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.