I have a toaster, see? And the toaster goes up to seven. Seven what, I don’t rightly know, but seven is the number up to which it goes.

Now, at this high setting, everything burns; I suspect that even asbestos and depleted uranium would burn at seven in my toaster. It seems that the only useful settings are from three to five, and all other settings are of no interest unless you happen to be testing materials for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

The basic question is: why does the thing have a setting that scorches to a crisp every substance known to man when all I want from it is some edible toast?

What I would like, in fact, is a toaster from my childhood. A toaster where the top setting will give you nice toast and no other setting is required. And where the latch catches with a satisfying “clunk” sound.

You know what I mean, right? Not one of those fancy magnetic latches that only hold the bread down when the toaster is plugged in. Don’t ask me why I want a latch that works even when the toaster isn’t plugged in, I just do. Probably because I find that solid mechanical “clunk” very satisfying. And probably because I strongly suspect that mechanical latches were phased out in favour of magnetic ones about 20 years ago because they were cheaper to manufacture.

Well fuck that, I want one anyway: an antiquated, simple, tough piece of technology that does one job, and does it well. When exactly did we stop making things like that, eh? And, may I further enquire, why? Bloody iPhones, if you ask me.

And yes, don’t worry, we will get back to the priests shortly, I promise.

/ paddy


27 thoughts on “Toastermancer

  1. Simple, tough piece of technology. Being constantly harassed by my computer, which I do not understand at all (and I never will, because I’m too uninteresed and/or lazy to have the patience to find out anything about it, and thus let myself be harassed instead, year in and year out), I sort of hark back to the golden age of contraptions that you could actually understand.

    On the other hand, I also hark back to the wonderful future that never was. The future was so much better in the past, and the future technology so immensely much more charming, at least in most cases.

    I’m going to do something that I very seldom do, namely post a link. Should any of you want to waste some time on the wonderful future that never was, here you go:

    Drive a hard,

      • Paddy K:

        “How ironic, that the first link you post to me, is one that I already have in my blog-roll…”

        I must admit to laughing out loud at my own pathetic ineptitude! :-)))

        You know, I don’t check links myself… I read your blog posts. And that’s it…

        But I will certainly check your blog-roll in future, should I ever get it into my head to give you a link to another blog again.

        By the way, I don’t actually *read* Paleo-Future. I check it out and look at a few charming futures a couple of times a year or so…

        All the best,

  2. I’ve never heard of those magnetic latches before. Maybe that part of the future just hasn’t reached CPH yet… or – wait – maybe my toaster is simply… OLD?

  3. I like old toasters too, a toaster REALLY shouldn’t come with instructions and SETTINGS. Please. Defrost – heat – burn it to smithereens, that’s all I need.

  4. The world began to go to hell with the invention of the automatic choke for automobiles. They were the invention of the devil. The first vehicle I got with an automatic choke was a 4WD something or other decades ago. I immediately took it to a repair shop and had them install a manual choke. It voided the warranty, of course, but the manual choke never failed.

    • As products become more “mass-market” they become more stupid so that the idiots out there won’t hurt themselves. Now, if I know what a choke did (as I don’t have a car) I might be able to agree with you better.

  5. In all fairness, the magnetic latch does have one thing going for it: if you try to make toast when the toaster is unplugged, you will know it immediately, as opposed to five minutes later. Whether this added convenience suffices to compensate for the loss of the satisfying “clunk” is of course another question.

  6. Chokes don’t do anything on cars any more. They’ve been replaced by fuel injection systems that use computer chips to control the fuel/air mixture. When the computers rise up and slay us all, automobiles will be at the forefront of the slaughter.

  7. As long as they don’t computerise the toaster too much, you should be happy, Paddy. My brother has a car that had a big problem with the engine for half a year or so. None of the repair shops he sent it to could find the problem, because the computerised faultseeker always pointed out some different, nonexisting cause. Eventually it turned out that the workshops that couldn’t find the cause of the trouble had a faultseeker which was translated into another language than the car producer’s, and pointed the wrong way… He was told later, that if the faultseeker starts pointing out a lot of weird faults, probably nothing is wrong except a weak battery…

    So you just wait until computerised fault codes for toasters… “Fault code 034: wet hands on dial; – rectify – Fault code 011: wrong placement (open side up) – rectify – Fault code 114: wooden butter knife stuck: whack toaster upside down to empty”…

    Anyway, I think I know why the toaster has a setting that “scorches to a crisp every substance known to man”. You remember the kind of dessert you could make once microwawe ovens became popular? Like cold ice cream with steaming strawberry jam inside. *snick* go your teeth into little splinters… I think it’s the same thinking here. Take a stone frozen piece of bread, set the toaster to Power Scorch, take it out five seconds later, and get a bread with a perfectly toasted surface and an inside lukewarm enough that you don’t burn the roof of your mouth.


  8. Your toaster reminds me of my radio alarm clock. Its volume dial rotates something like 540 degrees. 2 degrees near the middle are a nice comfortable listening volume. 269 are silence. 269 are WAY TOO FUCKING LOUD.

  9. paddyK :
    I often make toast directly from frozen bread, and it still burns. Still makes no sense.

    You have to set the manual mode enabler to “on”. Then ocularly supervise the toaster and the bread continuously. When you can see that the bread is correctly toasted, take it out of the toaster. That’s all.


  10. I must admit to laughing out loud at my own pathetic ineptitude! :-)))

    Further evidence of my ineptitude. I just became “moviehead” – which is part of the address to my blog, where I review movies – instead of Bellis. Because all of a sudden my info didn’t pop up automatically when I clicked “Reply”, so I filled it in again. And I *did* write “Bellis” where I was supposed to write my name… I think … and just added the web site-address where I was asked to do so.

    One more example not only of my ineptitude, by the way, but of how the computers are slowly taking over…! Just you wait, all of you. Paddy’s toaster and the various cars discussed in this tree of comments are just the beginning.

    Next step: the computers steal our identities and replace them with parts of the addresses to our web sites! Soon we will all have gone completely digital!


  11. There’s a good reason for the top setting on the toaster, which is 7 on mine also, and that is to cook frozen potato waffles. In fact, they are so cold, that you need to do them two times at this heat. It’s the only way to cook waffles, cos they go to an oily mush on a frying pan and fossilise into some kind of brick under the grill.

    • My toaster can’t wrap it’s little metal mouths around your frozen potato waffles and yet it still can burn toast into slabs of pure carbon. So I’m still sticking to my theory that the highest setting is there to identify crazies escaped from the mental hospital so that you can quietly report them to the authorities.

  12. This is getting us way off track. Who are these freaks who are eating burnt toast charcoal?? I’ve never known any weirdo like that who set their toast that high (and maybe that’s why I haven’t been murdered so far).

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