Tag Archives: Journalism

The True Tale of the Shipwreck and Twist of Fate that Brought My Grandparents Together

Mike Crisolago, Zoomer Magazine, Grandma, Grandpa, Valentine's Day
Growing up, I’d heard the story many times: grandpa was a young sailor with the merchant marines when his ship that sunk at sea, grandma saw the newspaper article with his photo and dreamed of marrying him years before she’d met him, the incredible twist of fate that brought them together, and the moment she was shocked to find out he was the man from the newspaper article years earlier.

I’ve always wanted to document my grandparents’ story, not just because it’s so fascinating and unique but because, in a way, it’s my entire family’s story. As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought the time was right to finally write it, and I feel extremely privileged and honoured to have been able to do so for Zoomer Magazine:

On August 27, 1946, violent ocean winds pummeled the merchant marine freighter Fort Boise against the unforgiving rocks off Dog Island shoal, near the coast of eastern Canada. Fog engulfed the doomed vessel and, according to an account in the Toronto Daily Star, the wind and waves conspired to, “(break) her back within an hour.” Blind in the haze and tossed about in the wreckage, the crew made a desperate dash for the lifeboats….

Please feel free to check out the entire story for yourself on the Zoomer website by clicking here.


Labour Day, The End of Summer, and the Worst Jobs to Return to on Tuesday Morning

Photo copyright PhotoStockMonster

In Toronto, the annual launch of the Canadian National Exhibition, or The Ex, often serves as the wake-up call that summer is almost through. Then, once Labour Day hits, the reality sets in that summer’s done and it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving, Halloween and, soon enough, Christmas (only 115 shopping days left!).

Now, before the end of season depression kicks in, consider that things could be much worse come Tuesday morning. I personally count myself lucky as someone who is working in the profession he always wanted to. But it’s hard to imagine someone aspiring to be, say, a funeral clown or a lunatic keeper.

Sound ridiculous? I would have thought so too. Then I did some research for a piece for Zoomer magazine called “Labour Day: Be Happy You Don’t Have These Jobs.” These professions existed, along with many other strange and often extinct ones like it. Some are questionable, while others top modern lists as professions considered “the worst” in Canada or the U.S.

So for those dreading Tuesday morning, read the Zoomer article and count yourself lucky that at least you’re not going back to your job as the person with the bucket who stands under the elephant. What am I talking about, you ask? Read it and you’ll understand. Trust me.


10 Things You Might Not Know About Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are, Books, Arts/Literature

Maurice Sendak, beloved author and illustrator of the wildly popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, among others, passed away today at the age of 83. The cause of death was complications due to a stroke.

In honour of Sendak’s life and work, I compiled a list of 10 facts about his life and work that the average person may not realize. What historic tragedies are symbolically represented in Sendak’s stories? What movie did he believe was the best children’s film of all time? Who did he model the wild things after?

Much like how many beloved Disney-treated fairy tales find their origins in darker, more sinister stories, Sendak’s work was often informed by personal suffering, as well as the many social and political horrors he encountered as a child. To find out more, check out my article 10 Things You May Not Have Known About Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) on the Zoomer magazine website.

Regis Philbin, B&W

A shot I took of Regis Philbin when he was in Toronto for a book signing recently last year. It was in the evening, and the toll of the travel and the later hour was clearly beginning to get to him. He was very gracious with all of the fans who showed up, though, and his wit was much sharper when he was interacting with the crowd on the mic than it came across during his final year or so on television. A very funny, gracious man who can still work a crowd like he was back on The Joey Bishop Show.

“Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease; Fold the whole earth in peace.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Looking over the shoulder of a veteran at a Remembrance Day ceremony in East York, 2009

For those who fought on blood-soaked landscapes, in raging waters or darkened skies; those who stepped forward without hesitation to sacrifice your lives for ours; those who, through terror and fear and the horrors of the unknown, exemplified the strength and bravery of the human spirit. For my grandfathers and grandmothers, great aunts and uncles. For those old soldiers still standing proudly before the monuments and for those soldier resigned to the pages of history. For those who continue to fight, whether they believe in the cause or are just praying for the day they may return home to their families. And especially for those whose families will never see them again. For all of our veterans. Thank you.

Guitar Girl

I took this photo at a Luminato event at Yonge-Dundas Square in 2009. Thousands had gathered with their guitars to attempt to set a world record for largest guitar ensemble (they came up just short). As the crowd tuned their guitar’s and prepared to play some Neil Young, I squeezed my way through the sea of bodies and snapped shots whenever I could. Continue reading

#15: Judging “The Imperfectionists” by its Cover

The path up the Aventine Hill in Rome -- a location that figures prominently in the book "The Imperfectionists" by Tom Rachman

Almost a year ago I walked into a bookstore with Kristina and the cover of a book on the “New Releases” wall caught my eye. Featuring the image of a stack of newspapers tied with string sitting atop a wooden table, it was a novel by an author I’d never heard of — Tom Rachman — called The Imperfectionists.

Continue reading