Travel – Berlin Wall


Hi, it’s Jeff again this time writing about the Berlin Wall which was a site I saw frequently while I lived in Berlin during the late 70’s and early 80’s.  So, for this post I will write about the history of the Wall and my personal experiences living in Germany when the wall was still a dominate feature in the city of Berlin.

A Brief History of the Berlin Wall

As World War II was coming to a close, the allies met at Yalta and Potsdam to decide on how to deal with Germany after the war.  The result of these political discussions was the division of Germany into four sectors.  In addition Berlin, the capital of Germany, was also divided into four sections.  With the escalation of the cold war and the lowering of the “Iron Curtain” starting in the 1940’s the east was effectively separated from the west, but Berlin was about 100 miles inside the eastern block.

People in the eastern block countries were generally not allowed to travel or immigrate to to the west, but there were no restrictions for people moving between East Germany and the western sections of Berlin so somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 million people escaped the east between 1945 and 1961.  Most of these individuals were skilled professionals and educated youth which risked destabilizing East Germany.  Finally in on August 13th, 1961 Stacheldrahtsontag (barbed wire Sunday) happened.  The East German military closed off West Berlin with about 114 miles of barbed wire.  The Wall was built in stages and, as described in Wikipedia, this is how the Wall looked when I lived in Berlin:

The “fourth-generation wall”, known officially as “Stützwandelement UL 12.11” (retaining wall element UL 12.11), was the final and most sophisticated version of the Wall. Begun in the year 1975 and completed about 1980, it was constructed from 45,000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.6 metres (12 ft) high and 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) wide, and cost DDM16,155,000 or about US$3,638,000. The concrete provisions added to this version of the Wall were done so as to prevent escapees from driving their cars through the barricades. At strategic points, the Wall was constructed to a somewhat weaker standard, so that East German and Soviet armored vehicles could easily break through in the event of war.

The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale. The wall was reinforced by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, dogs on long lines, “beds of nails” under balconies hanging over the “death strip”, over 116 watchtowers and 20 bunkers. This version of the Wall is the one most commonly seen in photographs.  

Berlin Wall

The closure of the border split started at midnight without warning.  It split families a couple of ways.  The most obvious way that it effected the families that lived on the different sides of the border and because of the Wall they couldn’t get to each other. Less obvious were the people who were temporarily on the other side of the border. People who worked on one side, but lived on the other were cut off from their jobs and families!  There were no exceptions and if you were on the wrong side you were stuck.  After the wall was built, many people still tried to escape the east.  The estimates of the number of people killed at the wall range from 136 to over 500.

There were only a few crossing points where people could use to go between West Berlin and East Berlin.  As an American associated with the armed forces I was only able to use Checkpoints Alpha and Bravo (between West Germany and Berlin) and the famous Checkpoint Charlie to go to East Berlin.  Later after I was no longer associated with the military I would use the standard Friedrichstrasse entrance which was accessible by the subway system.

The demise of the East German state and the Wall started in 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev came into power in the Soviet Union.  His glastnost policy led to the weakening of the Soviet Union’s absolute control over its satellite states. Several states such as Latvia and Lithuania declared their independence.  Hungary opened its borders to Austria and the mass exodus began.  Anti-government demonstrations in East Germany led to the resignation of the Politburo.  Gunter Schabowski took control of the country and the military prepared for action.  Fortunately Gunter chose a different path and on November 9th, 1989 he announced that the Wall would be opened “for private trips abroad”.  Masses of people flooded the wall and began to us hammers and chisels to knock out pieces.    By July of 1990 free elections had been held in East Germany and the country was reunited.

Wall 1989    BERLIN-WALL 1989
You can find a more interesting and I feel slightly more realistic description of the history of the wall in Fredrick Taylor’s “The Berlin Wall:  A Secret History”.

Personal Experience

You are Leaving

The Berlin Wall is very personal to me.  While living in Berlin it was always a strong presence in the city and I also lived extremely close a section of the Wall and I would often walk along it.  The East German side was barren, raked so the guards could see if anyone crossed.  The western side was generally overgrown. You could see the guards in their towers and the fortifications on the other side.

Brandenburg Gate with the Berlin Wall     1999 Berlin

Going back in 1999 for my high school reunion was very strange in many ways.  When I lived in Berlin, the Wall was always there, ever present, even if unseen. Generally you didn’t think much about it, but in the back of your mind you always knew you could only travel so far within the boundaries of West Berlin.  I remember looking at the Brandenburg Gate, it was completely closed off for anyone, east or west and when I got back there there were two things I had to do.  The first was have a currywurst, one of the best sausages in the world and one I can’t get in the US.  The second was to walk through the Brandenburg gate. Until then I couldn’t really come to terms with the fact that the wall was really gone.  It was surreal moment…

It was also strange to me that it was so really, really gone.  I understand why it needed to be demolished, but it is so completely gone with no evidence that it had really existed and it was hard to imagine that it was ever really there and had such an impact on the people living in Berlin.  I understand there is a small section that is still up as a remembrance, but I did not see it during my trip back there.


I remember the day the wall came down.  When they cut through that first section. Honestly, I never thought it would ever happen.  My dad was in Germany right around the time the wall came down and he brought us a small piece of the wall.  it is brightly painted.  I have trouble with that as well.  My memories are more black and grey.  Color, even though I have seen it in pictures and on TV just don’t go with the the wall – at least not in my mind.

I strongly recommend going to Berlin if you are ever in the area.  There is so much to see and so much history.  Maybe one day Barbara will write (or have me write) one of her travel posts on the area!

Dave Barry’s Birthday

Dave Barry

Hello, Jeff again.  Barbara says I have a weird sense of humor and if that is the case, Dave Barry has one too because I have been following him since his humor column was first syndicated and I love his work! While humor is his claim to fame me, he has written / co-written children’s books, had several of his books made into movies and is a member of a band.

David McAlister Barry was born July 3, 1947 to Reverend David Barry (a Presbyterian minister) and a mother whose name is curiously not mentioned in any source I can find on the internet.  His father died in 1984 and his mother shortly afterwards.  I find this curious because I am convinced Dave cared deeply about his mother as can be heard in his record “Mama” and after she died he wrote about her death in “Lost in America”.  Dave was born in Armonk, New York and went to Wampus Elementary School.  He was voted “Class Clown” at Pleasantville High School and went to Haverford College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1969. Dave has been married three times, to Ann Shelnutt, Beth Lenox and now Michelle Kaufman and has two children, Rob Barry (1980) and Sophie Barry (2000).

After college he worked for the Daily Local News in West Chester, PA and then as a copy editor for the Associated Press before joining the consulting firm Burger Associates.  He then became the Humor Columnist for the Miami Herald in 1983 and that’s when he became famous for articles like “Exploding Whale” and how to make grapes explode in a microwave.  I can’t find a link to the grape article, but here is a related article about Microwave Grape racing.  I particularly like t-what he says before starting the races:  “My son, Rob, and I held some microwave grape races, after taking the standard precaution of making sure that my wife was not home.”  His description of the Potato Gun still makes me laugh, especially comments like: “…a bazooka-sized device that can shoot a potato several hundred yards at speeds up to 1,000 feet per second. To give you an idea of how fast that is, an ordinary potato, on its own, will rarely travel more than four feet per day, even during the height of mating season.”

Dave became a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1988 for Commentary:

Dave Barry of The Miami Herald

For his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns.

 He has published many, many books including some of my favorites:

  • Babies and Other Hazards of Sex: How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months With Tools You Probably Have Around the Home (1984)
  • Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week (1986)
  • Dave Barry’s Guide to Marriage and/or Sex (1987)
  • Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989)
  • Dave Barry’s Gift Guide to End All Gift Guides (1994)
  • Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys (1996)
  • Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs (1997)
  • Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions (2001)
  • “My Teenage Son’s Goal in Life is to Make Me Feel 3,500 Years Old” and Other Thoughts On Parenting From Dave Barry (2001)
  • Dave Barry’s Money Secrets (2006)
  • You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About (2014)
  • Dave Barry’s Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book (1987)
  • Dave Barry is NOT Making This Up (1995)
  • Big Trouble (1999)
  • Peter and the Starcatchers (2004, with Ridley Pearson) series
  • Escape From the Carnivale (2006, with Ridley Pearson)

His book Big Trouble was made into a movie but the release was delayed because of the 9-11 attacks.  Then his Dave Barry Turns 40 and Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits were made into a four season sitcom by CBS which ran 1993 to 1997. The show starred Harry Anderson as Barry and DeLane Matthews as his wife Beth. In an early episode, Barry appeared in a cameo role.  There are rumors that another book written by Barry, Peter and the Starcatchers, will be made into a movie by Disney.

Dave Barry - Rock Bottom Remainders

One thing I did not know about Dave was that he founded a rock band called “Rock Bottom Remainders” composed of other authors including Stephen KingAmy TanRidley PearsonScott TurowMitch AlbomRoy Blount, Jr.Barbara KingsolverMatt Groening, and Barry’s brother Sam, among many others. The band has raised over $2 million for charity and is described by Dave as “not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud.”  You can find a little more detail on the band on Oprah’s site here:

Dave retired in 2005 to spend more time with his family, but still maintains a blog at and writes occasional columns for the Miami Herald including his yearly gift guide and his year-in-review feature. In addition to the Pulitzer, Dave was awarded the Fairfax Price and has a sewage processing plant named after him in East Grand Forks, MN. He also can be hired as a motivational speaker for $20,000 to $30,000 per engagement.  To quote Dave himself “I’m not making this up.”


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Birthday

Arthur Conan DoyleHello, it’s Jeff again.  I’m here to tell you something about the author of Sherlock Holmes.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born May 22, 1859 to Mary and Charles Doyle. His full name was Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle.   The Doyles were a prosperous family, but Arthur’s father was an alcoholic and never amounted to much and his mother was the big influence in Doyle’s life and gave him a passion for story telling.

When Arthur was nine wealthy relatives offered to pay for his education and in 1868 he was sent to Jesuit boarding school in England.  He hated the harsh punishment and bulling that he suffered in school.  While at school, he started writing his mother regularly, a habit he kept up until her death.   At school he found he had inherited his mother’s gift for storytelling and frequently told stories to the younger students.  In addition to his storytelling he also excelled in sports, particularly Cricket.

The Doyle family was in the art business, but Arthur decided he wanted to be a physician and in 1876 he went to the University of Edinburgh Medical School.  While he was a student at the university he met many soon to be famous authors including James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson.  He also met Dr. Joseph Bell who was “a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis”.  During this time he also starting writing short stories.  His first published work was “The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley” in 1879.   Before he graduated he took a job as a ship surgeon on the whaler called the Hope.  He greatly enjoyed that voyage and after he graduated he signed on as medical officer on the steamer Mayumba bound for Africa.  He detested Africa and resigned as soon as the ship returned to England.

Doyle FamilyArthur married his first wife, Mary Louise, in 1885 and they had two children, Mary Louise and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley.  After the death of his first wife from tuberculosis in 1906, he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie and had three additional children:  Denis Percy Stewart, Adrian Malcom and Jean Lena Annette.

After graduating from medical school Arthur became a partner in a medical practice in Plymouth, but the partnership was difficult and extremely challenging and he soon set up his own practice in Southsea.  While waiting for his clientele to build he wrote more stories.  Initially he struggled to find someone to publish his works, but in 1886 he was able to publish “A Study in Scarlet” which introduced the world to his most memorable characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Sherlock Holmes was patterned after his former professor, Dr. Bell.  At the time, what we call forensic science was just starting to develop and the general public was amazed at Sherlock’s abilities and scientific process in solving crimes and Sherlock quickly became a world celebrity.

As the Sherlock Holmes stories became popular and Author’s medical practice started to take off he had trouble balancing being both a good doctor and satisfying his passion for writing.  After a near death experience with influenza in 1891 he decided to give up his medical practice and focus on his writing full time.

Interestingly enough, Arthur considered the Sherlock Holmes stories “commercial” and felt they took too much time away from what he liked to write.  This is why in the story “The Final Problem” he killed off the character of Sherlock.  The public outcry over the death of Sherlock Holmes was so great that he eventually brought him back in 1901 in a flashback story called “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and finally permanently in 1903 in “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”.  In 1902 King Edward VII knighted Arthur, for the contribution of his book “The Great Boor War”, but rumor has it that the King wanted to persuade Doyle to write more Sherlock Holmes stories.  In the end he wrote 56 Sherlock Holmes stories and plays.  Many movies and television series have been made about Holmes over the years, including the popular BBC series “Sherlock” staring Benedict Cumberbatch and the American television show “Elementary” with Lucy Lu.


Arthur was a staunch supporter of the criminal justice system and he personally investigated a number of cases which exonerated the accused and eventually led to the set up of the Court of Criminal Appeal in England which was formed in 1907.  He also ran unsuccessfully for a house seat in Central Edinburgh.


Probably the most controversial aspect of Arthur was his belief in Spiritualism the started after the death of his wife, son and several other close relatives.  He debated Joseph McCab on the claims of spiritualism at Queen’s Hall in London.  He was friends with Harry Houdini until he tried to convince Arthur that his “powers” were only tricks and illusions and became an opponent of Spiritualism.

Over the last year I have written posts for this bog about several different authors that lived at the same time and I didn’t know much about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle other the fact that he had written some of my favorite books.  After researching his life he appears to have been a truly good person who cared about his family and society in general. He died on July 7, 1930 surrounded by his family.   If you are looking for a more in depth biography, please check out the following website:

Travel – Kennedy Space Center

Kenndy Space Center sign

Hello, it is Jeff again.  Barbara normally writes the travel posts for this blog, but she knows how much I love everything about NASA and the Space program.  You may have figured it out, I’m a space nut!  My dream when I was 10 years old was to be an astronaut and I still love everything about space!  When we went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2010 we arrived when it opened and hours later we were still there when it closed for the day (I could have stayed even longer!) and my family had to drag me out!!  There is so much to see at the Kennedy Space center that when (not if, when!) we go back I will suggest to my family that we allow at least two days to allow for more exploring of the facility and exhibits!

Before getting into the details of the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral today, let’s take a brief look at the history of the site.  The Joint Long Range Proving Ground was established in 1949 after initial testing on Topsail Island in North Carolina had to be halted due to bad weather conditions and increased water traffic.  The first launch at the Cape in Florida was on July 24th, 1950 when the Air Force launched a V-2 rocket.  This launch and many others can be seen here in this government information film “The Cape: 1963”.  There were many major American space exploration “firsts” that happened at the Cape and are mentioned on Wikipedia, including: the first U.S. Earth satellite (1958), first U.S. astronaut (1961), first U.S. astronaut in orbit (1962), first two-man U.S. spacecraft (1965), first U.S. unmanned lunar landing (1966), and first three-man U.S. spacecraft (1968). It was also the launch site for the first spacecraft to ever fly past the other planets in the Solar System (1962–1977), the first spacecraft to orbit Mars(1971) and roam its surface (1996), the first American spacecraft to orbit and land on Venus(1978), the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn (2004), and to orbit Mercury (2011).

You may be wondering … what about the some of the most famous launches, such as the first flight to the Moon and the Space Shuttle?  These events all happened at the Kennedy Space Center.  After President Kennedy announced the ambitious plan to go to the moon, NASA realized that their facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base were inadequate.   Initially they wanted to take over the Air Force base, but they needed more space and NASA began buying 200 square miles of land north of the base on Merritt Island.  At this site they constructed the launch platforms and support buildings that were used for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions and until most recently the Space Shuttle program.

Merritt_IslandOne final question that needs to be addressed is the name.  Is it Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base or Station No. 1 of the Atlantic Missile Command? The answer is that all of these names are correct!  The confusion lies in Executive Order 11129 issued by President Johnson three days after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.  Not only did he name the Air Force base and the NASA facilities the Kennedy Space Center, but he also had the land renamed as well.  This didn’t go over too well with the citizens of the area who had been calling it Cape Canaveral for a very long time.  To make a long story short, in 1973 the land reverted back to the name of Cape Canaveral and the NASA facilities on Merritt Island would retain the name of the Kennedy Space Center.   The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is an installation of the United States Air Force Space Command 45th Space Wing, which is headquartered at nearby Patrick Air Force Base.”  For us space enthusiasts, the place to visit on a trip to Florida is the Kennedy Space Center, particularly the Visitor Complex.

As I said before, there is A LOT to do at the Kennedy Space Center, but it all starts by purchasing an admission ticket.  Admissions for the center can be purchased online at  The types of tickets available are single day as well as multi-day admission tickets, but if you plan on visiting the KSC on additional visits within a one year period I would recommend an annual pass. Travel Note:  The KSC website is little harder to navigate through but I would suggest calling them directly to make your arrangements via phone, 866-737-5235. Many of the KSC tours/experiences admit limited numbers of guests, so make sure to make your reservations early especially during the busy summer months!

Jeff at the Kennedy Space Center Jones Family Kennedy Space Center 2010

I would recommend starting your day at the Kennedy Space Center with one of the bus tours, which is currently included in the admission ticket, more extensive “Up Close” tours are available for an additional fee.  Since the KSC is undergoing changes and adjustments since the ending of the Space Shuttle program, the tours might change and it is advised to see their website for the most current information,  When we visited for the first time in 2010, we went on a tour called “Today and Tomorrow” which is similar to the “Then and Now” tour that is currently available.  The good thing about taking one of the KSC bus tours is that at the end of the tour they stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center (which is included with an admission ticket) where visitors can see a real Saturn 5, all 363 feet of it!!  Can you tell I am still in awe over our visit?

KSC bus tour 1 KSC bus tour 4
KSC bus tour 2 KSC bus tour 6a
KSC bus tour 5 Space Rock Garden

There are a couple of other experiences at the Kennedy Space Center that I highly recommend.  First consider the “Lunch with an Astronaut” which allows visitors to share a meal and meet someone who has actually been in space.  We haven’t done that yet, but visitors get to hear a lecture presented by an astronaut and afterwards they will spend time with the visitors answering questions.  Second, go see the new Atlantis exhibit!!  (Unfourtunately, the exhibit was opening after our most recent visit to KSC which is my perfect excuse to go back!) Also available is “The Shuttle Launch” experience “ride” which is fabulous but be sure to make time to see all the other exhibits and don’t forget to visit the rocket garden.  If you have a full day to spend at KSC, and if you plan in advance, you can make reservations for the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX).  My daughter and I did this during our most recent KSC visit in 2013, it was so much fun and we got to meet an astronaut, play in the centrifuges and other space training equipment and finally participate in a launch simulation. The ATX is a little expensive, but well worth it!!

ATX  1 ATX  2   ATX - Jeff

So, to finish this post, I’ll leave you with some space facts, trivia and additional links to enjoy:

  • Atlantis traveled 125,935,769 miles in space over the 307 days it was in orbit.
  • President Bill Clinton was the only president to watch a shuttle launch live on site.  He and his wife watched John Glenn’s return to Space on STS-95 on Oct 29, 1998 from the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Wally A. Schirra was the only man to fly in all three of NASA’s ‘Moon Shot’ programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo).  Alan Shepard flew in Mercury and Apollo, but not in Gemini. Gus Grissom was involved in all three projects, flying in Mercury and Gemini, but he was killed during a pre-flight simulation in his Apollo 1 capsule, so he never actually flew in the Apollo program.
  • The Sun is about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers, away from the Earth. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, therefore it takes a little over 8 minutes for the Sun’s light to reach the Earth.
  • The Mercury capsules named by the astronauts.  Each astronaut named his capsule and added the numeral 7 to denote the teamwork of the original astronauts.
  • Seats on Virgin Galactic cost $250,000 each.  The full fee is due upon booking.  Here is the booking link: (Maybe if Virgin Galactic’s prices will come down enough before I’m too old to afford it so I can take a ride!!).
  • The Astronomy Picture of the Day has been posting annotated pictures based on space themes since June of 1995.  I have been reading them almost daily since then.
  • You can view images of and help classify galaxies at
  • You can help look for extraterrestrial life at
  • The Kennedy Space Center is run by Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts; the same company that manages the attractions at Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

Jules Verne – The Legacy


Hello, Jeff again.  While Barbara wrote about the life of Jules Verne, I was more interested in his works and the lasting impact they have had.  In Barbara’s post she mentioned the fact that Verne wrote a series titled “Voyages Extraordinaires” which were published between 1863 and 1905. The series of 65 books strove “to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format … the history of the universe.”  In addition, Verne was not interested in writing an encyclopedia.  He wanted to create works of literary merit.

So what was so special about Jules Verne?  First he was one of the first, if not THE first, author to incorporate the exciting scientific discoveries of the time into popular literature creating a new genre – Science Fiction!  Before we go into the details of his stories that eventually became reality, take a minute to think about the time he lived in.  The telephone had not been invented, no cars, no airplanes, no radio, limited knowledge of electricity, medicine was just learning about germs and astronomy was still in its infancy.  Against this background Verne’s imagination, intelligence, choice of friends and ability to research allowed him to envision things many of which weren’t created until long after his death!

So here are a couple of his visions:

  1. Submarine life – Verne’s description of the life aboard the Nautilus in his 1870 book “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, with the exception of the iconic organ played by Captain Nemo, is very close to life on modern-day submarine which have a double hull, use compressed air and are entirely run by electricity.    Many early submarine researchers-inventors such as Simon Lake, an early American industrialist and entrepreneur, credit Verne with inspiring them.  Walt Disney was so taken with the book that he made the 1954 “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” film. This was the only science fiction movie personally directed by Walt and it won two academy awards.(As Barbara mentioned in her post, Jules Verne’s Birthday, it is one of her favorite Jules Verne books and she also likes the Disney film)  Walt Disney - Nautilus
  2. Travel to the Moon –  In his 1865 book “From the Earth to the Moon” Verne predicted weightlessness in space, something that could hardly be imagined at that time.  He also predicted the approximate weight of “projectile” which turned out to be almost the same weight as Apollo 11 and cost of the “projectile” in 1865 dollars was only slightly off from the cost of the Apollo program.  In the book, the spaceship “launched” from Florida with a three man crew and also splashed down in the ocean upon its return to earth using parachutes to slow it’s descent.  All these things happened many years later in the 1960s.   On the way back from his mission to the moon Neil Armstrong said, “A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship, Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon. It seems appropriate to us to share with you some of the reflections of the crew as the modern-day Columbia completes its rendezvous with the planet Earth and the same Pacific Ocean tomorrow.”
    Jules Verne Projectile      Apollo 11

With 65 works to choose from, there are many, many more predictions including fuel cells, world wars and people addicted to the internet.  This being said, the real legacy of Jules Verne is not his predictions, but how he inspired generation after generation to dream beyond what was considered possible.  Neil Armstrong credited Verne with inspiring the moon missions.  Simon Lake, an early American industrialist and entrepreneur, was inspired by him to create his submarines.  HG Wells was inspired to write several of his own science fiction books.

I really enjoyed reading the books by Jules Verne, my favorite is “Around the World in 80 Days” followed by “The Mysterious Island”.   Many of his works are available for free on the internet as a quick search of “Jules Verne” will reveal.  Try to find one of the later translations as some of the early ones left a large portion of the text out of print and frequently botched is calculations / scientific explanations.

Jules Verne’s vision was extraordinary.  How is yours?  What are your predictions for the next 100 years?