Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Year I Saved Chanukah: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

One of the staples during every Chanukah season are potato latkes. Latkes, for those who don't know, are potato pancakes that are as prominent during Chanukah as turkey is during Thanksgiving.

I'd like to confess something here.

I hate potato latkes.

There. I said it.

And I need to point out something: I've tried to like potato latkes. I really have. Year after year, I've given them chance after chance. And every time, they've let me down.

Here are my three issues with potato latkes:

Potato Latke Issue # 1: They don't taste like hash browns.

Now-Jews who have attended Chanukah gatherings who had never heard of a latke have no doubt been told that latkes taste like hash browns.

This is a lie.

Latkes taste nothing like hash browns. Hash browns, for one thing, taste good. Also, hash browns melt in your mouth and don't clump into mushy patties after five seconds out of the pan. Plus, hash browns don't contain those weird Jewish spices that no one can ever describe but yet spot in all Jewish foods.

Jews everywhere know what I'm talking about.

Potato Latke Issue # 2: Incompatibility with sour cream.

Sour cream is often served with potato latkes. On paper, this makes sense. Many potato dishes taste good with sour cream. Baked potatoes. Potato skins. Even french fries in certain instances.

But potato latkes, for some reason, don't work with sour cream. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's a combination of the clumpiness and Jewish spices that makes it resistant to the greatness of sour cream. Regardless, potato latkes and sour cream just don't mix.

Now I ask you: How can one trust a potato dish that doesn't mesh with sour cream? That's like creating a milk that doesn't work with chocolate syrup. It's unnatural, off-kilter, unholy.

When a potato dish doesn't work with sour cream, it's time to find another starch.

Potato Latke Issue # 3: It's often eaten with applesauce.

Here's my theory about how "potato latkes with applesauce" began:

Someone, thousands of years ago, decided to take an apple, mash it up into a fine sauce paste, and serve it with their potato latkes as a cruel joke.

And here's what went wrong:

No one who ate these latkes knew it was a joke and didn't want to hurt the person's feelings. Thus, they said that the mix of potato latkes and applesauce was bold and exciting. As a result, applesauce became a potato latke staple and people have convinced themselves that the combination is good.

Let me ask you: Do potatoes and apples mix?

Don't answer because it's a rhetorical question.

No, they don't mix!! Are you kidding me? One's a vegetable and one's a fruit sauce. One's fried and one is...A FRUIT SAUCE!!!

Does that sound appealing to anybody? Be honest with yourselves now.

At this point, you may be asking yourself: "Nev, why did you entitle this blog, 'The Year I Saved Chanukah.'"

Here's why:

At the recent yearly Chanukah party thrown by my fiancee's family, we were treated to the following announcement:

We have a latke shortage this year. Repeat: A latke shortage. So please don't take as many as usual.

The gasps are still echoing across the room.

It was then that I answered the call.

"I won't eat any latkes this year," I said.

"Are you sure?" the Jews in the room replied.

"Absolutely," I said. "It won't be easy; I'll have to fill up on crispy chicken and seven-layer dip -- you know, good food -- but I will happily sacrifice the latkes that I was going to force myself to keep down with the use of massive amounts of salt and ketchup."

I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

And thanks to me, everyone else got their normal amount of latkes.

And I saved Chanukah.

This story should be re-told every year till the end of time.


And now for this week's:


Last week, I mentioned how Scarlett Johannson was selling her snot rag on eBay for charity.

This week, I'm here to report that it sold for more than $5,300.


Does anyone have any words? Because I'm at a loss...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dealing With Those Who Don't Have The Holiday Spirit: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This week, I've had to deal with a lot of Scrooges in my life.

For example, my buddy Carlos and I were at the mall last night for dinner when a couple of little girls came up to us selling these little candy canes with a teddy bear on them. I thought the kids were cute so I thought, "Sure, why not" and bought a cane for $3.

As the girls walked away, I caught Carlos' eye.

Carlos: What the hell's wrong with you?

Nev: What?

C: That candy cane cost $3!!

N: So what?

C: It's $3!!

N: It's the holidays.

C: It's $3 for something that costs a quarter at the liquor store!!

N: Carlos, they're kids.

C: They're scammers!!

N: They're not scammers.

C: They're hoodlums!! Praying on the gullible.

N: Have a heart. It's Christmas time.

C: It is for them. You just gave them $3 for nothin'.

N: It has a bear on it.

C: It's a candy cane.

N: A bear on it.

C: A candy cane!!


C: Besides, you're Jewish.

And there's the people at my work.

Co-Worker # 1: I don't like Christmas carols.

Co-Worker # 2: Me neither. They're cheesy.

OK, pause. First off, how the hell can someone not like Christmas carols? They're Christmas carols!! What's not to like?

Co-Worker # 2: But they're cheeeeeessssyyyyyy.

Of course they're cheesy. They're old!! All old songs are cheesy. But Chrismas carols are supposed to be cheesy. And sappy. And "love thy fellow man"-y. Slient Night. Jingle Bells. Noel. Christmas Canon.

Co-Worker # 1: They're all stupid.

Co-Worker # 2: I agree.


I hope they're visited by three ghosts.

And finally, there's Co-Worker # 3:

You know the song "Christmas Shoes"? It's a cute, cheesy song about a boy who's trying to buy some shoes for his dying mom because he wants her to look beautiful "if Mamma meets Jesus tonight."

It's beautiful. It's moving.

Co-Worker # 3: Why didn't he buy her a sweater?

Co-Worker # 1: Seriously!! What dying woman would want shoes?

Co-Worker # 2: I agree.


You know what these people need?

$3 candy canes.

With bears on them.

And now for this week's:


Scarlett Johannsson blew her nose while on the Jay Leno show and is now selling the snot rag on eBay for charity.

High bid thus far is over $2,000.

If you're bidding on this item...

...there's no hope for you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Proper Bathroom Etiquette: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

The other day, I was visiting a business establishment and the men's bathroom was locked. Thus, I used the women's bathroom.

Which, I might point out, didn't have a couch.

Television, once again, has lied to me. I was looking forward to sitting on that couch, for contemplative reflection.

Admittedly, using the women's bathroom was poor bathroom etiquette (though I put the toilet seat back down). But it got me thinking: What is proper bathroom etiquette? What are some of the unwritten rules we all should follow when visiting the facilities?

(Note: Most, if not all, of the following will probably not apply to women. Then again, women may have couches in most of their bathrooms, so etiquette takes on a whole new meaning with them).

For one thing, there's the whole issue about space in between the urinals. Men should never use the urinal that's next to another man unless absolutely necessary. The bathroom is the one place where men need space, a chance to stretch out and collect his thoughts. If another man is next to him, he can't properly focus on the task at hand.

All male readers of this blog have, at one time or another, been through the following scenario: You're in a bathroom with about 18 empty urinals and you proceed to one. A few seconds later, another fellow male comes in, and despite all the other empty urinals (which are far, far away from you) at his disposal, he chooses the one right next to you.

Bad form. Simply bad form.

Then there's eye contact during urinal use. Not allowed. While standing at the urinal, you look straight ahead, eyes forward. You never, ever tilt your head in another direction. It's not right looking at another man's eyes during urinal use.

And you sure as hell don't look down.

For obvious reasons.

Then there's conversations with men in stalls. For men who have conversations with men who are in stalls, I have just one question:

What the hell is the matter with you?

The last thing a man in a stall wants to do is talk. Whatever you have to say to the man in the stall can wait until he's out. You heard a funny joke? Wait until he leaves the stall. You're having a personal problem? Wait until he leaves the stall. The building is fire? Tell him after he leaves the stall, even at the risk of him burning to a crisp and dying a horrible death.

That would be the proper etiquette thing to do.

And now for this week's:


The other night, I was watching TV, flipping through the channels when I came across this cartoon movie called "Batman vs. Dracula." Apparently, Dracula is jealous of Batman because of the whole "bat" thing and wants to kill Batman and take over as the new Batman.

Why Dracula would want to pigeon-hole himself into that role is something the movie doesn't explain.

It's a plot hole, if you ask me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Problem With Old People: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

OK, I love old people. I really do. They tell cool stories. They have candy. They pay for things. But with all due respect to the senior citizens of our society, there are times when you really get in the way of young people like myself. :-)

Now many of you younger folks, verbally, may be saying out loud, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT!!" But deep down, you know what I'm saying. And you're happy. At one time or another, an old person has pissed you off, slowed you down, gotten in your way. And today, young people of this blog, I'm going to provide you with a voice.

Now older people reading this blog are asking themselves two questions: 1) What is he talking about? And 2) Does he mean me? Luckily, I've developed a two-front system that will reveal both whether you're old and the main problems that younger people have with the elderly.

You're an old person if:

You're too damn slow. How often have you been on a sidewalk, on the road, in line somewhere, where an old person is in front of you and walking or driving at less than 0.0025 miles an hour? If you're not in a walker and a snail is matching you stride for stride, then you're old. And slowing young people down.

You would think that with limited time left, you'd be in a hurry to get things done. But apparently, you're content with spending the remainder of your days taking in the sights and making young people late to wherever they're going.

Hey old people: You want to stop being a drain on young society? Move off to the side and let the young folks pass. Because we've got things to do.

You're an old person if:

You don't shut up. How have of you young people have been stuck in line at the supermarket for two hours because the old person in front of you is talking the supermarket cashier's ear off about a) trying to save 15 cents on a gallon of milk with an expired coupon, b) insisting that the bagger "use both paper and plastic bags, but the paper has to be strong and the plastic shouldn't be flimsy. And no, not those bags. Use the ones at the bottom because those are sturdy" or c) their cat Mittens, their dog Fluffy or their son Stuart (complete with pictures of all three).

Old people not only don't stop talking, but they talk about nothing. If you want someone to listen to you talk nonsense for four hours at a stretch, get a) a dog, or b) a private nurse who gets paid to listen to your babble. But don't waste my time. I have to get home with my chips and beer and set up a poker game with my other, younger friends who only speak when spoken to.

And finally, you're an old person if:

You use checks to pay for everything. OK, using checks to pay bills? Fine. Using checks to give someone a deposit? Fine. Using checks to give or pay off a loan? Fine.

But if you use checks at the supermarket, dry cleaners, barber shop, video store, pet shop, Home Depot, Jamba Juice, bookstore or any facility where they sell clothes, than you're old. And a pain in the $#@*&$. Not only have you not discovered the new technology known as credit cards and ATMs, but it takes forever for you to a) fill out the check, and b) make the entry in the checkbook, which you always have to do RIGHT THEN AND THERE!!!!

Why don't you just pay cash? That's something from the old-people era, isn't it? Cash?

Now, how can we solve this issue? This rift between the young and old?


Put old people in homes.


Look, I don't advocate segregation, but sometimes steps must be taken in the name of progress. If old people are in homes, they're happy in their little old-people nooks, and young people are free to run the world at a brisk pace.

Now I'm not saying put old people in one of those crappy old people homes. No no no. Put them in the nice ones. Where they have activities. Colored walls. Pudding.

Put them in a nice place.

Because after all.

They deserve our respect.


And now for this week's:


The other day, my friend Kevin forwarded me this blog written by a guy in Colorado who was talking about a Taco Bell promotion that had to do with the performance of the state's professional sports teams. Evidently, every time the local team scored a certain amount of points, Taco Bell would offer a two-hour promotion the next day where you could buy up to four tacos for $1.

One time, the guy said, he hit up seven Taco Bells during the two-hour period, purchasing 28 tacos.

Personally, I think the guy is fat.

And single.

And collects comic books obsessively.

Just a guess.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Return Of An Old Friend: Thanksgiving Corn: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Last night at my Thanksgiving table, I greeted an old friend. It had been years since I'd seen him. Years since he and I shared a turkey day together. It had been far too long, and seeing him yesterday truly warmed my heart.

I call this friend:



Ah, corn. Sweet, tender, buttery, delectable corn. The perfect side dish on my Thanksgiving plate. Study your history. The indians gave the pilgrims turkey, potatoes, gravy, yams, Ruffles, french onion dip, chocolate-covered cherries, diet pepsi and...

Corn. :-)

As a kid growing up, I spent several Thanksgiving getting acquainted with this wonderfully starchy vegetable. But something happened over the past several years. Corn disappeared from Thanksgiving. The turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy remained in abundance, but corn for some reason was no longer on the menu.

At first, I confess: I didn't think much of it. Perhaps someone had forgotten, focused on making more yams. But the following year, corn was again missing. The following year, same thing. The year after that, no corn.

So a few years back, I began my campaign to get corn back on the Thanksgiving menu. But a process I thought would take little time took six years. Unbeknownst to me, there's a lot of anti-corn sentiment in this world. 2003, 2004, 2005, 6 and 7: Each year, I argued for the return of corn on Thanksgiving and each year I was brutally rebuffed.

I heard every excuse in the world. It's too much trouble. No one eats it. It's boring. It's yellow. It's no good cold. Our old people can't eat it off the cob. But I don't give up easily. I was determined to see corn and Thanksgiving united again. And so, I continued to fight the good fight, and in 2008 I went to my mom and asked her this:

Mom, I have wanted to see corn on the Thanksgiving table for so long. Would you be the one to stop the madness and unite corn with Thanksgiving once again?

And you know what she said?

Sure. I'll make a corn casserole.

NO!! Jesus, how complicated can this possibly be? I'm not asking for kobe beef or homemade cheese. It's corn!! Freakin' corn!! Go to the market, head to the frozen food section, and grab a bag of Jolly Green Giant.

Without putting it into a God damn casserole!!

Jews and their casseroles. A topic for another blog. :-)

And I know what some of you are thinking: Nev, if you wanted corn so bad, why didn't you just make it yourself? Because it defeats the entire purpose of the ideal male Thanksgiving!! If you're a guy, the best Thanksgiving food is the food you don't make yourself. It has to be made by someone else, preferrably a woman, to bring out the ideal flavor. Otherwise, it's just not the same.

Men reading this blog know what I'm talking about.

But luckily, fate stepped in.

I got a call from my mom two weeks ago. She tried making the corn casserole. It didn't come out good (shock of shocks). So as a fallback, she was going to make corn.

The casserole taketh. And the casserole giveth.

So last night, corn returned to Thanksgiving.

And it was goooood.


And now for this week's:


It's official: Starting next week, McDonald's is raising the price of their double cheeseburger 19 cents to $1.19.

Not since the Raiders losing the Super Bowl in 2003 have I cried myself to sleep.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trying To Find A Public Restroom: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

It happens to all of us at one time or another. You're in the car, driving along, not a care in the world, when it hits you:

I have to pee.

And it's not one of those, "I would use the restroom if one was readily available, but since it's not, I can wait" type of pees. No, in this scenario, it's always an uncontrollable urge that must be met, and met now. And when this type of urge hits, you can always count on three things:

You're nowhere near home or work.

You're in traffic.

And gas stations -- which are always in abundance when your gas tank is full and there's no reason to stop in -- have disappeared off the face of the Earth.

This was the situation I was in recently when faced with the "I have to pee and pee now!!!" dilemma. The urge hit, I was stuck behind people who had no idea how to step on the pedal that makes the car move forward, and I found myself on the only street in America where Chevron and Arco and Mobil ceased to exist.

So I did what any of us would normally do in this situation: Scream in frustration, honk my horn, sway from side to side as much as my seat belt would allow, and frantically looked for any place that may have a bathroom that I could use.

It was at this point that I pulled into a mom-and-pop sub shop.

The good news: It had a bathroom.

The bad news: You needed a key.

The worst news: The key was behind the counter, manned by a woman with a look on her face that said, "I hate you, I hate life, and I hate people who ask to use my bathroom key."

Even so, I thought maybe I could sweet talk her.

"Excuse me, may I use your bathroom?" I asked the lady behind the counter, flashing a dazzling smile.

"No bathroom!! You must buy something!!" she lovingly replied.

"But I just..."

"You must buy something!!"

"But can't I..."

"Buy something!!"



So much for charm.

Desperate, I looked around for something cheap and purchased a small bag of chili cheese fritos. After plucking down my 82 cents (including tax), I then asked for the bathroom key, which should at this point be rightfully mine.


"No bathroom!! You must buy sub!!"

Say what?

"I just bought some chips," I argued.

"You must buy sub!!" repeated the gestapo.

"You never said sub," I replied.

"Sub. I say sub now."

"I'm not gonna buy a sub just to use your bathroom. Hell, I didn't even want these chips!!"

"Then give chips back!!"

"Fine!! Then give me my money back."

"No!! No refunds!!"

By this point, I would've bet money that I was on some sort of candid-camera show.

"You mean to tell me that you want me to hand you a bag of chips that I paid for without getting my money back and without being able to use your bathroom?"

"Yes!! Give chips back!!"






"You bad person!! Leave now!!"


And as I got to the exit, I turned around, glared at the woman, and threw the chips in the trash.

"You want the chips back?" I asked. "Go dumpster diving."

And then I walked around the corner and took a wiz in the back of an alley.

As nature intended.

And now for this week's:


It's official. The lady and I have a wedding date: Aug. 22, 2009.

And the ax slowly begins to fall...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Latest Great Idea Of Man: Communal Fries: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I heard the following inspirational commercial on the radio today:

Guy # 1: OK, got the food.

Guy # 2: Sweet.

Guy # 1: Here are your fries.

Guy # 2: Awesome.

Guy # 1: Here are my fries.

Guy # 2: Cool.

Guy # 1: And here are the communal fries.

Guy # 2: Commnual fries?

Me: Communal fries?

Guy # 1: Yeah, these are the fries we share.

Guy # 2: Share?

Guy # 1: Yeah. See, whenever we get fries, inevitably one guy gets more fries than the other. But with communal fries, that problem is solved. If one guy gets less fries, he can use the communal fries to achieve balance.

Guy # 2: That's...that's brilliant!!

And really, it is.

One man getting more fries than another has long been a problem in the world of Man-dom (all men reading this blog are nodding in agreement). When multiple orders of fries are placed in the bag, more often than not the fries get mixed and one person ends up with a greater number of fries.

This can cause the man with fewer fries to ask a series of questions that can lead to dangerous paths. "Why do I get less fries?" "Am I not worthy of more?" "Does my friend not respect me?" "Who the hell does he think he is?"

This is how wars start, people.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a radio ad -- a radio ad -- introduces the concept of communal fries. And suddenly, years of unnecessary male strife can be eradicated in one fell swoop. Wounds can be healed, families can be united, countries can be unified.

All in one simple step.

It's like a nuclear bomb...but in a good way.

Communal fries.

The latest invention born from the indomitable spirit of man.

And now for this week's:


Remember all that stuff I said recently about hating the Beatles? Ignore it. I didn't realize they sang "Twist And Shout." I love that song!! It's one of the best songs in the history of musical sound.

It's rather embarrassing to bash a band and then find out later that they sang one of your favorite songs. Who's to blame? Myself?

Yeah right.

No, the ones to blame here are you, the readers. Christ, you spend paragraphs (and in the case of my friend Carlos, pages) arguing vehemently why the Beatles are awesome, and all you had to say was, "They sang Twist And Shout" and I would've said, "Oh. Never mind."

But you didn't.

Shame on you.

Shame on you all.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nev For President: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This past Tuesday was the U.S. presidential election, and like most American males, I exercised my right to vote only because my significant other told me to. :-)

I usually don't vote. Some of you may think that's blasphemous and are clearing your throats to begin your, "Do you know how many people in this world would literally give anything for the right to vote" speech. But let's be honest: Your vote doesn't matter. Your vote hasn't mattered since the advent of population. If you think your one vote makes a bit of difference (particularly in California, where we vote Republican for our governors and Democrat for political posts that can't be run by actors), you're Yankee Doodle delusional.

But like I said, my bride-to-be made me. :-)

So given the choice of voting or sleeping on the futon for the next six months, I was forced to research the candidates. I wanted to make an informed choice, to ensure that the candidate that had my support was the right person for the job. After all: It's my president too.

And so, after an exhausting 96 seconds of research, I made my choice.

I was going to vote for myself.

To me, it made perfect sense. After all, they say you should really believe in the person you're voting for. I believe in Nev. I believe. Besides, I was smart, a good talker, and I think our foreign dignitaries would like the fact that I eat meat.

In short: I couldn't think of a better candidate.

On my way to the polls, I spoke to future bride Ramona of my decision:

Ramona: You're not voting for yourself.

Me: But I'm qualified. Sort of.

Ramona: You're not voting for yourself.

Me: But if I win, we get to win live in the White House.

Ramona: You're not voting for yourself.

Me: We'll have our own chefs.

Ramona: You're not voting for yourself.

Me: They'll make us beef wellington whenever we want. Or eggs.

Ramona: You're not voting for yourself.

Me: But babe...eggs!!



Me: I'd be better than Ralph Nader.


Ramona: True.

In the end, I didn't vote for myself.

I voted for Obama.

Because my significant other told me to.

And now for this week's:


I was driving to meet a friend for dinner the other night when my mom called and reminded me of the following:

You're going to be a husband soon.

I then lost my appetite.

You should never use the words "husband", "wife", "wedding" or "married" to an engaged man before he eats.

I thought that was a societal given.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beatles Lovers Fight Back: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Remember when I wrote this?

I'm going to tell you something that I've held inside for years and have never said until now:

I hate the Beatles.

Yeah, that's right. I said it. In fact, I'm gonna say it again.

I hate the Beatles.

Man, that feels good!! A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm a straight man, so this is the closest I think I'll get to coming out of the closet.

I mean, their songs suck, their haircuts were dorky and THEY WERE BRITISH!!!

Where's your American pride?

Plus, the band members were morons. John Lennon broke up the band for an ugly woman who wore beatnik hats, and Paul McCartney turned down a $500 million offer in the 1990s to reunite the remaining Beatles for one night because he felt that it wouldn't be right without John, who broke up the band in the first place.

Paul was probably on acid at the time.

Which would also explain why he married a woman with a prosthetic foot.

All true.


Nevertheless, many of you disagreed with me completely, blindly declaring your love for the Beatles. A love -- I might add -- that will never be reciprocated, because John is dead, Paul has enough money to never have to sign another autograph, and ...

...well, to be honest, I can't remember who else was in the band. I'm sure they weren't important.

Anyways, my point is: It's only fair that your voice be heard. So:

From reader Tony Zayas:

To knock British bands is just wrong. Name a band, from ANY decade, that can stand up to the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, Cream, Black Sabbath...I can go on for days, you get the point. And, I'll even answer it for you - No Such Band, Artist or Act exists. Plain and simple. Americans had Jimi Hendrix, who is my musical idol, but they didn't have much beyond The Experience. Certainly nothing that could touch what was coming out of Britain.

The 60's were great if for no other reason than the music. The 70's were forgettable if for no other reason than disco. The 80's were nothing more than laughable, if for no other reason than what all that blow did to our entire society for a decade.

Tony, you lost all credibility the second you called the 80s laughable. 80s music rocked!! I have two 80s CDs in my car. "Angel Is The Centerfold." "Video Killed The Radio Star." Phil Collins!! All much better artists and songs than the crap you mentioned. Black Sabbath. Good Lord.

Plus, it amazes me that you can bag on the 80s for drug use and yet worship The Rolling Stones, all with a straight face.

You must be a salesman. :-)

From reader Carlos:

You are such a close-minded valley boy jack@$$!

As Tony pointed out, the Beatles are an awesome band! Their musical talents of writing featured in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the White Album are just two albums alone that show originality and talent!

In addition, the British are talented when it comes to music. Again as Tony stated, Rolling Stones, Who, among others are awesome!!!! Why do you think it was called the British Invasion!!!

Carlos, do you have an opinion that's actually yours? "As Tony pointed out." "As Tony stated." If Tony said that bridges would be better suited to hold cars if they were made out of straw, would you agree? Because Tony said so? If Tony said that people who gave themselves concussions are so totally cool, would you hit yourself over the head with a frying pan? Because Tony said so?

You two should share an apartment together. Then you can come back and tell me, "Tony says he always uses starch when doing laundry. I use starch too.

"Because Tony said so."

And finally, from my podcast partner Mike:

I'd agree with everything you said except the Beatle's songs sucking. I have yet to hear a thoughtful, musically educated person make that argument successfully.

Mike, you're fired.

No severance package.

And now for this week's:


A cheetah escaped from its cage on a Delta Airlines commercial flight and ran loose amongst the luggage. Eventually, experts ran onto the plane, shot the thing with tranquilizers, and took the cheetah back to the zoo.

If I was the head of Delta, I'd be furious.

I would've rather seen the cat killed, cooked and served to passengers for $25 a plate.

These are tough economic times, after all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why The 1960s Was A Stupid, Stupid Decade: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This weekend is my future father-in-law's 60th birthday party and my fiancee Ramona came up with the idea of having a 1960s theme for the occasion, sending friends and family members into hysterical excitement.

That sounds like so much fun!!

The 1960s were such a great time!!

I can dress up like Janis Joplin!!

Forgive me, but I never understood this obsession with the 1960s. What, I ask you, was so great about this decade? Everyone talks about what a great time it was. If it was so great, why did this country feel the need to transition into disco? One would think that, if the 1960s were really that wonderful, society would have quickly harkened back to their 60s ways once they saw how ridiculous the disco era was.

Take the whole "free love" concept, for example. A bunch of random people having sex with each other for an entire decade. Sounds great, right? (a bunch of my male readers are nodding right now. I can sense them.) Except for one thing: Your average 1960s woman was ugly. Seriously, have you seen the pictures? Their hair is down to their kneecaps, they wore male-looking sunglasses, and most of them didn't shave their pits.

That's wrong. So very wrong.

Then there's the whole 1960s "spirituality" thing. History records that everyone in the 1960s was so in tune with their spiritual side. In the 1960s, I'm told, the spirit was everywhere.

Translation: Everyone in the 1960s was on acid. Everyone was choosing hallucinations so as to avoid living in reality. No one wanted to see the world for what it really was. So instead, they put themselves in a drug-induced stupor, pretended they were growing as individuals and had sex with pit-haired women.

And then there's hippies. You know what hippies are? Bums. They look like bums, they dress like bums, and they don't have jobs like bums. Take today's bum, put a tye-dye shirt on him, and boom: Hippie.

Oh yeah: Flower child? Female hippie. Female bum.

And then there's the music. I'm going to tell you something that I've held inside for years and have never said until now:

I hate the Beatles.

Yeah, that's right. I said it. In fact, I'm gonna say it again.

I hate the Beatles.

Man, that feels good!! A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm a straight man, so this is the closest I think I'll get to coming out of the closet.

I mean, their songs suck, their haircuts were dorky and THEY WERE BRITISH!!!

Where's your American pride?

Plus, the band members were morons. John Lennon broke up the band for an ugly woman who wore beatnik hats, and Paul McCartney turned down a $500 million offer in the 1990s to reunite the remaining Beatles for one night because he felt that it wouldn't be right without John, who broke up the band in the first place.

Paul was probably on acid at the time.

Which would also explain why he married a woman with a prosthetic foot.

(Sorry, couldn't resist)


And now for this week's:


I went to the supermarket today wanting to buy some apple juice, and guess what I found?

One kind of apple juice.

Apple juice.

An American staple.

One kind.

You know how many varieties of green tea they had?


Nine freakin' kinds of green tea.

Green tea, people!!

Sometimes, I think this country's priorities are out of whack.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going Through Airport Security: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Ever since Sept. 11, security at airports has tightened up. Now I'm all for increased measures to ensure my safety. It's an ugly, vicious world we live in, and America is less safe than ever before.

But let's be honest: Most of it is absurd. Why, for example, can I no longer bring a normal-sized can of shaving cream onto a flight? Is it because the cannister may actually be a bomb? Is it because the travel-sized shaving cream -- which doesn't offer enough shaving cream for me to actually shave, mind you -- is small enough that it will only kill half the people on board if filled with a deadly substance? Is that what we consider "increased safety?" We can't save everybody, but we can save some?

Last weekend, I went up to Northern California for my fiancee Ramona's alumni weekend at Stanford, and my good friends at Burbank Airport were kind enough to remind me at how annoying going through airport security can be:

Annoying Airport Security Measure # 1: Having to show your driver's license.

If you're like me, your driver's license is in your wallet. If you're also like me, your driver's license is still in the wallet as your arms are filled with carry-on bags while walking toward airport security. It is when -- and only when -- you get near the security line that you see the woman at the podium, waiting to check to make sure you are who you really are.

So you have to do the following:

Put all your stuff down.

Take out your wallet.

Rummage through your wallet.

Drop at least one or two credit cards onto the ground until your driver's license appears.

And feel the glares of the people behind you staring.

And it's not like this airport security person knows what the hell he or she is doing. They stare at the card for a good 14 seconds, not to ensure the license is real, but rather to try and convince you that they're being thorough, all while thinking:

How much longer do I have to stare at this thing to make this guy believe that I actually know what the hell I'm doing?

Yeah that's right, license-checking guy: I'm onto you.

Annoying Airport Security Measure Thing # 2: Nothing bigger than travel-sized.

I'm a man. I need man-sized toothpaste. I'm a man. I need man-sized shaving cream. I'm a man. I need man-sized deoderant.

Travel-sized items were made for women in mind.

There. I said it.

Why the hell is it no longer OK to bring regular-sized toiletries? Won't a small travel-sized amount of anthrax kill the same number of people on a plane as a regular-sized amount of anthrax? Is American air travel really safer because I can no longer bring my large 99-cent bottle of supermarket-brand shampoo?

And for that matter, what's up with travel-sized plastic bags? Why is normal sized not allowed? I used to be able to put everything in one plastic bag. Now I need five. It pisses me off.

Here's my theory:

The airline gurus got together with the plastic bag gurus and said:

Let's screw over the American public for our own personal gain.

I can feel a lot of you nodding.

Annoying Airport Security Measure # 3: Taking off your socks.

OK. Shoes? Fine. Some terrorist hid something in their shoe. I get it. It's annoying, but I'll deal.

But some of these guys -- these overzealous, police-academy-rejected security folks -- make you take off your socks as well.

It happened to me last weekend. It brought about the following exchange:

Security Lady: Sir, you need to take off your socks.

Me: Why?

Security Lady: For your safety, sir.

Me: It's gonna make me more safe for you to see my bare feet?

Security Lady: Sir, please take off your socks.

Me: Why would I hide a weapon in my socks?

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: It would poke me in the toes.

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: The rug is cold.

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: When was the last time your carpets were washed?

Security Lady: SIR!!!!

I took off my socks.

After all, I didn't want to be difficult.

And now for this week's:


Kellen Winslow of the NFL's Cleveland Browns recently had to miss a game after being hospitalized due to swollen testicles.

I say again:

Swollen testicles.


Swollen testicles.

I confess: I didn't know that was possible.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Listen To What She's Saying: The Greatest Advice For Single Men: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm a listener. God put me on this Earth to listen to people. Their stories. Their jokes. Their woes. We all have purposes in life. Listening is apparently one of mine.

Originally, I was going to give a few tips to single men on how to help themselves stand out with the ladies, similar to what I did for women last week. But in writing this, I realized that while there's a lot of tips I can give guys to help them when they're out with women (Lord knows they need all the help they can get), there's one piece of advice that really stands out above the rest. If men don't do the following, any other advice is useless.

Listen to what she's saying.

Most men, when they're out with a woman, make the mistake of thinking that making eye contact with that woman is enough.

It's not.

Here's what men have to realize: Eventually, you will look at her breasts. At some point, you'll look at her butt. You can be the most enlightened heterosexual on Earth, and you'll sneak a peek at some point. It's inevitable.

Now here's another thing men don't know: Women notice every time you look. They catch every time your eyes venture downward. If you think you're being sly, you're not. Their "catching every time he undresses me with his eyes" dar is on 100 percent of the time.

So eye contact alone isn't enough. If all you got is eye contact, then every time you sneak a peek, all the woman will be thinking is that you're just pretending to make eye contact so that you can get in her pants.

And you brilliant "eye contact" plan will have failed.

What went wrong?

You didn't listen.

You didn't listen to what she was saying. You didn't respond to what she was telling you. It's not enough just to keep your eyes above her chest. You have to actually hear what she's telling you and respond in kind.

It amazes me how many men don't get this. It's not complicated. A woman just wants some acknowledgment that you're actually processing some of what she's telling you. How hard is it to understand that saying things like "Uh-huh", "Yeah", "Right", and "Totally" does not constitute listening?

All a guy has to do is say something in relation to what the woman is telling him. Regardless of the subject, all a man has to do to show he's listening is one of two things:

1) Add a comment about the subject in question. Don't worry about her agreeing or disagreeing. As long as it's related to the topic, you can say "REPUBLICANS RULE!!" to the topic of "Why Democrats Should Inherit The Earth" and you will be much farther ahead than the guy who just said "Yep".

And if you have no idea what to say to the woman, you can 2) Ask questions. Asking questions are a man's greatest safety net in relation to the opposite sex. The woman could be speaking sanskrit to you and if you just ask "How long did it take you to learn" or "Sanskrit. Why?", you will automatically stand out as "The guy who actually engaged me in conversation."

Believe me: That's gold, fellas. Because if you become the guy that the woman can talk to, you can sneak peeks at her body all night long.

Boys, heed the following wisdom: She's expecting you to look. She wouldn't be dressing up if she didn't want you to look. Honestly, if you don't look, she'll wonder if you're gay (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you, but in this case, it's probably not the image you want).

If all you do is look, you're a pig.

If you look and listen, you're intriguing.

If you listen and don't look...


Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And now for this week's:


Our national debt is so high that the national debt clock in New York ran out of digits to record the number.

As a result, the sign will be updated to record a deficit of up to a quadrillion dollars.

Cheerful, cheerful news.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weeding Out The Nice Guys From The Players: Tips For Single Women: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

If you’re a heterosexual woman, raise your hand if you’ve said this before:

I just want to find a nice guy.

It sounds simple, but it’s not. I should know: I’m a nice guy and I have no clue where to find me. I honestly can’t tell you where guys like me hang out. All I know is that you won’t usually find us in the following places:


(Where not-so-nice guys want to get you drunk)


(Where not-so-nice guys want to grind on you…and get you drunk)

And strip clubs.

(Where not-so-nice guys get themselves drunk to have an excuse later on for any inappropriate actions)

And if you find a nice guy at these places, odds are he’s the designated driver. And bored as hell.

(Trust me, I speak from experience)

Now, what constitutes a nice guy? Many striking characteristics.

Here are three:

1) He’ll listen to what you have to say.

2) He’ll actually remember what you told him.

3) He’ll attempt to hide the fact that he’s sneaking looks at your breasts.

(He’ll fail. But at least he’ll try. It’s the effort ladies, not the result.)

Now, heterosexual women everywhere seem to have the same problem: How to determine whether the guy in front of them is a “nice guy” (someone who is truly interested in having a relationship) or someone who just wants to get in their pants and move on to the next conquest.

It’s a problem felt by women the world over. But don’t worry:

I’m here to help.

Here are three things to help you determine whether the guy across the table is serious about you:

Sex on the first date. Ladies, I do not believe it is fair that men who sleep with a woman on the first date are considered studs, while women who do the same are considered something vulgar. It’s a double standard, and we at disagree.

That said, if a guy tries to sleep with you on the first date, he’s not looking to hang around for the long term.

If a guy is really into you and sees a possible future with you, the last thing he will do is try to sleep with you on the first date. You may be rolling your eyes at me, female readers, but heed the following wisdom:

A guy does not want the future mother of his children to be someone who was willing to sleep with him after two hours. A guy considers such a woman “easy” (the nicest word I could think of). A man does not want an easy woman to be his future wife. A man wants the woman in his life to be special, different, at a higher standard.

If a guy is really into you, he will not try to sleep with you on date one. Even if he’s done it in the past with other girls, if he feels you’re special, he’ll hold off. Because sex with you will mean something more to him, and even he won’t want to jump right into it.

And his friends will make fun of him for it.

It’s just what guys do.

Calling you again. If a guy is serious about you, believe me: He will call you again. And call you soon. Even if he’s petrified of verbal or written rejection, if he thinks you’re special, he’ risk it.

It amazes me how many women who go out with a guy and don’t hear from him for weeks or months will give that guy another chance if he contacts her well after the first date. Ladies, if the guy is serious about you, he will not wait. He will get in touch with you immediately and try to lock in that second date. Because if he waits, he’ll wonder endlessly about how you feel about him, whether you like him, and whether you’re out with another guy.

He’ll agonize over it.

And his friends will make fun of him for it.

It’s just what guys do.

Doing something sweet. This is something that Cosmo won’t tell you. Right around date two or three, a guy who is really into you will attempt to do something sweet. Whether it’s buy you flowers, get you a teddy bear, or buy you a book written by an author you said you liked, he will do something like this to a) show you his caring side, and b) make him stand out from the other guys he fears you’re dating.

A guy will not make this attempt simply for sex. It requires too much thought (the men reading this blog are nodding, believe me). But he’ll try it in the hopes that you’ll think he’s special. Because he thinks you’re special.

A guy who does this…well, he may be a keeper.

By the way: Afterwards, a guy will tell his closest guy friends about this “something sweet” attempt.

They’ll make fun of him for it.

It’s just what guys do.

And now for this week’s:


Remember how a couple weeks back I pointed out that, according to my stat tracker, my blog had been read in nearly 50 countries, including Iran?

Well, my podcast partner Michael Feldman had the following to say about that:

Dude, getting read in Iran isn’t a good thing. That’s, like, not good. You could, like, be murdered. Assassins could be heading your way right now. From Iran.

Thanks Mike. Way to accentuate the positives.

He probably just wants to do the podcast himself. “Things That Matter With Mike. Just Mike.”

Yeah. Like that will draw listeners.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Raising The Price Of Double Cheeseburgers: How The Failing U.S. Economy Affects Me: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

In case you haven't heard, the U.S. economy is coming apart at the seems. The U.S. housing market is collapsing. Retail stores are struggling. Washington Mutual failed.

None of these things affect me in the slightest. I don't own a house, I'm not planning to buy a store, and even though I'm a WaMu customer, JPMorgan buying them out means all that will change is the name of the bank on my accounts.

But that's not to say the sad state of the economy hasn't left me unscathed. Quite the opposite. The struggles around us have touched my circle of existence. And it's done so in a very personal way.

Because of the recent failures of the U.S. economy...

McDonald's might raise the price of their $1 double cheeseburger to $1.29.

Truly a dark day indeed.

I've seen many cheap burgers come and go during my 29 years on Earth. The Burger King Whopper was $1 for so long that I, like many Americans, assumed that was always the regular price. Today, the Whopper goes for $2.69 (extra charge for cheese).

When the price of the Whopper was raised, Carl's Jr.'s Famous Star filled the void, selling its goodness for a mere 99 cents. Today, this sandwich goes for $1.99 (extra charge for cheese).

And when the Famous Star went uptown, there was McDonald's, ready to fill the void. Willing to say, "We understand. We feel your pain and we're here for you. Here's a $1 double cheeseburger. It's not as big as the Whopper or Famous Star, but we won't charge you for cheese. Do good by us and we'll do good by you."

And now, "do good by you" is threatening to go up to $1.29, claiming economic poverty.

Now you may ask: "Nev, what's the big deal? It's only an extra 29 cents. What damages could that possibly cause?"

To which I say the following:

It is that way of thinking that has doomed us throughout history.

It is that way of thinking that was used when deciding not to stop Hitler in Poland. It was that way of thinking that was used when deciding not to go after Saddam Hussein in 1991. Mike Tyson roaming free. Osama bin Laden in caves. New Coke. All caused by the idea of, "What harm could possibly come of this?"

If the McDonald's $1 double cheeseburger gets raised to $1.29, do you think that will be the end? No. Soon after, it will go up to $1.50. Then $1.75. Then $1.99. And before you know it, that delectable treat that you enjoyed for a mere buck has more than doubled in price.

And that's when you'll ask yourself: "Why didn't someone do something sooner?"

The housing market is collapsing? Fine.

Retail stores are struggling? Who cares?

WaMu is no more? I don't have enough money to risk losing it.

But raising the price of double cheeseburgers?

That hits home.

And now for this week's:


A Nebraska man abandoned nine of 10 children at a hospital under the state's "safe haven" law, which allows parents or caregivers to leave children at state-certified hospitals without fear of prosecution.

The law was passed with the intention of protecting infants, and lawmakers are apparently "shocked" that parents of older kids are taking advantage.

Now there's talk of amending the law.

I have two suggestions:

1) Don't allow any more Nebraskans to have children. Make it a felony, punishable by death.

Or 2) Make it legal to shoot unwanted children without fear of prosecution.

I'm cool with either one.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Putting A Big Shiny Rock On My Lady's Finger (Part 3): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: On Saturday, Aug. 30, I asked my longtime girlfriend Ramona to marry me, and — no doubt blinded by the size of the ring I got her — she said yes. :-) But when it comes to proposing marriage, it’s not just about getting on your knee and saying, "Well?" No, there’s more to it than that. So much so that this is the third of a three-part blog series on how I officially put myself on the path to engagementhood. Part 1 can be read here, and Part 2 can be read here.)

I'm a romantic. It's just my nature. Some guys are romantic. Some guys aren't. Some guys are good at making women's hearts melt. Some guys crash and burn. I'm a romantic. I know how to melt.

So in my mind, the stakes were high as I planned to propose marriage to my longtime girlfriend Ramona. See, in many respects this is where non-romantic guys have an advantage. They don't have to do much to make the moment special. Just take the girl to a nice restaurant or a beach, make sure you look good, say I love you, get on your knee and pop the question. The girl will love it not because it's a great proposal, but because they don't expect the non-romantic guy to do anything romantic and are stunned to see their guy do something remotely romantic and not screw it up.

Women with non-romantic guys know what I'm talking about.

But for guys like me, it's not as easy. Doing a generic proposal just won't do. Oh sure, most women will say, "She'll love it no matter what." That's just a bunch of crap and you know it. I can read between the lines, ladies. When a guy is romantic, you expect romantic moments to be more romantic. Your expectations are heightened. It's just a fact.

And thus, a few weeks ago, I embarked upon a marriage proposal that had to accomplish two critical things:

1) It had to be the most romantic thing I had ever done (not an easy thing to do for a guy who once spelled "I love you" in roses. Which, surprisingly, isn't as hard as it sounds.)

And 2) It had to be better than all her other friends' proposals.

Yeah ladies, I know you want to outshine your friends. It's OK. :-)

Neither was going to be easy to do, and admittedly, it took me a while to think of something special. But then I came up with something to seemed to work pretty well. For the women reading this, seethe with jealousy and longing. For the guys reading this, when your woman reads this and later tells you she liked your proposal better...

...she's lying.


With that said:

I began Aug. 30 by taking Ramona to her favorite breakfast spot, Bobby's Coffee Shop in Woodland Hills. It's good food, it's cheap and she loves it. Nevdogg romance rule No. 47: If she loves it, simplicity is complex enough.

Write that down.

After a good hearty cheese omelette, I treated Ramona to a three-hour spa package at a cute little salon/spa place not too far from our apartment in Northridge. And as she enjoyed a eucalyptus steam, aromatherapy facial, and some type of mud...thing, I went to work.

I had decided to propose in our apartment, since we don't have a special place or spot. Nevdogg romance rule No. 65: Don't force anything.

Write that down.

So after picking up a dozen red and a dozen white roses, I went back to the apartment, cleaned up and did the following:

---Laid out a dozen of the roses on the living room floor one-by-one, alternating between red and white.

---Put a little love note at each flower (I'm a writer, after all).

---And made sure the flowers led to the ring.

Nevdogg romance rule No. 73: Presentation is key.

Write that down.

Then, after I picked Ramona up and gave her a little bracelet (to throw her off the track, in case she suspected anything), I saw that it was 4:45 p.m. I really didn't want to propose in the mid-afternoon. It just didn't feel right. Besides, it went against Nevdogg romance rule No. 79: Romantic moments should occur in the evening.

Write that down.

So I got her a gift card and took her shopping, which she loves and I hate (thus showing how much I love her by being willing to do something that makes me want to kill myself. Nevdogg romance rule No. 87: It's the little things that matter. Write that down). After we spent an hour or so shopping, it was after 6 p.m. (thus, the evening) and I made it seem like we were going to dinner.

"Oh dang," I said when we got to the car, "I forgot something at home. Can we swing by real quick?"

"Sure," my soon-to-be fiancee replied.

When we got to our parking garage, I had Ramona wait in the car, to make it seem like I'd only be a few seconds. But instead, after rushing inside to make sure the flowers were still alive (I had another dozen in the fridge just in case), I called Ramona on her cell.

"You know what, babe," I said, "just come in. I'll be a few minutes."

And, like a deer to headlights, Ramona got to the apartment door, read a little note on the door that explained what to do...

...and the rest worked itself.


Nevdogg romance rule No. 95: The element of surprise: Use it.

Write that down.

And this is how I know this was a proposal for the ages:

A few days ago, I was getting my hair cut courtesy of my good friends at Over The Rainbow in Northridge when I told the engagement story to a number of women of all ages. They all oooohed and ahhhed and "can you tell this to my husband so he can be more romantic."

If you can impress the women at the beauty salon, you did well.

I'm making that Nevdogg romance rule No. 107.

I wrote it down.

And now for this week's:


According to my stat tracker, has been read in 48 countries.

Including Iran!!

And that Iranian president says he hates Jews.

Such a kidder.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Putting A Big Shiny Rock On My Lady's Finger (Part 2): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: On Saturday, Aug. 30, I asked my longtime girlfriend Ramona to marry me, and — no doubt blinded by the size of the ring I got her — she said yes. :-) But when it comes to proposing marriage, it’s not just about getting on your knee and saying, "Well?" No, there’s more to it than that. So much so that this is the second of a three-part blog series on how I officially put myself on the path to engagementhood. Part 1 can be read here.)

Here's a little tidbit about me: I hate shopping. I mean, I despise it. Unless I'm looking for video games or frozen pizza, if I have to spend more than five minutes shopping for something, I start itching uncontrollably and the walls start closing in.

True story: A few years ago, Ramona insisted that I needed new tennis shoes and dragged me to some two-story shoe store. In the 90 seconds it took her to look down an aisle and say "Hey, we can even look upstairs," I had found a pair of shoes and was waiting in line to pay.

I. Hate. Shopping.

Unfortunately, getting an engagement ring involves this unpleasant task. There's just no way around it (trust me, I thought of alternatives). And due to my severe lack of knowledge about rings, I feared this would turn into a long, drawn-out task that could take (horror of horrors) more than one day to complete.

Fortunately, I had an idea.

My mom used to work with this woman named Kara, who is a former jeweler and knows her way around the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district. She agreed to come with me and my mom to get the ring, so now I had an expert with me to make sure I got good quality and a good price.

But even with this, shopping for the ring wasn't easy. It was Saturday, Aug. 16. It was me, my mom, Kara, and Kara's 1-year-old boy Patrick. It's 10:30 a.m. and the car is leaving.

10:30 a.m. (in the car)

Kara and I are already off the same page.

Me: If I find something right away that I like, I'm getting it.

Kara: I won't let you.

Me: But what if I like it, it's a good price and the quality is good?

Kara: Doesn't matter. Even if you like something early on, you need to go to other places so you can feel better about what you eventually buy.

Me: But I'm a guy. I'll feel good immediately.

Kara: You need to go to other places.

Me: But I'm a guy.

Kara: We're not buying the first thing we see.

Me: But I'm a guy.

Kara: I won't let you.

Me: But I'm a guy!!! Jesus, I have hair on my legs!!

(1-year-old Patrick starts to cry. He feels my pain).

11:30 a.m. (Store 1)

Me: I like that ring.

Mom: It is beautiful.

Kara: And it's a good price.

Abit (the salesman): You buy this then?

Nev: Yes.

Kara: No!!

(Abit slumps his shoulders because of the lack of sale. I slump my shoulders because this task continues).

Kara: Remember our conversation?

Me: I was hoping you'd forgotten.

Abit: What conversation?

Kara: I told him he can't buy the first thing he sees.

Abit: But he's a guy.

Nev: Save your breath, my man.

(1-year-old Patrick starts to cry. He feels my pain).

1 p.m. (Store # 7)

Me: I like the first ring I saw.

1:30 p.m. (Store # 10)

Me: I like the first ring I saw.

2:30 p.m. (Store # 17)

Me: I like the first ring I saw.

2:45 p.m. (Store # 19)

Patrick cries.

Poor kid.

3 p.m. (Store # 21)

Me: Enough!!

(And I lead us to the first store, to the first ring)

Me: I like that ring.

Mom: It is beautiful.

Kara: And it's a good price.

Abit: You buy now?

(I look at Kara pleadingly)

Kara: I think you should buy it.

Me: YES!!

Mom: I'm so happy for you, Nevin.

Abit: You just wasted the whole day.

(Patrick smiles.)

(What a kid)

4 p.m. (driving home)

Kara: Nev, I'm proud of you. You hung in there and didn't complain.

Nev: And you have no idea how hard that was. We could've been home four hours ago if you had just let me buy the first thing I saw, like all men!!

(Note: I was thinking that. I didn't actually verbalize it.)

Mom: It's a beautiful ring and Ramona is going to love it.

Kara: I agree.

(Patrick snorts)

Nev: I think so too, and I learned a valuable lesson today. I learned that shopping for an engagement ring is not like shopping for shaving cream. It takes time, patience and planning. This is a special moment in my life, and it was important for me to give it the attention it deserved.

Kara: Well said.

Mom: Hear hear!!

(Patrick laughs)

(He knows a load of crap when he hears it.)

(He's a guy.)

And now for this week's:


I've been hearing on the radio recently the following line on ads for the grocery chain Albertsons:

"Organify your food."

Right after I organify my vomit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Putting A Big Shiny Rock On My Lady's Finger (Part 1): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: On Saturday, Aug. 30, I asked my longtime girlfriend Ramona to marry me, and — no doubt blinded by the size of the ring I got her — she said yes. :-) But when it comes to proposing marriage, it’s not just about getting on your knee and saying, "Well?" No, there’s more to it than that. So much so that this is the first of a three-part blog series on how I officially put myself on the path to engagementhood.)

In mid-July, I had the following conversation with my mom.

Nev: Please, Mom?

Mom: Nevin, I can’t.

Nev: But I’m desperate!!

Mom: Honey, you’re just going to have to figure this out on your own.

Nev: But I need help!! Just a little bit, please?

Mom: I can’t.

Nev: You have to!!

Mom: I can’t.

Nev: But you’re my mother!!

Mom: Nevin, please don’t.

Nev: I’m your son!!

Mom: Oh God, honey…


(and I throw myself at her feet, crying on her shoes and hugging her ankles)

Now, those who don’t know me might conclude that this conversation took place while I was coked out of my mind and begging my mom for a few bucks to score my next high. But in actuality, I just told her that I was planning to ask my longtime girlfriend, Ramona, to marry me, and I needed my mom’s help in figuring out Ramona’s ring size.

Now, I have a lot of female friends. And prior to asking my mom to assist me in this vital task, I asked various lady friends of Nev to help me figure out what Ramona’s ring size was (so that the thing actually fit when I put it on her finger). And these friends all had the same reply:

Just grab one of her rings and take it to a jeweler.

OK, guys are stupid. I admit that. Many of us are lacking in the brains department. But if it was as easy as grabbing a ring out of Ramona’s jewelry box, going to some jewelry kiosk and asking someone, "How big is this?" I’d of come to that conclusion on my own.

The problem was, Ramona doesn’t wear rings. And while God granted me with an uncanny ability to pick out jewelry — really, I’m quite good at it. Just ask any of my ex-girlfriends who still wear my bling while out with other, lesser men than I — that ability is null and void if the damn thing don’t fit!!

So I went to the one woman who could maybe help me: Mommy. And, as one can tell from the conversation above, she was loathe to do it. It’s not that she didn’t want to help, you understand. It was just that she felt she couldn’t give an accurate idea of Ramona’s ring size.

"But even your best wild guess is better than anything I can figure out," I argued.

"Maybe," she replied. "But I really don’t know anything."

My mom was right. She didn’t know anything that could help me here.


See Nev, my ring size is a 6, and I’m guessing that Ramona’s hand is probably a size or so bigger than mine. You also have to account for shape and texture, and remember that a woman’s hands sometimes grow at different points of the year. Then you have to determine fingers: Lean or round? If lean, go a size smaller. If not, go a size bigger. Then of course, there’s the setting, which can add to the size, and then of course there’s her knuckles and her palms…

She went on and on like this for a good 15 minutes, telling me all these things about a subject she didn’t know. Apparently, lack of knowledge ain’t what it used to be.

"So you’ll help me then?" I asked when she finished.

"Nevin, haven’t you been listening? I don’t know anything."

"Mom, you just spent almost 20 minutes telling me every little detail to consider on a thing you claim to have no concept of. Surely you can look at her hands and take a guess."

"But what if I’m wrong?"

‘But what if you’re right?"


"Wait, why don’t you just get one of Ramona’s rings out of her jewelry box and take it to a jeweler?"

If there was a ledge right there in my mom’s apartment, I’d of jumped off it.

Finally, after once again going over the "Ramona doesn’t wear or own rings" routine, my mom agreed to help me.

It turns out, however, that her assistance wouldn’t be needed in this case.

About a week later, Ramona and I were watching television when she said:

Oh by the way, I stopped in a jewelry store a few days ago and got my ring size checked. I’m a 7.

Just like that. No warning. No preamble. Just…

I’m a 7.

And with that, obstacle 1 had been cleared. :-)

Next week: Shopping for the ring.

And now for this week's:


They've made animated films about superheroes, clown fish, ants, mice, ogres, lions, and a cute little robot named Walllllllllllleeeeee.

And recently, I found out that my oldest friend's brother's wife (try saying that three times fast) made a short animated film about a dollhouse.

Hey, why not?

You can view the short film (about 10 minutes) here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three Things That Always Happens When You Go To The Movies: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My girlfriend Ramona and I love going to the movies. It's the "couple" activity that we do. Action films, sappy films, dumb films; we see all the mainstream nonsense, and even a couple of crappy indie flicks that she drags me to.

Now, every time we go to the theater, three things tend to happen, like clockwork. No matter what time of day you go to the movies, regardless of which show you see, these three things are always reliable. Tell me if you experience the same:

Movie Thing That Always Happens # 1: Having the ticket-selling person stare at your 10-year-old student ID for five minutes to determine whether you're really still a student.

Look, movies are expensive. Your average theater ticket can run you a good $11, and that's just insane. That's why, for such financial dilemmas, I carry with me my old student ID from my alma mater Cal State Northridge (Go Matadors!!). Now, being that this photo was taken in the late 1990s, the ID is a bit faded (i.e., you can't read any of the ID text) and the picture looks nothing like me. It is this ID that I always show to the movie's ticket-selling person to save $2.75.

And really, it's become quite funny watching the person's reaction to the ID. They look at the ID, they look at me. They look back to the ID, and quickly dart their eyes back onto me. Back and forth their eyes go, fast and slow in a seeming rhythm of ID checking scrutiny.

They want to ask the question. They want to call me out on it. But for some reason, they never do. They always hesitate. Maybe they're afraid of me yelling at the top of my lungs. Maybe they're afraid I'll give them a beatdown (probably the former). But they always ending up selling me the cheaper ticket, both of us continuing this constant, never-ending lie.

But like I said: It saves me $2.75. :-)

Movie Thing That Always Happens # 2: Getting stuck in front of somebody at the concession stand who has no idea what he or she wants, and ends up ordering $57 worth of stuff.

Movie snacks are expensive. When Ramona and I go to the movies, we buy a large diet coke and split it. That's our little splurge. But regardless of whether she or I go to get the beverage, we are always stuck for six or seven minutes behind someone with two or three bratty kids who act like this is a Sizzler and end up ordering every damn thing off the menu.

And it always happens the same way.

First, the person looks at the menu really, really hard.

And decides to get a hot dog.

Then, after the concession stand person gets them said hot dog, they look really hard at the menu again.

And order nachos.

Then one of their bratty kids screams, "I WANT POPCORN!!"

Popcorn is ordered.


The parent and child argue over this fact.

The large popcorn is ordered.

Then, having one victory under his or her belt, the bratty kid will ask -- not scream, but ask -- for an Icee.

The parent, relieved that the child didn't scream, orders the Icee.

The the parent, rewarding him or herself for the trials and tribulations they just went through, decides to get junior mints.

Followed by another hot dog.

And then:

"Where's my soda?" the parent asks the concession stand person.

"Oh, you didn't order a soda," the worker replies.

"Doesn't any of this stuff come with a soda?"

"No," the worker replies.

"You charge all this money for food, and none of it comes with a drink?" the parent asks/demands.

"Would you like a soda?" the now-scared worker asks.

"I'm not paying for it!!" the parent decrees.

And really,why should he/she? After all, they've already spent the bratty kid's allergy medicine money on nearly $60 worth of food and drink, 75% of which they won't consume. Kudos to them for taking a stand and insisting that they won't pay an extra $4.50 for a carbonated beverage.



I'll let you guess what happens next.

Movie Thing That Always Happens # 3: Having to go to the bathroom when the movie first starts.

It always happens. The Student ID tickets are paid for, the drink is bought after an indeterminable wait at the concession stand, and you're all settled in your seat when the lights go off, the coming attractions are over, the movie starts and...

"Damn it, I have to pee," you realize.

It doesn't matter if you went to the bathroom 10 times beforehand. It doesn't matter if you haven't had a drop of liquid for 12 hours. Once the lights go down, nature always calls.

And you find yourself left with two options:

1) Miss the beginning of the movie and risk not understanding what the hell's going on for the remainder of the film.

Or 2) Stay there and slowly suffer for what seems like 17 hours as you will the movie to go faster, no longer caring whether the lovable loser gets the girl or the James Bond action hero type saves the hostages. Just so long as the credits start rolling so you can hightail it to the nearest restroom.

I always opt for option B.

Suffering in silence.

It's why I cry during every film.

And now for this week’s:


At my work, this new game on my co-worker Rachit’s iPhone has become all the rage. It’s a math game and it gives you 20 basic math questions-and-answers. As fast as you can, you have to determine whether each one is right or wrong. For each wrong answer, five seconds is added to your overall time. We play it constantly to establish our office cred.

I currently hold the record at 9.54 seconds.

Yep, I’m so cool.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Debunking The Myths Of Organic Food: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My dad has become a real organic food nut over the last few years. Go into his freezer and you'll see organic meat. Go into his fridge and you'll find organic vegetables.

"Hey Dad," I said while over at his place recently, "mind if I pour myself a glass of milk?"

"Help yourself," he replied. "It's organic."

Of course.

Well, let me tell you something about this organic trend:

Organic food is nothing more than a creation by the food, vegetable and dairy industries to charge twice as much for the same products that you consume on a daily basis.

There. I said it.

Now, many of you organic freaks feel that consuming such products improves your health, helps the environment and promotes your objection to the inhumane treatment of cows.

As usual, it's up to me to expose the truth:

Myth # 1: Eating organic food contributes to the improvement of overall health. Let me tell you all something about cockroaches. You know why they don't die? Because they eat crap all day. Everything they consumed is filled with pesticides and hormones. And you know what? Even a nuclear blast can't kill those suckers.

People, we have consumed pesticides for years. Our bodies are so used to foreign chemicals that we've become borderline-invincible. By switching to organic food, not only are you not helping your cause, but you may very well be contributing to your demise. Why? Because your body can't handle the change!! It's too much of a shock to the system. If you start going organic, you're weakening your body's defenses.

So stay healthy. Eat crap. That's my advice.

Myth # 2: Eating organic food helps the environment. OK, let's ignore the fact that there are about a million other things killing my good friend the ozone layer. Pesticides and hormones makes food grow bigger and faster. So if everything became organic, sure we might help Mother Earth...

...but we'd also starve!!

People, do you like those hefty cuts of meat? Well, guess what? It ain't natural material that helped to get it that size. You're used to big portions. You need big portions. Without those big portions, you'll waste away to Mary Kate Olsen levels.

And ladies, that's not a look men find attractive. FYI.

Myth # 3: Eating organic food helps promote the humane traffic of cows. Here's a fresh little nugget of information for you: What's the one similarity between a cow that roams the pasture eating nothing but grass, and a cow that's bunched together with other cows being pumped full of steroids?

Both cows get slaughtered.

Listen, I love cows. They're cute and they moo. But all cows you eat, organic and non, get killed. Besides, in these tough economic times, we all have to ask ourselves the following question:

Am I willing to spend twice as much to eat a steak that comes from a happy cow?

If your answer is yes, you're not just stupid...'re fiscally irresponsible.

Shame on you.

And now for this week's:


The following is being said to finalize a fantasy football deal I made:



(thumbs up!!)

Don't ask.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trying To Find My Inner Homosexual: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

As you all know, recently I started a Project Runway hater blog ( Now, since many of the show's audience is gay, much of my readership on that blog is gay. And because I've been straight for all 29 years of my life, there can't help but be a bit of a mind-set gap between myself and my gay brethren.

With that in mind, my girlfriend Ramona suggested to me that -- in an attempt to better understand this audience -- I find a way to tap into my inner gay spirit that she believes all men inherently have.

Needless to say: I was dead-set against this. There are just certain things I don't want to discover, certain places of my soul I don't want to go to. I'm an "on the surface" kind of guy. I get twitchy when dealing with "deep feelings."

I'm straight. It's how God made me. Why must you judge?


"I AM NOT WATCHING GAY PORN!!" I announced to Ramona.

Luckily, that's not what she had in mind. So after much back-and-forth, recently she took me (i.e., dragged me) to see the movie "Mamma Mia", where men who like men can watch various topless men sing and dance for no apparent reason.

And even with that, it was extraordinarily difficult to tap into my inner homosexual. At one point in the movie, Amanda Seyfried was sliding chest-first across the sand in this hot-as-hell one-piece bathing suit. Now, a little straight-man info for gay guys and straight women: In this bikini- and G-string-clad age of ours, it is ridiculously difficult to get a man foaming at the mouth wearing a one-piece. But Amanda Seyfried pulled it off like she was wearing nothing but pasties.

In fact, it stuns me that she plays a Mormon daughter on HBO's "Big Love." Were it not for the fact that I was in a happy, committed relationship (and/or didn't believe in bigamy) I'd leave my current life behind and become a grad student at BYU.

But despite these and other obstacles, I managed by the end of the movie to find a little of my deeply buried gayness (which, for the remainder of this blog, I will refer to as DBG) and made the following discovery:

If you put a loaded gun to my head and said I had to sex with a man if I didn't want my brains blow off (and came to the conclusion that this was not a fate worse than death), the man I'd choose to avoid this fate would be Pierce Bronsnan.

After all these years, the man's still got it. He's got those piercing eyes (no pun intended) that just look right through you. He meets my DBG height requirements, he's not bulky (my DBG isn't into the huge muscular look) and he still pulls off the whole "open collar, no tie" look that you just don't see anymore.

And when he took off his shirt at the end of Mamma Mia, my DBG joined the female members of the movie audience in the chorus entitled:


Besides, Pierce also passes the "alley test."

The alley test is a test that straight men give in the rare (rare!!) times we judge the sex appeal of other men. The thinking is this: If you faced the man in question in the back of an alley, and you weren't afraid, then he ain't right for your DBG.

Brad Pitt? I could beat him senseless inside of 12 seconds. He fails the alley test.

John Stamos? Something tells me he can't take it to the body. He fails the alley test.

George Clooney? Close. But he's a bit too metrosexual. I can take him. He fails the alley test.

But Pierce Brosnan? Man, I gotta admit: I don't know. He's the thing that a lot of men fear most: The guy who doesn't look all that tough but nonetheless has a look about him that says, "I know something you don't." Pierce in an alley would make me think, give me pause. And I believe he'd use that to his advantage and ram my head into a dumpster and take my wallet.

And according to my DBG: That's sexy.

So congratulations, Pierce. I would consider having sex with you if my life depended on it.With that in mind:

I'm off to find doctored nude photos of Amanda. Cheers.

And now for this week's:


On June 18, my good friends Elly and Jeremy welcomed a baby boy into the world named Max Orion Treat. Though not even 2 months old, my man Max has already shown himself to be a future raging heterosexual. Apparently, although the kid still isn't quite the age where he can always focus both his eyes on the same object, there's this picture of a hula girl in the living room that little Max is fascinated by. With everything and everyone else, little Max's left and right pupils are all over the place. But with the hula girl, he's locked in, undressing her in his mind and thinking:

"You just wait till I can crawl, sweetheart."

Speaking of Max, his parents have entered him into a cutest baby contest, where the winner will receive a $20,000 college scholarship. I ask that you vote for Max to ensure that he undresses hula and other varieties of girls with his eyes in a post-secondary environment.

To vote, go here, click on the letter "M" halfway down the screen and choose Contestant 40. Then, just enter your e-mail address at the bottom and verify your vote in your Inbox.

Five easy steps. Less than half of an alcohol program. No problem.

So sometime between now and Aug. 17, vote for male heartthrob Max. With your help, his gifted mind will one day go to college and find the cure for cancer.

Or a way to make firmer, longer-lasting breast implants.

Either way, the world's a better place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Turning 29...And We All Know What Comes Next: The Annual Nevin Barich Birthday Blog

I got my new driver's license photo the other day. During my latest renewal process, I was required to come into the DMV and thus a new photo was taken, replacing the the license photo I had carried for the last 10 years.

I looked at the photos, putting both side by side. There were many similarities. The sparkling eyes. The adorable dimples. And that smile. God, I got great teeth. (thank you, braces) But though both photos looked at me with youthful exuberance, one thing was clear:

I was getting older.

Perhaps it's not completely noticeable to the naked eye. My hair isn't gray, I'm too young for wrinkles, and aches and pains -- last I checked -- aren't captured by the camera.

But I can see it. Little, almost imperceptible signs that age has begun to slowly creep in. A line or so around the eyes. The littlest dash of weariness. A look that says, "I haven't been 'there.' But I've been somewhere."

New driver's license photos never lie.

Today, Aug. 6, I turn 29. One more year of being in my 20s before...


Here's something interesting I've discovered about being a year away from 30. Sympathy... is nowhere. People who have passed 30 have been there and done that, and are jealous that you still have some of your 20s left to enjoy. Younger people see a glimpse of what's in store for them and avoid you like the plague. And people your age ... well, they're wallowing in their own self-pity and thus have no free time to wallow in yours.

My 20s are nearing an end and I'm alone. Just me and my driver's license photo.

So as I enter my last year of "younger than 30", I reflect -- as I often do -- on previous years. My 20s were not nearly as wild as some people, but nor was it dull and filled with shuffleboard and iced tea. Among my 20s memories:

---Traveling to Europe.

---Speaking in front of 1,000 people.

---Getting into physical altercations at not one, but two Subway restaurants.

---Falling in love.

---Getting heart broken.

---Falling in love again.

---Heart rebroken.

---Getting it right eventually.

---Sitting at the 50-yard line of a Raiders game.

---Meeting Oscar De La Hoya (I'm taller than him).

---Being threatened by a pro boxer because his girlfriend smiled at me (true story).

---Playing $100 hands of blackjack at The Mirage.

---Being asked by a hooker if I wanted her for dessert following my McDonald's dinner (I politely declined).

---Walking on the grass of Dodger Stadium.

---Discovering DVR.

---Getting my own apartment.

And finally.

---Learning to make eggs.

These memories, and many more, have been accumulated during my 20s. Who knows what other memories I'll incur for 29? Perhaps I'll learn to make omelets.

And as I begin my final younger-than-30 year, I recently found myself wondering: Could I still do it? Could I, at 29, still handle -- mentally and physically -- some of the things I went through over the past nine years?

And the answer came to me during a recent visit to my local In N' Out.

I went to refill my diet coke cup when I accidentally bumped into someone 10 years or so my junior. Some of the soda in his own cup got onto his pants; no big thing, as accidents will happen (plus, his pants were black). But this kid, no older than I was during my previous driver's license photo, wouldn't let the matter drop.

"Yo, you spilled on my pants!" the lad declared.

"Sorry about that," I said. "It was an accident."

"You gonna pay for my dry cleaning?" he demanded.

"Am I what?"

"Gimme some money to pay for this, boy."

This kid wasn't even 10 when I was turning 20, and yet I'm "boy." But, based on previous Subway restaurant experience (where I ended up sprawled on the floor courtesy of a left hook to the jaw. At least, I think it was a left. The whole incident is a bit hazy) I wisely decided to walk away.

But the kid wouldn't let up.

"Where's my money, punk? Where's my money? Hey, I'm talkin' to you, %$*^%$."

I stopped.

I don't like being called %$*^%$.

So I turned around.

Took a sip of my diet coke.

Walked right back up to him.

And said:

"Do I look like I give a damn about your pants."

I didn't ask it.

I said it.

At my age, you learn to say things.

And this kid.

Backed the %$*^%$ up.


I could still do it.

Score one for a line or so around the eyes.

And now for this week's:


I'm turning 29. In a year, I'll be 30. What the %$*^%$ do you want?

( Where elders like me are respected and revered.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The iPhone: The First Phone Where The Primary Objective Isn't To Call People: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I don't often do requests. It's not that I'm against writing on ideas other than my own, but rather that the requests have been a bit random and are not always -- in my view -- wide-reaching topics.

Nevin, write a blog on how people are bringing their poodles into stores.

Nevin, write a blog on the deadliness of Mexican jalapenos.

Nevin, write a blog on my Catholic wedding.

(Note on Catholic weddings: They are long. But in the one I went to, the groom and groomsmen all wore Converse shoes. Now that's an idea Jewish weddings should steal.)

But lately, many of you have been pestering me about a certain topic. A product that has recently taken America by storm. You've read about it, seen it, maybe even own it. And, bowing to public pressure, today I write about:

The iPhone.

So here we go.

I have one fundamental problem with the iPhone:

I can't figure out how to make a phone call with it.

I mean, I look at that thing and I am lost. I see a button to check traffic. I see a button to go online. I see a button to send a text message. I see a button for music. I see a button that looks like a cross between a television and a stove.

But how do I use the iPhone to, you know, phone someone?

I'm a traditionalist. I'm used to phones where the numbers I press are featured prominently. With my phone, for example, I flip it open...and the numbers are there.

I then use these call people.

And here's the nifty thing: When the person on the other end answers the phone...

...we talk.

Over the phone.

Can the iPhone do this? I'm seriously asking this, because I've yet to see someone actually use the iPhone to talk to another person using spoken words.

Case in point: My friend and co-worker Rachit recently braved the long lines at his local Apple Store -- where apparently, you're waiting in two long lines: One to purchase the phone, one to activate it -- and was happily showing me everything he can do with the iPhone. He showed me how to send e-mails. Texts. Listen to tunes. Watch TV. Play games. See if the 405 Freeway was clogged. Take photos clearer than the latest cameras. Shoot video.

All well and good. But...

"How do I call someone with it?" I asked him.

And he looked at me. Just looked at me. Like a puppy pondering why there wasn't any food in his bowl at the pre-arranged feeding time. He was confused, a vacant glaze coming over his eyes.
"You don't need to call someone," he said.

Come again?

"You don't have to call with the iPhone," he continued. "It's easy to text or e-mail."

"But what if I want to talk to the person?" I asked.

"But you don't have to," he replied.

"But what if I want to?"

"Why would you want to?"

"Why? What you do mean why? Because I'm used to talking to people on the phone, that's why."
"But you don't have to talk with the iPhone."

"But what if I want to talk with the iPhone?"

"You don't have to."

"But I want to!!"

"You can text or e-mail them."

"I don't want to text or e-mail them."

"But it's faster."

"It's impersonal."

"No one talks anymore."

"We're talking now."

"But not over the phone."

"Dude...I want a phone to talk."

"Talking isn't necessary."



"You know what, Nevin? I don't think the iPhone is right for you."


Eventually, Rachit relented and proceeded to try to find something on his iPhone that resembled some sort of pad for which you can press numbers and hear another person on the other end.

The process took 45 seconds.

45 seconds -- not to call someone, mind you -- but to find the number pad for which to make the call.

45 seconds. To find numbers that have been in front of you since the rotary age.

And you know something? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm behind the times. Maybe the era where we use our phones primarily to phone people has passed.

But ponder this:

If I saw a man having a heart attack, I can quickly flip my phone and dial 911 in 1.3 seconds, thus saving that man's life and earning his eternal gratitude.

If someone else saw the same man having a heart attack and had an iPhone, by the time he or she found the "9", the man would be dead.

Because last time I checked, 911 didn't accept texts or e-mails.

And now for this week's:

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE now features ads.

If you click on these ads, you'll be contributing to my "Send me on a Vegas gambling junket" fund.

I can't think of a worthier cause.

(The writer of turns 29 on Aug. 6. He likes gift cards. Hint hint.)