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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nantucket Reds!!!

Oh yes, my friends...the Memorial Day holiday is behind us and Summer is HERE. The longer days give us the perfect opportunity for at least the appearance of relaxation. This is the time to break out the NANTUCKET REDS. I read about these great trousers in a blog a couple of years ago and finally scored a perfect pair on Ebay last spring. Just in time to give everyone at work the impression that I was headed off to my [hypothetical but assumed by them] beach house every Friday afternoon!! Try changing into THESE babies at lunch on a summer Friday! The real item can only be procured [new, anyhow] from Murray's Toggery in Nantucket.

The only thing to put with my Nantucket Reds is a great embroidered belt. I love nautical flag belts, and this one from Murray's is said to translate to "Dark and Stormy". I had to have it. For Trad summer drinking, it is the only thing. Even if it doesn't really say that.

Another great place for a great belt to go with my NR's is Tucker Blair, which sells the [soon to be] famous "champagne and bow ties" belt [for early evening ocean side deck cocktail party wear]:
...as well as my favorite...the "bottles and drunk crabs"...

I don't usually dress as colorfully as this. But what the heck? It IS summer, after all. We need some colorful sense of humor these days. And as for the somewhat pinkish hue of the Nantucket "Reds", it is guaranteed to fade to a fantastic pale, pale shade after repeated washings, guaranteed to horrify even a Future Rock Star 12 year old son, and guaranteed to put you in a vacation mood even if you are not going to a beach house for the weekend. Combined with a festive belt, Epic sartorial options, indeed.

It is Friday....now where did I put that key to my beach house?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The FRS At Twelve

Our little pony-tail boy
grown up to be a man
Now he's gone in the blink of an eye
-From "Suds in The Bucket", with apologies to Billy Montana, Tammy Wagoner and Sara Evans.

Most people have them. An old photo or two of a birthday party when they were twelve or thirteen. When you next look at them, examine the expressions on your parents' faces. Proud. Happy. Weary, perhaps, depending on the nature and length of the birthday festivities. But behind their eyes may lie another look. Born of the knowledge that their child is growing and preparing to go. To High School. Or wherever. Away. Resignation to that natural fact. And sadness.

My son, the Future Rock Star, turned twelve last week. I was younger at twelve than he is. Much younger. My future as a child was still reasonably long at twelve. Unlike his. I think next year he will turn thirty. I am immensely proud of him. Excited at his milestone. Accepting of the natural fact of his ultimate departure from home. But now, I am the one with that look in his eye. And I don't like it one little bit.

As I moped about this, I realized that having the FRS's birthday close upon Memorial Day gave me an Epic gift of appreciation. I felt sorry for myself because my son is growing up and preparing himself to leave me. But on this particular Monday of the American year, we pay our respects to all the sons and daughters that won't be with their families again. We appreciate them and give thanks for their sacrifice, made for us. And we should also appreciate and be so very thankful for all the sons and daughters still with us. Whether or not they still live at home. In this light, the experience of watching your child grow and mature, sad as it may be at times, is a privilege of this highest order. To be cherished and enjoyed. Every moment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Painting From Frank's House

Some days, things just break your way. I was cruising Ebay in a Sinatra sort of mood. All of a sudden, I came upon a charity auction for an animal shelter in California. One of the items was a painting from Frank's house in Palm Springs!! I had no chance of winning it of course. But, as the Chairman would say "why not toss the cubes and see what number comes up?" A couple of days later, I was the proud owner of the painting by "Luce" shown above.

What ensued was a period of anxious waiting reminiscent of my boyhood when each day waiting for some trinket to arrive in the mail was sheer torture. Or later, when it seemed the new issue of Playboy would just NOT arrive. A few days after my winning bid, the package arrived at my home and I was the proud owner of something that had been Sinatra's. Along with a very nice letter from the current owner of Sinatra's home attesting to the fact that when she bought it from his estate [fully furnished] the painting was in it. I am proud of my house, but it isn't close to Frank's place...

But my house is a little bit closer to Palm Springs now. I put the painting up at home near my bar. Where it should be. Put "Come Fly With Me" on the stereo and made a Stoli martini. To welcome this small painting to its new home in appropriate style. It may just be my imagination, but the cocktail parties I have had since then have had more "ring a ding ding". As he would have said. And I think perhaps, for a moment, the Chairman of the Board glanced my way and gave just the slightest of approving nods.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heavy Restaurant Silver

Another evening away. A rather late evening, at that. The waiter brought me one of my favorite dishes. Grilled Pompano with shrimp and scallops, all delicately laced with dill. As I enjoyed the aroma of the food, my glass was refilled with Sancerre from a bottle in the damp silver bucket at my elbow. Despite my surroundings, I was exhausted after a long day and more than a little aware that nobody else was sitting at my table.

As I picked up my fork, the burnished silver of it caught my eye. Not new. Not in a very long time. The entire silver service at this wonderful establishment had the glow of history. A history of good and happy use.

Funny how a simple fork can reverse the course of an otherwise solitary evening and turn it joyful if you look at it in the right way. The cycle of use, tarnishing, polishing and reuse had placed this implement of memory right in my hand. The good things have a way of doing that. They do not have to be expensive to have this effect. Just good. I let my mind wander, no doubt assisted by the Sancerre, to the wedding proposals, birthdays, anniversaries, victory celebrations and perhaps even a wake or two in which this silver service had no doubt been a silent participant over the years. I thought of the direct transmission of those events and of the people participating in them from their time to mine, to me, via the utensil I was holding. In the place of a modestly attended mid-week dining room, glasses clinked and ladies and gentlemen quietly laughed with their faces close together while corks popped.

Aristotle wrote that everything grows old under the power of time and is forgotten. I would beg to disagree. Certainly time ages everything. That is what the passage of time is for. But everything is not forgotten. Timeless things remain, sometimes right before us. Things that can bring us at least a little of the loveliness of times past to brighten our days. Or our nights. Some of those things are around you right now. Look about and see.

I took a bite of my food. Toasted Aristotle. And smiled. Warmed by the fine company in which I was dining.

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Espiegle Look

Every morning it happens. I get a new dose of the English language. Delivered to my email inbox. And it never fails to divert and delight me. If you love words, as I do, you should subscribe to the "word of the day" from Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com. They will teach you new things about words and their derivations. And you never know when a new word or two will come in handy. For example...

It was only a moment. Occurring years ago. I was dallying after a long luncheon. Ambling down the sidewalk after leaving Fouquet's. The lingering taste of raspberries and a respectable VSOP causing the faintest of smiles to cross my lips. She walked past me, the brisk transporter of a yellow and white Fendi shopping bag. She tossed her hair in my direction along with a sideways espiegle look. That caught my cognac tinted breath and made it reverse course. For a fraction of a second, I considered catching her. Making my best introduction in broken one semester French. Changing the course of our lives. Mais, non. Instead, I went on my way, a man of stately embonpoint, as she continued her coruscating walk without me.

The look of the coruscant woman above is considerably espiegle. Most days, these email gems contain words I have not known before. Every day, they stimulate my imagination. And provide me with moments of joy. They are free. But they are priceless.