Rhetoric is a subject that will have minimal appeal to any student. The questions “who needs to study this?”, “how will it affect my future?” and “what is the point of this subject?” are common in their minds upon hearing about the five canons or the rhetorical triangle. However, the minds of students are mundane and their futures are no more than a few days or weeks. There are many reasons why students should learn rhetoric as soon as they can.

One of the key features of a leader, or a statesman, is that they should be able to speak eloquently and their speeches should move people. That way, the leader can hold importance in the hearts of the public. Such example would be Winston Churchill. Churchill became the British Prime Minister during the Second World War. Shortly after he took power, the Allies witnessed the evacuations at Dunkirk. The German blitzkrieg (literally, a ‘lightning strike’) forced the Allies into a single port. Then, British civilians made perilous journeys across the English Channel to rescue the remaining Allied forces. Following this came a massive series of bombardments by the German Luftwaffe (‘air weapon’ or German Air Force). During the chaos, Churchill’s “We shall fight on the Beaches” speech ensured that British morale held firm against the terror of total annihilation. “We shall fight on the Beaches” was one of the most influential speeches in history. Why? Churchill’s incredible use of rhetoric, such as the repetition of the phrase “We shall fight” (which is called anaphora) struck a message in people’s hearts, showed that all hope was not yet lost. Without Churchill’s speeches, Europe would most likely be completely be fascist and communist: without Churchill’s speeches, Britain would have surrendered to Germany for sure.

Without the study of rhetoric, it is likely the student will not receive the education or job that they so dearly want. To become a better writer, one must learn to use language to full advantage and try to persuade colleges to admit you, or job managers to hire you. This skill in writing and communication is necessary for everyone, even if they do not aspire to be a writer. A lack of this effective use of language results in an inability to receive better jobs and education, preventing one from seeking the dream you so dearly want. However, the minds of most teenage students are not used to thinking about their future, and therefore have a negative perception about rhetoric and do not understand how to use it and how much it will affect their later lives. The minds of teens in 2019 are marred with social media, memes and pixelated relationships: anything that one can find in their cell phone if they just look down. They do not realize the benefits that rhetoric provides and how much they are missing if they refuse to pay attention during their English classes.


The movie was excellent; it had interesting qualities. Allow me to first talk about the scenery – the scenery was incredible and beautiful especially on the island. Whether it was a sunset or bright sunny day, it gave me this warming feeling and made me feel better about the drama of being stuck on the island. There was also an aspect that took me a little while to realize: it was that there wasn’t a lot of talking – Alec only talked if it really supported the scene. For example, at the beginning of the movie all he said was “Help!” and “Dad!”  This is one of the things that made this movie special.

The only thing I was disappointed about is how different it was from the book, which is normal for most movies based off of books. I was really surprised that the dad died, when in the book he didn’t. Another change is that on the island he didn’t build a shelter and it didn’t catch on fire, and also the old horse Napoleon wasn’t included as much as in the book. The one last big change was the nighttime rides that he did with Henry. But if I was someone who didn’t read the book then this whole paragraph wouldn’t exist.

I got really angry at the person in the movie who took off Alec’s life jacket with the knife. Even though it was just a movie, it reminded me of my brother when he stole stuff from me. The scene when Alec is trying to convince his mom to let him ride Black in the race reminded me of when I am trying to convince my parents of something: it takes a little bit of persuading then sometimes they let you do what I want. For instance, I have a passion for certain types of Doritos – and I know this is not on the order of Alec’s passion for the Black, but I can only (right now) think of this. Sometimes I want chips more that I can bear, and I beg my parents for it saying: “please” and “I really want them”… then sometimes I get what I want. Watching this movie and reading this book allowed me to be impressed about the power of passion in people’s lives, and I have some new ideas… . At this point, I can’t see myself as having such passion for a horse, but how about something else? Perhaps in a year, I’ll discover a passion – or maybe it’ll be next week? What passion do you have? And is it on the order of Alec’s?

Considering this movie is live action it was amazing. I keep wondering how they trained a horse that well, and how they even got a horse that fast. While I was watching this my mom was constantly pointing out how good a rider Alec is, which I agree with. In the beginning on the island he wasn’t that good but he soon got better and better and ended up winning the race against Cyclone and Sun-raider. The one scene that made me actually scared was the scene where the snake was about to bite Alec, but then the horse rushed in and killed it – while this scene was happening I was thinking: “Wow, what a great trained snake.” I would give a round of applause to the person who trained the snake, but I would give an even bigger one to the man who trained the black horse – that horse was fast indeed.

This movie was great and also showed me fine acting skills that I had never seen before; this movie is unique and will stick in my brain for a while. It was amazing and maybe someday I will watch it again, just to remember the awesomeness of this movie.


Once upon a time there was a boy named Richard Brown, but everyone called him “Brownie”. He loved brownies so much, he worked day and night to make the perfect recipe for brownies. He finally found it at 2 am and yelled, “Eureka!” He started making more and more, and sold them out on the streets, for these brownies were amazing, one whiff and you might faint; his motto was, “This is what heaven tastes like.” Richard showed benevolence to everyone, always giving them a little more, and decided that he wanted everyone to try his brownies. So he went up to the king and paid him 200 brownies to give the throne to him, and it worked!!! He wanted his people to espouse the life of the brownies, and when they didn’t he got angry. He stopped giving away brownies and demanded brownies from the people. He began to accrue all the brownies from his people and put it in his brownie vault after, bagging, tagging, and nibbling it. One sad gloomy day he walked up to his vault, opened and died due to the amount of brownies that hit his head. The people rejoiced no longer having to pay brownies to Brownie, and in celebration ate all the brownies that Brownie had collected. 


Benjamin Wang

When we first landed at the airport in Rome, I couldn’t really grasp the idea that I was outside of the States, since the general area around the airport was very urban and nothing there really screamed “ITALY!” to me. I guess I was expecting to see a bunch of restaurants with rich aromas of pasta and pizza coming from them, but I was still only in the airport, so obviously I was expecting too much too soon. 

When we arrived at our hotel, I was finally able to see what made Italy, Italy. The roads for one, were these old fashioned brick roads that weren’t perfectly even and had some concave dips here and there, which felt weird at first, since in the U.S, especially the area where I live, is pretty urbanized so smooth sidewalks and roads are commonalities for me. But the roads alone were already enough to make me think I was actually in Italy and that this was what they walked on every single day. If you were there, you’d see cars driving through spaces that were the exact same width as the car, all while people were walking! But the most interesting part of it was that it felt organized and safe, which was just odd to feel since I’d been walking in such a tight area with a cars behind me for a good portion of the trip. It didn’t seem like there was a system to control this type of traffic either because there were no lights or anything to command when the driver could drive or when the pedestrians could walk. It just worked. Seeing all of this made me think of how organized the people were and how patient they were as well, leading to me realizing how kind everyone perhaps was.

On the second day in Rome, when we were trying to find some place to eat, we asked a local for their favorite restaurant, and before we knew it, she took us on an entire tour of town; and it was free! She brought us restaurant to restaurant, to local shops, to all the places that someone who lived there would normally visit. The people running these restaurants and shops were extremely kind as well, and almost every one of them tried starting a bit of small talk.” Where do you come from,” some would ask. 

“We come from the U.S.,” was our usual response. What was odd was that the person who toured us around said, “I hate Americans,” but we didn’t feel offended or anything because it sounded more like a joke – to this day we hope that was a joke. The Italians were kind and liked to make others laugh. It was amazing. 

This whole trip was interesting because we got a glimpse of what the Italians’ daily lives were like, which we couldn’t get out of just looking at famous sites such as the Colosseum or the Vatican. People would gather in the streets for all their meals, and around 10 PM to 11 PM, the streets would become full of life. There were people gathering around with each other at every restaurant possible, sharing laughs and drinking. It was like everyone was throwing a party, but this was only their dinner. I couldn’t help but to be shocked at how late they ate, because typically at home, I’d normally eat around five or seven PM. Ten to eleven was when I’d be getting ready to sleep! 

We then woke up the next day, to my surprise, with no jet lag at all. We all woke up around eight in the morning, which was a normal time to wake up around, unlike waking up at two in the morning. When going out for breakfast, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, because Italian breakfast isn’t really something I see that often on the media or anywhere in general. I’ve never seen Italian breakfasts showcased on TV shows, described in novels, or talked about by my friends who are Italian, which led to no expectations at all. Except for maybe seeing a croissant and other sugary foods accompanied by a coffee here and there, I was pretty much flying blind.

When we were walking around town, we noticed a lot of people eating pastries while drinking some coffee for breakfast, but their breakfasts seemed to consist of smaller portions than we were used to cooking ourselves. “I guess they take their breakfasts lightly,” my dad said. “Sugary foods are probably also normal as well,” he added on, due to all the pastries and sweet aromas in the air. Not only that, but the flight attendants gave us these small sweet pastries for breakfast before we were about to land in Rome. So some things that shocked me about breakfast would probably have been eating more sugar, but in small portions. It didn’t really feel like breakfast, though. It was just a small snack to get your day started, which I enjoyed.

After some time, we stopped by another restaurant for some lunch. Walking in, we all knew that we were going to order some pasta and pizza, because everyone says that Italy’s got the best pasta and pizza (probably because they were the ones who made it, I don’t know). Well, we all sat down, completely awestruck at the amount of pasta and pizza options there were. There were at least 15 different variations of both types of foods, and there were even more options outside of the iconic foods! I eventually settled with a seafood pasta that had small bits of shrimp and pieces of zucchini. My brother ordered pasta that was covered in tomato sauce with large and fatty pieces of bacon with shredded cheese. My mom ate some seafood ravioli, and my dad got a margarita pizza, since he couldn’t choose due to how many pizzas there were available. 

Let me just say that my pasta literally smelled like the sea! I took one whiff of it, and boom! I was already at the beach or the Mediterranean Sea, but one ridiculous place the smell brought me to was a ship of fishermen. One thing that surprised me, however, was that there was no sauce on it. I assumed it would have been covered in a tomato sauce at least because that’s just how pasta is normally eaten in America. But this pasta in Italy was plain noodles with zucchini and shrimp. Oh, by the way, for being along the border of the Mediterranean Sea, I thought the shrimp were extremely tiny. To give you some perspective, they were smaller than one of my knuckles. The shrimp were so small, that when I got the pasta, I thought they forgot the shrimp. But that didn’t matter to me, really, because it tasted great! When I saw how they used no sauces at all on this, but somehow made it taste better than pasta in America, I already knew their chef was a wizard. 

Oh, and the portions here were small too. 

One other thing that I found weird was my dad’s margarita pizza. When you think of a margarita pizza, doesn’t a pizza with large chunks of fresh mozz with visible areas of plain tomato sauce and basil, with no cheese overlapping it, pop into your mind? But in Italy, clearly they thought of a regular, plain, American slice of cheese pizza, yet according to my dad, “it was better than any pizza I’ve had in my life.” So even if Italian margarita doesn’t equate to an American margarita, it was still great nonetheless. 

After a delicious lunch, we all decided to take a trip to a church. But! We had to take a small detour for some amazing gelato. Before eating gelato, I never understood why it was called gelato. It’s just ice cream, isn’t it? I thought. So why didn’t they just call it ice cream? Well that’s a great question! That’s because gelato is different than ice cream. When I ate ice cream in New York, it took a while to melt and had a hard texture to it. Ice cream in New York actually felt like a solid, like you can hold it and keep it in the same shape for some time. But gelato, no, this is something else. In an instant, the gelato on your cone is droopy already and it’s practically completely melted. It felt like eating a liquid. When I eat ice cream in America, I bite it (don’t attack me), so ice cream as a solid made more sense to me, so when I shifted gears to gelato, it was awkward to eat, since I was biting a liquid. The Italians probably thought I was some sort of psycho. But it was still great – you should try their caramel gelato. 

Once we were done with our gelato, we finally made our way to the church.           

My initial impressions of this massive church were all “what the heck” and “how’d they make this” because JUST THE OUTSIDE was that spectacular. It was so cool that my mom even said, “I don’t know even know where we are right now, but this is the place of my dreams.” They had Roman gods (well it seemed like they were Roman gods, but it was weird since it was a Christian church) standing on top of massive pillars ordered neatly in a circle. The entrance to this church was within the perimeter of the circle and in the circle were a bunch of fountains, statues, and cool monuments. We eventually ended up just spending our time outside the church because the line to actually go in the church was ridiculously long. To be more specific, the line wrapped around the entire circle formed by the pillars and continued on outside the area. But our time outside the church was still worthwhile. 

Seeing just the outside of the church I got a strong understanding of how valuable religion is (or was) to the people since they clearly worshipped Jesus as much as they possibly could have. Why else would they build 30 statues and place them 50 feet high? What other purpose would they have for fancy water fountains in the middle of a circle? If it was for drinking, wouldn’t a regular water fountain be more practical? Everything about it just told me that Christianity was the best thing that ever happened to them. When I went to China and visited Buddhist temples, it was clear that religion was tremendously worshipped there as well, seeing how they’ve built fancy buildings where people can pray to a Buddha and light incense to pray to our ancestors. But seeing this attraction in Rome blew the Buddhist temples out of the game. Everything about the Roman statues surrounding religion was monumental. 

But let’s speed up the pace a bit. The vacation lasted for about another five days, and there was lots that we did, but nothing that was really different than the previous activities I’ve already talked about. 

Another cool place we visited was called Portofino. It was a port city, so what a creative name for it! We visited many churches, as per usual, but what was cool about this was that the mountains and cliffs there were very tall and steep, so most of the traveling was going upwards instead of walking inward of the city. The lowest part of the city was where all the restaurants and shops were, while the higher we went up the more nature there was and churches along the way. But up a bit higher, we saw this castle. According to the travel guide, it was used to defend the small city from invaders, which made sense. Hearing this made me think we’d be able to see some cool things from back then such as old weapons or something like cannons or crossbows. But there were many areas for flowers and cool trees and other plants to grow which were nice in addition to giving such an amazing view of the city just outside this castle. The city was so full of things that if you looked around, you’d see that the hills went up even higher, but the highest point seemed like it was a forest and had no human presence there. If you looked down, you could see the vibrant blue water hitting the rocks of the base of the city, which I thought was the most amazing sight ever despite being such a simple thing.   

 About this castle, which is called Castello Brown, had many cannons built on it to defend the city against many outsiders. Having such a great height advantage gave the city a good chance at successfully defending their city almost every time they encountered some big baddies. In fact, this castle was so important that when Gio Andrea Doria, who was a famous naval commander after taking part in the rise of Genoa against the French, the people were able to make him turn around and leave. After some time, the castle experienced another attack by the English, which occurred during Napoleon’s Ligurian Republic, resulting in the destruction of one of the little towers. Later on, the possession of this castle was passed around to a few families, leaving the structure with a few modifications, and later, was sold to the City of Portofino.  It was awfully humid and felt like we were lobsters being steamed, which told us that we just had to leave, and unlike scarlet lobsters (recently cooked to death) who are never hungry (partially because their wee souls have just left their buglike bodies) we were hot and hungry.

At the bottom of the hill we entered et another restaurant, with high hopes. The food was great as per usual. We had some more pasta since it’s just that fantastic, along with some grilled octopus. “What’s trofie al pesto?” I asked my dad. 

“Well, I guess it’s just pasta, since what else would you put pesto with,” my dad responded, “here let me search it up.” He searched up images of this food, and sure enough, it was a type of pasta, just not one we’ve ever seen before. “It looks like tiny bits of pasta with pesto sauce over it.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Like they took pasta and just cut into small pieces and served it that way,” my dad answered. After this, I had already decided I was going to try it, only because it doesn’t seem like I’ve had it before. Also because you can’t go wrong with pasta in Italy. 

When it was finally served, the waiter asked if we wanted some cheese over our pasta. It was pretty funny too, because he had one of those curly mustaches that I guess Italians are shown to have in American cartoons or drawings and old posters. Then my mom asked how good the cheese was compared to American.

“Obviously this is the better cheese,” the waiter responded. “American cheese, not so great. Sometimes, the cheese taste not real,” he told us, which made everyone laugh at the table, including the waiter himself. Oh, and how could I forget! Small things added up to make Italy memorable: literally every restaurant we came by, instead of serving us water from the tap or elsewhere if we were to order water, they gave us this glass bottle of either regular water or sparkling water for the whole table to share. It made even the cheapest of restaurants feel extremely fancy and would really make you feel all about that luxury life. 

In Portofino, a sailor took us on a small boat along with others to just go out into the Mediterranean Sea. It was amazing to see. The water was so blue that it made me question the quality of the water back in the States. And the sailor! Wow, he made me think of that Popeye cartoon that my dad says he was obsessed with as a kid. Never got past one episode of that cartoon, but that was probably because I was around eight years old at that time. But the sailor had a striped shirt, a cap for his head and everything. He also had a grey mustache that was thick and rectangular, and I don’t know if that screams sailor to you or not, but it sure does to me. 

Everyone in Portofino dressed pretty similar. Many wore long pants for some reason I’ll never know, and many wore striped shirts. Maybe it was an Italian custom? I’ll have to figure that out if I ever go there in the future. And for many of the adult men, a ton of them had white hair with broad mustaches. The women on the other hand were shorter and either had straight or curly blonde or brown hair. Sometimes it felt weird because it’d feel like looking at a bunch of clones, but really everyone just dressed in a similar fashion. 

That pretty much wraps up my trip to Italy since there wasn’t much else different to talk about, but before I leave, I’d like to give a list of recommendations of things to do in Italy. 

  1. Eat gelato, tons of it
  2. Eat pasta until you can’t move
  3. Try the seafood
  4. Visit local areas and embrace yourself in the people’s culture


The Magic Bicycle

The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee is a book that I probably would never have picked up to read if it wasn’t assigned. The book had so many ups and downs, twists and turns, and it kept me on my toes every single time I was reading it. When I first picked up the book, I thought that I wasn’t going to like it but by the end of the first sentence, it had my attention.

My favorite character from the book is Horace Grinsby. The reason I liked him so much is because he always surprised you. At the beginning of the book, I thought that Mr. Grinsby was going to be the character who saves the day and becomes the hero. I soon found out that I was dead wrong. No one suspected him to be the person who would try to destroy the Spirit Flyer. 

I loved the scene from the beginning of the book when John flew to Mrs. McCradle’s house to help put out the fire. He used the magic from his bike for good and he wasn’t selfish with the bike. He used it so that he could help out and save property and animals’ lives. John found out that there was a fire at the McCradles’ house and he knew the Sheriff Kramer (Uncle Bill) couldn’t get there in time because of how bad the storm was – the three bridges were swamped out with the flood. John knew he had to do something about it so instead of winning his chess game against Lieutenant George, he snuck out to help put out the fire at the McCradles’.

In every book, movie or show there is always a good guy, a bad guy, and most likely a person the main character hates or is bullied by. John is the good guy/main character, Horace Grinsby is the bad guy, and Barry Smeldowe is the bully. I feel like this book has the structure and guidelines that almost every book or show/movie has and that is what makes it interesting. It keeps your attention with its twists and turns.

In my opinion, at the end of every chapter John Bibee the author left you wanting to keep reading and never stop. For example, at the end of chapter 11, the last sentence was the note telling John to destroy the Spirit Flyer. It didn’t say who it was from so if you were a normal person, obviously, you would need to keep reading. As I mentioned before this book hooks you right from the start.

In conclusion, The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee is a book that I would never have read on my own but I am glad I did read it!

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