Culinary no-no #687

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

When I met Jennifer I didn’t marry her right away.

We courted for a while before I proposed.

Here’s Jennifer shortly after we got engaged, and here with a friend, Amy Gibson.

Ah, the blissful day.

Since this is a food blog I’ll tell you our first ‘date’ if you will was an innocent lunch on a Jennifer work day. I would also say that I was unaware Jennifer has a voracious appetite. But that doesn’t sound lady-like. She does like to eat but only ate a salad that afternoon so as not to appear to be ravenous.

Our second get together was at the old Boulevard Inn restaurant, now Bacchus. No salad for Jennifer that night. Potato crusted salmon.  I soon learned that my future bride could eat a large slab of filet mignon and not gain an ounce.

And so our romance was off and running. During our budding courtship there was one particular question I never asked Jennifer. More on that coming up.

This week’s feature is about a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jif ahead of National Peanut Butter Lovers Day which just happens to be tomorrow (Monday). A critical question was the key of this important inquiry.

Creamy or crunchy?

This Peanut Butter Quiz Will Reveal What People Love Most About You

Now don’t laugh. This is apparently as our bumbler fumbler-in-chief would say, “a big f****** deal.”

Of the 2,000 individuals surveyed, a third of all respondents described themselves as “extremely” passionate about their peanut butter preference.

How about this? Sixty-three percent of all respondents even said they will pass on the peanut butter altogether if it’s not the kind they prefer.

Normally my no-no can be a prolonged exercise where I present a highly-detailed build-up to the actual indiscretion. Not so this week.

So, was it creamy or crunchy?

The survey group was split down the middle by crunchy or creamy peanut butter preference.

Personally, I have no problem with either (but I’ll take creamy) so the following doesn’t apply to me.

Sixty-three percent of those who prefer crunchy peanut butter describe themselves as optimists, compared to 56% of those who prefer creamy.

Other personality traits for creamy fans included being more of an early bird and more introverted – whereas their crunchy counterparts were more likely to be night owls and extroverts.

I did mention ‘passionate,’ didn’t I?

Again, this is such a big deal it truly is passionate.

About my dating with Jennifer before the engagement and wedding, there was a question even my curious mind never dreamed of posing.

Creamy or crunchy?

I just never thought it was…you know…a big f****** deal.

That was then. This is now.

The enlightening survey illustrates how goofy we’ve become.

Nearly half of all respondents said it would be a deal-breaker to find out their date is on the opposite side of the creamy versus crunchy debate.

Wouldn’t have made a difference with Jennifer and me. We like both but prefer creamy. Here comes the bride.


L.A. restaurants struggle with a new form of dine-and-dash

Don’t Be a Jerk to My Staff When They Ask You to Wear a Mask


Chick-fil-A responds to complaints that busy drive-thru lines are negatively affecting nearby businesses

ICYMI: Culinary no-no #686

Photos of the Week (02/28/21)

A pictorial week-in-review posted every Sunday.

1) The vehicle of golfer Tiger Woods, who was rushed to hospital after suffering multiple injuries, lies on its side after being involved in a single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles, California, in a still image from video taken February 23. Photo: KNBC via REUTERS

2) Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies inspect the vehicle of golfer Tiger Woods, who was rushed to hospital after suffering multiple injuries, after it was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles, California, February 23, 2021. Photo:  REUTERS/Gene Blevins

3) An officer looks through a window as Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, foreground, prepares to speak at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, February 23, 2021, to examine the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

4) U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene enters her office after the congresswoman hung a poster outside reading “There are TWO genders, MALE & FEMALE. Trust The Science!” in reaction to a trans pride flag hung across the hall outside the office of Rep. Marie Newman (D-Il) in the midst of contentious debate over “The Equality Act” being debated by the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 25. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria

5) President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in a moment of silence at the White House in Washington, Feb. 22, 2021, to honor the 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19. Photo: AP

6) Virginia state senator Amanda Chase, a Republican who refuses to wear a mask, sits inside a plexiglass booth erected for her against the spread of coronavirus disease during the Senate special session at the Science Museum of Virginia remote location in Richmond, Virginia, February 25. Photo: REUTERS/Julia Rendleman

7) Wenatchee High School in Washington state, to allow band members to practice their instruments while remaining socially distant, placed the students inside individual tents. Another look. One tweet read “This is beyond stupid. We have lost our minds. Every day I say it can’t get more asinine…and yet it does.” Photos: Blaze Media

8) A woman holds a sign at a window of the Radisson Blu Hotel at Heathrow Airport, as Britain introduces a hotel quarantine programme for arrivals from a “red list” of 30 countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Britain, February 25. Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

9) A resident of the Villa Sacra Famiglia nursing home, Anna, hugs her daughter through a plastic screen in the “Hug Room,” during the COVID-19 pandemic, on February 24, 2021, in Rome, Italy. One year after the start of the pandemic, the home has inaugurated its Hug Room, which allows guests and their families to touch each other while remaining separated and protected. Photo: Antonio Masiello / Getty

10) A worker drives a Zamboni ice resurfacer painted with the Trump logo on the Wollman Skating Rink after its closure in Central Park, in New York City, on February 21, 2021. Photo: Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty

11) A violent eruption spews ash more than a kilometer into the sky above Mount Etna in Sicily on February 23, 2021. Photo: Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media via Getty

12) A Chinese tourist visits the snow-covered Mutianyu Great Wall on February 23, 2021, in Beijing, China. Affected by the pandemic, the number of visitors to the Mutianyu Great Wall in 2020 dropped by about 60 percent. Photo: Lintao Zhang / Getty

13) A woman gets trampled by a police horse during a demonstration of several hundreds of people protesting against the coronavirus lockdown and curfew in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: AP

14) Dr. Mohamed Salah Siala plays the violin for patients in the COVID wards of the Hedi Chaker hospital in Sfax, eastern Tunisia, Feb. 20, 2021. Photo: AP

15) The surface of Mars directly below NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is seen using the Rover Down-Look Camera in an image acquired February 22.   Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via REUTERS

16) Ice sits at the base of the American Falls, in Niagara Falls, New York. Photo: Reuters

17) A 139-year-old Victorian house hoisted on to a flat-bed truck is pulled to its new location six blocks away in San Francisco. Photograph: Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters

18) In Frankfurt, Germany, toy pandas are seated in a closed restaurant in the city center. The country remains in a partial lockdown. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP

19) In Cologne, Germany, a carnival float with an effigy of an unnamed bishop is placed in front of Cologne Cathedral by activists of the Giordano Bruno Foundation. The group is protesting against sexual abuse by Catholic priests, at the beginning of a three-day virtual meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference. Photograph: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters

20) In Farewell Spit, New Zealand, rescuers from the charity Project Jonah try to save dozens of pilot whales that beached on a stretch of a coast notorious for mass strandings. Photograph: Project Jonah/AFP/Getty Images

21) In Lismore, Australia, Triumph the koala explores with his new prosthetic foot. Carers at Friends of the Koala found a local dentist to make the foot for the five-year-old animal, which was born with the defect. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

22) A white peacock is pictured at the Animal Rescue Center Zoo de Castellar, in Castellar de la Frontera, southern Spain, Feb. 20, 2021. Photo: AFP

23) In Winchester, UK, Marwell zoo’s newest arrival, a Javan chevrotain, also known as a mouse deer. The deer is one of the smallest hoofed animals in the world and will grow to be the size of a rabbit. Photograph: Marwell Zoo/PA

24) Baarack the sheep is seen BEFORE his thick wool was shorn in Lancefield, Victoria, Australia February 5, 2021. Volunteers at Edgar’s Mission, a sanctuary for rescued farm animals in Lancefield, Australia, said they rescued the wayward sheep in a state forest. “Beneath that convoluted moving mass of matted fleece, adorned with countless sticks, twigs and insects … was not Australia’s answer to the yeti – but a sheep,” they wrote in a Facebook post. Another look. Photos: Edgar’s Mission Inc/Handout via REUTERS

25) The sanctuary workers said they sheared 78 pounds (35.4 kilos) of wool from the creature, estimating it was years worth of growth. Photo: Edgar’s Mission Inc/Handout via REUTERS

Week-ends (02/27/21)

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of  This Just In…


Hayley Arceneaux

Medical officials in Texas

Christy Lewis


Anita Dunn




Planned Parenthood

Julia Roberts


“Vaccine priority should be given to teachers working in their classrooms over teachers working in their living rooms. We should reward school districts that implemented extensive efforts that have allowed safe in-person instruction from day one over those that denied students the education they deserve.

“Now is the time to give those teachers additional peace of mind and show them that we appreciate these months of hard work and dedication to their students.”
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow

I expected, when I ran for the Senate, was that there would be partisan fights and a lot of my public policy priorities would be thwarted. What I did not anticipate was that my life and my health would be unnecessarily threatened by my colleagues.”
State Senator  Kelda Roys, D-Madison. Republicans who control the state Legislature are pushing their colleagues to debate and vote on legislation in person but won’t require everyone to wear face masks. Republican leaders of the state Senate have refused to allow Democratic members to participate in Senate sessions virtually and did not require the body to wear masks while sitting and bellowing together in one space. Roys asked Republican Sen. Alberta Darling, who wore a mask on the floor, if she would talk to her colleagues about wearing masks during floor sessions. Darling declined. 

“I chose to wear a mask today because many of you feel very strongly about it and I want to respect your opinion, but I will not take on other members of my caucus who choose not to wear masks.  This isn’t about masks, it’s about the individual’s ability to do what they think is right for themselves and I don’t think they feel the same as many about the coronavirus in terms of how it spreads and so I respect that opinion, too.”
Sen. Darling

“This is the second time I’ve been accused of not caring about the people in this body. One of the things I’m tired of is mask shaming … before people in this body automatically assume the worst, maybe if they could reach out and ask for a conversation — maybe there’s a reason people in this body don’t wear a mask.”
Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, after Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, listed off the 12 lawmakers who weren’t wearing masks at the start of a floor session,  accusing them of seeking to make political statements at the expense of health. Felzkowski revealed she was infected with COVID-19 in the past and criticized Democratic lawmakers for hammering their Republican colleagues over the issue, noting some people don’t wear masks because of medical conditions.

“In four weeks, the Biden administration has been known for two things: open borders and closed schools.”
Senator Rick Scott

“If you’re doing a search on a LinkedIn for someone who’d be a perfect match to be in Health and Human Services, [Xavier Becerra] wouldn’t even show up — because he has no healthcare background or experience… Becerra is not a healthcare professional. Traditionally in this role, [there] would be someone who’s been in healthcare administration or a physician or a scientist. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. And you would think the group that’s going to oversee the pandemic response and all that’s got to happen would be somebody with a science or healthcare background. But instead, President Biden has selected an attorney. That seems to be his only criteria. And his only main qualification on this is he has been [a] very outspoken [supporter] of abortion — and not just the existence of abortion, but the [radical promotion] of it.”
Senator James Lankford

“The number of kids who identify as LGBT, especially trans and bisexual, has absolutely skyrocketed. If you think this is a natural or organic development, you’re deluded. The media, Hollywood, and the school system actively recruit children into the LGBT ranks.”
Matt Walsh

“The Equality Act would threaten the existence of women’s prisons, public-school girls’ locker rooms, and women’s and girls’ sports teams. It would limit freedom of speech, freedom of association, accurate data collection, and scientific inquiry… The Equality Act isn’t about protecting people from discrimination; it’s about compelling adherence to gender ideology.”
Inez Stepman

“‘How is this good for Americans?’ This is the question that should be asked of Biden and his mouthpieces every time they appear in public. If we had a national media that truly cared about our country or its citizens, they’d be asking it. Instead, we get softball questions and pablum stories about Valentine’s Day hearts on the White House lawn, and Joe and Jill Biden’s love for the ages. I am happy for anyone that has found lifelong love, including the president of the United States. But it’s hardly relevant to why he’s in the position. There’s no better example of this absurdity than Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin’s editorial this week. She expresses her profound joy that the nation now has a real ‘mourner-in-chief’ again. Excuse me? We didn’t elect a professional mourner, and most of us don’t want one. But at this rate, we’ll all soon be mourning the death of the republic.”
Laura Hollis

“Sadly, it is now easier for an illegal alien to walk into America than it is for a New Yorker to walk into a restaurant or for your child to walk into a school.”
Gary Bauer

“The suspension of the rule of law … is when you start to be a police state, and we’re here. There is no way around it. … Lockdowns have never been done in society and really, we are turning into a totalitarian state before everyone’s eyes.”
Former Democrat adviser Naomi Wolf

“Ever notice how protecting people from dangerous misinformation looks exactly the same as censoring true information you’re scared of?”
Frank J. Fleming

“Here’s an interesting fact: Even Barack Obama’s ancestors owned slaves. If reparations are approved, does Obama pay reparations or does he get reparations? I’m trying to imagine what that conversation looks like in the Oval Office between President Biden and his former boss: ‘Barack, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that reparations passed. The bad news is that you owe them.’”
Gary Bauer

“My ancestors were slaves. And my life as a young woman was a mess. Was my life a mess because my ancestors were slaves? I don’t think so. My life was a mess because I lived a wanton, irresponsible existence, defined by promiscuity, petty crimes and scamming the nation’s well-meaning but totally confused welfare system to the greatest extent of my ability. Did I need reparations to turn things around for me? Certainly not. I needed a wake-up call, which, to my great gratitude, I got, from a few church-going black Christians who told me the way I was living was unacceptable. I went to church, took back responsibility for my life and turned my circumstances around. The problem with the idea of reparations is it redirects attention away from exactly where attention is needed: on individuals’ personal responsibility for their own unique lives.”
Star Parker

 “We use black power to create white guilt. My approach is biblical: How can I ask my Heavenly Father to forgive me if I can’t forgive my brother? … Many have died trying to get into America. No one is dying trying to get out. … What percentage of black must you be to receive reparations? Do you go to 23andMe or a DNA test to determine the percentage of blackness? Some American ancestors just came to this country 80 years ago, their ancestors wasn’t even here during slavery. Some black immigrants weren’t here during slavery, nor their ancestors. Some states didn’t even have slavery.”
Herschel Walker

“[Rush] Limbaugh’s devoted fans believed their values helped build and sustain America through wars, economic downturns and other challenges. They see those values under siege from a secular progressive generation that tolerates everything but them. Many had served in the military to defend once traditional values and the freedoms many now take for granted, as if freedom is automatically and effortlessly achieved. These people go to church and take their children to Sunday school. Some enroll their kids in Christian schools or home school them because they dislike what is taught in public schools. They believe their country is losing all moral standards, is becoming increasingly corrupt and in danger of extinction if things don’t turn around. Shouldn’t these concerns explain why they wish to issue warnings because they love the country and don’t want it to fail? Limbaugh was their spokesman in these and other matters.”
Cal Thomas

 “[Andrew] Cuomo abused his powers to hide life and death information from the Department of Justice that prevented lawmakers from legislating — like fully repealing corporate immunity for nursing homes. That is an impeachable offense.”
Democrat New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who added, “The only way to protect the integrity of the co-equal branch of the state government, AKA the ‘People’s House,’ is to start impeachment.”

“Disney is concerned that ‘The Muppet Show’ is offensive. But filming where China runs concentration camps for Uighurs? Disney is okay with that.”
Senator Tom Cotton

“I was so disgusted that Biden, on the anniversary of my daughter getting murdered, announced they were going to put all these gun control measures in place. [None] of those would have made a difference in my daughter getting murdered in Parkland.”
Andrew Pollack

“I think at some point [Trump] probably will be allowed back on [social media] and probably should be allowed back on.”
Bill Gates

 “When people are mentally and spiritually sound and are comfortable in life with a good job, fair pay and a great home, violence will inevitably go down without infringing on the rights of other American citizens.”
Armstrong Williams

“Let’s see a conversation between the people insisting ‘teachers just want to be safe!’ and the grocery store clerks who’ve shown up for work without fail for 12 months — including when we thought the pandemic was far deadlier. Ah, but they don’t have powerful Democrat unions.”
Buck Sexton

“No one should want to live in a world in which science rules the roost. Such a life would be desiccated, miserable and meaningless. Science exists to assist in our understanding of the natural universe, but it has no answers whatsoever to life’s most existentially pressing questions — the existence of God, the best way to lead a virtuous life and so forth. Lowercase ‘s’ science is good; uppercase ‘S’ Science is bad. And it would benefit our political leaders to grasp the all-important difference.”
Josh Hammer

“The oddest part about the effort to stifle debate over COVID-19’s origin is even the experts agree we still don’t know the answer. … Efforts to suppress the lab leak theory are unpersuasive on their face. The fact is that SARS escaped from a Beijing lab twice in 2004. The virus that causes COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2. If SARS 1.0 leaked from a Chinese lab twice, why is it a conspiracy theory to question whether SARS 2.0 could have also escaped from a Chinese lab? Nobody has answered this persuasively.”
Neil Patel

“Watching a woman put her mask on between bites of food and I can’t help but wonder how we survived so long as a species.”
Sydney Watson


This House bill

The biggest one-year increase in the homicide rate ever


The truth about America’s finances


Tiger Woods


Mars rover carried secret message

Gloomy Joe; masks; COVID Derangement; big tech; transgender athletes

Here are this week’s highly interesting reads:

Today’s highly interesting read (02/26/21): The Need to Rein in Big Tech

Today’s highly interesting read (02/25/21): So Far, Biden Is All Gloom and No Sunshine

Today’s highly interesting read (02/24/21): Why I Believe that Covid Derangement Syndrome Is Real 

Today’s highly interesting read (02/23/21): Why we should root sincerely for transgender athletes and hope they dominate 

UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (02/22/21): It’s Time for Mass Civil Disobedience on Masks

Today’s highly interesting read (02/22/21): It’s Time for Mass Civil Disobedience on Masks

The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (02/27/21)

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Originally written by both my lovely wife, Jennifer and me, this blog brings you the latest news about our furry friends including articles, columns, photos and videos. Enjoy!

THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.

TODAY:  Partly cloudy skies. High of 45. That’s about 10 degrees above average. “C+”

SUNDAY:  Cloudy early with partial sunshine expected late. Slight chance of a rain shower. High of 45.  “C”

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

Funny Dogs Reading Newspaper (Photo Gallery:6 images) | Animals, Funny  animals, Dogs

New surveillance video shows the horrific attack on Lady Gaga’s dog walker.

Lady Gaga’s dad pleads for public’s help.

The abduction of Lady Gaga’s dogs and the shooting of her dog walker has put Hollywood dog walkers on high alert.

LA dog has turned into a scaredy-cat during the pandemic.

Rethinking ‘man’s best friend’: WSU research shows the importance of dogs in women’s lives.

All the essentials your dog actually needs, according to vets.

OPINION: Lessons on resilience from dogs and dog sledders.

Ancient dog bone reveals when man’s best friend migrated to North America.

Dogs are mysteriously turning blue and pink in Russian city.

Skipper is a miracle.

VIDEO: To the rescue!

VIDEO: I’m no fan of CNN. But I do enjoy the work of Jeanne Moos.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

We’d really appreciate it if you forward this on to other dog lovers you know. Let them have some fun!

See ya, BARK, next Saturday!

Lady Gaga: New surveillance video shows the horrific attack on dog walker -  CNN

Goodnight everyone, and have a weekend that’s out of this world!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

Perseverance rover as it touched down in the area known as Jezero crater. Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech HANDOUT/EPA

The Rover has landed. On Feb. 18, 2021, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover made its final descent to the Red Planet.

The team in mission control reacts to confirmation that the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars. Photograph: Bill Ingalls/NASA

The rover switched over to the software it needs to use while driving on the Martian surface. The images sent back by the rover will inform the science team “so that we can actually begin to really start the mission,” said Hallie Gengl Abarca, the rover’s imaging and data processing team lead for surface operations.

A team of 450 scientists around the world will explore Jezero Crater, studying the images and plotting out a path for the rover to use as it navigates the crater.

Perseverance landed about 1.2 miles away from the river delta feature within Jezero Crater, which hosted a lake 3.9 billion years ago. The rover is spending the next two years investigating the crater and delta in the search for evidence of ancient life that may have existed when Mars was a more habitable place.

“We have a lot of interesting science to do,” said Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist for the rover. “As soon as we got that color image from the surface of Mars, our chats lit up with the science team saying ‘look over here’ and’ look over here.’ And that’s exactly what we were hoping for it and we can’t believe that we’re really doing science now on the surface of Mars.”

In honor of landing on Mars, spacy music this week. Let’s get started.

we begin with a big bold opening, then segue to music about a TV sci-fi mission from Brazilian keyboardist Eumir Deodato, whose biggest claim to fame was his 2001 Space Odyssey instrumental in 1973.

The first images arrive at mission control moments after touchdown. Photograph: Bill Ingalls/NASA/AFP/Getty Images

September 12, 1962
Rice University

The 1960’s. A jet and rocket era with America fascinated with outer space travel.

Now we take you inside music from the Ultra-Lounge series, described by the record company as:

“An era batted in gimlets, hi-balls, straight up, on-the- rocks, shaken not stirred, hi-octane elixirs dressed in garish garni. A time viewed through the seductive daze of slow-burning lipstick-kissed cigarettes that end up dancing ashtray dancing with cigar stubs and cherry stems. The atmosphere mambos to the soundtrack of cool. Rumbling saxophones. Jazzy vibes, over-heated Hammonds, and the sexy chill of a brush a cross a cymbal. So pour yourself a cocktail, slip off your shoes, shuffle across the shag to your favorite easy chair and enjoy an intoxicating taste of the Ultra-Lounge.”

“Ultra-Lounge” is a series of 1950’s to 1960’s lounge music cds released by Capitol Records.

One of the tracks in this space age pop compilation sounded like something out of a Jetsons cartoon or early 60’s newsreel despite its 1946 origin. The orchestra leader is David Rose.

You may not know the name of David Rose but you probably have heard his most famous instrumental.

“Other fun songs for the family?”

Speaking of family ours will head to Disney World next month and one ride on our itinerary will be Mission: Space where guests fly in a motion simulator, on a training mission to Mars. Sustained high G forces make this attraction the most intense experience at Walt Disney World.

Misson SPACE overview

The NASA watches as the first images arrive from Mars. Photograph: Bill Ingalls/Rex/Shutterstock

Lots of moviegoers when they left the theater after watching this film in 1977 immediately gazed upward into the sky. Director Steven Spielberg came up with the story based on a childhood memory. Without warning, his parents rushed the children into a car one evening and drove to a spot where many other cars had gathered to observe a spectacular meteor shower.

Richard Dreyfuss heavily lobbied for the part of Roy Neary, but Spielberg thought he was too young for the role, so he offered it to other actors.

Al Pacino had no interest.

Jack Nicholson thought any actor who played the part would be overwhelmed by the special effects.

Gene Hackman was going through a troubled marriage and decided not to spend 16 weeks outside of Los Angeles for on-location shooting.

So Spielberg went back to Dreyfus and they worked out a deal.

The working title of the film was actually from the final words in the 1951 sci-fi movie “The Thing From Outer Space.”

“Watch the Skies.”

As for the music, another commercially successful masterpiece from composer John Williams who collaborated with Spielberg on finalizing the movie’s catchy five-note musical method of communication between humans and aliens. It wasn’t easy.

At first Williams liked the idea of a seven-note sequence, but Spielberg considered it too long for the simple musical “greeting.” For Plan B Williams brought in a mathematician to calculate the number of five-note combinations they could possibly create from a 12-note scale. The answer was a mind-numbing 134,000 combinations, so Williams composed 100 versions. He and Spielberg then chopped those down until they chose the winner.

 One of the first images from the Perseverance rover. Photograph: NASA/AFP/Getty Images

“Space Oddity” is a song written and recorded by the late David Bowie that was first released on July 11, 1969. The United States’ Apollo 11 mission would launch five days later and would become the first manned moon landing a few days after that.

David Bowie Space Oddity Sci-Fi Comic Book Mashup image 0

A portion of a panorama made up of individual images taken by the Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, shows the Martian landscape February 20.  Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via REUTERS

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

We absolutely must include music from the movie that started a blockbuster series. Here’s a final portion of a mega-medley.