20,000 Leagues under the Sea

I have recently started rereading in the classic science fiction novel 20,000 leagues under the sea by French writer Jules Verne. It was published in 1870 and is one of Verne’s greatest works, along with Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. The novel begins In 1866, after a number of ships are sunk by a mysterious sea monster. So The United States government assembles an expedition in New York City to find and destroy the monster. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time, receives a last-minute invitation to join the expedition. Canadian whaler and master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax’s faithful servant Conseil are also brought aboard. The expedition departs Brooklyn aboard the United States Navy frigate Abraham Lincoln and travels south around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean. The ship finds the monster after a long search and then attacks the beast, which sinks the ship.

They discover that the monster is in fact atechnologically advanced submarine called “The Nautilus”.They are quickly captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo.VThey learn that the Nautilus was built in secrecy and now roams the seas free from any land-based government. Captain Nemo’s motivation is both a scientific thirst for knowledge and a desire for revenge on (and self-imposed exile from) civilization, after his family were killed by an invading army. Nemo explains that his submarine is electrically powered and can perform advanced marine biology research; he also tells his new passengers that although he appreciates conversing with such an expert as Aronnax, maintaining the secrecy of his existence requires never letting them leave. Aronnax and Conseil are enthralled by the undersea adventures, but Ned Land can only think of escape.

They visit many places under the oceans including coral reefs in the Red Sea, the wrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves, the Transatlantic telegraph cable and the fictional submerged land of Atlantis. The travelers also use diving suits to hunt sharks and other marine life with air-guns and have an underwater funeral for a crew member who died when an accident occurred under mysterious conditions inside the Nautilus. When the Nautilus returns to the Atlantic Ocean, a pack of “giant squid, attacks the vessel and kills a crew member.

. Aronnax begins to sympathize with Ned Land. The Nautilus is attacked by a warship Filled with hatred and revenge, Nemo ignores Aronnax’s pleas for mercy. Nemo—nicknamed angel of hatred by Aronnax—destroys the ship, ramming it just below the waterline, sinking it into the bottom of the sea, much to Aronnax’s horror. Following this incident Nemo is plunged into deep depression and For several days  No one seems to be on board any longer and the Nautilus moves about randomly. Ned Land gets even more depressed, until Conseil fears for Ned’s life. Nemo’s recent actions horrify Aronnax and so he decides to escape One evening, Ned Land announces an opportunity to escape. At first Aronnax feels conflicted – he wants to leave Nemo, but also wishes to find out more about the ocean. Eventually Aronnax decides to escape with his companions, however they discover that the Nautilus has indavertantly drifted into the Moskenstraumen, more commonly known as the “Maelstrom” and they all find themselves in mortal danger…

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Jesse Tobias (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Morrisey)

American guitarist Jesse Tobias was born April 1, 1972. He has been the guitarist/co-writer for Morrissey since 2005. Tobias first gained notoriety during a brief tenure with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993, although he was replaced by Dave Navarro within a month after joining the band. Before he joined the Chili Peppers, he briefly played with L.A.-based band Mother Tongue. In 1996, Tobias joined the touring band for Alanis Morissette and from 1999-2005 was a member of the musical duo, Splendid.

After having their offer turned down by Dave Navarro in 1992 to become the replacement for John Frusciante, the Red Hot Chili Peppers turned to guitarist, Arik Marshall to finish out their world tour for their hit album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Once the tour ended in 1993 the band felt that there was no connection in the writing and recording process with Marshall so he was fired. Shortly after, singer Anthony Kiedis spotted Tobias while he was performing with his band, Mother Tongue in a local nightclub. Kiedis felt that Tobias had what the band was looking for and after months of long auditions , Tobias became the new guitarist for the Chili Peppers. Rolling Stone magazine devoted a full page article to the new guitarist of the Chili Peppers. Jesse and the Peppers began writing for the next record; however, while the band felt Jesse was a great guitarist, the connection just wasn’t there between Jesse and the other three, especially bassist Flea. At this time, Dave Navarro suddenly made himself available and the band fired Tobias, Kiedis saying that it would have happened regardless of Navarro becoming available. The band felt bad that they pulled Tobias away from a band he just joined only to fire him a month later.

Tobias became guitarist with Alanis Morissette on the Jagged Little Pill world tour. While he was on tour with Morissette in 1996, he met Angie Hart, whose band Frente! was Morissette’s opening act. The two were married in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles. Tobias continued to work as a session player, touring guitarist and in other non-performing roles in the music industry. The pair formed their own band, Splendid, and released an album in 1999. Splendid also appeared on Joss Whedon’s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, performing at The Bronze, the fictional nightclub featured in the series. Tobias was credited as a producer (with Christophe Beck and Whedon) and with arranging the music (with Beck) for “Once More, with Feeling”, the musical episode from Whedon’s show’s sixth season. In 2005, Tobias joined Morrissey as his studio and touring guitarist and sometimes co-writer. Tobias has appeared on all of his studio, live releases and tours since joining.

Edgar Wallace

Prolific English writer Edgar Wallace was born 1 April 1875 in Greenwich, London. Wallace’s family had been in show business and his mother worked in the theatre as a stagehand, usherette and bit-part actress until she married in 1867. His father Joseph was a Merchant NavyCaptain. When Mary was eight months pregnant, in January 1868, her husband, Joseph Richards died at sea. After the birth, destitute, Mary took to the stage, assuming the stage name “Polly” Richards. In 1872, Polly met and joined the Marriott family theatre troupe, managed by Mrs. Alice Edgar, her husband Richard Edgar and their three adult children, Grace Edgar, Adeline Edgar and Richard Horatio Edgar. Richard Horatio Edgar and Polly ended up having a “broom cupboard” style sexual encounter during an after-show party. Discovering she was pregnant, she stayed at a Boarding House, because unmarried mothers were frowned upon in those days. Her midwife introduced Polly to her close friend, Mrs Freeman, a mother of ten children, whose husband George Freeman was a Billingsgate fishmonger. Wallace, then known as Richard Horatio Edgar Freeman, had a happy childhood, forming a close bond with 20-year-old Clara Freeman who became a second mother to him. By 1878, Polly could no longer afford the small sum she had been paying the Freemans to care for her son and instead of placing the boy in the workhouse, the Freemans adopted him. His foster-father George Freeman was determined to ensure Richard received a good education and for some time Wallace attended St. Alfege with St. Peter’s, a boarding school in Peckham,however he played truant and left full-time education at 12.

Wallace had held down numerous jobs such as newspaper-seller at Ludgate Circus near Fleet Street, milk-delivery boy, rubber factory worker, shoe shop assistant and ship’s cook. A plaque at Ludgate Circus commemorates Wallace’s first encounter with the newspaper business. He was dismissed from his job on the milk run for stealing money.In 1894, he became engaged to a local Deptford girl, Edith Anstree, but broke the engagement, enlisting in the Infantry. Wallace registered in the army at 21 under the adopted the name Edgar Wallace, taken from the author of Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace. He was posted in South Africa with the West Kent Regiment. in 1896 He transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, and transferred again to the Press Corps. Between 1898 and 1902 Wallace began publishing songs and poetry, inspired by Rudyard Kipling, whom he met in Cape Town in 1898. Wallace’s first book of ballads, The Mission that Failed! was published that same year. In 1899, he turned to writing full-time and became a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and the Daily Mail. In 1901, while in South Africa, Wallace married Ivy Maude Caldecott sadly though Their daughter Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace died from meningitis in 1903 and they returned to London, deep in debt. Wallace found work at the the Mail in London and began writing thrillers and detective stories in a bid to earn quick money. A son, Bryan, was born in 1904 followed by a daughter, Patricia in 1908. Unable to find a publisher, Wallace set up his own publishing company, Tallis Press, and published the thriller The Four Just Men (1905). Despite promotion in the Mail and good sales, the book was financially mismanaged and Problems were compounded when inaccuracies in Wallace’s reporting led to libel cases being brought against the Mail and Wallace was dismissed in 1907,

In 1907 Edgar travelled to the Congo Free State, to report on atrocities committed against the Congolese under King Leopold II of Belgium and the Belgian rubber companies, in which up to 15 million Congolese were killed. Wallace was invited to serialise stories inspired by his experiences. These were published as his first collection Sanders of the River (1911), which was adapted into a film with the same name, starring Paul Robeson. Wallace went on to publish 11 more similar collections (102 stories). They were tales of exotic adventure and local tribal rites, set on an African river. Between 1908 to 1932 Wallace wrote many more books including detective stories, adventure stories, science fiction and thrillers. The success of his books restored his reputation as a journalist. he then began reporting from horse racing circles. He wrote for the Week-End and the Evening News, becoming an editor for Week-End Racing Supplement and started his own racing papers Bibury’s and R. E. Walton’s Weekly. Unfortunately he lost thousands gambling and Ivy divorced him and moved to Tunbridge Wells with the children Wallace married his secretary Ethel Violet King, the daughter of banker Frederick King, in 1921 and their daughter Penelope Wallace was born in 1923.

Wallace signed with publishers Hodder and Stoughton, and organising his contracts, instead of selling the rights in order to raise funds. This allowed him advances, royalties and full scale promotional campaigns for his books. He became know as the, ‘King of Thrillers’, writing across many genres including science fiction, screen plays, a non-fiction ten-volume history of the First World War. He went on to write over 170 novels, 18 stage plays and 957 short stories. Wallace also served as chairman of the Press Club, which continues to present an annual ‘Edgar Wallace Award’ for excellence in writing. Following the great success of his novel The Ringer, Wallace was appointed chairman of the British Lion Film Corporation. Wallace was the first British crime novelist to use policemen as his protagonists, rather than amateur sleuths as most other writers of the time did. Most of his novels are independent stand-alone stories; he seldom used series heroes. In 1923, Edgar Wallace became the first British radio sports reporter, when he made a report on the Epsom Derby for the British Broadcasting Company. In the 1920’sWallace wrote a controversial article entitled “The Canker In Our Midst” about paedophilia and the show business world. Wallace also joined the Liberal Party and contested Blackpool in the 1931 general election as one of a handful of Independent Liberals, who rejected the National Government, and the official Liberal support for it, and strongly supported free trade.

In 1931 he went to America and wrote the screenplay for the first sound film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1932) produced by Gainsborough Pictures.Moving to Hollywood, he began working as a “script doctor” for RKO. His play, The Green Pack opened to excellent reviews, boosting his status even further. Wallace wanted to get his own work on Hollywood celluloid, adapting books such as The Four Just Men and Mr J G Reeder. Wallace’s play On the Spot, written about gangster Al Capone, also became a huge success and launched the career of Charles Laughton who played the lead Capone character Tony Perelli. In December 1931, Wallace was assigned work on the RKO “gorilla picture” (King Kong, 1933) for producer Merian C. Cooper. However he started having sudden, severe headaches and was diagnosed with diabetes. Sadly His condition deteriorated within days and Edgar slipped into a coma and died of the condition, combined with double pneumonia, on 10 February 1932 in North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills.

Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern)

Best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series the American Born Irish Novellist Anne Inez McCaffrey was Born 1 April 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.She attended Stuart Hall (a girls’ boarding school in Staunton, Virginia), and graduated from Montclair High School in New Jersey. In 1947 she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe Collegewith a degree in Slavonic Languages and Literature.In 1950 she married Horace Wright Johnson who shared her interests in music, opera and ballet. They had three children: Alec Anthony, born 1952; Todd, born 1956 and Georgeanne (“Gigi”, Georgeanne Kennedy), born 1959.Except for a short time in Düsseldorf, the family lived for most of a decade in Wilmington, Delaware. They moved to Sea Cliff, Long Island in 1965, and McCaffrey became a full-time writer.McCaffrey served a term as secretary-treasurer of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1968 to 1970. In addition to handcrafting the Nebula Award trophies, her responsibilities included production of two monthly newsletters and their distriution by mail to the membership.McCaffrey emigrated to Ireland with her two younger children in 1970, weeks after filing for divorce. Ireland had recently exempted resident artists from income taxes, an opportunity that fellow science-fiction author Harry Harrison had promptly taken and helped to promote. McCaffrey’s mother soon joined the family in Dublin. the following spring, McCaffrey was guest of honor at her first British science-fiction convention. There she met British reproductive biologist Jack Cohen, who would be a consultant on the science of Pern.

McCaffrey had had two short stories published during the 1950s. “Freedom of the Race”, about women impregnated by aliens) was written in 1952 and the second story, “The Lady in the Tower”, was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She was also lnvited to the Milford Writer’s Workshop, where participants each brought a story to be critiqued. In 1959 she wrote “The Ship Who Sang”, the story which began the Brain & Brawn Ship series, which she considered her best story and her favorite. McCaffrey then wrote two more “Ship” stories and began her first novel , Restoree (1967), which featured an intelligent, survivor-type woman as the protagonist”. Her next novel Decision at Doona opens on “an overcrowded planet where just talking too loud made you a social outcast”. McCaffrey also competed for the 1971 publication Dragonquest and two Gothic novels for Dell, The Mark of Merlin and The Ring of Fear.With a contract for The White Dragon (which would complete the “original trilogy” with Ballantine), The young-adult book market provided a crucial opportunity. and McCaffrey started the Pern story of Menolly. Starting with “The Smallest Dragonboy” , the Crystal Singer and Dragonsong and The tales of Menolly are continued in Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern, and Dragondrums as the “Harper Hall Trilogy”.

Whilst brainstorming about dragons she devised a “technologically regressed survival planet” whose people were united against a threat from space .The dragons became the biologically renewable air force, and their riders ‘the few’ who, like the RAF pilots in World War Two, fought against incredible odds day in, day out—and won.”The first Pern story, “Weyr Search”, was published in 1967 It won the 1968 Hugo Award for best novella, voted by participants in the annual World Science Fiction Convention The second Pern story, “Dragonrider”, won the 1969 Nebula Award for best novella, voted annually by the Science Fiction Writers of America. McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction and the first to win a Nebula.”Weyr Search” covers the recruitment of a young woman, Lessa, to establish a telepathic bond with a queen dragon at its hatching, thus becoming a dragonrider and the leader of a Weyr community. “Dragonrider” explores the growth of the queen dragon Ramoth, and the training of Lessa and Ramoth. . The third story, “Crack Dust, Black Dust”, was not published until 1974–1975. She wrote A Time When, which would become the first part of The White Dragon which was released with new editions of the first two Pern books, with cover art illustrated by Michael Whelan. It was the first science-fiction book by a woman on the New York Times bestseller list.in 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006. Sadly though McCaffrey died at age 85 on 21 November 2011 at her home in Ireland, following a stroke, however her novels remain popular and i think Michael Whelan’s illustrations are fantastic too.

Edible Book Day

The International Edible Book Festival is an annual event usually held on or around April 1, which is also known as Edible Book Day. The global event has been celebrated since 2000 in various parts of the world, where “edible books” are created, displayed, and small events are held. The creations are photographed and submitted to http://www.books2eat.com and then consumed.Regular contributors to the site are groups from Australia, Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Russia, and Hong Kong. The event was initiated by Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron in 2000. The official website Books2Eat.com says that the International Edible Book Festival is held to commemorate “the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food,” though April Fools’ Day is also related as “the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the ‘books’ are consumed on the day of the event.”(See: the Phantom Tollbooth, as regards eating ones words.)

In 2005, the festival was a joint initiative of forum book art and the Museum of Work, Hamburg, where pastry chefs made edible books. The “book art” was displayed, photographed, and then eaten. In 2005, the event was celebrated in Los Angeles, too, at the Los Angeles Book Arts Center as the Annual International Edible Book High/Low Tea on April 2, where artists were encouraged to create and consume tomes. A 2006 Indianapolis Monthly described the Indianapolis festival as a “quirky event” held on April Fools’ Day, “celebrating both food and literature.” Participants created foods resembling literary titles.Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio has held an edible books festival every April since 2004 In 2013, awards were given for Most Literary, Most Appetizing, Most Book-like, and Most Creative.

A University of Florida library holds the event as the Edible Book Contest in April, in connection with National Library Week. There are two rules for the contest: Entries should be edible, and they must somehow relate to a book. Besides edible books, other entries include “edible book trucks” and “edible bookmarks”. The event kicks off with viewing of the entries, each of which has an information card describing the book title, author, and creator of the book art. The “books” are judged by a panel of judges and by public voting. Awards are given in categories like: Most Creative, Least Edible, Best Overall Fiction, Best Overall Non-Fiction, and Best Children’s Book. In 2010, the event is planned to be held on April 15 and the award categories are: Best Overall Entry, Best Book Theme, Best Pun, Best Adult Book, and Best Children’s Book.

One library in the USA celebrated Banned Books Week 2008 by holding an Edible Book contest. The event invited guests to consume cooked dishes and baked goods that resembled covers of banned books or reflected their content. A reporter sums up the aptly named event: “Our celebration took Sir Francis Bacon’s famous words quite literally: ‘Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and the other few to be chewed and digested.’” In 2011, the British newspaper Metro ran a story that they would begin producing the newspaper on an edible “Sweet tasting paper” claiming to bring customers “news in the best possible taste”. The newspaper later clarified this was an April Fools’ joke.

April Fools Day

April Fools’ Day (sometimes called All Fools’ Day) is celebrated every year on 1 April by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool. Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any Country. The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor may date back to the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools. In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon. Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after March, i.e. 2 May, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32 March”, i.e. 1 April. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox. In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on 1 April. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference. On 1 April 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on 25 March in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on 1 April.Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because those who celebrated on 1 January made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of 1 January as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon. In the Netherlands, the origin of April Fools’ Day is often attributed to the Dutch victory at Brielle in 1572, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated. “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril.” is a Dutch proverb, which can be translated to: “On the first of April, Alva lost his glasses.” . However This provides no explanation for the international celebration of April Fools’ Day. In the UK, an April Fool joke is revealed by shouting “April fool!” at the recipient, who becomes the “April fool”. A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday. A person playing a joke after midday is the “April fool” themselves.

In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called ‘Huntigowk Day’, The name is a corruption of ‘Hunt the Gowk’, “gowk” being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternative terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd ‘gowking day’ or Là Ruith na Cuthaige ‘the day of running the cuckoo’. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result. In England ‘fool’ is known by different names according to the part where it is celebrated. If you are fooled on this day you may be known as ‘noodle’, ‘gob’, ‘gobby’ or ‘noddy’.In Ireland it was traditional to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words “send the fool further”. In Poland, prima aprilis (“1 April” in Latin) is a day in which many jokes are told; various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes cooperate to make the “information” more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided.

This conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on 1 April 1683, was backdated to 31 March.Danes, Finns, Icelanders, Norwegians and Swedes celebrate April Fools’ Day (aprilsnar in Danish; aprillipäivä in Finnish). Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on 1 April; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, 1 April tradition is often known as “April fish” (poissons d’avril in French or pesce d’aprile in Italian). This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed. Such fish feature prominently on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools’ Day postcards. In India, there have been numerous references to April Fools’ Day in both cinema such as the film April Fool, and popular literature and people are jovially associated with the date. In Romania, an April Fool joke is revealed by shouting “Pacaleala de 1 Aprilie!” at the recipient, who becomes the “April fool”, which means “April 1 hoax!”

As well as people playing pranks on one another on April Fools’ Day, elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have been performed by large corporations. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.

28 December, the equivalent day in Spain and Hispanic America, is also the Christian day of celebration of the “Day of the Holy Innocents”. The Christian celebration is a holiday in its own right, a religious one, but the tradition of pranks is not, though the latter is observed yearly. After somebody plays a joke or a prank on somebody else, the joker usually cries out, in some regions of Ibero-America: Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar (“You innocent little dove that let yourself be fooled”). In Mexico, the phrase is ¡Inocente para siempre! which means “Innocent forever!”. In Argentina, the prankster says ¡Que la inocencia te valga!, which roughly translates as a piece of advice on not to be as gullible as the victim of the prank. In Spain, it is common to say just ¡Inocente! (which in Spanish can mean “Innocent!”, but also “Gullible!”). On the Spanish island of Minorca, Dia d’enganyar (“Fooling day”) is celebrated on 1 April because Menorca was a British possession during part of the 18th century. In Brazil, the “Dia da mentira” (“Day of the lie”) is also celebrated on 1 April.