A friend loaned me Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle, and Darwin uses leagues for measurement, which got me wondering, “What is a league?” When in doubt, look it up, and those of you with computers know that virtually anything can be found on Google.
It turns out that a league has had a variety of measurements, ranging from the old Roman of about a mile and a half to something over six miles. Though the measure is not in much use these days, the standard used these days is three miles.
Which got me thinking. Remember the old Jules Verne story 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? There
was also a movie back in 1954. Old Jules really had his story in a strange place. Even under the old Roman definition of a mile and a half, 20,000 leagues would be around 30,000 miles. Ahem! The earth is only 7,900 miles in diameter, which would put Captain Nemo about 22,000 miles out in space (on the other side, of course).
Well, apparently Jules Verne either didn’t know or didn’t care how big the earth was. “20,000 inches under the Sea” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
A guy is driving around and he sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog For Sale." He rings the bell, and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador Retriever sitting there.
"You talk?" he asks.
"Yep," the Lab replies.
"So, what's your story?"
The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young, and I wanted to help the government; so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.
I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I wanted to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
The guy says, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"
"Because he's a liar. He didn't do any of that stuff."