Behold: Junk. Junk junk junk. This is the Hamilton Beach Dual-Brew K-Cup Compatible Programmable Auto-Shutoff Crap Maker of Coffee, model number CRP/JNK-666, and I got it because my wife wanted to have one (1) cup of coffee in the morning when she gets up early for work, and I like to put on a pot and grapple with it for a while. It arrived on November 9, and the moment I took it out of the box I noted its light construction. In a coffeemaker, that usually means “made so cheap the Chinese factory manager would go home at night and silently weep out of shame that he could not get a contract for a better quality product, perhaps one of those espresso makers; the container for the grounds could be used as a murder weapon if swung with sufficient force.) I noted that the words PRESS DOWN, permanently painted on the part you had to press down to puncture the K-Cups, seemed to smear almost immediately, suggesting they were meant to rub off over time. I noted that it shut off after two hours, and you couldn’t alter that.

But the coffee was acceptable, and hey, the part where you take the pot out and it keeps brewing but doesn’t dribble all over the hot plate? That worked.

It took six weeks for that part to break; now when the pot was removed mid-brew it peed all over the hot plate. There were a few times when the K-cup part didn’t work, but we figured we were doing something wrong. Even though I knew we weren’t.

Well, today it made half a pot, and stopped. It gurgled and sighed and labored hard to do something, but no more water came out, even though the tank was half full. I let it cool down and started it again. It sighed and gurgled and a few drops came out, suggesting a stone in the urethra. Shut it off, let it cool down - unplugged it, even as if it needed to have its circuits reset - and go the same thing, which is to say, I got nothing in the way of coffee. Steam, though, boy, I had steam to spare. If this thing was meant to take the wrinkles out of a shirt, it would be top-notch. When the Titanic stopped in the ocean and blew the funnels less steam came out.

It’s broken. $79.00, and it didn’t last two months. I’ve never had a coffeemaker break down so fast. I’ve never had an appliance break down this fast. I have a flashlight from the fargin’ DOLLAR STORE that still works. I have a $20 emergency Mr. Coffee in the storage room that’s almost ten years old, and it will make coffee so fast it’s touching, and a bit off-putting; too needy. Too eager to please. But this idiot, this thing - I knew it! I knew it couldn’t handle doing both Pot and K-Cup without breaking down, and I still threw out the box, because the idea that it would cease to function and require me to go to the UPS and ship it back so they can send me a new one - well, it’s ridiculous. I don’t have the space for boxes, although if I was under Federal orders to buy a serious of Hamilton Beach products I would consider cleaning out a closet just to store the boxes, because it’s certain they would be needed.

So, here’s how the coffee-maker experience in life has shaped up thus far:

Cuisinart: solid, attractive, never failed to make coffee

Mr. Coffee: cheap, flimsy, plastic flavor, never failed to make coffee; another unit was stylish, slightly more expensive, never failed to make coffee but was retired for reasons I forget

De’Longhi: solid, classic styling, makes marvelous espresso in the blink of an eye, approved by my French Brother-in-Law

Hamilton Beach: not cheap, does two things right up until it doesn’t do either, BREAKS IN TWO MONTHS.

We now begin the Customer Satisfaction Watch, which includes some tweets tomorrow. I’ve no doubt they’ll tweet back an apology and the number of Customer Service. (I called it. They’d gone home.) No, I don’t want to send it in for a repair. I want my money back. I’ll note this: when I followed Hamilton Beach on twitter, I noted two people I also follow who follow them, and instantly concluded: they’d bought something and had it break, too.

Correction: it's the Hamilton Beach 49983 2-Way FlexBrew Coffemaker. That's for the Google spiders.



Today: an ad that shows the virtues of the great post-war passenger airplane, the Super Constellation. You could go to the wikipedia entry:

The L-1049E was more successful; 28 were delivered to eight airlines. Similar to the L-1049C, the L-1049E was able to carry the same load as the L-1049D. The L-1049C and L-1049E could not usually fly Europe to New York nonstop against the wind. Lockheed thought of fitting a new variant based on the L-1049E with more powerful engines, but the project was cancelled. A different variant surfaced: using the L-1049C as a base, R-3350-972-TC18DA-3 turbo-compound engines were fitted.

It’s possible that was written by an aviation enthusiast with an astonishing grasp of technical detail, and it’s possible that’s what people really want to know about the plane. Or:

A living room in the sky. It’s the map that drew my eyes, since I’d seen it in a recent book about Northwest Airlines’ history - and then, days later, saw it in this ad.

The very image of mid-century technological boon, offered with style and grace and beauty. O to be numbered among the carefree moderns, standing tall, judging your drunk sister harshly.
The spacious galley, shown here in a cutaway view that required sawing the plane in half, lengthwise:

First class, proving that the rich are not always the happy ones:

Another view - it doesn't seem to have the couch and table.

Second class: no on has carry-on luggage.

Rear class. Two seats - not because they were bigger, but because the plane narrowed at the tail. Yes, I know it's not called Rear Class.

I would have loved to have flown during this era, but of course I would have loved to have done anything during this era, except get sent to Korea in December. On the other hand, the list of crashes for the Connie is rather extensive, and reminds you that planes used to go down with much greater frequency than today. And this was expensive, too. I’m not one of those people who complains about modern air travel; I still think it’s a miracle.

Finally, you may enjoy this documentary: Arthur Godfrey flies the Super-Constellation. It’s all about the pilots’ experience, and as far as I can tell has little, if anything, on the interior. Most of the documentaries up on YouTube ignore the interiors. A parting from the insufferable ol’ redhead who defines, for me, "fauxvuncular."

Seven seconds:


Updates on the right - restaurant interiors! Oh boy. Probably no work blog; column & a video to shoot. See you around.



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