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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Epic Recharging #4: One Perfect Thing

To understand this story, you must also understand my golf clubs.  And my heritage.  My dad was a golf professional.  One day when I was in my late teens, and probably not going to grow any more, my dad gave me a set of custom made golf clubs.  By THE custom maker of the age.  Stan Thompson.  Of Beverly Hills.  Woods made of wood.  Persimmon to be exact.  The best.  Forged irons of a slender design known as "blades".  A design favored then by professionals and the most advanced clubs available at the time.  I loved those clubs more than almost anything.  Because I hit them well.  Because I love golf. And mostly because my dad gave them to me.

Time passed.  Golf technology rocketed ahead along with everything else. My back became much less limber than in my teen years.  I played golf a lot, then less, then little, as life's duties overtook me.  When I did get a chance to play a round of golf, people would look at my clubs with amazement and ask why I used such "outdated" equipment that "hindered" my game.  My typical reply was that as little as I was playing the clubs were hardly the reason for my ballooning scores.  The real answer was....I love the game, I love the clubs, and my Dad gave them to me.

Then 2014 happened.  The return reader will recall that last year was brutal for me and my family. After returning from a particularly harrowing out of town medical trip with my wife, I sat down one night and promised myself that I would start playing golf again on a regular basis.  Just one round per month.  I had to do something for myself and it was a small step in the right direction.

And I kept my promise to myself.  One round at a time.  One month at a time. I even tried to practice once in awhile inspired by my son finding it fun to go to the driving range.  A strange thing happened.  Even though "hindered" by my clubs by my age and by my general state of deconditioning my swing felt better than it ever had.  More compact.  More....systematic.  At times I found myself hitting shots that I had never been able to hit before.  Some really great ones.  I was still playing pretty mediocre golf overall, but ...there was something there I had not had in the past.

Advance the clock to earlier this month.  I had the opportunity to play a round of golf at one of the great golf clubs in the Chicago area with some very good pals.  I admit I was pretty burned out and frazzled when the trip began.  Once we arrived however we found ourselves in a beautiful day out on a classic golf course.  I was playing a mediocre round, typical for me these days.  Somewhere on the back nine we came to a long par four which was pretty much straight away.  I managed to block my tee shot to the right.  WAY to the right.  Off-the-correct-hole-onto-some-other- hole kind of right. Using the fancy pants new metal driver my brother was kind enough to give me last year.

When I got to my ball, I found myself looking at a shot over some bordering trees about 195 yards to the green.  I am not generally recognized as a tremendously long hitter of the golf ball so I was pondering what club to hit when a couple of college golfers came up.  They were actually supposed to be on the hole where my tee shot ended up.  Nice young fellows.  Sharp looking.  Sparkly new style clubs.  Gentlemen, they stood back a bit to allow me to hit my shot first.  I needed a wood to cover the distance to the green but an iron to get over the trees.  I decided to hit a three iron, my longest distance iron club and one of the hardest of my clubs to hit.  A bit short for the distance at that.  The college men eyed my club as I pulled it from my bag.

"Say, sir, are those blades you're hitting?"

Yes, they sure are.

"Those are antiques aren't they?"

Politely said and a legitimate question.  Chuckling, I had to agree.  The thought had never occurred to me before.  Of course they had been in my bag for several decades when they didn't qualify as antique.

I took my stance and addressed the ball.  Put my good tight swing on it.  Kept my head dead still. And I flushed it.  As soon as I hit it I knew it was as good as I could do.  I followed through to see the ball arcing high over the tree line straight at the flag on the green.  The green on the hole where I was supposed to be playing. It settled down quite nicely about four feet from the cup.  An electric thrill shot through me.  I couldn't help it.  I stuck that antique three iron in the air and just stared upward for a moment in triumph.  A fifty-six year old showing off to his Dad.

"Sir, that was one GREAT shot."

Two thumbs up from the college varsity crowd who then went on about their way.  I missed the putt for birdie, but I was completely rejuvenated by hitting a perfect golf shot.  One so pure, so fitted to the need of the moment, that I am confident I have never hit one better in my life.  That moment took years off of my emotional fatigue.  Due to the magic of One Perfect Thing, for one perfect moment, I felt like my Dad.  

That golf shot was fortuitous.  When you are strung out and feeling low I cannot recommend the deployment of One Perfect Thing highly enough.  It may be a great tie you haven't worn in a long time.  A scoop of your favorite ice cream in a flavor you haven't had in ages. A long look into the eyes of a loved one.  Or just getting lucky while doing something you love and being in the moment enough to recognize it when it happens.  Find a Perfect Thing.  They are out there for us all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Epic Boozing: Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

The oldest rum producer in the world.  A double distilled effort in charred barrels. I find it a classic sipping rum with lots of smoke, vanilla, oak, caramel.  A boozesnob marked it off for being "an obvious attempt to lure the cross over bourbon drinker".  That sold me.  Rum season is in full swing. Try it and you will be sold as well.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Republic

Lady in the street (1787):  Doctor Franklin, is it a Republic or a Monarchy?

Franklin:  A Republic madam.....if you can keep it.

Lets keep it.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cartier Short Films

I have mentioned these short films that promote Cartier products before, but the new one is just spectacular.  I miss Paris so badly these days. These little "gems" help assuage my longing for a bit.  I think you will like them too.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers' Day: The Best That I Could Do

Here is the link.  Over the past couple of years I have been unable to come up with anything more. Or better.  My Dad has been gone almost fifteen years.  The Future Rock Star is 18.  Tonight will find me in one of my favorite places in New Orleans, You'll know me when you see me. I'll be the Dad at the Bar. Out on business on Fathers' Day. Staring into my glass.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Epic Recharging #3: Cook Something Great

When you love to eat, and you feel a little low, you need to regroup around the stove and make yourself happy.  Whipping up an easy and delectable meal while still keeping a weather eye on the calories is a perfect answer.  Thus, I present The Greatest Breakfast Sandwich Ever. Courtesy of your Epic.

The ingredients are shown in the photo above. Potato Roll Sandwich Thins, thick cut bologna, extra sharp cheddar cheese, whole eggs and Tabasco.  But the secret to this recipe is the cooking device. Something I actually saw on television and then bought at the local Massive Chain Drug Store.  The Chinese microwave oven...

This little thing is amazing and works just the way the infomercial said it would.  I have no idea why. It looks like something that one of those ancient Chinese ceramic soldiers they dug up a while ago might have had kept in his backpack.  The inside of it [after a cloud of cooking spray] looks like this...

Simple and easy to clean in the dishwasher.  It being an Epic fundamental to keep the hand washing of things to an absolute minimum. Such as fancy drinking glasses and the Christmas dinner service.

The first thing you do is to line the bottom of the little oven with a slice of bologna...

...crack an egg on top of it...

...you will want to take a fork and break the yolk of the egg and stir it around a little so you get the yolk in more than just the center of the bologna.  Then, add a good portion of cheese on top of the egg...

The Epic recipe calls for shredded extra sharp Cheddar from Wisconsin because as the return reader remembers I am from Wisconsin and that is how we roll.  Next hit the cheese with as many dashes of Tabasco as you like.  An Epic tip is to add Tabasco in direct proportion to the number of martinis you have had the previous evening.  The Epic recipe calls for Tabasco because the return reader will recall that I live on the Gulf Coast of the USA and that is how we roll.  Then put the lid on the cooker and gently place the gizmo into the microwave...

Two minutes later you are across the finish line my friends.  GRATUITOUS LEGAL WARNING....be CAREFUL when you take the gizmo out of the microwave because IT IS HOT.  AND THERE IS STEAM COMING OUT THE TOP OF IT. USE POT HOLDERS TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE MICROWAVE.  DON'T BE A MORON AND TRY TO BARE HAND IT EVEN IF YOU ARE MORE HUNG OVER THAN A SAILOR THE FIRST DAY AFTER A FOUR MONTH CRUISE. The prior legal warning is included in this recipe because as the return reader will recall your Epic is in the legal business and that is how we roll.  The steam coming out the volcanic vent at the top of the gizmo is probably the key to why this thing works so well but what do I know.  What I do know is that  you will not believe how great this dish looks when you take the top off....the cooking spray might make the dish look a little "wet" when you open the gizmo but it really isn't...

Ease this concoction onto a potato roll Sandwich Thin.  You can toast the roll beforehand if you like, but I like them soft.

You can top it with a little A-1 sauce or ketchup if you like or eat this sandwich as is.  Add a cup of strong black coffee and some fresh orange juice and you are ready for the day.  You can send your gift cards and thank you notes to me at the Epic email address listed elsewhere.

Even better and more restorative than cooking and eating The Greatest Breakfast Sandwich Ever is sharing it with you. Bon Appetite.

Culinary Notes:
1. Calorie count for this tremendous sandwich is 380.
2. I might try adding a slice of really great fresh tomato on top of the cheese before cooking which I suspect would be outstanding if one could get hold of tomatoes that had any flavor any more without having a friend or relative who lives off the land.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A View Of Hats

Today work took me well through lunch.  I am not a person that enjoys missing my lunch. The event makes me rather grouchy.  Seeing my mid-day repast, I was strolling down the main street of my town and noticed a young family walking toward me.  Mom and Dad looking at a map and a young boy, perhaps six years old, walking along side.  Both Dad and boy were wearing identical camp shirts and matching straw pork pie hats like this one.  As I passed them the boy gave me, of course the only man on the street in a suit and tie, a half grin and a little wave. I gave him a little salute.  One dandy to another.

I recall only too well the oh so brief period of time when my son wanted to dress just like me.  When his most prized possession was a linen double breasted jacket.  That time did not last long.  And I miss it. And him thinking that I hung the moon. As all fathers of boys know, the tumble from demi-god to mortal is rapid, steep and long. As it is meant to be.

I went and got a drink.  Stared into it.  Reminded myself, again, that the important thing isn't whether he ends up learning how to dress from watching me but that he learn how to act from watching me.  At least on my good behavior.  But there are times like today.  Times when I really miss that little double breasted jacket.  My meal arrived.  I ate.