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March 23, 2019

Berryman — R.S. Merwin


I will tell you what he told me
in the years just after the war
as we then called
the second world war
don't lose your arrogance yet he said
you can do that when you're older
lose it too soon and you may
merely replace it with vanity
just one time he suggested
changing the usual order
of the same words in a line of verse
why point out a thing twice
he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally
it was in the days before the beard
and the drink but he was deep
in tides of his own through which he sailed
chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop
he was far older than the dates allowed for
much older than I was he was in his thirties
he snapped down his nose with an accent
I think he had affected in England
as for publishing he advised me
to paper my wall with rejection slips
his lips and the bones of his long fingers trembled
with the vehemence of his views about poetry
he said the great presence
that permitted everything and transmuted it
in poetry was passion
passion was genius and he praised movement and invention
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write


The poem is based on a conversation Merwin had with his mentor, John Berryman, when they were both at Princeton University in the late 1940s.

March 23, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: Flipboard


On iPad this app's fo shizzle.

The iPhone version is pretty much useless as the nature of the app requires lots of space for visuals.

Above and below, screenshots from my iPad.


Free, the way we like it.

March 23, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where are the pickles of yesteryear?


It is impossible to get a good pickle in Charlottesville.

I have tried, oh have I tried.

Every single refrigerated pickle brand — at Kroger, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Foods of All Nations, and Whole Foods, from both national brands and smaller operations — is sad beyond belief.

And don't even bring up brands that sit on shelves in jars at ambient temperature: those have been cooked and aren't even in the conversation.

Oh, for that plate on your table at Katz's Deli in New York City (top).

March 23, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wooden Water Pipes of Philadelphia

Pipe 2

Who knew?

From the Washington Post:


The sections of 10-foot pine logs, laboriously drilled to create a 4- to 6-inch center opening and bound together by iron couplings, connected the expanding edge of the city to the water tanks that stood on a hill less than a mile away.

The wooden plumbing supplied timber-tasting water to residents who could either fill their buckets for free at a public standpipe or pay $5 a year to connect directly to faucets in their yards or kitchens.

The logs served for two decades until the city replaced them with 12-inch cast-iron pipes in 1831, according to Adam Levine, resident historian at the Philadelphia Water Department.

The pine pipes lay buried and forgotten for two centuries until a worker sank a backhoe in the 900 block of Spruce Street earlier this week.

The utility crew — the public-works heirs of the men who installed the wooden water mains during the James Madison administration — was replacing the old cast piping with what's known as a ductile iron main.

A tree expert spotted the exposed wooden pipes (above and below) while walking her bike past the construction zone.

Pipe 1

"This didn't look like a normal tree," arborist Julie Snell said, according to a description of the find released by the water department.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the discovery.

Snell contacted Levine, who confirmed that the trees had formed part of the City of Brotherly Love's ancestral infrastructure.

He dipped into the archives and found contemporary "Watering Committee" records of the installation on that stretch of Spruce going on between October 1811 and October 1812.

Philadelphia, then gearing up with the rest of the country to go to war with Britain for a second time, was a center of art and engineering in the young republic.

Its water system was among the best that early 19th century American modernity could provide.

Designed in 1801 by Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, the Philly system used two steam engines to pump water from the Schuylkill River up to the domed, neoclassical Centre Square Water Works, where the wooden tanks could hold about 25 minutes worth of water at a time.

Gravity then shot the water through a wooden-pipe network that grew to more than 45 miles in length by the time metal pipes became the norm in the 1830s.

The local government commissioned the system because, as the documents of the day detail, "the speedy introduction of a copious supply of wholesome water is deemed essential to the health and preservation of this city."

Cooking and bathing water were a necessity, Levine said, along with firefighting and public health.

The unfiltered Schuylkill was an upgrade from the household wells that often shared yard space with the family latrine.

Experts also thought that regularly flushing the streets of horse poop and rotting garbage could prevent infectious diseases, such as the yellow fever outbreak that devastated Philly in the 1790s.

Still, upgrading the infrastructure was a chronic civil irritant then, as now.

"The old newspapers were full of complaints about the amount it was costing," Levine said. "It was the same as today."

March 23, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gin & Tonic Marmalade


"Spread it or eat it out of the jar. All the alcohol is cooked off so it won't give you a hangover."


March 23, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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