Some interesting questions have been piling up in my inbox recently, including one from a reader named Lorraine who asked about the expression “exact same.”
I’ve been interviewing people as a journalist for nearly 40 years — I am, indeed, older than dirt — and have thrillingly managed to chat up some true American icons. Not to drop names, but they include Liz Taylor, Shirley MacLaine, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball, George...
JPL still thinks it's in Pasadena.
I began keeping a journal in the eighth grade. What prompted me to write was Amia Lucia Donatella Davia. She was the new student in Sister Dolores' class who came from Caltanissetta, Sicily. Amia was the reincarnation of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty. I was compelled to write about her and,...
I want to remind everyone that the Burbank Community Advisory Board will be having its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. This meeting will be held at the Burbank Bar and Grille on San Fernando Boulevard downtown and is open to all.
Because I’m a grammar columnist, anything I write can become a lightning rod for the Gotcha Squad. If an error appears in this column — no matter if it’s real or perceived — rest assured that I hear about it.
It’s Friday night in La Cañada. Your stomach rumbles, but you’re too lazy to cook. You drive up and down Foothill Boulevard, looking for a parking spot, glimpsing the lines waiting outside. School’s back in session, and all the restaurants are packed.
According to language legend, a classified ad once made this intriguing offer: Antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
We expect high school boys to make mistakes, but stonewalling by the adults is worse.
"Kaitzer, you have a package," I said.
This month let's continue focusing on seniors and their parents who are in the throes of choosing a college and applying. As I mentioned last month, there are literally thousands of schools to choose from. This is the Choice. But the Choice is only the beginning.
Punctuation stresses people out. Pretty much everyone in the English-speaking world knows what it’s like to sit at a keyboard, finger hovering above the hyphen or comma key, paralyzed by self-doubt.
We were trying to relax after a long day at work.
The word “hero” comes from the Greek connotation ascribed to a warrior. I would say the term goes a bit further, as it is aligned with divine ancestry. The Romans added to its etymology and gave the word additional meaning: protector. Since it contains no gender-specific suffix, it's a...
I could hear the TSA agent from way back in the line. “I’m well, thank you,” he said to one woman as he checked her boarding pass. “I’m well, and you?” he said to the next traveler who was polite enough to inquire. A minute later, he mentioned that he was still,...
I've been told you can't decipher circumstance based upon past experience. That perspective is as absurd as the La Cañada High School administrative team's reaction to a situation that occurred after school returned to session from summer break.
Logging onto Facebook can be scary when your feed is full of local burglary alerts, so I turned to our friend, retired San Marino Fire Chief Jim Anderson, to do a walk through of our house.
Apostrophes are equal opportunity humiliators. As I wrote recently, apostrophes incriminate less-word-savvy types by popping up in plurals like “We play bridge with the Smith’s” and “He had two different alibi’s” and “She designs company logo’s.”
Charlie Iccavone, who was from Misterbianco, Sicily, was my goombah. If you Google “goombah,” you'll find an Americanized definition explaining the term is derogatory. Italians understand the term designates a close friendship. You had to earn the distinction of goombah. But it's for...
A confession: I have mixed feelings about continuing to write about crime in the Foothills. It's a topic we're all interested in, but I don't want to pander to the sensational.
For the next two months we will take a detour from the study and educational “how to” and focus on the high school seniors (and parents).
“I have been told by some of my more educated friends that using the word “that” (see, I did it again) is many times unnecessary,” Randy wrote. “I was hoping you would weigh in on the technical side of when and when not to use that.”
I had just lost five bucks in one of those dispensers in baggage claim at Midway Airport in Chicago. You know what I'm talking about. The ones that spit out those tiny, feeble metal baggage carts with the broken wheels.
For the first time in its history, the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, also known as “2/23,” headquartered in Pasadena, will be headed by a La Cañadan.
If you feel like one of the unfortunate few who missed out on a good grammar education, welcome to the club. Almost everyone I’ve ever talked to about the subject feels the same way — as if they were out sick the day that everyone else in school learned everything there is to know...
The debate continues over the August back to school dates.
It was obvious Jeff Hengesbaugh would take a liking to the boy. They were cut from the same mold. Although Hengesbaugh is 70, he is half horse, half alligator, could leap the Mississippi, and ride upon a streak of lightning. I've even seen him whip his weight in wildcats. Many years ago we rode...
Here’s a bit of free grammar advice I once found online, offered up by a self-appointed expert who thought he could help all us poor, misguided grammar ignoramuses: “‘Firstly’ isn’t a word.”
My mom, Giovanna Puglia, was born a coal miner's daughter in Monongah, a little holler along the Monongahela River in West Virginia. She was not prone to sentiment; instead, she developed a persona akin to Captain Ahab of the Pequod. This served her well when I was growing up in the Bronx.
Life is full of change.
Great news! I just received an action item — a request from a colleague to utilize core competencies. Here’s an excerpt from the email he sent me.
We live in an administrative world of crossing t’s and dotting i’s. Whether this mask of righteousness is labeled fascism or democracy, I am convinced that the greatest evil to individual freedom does not manifest in the sordid lairs of corruption that Agatha Christie loved to describe....
All roads lead to La Cañada.
It should come as no surprise to you by now, that helping your kids develop better focusing skills is a combination of planning and flexibility. Hopefully, you and your family have developed some good study skills early on, but even if you haven’t, it’s not too late to improve your...
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.
It should come as no surprise to you by now, that helping your kids develop better focusing skills is a combination of planning and flexibility. Hopefully, you and your family have developed some good study skills early on, but even if you haven't, it's not too late to improve your situation.
I’m not a fan of Balboa Island. Too many people! Too many BMWs! And frankly, I don’t find the spirituality of sea, earth and sky there. Too many boutiques, cheap T-shirt vendors and electric cars! I am more inclined to love the Central Coast of California, north into the redwoods, and on...
Bravo zulu to LCF City Councilwoman Terry Walker for her letter to the editor against the 710 tunnel extension that ran in last Thursday’s Valley Sun.
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...
I blame Sister Mary Delores for turning me into a consummate reader. In 1960, Sister mandated we read 15 books during the summer prior to entering the eighth grade.
There’s this strange thing that happened on my iPhone. If I said, “Siri, charge my phone 100 percent,” the phone would announce aloud that I had five seconds to cancel a 911 call.
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.
There's a lot of people rooting for La Cañada Flintridge native and Flintridge Prep grad Megan Kimble, the author of “Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food.”
It was Dec. 21, 1971. Bob Hope and the USO “On the Road Christmas Tour” were performing at Freedom Hill in Da Nang, Vietnam. Seeing Lola Falana and Ursula Andress was more than this Marine could hope for.
Having taken note of the recent tugs of war over the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to replace a percentage of the $10 bills that now feature Alexander Hamilton with the face of a yet-to-be-determined woman of historical importance, La Cañada resident Rudy Cataldi came up with an idea.
Here's a thought: In preparation for my interview of a local author, I decided to actually read her book. I'm on page 45 and I can't put it down.
The wind was blowing southeast from the direction of Glorieta Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. Since it came from the west, it was Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind. Zephyrus was the gentlest of winds and a messenger of the gods.
When I got to Vietnam I learned the only thing worse than being a second lieutenant was being a second lieutenant from New York City. A Yankee! I was consumed by college boy idealism. However, my opinions would soon collide with reality.