Monday, August 06, 2012

So Long, Mr. Coffee

I'd been paying some attention to the voyage of Curiosity, but in the last few days only enough to know that the landing was supposed to be today. I figured I would check its progress through the day, but I hadn't noticed that the scheduled landing time was very early in the morning here in North America. So I slept through the Seven Minutes of Terror. I opened up Google News this morning and there they were: numerous stories about the successful landing, an astonishing bit of spacefaring by an unbelievably complicated set of machines.

Here on Earth, more specifically in my kitchen, a much simpler machine gave up the ghost today, our Mr. Coffee. Relatively simple, I have to add, because I understand that Mr. Coffee represents a nifty bit of engineering itself, one that revolutionized home coffee-making in the early '70s, and introduced young TV-watchers to Joe DiMaggio.

I don't have any opinion about the quality of Mr. Coffee coffee, since I don't drink coffee. But Yuriko seemed to like it. Often, late in the afternoon, I would use it to prepare her some coffee to drink after she returns from work. Today, I loaded it up with coffee grounds and water, and flipped the switch. The little green light went on, but other than that, nothing. Tried it a few more times: still nothing. Cleaned it out and tried again. Nothing.

There'd been nothing unusual about the appliance's performance lately or any strange noises. No hint that the end was near after what -- six or seven years on the job? (I can't really remember.) Mr. Coffee just up and died.

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