Ladislas Starevich’s “The Insects’ Christmas”

A stop motion animation from 1913 called “The Insects’ Christmas” by Ladislas Starevich.

Wikipedia’s Bio on Starevich:

Ladislas Starevich (August 8, 1882 – February 26, 1965), born WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Starewicz, was a Polish, Russian and French stop-motion animator who used insects and animals as his protagonists…

…Starewicz had interests in a number of different areas; by 1910 he was director of a museum of natural history in Kaunas. There he made four short live-action documentaries for the museum. For the fifth film, Starewicz wished to record the battle of two stag beetles, but was stymied by the fact that the nocturnal creatures inevitably went to sleep whenever the stage lighting was turned on. Inspired by a viewing of Les allumettes animées [Animated Matches] (1908) by Emile Cohl, Starewicz decided to re-create the fight through stop-motion animation: he removed the legs and mandibles from two beetle carcasses, then re-attached them with wax, creating articulated puppets. The result was the short film Lucanus Cervus (1910), apparently the first animated puppet film with a plot and the natal hour of Russian animation.

Also on YouTube is Starevich’s The Portrait (1915)

(YouTube clip via PoeTV)


Bibi has a ton of Starevich’s stop motion animation films on her blog Videos with Bibi.

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose

From the WaPo:

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.’s life is priceless. Don’t believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier’s life: I’ve been handed the check. It’s roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
Money maintains the Republican/Democratic duopoly of trivialized politics. It confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation’s call to “global leadership.” It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.

This is not some great conspiracy. It’s the way our system works.

In joining the Army, my son was following in his father’s footsteps: Before he was born, I had served in Vietnam. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time. Yet he was the better soldier — brave and steadfast and irrepressible.

I know that my son did his best to serve our country. Through my own opposition to a profoundly misguided war, I thought I was doing the same. In fact, while he was giving his all, I was doing nothing. In this way, I failed him.

(via Metafilter)

Prison Flicks

Welcome to Prison Flicks, the premier web site devoted to reviewing and discussing prison movies.

Prison movies run the gamut from high art to mass-market entertainment to b-movies. Basically anything you can do in a movie can be done in a prison movie. You want a love story? Well, it might not be Hepburn and Tracy, but love sometimes blooms within prison walls (and I’m not even talking about that). Even high-seas adventures are possible with the prison-ship concept. But putting the characters in prison just makes it all so much more entertaining. The guards, the bars, the exercise yard, the smell of human animals packed into cages. So sit back, enjoy, and take a tour of the magical world of prison movies. From women in prison to the Shawshank Redemption, this is the site for you.

The World of Modern Child Slavery

From BBC News:

When it is mentioned we tend to think of people, almost always black people; degraded, abused and bound in chains, and we tend to think of such images, and the word slavery itself, as belonging to another era.

We do not see slavery as belonging to our world, not as something which is still happening today.

Yet the truth is that if William Wilberforce were alive today and he travelled to different parts of the world – not just in Africa, but also in large parts of Asia, the Middle East, South America and even parts of Europe – he would find children living in conditions and circumstances which Wilberforce would understand and which I am sure he would describe as slavery.

It is believed there are nearly nine million children around the world today who are enslaved.

There are international charters and covenants which try to come to a legal definition of what constitutes slavery.

In essence these documents define slavery in the modern world as a situation where a human being and their labour are owned by others, and where that person does not have the freedom to leave and is forced into a life which is exploitative, humiliating and abusive.

(via Ursi’s Blog)