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“Oh yes, hello there, I’d like to order a hundred more of these signs, please. … Where? All over the place. Thanks.” (Aaron Tait, flickr)

Ah, dogs. For us millennials, it’s great that they have such an uncontrollable impulse to touch everything because we, as a generation, have such an uncontrollable impulse to touch them, whether they’re ours or not. But during a pandemic, I’m not so sure man’s best friend is, well, man’s best friend.

San Francisco’s Stern Grove is a beautiful respite from the undeserved wealth with which our generation’s most privileged members have gentrified the city — so beautiful, evidently, that no one looks down at the ground, where there are many large, stenciled messages asking visitors to keep their dogs on their leashes. It’s either the beauty, or it’s that millennials — given our obsession with our “fur babies,” “doggos,” and “puppers” — feel personally affronted by the mere suggestion that we ought to restrain our dogs from scuffling with each other or sniffing our butts. …


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A bullet hole remained in the window of an Isla Vista coffee shop for years after the rampage. (Sam Goldman)

The first “incel” rampage brewed in an idyllic California college town. Five years later, Isla Vista still copes with its darkest chapter.

This story contains descriptions of violence, extreme hate, and traumatic experiences that may be disturbing to some readers.

I. Tragedy

Siavash Zohoori was grabbing dinner to go at Pita Pit when it started. It was Friday, nearly 9:30 p.m., and his fellow students who hadn’t hightailed it out of Isla Vista for Memorial Day weekend were emerging from their apartments and beach houses to kick off another night of partying and fun. The University of California, Santa Barbara sophomore unlocked his new bike to head home. Then, from somewhere off to his left: bang, bang, bang, bang. …


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Clive Lodge, mid-’60s

CARS did not exist when Albert Charles Louis Goldman was born. Neither did radio broadcasting. His family had to make do without a vacuum cleaner. He was five when the Victorian Era concluded without a bang, except for those of the guns fired at Victoria’s grand funeral. For a time, Albert knew the queen’s great-grandson, Edward, from the days they spent at an East End pub owned by Albert’s grandfather.

When the world went to hell in the teens, young Albert enlisted in the army. Beneath his officer’s hat, he wore an eager, earnest smile that looked, with his longish nose, like mine. Or, perhaps more accurately, mine looks like his. That smile probably wasn’t available when the time came to spring from a muddy trough and make a go at the Germans. Helmets on, guns in hand, and mud caking their olive uniforms, the Brits crossed their barbed wire to the relentless crack-crack-crack of machine guns and the booms of heavy artillery making whole humans disappear. Albert conquered a trench that day — or, perhaps more accurately, the men he led took it. He was shot through the lung in No Man’s Land, dragged back to own his trench, and eventually shipped back to England, where he landed in a hospital along George V’s morale-boosting tour. …


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The Hoh River, near Forks

“When they came,” Shele Kinkead said, “it was like they took over town.”

But the planes were nowhere to be seen — well, heard — when the map-trotter first arrived in Forks, Washington in the early ’80s. Her husband’s first parish was there. She was still a teacher. Their neighbors were military supporters and folks escaping loud urban life. The one stop light had yet to go up. Elk roamed. Lewis and Clark would have recognized it.

But there was more left to explore. She detoured to the polar bear capital of Alaska with a girlfriend, still in a school but moonlighting as an anti-drilling activist. She learned all about whaling and Indigenous culture. Her husband passed away. …


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Ish holds the WWE Title next to a cardboard cutout of wrestling icon Triple H at 2019’s WrestleMania. (Ish Lihinag-Tam photo)

Storylines evolve quickly in professional wrestling. Characters come and go. When Ish Lihinag-Tam checked back into WWE for the first time in four years, just a few weeks before starting grad school, the new faces on the TV got him wondering: How did all these new guys make it to the big time? He googled and found WWE let you apply on its website. His biggest regret in life — if you could call it that — was not finding that webpage sooner. The next two years of journalism school would only delay things.

“I love acting, I love sports, I love being involved in a team environment and being athletic. WWE is, like, the dream job,” Ish told me recently. Journalism had always felt like the pragmatic route. Tussling and posturing under the lights? An “abstract” dream. “I started thinking to myself more and more: Why can’t it be? Why can’t it be my job?” …


Asian American Studies 124, “Comparative Ethnic American Literature,” ostensibly concentrates “on literature by Asian American writers alongside texts from one or more of the other ethnic American literary traditions.” It’s a description I probably only skimmed when I clicked “enroll.” I had a curricular box to check, and my sophomore self thought it was as good a time as any to tick it off.

Going into college, I considered myself a fairly enlightened guy — “woke,” I might’ve even proudly said, had I known the word. I knew you couldn’t blame homelessness on the unhoused. I was happy for and supportive of my best friend as he came out. My favorite tennis player was always Venus Williams. That I’m white and male and straight and abled didn’t have any bearing on my ability to understand the world. Actually, it wouldn’t have even really crossed my mind. …


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Walter Edmond Stewart was born in Bakersfield on March 29, 1927 — which, contrary to what he liked to say, was not before Abraham Lincoln or George Washington’s time. He passed away after a short illness in his hometown nearly 92 years later, on February 14, 2019.

He’s survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty Jean (Carr) Stewart; son, Mark Stewart, and daughter-in-law, Brenda (Ely) Stewart; daughter, Carol (Stewart) Goldman, and son-in-law, David Goldman; grandchildren, Melissa (Stewart) Wilford, and her husband, Corey Wilford, Austin Stewart, Samuel Goldman, Emma Goldman, and Benjamin Goldman; as well as his great-grandchildren, Olivia Wilford and Ainslee Wilford. …


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Photo by Sam Goldman

It’s called the Gourmet Ghetto, but the name feels wrong. I get the cleverness behind calling cities’ bourgie food and drink neighborhoods “ghettos,” but it feels rather tasteless to co-opt the term for commercial benefit — especially in ostensibly liberal Berkeley. Exploring your new home town can be an emotionally dangerous endeavor: Places I know only from maps and Wikipedia are invariably colored by expectations and pre-conceived notions, which are put to the test when I finally find myself there. …

About

Sam Goldman

Journalist, writer, PB&J aficionado || San Francisco || samuelgoldman.net || @Sam__Goldman

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