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8 June 2000


I'm always intrigued by the early astronomers. Their optical tools were pitiful, their computers nonexistent, it's a wonder they saw anything and more of a wonder that they understood what they saw. Today marks the birth of Cassini, who made his reputation in Italy and then went to France and started a hereditary astronomical dynasty that spanned three generations until the French Revolution ended it 120 years later. He started out using astronomy to support his astrology, but managed to overcome that, bitterly while resisting the theories of others.

Is it safe to say that Frank Lloyd Wright was the most important American architect of all time? His genius made housing fit humans and the environment in which the house was built. A perfectionist in some ways, when a client complained that the roof leaked on his dining room table Wright snapped, "Move the table." Wright had probably designed the table and determined its position in the room, but left a legacy of amazing buildings with engineering problems.

  On this day in history:
 

1536 - Ten Articles of Religion were published by the English clergy, in support of Henry VIII's Declaration of Supremacy. The Anglican Church had begun defining its doctrinal distinctions, after breaking with Roman Catholicism.

1940 - The Bald Eagle Protection Act is approved by the US Congress, protecting the nation's symbol and the golden eagle by prohibiting "the taking, possession and commerce of such birds." Penalties were increased in 1972, and the bald eagle was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1967. Soon to be delisted due to dramatic growth in population. Bald eagles are frequently seen near Twisted History headquarters on Whidbey Island.

1959 - US Post Office Department sent 3,000 "first day covers" 77 miles in 22 minutes aboard a Regulus I guided missile, launched from the submarine USS Barbero and directed to the US Naval Station in Mayport, Florida. It got there, and the "covers" bearing 4-cent stamps are currently worth some $1500 each, but the experiment was not repeated.

  Holidays around the world today include:
 

Lindisfarne Day, Holy Isle of Lindisfarne - In the year 793 three Norwegian dragon ships raided the wealthy monastery at Lindisfarne off the Northumbrian coast, the first Viking raid on Britain.

  Birthdays on this day include:
 

1625 - Jean-Dominique Cassini, Italo-French astronomer - Born Giovanni Domenico Cassini in Perinald, Imperia, Italy, Jesuit-educated, into astrology. Hired by a Bolognese astronomer to help calculate charts for astrology, gained access to observatory, developed precise skills in position and time. By 1660 was working for Bolognese government and university, doing hydrological work (flood prediction and control) for the pope, research on orbits of comets, entomology, and blood transfusions. By 1675 was hired to set up Paris Observatory, discovered four of Saturn's moons (Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys, and Dione), split between Saturn's major rings - still known as the Cassini Division, first understood Earth not perfect sphere. Resistant to new theories, opposed Tycho Brahe's planetary system, Newton's theory of universal gravitation. Lost his sight in last years, passed the observatory to his younger son, the observatory was managed by Cassinis until the French Revolution. Died at Paris on 14 September 1712.

1867 - Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect - Born at Richland Center, Wisconsin, his mother is said to have put pictures of great buildings in the nursery to get him started. Worked on uncles' farm, briefly studied civil engineering at University of Wisconsin, apprenticed to Chicago architect. Hired as draftsman at Adler and Sullivan, rose to chief draftsman, got fired for moonlighting. Opened firm 1893, developed concept of "Prairie House," ran off to Germany with his lover in 1909 leaving wife and five children. Worked at "Taliesin" with lover 1912 to 1914 when crazed servant killed her, six others, burned much of house. Period to 1932 turbulent personally, included jail time related to second marriage, built Imperial Hotel (Tokyo), California cement houses, rebuilt Taliesin. Founded the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, 30 apprentices came to Taliesin, expanded to Taliesin West in Arizona. About 500 buildings completed, 200 more plans only, many included his furniture designs, several leaked. Pioneered "organic architecture," open floor plans, the living room, the carport. Died at Taliesin West on 9 April 1959.

  Quotes that may (or may not) relate to the events above:
 

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking - he knows!

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.

Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes.

I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture.

An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.
     - Frank Lloyd Wright (all of today's quotes)

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Copyright 2000 G. Armour Van Horn, all rights reserved. This document may be distributed freely. Please forward the complete message including this copyright notice.