Commonly accepted that Southerners are friendlier than us Northeasterners.
East or west coast variety southerner.
Not a wonderment.
We get cold here.

A simple walk out in the dead of winter is an attack on Mother Nature.
An arm-wrestling event.
That wind blows and the accompanying chill hurts.
By the time we get to our destination we hurt.

Hurt is not conducive to a smile.
To a wish to “Have a nice day.”

Hurt induces withdrawal.
“Don’t talk to me.
Let me warm up.
My cheekbones.
My ears.”

Of course, that’s not who we want to be.
We want to be friendly, you all.

Especially for me, today.
Celebration Time, come on!
My 200th consecutive posting.

Some smiles have more meaning than others.

Some smiles have more meaning than others.

Tagging Today
Saturday, October 27, 2018
My 200th consecutive posting.
Time is
Boston’s temperature will reach a high of
and it will be cloudy.

Dinner is duck from yesterday’s dinner. Today I’m serving it with the Duck Gravy I keep in the freezer, a gravy made according to the recipe on this website.

Quiz Question of the Day:
The Mona Lisa.
What’s the fuss?


Detail of Lisa's hands, her right hand resting on her left. Leonardo chose this gesture rather than a wedding ring to depict Lisa as a virtuous woman and faithful wife.

Second from left:
Detail of the background (right side)

Second from right”
Raphael, who had been to Leonardo's workshop several times, promptly used elements of the portrait's composition and format in several of his works, such as Young Woman with Unicorn (c. 1506)

Detail of the face of Mona Lisa showing the use of sfumato, particularly in the shading around the eyes.
The technique is a fine shading meant to produce a soft transition between colors and tones, in order to achieve a more believable image.
It is most often used by making subtle gradations that do not include lines or borders, from areas of light to areas of dark.
The technique was used not only to give an elusive and illusionist rendering of the human face but also to create rich atmospheric effects.
Leonardo da Vinci described the technique as blending colors, without the use of lines or borders "in the manner of smoke".

Love your notes.
Contact me @ 

This from Sally Chetwynd:

Dear Dom,
How lovely that you have migrated from Hitler, Sanger, and such! Such distressing topics were a bit much for me, first thing in the morning. 

I am most tempted by the rib recipe and will try it out.  I agree with you about the overuse of barbeque sauce.  I make my own and bottle it for later use, and use it to bake country-style ribs in.  I do like fall-off-the-bone meat, but only if it is succulent.  There is considerable satisfaction in pulling meat from the bone with one's teeth - we are omnivores, which is inclusive of carnivores.

Web Meister Responds: I, too, am happy to move on. Let me know how the recipe works out for you. Especially the slow-roast-broiler-hot-oven idiom.

Short Takes
Her book, “The Sturgeon’s Dance,” is just published.
Sally Chetwynd sent me a copy of the book although I’ve read most of it in the writer’s group, “The Room to Write.”
I asked Sally to send me the back cover blurb and I include it here:

Over ten years ago, ruinous nightmares tormented Josie Sprague. Were these warnings? To her? Her family? Friends? She buried them to avoid madness. Undisturbed since then, she has almost forgotten them. 

Her visions flare anew when Rory Mallett joins Josie’s office as a consultant. His presence, far beyond physical, buffets her, no matter his whereabouts. Tangling her life further is boyfriend Greg’s jealousy at her growing rapport with Rory. 

Rory has buried his own strife. A near-fatal logging accident has left him beholden to his brother Aidan, and a failed marriage has estranged him from women. His brother, his nephew Liam, his spirit-friend Shadow, Maine’s wildlands—all soothe Rory’s spirit. 

As the transcendental link between them crystallizes, Rory, seeking balm for his damaged soul, must tackle the demons that have crippled him. Josie, seeking respite from her sixth sense, must resolve her psychic kinship to Rory with her commitment to Greg. Their entwined journey is as turbulent as the restless sea where the sturgeon dances.

Short Takes II
Two years ago my legs were cramping up on me.
My orthopedics specialist was too busy to see me himself.
Advised me through his nurse.
I gave her my symptoms.
She excused herself, returning to me to report the doctor’s recommendations.
After every one of three visits his advice was for me to discontinue one set of leg exercises after the other until I was doing no leg exercises at all.
The abstinence, together with an increase of my intake of electrolytes, also according to the doctor’s instructions, solved the cramping, with my great personal disappointment of not maximizing my health.

Six months ago, at a dinner party, a friend, a psychiatrist, on hearing the my discovery of melatonin as a cure of my sleeplessness, offered that the nightly full hour of increased sleep might solve other physical problems as well.
Like leg cramping.

About a month ago, I started exercising my legs again, back to the full extent of my past achievement.
Day after day I’ve waited for the cramping to begin again.
It hasn’t.

In my personal experience, the pressure the medical profession to process patients leads to less than fine medical care.

Answer to Today’s Question:
Why the fuss over the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa or La Gioconda, is a half-length portrait painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci that has been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world".

The Mona Lisa is also one of the most valuable paintings in the world.
It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at $100 million in 1962, which is worth nearly $800 million in 2017.

The painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
Some have suggested that the subject of the painting are various other people such as Costanza d’Avalos, Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Francavilla, Isabella d’Este, Cecilia Gallerani, Pacifica Brandano, Caterina Sforza and Isabella Gualanda.
Some theories also suggested the woman is actually Leonardo Da Vinci, the artist himself in his own painting.

It had been believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506; however, Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517.
Recent academic work suggests that it would not have been started before 1513.

It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1797.

The art is an oil painting on a white Lombardy poplar panel.

The story.
The subject's expression is frequently described as enigmatic.
The woman is looking straight out and meets the onlooker’s eyes.
She seems to have a smirk or smile across her face.
Slight abnormalities in the woman such as not having eyelashes or eyebrows
and sitting rigidly in a stance that shows reserve: her hands crossed on her lap.

The work has a sense of drama and mystery to it as the woman is unknown and set against an equally unknown background which seems to be a waterfall and trees or some type of nature scene.

Along the woman’s body there are many shadows which are shown through different tints and shades of color.
The woman is multiples shades of tan and brown while the background is predominantly green and blue.
Contrast is achieved by DaVinci using darker colors on her clothing but making her skin glows in a lighter colors.
Ad focus on the woman is emphasized through the use of dull colors in the background.

Leonardo da Vinci was the most prominent practitioner of sfumato, based on his research in optics and human vision, and his experimentation with the camera obscura.
He used it in many works, including the Virgin of the Rocks and in his famous painting of the Mona Lisa. He described sfumato as "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane".

Sfumato overlays translucent layers of colors softening the transition between colors, creating a blending of colors so there are no clear transitions seen.
The use of sfumato creates form by the strokes creating a look of depth and volume.

Sfumato mimics the out-of-focus plane; the area beyond what the human eye is focusing on.
The use of line through sfumato creates a picture that has no clear transitions between different strokes.

Asymmetrical balance is employed by having the subject put more weight on one side of the painting.

Novel at the time.
The monumentality of the composition, the subtle modelling of forms, and the atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.

2014: Mona Lisa is among the greatest attractions in the Louvre.
Unfortunately, this photograph accurately portrays the daily crush to see this piece.
Other Leonardos’, just a few feet away, go unnoticed.
My cousin Lauren and I just waited and slowly moved to the front of the viewers where we could focus and appreciate the work. As for the others, to a person they seemed to want only to take a photo of the painting and move on.

Second from Left: This insert might be the best analysis of the picture that exists. The style is a little outdated and the audience its audience is assumed to be very well read, but it repays the reader’s effort to understand it.
The Aesthetic Movement: Walter Pater on the Mona Lisa
The Renaissance (London, 1893). Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980, pp. 98-99.

"The presence that rose thus so strangely beside the waters, is expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years men had come to desire.
Hers is the head upon which all "the ends of the world are come," and the eyelids are a little weary.
It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions.

Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed!

All the thoughts and experience of the world have etched and molded there, in that which they have of power to refine and make expressive the outward form, the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the mysticism of the middle age with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan world, the sins of the Borgias.

She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants:
and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary; and all this has been to her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the delicacy with which it has molded the changing lineaments, and tinged the eyelids and the hands.

The fancy of a perpetual life, sweeping together ten thousand experiences, is an old one; and modern philosophy has conceived the idea of humanity as wrought upon by, and summing up in itself all modes of thought and life.

Certainly Lady Lisa might stand as the embodiment of the old fancy, the symbol of the modern idea."

Second from right:
Walter Horatio Pater (4 August 1839 – 30 July 1894) was an English essayist, literary and art critic, and fiction writer, regarded as one of the great stylists.
His works on Renaissance subjects were popular but controversial, reflecting his lost belief in Christianity.

Mona Lisa Smile is a 2003 American drama film produced by Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures in association with Red Om Films Productions, directed by Mike Newell, written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, and starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The title is a reference to the Mona Lisa, the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and the song of the same name, originally performed by Nat King Cole, which was covered by Seal for the movie.

Julia Roberts received a record $25 million for her performance, the highest ever earned by an actress at that time.

And so, Good Morning.

We’ve talked about smiling, Sally Chetwynd’s thoughts, Sally’s newly published book, and entered an apologia on the fuss surrounding the Mona Lisa.

Have a good day, my friends.
See you soon.