Friday, December 25, 2009

Going To The Movies On Christmas Day: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My family has exactly one family tradition: Every year, we go to the movies on Christmas. Since 1986, at least two members of the Barich family have sat in a dark theater on this holiday and watched a major blockbuster well as some random romantic comedy or some depressing bit of nonsense that I personally don't feel is ever a good choice when trying to have a Merry Christmas.

This is also a tradition for most Jewish families like mine. On Christmas Day, approximately 99.5% of the Jewish population can be found at the movie theaters.

As well as a Chinese restaurant. :-)

With the possible exception of Israel or a 2-for-1 sale at The Falafel Palace, you simply won't see a larger group of Jews in a single place at once than at the movie theater on Christmas Day. It's the one place on Dec. 25 where many of my people can feel a sense of belonging.

There's a few things you learn about Jewish people going to the movies on Christmas Day after you've been doing it for 23 consecutive years. In no particular order:

---The median age of your average Jew who goes to the movies on Christmas Day is 97. And every single one of them are shocked at how high movie prices are nowadays. You know how many times I heard "$10.50 for a movie ticket now? Well, personally I think that's a little high, if you want my opinion" on Christmas Day 2009? About 107 times. And every single time occurred when the person got to the front of the line. And not just the movie line. But the line to get concessions, the line to go to the bathroom, and the line to actually get into the theater. These people bitch and moan about the price from the second they get to the theater until mid-January.

---No one understands why the line for the movies is so long. "I can't believe how long this line is. I didn't think anyone would be here on Christmas Day" is something you hear over and over when you go to the movies on Jesus' birthday. The fact that the line is this long every Christmas is lost on these people. And my favorite is when a woman sends her husband to the front of the line to "find out why this line is so long." Why the hell do you think it's so long? You think they're giving away matzah to every paying customer? No. The line is long because the movie theater seconds as a Jewish social club on Christmas...just like every other Christmas in your life.

---A lot of Jews feel it's important to see a depressing movie on Christmas. This is a theory I personally don't subscribe to, but I have some thoughts as to why this is so: You see, lots of Jews secretly love Christmas. But to admit it publicly would, in their minds, be kind of a betrayal to their heritage. Thus, they aim to see a depressing tear-jerker on Christmas Day as a way of punishing themselves for having happy thoughts of Santa Claus and Christmas lights and egg nog.

Kind of like wacky religious people hitting themselves with whips after having sexual thoughts.

So now you know what it's like to go to the movies on Christmas Day. If you're a non-Jew and you one day decide to venture out to the cinema on Dec. 25...

...don't say you weren't warned as to what you'll find.


And now for this week's:


The trailer for the new Karate Kid movie just came out!!!

Jackie Chan plays Mr. Miyagi!!



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being A Bad Jew: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm a bad Jew. Let's just get that right out in the open. Those who know me know that despite being Jewish, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to...well, Jewish things. Ask me a question, any question, Jewish-related --- when a certain holiday is, how to spell a Yiddish term, what some ritual represents --- and I'll stare at you vacantly until you walk away and let the message soak in your head that I'm the wrong person to ask such questions.

Tonight is the final night of Hanukkah...

Note two things:

1) I originally spelled it incorrectly, using only one K.

And 2) I think it's the final night of Hanukkah. Honestly, I don't have the first damn clue.

...and I feel compelled to talk about the fact that I'm probably not the best representative of my own religious heritage.

For example:

I'm not into potato latkes. First off, non-Jews have been told that potato latkes are like hash browns. This is a lie. Potato latkes are just weird-tasting. They're burnt, they're oily, and some of them have a pancake consistency that just doesn't work. Plus, there is no condiment -- sour cream, cheese, ketchup -- that really works well with them.

Then there's Manichevitz.

Note: I spelled that wrong. It's Manischewitz.

I hate that crap. Now I don't like alcohol much in general, so maybe I'm a bad example. But I'm the only Jew I know who hates Manischewitz, the alcoholic staple of every Jewish meal. On special occasions, Manischewitz gets drank in such abundance that I have another name for it:

Jewish White Lightning.

Other "Nev's a bad Jew" examples:

---I hate wearing yarmulkes.

---Until recently, I spelled "yarmulke" yamika.

---I don't keep kosher.

---I prefer Oscar Meyer to Hebrew National.

---Despite everything listed above (and below) I insist on my parents giving me Hanukah presents.

---I once again misspelled Hanukkah.

---I don't know when any of the holidays start and end.

---Every time we do the prayers at Jewish holiday dinners, I think to myself: "Can we speed this up so we can get to the food?"

---Matzah ball soup makes me nauseous.

---And I used my Bar Mitzvah to lobby my entire family to give me lots of money.

Now in my defense:

It is my opinion that most Jews are like me: Ignorant and yet excepting of gifts on behalf of their religion. I'm a "cultural" Jew, which means I know nothing and eat food. The difference between me and other cultural Jews is that I can admit who I am.

Also, I can name three non-Jewish friends off the top of my head who repeatedly remind me that they're "better Jews than you are, Nev" and the way I see it: They're combined knowledge of judaism balances out the fact that I know nothing.


So as we wind down Hanukkah 2009, I say to myself: Let sleeping dogs lie. I'm a bad Jew, I'll continue to be selfish, and my non-Jew friends will continue to be superior about how they know more about being Jewish than I do.

Everyone's happy and everyone wins.


And now for this week's:


McDonald's is coming out with the Big Mac Snack Wrap.

My guess is: It isn't kosher.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Going To The Gym: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I exercise regularly. Not everyone knows this about me, but up until the age of 15, I was fat, reaching the weight of 200 pounds. I was the chubby kid, being teased about my size and the like. But luckily, one day in the locker room in high school, I looked down at my legs, and saw that they looked like flabby tree trunks and basically ate up my underwear.

And it made me do two things:

1) Start exercising.

And 2) Switch to boxer shorts. :-)

Five months later, I had lost 60 pounds and kissed my fat days goodbye. And though I spent several years working out entirely at home, in my early 20s I started working out at the gym and today still go there three times a week to lift weights.

And in my eight years of attending a fitness gym, here is what I have discovered:

I'm like a lot of us. I go to the gym in a ratty T-shirt and sweats or shorts, do my workout and leave. Whether we're men or women, we go to the gym, do our thing, and get the hell out of there.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

But then you have these guys who spend hours in the gym showing off how strong they are to anyone who will watch. They grunt, they swear, they do that "I'm flexing but I'm trying to act like I'm not really flexing" thing. They want women to look at them and ask for their help in moving heavy weights. They want other guys to ask them how long it took them to lift so much, so they can explain their diet-and-training regimen and feel important.

If you're like me, you roll your eyes at such nonsense. Because I know, a life.

And then you have these women who wear these ridiculously skimpy sports bras as their workout top, but they don't want guys to talk to them. Rather, they just want guys to look at them, watch those guys squirm as they try desperately not to gawk, and laugh on the inside at the guys' pathetic attempts to try and find something -- anything -- to say to them that sounds like the reason for speaking to them has nothing to do with the skimpy sports bra.

Now as a fellow guy, I freely admit: I look at the skimpy sports bra girls. I mean...hey. :-) But I ask my female readers: Does this make sense to you? Do you think your fellow females are helping the women's movement any by going to the gym in ridiculously skimpy sports bras and playing the "look at me and just try not to gawk at me" game?

I'm thinking of you here, ladies.

And finally: You got this thing where guys put their gym towels on the workout machine and walk away for 20 minutes. The idea behind this is to have dibs on the machine so no one else uses it.

Personally, I ignore it. I don't have time for someone to do a set of chest press, put his towel on the machine, and walk away for 20 minutes pretending to flex and figuring out what to say to skimpy sports bra chick. So I take the towel down, do my 1-2 sets, and then put the towel back on.

And you wouldn't believe the arguments I've gotten from people. "Hey man, my towel was on that thing!!" Yeah, I know. But you're nowhere in sight. And there's only one ab crunch machine here and, last I checked, you and your towel don't own it!! You don't want me to use it so that I don't "interrupt your muscle-tuning flow?" (seriously, that's what one guy said to me) Then hang around the machine and use it.

You know?

Maybe if I wore a skimpy sports bra, the gym towel guy would spend so much time trying to figure out how to talk to me that I could do my workout and leave before he could think of something to say.

Just a thought.


And now for this week's:


I'm a big believer in selling out. Unlike a lot of people, I don't look down upon a big-time celebrity who hocks stupid items for money. Hell, I would if given the chance!! Money is money, I always say.

But even I was cringing when I saw Mr. T in a commercial for The World of Warcraft. Mr. T, no one loves you more than I do, particularly after your depiction of Clubber Lang in one of my all-time favorite movies Rocky III.

But the mohawk grenade?

C'mon now. Times aren't that tough.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Jew Who Loved Christmas: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Before I get into this week's blog, I wanted to say a few words about my friend Cindy's blog entitled Lab Rehab. The blog chronicles Cindy's joys and heartache (mostly joys) of fostering Labrador retrievers for Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue. The organization helps find temporary homes for Labs, particularly older Labs, until they can find a permanent home. Many of these poor doggies suffered from abuse from their former owners, and volunteers like Cindy provide loving temporary homes and help them get adopted.

Cindy has been a member for about six months now, has already helped two Labs find homes, and is currently sharing her home with a third one, Zoe. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer in any way to the SCLRR, go here.

Now let's talk about Jews and Christmas. :-)

All Jews loves Christmas. That's a fact. If you've met a Jewish person who acts nonchalant about Christmas, believe me when I tell you: They're putting up a brave front.

I mean, what's not to love? Christmas lights are awesome. Christmas trees rock. Egg Nog is one of the greatest drinks known to man. Christmas cookies are yummy. Santa Claus brings you gifts. And everyone gets the day off work!!

But if you're Jewish like me, you've heard the following statement from people a million times in your life:

You like Christmas?'re Jewish!!

Now let's back up just a bit.

When was it decided that Jews weren't allowed to celebrate Christmas? Why am I not allowed to sit on Santa's lap? Why is Christmas for Christians, Catholics and Protestants only?

(I'm probably missing a whole slew of people with that last statement, but you get my point)

I love Christmas. I do Christmas shopping. I wear the red hat on Christmas day. I've taken a photo with Santa, both at age 4 and age 23. I listen to Christmas songs incessantly -- in fact, I had an argument the other day about whether Christmas Canon was really a Christmas song (it is, people). And every Christmas season, I take Egg Nog, pour in some chocolate syrup, add a touch of milk, stir, and create what I call:

Nev Nog.

That's right.

Nev Nog.

Created by a disciple of Abraham.

And I'm sick and tired of being looked upon like I'm a psycho because of my association with Moses!! Christmas is for everyone, damn it!!

Here's the deal:

Jews have always been secretly jealous of Christmas. Oh sure, we have Chanukah. But the facts are: Chanukah gelt (chocolate) sucks, dreidel gets old, and even though we get eight days of gifts, most of it is schlock.

(Note: "Schlock" is Jew for "crap")

Non-Jews, meanwhile, are secretly jealous of Chanukah, because they feel like it's an extra holiday that they simply don't get to celebrate. And they're mad that several Jews are getting double the celebration.

So here's my plan to bridge the gap:

Non-Jews: Feel free to partake in potato latkes every year. Add Chanukah to your holiday regimen. There's room at the table!! Join us. We'll eat gelt.

Jews, meanwhile, should feel free to celebrate Christmas without persecution.

Because I want to listen to These Christmas Shoes this holiday season, and do so in peace.


And now for this week's:


OK, Tiger Woods is the biggest dumb ass known to man. Besides the obvious that has been occurring this week, he cheated on this woman.

I mean, dude. Seriously. What the hell? When is enough enough?