Columns

Read On: Taking a look at our 'National' days

Read On: Taking a look at our 'National' days

You should know that this is a very special day, ladies and gentlemen. More special than you will ever know. I’m taking the opportunity right here and right now to announce that today is the first annual National Read Ray Richmond’s Column in the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press...

A Word, Please: The word that is helpful and dispensable

A Word, Please: The word that is helpful and dispensable

“I have been told by some of my more educated friends that using the word “that” (see, I did it again) is many times unnecessary,” Randy wrote. “I was hoping you would weigh in on the technical side of when and when not to use that.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: GUSD, BUSD should meet to discuss a common calendar

The Whiteboard Jungle: GUSD, BUSD should meet to discuss a common calendar

Earlier this month, I wrote about the early start of school in Glendale and now there is an online petition called “Save Our GUSD...

Burb's Eye View: Joslyn Center welcomes seniors to hail the King

Burb's Eye View: Joslyn Center welcomes seniors to hail the King

If you were one of the dozens of seniors who shook their maracas at last year’s Rock-A-Hula in Burbank, you have Elvis to thank.

Start the Presses: Eatery rising from the paperwork

Start the Presses: Eatery rising from the paperwork

The vacant shell of a failed Conroy's Flowers sits — as it has for years — at the corner of Buena Vista Street and Burbank Boulevard.

Learning Matters: Glendale Unified is not new to calendar changes

Learning Matters: Glendale Unified is not new to calendar changes

The Crescenta Valley Town Council is discussing the possibility of seceding from the Glendale Unified School District...

A Word, Please: 'Rules' are sometimes just a matter of style

A Word, Please: 'Rules' are sometimes just a matter of style

If you feel like one of the unfortunate few who missed out on a good grammar education, welcome to the club. Almost everyone I’ve ever talked to about the subject feels the same way — as if they were out sick the day that everyone else in school learned everything there is to know...

Burb's Eye View: To dust off a TV chestnut, how hot was it in Burbank?

Burb's Eye View: To dust off a TV chestnut, how hot was it in Burbank?

How hot was it in Burbank this week? So hot that two Hobbits climbed to the Stough Canyon Nature Center to ask where to throw their ring.

Read On: Imagining 'Downton' cast with Trump

Read On: Imagining 'Downton' cast with Trump

There’s an older lady I know and care very much about who has suffered some health setbacks of late. We got to talking one night recently when she admitted there were really only a couple of things inspiring her to want to stick around before departing this mortal coil.

A Word, Please: A suffix makes a word, however pompously

A Word, Please: A suffix makes a word, however pompously

Here’s a bit of free grammar advice I once found online, offered up by a self-appointed expert who thought he could help all us poor, misguided grammar ignoramuses: “‘Firstly’ isn’t a word.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: Bigger classes mean more demanding workload

The Whiteboard Jungle: Bigger classes mean more demanding workload

My head is throbbing, my throat’s on fire, and my limbs are numb.

A Word, Please: Clarity is a bigger asset than business speak

A Word, Please: Clarity is a bigger asset than business speak

Great news! I just received an action item — a request from a colleague to utilize core competencies. Here’s an excerpt from the email he sent me.

Start the Presses: Last call for the community board

Start the Presses: Last call for the community board

The countdown has begun, and no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump's inevitable implosion on national television. Instead, if you're interested in being part of the Glendale News-Press' community advisory board, now is the time to raise your hand.

Burb's Eye View: In no time, neighbors take on Burbank garbage detail

Burb's Eye View: In no time, neighbors take on Burbank garbage detail

It took Adelita Alvarez 24 hours to set up the Facebook page, send out the call for volunteers and take those volunteers to the dirty Verdugo hillside.

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.

Burb's Eye View: A quiet game of kings and retirees

Burb's Eye View: A quiet game of kings and retirees

I’d been at the table for about an hour, taking in what wisdom I could from Ivor Baron and Jose Solis. Sometimes the chess pieces blurred around and away, leaving a thinner collection of game pieces that should have been easier to read.

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 needed. There’s a gaping hole in your grammar...

Burb's Eye View: Young Scout is organizing an athlete send-off in Burbank

Burb's Eye View: Young Scout is organizing an athlete send-off in Burbank

This Friday, athletes from Botswana and Zimbabwe will leave Burbank and make final preparations before the Special Olympics begin the next day. They’ll be greeted with a send-off from people from across the city, wishing them well in the upcoming games.

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.

Burb's Eye View: Library reading club welcomes grown-up reviews

Burb's Eye View: Library reading club welcomes grown-up reviews

Three years ago, the Burbank Public Library modestly invited every single person in the city to become a book reviewer. A scant few, dozens maybe, have taken the library up on its offer.

Burb's Eye View: Having two cities to call home

Burb's Eye View: Having two cities to call home

Recently — in the last year maybe — I stopped telling people I was “heading back home” when visiting Mom and Dad. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just kind of happened. I’ve settled so comfortably in the Burbank area, and aspects of it remind me so much of...

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 Beautiful” and whose melody is the same as England&...

Burb's Eye View: Disney athletes sing for cancer hospital

Burb's Eye View: Disney athletes sing for cancer hospital

Before he sang a note, Christian Morales smiled under the sweat-inducing orange lights of Sardo’s karaoke bar. He politely thanked everyone for their attendance.

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 hope, I talk much better.

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.

Burb's Eye View: Getting to know the residents of Stough Canyon

Burb's Eye View: Getting to know the residents of Stough Canyon

The small king snake, though safely behind glass, was nonetheless imposing. It curled itself in its enclosure and bared its tongue to 5-year-old Benjamin Spangler.

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.

Burb's Eye View: Animal shelter features a purr-fect program

Burb's Eye View: Animal shelter features a purr-fect program

Earlier this month, CatCon filled Los Angeles with thousands of pet owners looking to fill their cat fancy with the latest trendy products manufactured for their felines.

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 Angeles Times columnist hero, Steve Lopez.

Burb's Eye View: A sea change for multitasking

Burb's Eye View: A sea change for multitasking

If you’ve ever asked someone to multitask, consider what you’ll get in return. Sometimes jobs are best handled one at a time.

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).

Burb's Eye View: Upgrades include hopes of eradication

Burb's Eye View: Upgrades include hopes of eradication

When the upgrades at Johnny Carson Park are completed this year, a new stage will replace the old one. It’s not big enough to bring in a band for a concert, which is just as well: The beetles are already there.

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.

Burb's Eye View: The Media City is perfect for a staycation

Burb's Eye View: The Media City is perfect for a staycation

I had scrubbed the oven wall so hard that the grease eventually filled and stained each tiny groove in my fingertips. Not exactly how I planned to spend the day off.

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 into the English-speaking world. Almost no one...

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.

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