Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

True Confessions: I Once Was A Male Model

There is something I need to confess. I want to get this sordid event from my past out in the open before TMZ, Perez Hilton and others report on it and a scandal erupts. A scandal so salacious, it would knock my book off the New York Times Bestseller list.

Okay (deep breath), here’s my confession: At one time in my life, I worked as a male model. My body was displayed on the Internet and my services were offered for sale. But I want to be clear, I need to emphasize: At no point did I work in the nude, and THERE WAS NO MONEY SHOT.

Now I know at this point you think I am making this up, but I assure you I am not. By the end of this post, I will reveal never-before-seen photographs as visual proof. This is not an April Fool’s joke, I am posting this on April 2. This post is unfortunately true.

It all started a little over ten years ago when I saw an article in the newspaper about a new, local company holding auditions for “actors” to serve as spokespeople in commercial promotional videos. It said models of all ages and types were needed.

I never expected to make much money but it sounded like fun. I had no aspirations of “GOING HOLLYWOOOOOOD!” I did have several years of acting experience, playing such diverse roles as Forrest Gump, Elwood Blues, a newborn infant, and an infomercial announcer, in church sketch dramas. And I had served as a hands model (yeh Seinfeld fans) in an instructional video once.

I passed my on-camera audition easily, even though I was distracted by the extreme hotness of the ladies running this agency. The sweat I had to wipe from my brow was not from the bright lights. I then did a professional photo shoot. Now I did have to pay out of pocket for this. I know this sounds like a scam, but it was not. The session was deep-discounted and involved several wardrobe changes. But I needed to emphasize again: At no time was I nude, not even in the dressing room. And even though I did “work it” some for the camera, THERE WAS NO MONEY SHOT. Although those ladies were so stunning that if they had asked me to disrobe, well, ah, let’s forget I even mentioned that.

The photos turned out well. I still use the headshot picture here on my LinkedIn
profile. My favorite are the basketball player shots. I am around age 50 in the pics, but I look like I am still a “playa”. Regardless, when these photos were taken, I was well past my prime. As I told people at the time, “I put the beef in beefcake”.

My photos and my sample video were posted on the firm’s website for anyone who wanted to hire me.  All I had to do is sit back and wait for the offers to pour in. I unexpectedly started to feel the part. I lost some weight for the photo shoot and bought some moisturizer recommended by my friend Jan, a Mary Kay rep. I know moisturizing is not a manly thing to admit, but I had to take care of the “moneymaker”, didn’t I?

But now I had to announce this new venture to my family and friends. I revealed the news to my wife and daughters at dinner. It was met with raucous laughter. When my oldest daughter stopped chuckling, she said, “Dad, all the male models I know of are either hot or gay. And you are not hot!” Likewise, I took quite a bit of ribbing from my friends at work. When I went with the guys to a baseball game, they made me sit in the middle. My friend Mike instructing, “Kevin, you sit on the end in case any women recognize him and try to get too close. I’ll catch any foul balls that come this way because we must protect the moneymaker at all costs.”

Although I told my friends at work about my new adventure, I didn’t make a big deal about it, and ironically this caused a “scandal”. One day, someone on the second floor at work stumbled upon the website and my photo. Suddenly, in true gopher-cubicle fashion, all productive work stopped as everyone was
fixated on my video. I was alerted to this occurrence by my friend Brent who ran downstairs with the news. Yes, my secret life had been revealed and was turning into a scandal.

My fear was that I would have to explain myself to the older, sexually-repressed, woman in HR.

HR Woman: I heard you are moonlighting as a male escort.

Me: No, not an escort. Just promo videos.

HR Woman: Did you do any nudes?

Me: No nudes!

HR:  Woman: I heard there was a moneyshot.


Fortunately, there were no repercussions. Although, I thought some of the woman in the office were trying to undress me with their eyes later that day.
Unfortunately, my life as a male model was unsuccessful. I did not get one gig. The main reason is that I was competing for jobs on the website with a bevy of super-smoking hot, young women who were actual models. I mean, who needs beefy-cake when there is there is some hot …. well you know.

It just would have been so fun to do one video and get paid for it. I don’t care what it was for, I know I could have delivered the key lines in a persuasive professional matter. For example:

For Barbara’s Pet Grooming Salon: “Let Barbara clip your cat, groom your dog, or trim your pussy”

For: Sam Spurgeon’s Septic Sucking Service: “We suck so hard, your septic tank calls to thank us the next morning”

But it was not to be. My career as a male model was boring and uneventful. And to my knowledge, all photos and videos of me in this venture have been removed from the Internet. I’m not sure about the dark web, however. But I am sure that if you would find anything there, I am not nude and THERE WAS NO MONEYSHOT!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Turkey Eyes Are Watching Me (Turkey Update – Part 2)

For almost two years the turkeys have confounded me with their craftiness. Turkeys are extremely intelligent creatures, so much so, that Ben Franklin favored them over the bald eagle to be our national bird.
Over time, I realized the turkeys knew a lot about me. For example:

-         They know I put food out every day.

-         They know who I am. They recognize me as the guy who puts out the food. When they see me from a distance, I get their attention. They look at me with interest, in case I am putting out food.

-         They know where I live. They know I live inside the house and where the door is. They also know that the birdseed is stored inside the house. This is why they knock on the deck door when they have eaten all the food and want more.

-         Because they know I put out the food, they have some affinity towards me. That’s why they respond more positively towards me than my wife, who never puts out any food for them.

-         They believe that when I chase them away, I am only playing a game with them. “That guy would really have to be wacko to put out food for us and then get upset when we eat it, right?” (I told you the turkeys were intelligent!)

And this year, the turkeys have really upped their game. They somehow know what time I put the seed out in the morning, and then sneak in and empty the feeders.  This causes a problem because soon the hungry squirrels and cardinals arrive, but all the food is gone. So, I wait about an hour for the turkeys to be long gone, and fill up the feeders again. But soon, sometimes just ten minutes later, the turkeys suddenly appear and begin munching away.

The turkeys seem to know my every move, but how could this be? The turkeys are far away from my house. If I can’t see them, they surely can’t see me, right? Well, the turkeys may be intelligent, but I have the power of Google.

And it turns out, the turkeys have been watching me like a hawk, literally like a hawk. The hawk has the strongest eyesight of any bird, but just below them, sits --- the turkey. Turkey vision is 8-times stronger than human vision. And maybe with my declining eye-sight, nine-times better than mine. In addition, because of their eye placement, a slight turn of the head provides this amplified sight in 360-degrees. Turkey need this tremendous vision to spot predators, since they can’t run that fast, nor fly that well (Yes, as my backyard as my witness, wild turkeys can fly, Mr. Carlson).

So for almost two years, the turkeys have been spying on me from afar with
Giving me the "turkey eye"
the equivalent of 8X binoculars. Those turkeys were just lurking in the shadows – yes, Turkey Lurkey exists! – just waiting for me to refill the feeders. You might think that with my master’s degree that I would be able to outsmart these birds, but you would be wrong. The turkeys have been laughing at me, if turkeys can laugh, for nearly two years!

They’re watching me
They see my every move
Turkey eyes
They’re watching me
They see my every move
Turkey eyes
They’re watching me
Watching me, watching me, watching me**

It’s no wonder that the turkeys have some type of affection for me since they have watched me put out birdseed dozens of times, which they believe is solely for their consumption. They probably consider me their seedy-daddy. However, I strongly dispute the notice, promoted by my friend Dee, and others on Facebook, that the turkeys “love” me. Nothing could be further than the truth … Whoa! Carol Carpenter’s ghost! What are you doing here?

Why do birds (big ones) suddenly appear
Every time, you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Me: No, no, no, no, no!!!!!!!!!!

That is why, all the turks in town
Follow you, all around
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Me: Get out of here now!

Ghost: Hey, you gonna eat that cheeseburger?

Me: Wait? What? … those are my fries!

I repeat: These are not my turkeys and they do not love me. They eat the food that I put out for the squirrels and they are thieves. People have suggested that I try to fool the turkeys by placing a plastic owl or rubber hawk on my deck. I reasoned the turkeys would be too smart to fall for that trick, so I used the most hideous, frightening scarecrow I could find: the cutout I use to promote my book signings. It features three headshots of me. While you might think this is rather egotistical, it was designed by my friend Michael, and the original design
So very, very, scary!
actually had four heads. I told Mike that was too many heads. And as Robert Kraft recently found out, you can have too much head.

But incredibly, this did not deter the turkeys at all. They just went straight past the cutout to the food and started feasting again. I thought I even saw one of the turkeys give the cutout a kiss. But that would be wrong, because the turkeys do not love me. They are not my turkeys and I do not feed them.

It’s a good thing that spring is here and my feeding will end soon. I am dealing with a new rafter of young turkeys, which I assume is the result of rampant hot turkey sex happening in the woods behind my house. Yes, the turkeys are populating, probably because they are tremendously healthy, a result of being very well nourish…. Oh crap!

** based on Private Eyes – by Hall & Oates
*** Close to You – by The Carpenters

Monday, March 4, 2019

Having Too Much Wild Turkey

But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Just as the swallows return to Capistrano and the buzzards return to Hinckley, I anticipated the turkeys returning to my backyard this autumn.  Several years ago I was surprised to see a single, scrawny turkey in my backyard. The next year there were two turkeys, then more turkeys, and even more turkeys. Until one day last year when there were 36 turkeys in my backyard. The turkeys are attracted to my yard because I put food out for the squirrels. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys. 

I feed the squirrels and the birds from early November to early April during the winter season here in Ohio. As soon as I stopped delivering food last spring, the turkeys virtually vanished. I might see them occasionally in a nearby field, but nowhere near my house. So, I wondered how long it would take the turkeys to find the food this fall. I thought is was a bad omen that the new critter food I purchased had a squirrel, a rabbit, and a TURKEY on the package. A turkey? You cannot be serious! Even though this technically qualifies as turkey food, Let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys.               
They are not my turkeys.

I decided to have some fun and have a contest to see who could guess what day the turkeys would find the food. I thought it would take around 21 days, considering sometimes it can take the squirrels a week.  I found it amusing some people guessed only one day and the most popular guess was three days. Well, on the third day, I was surprised to see nine turkeys chowing down on the non-turkey food. Chalk one up for the wisdom of the crowd. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

The following week the turkeys showed up often. On Saturday, my wife had to chase them away four times. I thought that was odd because I usually only have to shoo them once. I reasoned the turkeys respect my authority (or maybe my athouratay!). The last time that day my wife ran after them waving a broom. If I could have gotten that on video and posted, it would have received like a million hits. Of course, that would have been followed by one big hit, and would have been my final Facebook post ever. But this is not funny because, Let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Strangely enough, the turkeys never came around the entire week of Thanksgiving. Did I mention that turkeys are extremely smart animals?
But then there was a shockingly ugly incident the following week. I had chased the nine turkeys away from the feeder and they were headed to the field by the side of my yard, when they encountered my wife’s car parked on the street. The turkeys became fascinated with the car and started marching in a circle around it. I was amused at this spectacle, until the turkeys stopped circling and began pecking at the car. I ran outside yelling at them. They stopped pecking,
but looked confused that I was hassling them for something happening outside my yard. Finally, they retreated. I was concerned that they had knocked paint off the car, but fortunately for me, and the turkeys, the car was not damaged. But, let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

When I told my wife about this, she was furious. She suggested we get a rifle so “she could shoot bad turkeys that misbehave”. Now, under no circumstance can I see this being a good idea. I believe this concept of “bad turkeys that misbehave” is much too broad and subject to wide interpretation, which may be applicable to behavior that occurs inside the house. So, I came to the defense of us, I mean, those turkeys. But, let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Now I am jealous of the growing popularity of my, uh I mean, these turkeys. I post on Facebook about my book winning an award, and get 12 likes. I post a pic showing that the turkeys pooped on my deck, and it gets 47,200 likes. When I see people, instead of asking how my family is doing, they ask about the turkeys. If I fail to post about the turkeys for too long, I get complaints.                                                                                                                                       
I considered getting the turkeys their own Facebook page, but it would be too embarrassing when they got more friends than me. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Last week, I noticed a car stopping in front of my house and a woman taking a photo. I figured she knew this is the house of the world-famous author, and want to get a pic. I grab my pen so I can give her an autograph, but when I open the door, I realize she has stopped to photograph the turkeys, not my house.
Lately, the turkeys have become a nuisance. I was on an important conference call last week (I work at home), when I heard a steady knock at the door. I excuse myself from the call to see what the problem is. I rush downstairs to see a hungry turkey staring at me through the deck door. When the food runs out food, they knock on this door, and have learned to make it sound like a human knock. I told you they were smart. Then a couple days later, I am working feverishly to get a report done by deadline, when I hear strange
noises outside my office window. I look out to see two turkeys in my front yard feasting at the bird feeder. By the time I deal will the turkeys, the important report is late. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

I can now imagine the following discussion:
Boss: Ake, I’m hearing complaints about your job performance.
Me: It’s the wild turkeys, sir.
Boss: Wild Turkey? You are having a problem with Wild Turkey? We’ll I’m enrolling you in our company Substance Abuse Program.
Me: No, not Wild Turkey. I actually have wild turkeys, about 36 of them at my house.
Boss: So, after you drink the Wild Turkey, you actually see wild turkeys? Whoa, that’s a big problem. Now I am putting you in the Severe Substance Abuse Program.
As I try to keep the turkeys away from my squirrel feeders, it appears they are winning the battle. They seem to always be one turkey step ahead of me. Yes, they have an advantage (could they be smarter than me?) and in my next post I will reveal exactly what that is.    
But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Monday, February 18, 2019

I Smirk In Your General Direction

Hello, my name is Don, and I’m a smirker. I guess I smirk a lot.

Because it’s a personal trait I never really saw it a negative. But when I looked up the definition it said “smiling in an irritatingly smug, conceited or mockingly way. Other words used were: offensive, self-satisfied, insolent, scornful, contemptuous, affected, and “offensive smugness”.

I have to say that I disagree with all five dictionary sites I saw. I mean “smug”? I think being an author of two books, that I might know more than these hacks about what a smirk is.  And “conceited”? C’mon, would people love me as much as they do if that was true? Ha!

I will admit that my favorite TV character, Raymond Reddington (of the Blacklist, played by actor James Spader) smirks a lot. Interestingly enough, all those adjectives listed above apply to Reddington, they just somehow don’t apply to me at all.

I only smirk when I think someone is full of bullshirt. However, I tend to think everyone is full of bullshirt. Except me, of course. But that doesn’t make me conceited, it just makes me exceptional. Giving a smirk is much more polite, and safer, than saying “You are totally full of $h!+!”.  Especially when you are at the office.

And I don’t rely on just one smirk. Friends get a friendly smirk. If I don’t know you, you get a neutral smirk and if I don’t like you, you get a derisive smirk.  Okay, maybe that “scornful” definition could be true.

But there are people who believe I smirk an excessive amount. After I posted a photo from a trade journal on social media, complaining that they had caught me in “mid-smirk” (can you even believe I was smirking when they took the shot?), a friend responded with this: “I feel like mid-smirk is just a smoothing of your full range of expressions, which run from nascent smirk to over-the-top smirk.” And this comment is from a friend! When your friends are saying this type of thing, you certainly don’t want to know what your detractors are thinking.

I like to think I can control myself from smirking at inappropriate times. I do this by presenting a stoic, poker face. So if you ever catch me showing no emotion whatsoever, rest assured I am smirking fervently on the inside.

I once got into trouble years ago by smirking at work. The boss called me into his office to chastise me for a report I had done, that management didn’t agree with. He knew the report was true. I knew it was true, but we had to go through this ritual so I would write more agreeable reports in the future. But the best part of the conversation went like this:

Boss: And your numbers on Page 10 are all wrong. 

Me: How are they wrong?

Boss: See this 97.2? You did it wrong. You can’t calculate it that way. Your logic is way off. Here’s my calculator, I’ll show you.

Me: Okay

Boss: See you first take this number and you divide by this one and then you multiple by 10% and then and only then, can you subtract this number over here. So what’s the real value?

Me: Uh, 97.2 (I hand the calculator back to him so he can see)

Boss: Well, uh, er, ah – How’d you do that?

(The real answer is “math” but I couldn’t say it, so I just smirked broadly)

Boss: Stop smirking!

Me: (Poker face)

But this post is not about me. It is about a recent, ugly, incident in which a teenager, confronted by a stranger banging a drum in his face, chose not to respond with words or physical confrontation, but to smirk. Because he smirked, he was savagely condemned on the Internet and even received death threats. Well let me remind you that this is America, where smirking is protected by the Constitution and by the republic for it which it stands. I may not agree with your smirk, but I’ll defend to the dea,… well, to the point it becomes somewhat uncomfortable, your right to smirk it.  This was an I am Smirkitus moment. And I am proud to smirk with the smirkers! And if you disagree with this, well, well, (You know what I’m doing right now).

And I Stand With The Cows (Just not behind them)

Also recently, it has been proposed we eliminate cows because the tremendous amount of methane gas they emit is damaging the planet. This concept is totally demeaning and embarrassing to cows everywhere. They can’t help it they fart, and fart a lot. They have four stomachs, they eat grass, and it gestates in there for days. It’s not as if they can hold it in. Cows have been farting ever since they were created and I believe they have the God-given right to blast out methane wherever and whenever they choose. Heck Yeh! I stand with the cows – just not behind them.

First they came for the cows, because of their horrendous gas, and I did not speak out – because I was not a cow.

Then they came for the pigs, because of their atrocious emissions, and I did not speak out – because I was not a pig.

Then they came for the canines, because of their awful puppy gas, and I did not speak out – because I was not a dog.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left, brrraaapp, to speak for me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Cure For Male Pattern Stupidity

Several weeks ago, my email program got upgraded with a new feature called “Smart Compose”. Smart Compose analyzes the email that was sent to me, then suggests words, or sometimes complete sentences, as I type my response. For example, If I am responding back to an email and type “G”, Smart Compose suggests: “Good to hear from you”. If I hit the advance key, it plugs it right in. 

At first, this greatly annoyed me (don’t tell me what to write!), but then I realized it is amazingly accurate and I began to utilize it more and more. This is accomplished by using something called artificial intelligence, which programs computers and devices to think like humans.

And then I had an epiphany. If artificial intelligence is smart enough to tell me what to write in emails, let’s use it for something spectacularly great. Let’s use it to help men communicate with their women.  

I believe artificial intelligence would be most valuable in situations where there is a void of any intelligence at all. And no greater scarcity of human intelligence exists than when a male attempts to communicate something of relational importance to a female. Nothing destroys relationships faster or causes more extreme interpersonal conflicts, as when the male of the species engages in verbal intercourse with his partner.

Now ladies, men are not as stupid as you think we are. We really aren’t. We are just incapable of putting the right words, in the right order, combined with the proper timing, tone, and facial expressions, to truly communicate what we intend, without really, really, fizzing you off.

Every second, a man somewhere makes what he considers to be a fully rational statement, which enrages his woman, who choose one (yells, screams, gets angry, cries, sobs, dramatizes, criticizes, sighs, eye rolls, tsks
Gee, what did I say?
and b!+ches). Okay, maybe she runs the table. Oh, and there will be no sex tonight, or tomorrow, or depending on how bad his statement was ….. Well you all know.

Now when men make these horrendously stupid statements it would help immensely if women would respond in a calm, patiently, lovingly way in an attempt to understand and interpret what their Neanderthal is really trying to say. But of course you can’t! Because you are a woman and you need to be able to hold this over us for days, weeks, and even years! 

And men are so dense that we have no idea what was wrong with our initial statement. So we try to calm this b!+ↄh storm by making still another statement. But just like the horrible free-throw shooter who clangs the first one off the rim, our second shot is just as bad, or even worse. Pity the poor guy who keeps talking, with each statement, digging the hole deeper. 

And unfortunately, at this point, “Sorry” doesn’t help. In almost every other situation in life it does, but not here. This pencil doesn’t have an eraser. You have written in ink, perhaps permanent ink. Saying sorry now is just like trying to put out a raging wildfire with a water pistol, and just the effort can even make things worse.

Some guys have realized they are poor communicators when talking to women and implement a strategy of saying as few words as possible. Not the “strong, silent type” as much as the “smart, silent type”. It’s always a red-flag when you hear a woman complain “My husband won’t discuss anything with me!” Well he knows he ain’t good at talking, and you ain’t good at listening. Some guys are so bad at communicating they would be better off just grunting and waving their arms wildly like a caveman.

And some single guys take this paucity of words to the extreme. It is the whole idea behind the “dick-pic” (texting, tweeting or emailing a photo of your Willie). It sends a clear message of romantic interest – without the need to use a single word. It cuts through all that messy conversation and gets right to the point!  It simply says: “I’ve got a wanker – and I’m thinking about you!”. You can’t get any more direct than that without reverting back to prehistoric days.

And there are a whole lot of guys sending these dick-pics. A poll found that 53% of millennial women have received one. And I have read of many women complaining about getting these friendly texts and tweets. The most famous culprit of course is Anthony Weiner, who tweeted his wiener all over cyberspace. 

I found an article that said women are repulsed by this practice if it is unsolicited, but greatly aroused if it is solicited. So a woman could be revolted or ecstatic by the exact same photo, depending on her mood. And to this statement, the women out there say “Duh! Why of course” and the men say “Duh?”, which just complicates the whole issue.

I am in no way endorsing dick-pics. I’m just explaining why guys might use them to eliminate all that difficult conversation. I also am not condemning them, because that would be hypocritical. I cannot say for certain that I wouldn’t have engaged in the activity if the technology had existed when I was 17. Heck, if I knew I could send one to Marie Osmond today and not get caught, I, um, let’s forget I even mentioned that.

Therefore, men are in dire need of help when communicating with women. So someone needs to develop something where the man can be in another room and speak into an Alexa type device that translates and transmits his statement into female-friendly language back to his wife. He hears her response back through the device and then the program keeps translating his statements until marital bliss is restored. He is only allowed to rejoin his wife after the conversation ends.

Now I know there are already humorous videos that display this same concept. (Please don’t send me the links) But those parodies pretend that such a device exists. What I’m saying is that by using artificial intelligence technology it is possible for the device to actually exist. And of course, the artificial intelligence would be developed by women who are experts in communication.

“We can reprogram him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first ultra-communicative man. We will make him better than he was before. Sensitive, caring, empathetic.” 

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionize male-female communication and thus improve those relationships. And with so much better communication going on, it has the potential to even reverse the declining birth rates – if you get my drift – and I know you do. So, get busy AI programmers! The first one to conquer this one gets a billion dollars!