Ukrainian nature photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko shows us that snails are so much more than incredibly slow-moving mollusks who leave slimy trails and sometimes end up on people’s dinner plates. By looking at his photos we learn that snails appear to be curious, playful and even affectionate.

Shot in the woodland area near his home town in Berdichev, located in the Zhytomyr Oblast of northern Ukraine, Mishchenko’s beautiful photos are apparently unstaged. Instead he relies on an extraordinarily keen eye for spotting wildlife:

'As a child, my father taught me to hunt mushrooms near my home and we would always come across all manner of bugs and creatures,' he said. 'As I got older and my interest in photography grew, I decided I wanted to catch these magical scenes on camera.'

Visit Vyacheslav Mishchenkos’ website to check out many more of his remarkable nature photos. The only thing missing from them is narration by Sir David Attenborough.

[via 22 Words and]

My Name is...

…Rifka. I am from Berdichev, Russia, and I’m running away. You see, I’m a Jew, and in Berdichev, Jews are hunted down like wild fowl and murdered in their homes. My whole family: Mama, Papa, Saul, Nathan and I are going to America. My three other brothers, Asher, Isaac, and Reuben sent for us from America so that we can get away from all of the hardship and fear in the Old Country. I’ve never met them, because they left to America before I was born. 

My parents say that because I am the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes, it is important that I stay strong. Mama and Papa and my brothers all have dark skin and eyes, characteristics of Jewish people. I, on the other hand, have pale white skin and golden hair, so I look Christian. I don’t quite understand why hereditary characteristics affect our lives so, but if I can help my family get out of Russia and away from those horrible soldiers, I’ll gladly flaunt my unusual features. 

My name, Rifka, is special Mama says. It means, “to bind” in Yiddish. I have to bind my family together across an ocean: from my brothers in America to my parents and brothers in Berdichev. I have a lot of responsibility, but I am ready. I am ready to go to America.  



Happy Birthday!!!

Today is the birthday of Joseph Conrad (books by this author), born in Berdichev, Poland (now Ukraine) (1857). His parents had both died of tuberculosis by the time he was 12, so he went to live with his uncle in Switzerland and later joined the merchant navy, sailing all around the world and gathering experiences that he would later use in his novels and stories. The best known of these is Heart of Darkness(1899). It’s the story of an English riverboat captain in the Congo who is sent to retrieve an ivory trader, Kurtz, who has been living as a demigod among the African natives. The novella has been adapted several times, beginning with Orson Welles’ radio production in 1938. The most famous adaptation moved the novella’s action from Africa to southeast Asia and set the story during the Vietnam War: Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film, Apocalypse Now.

(Source: NPR Writers Almanac) 

Interesting side note: According to my European Civ professor, Joseph Conrad is not considered a Polish writer by the Poles. It is essential for the Poles that a writer write in Polish to be truly ‘Polish’. So although he was born in Poland (or what was Poland at the time) and lived in Warsaw, the fact that he wrote in English makes him ‘not Polish.’ Just thought I would share! Have a great day!

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
—  Shylock
From The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
12 December - Literary Calendar - Mason West Web Pages

12 December – Literary Calendar – Mason West Web Pages

Today is Friday, 12 December 2014. Birthdays:

Gustave Flaubert (1821, Rouen)

Ahmad Shamloo (1925, Tehran) Howard E. Koch (1901, New York City, New York)Christian Dotremont (1922, Tervuren)

Erasmus Darwin (1731, Elston Hall, ) Paul Elmer More (1864, St. Louis)

Yasujirō Ozu (1903, Tokyo)

Vasily Grossman (1905, Berdichev) Hans Keilson (1909, Bad Freienwalde)

Patrick O’Brian(1914,…

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