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.