Columns

The Whiteboard Jungle: Measles outbreak is a sign of selfishness

The Whiteboard Jungle: Measles outbreak is a sign of selfishness

What began as a curious story of a small measles outbreak in, of all places, the so-called Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland, has stretched to nearly 100 cases across eight states and into Mexico.

Burb's Eye View: A channel bikeway and backyard politics

Burb's Eye View: A channel bikeway and backyard politics

A sand-colored cinder-block wall separates the Western Channel Bikeway from a home on Elm Street. It blocks the view of the path, but not the cigarette smoke that wafts into Jorge Pineda's house.

Start the Presses: Doing our part following the money

Start the Presses: Doing our part following the money

There are three clich├ęs in journalism. Well, main ones. The first is: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

A Word, Please: Ten common usages mistaken for mistakes

A Word, Please: Ten common usages mistaken for mistakes

Some people just love to correct others’ grammar and usage. They know it rubs people the wrong way. But they justify it like this: “I’m doing the poor ignoramuses a favor. I’ll endure their resentment for their own good. I’m no hero. Just your average, everyday martyr.&...

Learning Matters: Career-technical education continues to evolve

Learning Matters: Career-technical education continues to evolve

College and career readiness is on the move in Glendale and across the country. As Kelly Corrigan reported in this paper last week (“Glendale Unified secures...

Burb's Eye View: Wine, paint and learning on their palette

Burb's Eye View: Wine, paint and learning on their palette

Spread next to the bottles of A-1 and Tapatio hot sauce are long, sturdy paint brushes. Glasses of chardonnay are set next to canvases. The painting party can begin.

Read On: Oscar acting nods show lack of diversity

Read On: Oscar acting nods show lack of diversity

I’m feeling a lot of the outrage here in Hollywood/Burbank/Glendale since Thursday’s announcement of Academy Award nominations — namely, that all 20 lead and supporting nominees in the acting categories are white for only the second time in 14 years.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Student's tenacity results in gig at Clippers game

The Whiteboard Jungle: Student's tenacity results in gig at Clippers game

I often encourage my student journalists not to feel fearful or intimidated when selling advertisements or speaking to adults for articles. However, it remains challenging for many of these young people to assert themselves. A small minority do have a natural “go-after-it” attitude....

A Word, Please: Grammar lists often forget to check the facts

A Word, Please: Grammar lists often forget to check the facts

If you search the Internet for the term “grammar mistakes,” you’ll get a lot of hits, many of them published lists that school you on the linguistic atrocities people supposedly commit every day.

Burb's Eye View: A shot outside the door may just be a winner

Burb's Eye View: A shot outside the door may just be a winner

Yosemite. Easter Island. Alameda Avenue.

Start the Presses: Getting ready for the area's 2015 elections

Start the Presses: Getting ready for the area's 2015 elections

This coming week, the Burbank Leader will unveil its much anticipated — or perhaps feared — election website. A companion site on the Glendale News-Press will launch shortly after the nomination period closes later this month for the Jewel City.

A Word, Please: 'Graduate' is a grammatical free-for-all

A Word, Please: 'Graduate' is a grammatical free-for-all

National Public Radio recently asked listeners to submit their top grammar peeves.

Learning Matters: Life and politics can turn on a penny

Learning Matters: Life and politics can turn on a penny

When I was about 7, my older cousin took me on a penny hike. It was really a suburban walk rather than a hike, but the penny guided us. At each corner, we’d flip the coin. Heads we’d go right, tails left.

Burb's Eye View: Bob Hope Airport has an identity crisis

Burb's Eye View: Bob Hope Airport has an identity crisis

Two travelers bound for Las Vegas, having exhausted their conversation topics, looked around the Bob Hope Airport terminal at nothing in particular.

Read On: Things often not what they seem

Read On: Things often not what they seem

Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s a new year, when our thoughts turn to hope for a better world, optimism for a great 12 months ahead, resolutions to personally improve each of our lives, all of that stuff.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Exploring the life of Mantle during winter break

The Whiteboard Jungle: Exploring the life of Mantle during winter break

Writing a column right between the end of one year and the start of another is tricky. Typically, writers come up with “the list of the [fill in the blank] of 2014.” I thought about selecting the top education stories of the year, but got a bit depressed.

A Word, Please: Meaning can get lost at a certain level

A Word, Please: Meaning can get lost at a certain level

In September, the “Chronicle of Higher Education” published an article by linguist and Harvard professor Steven Pinker titled “Why Academics Stink at Writing.”

Burb's Eye View: Volunteers come to the aid of 'Jungle Rescue'

Burb's Eye View: Volunteers come to the aid of 'Jungle Rescue'

By the time you read this, the monkeys will no longer be naked.

A Word, Please: A guide on how to write names of holidays

A Word, Please: A guide on how to write names of holidays

The new year, that is, New Year’s, is upon us. Soon after will come Presidents Day, also known as Presidents’ Day, then Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Veterans Day, Xmas and a bunch of other holidays no one knows how to write.

Start the Presses: Wishes for the New Year

Start the Presses: Wishes for the New Year

For the better part of a decade, my friends and I have spent New Year’s Day the same way. We drive down to Dockweiler Beach around sunset to “Burn the Man,” a ritual that grew from being a silly tradition to a sacred one.

Learning Matters: Hearing advice at Sunday Lunch Program

Learning Matters: Hearing advice at Sunday Lunch Program

“Don’t drop out of school. Get all the education you can,” advised Johnny, when I asked him recently what advice he’d give a young person today. Johnny is a regular participant at the Sunday Lunch Program, hosted each week in Glendale by volunteers at several area churches....

Burb's Eye View: Magical truck has become a sound tradition

Burb's Eye View: Magical truck has become a sound tradition

Three decades ago, Rick Holbrook threw some Christmas lights on a pickup truck and put some musicians in the back.

Read On: Yanking 'The Interview' was inevitable

Read On: Yanking 'The Interview' was inevitable

Well, what a year, huh? Crazy stuff in politics, in sports, in entertainment. Really crazy in entertainment.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Students trade their front teeth for Mariah

The Whiteboard Jungle: Students trade their front teeth for Mariah

Nearly 70 years ago, a music teacher filling in for his wife’s second-grade class asked the children what they wanted for Christmas.

A Word, Please: A mistake is not quite the same as an error

A Word, Please: A mistake is not quite the same as an error

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.”

Burb's Eye View: A letter to a stranger met in passing

Burb's Eye View: A letter to a stranger met in passing

To the woman on West Elm Avenue who I visited early Saturday morning:

A Word, Please: Don't beat yourself up over reflexive pronouns

A Word, Please: Don't beat yourself up over reflexive pronouns

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.

Learning Matters: Pageants can teach lessons outside of school

Learning Matters: Pageants can teach lessons outside of school

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.

Burb's Eye View: Nativity Festival finds faith in the details

Burb's Eye View: Nativity Festival finds faith in the details

Last weekend’s Nativity Festival was big on spectacle, but the small things really left their mark.

Read On: Twelve things to be happy about

Read On: Twelve things to be happy about

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...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Appreciating the legacy of 'The Christmas Song'

The Whiteboard Jungle: Appreciating the legacy of 'The Christmas Song'

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.

A Word, Please: A holiday gift list for mindful language lovers

A Word, Please: A holiday gift list for mindful language lovers

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...

Burb's Eye View: Helping local shops on 'Small Business Saturday'

Burb's Eye View: Helping local shops on 'Small Business Saturday'

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.

Learning Matters: Getting help to the variety who need it

Learning Matters: Getting help to the variety who need it

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.

A Word, Please: It's not possible to badly split an infinitive

A Word, Please: It's not possible to badly split an infinitive

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.

Burb's Eye View: A message helps make a happy home

Burb's Eye View: A message helps make a happy home

When she moved into her new home on Lincoln Street this month, Elana Helgesen discovered a welcome surprise message: “Will you marry me?”

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teacher salaries say something about society

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teacher salaries say something about society

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.

A Word, Please: There's correct, and then there's also correct

A Word, Please: There's correct, and then there's also correct

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...

Burb's Eye View: Family Promise works to reboot its services

Burb's Eye View: Family Promise works to reboot its services

Family Promise of the Verdugos began as a conversation.

A Word, Please: Here's an early grammar gift for the holidays

A Word, Please: Here's an early grammar gift for the holidays

Before you start composing your holiday cards and invitations, here’s a cautionary tale for you.

Learning Matters: The joys of performing poll-worker duty

Learning Matters: The joys of performing poll-worker duty

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...

Burb's Eye View: She knows how to tap into public transportation

Burb's Eye View: She knows how to tap into public transportation

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.

Read On: Election had little to do with facts

Read On: Election had little to do with facts

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.

A Word, Please: What's before who makes all the difference

A Word, Please: What's before who makes all the difference

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...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Parent involvement plays key role in schools' success

The Whiteboard Jungle: Parent involvement plays key role in schools' success

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.

Burb's Eye View: Time to sit down and hammer out your story

Burb's Eye View: Time to sit down and hammer out your story

This month you may see more laptops than usual at your local diner or cafe.

Learning Matters: A Halloween carnival can be a thrilling opportunity

Learning Matters: A Halloween carnival can be a thrilling opportunity

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.

A Word, Please: Lay and lie can even trip up the dictionary

A Word, Please: Lay and lie can even trip up the dictionary

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.

Burb's Eye View: This year's Secret Art Show slated for Nov. 22

Burb's Eye View: This year's Secret Art Show slated for Nov. 22

Last year, Cathy Stevens expected to walk into the art gallery, pick up something nice and scoot out the exit.

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