The Man Cave

The Man Cave
Jack's Man Cave (Click on the photo to enter the Cave)

Friday, July 31, 2020

No, I Was Not at Arby's Today. The Agony of Identity Theft

No, I Was Not at Arby's Today. The Agony of Identity Theft

It shouldn't be that big a deal to let everyone know I have a new debit card


It’s 4:15 pm Friday afternoon . . .

“You see that somebody just tried to charge $6.95 at Arby’s this afternoon?” shouts my wife from the kitchen. She is looking at our online banking on her laptop.

“No! Really?” I ask.

“Were you at Arby’s?” she asks.

“No. I’ve been here all day. With you.” I say.

“Oh god, and look, here’s a charge at Walmart. For $12.32. Did you go to Walmart?” she asks, coming into the man cave.

“No Dear. I’ve been here all day. See what I’m wearing here? I haven’t left the house,” I say standing up at my desk. I’m wearing an ill-fitting dri-fit Adidas running shirt, Adidas shorts, with Adidas socks pulled up to my knees and bedroom slippers.

“Are you sure you didn’t go to Arby’s?” she asks again.

I take a deep breath.

“Tracy. I’ve been sitting here all day. Working on all my cases, writing my memoir and my Medium articles. And I never go to Arby’s. I go to Foster’s Freeze. But I never go to Arby’s,” I say.

“You need to call the bank and tell them there’s fraudulent charges,” my wife says.

“Yes. I know that now,” I say.

“You need to call right away. Because they’re obviously on a spending spree.”

“Yes, Dear. See my fingers here? I’m dialing the bank. My fingers are dialing the bank right now” I say, lifting my phone up, and pointing at it.

“You must have screwed up. You must have let somebody have your PIN,” she says.

“No, Dear. I did not give anyone my PIN. I’m careful with my PIN.” I say.

“Well, how did they get your PIN? This happens all the time with you,” she says.

It’s kind of true. It does seem to happen to me every six months.

“It’s not my fault. There’s a dark web. With teen hackers in Russia. I saw it on ‘Crime Watch Daily’.”

“Well, it never happens to me,” she says.

“Dear. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s the criminals’ fault. It’s not my fault, Dear,” I say.

“Remember that time you yelled your PIN out, inside the Target?” she asks.

“That’s because the cashier asked me for it. That was five years ago. And you were making me nervous standing there,” I say.

“You need to call the bank right away,” she says, going back to the kitchen. I hear her mutter “buffoon” under her breath.

. . .

I call the bank. The nice lady on the phone says:

“Yes, we had flagged those charges, and we were getting ready to call you,” she says.

“Can I ask you a question?” I say. “Where was the Arby’s?”

“The Arby’s was in West Covina California, and the Walmart was in Azusa, California. Were you at any of those places?”

“No. I’m in San Diego. You should see what I’m wearing.”

“Okay, well I’m canceling your debit card and sending you a new one. Please destroy your old card. The new card will arrive in 7 to 10 days.”

. . .

I feel proud of myself for calling the bank, so I head to the kitchen for a snack.

“This is going to screw everything up,” says my wife. “All the automatic payments are tied to that card.”

“Oh, well. You know, it won’t be that big a deal. We’ll just have to report the new card number when we get it,” I say.

I start putting the little cocktail hot dogs on a baking sheet and get the oven going.

My wife turns and looks at me. She shakes her head. Then puts her hand over her eyes, looks down, and exhales deeply. “No big deal he says,” my wife mutters, putting her head down on the counter. Then she says:

“I don’t know how you’re such a successful trial attorney. How can the juries take you seriously?”

That one hurts.

My two sons come down the stairs and have the nerve to shake their heads at me. Like this is all my fault.

. . .

I’ve got 22 minutes until the mini hot dogs are ready.

I get back to the man cave and look at my computer screen. There’s a bunch of new emails.

Here’s one from Dropbox.

URGENT. Payment Failure: We just tried to process you’re Semi-Annual fee but were unsuccessful. Today was the day it was due. If we do not receive payment, all of your lawyer stuff will be deleted quickly. We’ll make sure you can’t get your pdf files back either.
Don’t plan on working from home anymore. Plan on moving all the file boxes into Tracy’s new home gym area.

Here’s one from AT&T.

Your AT&T scheduled payment . . . . FAILED. All of your cell phones will be shut off. Soon.
We’re going to shut your wife’s phone off too. She will have to get a new phone number too, and not be able to use the one she’s always had since the early 90’s when “Friends” was on.

Suddenly, the Doobie Brothers song “Minute by Minute” stops playing on my computer. A prompt pops up on my Sonos app.


“Oh my god!” I say aloud. “No!”

There’s a voicemail on my phone too? I put my Bluetooth earpiece in, and listen to the message. It’s a computerized voice, like Siri.

This is Umbilical Cords Plus. Your payment FAILED. You have 24 hours, holidays and weekends included to update your card on file, or we will throw the two cords out.
Friday is trash day around here. The cords have been laying around here for 14 and 15 years. That would be a damn shame. 

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Life Was Better Before the Internet

Life Was Better Before the Internet

Nobody knew where you were. Or what you were doing


The only technology I had as a kid was a watch with a calculator on it. And they wouldn't even let you wear it at school.

Nobody knew where you were . . .

Nobody expected to see you until dinner time. No matter how old you were.

Or what you were doing

Nobody saw you playing on the heavy equipment in the abandoned, half-built housing development.

Or getting hit by a car, and shaking it off.


Nobody filmed the dumb stuff you did . . .

Nobody recorded you trying to imitate that kid who could stand on his bike with no hands. (Don’t believe me, please click on the underlined words). You just fell hard, severely sprained your wrist, crawled away, and cried alone in peace.

Or the cool stuff either

Nobody recorded the Little League game when you hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run). So you could lie and say you hit the home run over the fence when it was really an inside-the-park home run.

And everyone forgot that the pitcher was that one girl who played Little League instead of softball (not that it mattered or anything).


You had to actually talk to your friends

You had to call them on the telephone, and your whole family listened to your conversation and made comments. And even though there was dead air that lasted for two minutes sometimes, it was better than texting.

You could listen to your friend’s parents arguing in the background, so it wasn’t like the fake happy photos everyone posts on Facebook now.


Or go visit them

And if it was a really good argument, you could get on your bike and get over there to watch through the window.


© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

I'm Practicing "Mindful Eating" Now

I'm Practicing "Mindful Eating" Now

It's not as hard as I thought it was going to be

The Author

Mindful eating relies on mindfulness, a form of meditation. Mindful eating is about developing awareness of your experiences, physical cues, and feelings about food. (Healthline)


I work from home a lot. With that comes the temptation to eat too much during the course of the day. So I’m trying to be more Zen, and more “mindful” and conscious of what I’m eating.

I’ve actually lost some weight during the Pandemic because we don’t go out to eat much at all. But my clothes are starting to fit strangely. Particularly my T-shirts, around the mid-section (belly). I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.

So yesterday, I kept notes.


6:45–7:00 am

I woke up in the morning and brewed the coffee. I typically brew enough to make about eight (8) cups. My wife has two (2), so I drink the other six (6), starting from about 8:00 am to 10:00 am.

I should have the yogurt I bought the other day. The mixed berry one that Tracy told me not to buy, because everyone is sick of it, and wants new flavors.

I’ll eat one of those Chobanis. Since nobody else wants it. With the Peanut Butter granola. I’ll put a bunch of that crap on top.

I have a yogurt with Granola and a couple of cups of coffee.

9:00 am

I bought all those eggs. And that bag of Kraft shredded mixed cheeses. I should make an omelet.

I go into the kitchen and put the frying pan on the stove. I put a quarter stick of butter in the pan to melt. I mix three eggs in a bowl and pour the mix into the frying pan. Then I throw a third of the bag of mixed cheese on top. I toast three pieces of Dave’s Killer Whole Wheat Bread and use another quarter stick of butter on those suckers.

I pour a big glass of milk and go watch part of “First Take” on ESPN. I have two (2) more cups of coffee.

11:30 am

Last week was National Hot Dog Day. We didn’t even celebrate. I’ve got the Sabrett’s hot dogs. They go bad fast if you don’t eat them.

“Tracy, d’ya think Son #1 wants hot dogs?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Probably. He’s in his remote Honors Geometry class until noon,” Tracy says, annoyed, working on some huge house project.

I better make a bunch of those hot dogs so they don’t go bad, I think to myself.

“I’m gonna make a bunch of those hot dogs. So they don’t go bad.” I say out loud.

“Whatever,” says Tracy.

“Last week there was National Hot Dog day. We missed it. You want one?” I ask.

“No! You can’t eat hot dogs every single day. Well, I guess YOU can,” says Tracy. I hear her mutter “Buffoon” under her breath.

I make six hot dogs in buns. Two (2) for me, and four (4) for Son #1, and Son #2. I use Grey Poupon mustard, relish, and I eat half a bag of Ruffles Family Size potato chips. I have to throw out an old jar of Dill pickles.


1:15 pm

I just finished a bunch of work.

I deserve a treat.

I eat three (3) Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies, with a glass of milk (non-fat).

I watch part of the old version of “Cape Fear” on TCM.

Robert Mitchum is a badass.

3:30 pm

I just finished some more work. I go to the refrigerator.

I tear open the Prosciutto. I eat two slivers, and go back to the man cave and wash it down with a Cherry Coke (mini) from my refrigerator that looks like a Marshall Stack Amplifier.

Me Again

4:45 pm

I got enough work done today. I’m gonna go sit in the jacuzzi.
'Hello It's Me," - Todd Rundgren

I load up my backpack that has a cooler in the bottom with three or four Snapples, and some ice packs.

I drink three Snapples. Two (2) Diet Tropa-A-Rockas and one (1) Lemon.

Uh-oh. I can’t read the trivia under the Snapple caps without reading glasses anymore.


6:15 pm

I gotta cook that Ribeye Steak I bought yesterday. So it doesn’t go bad, I think to myself.

I get out of the jacuzzi and go to the kitchen. Using a large BBQ fork, I stab some holes in a potato and put it in the oven to bake for two hours at 400 degrees.

At 7:25 pm I get out of the jacuzzi again and turn on the grill in the backyard, to cook the steak.


8:15 pm

I eat a grilled Ribeye Steak slathered with olive oil and Montreal Steak seasoning, mushrooms sautéed with a half stick of butter, and a baked potato with butter, sour cream, and chives.

8:45 pm

A little dessert never hurt anyone, I think to myself.

I eat three Brownie Bites, with a glass of milk.

9:30 pm

I have bottled water. A mini one.

Yep, Me.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune 


Sunday, July 26, 2020

I Still Don't Believe in the Ghost I Saw

I Still Don't Believe in the Ghost I Saw

Cue the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody"


My wife and I were sitting in bed watching T. V. and looking at our phones. A woman ghost in a torn wedding dress floated into the room through the bedroom door, hovered for a second, and then disappeared up through the ceiling.

I waited a few seconds.

I tried to think of an explanation.

It was condensation from the air conditioning. No. The air conditioning is not on. Something came out of the fire detection thingy on the ceiling. No. One of the kids is vaping, and I just busted him. No.

The ghost looked like one of the ghosts in the movie "Poltergeist." It stretched out, and its mouth opened wide and grotesque as it went up into the ceiling. It also reminded me of the ones that float around the dining room in the Haunted House at Disneyland. It was definitely a woman, and she was wearing a wedding dress, or some sort of outfit from olden times, like the 1920s or earlier.

Finally, I just had to give in.

"Did you just see that?" I asked my wife.

"Oh my god! I wasn't going to say anything, because I know you don't believe in ghosts!" she said.

"Do not say anything to the kids. We're not moving, and I don't want them scared about anything," I implored her.

"I always told you there were ghosts! And that I can predict the future, and I'm always right!" my wife said with way too much delight.

"Oh god, here we go," I thought. "I'm screwed."

 . . .

"Son #2 saw the ghost last night, didn't you?" says my wife, as we're in the car.

"Yep. He was downstairs and he came up behind me. Then he whispered my name," said Son #2.

"There are no ghosts in the house," I say.

"Yes there are! You saw it yourself!" says my wife.

"The thing I saw, was a woman if it was anything," I said.

"See, there's ghosts," my wife said.

. . .

I woke up. I came down the stairs, following the smell of coffee. My wife and her brother who was staying with us for a few days were sitting at the kitchen counter.

"Tell him! Tell him right now!" said my wife, throwing up her hands, then crossing her arms smugly.

"You guys have a ghost in your guest room," said the brother.

I just stared at him pissed off.

"It tried to have its way with me last night."

"Dude, you drank a sixer of Coors Lite last night," I reminded the brother.

"Nope, nope. This was hours later. It woke me up, and held me down."

"Well, according to the "Long Island Medium" here, and Son #2, the ghost is a MAN!" I said. "So I hope He WAS GENTLE!"

© Copyright Jack Clune 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

Sitting In My Jacuzzi with Rock Stars

Sitting In My Jacuzzi with Rock Stars 

I've got questions, they've got answers


The other day I was sitting in the jacuzzi when rock stars kept popping up from under the water. I asked them questions before they disappeared.

. . .

Jim Morrison

“Were you possessed by a Native American, like the movie showed?”

“Yes. . . . Willingly.”

“Did you die of an overdose, or were you murdered?”


. . .

John Lennon

“Would you have gotten back together with Paul, George, and Ringo”

“You don’t like my solo stuff?” said John, acting mock offended.

“I love your solo stuff. “#9 Dream” is one of my favorite all-time songs, and I love the whole difficult and painful first solo album.”

“Well, yes. Beatles would have tried to make a . . . comeback” said John, facetiously.

“You say ‘Beatles’ too like Yoko does? Instead of ‘The Beatles’?”

“Yes Darlin’”

“Would you guys have made music just as good as before?”

“Yeah, sure, why not? Like ridin’ a bike Sonny”

“Do you play music with George now?

“Yes. And it’s very good music too,” said John, whispering and batting his eyelids.

“Would you and Yoko have gotten divorced?”

“No. We’d have ‘UN- consciously coupled’” said John, making fun.

“Would the world be a much better place now?”

“All you need is Love”

. . .

Mick Jagger

“In your heart of hearts, you think the Stones are better than the Beatles, right?”

“Of course.”

“Why don’t you get a vasectomy?”

“Cuz I’m a King Bee.”

Then Mick flew away.

. . .

Bob Dylan

“Are your songs prophecies?”


“So are there hints in your songs about what’s going to happen in the future?”


“Do you know how the world ends?”


“Is it pretty?”

“Who’s askin’?”

. . .

Kurt Cobain

“Did Courtney Love have you murdered?”

“No,” said Kurt, lighting up a ciggie.

“Would you have quit music, if were you still alive?”


“What would you do instead?”

“Marriage counseling.”

“Are you serious?”

“No!” he said laughing.

. . .


“Was it an accident that you died?”


“Do you jam with Jimi Hendrix and other superstars?”

“We get down!” said Prince smiling coyly.

“Do you like me … do you think I’m cool?” I asked meekly.

“You’re alright. But you need to hit the gym!” said Prince, scrunching up his face in disgust.

“Don’t you think every Bruno Mars song is a weak copy of Morris Day?

“I’m outta here,” said Prince.

. . .

Ian Curtis

Do you like New Order’s music?


“Do you appear as a ghost in the doorway giving your blessing in the video for “Perfect Kiss?”


Are you uncomfortable? You seem uncomfortable being in my jacuzzi.”

“Yes, I’m getting burned by the sun.”

“Do you want to leave?”


“One last thing . . . is there anything that could have changed your mind? That day . . .”

“Yes. It was just an impulse. People read too much into these things. I’m sorry I hurt the people I loved.”

. . .


“Was the Devil scared when he saw you coming?”

“Nevah met ‘im. He moved out when Bon Scott moved in, and he left no forwarding address. Har, har, har!”

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Thursday, July 23, 2020

3 Things My Wife and I Do That Drives the Other Insane

3 Things My Wife and I Do That Drives the Other Insane

Pantomimes, doggy bowls, and tile plagiarism


I'll be the first to admit it. I do a thousand things that drive my wife nuts. I should probably be put in an insane asylum for some of my daily failures of basic human hygiene and dignity.

That's not what this article is about, though. This article is more light and airy, and about the more idiosyncratic things that she and I do, that drive each other insane.

My wife and I have known each other for over twenty years now, and we've been married for nearly fifteen. Let's just get down to it, shall we?

Things I Do

1. Asking for the bill at a restaurant

When I need to get the waiter's attention to get the bill, I use my beloved grandfather's time-honored method:

I wave my hand until I make eye-contact with the waiter, then I use my one hand like I'm writing with a pen, and I hold the other hand flat like it's the bill I'm signing.

When I did this on our first date, I looked over at my wife and her eyes were bulging out of her head.

"Did you just seriously act like you were signing the bill to the waiter?" my future wife asked.

"Yeah, that's how you do it. My Grandad showed me that." I said.

"I'm not sure I can go on another date with you," she said.

2. Mansplaining songs

Every time a song like Lou Reed's "Walk on The Wild Side," comes on the radio, I feel it is my duty to mansplain the background of the song. I pretend like I'm explaining it to my kids, but I'm really mansplaining it to my wife for the ten-thousandth time.

"Walk on the Wild Side"

"You know, David Bowie wrote this song . . ." I say authoritatively.

"Me and Bobby McGee"

"You know Kris Kristofferson wrote this song. He was a Rhoades scholar . . "

"Take it Easy"

"You know, Jackson Browne wrote this song . . ."

Each time, my observation is met with a resounding "We know! For the ten-thousandth time, we know!"

3. Buying gear

I buy gear like I'm trying to forget growing up during the Great Depression. I admit I take the "having-the-right-tool-for-every-situation" thing way too far.

When the Amazon box arrives at the door, here is what usually happens.

"What the hell is it today?" asks my wife, bringing the box into the man cave.

"Oh, this wasn't even a fun purchase. This is just something I really need for our ski trip," I say cutting open the box with secret delight.

"A shovel?" What the hell do you need that for?"

"It's not just a shovel. It's a backcountry avalanche rescue shovel. See, it fits inside the backpack I got yesterday," I say, demonstrating.

"We're going to Big Bear Resort for one day, you buffoon!"

Things She Does

1. Dishwashing

I finish my IPA beer, and I take the last gulp with a flourish, then belch loudly and contentedly.

Next, I lovingly and painstakingly wash my special $12 beer glass that I bought at the brewery. I use the brush that we keep in the plastic basket in the sink. The glass is too fragile to put in the dishwasher.

My wife comes in the kitchen with the dogs' bowls. She grabs the brush and starts swirling it around the bowls filled with remnants of wet and dry dog food. She makes sure to catch every scrap of food, scrubbing deep to get the sticky parts.

"Are you kidding me?" I say with my jaw hanging and feeling faint.

"What?!" she says.

"You clean the dog bowls with the same brush as us?" I say incredulously.

"Oh gimme a break, their mouths are twice as clean as yours!"

2. Sleeping with the window open to "get a little air"

I climb into bed, timing it almost perfectly to when the "Real Housewives" is ending.

"Can you open the window, and let some air in?" my wife asks.

She's reached a stage in life where, let's just say, she likes the bedroom to be . . . cold.

The "window" is actually the full-sized door out to the patio. The door/window is on my side of the bed.

"Um, it's raining outside. Actually, it's storming," I say meekly.

"It's too hot in here. Open the window please," she says.

Fast forward twenty minutes later. The rain is splashing on my face, like Gilligan and the Skipper.

"Can we switch sides?" I ask meekly.

3. "They used 'My Same Tile' in [the bathroom, the courtyard, the entryway]"

My wife is very talented at envisioning, designing, and lording over the workers to bring her interior designs to fruition. She is proud of her design choices, but sometimes, it gets a little out of hand.

"Come up here," says the text on my phone. I am in the man cave.

"As soon as the [World Series Game 7, UFC Fight, Basketball Playoff Game] is over," I text back.

"Whatever. Rude!" she responds.

When the game is over, I go upstairs to the bedroom. My wife turns on the DVR, puts on a "House Renovation Show- Chicago Edition", and fast forwards to a two-second clip.

"See that?!" my wife says.

"What? What am I looking for here?" I ask.

"See what tile she's using there?!" my wife asks, looking at me expectantly.

"Yeah?" I say. Confused.

"That's 'My Same Tile!' She's using my tile. The same one I used in the bathroom!"

"Oh. Wow!" I say, still kind of confused.

"She's using 'My Same Tile!'" my wife shouts again.

Two weeks later. Another Renovation show in a different city.

I'm dead asleep, with the wind and rain splashing my face. Suddenly there's a violent nudging at my back.

"Wake up! Wake up!" my wife says.

"What's wrong?! What's happening?!" I say, terrified and reaching for my tactical flashlight.

"Look it's 'My Same Tile' again!"

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

How to Shred on Guitar at Killer Parties

 How to Shred on Guitar at Killer Parties

15 things playing (mostly bad) guitar for 23 years taught me


1. Years of air (tennis racket) guitar does not give you a “leg up”

I always wanted to play guitar, even as a kid. I played air guitar with a tennis racket in front of my bedroom mirror up until I had to move out of my parents’ house for Law School.

It was disappointing that all the things I learned playing air guitar all those years did not really transfer when it came to playing “real” guitar.

2. You should take guitar lessons, even though lessons did not work for me

My parents got me a “real” guitar when I was in Third or Fourth Grade. My mom took me to one guitar lesson at the Lemon Grove mall. It was such a traumatic experience, that I don’t want to discuss it here. I’m saving it for a whole chapter of my novel loosely based on biographical material.

3. Guitar envy is probably a terrible reason to start playing

One of my best friends decided to learn guitar in the late ’90s, and it was annoying watching him get pretty good.

Then one of my favorite all-time albums came out in 1997, The Verve’s “Urban Hymns,” and my friend was able to play four of the songs right away. They were simple four-chord songs.

I was so jealous, I had to break down and buy a guitar and try to learn how to play the damn thing.

4. Malcolm Gladwell is wrong (in my case)

Twenty-three years later, I can still just barely play the four songs off that Urban Hymns album. I have definitely disproved Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour theory.

Malcolm G. says if you do anything for 10,000 hours, you’ll become a master at it. Wrong.

23 years is 201,480 hours. I definitely spent more than 10,000 of that time playing the guitar. It’s probably too much information to tell you where I sat for those 10,000 hours while I practiced most of the time.

5. Playing the guitar is really hard if you suck at it

I was terrible at math as a student.

I’ve learned that playing guitar and music are a lot like math.

6. Playing the guitar is really easy if you’re great at it

Sometimes when I’m watching T.V. with my family, we’ll see something that I know I could do with complete ease. My lovely wife or one of my kids will say something like:

“Isn’t that amazing?! Can you imagine being able to do that?”

It’s not amazing to me at all, because I know I could do it with complete ease (i.e. hot dog eating contests, “Jeopardy” questions about 80’s sitcoms, etc.).

That’s what guitar playing must be like to a great guitarist. If you’re a great guitar player, it’s easy, it’s not hard.

7. Just because you practice for years doesn’t mean you will get any better

When I’m learning something new I like it to be like this:

a) I’m a natural at whatever it is, and I’m great without trying (i.e. like switching from lite beer over to IPA’s);
b) I can just memorize something without having to think hard, and fool people I’m good (i.e. reciting the complete lyrics to the “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot).

The guitar is neither of these things.

8. You either got it, or you don’t

I have some Cuban friends, who I never knew to sing or play guitar.

Then one day, they heard me practicing “Hotel California.

“Can we try?” one of them said, smiling like Sammy Sosa.

He grabbed my left-handed guitar, turned it upside down, and started strumming it in perfect 4/4 rhythm. The other one started doing that impossible syncopated hand-clap thing like the Gypsy Kings (1:20).

My natural rhythm and strumming are like Elaine’s dancing in “Seinfeld.”

9. People will not like the songs you chose to master

Here’s what happens at parties.

“Do you know ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones?” asks the party guest.

“No, but I know ‘All Down the Line’ from side four of Exile on Main Street,” I say, “I’m sure you’d like it if you just let me play it for you.”

The party guest walks away angry and whispers in the host’s ear. Suddenly, “Satisfaction” starts blasting from the Sonos speakers.

10. It’s better to learn when you’re young

At Guitar Center.

A little kid asks her mom to pull a Gibson SG model off the wall. The kid plugs it into an amp, and she starts playing the intro to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

I catch myself whispering “Thunder . . . thunder . . . thunder.”

11. Being left-handed sucks

Guitar Center again.

Every beautiful make and model of guitar manufactured hang from the walls.

Senior citizens, guys with tribal tattoos, and boys and girls are all taking the guitars off the wall, strumming a few bars and high-fiving each other. They play acoustic guitars decorated with inlaid gold hummingbirds on the body, and flowers running up the neck. It’s beautiful, and I want to participate.

“Hi, do you have any left-handers I can try out?” I ask the guy at the counter.

“Ha, ha, good one,” he says sarcastically, going back to drinking his Red Bull and reading Kerrang! Magazine.

“No, I’m serious. I’d like to try out a left-handed guitar.”

“Oh . . . okay, um, hold on,” he says looking deep and confused into my eyes. Then he rummages under the desk. “Here try this one.”

“This is a right-handed guitar,” I show him.

“Yeah, but the strings are on it upside down,” he says. “We keep it here, for people like you.”

“This guitar’s a piece of crap!” I say.

“You’re not from Undercover Boss or anything are you?”

12. Being left-handed rules!

Back at the house party.

I finish playing the “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I’m sweating and a little light-headed, because that one’s a doozy. I need a break, so I put my guitar down on its stand.

A party guest accosts me.

“Hi, yeah that was really good. I haven’t heard a Gordon Lightfoot tune in a long time. A very, very long time actually,” says the party guest, standing there with his twelve-year-old son. The boy is wearing a tank top, and arm bandannas.

“Hey, I see you’re taking a break, do you mind if my son “Yngwie” plays a few tunes? “Yngwie’s been accepted to the U.S.C School of Music, early admission,” says the party guest.

“Um, I don’t usually let people touch my guitar. It was a gift from my Grandaddy.”

The kid picks up my guitar off the stand.

“Dad, it’s a left-handed guitar! I can’t play this piece of crap anyway!”

13. Your family will always say that the guitarist on the street, on the boardwalk, in the subway, or in the restaurant is “way better” than you

The waiter shows you to your table, near where the tortured singer-songwriter-guitarist is setting up his gear.

“Ooh, good, I love live music,” says your wife.

After the shock of that statement wears off, you close your slack jaw back up and say:

“You’re always asking me if I could please move the guitar into the other room when we’re at home.”

“Well, that’s because I don’t want to hear the same Molly Hatchet song 5,000 times,” your wife says.

The guitarist starts playing the flattest version of “Blackbird” you’ve ever heard in your life.

“Ooh, he’s really good!” your wife says.

14. Everyone will be mad at you for not “writing a song about me”

You’re lying in bed watching “The Bachelorette” with your wife. The male contestant trying to win the woman whips out his guitar and says:

“Here’s the song I just wrote for you,” and he begins playing the most ridiculous song you’ve ever heard.

You feel the hot glare of your wife’s stare. You try to ignore it, and make the mistake of saying:

“God, this is really embarrassing, isn’t it?”

“How come you’ve never written a song for me?” asks your wife.

The next day when you’re practicing “Lick It Up” by KISS, you look up and catch your wife shaking her head disgusted.

15. Learn to play the piano instead

Well, my “call to action” at the end of this article is to encourage you to learn to play the piano. Unless you are a great guitar player, just learn to play the piano and start young.

Every hotel and restaurant lobby has a community piano for you to play. And just look at what happens if you sit down and belt out a tune on a piano. The world is your oyster!

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Please Don't Call Me "Junior"

Please Don't Call Me "Junior"

I have another idea though


The phone rang. It was the bank. I'd just spent two hours there opening my new corporate account.

"We can't open your corporate bank account," the lady said.

"Why not?" I asked.

Because it doesn't say "Jr." on it.

"So what? I don't really walk around having people call me 'Junior.'

"Yes, but that's your legal name."

"But I don't want to be called 'Junior.'"

"Well. I'm sorry Sir. For the purposes of this account, you have to go by 'Jr.'"

"Can you call me 'J.R.' instead?"

"Would you like us to call you 'J.R.'?"

"Yes, I'd like that better. Can you call me 'J.R. Ewing'?"

"Everybody, when Mr. Clune comes into the branch, call him 'J.R. Ewing' please!"

Copyright © 2020 Jack Clune

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I'm Looking Forward to Home Schooling My Kids During the Pandemic

I'm Looking Forward to Home Schooling My Kids During the Pandemic

Boy do they need it


If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you would not believe some of the ridiculous things my two sons say to me. I’m actually glad that over the next few weeks and months it looks like I will have the opportunity to Home School these two jokers.

Sports analysis

I came upon my sons eating their breakfast and watching an ESPN story on Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Tom Brady sucks,” I correctly told them.

“Dad, c’mon cut it out,” said Son 1.

“Dad, Tom Brady is still good,” said Son 2.

“Well, how old is he?” I asked

“He’s like, 42 now,” Son 1 said.

“Well, that’s it. He sucks. When you get old you suck,” I said.

“Dad, Tom Brady has like 6 Super Bowl rings, he doesn’t suck, okay?”

“He’s old. He sucks.”

Reading a Book

The other day I caught Son 1 lying on a couch, reading a book.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked him

“I’m reading a book, Dad.”

“What book?” I said, ripping it out of his hands. “To Kill a Mockingbird?!”

“Yeah, Dad. What’s wrong with that?” said Son 1.

“Hello?! They made a movie of that book. All you have to do is rent it on YouTube, and watch it on double speed- you’ll be done with it in like a half hour!” I told him.

“Dad, that’s not how I want to read the book.”

“Whatever, it’s your life, waste it how you want,” I said.

Planning a Career

“What do you wanna do when you grow up?” I asked Son 2 at dinner.

“I’m not sure yet, but I know I really want to help people,” he said.

“Oh great. Great answer. How ya gonna pay the bills- ‘helping people?’” I asked him.

“Well, I don’t know, what do you think I should do?”

“How the hell should I know? But you gotta make a lot of money. And you better have a lot of internet followers. And you gotta get ripped. I mean shredded, with a twelve-pack of abs.”

“Dad, what is wrong with you?” asked Son 2.

“I think you should go to Wall Street and be a hedge fund manager,” I said.

“What’s a hedge fund manager do?” Son 2 asked.

“They move rich people’s money around and make huge commissions,” I said.

“I don’t think I understand,” said Son 2.

“Well, then be a TikTok star or a blogger on Medium.”

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Saturday, July 11, 2020

What We Need Now Is A Lot More Empathy

What We Need Now Is A Lot More Empathy

Entitled jerks and loudmouths take note


I'm telling you, this Pandemic is really pushing people to the brink of civilized behavior. Just this weekend, I saw people acting so boorishly, it made me want to weep for where we are headed as a society.

This story is a follow-up to an earlier story.

. . .

Grocery shopping- Vons, Chula Vista

On Friday, my family was out on a walk, when one of our Boxers stuck his snout into a bee that was on the ground, and he got stung on the nose. His whole face swelled up. Now, this has happened before, and we know to give the dog an antihistamine pill, and he feels better right away.

Luckily there was a Vons grocery store nearby, so I ran in to buy some peanut butter and some Benadryl pills. Well, the Express line was packed with about 20 people in it. They were buying 40 oz. beers, and People magazines, potato chips, and all sorts of crap.

So I ran down to another aisle that looked wide open. Right when I get to the aisle, this chubby guy in "Stone Brewing" T-shirt, rolls up, with his cart filled with like, 10,000 items. He can barely push the cart.

"Sir, can I cut in front here, I have a medical emergency going on," I ask the guy.

You should have seen the sour puss on this schlump.

"There's an Express line right over there, what's wrong with that line?" says the Prick.

"Sir, are you serious? It'll just be two seconds here, and I'll be right on my way" I plead with the guy.

Nope. The jerk made me wait behind him. It took even longer because he had to sign up for a Vons Member Card.

. . .

"The Henry" Restaurant- Coronado, California

This afternoon, Saturday, my family and I are enjoying a nice meal on the patio, socially distancing, and frequently cleaning our hands with hand sanitizer. At the high top table six feet away from us, a commotion breaks out.

"Why is it my problem that the keg is out!?" yells this bloated, red-faced guy, embarrassing his cute family stuck there sitting with him.

"Sir, I'm so sorry, it will just be a moment, they're working on it right now," says the poor waitress.

"I don't care if they're brewing a special batch just for me! I'm thirsty now! Bring me a free beer while I wait!" says the entitled bastard.

"Sir, I'll have to ask my manager . . ." says the waitress.

"Well . . . Chop, chop!" says the Prick. "And if the manager says no, tell 'em to come over and talk to me. I want to tell them about this idea I have for when the keg runs out."

. . . 

During these difficult times, I think people should take a good look at themselves in the mirror, and decide if they like what they see. What we all need now is a lot more empathy.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

Friday, July 10, 2020

Selfish Shoppers, Empty Kegs, and Member Card Hell

Selfish Shoppers, Empty Kegs, and Member Card Hell

Cutting edge solutions to major societal problems


During the Pandemic, I've had time to sit and think of solutions for some of the serious problems with our society. Here's what I have come up with so far.

1. People at the grocery store, who come up behind you with only two (2) items

Whenever I go to the grocery store, I load up my cart to the max and head to the checkout stand.

Inevitably, some person lines up behind me, with only two (2) items in their hands. Then they give me the puppy dog eyes to let them cut in front of me. Why don't these people go to the Express checkout line where they belong? Because they are trying to drive me insane, that's why.

Who goes to a grocery store for just two (2) items? Those people need to be charged extra for their groceries, and the difference should be credited to me. Or they should be permanently banned from the store. Unless it is me and I'm in a hurry.

2. When the keg runs dry

You order a beer in a restaurant, only to have the waiter come back and tell you:

"I'm sorry, but the keg just went out, and they're changing it. It'll be a few minutes."

Then the waiter puts everyone else's drinks on the table, and turns and runs away as fast as he can before you can change your order to another brand of beer.

So for ordering "the wrong thing" you are now thrown into the Purgatory of delayed, forgotten, and misplaced orders.

Everyone else gets their order and is having fun. Everyone tells you

"Geez, just have some patience!" or "What's the big deal?"

Because it's you that is suffering, and not them. They usually finish their drink before yours even comes.

Why not turn this most tragic of situations upside down, and make it a special occasion? Don't the restaurants make like 1000% profit on every beer sold? Couldn't they afford to turn the "tapping of the keg" into a joyous occasion, rather than a tragic one?

What should happen, from now on, is balloons and ticker tape should fall from the ceiling, and the waiter should announce with a bullhorn:

"HUZZAH, my fine fellow! Your beer is on the house, lucky you!"


"Is there any other item on the menu I can bring you for free, you Lucky Bastard, You!?"

That's what should happen.

3. "Member Card" Hell

"Do you want to sign up for the Catheters Plus member card and get 15% off today's purchase? You would save $27.00!"

Every time I'm just trying to buy a "Hola!" magazine, or a pair of pants at a brick and mortar store, they want me to apply for a "Member Card." They want me to give them my email, and social security number.

Then the store promptly turns around and sells all my information to teen hackers on the dark web, making $2,700 on the $27.00 I saved.

To rub it in, they train the cashiers to roll their eyes at me, and actually make me feel guilty and stupid for not applying for the card.

The new rule should be, any time a store asks you to apply for their "Member Card" and you decline you automatically get 65% off your purchase.

That's all I have for you now. I've got to go to the store. We're out of whipped cream and peanuts.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

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