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 Burb's Eye View: Literacy program is no trivial matter

Burb's Eye View: Literacy program is no trivial matter

Last year's citywide spelling bee was an experiment for the Burbank Public Library's literacy program, one that organizers won't try again as they reinvigorate the popular annual fundraiser — a trivia challenge.

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

I don't think I've seen the kind of shock and national mourning — and outpouring of love — for an entertainment figure that's been generated by the suicide this week of Robin Williams since Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

In casual conversation, most people I know don't worry too much about sounding proper. They don't bother with "whom." They say, "There's a lot of people here" instead of "There are a lot of people here." They opt for forms like "Joe is taller than me" instead of "Joe is taller than I."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

This summer has not been kind to California educators with increased deductions from their paychecks to pay for the pension fund, and tenure and job protection ruled illegal by a Superior Court judge.

Burb's Eye View: Places of worship put faith in the Web

Burb's Eye View: Places of worship put faith in the Web

Scott Lasky taught himself how to build a website so that the church he belongs to could be online. That’s what you do when you’re a large, networked organization: You have a website and you get on the Internet like everyone else.

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to take part in an informal poverty caucus at the Glendale Adult Recreation Center. There, elected officials from Burbank and...

 A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here a CNN article "about the president making an unannounced stop."

Burb's Eye View: Rosie proves to be quite the attraction at local shop

Burb's Eye View: Rosie proves to be quite the attraction at local shop

It’s hard to say why people fall in love with Rosie: maybe it’s the beauty mark on her nose or the way she’s perfected the pinup pose.

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

I can remember while growing up that I always thought America was the good guys. Not the ones who locked our borders and tossed away the key — "Sorry, you're too late, country's closed. Try again next century." Not the ones who justified torture. Not the ones who tried to bully the world...

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

Summertime is here, and with it come endless hours of sitting in the shade regretting all the years we spent baking in the sun.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

Knowing that the leading cause of death among teenagers is fatal car crashes, one would think that teaching adolescents how to safely drive would be a national priority — or at least a high school graduation requirement.

 Burb's Eye View: Muir students rock with music legends

Burb's Eye View: Muir students rock with music legends

We just had our faces melted off by the shrieking guitar riffs and arena-blasting, Prog-Rock stylings of Styx. Then Foreigner took the Greek Theatre stage, wailing on classic ballads 30 years past their Billboard heyday, but no less powerful.

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

For the last two years, I have taught a journalism class at USC. Most of my students are undergraduate sophomores, too young to drink, but not too young to seriously damage their reputation online.

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

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...

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

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...

Burb's Eye View: Bicyclists join forces for 'Walk Bike Burbank'

Burb's Eye View: Bicyclists join forces for 'Walk Bike Burbank'

Last weekend, a group of bicyclists gathered around a coffee-shop table and solidified a new era for Burbank’s bike and pedestrian paths.

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

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...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Using 'time off' to an advantage

The Whiteboard Jungle: Using 'time off' to an advantage

“Teachers have so much time off” is an often repeated sentiment among noneducators.

Burb's Eye View: Rolling the dice on a new Burbank pastime

Burb's Eye View: Rolling the dice on a new Burbank pastime

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.

Start the Presses: With love from Santa Clarita

Start the Presses: With love from Santa Clarita

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...

A Word, Please: Web mistakes are an everyday occurrence

A Word, Please: Web mistakes are an everyday occurrence

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...

Learning Matters: Making the most of the summer break

Learning Matters: Making the most of the summer break

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...

Burb's Eye View: The city, the ball and the wardrobe

Burb's Eye View: The city, the ball and the wardrobe

The man’s name was Jimmy Old-son and he was a journalist from the later 1800s looking for adventure.

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

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.

Read On: Sharing my advice on life

Read On: Sharing my advice on life

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.

A Word, Please: Narrowing down what really matters

A Word, Please: Narrowing down what really matters

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.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: A chat with 'Leave it to Beaver' star

The Whiteboard Jungle: A chat with 'Leave it to Beaver' star

Bringing up decent children in a sometimes indecent world is challenging for both parents and teachers.

Burb's Eye View: The sometimes strange business of memorials

Burb's Eye View: The sometimes strange business of memorials

A few weeks ago I “met” a patron of the Colony Theatre whose ashes are contained within a sarcophagus in the lobby.

Start the Presses: Utility players on the council

Start the Presses: Utility players on the council

The Burbank City Council has no clothes.

A Word, Please: A certain prefix is driving her coconuts

A Word, Please: A certain prefix is driving her coconuts

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.

Learning Matters: Return to PTA emphasizes big changes

Learning Matters: Return to PTA emphasizes big changes

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.

Read On: A less expensive branding campaign

Read On: A less expensive branding campaign

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...

A Word, Please: Your conversations may be in a subjunctive mood

A Word, Please: Your conversations may be in a subjunctive mood

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.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mayor should hold himself to higher standard

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mayor should hold himself to higher standard

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...

Burb's Eye View: Don't shortchange the value of coin collecting

Burb's Eye View: Don't shortchange the value of coin collecting

John Kozlowsky sat across from the appraiser with a bag of dimes in his left hand, a list of handwritten questions in his right.

Start the Presses: An interesting week in gender issues

Start the Presses: An interesting week in gender issues

This has been a fascinating week, gender wise. First, Glendale resumed its women's self-defense class — delayed while officials tried to figure out...

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

I graduated from college not knowing what money is, how a computer works or the meaning of the word "adverb."

Learning Matters: Kudos to workers trying to close the gap

Learning Matters: Kudos to workers trying to close the gap

It seems wherever I go in the realms of education and career, I'm being urged to "mind the gap."

Burb's Eye View: Scout paints B project as Eagle worthy

Burb's Eye View: Scout paints B project as Eagle worthy

The giant B overlooking downtown Burbank from the Verdugo foothills is older than most of the people who see it every day.

 Read On: A nation held hostage by gun nuts

Read On: A nation held hostage by gun nuts

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.

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

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.

 The Whiteboard Jungle: Writers may be happy to hear from you

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writers may be happy to hear from you

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.

Burb's Eye View: Colony Theatre makes way for new memories

Burb's Eye View: Colony Theatre makes way for new memories

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.

Start the Presses: Elliot Rodger, Burbank guns and the Glendale Gun Show

Start the Presses: Elliot Rodger, Burbank guns and the Glendale Gun Show

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.

A Word, Please: Avoiding 'whom' might be best way to go

A Word, Please: Avoiding 'whom' might be best way to go

I fielded a question recently about one of my favorite subjects: “whomever.”

Learning Matters: GCC choir provides a fun outlet

Learning Matters: GCC choir provides a fun outlet

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...

Read On: Phone becomes international traveler

Read On: Phone becomes international traveler

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.

A Word, Please: The multipurpose apostrophe rarely forms plurals

A Word, Please: The multipurpose apostrophe rarely forms plurals

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 Whiteboard Jungle: Where are the voices against pot legalization?

The Whiteboard Jungle: Where are the voices against pot legalization?

The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that 54% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

Burb's Eye View: Reflection and inspiration on Memorial Day

Burb's Eye View: Reflection and inspiration on Memorial Day

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.

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