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 18, 2017

Working Naked From Home

Everybody is freaking out about so called “Fake News”, but there is an even more serious danger lurking on the Internet.  I will call these the Pure Bullsh*t Advice Article (PBAA).  This drivel consists of some phony know-it-all advising you about a wide variety of topics. The writer’s argument sounds logical, practical and believable to the unknowledgeable, but in reality, it is pure horse hockey.

Recently I came across two PBAAs giving advice on the proper way to dress in certain business situations, something I have considerable experience in.  Sadly, I’m sure there are some poor saps out there that are actually following the advice from these ridiculous articles.

The first one promotes the idea that you should always wear a suit and tie when flying for business purposes, especially on intercontinental flights.  The reason? The writer always does this and one time he was able to close an enormous business deal because someone commented on his fancy duds.
I doubt that this story is even true.  Even if it is, it was pure luck.  If the clothes didn’t initiate the conversation, something else would have.  While there are situations that dictate dressing up on a flight, an important meeting soon after you land for example, for the great majority of flights, there is absolutely no need for this.

The two most important things when being jammed into a tight metal tube with a hundred strangers for a few hours, are to be comfortable and to not stink. These far outweigh any slim chance of closing some magical business deal with a random stranger.  No thanks, I’ll just wear comfortable, respectable clothes and buy a lottery ticket.

Besides that, based on the photo of the guy in the article, this guy is a real d*ck.  I can recognize a d*ck because I have worked with many d*icks over my career.  They dress so fancy and are always bragging about their house, their car, their wife, their investments, their travels, etc.  If you tell an interesting the story, a d*ck will immediately jump in with “That’s nothing, …… and then tell some d*cklike story.  The laughable photo shows this d*ck with his colleagues d*ckhead and d*ckster, all suited up, yucking it up in the front row on the plane. 

I think the real reason this d*ck dresses up for flights is to “chase tail”. Most of the d*cks I’ve known like to chase tail and business trips provide prime opportunities.  Some women (now I’m not saying all women, because that would be sexist) are very attracted to men dressed to the nines.  If you dispute this statement or find it offensive, I will refer you to the ultimate authorities on this subject, ZZ Top, who once proclaimed “They come runnin’ just as fast as they can, ‘cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man”.  

The other PBAA, but there are many articles on this subject, instructs people how to dress if they work from home.  The gist of most of these pieces is that you should dress like you would if you worked in an actual office and working in your pajamas is strictly verboten in all circumstances.

This is total hogwash and bullsh*t in its purest form.  These articles claim dressing up for work at home helps you maintain “professional perception” and boosts your productivity”!  

Now there have been numerous research studies (people seem obsessed with this subject) and all they all tend to conclude that office business clothes must be worn when working from home.  Why is this?  These “scientists” are extremely jealous of people who get to work from home. You see, the researchers work in laboratories and have to wear very uncomfortable lab coats, even in the summer, when the accountants won’t let you turn up the air conditioner and you sweat in your shorts all day and go home all stinky.  Yeah, these squinty, egg-headed nerds are very envious  of us work-from-home people, enjoying our comfy, casual work attire.  I can hear them yell as they finish their “scientific study”: “If I have to be this uncomfortable at my workplace, then everyone should suffer!”

Could be a productive worker? 
I will concede that “dressing up” will benefit a few work-from-home people.  The key word is few.  Every home worker must determine for themselves the best mix of comfort and productivity.  For me that means, sweat pants in the winter (no lounge pants) and canvas-type cargo shorts (no athletic shorts) in the summer.  Tennis shoes, (no slippers) but I often will work barefooted in the summer, with absolutely no impact on my productivity whatsoever, oh the audacity.   However, these are my personal standards. I will not judge anyone who can be productive working in their pajamas.  I will also not criticize someone who prefers to dress up, if they work better that way.  There are no universal rules.  That’s why all these articles and studies are rubbish.

Unfortunately, the shenanigans don’t stop there.  I found an article that gives recommendations on stylish, comfortable, clothes for work-at-home woman.  There are the cashmere sweatpants for $498 – “cashmere for comfort – the ribbing makes you look cool!”.  The Gucci sneakers for $695. The silk shirt for $153.  This article says these clothes have the powerful ability to make you feel internally professional and increase your productivity! 

One of the benefits of working from home is that you can spend less money on clothes.  To spend $1300 on one outfit that no one else will see, makes you look externally ridiculous and decreases your bank account.  And, oh, better not spill any grape juice on those cashmere sweats.

To prove how bogus these articles and scientific studies are, I did a little study of my own.  I decided to work completely naked for one day to prove I could still be productive without any clothing at all.  Hey, if I can work fine with naked feet, then I can go full monty, right? Centerfolds and porn stars work fine like this, so why can’t I?

My Naked Productivity Study

I log on my computer and begin the day.  I start working but get distracted by the feeling of my butt cheeks nestled against my leather chair.  Mmmm, ooooh, that feels sooooo goooood, sublime even. Ohhh baby  --- Whoa, snap back, let’s get going on that spreadsheet!

Mid-morning, I realize I have the curtains closed and the dark room is stifling my creativity. No one can see me while I’m seated, so I decide I can walk over and open the curtains ……  Oh, no!  Hello, neighbor Sue, out there walking her dachshund. Well, I got to see neighbor Sue’s wiener dog and she got to see my ……. I hope neighbor Sue doesn’t call the authorities because explaining the situation would really put a crimp in my productivity.

A few minutes later, my dog needs to be walked, guess I really didn’t think this one through.  I throw on my robe and sneak him out in the backyard.  But the dog doesn’t want to do anything in the backyard, even though the world is his bathroom, he prefers the front yard.  It’s rather uncomfortable outside because it’s a bit nippy, especially with that gusty wind.  The dog finds his spot and then … Whoa, holy Marilyn Monroe!  Sure hope the widow Cooper next door didn’t see that.  She’s been feeling rather poorly lately and a shock like that could push her over the edge!  Would hate to have people whispering and pointing at the funeral, “That’s the guy, the tall, bald one.” 

I put on a nice corporate business shirt for the big video meeting after lunch.  The boss is rolling out a big, important, corporate initiative.  At the end of his presentation he declares, “We need total buy-in on this. So I want everybody here and those patched in remotely, to all stand up in a show of solidarity!”.

“Ake! You’re not standing!”

“I’m standing in spirit, sir. I’m standing in spirit.”

After that unfortunate event, I run downstairs to grab a cup of coffee when the doorbell rings, but I don’t have time to go get my robe.

I crack the door slightly, stick my head around the corner, and see a nicely dressed man and woman.

“Good afternoon!  We are Jeneeva Watchneses and we need to talk to you about your spiritual condition.”

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t talk …

Woman: (trying to peak around the door - you naughty girl) Are you naked, sir?

Man: Is your wife at home?

Me: No

Man: Then who are you in there naked with in the middle of the afternoon?

Me: No one, I’m just working, really, I’m working.

Woman: I think someone as sinful as you needs to read every one of our tracts, twice!

Man: Here you go. (throws the literature through the slot) Make sure you read all these carefully and we will stop back next week to talk with you, when you are not “working”.

Alright, I learned that working in the nude is not a good idea and does hurt your productivity. I also learned you should never fart while sitting naked in a leather chair.  Regardless, I still believe that you are most productive, when you are comfortable (but not too comfortable) and people should not follow the fashion advice of these misguided know-it-alls.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I’m Scoring Every Night In This Bed

Recently I purchased a Sleep Number Bed.  I know these things are darn expensive, but I am not trying to impress you with this revelation.  I do not spend money on things to flaunt my status, however I can drop some serious coin on things which are important to me.  Because sleep is important and I spend over six hours a night on a mattress, I figured the cost was justifiable.

We should have replaced our old mattress years ago, but when you have two kids in college you tend to delay some purchases. By the time I wrote the final tuition check, we had become accustom to sleeping on our aging mattress.  It was almost like the mattress intentionally conformed to our bodies in order to extend its useful life and avoid the scrap heap.  But one night I felt a spring pushing against my ribs and it was time.

The Sleep Number Bed is basically a high-tech, adjustable air mattress. You can adjust the firmness on each side of the bed to your individual preference.  The company claims the mattress “contours to you for proper spinal alignment” and most restful sleep.

Now I really enjoy the bed and I am sleeping better, especially with no springs poking my ribs.  However, the most unique aspect of the Sleep Number mattress is the SleepIQ ® app (I am not making this up, see photos).  The app tracks and rates how well you sleep each night.  It records how long you sleep, how long it took you to fall asleep and when you are restless.  It also tracks the number and duration of your bathroom trips.  And it does this individually for each side of the bed. 

This app is truly incredible.  It even measures your heart rate and breathing rate while you are in the bed.  Using all these metrics, it calculates a SleepIQ® score for you each night.  The app even gives you advice on how to improve your score, for example:

Research suggests eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods can lead to more normal sleep patterns affecting your SleepIQ® score.

Welllll-doggies!  We don’t just have a bed – we got ourselves a “smart” bed.  I thought the Sleep Number Bed with this app was the greatest thing I had ever seen, until of course, my wild mind realized something extremely disturbing.

If the bed is this “smart”, then it would surely know when two people are occupying the same area of the mattress. Maybe, uh, one person is positioned right on top of the other, for some unknown reason.  It would also be able to sense when unusually strong pressure was being applied to the mattress during some undefined activity. It would be able to measure the duration of that activity, the frequency of that activity, the intensity of that activity, the position of the participants and even the quality of that activity, by measuring breathing and heart rates. It could even tell when and how many times the breathing and heart rate reached a, uh, reached a, reached …. a peak.  It could even produce a graph the entire “encounter”!

So, it would be possible to develop an app (one probably exists) to measure all of this and provide you a “score” for each “session”  I would call it ScrewIQ and the score provided would be an F-number. If your F-numbers aren’t high enough, the app could send you tips to improve your performance. For example:

Women respond well to non-sexual touch. Try giving her a backrub beforehand to improve your F-score.

The implications of this are troubling, however.  You and your partner would be generating more metrics than pro baseball players.  There would be more data on you than Masters and Johnson ever had.  There would be increased pressure on the guy to perform, knowing each time it was being monitored and scored.  Heck, it would be as if some chick in a lab coat was standing in your bedroom with a stopwatch. Wait, no, of course not a stopwatch. Maybe a shot clock, yes, in this case, a literal shot clock. Wait no, no, not a 30-second shot clock.  A timer, with a full 60 minutes on it. Yes, that would cover it, well, most days at least.

If this app became popular, it could change discussions about “bedroom activity” forever.  When women get together to talk about their guys, they would have actual proof of their complaints:

Woman #1:  Roger has not been very satisfying lately , look, a 37 F-score. And my graph is so flat!

Woman #2: That’s dreadful. Maybe you should try your landscaper.

Likewise, guys would not be able to brag so much if they couldn’t produce any proof.  It’s Monday evening in the health club locker room and the muscled neanderthals are bragging about their weekend conquests. Proudly, the pencil-necked accountant whips out his phone and sticks it in their faces:

“Hit an 87 F-score Saturday night. As you can see by the chart, I rang the bell three times, fellas”.

And like any app, it would have multiple uses.  You are sitting in a business meeting, when suddenly an alarm blasts out from your coworker Roger’s phone:

Roger: Oh crap!

You:  What’s wrong?

Roger: My bed alarm just went off.  My wife is doing the pool guy again.  Wait, what day is it?

You: Uh, Wednesday

Roger:  Wednesday? Oh no! It’s not the pool guy, it’s the landscaper! She’s in bed with the landscaper!

You: You have a landscaper?

Roger: Yes, I have some wild bushes that need attention.
You: Indeed, you do.

Roger: Sorry, they just blew past an 82 F-score. I have to get home right now!

Even more frightening, this data is transmitted over the Internet, which means it is vulnerable to foreign hackers, who could monitor your love life in real time.

Hacker #1:  Oh rook! She doin’ it again! Fif time dis week! She so rorny!

Hacker #2:  And dey no stop! She love you long time!

And your data could be sold to companies selling all sorts of aids, pills, devices and apparel.  I am concerned about this potential loss of privacy, very concerned.

Now I know what you are thinking. Don is just being his crazy, imaginative goofy, self.  He is just imagining weird things that could never, ever happen.  But noooooooooooooooo!  You are wrong!

While I was putting this post together, I saw the following headline on a website:

Vibrator Maker Ordered to Pay Out $5 Million for Tracking Users’ Sexual Activity

A Canadian company that sold a “smart” vibrator was caught secretly tracking customer usage through a smartphone app and then got sued.  This is not fake news and I am not making this up.

I do know my friend Carol (I have several friends named Carol and I don’t want the other Carols to be embarrassed, so we will refer to her as THAT Carol) was not a customer of this company.  If they had been tracking her activity, she would have received an award for “Customer of The Year” (prize includes a year’s supply of batteries).

Just knowing big brother, foreign hackers, and possibly everyone in the world could be tracking my bedroom activity has created so much performance anxiety that uh, err, eh. Let’s just say the missus and I have had to adapt to this most unfortunate situation.  On a related note, we will soon need to buy a new couch.  However, I can assure you, it will not be a “smart” couch.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Loose Threads From My Underwear (Posts)

There were some leftover threads from my underwear evaluation that I could not fit in.  In other words, my shorts posts were too tight!  So here they are:

I Got Fat Shamed

There were two, high-priced, designer brands which I could not include in my study because they did not make shorts large enough to fit me.  I realize that an aging baby boomer body has no business cavorting around in designer undies, and yet surprisingly, it did hurt my feelings a bit. To the plus-sized ladies who suffer the same fate with some designer clothes, I FEEL YOUR PAIN!  Before, I thought you were just whining, but now I get it.  As they say, never judge a rubenesque woman until you have spent a day in her und….. Oh my! Well, you get the idea.

Underwear Advice For The Young Guys

However, in doing more research, I found that the designer underwear was not rated that highly by other reviewers. One review claimed that the main reason  young, single guys wear designer shorts is to impress new chicks during their, first, uh, encounter, yeah encounter.  But there two things very wrong with this.  Allow me as an older and wiser man to impart some wisdom upon those young whippersnappers who may need some advice.

First, it is dangerous to try to impress young ladies with any designer-type apparel.  The type of woman who is attracted to this sort of thing, is the type of wife who will spend most of your money and then take half of what’s left.

Secondly, if your goal after that first encounter is for the woman to remember the brand of your shorts you wear, then you are doing it wrong.  Yes, literally, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. 

I also mentioned that the pouch on one brand pushed your junk up and out and when combined with tight pants could be a good way to advertise your wares. Likewise, be careful young man, about the fish you might catch from casting that worm. You can’t build a relationship on just that.  Your worm will not always be that zesty and you will always be vulnerable to other fellows, with larger worms, who may try to fish in your pond.

Even More Underwear Choices 

After I made the four underwear purchases for the study, my Facebook feed was inundated with new, sometimes weird, underwear ads.  How does Facebook know what I am actually buying?  This is creepy, especially for this product.
The weirdest ad promoted boxer-briefs containing 11 magnets in the pouch.  I guess the magnets are supposed to increase circulation and energize your man parts.  However, I see some drawbacks.  It would be embarrassing to be walking through an appliance store and suddenly have your crotch stuck forcefully to a refrigerator.  The sales clerk would be all like “Sir, I can see you’ve taken a real liking to that one!  When do you want it delivered?”

Also, you could be on the dance floor and get too close to a woman wearing magnetic panties (yes, they do exist also).  Of course, it would be a magnetic attraction, but it would be very awkward to have your nether regions locked tight together in public, especially if this woman was undesirable is some way.  You might even need some help being pulled apart and it could hurt!

By far the most disturbing ad featured a broadly smiling, older guy proudly sporting some boxer briefs.  This brand was promoted as “functional underwear for incontinence”. They say it looks great and it is “go every wear”! A major selling point is how many times you can wash them. Wonderful.  Why does Facebook think I would even be interested in this product? Who have they been talking to? I don’t want, nor need, to go everywhere.  I’ll just continue to go where I’ve been going, thank you.

What About Underwear Morality

I never addressed the morality of spending $34 on a pair of underwear when some men in the world are running around nearly nekkid, meaning their man parts are exposed to the elements and to attack by wild animals.  Someone should form the “Save The Cojones Foundation” to bring decent men’s underwear to third-world countries.  So, the literal bottom line is that if you fulfill your charitable obligations, you can splurge a little on your shorts. That is splurge, S-P-L-U-R-G-E, splurge.

However, it is vitally important to find shorts that don’t bunch up during those long business meetings.  You can’t be grabbing your crotch at the conference table and you don’t want to be squirming too much in your chair.  Most importantly, when your boss asks what you think about the situation, you do not want to reply: “The competition is really squeezing us hard and pinching our profits. Still, we shouldn’t do anything rash.”

A Good Man Rule
Only a couple underwear vendors offered shorts in shades of brown.  A universal man rule is: Never wear brown underwear.  The reason why you shouldn’t do this is of course, ah, err, eh.  Well just don’t. Trust me on this.

Monday, March 20, 2017

These Shorts Stand Tall! (A Brief Evaluation – Part 2)

Review of Part 1 

When ads for expensive underwear began appearing on my Facebook feed, I wondered if these uber- shorts were really worth the high price. So, I purchased four pairs of the top brands to compare and I will review them here and now. 

It’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of this issue, okay, mainly just the nuts.  The boxer-briefs will be judged on the following five factors:

1.   Overall Feel –

How do the shorts feel as a unit, including on your unit?  Maybe more importantly, how do you feel when wearing them.  This evaluation is complicated by the fact that a major selling point is that you are not supposed to feel the shorts much at all.

2.   Pinch, Bunch, and Ride-up Control

One of the drawbacks of boxer-briefs is that they can pinch your very delicate places.  They can also bunch up, which can result in painful chaffing.  In addition, you don’t want them riding up on you and causing an uncomfortable wedgie.  Bottom line: You don’t want your undies literally in a bunch.

3.   Odor Control

These shorts must literally be able to pass the “smell test”.  Unfortunately, I was not able to recruit anyone to help me administer this very critical and very scientific task.  My wife even declined and she runs scientific tests every day in her job!  This evaluation was the most complicated because it was difficult to hold conditions constant from day to day.  Just like commercials for certain female products proclaim, sometimes guys can experience a “heavy-flow” day.

4.   Appearance

Of course, this is not as important for a middle-aged, married guy like me.  Heck, my wife is impressed if I keep my shorts clean, which can be difficult some days (see note above).  However, I will still rate the briefs on this factor for the younger bucks out there who care a lot about this one.

5.    Breathability, Moisture Control, Mobility

This covers various other factors involving the coolness of the fabric, the ability to control sweat and the capacity of the undergarment to move with you during physical labor.  It does not have anything to do with the difficulty of people breathing when they are near you, the control of other “liquids” and the ease of dropping your drawers quickly when the need arises.

The Evaluation

I did not assign a scoring system because the importance of each factor will vary greatly among men.  Keep in mind these shorts were tested on an aging, somewhat overweight (but not fat!), baby boomer.  Your results may vary.  I could not find anyone willing to help me conduct this evaluation, however “my boys” will assist me, since they have intimate knowledge of the subject. The brands are reviewed in order of list price, from least to most expensive.

Me Undies

Men’s Boxer Brief ($20 List)

The shorts are made from a thin, stretchy fabric which has a pleasant feel.  Which is good, because you will feel these more than the other higher-priced brands.  Although they do move around some, they don’t pinch or chaff because the material is so soft.  They have a good waist band and they don’t ride up.  They look fine on me.   Because they are less expensive, there is no odor or sweat control features, although you won’t sweat much due to the light fabric.

The outstanding feature of the Me Undies is the pouch.  It lifts up and juts out the boys, similar to the concept employed by a push-up bra. It did feel a bit weird, but I do have to admit that I did take an extended time to view myself in the mirror wearing these briefs, including a couple “modelish” turns of the hips.  The boys seem to enjoy the ride!  Now while this feature is not relevant for an aging boomer body, if you are a young stud sporting tight, skinny jeans, this might allow you to package your goods for maximum effect.

The Skivvy:  Nice underwear tailored toward the younger set.  Not a great value, in that you can find better underwear for under $20, but you still would have to search for it. Me Undies makes ordering fun and easy and you can save 33% by subscribing to their underwear of the month club.  Plus, you won’t find a better selection of wild colors and patterns – if that is your style.  Me Undies also wants a close relationship with their customers.  I get an email from “Jen” every few days checking up with me about my underwear.  No woman has cared this much about my underwear since my mother.  I envision that Jen is a smokin’ hot, young woman and I think I might just be falling in love with her.

Duluth Trading Company

Buck Naked Performance Boxer Brief ($22.50 List)

These shorts feature a mesh-like material which provides superior mobility and moisture control.  You would think that you would feel this fabric more, but you really don’t.  The Buck Naked’s don’t pinch or bunch and the odor control is greatnt.  The appearance is more rugged, emblematic of DTC items.  I would have looked much better in these shorts sporting a large, manly, beard like my friend Erin.

The unique feature of these underpants is the large, roomy, pouch.  These are literally boxers encased in a brief.  They employ the same principle as having a large, fenced-in yard for your dogs.  They can run, frolic and play, but they remained contained and cannot escape.  The shorts provide the same type of playground for your boys.  After wearing these shorts, I know how a free-range chicken feels after being freed from the coup.  I guess in this case it would be a rooster, not a chicken. And another name for a roster is a … wait …. so inside my underwear I have a free-range c ….. okay, you get the idea.

The Skivvy: Good underwear that works well for the older guy or the labor-ing younger guy. If you’ve reached the age where you need to transition from boxers to boxer-briefs to ah, get more containment, this is your best choice.  These shorts can also be worn while exercising, but I don’t think they would secure the boys enough on the tennis court.  The appearance might be a draw back for the single guys.  I would recommend flinging these off quickly at “the moment of truth”.  No need to give her the first impression that you aren’t filling out that large pouch.

Mac Weldon

Boxer Briefs – Silver ($34 List)

At first glance the Mac Wedon’s appear to be average, ordinary, shorts and not worthy of a premium price. However, the looks here are very deceiving.  This underwear has a great waistband, makes me look kind of sexy, and is cool and comfortable.  You can feel these shorts a little more than some of the others, but when you do, the fabric is very uh, pleasurable.  The underwear didn’t pinch, bunch or move much, for the most part (more on this later).

A big selling point of the Weldon’s is the odor control provided by the silver in the fabric.  And the shorts pass the smell test with an A+.  After 17 hours of wear, they smelled just as fresh as when I put them on.  It’s enough to cause me to shout “Hi-Yo Silver, Away!”  (Who was that masked man in his underpants?)

The Mac’s are excellent shorts, however there was one issue.  The first time I wore them I did experience a wedgie. It was odd because it only happened once, it wasn’t like they were riding my crack the whole day.  I thought it may have been a fluke or due to “sticky buns”, but it happened again on the next wearing.  So, this was a black mark on them, but fortunately not a brown one.

Tommy John

Second Skin Boxer Brief ($34 List)

These briefs seem excellent right out of the box, literally, because they shipped in their own special box.  The fabric is fantastic, silky smooth and it glides unobtrusively with you.  “Second Skin” is a highly appropriate name for these shorts, they fit wonderfully.  They wick up the moisture and the odor control is excellent.

Still with all these plusses, my favorite thing about the Tommy John’s is the appearance.  If felt like the briefs were pushing and lifting my buttocks up into a more attractive position.  They made this aging baby boomer look darn good, and that is no small feat.  If I were permitted to post a pic modeling one pair (but I’m not, since my wife put the kibosh on this), it would definitely be with the TJ’s and if I could keep my belly out of sight, I may not even be embarrassed! Boo-ya!

The Skivvy: Unbelievably fantastic underwear, with no real weaknesses.  My boys give them two thumbs up, well they would if they actually had thumbs, but you get the idea.

The Final Verdict

The good news is there is something to love about all these shorts and there is not a stinker in the bunch.  If you are a younger guy, with a limited budget and want a fun, colorful, relational buying experience, then get yourself some Me Undies.  If you need a tougher pair of boxer-briefs for manual work and exercise, or that provides your boys with more freedom, go “Buck Naked” with Duluth Trading Company.  If you have a problem with odor, the Mac Weldon’s with silver are your choice.

My overall winner is the Tommy John Second Skins.  I actually look forward to wearing these because they feel so good!  My friend Norton agrees with this
The Winner! - Tommy John "Second Skin"
choice, although he prefers their “360 Sport” Boxer Brief.

Yes, this is the underwear of kings.  So excellent are they, that you will wipe one extra time, out of the respect for these shorts.

Next Time: Shorts left over from my underwear evaluation

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Feminist Reviews "Just Make Me A Sammich" (It ain't pretty, folks!)

A collection of posts from a humor blog, written by an economics writer with a subversive streak.

Ake has operated the blog Ake’s Pains since 2011, and here he offers his favorite entries from it, along with tales of their creation and reception. The chapters are loosely categorized by topic, with each featuring several blog posts. The first shares Ake’s takes on male-female relationships, including a “running joke” about why women should make sandwiches for men on demand. The second tackles celebrity-related news, such as nude-photo leaks and the rapper Pitbull’s fashion choices.

 Other chapters cover such topics as sports, including an analysis of some very bad team names; Ake’s home life, as in a story about how his wife conquered a very obnoxious woodpecker; and economics, such as an explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis involving a beautiful but deceptive character named Becky Housing. He devotes one sweet chapter to his daughter’s marriage, featuring a series of wedding-oriented posts that cover love, stubbornness, and the insane financial obligations required of the father of the bride. Ake’s humor is often coarse; busty women, for instance, show up in several posts. He also demonstrates a love of wordplay, especially in an impressively scatological piece about using toilet paper sales as an economic indicator.

However, such Everyman humor risks being derivative, and Ake’s writing is no exception. One of his favorite topics, for example, is the battle of the sexes, but his tales of sex-obsessed men struggling to understand irrational women don’t put a new spin on it, and some jokes feel sexist and resentful, rather than lighthearted. Ake is better when he discards such clich├ęs and embraces absurdity, such as when he tells of his attempt to write a song for Taylor Swift that kept resulting in verbatim Bruno Mars lyrics. Also, his writing on economic issues effectively addresses serious national issues with unserious fables.

An uneven collection that may please some fans of raunchy dad-humor. (Kirkus Reviews)

Author's note: I've never been called "raunchy" before and I suspect the reviewer may be flat-chested (not that there's anything wrong with that) 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Inside My Shorts (A Brief Evaluation – Part 1)

Four years ago, I “came out” as a boxer-brief wearer and revealed my unabashed preference for this style of underwear.  Since then I have purchased numerous pairs of various brands as needed, typically using gift money on post-holiday sales.  A couple years ago, I even splurged and got two pairs of high-priced Jockey’s ($20 regular price), which I wear for special occasions (long travel days, etc.).

I was totally satisfied with my underwear inventory until Facebook ads started appearing on my feed, touting superior, high-tech, superb-fitting, shorts. Suddenly, I started to feel that my current underwear was woefully inadequate.  Naturally I was curious, so I clicked one of the ads.  Of course, this was a huge mistake.  This alerts Facebook you are interested in this type of product, which means you are deluged with even more ads for these products, every day, until you die.

This marketing attack was too much for me to resist. Now I was totally dissatisfied with my current skivvies and yearned to try these awesome garments, which promised to pamper my man-parts. But there were several brands advertised, which one should I buy? So, as a public service to men dealing with this critical issue, I decided to buy four different pairs of high-end (insert snicker here) boxer-briefs and review them here in my blog.  This is an actual, serious, review. Rest assured, I will treat this subject with the somberness that I apply to all other topics.  I promise not to inject any puns, absurdities, or other frivolous attempts at humor, in dealing with this serious issue.

I informed my wife of this project because I needed her to wash all four pairs of shorts together, so as to provide a controlled, scientific environment for my evaluation.  She was not at all pleased that I was spending over $100 for blog posts (this is a two-part series) and wondered why this underwear costed so much. After I explained these briefs featured the latest odor-control technology, inexplicably her whole attitude changed and it seemed she was actually looking forward to the shorts arriving.

However, she did order me not to post any photos of me modeling the shorts on the blog.  I know this is a huge disappointment to my female fans, but you will just have to settle for your fantasies.  Posting these photos would have also risked “cease-and-desist” orders from the vendors, fearing tremendous sales loses if millions of people saw me in their undies.  

The Contestants:

Tommy John

Tommy John promotes its product as a “ballsy investment” and you know I like a company which speaks my language.  The product assortment ranged from $31-$48, including a pair containing titanium.  I choose their most popular “Second Skin Boxer Brief” which featured:

-         A contour pouch to “nestle the boys”

-         A horizontal fly for “quick access when nature calls”

-         A stay put waistband

-         No riding up, no wedgies 

The “Second Skin’s” are available in seven classy colors.  I choose the Merlot, because like a fine wine my grapes have gotten better with age.  Using my 15% online discount (on the $34 list) and after the website froze on my first attempt, my order after shipping costs totals $33.85.

Mac Weldon   

Mac Weldon claims they designed their boxer briefs from the ground up, with a no-roll waistband, stay-put legs and mesh cooling zones, for optimal comfort.  They come in three styles.  I choose the “Silver”, named not due to the color, but because it contains actual silver, which has anti-microbial and anti-odor properties.

Of course, I must always remember not to wear these shorts on airplane trips.  It would be awkward to have my underwear set off the alarm (similar to a woman’s underwire bra) at the security check.  If a cute TSA rep asked the question: “Sir, do you have a weapon in there?” There are oh, so, many replies I might give. But there is only one correct answer to this question and I’m not sure I trust myself to just say “No”.  Also, it would be darn embarrassing if the lead story on CNN is “Man’s underwear sets off airport alarms, delaying flights around the country for hours”.

These shorts are only available in five colors and three were out of stock, so I had to settle for the “True Navy”.  The price was $34 and I used a discount code to get free shipping.

Me Undies

Me Undies offer the “ultimate” feel-good undies which:

-         Are three times softer than cotton

-         Have comfy, durable, flatlock stitching

-         Feature a soft flexible waistband

-         Have a “generous pouch which gives your stuff the support it needs without feeling too tight”  

In perusing their website, I was a bit concerned that Me Undies also makes women’s undergarments. I’m sure though that the men’s and women’s stuff is made at different factories, on different machines and from totally different materials.  For some unknown reason, I spend extensive time on their website and I must say that the young, blond, woman modeling the lime green, “Lacie Thong” is rather impressive.

Me Undies is one of those fun, relationship-oriented, Internet retailers, so popular with Millennials.  They have an “Underwear of the Month” deal where they will ship you a fresh pair every month, although it seems to me that a month is a long time to go between changes.  Me Undies has by far the best color and pattern selection. Their “Bold” and “Adventurous” lines include many gay colors, and of course I am strictly using the archaic definition of that word.  I don’t really know why you would ever wear one of those fancier styles, unless you were at a party and everyone was running around in their ….. oh …. oh no, …. let’s just forget I ever mentioned that. 

It turns out that Me Undies are priced more mid-range than high-range. However, I decide to keep them in this study because they do so much Internet advertising and I already own some similarly priced underwear for comparison. I choose the very conservative, manly, Classic Dark Emerald, to package my jewels. The final price with free shipping and first time discount (off of $20 list) is only $15.

Duluth Trading Company

DTC does not directly advertise on Facebook, but I included them due to their high rankings when I did an Internet search to make sure I wasn’t overlooking any good shorts.  Their Buck Naked Performance Boxer Briefs received rave reviews from several sources.  They promote the shorts as: “No sweat. No stink. No pinch.”  The briefs are designed to wick sweat, control odor and stretch with you when working or working out. I choose the Deep Orange at $22.50 list, however after a hefty $10 delivery charge and tax, the total comes to $34.35. 

Price & Delivery

Now it is interesting that the totals for the high-end shorts came in at $33.85, $34.00, and $34.35 respectively.  There is of course no price-fixing here because the three companies all got to these prices in different ways.  And I can assure you as someone with many years of professional pricing experience, that this is a complete and total coincidence. 

Mack Weldon and Tommy John shipped my stuff first, a day or two after my order.  Duluth and Me Undies shipped one day later, the Me Undies arriving last, coming from California.  While the packages from Tommy John and Mac Weldon were very discreet, the ones from the other vendors were not. The Duluth Trading Company package had “Buck Naked Briefs” printed in large letters.  The day after the “Buck Naked’s” arrived, when I went out to get the mail, I thought I noticed the blond mail lady flash a smile and give me “the eye” before she drove away.  But it wasn’t because of the Buck Naked’s, it was because she had just delivered my Me Undies and that is some package! (see photo).  Oh My!

Next Post: The Evaluation and Rankings! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Stiffed The Little Sisters of Malawi

There it was in the morning mail, another request for a donation, this time for The Little Sisters of Malawi.  The enclosed letter says the harvest this year in Malawi was very sparse.  The Little Sisters are hungry, cold, and in dire need of food, personal items and clothing.  For a small monthly donation, I can help provide these desperately needed supplies to save the Little Sisters.

I want to help, but so many questions start spinning in my head. I understand the Little Sisters need help, but what about their Big Sisters?  And the Little Brothers? Don’t they need help also? Will these so-called “Little Sisters” hog all the loot?  Is Malawi a real country?  Is it actually cold there?  Maybe it’s warm and the Little Sisters really don’t need new clothes.  But what happens if I don’t help?  Will the Little Sisters be forced to run around nekkid?  If so, that can’t be good, no sir.

So, should I give or not?  Oh look, the Little Sisters sent me some spiffy address labels
as a thank you gift for the donation they know I will send.  I mean, what type of cold-hearted degenerate would refuse to aid the Little Sisters, especially after they took the trouble to send you a personal thank you gift?

Degenerate that I am, I decide not to help the Little Sisters. Someone else is going to have to ease their plight this time.  But what to do with these neat address labels?  If I keep them, then I feel as if I have stolen from and disparaged every one of those Little Sisters.  I image their woeful faces as they see me absconding with their address labels, without ponying up.  On the other hand, if I throw the labels away, I am wasting precious natural resources and not being environmentally “green”. Now I am a huge environmental zealot -- when it personally benefits me, when it doesn’t, my carbon footprint resembles Bigfoot. 

To save the planet, I throw the letter in the trash and put the labels in the drawer alongside the note pads from “Save the Wallaby’s”, the sticky notes from the “National Hemorrhoid Association”, the blank thank-you cards from the “Make A Sammich Foundation” and pens from a whole host of other charitable groups.  There have even been times when charities have sent me a nickel as a “thank you” gift.  Of course, I have eagerly pocketed these, not because I am a cheapskate, but because it is illegal to throw money away and I would never want to break a federal law.

Still, I feel a little guilty about stiffing the Little Sisters, so I decide watch some television and divert my thoughts.  The show is interesting, those Kardashians are having some confounding problems this week! But then there is a commercial break …..

Sad music plays and a woman in severe distress describes the deplorable conditions of neglected and abused animals.  And there they are, close-up on my big screen, their extremely sad eyes staring directly at me.  The woman, who is on the verge of uncontrollable sobbing, explains that these poor creatures are cold, hungry and in need of care.  She says only $29 a month is needed to save these abandoned pets.

I do wonder, if these animals are in such bad shape, why they are filming them instead of helping them. But only a cold, heartless, jerk would not help God’s creatures and bring comfort to this poor woman, who by the end of the commercial sounds as if she could die of sadness  at any moment.  So I grab my checkbook and start to write, when …

Another commercial begins – This man with a grim voice talks over frightening music about old people in a foreign country who are starving, neglected and living in awful conditions. Then they show black-and-white video of these aged folks standing in a line, with super-sad faces. (My gosh, these people are in such bad shape, you can’t even show them in color!) The man pleads that only $25 a month is needed to stop their pain.

However, their country is not poor and I’m not sure why these people are standing in line. For all I know it could be for Britany Spears concert tickets, and this would also explain their sadness.  And none of them look as if they are really starving.  However, I reason that helping humans is more worthy than helping animals. Sorry poor doggies, I start to write a check to help these old people, when … 

This woman appears on the screen to talk about a facility where they help re, re, uh, really messed up kids (RMUKs) engage in normal activities.  For only $19 a month you can help the RMUKs learn do all sorts of great stuff like playing flutes, dancing, and playing basketball.

Now they show this RMUK in a wheelchair shooting a basket. Now that’s nice, but wouldn’t it be better to teach him a marketable skill? I mean the kid is never going to make it to the NBA, heck he isn’t even going to be a star in the wheel-chair league.  It would be better to just get him some virtually reality goggles so he could experience doing a 360-degree reverse slam dunk. Yes, $59.99 Walmart special – problem solved!  I’m just about ready to dismiss this when ...

Unbelievably, this cute little RMUK appears on the screen and starts begging for the money directly.  Apparently, the skill they taught this particular kid, is the art of solicitation.  And he is extremely proficient at it.  It’s easy to dismiss some bland corporate spokesperson, but it’s darn hard to resist a RMUK pleading for your help.  This commercial gets run repeatedly, so this kid must be helping them rake in millions.  I just hope they compensate him fairly for his work. My guess is that they collect the loot and pay him in pudding.  “Here’s some yummy pudding Timmy, we shoot the next tear-jerking commercial in five!”  

You would have to be a disgusting lout not to fork over a measly $19 a month to help this poor, sweet, RMUK.  Well played RMUK, well played indeed.  Sorry, old people, but you are going to die soon and these RMUKs have the rest of their lives ahead of them. Once again grab my pen, when …

Another doleful voice blasts through the sound bar: “Thousands of children are dying from cancer”.  But there is hope!  You can help save the children, who are at this special hospital, which does special research, which requires boatloads of money.  Unless they get my money right now, these sick children are all going to die and of course if I don’t send in any money, this will all be my fault.  Then they roll the video of all these sick kids.  So it’s my responsibility to do something, or all these cute, sick, children will die a slow, horrible, death.

This presents a terrible dilemma. Do I help the RMUKs or save the cancer kids?  I reason that I should help the cancer kids since if they get well, they can lead normal lives, where the RMUKs will still be really messed up no matter what I do. 
I am about to write my check when I realize that the person said cancer research is very expensive and they are years from making significant progress.  This means all those sick kids on the commercial are either going to recover or uh – not recover, regardless of whether I donate or not.

I end up writing checks to two locally based charities which do outstanding work in my community.  I know that almost all the money collected by these groups is spent actually helping people who desperately need it, and not used for elaborate, expensive, national television commercials.  Heck, these organizations don’t even send me address labels and that’s perfectly fine by me.