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Do you like volleyball? Look at the folks in this Bacardi advert- from 1979. They’ve given up on the volleyball and are about to succumb to alcoholism. If you’ve ever spent an hour in 40 degree heat trying to batter an old football over a saggy net, spending most of the time falling on your ass blinded by sweat and chewing sand you’ll understand the temptation to reach for the bottle.
When in 1895 William G. Morgan of Holyoke (Mas.) YMCA devised Mintonette as an indoor game to rival basketball, it was rather devoid of glamour. Beach volleyball evolved in the 1920’s amongst the surfers of Hawaii, soon spreading to California. (For more on the history of beach volleyball…)

This picture shows an early beach volleyball gathering in Hawaii:

Here we see actress and model Greta Thyssen with Gene Selznick and Bernie Holtzman, winners of the 1957 state beach open, Santa Monica, California.

Impromptu games resembling volleyball were a feature of Kartoshka family vacations back in the day.

In the above pic are a very young Pa Kartoshka, Maria – Bethania, one of Uncle Carlos’ innumerable ‘step children’, and the man himself- Carlos Alberto Dos Santos, aka Uncle Carlos.
These days of course, the beach volleyball is notable for the way in which male fans turn out in large numbers purely to show their appreciation for the athletic prowess of the female competitors:

This reminds me of Uncle Carlos- he said his third wife left him when he complained that her stockings were wrinkled. How was I to know she wasn’t wearing stockings? he mused…

Well, here in the northern hemisphere summer is well and truly upon us. João is brushing down his summer wardrobe ready for the pleasures of the months ahead…

I’ll hopefully get enough time away from my desk to catch some rays poolside with Mrs K.

The only problem with these snappy shorts- where do you keep your pipe? And what’s the appeal of the poolboy?

Seriously though, It would be nice to see a return to the age of elegance in swimwear.


Is Wisconsin the flattest state in the Union?

Designed by Dante Giacosa , The Fiat 500 (cinquecento)was launched as the Nuova 500 in July 1957. Measuring only 3 meters in length, and powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 is considered one of the first city cars.

In 2007 Fiat launched a similar looking, retro-styled car, the Fiat Nuova 500.

Mrs Kartoshka’s birthday is coming soon- all contributions in US dollars please…


The blue-and-silver Walkman TPS-L2 (the first commercially available Walkman) went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979.

This magazine ad comes from June 1980 (in the UK the Walkman was known as The Stowaway).It was not cheap (around £100, with a second set of headphones costing around £15 extra- the average weekly wage in the UK in 1980 was £110)

Good advice for the people of The Soviet Union! Smoke Cigarettes suggests the poster.


The ЗАЗ-968 Zaporozhets was produced from 1972 to 1980. Here is the charming ЗАЗ-968A, featuring a smaller engine and intended, it would seem, for the female driver.
Note: Since I wrote the above Mrs Kartoshka has informed me that the ЗАЗ-968 A was usually the car of older people, and that women drivers in the Soviet Union were not a common sight outside of Moscow and Leningrad.

Fondly remebered in the former Soviet Union as a ‘peoples’ car’ the ЗАЗ-966 was produced from 1966-1974 in Soviet Ukraine at Запорізький автомобілебудівельний завод(Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant).

Closely resembling the Hillman Imp and the NSU Prinz 4, the rear mounted engine gave rise to many jokes:

The factory that produces Zaporozhets has started to produce Televisions. The TV’s are fine, work like normal ones, but the screens are at the back…

The second in our series was an actual real life cowboy, Mr Clarence Hailey Long, Jr (1910-1978). C.H. Long tasted fame in 1949, when LIFE magazine published a series of Leonard McCombe photographs on ranching in the American West.
The series inspired the folks at Philip Morris & Co., who were looking for a new image for their Marlboro cigarettes, originally intrioduced in 1924 as a womens’ brand. The masculine image of the ruggedly handsome cowboy was seen as being the ideal way to appeal to male smokers.
In 1955 Mr. Long was offered a $20,000 annual contract to advertise beer. He gained the admiration of his friends in the Baptist Church by declining the deal.

It is worth noting that Mr Long, like most cowboys, smoked hand rolled cigarettes.

Moderation!