woman Discovers The Hard Way That Easy Sex Is Not The Path To Marriage

Dear Tazi:

My friends staged an intervention for me this past weekend, to point out that my behavior has gotten out of control. I don't drink or do drugs or party too much but, long story short, I tend to fall into bed with guys far too quickly and far too often than is healthy.

I am in my late twenties, and all I have ever wanted is to meet a nice guy, settle down, and get married and start a family. My friends pointed out that the way I am going about it is not working. At first I was very angry with my friends, until my best friend pointed out that in 10 years I have slept with - by her count - 100 men. I am embarrassed to admit, her count is a bit low because I have not told her about every guy I have slept with; just the ones I really, really liked.

Most of the guys I have been intimate with seemed like great guys, but they only stuck around for a one or two night stand. I used to think I was getting too clingy, too fast and that is why they ran; so I stopped trying to push them into a relationship, but that doesn't seem to be working, either. How can I meet a nice guy that doesn't seem to want only one thing?

Crossed Legs

Dear Crossed Legs:

You can meet a nice guy who doesn't seem to want only one thing by not acting like a woman who has only one thing to give. I realize this statement sounds harsh; but by my math you have slept with - on average - a new man every month for the past ten years. That is not the behavior of a woman seeking to settle down with one man, but the behavior of a woman who is advertising that she is open for business.

You say you are looking for a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage and family, so your first step is to start behaving like a woman who wants to settle down with one man. I am not promoting a sexual double standard, but I am pointing out that there are the type of women men date and then there are the type of women men marry - and 100% of my male sources tell me that they can't see themselves getting serious with a woman who has sex on a first date. (When I pointed out that they, too, must be having sex on a first date they countered by saying it was "recreational sex", not "relationship sex". Apparently, there is a difference).

I find it hard to believe that over the last ten years you have met 100 men who you "really, really like" enough to consider marriage material. I suggest that the next time you meet a man who interests you that much, get to know him before jumping into a physical relationship. You may discover that he is not the type of man you would be interested in for the long haul, and pass on seeing him further; or you may discover that you have a great deal in common. It has often been said that sex and love are like peanut butter and jelly - great by themselves, but there is something about each that complements the other.

On a closing note, I want you to know that your past is behind you; don't dwell on it but do learn from it. Change the behaviors that are not taking you on a path to your goals and set yourself on a new way in your journey to marriage and children.


P.S. How the heck does your best friend remember how many men you have bedded? Does she keep a scorecard? Or does she have total recall of everything?

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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Husband And Wife Clash In Potty-Training Battle

Dear Tazi:

I am ready to lose my mind! I have a wonderful daughter who is almost three years old. She is on track or exceeding all of her milestones with one exception: she refuses to toilet train. I have tried bribing her with rewards, punishing her by leaving her in a dirty diaper for longer than normal, forcing her to use the potty and pretending the potty is no big deal – all to no avail.

A large part of my problem in getting “Jennifer” to potty train is my husband. He does not think we should push Jennifer if she is not ready to potty train; however, he is also not home during the day and he frequently travels for work, leaving me alone with Jennifer for days at a time. Being tied to my daughter so much is starting to give me “Mommy brain”. I need more stimulation than Mommy and Me classes but can not leave Jennifer with a babysitter; my husband will not pay for the expense and I am a stay-at-home Mom, so all my cash comes from his paycheck. Although generous, he requests that I account for the money I spend.

I would like to enroll Jennifer in pre-school; but in order to do that she must be potty-trained, which would mean going against my husband’s directive not to push her. What do you think I should do, Tazi? Should I defy my husband? Or just wait and hope that our daughter will eventually potty train on her own?


Dear Trapped:

Your signature speaks volumes, as does your question as to whether or not you should “defy” your husband. Considering that your husband is not around much of the time, Jennifer’s care falls upon you. At “almost three” the time to potty train is now. The older she gets the more difficult it will become, as she will become more resistant to change.

I will suggest a method that is recommended by family psychologist John Rosemond, a parenting expert. He calls this method “Naked and $75”. The $75 will be the cost to get your rugs cleaned; the "naked" refers to the method of getting your child to potty train.

Mr. Donahue suggests that you remove your child’s bottom layers of clothing – including the diaper (you can let them wear a long shirt). That is pretty much it for your part! When your daughter says that she has to go to the bathroom, direct her to the bathroom and her potty chair and instruct her to use it. You will probably be met with resistance and “accidents” on your rugs, but no creature – human or otherwise – likes to relieve themselves onto their living space. Should Jennifer have an accident, you can have her assist you in cleaning it up and depositing it into the toilet and flushing. Within two weeks, she should have received the message that the potty is the place to relieve yourself.

This is Tazi again! I have also heard that offering a child a reward of panties with their favorite cartoon character on them is a great motivator. If your daughter is into Disney princesses, you can tell her she can wear Disney Princess underwear once she is potty trained. If she is into rufflebutts, you can coax her with big-girl ruffled panties. The key to this method is follow-through – once your daughter shows that she will consistently use the potty you must produce the reward.

As for your husband’s thoughts on this matter: If he feels that Jennifer is being “pushed” into potty training, inform him that while he is home it will be HIS job to change any and all dirty diapers, regardless of how tired, busy, etc. he is. You can then watch how fast he changes his mind about what is best for your daughter.


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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lifestyles Clash When Unemployed Brother Moves In With Sister

Dear Tazi:

I lost my job six months ago, fell behind in the rent, and had to move in with my sister and her husband until I can get back on my feet. I appreciate that they have given me the spare bedroom and are not asking me to pay rent, just that I purchase any food that I want but they do not buy for themselves; clean up after myself; and follow the rules of the house. I have no problem with the first request – I have money from my unemployment benefits to buy my own food – but I have a problem with them telling me how to live.

My sister and brother-in-law are eco-freaks. Everything gets reused or recycled. They only use green cleaning products, and insist that I used them to clean on their schedule and to their standard, not mine. For example, they want me to spray and rinse the shower with something called Simple Green after every use. Tazi, I shower every day. The water from the shower washes away any dirt, so the shower is clean when I am done using it. I don’t think I should have to clean it every day. Then there’s the cooking. My sister does not own a microwave because she thinks microwave cooking is unhealthy. Sometimes, all I want is a bag of popcorn, and I have no way to prepare it! She expects me to put popcorn kernels in a pan with oil and pop it that way! I’d buy my own microwave if I could afford it, but I can’t right now. Sis has all sorts of eco-food preparation gadgets, including a yogurt maker. Apparently, she and her husband are too good for the store-bought stuff – it has preservatives in it!

My sister has not yet pushed her eco-lifestyle on me, at least not directly, but I feel smothered by all the eco-[stuff] and eco-rules she has in the house. I feel like she is passively trying to convert me, always offering to let me use her stuff; offering me a taste of the fresh vegetables she grew in her organic garden; and requesting that I use the recycling and compost bins. Is there a polite way to tell her to lay off of me?

Can’t Wait To Move

Dear Can’t wait To Move:

I understand how difficult it can be to live in someone else’s house by someone else’s rules. I hear it all the time – “Don’t scratch on the furniture, Tazi!” or “Stop kicking sand out of the box, King Nebuchadnezzar!” So much for being a king, huh?

On the flip side, I do enjoy my king-sized bed, my multiple feeding stations, litter-box cleaning service, and all of the other amenities that come along with my living situation. Rather than focus on the negative, try to focus on the positive.

You sister is not charging you rent, so you should be able to save a good chunk of money and be able to move back out on your own shortly after you find a job. Right now, your job should be looking for work or improving your job skills so you can find a job quicker. This means you will be living under her rules for the least amount of time possible; and I know you do not want to hear this, but it is her house, so her rules rule. As for your complaints…

Spritzing the shower after use takes all of thirty seconds and is a courtesy towards others. Water does not have antibacterial and antimicrobial powers, so your argument about the shower being clean from the water use is incorrect. If your sister prefers not to keep a microwave in her house than this is her business; make your popcorn the old-fashioned way, invest in a small microwave, or go without microwave popcorn.

Your attitude towards your sister’s green lifestyle borders on hostile. So she has her own yogurt maker; so what? Maybe she enjoys making homemade yogurt. How are her kitchen gadgets having a negative effect on your lifestyle? Your sister sounds like she is trying to make you feel at home, offering the use of her kitchen (and its gadgets) and sharing her vegetables (freshly grown does taste better!). All that she has asked in return is that you respect her lifestyle. If you cannot do this, I suggest you find a cheap motel or a friend’s couch before your presence stresses your sister’s marriage.

Perfunctory snuggles,

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