Things to come
(From the Spring 2011 issue of SONOMA)
Career Opportunities in the Food and Beverage Industry
by Kathleen Thompson Hill
Ferguson, 298 pages
$18.95 paperback, $49.50 hardcover.
This is not a gripping whodunit, it's not a heart-warming romance, and it's not likely to end up on any best-seller lists or even on that short stack of books you would grab when the house is on fire.
But if you're about to graduate from college or, more likely, you graduated two years ago but you're still living at home and working at Taco Bell, this should be the Bible by your bed.
Kathleen Hill, a master at amalgamating information, has gathered together the essential information you might otherwise never discover on more than 80 jobs in the food biz.
Want to be a garde-manger? Do you even know what a garde-manger is?
How about a sports nutritionist, a recipe tester, a food photographer, a resort sales manager, a vineyard manager, a sommelier, a cheesemaker, a food and flavor chemist, a CSA manager (look it up), a beer brewer, a cookbook editor or a traveling cooking teacher?
You get the idea. If a job exists in the realm of food and drink, Hill can tell you the industry outlook in the business, the latest trends, a career profile for the job, the salary range, job prospects, best geographical location to look, education and training required, even the most important personality traits and useful tips for entry into the profession.
The information is clear, crisp and to the point. If you see your future in food, if you want to work in wine, you can't afford not to have this book.
Full disclosure: Hill is the food and wine editor for SONOMA magazine. She didn't pay a dime for this review. But she said, hey, if you ever need a job, I know somebody...
Soul Music: Tracking the Spiritual Roots of Pop from Plato To Motown
by Joel Rudinow, University of Michigan Press, 250 pages $28.95.
If your musical tastes begin and end with either Barry Manilow or Snoop Dog, this book is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you're sincerely curious about roots, deep-down seminal stuff that defines not just the origins of American music but at least part of the DNA of the human soul, than Dr. Joel Rudinow has written a book you should start to visit on a regular basis, maybe even move in with.
Rudinow, who lives in Sonoma and teaches philosophy at Santa Rosa Junior College, is both a serious, PhD-type academic, and a serious musician. He's been playing keyboards in some very good bands for years, and he offers the perfect bridge between philosophy and funk. Want proof? Hook up with the track, "Rock 'n' Roll Dr." ("I got your rock 'n' roll PhD, right here in my pocket, it ain't no college degree...") on his Rude Notes Galore CD.
This book is a kind of personal journey in search of soul and an examination, as Rudinow puts it, of "the metaphysics of music as a healing art."
Quoting widely from Leroi Jones (now Amiri Baraka) to Bob Dylan, from Plato to Jelly Roll Morton, Rudinow wanders through the landscape of our musical heritage looking for and intertwining the warp and woof of soul.
There are deep thoughts here, some wonderful insights into the musical mind, musings on politics, racism and the meaning of life. It's a rich feast of words, ideas and connections, a major work.
The Sixties: A cartoon history
Sonoma Valley Press, 169 pages
$19.95, at Reader's Books
or through Amazon.com.
Bill O'Neal sharpened his cartooning pencil for the Springfield Republican, in Springfield, Massachusetts, at a time when the world was undergoing dizzying change (what else is new). The sixties saw segregation start to crumble, women's liberation start to blossom, and a divisive war in Vietnam start to tear the country apart.
O'Neal, now a Sonoma resident and a marketing consultant after decades in advertising, has married this collection of his sixties cartoons with concise comments on the historical context in which they first appeared.
Anyone in their sixties will re-discover the tumultuous decade they lived through in the pages of this simple book. It is perfect fare-and this is a complement-for the bathroom, where it should be a welcome sight beside every family's throne.
Oh, Big Brother
Available form cdbaby.com.
Or go to johnsalz.com.
Sometimes music and politics have to mix.
First some full disclosure. John Salz and his personal recording studio live across the street. We're not hang-out buds, we're more, Hey, how you doin'? But John is one of the nicest guys I know, even though I barely know him. And his music is smart and fun and lovely, a bouillabaisse of country and blues and rock and jazz and whatever else the cat dragged in. Plus his lyrics are clever, thoughtful, intelligent, full of little surprises that make you stop and say, Oh, that was really good. He's been playing and writing songs for more than half his life, and it shows in the illusion of effortless ease that flows from his voice.
His fourth CD is titled, "Oh, Big Brother." He pressed it into my hand after I ran into him on the street downtown. That's one of the things about Sonoma. Musicians stop you on the sidewalk.
What John gave me was not just another package of fine songs, but a political polemic summarized by the title song. Lo and behold the musical man across the street is a not-so-closeted Ron Paul Libertarian, a follower of the Austrian school of economics, maybe even a Tea Bagger!
I'll never tell them, but the Tea Bag brigade should adopt John's song, "The Dollar" as their anthem. The music rocks and the lyrics could make you a believer.
"When they started up the cash machine, nobody screamed, nobody hollered, it was the biggest heist we'd ever seen, the day they stole the gold from the dollar."
I don't buy the message but I love the music, and I'm always happy to come along for the ride.
And hey, as John sings, "Focus on the things that make you free, and that's what you'll be."
From the Spring 2011 issue of SONOMA