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,” indeed). But the lessons from that exercise live...
I met Mary Boger, president of the Glendale Unified Board of Education, in 1990, in Oakland at my first PTA convention. I had the good fortune of sitting with her and Susan Hunt at...
Last weekend, a group of bicyclists gathered around a coffee-shop table and solidified a new era for Burbank’s bike and pedestrian paths.
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 manner?” So in “I’ll see you...
“Teachers have so much time off” is an often repeated sentiment among noneducators.
A board-game designer and a beer brewer walk into a bar. These might seem like two unrelated professions, but there's an entrepreneurial spirit that bubbles in both.
Few talk about it and fewer know what it means: Glendale employees generally do not live in the city they serve, a figure that drops to minuscule levels when you focus on police...
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 grammar cop has his or her facts wrong, perpetuating...
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 college programs, but California’s school year...
The man’s name was Jimmy Old-son and he was a journalist from the later 1800s looking for adventure.
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 Home Depot down the road.
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 all.
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.”
Bringing up decent children in a sometimes indecent world is challenging for both parents and teachers.
A few weeks ago I “met” a patron of the Colony Theatre whose ashes are contained within a sarcophagus in the lobby.
The Burbank City Council has no clothes.
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.
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.
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 entrusted it to North Star Destination Strategies...
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.
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’s Stanley Cup, I thought I was watching a promo...
John Kozlowsky sat across from the appraiser with a bag of dimes in his left hand, a list of handwritten questions in his right.
This has been a fascinating week, gender wise. First, Glendale resumed its women's self-defense class — delayed while officials tried to figure out...
I graduated from college not knowing what money is, how a computer works or the meaning of the word "adverb."
It seems wherever I go in the realms of education and career, I'm being urged to "mind the gap."
The giant B overlooking downtown Burbank from the Verdugo foothills is older than most of the people who see it every day.
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.
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.
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.
It's five minutes to showtime and the house lights are still up at the Colony Theatre. They'd have to be, if they ever expect to sell anything.
About a year ago, the Glendale City Council moved to ban gun shows on public property, shelving the decades-old confab at the Civic Auditorium.
I fielded a question recently about one of my favorite subjects: “whomever.”
I have written and spoken many times — including in this column last September — about the academic and social benefits of music education for children. Learning to read music is learning a new symbolic language. Learning rhythms is an exercise in mathematic fundamentals. And music is...
We were somewhere in Burbank last month when my phone disappeared. One minute it was on the store counter. The next, it was gone. You know how it is. Poof.
I fielded a question recently about "minding your p's and q's." I had used that expression in a column a few weeks ago, and it prompted an email from a reader named Christine who was curious about those apostrophes.
The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that 54% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.
If you’ve never been to a Memorial Day observance in Burbank, it is a poignant and solemn ceremony that provides many reasons for you to attend and honor those who have fought for their country.
As I have mentioned in this space before, a community paper should — first, foremost and always — be about the people who live here, those humans that make it such a unique and special place.
If I were to write that the Beatles were a great band, would you that give you pause? That is, would you notice anything funny about how I've written the band's name?
The Ryan family enjoyed a Mother’s Day lunch under a tree at the old L.A. Zoo. Even Grandma flew in from Florida to enjoy the lovely afternoon in a quiet corner of Griffith Park.
Good questions have been piling up in my inbox lately. Ed in Albany, N.Y., had a question about a recent column in which I mentioned people “who just won’t stop using the word ‘over’ wrong.”
May is “thank your local teacher” month: Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5 through 9), National Teacher Day (May 6) and California’s Day of the Teacher (May 14).
In the wake of the discussions by the Community Advisory Boards for the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press, I want to announce a number of adjustments and tweaks to our offerings and features.
Twice in the past week, people have asked me about “compare to” and “compare with.” What’s the difference, they wondered. How do you know which one to use?
The girl opened her mouth wide, eyes wider and plunged backward into the unknown.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to leave Burbank or Glendale. Once you’re outside those city limits, all bets are off. People behave in odd and confounding ways. It’s a jungle out there, baby! Always remember that.
I got an email recently from a reader whose spell-checker flagged the word “uninvolved” as an error.
For the first time in Glendale Unified School District’s history, April 24 is no longer a school day.
The four phone booths inside the Burbank Town Center Mall may have looked at home there 20 or 30 years ago. Not Monday.