Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Is This Trending Photograph Making a Statement About Overfishing?

photograph by Kremer / Johnson

From Stephen Weir article - Huffington Post  September 19,2015

With the bounty of the sea on their restaurant table two spear fishermen, still in their dive gear, prepare to place an order with a nonplussed waiter. Is this rapidly trending photograph a statement about overfishing and the gluttony of man or just a photographic bon mot for the internet?
"It certainly had that (environmental) message but somehow it went terribly wrong," said California photographer Neil Kremer. He and his partner Cory Johnson spent two weeks building the restaurant set inside their Redondo Beach studio, hiring actors, lighting the set and ultimately taking this picture they call "Catch to Table." 
"We are a photography team (Kremer / Johnson) specializing in environmental, studio, and narrative portraiture," Kremer told me in a telephone interview. "Our images are both stylized and authentic, showcasing our subjects in engaging and impactful ways."
The fish piled on top of the table in the picture are real, but, Kremer says they were far from fresh when they bought them on the cheap. The two models in scuba gear are also real, they are both certified divers and have modeled again in dive gear for Kremer and Johnson since that original May photo session.
The only thing not real in the photograph are the two fishing pictures in back of the table. Kremer said that when he took this shot there was just two empty frames ("yes those frames are real!") and the pictures were added digitally after the shoot.
The end result, Catch to Table, was meant as a message image to be shown to publications and advertising in hopes of getting photo assignments and commission. 
"Our agent saw it and said that just wasn't right and advised us not to show it around," said Kremer. " I thought it may not be good enough to show to clients but I it might do well on Flickr (a popular image hosting and video hosting website owned by Yahoo). We took the picture back in May and it wasn't until late August that I posted it on Flickr."
He was right about the image being suitable for Flickr. Within 36 hours of being posted, Catch to Table had been seen by over 500 people and a 1,000 over the next two days. The view count now stands at almost 55,000 and climbing. The shot is going viral and the two photographers are acquiring fans (many of them divers) from around the world.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Four Hours to Walk Off a Slamburger. Dueling Ban Jos and Archie and the Bunker

FOUR HOURS to walk off Denny's new burger, Duelling Ban Jos, and putting Archie Bunker back in the Garage. It is Press Release Friday, albeit a few days late. 3 interesting press releases that crossed my desk in the past 7 days.

Extraordinary Food Combinations Comes To Denny’s (Dieters Beware)

The Denny’s Hamburger chain is not about to be out-caloried by the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto and State Fairs across the US. Denny’s issued a press release announcing that starting today and running through to October 12, it is ‪#‎BigBurgerBash‬ time in their North American outlets. A quick glance at their menu shows that three of their top sellers rival the likes of the CNE’s deep fried Oreos and other extraordinary junk food combinations in terms of calories, salt and fat output!
"Denny's is known for taking classic favourites and adding a unique, fresh flair," said John Dillon, @DillonJohnW, chief marketing officer for Denny's. "Our #BigBurgerBash menu is a Denny's-style celebration of our popular, high-quality burgers, combining bold new flavours and the finest ingredients to offer guests our best, and most inventive, burgers yet."
Three of burgers now on the menu board are the Bourbon Bacon Cheese Burger, the New Spicy Sriracha Burger and the trademarked Bacon Slamburger.
“Denny's beloved burger is taken up a notch with crispy hash browns, a tasty egg cooked to order and two bacon strips, all smothered with pepper jack queso (in the Bacon Slamburger)” reads the press release.
According to Denny’s own website, the Slamburger, before you add mustard, ketchup and relish, has 880 calories, 339 mg of cholesterol (13% more than your recommended daily intake) and 1.530 mg (64% of your recommended daily intake) of salt.
The Calorie King website estimates that it will take 230 minutes of walking to exercise off the Slamburger. Meanwhile the New Bourbon Bacon burger with its dump of cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms and sweet bourbon sauce over a cheddar bun has, again according to Denny’s website, 1040 calories.

That Doesn’t Sound Like “Those Were The Days”

Archie and the Bunkers
THROUGHOUT THE 70s when the TV show All in the Family ran the opening credits, Archie Bunker would sing a duet with his with his wife Edith about how they missed the music of Glen Miller in the song called “Those Were The Days.”
40-some years after the sitcom went off the air, there is a new Archie Bunker on the block, and this one probably doesn't pine for Glen Miller or for Herbert Hoover.
A press release was issued in Canada, the US and Great Britain last week announcing the arrival of a two-person group, called the Archie and the Bunkers!
“You wouldn't expect that a band with a combined age of just 30 years to prefer garage rock over the types of music favoured by most of their peers,” reads the Archie and the Bunker release. “But with a sound that draws heavily from diverse musical influences ranging from jazz organ greats like Jimmy Smith, and Richard 'Groove' Holmes, to punk icons Dead Boys, The Stooges, The Screamers, The Damned, and more, these home-schooled siblings have obviously been receiving an education that is far less limited than that of kids who attend the local high school. “
Archie and the Bunkers are Emmett O’Connor on (drums/vocals) and his brother Cullen O’Connor (organ/vocals), from Cleveland, Ohio. They began recording music in their basement, and then went out into the real world in 2013 with two self- produced EPs and playing live shows in which they reportedly attack their songs with a frenetic energy.
In their home state of Ohio the band is often called the “Trashy Twosome”. No idea which brother is Archie and which one is The Bunker, nor why they borrowed the name from the long gone TV show. One Ohio music magazines thinks it may be homage to another Cleveland garage band, the 1995 short-lived Archie and the Pukes.

More Twang For Your Buck
Guitar and  its Banjo app

JON LANGBERG, an America musician and inventor, was faced with a challenge he couldn’t meet. He needed to purchase a banjo and to learn how to play it in a week’s time, for a once-only performance.
He neither had the time nor the money to buy and master a banjo. Instead he came up with the idea of building an attachment that would make his electric guitar sound just like a banjo. The Ban Jo was born.
With Ban Jo you can sound down-home South while playing an electric guitar. He has launched a kickstarter campaign to fund the production of this device.
In the bumpf released by Langberg to promote the Ban Jo, he says, “the device is attached to the body of the electric guitar with suction cups. A fabric is placed on the underside of the device and can be lowered down by turning the wing-nuts until it made just the right amount of contact with the strings.”
So far it doesn’t appear that anyone has invested in Ban Jo, but as they say, these are early days. The inventor says he will use Kickstarter funds to pay for “production materials, equipment, online marketing, and other start-up costs necessary to bring Guitar-Jo to the market.’

Monday, 6 July 2015


Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg

The Wreck of the Griffon - The Greatest Mystery of the Great Lakes - an in print wiki for wreck wonks, historians, divers and mystery lovers

Book Review By Stephen Weir - published in July issue of Diver Magazine

Just prior to the publishing of their new book about the 17th century barque Griffon, authors Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg, asked famed writer and wreck hunter Clive Cussler what he knew about the missing Great Lakes’ ship. “The Griffon -- isn’t that the shipwreck that somebody’s been finding every ten minutes?” he asked the pair.
Cussler nailed it in 11-words. It took Kohl and Forsberg a little longer.  The Wreck of the Griffon: The Greatest Mystery of the Great Lakes, is a 224 page printed Wiki (complete with over 200 colour and black and white images) about the ship, the men who built her, the crew who lost her and the legion of divers who say they have found her!
Cris Kohl, a former wreck columnist with Diver Magazine, has been writing about Great Lakes shipwrecks for over 40 years.  He and his wife Joan Forsberg, the past president of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, have written 14-books, numerous documentaries, magazine articles and published a wall of maps about freshwater shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.
The Griffon is the oldest shipwrecks in the upper Great Lakes, and, according to Kohl and Forsberg, the remains of the seven-cannon 45-ton wooden ship have been reported found at least 22 times since she went missing in 1679 in Lake Michigan, or Lake Huron, or was it in Georgian Bay?
“In the year 1679, the first ship (the Griffon) to sail on the upper Great Lakes disappeared with her entire crew and valuable cargo of furs,” write Kohn and Forsberg.  Built by the explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, or simply La Salle (1643-1687), “its loss nearly ruined him. On its maiden voyage, this ship was the very first to sail across Lake Erie, up the Detroit and St Clair Rivers, across Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.”
On its way back to Niagara from Lake Michigan, the ship and its cargo disappeared, and ever since then for wreck hunters, the game has been on.
To truly understand the historical importance of this ship, Kohl and Forsberg, give readers an extensive history lesson about the early French explorers and settlers of Upper Canada. They draw on diaries and personal letters written by La Salle, crewmembers and Father Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan missionary and chronicler of de LaSalle’s adventures.
Kohl and Forsberg recreate the world of 1679 as they take  reader is taken through the construction of La Salle’s small ill-fated fleet of wooden sailing ships including the Griffon. We learn how the Great Lakes region was a land filled with the riches that Europe so dearly needed. Yet for La Salle the drive to discover and explore saw him send his fur-filled Griffon from Lake Michigan to Niagara with a mere crew of six, while he continued by canoe, to explore the Lake Michigan region.
Although he tried, La Salle was never able to reconnect with the Griffon, her cargo and the crew. 
The new book describes in detail the ongoing search for the remains of that ship, from La Salle’s days to the present. There have been finds: bodies in caves, French coins, and the remains of sunken wood ships in various Great Lakes! The authors document 22 different “discoveries”, none of them definitively the missing barque.
Four of the most recent discoveries - the Griffon Cove Wreck (near Tobermory), the Mississagi Straits Wreck (Manitoulin Island), Poverty Island Wreck in Lake Michigan and the last , also in Lake Michigan – are examined in detail.
The authors’ mythbust most of the finds. However the latest has them cautiously optimistic. Two boaters named Frederick Monroe and Kevin Dykstra, “both Michigan scuba divers, were out on the lake in 2011 doing a side scan search for something completely unrelated. Suddenly, they got a ‘hit’ on their sonar -- there was definitely something down there that looked intriguing. What they had found was definitely a shipwreck and, to them, it was obviously very old (the reasons they know it is very old are being kept under wraps for a while longer).”
If this is the Griffon, the authors predict that Great Lakes marine history will get an “unmistakable shot in the arm”.  
And, if it isn’t The Great Lakes’ First Shipwreck? They believe the search will continue. Because it’s a mystery! The themes of treachery, storm, murder, and Indian attack make it a bona- fide, old-time, swashbuckling, seafaring yarn, passed down for hundreds of years. “

Monday, 8 June 2015


Dive Press Release Monday at stephen.weir.com. Stories based on press releases received by Stephen Weir - as featured on Facebook and Linked In
Last year an Ontario mining corporation told the investment community that it was going to buy an Hawaiian based 54ft luxury yacht and a couple of submarines. On Friday the travel trade learned that the Avery Claire has begun providing the Hawaiian Islands with a one-of-a-kind cruise experience - above and below the water!
In May 2014 Toronto's Zara Resources Inc announced that it had acquired recreational marine assets comprising two recreational submarines, a 10 year lease on a luxury yacht named Avery Claire, and the website www.LuxAquatica.com offering luxury yacht and diving services for the sum of just $500,000.
In a press release, Zara describes their acquisition this way: "The Avery Claire is a luxury yacht based in Honolulu, Hawaii with three air conditioned staterooms, a multipurpose sunroof deck capable of landing helicopters, and a submarine loading bay. The yacht has been featured in the popular TV series Hawaii Five-O and is intended to be used for recreational activities such as sunset cruises, snorkeling, and scuba diving."
"The Avery Claire is a fully certified diving support vessel, and is equipped with diving equipment including air compressors and first aid and oxygen aid apparatus. The newly modified recreational submarines are also located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and are designed to be launched from the Avery Claire. They have recently been modified to accommodate three passengers, and are intended to offer recreational exploration of the ocean in depths from 20 to 125 feet for up to 6 hours".
Now a year later the Lux Aquatica Hawaii has just unveiled the Avery Claire as a beautiful Hawaiian yacht available for a unique cruise experience that includes a three-person exploration submarine.

"Depending on your desires, we customize either the most serene, beautiful and perfect leisure experience that yachting has to offer -- or pure excitement with a shot of adrenalin. Passengers see dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and humpback whales in season, and unforgettable sunsets. Those seeking more action and adventure can jump right into the submarine for the most exciting ride of their life," said Captain John Morton.
According to press release issued by Lux "The yellow exploration submarine is equipped with scuba diving equipment. It accommodates a pilot and two passengers and is launched from the yacht to explore depths from 20-125 feet to enjoy a private underwater tour of the grand Hawaiian ocean."
"Every passenger receives movie star treatment at competitive prices. In fact, our Hollywood icon 'Hawaii 5-O' featured the Avery Claire and spotlighted its beauty," said Captain Morton.
Yes it is once again press release Monday on Stephen Weir's facebook page.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Dr Sharpe in Toronto



Canadian educated American whale expert Dr Fred Sharpe (pictured below) was in Toronto last week to promote the new Imax film Humpback Whales. The Alaska based whale expert is featured in the new movie because of his leading-edge theories about the social feeding behaviours of this large cetaceans.

Narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor, Humpback Whales is a immersive ocean adventure that invites audiences to dive into the underwater world of these 17-metre, 45 ton mammals. Humpback Whales has been made by Freeman Films who have done many other underwater documentaries including The Living Sea, Dolphins, Coral Reef Adventure and To the Arctic.

While many of the science large format documentaries bemoan the demise of the animals they are featuring, Humpback Whales, in comparision is a good news story. Once feared as monsters, and very nearly hunted to extinction, today humpback whales are in the midsts of a slow but remarkable recovery.

The Alaska based whale expert is featured in the new movie because of his theories of the feeding behaviours of this large cetaceans. The movie has a CGI sequence based on his research into their use of a "bubble-netting" hunting practice.

According to Dr. Sharpe, bubble-netting is where whale hunting teams work together to find and scoop up fish. When "bubble netting” some of the whales in the group corral fish by blowing a constant stream of air bubbles around the perimeter of their school, trapping the fish inside. This allows the other whales to swim in from below and hoover up the confused fish! 

Humpback Whales is currently playing at the Ontario Science Centre and at museums and science centres across Canada and the United States in 3-D and 2-D formats.


Biography - Raesha Sirois


The Face of the Festival

Does one have to be born in the West Indies to have Carnival Fever? It certainly cannot hurt!

Raesha Sirois, born in St. James, Trinidad, immigrated to Canada in 1970 and grew up in Scarborough, Ontario. Although she enjoyed a Canadian environment and learned to embrace winter out on the slopes with her snowboard, Trinidadian culture was a great part of her upbringing. This included eating her mother’s Creole cooking, listening to Soca, pan and chutney music, and regular month-long trips down to Trinidad to visit relatives in the summer.
Raesha played clarinet in the Toronto parang group, La Petite Musicale in the late 80s and joined Silhouettes Steel orchestra to play steel pan in 1994.  She is the only known 9-bass player in Canada to own her own set of pans and currently plays with Pan Fantasy Steel band, led by 2015 Harry Jerome award winner, Wendy Jones.
A full-time dental hygienist for 22 years, Raesha works out of 3 clinics, including The Art of Dentistry in Yorkville. Her 3 children, aged 24, 13 and 7 have all traveled to the country of her birth and are forced to watch their mother play pan and play Mas in the parade. Favourite food for all of them? Dhalpourie roti with curry chicken!
Raesha regularly attends Carnival in Trinidad, with Panorama Finals and Jouvert being her highlights. Here in Toronto, she plays Mas in the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Parade, competes in Pan Alive and models Mas costumes – this year with Tribal Knights, D’Regulars and the new Durham Mas .
Spare time is hard to find with this lady, but she manages to scrounge up some to weight-train, garden, teach her kids piano (she is a classically-trained pianist) and travel the world. You can often find Raesha commuting to and from work on her Kawasaki Ninja.


Stephen Weir’s Note. The Face Of The Festival Photograph is downloadable from the Festival website. Media is free to use the photograph. Please Credit  Photograph by Anthony Berot  NVP Media Group. Model Make-Up by  Sue Ajodhia ( Motives Make Up)  Melinda Siegal - Assistant

Calvin Taylor is at the head of the Grand Parade in 2015

Calvin Taylor - by Stephen Weir

New Man At The Head Of Parade

Calvin Taylor joins Festival Management Committee (FMC) as the Parade Operations Manager for the Scotia Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2015 season.  He is a Canadian Citizen, born in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.  
Calvin attended Sheridan College where he completed a course in Electronics Engineering Technician.  With these credentials and his self motivated drive for success he pursued a very lucrative career in Information Technology Sales, Earning numerous top sales awards along the way.
As a former North American Federation of Musicians booking agent, he booked many Caribbean acts into Toronto for the Caribbean season over the years.
Calvin is no stranger to planning big events.  In 1986 he and a group of investors held a major event at the Varsity Arena called MULTY MUSIC 86.  It featured very popular bands like FireFlight, Messenger, Pryme Tyme, Dominica Swinging Stars and the most popular artiste from Trinidad at that time Mr. David Rudder.
Calvin is well known within the West Indian Community and FMC TMBA, OSA, OCPA, pan lovers, revellers and spectators will benefit immensely from all of his experience and transferable skills.

About Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, and revelry as well as visual and performing arts. It has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. As Carnival is an international cultural phenomenon, the great metropolis of Toronto and its environs will come alive as the city explodes with the pulsating rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Steel Pan and Brass Bands. The Festival Management Committee oversees the running of North America's largest outdoor festival.
Corporate sponsors of this year's festival include: Scotiabank, OLG, The Toronto Star, CTV, CP-24, Virgin Radio, The Canadian Federal Government, The Province of Ontario, City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto, The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Liberty Grand.
About Scotiabank 

Scotiabank is a leading financial services provider in over 55 countries and Canada’s most international bank.. Recognized as a leader for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has contributed on average some $50 million annually over the last five years to community causes around the world. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.