Portrait of my grandfather and namesake an intensely emotional journey from 1916 when the photograph was taken

My grandfather played the saxophone and clarinet in the orchestra pits of movie theaters (many of them great palaces) to entertain audiences when the silent movies were playing. His name was Salvatore Pellecia.
My mother, a Hebrew school teacher, named me after him—translating “Salvatore” into “God helps” and then debating between “Joshua” and “Joel Ezra” names which in the Hebrew she decided meant the same thing.
Some photographs take on special meaning.  In my life, this portrait (in the same frame) stood on my mother’s nightstand and chest of drawers for the entire time I knew her—a time which ended a year ago next week according to the Hebrew lunar calendar (which marks periods of mourning and remembering the dead) as my synagogue Brit Shalom, here in State College, reminded me in a note: Time to say Kaddish for your mother.
When Mother, Miriam Pell Schmerler, died last year, her possessions were put in boxes which my younger daughter Amelia unpacked tonight as I watched her over a Skype connection between State College and the University of North Carolina at Ashville where she is completing her senior year.
This portrait was the one thing I wanted most and Amelia scanned it and sent it to me—the only photograph I have ever seen of him.
The rear of the photograph, which before I was born had never left the frame, revealed the information that it was taken at the State Fair in the summer of 1916 in Kewanee, Illinois.
There is a story here. A story I will not tell this morning as I remember my mother and the legacy she left behind of Salvatore who died before I was born. http://voicesweb.org/eulogy-blog-funeral-day
Joel Solkoff, September 25, 2011

The Politics of Food the book; its stories and the future

Not boring, as it should be, this site contains the entire book which took me 10 years to write.

The book received good reviews. Also, you can listenn to an exclusive revealing interview never before made public with Earl Butz, the greatest Secretary of Agriculture since Henry Wallace.

(Wallace served two terms as FDR’s vice president and my mother voted for him when he ran a quixotic left wing campaign for President in 1948).

Butz, until Henry Kissinger became Secreatry of State, was the only Phd in Nixon’s cabinet. Dr. Butz, a brilliant obscene and racist character, was jailed for income tax evasion.

This site contains photos of the goddess Ceres (who controls the production of grain) see also photos of people, crops, and livestock working to fill your bellies.

Read jeremiads on the price of milk and other food issues.

Contemplate the future where the government really and truly gets out of the agriculture business–a future where:

  • food tastes good
  • the environment is treated lovingly
  • health costs decline
  • people live longer and more productive lives
  • a future that will make the word revolution real
  • where not-so-retiring Baby Boomers with money in their pockets, arthritis in their bones, and votes and political influence seeping its way into Washington, state capitals, and local ordinances.