Blog
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Where is the Lean Cuisine aisle?

Wandering through a Beijing supermarket a few days ago, I realized how much I rely on packaged, labelled food to tell me what something is and how to prepare it. And I’m not sure this is a good thing. Fresh fish, meats, noodles, breads, vegetables, mushrooms and fruits arranged in …

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Los Angeles

Bless You, My Pet

Forget the marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies. In Los Angeles, you can save the calories and feast your eyes on the furry and feathery versions at the city’s Easter tradition, the Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street. Now in its 83rd year, this annual event brings goats, cows, roosters, …

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Writing

Write to connect, not impress

I’ve spent the past few weeks diving into the principles of Plain English, a movement more than three decades old to promote simple, straightforward writing in government, military and business documents. Not surprisingly, the principles are quite simple — be clear, be brief and avoid technical jargon. The author of …

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Personal
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My Dad’s Four Doors

My father spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling in his last year of life. Parkinson Disease ravaged him from the inside out, shakes giving way to a terrible stiffness in his muscles. It was as though his spine was contracting, drawing the muscles and tendons and ligaments …

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Personal

Volunteering as Easy as Riding the Bus

The Do Good Bus glided through the wet streets of Inglewood on a January morning, carrying forty volunteers ranging in age from 15 to 65 to a mystery destination. Only the leader, Rebecca Pontius, and the bus driver knew the destination: to Morningside High School and Bennet-Kew Elementary School for …

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Personal

John Lipinski | June 28, 1936 to December 13, 2012

John Lipinski, 76, died at home of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on December 13, 2012. Born in eastern Pennsylvania, John Lipinski was the youngest child and only son of Peter and Anna Lipinski. Immigrants from Czechoslovakia, his parents came through Ellis Island and his father was a coal miner. John …

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Personal
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Technology

ITU Study Points to Internet’s Future on Your Phone

A study released by the International Telecommunication Union yesterday showed the world has about six billion mobile phone subscriptions — one billion are in China, another billion are in India. We’re rapidly approaching a time when we can say there are as many cell phones on earth as there are …

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Writing

In Defense of Passive Voice in Writing

The much-maligned passive voice in writing is a cardinal sin amongst those serious about the art form as well as those championing clear writing. But passive voice is more of a necessary evil than something that must be banished at all costs. Passive voice demonstrates its usefulness nearly every day …

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Personal
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Eating an elephant

Years ago, overwhelmed by a divorce, pending move and a stressful job, I was venting to my parents about my crushing workload. When I paused the monologue to take a breath, my dad asked, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?” My teenage years were over, but I still …

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