Columns

Read On: Getting together for a street hockey tradition

Read On: Getting together for a street hockey tradition

Well we lost another icon on Friday with the death of Leonard Nimoy, the incomparable Mr. Spock of “Star Trek” fame and by all accounts a good and decent man of real character. His looks to have been a life especially well-lived. After all is said and done, what more is there?

The Whiteboard Jungle: Tuition is not main hurdle for most community college students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Tuition is not main hurdle for most community college students

What does $1,400 buy nowadays? One year of cellphone service with T-Mobile, one year of television with DirecTV, or one year’s tuition at a California community college — for 60% of students, that is. The other 40% pay no tuition.

A Word, Please: Speakers shall say whatever they will

A Word, Please: Speakers shall say whatever they will

History has never been my subject, a fact I attribute to my “cut to the chase” type of thinking. In history, the chase always goes: Dude One fights Dude Two for the right to control Thing A and, when a victor emerges, everyone has to live under dude rule.

Burb's Eye View: A young book lover runs her own free library

Burb's Eye View: A young book lover runs her own free library

Ella Peresie found the giant box under the family Christmas tree, and though it had her name on it, she struggled to figure out what it was. Most kids might be happy with a few toys or the occasional clothes.

Start the Presses: Getting ready for election time

Start the Presses: Getting ready for election time

Remember when I said a few months ago that I wanted to shoot for at least a 25% turnout in our local municipal elections? Well, time to make it happen.

A Word, Please: An editor's effort to correct a pet peeve

A Word, Please: An editor's effort to correct a pet peeve

Did you hear the one about the guy who went onto Wikipedia and deleted 47,000 instances of the phrase “comprised of”?

Learning Matters: Clark Magnet High students shine at Eco Challenge

Learning Matters: Clark Magnet High students shine at Eco Challenge

Motivation matters in education, so what we say about why students learn is important. What students think about why they study matters even more.

Burb's Eye View: Mural helps light up tribute to 'Torch'

Burb's Eye View: Mural helps light up tribute to 'Torch'

For a few hours on Feb. 8, much of the L.A. swing scene descended on Joe’s Great American Bar and Grill on Magnolia Boulevard, paying tribute to the ding-dong daddy who kept that place bumpin.’

Read On: It's time for a heart to heart

Read On: It's time for a heart to heart

A quick check of the calendar tells us that it’s Valentine’s Day, the day commandeered by the retail floral, chocolate and lingerie industries and designed specifically to shame men into demonstrating their love for their mate by putting their money where their heart is.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Appreciating the greatness of Nat King Cole

The Whiteboard Jungle: Appreciating the greatness of Nat King Cole

One of my journalism students wrote an opinion piece lamenting the poor quality of music today when compared to 30 years ago, an unusual yet perceptive observation from someone so young. She mentioned the increasing use of Auto-Tune, a computer program that fixes a singer’s tonal performance.

A Word, Please: An eggcorn is also known as a mondegreen

A Word, Please: An eggcorn is also known as a mondegreen

When enough people use a word wrong, eventually it becomes right. That’s how every word in the language came to be. People started using a word differently than before (read: wrong) and it caught on and at one point started being right.

Burb's Eye View: Award honors volunteerism of older residents

Burb's Eye View: Award honors volunteerism of older residents

If you’ve been in Burbank a while, you may remember the first year the city bestowed its County of Los Angeles Outstanding Older American Award.

A Word, Please: Left dangling, a participle can lose its logic

A Word, Please: Left dangling, a participle can lose its logic

Danglers are an extremely important language concept. Not so much for writers as for jokesters. Danglers in writing and speech don’t necessarily hurt the reader. Often the message comes across just fine despite this dreaded error.

Learning Matters: Parent participation can lead to more student success

Learning Matters: Parent participation can lead to more student success

I think it peculiar that the federal Department of Education requires schools to establish meaningful parent engagement strategies as a condition of receiving federal funds, but the California Department of Education has called into question some of the more successful parent engagement models in...

Burb's Eye View: Libraries seek to give veterans a helping hand

Burb's Eye View: Libraries seek to give veterans a helping hand

The self-help section at the city’s two major libraries is about to become a larger resource for military veterans and their families.

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 clichés 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...

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