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&...
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.
“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.
In the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of stories and a lot of online sputtering regarding the salaries of local officials.
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.
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.
Peter Vanlaw thought that having a heart attack at the age of 51 might be the end of his life.
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.
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.
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 man is walking down the street.” “There is a man walking down the street.”
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.
If you’ve ever asked someone to multitask, consider what you’ll get in return. Sometimes jobs are best handled one at a time.
OK, I really didn’t want to do it. But I simply have to.
Now showing at a news site near you: the spelling “drive-thru.”
Each June, I struggle finding the right departing remarks to say to my students as the class runs its course (pun intended).
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.
About two weeks ago, I received a letter from a La Cañada high school student, Olivia Garland, who wrote to me as part of a class project on persuasive writing.
Some interesting stuff landed in the mailbag for this week. Let's dive in.
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.
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...
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.
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.
The candle-lit bags that line the Relay for Life course each year bear a message honoring a cancer survivor, a caregiver or someone who has died.
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 weeks.
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?
The banner recognizing Paul McKenna Jr. for his military career hangs high above the parking lot at Burbank City Hall. There are many like it around City Hall and along Third Street, honoring those from Burbank who continue their service.
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 — and the skies aren’t cooperating.
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.)
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.”
I still remember the first time I heard about Craigslist. It came from Craig’s competition — a classified-ads director who shuffled around the newsroom looking shell-shocked.
Who are Doug and Shelly Starling?
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 puts a premium on precision, it’s a good...
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 of workers; or a call of distress in an emergency.
When the doctors told her about her cancer, Lesley Smith was sure they didn’t do the test right.
When someone asks how you’re doing, can you respond “I am good”? Or is the only correct form “I am well”? And why?
No experience required.
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 would have died were it not for the quick work of a...
Next month, the gladiatorial stage will be set, and all over Burbank, the sweaty thrill of competition will overtake the city's playing fields.
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.
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-distance telephone service.
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?
He had lived in the house for more than 30 years, but now the pink paint was beginning to peel on Don Ray’s Verdugo Avenue home.
“My Dearest Gabi:
"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.
Like everyone who lives in Los Angeles County, I've spent the last several weeks picturing myself in a jury selection pool for the Robert Durst trial.
A few hours before the Friday lunch crowd fills the tables at Tony’s Darts Away, owners Tony and Amy Yanow stand at the head of the pool table. They’ve stacked 21 pairs of brown Converse sneakers on the felt and are opening a couple boxes to inspect the custom embroidery on each shoe.
Election day in Glendale is nearly upon us. Tuesday means it’s time to boogie down to your polling station and make your choices.
A lot of people are taught that a comma goes anywhere you want to indicate a pause. On the surface, that system appears to work out fine. Commas often do just that. But not always.