Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ochocinco, Classy in Cincinnati

by Baiden McCallum, North Toronto Collegiate Institute (02WIL)

Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Lebron James. These are some of the people Chad Ochocinco keeps company with – at least on the list of America’s most hated athletes.

The Q Scores Co., which conducts popularity polls, has Chad Ochocinco, star wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, ranked as the fourth most disliked figure in all of sports today, behind the likes of Michael Vick, Tiger Woods and Terrell Owens, and in front of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.

Most of the six names on the list deserve to be there, but does the fourth really belong?

It’s understandable that Michael Vick, a felon who was imprisoned for funding a dog-fighting operation, is there. Also deserving their spots are Tiger Woods, the face of his sport and one of the many faces of sporting-goods company Nike, who cheated on his wife with what seemed to be two floozies for every day of the week; Kobe Bryant, a notoriously arrogant person in his youth, who feuded with Shaquille O’Neal publically and also supposedly raped a woman about a decade ago; Lebron James, the reigning NBA MVP, who paraded his arrogance with his nationally televised heart-stomping of Cleveland, infamously dubbed “The Decision”.

The only other person in the top six who doesn’t seem to belong is Terrell Owens. Granted, Owens is a diva and a seemingly clinical narcissist who had constant fights and feuds within his organizations, prompting him to be shipped from team to team. This behaviour is scarcely worthy of being one of the top five hated athletes, but it’s understandable why he would be disliked by many. Ochocinco on the other hand has been with the Cincinnati Bengals his entire career and, while somewhat of a diva himself, still is an upstanding guy to everyone, everywhere he goes.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

"Seedfolks - Guy Levesque", a story

Grade 8 classroom assignment
Baiden McCallum, Island Public and Natural Science School

Until a few years ago, I lived in the beautiful suburbs of Paris, France. My father was the owner of a humble restaurant named “The Lady of the Camellias”. He became quite wealthy by playing the stock market smartly. I didn’t have a mother, never really did. She died when I was four months old. I didn’t feel bad or empty not having a mother, for my father was always very kind and supportive. My father and I would invest in a promising company, or take a chance and invest in a fairly unknown one, and see what the result was. We became fairly rich and well-off.

We lived in a nice neighbourhood, with big houses, big cars, big trees, you know, the usual rich-person neighbourhood. It was a nice quiet place to live. Very peaceful. I was never one of those snooty rich people, though. Didn’t like them, never did.

About two years ago, we invested in a very promising company called Enron. The stocks kept going up, and the CEO kept saying they would continue climbing in value. My father believed him and bought a large number of Enron stocks when they were at $90. We were horribly mistaken. We lost almost everything. We became bankrupt and had to sell our house and just about all of our luxurious belongings.

My father had enough income from the restaurant to support us, but he decided to sell it and use the money to start a new life in America. I always liked baseball, and my favourite Major League Baseball team was the Cleveland Indians, so we decided to move there.

Regarding an unpublished novel by Robin Wood

For more information see:

An unpublished story, "Of Snakes and Turtles"

Of Snakes and Turtles 

When I was growing up our family lived in the suburbs. Our particular suburb was located on the westerly edge of town. It was an early post-war suburb, new and handsome for its day but not affluent in the manner of later suburbs. I remember that the roads, for example, were never surfaced with anything more extravagant than crushed stone spread over hot tar. And it took a long while before sidewalks were laid down. When eventually they were, a no-man’s land immediately sprang up – the grassy verge between the sidewalk and the roadway. Although the verge was city property, it was the homeowners’ responsibility to keep the grass mowed; because it was city property, the homeowners never bothered. As a result the grass grew unchecked the summer long, the weeds flourished, and we kids had a jungle to play in.

When after a time that jungle became too small for us, we turned our attention to a larger one nearby: the woods that lay behind my house, a stone’s throw the other side of the creek. Our attention, however, was not unambivalent. On the one hand these woods excited our imaginations, our youthful lust for adventure. On the other hand they were a dark and scary place, filled with black flying things, staccato cries, lugubrious moans. Once little Jamie Jones, who later entered the priesthood, was lost in the woods overnight. He swore on the bible that he had been held captive by demons and evil spirits. Naturally no one believed him.  But if we were timid about venturing near the woods before, we were even more timid afterwards.

Consequently, when one afternoon during religion period, Eddie, the oldest and hence biggest boy in our class, handed me a note proposing we go snake-hunting in the woods Saturday, I was of mixed feelings. The allure of adventure contended with the fear of the woods. In the end I assented: adventure won. The note was duly passed around until, despite one mishap, we mustered a contingent of about eleven volunteers. The mishap was that Russ Connelly was caught with the note and ordered to recite five “Our Father”s as punishment.

Softball player, 2 photos

Animal Farm and Flowers for Algernon, by Baiden McCallum

Animal Farm and Flowers for Algernon
by Baiden McCallum 01POM

[written as a Grade 9 assignment for North Toronto Collegiate Institute in Spring 2010]


Our oral presentation is supposed to be around five minutes in length. The research I did for the presentation turned out to be much too much for five minutes (for better or worse, the research follows). In preparing the presentation I wanted to set out my ideas as fully as I could (I suppose to see where they led) and that meant taking a different approach from preparing just a five-minute presentation. I prepared the five-minute presentation but I also prepared this, which is what I based my five minutes on.

Animal Farm and Flowers for Algernon

This paper discusses two novels – George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon – in order to determine which book would make the better subject for study in Grade 9.