Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.
I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
It is a funny thing. My son is soon to be 18 years old. In a blink of an eye things turned 180 degrees from him running up to me saying "Daddy, look what I can do" to me hoping to get his attention and at times trying to illustrate the notion "Son, look what I can do". One of those "great circle of life" things the great sages of toddler dinosaur stories speak at length about.
When I was a Senior in High School, they had a couple of classes that were actually useful. Like electronics. Where we learned how to solder [do they even DO that any more?] and wire a lamp. Things like that. They don't "waste" their time on this sort of thing any more it seems at least where I live. In the event, as I was sitting in a sort of blue funk a couple of days ago, the Future Rock Star came up with one of his stereo speakers. Both wires connecting it to the stereo unit had broken in some teen misadventure or another. [Do they even MAKE speakers with WIRES any more?].
Dad, is there any way this can be fixed?
Sure. Shouldn't be much of a problem.
How much do you think the stereo place will charge to fix it?
Oh, we don't have to take it anywhere....I can fix it.
Um, yes. Actually I can.
He peered at me suspiciously apparently waiting for the punch line. When none arrived he handed over the speaker. Both wires broken VERY close to the cabinet as you can see in the photo above. Microsurgery time.
So I got out the roll of electrical tape [they DO still make this but it isn't easy to find] and a needle nose pliers and I went to work. Oh, and of course as opposed to the era of my High School electronics adventures I now had to get my out glasses too. After a few failed attempts to wind the short stubs of wire together and then a few more failed attempts to get small slices of tape around the twisted wires to bind them the surgery was a success and the patient actually survived to pump out old school rap music for another day....
The FRS was very appreciative and if I do say so, somewhat amazed. I felt about a foot taller.
See? I can do things. I can also make a perfect martini. Which I am now going to do. Two tangible things accomplished in ONE day. I am climbing out of the fog.
Hello Epics! I am glad to report that my demise was greatly exaggerated. I have been rather swamped with personal and business issues of late and that is the only lame excuse I can make for not posting before now. I have actually been a bit blue of late. An odd sensation for me I will admit. So I decided to pull myself out of it with a few Great Things which I will highlight in my next few posts.
The first G.T. is the small leather case shown above. I was wandering about Brooks Brothers in a funk a few weeks ago and it just caught my eye. At a shade over two inches long, they had them in green, yellow, bright blue and red leather, embossed with the BB logo. But the best thing is what is inside...
Four perfectly machined stainless steel shot glasses!!! Has there ever been a more Epic travel accessory? Just the thing for four pals to have a quick tot before the steeplechase begins. And just the thing to discover upon my annual declaration that RUM SEASON HAS BEGUN.
First Class. The only way to fly folks. There has to be blue sky up there somewhere. Hang in with me and we will find it together....
I love a cup or two of coffee in the morning and I enjoy a cup after a good meal but other than that I am not very knowledgeable about it. I would make a lousy barista. In any event, like a lot of folks I have fallen in love with my Keurig coffee maker. Nobody at Chez Epic drinks enough coffee to use my full pot percolator any more and the Keurig system is easy and neat to use even for my father in law who has significant eyesight problems.
I like strong coffee. Or as Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks would say "a good strong cup of Joe". My cupboard currently stocks the following "bullets" for the Keurig.
Community dark roast because I love New Orleans and I love the old time NOLA coffee company's products. Bustelo when I want a great espresso type of coffee after dinner or with an after dinner drink. French Market dark roast for the same reason as Community although to my taste it is a little bit richer flavor. And, finally, Peet's Major Dickason's Blend which is the best cup of "Joe" I have ever had. It wouldn't surprise me if the good Major's first name WAS "Joe". It is the Peet's all time best seller, and I can see why.
I hope you will enjoy these suggestions. What are your favorites?
I have long lamented in these pages the sorry status of publishing for men circa 2015. Men's Vogue was a great but short lived effort. The December 2014 issue of Playboy was actually pretty good. But the pickings are certainly slim.
Imagine my surprise when I received an email notice of thespring edition of John Craig magazine which is published by a very fine small chain of Florida clothing stores. I have been to the John Craig store in Winter Park, Florida many times but I had never seen their magazine. I was so delighted by this effort that I made an extra martini and sat down to read it all through at one sitting. And it did not disappoint.
First, the clothing they feature is of the finest quality, Seasonal and traditional with just the right amount of individuality. For those of use who recoil at the notion of being "fashion forward". Added to this sartorial cocktail recipe are the following:
-- a Q and A on etiquette [Made me almost sob with glee];
-- fashion tips from four experts who are sales people at John Craig stores;
-- a great wing recipe from Guy Fieri;
-- travel features on Iceland [amazing photos] and golf in Barbados;
-- thoughts on men's accessories;
-- a feature comparing the different styles of Bar B Que;
-- a profile of the stylistic influence of James Dean;
-- an amazing automotive report and photo essay on the electric super car the Renovo Coupe;
-- a discussion of the proper recipe for Summer Shrub cocktails.
Sixty-eight pages of pure bliss, this magazine hits it out of the ballpark. I was so happy about it that I wanted to put it under my pillow when I went to sleep. I was only precluded by the fact that it is an electronic publication and my Kindle is a bit lumpy for the back of the Epic cranium.
If you have been as starved for a really classy, well done men's magazine, you need to check out John Craig. But there is one overarching question. This admittedly great chain of men's clothing stores probably doesn't have a publishing department so this magazine was probably done by an independent company through John Craig's advertising firm. Why can't some mogul or oligarch get interested in putting out a similar magazine on a monthly basis? Throw in a little literature perhaps. A poem or a cartoon or two. Maybe a restaurant review. We would be back in men's magazine heaven. One of the great unanswered questions to be sure. Until that day, I am certainly looking forward to the next issue of John Craig. If you look it up through the link I have inserted above, I am certain you will be as well.
It's a funny thing. Over the several years that I have been writing The Epic I have published some things I thought were great, some good and some just OK. It depends on my energy level at the time. Like most things. But it has always amused me that my "most read" post of all time, by a huge margin, is Tequila Day from July 2009. I guess it just struck a chord with a lot of people. Or a lot of people love Tequila. Or whatever.
But a central feature of that chapter of The Epic was a cement block Mexican joint buried in the depths of the Florida panhandle. An Impenetrable Hideout. It even has its own little motel. Provisioned with barrels of freezing cold Dos Equis Amber on tap and all kinds of Tequila for use as a medicinal chaser. And the finest carne asada steak, beans and rice I have ever had. All essential for an effective I.H. In case the real world lays siege to the outer walls. I have spent more than my share of time in hiding behind those walls, I can tell you.
So it caused me the greatest degree of dismay last week to see that this old joint is being knocked down as part of an insidious plot by the Department of Transportation to make some road alteration. You can sum up much of the sorriness of our times by the increasing number of road alterations and the declining numbers of Impenetrable Hideouts. Particularly Mexican food and boozing joints. But there it was. The formerly unbreached walls in ruins. I felt like a crusader viewing what was left of the walls of Arsuf.
Oh, they say they will reopen next year in another location. Probably with a brand new building. And shiny new tables. And overdone lighting in dining rooms that are laid out in a planned manner, not a dim rabbit warren of anonymous dining bliss like the old place. The new place will probably even have windows. Fiasco.
But I must remain strong. There is hope that the new location will have something of the old magic. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am staging an orderly but hasty retreat behind the ramparts of a bar in an old house on a hidden waterfront in plain sight of a major thoroughfare. That very few people know about including only a handful of the most trusty sorts in my occupation. No food, just stiff drinks and odd nautical characters drinking them. If you need me, find me there. Last bar stool, back left. If you can find me, we can talk.
In my mid 50s, husband, father and itinerant storyteller. I am a putative jazz singer, poet and novelist, dedicated to mining every minute of life for the veins of pleasure they contain. My motto is "Dum Vivimus, Vivamus"..."While we Live--LET US LIVE".