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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Very Fine Day It Is

Me: "Have you got any Powers whiskey"?

Great Irish Bartender:  "Only the bottle with your name on it."

Here is a wonderful commercial I saw yesterday for another fine Irish whiskey...

And time to once again celebrate my favorite movie...

And, finally, Happy Birthday to one of my heroes, Mr. Bobby Jones, golfer, attorney and gentleman.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

In honor of the upcoming holiday, one GREAT Irish Pub. In Ft. Lauderdale of all places. Fine whiskeys, the appropriate stouts, etc., on tap, and very good food. HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Really Nice Men's Magazine

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 the spring 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.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Last Tequila Day...For Now

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.      

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Summer Is Coming!!!

I promise that the snow will melt.  Summer will be here soon.  Better yet, Desi Arnaz says so too.  This album is crazy good. Get it and see.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ribbons Every Day

I admit, for many years I was not a fan of Valentine's Day. For a lot of reasons I have written down before. But for the past twenty-eight years it has been one of my very favorite days. This is, as ever, for the Irish Redhead. Mr. Wonder says it best.

My Epic wish is that each of you finds someone that makes this song as special to you as it is to me.  No matter what day of the year it is.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Epic Listening: Uptown Lounge [Various Artists, 1999]

Some years ago, there was this great bar in Las Vegas called Hamilton's.  The motto of the joint was "where it's always midnight".  And it was an outstanding place.  Big drinks, good music, quiet sophisticated decor, great service. Hamilton's is gone now, but you can re-create the atmosphere with this great ensemble album.  This is in my opinion a particularly strong antidote for the current wintry deluge afflicting much of North America.

While the snow drifts down from the sky, imagine slipping into your smoking jacket, pouring a big whiskey on the rocks or a strong martini, plunking down in a good chair before a crackling fire in the grate and putting on this play list...

1. A Kiss To Build A Dream On - Louis Armstrong
2. My Baby Just Cares For Me - Nina Simone
3. Manhattan - Bobby Short
4. You Stepped Out Of A Dream - Sarah Vaughan
5. Confessin' The Blues - Joe Williams
6. Baby Won't You Please Come Home - Gloria Lynne
7. The Very Thought Of You - Arthur Prysock
8. Sufferin' With The Blues - Nancy Wilson
9. Walkin' My Baby Back Home - Nat King Cole
10. The Lady Is A Tramp - Della Reese
11. Lush Life - Sammy Davis Jr.
12. Unforgettable - Dinah Washington
13. You're The One - Lou Rawls
14. Crazy He Calls Me - Dakota Staton
15. Stormy Weather - Lena Horne
16. Exactly Like You - Carmen McRae
17. Taking A Chance On Love - Billy Eckstine
18. Girl From Ipanema - Esther Philips

Each track is superb, but my very favorites are Manhattan by Bobby Short, The Very Thought of You by Arthur Prysock, and, without equal, Sammy Davis Jr.'s crushing version of Lush Life.  If I am ever in need of walk up music for some reason, this Lush Life may well be it.  I do not exaggerate when I say that this album is so good that you may never want to listen to it other than alone.  With a cocktail.  I can't imagine hearing some of these heart wrenching songs without libation.  This is the album you listen to after you lose her.  Or when you think of her years later.  And it's dark and snowing outside.

You can still buy used copies of this wonderful album on Amazon.com.  For a quarter.  Do what you like, but don't blame me if one day you find yourself in need of one of the best Epic albums ever and they are all sold to someone else. As for me, I'll be where it is always midnight.