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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Some assembly required, labor not included

Oh sweet commercials, how I love thee. Advertising at its finest abounds in our society and today is little different from days of yore. What has changed is the sheer volume of goods, as well as the size of the warehouses from which we purchase them; all under the guise of a retail storefront.

And the amount of energy it takes to complete a shopping marathon in one of these behemoths makes me glad that I make my own snack bars. As you may know, they can get tremendously expensive.

Recently as we navigated our way through the mass-consumption store that is rapidly taking over our country, we ran across the cheap movie bin.  You know the one of which I write.

You don’t want to go near it, but the marketing geniuses have made it nigh impossible to pass up the bounty of B-movies and raunchy rejects that no longer find their way to the high ticket shelves; they’re not even good enough for the end caps anymore.

Sold for $5 each, the lonely and rejected films range from horror to comedy to a category known as ‘no wonder it’s in the five buck bin’.

Yet, scornful attitude aside, the kids and I fall prey to the sly wit of the marketing division, smiley face precisely poised over the bin challenging us to not find something worth a hundred nickels.

And today they won. We found a treasure trove formerly unbeknownst to me and my kin; 1001 classic television commercials as old as 60 years. 16 hours of American Pop history.

Some were new to me, in that neo-classicist retro way, and some reminded me of the days of yore; Erector Sets, Slinky, Post Toasties and Malibu Barbie, although I must attest that I never owned the latter. Ever.

Commercialism was in full swing as I was growing up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and as my children and I watched the old commercials today I constantly reminded my children that these toys were the cutting edge back in the day, a little lesson in American anthropology.

Maybe it is a side effect of studying history at Loyola, or maybe it’s just a touch of nostalgia, but being able to share this experience with my children was and is wonderful. I think it made all of us appreciative of the progress of toys over the decades as we observed in astonishment the fascinating space toys and cowboys and Indians sets, followed by rocking horses that were all the rage.

Not to be outdone by Betsy Wetsy, Tuggy the Turtle was sure to be a crowd pleaser but only stood on the podium of pediatric perfection until the doll commercial came on to tell you about “the doll that’s your size for lonely kids like you.” Yes, that is exactly what the voiceover actor narrated. Ah, classic television, how I miss thee.

I found the commercial lacking in character development and any depth of script, so I rewrote it in my head: “Not only do Mommy and Daddy not like you, Susan, but the kids in the neighborhood think you are a snitch. So here’s a doll for you, lonely child.  Have fun! Sold only in food markets.”

Somehow I think there would be anti-bullying legislation encouraged in our modern age if such a commercial came to fruition on the small screen, but I would still like to see it.  

In the food section of the DVD set was a cereal commercial and right on the front of the box was the phrase “Natural Laxative Cereal” almost as large as the name of the cereal itself.  

“Yum” I could hear my children mutter as they envisioned the intestinal benefits and musical productivity of such a fine victual. Truly it is the gift that keeps on giving.

As we finished the first of three DVDs I was elated to know that there were still so many more hours of enjoyment ahead of us, as I lay out my exercise mat to work off the junk food that I bought at the warehouse alongside the commercials.

I revisited an ‘energy bar’ recipe for a quick replenishing treat. I used them for training rides as I was on a mountain bike team in Baltimore years ago. The team members and I cherished these treats as they are tasty and rich, although you don’t want to eat too many of these if you are not exercising much. They can pack a caloric right hook and will definitely catch up with you if you are not careful.

But, with the right exercise program, or if you shop in that behemoth more than once a week, then I think you are burning enough calories.

Who knows?  Maybe you’ll see a commercial for these someday, the actor running laps around your neighborhood warehouse store to burn off those pesky calories. It’s all in the advertising.

Homemade Snack Bars

1 part Peanut Butter

1 part honey or agave nectar

2 parts oatmeal

Protein powder (as needed)

Flaxseed as needed

Tree nuts as needed

Wheat germ (optional)

Warm peanut butter and honey (or agave) just until loosened enough to mix

Remove from heat and add any remaining ingredients

Press into a non-stick pan and allow to cool in refrigerator

Cut into equal size bars and run your nutritional analysis by number of portions