What do I have to do to cap that junction safely and still have the rest of the circuit live? I'm tempted to wire the two 120v "hot" wires together, but I don't really see the point and I'm afraid of damaging the wiring because (I might have mentioned this before) I don't know what I'm doing. I just wanted to do the monkey-smart part, pulling out the old appliance and connecting the new one exactly the same way.
Luckily, my wife is smarter than me, and she called me awhile ago to tell me I should just plug the refrigerator into one of the working outlets in the kitchen with an extension cord until the circuit can be fixed. Thank God I'm pretty.
It's hard to see what's going on in this photo on the right, but this is one of the rheostat switches on the cooktop. This is where the smoke came from. One side of the plug is completely severed and the whole thing is covered in black, greasy crud. The cooktop was old and impossible to clean anyway, so I won't miss it. I just don't want to buy one, plunk it in and then watch it go up in smoke, too.
(I guess the advantage would be that parts should be available for the new one . . . as long as it doesn't burn the house down.