Nearly 70 years ago, a music teacher filling in for his wife’s second-grade class asked the children what they wanted for Christmas.
Not long ago in this space, I wrote about exceptions to a grammar rule. I added, “But none of those exceptions apply in modern publishing.”
To the woman on West Elm Avenue who I visited early Saturday morning:
Dave in Elkland, Pa., wrote to me recently about pronouns ending in “self” — myself, yourself, and so on — and how annoying they can be at times. “‘Myself,’ in particular, drives me near distraction,” he wrote.
Last Saturday, I was at church for the opening rehearsal of the annual children’s Christmas pageant. I’ve spent the majority of my December Saturday mornings in this activity since our daughter’s first pageant appearance in the late 1980s.
Last weekend’s Nativity Festival was big on spectacle, but the small things really left their mark.
I think it's safe to say that no one will ever accuse me of being a Pollyanna who looks at the world in an overly positive way. In truth, I'm the world's most cynical and pessimistic optimist — so cynical and pessimistic, in fact, that the optimism part often gets lost. Since I began writing...
For years now on most Fridays, I begin class not with a grammar or writing exercise but with a music lesson as a way to broaden my students’ musical knowledge by playing for them some of the great singers and composers of the 20th century, artists I know they don’t have on their iPods.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a language lover. And if you’re a language lover, there’s a good chance your holiday gift list includes some birds of a feather — fellow language lovers who’d be delighted to get the perfect language...
By the time the third knickknack hit the bottom of the crinkly paper bag, I had the sudden, overwhelming epiphany that I had finished Christmas shopping for my sister.
Glendale and La Crescenta together make an appealing size for a community — big enough to be interesting and small enough to be knowable, with many resources to meet the needs of children and families.
Not long ago while editing a series of articles, I noticed that the writer had strange ideas about where to put adverbs. Many were placed before the verbs and some before the subjects, too.
When she moved into her new home on Lincoln Street this month, Elana Helgesen discovered a welcome surprise message: “Will you marry me?”
Back in 1998, when I was embarking on my 10th year as a teacher, I had an op-ed piece published in the Times about paying good teachers six-figure salaries as a way to attract and retain higher qualified people.
Sometimes it seems like grammar is all darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t propositions. If you say “Who are you visiting tomorrow?” some people will look down on you for not using “whom.” But if you use “whom,” others will think you’re out of...
Family Promise of the Verdugos began as a conversation.
Before you start composing your holiday cards and invitations, here’s a cautionary tale for you.
Election day is over, and I suspect most of us are relieved. As the League of Women Voters emailed, “… It’s once again safe to open the mailbox, answer the phone and leave the TV unmuted during commercials.” Yet for all the calls and emails, only 25% of registered voters...
A little over a year ago, Fay Playsted sat in the room at the Joslyn Adult Center, listening to someone from the L.A. Metro transit service talk about all the benefits of taking the bus or train. It made sense to her; she’d used the service for years commuting from Burbank to downtown L.A.
It's a weird thing sometimes to live in the United States, particularly when you feel so out-of-step with the masses — as I did on Tuesday night.
I saw a fascinating online grammar discussion recently that I was eager to discuss in this column. But I can’t. It contained a bad word, by which I mean a great word — one of those anatomically specific insults that can make anyone the butt of a joke while simultaneously resonating...
Lost in the middle of the midterm election coverage this week was a major press conference on Monday by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing a $150-million infusion into the Big Apple’s 94 worst-performing schools, creating community schools.
This month you may see more laptops than usual at your local diner or cafe.
Scarecrows, jack-o’-lanterns, hay bales and witches have appeared again at elementary schools across the district. PTA members have been setting up game booths, enlisting volunteers and gathering prizes by the boxful.
Not so long ago, the only people who had to worry about typos were named Gutenberg. Today, typos dog everyone with a keyboard, and that horrible feeling of realizing too late that a resume, important email or blog post contained an error is practically universal.
Last year, Cathy Stevens expected to walk into the art gallery, pick up something nice and scoot out the exit.
So while I hate to write about my own personal issues — actually, that’s a lie, there is little I like to do more — I must take the opportunity here to slam the stuffing out of a little company you may have heard of called AT&T.
Listicles are all the rage these days, or so young folks tell me.
Last week, I was invited to participate in the Local Authors’ Showcase held at the Buena Vista Library in Burbank.
This past Saturday, the city of Burbank held possibly the largest public beer tasting in its history, teaching the ale-and-lager-loving public there’s a complex spectrum to the craft-beer movement in Southern California, and Burbank may be the perfect hub to capture its hop-infused magic.
Does the passive voice lend itself to biased, manipulative writing? A reader named Richard wanted to know after witnessing a discussion about a news article.
A few years ago, a French-Armenian graduate student came to Glendale to gather research for her dissertation on Armenian communities in Glendale and Hollywood. I had the pleasure of spending several hours with her at the invitation of my City Attorney friend, Lucy Varpetian.
She didn’t know where the gifts of food and clothes came from, but Heather Brown knew that at Christmas, they’d be there.
London is a place that gets a lot of rain.
A couple of days ago was the annual Walk to School Day. Knowing such a day exists may raise eyebrows as to its need until you realize, as my fellow Friday columnist Joylene Wagner pointed out, kids just don’t walk to school anymore.
Stepping out into the bright morning from Union Station, we were disoriented. We hopped on our bikes and rode a couple blocks into Chinatown, where we found ourselves smack in the middle of a parade.
Bert Ring expresses the feelings of many Burbankers during the heat wave.
Over the last few years, thanks to the work of parent and traffic-safety advocate Kara Sergile, I've had experience as both a valet drop-off lane attendant and a "walking school bus" volunteer with R.D. White Elementary.
Tom in Glendale, Calif., wrote with an interesting question about a newspaper headline that mentioned "well-paying jobs."
When you tell people that you've got a bag of sheep's wool in your possession, the first thing you get asked is, "Can I touch it?"
My local Trader Joe’s has once again transformed into a purveyor of all things pumpkin. It’s as if the Pumpkin Innards Fairy launched itself from its pumpkin patch, gathering the masses of discarded jack-o’-lantern glop to insert them into every baked good, coffee product and...
Bert Ring gives his take on Glendale, again, being tagged with some of the nation's worst drivers.
I have to admit that when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States back in 2008, it seemed not only historic but incredibly exciting to everyone in my liberal-minded circle. A black president, in our lifetime. It was glorious. I felt fortunate to be alive to witness it.
National Punctuation Day, which took place on Wednesday, turned 10 this year. The brainchild of Northern California education booster Jeff Rubin, the annual event aims to help kids learn about periods, commas, quotation marks and the rest.
Years ago, doctors took blood pressure, drew blood and administered medicine. Today, medical assistants perform these duties.
A few years ago, the Flores brothers first evaluated the Extreme Cowboy Assn. and their place within it with all the rigor and careful planning that a 15-year-old and an 8-year-old could muster.
If I had a nickel for every time I've written about ending sentences with prepositions, I'd be about 5 cents shy of that Frappucino I've had my eye on. (I'd probably also be one of the top earners in what remains of the newspaper industry, but that's a subject for another day.)
A few weeks ago, a colleague and I went to Daily High School to meet with the new principal Rene Valdes, about a school-to-career grant we're working on. Deb Rinder, whose responsibilities include the high schools, joined us for the conversation.
Before an ounce of soapy water soaked the first windshield at 12-year-old Will Jurman's car wash, he'd already earned $900 in memory of his friend.
A reader named Loretta recently wrote to me after making a very astute observation.