I am more than happy to find myself in a restaurant that has "Tandoor" or "Tandoori" in its name, because it means I can have something else. Vindaloo. I live for a good searing scalp-dampening vindaloo. This weekend while wife and daughter were out shopping I suggested we meet for dinner at the Indian restaurant. I had suggested this to Wife the night before. I'd been thinking about it all day. Daughter texted back COOL but which one?

"Tandoor something," I texted. "Mom knows where it is.'

U R making that up

Sigh. Send her a link to the website. It's just Tandoor. I text: I will be there soon but if you get there first order a chicken vindaloo, medium.

You might ask why I would go medium; am I afraid of the fully operational power of the Hot Vindaloo? Yes. I've had it. Like sucking on a napalm nozzle, and it makes me sweat and weep. I am done with that. For a while I enjoyed it, even knowing the next day would leave me ashen and chastened. Now my scalp starts to moisten just thinking about it.

So I got there after they'd ordered, and we chatted about this and that, and then the meal arrived. A dish of some green spinachy goop for my wife; a coconut curry with vegetables for daughter; and -

HOLD ON, no, no, that's a plate of Tandoori chicken. And it was for me. They realized that they had done wrong. Daughter had blanked on my request, and my wife had stifled the suspicion she felt when daughter said I wanted Tandoori. I never got that. Why would I get that? Why? But here it was, the anti-vindaloo: dry gristly grey-meat painted orange, the opposite of the meal I had all the taste receptors lined up to enjoy.

You can't just look around the table and say "please tell me the sequence of events that led you to believe that this moistureless bird wad was what I wanted, even though it stands in contravention of every single Indian meal you've ever seen me enjoy, and betrays the specific instructions on the text. Do tell. I'm keen to hear." You could, but you can't, of course.

It was that kind of a day. Earlier I took Scout to the vet for his heartworm medication, and to have them look at his ears. He's been shaking them now and then, which might suggest an infection. The usual citizens in the waiting room - a big shambling dog boofing at everyone else, a tiny dog with a sweater trembling in fear, a box that issued meows. Scout was not nervous; unlike Jasper, who knew the score on this joint from the get-go and could not be mollified, Scout has not made the connection between VET and AVOID, and perhaps he never will. Jasper was a smart dog, uncannily so. Scout is a can of corn, compared, and that has its advantages. Jasper hated car rides, for example; he knew enough to know there was something seriously peculiar about the experience. Scout loves them. Anyway: he got lots of treats during the exam, then went back to the Room for an ear swab; they left him there while the results were tabulated. I heard him bark. He wasn't happy. But once they brought him back to the waiting room, he sat staring at the door that led to the examination rooms, because TREATS. Jasper would have had the leash taut with his nose on the glass door that led outside.

I'll give Scout this: he knows the big bottle with the earwash is the enemy. When I brought out the ear drops eight hours later, a much smaller bottle, he scurried. No sir no thank you none of that. He's a powerful hound, and would not submit until I grabbed his scruff and triggered the puppy-mother dominance code.

Afterwards he got ham and went outside and found some spot back in the trees he likes, and sulked. All was forgiven later. All will be repeated tomorrow when the white bottles come out again. He has no idea why we are doing this to him, even though we mean only the best. As I've said a hundred times: the relationship between man and dog is the relationship between man and God.

If I was inclined to think along these lines I'd think that's why we have dogs. Every element of your life with a dog is a lesson. Daughter, for example, loves Scout with all her heart. But she will leave him, too.

And he will greet her when she returns.

Anyway: Holy crow did he have ear crud. On a scale of 1 to 4 he was, like, Q. So we have to wash out his ear and give him drops. TEN to FIFTEEN drops. Twice a day. Dogs, like people, do not want to be held down and have cold liquids poured in their ears. I think we'll be lucky if we get two drops down. He is a powerful beast.


A classic. One of the best-selling tables in the history of pinball.

It was lauded for the art, which was controversial. Sort of.

Artist Dave Christensen included in the backglass several depictions of people doing things that, at first, escaped notice by Bally management. A small number of games with these so-called "X-rated" or "uncensored" backglasses made it through production before changes were required to be made. Specifically, small mirrored stars were added over the objectionable parts and, curiously, these stars did not effectively obscure the offending art in all instances. Nieman explained to us that he and Christensen wanted the correction to be as minimal as possible because they knew they had "a monster hit" on their hands. The X-rated version is often referred to as the "no stars" version even though all of the backglasses in the production run did contain a certain number of peripheral decorative stars anyway.

Tom Nieman, VP of Marketing for Bally Pinball, is depicted in the backglass as the man in the three-piece suit.

This couldn't be any more 70s. It is simply impossible.


Or is it this guy, doing a pretty good Christopher Walken? His tie says "King Kong," for some reason. He looks more like a marketing guy.



Probably the only pinball machine that snuck in a picture of Hitler:




After that last one, which finally got it right, you might think they'd follow up with something that played on their strengths. Well.

Yes, it's fish-out-of-water time again, again. Hey, folks, don't worry, it's not going to take place where it should:


The "boys" from Pine Ridge visit Europe and try to help a Yugoslavian ballerina find her American lover, become involved with French jewel thieves, and take on posh society in Monte Carlo.

It takes place in Yugoslavia. Opening shots:


Man, that's some riveting action right there.

They meet a girl who's unhappy. "I grannies," Lum says, "that's our next good neighbors theme. Bring that boy and girl back together."

I'll get to that in a second.

Then there's ballet. Five minutes into the movie, and there's a long ballet number. A Yugoslavian ballet. Because what everyone who liked the old fellows from Pine Ridge wants in a L & A movie is a Yugoslavian Ballet. Then they go on a road trip to . . .


Ha ha. They find themselves at someone's house toasting things with cliched Slavic gusto. Then there's this:



First of all, YUGOSLAVIA? Well, the US was sending Tito some long green from 1950 to '53. But you caught the bit about good will ambassadors? About knowing them from radio? The latter wasn't unusual; towards the end, Johnny Dollar was always running into people who'd heard his exploits on the radio, and in one ep Johnny had a mystery involving the guy who wrote the shows. It got rather meta. But I don't think this fellow isn't referring to the L & A show. He heard about the Good Will Ambassador. Add that to the earlier line: that's our next good neighbors theme.

But this is dropped in our laps without explanation. How are we expected to know why the devil they're goodwill ambassadors in Yuogslavia?

Because that was the premise of the TV show.

This "movie" is three episodes of a failed TV show. By 1956, the year this was released, the L & A story was almost over. The revamped radio show lasted about a year, and bang, they were done. Fifteen year run, over and done . . . except it wasn't. They came back in 1953 with a M-F run, but it ended in 1954. The next year they tried TV, and the idea must have been "Lum and Abner tour Europe as Good Will Ambassadors." The audience was supposed to know the premise from the credits, or something.

It feels like a 1956 TV show. Three episodes. Three plots. At the end, they break the bank at Monte Carlo, but learn that the only way they can get their $14 million is for the people to be taxed. This they don't want, so they pretend they think they're due $14.85. Crisis averted, good will all around. On the way out of the casino they run into an American who says "heard you broke the bank. That $14 million is taxable income," and Lum laughs and said "no one will know we got it." The man hands them a card.



This is how the entire L & A run comes to an end.

And this - this was a year later?

How fast they were forgotten, it seems.

That's it, except it's not: Matchbooks! See you around.



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