I bought another Keurig K-cup machine a while ago, because wife and daughter like the convenience. It broke today. Like the one we had before. I hate this company. They take my money and give me junk.

If I had to guess, I’d say the conversation went like this at the Keurig Home Office:

Junior Exec: So we’re getting lots of reports of failure on a particular model.

Senior Exec: Is it the same failure as the other model?

JE: Yes . . . and no. Yes in the sense that it doesn’t make any coffee, no in the sense that we think it might be connected to the pump, and yes in the sense that it was also the pump on the other one.

SE: Stop with the mealy-mouthed gobbledy-gunk and bottom-line me! I’m busy!

JE: Sorry sir sorry. Here. (Hands senior executive a thick sheaf of printouts of Amazon reviews.) There’s a lot of 1 star reviews for the K-15, because it seems to die earlier than it should.

SE: What was the projected failure date out of the box?

JE: We had the unit expiring after a year and a month, which seems to be the optimal period for people thinking they’ve had it a long time and gotten good use out of it, and could possibly blame themselves for using it too much, or not running vinegar through it every fortnight. But it’s dying after three months, as you can see. Here - (hands him a chart) you can see the most common date listed for failure, and it’s about 12 weeks.

SE: Hmm. Do we know why?

JE: Well, sir, it’s a cheap piece of junk. A third of the units failed in testing, but we decided that the number of people who would be soured on the Keurig brand was surprisingly small. Many were vocal about their anger, but if you look at some of the highlighted reviews, there’s a recurring line - this was their second Keurig, their third. People seem to keep buying them even after they break prematurely.

SE: We have data on this, right?

JE: We do. It turns out that most people have a box of K-cups in the cupboard, and regard that as an investment that will go to waste if they do not buy another K-cup machine. The alternatives do not look sufficiently stylish, and do not flatter the consumer’s self-conception. They’re Keurig people, not Mr. Coffee people. People say they will never buy one again after the third one breaks, but there’s no actual evidence that they do this.”

SE: So what’s the problem?

JE: I’m getting to that. The last batch of K-15s was different, and was a targeted, focus-tested attempt to keep consumers involved with the brand after the fiasco of the other machine’s unacceptable failure rate. Unacceptable to them, I mean! Ha ha. We rolled out a line in designer colors. Chili Red, Oasis, and so forth. It did very well. But now those are failing.

SE: Did we put up websites that appear to be from other disinterested consumer groups, telling people to poke the coffee nozzle with a pin?

JE: Yes sir.

SE: Did they tell people to use distilled water?

JE: It’s strongly implied.

SE: So what’s the problem?

JE: We’ve run of effective colors. We did focus groups with people who’d bought several Keurigs and had them die prematurely, and they were unmoved by new color options.

SE: (nods in silence) Do we know what the problem is?

JE: They didn’t like Sage.

SE: No, the problem with the machine.

JE: Ah sorry well, yes; it’s made cheaply from parts that fail often.

SE: (nods in silence) And it turns out that’s a problem.

JE: Yes sir.

SE: Well, go with the new colors.

JE: Sir?

SE: Sage is one of my wife’s favorite colors. I think. That’s one of the greens, right? Call it Desert Sage. Is there a blue? Just call it “Lagoon.”



Watching ST: TNG reminds me what I miss about the 90s: the presumptions. I don’t know how else to put it, exactly, but there’s this underlying sense that this is the rational, confident, technologically resplendent age that will arise. I suppose that comes from all the clients being bipeds and speaking English. But it’s the way the Enterprise seems like an indisputable fact when the show begins, this object of great size and heft streaking through the stars; surely it’s just one of many. Everything’s going well, and has been for some time. Everyone’s pretty much on the same page, at least when it comes to values and the importance of slight variations in clothes and noses.

Except for the Borg, but they’re waaaay out there. Oh crap here they are

The Borg were one of the more aliens species, but even so, they weren’t that alien. The talking lava-pile in “Spectre of the Gun” was more alien. Species 8472, the ones from Fluidic Space in Voyager, were more alien. Everyone else is just someone from another country. I watched an ep where they deal with Cardassians - one of the first, if not they first; it has Gul Dukat except he’s someone else. The Enterprise has to find a rogue starship that’s blowing up Cardy ships and outposts, and of course the captain is in the wrong, but in the end he’s in the right, but his methods were off the books. Starfleet was all about doing things by the book, and that was also a thing of its time. It also made Picard look incredibly stupid quite often, because he seemed to assume the best of people he should have regarded with deep suspicion. Welcome aboard, Cardassian partners in peace; our treaty is very important, so you have the run of the ship. Durr.

Anyway. I loved the show at the time, and have great fondness for it, although there are really only 20 or so shows I’d watch again. DS9 is the best Trek; Voyager had some remarkable episodes, and as I’ve said over and over again, Enterprise is so much better than most “fans” say.

Anyway, I saw something that made me sit up. Well, I was already sitting up. I straightened. Actually I didn't move at all, but merely raised my eyebrows. (Maybe.) Then I did get up to take a picture.

Do you see it?

Wasn't the Enterprise always going left to right, to indicate it was heading OUT INTO SPACE?

How many episodes showed the ship in reverse, and we didn't know because our TVs were low-res and smaller?




It’s 1974.

Oh, we loved this airline.

We really did. Because of the bird, and because it was our other airline. We had Northwest Orient (gonnnnnggggg) Airline, but North Central was the little scrappy can-do airline with the goose, and we were sad when it was folded into Republic. It wasn’t ours anymore.

The ad underplays its true meaning, and possibly for good reason. Ooooh, another flight to Grand Forks? That’s awesome

An ad:

Just to give you that '74 - or, in this case, '73 - feeling, a give minute promotional video. The shots inside the cabin seem to be filmed through a cigarette haze.

That office interior! The computers!


We think we have it hard, but in 1972 they had CRISIS LIVING, as well as the high cost of LIVING IN CRISIS.

The unfeeling, callous bastard:

“No wax” and “no black heel scuffs” are things no one talks about anymore, but man, scuffing was a problem. And waxing was a pain.

Holly Hobby, the early or possibly unlicensed reproduction years:

Spring Gate Center was, and is, your basic strip mall - but it has a Lunds & Byerlys, which is the best grocery store in the area. The Fingerprint Lady doesn’t show up anymore, though.


Tater Daze had a Groovy Barker:


It had to be Daze, didn’t it? Couldn’t be Days. Why Taters, though? From the town’s website:

Brooklyn Park Tater Daze is a unique festival where residents pay homage to the humble potato. Early settlers discovered that potatoes flourished in the flat, sandy soil of the area; this area then went on to become one of the nation's top potato producers. Despite the Great Depression, drought and urbanization, Brooklyn Park has shown its strength as a community willing to work together and make our city a welcoming place for everyone.

The first Tater Daze festival in 1964 saw a variety of exciting events, including a queen pageant, Tater Mash Dance, kite flying, a parade, games, a farmer's market, rides and a pancake breakfast. The prizes given away that weekend included gasoline, free groceries, cash and 420-pound bags of potatoes donated by local growers.

It’s still a thing.

This doesn't look comfy.

Not be outdone by Spring Gate Center:

Village North Shopping Center - another first-ring suburb strip mall. But nice. The sign was so very, very late 60s / early 70s. That lantern thing.

Detail: peculiar deformities plagued the children of the northern suburbs.


“Oh, you know what I mean. Not sex! Not sex stuff at all. Silly billy.”

Thank you for your patronage! See you tomorrow.


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