December 14, 2006

Dreidel Attraction

Hanukkah begins at sundown tomorrow. As I've been out and about this holiday season, I've been pleased to see that the amount of cheap, impulse-buy Hanukkah tchotchkes has been on the rise—still nowhere near Christmas swag, but a noticeable uptick nonetheless. So the other day, I picked up one of these:

Musical Draydel package
It's hollow plastic; inside is a battery, a sound chip, a couple of LEDs, and a spring-loaded switch. When you spin it, the centrifugal force closes the switch, and the thing lights up and plays a tinny electronic version of "The Dreidel Song." Clever.

operatic birthday cardThe sound chip itself is somewhat primitive, though—by comparison, for my birthday last year, my inlaws got me a card (at right) that, when you open it, plays an excerpt from an actual orchestral recording of "Ride of the Valkyries." Pretty cool.

Now, like most people, I'm ambivalent about Wagner—I mean, nice music and all, but oy vey, Richard, always with the anti-Semitism—and I'm not above giving the man a bit of a karmic wedgie when the opportunity presents itself.

So—hack apart the dreidel:

hacked-apart dreidel
Recycle the chip from the birthday card:

chip from inside card
Solder the new chip into the dreidel circuit:

chip soldered into dreidel circuit
And put the whole thing back together:

reassembled dreidel
Here it is in action:

I love the smell of suganiyot in the morning!


StevenLoy said...

Hello Matthew,

I've been enjoying your blog daily since I dicovered it a few weeks ago. If you don't mind a little sincere gushing, I would say it is insightful, intellegent, well written, refreshingly a little off-the-wall and often extremely funny. But today's post is hands down the funniest thing I've seen in months. There is some justice in the world after all. Hats' off!

Rhea said...

Brilliant! I enjoyed the photos showing me the whole hacking process.
The Boomer Chronicles

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks for the brilliant mix of humor and imagination. And I thought that nothing could be as funny as you egg recipes.

Your faithful reader,


Dina Rabinovitch said...

Absolutely brilliant!

Lyss said...

Love the juxtaposition of German epic music coming out of a Jewish toy!
Happy Hanukkah!

Charles T. Downey said...

Hahaha -- great idea! I submitted your post to Boing Boing, because the how-to hack instructions seemed right up their alley. Hopefully they will pick it up and give a blast to your stats!

JGMotek said...

Great hack! Unfortunately, it's missing the photo I need: have one of these that died and can't figure out how to insert fresh batteries! Any help greatly appreciated.