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Starting next Friday, I’ll be taking a little vacation time. I need to recharge my batteries so I can get more work done.

I’ll be spending part of my time reading “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. For those of you unfamiliar with this classic textbook, it is a guide to grammar, punctuation and writing.

I’ve read and reread the book since I was 14. I’m 50 and still struggling with the basics after all these years. I’m a professional and have been one for awhile now. In fact, I reread the book once every couple of years. It isn’t enough to learn new skills in this business—journalists have to constantly re-master the basics.

The bad news: if you are struggling with sentences, you’ll struggle with them until you die. (Written English is a tough language to master because it is in some ways quite irrational. That makes it flexible—but also maddening to work with.)

The good news: “The Elements of Style” is easier to read and understand than any of the English textbooks I used when I was growing up. So if any of you are struggling, I heartily recommend the book.

Always a pleasure,

Recently, I read an Internet article about an individual who had cancer.

Someone posted a comment that they thanked God for giving that individual cancer, apparently because the poster didn’t like the politics of the individual in question.

In fact, I see almost daily expressions of hatred and vitriol from supposed adults toward other adults. The issues and the politics don’t matter much. Internet tribalism has risen to the heights of madness. I’ve seen people publicly advocate genocide on the Internet for goodness’ sake.

This leads me to wonder: if people had to sign their real names to their words, would they be so quick to spew hatred?

I don’t have, nor do I want, the power to control how other people behave. I do, however, have the power to control my own. To that end, I’m going to make a point of using my name whenever and wherever I post comments on the Internet. And I can try, even when sorely tempted otherwise, to be civil. (I assume I’ll fail at times.)

This probably won’t make the world a better place—it is, after all, a very big and very bad world—but it is the best I can do.

What do you think?

I cover crime for the Sun. Which is to say, I compile the Crime Log. So for these week’s blog, I’d like to ask a few questions.

What would you like to see more of in the Crime Log?

Do you feel safe in your community?

Are there problems you don’t feel have been adequately covered?

Remember, I can’t report about it if no one tells me anything, so—tell me what you’d like to see.

Always a pleasure,

Don’t forget that Seal Beach and Orange County law enforcement agencies are staging a seasonal DUI crackdown that will end after the Labor Day holiday. Stay safe, stay sober or, if you must drink, stay off the road.

Have a great weekend.

Always a pleasure,