Someone smack me. Go ahead. Just haul off and give me a good whack. Marbles are lodged between my ears and my head needs some jarring.
My mind’s often more stagnated than the middle metal balls of a Neptune’s cradle sphere line up. Click-Clack. Click-clack. Click-clack. I hate those things. That rhythmic racket is enough to drive the Dalai Lama crazy. Kind of cool though. I want one.
Really. How can I make it to my 148th post without having once referenced Jules Verne’s novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” a book I read when the seven seas were still ponds? Collecting sharks’ teeth is among my greatest passions, yet it hadn’t occurred to me that “Leagues” deserved a mention?
Son of a sea biscuit! That’s flat out unfathomable.
Verne’s book is part of pop culture, having been adapted and referenced repeatedly since its 1870 publication. Most of us have seen the 1954 Walt Disney movie based on “Leagues” at one time or another. I’m watching it on YouTube as I write this. Kirk Douglas and James Mason were terrific in it. Douglas played sailor Ned Land. Mason, Captain Nemo.
Verne created great characters, none of them more memorable or significant than the vengeful Nautilus captain. Nemo makes a stand against civilization and has no problem killing his perceived enemies, those who serve imperialistic nations, whom he holds accountable for oppressing the downtrodden. He’s cultured, despite his maniacal agenda, reading books and playing classical music on piano.
I loved the menu Nemo served his “guests” aboard the Nautilus. Filet of sea snake. Brisket of blowfish with squid dressing basted in barnacles. Milk from sperm whales. Fruit preserves prepared with sea cucumbers. The captain was the most accomodating of hosts, offering his guests an after dinner smoke. Cigars made with seaweed. Man, he must have been desperate. Wonder how long seaweed takes to dry. Can’t wait for the next storm.
Verne was a visionary. He predicted among many other things the coming of electrically-powered, high-speed submarines not long after Monitor and Merrimack ran out of steam. The French author took people on ventures to the center of the earth, around the world in 80 days and from the earth to the moon. Most importantly, he peaked the imaginations of people throughout the world.
I have no idea how I overlooked him till now. Sometimes it’s as if I’m searching for Atlantis without the aide of a diving apparatus.
(Bum’s rap: This blog’s being filed in the DBB “Bum’s Booty” category, which includes photos of my collection. Figured I’d let you know in case you’re wondering what the aquarium has to do with Jules Verne.)