AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

2013-12-22 The Electronic Crybaby

Share on:
batteries

This ran in the Perspective section of the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, 12/22/2013.

I don’t want to seem too picky, but this year, please don’t give me anything with a battery. Even if batteries are not included.

It is 3 a.m. and after an hour of searching, I am exasperated. Something with a battery somewhere in the house is crying for a change like a child with dirty diapers. And I can’t find it.

I slipped out of bed trying not to wake my wife. I fumbled through my dresser drawer. My mobile phone is off. I don’t think my laptop beeps when it is expiring, but I checked anyway. Digital cameras don’t beep, do they? I took the battery out just to be sure. It’s not my new wireless keyboard and mouse is it? Nope. Is it that newfangled digital oven thermometer that tells me when my brisket is ready. Nope.

I find my way to my wife’s purse. I never touch her purse, but tonight I must grope it in the dark. It is cold and fearsome in there, but I eventually fish out the Crackberry her boss issued her. It glows green as I squint at it without my glasses. I don’t know how to tell if their batteries are low so I stand there slipping out of consciousness waiting to hear a beep. I hear it, but it does not come from my hand.

I head for her desk and I smash my toes against a chair that is not in its usual spot. My wrist in my mouth barely muffles my curses and my wife calls out to ask if I am alright. “Does it sound like I’m alright?” I turn on the room lights now that she is awake. I musta really hollered. Normally she is immune to things that go beep in the night. She can even sleep through the car alarms that wail during thunderstorms. Does anyone call the police when they hear a car alarm anymore? Did she leave her personal phone on (yes she has two phones)? She can’t remember, so I check. Is it her iPad? Nope.

I am narrowing the possibilities. There are wireless landline phones scattered around the house, often left on the sofa away from their charging cradle and the juice of life. How many times have I told her to put them back? How many times has she told me? Tonight they are not guilty and neither are we.

I stand beneath the kitchen smoke alarm for a few minutes until I hear the plaintiff electronic blip mock me again. Not this smoke alarm. Nor is it the radio frequency thermometer transmitting the temperature on the side of the garage to the receiver in the kitchen so I know what coat to wear.

It must be a smoke alarm upstairs. Even with the lights on I get a faceful of spider webs in the attic. I repeat the ritual of standing under the alarm waiting to hear a beep. And there it is! But it is coming from below me. Waaaaay below me. It must be in the basement.

I descend two flights and check the basement alarm and the crawl space alarm, but neither wants a new battery tonight. I am stumped. I cannot imagine what it could be. I hear it again. Behind me. I begin the process of triangulation. I walk slowly in the direction of the sound until I hear it again. I correct course like a bloodhound on the scent. I finally find myself in the furnace room and remember the carbon monoxide detector I put there so long ago that it is old enough to vote. I stare at it. It mocks me with a high pitched electronic laugh. I rip it off the wall and open its belly to discover that it needs a special battery. I will pick one up tomorrow.

After I finish this letter I will go to the living room and open a real book, not a Kindle. It needs no batteries, and neither do I. I am wired, and I will be up all night.

Meathead

Published On: 9/5/2012 Last Modified: 4/19/2021

Share on:
  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

 

Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts