Archive for December, 2014

Greg Stewernapp vows 2015 is going to be a year a change!

Greg Stewernapp vows 2015 is going to be a year of change!

With 2014 winding down, many people are making resolutions or “silly promises made to selves” for change. And one of those resolute resolutionarians is Greg Stewernapp (pictured above as he was interviewed).

“The new year is going to be a new leaf for me,” he said. “I swear, this year I’m going to jog a lot more and watch my doggone diet. I’m also going to learn me a second language and it talk it real good. And, I think I’m going to watch less TV and read more books. Thick books, the kind that don’t even have pictures or drawings or nothing but words. There was something else I was going to change, something I was going to do to make life better, but I can’t think of it right now. Anyway, 2015 is going to be my year for big changes, I swear!”

Good luck, Mr. Stewernapp, we wish you well! Happy new year!!!

Pick up the pace, Reese, please pick up the pace!

Pick up the pace, Reese, please pick up the pace!

“Wild” is a movie based on a book, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir called “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” about hiking more than 1,000 miles with no prior experience, unless you count walking as a skill. I used to on my resume.

I didn’t read the book, but my wife did and she wanted to see the movie and I was mildly curious. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, the pretty woman from the “Legally Blonde” franchise, and she scruffs up her beauty in that way Hollywood scruffs up beauty (dirty, but still attractive). Oh, and get a load of this–– in the movie, Reese apparently stinks to high heaven as she hikes across America!

We’re talking Oscar catnip, people!

Throughout the journey, there are all sorts of flashbacks in which we see Reese’s miserable life raised by an abusive alcoholic father and a free spirit mother who showers her and her brother with love, laughter and wisdom while you wait.

Reese apparently gets married to some good guy and then her loving mom gets cancer. Mom dies quickly. This makes Reese’s character very sad so she does what you’d expect–– she has lots of sex with many men and smokes heroin, but that high apparently takes too long so she shoots heroin and lives like an animal and somewhere in her descent she decides she’s got to get it together so she buys a ton (literally) of camping equipment and food and begins hiking the PCT.

The movie follows this journey intercutting all the flashbacks of her life and you go along for the hike and honest to God all the while I kept wishing Reese would walk faster to get the damn thing over with.

It’s a slog. I stayed awake through most of it, and I feel like that’s an accomplishment, one I achieved without having to sleep with many strangers or shoot heroin.

Enter this cinematic journey at your own risk. If you do find yourself caught in a theater with this film, at the first signs of boredom take my advice–– walk!

If you watch television, you’ve probably seen Apple’s new holiday spot. If not, here’s the cheese:

It works because it’s a simple human story, something in short supply these days.

The young woman is rummaging through her granny’s vinyl collection and comes across a Voice-O-Graph. This is a recording the grandmother had made in 1952 for Raymond, her lover who was off to war. The granddaughter turns on the old analog stereo receiver and drops the needle on the Voice-O-Graph. We hear that distinctive sound of a needle etching its way across vinyl, a sound that is absent in today’s all digital crystal clear audio world. That sound, that imperfect sound, connects on an emotional level because it has warmth and tonal resonance. For anyone familiar with vinyl, that sound of a needle on a record is hardwired to our innocence.

We hear the young woman speak to her soldier. “My darling Raymond, though you can’t be here for the holidays, we’ll always be together in my heart.” Then, the young woman begins singing “Our Love Is Here To Stay” by George and Ira Gershwin. The granddaughter is moved.

Enter technology.

She takes the Voice-O-Graph and digitizes into her Apple Air. She accompanies her grandmother’s voice from 1952 with guitars a keyboard and her own voice.

The granddaughter plays Santa and leaves an iPad Air with earbuds on the kitchen table along with a card reading “‘A duet’ press play.” We see modern granny as she listens to the composition of her young self accompanied by her granddaughter and views the collection of black and white photos that have been left for her. She views the pictures as she listens. There she is, as a young woman. There is her soldier. There is their daughter as a little girl dressed up and standing by the Christmas tree. There is the proud young woman granny once was, standing with her freshly-pressed Voice-O-Graph.

The granddaughter did not make a movie of the pictures and marry them to the song. That would have reduced the story to a screen. No, we see the grandmother handling physical B&W pictures as she listens to the soundtrack enjoying the movies of memories in her head. We can’t see these memories but we read her reactions to them on her face. She is touched. We are touched. The woman who plays grandma plays her perfectly, not milking the emotions but allowing them to wash over her in fond reflections.

The granddaughter sits on the stairs and watches granny at the kitchen table. Although she can’t see her face, she’s happy that she has delivered a perfect Christmas gift–– a personal one built on a moment from 62 years ago (one that was hidden in a stack of old records), digitized and improved thanks to her love for her grandmother.

What does this spot say about Apple? It says that this company makes technology that enables magic moments like this. Add your creativity and make something special.

The gift is not the product, it’s the humanity one brings to others thanks to the product(s).

So, couldn’t any number of companies have created this spot? Absolutely. But they didn’t. They’re too busy comparing themselves and their products to Apple.

This is another holiday classic, like last year’s Apple spot “Misunderstood” (see below). Congrats to everyone involved with these spots. You are proving that in an age where we live in front of screens, we can still create magic to move and touch people.

Sometimes irony takes a turn for the worse and people die.

When irony takes a turn for the worse, people die.

Chez Yummi in Burlington, Vermont is the sort of food joint locals love, but yesterday, instead of serving hot plates of deliciousness, cold tragedy was served.

And it was yucky! (Note to The Pulitzer Prize Selection Committee: The Lint Screen’s writing is lean and muscular!)

Restaurant patron Fred Vownem was with his wife, Margaret. He had ordered the spaghetti and meatballs and she opted for the chicken chow mein. Both customers devoured their dishes. When their waiter, Russ Humplott returned to clear their table, he asked how they liked their food. Mr. Vownem pointed to the empty plates and said, “We hated it.” Marge Humplott recalls what happened next in the next paragraph.

“The waiter freaked out,” she said with tears filling her eyeballs. “He was very nervous and ran into the kitchen. Then the chef came storming out of the kitchen with a large knife and began stabbing my husband. The chef was screaming that we would have to pay for the food we ate and that he needed the money. My husband tried to explain he was joking about hating the food, but it was too late. The chef repeatedly plunged the knife into his chest and he fell to the floor, dead. It was awful, I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back there again,” the widow said as she began crying salty tears of sorrow and remorse for the irony that her husband had served to a hothead with sharp cutlery.

The chef, Robert Jickell is being held on manslaughter charges. The waiter received a poor tip (only 5%) for his table service.

All in all, a pretty bad night for all–– with no just desserts.

(Note to The Pulitzer Prize Selection Committee: the editorial staff of The Lint Screen has shelf space available to display awards and prizes.)