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!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Part Two – A Strong Bond Develops (A Tribute To Midnight, My Dog)

(In Part One, my daughter gets a new puppy, which I try to ignore.  The dog however forces me to interact with him.)

The more I was around this dog, the more I liked the dog and the dog sensed this.  He thus responded in positive ways which continued to win me over.  Dogs have this strong, basic nature to bond with humans. And humans have a strong desire to bond with anything that wishes to bond with them. I had read about this dog-bonding thing and I had witnessed it in other people, but I never understood it.  I mean it’s just a dog, right? – wrong.

Even though I was his fourth favorite person in the household, (remember, I’m the heavy) Midnight had a desire to bond with me, and me being a human, could not resist this. I noticed that the dog studied my routines and behavior.  He was making an effort to understand me, and then modify his behavior in order to please me.  In response, I tried to figure out what made the dog happy and please him back.

This is not unlike the process couples go through when they enter a serious relationship with a potential spouse. They learn all they can about the other person and then modify their behavior to please that person.  This is an integral part of the human mating/bonding process.

The major difference is that dogs never stop this bonding process.  They watch you and try to faithfully please you their entire lives. Couples, on the other hand, typically transition from trying to please each other, to just tolerating their partner at some point in the relationship.  What would be a good term for that moment? What would it be? Oh yeah, that’s right, it already has a name! It’s called marriage.

So this “man’s best friend” thing is more than just a cliché. Same thing with the term “faithful friend”. And when you pair an intelligent dog (Schnauzers rated around the 11th smartest breed) with an intelligent human, something special happens.  Over many years, Midnight and I developed a tremendously strong bond by spending time together and sharing many of the following activities (bd5).


I shared many meals and snacks with Midnight over the years, but not voluntarily.  Schnauzers do not beg, that’s beneath them. They expect you to share your food with them based on your great relationship and get offended if you don’t.  They assume its “our meal” and thus you are required to provide them with something. 

Here’s the deal Jack, we’re a team. I’m protecting your food from any wild animal that may burst through the door and take it. So, throw me a piece of that delicious roast beef, will ya?  

Where are my chips?

And they will aggressively guard that food as I learned when I stuck my hand in a bag of chips that Midnight and my wife were “sharing”.  My quick reaction resulted in me grabbing no chips, but retaining all five fingers.  Midnight also loved popcorn.  One night he tried to push my wife back into the kitchen so she could tend to the popper instead of watching television. (This event made in into “Dog Gone Funny” in the Marmaduke Sunday comic strip).


We shared affection. I would be seated and Midnight would purposely bump his head into my knee.

Hey, you’re not doing anything. Make yourself useful and scratch my head. C’mon, do you think it’s going to scratch itself?

So, I would scratch his head and he greatly enjoyed this . Often he would nudge his head into my other hand, meaning he wanted me to scratch with both hands.

But Midnight had a strange way of reciprocating. One day I was lying on the floor after wrestling with him. He then started enthusiastically licking my entire shaved head.  I was scared to move, but the scene generated raucous laughter from my wife and daughters. This “head-washing” ritual became standard practice anytime I was on the floor.  I think because Midnight enjoyed me scratching his head, he thought he could return the favor by licking my bald head. I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I did like the delight it brought to the rest of the family.  Especially when he stuck his tongue in my ear and I would squeal like a little girl.  


And we shared space. Again, the dog expects you concede to his wishes.

You look really comfy in that big ‘ol easy chair. I think I’ll just jump right up on your lap and join you.

He liked sleeping on my lap, but sometimes he would get way too comfortable and refuse to move (and snap) if I tried to get up for any reason.  There were a few times when my wife had to come help me remove the dog in order for my chair to remain dry.

Occasionally he slept in our room at night. He would enthusiastically jump right into the middle of the bed and claim his territory. 

Hey, I’m trying to get comfortable here. I need some more room. So if you could move over to the edge so I could have the entire middle to stretch out in, that would be great.

We mistakenly thought that we could keep him out of the room by closing the door.  But Midnight would not be denied, he would incessantly scratch at the door until we had to open it.

Just wanted to let you know somebody shut door by mistake and I can’t get in. So I’m just going to stay right here and scratch at the door until you realize this and come open it.

And naturally he liked going for walks.

Family Times

We shared being a family (bd6).  Midnight became part of our family and wanted to participate in all activities. He would whimper when we packed for vacation because he could not go along. He liked to play the role of family “protector”. He barked to warn us about the presence of strangers and other animals. He would get agitated if I raised my voice to my daughters (they were teenagers, so higher volumes are often necessary).  One time when my wife and I were having a shouting match from across the room, Midnight strategically positioned himself directly in the middle of us and began barking
loudly and aggressively.

Look I don’t know what all this yelling is about, but you will not use this tone in my house.  So calm it down and start acting like mature adults.

And that ended the argument promptly!


The dog and I played a lot. Midnight’s favorite game was playing “soccer” in our large backyard (bd7). (My dad would have been pleased that my dog had room to run).  I would kick the ball and Midnight (bd8) would wildly sprint after it. He loved to play this game in the winter. Jumping into the mounds of snow, even in frigid temperatures.  Often, he would grab the ball in his mouth and expect me to chase him to get it back.  So I would chase him around the yard, looking like a fool, because it made him happy and his happiness was important to me (bd9).

Over many years, through all this sharing, through all this time spent together, an incredibly strong bond formed between Midnight and I.  My disdain for this dog over time had turned into love. (bd10)

A Favorite Story

And this dog also thought a lot of me. Midnight would always run to the back door, jump wildly, and bark when he wanted go outside to play soccer. But one day it was pouring down rain.  He went to the door, saw the rain, and realized we couldn’t go out and play right now.  He then walked over to me and looked up.  He went back to the door, stared at the rain, and then looked back at me.

I found this amusing and said out loud, “What do you want me to do? Stop the rain?”

And then I realized, Ohhhhhh -- that’s exactly what he expected me to do. (bd11). He was accustomed to me helping him out when he had a problem.  Because of our bond, he expected me to accommodate him.  When my children were small, they thought their father could do some mighty things, but they never thought I was so magnificent that I could stop the rain.  But my dog did! And that made me feel very special. (bd12)

Next: Part Three – One Last Look   

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Tribute To Midnight, My Dog: Part One – I Never Wanted A Dog

(Note: These are the most difficult posts I have ever written. I am counting the number of breakdowns during the series. (bd#))

I never wanted a dog.

My dad grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania and always had dogs as pets, including hunting dogs. But I never had a dog growing up.  We lived in the city and my dad believed that dogs needed freedom and it wasn’t good to coop and chain them up. Dogs were happy when they were free to roam the woods of Pennsylvania, but not in the city. So my dad was willing to forgo any enjoyment we would get from a dog because it would cause discomfort to the dog.  My dad was a great man.

But we had cats, lots of cats, for as long as I can remember.  We never went more than six months without having a cat in the house.  So when I formed my own household, we had cats as pets. 

And my experience with dogs was contentious. I had been cornered, but not attacked, by two vicious dogs at my friend Chuckie’s house as a young teen.  Then I was attacked and bitten by a large German Shepherd when I was 18.  No, I did not like dogs and never desired to own one.

However, my youngest daughter, a pre-teen, now wanted a “puppy”.  We had moved to a large lot in the suburbs, so my dad’s argument about having enough space was less relevant. And of course, my daughter emphasized this would be “her dog” and she would take total responsibility for it.

I still was strongly against this, but my wife and other daughter were enthusiastically on board.  When you live with three females, you tend to lose a lot of family votes by 3-to-1 counts.

But if I am paying for and putting up with this creature, I was choosing the dog breed. Only of course, I knew nothing about dogs. I could only really identify a few breeds, and most of those (including German Shepherds) were not possibilities.  I asked my friend Brent for advice because he owned dogs. Based on my needs, he recommended a Miniature German Schnauzer.

I had no idea what this apparently tiny, foreign dog was, so I Googled it. And after researching the breed, I instructed my wife to get a Schnauzer.  It would cost $450, which I was not at all happy about.  But a father will pay some ridiculous, enormous costs just to make his daughter happy.

The dog entered our lives on a Friday evening.  My daughter would be returning late from a week at church camp and the dog would be a huge surprise. She was delighted to meet her new pet at 11:45 that night.  But the puppy needed a name. She looked at black dog, she looked at the clock, and christened the pooch “Midnight” (bd1).

I was totally unimpressed with my $450 purchase. I saw just a small fur-ball with two big eyes peering out.  The thing couldn’t even walk, it just sort of scooted across the floor.  When I questioned the cost, my wife replied, “He cost that much because he has papers, in case we ever want to show him.” Papers? He has papers all right. They are scattered all over the place and I now have to watch where I step in my own house.  I don’t want to show him, in fact I don’t even want to see him. 

But my daughters enjoyed their new puppy, so maybe it was worth it.  I still totally avoided the “fur-ball with eyes”.

Our relationship (you don’t truly own a dog, you have a relationship) began unexpectedly.  My wife and I were watching television downstairs in the family room, she had Midnight on her lap. 

“I have to go upstairs, so you need to watch the dog,” she said.

Watch the dog?  No, I didn’t sign up to watch this or any dog.  But before I could protest, she placed Midnight on the arm of my large chair and left the room.

I looked down at him nervously, thinking “I am very uncomfortable with this. You are not going to do something stupid, are you?”

Midnight rolled his eyes up and looked at me. He looked distressed. Somehow this dog had already sensed I was unhappy with his presence, his look said:

 “I am very uncomfortable with this. You are not going to do something stupid, are you?”

For the next 15 minutes, we stared at each other nervously.

I continued to avoid interaction with the dog as much as possible. (bd2) I would carry him up the stairs when he was stuck at the bottom – okay I’m not totally heartless, but that was it.

However, soon I was forced to interact with the dog. Because puppies misbehave and need to be disciplined. And the females in the house were not going to do anything that would harm that puppy. But I was still raising two children, so I understood the concept of discipline.   It would go like this:

Puppy does something bad.

All the females express wide-eyed, jaw-drop, worried expressions.

I would then swat the puppy with a rolled-up newspaper.

The females would then turn their wide-eyed, jaw-drop, worried expressions to me, because I had struck their puppy.  To counteract this, I began to carry Midnight to the downstairs hall to administer the punishment.  But the dog learned the routine and when I set him down in the hall, he would lie on his back with his four legs sticking up which said:

Don’t swat me bro! Hey, I’m sorry. Please don’t swat me bro!  C’mon, I know I was bad. Don’t swat me bro!

It was at this point I realized the dog was very intelligent, and it’s really difficult to administer discipline when you are laughing so hard. So to the dog, I was the “heavy”.

But the relationship was about to take a dramatic turn ……

One day I arrived home from work and opened the door from the garage on the lower level. At the top of the half-flight of stairs was Midnight. He was wildly running and jumping from side to side. His tail was wagging so forcefully his whole back end was shaking. I was reluctant to climb the stairs.

“What’s wrong with the dog?” I shout to my wife who was in the kitchen. She sticks her head around the corner, surveys the room, and replies, “I think he’s glad you're home. He’s happy to see you.”

Happy to see me? That is totally ridiculous. Why would this dog be happy to see me when I purposely ignore him and often swat him with a newspaper?  Is the dog actually that stupid? 

I really had no interest in greeting this animal, but he would not let me enter the room until I did.  This greeting became a daily ritual, which of course, I learned to enjoy.  My wife and kids did not greet me with this much enthusiasm, but Midnight did.

And then the dog introduced me to playtime. My wife had bought some dog toys (including a rope contraption that I labeled “ropey toy” (bd3)) and found a few old tennis balls in the garage. I did enjoy watching my daughters have fun playing with the dog.

One day when I was intently reading the newspaper, I felt something against leg.  I lowered the paper to find Midnight staring at me with a tennis ball in his mouth.  He dropped it at my feet and looked at me as if to say:

Hey, let’s play some ball. Now throw the ball, please.

Well let’s not, since I’m busy okay, and I went back to reading the paper.  But I was interrupted again as the dog forcefully thunked the ball down a second time. I put my paper down and the dog looks at me all agitated and is like:

Are you stupid? The game is very simple. You throw the ball and I chase the ball.  Get it? Now just throw the ball.

Well, I guess I can throw this ball one time. Little harm in that.  Except you can’t throw the ball only one time.  Because he aggressively chases it like a mad dog, then races back to you, drops it at your feet and expects you to throw it again, and again, and again.  You end up sometimes throwing the ball ten times or more until the dog has run himself into exhaustion.

And then a few days later, my newspaper reading is interrupted again when I am presented with “ropey toy” and the dog is like:

Hey, got a new game for you today. Here’s the rope, you take it!

But it’s a trick. You grab the rope but the dog grabs the other end and you begin a vigorous game of tug-of -war.  The dog clamps down on the thing with his powerful jaw and growls. He is having a blast! As soon as you let go, the dog revels in his victory and then slyly offers you the rope again so the game can be repeated.

And thus, the bonding process began and as you can see (bd4) it was the dog who was doing all the work to turn this relationship into something special.

Next: Part Two – The Bonding of Man and Dog

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It’s Not Too Late To Get The Flu

I remember reading an article on the flu season beginning in Northeast Ohio. It was expected this year would be “bad”.  It listed the symptoms of the flu: high fevers, body aches, congestion, coughing, and fatigue. It said sufferers were converging on emergency medical facilities and it was expected there would be some deaths.

This all confused me.  A fever? Take some aspirin.  Body aches? How bad could that be?  And why would you go to the emergency room if you already knew you had the flu? Are people that stupid?  And those deaths e are probably just extremely old people and the flu just pushes them over the edge. The article ended by saying “it’s not too late to get a flu shot”.  But I didn’t have to worry about all these terrible things because I had dutifully gotten my flu shot in October, just as I had for the past 24 years.

But Then Something Went Wrong

It started with a cough.  A minor, nuisance, cough upon waking.  I reasoned it was caused by sinus drainage during the night. But the cough persisted throughout the day.  I started running a mild fever that evening.  I sensed I could be getting sick, but the symptoms were rather weak.

The next morning the fever was higher, the cough more persistent and I had a bad headache.  I took some naproxen, naively expecting it to eliminate all my discomfort, like pointing a garden hose at an approaching forest fire.

Then in the afternoon, the body aches arrived.  These were not harmless muscle aches.  It felt like my whole torso had been placed in a vise and I was being crushed.  It hurt to breathe. Coughing resulted in such intense pain that I gasped.  If this had been a torture chamber, I would have quickly confessed to colluding with the Russians. Heck, if they promised to stop this agony, I would have gladly agreed to go collude with the Russians, especially if a hot secret agent named Natasha was involved.

The pain was so intense I did consider going to an emergency facility.  However, this is me, so you would expect there to be complicating factors.  It happened to be 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.  All the doctor’s offices were closed so the doctors could prepare for their exquisite New Year’s Eve parties (no doubt involving loads of shrimp). That meant everyone who had the flu today be descending upon the facility at the same time. I reasoned that the medical operation would be staffed by a skeleton crew, because who the heck wants to work on New Year’s Eve?   

I imagined the crowd to be so massive that cars would be lined up out on the street. I would probably get care sometime around January 3, unless I died first.  I sensed it would have been a waste of time but my dear friend Cheryl suggested that I should have gone and got some Tamiflu. According to the numerous amateur doctors on Facebook, Tamiflu is either a wonder drug or poison.  You decide.  (I went to high school with Tammy Flew.  I never thought she would be much of anything, but now they have named a drug after her.)

I decide to stay home and take some Ibuprofen for the severe body aches. Fortunately, it works and the body aches never return. So no, I did not collude with the Russians and I did not spend the night in a hot dalliance with Natasha. (Those leaked emails are forgeries, fake news!). 

The next morning, the flu hits me with its full sadistic strength. My fever is up to 101.7 degrees.  I stumble downstairs fully expecting to receive pity from my wife.  However, my wife was not in the living room, she had slept in the bottom-floor family room so she would not catch the germ.  But then I heard the cough.  I knew that cough.  It was the same cough I had been experiencing for two days.

I drag myself downstairs and ask “Are you sick?”.  She gives me a menacing glare.  She has a temperature of 101.8, so much for getting any pity.  Now technically, I am much sicker since my normal body temperature is 97.2.  But this is not something you want to argue when you have made your wife this ill. 

I know she is furious at me for giving her the flu. I had also infected her with a bad cold germ last year. But she had given me two nasty germs previous to that. So we are now even, right?  Alas, another argument I’m not going to win.

I labeled our house as the “Ake Infirmary” on Facebook and household duties were handled by whoever wasn’t sickest at the moment.  The most challenging being walking the dog in negative 15-degree wind-chills. The statistician in me hoped my high fever would cancel out the freezing temperatures, and in a way, it did.  When the arctic wind freezes your face, you do temporarily forget how lousy you feel.  I remember thinking “I hope the dog appreciates what I am doing for him.”  Then I realize that he’s my dog, and if the situation were reversed he would faithfully do anything to help me. Because of course, that’s what dogs do.

My wife even made our traditional sauerkraut and knockwurst dinner on January 2. (I tell people my wife always presents me with two large, juicy knockers to start off the new year).  She made the food, but I have no idea who she expected to eat it.  If I had eaten this, I’m sure I would have died.  Therefore, my wife prepared this meal either out of her strong love and devotion to me, or she was so furious at me for giving her the flu that she tried to kill me.  Fine line between love and hate.  I don’t really want to know which one it was.

Fortunately, my wife recovered much faster than did. (I took 6 days longer) When I posted on Facebook that my wife was better, but I was still sick, there was a bizarre reaction which will be the subject of my next blog post.

I now understand how people die from the flu.  There were a couple times when I wondered ….  It usually kills old people, but the new calendar indicates I am no longer a young man.  I was frightened when my subconscious reminded me that I needed to update my will.  I was concerned my subconscious was telling me I was going to die. Then I realized that it was actually good news.  If my subconscious was telling me about something I needed to do in the future, there would be a future. I was going to live! 

This virus is nasty. It dove into my chest and started ravaging my body like a madman.  It is not the B Phuket virus that I wrote about in 2015, although I B-Phuketed up really badly. I have been twice vaccinated against the B Phuket. 

But apparently, I was not protected against the flu I caught because somehow it was not included in this year’s vaccine.  The Center For Disease Control (CDC) never saw this strain coming. This year they whiffed. Whiffed as bad a rookie wailing away over a Corey Kluber sinker. You failed CDC! You failed so very, very, badly.

Now I am a professional forecaster so of course I do understand how difficult these things are to predict. BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE SOME DWEEB GUESSED WRONG AND EVEN THOUGH I GOT YOUR STUPID SHOT, I GOT THE #$@&ING FLU!

They will tell you this year’s flu vaccine is only 11% effective. This is a lie based on a guess of what happened earlier this year in Australia. Trust me, this year’s flu vaccine is 0% effective. 0%, none, nada, zippo. Z-freakin’-0.  But they can’t admit it is worthless because this would make them look inept and moronic, which of course they are.

Hello! You are the Center For Disease Control and you are not controlling this disease.  If you need to identify this strain, I have some excess bodily fluids I can send you, provided I can find some bio-waste bags at my local drugstore.  I will find out which strain I had next year when I’m sure it will be included in the new flu shot. The proverbial barn door being sufficiently shut.  

The most ridiculous thing is that medical professionals are still proclaiming: “But it’s not to late to get a flu shot.” Give it up people. just give it up. It may not be too late, but it won’t help you a bit. Z-freakin’-O. And that part about the vaccine offering partial protecting and reducing the symptoms? Not for this strain! Crapola, major crapola.  

Ironically, next October, I will dutifully get my flu shot for the 26th consecutive year. Why? Because anything that gives me any chance of avoiding repeating this awful experience, is well worth it. I just hope the stupid nerdlies at the CDC guess better next year.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cougars, Clusters and Bad Velcro – 2017 In Review (Part 2)

Some more funny topics that didn’t warrant a full post in 2017

The Endorsement of the Year

The business networking site LinkedIn lets your connections (equivalent to Facebook friends) endorse you for various business skills.  They even send you an email when someone endorses you.  For example, 51 of my connections have endorsed me for “Marketing Strategy”.  It is odd that I have only 24 endorsements for “Forecasting”, which is the most important skill needed in my job. And it is incredible that only one person has endorsed me for blogging. Can you believe that? Uh, okay, let’s forget I even brought that up.

But imagine my delight when I opened my inbox one morning and saw this:

That’s right losers.  You may be glad to be endorsed by Phil in accounting, but I, Don Ake, have been endorsed by Jesus!  Jesus has endorsed me.  I immediately posted the news on Facebook and had a strong boost of confidence the rest of the day.  And you can be sure I put this on my resume -- the top of my resume.  I mean the rest of the resume is sort of irrelevant if Jesus has endorsed me.  Next time I’m in a job interview, competing with a Harvard MBA, I’ll just say: “Sure, you can pick the guy with the great degree. But I must point out that Jesus has endorsed me, and not him. So you can reject me, as long as you are not worried about fire, brimstone and declining profits – stuff like that”.

For the record, my Mexican colleague, Jesus Morales, believes I am skilled at “Competitive Analysis”.

A Most Difficult Job

I noticed this sign in the parking lot of a local company.

Wow!  This place is so messed up they need a Cluster Director to fix all the cluster-farks they produce.  How would you like to be in charge of fixing all the clusters produced by your co-workers?  It’s the equivalent of being the mop-boy at the supermarket.  “We’ve got a major cluster produced by marketing! Send it to our Cluster Director Ken.”  You can fix it, can’t you Ken?”  The sign may look stupid, but if the poor sap is responsible for fixing everyone else’s clusters, then he sure as heck deserves his own parking spot and a big salary too!

Performer of the Year

My wife and I were taking an after dinner walk when we stopped to listen to a singer, Chad, performing in the open-air (3 sides) bar/café under our hotel. He had good voice, was skilled on the acoustical guitar and covered a wide range of music.  I felt bad when we moved on because there were few people listening in the cafe, being this was the off-season.

When we finished our walk, I was delighted that I could hear Chad clearly from my nearby third-floor balcony as he neared the end of his set.  I could not see into the café, but I could tell by the comments, laughter and applause, there was now a small, older, but enthusiastic audience.   And they were enthusiastic because there were some drinks with dinner followed by some after-dinner drinks.  Oh yeah, they were sloshed. But that was fine because they didn’t have to drive home, they just had to make it back to their rooms without falling in the pool.  And they were really enjoying Chad.

Chad had finished all his staple material, so he opened it up for requests.
“Play thum Rod Stewarttttttt”, one of the ladies blurted out. Now Rod Stewart would not be my first choice in an acoustical setting, but without hesitation Chad broke into one of Stewart’s more obscure ballads.

Chad then asked for the next request.

A guy, who no doubt was chugging a large, strong, tropical concoction, loudly and proudly slurs out, “Plaa da Piano Man by Billy Joellllllllllll”!

Now Piano Man is a great song, by a great pianist, Billy Joel, but IT IS CALLED THE PIANO MAN BECAUSE THE SONG WAS WRITTEN TO BE PLAYED BY A MAN ON A PIANO – and definitely not on an acoustical guitar - you stupid, drunk, moron.

Now I have my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud (I was close enough to be heard), wondering how Chad was going to politely deny his request.

But to my utter surprise, Chad replies, “Just give me a moment to download the lyrics”.

I’m astonished! Chad is going to give it a go.  I think this is a huge mistake and anticipate a train wreck.

But the next thing I hear is:

♫ It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday ♫

And then something truly remarkable happened.  Chad delivered an outstanding performance of Piano Man, on the acoustical guitar! Complete with the:

 La la, di da da da dum♫.  

I wanted to stand up and cheer!

Chad foolishly asked for a final request and one of the drinkers stupidly requested a song he had already played. (Gee, I wonder why that song was stuck in her head).  Chad concluded with a song of his choosing.

The show was over, but the entertainment was heating up as one of the “golden girls” put her cougar moves on young Chad as he was packing up.
She kept repeating:


Now the Rod Stewart request made sense.

Yes, she thinks he’s sexy

Yes, she wants his body

And now, she was letting him know.

Chad is darn lucky he didn’t try to play an acoustical version of that one!
I couldn’t see if Chad left alone, but I sense that he did.

Sing us song, you’re the acoustic guy
Sing us a song right here
Well we’re all in a mood for another drink
And they’re serving us plenty of cheer

They Fought The Hunger – And The Hunger Won

For several years the “Fight Hunger Bowl” was the college football bowl game played in San Francisco in December.  This year it was replaced by the “Frisco Bowl”, sponsored by DXL.  But DXL is a men’s clothing company that specializes in “double extra-large” attire (I may or may not be a customer).  So it would appear that even though they tried to fight hunger for numerous years, hunger has won.  Pass the chips and dip, please.

Worst Beach Game

I was lounging on the beach when a young couple (late-teens?) appeared about 30 feet in front of me.  The woman said to her boyfriend “I brought this game for us to play. This isn’t the ball that came with it, but it should work.” 

This statement caught my attention (but not the skimpy bikini she was wearing, I didn’t notice that at all) because this was a Velcro catch game, but instead of a Velcro ball, she had a solid plastic one.  I was now interested in how this game was literally going to play out.

The woman starts off by tossing the ball to the guy.  He catches the ball by trapping it against the Velcro mitt with his bare hand, realizing that it’s not going to stick.

The guy then tosses the ball back.  The woman enthusiastically swings the mitt at the ball --- and WHACK!  The plastic ball ricochets hard off the mitt and rolls down the beach.

Unbelievably, she repeated this effort two more times, with of course, similar results.  After the third failure, the woman yells out: “IT’S NOT WERRRRRKING!”

You may laugh at this woman’s lack of understanding of Velcro, but how many times in 2017 did you repeatedly try to force reality to match your perceptions instead of adjusting your perceptions to match reality?  When I find myself shouting “IT’S NOT WERRRRRKING!” in 2018, I’m going to think about this woman on the beach and try a new strategy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sammiches, Chicken and Garbage – 2017 In Review (Part 1)

Every year there are things that are humorous but don’t merit an entire  blog post. So to clear the deck for 2018 and have some more chuckles in 2017, here are some leftovers!

A Monumental Event

My fans have been waiting for this a long time, some women have even been demanded it from me.  Some said it would never happen, others claimed it could not be done.  But during my summer vacation this year, I, Don Ake, made my wife a sammich!

I know you are stunned, but it is true.  I figured no one would believe me, so I took a photo of my remarkable creation.  The pic is not to impress anyone, nor make me look super amazing. No, not at all. You know I would never do that.
But the photo shown here is proof for all you doubters and haters out there.

My wife was surprised and impressed when she returned from the beach to find her sammich.  She was also pleased that it was edible and that I did not make a mess.  Served with a side of chips, it made for a tasty lunch.  I have notified the Food Channel of my abilities, but no response as of yet.

It’s Just A Sammich – Nothing More

In August, I took a local client to lunch at a place called “Grinders”.  They serve delicious submarine sandwiches, grinder being another, somewhat archaic term, for that type of sandwich.  However, when submitting your expense report to your home office located in another state, it may not be clear what the term “entertained client at Grinders” actually means.

There could be questions such as:

What type of grinding was involved in this so-called entertainment?

Was there any bumping going on along with this grinding?

Did any of the ladies working there remove any clothing as part of this entertainment?

Were there any cash tips involved that may or may not be included on your expense report under “Miscellaneous” expenses?

Now in the interest of providing the ultimate in customer service to my clients, I would have endured a bawdier environment. But this was not the case.  It was just sammiches, excellent sammiches at that.  The waitresses were fully clothed the entire time. And this being an establishment that caters to an older crowd, you would never want them to remove any clothing. In fact, if they tried, I would have tipped them generously to refrain.  I will admit to sticking one of the grinders in my mouth, and that’s all.

The Worst Dinner of the Year

While dining at a local restaurant, my wife ordered the 3-piece chicken dinner.  There are basic expectations here. It will be chicken and there will be three pieces.  My wife was served two pieces of chicken and a rock-hard, baked? – probably under-microwaved, potato.  The waitress successfully delivered the third piece of chicken upon request. However, the baked potato had to be sent back a second time for additional microwaving.  Of course, this blatant incompetency was entirely my fault because I selected the restaurant.  I think the staff could use some additional training.  Question #1 on the final test: How many pieces of chicken are in the 3-piece chicken dinner?

Runner Up: A bar-and-grill where one of my groups meet, serves chicken tenders which have a greenish tint.  The chicken tastes okay, it just looks funny.  I will never order it. Why?

I do not like green chick and fries
I do not like them, with the guys
I do not like them in the bar
I do not like them in my car ….

The Biggest Cojones of the Year

In September, a major credit reporting service announced that in May, that would be four months earlier, massive amounts of highly-sensitive, financial data they are allowed to collect on you and 143 million other people, had been hacked.

Now your personal data may or may not have been hacked, since they never sent out a letter informing you for sure.  However, a week after their announcement, this same company was advertising a protection service that stops digital pirates from doing evil things with your stolen data, such as maybe draining all your bank accounts. The ads warn: You are in great danger if these hackers have all your personal financial data.   

Of course, this danger is why you should have guarded my data much better than you did.  But by your gross incompetence, you did create 143 million potential new customers for your swell protective services.  I will not be one of them.  This takes cojones, big cojones. And if I ever meet the person responsible for this breech, I will kick him square in the cojones.

Worst Brown Out of the Year

My neighborhood was suffering cable outages and the technician traced the problem to the line extension in my bedroom.  He asked me how much I watched that TV and I explained “I only watch it when I poop”.  So my desire to watch TV when I poop was shorting out, or more like browning-out, the entire neighborhood system.  We decided to solve the problem by using the Internet. So now I am streaming video while I am streaming other things.

Worst Customer Service of the Year

My trash removal provider changed our pickup day from Tuesday to Friday.  I was not happy with this move because it meant my trash would be picked up on the last day of the week.  As someone whose last name begins with the letter “A” I am used to being at the front of the line, not the back.  I expect to be treated with the respect I deserve, even by my trash company.

Everything was fine until one week when the trash in our neighborhood was not picked up on Friday.  I don’t know if they accidentally skipped us, ran out of time for the week, or whatever.  Regardless, they should have picked up the trash as soon as possible, even if that had to incur additional costs.

When I messaged them through their website, I was informed my garbage would be picked up on Monday.  However, when my wife called their office early Monday morning to confirm, she was told the trash would be picked up on Tuesday.  But it wasn’t picked up Monday, nor was it picked up Tuesday.  A call to them late Tuesday resulted in a commitment for Wednesday, which of course did not happen. The neighbors were enraged! The neighborhood
raccoons? Joyful.

The good news is the trash was finally, and triumphantly for the neighborhood, picked up on Thursday, only six days late.  And then the garbage truck came back on Friday for the regular pick-up, but strangely there was very little trash to collect.  Customer service of this level takes a special type of stupid and most of the neighbors have switched to a new provider who dutifully picks up our trash every Wednesday without fail.

Tommy Timothy Tobias Trout
Would not haul my garbage out
He’d tell us fibs and tell us lies
While coons were happy and so were flies
And though the neighbors would scream and shout
He simply would not haul my garbage out …..

 (Part 2 next week)