Columns

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.”

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: The call to destiny is rooted in character

Is it nature or nurture? Although we are genetically predisposed toward certain temperaments, experience and perception play a critical role in behavior. DNA is not definitive. Genetics may determine the cards we are dealt, but it’s my belief that experience, perception and will determine...

Around Town: A system is in place for justice

The unsurprising revelation earlier this month that Rolling Stone magazine failed to fact-check its article on gang rape at the University of Virginia proves, once again, that campus rape charges should be sent to the police, not to the student conduct board. (Around Town, “The ‘talk&...

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.

Around Town: Pining for a less commercialized Hanukkah

It’s time for Around Town’s annual hat tip to dreidels, latkes and menorahs. Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish holiday honoring the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem around 160 BCE (or B.C.) after the successful Maccabean Revolt against the Greek-Syrian soldiers who seized the temple...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Censorship serves as counterproductive force

While waiting for alchemy, Mamish, my daughters’ grandmother, carefully steeped the loose tea leaves in an old cracked ceramic porcelain teapot. Tea in an Armenian home is sacred. The girls’ grandfather Baba and their Uncle Raffi discussed the intricacies of engineering the repairs on...

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...

Around Town: Gluten-free tips for those so inclined

After a successful kosher, dairy- and gluten-free Thanksgiving, with everything made from scratch, I’ve decided to take this whole gluten thing up a notch.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A memorial to a hero and an alumnus

There’s a small vestibule dividing the front desk from the rear side of the campus at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada. You might say it’s a hallway where teachers stop and chat before hustling off to class. However, I find deeper significance there. When I’m asked...

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.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: NatureBridge program provides learning opportunity

I have various medals, most of which I’ve earned from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They signify a young man’s bravado and the misplaced intentions of the nation’s preoccupation with an ism it didn’t understand.

Around Town: 'The talk' can serve as an effective tool

La Cañada teens are fairly sheltered. Our town has a low crime rate. Yes, there are drugs, but no nightlife. Yes, there’s booze, but except for hurried drivers, the streets are fairly safe. If you run out of sugar, you can safely jog to the grocery store, coyotes and bears...

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...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: It's good to know the bear necessities

Bears! They're everywhere in La Cañada, stopping traffic on the 210, eating pumpkins on Viro Road and dining on trash at Baptiste Way. They've even caused lockdown situations at Paradise Canyon Elementary and Saint Francis High. It's typical of human imagination to create catastrophe...

Around Town: Let's sit down and do the math on Sagebrush

Common Core, for all its foibles, is the most misunderstood yet most effective method to comprehend the Glendale Unified School District's $23-million demand to resolve the Sagebrush dilemma.

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.

Around Town: Within city limits, hunting is an illegal activity

Camouflage-clad hunters, armed with bow and arrows, park on our streets and sneak onto our city trails. (“Deer draw sportsmen to La Cañada area,” Valley Sun, Nov. 5)

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Organization lends helping hand to wounded soldiers

While en route to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada, Kaitzer reminded me that Lisa Baker, the associate director of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra was speaking. I would’ve gone, but the club’s former president, Tom Passanisi, would’ve made me sing!

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...

Around Town: The Devil's Gate is in the details

La Cañada's real concern with the proposed Devil's Gate Sediment Removal Program in Hahamongna Watershed is not just the 150,000 truckloads or the removal of over 2.4 million cubic yards of sand and sediment. It's not the noise. Not the five years of traffic.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Change can often begin with a single voice

I appreciate the feedback I received on last week's column, “UC schools shouldn't overlook homegrown students.” I was beginning to...

818 Roundup: GUSD ups Sagebrush price; Schiff, Gatto, win re-election

818 Roundup: GUSD ups Sagebrush price; Schiff, Gatto, win re-election

Good morning, 818! Today is Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. Temperatures for today are expected to reach a high of 89 degress and a low of 61 degrees with clear skies in the evening.

Start the Presses: Sagebrush Burning

Start the Presses: Sagebrush Burning

Sagebrush Corners: Glendale Supt. Richard Sheehan, left, and La Cañada Supt. Wendy Sinnette are locked in increasingly tense negtiations.

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.

Around Town: Here's a not-so-scary guide to haunted fun

The Halloween season officially began in August at the Montrose CVS, and will conclude Friday night.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: UC schools shouldn't overlook homegrown students

Unquestionably, the older I get the more persnickety I become. It’s the curse of aging. Recently, I’ve read a plethora of articles about the politicians in Sacramento and other institutions of ill-repute betraying the youth of California by limiting UC admissions in lieu of out-of-...

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.

Around Town: Coffee is a hard habit to break

I promised to write more about Bestia, but my regimen with Equinox trainer Mike Padgett is finally showing results, which is why Stumptown Coffee is a better choice than Bestia.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A deeper look at the Kobani dilemma

I was a hawk, raised by members of the greatest generation, but the Vietnam War cured me of that infliction. I understand the precipitous nature of war and if you’re a good student of history, the ills of capitulation are readily discernible. The prosecution of war teeters on the razor’s...

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.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A good cause can leave a man hungry for more

I couldn't erase the thought of those delectable, mouth-watering lamb chops that Nick and Arsen Sarkisian were serving at the Cancer Care Network Foundation Dinner and Gala last Saturday night. They were my only salvation from the long-winded speeches at the Athletic Hall of Fame banquet at Glendale...

Around Town: Good coffee comes closer to home

Good coffee just came closer to La Cañada Flintridge, but you have to brew it yourself.

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.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Reflecting on the cost of war over the years

The sun rested 30-degrees over Missionary Ridge and the fall colors of the trees at the bloody angle burst with red, purple and yellow hues, signaling fall. The magic of autumn had reached Gettysburg, Pa. Beautiful! The Lutheran Theological Seminary with its white steeple appeared somber as it stood...

Around Town: Examining issue of civil-military divide

Last week, Joe Puglia addressed in his column the incident where President Obama saluted two Marines with a latte in his right hand.

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."

Around Town: Answers to Glendale's bad optics

Last week, our sister paper, the Glendale News-Press reported that our neighbor Glendale has some of the worst drivers in the nation.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: What's in a salute?

E pluribus unum is Latin and means “out of many, one.” The saying was originally the motto of the United States, but in 1956 Congress adopted “In God We Trust.”

 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.

Piece of Mind: Bad drivers may never shift gears

An age-old problem was tackled again in City Hall last week, when several parents of students who attend La Cañada Elementary School spoke to the Public Works and Traffic Commission about their struggles with drivers who drop off or pick up their children at the campus and seemingly don&...

Around Town: Proximity helps make life in LCF sweet

Here it is, another year. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, arrived with sundown Wednesday, when the year 5775 began.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Statistics don't always tell a true story

I didn't want to comment on the article appearing in the Valley Sun titled, “Mom: Teens need more sleep.” I had other fish to fry but the idea that school days should be...

 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.)

Around Town: Pepper Fryman is not forgotten

You can’t go to a Force Reconnaissance reunion without hearing about La Cañadan Roy "Pepper" Fryman.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A bold idea forms over sandwiches

The culmination of great ideas is often serendipitous. Sometimes creation occurs in quiet ways, such as ideas written on a paper napkin in a café. Such was the case for Ted and Betsy Merchant, Ashley Kim, Denise Longo and Rob Tribken.

Piece of Mind: Customers help rewrite video store's ending

Here's some great news for supporters of Hamlet Shahbazian, the beleaguered operator of La Cañada Video: He will be allowed to remain in place through October, after all. It seems his landlord, who had affixed a 30-day eviction notice to the store's front door in early August, has changed his...

Around Town: Examining the local trash collection debate

Valley Sun readers have pointed out that the city’s trash collection agreements will expire in 2015.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Learning the importance of etiquette

I was graduating from officers’ infantry school preparing to deploy to Vietnam. In the previous six months I learned every conceivable way to obliterate the enemy and how to deploy every weapons system from piano wire to the battleship New Jersey.

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...

Piece of Mind: Video store's sad ending is full of twists

Piece of Mind: Video store's sad ending is full of twists

The soft-spoken man behind the counter at La Cañada Video seems only slightly aware of the public outcry that is taking place on his behalf. Hamlet Shahbazian offers a modest smile when he's told that it's obvious from comments posted online this week that he is very much appreciated by all...

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