These days all you have to do to make coffee, listen to music or buy anything is push a button. On a machine. Life's become easier and cheaper -- but not better.
The first sacrifice of this ease is quality. Compressed digital music files are vastly inferior to vinyl recordings whose warmth and fullness is palpable. Coffee-pods made a year ago lack the freshness of newly-ground beans. And the real motivation behind most of these "improvements" is to make products cheaper and thus more profitable.
But things are lost. Not only quality but something equally important -- romance. Personal involvement. When you work to make something, you appreciate it more. Brewing coffee from scratch, putting a record on a turntable is effort that involves you in the process of creation, a joy unappreciated until it's lost.
Why all this nostalgia from an old guy? Because I just discovered a pleasure of my youth is still available -- Jiffy Pop
You can still make popcorn by shaking a Jiffy Pop container on the stove or over a fire. Instead of pushing a button on the microwave, you actively shake the container until it magically grows and grows and becomes a dome of delicious food. The process is fun for kids and, I just discovered, fun for adults.
I assumed Jiffy Pop must have disappeared decades ago but, no, it's still here. You can buy it in supermarkets for about $2 a container. I bought some last week and am re-living my youth.
Have you ever eaten Jiffy Pop?