Tag: Soviet Union

Vintage Soviet Union (USSR) New Year’s Postcards, Vol. 2 (1960s)

Vintage Soviet Union (USSR) New Year’s Postcards, Vol. 2 (1960s)

Ephemera
I hope you enjoyed the first set of New Year's cards from the USSR of the 1950s, because we're moving on to the '60s. And while most of the imagery found in the '50s was brought over into the next decade, you can definitely see some more of the Space Age creeping in as well. As with the first set, all card scans courtesy Flickr user katya. Enjoy, and С Новым годом! (Happy New Year!) 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Vintage Soviet Union (USSR) New Year’s Postcards, Vol. 1 (1950s)

Vintage Soviet Union (USSR) New Year’s Postcards, Vol. 1 (1950s)

Ephemera
I guess I just always assumed that once the Communists came to power in Russia and the rest of what became the USSR, any holiday not linked directly to the Communist Party ceased to exist. But lo and behold, I stumbled upon a Flickr set of postcards from the Soviet Union celebrating New Year's, some of them dating back to the 1930s. What I find most fascinating about these cards is how for the most part they look like they could have come from the West. Most of them feature images of idyllic forest scenes, cityscapes, and smiling children. The more overt Soviet stuff pops up in the cards from the '60s, which I'll feature in the next post on this series. Let's look at some cards, and as they say in Russia, С Новым годом! (Happy New Year!) 1953 1954 (more…)
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 8 — Radiation Dummy

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 8 — Radiation Dummy

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I wasn't around to witness the fallout -- no pun intended -- of the Soviet Union's detonation of Tsar Bomba on October 30, 1961. It was and still is the biggest test of a nuclear weapon, in terms of explosive yield. It packed a destructive force approximately 1,400 times the combined power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. Needless to say, America was a little spooked. So in its November 10, 1961 issue, Life magazine ran a story on the bomb, and a companion piece on nuclear fallout. To demonstrate the effect of radiation on a human body, a plastic skeleton partially filled with fluorescent fluid was used. Here's the photo of the dummy used in the article: As the article explains, [the] thyroid gland in neck becomes a repository of iodine 131. Strontium 90 lodges in th
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 5 — 1950s Family Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 5 — 1950s Family Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Here's a totally fascinating and somewhat disturbing image from the early days of the Atomic Age and the Cold War (click for a larger copy). As you might be able to guess, this is a family nuclear fallout shelter, made out of steel and full of all the home comforts of 1950.  I spot two board games -- Life and Chutes & Ladders, a Reader's Digest book, a box of macaroni dinner, a block of Velveeta, some Ajax cleaner, and assorted other sundries. Why, in the event the Soviet Union ever drops the Big One I would expect to live comfortably in this thing for at least a week before going insane. (Source -- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center) Related articles July 16, 1945: Trinity Blast Opens Atomic Age (wired.com) Dinosaurs of the Atomic Age! (
Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Movies, Music
Few movies are more quintessentially '80s America than Rocky IV. It really is a masterclass in nationalistic cinematic propaganda not seen since the era of Sergei Eisenstein and a young USSR. Only in the heady days of the Reagan/Cold War era could a film depicting America (through its proxy, Rocky Balboa) as a plucky underdog be seen as somewhat credible. And if the simplistic political clichés weren't all bad enough, the Rocky IV story is so weak that Sylvester Stallone had the balls to stack two separate training montages right on top of each other. Together they account for nearly ten percent of the movie's run time, and that's not counting the other musical interludes or James Brown's performance of "Coming to America." I caught a showing of Rocky IV on cable a few weeks ago -- b
The 10 Deadliest Tornadoes in World History

The 10 Deadliest Tornadoes in World History

Featured Posts, Listcruft
In spite of all our technological advancements and so-called human ingenuity, we are ever at Mother Nature's mercy. 2011's deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri -- just one of many to strike the American Midwest that weekend -- is a stark reminder of that fact. In total, more than 1,000 tornadoes touched down in the U.S. in April 2011 -- the most active month on record. But while the U.S. is home to the most tornadoes on a yearly basis, advances in research and early detection have helped reduce the number of fatalities from twisters. As a result, the list of the 20 deadliest tornadoes (or tornado outbreaks) ever contains just five from the United States. Here are the full top ten. Some of these totals are estimates of course, owing to time or lack of properly published information. #1: D
Movies That Defined My Youth, Part 3

Movies That Defined My Youth, Part 3

Movies
Waaaay back in 2007 I looked back at five flicks that made a big impact on me during my formative years. The next year I ran through four more. And today I drag out another five. Let's reminisce! Better Off Dead (1985) — There is not one part of this movie that isn't 100% awesome, even more than 25 years later. This Savage Steve Holland masterpiece was perfectly cast and written, which makes its more surreal vignettes feel like integral parts of the movie instead of just absurd asides. It never really sunk in when I was a kid that this was a pretty dark film. Hell, the lead character (John Cusack as Lane Meyer) spends most of the it trying to kill himself. Over a breakup. Fortunately he fails and gets to see an Eddie Van Halen-esque hamburger wailing a Frankenstrat to "Everybody Wants S
Book report: The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism

Book report: The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism

Books
It's hard to imagine, especially for those of my generation or younger, but broadcast news was not always a wasteland of vacuous celebrity gossip, shallow political "analysis", or crude sensationalism.  There was in fact a time when the men and women who called themselves broadcast journalists were actually journalists first, broadcasters secondly.  A time when networks valued the insight and knowledge these broadcasters brought, with not nearly as much regard for profit. And for a period of almost 20 years starting in the late 1930s, there was one group of broadcast journalists more insightful, knowledgeable, professional, and popular than all others.  They were the Murrow Boys, started and led by the legendary Edward R. Murrow.  While most people still know his name, the names of the