Columns

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.

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.

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