Columns

A Word, Please: A more complete story about sentence fragments

A Word, Please: A more complete story about sentence fragments

When I was a kid, the “Do as I say, not as I do” school of parenting reigned supreme. Those adults lecturing children on the dangers of smoking? Smokers, one and all.

The Whiteboard Jungle: School year should not start so early

The Whiteboard Jungle: School year should not start so early

One of the most asked questions I get as a teacher is why does school start so early in August instead of September.

Verdugo Views: Library patron made a lasting group of Friends

Verdugo Views: Library patron made a lasting group of Friends

When Christine Vasquez moved to town and wanted to join a library support group, she not only discovered there was no such group, but was promptly asked to organize one.

A Word, Please: One more reason to distrust the news media

A Word, Please: One more reason to distrust the news media

Robert Siegel of National Public Radio, Jason Stallman of the New York Times and every other journalist who uses “fewer” with confidence, please take a seat. You’re about to get a lesson in language you didn’t think you...

Intersections: Rockhaven's history has relevance today

Intersections: Rockhaven's history has relevance today

I drove by Rockhaven Sanitarium for years, always wondering what lay behind its ornate metal gates. When I finally visited the property last November, I couldn’t stop going back. It appeared in my daydreams, crept up in conversations I had with...

Read On: Time for a midsummer Q&A

Read On: Time for a midsummer Q&A

Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s mid-July and I have yet to enter a swimming pool this summer. Maybe it’s just that life leaves me filled with confusion.

A Word, Please: The confounding black sheep of punctuation

A Word, Please: The confounding black sheep of punctuation

Here’s a fun thing you can do with your writing: Take any two simple, clear sentences and use a semicolon to mush them into one. For example, imagine you have a paragraph with just two sentences.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Lee's 'Watchman' was never meant to be seen

The Whiteboard Jungle: Lee's 'Watchman' was never meant to be seen

Imagine you wish to write a book. And you do.

Verdugo Views: Eatery faced adversity and won over customers

Verdugo Views: Eatery faced adversity and won over customers

In 1949, Jack Whitten broke his leg playing baseball and lost his job at a delicatessen in Hollywood. He heard that a woman named Billie needed help at a tiny sandwich shop on West Wilson Avenue in Glendale.

Verdugo Views: Parishioners rallied to build a new St. Mark's

Verdugo Views: Parishioners rallied to build a new St. Mark's

Clarance Parlour’s first service as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church drew more than 300 parishioners.

Learning Matters: Suggestions on finding Glendale district's next superintendent

Learning Matters: Suggestions on finding Glendale district's next superintendent

As followers of local education news probably know, the school board is looking for a new superintendent...

Read On: Hoping for the two Americas to come together

Read On: Hoping for the two Americas to come together

So we’ve arrived at America’s birthday, the day she gained her independence. And while in nation terms, she’s still relatively young, the United States is looking every one of its 239 years about now.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mandating civics courses would benefit students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mandating civics courses would benefit students

The other day, my son was practicing his guitar playing with a new music book and came upon Samuel Francis Smith’s “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee),” you know, the 1832 patriotic song that is not “America the...

A Word, Please: There can be trouble with whomever and I

A Word, Please: There can be trouble with whomever and I

“Since I gave up hope, I feel much better.” The slacker attitude of this once-popular bumper sticker has gone the way of Lehman Brothers and pension plans. But if we apply the same idea to grammar, the message is timeless: Since I gave up...

Start the Presses: Facts and figures behind city salaries

Start the Presses: Facts and figures behind city salaries

In the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of stories and a lot of online sputtering regarding the salaries of local officials.

Learning Matters: Dealing with change can be a stressful experience

Learning Matters: Dealing with change can be a stressful experience

For involved parents and school district personnel, a change in superintendent or principal is like getting a new choir director for a singer: emotionally unsettling and personal.

Intersections: How a church became a beacon of acceptance

Intersections: How a church became a beacon of acceptance

Around 30 years ago in the middle of a Bible study class at a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Glendale, something close to a miracle took place.

Read On: Man seeks to share his new beginning

Read On: Man seeks to share his new beginning

Peter Vanlaw thought that having a heart attack at the age of 51 might be the end of his life.

A Word, Please: English users can write a wrong word

A Word, Please: English users can write a wrong word

The hardest thing about English grammar isn’t grammar. Not in the strictest sense of the word, anyway. Narrowly speaking, grammar has to do with the way we order and inflect words to make sentences.

The Whiteboard Jungle: The contributions of fathers should be appreciated

The Whiteboard Jungle: The contributions of fathers should be appreciated

Sunday will mark my 17th Father’s Day, a special accomplishment for me considering that I have been a dad longer than my father was for me.

Verdugo Views: Glendale High alum's father helped sculpt L.A.

Verdugo Views: Glendale High alum's father helped sculpt L.A.

Tennis great Gene Mako, who began his career on the courts of Glendale High, brought home many awards and trophies.

A Word, Please: There exists more than one form of there

A Word, Please: There exists more than one form of there

“A man is walking down the street.” “There is a man walking down the street.”

Learning Matters: Exploring history of a local barber shop

Learning Matters: Exploring history of a local barber shop

What can we learn in a barber shop? What light might a barber shed on a young person thinking about careers? Those are the questions I’ve been mulling since the day I found myself face to face, shopping cart to shopping cart, with my Los...

Intersections: Finding universality in the hills of La Crescenta

Intersections: Finding universality in the hills of La Crescenta

Up in the hills of La Crescenta, there’s a space that seems even farther away from urban life than this city that forms the balcony of Southern California.

Glendale PTA: GUSD, city to provide free lunches for children

Classes in the Glendale Unified School District are dismissed for the summer, with lessons resuming on Aug. 10. During this time, summer fun is the focus for most students, with summer school classes scheduled in for others.

Read On: The marketing of Caitlyn Jenner

Read On: The marketing of Caitlyn Jenner

OK, I really didn’t want to do it. But I simply have to.

A Word, Please: A wide array of influences drive 'through'

A Word, Please: A wide array of influences drive 'through'

Now showing at a news site near you: the spelling “drive-thru.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: The arrival of June means a time of goodbyes

The Whiteboard Jungle: The arrival of June means a time of goodbyes

Each June, I struggle finding the right departing remarks to say to my students as the class runs its course (pun intended).

Verdugo Views: Show biz dads originated Fathers' Follies

Verdugo Views: Show biz dads originated Fathers' Follies

Memories of Verdugo Woodlands’ Fathers’ Follies are strong for Jill Colegrove Benone.

Start the Presses: Debating doctor-assisted death

Start the Presses: Debating doctor-assisted death

About two weeks ago, I received a letter from a La CaƱada high school student, Olivia Garland, who wrote to me as part of a class project on persuasive writing.

A Word, Please: Readers punctuate grammatical concerns

A Word, Please: Readers punctuate grammatical concerns

Some interesting stuff landed in the mailbag for this week. Let's dive in.

Learning Matters: Past ways of learning should not be forgotten

Learning Matters: Past ways of learning should not be forgotten

"What was considered a good education 50 years ago… is no longer enough for success in college, career and citizenship in the 21st Century."

Intersections: The whole world tunes in to Eurovision

Intersections: The whole world tunes in to Eurovision

Having once brought the likes of Celine Dion, ABBA and even the Grammy-nominated club hit “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” into the international periphery, the Eurovision Song Contest is an explosion of really bad lyrics, even worse...

A Word, Please: The dummy word that holds things together

A Word, Please: The dummy word that holds things together

Have you ever thought about the word “do”? My advice is don’t. The word “do” is one of the bugbears of English that make our language incredibly difficult to master — for nonnative speakers and even for people born...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Transition to middle school can be rough

The Whiteboard Jungle: Transition to middle school can be rough

This week, I attended my youngest son’s spring dance at his elementary school. After 12 spring dances (counting my oldest son’s tenure), this was my final one.

Read On: Earning money as test subject

Read On: Earning money as test subject

Zane Johnson is a healthy and strapping 31-year-old guy who is spending Memorial Day weekend as a hospital patient. And if that isn’t surreal enough, they’re also paying him to be there.

Verdugo Views: Love for tennis drove player's success

Verdugo Views: Love for tennis drove player's success

Glendale High alum Gene Mako was a world-class tennis player and a colorful character, according to two longtime locals who knew him well: Reggie Perry and Jim Pagliuso.

Glendale High Cluster PTA: Graduation ceremonies are on the horizon

The school year is coming to a close for students in the Glendale Unified School District and with the sunset of lessons and homework comes graduation ceremonies and promotion events celebrating educational milestones.

Learning Matters: Reflecting on substitute teaching experience

Learning Matters: Reflecting on substitute teaching experience

My one stint as a long-term substitute teacher was over a decade ago, but I still wonder about the children in that class and think about the lessons I learned with them. I’m sure I learned more from them than they did from me in those six...

Start the Presses: Summing up the math of poverty

Start the Presses: Summing up the math of poverty

Uh-oh, Glendale and Burbank. Hear that? The city of Los Angeles is considering raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Are demands from the poorest among us to have our cities follow suit far behind?

Intersections: A different method of storing contacts

Intersections: A different method of storing contacts

Recently, I drove to San Diego to document the triumphs and tribulations of a team of Mongolian memory athletes at a tournament that tests extreme memory, focus and recall skills.

Crescenta Valley PTA: Monte Vista to hold open house Thursday

An open house and “Recorder” program will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, and a volunteer breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. on May 21. Contact the school’s office for more information about either of these events.

Read On: We should welcome the rain

Read On: We should welcome the rain

I’m not sure we’re yet taking this drought thing quite as seriously as we should here in Southern California. Because let me tell you, it’s a really big deal. Water is pretty close to the only thing we can’t do without —...

A Word, Please: Tips on how to avoid common apostrophe errors

A Word, Please: Tips on how to avoid common apostrophe errors

Let’s face it, grammar is more important for some people than for others. An ambulance driver probably has more important things to worry about than whether to hyphenate adverbs ending in “ly.” (FYI: Don’t do it.)

The Whiteboard Jungle: Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' still causing controversy

The Whiteboard Jungle: Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' still causing controversy

Full disclosure: I am an English teacher, I expose my students to the best literature, I consider John Steinbeck one of America’s greatest writers, and so I teach “Of Mice and Men.”

Verdugo Views: Beyond keeping up with the Kardashians

Verdugo Views: Beyond keeping up with the Kardashians

We had no intention of following in the footsteps of the Kardashian sisters when we planned our recent trip to Armenia, but that’s the way it turned out.

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