Columns

  • A Word, Please: An expert has her not-so-secret source

    A Word, Please: An expert has her not-so-secret source

    Wouldn't it be nice to have your own grammar concierge? Anytime you needed help writing something, anytime you needed a bet settled, anytime you were just curious about a language issue, you could call an expert for answers. Your information valet would have so much experience studying grammar...

  • Learning Matters: There never seems to be a shortage of education issues

    Learning Matters: There never seems to be a shortage of education issues

    As summer vacation moves steadily closer to the early August start of school — now just over two weeks away — both students and their parents are likely feeling the mix of anxiety and anticipation that comes with new academic years. But as I reflect on the concerns of this year's school-goers,...

  • Intersections: Paths of discovery in a Detroit cemetery

    Intersections: Paths of discovery in a Detroit cemetery

    They came out of nowhere, headstones that found me, instead of the other way around. The more I drove through the pathways of the cemetery, the more names popped up: Gregorian, Tabibian, Shirinian, Shakargian, Emerzian, Doumanian. The dates of birth and death were ancient, going as far back as...

  • Read On: Return of 'The Twilight Zone'

    Read On: Return of 'The Twilight Zone'

    The greatest television drama of all time is about to unfold on screens big and small, plugged and unplugged, beginning on Monday. It will play clear through Thursday night and is destined to dwarf "Roots," "The Civil War," "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men" and everything that came before in terms of sheer...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Dressing for success appears to have gone out of fashion

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Dressing for success appears to have gone out of fashion

    As my wife and I were having lunch recently, we noticed a man with tattoos on his arms, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, bowling shoes and an Oakland A's baseball cap, plugged into earbuds. His appearance would not have caught our attention except that he was carrying a bag with the U.S. Postal...

  • A Word, Please: Avoid too many Ss for appearance' sake

    A Word, Please: Avoid too many Ss for appearance' sake

    I don't hear many people saying "for goodness' sake" these days. "For conscience' sake" and "for appearance' sake" are pretty much nonexistent in my world, too. In fact, the only "for … sake" expression I hear lately includes a word I wouldn't use in this space even if I could. So you might think,...

  • Verdugo Views: Recalling the ups and downs of yo-yo contests

    For young Tom O'Loughlin, the corner of Kenneth Road and Grandview Avenue in northwest Glendale meant just one thing: the Duncan YoYo contest. "For years, I had a yellow sleeveless sweater with the Duncan YoYo logo on the front. That was for winning the contest at Kenneth and Grandview. You were...

  • On Campus at GCC: Open registration continues

    On Campus at GCC: Open registration continues

    Open registration for the fall 2016 semester at Glendale Community College continues through Aug. 26. Many of the more than 1,500 courses still have openings. The fall semester begins Aug. 29. Applications for the fall semester are still being accepted and should be submitted as soon as possible...

  • A Word, Please: A significant change to the Internet

    A Word, Please: A significant change to the Internet

    It's official: The Internet is over. So is the Web. It's hard to believe, I know. Just last year, it seemed these two powerhouses ruled the world. But as of this summer, they're done. Kaput. Over. Dead as e-mail. Meet their replacements: the internet and the web. You'll see these substitutes anywhere...

  • Learning Matters: Musical features important message for teens

    Learning Matters: Musical features important message for teens

    What do we want our children to learn on their way to adulthood, and how do we want them to spend their time as they get there? How can schools and communities provide authentic work-based learning experiences where young people can gain the skills they need in life? Those are some of the questions...

  • Commentary: Examining life's unfiltered comments

    When I was a little girl, we would occasionally get a piece of hard candy wrapped in colored cellophane. I was as delighted with the colored wrapper as I was with the candy. I loved looking through the yellow or red or blue or green paper and seeing my world in a different light. I used to save...

  • Intersections: Multiculturalism in a world of fear

    Intersections: Multiculturalism in a world of fear

    I woke up to kids running up and down the neighborhood streets in their best outfits this week. That, and the early-morning aromas emanating from the houses near mine was a sign that Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic religious holiday that marks the end of the month of fasting known as Ramadan, had arrived....

  • A Word, Please: To whom do we attribute these errors?

    A Word, Please: To whom do we attribute these errors?

    A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times reported: "Edric Dashell Gross, whom police said is a transient known to frequent Santa Monica, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder." And with that, we have another entry for our Don't Use "Whom" Unless You Know What You're Doing file. This...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: History should be maintained, not eliminated

    The Whiteboard Jungle: History should be maintained, not eliminated

    There was a time when the name "Burbank" was nationally recognized. The TV comedy show "Laugh-In" and "The Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson made Burbank a household name, referencing it with the popular mocking proclamation, "Welcome to Beautiful Downtown Burbank." Though a joke, it brought attention...

  • Verdugo Views: Kids' dimes helped pay for the war effort

    Verdugo Views: Kids' dimes helped pay for the war effort

    Carl Moseley was 12 years old when the World War II started in 1941. He had a steady job mowing lawns in those days. "I made a lot of money when I was a kid," the Hoover High Class of '48 grad told me recently. "I did a lot of neighbors' yards." One day, Moseley took some of his money, went downtown,...

  • Learning Matters: Taking a look at summertime choices

    Learning Matters: Taking a look at summertime choices

    By any definition — school year, season or temperature — summer is here. Luckily for families concerned about day care or summer learning loss, or who just want their children to have active fun away from video games, the community offers plenty of options for children and youth. I started exploring...

  • A Word, Please: Looking at 'one word, two words or hyphenated' issue

    A Word, Please: Looking at 'one word, two words or hyphenated' issue

    Health care, healthcare or health-care? Make up, makeup or make-up? Water ski, water-ski or waterski? Cell phone, cellphone or cell-phone? A lot of questions posed in this column elicit the answer: There's no right answer. Different dictionaries, different publications and different industries...

  • A Word, Please: A period of declining punctuation

    A Word, Please: A period of declining punctuation

    Fine. Sure. Yes. No. Hardly. Whatever. In a longer piece of writing like an article, blog post or even email, periods are usually necessary. They show the reader where one thought ends and another begins. But what if you have only one brief thought to convey? For example, if you want to give a...

  • Intersections: Policy change is shadowed by identity politics

    Intersections: Policy change is shadowed by identity politics

    Last week, a gunman walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and shot 49 people dead. He injured more than 50 more. The United States descended into chaos, wondering why and how this could happen again and again and again. The country feels broken, with a culture that has steadily focused...

  • Read On: Shooting holes in assault-weapon dogma

    Read On: Shooting holes in assault-weapon dogma

    There's a joke going around Twitter that goes something like this: Man: "I'll take 2 boxes of Sudafed." Clerk: "Sorry, by law you can only buy one at a time." Man: "OK then, just the one box of Sudafed and these seven guns." Yes, it's true. It's easier to buy enough firepower to blow away a small...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: School should be a place where students thrive

    The Whiteboard Jungle: School should be a place where students thrive

    "Graduation rate at Glendale's high schools tops 90%" according to a Glendale News-Press headline recently. On the surface, this statistic is celebratory, something Glendale Unified should prominently display at the top of its website's homepage. Before we pat each other on the back for a job well...

  • Verdugo Views: Old fundraiser's program lights up memories

    Verdugo Views: Old fundraiser's program lights up memories

    "Lights Up" was a fixture on Glendale's social scene for many years. Produced by Oakmont League, the fundraiser began in 1955 and quickly became a popular community event. Some time ago, the late Doris Boyer lent me a program book from the 1956 production. Recently, while looking through the thick...

  • A Word, Please: Your danglers won't just fix themselves

    A Word, Please: Your danglers won't just fix themselves

    Recently, the Los Angeles Times described the movie "Dheepan" as the "Palme d'Or winner about Sri Lankan refugees trying to escape their violent past in France." That made reader Rod do a double-take. "The question is where the 'in France' should go," Rod wrote. "There's a serious difference between...

  • Learning Matters: Issues seem to take a backseat when campaigns heat up

    Learning Matters: Issues seem to take a backseat when campaigns heat up

    "Keep your core tight, and don't forget to breathe." That's the advice I've been hearing this past month at the fitness studio I frequent. And now that our local primary election season is over, the advice sounds useful for voters and candidates exhausted by the oxygen-depleting deluge of negative...

  • Intersections: Letter makes rape statistics raw and personal

    Intersections: Letter makes rape statistics raw and personal

    I spent my Friday night reading a letter with more than 7,000 words, a letter so powerful in its raw, unfiltered form that I've since gone back and read parts of it over and over again. It was not an easy read. The details were graphic, the pain was palpable, but I could not stop reading. Judging...

  • A Word, Please: Fielding some softball questions

    A Word, Please: Fielding some softball questions

    The questions coming my way lately have been short and sweet and easily spun into some helpful tips. Here's a sampling I hope you'll find useful. A reader named Walter wanted to know whether, in "I speak French, but I don't speak Swahili," there should be a comma after "French." MORE: Read past...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: A teacher's work is not finished even as school year ends

    The Whiteboard Jungle: A teacher's work is not finished even as school year ends

    The misnomer about the end of the school year is that things are winding "down." Actually, things are winding up. During the last couple of weeks, especially the past few days, a mad dash occurs to evaluate student work and compute final grades. Every year, I feel like I am running a 10-month marathon,...

  • Read On: Not to mention him again, but ...

    Read On: Not to mention him again, but ...

    It's become nearly impossible to write about Donald Trump and his unfathomably successful presidential campaign without striking the same flabbergasted tone that's been tossed around pretty much daily. But here goes: I am a member of the same media that has served to create this escalating nightmare....

  • Verdugo Views: Flying high with Glendale's own air terminal

    Verdugo Views: Flying high with Glendale's own air terminal

    The historic Grand Central Air Terminal, newly rehabbed and restored by the Walt Disney Co., will be the fabulous location of the Glendale Historical Society's upcoming gala, "Come Fly With Us." The June 11 event celebrates the airport's importance in aviation history, beginning with a small airstrip...

  • A Word, Please: A situation where there are no rules

    A Word, Please: A situation where there are no rules

    "I and Ted watched TV last night." How do you like that sentence? I'm guessing that, as a literate person who'd pause to read a language column, you don't. Neither do I. For my money, "Ted and I" is a much better way to start the sentence. The question is: Why? MORE: Read more of June's columns...

  • Learning Matters: Organization is key to modern-day parenting

    Learning Matters: Organization is key to modern-day parenting

    I've never kept closely to routines, certainly not the daily schedules of reading, studies, exercise and sleep my ninth-grade English teacher encouraged. I still remember Mrs. Finkenbinder's homework assignment to create a daily schedule, and I recall liking the idea even as I recognized my own...

  • Intersections: A letter from a writing room in Detroit

    Intersections: A letter from a writing room in Detroit

    I've been in Detroit for a little more than three months, and life has finally started to settle down. There are so many things no one ever tells you about owning a home, one of them being the infinite amount of silence that exists within its walls, if you let it. I've converted a section of my...

  • A Word, Please: British leaders trip over their language

    A Word, Please: British leaders trip over their language

    Sometimes, when politics get too nasty and the national outlook seems too bleak, it's easy to succumb to despair. So if the months and months of comments about "losers" and "Lucifer in the flesh" and "blood coming out of her wherever" have you down, here's a little something to cheer you up: Other...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Giving praise for a local high school senior

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Giving praise for a local high school senior

    Too often educators get caught up in negativity. Like a peace officer who mainly interacts with the worst citizens in society and forms an overall suspicious attitude toward anyone he encounters, teachers often generalize about all students especially when they have several who misbehave or don't...

  • Read On: Eden cherishes iconic role on 'Jeannie'

    Read On: Eden cherishes iconic role on 'Jeannie'

    Actors who make their living (or at least try to make their living) acting will tell you that all it takes is a single big role — one with which they can be identified — to alter the course of their lives. Then there are the actors who achieve that iconic role. Too many of them will tell you that...

  • Verdugo Views: Marilyn Monroe's mom provided local photographer's big moment

    Verdugo Views: Marilyn Monroe's mom provided local photographer's big moment

    When Gladys Baker Eley climbed out of a window at Rockhaven Sanitarium in Montrose one night and disappeared, the story made the headlines. Why? Because she was Marilyn Monroe's mother. And the Glendale News-Press got the story. Eley, a single mother, had a mental breakdown shortly after the 1926...

  • Learning Matters: Clark Magnet High staff members help make a difference

    Learning Matters: Clark Magnet High staff members help make a difference

    I recently received an email from Scholastic, a company known for school book fairs, asking if I wanted to write another column about Clark Magnet High School's latest win in the Lexus Scholastic Eco Challenge. I last wrote about the team and its streak of wins a little over a year ago. "Yes!"...

  • A Word, Please: Be careful if you choose to 'lay down'

    A Word, Please: Be careful if you choose to 'lay down'

    It was a long, nasty battle, riddled with insults, personal attacks and even name-calling. But at last, a winner has been declared. The victor pulled off a major upset simply by being simple. And this no-thinking-required appeal won millions of supporters and ultimately trumped what more informed...

  • Glendale PTA: Library to present parent workshop

    "Thriving with Your Teen," a free parent workshop held by the Glendale Unified School District, will be presented at 6 p.m. today in the Library Connection at Adams Square, 1100 E. Chevy Chase Drive. Seating is limited. Call (818) 548-3833 to pre-register. MORE: Stay up to date on the latest in...

  • Intersections: 'Los' can mean Glendale, but Detroit is home

    On the plane, I took two books with me to read. The first was "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," by the patron saint of California and one of my personal heroes, Joan Didion. The second was "An Armenian Sketchbook," by Vasily Grossman, a Jewish-Russian writer and journalist who visited Armenia in the...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Open advanced classes harm higher-ability students

    "I find rowdy kids intolerable and just plain annoying." This is not a teacher talking, but a student describing what it is like for a smart kid to be in a class with kids of lower ability. About 15 years ago, a shift began in high schools instituting an open-door policy that allows any student...

  • Read On: Time to remember Mom, eccentricity and all

    I was all set to write another column about Donald Trump because we haven’t really heard enough lately about that guy, have we? But then I came to my senses and realized I had nothing really new to add to the discussion, that something as inexplicable as Drumpf’s ascension to the top of the Republican...

  • A Word, Please: 10 words that may astound or annoy you

    Are you the person friends turn to when they need a resume proofread or a grammar bet settled? Do you still beam with pride at having won your third-grade spelling bee? Then you're probably right. In my experience, people who think they're word savvy usually are. But the English language, like...

  • Verdugo Views: Pike's Glen Oaks offered a steak in Glendale

    On a recent visit to the "Vintage Glendale" site on Facebook, I saw an image of a long-gone Glendale restaurant and — through the miracle of social media — I contacted the person behind the post, Tom Scott. Via email, Scott replied that the image was of Pike's Steak House, at Brand and Glenoaks...

  • A Word, Please: A cartoonish headline has little behind it

    A single-panel cartoon penned by Jim Borgman in the late 1990s showed a news anchor sitting in front of three "Wheel of Fortune"-type wheels — the kind a contestant on a game show would spin hoping that, when the spinning stopped, a needle would point to a big prize. But the wheels in the cartoon...

  • Learning Matters: Music is more than an extracurricular activity

    Earlier this year, I shared my trepidation as I returned to the role of elementary chorus director, a once-a-week, after-school position I'd last held 11 years ago. I knew the challenges. I didn't know the students this time around, and they didn't know me. Except for the few children who participated...

  • Intersections: A survivor and an activist inspire hope

    In a small room at an assisted-living facility in the suburbs of Detroit, I met a woman named Ramela who survived genocide and lived to share her story. She is Michigan's only living witness to the atrocities that befell the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian populations of the Ottoman Empire and part...

  • A Word, Please: Using subordinates, you can bury main clauses

    If you ever want to clear a room, a single word will usually do the trick: grammar. For anyone who had a hypercritical English teacher or a particularly persnickety aunt — and that's a lot of us — the word conjures up some pretty unpleasant associations: sharp criticisms for using "me" in place...

  • Read On: Striving toward immortality

    I'm going to make a prediction here right now: Someday, I'm going to be big. Really big. Possibly even legendary. I'll be hysterically funny, sublimely profound, immensely talented and altogether spectacular — nay, a genius. Unfortunately, I won't be around to appreciate the praise foisted upon...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: With the current state of teacher salaries, tenure must stay

    Teachers and their unions collectively exhaled last week when a California appeals court overturned the Vergara ruling in 2014, which struck down teacher tenure in the state. As a teacher who has struggled with the virtue of tenure, this was the right call to make at this time. I, too, am frustrated...

  • Verdugo Views: Research and advocacy saved the Alex Theatre

    Last September, at the Alex Theatre's 90th anniversary kickoff, I stopped to say hello to Margaret Hammond, longtime member of the Glendale Historical Society. She handed me a sheaf of papers with the comment that she had been a member of the original Alex restoration committee and had the 'real'...

  • Glendale PTA: Student success, parenting are in focus

    Join the Glendale Educational Foundation on Thursday as it screens the 2015 Sundance film “Most Likely to Succeed,” a compelling look at the current U.S. education system and how its future may look. A panel discussion with guests from the academic, business and student worlds will follow. Guests...

  • A Word, Please: Explaining why the joke is funny

    In 2014, to promote a new exhibit on Vikings, the British Museum set sail with a clever public relations spectacle: an authentic-looking vessel manned by a motley crew that sailed down the Thames and past government buildings where members of Parliament had a front-row seat for the show. As one...

  • Learning Matters: Alex Theatre event to feature film, panel discussion

    Next Thursday evening at the Alex Theatre, the Glendale Educational Foundation will screen the Sundance film, "Most Likely to Succeed" in hopes of inspiring interest and discussion about the future of education in our community. The film features students at High Tech High School in San Diego and...

  • Intersections: Confronting a concept many take for granted

    I walked into a resale furniture shop last week and in one instant, all my childhood memories came flooding back to me — moments spent in church during baptisms, those weekend excursions to the graves of my grandparents, arriving at a relative's home and knowing someone was in solemn thought. In...

  • Read On: 20 lessons from the circus

    I'm sorry, but I just can't help it. I am so utterly fascinated by this year's presidential campaign that it's difficult for me to think of much else. It is, with apologies to the Ringling Bros., the Greatest Show on Earth — or on any other planet for that matter. And we've still got nearly seven...

  • A Word, Please: There's correct, and then there's standard

    Is it canceled or cancelled? That's what a friend who contacted me recently through Facebook needed to know. It was 3:45 a.m. and she was finalizing a legal brief. I'm not sure what she meant by "finalizing." I don't even know if she's a lawyer. Such is the nature of friendship these days. All...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: University of California's change indicates a sign of the times

    Young people who attend school today may be the least read of any previous generation. Well, life is about to get even easier. In a sign of the attention-deficient times, the University of California has announced a change in the personal statements previously required in applications. No longer...

  • Verdugo Views: Churchgoers played a part in Glendale history

    This is the story of a bride who grew up in a local church that her parents helped build and a groom who joined the church when he was in his 20s. The bride's parents, Ruth Hawkins and Frank Cayford, met at a Church of the Brethren in Idaho. After their marriage, they came to California, settled...

  • A Word, Please: Who do uninformed content providers answer to?

    We used to read articles. Now, more and more, we read content. What's the difference? An article represents an honest attempt to provide quality information gathered by a professional willing to put his name on it. Content is anything that will get your eyeballs on a business' Web page. MORE: Read...

  • Learning Matters: New GUSD superintendent faces immediate challenges

    It's a new day for the Glendale Unified School District and its new superintendent, Winfred Roberson, who begins his work here this week. I wish him the very best as he acquaints himself with more than 26,000 students as well as teachers, other staff, parents and a host of individuals and organizations...

  • Intersections: Resolving heritage and history in La Crescenta

    Earlier this year, an almost 6-foot sign appeared in Crescenta Valley Park. In gold and white lettering, with added design elements of oak leaves and acorns, it welcomed visitors to Hindenburg Park, "the historic German section of Crescenta Valley Park." Though the county of Los Angeles Department...

  • A Word, Please: The ease of using single quotation marks

    The punctuation mark that annoys people the most is, without a doubt, the apostrophe. Whole books have been written lamenting atrocities like "five carrot's and three kiwi's" (for the record, that should be "five carrots and three kiwis"), and those books have made millions. People who know the...

  • Glendale PTA: A free program for college-bound students at GHS

    Trying to figure out the ins and outs of attending college can seem daunting. And, for those who may be a first-time college student in their family, the maze can seem even more confusing. Because of this, the Glendale High School PTSA will host a free program called "Helping Your Child Navigate...

  • Read On: A hunt for the Easter holiday's history

    OK, boys and girls of Burbank, Glendale and surrounding regions, I'm about to make a startling admission. Well maybe it's not all that startling, quite frankly, given that I'm Jewish and all. But here goes: I don't get the whole Easter thing. MORE: Read more of Ray's columns >> Now, I don't want...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: If you go to Disneyland, prepare to spend a lot of money

    Many families cherish the memories of taking their children to Disneyland for the first time. I just experienced what in all likelihood will be my last. This week, my wife and I treated our youngest son to an overnight trip at the Disneyland Hotel. A stay in a small 364-square-foot room is $595...

  • Verdugo Views: Glendale woman was instrumental in early skin care

    Fanny Briggs Carr was one of a handful of Victorian-era American women who transformed skin care from made-at-home into today's multibillion-dollar business. And she lived right here in Glendale. When Carr founded her face-preparations line in 1896, she was in the vanguard of a brand-new industry,...

  • A Word, Please: Sorry, Gerry, 'predominate' is also an adjective

    Dear readers, I'd like to introduce you to someone. His name's Gerry Coleman and if you don't know who he is, don't feel bad. Neither do I. Heck, for all I know, he doesn't even exist. But every conscientious user of the English language should know about Gerry, or, as he prefers to be called:...

  • Learning Matters: It's getting harder to draw students toward teaching

    Teachers matter. That was the message I took away from the Glendale Educational Foundation's recent Denim and Diamonds awards dinner at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Christine Walters, school board president, may have said it best when she called out her third-grade teacher, Melinda Lanzafame...

  • Intersections: The media exhibit the psychology of group-think

    There are many reasons why being in Michigan lately has been exciting and important, but last week, the presidential debates and the primary overshadowed my adjustments to having moved across the country to an environment that commands something different from living in perpetually sunny Southern...

  • Read On: Even a scratch can be potentially dangerous

    Please allow me for a moment to share in the ongoing drama that is my life. It doesn't take much for life-and-death struggle to break out at any moment. All it really takes is a scratch. Literally. MORE: Read more of Ray's columns >> So I'm going about my business a couple of weeks ago when I run...

  • A Word, Please: Case turns on meaning of a participial phrase

    In February, the Supreme Court heard a case that hinged on the grammar of a single phrase in a federal law. The law calls for a 10-year minimum sentence for anyone possessing child pornography if he has prior convictions for "aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Candidates and culture lower the bar

    Last week, I took my son to see the animated film "Zootopia" and saw a trailer for "The Angry Birds Movie," which included a 15-second scene of an American Bald Eagle character urinating in front of other birds. While the action was not shown, the sound of it was in full Dolby sound. This is what...

  • A Word, Please: When it comes to grammar, being self-taught helps

    A reader named Al was taught that the word "towards" is for physical direction while "toward" is for more abstract uses. My friend Tracy was taught that the word "percent" must always follow a number, while "percentage" is for all other uses. A user on a grammar message board wrote: "I was taught...

  • Glendale PTA: Wilson Middle School to host open house, arts festival

    Wilson Middle School, 1221 Monterey Road, will host its open house and arts festival from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Parking is limited and will be available on the basketball courts and field, weather permitting. Guests are asked to carpool or prepare to walk a short distance to the school, if...

  • Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Responsibility and its online importance

    You know what's great about the Internet? Everybody gets a voice!You know what's not so great about the Internet? Everybody gets a voice!More often than not these voices become mere static where issues and their zealots fall into a labyrinth and are subsequently sequestered from the true issues...

  • Intersections: Can La Crescenta maintain its originality?

    Los Angeles has always been a place for me that is quite different from what the rest of the world knows, or thinks they know about the city — and La Crescenta has always been part of that reality. It's very far away, both literally and figuratively, from parts of the city that house exclusive...

  • Read On: Gamesmanship trumps the naysayers

    So, in my world these days, ladies and gentlemen, there is pretty much only one subject that matters. Here's a hint: It's two words and rhymes with Monald Mump. Yes, this past week was the one where the Conventional Wisdom officially evolved from "Donald Trump is a whacko who will self-destruct"...

  • A Word, Please: 'Wake' variations may awaken confusion

    One day not long ago, Steve in Burbank woke to find a newspaper on his doorstep. Or perhaps he awakened. Or maybe he just woke up. I suppose it's possible he even awaked. I don't know. And neither does Steve. Which is why he found my email address in the paper and wrote to me: "Please straighten...

  • Verdugo Views: The Hut was a locus of 'family' downtown

    Paul Baldwin learned to prepare large quantities of food in the Navy, and he was always in charge at family gatherings and barbecues in his Glendale neighborhood. Plus, according to his daughter, he was a party kind of guy. And all of that came together when he purchased the Hut on California at...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: 'Open House' closes the door to discussion

    Get ready for a new kind of "Open House" experience, where having a quick conversation with your child's teacher is discouraged, replaced with exhibits of student work. Hopefully, schools are getting this message out to parents in order to dampen their disappointment when they approach a teacher...

  • Commentary: There was more to George Washington than the cherry tree

    Many have heard the story of George Washington confessing that he had chopped down the cherry tree because "I cannot tell a lie," but most do not know of the many achievements and the honorable character of this amazing person! As a young 17-year-old, Washington began his adult life as part of...

  • A Word, Please: For less confusion, seek the modifier's noun

    Not long ago, I used as an example in this column "Having already missed two mortgage payments, Jane asked her mother if she could loan her some money." I was making the point that editors usually prefer "lend" to "loan" as a verb, but reader Catherine spotted another interesting issue here. "Reading...

  • Learning Matters: When it comes to career technical education, collaboration is key

    Career technical education is not new in the Glendale Unified School District, but over the last few years, it has been renamed and renewed as a topic and a goal. "Preparing our students for their future" became the motto in 2011. The district's strategic plan calls for students to "…Participate...

  • Intersections: Unexpected discoveries in a new home

    Yesterday, after walking almost a mile on snow-covered streets, I ate a tandoori pizza, courtesy of the Bengali-American community and the fusion of their rich cuisine with that of American favorites. A few days before that, I had a paczki, pronounced "ponchki," on Fat Tuesday, a Polish delicacy...

  • Glendale PTA: GUSD calendar committee to meet at Glendale High

    A meeting of Glendale Unified's calendar committee will be held at 6:30 p.m. today in the auditorium at Glendale High School. This is an opportunity for attendees to provide input on the start dates of future instructional calendars beginning with the 2017-18 school year. There will be another...

  • Read On: We are living through interesting times

    All right, so let me just say that I'm feeling unusually positive about everything at the moment, a genuine departure from my typical default position that mass catastrophe is imminent and we're all going to die, like, tomorrow. I've decided that this — right now — is kind of the greatest time...

  • A Word, Please: Common errors with commas

    Liz in Newport Beach posed a good question about commas. Consider the following two sentences. "Days are usually great, but, when they aren't great, they still pass in 24 hours." "Every word should bring something to the table and, if it doesn't, it should be chopped out." MORE: Read more of June's...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Washington's birthday should be moved to February's fourth Monday

    Today is the 207th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. If you already knew that, congratulations, you are in a select minority who do. See, while schools close for two days in February, the reason for these closures remain vague for most. All it means is a three-day weekend. If you are as old...

  • Verdugo Views: Irish Sweepstakes money didn't bring happiness

    A lot of people used to live in Glendale. Or their parents or grandparents did. And sometimes, when they want to find their family history, they contact the Glendale Historical Society. Sean Bersell, executive director of the society, usually suggests they contact Mike Shea and the Special Collections...

  • A Word, Please: More tips on how to write bullet-proof prose

    Last week, we looked at words and phrases that, while fine in general usage, are considered no-nos in professional editing. But there are more — lots more — than we could fit into a single column. So here are more terms that, though fine in casual usage, you might want to skip if you're writing...

  • Learning Matters: Teacher partnerships prove that two is better than one

    About 11 years since I last worked as an elementary chorus director, I stood again in front of about 50 students who’d signed up for this once-a-week, after-school activity. Still considering myself a novice in comparison to the “real” music teachers I’ve observed over the years, I felt more than...

  • Intersections: Different dateline, same feeling of home

    I was a year out of journalism school when I plucked up the courage to submit my resume to an opening for a reporting position at the Glendale News-Press. The journalism industry was rapidly changing for the worse at the time and nothing ever came of my efforts to secure a full-time position, but...

  • Read on: Questions to stump Web hackers

    It seems to me that with each passing year, life gets increasingly more absurd. Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president of the United States. A woman in Norway claimed this week to be a cat trapped in a human body, potentially giving rise to the trans-species movement. Perhaps craziest...

  • A Word, Please: One objective of copy editing is precision

    They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And though I don't know who "they" are, I can guarantee that they're not copy editors. A big part of my job is fixing errors that aren't really errors. NEWSLETTER: Get the latest headlines from the 818 straight to your inbox >> Imagine, for example, I have...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Reckless driving around schools is more than a troubling concern

    Against my better judgment, I recently watched "Mad Max: Fury Road," curious how a high-octane action film could earn 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The only thing I got out of the film was recognizing a connection between its subtitle and a line from Shakespeare's "Macbeth":...

  • Verdugo Views: Mom influenced Glendale resident's entertainment career

    Nami Ota-Donals credits her mother for her rewarding career as an entertainer. Her mother, Miyo Takeguchi Ota, studied flower arranging, tea ceremonies, music and other classical arts in her native Japan before coming here as a young adult. "She was a beautiful lady," Ota-Donals, a Glendale resident...

  • Glendale PTA: Dad's Club to host pancake fundraiser

    Dads are usually known for being skilled on the grill, which is probably what makes the annual pancake breakfast fundraiser sponsored by the Dad's Club among the best-loved around town. The event will start at 7 a.m. on Saturday in the group's clubhouse, 1728 Cañada Blvd. The griddle will stay...

  • A Word, Please: He or she may be happier with 'they'

    Changes in language can come as unwelcome news. I get that. You spend years carefully following some usage rule you were taught is important — perhaps by using "literally" only in its strictest sense or never using "they" to mean "he or she" or, in my case, always putting the period before the...

  • Learning Matters: The reality of having hope tempered by experience

    In the early morning and premidnight hours on Wednesday next week, local volunteers will join with city staff, outreach workers from the city's homeless shelter and officers of the Glendale Police Department to conduct the annual count of our homeless population. It's an exercise that will be occurring...

  • Intersections: Recalling a journalist on the anniversary of his death

    It could have been the concrete pavement of any other street in any other city in the world. Men walked on it with their worn leather shoes, the sound of the boxy heels of elderly women going out for their daily food shopping hit the ground with force, an occasionally well-behaved street dog strutted...

  • A Word, Please: The persistent, unabated collapse of grammar

    I received an email recently from a reader named Fred who’s unhappy about the way that language and writing standards have gone down the tubes since his school days in 1950s and ‘60s. Here’s an excerpt: “Teachers have told me that punctuation is no longer being taught (considered by students ‘who...

  • Read On: You're a winner every day you lose

    If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you didn’t win a share of this week’s $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot. It’s too bad, because you had the money practically spent in your head, didn’t you? Between buying the little Ferrari you’d had your eye on, snapping up that small Caribbean island and...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: The CAHSEE has turned out to be a wasted endeavor

    This year’s 10th-graders have reason to celebrate because they no longer have to take the California High School Exit Exam, known as CAHSEE. Last October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 172, suspending the test for three years through the 2017-18 school year. Since 2004, the CAHSEE was administered...

  • Verdugo Views: Participants get on board for Glendale float's journey

    It was 5:15 a.m. on New Year’s Day and a chilly 42 degrees as my husband, Glenn, and I met other float riders at Glendale City Hall. Our city’s float was back after missing the previous year. Patty Betancourt, with the Community Services and Parks Department, welcomed us, and we climbed into a...

  • Learning Matters: When it comes to publicly desired subjects, some hurdles are meant to be jumped

    Public education exists to provide what the public believes necessary to secure the constitutional “blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” In other words, we want our children to know how to assume responsibility for the world and for themselves, and we want them to be safe. But...

  • On Campus at GCC: Priority registration for spring semester under way

    Priority registration for the spring 2016 semester at Glendale Community College began this week. Those not eligible for priority registration may start open registration beginning Feb. 1. The spring semester starts Feb. 16. Spring class listings can be found at glendale.edu/schedules. A flipbook...

  • A Word, Please: Don't let state codes rob you of speech

    Imagine a world where women aren’t women. They’re females. There are no children, only juveniles. A place where there is no “about” or “near,” only “approximately” and “in the vicinity of.” Where no one gets or uses or learns anything but instead acquires, utilizes and ascertains everything. Here,...

  • Intersections: Seeking real connections in a modern world

    A few months ago, I was in Mongolia working on a reporting project when I found myself in the home of my Mongolian hosts in the late hours of the evening, as they crouched around the television to watch a reality show. This scene wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, except that I knew this family...

  • Glendale PTA: Black and White Affair slated for Feb. 6

    The 2016 Black and White Affair, a dinner, dance and auction hosted by the Verdugo Woodlands Elementary's PTA, will be held on Feb. 6 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, 5500 Godbey Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. The event will start at 6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 6:45 p.m. for general...

  • A Word, Please: A look at the visual component of writing

    If you want people to take your writing seriously, grammar is important. So are punctuation and usage. But there’s another ingredient that lots of people overlook: aesthetics. In writing, looks count. In fact, many of the style rules followed so religiously by publishers exist exclusively to make...

  • Read On: Here are some predictions for the new year

    Guaranteed to happen in 2016: Donald Trump will say something so utterly outrageous and offensive that pundits predict it will do irreparable damage to his presidential campaign. And then it won’t. Trump will lose interest in the presidential race and ultimately drop out sometime in the spring,...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: GUSD would be wise to follow BUSD's example on calendar issue

    January will be a busy time for Glendale Unified School Board members as they tackle two of the most significant issues left over from 2015: the search for a new superintendent and a new starting date for school. While the public has a minor say in choosing a superintendent, parents can have a...

  • Learning Matters: GUSD encountered its share of issues in 2015

    We tell our children to look both ways before crossing the street. School boards do best when they follow the same advice in their decision-making, looking thoughtfully to their history before stepping off the curb into the future. The Glendale Unified School District faced some big issues in 2015,...

74°