I'll come up with something in a minute.

Give me a good story

You know what I like most about history? The personalities that float around, particularly the bits that people don’t think to tell you in school. I’m not talking about historical sex lives, although that does come into it a bit. I am more impressed that Voltaire was banging the smartest hottie in France than I am by all the stuff he wrote. I mean, yes, I am impressed by what he wrote, but I’m more impressed that he understood the importance of intellectual tail as well.

I can give you a better example of a guy I remember because of his story. Tycho Brahe was an astronomer, who was one of the first people to really sit down and seriously observe the skies during the enlightenment. He was one of the first people to engage in rigorous and regular observation, even bringing redundant observation into the mix in order to check figures.

He observed a star suddenly come to life in the sky, which was supposed to not happen since before that it was understood that the heavens were static and unchanging. He coined the word “nova” which would later come to mean an exploding star. This just about changed EVERYTHING because it was concrete proof that what the church was telling people about the skies was wrong.

A king gave Tycho his own island, an entire island! There he built an observatory and got down to some serious stargazing. When current tools weren’t good enough, Tycho invented his own instruments to get better observations. He more or less discovered the concept of stellar parallax and was responsible for many tools that would later be used by every astronomer to come after.

He inspired the works of people like EA Poe and was well known to be a great genius of his age. His work allowed Kepler to make many of his discoveries and the influence he had on other sciences can be felt to this very day.

But none of that is why I remember him. I remember Tycho Brahe because he had a metal nose. No shit! He lost his nose in a duel as a young man and had to replace it with one made of metal. Often it’s suggested that it was of gold or silver, however when his grave was opened later in life it was found that there were bits of green on his skull which would indicate copper. It’s likely that after trying several metals, the copper nose was found to be lighter, or that it was a plated copper. Either way, what matters is the man had a metal nose!

He also kept, as pets, an Elk, dwarf, woman to have his kids and not marry, and all the local peasants. Oh, and Kepler, he pretty much kept Kepler as a pet too. You might find my calling all those things pets to be troubling, but you don’t know Tycho like I know Tycho.

AND HE HAD A METAL NOSE!!!! Had the man the ambition, he could have started S.P.E.C.T.R.E. four hundred years before Blofeld. If he lived today, we would need to send Daniel Craig over there to deal with him. Even then he’d probably need to take Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and even George Lazenby for backup! It’s only by the grace of Fancy that the guy never decided to try out his ‘rocket that would destroy London’ idea because the Double 00 sector hadn’t been invented yet.

These are the people I remember, and that’s the reason I remember them.

The thing is though, while the metal nose is interesting, it only works for me because he did all the other things. If he were just a nutter that had a metal nose I wouldn’t care. I mean who cares about Charles VI of France? Sure, he thought he as made of glass, and something in his life also inspired Poe, but with one good fever I could think the cats are the agents of the Aeltia, the Queen of Mars.

It only works if he did something significant as well.

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment