“Top Gun” and the Virus

           As anyone who is anyone knows, the release

of a second Tom Cruise mega-hit “Top Gun: Maverick” has been

delayed until late in the year.

      The reason for this has been given as the shutdown

of movie theaters, which would put quite the kibosh on


     I, however, on somewhat hazy authority have found

out that the delay has been caused by the influence the virus

has had on several scenes that were already shot.

     Checking out the trailer, it is readily apparent that

social distancing has taken a back seat in the ole cockpit.

      There is a scene, for example, when Maverick is checking out

a plane and he is actually touching the jet, apparently to

make sure the parts aren’t about to fall off. You and I know,

however, that the virus could live on a metal surface so

that touching scene is verboten. I’m sure in the re-shoot

Maverick will be eye-balling the plane and maybe giving

it a thumbs up.

     That’s not the worst of the social distancing snafus

that take place. There is a scene in which Maverick is on

a motorcycle with a female, who is not Kelly McGillis.

I liked Kelly, call-sign Charlie, in the original movie.

I assume she is not in this one because she has the virus.

I can understand that.

     But what I can’t understand is how Maverick is riding around

on a motorcycle with this other woman hanging on to him, and

the other woman is not six feet away. It would take quite a

lengthy motorcycle to make this happen, but given everything

else going on, that would be a small sacrifice. Besides, you could

probably do it digitally.

     One thing they did get right in the movie is that the pilots

are all wearing masks. These masks are used not only for

oxygen but for communication. The oxygen is used to avoid

hypoxia symptoms, which could pose a threat if you’re piloting

a plane going 600 mph and pass out. But we’re supposed to be

wearing masks in public so there’s something I have in common

with naval aviators. My call sign by the way, would have been

Nap Master, showing where my greatest strength lies. At least

someone was thinking ahead when they were shooting the film.

      I’ve learned there were six cameras in the cockpit during

some of the flying scenes. Fortunately, they are being operated

remotelyo you didn’t have to have six cameramen in front of

Maverick to get the shots and pass on the virus. And what if one

of them had to use the facility? Don’t ask.

      Ed Harris is in the movie. You remember him from Apollo 13

where he said, “Failure is not an option.” So, after getting Tom

Hanks safely back to earth, he apparently enlisted in the Navy,

where being 104 apparently is no barrier, and got a good job

behind a desk in charge of Tom Cruise.

     He tells Maverick, “You’re heading for extinction.” Harris

apparently knows something about viruses. But Maverick is

having none of this. “Maybe so, sir,” he says, “but not today.”

       Wow! Maverick must have gotten the vaccine and knows

that he’s good to go.

      So you can clearly understand now why the release of the

latest in what promises to be a series of “Top Gun” movies has

been delayed. Who knows how many re-shoots there would

have to be if Maverick catches a cold.

Checking for Spam

Having nothing to do the other day except re-setting all the passwords I forgot, I decided to do something I have never before done: check my spam folder.

I shouldn’t have waited so long because there are things in there that can change your life.

For example, I learned that millions of dollars await me in Nigeria if only I would send them enough money to cover the taxes on those millions. They didn’t tell me exactly how much the taxes are, but if I would just send along my credit card information along with my checking account number, the bank’s routing number and a withdrawal slip, I would be sitting pretty for the rest of my life.

And while I was enjoying those millions, I learned that there was some cream that would make my skin look years younger. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be sitting on a beach in the skin I have now, so parting with a few bucks from my millions, certainly was a possibility. I do want to send an apology, however, to XXXDebbie from Dallas for not answering her generous offer. And saying she needed a trapeze to do whatever it was she did was not something I was going to fritter away my millions on.

There was something else along those lines, something “sure to bring a smile to my wife’s face” if I just forked over a few bucks. And in the bargain, they would throw in shipping. I have an ex-wife now and the thing that I’m sure would bring a smile to her face was the gutter guards guaranteed to keep her gutters clear forever.

I could get an affordable college degree online, which got me wondering if  such a thing as an unaffordable college degree was ever advertised.

With just the click of a button I could get 15 bottles of top-rated wine for 70 percent off. While that sounds like an offer many people would go for, I still have the bottle left from my birthday three years ago.

There was one headlined “CONFIRMATION.” Being naturally curious, I just had to see what I was confirming. What I was confirming, it turns out, was a button click to stop receiving emails. That certainly sounds like something everyone could use.

And I got an offer for non-toxic hand soaps. That got me wondering if all the hand soaps I’ve been using to keep the virus at bay were toxic. I pondered that one for a few seconds and decided that my soaps were doing a good enough job because I’ve been washing my hands each time I look out the window in case the windows weren’t virus proof.

Then I got an urgent notice: “Re: she doesn’t give you the look anymore.”

Now, I didn’t open this spam, but I can tell you I know when I’m getting the look. It comes mostly when I can’t answer the question: “Do you notice anything different?”

So there you are. If you’re looking for something to do, go ahead, check your
spam folder. But I wouldn’t try to cash that check from Nigeria.

A County and Western Song for the Times

Some years ago, in response to a colleague’s challenge to write a County and Western song that made use of every cliche there was, I wrote: “They’re Playing Our Song on the Jukebox, but You’re Singing and Different Tune” and “The Light at the End of the Tunnel Doesn’t Shine on Me Anymore.”

I then had them put to music, found a singer, made a cassette of them, entered a contest and, after winning an honorable mention, (which I later learned everyone who entered won) sent them to a genuine music agent, who said my Tunnel song was the worst piece of garbage he ever heard. That was the nicest thing he offered.

Thus, learning that my songs were not going to set Nashville on fire, I put my song-writing pen away where it has languished for the last 30 years. But now, it has arisen, once again, because, well, we need a Country and Western song that is right for today. So, without further ado, I present:

“E-mail Me a Beer”

You’re sitting in your house and I’m sitting in mine
Keeping boredom away, going out of my mind.
This virus pandemic has kept us apart
So our romance is off to a rough start.
I went to the fridge seeking something to drink
What I saw there made me start to think
Shelves were empty and looked grim at best
Needed some help to put my thirst to rest.
Oh honey, e-mail me a beer to help me get through
This quarantine time, there’s so little to do.
Just attach it to e-mail and send it to me
The in-box is ready as you can see.
I’ll ignore whatever browser you use
That’s not important so you just choose,
Bing and Safari, G-mail and Yahoo
Just hurry along and ship me a brew.
My yearning for you, of course that comes first
But coming in second is quenching my thirst
When this is all over, to the sunset we’ll sail.
Just you and my boat and, of course, my ale.
Oh honey,
E-mail me a beer and don’t be lax.
If you’re stymied, maybe try a fax.
I love you more than words can say.
So e-mail me a beer and make my day.


I don’t know about you, but when this whole thing is over, I’m heading to Tennessee.

The Virus and Bar Mitzvah Plans

This virus thing has thrown plans for my grandsons’ Bar Mitzvahs into a tizzy.

This is a Jewish ritual in which a 13-year-old participates in a service, is called to the Torah, the holy scroll, and reads from it. The teen has been practicing his Hebrew reading for months because they know if they do it right they get to go to the over-the-top party their parents have been planing since the child was born. Actually, the party is going to take place whatever happens, except if there’s a virus that may force things to be canceled.

The party is big, not only in numbers, but in recollections everyone will recall in minute detail years from now.  Cousins and aunts and uncles our teens have never met come from far and wide to celebrate this.  It is like the Mardi Gras on steroids. Women get their hair dyed and men get ready to talk about how successful they are. You can tell it’s a really big deal.

As a grandfather, I have taken it upon myself to get ready for this event not by getting ready to talk but to wow my ex-brothers-in law on the dance floor.

I am learning to do the Macarena.

This is no easy feat for me.  The last time I was on the dance floor was when “The Twist” was breaking all sales records.  My relationship with Chubby Checker lasted right up until I twisted to the right and my back went to the left.

When Mr. Checker recorded “Let’s Twist Again” I had to part ways with him, as my vertebrae wanted no part of this.

So when the Bar Mitzvah plans were announced I felt I had to overcome my fears on the dance floor.

The Macarena, by the way, is a dance, sort of, in which a bunch of people stand in a group on the dance floor (I assume we’d be six feet apart to do our social distancing thing).  You throw your arms in front of you, flip your hands over, bring them back to your shoulders and eventually bring them back to the top of your toosh, rotate your hips, jump to the side while turning and start over again.

It’s a Spanish dance song about a woman of the same name.  Its lyrics are incredibly racy and can’t be repeated in a family blog.  But since no one knows what the lyrics actually say, it’s perfectly appropriate for a Bar Mitzvah.

As I practiced the Macarena, careful to follow the You Tube instructor, I grew more and more confident, throwing my hands out in front of me without the need for rotator cuff surgery.  The rotating of my hips however, threw me for a loop because they hadn’t been rotated much since I was in my youth.

Nevertheless, I persevered so that after two weeks of practice I feel I am at the top of my game.

Thus, I am ready for the parties and to wow the crowds, not to mention everyone else who will be astounded by my latest moves.

As a matter of fact, since one Bar Mitzvah follows the other by a month, I have enough time left to work on my next project.

The Electric Slide.

Solving the Hoarding Problem

I have read lately that most of the stores that carry it are out of ammunition, which is being bought up to ensure that those who have not hoarded enough toilet paper will take matters into their own hands if the time comes.

Since I don’t have anything to protect me in such an event, I decided to do a bit of research on various things I could use to defend my toilet paper supply.  Fortunately, the internet hasn’t been shut down so I am able to share with you the results of my exhaustive search.

I thought hand grenades would be a good place to start but I couldn’t find any used hand grenades and, after a bit of thought, I’m not sure a used hand grenade would offer much in the way of protection because once a grenade is used, there probably wouldn’t be enough explosive stuff left to be of much use.

I then moved on to rocket-propelled grenades. Being a former ROTC student I knew that such a grenade would probably stop any intruders but, alas, I couldn’t find any RPGs to be sold.

But then I hit on the answer I was searching for. I could buy a Russian T54 Main Battle Tank for 94,000 English pounds or $109,367.59. Bargains like this you don’t find everyday.

But this is not your ordinary Russian Battle Tank. As the description says, “This particular beast is crammed with all of its original kit, even four machine guns, padded helmets, radios and intercom, specialist tools and equipment – even a big lump of soft wax to aid deep wading.

Bargains like this you don’t find everyday, particularly if they’re throwing in the wax to aid deep wading.

I’m not sure whether the $109, 367.59 price tag includes shipping and handling but I figured if I could order this through Amazon, I would get shipping for free and my tank would probably come in one of those cartons that comes with a lot of stuff that Amazon ships in.

I assume that they would have to drop off my Battle Tank at the front door because I live on the second floor and our elevator doesn’t look big enough to handle a tank. It’s hardly big enough to handle a sofa. I suppose I could drive it up the stairs but it would probably take out a load-bearing wall or two, something our landlord would probably charge us a surcharge for.

So I am left with the idea of parking my Battle Tank in our parking lot, probably more as a deterrent than anything else. I don’t by the way, have a special classification on my driver’s license that would allow me to drive a tank on the roadways of Western New York. I supposed I could get around that by going cross-country, avoiding the streets of Grand Island. After all, while I might nick a few lawns and fences on the way, the benefit of keeping my toilet paper safe far outweighs the costs of any lawn re-sodding.

So there you have it, the solution to our most recent crisis. I would need some help in my tank. I would need someone to turn the turret, load the gun and keep the engine going. Because there are costs associated with running my Battle Tank, there is a small feet if you want to join up. Only one roll.