Columns

Read On: AT&T seems to have its wires crossed

Read On: AT&T seems to have its wires crossed

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.

A Word, Please: A listicle that spells things out for you

A Word, Please: A listicle that spells things out for you

Listicles are all the rage these days, or so young folks tell me.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writing is a tough but worthy pursuit

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writing is a tough but worthy pursuit

Last week, I was invited to participate in the Local Authors’ Showcase held at the Buena Vista Library in Burbank.

Burb's Eye View: Checking out the happenings at OktoBURfest

Burb's Eye View: Checking out the happenings at OktoBURfest

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.

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

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.

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

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.

Burb's Eye View: It isn't too early to support the city's Santas

Burb's Eye View: It isn't too early to support the city's Santas

She didn’t know where the gifts of food and clothes came from, but Heather Brown knew that at Christmas, they’d be there.

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

London is a place that gets a lot of rain.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

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.

Burb's Eye View: A late train, a hot sun and a true adventure

Burb's Eye View: A late train, a hot sun and a true adventure

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.

Leader Cartoon: Turn up the AC!

Leader Cartoon: Turn up the AC!

Bert Ring expresses the feelings of many Burbankers during the heat wave.

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

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.

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

Tom in Glendale, Calif., wrote with an interesting question about a newspaper headline that mentioned "well-paying jobs."

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

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?"

Burb's Eye View: The pumpkin glut can only mean one thing

Burb's Eye View: The pumpkin glut can only mean one thing

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...

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

Bert Ring gives his take on Glendale, again, being tagged with some of the nation's worst drivers.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

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.

 A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

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.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

Years ago, doctors took blood pressure, drew blood and administered medicine. Today, medical assistants perform these duties.

Burb's Eye View: A teen and tween go for the extreme

Burb's Eye View: A teen and tween go for the extreme

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.

 A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

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.)

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

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.

Burb's Eye View: Twelve-year-old raises funds in friend's memory

Burb's Eye View: Twelve-year-old raises funds in friend's memory

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 Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A reader named Loretta recently wrote to me after making a very astute observation.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

In the game of education, there are many players: students, parents, teachers, administrators, district officials, state and federal politicians. Too often, the group that has the most contact with the students — the teachers — is not part of policy decision-making.

Burb's Eye View: UFOs are nothing alien to this author

Burb's Eye View: UFOs are nothing alien to this author

In Burbank, there are UFOs and then there are UFOs.

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Cartoonist Bert Ring looks at a mash-up between California's drought problems and Gov. Jerry Brown's reelection campaign.

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

In a recent New York Times piece, novelist Zoe Heller wrote about helping her daughter with an English essay. "Try excising the words 'extremely,' 'totally' and 'incredibly,'" Heller suggested. Her daughter did and was "surprised to discover that not only were the intensifiers superfluous, but...

Burb's Eye View: Saving water is another important challenge

Burb's Eye View: Saving water is another important challenge

By now you may have seen the videos on the Internet of the "Ice Bucket Challenge," a fundraiser that's pretty straight-forward:

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

So this is the headline I woke up to read on my Facebook news feed on Friday morning: "Ice Bucket Fraud! ALS Foundation Admits 73% of Donations Not Used For ALS Research."

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

According to the Internet, there's a car dealer whose service department has a "kid's play area," but a competitor offers a "childrens play area."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

One of the charges of the high school English teacher is to help teenagers see the relevancy of literature to their lives. I'm always on the lookout on how to win over the students to read, in their minds, very old books from long, long ago.

Burb's Eye View: Chandler Bikeway's 10-year anniversary celebrated

Burb's Eye View: Chandler Bikeway's 10-year anniversary celebrated

Bob Olson first strapped on a pair of skates nearly 60 years ago, but until 10 years ago, he'd drive off to Hansen Dam to use them.

Leader Cartoon: Ice bucket challenge

Leader Cartoon: Ice bucket challenge

Bert Ring gives his take on the recent crazy over the "ice bucket challenge" and proposed rate hikes.

 Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Newspapers — community newspapers especially — have a duty to inform, entertain and engage. How well we do these three things is directly related to our value, our impact, and our stature.

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Some friends have asked about my intentions for next April's election. As I've told them, I'm not seeking another term on the Board of Education. And I don't plan to submit my name for the interim appointment to the seat being vacated by my good friend Mary Boger, though I pondered the possibility...

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

Much has been said about misused quotation marks. Photos of signs boasting about "fresh" seafood and "free" refills abound on the Internet, offering a good laugh at the expense of business owners who don't realize that quotation marks around "fresh" and "free" could suggest quite the opposite.

 Burb's Eye View: Literacy program is no trivial matter

Burb's Eye View: Literacy program is no trivial matter

Last year's citywide spelling bee was an experiment for the Burbank Public Library's literacy program, one that organizers won't try again as they reinvigorate the popular annual fundraiser — a trivia challenge.

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

I don't think I've seen the kind of shock and national mourning — and outpouring of love — for an entertainment figure that's been generated by the suicide this week of Robin Williams since Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

In casual conversation, most people I know don't worry too much about sounding proper. They don't bother with "whom." They say, "There's a lot of people here" instead of "There are a lot of people here." They opt for forms like "Joe is taller than me" instead of "Joe is taller than I."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

This summer has not been kind to California educators with increased deductions from their paychecks to pay for the pension fund, and tenure and job protection ruled illegal by a Superior Court judge.

Burb's Eye View: Places of worship put faith in the Web

Burb's Eye View: Places of worship put faith in the Web

Scott Lasky taught himself how to build a website so that the church he belongs to could be online. That’s what you do when you’re a large, networked organization: You have a website and you get on the Internet like everyone else.

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to take part in an informal poverty caucus at the Glendale Adult Recreation Center. There, elected officials from Burbank and...

 A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here a CNN article "about the president making an unannounced stop."

Burb's Eye View: Rosie proves to be quite the attraction at local shop

Burb's Eye View: Rosie proves to be quite the attraction at local shop

It’s hard to say why people fall in love with Rosie: maybe it’s the beauty mark on her nose or the way she’s perfected the pinup pose.

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

I can remember while growing up that I always thought America was the good guys. Not the ones who locked our borders and tossed away the key — "Sorry, you're too late, country's closed. Try again next century." Not the ones who justified torture. Not the ones who tried to bully the world...

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

Summertime is here, and with it come endless hours of sitting in the shade regretting all the years we spent baking in the sun.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

Knowing that the leading cause of death among teenagers is fatal car crashes, one would think that teaching adolescents how to safely drive would be a national priority — or at least a high school graduation requirement.

 Burb's Eye View: Muir students rock with music legends

Burb's Eye View: Muir students rock with music legends

We just had our faces melted off by the shrieking guitar riffs and arena-blasting, Prog-Rock stylings of Styx. Then Foreigner took the Greek Theatre stage, wailing on classic ballads 30 years past their Billboard heyday, but no less powerful.

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

For the last two years, I have taught a journalism class at USC. Most of my students are undergraduate sophomores, too young to drink, but not too young to seriously damage their reputation online.

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