I see our "Doctor-In-the-House Murphy doesn't mind taking away individual rights to solve the opiod crisis that is the...

Bob Garner: Nothing succeeds like failure

Bob Garner

Bob Garner


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Forty-some years ago, I had a bad nosebleed while anchoring a newscast at Greensboro’s WFMY-TV. Technical problems prevented going to a break, so I had to simply lower my head and continue reading the news.

The moment continued long enough for blood to begin dribbling off my lips and start spattering onto the large-print, typed scripts we used in those preteleprompter days. I experienced an intense longing for a magic trap door that could open beneath my anchor chair and allow me to disappear from broadcasting forever.

The bloodstained script — evidence of my complete humiliation — was still on file in the public library research section years later. I checked so I could show it to one of my children as an object lesson in plowing through momentary adversity.

That early-career incident forever ended live, on-camera nervousness, though. I knew nothing could ever be worse going forward. Or even as bad. Naturally I remember thinking at the time that even if terrorists had broken into the studio and shot me dead on the spot, it would have been quite an improvement over what actually happened.

Other TV misadventures, especially comical moments on tape, became valuable. Audiences can’t get enough of such gems, you see, and will rewatch them endlessly.

Case-in-point: one memorable UNC-TV review at a Sanford restaurant, The Steele Pig. At the time, the restaurant featured several house-smoked meats, including a huge beef rib served with a house-made, smoked tomato barbecue sauce.

Videographer Alan Brown was on a close-up during which I was to describe the beautifully browned, crusty rib and anoint it with sauce before tasting.

Unbeknownst to us, a bit of chopped bell pepper had clogged the tip of the plastic sauce dispenser. The harder I squeezed, the more pressure built up behind the blockage.

All of a sudden, the bottle erupted, blowing the pent-up, reddish-brown sauce all over the table, my face, my glasses and my light-colored shirt.

“Our sauce explodes with flavor!” instantly wisecracked someone off-camera. My snickering cameraman had already pulled back to a wider shot and alertly kept rolling as the room exploded too — with laughter.

After several minutes of hilarity and photo-taking, I accepted the offer of a Steele Pig T-shirt, made a quick wardrobe change and finished the segment.

Like most TV producers, I’ll do almost anything for an authentic, memorable moment. Especially if there’s a free T-shirt involved.

Naturally, I included the accident in the edited footage, figuring that viewers would probably remember the mishap far longer than the review itself.

But I had no idea how right I was. UNC-TV received more positive feedback on that particular piece than practically anything else I’ve ever produced. “North Carolina Weekend” producer David Hardy has included the saucy segment on several “best-of” anthology shows.

Failure, whether deadly serious or only comic, is a part of the human experience, of course. TV does exploit darker human failure for its own purposes, including ratings. But it also takes advantage of non-threatening failure for those same purposes. And at least that part is a good thing.

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker. Contact him at bgarner2662@gmail.com.

Planet's Best Grilled Cheese from Bob Garner on Vimeo.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


June 24, 2018

We should all force ourselves to take reflective retreats.

Since most of us just can’t or won’t do it, it’s a very good thing that our wonderful American system inevitably forces all of us into a tough “time in the wilderness.”

No ideological philosophy, no political…

Bob Garner

June 24, 2018

A column of mine that originally appeared in January 2017 has been circulating on the Internet ever since, accumulating over a million hits to date. In a nutshell, its message is simply that parents, not children, are the most important people in a family and the husband-wife relationship should…


June 24, 2018

Q I have a friend/neighbor who I see five days a week because we exercise together. One thing that annoys me is she always manages to slip some comment about God into every conversation. It’s usually a brief comment, not an entire conversation about religion, which makes it hard for me to…

Carolyn Hax

June 24, 2018

At Beaufort County’s Voice of America Game Lands, there are few reminders of what was here for half a century. More than 100 steel towers that marked the site are gone. The transmission building has been closed for a dozen years. The guard house is empty.

Today the place that delivered…


June 24, 2018

When I was in France recently, Anthony Bourdain, also in France working on his popular and influential food and culture program for CNN, took his life.

Bourdain was in one of his favorite regions, Alsace, which was controlled by Germany for 50 years until the end of World War I.

I was on the other…


June 24, 2018


Dear Short Answers:
 My boyfriend and I are getting married next year, and I couldn’t be happier. The problem is that I really don’t care what kind of wedding we are going to have, and he seems obsessed with it. Would it be too weird if I just let him plan everything? I…

Short Answers

June 23, 2018


■ Burney’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 2628 VOA Site B Road, will have its annual women’s day service at 11 a.m. Sunday.

■ Clemon’s Grove Holiness Church, 3816 Sheppard Mill Road, Stokes, will have a women’s day service at 11 a.m. Sunday with Evangelist Maxine…

June 22, 2018

Q My fiance and I are getting married in my family’s hometown and my parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. My family are minimal drinkers though not opposed to some drinking. My fiance’s large extended family is accustomed to weddings with full open bars.

My parents’…

Carolyn Hax

June 22, 2018


Palace abuzz

Tryon Palace, 529 S. Front St., New Bern, is celebrating National Pollinator Week through Sunday. Free pollinator-themed events are sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation. A pollinator garden tour will be held at 10 a.m. today. Tour the Palace gardens to see favorite pollinator…


June 22, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR — The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice everything in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.…

323 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»