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Spaceship Superstar Chris Hadfield’s Biography is a Love Letter to The Universe Mariel Lepra When Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield commanded the International Space Station from March to May 2013, I would rush home after school to check out new images the colonel had captured from the Cupola of the ISS. Some days these would be nighttime images of Beijing illuminated by criss-crossing bursts of light and others, of variegated lakes in Hungary; their one shared trait was the successful showcase of nature’s splendors as well as the achievements of mankind. Hadfield’s new autobiography, An Astronaut’s Guide to Earth, serves not only as a vessel to recount his life and showcase his own achievements, but functions as a self-help book, and an educational foray into physics, biology and chemistry. The book is broken into three parts: Pre-Launch, Lift Off, and Coming Back to Earth; although the biography follows the rough chronology of Hadfield’s life, every chapter is peppered with anecdotes and life lessons, as well as occasional comedic jabs pertaining to the story at hand. Despite the mystical quality generally connoted with space exploration, Hadfield does not mask nor sugarcoat any of aspect of life as an astronaut: from familial dislocation to adverse biological effects to NASA’s minimal funding and grueling training, he is keen to bear it all. My happy, shiny Cape Canaveral-induced image of astronauts who flew into space 24/7 and shiny Apollo mission

badges burst like an overinflated balloon when Col. Chris Hadfield stated, without fanfare, that NASA has large board meetings like any company, if not more. He felt lucky to have spent those 166 days in space, apparently more than some colleagues will experience in a lifetime. Nevertheless, the surrealistic moments of his two extra-vehicular activities (EVAs, or in layman’s terms, spacewalks) seemed to transport me from the packed bus I was on to the outside of the ISS, staring out into the cosmos. This was all the explaining I needed to see why someone would undertake a profession as mentally and physically demanding as an astronaut. The universe is just too awesome for us to be content to sit on our solitary rock and not fly off to distant planets, stars, or galaxies. To see what there is to be seen and understand what there is to be understood is incomparable, no matter how amazing water in a liquid state may be. On a personal level, Hadfield’s insights into the human condition and intimate stories touched me deeply. I’m also not ashamed to admit that viewing his version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, covered during his time on the ISS, still makes me teary eyed and hopeful that we’ll get a human being on Mars in my lifetime. Chris Hadfield demonstrates that he is a capable author as well as a resourceful and rational

astronaut in An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth, but at no point does its tone sound condescending. Hadfield states many times in the book that humility is a quality that serves the possessor as well as those surrounding him or her, and he follows his own advice to a tee. The biography is accessible, interesting and refreshingly different. Charismatic, intelligent and wittier than most, Chris Hadfield may now be retired, but he’s a long way from being forgotten.

Mariel’s Top Ten An Embarrassment to Toronto Albums of 2013 Hubert Luo “Mayor” Rob Ford -

Rob Ford has been a journalist’s dream ever since his mayoral election victory in 2010, never failing to provide personal and political blunders to report on. Whether it’s his drunken stupors, conflict of interest case, or the recent crack cocaine scandal, Ford has demonstrated one thing to us: He has become a liability for Canada’s largest city. Elected on a mandate to “stop the gravy train” at City Hall, Ford has instead put the focus on his own public incidents instead of what councillors were elected to do. This plethora of personal blunders has included impaired driving, obscene language, abuse of power, conflict of interest charges, substance abuse, and poor judgement, to name a few.

Continued on Pg. 2

(with a hand from Zahra’a)

2013 has been an incredible year for music, with artists big and small coming out with fantastically diverse albums showcasing their talent. Here’s the Beacon Editors’ favourite indie-tastic albums of 2013. 10. Modern Vampires Of The City

Vampire Weekend

Fave songs: Diane Young, Unbelievers, Everlasting Arms

9. Random Access Memories

Daft Punk

Fave songs: Get Lucky, Doing It Right, Instant Crush

Continued on Pg. 5




A Few Really Big Neon Signs

If Found, Please Return Them to the City of Toronto

Siera Carrozza

Although established in 1793 as York, Toronto’s history only occupies a brief portion of the timeline of civilization. We may not have a world famous Colosseum, but the iconic buildings we have are being prepped for the developer’s wrecking ball. The 1900s did see the birth of many of Toronto’s well-known structures. The most famous is the CN Tower, which was completed in 1976. The 20th century gave rise to three conspicuous stores that are also considered to be modern landmarks of the city. Each of these stores, however, have already disappeared or will disappear in the next few years due to their property being sold to developers, to be used mainly for the condominiums that are popping up all over the city. In 1948, Honest Ed’s discount store was opened. The store is known for its giant marqueestyle neon signs that are still lighting up Bloor and Bathurst to this day. The flagship shop of the Sam the Record Man music chain opened in 1961. The shop was famous for its obscenely large neon signs that depicted two spinning records and the slogan “Yes this is SAM the Record Man”. Finally, in 1980, the World’s Biggest Book Store was opened near the Eaton Centre. The store had an iconic red and white exterior and over twenty kilometres of bookshelves. The city has now developed an aversion to

STAFF Staff Advisors

Mr. Nigro Mr. Sommerfelt Management Editors

Katie Chen Jessica Kim

Editors of Copy

Zahra’a Jaffar Mariel Lepra Editors of Layout

Helen Hayes Rosa Kang the kitschy neon storefronts that made it such a unique location in the first place. Generic condominiums and Ryerson University buildings must be simply more valuable uses of the space. Although the stores themselves were struggling to remain profitable in the modern era of retail, their signs are truly iconic landmarks to the city and should be treated as such. Rome, for example, does not use the Colosseum for sporting events anymore but it is still standing today for tourists to explore. The city is in danger of losing its unique façade to a cold and generic breed of glass structures. Being dazzled by neon displays is a more attractive idea than being blinded by sun reflecting off of sixty stories of glass sheets. Toronto needs treasure its modern history and find some way to preserve the signs so that the city can be known as something more than just “that city with that blue hockey team”. Will the Exhibition be the next landmark feature to be lost to the ages? How long until it is decided that the land on which the CN Tower stands could be better used as a condominium complex?

Heads of Photography

Rawan Ali Lillian Li

Head of Sports

Gina Kwon Heads of Publicity

Sandra Petrovic Kara Yeung Head of Production

Jordan Ichikawa Secretary

Siera Carrozza Treasurer

Jeffrey Liang Contributors

Elizabeth Choi Sherry Guo Zohaib Jailani Tare Kabowei Hubert Luo Nader Mohammed Sofia Pham Ira Sharma Viji Sugumar

“Mayor” Rob Ford -

An Embarrassment to Toronto Hubert Luo

continued from pg. 1 Most recently, Ford has been caught on video smoking crack cocaine, which police chief Bill Blair confirmed in early November after first being reported on by the Toronto Star. His responses to questions regarding his use of crack cocaine can be grouped into five stages: denial, denial, denial, apology, and threats. Rather than deal with the allegations truthfully when they emerged in a professional and respectful manner, Ford has instead waged an attack on the local media, the Toronto Star in particular, comparing them with “lynch mobs.” His immature and childish behavior is unsuitable for anyone holding public office, let alone the highest municipal position in Toronto. In the past few weeks, City Council has transferred much of the authority that Ford holds to the deputy mayor, Norm Kelly, including much


The Martingrove Beacon

of the city’s decision-making process. Imagine for a moment an emergency had emerged when Ford was in one of his drunken stupors, as on St. Patrick’s Day last year. How could the city respond effectively to a crisis with the person in charge not only missing, but incoherent and intoxicated as well? Ford claims to have “achieved” many things during his tenure as mayor: not raising taxes, balancing the budget, and that he is the only one able to promote fiscal responsibility. However, these claims actually evaporate into thin air upon closer examination. Ford has proposed raising property taxes by 1.6% over the next three years. Also, there are a multitude of councillors with similar goals, including Mike Del Grande, Karen Stintz, and John Parker, pushing for a conservative fiscal agenda. The impact that the mayor’s scandalous circus

will have is greater than just irrevocably damaging Ford’s faint prospects of re-election. It has made the mayor, and more importantly, the city of Toronto, a laughingstock all around the world. When people hear “Toronto” in places like Belgrade and Seoul, they think of our crack-smoking mayor instead of a world-class city. This has hurt the city’s reputation and economic prospects, as who wouldn’t think twice about investing money in a city led by a man known more for being a comedian’s punchline than a wise and prudent civic leader? His disrespectful and arrogant demeanour has no place in public office, alienating first city council, staffers, and soon voters. He has pledged to run in the next mayoral election, so the sooner he loses that election and leaves the public eye, the better it is for all Torontonians... except the journalists.


The Ongoing Fight for Democracy

Rawan Ali

For most people, the word “Egypt,” paints a picture of the pyramids in their heads. I mean, that’s what Egypt is known for. However, for the past couple of years Egypt has also been known for something else – its ongoing protests. Just when we thought we were finished with Hosni Mubarak along comes Mohamed Morsi. Nearly three years after the dismissal of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is at a critical crossroads. It all started on November 22, 2012. That was the day tens of thousands of protesters started to demonstrate against president Mohamed Morsi, after Morsi’s government issued a temporary constitutional declaration that in effect granted the president unlimited powers. Days after the disputed law was taken on, hundreds of Islamist protesters took to the streets. The police, however, had to forcefully break up the crowd. Since Morsi’s law was enacted, police and security forces had broken up, forcefully, quite a few protests. A fight on November 28 in a student demonstration had caused the death of one student. On this same day, the Interior Ministry notified that the Egyptian security forces would deal “firmly” with any “illegal” protests organized by Morsi’s Muslin Brotherhood group.

ple assembled in front of the Shura Council, objecting to the new protest law. The police did not go easy on them. They responded with tear gas and water cannons and arrested dozens of people, many of whom remain in custody.

In one protest in eastern Cairo, Islamists chanted “down with all killers, down with Abdel-Fattah” referring to Egypt’s army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. They also held banners and posters with a picture of a hand raising four fingers, a symbol used to honour the violent dispersion by security forces of an Islamist sit-in in mid-August. A group of women in Alexandria have been sentenced to up to 11 years in prison for partaking in a protest. Many more arrests are expected as Egyptians fight to save their last way to stand up against the government. It comes as no surprise that protests remain the only way to express disagreement with the government in Egypt. We cannot predict how much longer this will carry on; for all we know, it can end tomorrow or it can drag on for another decade. However, we can expect that people will continue taking on the streets to build democracy in Egypt, for that seems to be the only avenue left for disagreement.

Flash forward to last week, when about 200 peo-

Nader Mohammed

More like Hell Rawan Ali One of the strongest typhoons to ever strike crashed through central Philippines nearly a month ago. Typhoon Haiyan destroyed most of what was in its path, leaving only ruin in its wake. It killed at least 5,796 people with 1,779 others still missing. It displaced nearly 4 million. It was a struggle for rescue workers to reach damaged towns and villages in the central Philippines as they tried to aid those who were devastated by this powerful typhoon. The United Nations stated that survivors had no food, water or medicine. Relief operations trying to improve the situation were held back because roads, airports and bridges had been destroyed or were covered in rubble. A woman who was eight months pregnant, described the disappearance of her 11 family members, including her two daughters, through tears. “I can’t think right now,” she said. “I am overwhelmed.” Heavy winds and storms hit central Vietnam as Haiyan approached the coast had caused six people’s deaths and dozens’ injuries. This was caused even though the typhoon weakened greatly since hitting Philippines. As a result of this incident, Vietnam authorities have moved 883,000 people in 11 central provinces to safe zones. Typhoon Haiyan was recorded as one of the strongest storms to ever hit land while the resulting mammoth waves swept away entire coastal villages. Officials compared the destruction of Haiyan to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


SPORTS With Charming and Competitive Company Gina Kwon

Another Banner Year Viji Sugumar

Almost a month and a half ago our very own junior girls basketball team went on to win the city championships, bringing home the gold for Martingrove. The girls put in practice almost every day after school, going over their passing, dribbling and shooting skills. With the amount of time they put in, the team was justifiably confident in their chances. Throughout the months before the championship, they developed terrific chemistry, putting up big scoring numbers. With each win they gained more and more experience. The final game was neck in neck the majority of the time until the Bears broke free near the end of the game and won, bringing great pride to Martingove. One thing I noticed this year was the fact that the girls had managed to engage the student body in their journey as well. At each of their home games they had a tremendous number of supporters cheering them on each and every step of the way. At every game, there were more and more people cheering them on to win. Even when they were away on games, when the announcements revealed the results you could hear howling, cheering and screaming throughout the hallways. People were ecstatic, wanting their bears to go all the way this year! With their championship win, the girls proved that hard work can lead to anything. Through countless hours of practice and a few close games, they became great friends and built a strong base for next year’s team. The girls did a fantastic job this season, crushing the competition, winning an invitational and showing great sportsmanship throughout the season. Our junior girls’ basketball team started off as a group of students, but they finished as athletes, bringing home another gold for our trophy case. Great job girls! Look out for your Winter sports teams coming your way in the new year.

I sit down with members of the Martingrove Junior Girl’s Basketball Team as they share a few words regarding their team dynamic, highlights of the season and success at the city championship. The Martingrove Junior Girls Basketball Team, led by team captain Maya Soicher and coaches Mr. Simpson and Ms. Vranesic, is renowned throughout the school community due to its accomplishments. As 2rd runner up in the West Region in 2012-2013, the new team became city champions in their 2013-2014 season. Beneath these tangible feats, the team also demonstrated a cohesive dynamic, reflected clearly on the court. The twelve girls rendezvoused one last time in room 138 for their celebratory lunch. In mid-November, with their season behind them, they gathered as a team one more time. Throughout the interview, while consuming pizza and reminiscing moments, a little bit of everyone’s personality came through and the team revealed some of their most memorable moments both on and off-court. When asked what it is that allows the team to get along so well, one player responded with “Food,” while holding up her pizza, “and being a family.” Everyone was in agreement. Another player answered “MaryAnn.” laughter quickly following the remark. Mary-Ann, who sat adjacent to the respondent, denied it out of modesty. When asked for a specific memory that stood out, I was told a story in response. “It was with Maya and her shoes,” one girl said. “Yeah, I forgot my shoes,” Maya clarified, “We were at another school for a tournament… somewhere in Brampton.” “We had to take one [pair] from the lost and found there,” another girl inputted. “I returned it though after,” Maya concluded with a smile. The girls radiated ardent vitality and seemed to share a genuine, supportive bond with one another. They would laugh and tease playfully, but when it came to game time, the team exuded determination and competitive spirit. Coach Mr. Simpson explains that the biggest contributor of the team’s triumphant season was their scoring abilities. He stated, “Out of twelve girls, we had nine double scorers, so valid scoring was the key to success.” The girls’ final thoughts were that they were a family, with Mr. Simpson and Ms. Vranesic acting as their parents; it is this sense of belonging that they were going to miss most.

Jr. and Sr. Boys’ Basketball Photos 4

The Martingrove Beacon

Tare Kabowei


Remember Who The Enemy Is: Zohaib Jailani The much anticipated second film adaption of the dystopian trilogy finally hit theaters after almost two year since its predecessor. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire stars Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and child star Josh Hutcherson returning with more emotion and action packed scenes than ever before. Newbie director Francis Lawrence maintains a brisk, action-filled pace, keeping the citizens of post-apocalyptic Panem cowering in tremendous fear of the cruel, totalitarian run state-city named the Capitol. Fresh from her first Academy Award for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence proves that she really can do anything, from drama and action to romance and comedy. Her performance completely wowed the audience with her mastery of the complicated character Katniss Everdeen. She was believable and wellversed, convincing us all that she really must take on the responsibility of being a symbol of hope for the nation of Panem, a burden she is initially reluctant to accept. The president of Panem, Snow (Donald Sutherland), is as vicious as ever, with threats of destroying everything Katniss loves, including her home District 12. She must prove to him and the nation, during the brutal Victory Tour, that passionate love for her fellow victor, Peeta Mellark was the motive behind her use of Nightlock, a poisonous berry, in the last games. In actuality, her heart belongs to childhood best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth, whose presence in the movie is again, like the first adaptation, minor). Alas, just when you think they are through with

Catching Fire

President Snow and his cruelty, we are plunged back into the arena for the 75th Hunger Games, made even more cruel to mark the 3rd Quarter Quell, in which previous victors are drawn to remind the nation that not even the strongest can survive the wrath of the Capitol. Along for the ride are escort Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who provides the dark film with some comic relief and emotion, and mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), whose black humour and useless advice does nothing to help Katniss and Peeta. The visual effects this time around were dazzling, particularly so in the burning chariot sequence, the blood-thirsty monkey mutations and, of course, the lightning scenes that made the audience’s hearts jump. Costume designer, Trish Summerville really outdid herself, shining brightest with Katniss’ wedding-mockingjay dress and Effie’s flamboyant Capitol getup. The script also stuck loyally to the book, except for a few minor details. The rich plot, well thought-out characters and beautiful sets (mostly in Hawaii) all contributed to a huge overall success for the series and a greatly improved sequel to The Hunger Games. The film contains many jam-packed scenes with a huge cliffhanger revealed in the final minutes which left us all begging for more. The final two films will cover the two halves of the third book with Mockingjay: Part 1 being released a year from now and Mockingjay: Part 2 another year after that. Most people seem think that the sole attraction will be

the complicated love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale but it’s so much more than that. Independence, government control and power to the citizens, sacrifice and revolution all play an immense role in the suspenseful, brilliantly plotted trilogy that has virtually captured the whole world. Five stars for Catching Fire!

Mariel’s Top Ten Albums of 2013 (with a hand from Zahra’a) continued from pg. 1 8. The Next Day David Bowie Fave songs: I’d Rather Be High, The Stars (Are Out Tonight),

4. Kiss Land The Weeknd Fave Songs: Adaptation, Kiss Land, Wanderlust

You Feel So Lonely You Could Die

3. MGMT MGMT Fave songs: Mystery Disease, Cool Song No. 2, Alien Days

7. Comedown Machine The Strokes

Fave songs: Tapout, Welcome To Japan, Slow Ani6. Like Clockwork Queens Of The Stone Age Fave Songs:

Like Clockwork, My God Is The Sun, I Sat By The Ocean 5. Wolf Tyler, The Creator

Fave songs: Jamba, IFHY, Domo 23


2. Reflektor Arcade Fire Fave songs: Reflektor, Afterlife, Here Comes The Night Time 1. AM Arctic Monkeys Fave songs: Do I Wanna Know?, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?, Arabella * Note: According to Zahra’a, BEYONCE’S NEW ALBUM SHOULD BE #1 ON ANY AND EVERY LIST, but Mariel hasn’t heard it yet (though she is tempted to agree). ALL HAIL QUEEN B.

Thursday, December 19, 2013



Elizabeth Choi


Pictures with... Ira Sharma

More on Pg. 8


The Martingrove Beacon



Would You Believe Us? Gina Kwon and Kara Yeung Did you know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are being renamed the Toronto Branches? That Justin Bieber is being awarded the Order of Canada? That Canadian geese are being renamed American geese? No? What if you heard this information from a supposedly reliable source? Well, it turns out that if you sound and look convincing- any information just may be believable. We CHES N A R B put this hypothesis to the test in the most unforgiving of places: downtown Toronto. Toronto is not a friendly place. The key to finding people to interview- avoid parents at all costs. Don’t go to people who are more than two feet taller than you. Don’t approach people with earphones. Trust us- it’s from experience. We got shot down as many times as we got responses, but we had a mission: Find out just how people respond to information and whether Canadians blindly believe facts given to them ‘reliably’. We patrolled the heart of Toronto, right on Yonge and Dundas, just in time to catch Black Friday holiday shoppers for a quick question from two wonderfully reliable newspaper reporters. The catch was that all the questions we directed to people didn’t make sense and were clearly false- or at least we thought so. Would people still believe the “press”? 


Last night, the General Manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs stated that they were renaming the Leafs the Toronto Branches to represent Toronto’s multiculturalism. Do you think that this is a good idea?

A: Yeah. I think that it’s a good idea. We need to represent the minorities. It’s just better that they think about the others. So that Canada’s together even though we are [from] different races. I think it’s a pretty good idea. We like the mindset, multiculturalism IS important…….

Q: What do you think about Justin Bieber being given the Order of Canada?

A 1: For Real?

We decided to try again with teenage girls.

A 2: I don’t know. I guess it’s

okay.... like it should be given to like someone who’s like more like significant. Not someone’s who’s like famous. They BELIEBed us! We’re glad they think highly of the Order of Canada and know its value.

Q: The TDSB recently released a statement saying that it was going to

be mandatory for students in grade 9 to take Mandarin starting in 2016. Because it’s the most spoken language in the world and most business goes through China. What are your thoughts?

A: I think that’ll be okay, I mean like we don’t really learn that language. I think that it’ll also be a challenge because grade 9s are also encouraged to take French. But I think that it’ll be interesting. Like we don’t already have enough on our plates.

Q: There’s recently been a statement by the American government

that the Canada Goose should be renamed the America Goose because they spend more time across the border, when migrating, than in Canada. What do you think about this?

A: I don’t understand why they would change the name. It’s already Cana-

dian goose it doesn’t matter... Ohhhhhhhh..... I think that it’s pointless. You could rename them, but everyone will still know them as Canadian geese. You know, the Canadian eagle does have a nice ring to it.

From all this, we can deduce that even the most outrageous suggestions may be accepted when the information is presented in a legitimate-sounding manner. Our point: be vigilant and think critically before you swallow ‘the truth.’ Unless, of course, it’s from the Beacon............

HoliYAY Plans Sherry Guo

The excitement and desperation are almost palpable as the long awaited day nears, a day we have all been anticipating since the first day of school. It won’t be easy. No, of course not. We’ve had to brace ourselves for the thousands of tests and due dates that are inevitably thrown at us, every year, during the last week as teachers try to cram our brains full of knowledge. Despite their best intentions, it won’t be enough to prevent us from emptying it all over the break. Regardless, the holidays are almost here! I just spontaneously broke out into a Mean Girls dance. For me, I begin every holiday season with hopes of it being the best break ever. Instead, I end up loafing around my house in the same sweatpants for days as I binge on television shows. However, this year, I promise it will be different. Because this year, I have a checklist:

“Things I Am Actually Going To Do This Holiday (and I swear I will do them and not end up marathoning Star Trek)” 1. Go Tobogganing: I will stop being a lazy bum who complains about downtown Toronto. I will also be very cultured and sophisticated and actuthe long trek uphill after the initial high of going down a mountain of snow. Instead, I will force my friends to come with me as we try to cram as many people into a two-children-maximum-sled and ignore the weird looks from parents and children. 2. Skate Outdoors: I will ignore my belief that outdoor ice is no more than sludge and mud; I will finally go skating at Nathan Phillips Square or the Colonel Sam Smith Trail. I will try to remain calm as little boys on hockey skates obnoxiously zip past and almost crash into unsuspecting, innocent skaters. 3. Bake Cookies: I will do my duty as a citizen of Earth and bake some cookies for Santa Claus that I will then eat by myself, assuming he doesn’t make an appearance in my kitchen. 4. Go Downtown: I will escape my suburban surroundings and explore

ally visit the museums and art galleries. Then I’ll spend ridiculous amounts of money at the Queen Street shops as I forfeit the battle against the warmth and comfort of those soft sweaters on display. 5. Rest: I will finally catch up on my beauty sleep and see how many hours of sleep one can get in a day. (I’m aiming for twenty.) 6. Panic about University Applications: The future is approaching too quickly and I don’t know what to do with my life.

7. Sob about this impending unknown as I log onto Netflix:

Really, no further explanation is needed.

8. Wonder how the holidays passed so quickly as I, finally, look up from the computer screen and groggily discover that school starts again the next day. Thursday, December 19, 2013




Sofia Pham


Read this, and past issues of the Beacon online at: ISSUU.COM/MCIBEACON


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Ira Sharma

2013-12 Beacon  

Volume III, Issue II - Dec 19th, 2013

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