Columns

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

When I was a kid, I fancied myself a musical-parody artist. Most of the spoof lyrics I created for popular songs are lost to the ages, and the stuff I remember I’ll spare you due to its heavy emphasis on flatulence (“Heart of Glass,” indeed). But the lessons from that exercise live...

Piece of Mind: Educational foundations provide valuable service

Education inequality — such as undeniably exists between schools in affluent communities and those in poor areas — is of concern to anyone who has compassion for others and who understands the value of good schooling to the future of our civilization. If all children, from the most...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Sharing the story of two travelers

Cecilia Del Valle Navarro is from the picturesque town of Alcazar de San Juan, located in the Castile-La Mancha region of Central Spain. The plains of La Mancha entice one into the world of Don Quixote de La Mancha created by Miguel de Cervantes. Alcazar de San Juan is a town of windmills, castles,...

Around Town: Continuing tales from the Proper

The summers are long in La Cañada Flintridge.

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

Recently, I mentioned in a column that adverbs aren’t just those “ly” words that modify verbs. They’re a much larger group, including words that answer the questions “when,” “where” and “in what manner?” So in “I’ll see you...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Value Card can lead to big savings

I must have had a ghastly look on my face. Goulash! Like a deer in the headlights! Local school boosters Tanya Pereira and Analily Park were perplexed by my reaction. Since I was in the company of two prominent and eloquent La Cañada ladies, I had to watch my manners. I refrained from my...

Around Town: Enjoying the real 'Aviation' cocktail

Another hot Monday night at the Flintridge Proper. The Happy Hour had come and gone. Now was the time for a real cocktail. On the table before me there was a small stemmed glass.

Around Town: Checking out mysteries of mixology

It was 4:45 p.m. on a hot Monday night in La Cañada Flintridge. I was at a pub decorated with local historical memorabilia and riding equipment, waiting for some friends.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Experience is a great teacher

I would not say Capt. Mulcahy was a fair man. However, for some reason he indulged my eccentric fantasies. I’m sure being a golden gloves contender had something to do with his benevolent and tolerant attitude. Mulcahy commanded the 41st police precinct, known as Fort Apache, the Bronx. I...

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

The old Orchard Supply Hardware in Burbank sits half a mile from my former home on Reese Place. Despite its convenient location, it never failed to have more than half of what I needed for any project, forcing me to trudge another couple miles to the Home Depot down the road.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Adventures at the Missouri River

The wind was blowing southeast, from the high plains in northwestern Montana. In the distance the weather front approached, tracing the channel cut by the Missouri River thousands of years prior. According to my recollection, we had 30 minutes of dry weather before the inevitable storm. I grabbed my...

Around Town: Some summer viewing choices

Just in time for summer, the Supreme Court put the kibosh on Internet retransmission of television signals in American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. vs. Aereo, Inc. Despite Aereo’s absence from the La Cañada market, it’s time to reconsider live stream offerings from vendors who have...

Piece of Mind: Farmhouse may not be long for this world

Piece of Mind: Farmhouse may not be long for this world

For more than a century the modest white farmhouse has stood on the northeast corner where the equally narrow but well-traveled Craig and Commonwealth avenues meet. It has withstood the occasional battering of the elements and all the major earthquakes that have struck the region since its...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Remembering the legacy of John Davitt

In June 1975 I was discharged from the Marines, heading back home to New York after a four-week stint at the Naval Amphibious Warfare School in Coronado, Calif. En route I visited one of my former Marines then enrolled at Glendale Community College. There, he introduced me to his college mentor, Dr....

Around Town: Area's water report dates back to 19th century

Summer is here, along with the La Cañada Irrigation District’s water report. Not that any of us, other than the oceanographers, can understand the report.

Around Town: Survey focuses on readers' coffee habits

Since our inception, Around Town has conducted surveys to determine local values, perspectives and culture. This week, Around Town takes a look at what many consider to be the start of their day: coffee.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Examining the fog of war

Trinh Thi Ngo was like Dr. Pepper. Rain or shine she broadcast three times a day from Radio Hanoi, attempting to persuade us that American involvement in Vietnam was immoral. Trying to incite feelings of homesickness and fear, she played popular U.S. anti-war songs, told us of our girlfriends’...

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

I graduated from college not knowing what money is, how a computer works or the meaning of the word "adverb."

Guest Column: Memories of a noble gift that was taken for granted

"Doc, it's Pete Davis. My brother, Jim, shot himself straight through his right shoe. We've been deer hunting. He's bleeding bad."

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: The story of Catherine Gangly

Catherine Gangly lived in apartment 1C directly across from ours. She was 80, arthritic and meek, but possessed a well-defined mind. Each day she made cookies for all the children who came to her door. Catherine was a numismatist, a coin collector and owned a mint 1909 S VBD penny, valued in the...

Around Town: Younger generation will soon take charge

A baby is born. A teen graduates from high school. A parent retires. A grandparent dies. There are generational shifts that occur every day.

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

People. People who need people. They’re the luckiest people in the world, according to some people. But according to other people, it’s not the people who need people, but the people “that” need people who win.

Piece of Mind: Mountain living was in the school's nature

A half century ago, when the Angeles National Forest still seemed relatively undisturbed and somewhat quaint to the towns folk below, a ceremony attended by 135 people was held to dedicate the new buildings comprising Chilao Mountain School.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Having tea with Mandy Marie

I couldn’t help notice the girl sitting in the corner of Starbucks. She was on break from the laborious task of crafting Cinnamon Dolce Lattes and Carmel Macchiatos. In my day you had two choices of coffee. Black or white.

Around Town: VA needs to be held accountable

A week ago Wednesday, the Veterans Administration Inspector General issued an interim report stating that 1,700 veterans who sought treatment at the Phoenix VA were victims of the scandal. The names of the vets had been erased from the official waiting list. If a vet requested care in January, the...

A Word, Please: Avoiding 'whom' might be best way to go

A Word, Please: Avoiding 'whom' might be best way to go

I fielded a question recently about one of my favorite subjects: “whomever.”

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Watching LCHS seniors pass the torch

What! Are you serious? Did 700 LCHS students play hooky last Wednesday? I bet that didn’t make Dr. Gold happy watching all those average daily attendance dollars float out the window. That sudden urge to abandon ship better not have anything to do with the fact I was at LCHS, teaching six...

Around Town: A homemade meal for each day

Just as Los Angeles has four seasons in Los Angeles (wind, mud, rain and earthquake), there are four sections to the La Cañada year, each marked by unique weather patterns resulting from our city’s changing position with regard to the rest of the universe. Those seasons are:...

A Word, Please: The multipurpose apostrophe rarely forms plurals

A Word, Please: The multipurpose apostrophe rarely forms plurals

I fielded a question recently about "minding your p's and q's." I had used that expression in a column a few weeks ago, and it prompted an email from a reader named Christine who was curious about those apostrophes.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Where are the voices against pot legalization?

The Whiteboard Jungle: Where are the voices against pot legalization?

The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that 54% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Storied history from an American flag

In 1943 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt if he wouldn't mind stopping the presidential motorcade at 154 W. Patrick St. in Frederick, Md. The two men were en route to the federal government retreat previously known as Hi-Catoctin — and renamed USS...

Around Town: Let's think about our veterans

Memorial Day is almost here and what a long strange ride 2014 has been.

A Word, Please: Capitalization doesn't always follow the rules

A Word, Please: Capitalization doesn't always follow the rules

If I were to write that the Beatles were a great band, would you that give you pause? That is, would you notice anything funny about how I've written the band's name?

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: An evening out presents the unexpected

I don’t give a hoot about the Dodgers, but a buddy of mine had an extra ticket and frankly there’s nothing like Saturday afternoon baseball.

Around Town: Stretching the definition of 'restaurant'

Urban Spoon lists 49 “restaurants” in La Cañada Flintridge. Who knew there were so many fine dining establishments, complete with waiters service, menus and little flower arrangements on the table?

A Word, Please: The right and wrong of adverbs and hyphens

A Word, Please: The right and wrong of adverbs and hyphens

Good questions have been piling up in my inbox lately. Ed in Albany, N.Y., had a question about a recent column in which I mentioned people “who just won’t stop using the word ‘over’ wrong.”

Piece of Mind: A short-lived homecoming

Since escaping the allergy vortex of Louisville, Ky., last week and returning to the Southland, our daughter’s health has...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Appreciating the song 'Waltzing Matilda'

“That’s a nice song,” I said. I was shooting whiskey with rogue warriors from Australia in a makeshift bar in the dusty Vietnamese village of Phuoc Tuy.

Around Town: PCC gets a well-deserved salute

There are a lot of reasons why Military Times ranked Pasadena City College (PCC) as the top community college for veterans in California.

Piece of Mind: A happy ending to the polar vortex

We’ve never met our 3-year-old granddog, Ava, but Gil and I will be face-to-face with her when she arrives in La Cañada on Saturday, no doubt weary from her exhausting duty as co-pilot on a 2,100-mile road trip that’s bringing our daughter Kae home from Louisville.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Children dressed for war

I was out and about doing chores for Kaitzer; subsequently I had a late start writing “Thoughts from Dr. Joe.” Since my brain was tapped out, I had no clue what subject matter to attempt to write about.

Around Town: Hearing from an unhappy reader

A La Cañada reader not so gently pointed out that the following paragraph in last week’s column could be construed as homophobic:

Guest Column: On the humbling nature of coincidence

Guest Column: On the humbling nature of coincidence

"Rumpole, your nose is always buried in The Times at breakfast time," I heard Hilda’s scolding voice say on the car radio. And the usual bored, irritated response from her husband, Horace: “I’m reading the obituary of Cole Porter,” he managed to grind out. “Well, I&...

A Word, Please: The upsides and drawbacks of spell-checker

A Word, Please: The upsides and drawbacks of spell-checker

I got an email recently from a reader whose spell-checker flagged the word “uninvolved” as an error.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Dig deep while choosing college

I’m obnoxious. I’m the guy who sits in the front of the room and asks a million questions, particularly when there’s five minutes remaining in a class that ends at 10 p.m.

Around Town: Giving up on the Dodgers

Rule No. 1: The Dodgers will always break your heart.

A Word, Please: P, Q mindfulness may effect fewer errors

A Word, Please: P, Q mindfulness may effect fewer errors

A user on Twitter asked me recently about the difference between “affect” and “effect.” Specifically, she wanted to know which to use in the phrase “the affect/effect of celebrity endorsements.”

Around Town: Springtime calls to mind the cycle of life

Around Town: Springtime calls to mind the cycle of life

The pine tree we planted has grown tall. The cones tumble down, full of sap. Hummingbirds nest in the branches. The mama birds dive bomb when I walk by. They want to attack me, divert me and protect their young.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: It takes more than talk to be a patriot

On a recent evening I attended the Patriot Tour at the Pasadena Civic Center. It featured Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL and lone survivor of the ill-fated “Operation Red Wing.” Special forces warriors Billy Wagasy, Pete Scobell and Chad Fleming were also present along with Tyra Kyle,...

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