Friday, December 23, 2011

The Jews Who Love Christmas: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I think this is going to become a yearly rant.

You know what really annoys me during the holidays? A fellow Jew who tells me some variation of the following:

Why are you talking about Christmas? You're Jewish!

And to these fellow Jews, I say the following:

F*** YOU!!!

Let me explain Christmas from a Jewish perspective. All Jews love Christmas. Every single one. Even the real orthodox "why are you talking about Christmas blah blah blah" Jews love Christmas. What's not to love? Christmas is about family, friends, presents, snow, trees, vacation and pretty lights. It's a universal holiday and everyone believes in Santa to one degree or another.

Christmas can be a little weird for Jews, however. See, technically it's a holiday for everyone but us. Christmas is technically off limits for Jews. It focuses on a religion that isn't ours, on a tradition that isn't ours, and everyone always throws the "but you have Chanukah" argument in our face.

By the way, let me address the Chanukah argument. Chanukah is nice and all, but it ain't Christmas. We don't get a tree, we don't get lights and you know that whole eight-days-of-presents thing? All the presents are crap.

So it's easy for us to feel a little left out during the Christmas season. So many of us over the years, like myself, have said "to hell with it" and have decided to celebrate Christmas like everyone else. I, for example, have a tree in my house and lights outside.

And here's the funny thing: People who have celebrated Christmas their whole lives have welcomed us Jews with open arms into their traditions. They're cool with us. They get it. They understand that Christmas is, and should be, for everyone. They give us no flack whatsoever.

It's other Jews, however, that make us feel bad about it. It's other Jews who make the snide comments about Jews who celebrate Christmas. It's other Jews who make us feel bad about having a Christmas tree. It's other Jews who act like we're turning our back on them.

And to those Jews, I say this: It's Christmas. And in the spirit of Christmas, embrace the spirit the Christmas and stop making your anti-Christmas comments during Christmas.


Christmas. Christmas. Christmas.


And now for this week's:


A personal SOTA this week (no pictures or links unfortunately). Recently, some friends of mine have been dressing up their cats and dogs in bows and dresses for the holiday season.

One friend of mine even said: "I'm dressing up my kitty so he'll be ready to meet his grandparents!!!"

Which are her parents, in case you were wondering.

These people are freaks.

Freaks. Freaks. Freaks.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Video Game Store Workers: They Never Change: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I love video games. Starting in the mid-1980s, where me and my cousin Jeff would play Dragon's Lair, Football and Jungle Hunt on his Atari 5200, video games have been an integral part of my existence all the way through childhood.

Over the past year or so, however, I haven't been playing video games as often. The reason, quite honestly, is time. I don't have as much free time as I used to -- when you're married, you tend to spend more of your free time with your wife and less with your Nintendo Wii, particularly if your wife isn't much of a video game -- and so my video game playing has faded a bit into the background.

But last weekend while doing some holiday shopping, I ventured into one of local Gamestop video stores and realized something. I realized that no matter how much time I spend away from video games, when I venture back into the world, one thing stays the same:

Guys who work at video game shops are absolutely dorks.

Here are the things about video game shop workers that haven't changed over the years:

1) They're all guys. I swear, I don't think I've seen a person with a Y chromosome sell a video game in my 32-plus years on this Earth. The video game worker club remains a men's-only club. Gay guys should take heed: For you folks, this can be a real meat-market.

I'm always trying to help out my homosexual readers. :-)

2) They're all nerds. I hate stereotyping -- I really do. I mean, hell, I'm a nerd in a lot of respects. And there's nothing wrong with nerds. Nerds have a place in this world. But there are people who have nerdish tendencies and then there's people who are nerds. People who laugh in a nasally voice, wear shirts all the way buttoned, are always carrying pens, smile weird, snort.

I'll never forget the time when I walked into a video game store and one of the workers busted out the Don Flamenco dance.

Nerd or just nerdish? Need I even ask?

2) They have their own language. Someone from The Rosetta Stone company seriously needs to come up with a new version for video-game worker speak. I mean, it's literally gibberish to me. Do you have to know the language being hired? Or does the cult teach you as part of your initiation?

Here's a snip-it of a conversation over the weekend:

Worker 1: Are you serial?

Worker 2: Freakin' A!

Worker 1: No slaughter?

Worker 2: Slaughter is so SMB3?

Worker 1: Well, probably like DD2.


Worker 2:


In the end, though, it's nice to see this segment of the workforce remain unchanged as the years go on.

So here's to you, Mr. Video Game Worker.

Dance the Don Flamenco to your heart's content.


And now for this week's:


One of this year's Major League Baseball MVPs, Ryan Braun, has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

And get this: Apparently, he was notified prior to being awarded the MVP award.

Major League Baseball reportedly will not be stripped of the MVP award, although he should If you take PEDs, you've cheated, pure and simple. Braun should be stripped of his award in addition to his 50-game suspension.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Right Kind Of Organic Foods: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Recently, I've been eating more organic products. I know, I know. I'm Mr. Processed Food. But recently while on a trip to the supermarket with my wife Ramona, I was in the frozen food section reaching for my Lean Pockets when Ramona stopped me and -- with pleading eyes -- implored me to at least take a look at the organic frozen products nearby.

So I agreed to at least take a look...

...and 10 minutes later, we were at the cash register with $65 worth of frozen organic food products.

To soften the blow, Ramona handed me $5.

Marriage. :-)

But needless to say, in recent weeks I've been consuming more organic products. Frozen organic pizza. Frozen organic burritos. Frozen organic enchiladas. I haven't had a lean pocket in four months. I'm waiting for one of those "120 day" chips.

So imagine my surprise when I recently came home for the supermarket, showed my wife my recent purchase of organic stuff, and saw a look of disappointment on my face.

"What's wrong?" I asked. "It's all organic."

"Yeah," she replied, but it's not the best kind of organic."

Best kind of organic?

Hold the phone. Since when are there different levels of organic? It's bad enough that I'm spending three times as much to eat more organically, but now I'm being lectured for not buying the right kind of expensive organic products? When I come home with a bagful of organic products -- when I, Nevin Scott Barich, lover of any and all preservatives, buy organic stuff -- I expect heaping amounts of praise! I don't expect...

...not the best kind of organic.

Here's my take: I haven't eaten a lean pocket since the middle of baseball season. Every day for lunch at work, I make myself organic burritos and my coworkers give me their "how long will this last? glances. I can no longer take advantage of 33-cent frozen food sales. With all of that, don't I deserve unlimited, "Nev, you're so amazing for eating more organically" praise? Do I really need to be given a "right kind of organic" lecture?

It makes a man want to fall off the lean pocket bandwagon.


And now for this week's:


Kourtney Kardashian is pregnant again.

And the timing couldn't be better! For Kourtney recently launched a mommy blog,

Oh dear God...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prices For 3D Movies: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Movie ticket prices are high. That's nothing new. I go to the movies all the time, so for the most part I'm desensitized to the exorbitant fees charged at today's theatrical cinemas.

But last Saturday while going to see the new Harold and Kumar movie with my buddies Kevin and Jeremy, I was in for a rude awakening when I went to purchase my ticket.

"That will be $16," said the woman behind the movie counter.

That will be $16.

And my jaw hit the floor.

At first, I thought that the failing U.S. economy that's been around me for the past four years had finally hit home. Or that the California town of Burbank -- where we were seeing the movie -- had suddenly come up with some sort of movie tax to pay for new local parks. Or, as I asked Jeremy when I heard the price for the ticket:

$16? What, does it come with a blow job afterwards?

Needless to say, I was stunned. Floored. And a bit scared. Until it was explained to me that the reason for the extra fee was because the movie we were seeing was in 3D.

Here's my thing with 3D movies: I like them. They're cute. The 3D glasses can get a little annoying at times, but the technology in general has come a long way since the red-and-blue spectacles of the 1980s. 3D movies can be a lot of fun with the right film and a nice twist in general.

But every movie today, it seems, is becoming 3D. I mean, not every movie is Avatar. Most of the time, 3D is pointless. Toy Story 3? Pointless. Clash Of The Titans? Pointless. The latest Harry Potter? The first six were in 2D and they were fine. Why mess with success?

Harold and Kumar? Look, the 3D in this movie was cool. At times, I really did feel like the Wall Street protesters were pelting me with eggs, or Neil Patrick Harris was covering me with confetti. But I didn't need the extra effects. I would've been perfectly happy seeing it in 2D and paying $11.75.

All I'm saying is this:

The movie industry is bad enough. High prices for movies. Crazy prices for junior mints. The slow -- sloowwwwwww -- implementation of self-serve soft drink dispensers (to date, I only know of one theater near me that has this). Do you really need to take the next step and charge crazy fees for a 3D experience?

For $4 less, I'll see Harold and Kumar in 2D and pelt myself with my own eggs.


And now for this week's:

Someone built a home on top of a volcano.

It's yours for $750,000.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Annoyance Of Movie Reviews: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I know, I know. It's been a long time since my last blog. I'm sorry for that. Two main reasons for the hiatus: 1) I had been working a ton of hours at my job. Days, nights, weekends. My head was spinning. However, I've recently changed roles, going back to writing and editing to earn my living, so now I'm actually back to a normal work schedule. Life is good. :-) And 2) Truthfully, I needed a break. I had been doing my blog week in, week out for more than four years now -- I can't tell you how many friends of mine started their own blogs during that time, only for them to fall by the wayside -- and needed to recharge my batteries.

But I'm back now. I hope you missed me terribly. :-)

As I write this blog, I'm sitting in my living room listening to my wife Ramona and my father-in-law Jim go back and forth about which movie we should see this afternoon. They both have their respective Internet devices -- Jim with his iPad2, Ramona with her Mac laptop -- looking up movies, times, descriptions, and most importantly:

Movie reviews.

Now I'm sure I've written about my annoyance with movie reviews in the past (I just don't feel like looking for it right now). I just don't find them useful at all. If I want to see a movie, I see it. I could care less what someone else says. They don't know what I like. They don't know my tastes. Why the hell should I care whether they liked it or not?

The problem today, however, has evolved. For not only do you have critics reviews, but you now have the reviews of regular moviegoers as well. As I type, Jim and Ramona are going on and on, saying that while "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" scored 82% with regular moviegoers, it rated only 37% with the critics. Or that "In Time" rated badly across the board. Or that both "Ides of March" and "J. Edgar" scored great across the board, but seeing either of those films would mean that Jim would have to go against his inclination to not see political films.

The problem with the world today is this: Choices. We have way too many of them. Back in the day, movie theaters showed four movies and the only critics anyone cared about had a TV show. But today with the Internet and various smart devices, everyone's a wannabe critic. And as a result, we're pushing to the back what we really want. We feel that if we want to see a movie that's not well received, something's wrong with us.

It's like getting a milkshake. Before, you only had vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Now you have 181,000 different milkshake options. But if you want vanilla, you feel like there's something wrong with you. Because why would anyone want plain vanilla when he or she could have vanilla-caramel-strawberry-tree nut--mocha--peanut brittle--passion mountain-swirl?

Me? I like what I like. The only opinion I care about is mine. It makes for less stress and both an enjoyable movie and milkshake experience. So next time you're thinking about movies and milkshakes, the only thing that matters is what you want. Your needs. Your desires. Your happiness.

Then start a website and write about how only your opinion matters and everyone should listen to what you have to say.


And now for this week's:


Justin Bieber is not the father.

Big shock, I know. Personally, you have to figure that Usher would've had multiple conversations with the young lad about this kind of thing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hungover For The First Time In My Life: My Annual Birthday Blog

I just sent the following text to my cousin Jesse, who last night had the enviable task of being the designated driver:

I am hungover for the first time in my life. My head is pounding. My throat is parched. I can't find my glasses. I'm sensitive to sun. I'm wearing sweatpants and have no idea when I put them on. Your wife is sleeping on my futon, which confuses me since you drove. And did we play pool last night? Did we win?

And I'm writing this blog lying stomach-first on my fake-hardwood floor. Because truthfully: Right now, it's a little hard to stand.

Let me backtrack:

Today, I am 32 years old. My lucky number, for what that's worth. And honestly, I wasn't even planning to go out last night. Today, I am sharing my birthday with my brother-in-law Marshall, who is getting married later this afternoon (and I hope to hell is in a better state than I am right now. For the record, Courtney -- that's Marshall's soon-to-be blushing bride -- Marshall was not with me last night visiting my good friends at the Cowboy Palace Saloon). So obviously, focus has been on his upcoming wedding. Not that it matters, since I'm not one for wild parties on my birthday anyway.

But last night, my wife Ramona and I were hanging out with her cousins Jesse and Bethany (in town from Oregon for the wedding). The plan was for all of us to get a quick drink at Cowboyland before going to see the movie Bridesmaids.

Here's what I believe happened:

Prior to leaving the house, we all had a shot of tequila.

If I remember correctly, I had more than one.

At this point, I probably started laughing hysterically. Because multiple shots of tequila is enough to get me drunk, and when I'm drunk I laugh at just about anything.

We get into the car and head over to the bar.

On the way there, Ramona mentions something about Mexican food. Which makes me think about quesadillas. Which makes me laugh more.

We get to the bar.

Quick shot of Patron.

I believe I danced.

And for some reason, I kept stealing Jesse and Bethany's beer and taking swigs, which is weird since I honestly hate beer and last night was no different.

Now this is where things get hazy:

I honestly don't remember everything about last night. For the first time ever in my life, I have some blank spots. I checked my phone this morning and saw that I sent a few drunk text messages. I tried to spell "head spinning" and spelled it "headvspinbing."

But this is what I do remember:

Losing count of how many tequila shots I had. I thought 5. I think I was told 7.

Saying I would dance on the bar for $5. I don't think this occurred.

Stumbling upon some Bachelor Party attendees and bestowing upon them the virtues of marriage.

Talking to some white guy named Trinidad and his mother-in-law, and saying something like "Kids are a blessing that I'm just not ready for."

Telling the bartender who gave me a shot of tequila on the house that "I'd give you a tip but I can't find my keys."

I think I did play pool. And I think some random woman stole my pool cue.

Coming home and soon after having to throw up. My bathroom was occupied so I told Ramona: "It's OK, honey. I'll throw up in yours."

And I believe Jesse and I had the following exchange:

Me: Dude, there's a guy over there talking to Bethany.

Jesse: Yes, he is.

Me: Now, if you need to kick his ass, I'll back you up.

Jesse: Thank you, Nev. I don't know if that's necessary, but...

Me (interrupting): Because that's what we need to do. As men. We need to defend our women. Even if the guys are bigger than us.

Jesse: Right. Well...

Me (interrupting again): Because I'll be honest: That guy would kick my ass. He would. He's too big. And I'm too small. It's all science.

Jesse: Science.

Me: Right, science. But it doesn't matter. Because it's the effort, Jesse. The effort! I may get my ass kicked. I will get my ass kicked! But I defended my wife. And for that, I can look at myself in the mirror. It's all psychics.


Jesse: You mean psychological?


Me: Did you get a haircut?


So anyways, 8 hours later I am feeling the aftereffects of a night out for the first time in my life. I'm 32 years old and am coming to find out -- once and for all -- that I can't hold my liquor worth a damn.

But if someone else is paying for the liquor...

...then why the hell not? :-)

Happy birthday Nev!

32. God damn...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dealings With Drive Thru Orders: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

A real quick note: Sorry for my week-and-a-half long hiatus. Life, unfortunately, gets in the way sometimes of blogging, and the past couple of weeks have been especially crazy. But the good thing is, during my brief time away I found that I really missed posting on my beloved blog, so it shows the passion is still there.

Hence, I have no plans to retire. :-)

I'm writing this blog in the friendly confines of the business center of Hamer Toyota, in California's lovely Mission Hills (located in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles). I visit here every few months to make sure my car gets the love and attention and maintenance it needs. And luckily, because the place has free Wi-Fi, I can make a morning out of it, banging out blogs on my laptop with a breakfast burrito by my side.

And that brings me to today's blog: My breakfast burrito. Well, actually: Drive thru orders.

On the way to Toyota, I stopped over to visit my good friends at Del Taco to order breakfast. And when I pulled to the drive thru box to place my order, two things happened -- one that happens from time to time and one that never happened before:

1) I was initially met with dead silence.

I'm always confused when I go to the drive thru box and am met with nothing. No words. Dead air. It throws me off. It always ends up making me think the following:

Is the place closed?

Do they know I'm here?

Is the place being robbed? Should I call the police?

And I always end up feeling stupid when I end up saying things like:


Anyone there?

Hello hello?

Are you open?




I feel like a God damn moron.

Now luckily these things usually end the same way: "Hi, sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to (insert name of fast food place here). May I take your order?"

But that didn't happen this morning. What happened instead was something that has never happened to me before:

2) I didn't get the traditional fast food worker greeting.

When the girl's voice finally came through on the other end this morning, she didn't give me the normal standard pleasantry. Instead, she just said the following:


Nothing else. Not "how are you today?" Not "would you like to try our new shrimp fajita taco?" Not "what can I get you?" Just...


Now I was lost here. I mean, what's the proper response here? Do I carry on the conversation with a "fine, how are you?" Do I just go place my order? It shouldn't be up to me to navigate this conversation. She -- the fast food worker -- should be guiding me.

So I opted to just go and place my order. I got about 6 words in when she cut me off.

"Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute," she replied.

OK, now look: That's just bad fast food drive thru box lady etiquette. If you're not ready to take my order, don't speak to me. Or at least say, "Hi, we'll be with you in a moment." Don't just say "Hi" if you're not ready to take my macho bacon-and-egg-burrito order.

So everything more or less ended in a cluster%$#%. I repeated my order 7 times, the girl kept thinking I was asking for extra eggs instead of cheese, she got annoyed, I got annoyed, and we parted ways angry with one another and the world.

I'm now going to go ahead and eat my breakfast burrito.

I believe I've earned it.

And now for this week's:


Paris Hilton made fun of Lindsay Lohan.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Male Cosmetics: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

You gotta be kidding me.

A new report has stated that the market in India for male cosmetics…

(OK, let that thought marinate for a second. Male cosmetics.)

….is expected to grow around 20% during the 2010-2014 period.

According to the report, men are becoming more beauty-conscious as they believe that career success is linked with how a person presents himself to others. Thus, men don’t want to run the risk of being seen as irresponsible and negligent due to their looks.

And that’s all well and good. You want to look more presentable? Wear a tie. Comb your hair. Shave. Make sure you don’t smell.

But don’t bust out the mascara and foundation and ask yourself what the best way is to bring our your natural beauty.

Now look: There is a time and place for male makeup. You’re on television? OK, it makes sense for the makeup artist to work on you. Some humongous zit in a prominent place has come up on your face and you’re about to go out in public? Ask your wife or girlfriend if she could use that “concealer thing” on you.

But at the risk of sounding sexist: Men should not use makeup on a regular basis. I don’t want them taking out a compact in the middle of hanging out with the boys on NFL Sunday. I don’t want to hear them uttering the word “bronzer.”

After all: Are we really so vain?

And now for this week's:


The end of the world will now be in October.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Seeing A "Guy Movie": A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This past Friday, my friend Carlos and I went to see "Fast Five", the latest in the "Fast And The Furious" movie franchise. It's what men everywhere affectionately refer to as a:

"Guy Movie."

Guy movies are traditionally simplistic in nature. They comprise of the following things:

Action star guys.

Beautiful women.



Lots of bad guys.

One main bad guy who always wears a suit.

And a lot of implausible fight scenes and crashes that should kill the good guys in a manner of seconds, but in actuality just give the good guys a few minor dings and leave them no worse for wear.

Fast Five featured all of these.


(Note: Minor spoilers ahead. Nothing to really give the plot away, but a few details nonetheless):

---When Vin Diesel gets busted out of the jailhouse bus by Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster, the truck flips over about 14 times -- with Vin in it -- but he is apparently able to leave unscathed.

---The main bad guy wears great suits.

---I counted about 8 times where Vin had his head bashed into a steel wall. He was OK.

---And Vin and Paul drop about 200 feet off a bridge into a river.

(They live.)

This movie has made untold millions of dollars -- both domestic and internationally -- since its release in late April. And as such, my theory on movies has been further strengthened:

Today's movies have gotten too complex. Complex characters. Complex plot. Complex dynamic. Complex chemistry. Complex sets. Complex costumes. I miss the simple days. Stallone. Van Damme. Ahnold. Willis. Good guy with some rough edges going up against some bad guys with a lot of guns, headed up by some sort of well-dressed drug lord.

I miss those kind of movies. Because with those kind of movies, you don't have to think. You just have to sit back and enjoy. In other aspects of life, you need to think. Work. Relationships. Household. When I go to the movies, I want to escape. I don't want to think.

That's why I never go see those Al Gore environmental documentaries.

I prefer ignorance.

And explosions.

And well-dressed drug lords.


And now for this week's:


A man in Wisconsin has just eaten his 25,000th McDonald's Big Mac, at one point eating nine per day.

Only in America.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wearing Mismatched Socks: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Recently, I was hanging out with a bunch of friends, just talking and eating pizza and such, when my friend Michelle made the following comment to me:

Nevin! Your socks don't match.

I looked down. Sure enough, my socks did not match.

Now, here's what Michelle doesn't know. My socks pretty much never match. I mean, ever. I've never been one to make matching socks a high priority. It's not that I'm against matching socks. It's not that I'm a rebel who wants to wear mismatched socks to feel different. I'm not making a statement by not matching my socks.

I just don't wear matching socks.

And really, I don't see the big deal. For one thing...

...they're socks.

Secondly, most of the time your socks are hidden within your shoes. So it's not like anyone can see my mismatched socks 99.9 percent of the time. And usually, when I take off my shoes, I take off my socks as well. So if I'm shoeless, I'm generally sockless.

And third, matching socks can be a pain in the ass. When I do my laundry, I throw everything in at once and wash with cold water (like all men). I'm not gonna wash my clothes, dry, and then do through my laundry matching my socks with its appropriate twin. I mean, that's a lot of work to match your socks. Plus, you have to roll your socks. And I'm not a roller. I don't roll. No rolling goes on in my laundry.

Now what doesn't surprise is the negative response I get from women on this. Most women are into matching their socks, wearing high heels, and doing a million other things to their bodies that men can't even process.


Why does a woman wear a thong if no guy (or girl, if that's the way she floats. And if so, there's nothing wrong with that. This is an open-minded blog) will see it later on? I know girls who wear thongs, go to work, go home to an empty house, take their clothes off (including thong), and change into comfy clothes (including comfy, unflattering underwear). So in that scenario, what is the point of wearing a thong?

I never understood that.

I'm not complaining, mind you. I just never understood it.

But what I really don't get are men who have issues with my matching socks. To those men, I say: What the $#@%$# is wrong with you?!? I mean, dude, they're socks! And we're men! Isn't it enough that we put on pants before we walk out the door? Don't be one of those guys obsessed with their under-footwear. C'mon now, get back to your roots.

In the end, socks are socks. I'm happy when I can find two clean ones, let alone matching ones. And if someone ever happens to see my socks and see that they're not a matching set, just so that this is how God made me:



And now for this week's:


NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is filling his hours during the NFL lockout by doing -- among other things -- professional bullriding.

It's nice to see that he's keeping busy.

End the lockout, NFL.

And please hurry.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trying To Decide On Pizza Toppings: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Not long ago, I had some folks over for the Super Bowl and poker. As per tradition when you have folks over for sporting events and cards, I called upon the one food staple that has always been featured prominently in such events:


Now here's the thing when it comes to ordering pizza for a group of people: It's always difficult for me to decide which toppings to get on each pizza. Deciding how many pizzas to get is pretty simple. Just take the number of people you're having over, count up how many slices are in each pizza, do some basic division, and you're good to go (Note: Always order thick or pan crust. It generally works best for parties).

But pizza toppings have admittedly always thrown me off when ordering for large groups. Back in the old days, it used to be simple. Cheese. Pepperoni. The occasional sausage. But today, everybody has weird preferences. Veggie only. Certain kinds of cheese. Canadian bacon. Onions are OK but not bell peppers. Pineapple.

Freakin' pineapple. I mean...really?

So prior to ordering the pizzas, me and my friend Josh -- who came over prior to the pizza order -- spent 30 minutes going over the pros and cons of which pizza toppings to get on which pizza. And our conversation went something like this:

Me: OK, so we're getting four pizzas. Let's go over toppings.

Josh: OK.

Me: We should definitely have one pepperoni.

Josh: Definitely. Pepperoni's a must.

Me: And one Meat Lover's should work.

Josh: Good call. People like meat.

Me: And what do we do about veggies?


Josh: Cheese?

Me: See, I was thinking that too. But these days, people want veggies on their pizza.

Josh: Yeah, that's true.


Josh: Veggie Lover's pizza?

Me: Let me see what's on that.


Me: Onions, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and olives.

Josh: Man. That's a lot of veggies.

Me: I know!


Me: I'm worried about the tomatoes.

Josh: Yeah. I mean, you already have tomato sauce. Doesn't that make tomatoes kind of redundant.

Me: Yeah, it does. I mean, it just throws the whole thing off.


Josh: What if you got one cheese and one with a couple of veggie toppings?

Me: Hmm. That could work. But which veggie toppings?


Me: People seem to like mushrooms.

Josh: Yeah, mushrooms would work.


Josh: Mushrooms and onions?

Nev: I don't know. I mean, I like onions. But are onions really popular across the board?

Josh: Yeah, good point. I'm not sure.


Josh: Bell peppers and onions?

Nev: Huh. (thinks) Let's put that in the maybe pile.

Josh: OK.


Josh: I got it!

Nev: You do? What?

Josh: Jalapenos and onions!


Nev: Kind of spicy, no?

Josh: Yeah, that's true.


Josh: You know, Nev. It is pizza. If you just buy it and put it in front of people, they'll just eat it.

Nev: You know what, Josh? You have a point.

And Josh did.

In the end, we got a Meat Lover's, a Pepperoni Lover's, a Cheese Lover's and one pizza with mushrooms and olives.

And everyone swallowed up every pizza pie.

What we learned:

1) Veggies are always the monkey wrench when it comes to pizza toppings. Know why? Because veggie toppings should be a compliment, a sidekick. They shouldn't be the primary topping(s). So you vegetarians are ruining it for the rest of us.

And 2) When it comes to pizza, don't over-analyze. Just buy the pizza and people will eat it, regardless of what's on it.

Like dogs.


And now for this week's:


Pippa Middleton, the sister of England's new Princess Katherine, has been offered $5 million to appear in a porn film...for just one scene.

Here's my question:

What does "one scene" mean in the porn world? Does it mean just walking in and out of the room, as you watch other people do it? Or does she just have sex with one guy, and that counts as a scene? How does this work? What does Pippa have to do -- and how many -- for this $5 million?

You need to read the fine print, I always say.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Challenging A Robot Sportswriter: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Attention, robot sportswriter: You may have beaten the college kid. Now do you want to go 1-on-1 with a pro?

According to, a robot journalist – yes, a robot journalist – recently wrote what was considered to be a much better story on a recent college baseball game between The University of Virginia and George Washington. The human journalist – a writer for – neglected to mention until late in the story that the Virginia pitcher threw a perfect game in the victory, admittedly a major no-no in the sportswriting world (Note: the story should’ve led with that fact, in case you didn’t know).

Meanwhile, the creators of Narrative Science, a news-writing software program, fed all the facts and figures of the game into their writing system, and their robot sports journalist wrote a story that led with the fact that the Virginia pitcher threw the perfect game.

Now that’s all well and good. A robot brain beating someone writing for a college website who likely has little-to-no experience in the world of sports journalism. But I bring a little more to the table. I started sportswriting at 17 years old. I worked as a sportswriter and editor for 6 ½ years at the Daily News of Los Angeles. I’ve covered high school, college and pro events. I know that when a guy throws a perfect game, I lead with it.

I’m not knocking the concept of machines taking over certain human jobs. That’s inevitable as technology improves. But writing? But sportswriting? No way!

So Narrative Science, creators of your little Terminator machine: The challenge is at your feet. Think your little robot boy can handle the step-up in competition?

The ball’s in your robot court.

And now for this week's:





Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Get A iPhone: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I know what you're thinking.

And the answer is no.

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

You, dear readers, are reading the headline correctly.

After months, years in fact, of ripping on it, badmouthing it, and steadfastly refusing to even consider the possibility of owning it:

I, Nevin Scott Barich...

...have an iPhone.

Truly an "And the world will never be the same" moment.

On two separate occasions have I blogged against the iPhone. The first time, back in 2008, when the iPhone was in its infancy, I blogged about how trying to make a call on an iPhone seemed as complex as nuclear physics. The second blog, back in 2010, focused on those who would wait in line at 5 a.m. to buy one of these things.

So when I finally decided that I needed an iPhone for work purposes, I made sure to do the following two things:

1) Have the guy show me right away how to make a phone call.

And 2) Not get the iPhone on a day when a new version was coming out, or they were having a crazy sale, or there was some new-colored case that would force me to be in line for 12 hours just to be told when I got to the front that they were sold out of such colored case.

I would tackle my fears head on.

So I went to my good friends at the Verizon Wireless store in Porter Ranch, Calif., on a recent Monday afternoon, got an iPhone, asked the guy how to make a call, made a call, walked out of the store, and soon discovered mind-blowing:

I loved this thing!

I mean, the iPhone is awesome! Freakin' awesome! The world is literally at my fingertips. I can do everything. I can make calls, answer both personal and work e-mails, play Scrabble with my cousin in New York, watch the Dodger game, get into an argument with my wife via text, scramble to apologize, fail to get it accepted, order her flowers, get forgiveness...

...all without ever having to stand up.

The iPhone and I are one now. I feel like Bill Hendrickson on Big Love on the day he decided to become a polygamist.

Ever watch "The Godfather"? Remember when Michael Corleone was hiding out in Sicily, and he sees that Italian peasant girl and he's hit with what the natives call "The Thunderbolt?" When every fiber in his being just pulsates with obsession and he just has to have that girl as his own?

That's how I feel about my iPhone. I have to possess it, and I'll kill any man that comes near it.

I love my iPhone, and it loves me. I'm now of you: The iPhone people. I download apps. Apps!

As I wrote this blog, I stopped for a few seconds to play seven different games of "Words with Friends".

That's iPhone talk.

If you have an iPhone, like me, you'll understand.


And now for this week's:


A preview of next week's blog:

There are now robot sportswriters.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Doing Some "Scientific Research" On Smoking: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: A version of this blog was originally posted for my company's Web site, Industry Intelligence Inc. Check out the site here.)

I did some “scientific research” recently and came up with the following conclusion:

Cigarette smokers will continue to smoke cigarettes no matter how ugly the cigarette pack, and no matter how big the pack’s warning messages are.

The Australian government is set to require “ugly packaging” where companies are prevented from putting their logos on cigarettes and must use the least attractive color found in government research for smokers: dark green.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said she wants all cigarette packaging to be olive green. In addition, health warnings and graphic pictures depicting the dangers of smoking would take up 90% of the front of packs, and 75% of the back.”

Now frankly, I don’t smoke. So it's hard for me to have a take on this without enlisting some help. So I consulted one of the experts:

My father.

A faithful contributor of the tobacco industry for 47 years.

The following is our Q&A:

Me: Hey Dad, if the U.S. government made cigarette packs an ugly color, would that prevent you from buying them?

Dad: (looks at me like I’m an idiot. I interpret this as a “no”.)

Me: Well, what if the cigarette pack said something like “smoking kills” in big, large letters? What would you do then?

Dad: I’d take the cigarettes out of the pack and throw the pack away.

And then he lit up a cigarette.

Now how can you argue that logic?

In the end, the Australian government should be commended for such attempts, but let’s face it: The only ways to curb smoking abuse is a) hike up the prices tenfold and/or b) make it illegal entirely.

Any other efforts are a waste of time. For as my dad said:

Actually, I like dark green.

And he took another puff.


And now for this week's:


The subject of next week's blog:

I get an iPhone.

And life as we know it ends...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Economic Crisis’ Latest Potential Victim: Buffalo Wings: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: A version of this blog was originally posted for my company's Web site, Industry Intelligence Inc. Check out the site here.

Now this is an economic crisis.

The threat of a lockout of the National Football League could affect the economy in one vital segment: The buffalo wing industry.

Various media outlets are reporting that an NFL lockout could cripple the makers of the tasty chicken treat, as chicken farmers routinely bank on the seasonal boom that football brings their business.

I’m a lifelong Raiders fan and can personally attest to the vital combination of football and buffalo wings:

I love watching football.

I love eating buffalo wings.

Doing both at the same time is utter bliss.

Without football, I can still eat wings.

But it’s just not the same.

Football fans understand what I’m saying.

So as the NFL owners and players continue their standoff, they should bear in mind that it’s not just the fans that are chewing their fingernails.

The buffalo wing world, too, awaits with bated breath.

And now for this week's:


A sneak preview about the topic of next week's blog:

In an attempt to curb smoking, the Australian government is requiring packs of cigarettes to have "ugly packaging" in dark green and put messages like "SMOKING KILLS" in large letters.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say smoking will continue Down Under.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Watching My March Madness Dreams End On A Cool April Night: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My Final Four run ended yesterday. :-(

For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, I'm making a reference to the NCAA Men's College Basketball tournament.

No, I'm not a player.

I'm 31 years old. I'm terrible at hoops. I'm short. And I'm white.

And I'm not in college.

(Not that that matters, since most players on these teams don't really go to class all that much, so they're not really in college either).

But like most of America, I do play in NCAA tournament pools, as has been well documented in this blog (click here to read my most recent blog on the subject). This year, I had 15 entries, my most ever. Unlike many years, however, I lasted until the Final Four.

Now, for those of you who aren't sports fans and have no idea what the hell I just said, it's real simple:

I had a real chance to make a lot of money. :-)

My brackets -- well, 2 of them anyway -- had a chance to get the big money, the big score, the one that can pay for March Madness entries for years to come. I had gotten to the final weekend; no mean feat, for anyone who plays on a regular basis. I clawed, I battled, I outlasted many others and withstood many a test, to get to this point.

You see, it doesn't always happen this way. Many years, your brackets get bounced out early. An upset here, a random shot there, and all of a sudden the hard work you did in figuring out what your brackets should look like go up in a puff of smoke and all you can think to yourself is:

"We'll get 'em next year."

Other years, you last a while longer. You get beyond the first couple of rounds and dreams of winning it all begin to creep in your head. But then reality sets in, as you are reminded that getting past Rounds 1 and 2 is a lot easier than Rounds 3 and 4. And by the end of the second weekend, you're gone.

It's those that get to the final weekend that really feel like they've made it to the Promised Land. There's nothing like turning on your TV at the start of Final Four action, look at the two teams on the court and the 65,000-plus watching the game live, and knowing that all your hard work over the past several weeks has brought you here to this moment. It was luck. It was skill. It was a combination of both. But you're here, you're there, and all that's left to do is live the moment.

That's where I found myself yesterday, when Kentucky -- my team, the one I banked all of my hopes on -- took on Connecticut. The setup was simple: Kentucky wins, I win money, with the chance to win more. UConn wins, I'm done.

I had changed my strategy this year. Unlike my younger days, I didn't live and die on every game, every shot, in the tournament from the get go. When I do that, I have nothing left for the later rounds. This year, I paced myself. I didn't go nuts over the first few rounds. I didn't panic when Butler upset Pittsburgh. I didn't get myself in a tizzy over trying to get Duke to rally past Arizona. I didn't scream and shout and beat my chest when Kentucky survived surprising tough games against Princeton and West Virginia.

Because I paced myself, I was able to channel my energy toward Kentucky upsetting Ohio State. To them withstanding a furious rally against North Carolina. And now, the question before me was whether this year, I had enough to go all the way.

And I almost did. I almost did.

Kentucky looked horrible early. I mean, God awful. They couldn't buy a shot. Couldn't make a free throw. They went into halftime down by 10, and my wife Ramona shot me a worried look.

But I didn't come this far to panic now. I saved some in the tank for just this moment.

Willed by me -- and me alone -- Kentucky opened the second half with back-to-back 3s. Suddenly, the tides had turned, as it was UConn on the ropes and Kentucky -- my team -- with the momentum. Minutes later, we had the lead as I announced to the world that this year, I wasn't about to go down on the biggest stage without a fight.

The lead changed back and forth. UConn reclaimed the lead. Then Kentucky. UConn went cold. Then Kentucky went cold. With seconds to play, Kentucky miraculously stole the ball, down two with 16 seconds to play.

It was time to see whether I had one more miracle left in me.

Alas, I did not. Kentucky did not. With seconds to go, we missed a 3-pointer that would've put us ahead. UConn got the rebound and iced the game with free throws.

And my March Madness had ended on a cool April night.

Afterwards, Ramona gave me a consolation hug and kiss. Elsewhere around the country, other March Madness bracket players eliminated earlier bowed their heads respectfully, as one of their few remaining peers had joined their ranks. I had gotten one step closer to the Promised Land...but I still wasn't able to put my foot on it.

Next year, we'll do the same thing all over again.

March Madness.

We'll get 'em next year.


And now for this week's:


Evander Holyfield met Justin Bieber.

And Holyfield was quoted as saying how great it was.

You may not think this is much of an SOTA.

But for a boxing fanatic like me, this news just makes you want to cry.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Going Into A Bank: Like Walking Into A Car Dealership And A Casino All In One: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: A version of this blog was originally posted for my company's Web site, Industry Intelligence Inc. Check out the site here.)

I’m a traditionalist: When I have a check to deposit, I walk into the bank and have one of the tellers do it. It just seems weird to me to put an envelope into the ATM machine. Or to have my check deposited via an iPhone app. That’s just odd.

But here’s the problem:

These days when I walk into my local Chase bank, I’m immediately bombarded by one or more of the bank’s investor or portfolio experts, asking me if I’ve started planning yet for my retirement or pushing the latest CD plan on me.

And then when I actually get to the teller, they’re asking me if I want to sign up for a credit card and why wouldn’t I want an extra credit card and “We’re essentially not going to let you step one foot out of this place unless you sign up for our credit card with a crazy interest rate that you’ll be hit with the second you don’t pay your entire bill on time.”

Look, I understand that banks – like any other business establishment – need to adjust during these troubled times. But these days, I feel like I’m walking into both a car dealership and a casino all rolled into one. They’ll do and say anything to part me with my money.

And don’t even get me started about overdraft fees.

Nothing like accidentally going 8 cents over your balance and being charged $75 by the bank to cover it.

But always with a smile on their face, I’m sure.


And now for this week's:


Lindsay Lohan wants to just be known as "Lindsay."

Thus becoming the first white woman since Cher and Wynonna to just go by her first name.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Watching A Friend Pop His March Madness Cherry: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Fair warning: If you don't like sports, you won't like this week's blog. You'll be bored, roll your eyes, sigh a lot, and that's before you get to paragraph 3. Just stop reading and come back next week.

Still with me? Cool. :-)

For those of you who were born yesterday, this week was the beginning of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, where 68 of the top college basketball teams in the nation compete in a single-elimination tournament and people like me fill out brackets trying to figure out who is going to win each game, following the games online at work, watching nothing but basketball at home, ignoring our friends, loved ones and co-workers for three weeks, etc.

Three years ago, I took my readers through the craziness of following the first two days of March Madness. Two years ago, I wrote about how my alma mater, Cal State Northridge, made the tournament, almost pulled off a gigantic upset, and how I almost had three massive coronaries from the excitement. Last year, I focused on how I was doing so many brackets that one pool I was in considered implementing "The Barich Rule" and limiting the number of brackets a person could do.

(By the way: "The Barich Rule" was not implemented this year. Thank you, Josh Kleinbaum.)

This year, I want to talk about my friend Fawzi.

Fawzi is like many people in this world: Not much of a college basketball fan. To be honest, few people no longer in college -- even if they're big sports nuts (like Fawzi is) -- really are. Once you get out of college, you stop following college basketball as closely, but the experience of college and the element of college basketball go hand in hand. Once one is gone, the other can't sustain.

But that's what makes March Madness so brilliant. You see, you don't need to be a huge college basketball fan to enjoy it. That's what a lot of folks don't understand. Many people who enter tourney pools are not college basketball fans. It's not about the love of college hoops. It's about playing with your friends, trying to pick some winners, and seeing if you can actually perform well without knowing what the hell it is you're doing.

And that's the beauty of it: That's possible! It can be so difficult to predict who wins each game that even "experts" don't know what they're doing half the time. You can get lucky, pick something random, and win money!

And when you factor all of that in, here's what happens:

You become obsessed.

Within minutes, you are following box scores on ESPN. You're watching the games on CBS. You are literally living and dying on every basket, screaming obscenities you never knew you knew, yelling at players that you don't even know the names of. You become the biggest fan of any team you happened to pick at that moment. And you switch allegiances like you switch socks. One minute you like Xavier because you picked them to score the first-round upset. The next minute you're screaming at their star player to tear a ligament because you don't have them going past round two. You rub it in to everyone who will listen when you pick an unlikely winner, and you feel 2 feet tall when you pick the loser.

For two years, I tried explaining this to Fawzi, with no apparent success. Last year, he just refused to play. Absolutely refused. "I'm not a fan of college basketball," he said. "I just don't care," he said. "What's the point?" he said.

But I was persistent. I pursued. I wore him down. Because I knew. I just knew...

And finally, earlier this week, Fawzi plopped down his $5 entry fee and announced:

"OK, I'll do one bracket."

And just like that, a crack addict took his first hit. :-)

Fawzi filled out a bracket, the tournament started today at 9:15 a.m., and by 9:19 a.m....

"Nev, Clemson is up 6-2! I picked them to win!"

And just like that, he was hooked.

Fawzi started following box scores, getting scoring updates every 18 seconds. He hopped around the office smiling like a 7 year old on Halloween when Clemson was winning. He moped around, scowling and kicking chairs when Clemson blew a double-digit lead and lost. He was happy. He was sad. He was ecstatic. He was miserable. And this only took us to 9:27 a.m. He was glued to any and all information about the games. Anytime I gave him an update, he already knew about it.

It was like watching a caterpillar bloom into a beautiful butterfly.

Fawzi was hooked now. Hooked into the March Madness craze. He screamed when Louisville was upset by Morehead State. Bitched and moan to a co-worker that everyone in our tourney pool was tied for first place while he was stuck in 15th. Kicked himself for not picking Richmond over Vanderbilt. And patted himself on the shoulder when he realized that, "Hey, turns out I did pick Richmond to win after all!" (It's OK. He's a rookie.)

And that's what Fawzi discovered today in his first foray into March Madness. It really is maddening. You're up and down 647 times throughout the course of the morning. And in the afternoon, you bust out the booze just to handle the roller coaster. There's truly nothing like it. And anybody and everybody can participate and experience the thrill, regardless of sports knowledge.

Fawzi became a March Madness man today.

The butterfly...has taken flight.


And now for this week's:


I can't stop listening to this song.

As bad as it is, watch the whole video. Two minutes in, it gets worse than you can ever imagine. :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The New Generation Of Guys And Their Limp-Noodle Handshakes: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

So lately, for one reason or another, I've been shaking the hands of various guys who are part of "The Next Generation." These guys are in their late teens or early 20s and have been tabbed to carry the mantle of all the triumphs and achievements that my generation accomplished.

I'm not exactly sure what those triumphs and achievements are. I am, after all, just 31. But just go with me on this. :-)

Anyways, back to the shaking of hands. When I shake the hands of these younger guys, I've noticed a disturbing trend:

Their limp-noodle handshakes.

Seriously, all of these guys 7-12 years younger than me shake my hand like a wet piece of spaghetti. If I apply any pressure whatsoever, I feel like I'm going to break bones.

In my day...

(I'm no longer part of "The New Generation." Thus, I have a "in my day.")

...when guys shook hands, we shook hands. I mean, we gave each other a manly grip. Like men do. We were taught by the generation before us that men display strength when they shake hands. It's a sign of power. Of confidence. Of manliness.

And today, for some reason, these guys shake hands like they don't want to break a fingernail.

And I wonder why.

I mean, is the fault mine? Was it my job to teach these guys the difference between right and wrong handshake? Did I fail them?

Or is technology to blame for the current state of limp-noodle hand greetings? Did the advent of e-mail, text messages and iPads somehow make it so that guys had less physical contact with one another and thus made it so they didn't know how much strength was OK to show and as a result went weak with their handshakes?

Or is it the lack of action stars?

Here's my favorite theory that just popped into my head. In my day, we had movies that featured Schwarzenegger. Segal. Stallone. Van Damme. Men of power. Men of physicality. Watch Predator. At the beginning ot the movie, Ah-nold and Carl Weathers (the dude who played Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies) share a manly handshake. When I watched that movie, I was 8 years old. An impressionable age.

You know what: That's it. The problem is a lack of action movie stars.

So the fault isn't mine.

So to the limp-noodle handshake guys who are reading this, here's your homework:

Watch Predator.

Watch Under Siege.

Watch Kickboxer...and/or Bloodsport.

And watch Demolition Man.

And afterward, you'll be shaking hands like a man.


And now for this week's:


Charlie Sheen is still alive.

I don't know about you, but I'm shocked.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Man And His Toilet Paper: When Size Truly Matters: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: A version of this blog was originally posted for my company's Web site, Industry Intelligence Inc. Check out the site here.)

When it comes to a man and his toilet paper, size matters. We need some heft when it comes to our toilet paper roll. Ideally, it should resemble a white, fluffy mini bowling ball. Because a man never wants to run out of toilet paper. Ever.

So when it comes to advertising a toilet paper’s size, a man takes that to heart. Which is why investigators deserve kudos for cracking down on the latest toilet paper-size scam.

According to a recent story, Kimberly-Clark Corp. has been ordered to stop advertising the length of its Andrex toilet paper after an investigation determined that the claim “unbeatably long” was wrong.

Television commercials and ads on posters and magazines claimed that Andrex toilet paper was “soft, strong and unbeatably long.” K-C was told by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) not to use the advertisements in their current form.

An investigation by ASA found that three competitor products had longer roll length than Andrex,

Now men – particularly in America – love their heroes. Firefighters. Policemen. Pro athletes. Their own dads.

But the good folks at ASA may very well be the greatest heroes in American history.

Any company that claims that its toilet paper is “unbeatably long” when it isn’t is a company that needs to have a visit paid to by the Better Business Bureau. I mean, it’s just wrong! You may be thinking, “Hey K-C is a business, and a business is going to do and say things that may not be completely true because they want to make money.” But this goes much, much deeper than that.

A man has to have trust in his toilet paper. A bond inevitably forms. As such, a man has to place trust in the company that makes that toilet paper. A man has to assume that the toilet paper company is looking out for him. There must be total trust when it comes to this relationship. There can be no other way.

So when a man finds out that his toilet paper company has betrayed him with phony claims of size, it’s akin to a mother telling her son: “I never really loved you. I just had you for the tax write-off.”

And you want to know what K-C said in its defense of this indefensible crime? That even though other companies featured longer rolls, their roll had 241 sheets as opposed to the competition’s 240.

That’s just a sad, sad argument. Every reputable toiler paper company knows that a man doesn’t base toilet paper on its sheets. This isn’t an episode of “Seinfeld”. No “Sorry, I don’t have a square to spare” moment going on here. A man rips off toilet paper in strips, not sheets. I doubt half of us even realize that the toilet paper features dotted lines to tear it off.

K-C knows this. To say otherwise insults our intelligence.

So thank you, ASA, for cracking down on K-C.

If you guys ever make toiler paper, I’ll be the first to buy.


And now for this week's:


Charlie Sheen.

No more need be said.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Diet Soda-Holic And His Phantom Chest Pains: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: A version of this blog was originally posted for my company's Web site, Industry Intelligence Inc. Check out the site here.)

I love diet soda. In fact, I’m a borderline diet pop addict. I drink the stuff constantly, I routinely have a two-liter bottle at my desk, and if you look at my grocery cart, you’re liable to see more diet carbonation than actual food.

You must understand: I have a certain connection to the diet fizzy beverage. As a kid, I was always heavy, to the point where I got to be around 200 pounds by age 15 (all of it goo). When I took it upon myself to diet and exercise, diet soda became one of the key staples in my weight-loss plan. Coke with my burger and fries turned into Diet Coke with my Lean Cuisine, and when I look back on those five months in which I lost 60 pounds and became a diet-and-exercise fiend, diet soda is remembered fondly for having a prominent role in my transformation.

So when a study came out recently by the American Stroke Association that drinking diet soda daily is linked to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and vascular-related deaths, needless to say I put my hand over my heart to see if I was having any chest pains.

I mean, in those few brief moments when my co-workers came to me and said “Hey Nev, read this! All of that diet soda you’ve been guzzling is gonna kill you! Wanna write a blog?” I was having severe, severe panic, and I raced to find the study and read more for myself.

According to this study, those who drink diet soda – not regular, mind you, but diet -- have a much higher risk of vascular events compared to those who don’t drink soda.

In findings involving 2,564 people in the large, multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), scientists said people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking.

And for a brief moment, it was official: I was going to die.

But just as my random chest pains were returning, thankfully the good people at the American Beverage Association calmed my nerves (God bless special interest groups). In a statement issued by the ABA, Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy said there is no firm evidence of the ASA’s claim and that it wasn’t factoring in two key variables: Family history of stroke and weight gain.

In fact, Storey said, there is scientific evidence showing that diet soft drinks can be a useful weight-loss and weight-maintaining management tool.

And just like that, my world was right side up again. My phantom chest pains were gone.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to diet soda drinkers like me, ignorance is bliss. Whenever a study like the ASA’s comes out, we immediately seek out someone or some group to refute the evidence. This way, we can go back to our happy little vice without guilt or fear of death. We can continue to delude ourselves into thinking that we not only are not harming our bodies, but actually helping them because we’re consuming something with “diet” in the title.

Whether the ASA’s findings are accurate, or whether the ABA’s statement is truthful or laced with its own interest, it’s irrelevant. Others like myself will continue to drink diet soda by the gallon, and we will make no lifestyle change whatsoever no matter what kind of studies come out.

(Note: Only water was consumed in the writing of this blog.)


And now for this week's:


Troubled Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan was told by a judge that she will not escape prison even if she strikes a plea deal in the case of grand theft against her, in a court hearing here today. The Mean Girls star has been given until March 10 to decide if she will accept a plea deal or go to trial, reported Los Angeles Times online.

The actress appeared in court today for a hearing on a felony charge over a $2,500 necklace which she allegedly stole from a Venice jewellery shop last month.

Am I the only one out there who's thinking:

I wish Lindsay would just OD already.

Am I? I doubt it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Moving Furniture: The Achilles Heel of Jews Like Me: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm Jewish. And because I'm Jewish, I consider myself to be a good authority on what Jews are known for.

Jews are known for three main things:

1) Saving money.

2) Cooking (OK, technically my cooking doesn't extend beyond a microwave, but I make a mean melted cheese quesadilla.)

And 3) Being diehard Dodgers and/or Mets fans.

(Seriously, have you ever met a Jewish person who cheered for a baseball team other than the Dodgers or Mets? Think about it. You'll find that you've never met one. That Jew doesn't exist).

But one thing Jews are not good at:

Moving furniture.

When it comes to moving furniture -- whether you yourself are moving for one place to another, or helping a friend move, or being given a piece of furniture by someone to take back to your place -- Jews simply don't do it themselves. It's not in our DNA.

Please don't misunderstand. It's not that we look down upon it. That's not the case at all. We feel it's a honorable skill and trade. But it's simply something that we hate to do. I mean, we're not lifters of heavy things. We prefer to pay to have somebody do that for us.

And I think that's noble. Especially given the state of today's economy. :-)

As I write this blog, I am currently looking at these beautiful bookshelves in my living room, a generous gift from family members who previously had them in their home. But to get them here, they had to be moved. And though I'm not a mover by trade, my father-in-law Jim is. And he had me help him get these bookshelves from Pacific Palisades over to my San Fernando Valley home.

Now this experience -- which actually spread across over two weekends because we realized after the first weekend that there was no way in hell we could fit all four bookcases into the car -- had plenty of blog-worthy moments, especially given the fact that the bookshelves' previous home in the Palisades had two wrap-around staircases that we had to get them down from. But in the interest of time and space, here were the three main moments:

1) The vacant glaze.

God bless Jim. He's really trying to teach me these things. But learning has been slow. I mean, the whole concept of moving things myself is just foreign to me. So every time Jim asked me something or asked my opinion about this task, I answered with a vacant glaze.

"Nev, how do you think we can get these bookshelves down the stairs?"

Vacant glaze.

"Nev, do you want to trying unscrewing these bolts from the wall?"

Vacant glaze.

"Nev, what's the best way to get these bookshelves into your house?"

Vacant glaze.

That's why Jews pay people to do these things. All these questions...

2) Lack of help among my fellow Jewish brethren.

While moving these bookshelves, my cousin-in-law (and podcast partner) Mike was also there, packing up some stuff in the kitchen. Lucky bastard; the heaviest things he had to lift was spatulas. At one point, midway through this ordeal, he and I locked eyes for a brief moment and I mouthed to him the following words:

"Help me, please."

He responded by bolting the other way.

I couldn't blame him. I'd of done the same.

Moving heavy furniture: Simply not in the Jewish DNA.

And 3) The U-Haul.

U-Hauls are just foreign to me. I mean, they're borderline creepy. They're dark and gray and drab and the seats are rock-hard. We used a U-Haul to move the remaining bookshelves to my house and I swear these vehicles haven't been replaced since the 1970s. I sit in a U-Haul and I get all clammy. Like I'm truly out my element.

Plus, every time I'm driving in one, I feel like I'm sneaking Mexicans in across the border.

That's right, I said it. Don't tell me you haven't had the same thoughts driving a U-Haul.

In the end, moving furniture is a noble skill. Kudos to all that do it. And just a friendly reminder to all my friends: If you ever need help moving, I'll gladly assist.

I'll give you the phone number of a great moving company.


And now for this week's:


Monopoly is going paperless and cardless

That's just wrong. Nothing's cooler than Monopoly money.

Especially when you steal it when no one's looking.

We used to call that "Valley Rules." :-)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Bane Of All Male Existence: Valentine's Day: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Nevdogg Note: One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was about how men hated Valentine's Day. And with the "holiday" two days away, I thought I would repost my Valentine's Day blog from 2008, since my feelings haven't changed. For my new readers, enjoy. For my original readers, enjoy this trip down memory lane.

This Monday marks one of the most painful days of the year in the life of the non-single man. It's a day we dread, a day we fear, a day that makes us sag our shoulders at the mere thought.

They call this horror of horrors: Valentine's Day.

Now, all the men reading this know exactly where I'm coming from, nodding and thinking, "Amen, my brother. The truth must finally be told." So it's to you, female audience of Nevin's blogs, that I'm speaking to today.

If a man has a girlfriend, fiancee or wife, he despises Valentine's Day. Why?

1) Money. When Valentine's Day is over, the man's wallet is going to be a couple of hundred dollars less (and that's IF the woman in question is easy to please). Flowers, candy, dinner...everything is jacked up price-wise on this Hallmark-created holiday. And businesses know that a man can't skimp on the festivities, lest he do so at his own peril.

I once suggested to a former girlfriend that we go to Dennys on Feb. 14 and that she pretend to be 56 in order to get the senior citizen price on the pancakes.

The idea didn't fly.

So businesses charge their exorbitant fees on Valentine's Day and laugh to themselves, knowing that they've got us by the testicles.

2) Pressure. Here's an interesting observation I've made over the last several Valentine's Days. Giving in and paying $50 for $10 roses is no longer good enough. Today's women want something different, special, something that sets them apart from their girlfriends. It's like the man is caught in the middle of a female pissing contest.

So not only does the man have to shell out a lot of money, but now he's expected to put in some thought? What are we supposed to do? Learn the guitar and write you a love song? Take you to the circus and arrange to be shot out of a cannon while we scream "I love you" as we go soaring over the horizon? Buy you a car?

Money and thought? C'mon!!

3) It's not fair. I saw a jewelry commercial the other day with the tagline, "This Valentine's Day, show her how much you care." Well, where's the "show him" commercials? When was it decided that Valentine's Day was only about one gender? When did men get left out in the cold? Do we not have some sort of role in the whole "couples" concept?

All I want is for there to be a commercial for me. How about: "On Valentine's Day, show him you care: Madden 2011 for the Playstation 3."

Is that too much to ask?

So, non-single ladies, I'd like to end with this:

If on Valentine's Day, your man did not step up to your expectations, remember: It's not that he doesn't love you...'s that he can't afford you.


And now for this week's:


Lindsay Lohan may be headed to jail again.

Shock of shocks.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yearly Rant On The De-Evolution Of Super Bowl Parties: A Nevin Barich Blog Exeperience

Nevdogg Note: Three years ago, I wrote a blog talking about how Super Bowl parties had devolved into a mess of people who don't even like football getting together to eat healthy, organic food. A sickening trend indeed. Because the Super Bowl is this Sunday and because my opinion hasn't changed in three years, I decided to repost my 2008 blog on the subject. Enjoy, and please: If you're at a Super Bowl party and don't like football or potato chips, be silent. Because believe me, no one who is into the game wants to hear what you have to say. :-)

When I was growing up, we watched the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let me say that again.

When I was growing up, we watched the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday.

As in, we watched the game. We had a vested interest in the outcome. We knew what was going on. We knew which teams were actually playing.

Many of you (myself included) will be going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday. I was speaking to several of my co-workers recently, and here were some of their Super Bowl comments:

I don't even like football that much.

I'm just going for the commercials.

Who is playing again?

I'm making hummus!!

My point is: Somewhere along the line, the dynamics of Super Bowl parties changed. It no longer became about the game. It was about being trendy, with it, a part of the scene.

When you go to your event on Sunday, 90% of the people present will be there simply because "it's the thing to do." And the 10% who actually want to focus on the game will be forced to listen to things like, "Why are they wearing red uniforms? It clashes with their helmets."

And let me say something about the food.

When I was a kid, Super Bowl parties consisted of three things:




Simple. Direct. Manly.

With today's Super Bowl parties, it's like being on an episode of Iron Chef. Homemade brownies. Sweet and sour chicken. Chex.

(Freakin' Chex.)

And no more Pepsi, folks. Because God forbid we should have regular soda and all those empty calories. Diet Pepsi is now the beverage of choice.

And pizza?

"Oh God, that's so 1980s!!" I heard someone recently declare.

And then there's my personal favorite:

The veggie tray.

Because at one point, some patrons of these parties who had never seen a football in their lives were aghast that there were no healthy vegetables at these things and bitched and moaned until someone raced out to the market and got a veggie tray just to shut them up.

And because of that, veggie trays and the Super Bowl are now linked. For better or worse.

I was asked to bring a veggie tray one year.

The cost: $10.

$10 for a couple of carrots and a teensy bit of special "veggie dip" that'

Oh well.

At least veggie trays are American.

Unlike hummus.


And now for this week's:


Justin Bieber has a new bio-documentary coming out in theaters called "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never."

About a boy and his dreams.

In 3D.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Man And His "The Pants": A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This weekend, I went whale watching with some friends of mine over in Long Beach. It was an amazing experience, as we saw two gray whales up close playing with a school of dolphins for a good 30-40 minutes, splashing all about along the Pacific Ocean.

It was an amazing day, with good friends, good weather...

...and "The Pants."

"The Pants." Every man -- every worthwhile man -- has a pair. They could be jeans. They could be sweatpants. They could even technically be shorts. They're a pair of pants that withstand the test of time. You wear them everywhere, to everything, in every situation. They're comfortable, they're worn in, they make you happy.

It makes a man...a man.

I wore my "The Pants" to whale watching today. I wear them to whale watching. I wear them to Dodger Stadium. I where them to the movies. I wear them playing poker. I where them to sleep. I wear them watching TV. I've worn them to the gym on occasion. I wear them while eating.

And quite possibly, when the time comes, I'll be buried in them.

My "The Pants" are a pair of navy blue sweat pants, that are about two inches two short, complete with random pink paint stains that I honestly have no clue how they got there. They're unstylish, unsexy, and unflattering.

They're the greatest pants on Earth. :-)

I mean, I love them. They're like wearing warm, fluffy air. They're just awesome, awesome lower garment attire. And here's the thing: If someone else wore them, they wouldn't feel the same thing. To them, it would be just be pants. But that's the thing about "The Pants." They're special to just one person. Meant for just one person. There's a bond between "The Pants" and "The Man."

And how that bond forms is not easily explained. It can occur immediately. It can occur over time. You can buy "The Pants." "The Pants" can be given to you by someone else. Somebody could've owned "The Pants" first but it wasn't "The Pants" to them and they didn't earn "The Pants" status until "The Pants" became yours and were christened "The Pants."

As you can see, it can happen in a variety of ways.

But a man's relationship with "The Pants" is not unlike his relationship with a dog. Where the man goes, "The Pants" go. Faithfully. Truthfully. Unwaveringly.

"The Pants."

Man's other best friend.


And now for this week's:


Your legal system at work:

The fast-food chain took out full-page ads in at least nine major newspapers and launched a YouTube campaign featuring its president Friday to proclaim its taco filling is 88 percent beef.

A false-advertising lawsuit filed last week that caused an online stir alleges the company's filling doesn't have enough beef to be called that. The lawsuit seeks to make the company stop calling it "beef," and pay the suing law firm's bill.

Taco Bell trumpeted "Thank you for suing us. Here's the truth about our seasoned beef," in the ads in Friday's editions of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other papers.

The ads go on to say the rest of the filling is a mixture of spices and common food additives.

Personally, I love Taco Bell's common food additives.

They make me happy.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Breaking Down The Elements Of A Proper Man Hug: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Men are taught at an early age that showing affection to, and among, his fellow man is frowned upon. We can't cry around one another; hell we can't even lip quiver. It's considered weak and unmanly. Two definite no-nos among the male species.

And it when it comes to physical affection among heterosexual males, this rule especially applies. With the exception of athletes winning the big game or your favorite team winning the Super Bowl -- in which case, huge hugs, kisses and tussling of each others' hair is both accepted and encouraged -- no physical affection outside of high fives, fist taps, chest bumps and butt slaps are allowed. I mean, it's a serious party foul.

That's where the man hug comes in.

The man hug. Arguably man's greatest invention. It allows men to great each other in such a physical play that is both accepted and adored. It's quick, simple and is an affectionate gesture that uses socially acceptable male behavior.

There are key elements to the man hug:

1) The sideways hand grab. When starting the man hug, each man moves his arm in a sideways motion, and grabs the other man's hand in a firm manly grip. It's more personal than a handshake and has deeper meaning than a high five, but it's still within cool, manly "I'm not showing any manly affection because society will otherwise frown upon me" limits. The sideways hand grab begins the man hug and leads to:

2) The bumping of shoulders. Once you perform the sideways hand grab, the next step is for each man to lean in and bump the other man's shoulders. Less loving than a regular hug but more meaningful than a chest bump, the bumping of shoulders is the man's way of telling each other:

"I'm a man. And you're a man."

And the third, and perhaps most important, element of the man hug is:

3) No eye contact. This is vital. After you do the sideways hand grab and lean in with your shoulder, it's imperative that each man look off to the side and avoid eye contact. Never, in any situation whatsoever, should men gaze into each others' eyes. I mean, it's just weird. Proper etiquette declares that when men move in to finish their man hug, one man looks left, the other man looks right, and ideally both men should be looking down at the ground, to ensure there's no evidence whatsoever of impropriety.

One last thing: There's no such thing as trial-and-error with a man hug. You have to get it right, right off the bat. There's no "rookie mistakes" or "do-overs" when it comes to man hugs. One wrong man hug and you're branded by your fellow man as a man whom one should not engage in man hugs with, because that man is not interpreting man hugs the way they're meant to be interpreted.

And you don't want that label. Trust me.


And now for this week's:


Justin Bieber gets his hair cut every two weeks, for $750 a pop.

He can get the same haircut for $14 a pop at his local Supercuts.

It must be nice to have endless money to blow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are Lean Pockets Junk Food? A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Are Lean Pockets junk food?

Lean Pockets, for those international readers of mine who don't have the privilege of them in their country, are microwaveable turnovers usually containing a combination of cheese, meat, and vegetables. In America, they are a staple of freezers everywhere.

This past week, I began my quest to cut down on the amount of junk food I eat. I, admittedly am a junk food junkie (no pun intended). The McDonald's value menu is made for people like me, who like burgers, fries, mayo, and want it cheap.

It's people like me who keep America solvent.

Having said that, junk food, of course, is bad for you. Too much fat and empty calories. Because of that, I've made a concerted effort to cut down on the McDonalds and Taco Bell, and focus on lower-fat items.

But the question has been posed:

Are Lean Pockets junk food?

Lean Pockets are "lean", at least when it comes to the amount of fat and calories. A Lean Pocket contains about 260-270 calories and 8-9 grams of fat. So to me, in my view, it's not junk food. If anything, it's a diet food. You cut down on your fat, you cut down on your calories, you cut down on your cholesterol.

How is this bad?

But some folks out there are insisting that Lean Pockets are still part of the "junk food" family. They say it's loaded with sodium, preservatives, and that eating too many of them will kill you.

Personally, I think these are disgusting, short-sighted, mean-spirited arguments from people who just don't want to see someone like me embrace the idea of healthier eating.

Personally. :-)

I mean, for one: Junk food is high in fat. Lean Pockets are not.

Also, junk food needs to contain at least one or more of the following elements: An excessive amount of cheese, mayo, or something fried. Lean Pockets don't contain much cheese, and are sans mayo or something fried.

And finally: Junk food is sold in fast-food restaurants. Lean Pockets are not.

When was the last time Lean Pockets were sold through a fast-food window?

The way I see it: As I get older (I'm 31) it's time for me to realize that I can't live on a diet of Pepsi, Dorritos, and frozen chicken strips. I need to cut back on fat and junk food, increase my grains, and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Enter Lean Pockets.

Which I've now proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to not be junk food.

You can't beat sound reasoning.


And now for this week's:


Horoscope signs are changing.

Because, you know, it's important to keep things fresh.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Going To a Tea Room: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier this week, my wife Ramona and I spent a few days vacationing in Cambria, a cute coastal town about 35 miles past San Luis Obispo, California's, wine country. Ramona has long been the "cultured" one in the relationship. Anything we do that goes beyond paper napkins and sports is her idea 99% of the time.

As such, it was Ramona's idea that she and I take a visit one afternoon to our good friends at The Tea Cozy, a quaint little tea room in Cambria's downtown area.

Here's my thing about tea: I hate it. I mean, I really do. Every tea I've ever tasted tastes like hot water to me. Blueberry tea? Hot water. Strawberry tea? Hot water. Tea with honey? Hot water with honey. Passion fruit tea? Passion fruit hot water...sans the taste of passion fruit.

Nonetheless, the wife twisted my arm because, as she said, it wasn't just about the tea, it was about the experience.

And here were some highlights of the experience:

1) Everyone talks with British accents. Now this wouldn't be that big of a deal were it not for the fact that everybody in the establishment was American. Seriously, what is it about tea rooms that summons up people's union jack? Everywhere I looked, I saw people go from "that's awesome" to "cheerio" once the tea was set on the table. Even Ramona was trying to speak like the queen. It was like being in an episode of "The Twilight Zone."

2) They cut the crusts off of their sandwiches. Now this, I got to say, is kind of cool. Bread crusts really are useless and tasteless. The British are lagging the Americans in lots of ways -- the Revolutionary War started that trend, in my opinion -- but they got the making of sandwiches down pretty good. They cut off the crust, have the food in nice little squares, and they put the sandwiches on this circle-y thing that spins so that you don't have to reach for food.

That's class. :-)

3) All the ordering of food and drink is done by women.

Including Ramona and myself, there were four tables filled with couples. Without exception, all of the "British tea and food stuff" was ordered by the woman. This, we came to find out from our waitress, was normal. Men have no clue what to do when it comes to tea rooms. I, personally, was lost. There's too many teas to choose from, the sandwiches all have ingredients I can't pronounce, and nowhere could I find anything that contained "burgers" or "fries."

Or "chips" as the British call it.

Ramona ordered us three fancy sandwiches and a pot of blackcurrant tea.

I ordered us a Diet Shasta.

And you know what our waitress said?

"All of the Diet Shasta is ordered by men."

My reply?

"That's because it's the only thing on the menu we can understand."


And now for this week's:


The wife of a prison inmate is suing A&E, claiming the network falsely made it appear that she was smuggling drugs to her husband via her vagina.

Marlorita Battle claims she was minding her own business -- visiting her hubby at the Riverbend State Prison in Tennessee -- when, unbeknownst to her, a crew for the show "The Squad: Prison Police" was secretly filming her.

Though she says nothing untoward happened during her visit, when A&E aired the show, they made her look like a drug smuggler. Specifically, Battle claims the episode featured a member of the prison police squad describing how outsiders smuggle drugs by carrying them inside their body cavities.

Battle says her images were plastered all over the screen as the squad member described how women often hide the drugs in their vaginas. And then Battle is featured walking toward the bathroom, then returning to kiss her husband goodbye. Battle says it was clear ... A&E was suggesting she had passed drugs to her hubby through "oral contact."

I pity the lawyers who will be taking this case.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading About Tampons (The Male Perspective): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Sometimes, a blog topic just finds you.

I was milling around the other day when I came across a discarded piece of paper, which turned out to be an instruction sheet for Tampax tampons.

Tampons are a mystery to me. Hell, tampons are a mystery to all men. We get the purpose, we just don't get (nor want to get) how women walk around with these things.

I mean, from a man's perspective, tampons are barbaric. In fact, the whole "monthly thing" y'all females go through is just strange. It's like walking around with a busted pipe. It's just odd...and we don't look at it as beautiful and natural.

I'm just saying what all men are thinking.

So I started reading these tampons instructions. And I gotta give it to the folks at Tampax: They thought of everything. First of all, they have a little section entitled:

"Your first time?"

And it reads:

Take a deep breath...and relax. It's much easier to insert a tampon when you're relaxed. It takes practice -- most women need a few tries before they can comfortably and easily insert a tampon. When using a tampon for the first time, choose a day when your flow is moderate.

I, for one, feel more at ease.

And then you're given the right ways to use the tampon, as well as "other helpful hints about absorbency":

1) Always use the lowest absorbency tampon to meet your needs.

Um...OK. Sounds reasonable.

2) Tampax makes choosing the right absorbency easy. Every box includes an absorbency chart to help you decide. By using different absorbencies, you will get the best combination of protection and comfort.

OK, trial and error. Got it.

And then...

3) Change your tampon every 4-8 hours.

WHOA!!!!! Are you %$#@&%$# me?!? You mean to tell me that during her time of the month, a woman has to submit herself to this insane ritual 3-4 times a day? That's insane!! No wonder women are pissed off during their time of the month!! I'd be cussing out my husband and throwing knives at his head too.

But wait, there's more.

I asked a female friend about this "every 4-8 hours" thing and she said:

That's if you're a slow-flow kinda gal. Otherwise, it's every 2-4 hours.

What. The. $#@^%$.

And finally, for those who are still confused, the instructions contain a visual aid.

Which is just really, really disturbing.

Luckily, for anyone with further questions, the instructions say that they can go to

Check out the section on periods, which contains the following snip-it:

Sometimes it seems like your period always comes when you least expect it. If you’ve had your period for less than two years, chances are, it hasn’t become regular yet. But don’t worry – it will be soon.

And on that happy note, I'm gonna go watch football.


And now for this week's:


Almost 30 robots have started teaching English to youngsters in a South Korean city, in a pilot project designed to nurture the nascent robot industry.

Engkey, a white, egg-shaped robot developed by the Korea Institute of Science of Technology (KIST), began taking classes Monday at 21 elementary schools in the southeastern city of Daegu.

The 29 robots, about one metre (3.3 feet) high with a TV display panel for a face, wheeled around the classroom while speaking to the students, reading books to them and dancing to music by moving their head and arms.

The robots, which display an avatar face of a Caucasian woman, are controlled remotely by teachers of English in the Philippines -- who can see and hear the children via a remote control system.

I only have one thing to say about this:

Didn't these guys see "The Terminator?"

I'm telling you: This is how it starts.