February 2, 2021

Never has there been such clear proof that I don't read every paragraph of the articles I blog about.

Yesterday, I blogged about "Pellet Ice Is the Good Ice" — a New Yorker article by Helen Rosner. I'd read the paragraph that said "industrial pellet ice machines are the size of dishwashers, and (like most heavy-duty restaurant appliances) can cost thousands of dollars." 

So when some commenters said they owned an ice-making machine called the G.E. Opal, I said: "But the main thing I'd like to know is whether this [ice] is the same thing the New Yorker writer is raving about." 

Freeman Hunt gave me this gentle nudge — "The writer seems to think so" —  and eventually I get around to looking back at the article. Well! The entire last paragraph — 201 words — is about the G.E. Opal... 
... a hulking countertop appliance that makes a pound of pellet ice per hour and, relative to its commercial counterparts, costs a mere four hundred and ninety-nine dollars....  The G.E. Opal was an absurd purchase, unnecessary and indefensible. But it brings me the good ice....

I confess! I link to things all the time that I haven't completely read. I've always partially read these things. I don't link just based on headlines, and I'm actually quite likely to jump to the middle of articles, where, I believe, the coolest/strangest stuff is buried. But, wow, I really missed the whole paragraph about the G.E. Opal. The article now feels as though it's an embedded ad for the G.E. Opal, though I trust The New Yorker to mark it "Sponsored" if that were indeed the case. And I missed my chance — which I'll take right now — to give you an Amazon Associates link to to the G.E. Opal. The thing is $499. That was a real opportunity for me that I squandered. Such is the fast-moving world of blogging. And yet it's slow enough for me to begin a day — at 5 a.m. — with a confession of my own sloppiness and an a late-breaking shot at making a percentage of $499.

But I do see at Amazon that some buyers are complaining about the sound the thing makes: "The squeals and squeaks from my unit, are unbearable" (with video, including audio of the sound). Does it make that sound all the time? It's a bit like the sound my refrigerator makes — occasionally and briefly — in its ice-making cycle. Yes, I have an ice-maker, but I'm considering paying $499 for a bulky countertop appliance so I can get "the good ice."

45 comments:

J2 said...

Didn't you recently smite a commenter for reading only the portion of an article you posted rather than the entirety?

Ann Althouse said...

My smiting had to do with this person's being insulting. If I remember correctly, he called the author of the article a "moron" for not knowing something that was in the article.

I accept that people comment on things they haven't read in full, but they should be careful to avoid attacks and show some humility about the gaps in their understanding.

rhhardin said...

For $499 you'd expect dry ice. It also scrubs CO2 from the atmosphere.

rhhardin said...

My spare emergency 12v travel freezer cost less than $499.

rehajm said...

It should make you consider what else you're missing.

rehajm said...

Can't speak for the opal but the top hat undercounter machine I have makes a lot of noise- motor, water gushing, drain sounds, and the random clinking of mega cubes hitting the bin

Kevin said...

It’s OK you don’t read the NYT articles.

They have legions of recent graduates instructing longtime editors on proper pronouns and racial labels, to shield readers from charges of racism and insensitivity.

You start linking to unapproved sources and it’s incumbent on you to find the “troubling” material.

rhhardin said...

I haven't made ice for decades. Just store the drinks needed in the fridge until you open them.

I do have some "ice" packs (that freeze at 18F) in the freezer to prolong the cold-enough time for the occasional power outage.

gilbar said...

i'd make some sort of snarky comment, but; once smitten, twice shy

Ann Althouse said...

"It’s OK you don’t read the NYT articles."

There's nothing about the NYT in this post.

Speaking of reading...

rhhardin said...

The NE top corner of the fridge freezes milk, so that's where the second gallon goes when I buy two. It keeps it fresh way past its otherwise going-bad date. (fat free milk, no change in taste if thawed. It takes 3 days to thaw elsewhere in the fridge so some planning is needed.)

Ann Althouse said...

"Just store the drinks needed in the fridge until you open them."

That's my approach. I don't like ice and rarely use the stuff that comes from my refrigerator's ice maker.

But this ice is said to be so delightful (and chewable).

Humperdink said...

Pelletized ice vs. cubes. First world problems.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ours doesn't make a lot of squeals, but it's a pretty loud machine in the traditional appliance noise way. We only run it when we want ice. It's the pre-G.E. version though, so I don't know if it's exactly the same as the one sold now.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Pelletized ice vs. cubes. First world problems."

I share Althouse's dislike of the sound of ice cubes in a glass. To me, it sounds like glass hitting glass. Unpleasant.

rhhardin said...

You actually want ice from space, which is amorphous ice. Normal ice is either cubic or hexagonal and about a dozen others depending on the pressure in your kitchen.

Dan from Madison said...

We have extremely hard water in Madison so I would highly suggest that you purchase some sort of filtration system for the water - or you are going to have a $499 boat anchor in short time.

rhhardin said...

There are kitchen fire-makers too. A complete poem.

Josephbleau said...

“No water hookup required, just plug it into any 120v grounded (standard) electrical outlet and fill the reservoir with water | As ice melts, the water returns to the reservoir, where it will simply be made back into more ice”

Since this is in the New Yorker, I assume that most of the readers are ardent believers in the global warming crisis. But they want to use fossil fuel supplied electricity to make ice cubes, let them melt and re- freeze them. Like Polosi and her vast ice cream freezers, the elites want the poor to go without energy while they have CO2 emitting ice cubes. Absolute immorality and in your face hypocritical snobbishness. California will have rolling blackouts in part due to the rich wanting stupid ice cubes. Then they will raise the price of gas to $10 per gal to Save The World (TM).

rhhardin said...

A purchase of a stirling engine to place atop any hot or cold surface you're finished with is a nice idea. It spins a wheel as long as there's a temperature difference. With the cheaper engines it has to be a big temperature difference.

mezzrow said...

Whenever our refrigerator's ice maker drops another load into the bucket, Mrs. M and I chime in "thank you, Thing!"

rhhardin said...

If you turn off the moisture heater on the refrigerator, you can scrape useful frost from the edges of the refrigerator door.

iowan2 said...

There is no doubt you need to spring for the ice maker. Life is too short to pass on opportunities to make yourself smile. We have several extravagances. We are just completing a luxury bathroom in our basement remodel. We got a sleep number bed, that we love. So much we got a second, so we could have a split king with individual motion adjustments. And my Sierra makes me grin everytime I step into the garage, or locate it in the parking lot. Buying an icemaker seems like small beer for someone that spent 4 grand to fix a refrigerator.

Carry on.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

This is my favorite post in a long time. Although I myself do not have the habit, I do come from a long line of ice chewers. Maybe the subject matter is just so far from politics and law that it’s refreshing. Maybe it’s funny to hear you jump ahead in articles and skip stuff. I don’t know. There’s something serendipitous about this post, a lightness and simple humor that was missing from here for awhile. Happy Groundhog Day!

rehajm said...

Happy Groundhog Day!

Seems like only yesterday we were talking about ice cubes...

George Littlejohn said...

I have the GE Opal. It’s not good ice. It’s the BEST ice! In Texas, we usually call it Sonic ice. It sounds expensive. But once you try it, you will be happy. I don’t really notice any noise with my unit.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Now that’s funny, rehajm!

Breezy said...

The ice maker in our fridge of 24 years died. COVID has severely impacted new fridge deliveries so I looked into ice makers. I decided to go with the ice trays instead. The extra appliance, noise and need to transfer ice to freezer to stay frozen are on the “cons” list for me. Ymmv.

rehajm said...

First world problems.

You're goddamn right it's a first world problem. Some of us intend to fight to keep it that way, despite the ambitions of current management...

iowan2 said...

Breezy, your comment is a great lesson in salesmanship.

You read the post, and then made a recommendation based on personal experience and ignoring the persons desires.
Not a personal slam on you. This is life lessons learned over the decades. I spent a good portion of my sales life learning how to handle objections. I was never taught to LISTEN to the entirety of he buyers wants.

Again, not at all personal. But its a great way to learn how to be a friend. Listen and HEAR the message. Allow people to follow their desires, unless it might lead to physical, or financial calamity, allow people their dreams encourage the exploration of life.

policraticus said...

I don’t know if our unit made a horrible noise. In an restaurant kitchen there is a constant hum or buzz of compressors, fans, clanging pans, etc. I know that ours worked by freezing water to the inside of a copper tube while a very, very finely machined auger squeezed it down into pellets. Once we had to replace the auger when it was bent by tiny pieces of rust and grit in the water. Then it made a horrible screeching that ended up costing almost $1000.

Things to think about: is the unit air cooled or water cooled? Air cooled units are usually a lot less expensive to run because they waste less water. If you pay for water this can be significant. Our air cooled replacement paid for itself in two years just with the water savings. The down side is that they put off a tremendous amount of heat (physics!) and the fans can be loud for a home kitchen. How much ice are you getting a day for the money? Our old unit never stopped making ice, 24/7. It would make about 300 lbs of ice over night and then try to keep up with service all day, maybe 600 lbs a day? The thing was a beast! It’s been 15 years, but I guess it it would cost about $4000 today? For $499 you are getting 3 lbs of ice, made from stale water from a reservoir. Your call!

Breezy said...

Ah. I hear you, iowan2. Good lesson. No offense taken.

Linda said...

As I remember it was the sound of the clinking that bothered you the most. What about the refrigerator by LG that makes ice balls which are called “Craft Ice”. It looks like only 1 ball would fit into a glass at one time. While it would still hit the sides of the glass, a round piece of ice would maybe make a different sound than a cube.

https://www.lg.com/us/discover/instaview-door-in-door/craft-ice

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

We have the 2.0 made by GE and it hums like a refrigerator/freezer when turned on, nothing out of the ordinary. What took getting used to was hearing the ice drop every so often. Our kitchen/dining/living area is one of those "great room" configurations, plus we have a cat. I spent a few evenings trying to watch TV, hearing the ice drop and wondering; "What the Hell is that damn cat up to now?"

At any rate; your mileage may vary if you have a different kitchen/living room configuration.

Joe Smith said...

"The article now feels as though it's an embedded ad for the G.E. Opal, though I trust The New Yorker to mark it "Sponsored" if that were indeed the case."

Really? What has the 'New Yorker' done over the years to earn your trust? It is best to treat most things as bullshit, especially when there is money involved.

Also, Ice makers are very noisy. Probably best in an insulated garage or outside (if rated for outdoor use) in a more temperate climate.

David53 said...

"...that some buyers are complaining about the sound the thing makes..."

Talk about noise, we just replaced our 12 year old dishwasher and the new one is so quiet I have to put my ear close to it to make sure it's operating. We could hear our old dishwasher from the living room.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Noise pollution can be harmful to mental health.

wildswan said...

David53 said...
I have to put my ear close to it to make sure it's operating.

Some new dishwashers are silent and without lights but they have a tiny light that shines on the floor right under the door edge. Ours like that worked well as long as I washed the dishes that went in there first. Then The Thing stopped silently stopping working; and silently got off my greasy finger marks and germs with very hot water (after we got the temperature reset from the government mandated 50 degrees (although then it melted plastic items (but that was good because wood is better in cooking (also you can carve out new spoons which is cheaper which is good after $999 for this garnerer of features.)))) Be sure to go through the Althouse portal.

AZ Bob said...

I didn't read it either. Do people put the ice in their cocktails or is it for chilling beer?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Linda,

The Grommet (little catalog I get; the company is basically an amalgamator of various small businesses, mostly individual inventions) has an ice cube maker that produces two large spherical ice pieces. The unusual thing is that they are essentially free of internal air bubbles, so very clear and dense. Something about the order in which the water freezes. This is not an ice maker, just a gizmo you fill with water and stick in the freezer. I've contemplated getting one. (They have cubes, too -- two big ones, or eight small ones.)

mikee said...

Hey, oft is the comment, including this one, that I've left here without reading the entire linked article, the entire post, or even the other comments. Including this one. It is all good.

But for product recommendations and reviews, read the whole thing. Then go straight to the specifications and installation instructions for the exact item under consideration, and read them all the way through. Or you'll be sorry.

And oddly enough, I've given the spherical ice maker as a gift, and used it myself. Overfilling the device is useful to get the whole sphere, rather than a flat spot at the top.

Lem said...

Vanilla ice was the good ice for a while.

Lem said...

Ice T is still the good ice, somehow.

Ann Althouse said...

“ There is no doubt you need to spring for the ice maker. Life is too short to pass on opportunities to make yourself smile. ”

I definitely would if it weren’t for the noise problem.

Ann Althouse said...

"... but it's a pretty loud machine in the traditional appliance noise way... "

Traditional like a blender... coffee grinder... mixer -type sound?