So a pinball game you always see, at least if you play seriously and all over the place, is Cyclone. It's got a carnival/amusement-park/roller-coaster theme. It's a good bit of fun, although as a late solid state game it's also frustrating. No multiball, a lot of really tight shots, not quite the hardware to support a complicated ruleset. There's a dot-matrix display game that followed up on it, Hurricane. I'd thought that one obscure, but it's not so much so. That may be just luck, though. One of the Lansing-area pinball operators has it, so it's available, and we see it at shows a good bit. It's another fun game, although it's not quite a first-rate game. Still. These are both sequels of sorts, though, to Comet. That was an early solid-state (although at the transition from early to late solid-state games), and it was everywhere in the 80s and Like 1990. It's nowhere now. Seriously, just nobody has it. We never see it at tournaments. It's never at pinball museums. We never see it at expos like the Pinball At The Zoo, where half of Michigan brings their tables. Even the VFW Ann Arbor Pinball Hall of Fame hasn't got it, and that guy has everything.
We didn't even see it at Pinburgh. It wasn't in any of the tournament banks. We didn't remember it as being a catastrophically bad game. Nor did we remember it having any of the significant rule flaws that keep, say, Bugs Bunny's Birthday Bash out of competitive play. (It's possible in that game to swap scores with another player, or to make another player lose points, and randomly. This makes for good clowning around with friends play, but infuriating competitive play.)
But ... bunny_hugger saw a note on one of the pinball maps. A place called Paesano's Pizza was reported to have the game in July of 2015. The comment said it was out of order that day, but the game was ``right in the window so it's easy to check if it's working as you walk by''. Not much of a lead. A malfunctioning game in a pizza parlor two years ago? The chance that it was removed, or even that the pizza place was gone, seemed high. But it was a lead for a rare game and worth investigating.
We hadn't yet made a trip into Traverse City proper during our visit. We drove through it on the way to Omena, but we hadn't stopped or seen any of the sights or wandered its main drag or anything. We always do that. Friday would be the day bunny_hugger and I spent in town, taking in what is an impressively big tourist site. And we had a specific goal for the day.
Although ... we didn't go directly there, for some reason. We stopped along the way in Suttons Bay for reasons I'm not sure about. Possibly just this: there was a tiny strip mall with a Radio Shack in it. It was still there, after even the holdout Radio Shack in Lansing had put a Sprint Wireless store sign over its front. We had to investigate that curiosity. (We must have had some other reason to stop in the city. Maybe getting lunch?)
The Radio Shack had a sidewalk ``ultimate clearance sale'', for once maybe using the word ``ultimate'' literally. It had a rack of ``miscellaneous cables'', $2.00. A table of stuff on clearance for 80 percent off the ticketed price, wireless microphones and ancient monitors and very old routers and the like. A car alarm that ``installs in minutes!'' and requires no tools. Also a popcorn machine out front, which, great. We poked inside and it was everything we might have hoped for: they had a bunch of Maxell blank VHS tapes on sale. (8-hour tapes, too!) We were moved and thought, well, is there anything in here we might legitimately buy for more than a souvenir of a dead brand? Well, there was some speaker cable. That's not likely to spoil and we have a vague project in mind of fixing some speaker wires that were chewed up by rabbits gone by. So we got a spool of that.
... And then it was all spoiled by, of course, the Future Disgraced Former President. Or specifically one of the employees, who was talking about how ridiculous it was and why don't they leave him alone? And before we could pretend there was any ambiguity about who the ``him'' was, the employee said something about these Moscow allegations were just absurd. The other employee didn't challenge this, in what was either agreement or just the knowledge that if you let this brand of crazy go rambling on long enough he'll eventually putter to a stop.
Still. We weren't going to buy stuff we didn't really need with that kind of talk going on, so we put the speaker wire back and left a Radio Shack for what's got to be the last time ever. Ahead of us: Traverse City and, perhaps, a suspiciously rare pinball machine.
Trivia: On 24 October 1867 Louis Pasteur was promoted to his mentor (and discoverer of bromine) Antoine Jérôme Balard's chair at the Sorbonne. Source: Louis Pasteur, Patrice Debré, Translated by Elborg Forster.
Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer. The title page includes the first edition's title, The Concepts of the Calculus.
PS: More at Bronner's!
Though Bronner's has its specialties they don't just do Christmas ornaments. Here's some of what they offer for Halloween, and at that, just the things for setting up a miniature Halloween town.
Or if you're feeing like building your own little SimCity here's a bunch of fine businesses, including your classic sidewalk-style movie palace, a church, the Chrysler Building, and on the right your Edward Hopper painting of quietly accepted urban loneliness.
And from the Thanksgiving assembly: cornucopias with either large mice or small squirrels together. And a bunch of other autumnal-harvest sorts of things that are quite attractive but not quite right.