Solely In Black and White: June 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What if People had Numbers?

What if people really did have numbers? While it may be true that we inherently do have an artificial number based on our circumstances, intelligence, capabilities, creditworthiness, religiousness, and looks, what would happen if we lived in a world where we were classified openly by a ranking system? Perhaps it would solve the shidduch crisis, or perhaps it would actually create it… Check out this snippet of a Discovery Channel documentary (courtesy of TAW):

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Night, Another Wedding, and Another Post…


I think the post titles say it all, but basically a few more random thoughts on weddings. And by random I mean really random.

1) I understand that girl might happen to daven for shidduchim at a young age. I mean I everyone technically should be. My mother tells me at three I asked her to daven for my shidduchim, although I think that might be a joke. Anyway, at last night’s wedding I saw some girls as young as 7 davening for a shidduch by a chuppah. Wow, they really start them young. Whatever happened to letting kids be kids? 

2) First dance intros that don’t include Bakers Street are just not the same. After some serious research and analysis, no other bizarre classic or contemporary rock song compares to the pumped-up emotions created by that song. I personally don’t think it is because Baker’s Street is a great song. I think it has to do with the fact that most decent bands have learned how to play it well (or decently) and also because it’s so cliqued that people associate it with Chossan and Kallahs getting married. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for non-conformity and originality. Nonetheless, if you do choose a song that meets your liking don’t forget to end off with Bakers Street, it’s just not the same. Thanks. Oh, and one more thing, using “Bad Romance” as an intro is just wrong! 

3) You’re never too old to be embarrassed by your parents. And here I thought once you get married the likelihood of that happening diminishes rapidly. I also thought that as a well-rounded adult I am perfectly capable of embarrassing myself, thank you very much. Well, I guess I was wrong. Oh well, live and learn; thanks parentals. :-P

4) White pleather chairs at a wedding hall is a very bad and short-sighted idea. That is unless the hall really wanted grey or black spotted chair and white just happened to be cheaper at the time. In that case, well played then. ;-) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Importance and Perspective of a Wedding

Wedding Cake
Come back here Weddings!

Being that Shavuos is over, that means its wedding season again. I don’t recall what I have written about weddings in the past, but I think I am growing less fond of them. Or let me properly quantify that; I am getting tired of attending inordinately long weddings. You know, the ones where you can’t personally leave, but almost everyone else in attendance can. On the bright side, once you get married you can use a plethora of excuses not to go to a wedding, especially those weddings that you really had no intention of going to in the first place. Some classic examples include “I would love to attend, but my wife doesn’t let” or you can just play the Shana Rishona card if applicable. 

That short quasi-rant aside, I am starting to think that after getting married, attending a wedding is somewhat less nostalgic and magical. You no longer stand by the chupah and wonder when will it be your turn to walk down the aisle while suppressing some minute feelings of sorrow and jealously. You no longer smile in exuberance as the couple walks down the aisle together after the chupah on their way towards eternal bliss. And finally, you no longer wonder, hey, what exactly is marriage really about… 

Call it what you may, but as the general advice goes, once you see how a sausage is made, life is never the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am a major advocate of marriage. Perhaps let me explain this in more practical terms, life is never all that simple and marriages (as well as many engagements) are typically filled with hard (yet happy) work. Instead of all those thoughts above, I now find myself wondering and worrying, will they make a good couple? Will they make each other happy? Will they care about each other and love each other unconditionally? At that point I just shrug and return to praying for the couple because ultimately no one can predict the future and prayer is really the safest option from an outsider’s perspective. 

Anyways, I realized another jarring thing about weddings. Contrary to popular belief, they are not the most important day of one’s life. Important, special, moving, and memorable, yes; the most important, no. Arguably, the most important day of one’s life is the day they’re born. :-P Sorry, I know this might come as a shock to many people. (My mother and mother-in-law would probably disagree with me on this, so perhaps I am wrong, but they have yet to convince me otherwise.) That being said, even if the flowers aren’t stunning, the food isn’t amazing, the music isn’t pleasing to the ear, the décor up to snuff, and everything is just lackluster, that doesn’t make the happy couple any less married or their future life together any less happy! Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think seeing a truly happy couple will never get old… :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Internet is... Complicated...

SocialFlow's Depiction of OBL Demise/News Related Tweets  

In a previous post almost a year ago (here) we collectively discussed whether the internet has made us more stupid or not. While we as a society may never definitively know the true intellectual atrophies or gains being distorted or created by information technologies, the internet as well as our newfound reliance on technology is having some particular effects on humanity.  It’s changing the way we learn, the way we think, and the way we interact with one another. It’s not that these changes are necessarily bad per se, just drastically different with potentially harmful outcomes.

I recently read a great article in The New York Times Magazine titled The Twitter Trap wherein the author allows his 13 year-old daughter join Facebook and offers his reflections, or as he writes at the onset “I felt a little as if I had passed my child a pipe of crystal meth.” The article is a great read and offers many true insights into our online behaviors and what they are doing to us. Another interesting article from the NY Times titled Liking is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts. (Hat Tip: The Curious Jew) points out how our usage of Liking and gadget envy has altered the way we actually approach relationships, such as  liking and being liked and loving and being loved, in real life. But without even going that far, studies have proved that gadgets are wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns. That alone should give us pause, yet, it doesn't. 

Another interesting phenomenon is that people’s activities online can be indicative of their personalities. I for one find that fascinating. Perhaps this is a new form of body language? I can’t really say that this is definitive, but take this article as an example. Of course one can broach the chicken-egg argument; I don’t think that’s the case here, but that is a possibility. From the Los Angeles Times titled, Women who post lots of photos of themselves on Facebook value appearance, need attention, study finds.

The people who tended to base their self-worth on things like academic competence, family love and support, and being a virtuous or moral person spent less time online and showed less interest in attention-seeking through social media.

But don’t despair; some of our online behaviors aren’t indicative of bad qualities either. For example, Photographer Gabriela Herman claims bloggers tend to be very attractive people! Fascinating! :-)