Columns

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

According to the Internet, there's a car dealer whose service department has a "kid's play area," but a competitor offers a "childrens play area."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

One of the charges of the high school English teacher is to help teenagers see the relevancy of literature to their lives. I'm always on the lookout on how to win over the students to read, in their minds, very old books from long, long ago.

Verdugo Views: The true story of Iron Eyes Cody

Verdugo Views: The true story of Iron Eyes Cody

Iron Eyes Cody, who lived most of his life as an Indian, was very active in the Scouting program here in Glendale and often shared his knowledge of Indian lore with local groups. So, it was a surprise to many when a 1996 newspaper article said that...

 Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Newspapers — community newspapers especially — have a duty to inform, entertain and engage. How well we do these three things is directly related to our value, our impact, and our stature.

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Some friends have asked about my intentions for next April's election. As I've told them, I'm not seeking another term on the Board of Education. And I don't plan to submit my name for the interim appointment to the seat being vacated by my good...

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

Much has been said about misused quotation marks. Photos of signs boasting about "fresh" seafood and "free" refills abound on the Internet, offering a good laugh at the expense of business owners who don't realize that quotation marks around "fresh"...

Glendale PTA: Schools seek members as PTAs get started

With classes into their second week, PTAs are gearing up for activities.

Intersections: The heat rearranges priorities in Armenia

Intersections: The heat rearranges priorities in Armenia

Something about the summer in Armenia this year is different. Even the locals feel it. Something feels a little strange, a little odd and quite different. It's hot. Not just "normal" hot, but unbearably dry, you-can't-even-move hot.

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

I don't think I've seen the kind of shock and national mourning — and outpouring of love — for an entertainment figure that's been generated by the suicide this week of Robin Williams since Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

In casual conversation, most people I know don't worry too much about sounding proper. They don't bother with "whom." They say, "There's a lot of people here" instead of "There are a lot of people here." They opt for forms like "Joe is taller than...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

This summer has not been kind to California educators with increased deductions from their paychecks to pay for the pension fund, and tenure and job protection ruled illegal by a Superior Court judge.

Verdugo Views: Church's history coincides with city's expansion

Verdugo Views: Church's history coincides with city's expansion

Dick Holway dropped by one day to give me some old photographs that had belonged to his parents, Cyril and Alice Holway. They were photos from First Methodist Church of Glendale, that huge sanctuary at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Kenwood Street.

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to take part in an informal poverty caucus at the Glendale Adult Recreation...

 A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here a CNN article "about the president making an unannounced stop."

 Intersections: The desire to roam feeds a human need

Intersections: The desire to roam feeds a human need

When residents in Armenia ask me where I'm from, I usually expect them to tell me they have a brother or aunt or nephew who now lives in Glendale or Hollywood after I give my whole spiel about being born one place, brought up in another and explain...

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

I can remember while growing up that I always thought America was the good guys. Not the ones who locked our borders and tossed away the key — "Sorry, you're too late, country's closed. Try again next century." Not the ones who justified...

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

Summertime is here, and with it come endless hours of sitting in the shade regretting all the years we spent baking in the sun.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

Knowing that the leading cause of death among teenagers is fatal car crashes, one would think that teaching adolescents how to safely drive would be a national priority — or at least a high school graduation requirement.

Verdugo Views: Growing up on the flats near L.C. Brand

Verdugo Views: Growing up on the flats near L.C. Brand

Two large, white houses stood close together on the slopes above northwest Glendale in the early 1920s. One was El Miradero, home of L.C. and Mary Louise Brand. Another was Ard Eevin, home of Dan and Margaret Campbell. A young girl named Sumi was...

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

For the last two years, I have taught a journalism class at USC. Most of my students are undergraduate sophomores, too young to drink, but not too young to seriously damage their reputation online.

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

When I was a kid, I fancied myself a musical-parody artist. Most of the spoof lyrics I created for popular songs are lost to the ages, and the stuff I remember I’ll spare you due to its heavy emphasis on flatulence (“Heart of Glass,&...

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

I met Mary Boger, president of the Glendale Unified Board of Education, in 1990, in Oakland at my first PTA convention. I had the...

Intersections: Life in the time of grief and the kindness of strangers

Intersections: Life in the time of grief and the kindness of strangers

A few months ago, my grandmother passed away. It was a slow, agonizing end, one of those things that began with a trip to the hospital and only became progressively worse as the months wore on. In some ways, she knew that once she went in, she...

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

Recently, I mentioned in a column that adverbs aren’t just those “ly” words that modify verbs. They’re a much larger group, including words that answer the questions “when,” “where” and “in what...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Using 'time off' to an advantage

The Whiteboard Jungle: Using 'time off' to an advantage

“Teachers have so much time off” is an often repeated sentiment among noneducators.

Verdugo Views: Glendale's low rent drew these Mormons south

Verdugo Views: Glendale's low rent drew these Mormons south

In the late 1920s, Kent Gardiner's grandparents, George and Emma Scholl, decided to relocate from expensive San Francisco. They chose to move to Glendale because of its lower housing prices.

Start the Presses: With love from Santa Clarita

Start the Presses: With love from Santa Clarita

Few talk about it and fewer know what it means: Glendale employees generally do not live in the city they serve, a figure that...

A Word, Please: Web mistakes are an everyday occurrence

A Word, Please: Web mistakes are an everyday occurrence

It’s not every day that I pick on others’ language errors. Regular readers of this column know that, on the contrary, I think criticizing another person’s grammar or usage is misguided. Worse, nine times out of 10 the would-be...

Learning Matters: Making the most of the summer break

Learning Matters: Making the most of the summer break

Local school summers are shorter than they used to be. With graduations just more than a month past, the 2014-15 school year is just one month away. The current instructional calendar lines up better with Advanced Placement testing and many summer...

Intersections: Sweetness bears fruit in an ancient land

Intersections: Sweetness bears fruit in an ancient land

In the summer in Armenia, fruit is a part of my daily life. I think about how it tastes, how long it lasts, where the best open air markets are located across the city to acquire the freshest of berries and apricots, and how many varieties of...

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

The old Orchard Supply Hardware in Burbank sits half a mile from my former home on Reese Place. Despite its convenient location, it never failed to have more than half of what I needed for any project, forcing me to trudge another couple miles to the...

Read On: Sharing my advice on life

Read On: Sharing my advice on life

So it's the day after the Fourth of July — the Fifth, according to my unofficial calculations — and so you might say I've got numbers on my mind. I'm also in a kind of reflective mood because, you know, it's America's birthday weekend and...

A Word, Please: Narrowing down what really matters

A Word, Please: Narrowing down what really matters

One of the most interesting questions I’ve gotten recently was from a colleague who had come across the phrase “one of the living writers who really matter.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: A chat with 'Leave it to Beaver' star

The Whiteboard Jungle: A chat with 'Leave it to Beaver' star

Bringing up decent children in a sometimes indecent world is challenging for both parents and teachers.

Verdugo Views: Column about Jackson Bowl was up their alley

Verdugo Views: Column about Jackson Bowl was up their alley

Two men who grew up in Glendale read a recent Verdugo Views about Jackson Bowl, and both wrote to say they had youthful connections to the bowling alley.

Start the Presses: Utility players on the council

Start the Presses: Utility players on the council

The Burbank City Council has no clothes.

A Word, Please: A certain prefix is driving her coconuts

A Word, Please: A certain prefix is driving her coconuts

Sometimes I think the people behind punctuation rules are co-conspirators in a plot to drive us insane. Then I realize they could be coconspirators. That’s when I know their plot has succeeded.

Learning Matters: Return to PTA emphasizes big changes

Learning Matters: Return to PTA emphasizes big changes

Nearly 27 years have passed since our daughter started kindergarten at John Muir Elementary and I first served on the board of a PTA. The last time I held a PTA office was when our youngest was still in middle school, 10 years ago — until now.

Intersections: Reflections on a return to the homeland

Intersections: Reflections on a return to the homeland

After three years away, I am back in Armenia, writing to you from a fourth-floor balcony overlooking a city perpetually caught between East and West.

Read On: A less expensive branding campaign

Read On: A less expensive branding campaign

Let’s go back for a moment to November 2011. The city of Glendale had just announced a new marketing/branding campaign designed to spruce up the city’s bland ’n boring image for good. It had committed $1 million to this task and...

A Word, Please: Your conversations may be in a subjunctive mood

A Word, Please: Your conversations may be in a subjunctive mood

One of my favorite things about the subjunctive is that people who know nothing about it — who've never even heard the term — use it with great skill all the time.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mayor should hold himself to higher standard

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mayor should hold himself to higher standard

When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared “this is a big f—in’ day” while holding up a bottle of beer on live television at Monday’s rally celebrating the Los Angeles Kings winning the National Hockey League’...

Verdugo Views: Tiny stone house played a big part in CV history

Verdugo Views: Tiny stone house played a big part in CV history

Italian immigrants Tommaso and Josephine Bonetto bought acreage in the still-wide-open Crescenta Valley in 1905 and with their two small sons, Bart and Tom, moved into a tiny one-room, stone house already on the property.

Start the Presses: An interesting week in gender issues

Start the Presses: An interesting week in gender issues

This has been a fascinating week, gender wise. First, Glendale resumed its women's self-defense class...

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

I graduated from college not knowing what money is, how a computer works or the meaning of the word "adverb."

Learning Matters: Kudos to workers trying to close the gap

Learning Matters: Kudos to workers trying to close the gap

It seems wherever I go in the realms of education and career, I'm being urged to "mind the gap."

Intersections: Reality has very little to do with 'Glendale Life'

Intersections: Reality has very little to do with 'Glendale Life'

The most asked question in the Armenian-American diaspora for the last few weeks has unequivocally been this one: “Did you see the trailer for ‘Glendale Life?’”

 Read On: A nation held hostage by gun nuts

Read On: A nation held hostage by gun nuts

There are only three sure things in life: Death, taxes, and that if you say anything negative about guns in any context anywhere, there will be hell to pay from those who are particularly passionate in their support.

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

People. People who need people. They’re the luckiest people in the world, according to some people. But according to other people, it’s not the people who need people, but the people “that” need people who win.

 The Whiteboard Jungle: Writers may be happy to hear from you

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writers may be happy to hear from you

This fall, when my students study "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," it won't be the same due to the passing of Maya Angelou last week.

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