Caught up in the allure of the Mona Lisa's smile

September 28, 2006|by BIG SYDNEY

There's an old adage in the prognostication game: "Never trust someone who is always smiling."

It's usually the sign that we aficionados of big stakes and cheesesteaks know means not to go near that person for one of three reasons:

They are lying;

They are holding out;

They just had gastric relief.

So, it struck me the other day when I read about all the work that researchers are doing on the Mona Lisa. They are worried about goofy things, like what house paint Leonardo da Vinci used and the code he used in his color-by-number set.

I wanted to know what was really going on with that photo. Like after more than 500 years, what was that woman smiling about?


I decided to do some research of my own and it was exhausting.

First, I went to the Dargan Art Gallery where they hang the little-known sequel master painting of that era - the Mona Lucy, by Ricardo da Ricky.

There was something familiar about the painting, but it didn't answer any of my questions.

So, I thought, I'm out here in the land of Civil War and Deliverance re-enactments. I decided to get LuSydna and try to recreate the Mona Lisa scene to see why she wears the smirk like she just got the last Dorito out of the bag.

First, we needed the clothes. Lucky for us that 16th century Italian gothic look is back in style here in Dargan. We went to the local dairy bar and clothing superstore, which goes by the name Milk Duds, to get the garb.

LuSydna struggled to get it on. It was a little tight because the sizes were a lot smaller in those days. There was nothing artistic about the color she turned while holding her breath to fit in the outfit. No smile there.

I tried to get LuSydna to loosen up a little and get into the mood. I whipped out my I-Pod and put in the earplugs just in time for her to hear Kate Smith's version of "That's Amore." That wasn't love at first byte.

Then I thought maybe Mona had the grin of satisfaction that comes after a good meal. I got LuSydna a big old meatball hoagie from Dargan's one-stop sandwich and farm equipment shop, the Sub-Tractors. I don't go there often because I usually have a negative experience.

Well, that wasn't it, especially since I scarfed down the hoagie before I got back to the reenactment. All this researching made me hungry.

Then a brainstorm hit.

I went to the local genealogy and real estate shop, The Family Tree House, to check something out.

It seems I had an ancestor back then. He was a prognosticator named Largebutto da Sydni. He made his name by placing proposition point spreads on events that were going to happen in history.

My Uncle Sydni's claim to fame was he successfully predicted the outcome of the religious Inquisition of the era.

So that's why Mona Lisa was smiling.

She had the Saints and three.

On with the predictions. Last week: 19-5 (.792). Season: 59-22 (.728).



Boonsboro 43, Clear Spring 13: It should be outlawed, but the Blazers will have to rely on Dalton gang tackles to bring down the Warriors' fullback.

North Hagerstown 24, Smithsburg 16: Hubs scrub their flubs to keep Leopards out of the spot-light.

Brunswick 19, South Hagerstown 12: No, Brunswick players don't wear railroad ties to school on game day.

Jefferson 27, Musselman 14: Applemen's defense turned into corned beef by Hash.

Fort Hill 33, Hedgesville 20: To reach the playoff mountain, the Eagles must first go over a Hill.

Milton Hershey 20, James Buchanan 18: When Hershey plays pass defense, all receivers are chocolate covered.

Altoona 31, Chambersburg 13: Altoona isn't chicken of the "C."

Greencastle 38, Big Spring 12: When Big Spring players fumble, they're known as Bobbleheads.

Trinity 34, Waynesboro 16: Indians can't cross up Trinity.

Martinsburg 35, Potomac Falls 14: Will the Bulldogs wun the ball? They will weally Twy, man.


Parkersburg Catholic 26, Hancock 8: The Panthers sing "Happy, Trail? To you." when they hand their running back the ball.

Catoctin 22, Williamsport 15: The Wildcats call the passing pocket "The Minella Envelope."

Lawrenceville 33, Mercersburg Academy 21: Martin, Steve and Sharon will all be on hand to see an entertaining game.

Potomac School 19, St. James 14: The Saints have a (T.K.) Washington and a coin (toss), but still can't skip across Potomac.


Penn State 41, Northwestern 17: Since JoePa has coached the Nittany Lions for so long, does that mean he's been there for a Paterno-ty?

Shepherd 30, Fairmont 10: Rams make news when Wallace plays 60 Minutes.


Chargers 20, Ravens 13: San Diego controls the Ravens' QB by using a McNair net.

Jaguars 27, Redskins 20: Washington hasn't figured out the 11 secret ingredients to Saunders' offensive recipe.

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