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.
One of the most asked questions I get as a teacher is why does school start so early in August instead of September.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Imagine you wish to write a book. And you do.
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.
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...
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 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?