OyChicago blog

Real world apps

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07/31/2009

The Jewish world has successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) launched projects in the virtual universe to capture the attention and hearts of the next generations of cyberJews. One such application was recently introduced by (disclaimer: I know him) Ron Gejman and his partner at Lost Tribe App, Jacob Andreas. It allows you to search for more than 5,000 synagogues in case you need one in a pinch.

As  educators, Jewish educators and educators of Jews, we are constantly encouraged/pressured to incorporate the latest technology into our teaching. This has made me think about apps that could be or could have been useful in my day-to-day life that I’d like someone to create:

1.  high school paper grader
2.  reverse commuter (will get you from your home to the suburbs and back) in less than a half an hour during rush hour
3.  dream interpreter
4.  cheater detector
5.  health insurer
6.  ‘does he really look like his pic?’ scanner
7.  ‘is this cheap wine going to taste good enough to bring to someone’s home for dinner?’ taster
8.  ‘is the milk still good?’ smeller
9.  ‘are there any single people at this party?’ notifyer
10.  ‘is there actually alcohol in this drink?’ determiner
11.  ‘do I look good in this?’…talking mirror
12.  ‘am I engaging or boring my students right now?’ observer
13.  ‘stop me from eating that cake that isn’t even that good’ alarm
14.  ‘tell my mom I’m safe and not to worry’ communicator
15.  condo cleaner

What would your number 16 be?

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Heirloom or Hairloom Jewelry?

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07/30/2009

From time to time I am reminded of my first pet, that damned hermit crab, and I momentarily yearn for a memento of his short life. Sadly, we don’t even have a picture of him.

It’s too bad LifeGem wasn’t around when he died.

Yesterday I found this article in the Chicago Tribune about the company, which for the low price of $2,199 and up, creates an eponymous “certified, high-quality diamond created from the carbon of your loved one as a memorial to their unique life.”

The testimonials on the site reveal that most LifeGems are sold to spouses who have lost their life partners, adult children who aren’t ready to be parentless yet, and parents who braved the unthinkable task of burying their son or daughter. And then there are the Ludwig van Beethoven LifeGems, sold on eBay a few years ago for $200,000 (proceeds went to charity).

The loved one whose carbon they will be using this time around to create up to 10 half-carat diamonds? None other than the man who popularized sparkly crystal-studded couture himself.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

I was only two years old in 1984, so I don’t recall the (apparently infamous) Pepsi commercial shoot when MJ’s hair caught on fire and had to be put out with a fire extinguisher. But reputable sources confirm it happened. And the MJ carbon that will be used to create these LifeGems comes from none other than a few charred locks of his hair that were preserved by the executive producer of the commercial.

Now, I’m not generally a queasy person.

When I’m eating fast food “chicken” or Combos (neither one happens frequently, but a girl’s gotta treat herself now and again), I don’t mind if a friend asks incredulously, “do you know what’s in that?!” Because of course I do. Of course it’s not all-natural, organic, and hormone-, and preservative- free. But I don’t particularly care. The stuff tastes good.

When a friend is cooking me dinner at their apartment, I don’t ask whether they thoroughly rinsed all of the produce, or made sure to use a new cutting board for the veggies after cutting the animal protein, or washed their hands after handling raw eggs – and they don’t tell me. It wouldn’t bother me either way. Bugs in produce? Extra protein!

But I’m a diamond girl (I might be a lesbian, but I’m still a nice Jewish girl).

And that means if I see a sparkly ring on your finger, I’m going to look at it. And if I like it, I’m going to compliment you on it.

But oh dear God, if I ever compliment someone on their ring and they tell me it was produced from their loved one’s cremated ashes or lock of hair, I will vomit.

And if they tell me it’s a LifeGem from their precious pet (apparently diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend anymore, but man’s best friend, too…) I will almost surely drop dead on the spot.

And then you can all make a LifeGem out of me.

Eww.

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