Wasn't it at that little wine store in the North End, where Mark took us to buy some grappa, that we first heard about the Jacopo Poli miele? It's a honey-flavored grappa, and the owner had just come back from Italy where he'd tasted some for the first time. He'd ordered a case but it hadn't arrived yet. Mark said he'd try to get a bottle before his next visit to Birmingham, but that didn't work out. Good things have their own way of coming around, however, and when we finished our splendid dinner at Al Tiramisu Tuesday evening and went up to the bar to tell Chef Luigi that it was time for grappa, his eyes twinkled at Lynn (as they always do) as he said, "Ahh, Senora! What I have for you! Miele, from Poli!" It was every bit as delicious as we'd imagined that it would be.
We really do have to come here with Mark some time. For the true grappa afficianado this is a heavenly spot. I don't think I've ever actually selected a grappa here -- I just ask Luigi what he'd like to pour for me and it is always something wonderful.
We were in a celebratory mood after taking in the show of small Whistler paintings at the Freer, strolling through Montmartre with Lautrec at the National Gallery, paying homage to Julia Child in her kitchen at the National Museum of American History and finishing the afternoon with oysters and whiskey at the Old Ebbitt Grill. In the morning I'd done my talk for the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors -- the culmination of a series of conversations I've had with Sheldon over the years since the notorious Human Immunology incident. NLM was the host site for this year's meeting of the committee, and Sheldon had asked me some months ago to come speak to the group. Ostensibly, my purpose was simply to highlight a number of areas where electronic publishing presents us with new challenges that they might want to address in the Uniform Requirements for Submission of Manuscripts to Biomedical Journals. What I was hoping for is that they would amend the section dealing with retractions and corrections to include a statement that it is never permissible to remove an article from the electronic database once it has been published. And by the end of the discussion, that is exactly the point they reached.
They still need to agree on the specific language, and sometimes things can get gummed up in the transition from what seems like a clear concept to the actual words in which the idea takes form, but I am hopeful that they will be able to come to consensus on the phrasing over the next several weeks. The URM isn't enforceable, even among those journals that agree to comply with it, so it can't prevent nervous lawyers from persuading the publishers they work for to continue to expunge articles in certain dicey situations, but it is a very signficant step to have this distinguished international body go on record with the principle, and it will give editors something with which to push back at the lawyers.
It was a day when I felt that I had really accomplished something worthwhile. Definitely worth a grappa.