Archive for December 14, 2008

Introducing The KPhone

Posted in Frum, Funny?, Girls, Heimish, Politics on December 14, 2008 by frumpunk

The lowly phone has made great strides in the past decade or so. What used to be able to double as a murder weapon in a game of Clue has become a complete media device that does everything but make calls and is small enough to choke a goldfish. But the problem with phones, as we know is that they’re trief. Everything about them is trief. The phone feature allows boys and girls to talk to each other, the text message feature is even more insidious, allowing boys and girls to write (badly) to each other, the camera allows boys to take pictures of girls, the alarm clock allows boys to wake up to go see girls, the calculator allows boys to work out how much money they need to take a girl out (this is also the reason bochrim aren’t taught math. The phone destroys all that hard work). I could go on. And I will; the wallpaper allows the boys to set the picture of the girl to look at constantly, the FM radio (only with added headset usually) allows boys to listen to girls sing, the world clock allows boys to figure out the optimal time to call girls who live far away, and internet allows people to visit this blog.

Previous attempts at a kosher phone have only been met half way. They did not include a camera, text messaging or color screen, but they did allow boys and girls to talk to each other. But now the next generation of technological advances has brought us the KPhone, the result of four years labor by the most hemish scientists at the Institute for Advanced Heimishness. I was given one of the first production models to try out. At first glance it seems to be the answer to everything. It is well constructed, the aluminum seems durable and fashionable. An attempt to type a text message on its smooth rounded surface yielded no results. It requires no batteries and does not require a cell phone tower to receive a signal. I made a call and was surprised at the overall fidelity and signal cleanliness. It has no camera or radio option, and internet is out of the question. This truly seems like an excellent device.

Some gripes though; the string, while giving excellent audio fidelity is not really long enough to facilitate long distance calls abroad, so calling Israel or Canada from it seems to be out of the question. Secondly, if your call is lasting a long time, it gets tiring holding the headset to your ear. This problem is exacerbated if the headset previously held pickles or garlic, as this can leave a lingering odor. I was later informed that this was actually a feature, part of a method to keep the sexes apart using a new trial of unattractive smells. Also, if the headset edge wasn’t fully rounded off by the can opener, you may experience some cutting and bleeding around the ear and head area. Bulkiness is also an issue. Due to the lack of wireless, you are required to keep both headsets with you at all times, as well as keeping the person you wish to call close to you.

Overall, its an excellent first attempt and I look forward to the second revision, which I’m told may include a third string and headset to allow three way calling.

Hat tip to Mikeinmidwood for the inspiration. This started life as a mere comment on his post.

If You Can’t, Don’t

Posted in Rants, Weddings on December 14, 2008 by frumpunk

In Shul after mincha I saw a flyer that read like a modern piyut from Tishe B’av. A man telling how his life has been a living hell and now it’s his daughters wedding and it’s all he’s ever dreamed about, but he can’t afford it. He’ll be available for donations at the house of a prominant member of the community. In a local flyer I saw another solicitation for four separate couples, all of whom can’t afford the cost of their weddings.

And while I have all the sympathy in the world, I can’t understand what the cost of a wedding is. I understand the cost of making a wedding. I’ve been to enough lavish weddings, and worked at even more to know the costs can run into the hundreds of thousands. But if you can’t afford it, don’t. There’s no halacha to have a wedding dress, flowers, a hall, a full three course meal, a band, etc. All of these are things that make a wedding special and joyous, but if you can’t afford them why are you trying to? In the halachic sense, you just need something worth a perutah and a bride and groom. The chosson gives her the object and says “harey as mekudeshes li” and biblically, you’re married! Add to that a kesubah and two kosher eidim and there’s no disputing that fact.

I understand the emotions and the want to have a wedding the couple will remember. But even if you are soliciting money for a wedding, don’t make the wedding. If they’re so poor, give them the money to put a down payment on an apartment or other basic marital necessities. Blowing it on a one day party that will live only in photographs and cheesily recorded video is ludicrous.

There’s more wedding insanity that I’ve heard about recently, including the idea of renting a van to bring bochrim that I’d like to talk about, but that’s enough for discussion for now.

But then, maybe I’m just too emotionally detached from this? The glare of cold hard logic ruins my understanding of simchas and the finances involved?