Cuisinart Toaster Brings Fire to Breakfast

Last Friday our Cuisinart toaster (model CPT-120) caught on fire.

Cuisinart model CPT-120 toaster fire

fire extinguisher type B-CFortunately we had not wandered too far from the kitchen and realized that the crackling sounds were not those of burning toast. Even more fortunate was the fire extinguisher at hand to douse the flames that had already burned a good portion of the plastic housing along one side of the toaster adjacent to the electronics inside. But, the bread was barely warm!

Here is a close up of the burn zone.

Cuisinart model CPT-120 toaster fire burn zone

Cuisinart model cpt-120 toaster fire crumbtrayYou may be thinking that this fire was caused by sloppy housekeeping here. But, in fact the crumb tray had been cleaned within the last month and this picture of the crumb tray clearly shows no evidence of fire. It didn’t get started there. From the location of the fire right where all of the electrical components are, the obvious conclusion is bad design and/or manufacturing by Cuisinart.

I sent off an email with a picture to Cuisinart last Friday. Still no reply from them.

Saturday morning we went shopping for a replacement toaster. This time we bought a model by Hamilton Beach that has an all metal housing instead of the obviously flammable plastic housing.

By the way, if you want to replicate this experience at your house, the very same Cuisinart toaster is for sale at Lowe’s where we bought ours.

Fire Extinguisher Is Handy

fire extinguisher type B-C-closeup of label

One lesson is clear – the value of having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen ready to go. make sure it is one designed for the kitchen environment.

 

Seeking Independent Financial Planner

We are planning to implement a retirement funds management system based on John C. Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. At this point in our lives we are focused on achieving the lowest possible investment costs and market average returns.

To kick this off, and provide annual advice, we are seeking an independent financial advisor. This person must have the expected financial planner certifications, work on a fee only basis, and understand that we will not buy any financial products from them nor retain them to manage assets. We only want to pay for their expert advice. The advisor does not have to be local to Hudson, NY. We are happy with videoconferencing.

Though the Bogle strategy is straight forward, visits to companies like Vanguard and Fidelity reveal a surprising number of choices. These need to be sorted out. In addition, we need to understand better the mechanics of withdrawing money from funds, tax issues, and probably other matters not currently visible to us. Based on our current investment strategy we have a good starting point for the distribution of funds between equities and bonds.

If you meet the minimum requirements set forth in the second paragraph, contact me at mark@markorton.com

 

Mr. Wonderful Goes Vertical

Jefferson stand up desk from monticello.org

Jefferson stand up desk from monticello.org

A week ago, Karen, always finding ways to improve my life, sent me a link to a New York Times article “Don’t Just Sit There” criticising our sedentary lifestyles. Turns out that our ritual of 2 3/4 mile walks are insufficient. All of the time spent shifting from one gluteus maximus to the other in front of the computer and on the phone has such negative effects that I might as well forgo the walks and have another donut. Continue reading

English Letter Frequency – Redux

Back on September 15, 2010 I wrote a little piece, “Frequency – Scrabble and the actual frequency of letter usage in English”, about what seemed to me to be a puzzling mis-match between the number of tiles in Scrabble and my superficial sense of the frequency of occurrence of letters in English.  While I was away in Hong Kong in December, I received the following email note from David T. Wong, Continue reading