Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Plot Thickens!

Droeshout portrait

According to, there may not be any AUTHENTIC portraits of Shakespeare.

"Among the many mysteries that surround Shakespeare and his life is the question of his physical appearance. No evidence exists today that his portrait was ever painted while he was alive; likewise, there is no known written description of him. Unless new material is discovered, we will never know for certain what he looked like.
Only two likenesses of Shakespeare have any claim to authenticity. Both, however, are problematic. The first image made of Shakespeare was erected in the Stratford Parish Church sometime between his death in 1616 and the printing of the First Folio in 1623. This was the memorial bust. We can put the date of the bust in this range because in the First Folio (1623) mention is made of the bust in a poem by Leonard Digges, which reads in part:
...that stone is rent,And Time dissolves thy Stratford Monument,Here we alive shall view thee soon. This book,When brass and marble fade, shall make thee lookFresh to all ages.
The bust would logically have the best claim to authenticity. However, it is highly doubtful that it looks anything like it did when first erected. We know nothing about its history, such as who commissioned it. More than once, the bust has been repaired or refurbished, starting in 1749 when a sum of money was raised at Stratford in order to "re-beautify" the monument. It is believed that the local craftsman in charge of the project took serious liberties and made major changes. It has been whitewashed and repainted many times, and there are accounts of it being taken down for the making of casts, sometimes incurring damage. Some have concluded that as a possible likeness of Shakespeare it is worthless. And virtually all are in agreement that the present-day bust is unflattering. A middle aged, stout Shakespeare looks out blankly. Eminent Shakespearean critic John Dover Wilson described it as a "self-satisfied pork butcher."
The best evidence that the present-day bust is not similar to the original is a drawing made in 1653 by William Dugdale, a Warwickshire antiquarian. Dugdale sketched the bust in his Antiquities of Warwickshire. When the sketch is placed next to the present-day bust, the differences are vast. The facial structures and expressions are totally unalike, and in the present-day bust Shakespeare holds a pen on a cushion, whereas in the sketch he clutches a sack.
The second image that has claim to authenticity is known as the Martin Droeshout portrait. The copper-engraved portrait appeared on the title-page of the First Folio in 1623, with the inscription "Martin Droeshout: sculpsit. London." On the opposite page, Ben Jonson's verses identify the portrait as Shakespeare. Droeshout was only 15 years old when Shakespeare died, making it unlikely that he ever saw him in real-life. Biographers have been united in their opinion of the engraving. "Ludicrous" and "Monstrous" are some terms that have been consistently applied. The author of Shakespeare's Lives, Sam Schoenbaum, wrote the following:
... a huge head, placed against a starched ruff, surmounts an absurdly small tunic with oversized shoulder-wings... Light comes from several directions simultaneously: it falls on the bulbous protuberance of forehead -- that 'horrible hydrocephalous development', as it has been called -- creates and odd crescent under the right eye...
The publishers of the First Folio apparently recognized the deficiencies of the portrait, and altered it twice while it went through press. They added a shadow and darkened it overall. Some critics have insisted that the portrait is actually an actor's mask, pointing to the dark line extending down from the earlobe as evidence. One critic has even suggested that the right arm is actually the back of a left arm, thus asserting the portrait has two left arms.
The suspicions aroused by the two portraits are further intensified by another image of Shakespeare that appeared in a pirated edition of his poems published in 1640, engraved by a William Marshall. The image is clearly based on the Droeshout, but it is reversed and most believe it to be a parody. Given the lines that appear below the image, which seem to poke fun at Ben Jonson's poem that appeared in the First Folio, it seems probably that some kind of flippancy is at hand. The lines below the picture read in part:
This Shadowe is renowned Shakespear's? Soule of th'age The applause? delight? the wonder of the the Stage.The lines seem to instruct us that there is more here than meets the eye. Further compounding the mystery is the publisher's name: John Benson, which is an inversion of Ben Johnson.
Ultimately, we are left with two possibilities of Shakespeare's appearance, both completely different, which practically dooms the search from the start. It is possible that a new portrait, engraving, or document will someday be uncovered behind an old wall, but until then, the debate remains a essential component of the Shakespeare lore. "

Friday, October 28, 2005

History News of the Day

Not the Bard!

Art historians announced today that this is NOT a portrait of William Shakespeare. Although the picture does date to 1588 and Shakespeare would have been 24 at the time, this ain't him!

Too bad. I always thought this picture was much sexier than the later portrait of a balding man in a ruffled collar. So did the creators of Shakespeare in Love. They based their Shakespeare character on this portrait.

I love this history trivia kind of thing! It brings the past back to life.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I KNOW Better!!

In one of my recent posts, I was foolish enough to ask "What next?" when referring to Z's TS. Thursday, we found out what's next.

Z's OCD strikes again. For the last year Z has been insisting that he has appendicitus. He's basing this on an occasional mild discomfort in his lower left abdomen. I'm sure that his constant rubbing and poking of the spot is not helping matters.

The last couple of weeks Z has become obsessed with the appearance of his stool. I won't go into details, but these conversations haven't been pleasant. When I came home from work on Thursday, Z was in tears. He'd been researching digestive tract illnesses and was certain that he has an ulcer or cancer. He finally agreed to go to the doctor. With all the worrying he's been doing an ulcer is a possibility. We lucked out and managed to get an appointment that afternoon with the on-call doctor.

When we arrived at the clinic, we found that Z was running a low-grade fever (100.2). The doctor said the fever could be because Z is a "fidgety guy". I explained that Z has TS and the "fidgets" are tics. The doctor thought it would be a good idea for Z to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. The closest one we have is at the Mayo Clinic, but he makes a weekly visit to the Duluth Clinic in Duluth. The doctor said he'd rather be "safe than sorry", especially since he recently sent a girl Z's age to this doctor and they discovered she had Krohn's Disease. With Z's OCD, the doctor felt that if he got a clean bill of health, Z's obsession with stomach problems would disappear. I guess it's worth a try.

Thursday night we discovered that Z's fever was a result of a mild case of stomach flu. After vomiting, he felt much better. Mostly because his vomit didn't look like coffee grounds, which he said is a sign of a peptic ulcer. Oh, brother!

Friday Z spent the day researching anxiety related illnesses and decided that maybe? Mom was right. He could be causing his own stomach problems. Really?! He's relaxed a LOT since this revelation and is recovering from his bout of stomach flu.

In the meantime, we now have a 3 p.m. appointment with the gastroenterologist on Dec 8th in downtown Duluth. I don't know if any of you have ever driven in downtown Duluth, but it's something you definitely DON'T want to do in the winter! We'll probably have to spend the night in Duluth, as it will be dark after Z's appointment, and my night driving ain't what it used to be. This means I'll have to take 2 days off work(unpaid). I sure hope this is worth it!

Yesterday Z started obsessing about constipation, as he hasn't gone for a couple of days. Well, DUH! He hasn't eaten hardly anything for 2 days. Welcome to the world of the OCD child!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Notta's Tag

Notta Wallflower hit me with a really unique tag: tell your readers about the idiosyncrasies in your life.

We all have quirky things that we do, but do we recognize them? This requires a LOT of thought.

The following are idiosyncrasies I have in common with Notta. My additions are in parenthesis.

If I'm in a public restroom, I will only go #2 if there is no one else in the restroom, even if I'm about to explode. (I even do this at home. I'll pee, bathe, or wander around in my undies in front of anybody. But when it comes to #2, that's my sacred "alone time". My bowels just won't function under scrutiny.)

I ALWAYS have to arrive at work at least 15 minutes earlier than I'm expected to so that I can mentally go through "my list" for the day. (I get really cranky if I don't gather my thoughts before I start work)
Matter of fact, I always leave early for everything because I hate being late, even if it's only a few minutes late, and even at the expense of missing something important, like brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. (Most of my friends are late for EVERYTHING and it drives me WILD. Fortunately, my husband shares this one with me so we don't drive each other crazy on this point.)

If clothing gets folded (by someone else) inside out, I unfold it, turn it right-side-out, then refold it my way.( This one does drives my husband bonkers. "Why is YOUR way the ONLY way to fold something?" It just IS, so deal with it! Besides, when things are folded MY WAY, they fit better in our drawers and cupboards.)

Now, here's my own unique? idiosyncrasies.

I LOVE peanut butter. I like sandwiches, Reese's cups, peanut butter frosting and some wicked peanut butter bars I make. I HATE peanut butter cookies. Why?

I have a problem with personal space. If I know you and like you, no problem. I'm a big hugger and cuddler with those close to me. But if you're a stranger or somebody I don't like, don't get inside my 2 foot comfort zone or I'll get snarly.

I'm a perfectionist, but I'm working on it. I recently found out that this is an OCD trait. Wonder where Z got that one? If I can't do something perfectly, I won't do it until I can. This explains a lot of the messes I get overwhelmed with.

I have a phobia about e-coli and salmonella. I sterilize my kitchen and myself wherever it contacts fresh meat or eggs. I've known 3 people who have contracted salmonella and it's not a pretty sight!

I'm a compulsive rotator. When I buy groceries I always put the new stuff behind the old stuff. When I do laundry, I put the freshly laundered clothes, towels and sheets on the bottom, so I'm not using the same items over and over. I do the same thing when I buy paper products and toiletries. You wouldn't want to use a stale tampon or old toilet paper, now would you?

And last, but not least: I'm a pyromaniac! Fortunately I limit myself to candles, campfires and yard waste. But I do LOVE to watch things burn. I'm also a perfectionist in my pyromania. I get totally pissed off if I can't light a campfire with only 1 match! My husband calls me "1 match Mama". My husband insists that I would have made a terrific arsonist. He says the only problem is that I'd get arrested after my first arson fire. I'd be the spectator in a lawn chair, with a drink in my hand, saying "It only took me ONE MATCH!"

I tag Squirl, Wandering Coyote, and Bridget Jones and anyone else who cares to share their quirks.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Blechy Bronchitis!

I had to go to the doctor today. I've been coughing for a month. It started when we moved back into our bedroom. I thought I was just allergic to all the new carpet, cabinets, and paint. I figured I'd improve after everything aired out.

I got worse when we pulled up the 19 yr old living room carpet. The pad had disintegrated into dust and coated EVERYTHING in the house with a fine layer of dust. We've also had a pretty dry fall and there's lots of crap floating in the air.

Last weekend my ears plugged up, so my equilibrium started screwing up. I also developed a fever with accompanying chills. I haven't slept more than 2-3 hours a night for the last 2 weeks. Everytime my head hits the pillow, I start coughing! I'm exhausted, dizzy and bitchy; time to see my boyfriend's grandpa. (My doctor has a 10 month old grandson, who adores me. The feeling is mutual.)

The bottom line is that my bout with pneumonia, added to hayfever, aggravated by nasty dust, caused a lovely bronchial infection that would eventually lead to pneumonia. At least I had brains enough (this time) to hit the doctor BEFORE this happened.

I now have a 10 day supply of Zithromax and some new anti-coughing "pearls", which should help me get some sleep. Sorry, Zombieslayer; I'm not going to try your exlax cough cure this time!

I'm working on your tag, Notta. I hope to post it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Quixtar is AMWAY!

This post is just a little experiment. Our daughter SME, also known as the Amway deprogrammer, has written a couple of posts on this topic. She's gotten some weird responses.
It seems that the people that follow the cult known as Quixtar get REALLY defensive when anyone questions their business practices. She's also gotten very appreciative responses from people who have been taken in by this pyramid scheme.

If any of you have any experiences with this company, feel free to share.

MJ, if you're reading this, please don't take offense! I know you guys have done quite well with Amway and more power to you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


10 feet of Cupboards!

I finally got all the living room stuff out of the bedroom. I quickly took pictures before my guys started stacking things where they don't belong.

This picture highlights our 10 ft wall of cupboards above our computer desk. We've got everything put away and I still have an empty cupboard.
L painted the ceiling light gray and I antiqued the ceiling trim to match the beamed ceiling in the kitchen and living room.

Next year L wants to build a new computer desk as this one is on it's last legs. I guess that's my first winter project: measuring and designing the new desk. *sigh*

Our Blue Wall

We really love the way the blue shows off all the wood in our room. It's quite rich looking.
We stained and installed an 8 ft shelf between our bathroom and closet doors; it's actually bigger than it looks in this picture.

You can see the new carpet in this pic. We still have to finish the thresholds and install the trim around the entrance door, but other than that, we're DONE!