Author Archives: tristanislaughing

The Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa is a very interesting book about the events that occurred during World War II. I chose this book because I wanted to learn more about the Monuments Men and the art that was stolen during the war for my 8th grade project. You know that movie about modern artists coming together to join in a special organization to take back the art the Nazis stole from museums and private collections all over Europe. Well those people happen to play a much larger role than they seemed to have in the movie, and during the war the were many other Monuments Men that tried to save Europe’s art, 345 men and women to be exact.

In the Rape of Europa by Nicholas, Lynn H. goes over the past of Adolf Hitler and how he spent years struggling to establish himself as an artist before his political ambitions rose to the surface bringing the Nazi Party to power in Germany. In just a few chapters I learned that Hitler’s artistic view may have affected his nation’s actions during World War II. The Rape of Europa examines the artistic tastes of Hitler and his leading advisors, and how they looted many of the great museums and private art collections of Europe during the course of World War II in order to stock museums built during the Third Reich. In addition, Axis forces (Mainly Germany, Japan, and Italy) actively participated in raids to destroy artwork and artifacts from nations and cultures Hitler regarded as “degenerate.” Near the end of the war, the Monuments Men and other supporters of art saved thousands upon thousands of artifacts the Nazis tried to steal from their culture. In the end, the Monuments Men haven’t recovered all of the stolen art during World War II, there are still many artworks to be found.

Today, in the archives of the National Museums of France is a volume of handwritten notes which chases the journey of the 1600 paintings stolen from the Jewish Parisians during World War II. This volume implies great secrecy noting each work of art that entered the Jeu de Paume, and the name of the family from which it was stolen. These notes are the work of Rose Valland, a dedicated curator, who is today considered a heroine of France, certainly its most unlikely spy, and my favorite character during World War II. While Rose Valland was working at the Jeu de Paume she was secretly listening to Nazi generals, not knowing she spoke German the Nazi generals thought they could talk about their plans in front of her. As a result Rose Valland took advantage of her job and wrote down every single art piece that came through the museum where it came from and where it was sent. When the Allies took back Paris, Rose gave her information to a man named James Rorimer, an important member of the Monuments Men who used her notes to find the missing art.

After reading this book I was full of new information and knowledge of things I never knew before and I was happy that I got to learn about this concept because I have some family that lived in Europe during that time. I would especially recommend this book to other fan of art and people who want to learn more about the Monuments Men if they didn’t quite understand the movie.

The Rape of Europa shows its readers the events that occurred during World War II, and I believe the author, Nicholas, Lynn H., was trying to explain the importance of art through the events he wrote about. How the actions of the Nazis resulting in them taking away peoples culture and history along with the art they stole. Even after 60 years, lost art is still being found, battle damage is still being repaired, all of this is part of the unfinished business of the greatest war in history.

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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Theme Statements – As You Like It

Marriage is a happy ending

Comedy in the 16th century is very different from the comedy we watch today. Shakespearean comedies usually end with a happy ending, most of the time his plays end with all the unmarried couples getting married, and the style of the play has a different tone than his tragedies. In Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, pretty much everyone gets married: Phoebe and Silvius; Celia and Oliver; Touchstone and Audrey; and Orlando and Rosalind. At the end of the play all the happy married couples are officiated by Hymen the god of marriage, and Duke Senior given back the throne, and they all live happily ever after.

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


Legend, a book Hunger Games fans will enjoy!

How was your Christmas vacation? I had a blast! For Christmas I got the Legend trilogy, three amazing novels about the relationship between a famous criminal and a prodigious detective in a land once known as the western coast of the United States. The author of this astounding trilogy is Marie Lu, I found it interesting how she was inspired to write Legend while watching Les Misérables, and found a way to make a relationship between two very different characters in a more modern story.

One of the main characters of the Legend trilogy is June. A fifteen-year-old June was born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. The second main character is Day, also at the age of fifteen, but unlike June, Day was born into the slums of the Republic and is the country’s most wanted criminal, but his motives are not as malicious as they seem.The two characters are from very different world’s, June and Day have no reason to cross paths, until the day June’s brother and only living family member, Metias, a Republic official, is murdered and Dat becomes the prime suspect. After the horrifying news, June is focused on one thing and one thing only, she seeks to avenge Metias’s death.

If I could meet either one of these characters somehow, I would want to meet Day. Day is an extraordinary person, not only is he the country’s most wanted, he also cares a lot about his family and will do almost anything in order to protect them. I would also like to meet Day because he was able to pull off a bank robbery in less than ten seconds! No ordinary person can do something as complex as that stunt. These are just some of the many cool things Day has done, and I think it would be interesting to ask him about his everyday life running away from the Republic, always looking over his shoulder.

I’m still in the process of reading the Legend trilogy, and I am very intrigued in the series. The novels include compelling heroes, each with their own characteristics and backstories, non-stop action, a strange scenery of the United States, and a strong vibe between the main characters. I would definitely recommend this book to others, and like several critics have suggested Legend is,

“A fast-paced blend of action and science fiction…Legend will give Hunger Games fans something worthwhile to read” –Voya

Like the critics, I agree the series is a bit like the Hunger Games series. Both of the series contain a society that are corrupted. In a way Katniss Everdeen represents both the characters June and Day. Both Katniss and June have a strong female lead, plus both of those characters know it’s like to loose a parent(s). I think Katniss and Day similar people because both of the are against their societies, trying to do what’s best for their families.

Still reading the Legend series, I can’t be a certain what the author is trying to tell her readers, but if it’s similar to the Hunger Games series, I can presume she is trying to tell others how anyone, no matter where they grew up in society, can make a difference.


Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


Nelson Mandela, a man who made a difference in our lives

Nelson Mandela, born July 18, 1918, deceased December 5,  2013. Nelson Mandela gave many inspiring quotes in his life .  I find this quote very truthful,

“Do not judge me from my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”

~ Nelson Mandela

From my understanding, Nelson Mandela is trying to explain no matter what a person does, if they succeed or fall down, you should judge them on how hard they try to pick themselves back up.

In my 8th grade class at Synergy School, we are reading a very authentic book called To Kill a Mockingbird. I believe there is a small connection from that book to this quote, relating to a lawyer, named Atticus Finch, father of Jem and Scout. In the book, Atticus is called upon to defend an African American man called Tom Robinson, and back then in the 1930s, white lawyers in Alabama weren’t supposed to do their best work  defending African Americans. That is the reason why every racist white person in Maycomb, Alabama hated Atticus. For doing his best to defend a man who was accused of a crime he didn’t do, and Atticus tried so hard to convince the jury h was innocent, even though he knew he wasn’t going to win . In the end, all Atticus wanted was for his kids, Jem and Scout, not to think of him the same way the rest of Maycomb did.

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


Asterix in Switzerland Book Review


I chose this graphic novel for three reasons. The first and main reason I chose this graphic novel is because of the story’s background and how it relates to me and my French heritage, because the main setting of the series is in Gaul, which is also the part of France today that my grandmother is from. The second reason is because of the story’s  interesting characters along with their astonishing personalities. The third reason why I chose this graphic novel is because I find it to be one of the funniest journeys out of the series that the two main characters Asterix and Obelix experienced.


The Asterix series is about the adventures of two Gauls, Asterix and Obelix, who live in a small Gaulish village rebelling against the roman empire, in the year 50 B.C. In Asterix in Switzerland, Asterix and Obelix are called upon to fetch an essential ingredient for a magical potion to heal the very ill (because he was poisoned) Quaestor Vexatius Sinusitus. Asterix and Obelix are sent on a mission to find the silver star (edelweiss) which can only be found on the highest mountains in Helvetia, Switzerland. During their quest, they come across some interesting characters: roman legionaries; a man who got thrown into a river with weights tied to his feet after dropping his piece of bread into the cheese fondue three times; a short innkeeper that demonstrates how Switzerland’s famous cuckoo hourglasses function, and a group of friendly mountain-climbing yodelers that help them find the silver star.

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One of the characters that I really enjoy in the Asterix series is Obelix, Asterix’s best friend. Obelix has a hilarious past which has affected the way he is in the Asterix series. When Obelix was a baby he accidentally fell into a cauldron that was filled with magic potion giving the Gauls strength and speed. As a result Obelix is always super strong. Obelix is also very funny and tends to have a large appetite, for he enjoys hunting and eating tons of wild boar everyday! If I could meet Obelix I would want to hear all of his experiences traveling around the world, meeting different people, and what it is like fighting the roman legionaries surrounding their village, plus he seems to have a great sense of humor.

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I enjoy reading and re-reading the Asterix graphic novels. They are adventurous, funny, detailed, and it keeps the reader interested. Those are the things I cherish in all the books that I favor. I would recommend this book in a heart beat if someone asked me what graphic novel would you suggest I read? I actually have already told several people about the Asterix series and brought a few of them to school and all the people I shared this book with, liked it as well.

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There aren’t many other books that are quite like the Asterix series, that capture the feeling of the friendship between Asterix and Obelix and what they have experienced together, but there is a movie that I have seen that capture a small village fighting/rebelling their conquerers. That movie is Braveheart. Braveheart is about the Scottish not liking the way the English are running things, like sleeping with the recently wedded  wives of Scotland, so they rose up above the English and went to battle. Another movie that can relate to the Asterix series is Gladiator. Gladiator relates to the Gauls fighting the romans, in Gladiator a man named Maximus was a Roman general who was betrayed and seeks revenge as a gladiator in the same time period. At the end of the day they are kind of like the Three Stooges because they always seem to get into these crazy situations that might seem a little ridiculous, and I can’t help laughing at how they always pull though.


Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized




Written in the Stars Poem (Parody)

by Tristan & Luke

Written in the stars

Not that far away

Why is my plane so delayed


Minutes never end

They will never change

I’m really here to stay

Come on lets go

I’m just sitting here

They said it won’t take a while

That they will take off not long from now

Cause they got to fix the engine I’m like really, wow

Why can’t they hurry up brrrrraps, brrrrraps

Man I’m in first class fully white despite

I ask questions over the complicated plane flight

Now I’m yellin at them with enthusiastic verbal attacks

Look at the time and the map

I feel like here is a death trap

I can hear the loudness of my heart beat

“Miss can I please get out of my seat.”

She replied, “Hold on I’ll be right back.”

Consumed by time, why aren’t we on track

People worked hard just to get here

Now they’re waiting, waiting like a sitting duck

Who the hells got any sanity left

It feels like we are the people no one cares about

That’s why you have to keep screaming ’til they hear you out

Written in the Stars Poem (Parody)

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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


Songs are poems, too!

Written in the Stars

by Tristan, Elon, and Luke

1) The first thing that I noticed when I looked at the lyrics was that there was a huge amount of personal pronouns.  Almost all the lines in the verses started with either the word I or they.  Later on in the line I noticed the words me and they were used a lot.  Tinie Tempah (the writer and singer of this song) also used a few cases of slang like ‘cause instead of because, however, this is not the same as most songs in the genre. I also noticed that the word like was used a lot, this shows signs of a lot of similes, and that also makes the the song so much more realistic.

2)  I thought that the song was about an inspirational way of talking about a child with no help.  The story is really about this kid who has no help from his parents.  He is adopted and the woman in the video is taking care of him (or at least it seems like) is a prostitute, and that’s why the kid has to do his homework in the hall by himself with no one to help him or to encourage him in any way.  We know he is adopted because of this quote “Adopted by the major I want my family back.”  Also it seems like the kid has to look after himself and do illegal stuff like steal food, money, ect… to most people, it’s just really messed up.  However, he is kind of forced to do this because he is so hungry.  We know he is hungry from this quote; “But have you ever been so hungry it keeps you awake

Mate, now my hunger would leave them amazed.”  In the end, I feel really bad for this kid who is being abused by his parents in multiple ways.  He doesn’t even get enough food even though it seems that his mom is making a lot of money.

Lyrics for Written in the Stars:



Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized