Columns

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.

Start the Presses: Starlings and birds of a feather

Start the Presses: Starlings and birds of a feather

Who are Doug and Shelly Starling?

A Word, Please: For tighter writing, watch out for danglers

A Word, Please: For tighter writing, watch out for danglers

How big a problem is the dreaded dangler? In the real world, maybe not so big. Danglers, though sometimes serious, often aren’t so bad. Some don’t harm your message at all and could slip by even the most careful reader. But for anyone who...

Learning Matters: May Day can mark an emotional time for students

Learning Matters: May Day can mark an emotional time for students

For much of the world, the first day of May, or May Day, has one of three connotations: a celebration of spring, with pictures of children dancing around a maypole; a political holiday or demonstration in support of organized labor and the struggle...

Intersections: Cultural touchstones clear the gray skies

Intersections: Cultural touchstones clear the gray skies

When I woke up last Saturday, something was different. Not to go all Phil Collins on you, but I could feel there was something in the air. It’s hard to explain what it was. An energy? An aura? A hormonal balance?

Glendale cluster PTA: GHS yearbook available for online purchase

Glendale High School's 2015 yearbook is now complete, thanks to the work of editors-in-chief Doug Schowengerdt, Laura Tabanyi and Maddie Wills, along with their staff. A yearbook costs $85 and can be purchased online at the school store. The...

Verdugo Views: Part of the excitement as history unfolds

Verdugo Views: Part of the excitement as history unfolds

This past week has been a remarkable one, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A Word, Please: Being an expert is all well and good

A Word, Please: Being an expert is all well and good

When someone asks how you’re doing, can you respond “I am good”? Or is the only correct form “I am well”? And why?

Read On: Dying is way past the epidemic stage

Read On: Dying is way past the epidemic stage

I think it probably hit me while I was reading a post from a Facebook friend who shared that she'd been away from social media for a while because, well, her gallbladder had burst a few weeks before, she'd been rushed into surgery — and she...

Start the Presses: Making a few political predictions

Start the Presses: Making a few political predictions

Election season is over, but the sad detritus of failed campaigns remain along the boulevards and byways of our lovely cities and, if history is any guide, will be there until at least mid-summer.

A Word, Please: Admiration and helpful hints for salespeople

A Word, Please: Admiration and helpful hints for salespeople

Once upon a time, in another life now recalled only in nightmares, I was a salesperson. My longest-held position (which I didn’t hold for long) required me to go door-to-door in office complexes trying to get companies to change their long-...

Learning Matters: New novel focuses on Armenian Genocide's aftermath

Learning Matters: New novel focuses on Armenian Genocide's aftermath

I received an email recently from a publicist asking if I intended to write a column about the Armenian Genocide. If so, would I be interested in meeting an author who was coming to town on a book tour?

Intersections: History is the seed of an expanding identity

Intersections: History is the seed of an expanding identity

There was a time when I ran away from my Armenian-ness. I didn’t want it. I was determined to be on the other side of the room. I guess this is the normal thought process of any immigrant child — a process I have written about extensively...

The Whiteboard Jungle: When a person's words become someone else's

The Whiteboard Jungle: When a person's words become someone else's

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Screenwriters James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck wrote this famous line for the John Ford-directed 1962 film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence," starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart.

A Word, Please: There's a thin line between right and wrong

A Word, Please: There's a thin line between right and wrong

Like everyone who lives in Los Angeles County, I've spent the last several weeks picturing myself in a jury selection pool for the Robert Durst trial.

Verdugo Views: Following her connection

Verdugo Views: Following her connection

Several years ago, I went on a search for my Mennonite roots. My sister and I joined a group traveling to the Ukraine, following the path my pacifist forefathers took to escape persecution for their religious beliefs.

Glendale Cluster PTA: Mark your calendars for these two events

A delicious way to help support children and youth with medical and dental services is to attend Glendale Healthy Kids' Taste of Downtown Glendale from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 29. Tickets are $25 for adults ($30 to add wine) and $10 for children....

Start the Presses: A last chat before the election

Start the Presses: A last chat before the election

Election day in Glendale is nearly upon us. Tuesday means it’s time to boogie down to your polling station and make your choices.

A Word, Please: Some commas can give an editor pause

A Word, Please: Some commas can give an editor pause

A lot of people are taught that a comma goes anywhere you want to indicate a pause. On the surface, that system appears to work out fine. Commas often do just that. But not always.

Learning Matters: Taking a look at news in 1955 and now

Learning Matters: Taking a look at news in 1955 and now

While researching an upcoming column, I’ve been spending some time at the Central Library. Looking through old city directories in the Special Collections room and viewing microfilm of the Glendale News-Press, circa 1955 (it was a bigger...

Intersections: The Queen of Tejano made being multicultural OK

Intersections: The Queen of Tejano made being multicultural OK

Maybe it was her hair, that thick, overbearing black mane curled to perfection that made my own wild hair easier to deal with, her colorful and often risque fashion sense that set her apart from everyone else and had me enamored, or how she...

Read On: Making plans for the big night

Read On: Making plans for the big night

My beautiful and talented daughter Gabi is getting married two weeks from today. And it’s all great. She’s marrying a terrific guy with a fantastic work ethic and from top-notch stock. She’s 26. Not too young. Not too old. Nobody&...

A Word, Please: Idiom takes the wind out of proper sails

A Word, Please: Idiom takes the wind out of proper sails

They say marriage is all about give and take. Compromise. Meeting each other halfway. But to read my emails over the years, you could only conclude that marriage is about something quite different: winning. Specifically, winning arguments. More...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Test scores shouldn't be main factor in rating teachers

The Whiteboard Jungle: Test scores shouldn't be main factor in rating teachers

A lasting legacy of the “No Child Left Behind” federal legislation has been the notion of tying student test scores to teachers’ job evaluations. Due to the controversy of such an idea, school districts across the country that...

Verdugo Views: The history behind a rector at St. Mark's

Verdugo Views: The history behind a rector at St. Mark's

Virginia Parlour Young was just about ready to start school when her family moved to Glendale and her father became rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

Piece of Mind: The road toward a sensible future

Piece of Mind: The road toward a sensible future

Attachments. We all form them, not only to people, pets, personal belongings and places, but also to our daily routines. Some of those bonds are vital to our happiness; some we could shed.

A Word, Please: Some rules we don't have to abide by

A Word, Please: Some rules we don't have to abide by

The essence of drama, as they say, is conflict. Comedy is no different, as every show from “The Honeymooners” to “30 Rock” proves.

Learning Matters: Praising examples of two remarkable educators

Learning Matters: Praising examples of two remarkable educators

Parents worry a lot about whether schools are adequately serving their children, and educators do, too. Given the task of instructing students who have increasingly diverse needs, teachers, counselors and administrators feel the pressure of their...

Intersections: The psychological conflict of consumerism

Intersections: The psychological conflict of consumerism

The last thing I wanted to do is get a new phone. I delayed it as long as I could. I endured my battery dying at around 50% for months. I printed out directions and maps (the old-fashioned way!) to find my way across town for meetings with friends...

Glendale PTA: Community service favored at Glendale High

Glendale High students can use the spring recess to work on community-service hours. School officials encourage students to experience at least 100 hours of community service during their four years of high school.

Read On: A new app for your best friend

Read On: A new app for your best friend

As we know, one day there will be an app for everything. Getting you into bed. Getting you out of bed. Providing companionship in bed. Eating. Breathing. Escaping from prison.

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