L. Erin Giangiacomo
Hamilton College English major. Half-Gaelic, half-garlic.
The Art of the Salad
THE ART OF THE SALAD Never am I more mortified than when I am served salad at the beginning of a meal. This is as foreign to me as wine for breakfast. Salad is a serious thing in my family, but never is it served before a meal. We are Italian, and our dressing of choice contains vinegar - for a reason.. Vinegar is a digestivo, and it helps to alleviate that certain discomfort in the stomach after one has gorged himself on three previous courses. It also cleanses the palette to make way for what’s next. If I am on a dinner date, and he orders a bowl of glum iceberg that he slathers in ranch or bleu cheese, the date is over right then and there.
The War Between the Cactus
PART ONE To first see the U.S.-Tijuana border is somewhat akin to stepping into the pages of Dante’s Inferno. It is a hellscape with a pulse, a sentient being that throbs with the immutable power of the human will each and every night in a twenty-five or so square mile microcosm between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Ojai Mountains to the east. Mobs of shadowy bodies, crouching and creeping in the night like chickens, such that they are called the Spanish name pollo, traverse the tennis-shoe hardened trails that weave in and out of the border canyons, some with sinister names like Smuggler’s Gulch, or ridiculous ones like Arnie’s Point where a border patrol agent by the same name absorbed a Mexican bullet in his ass cheek, or the Apple Turnover where a certain agent Apple rolled his SUV down ass over tea kettle a rock slide. Silver-tipped cholla cactus loom like wayward chessmen, ready to insert their fanged tubercles in the tender flesh of any fleeing corpus.. Barrel cacti lurk underfoot, and their steel ribs and fierce spines will slice right through a combat boot to skewer a whole foot. The air is heavy with the acrid smell of wild anise and burning tires, and you can’t see shit because this is a darkness you have never before experienced.. Even once you have developed the night eyes of a patrol agent, you will still hallucinate imaginary Mexicans floating past in the inky air. The skeletal remains of smugglers’ cars litter the canyons like abandoned shipwrecks,, crashed headlong into gullies, and the eight-foot landing strip that separates the countries stands ready to snag a ringed finger and filet it to the bone.. There are no cameras in canyons, just gold badges glinting in the moonlight, sensors buried in the dirt, byzantine footpaths, and the faint waft of Tijuana River stench polluting the Pacific sea air. It is here that the United States Border Patrol of the San Diego sector calls its office where the nightly ballet between hunters and hunted has been methodically playing itself out for as far back as the turn of the last century.
Good Cop Bad Cop Psycho Cop
The George Floyd catastrophe was not an arrest so much as it was a crime in progress. From the beginning, the encounter between Floyd and the Minneapolis Police Department disintegrated rapidly, and it culminated in Floyd’s death. A cluster of complicated factors, including officer complicity and the phenomenon known as contempt of cop, played into the debacle, with race looming over the entire encounter like a miasmic cloud. Taken together, these factors solidified themselves into a gordian knot of police mistakes that ended in murder and the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement.