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Bless all of our hearts. When did we all lose ourselves and become hateful, angry, argumentative people with no respect...

Funniest TV moments brought to you by ... commercials

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Even though I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life working in TV, I was often too busy to actually watch much of it, or at least to pay much attention to the commercials.

Now that I’m semi-retired and am watching more television, mostly on cable news channels, I’m noticing that much of the humorous creativity in TV ads seems to be centered in the car insurance business.

GEICO seldom fails to bring a smile when one of its odd line-up of characters — or creatures — starts letting me know how easy it is or how happy it will make me to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance.

The company started the quirky campaigns in 2004 with “So easy a caveman could do it” and followed with “As happy as a camel on hump day,” which I understand still gets thousands of hits every Wednesday on YouTube.

The lovable, Cockney-accented Gecko is still in GEICO’s commercial rotation, most recently as he visits a 24-hour diner to chat with the waitress about 24/7 telephone and internet access to agents, as well as to explore 24/7 access to “some of that lemon meringue pie.”

My current favorite GEICO spot, though, is the one in which researchers at a station in Antarctica are subjected to cabin fever.

“I can’t believe it,” says one of the scientists.

“What? That Carl brought his Karaoke machine?”

“No. How easy it was for me to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with GEICO.”

At that point, one of those trapped with the Karaoke decides he’d rather perish in the howling winds and swirling Antarctic snow than endure any more singing and has to be dragged back inside.

Who in the world came up with this novel idea to sell something as boring as auto insurance? Probably someone who considers Karaoke even more boring.

Speaking of boring, whatever happened to the garden-variety headache once made to seem so common by TV pitchmen? During my growing-up years, it seems every other television commercial was for an over-the-counter headache remedy.

Anacin and Bufferin are two brands I particularly remember. In the 50s and 60s, TV spots commonly featured an actor purporting to describe a typical headache — where it started, how it moved around and where it came to rest. Today’s pain reliever ads seem to emphasize headaches less and general body aches more.

Come to think of it, whatever happened to Alka-Seltzer, or at least its prominent place in my consciousness? I know the stuff is still around, and has, in fact, mutated into a range of products, although I don’t hear much about it anymore.

I ruefully admit that during the 60s and early 70s, as a college student and before Ruthie and I had children, I thought of Alka-Seltzer as something of a miracle cure for a combination of headache, body aches, upset stomach and acid indigestion — in other words, hangover.

Thinking “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh, what a relief it is.” still makes me feel better, even though I probably haven’t had an Alka-Seltzer in at least 20 years and it’s probably been 40 years since I last heard that jingle.

The lines, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” and “Mama Mia, that’s some spicy meatball,” from two other Alka-Seltzer ads and are no doubt recorded in some TV ad copy hall of fame.

If I can find some Alka-Seltzer, I’ll drink a toast. Oh, and to bring the whole discussion back to our starting point, I’ll include a nod of appreciation to whoever dreamed up Allstate insurance’s “Mayhem” character. Pure genius.

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.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

Look

July 17, 2019

For the last five months Winterville has been home to a new restaurant that has been gaining a steady and devoted foodie fan base.

Main and Mill Oyster Bar and Tavern has taken over the old Wimpies building at 204 W. Main St. The same layout has been retained with welcoming, warm, and wide open…

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July 17, 2019

Q Help me understand the recent news about diet soda and stroke risk. CK, Greenville

A I got lots of questions about the news headlines that screamed “drinking two or more diet beverages a day linked to high risk of stroke, heart attacks!” There often is a difference between the…

Kolasa, Kathy

July 17, 2019

Whether you plan on hiking, visiting the beach or partaking in any other outdoor activity this summer, knowing what to do and being prepared in case of an emergency can help save a life.

Approximately 40 percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide can be attributed to bleeding or its consequences.…

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July 14, 2019

When I was in college, I had a friend who bragged he could remember every meal he ever ate.

Rob used to regale us with tales of meals past, from the first time he ever tried a club sandwich (“Double the sandwich goodness! Sheer genius!) to his unfortunate encounters with his grandma’s…

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July 14, 2019

I recently passed an important milestone on the fascinating journey of growing older: being told it was time for cataract surgery.

For 35 years, I’ve worn progressive, no-line bifocals with transition lenses that darken and lighten automatically. One pair of glasses for both reading and…

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July 10, 2019

Cd’s Grill has celebrated its one-year anniversary and updated its menu and hours just in time for summer. If you’re seeking comfort food in all its forms with a welcoming atmosphere, then Cd’s should be your next food stop.

The restaurant is located at 111 W. Fire Tower Road,…

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July 10, 2019

Q What causes slow metabolism? How do you know when you have it? What foods should you avoid or what should I be sure to eat? Big Daddy, Winterville.

A If you Google slow metabolism you will get all kinds of diet information — much of it is inaccurate. Katayoon D., a second-year Brody student…

Kolasa, Kathy

July 07, 2019

Who knows why, but I’ve been reflecting about apologizing lately.

Actually, I know only too well why this subject has been on my mind. Of all the people I could name who have constant reason to say “I’m sorry,” I hold a commanding lead in my own personal polling. I’m…

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July 03, 2019

Asthma is a common condition among children, especially in Pitt County. Here, 15 percent of school students are diagnosed with asthma, a higher rate than the state average.

Asthma can be a vexing condition for children. It’s caused by swelling of the airways that can lead to coughing,…

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July 03, 2019

Q I lost 40 pounds over the last year by watching what I eat, and walking and I feel great. I still have a way to go to be at a healthy weight. We are headed to a family reunion for a week and I am scared to death that I am going to blow it all. What advice do you have? By the way I was surprised…

Kolasa, Kathy
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