Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

"Acrasia", by John Melhuish Strudwick

“Acrasia”, by John Melhuish Strudwick

This weeks painting is “Acrasia”, by John Melhuish Strudwick.  As you might guess from the style of the painting, Strudwick was influenced by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, with whom he spent time as a studio assistant.

Like so many Pre-Raphaelite paintings, “Acrasia” is based on a poem.  In this case, the source is Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”.  In Book II of the poem, Acrasia is a witch who seduces and kills knights.

“Book II is centered on the virtue of Temperance as embodied in Sir Guyon, who…discovers a woman killing herself out of grief for having her lover tempted and bewitched by the witch Acrasia and killed.  Guyon swears a vow to avenge them and protect their child.  Guyon on his quest starts and stops fighting several evil, rash, or tricked knights and meets Arthur.  Finally, they come to Acrasia’s Island and the Bower of Bliss, where Guyon resists temptations to violence, idleness, and lust.  Guyon captures Acrasia in a net, destroys the Bower, and rescues those imprisoned there.”
—from Wikipedia

The “Bower of Bliss.”  I like that!  I think I’ve just found a name for my apartment.

Out of the Past, Into the Future

Finally saw Johnny Depp’s AI/nanotech movie Transcendence last weekend. The film was just OK, but I lit up at the closing, when I heard the opening notes of Jorma Kaukonen’s 40-year-old song, “Genesis”.

It’s a beautiful song, but what a strange choice for a 21st Century SciFi movie.

A Worthy Project: Tom Tomorrow’s Kickstarter


For the past 25 years, since long before The Daily Show, Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins) has been publishing a brilliant, often snarky take on politics in a comic strip called This Modern World.   Perkins has won Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (twice) and the Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.  Last year, he was a finalist for Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

To celebrate This Modern World’s 25th anniversary, Perkins hoped to publish a two-volume. 1000-page compilation of all the cartoons.  He turned to Kickstarter for financing, with an original goal of raising $87,000 toward publishing the books.  Within a day, his fans had pledged more than $100,000.

With five days left, the total has now reached $243,344, just short of the final $250,000 goal. Pledges have ranged from $1 to $10,000.  A $70 pledge gets you a copy of the two-volume hardcover book in an attractive slipcase, and a PDF version as well.

Here’s a sample:

The Original Pixels, sans Adam Sandler

Not everyone loves the new Adam Sandler movie, Pixels.  It’s sitting on an 18% favourable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which says the critics’ consensus is that “Much like the worst arcade games from the era that inspired it, Pixels has little replay value and is hardly worth a quarter.”

Pixels is based on this award-winning 2010 short by a young filmmaker named Patrick Jean. Instead of hitting the multiplex, save your quarters, and watch this v clever video instead.