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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I, for one, am very happy to put this one in the books.  Despite the happy conclusion to it all. Tonight the Irish Redhead and I have our traditional New Year's Eve dinner with a couple we have known many years but who we see rarely. But always on this night. Just the four of us. We swap stories, laugh, catch up. Wind down. Cook food, drink cocktails and champagne. Reinvigorate. Just in time for a new hand of 365 cards.

2012 should hold many amazing things for me. A silver wedding anniversary. A 15 year old Future Rock Star.  Paris. Who knows what else?

There is only one thing left to do. At a minute before midnight, this Epic will raise a glass, pause a moment to consider the past, then toast it away.  Join me.  Over the top my friends! Bring us a full measure of 2012!!

P.S.  I really like my post from last NYE so I am linking to it and I hope you enjoy it too.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning In New York

In case you missed this lovely article from the New York Times this morning, I am linking it for you.  It is one of the best pieces I have read in a long time.  Rather inspirational on this "morning after" Christmas Day, don't you think?

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Peace. Love. Health. Being together. Quiet glances across the room. Ribbons. Lights. Shiny paper. A crackling fire. Twinkling lights. A glass half full.

I wish all of you all the very best gifts this Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

Treu's Tic Toc Bar. Wausau, Wisconsin.  Opened in 1965.  Still the real thing today.  Lined with planks from the North Woods.  Leinenkugel's on tap.  Great bar food.  Heaven.  This shot taken yesterday.  In the frozen darkness of a winter's evening.  A great bar pushes back such things.  An even greater bar wraps such things about itself and uses them for insulation.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Epic Cellar: More Great Wine Under $15

From the Epic Cellar, I am very pleased to report on two wines I have recently enjoyed.  Both can be had for under $15.00 [USA] on a regular basis and I occasionally snag a bottle or two for under $10.00.  I do not think these are good wines.  I think they are great wines. I heartily recommend them, particularly with cold, damp weather upon us that just begs for a crackling fire and a big glass of red wine.

The Aquinas Pino Noir was recommended to me by a pally who happened to be my waiter one night out at dinner a long way from home.  I was very impressed with it as I have also been with the Cabernet and Merlot produced by the same house.

Just last week, I was having dinner in a favorite place in Kansas City.  A cool jazz club in the basement of an old speakeasy.  I asked the waiter about the Guenoc I saw on the menu and he was not familiar with it.  It should come as no surprise to the return reader that I have an Edwardian romantic attraction to any wine that describes itself these days as a "claret".  Particularly one with Lillie Langtree on the label.  As I was pondering my choice, the waiter returned and said he had made inquiry of a young lady co-worker who highly recommended the Guenoc.  As I am loathe to ignore the recommendation of a lady when it comes to Claret, I procured a bottle. I adored it. 

Both of these wines taste great right out of the bottle but sidle their way smoothly toward lovely after a little while in contact with the air.  Both bottles have a snuggly close flavor while managing at the same time a certain far off distance from the palate.  The highly trained sipper such as myself will detect that both wines have a distinct underlying fruit flavor which is subtly reminiscent of grapes.  One of my favorite flavors for wine. 

My best recommendation is that I would bring either bottle to a friend's home as a dinner party gift.  It is in the same spirit that I submit them, humbly, for your approval.  Cheers!

Sponsorship Note:  Neither vintner mentioned in this post is compensating me for my opinions. If they choose to send me a case or two, however, I wouldn't refuse the shipments.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

Iridium jazz club.  New York.  December 2011.  Rather late in the evening.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Point Of Sale

I currently find myself in one of the greatest cities in the world.  At a private club.  In my favorite bar.  When the barman punches my Oban into the P.O.S. system, my name pops up on the screen.  Just like the famous and the rich drinking before me.

My name is the same as my dad's.  And the same as my grandpa's.  Admittedly, an old man's name.

When my grandpa met my first boss, he called him "sir".  Because of his occupation.  My grandpa was a great man.  And thirty years older than "sir".

Because of a few random and great moments half a decade ago, I now get to sit in this bar.  In a town and a building my dad and my grandpa never even dreamed of entering.

My grandpa worked his ass off in the Depression on a loading dock.  My Dad found he had a great athletic skill and capitalized on it.  What I do is talk.  I can tell stories that people want to listen to. 

Tonight, when my pally the barman punched my Oban into the POS system, my name came onto the screen.  And my Dad's.  And my grandpa's.  And I know they were so very pleased.  They are long gone.  But we were together again.  United in the fact that the effort applied to our gifts got us someplace.  And what a place it is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It is easy to be thankful when everything is going well and life is moving along smoothly.  The past eighteen months have been anything but smooth around these parts. I have always found that it is in times of trouble when all of the things to be thankful for become more clear.

To that end, and especially on this American day of Thanksgiving, I would like to say how thankful I am.  For the happy conclusion to the the past year or so of difficulty in my family.  For the people around me.  Irish Redheads.  Future Rock Stars. Co-workers.  Business partners.  Friends near and far.  Neighbors.  Bartenders.  All of the highest calibre. 

And for all of you.  The Epics who still come by regularly even though I have not been publishing as much as I would have liked. The others in the blogosphere who create fascinating things every day for the diversion of the rest of us.

Thankfulness in the midst of difficulties.  So many people are feeling the same way today.  I encourage one and all to look around.  Whether the ground is smooth or rough.  And focus in on the good.  The positive. The lovely. The stimulating.  The grand.  All these things are out there. If we only look for them.  Paying attention in this fashion is truly what Epic living is all about.  Whether or not you are having a holiday today, please take a moment and indulge in thankfulness.  It is the best celebrational feast you can ever have.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Virginia Heat

Mr. Earnest was, as Anthony Bourdain would say, a cook--not a "Chef".  Specializing in the outdoor preparation of various meals such as roasted meats cooked slow over hickory and apple wood.  A master of his craft.  I first met him about two weeks into a three year idyll in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  As hard as it may now seem to believe, I was not a drinker until then.  A top flight legal education cured me of abstinance.

At one point that first evening, emboldened by the curliques of smoke rising into the Virginia stars, I engaged Mr. Earnest in conversation about his cooking techniques and how he loved the area where he grew up.  Late, when the fire was burning low, he offered me a taste of bourbon.  I loved the southern elixir at first taste.  I found out that although a lot of bourbon was made within a few square miles in the state of Kentucky, Virginia had its own brand.  Appropriately, Virginia Gentleman. 

Over my three year residence, I came to taste a lot more bourbon of various sorts.  Ate a lot more great food.  Inevitably, the time came to leave.  Mr. Earnest gave me a bottle of VG.  I gave him a big chefs hat and few other items.  Including my far away telephone number.  Just in case he ever needed the services of a new lawyer that didn't know anything about anything.  He never did.

Time flies.  Tastes change.  Improve or not.  I had not thought of those cookouts nor of that bourbon for quite some time.  Due to the intervention of numerous other details some would describe as "growing up".  Last week, I was grocery shopping and I passed down the aisle where they display various sauces.  The beautiful bottle shown above jumped out at me.  Rather expensive but I had to have it.  Virginia Gentleman.  Bourbon.  Chipotle.  Hot Sauce.  How could I go wrong?

I admit, I had a lot of reservations about it.  Lets face it, the history of sauces branded with unassociated manufacturer names is not a happy one.  In fact, the odds bet was it would be awful.  But the artwork on the label and the memories the name evoked removed any hesitation.  The question remained, would it be worth eating?

I am very happy to report that this is the best sauce of its type I have ever tried.  It is hot.  But smoky hot.  With a bite after the bite.  A deep flavor.  Redolent of crisp Autumn skies, wood smoke, roasted meats.  After my first taste, I have enthusiastically applied this sauce to all sorts of foods, always with superb results.  I am laying in a case for my personal use. 

The best thing about this sauce for me, though, is that it brings back wonderful memories of old friends.  Mr. Earnest would certainly approve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Armistice 2011

This is one of the American cemeteries at the Marne area battlefields in France.  Hundreds of thousands of men died here, on all sides, in 1916.  The novelist Paul Dutourd noted that before 1918 there were no war cemeteries in France.  Afterward they were everywhere.  It was all supposed to end today, at eleven in the morning.  Forever. 

In America we began with a remembrance of The Armistice.  After some years, there was of course more evil.  More battles.  More cemeteries.  We finally changed it to a day to remember the valor and sacrifice of all Veterans.  Which, even for people with a particular interest in World War I, is probably a good thing.  It keeps us reminded that the sacrifices of World War I, World War II, and all the rest, are part of a continuum.  A line which we can all at least pray will one day reach its end.

I am rather proud of my previous Armistice/Veterans Day posts.  You can find last year's here

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I was on the road for the first time in a good while last week.  While wandering through a major airport en route to an easy connection, I saw a young woman doing the same thing. In a much less easy manner.  Obviously short on time.  A rather small lady.  Almost a girl.  With a VERY small baby in a papoose carrier in front of her.  Car seat in one hand. Pulling a roller suitcase with the other.  The baby peeked out at me from the papoose carrier wide eyed as his mom strode past, no doubt thinking "THIS is the way it is going to be"? 

She did not have the air of someone used to today's air travel.  Rather of someone thrown into the hurly-burly of a huge airport out of absolute necessity.  For the first time.  On a tight schedule.

I mentioned that she strode past me.  Her small frame totally burdened with the demands of the campaign in which she found herself.  But the look on her face.  One of undiluted determination.  Motherly ferocity in its purist form.

Any father knows this look.  Any man who has had the opportunity to observe a woman in action while displaying it, especially for the first time, feels a DNA coded flush of respect that verges upon the martial.  That mother and son WERE going to make the connecting flight, with NO loss of necessary materiel and the child WOULD be fine as well.  The battle would be won.  God help any force obstructing her path.

The focus.  The determination.  The endless attention to detail.  Such is what makes a certain sort of great mother.  Of the warrior-princess class.  Because there was no mistake about it.  This young, disheveled, harried woman had royal blood.  Of the most important kind. 

In my mind I gave her a courtly bow.  A salute, really.  From a safe distance.  And then I went on my way.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

C.D. At 67

Today she is sixty-seven.  Still practicing her craft with passion.  Drinking the occasional bourbon on the rocks or a whisky sour.  Never examining her work once it is complete--she doesn't watch her own films.  Living for the story but never, in the words of her most recent director Francois Ozon, being superior to the part.  The 2011 Deneuve film La Potiche [The Trophy Wife] is a particularly lovely performance of a coddled and subjugated 1970s business wife who comes out of her shell in a marvelous way. She admires Marilyn Monroe and Carole Lombard and it shows in her ability to [again quoting Ozon] be "very elegant in ridiculous situations".  That ability sounds like an Epic triumph.  For, at the end of the day, what better description could any Epic hope for?

I hope all will join me today in a tot of bourbon on the rocks to celebrate a truly original and marvelous lady.

Attribution Note:  The quotes and photo used above come from thewashingtonpost.com dated today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Tale Of Two Hats

I have only tried to wear two real hats in my adult life.  By "real" hats, I mean non-caps.  I also exclude a very sharp wool cap that I wear in deepest winter.  You cannot count a life extending necessity as a sartorial luxury.

My first real hat was purchased in my late twenties.  I was living in the deep American South, had a good job, was dressing well for the first time in my life.  One day I went all in.  I purchased a Brooks Brothers straw boater with a red and navy ribbon band.  Not on sale, either.  I broke it out on Easter Sunday with my double breasted Cable Car Clothiers seersucker suit.  Every woman I met that was over sixty melted for this outfit.  My wife, not so much.  Needless to say I felt rather self-conscious being the only male wearing a hat, a boater nonetheless, and I got more than a little tired of the dagger looks I was getting from the men with the over-sixty crowd of women admirers I had gathered like some form of 1890s Pied Piper.  I wore it the next few years but with dwindling enthusiasm.  My boater now resides in a safe spot in my closet.  On a high shelf.

My second real hat was purchased two weeks ago and is shown above.  A very sharp grey number.  Sort of Frank inspired if I do say so.  I tried it on in the store and loved it right away.  My wife was deeply silent.  Undeterred, I made the purchase, right in front of her, and carried my new treasure home.  I wore it for the first time today.  To work.  With a black turtleneck sweater, charcoal gray gaberdine Paul Stuart trousers, and a wool blazer in even darker gray.  I have to say, I felt fantastic.  I got many compliments.  From those outside my family anyhow.  And I wore it everywhere without a single feeling of uncertainty.

Then it hit me.  This is one of the great Epic gifts of being over fifty.  The freedom to don any headwear you want without any other thought than "I am fifty two years old.  If I want to wear a sharp hat out in public, I will damn well wear it.".  I feel entire habidashorial vistas opening before me.  Ascots.  Akubras. Balmorals. Berets. Bowlers. Chupallas. Cowboys. Fez'. Fedoras. Hombergs and all the rest.  And, on the distant horizon, next summer a reintroduction of the boater!!!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sartorial Save

I am a person who likes to dress.  The typical business day, I am starched and pressed.  Primarily to raise my enjoyment level but also to also give people I meet the right impression. That I may be, for example, a 52 year old professional that knows what he is doing.  Funny how easy it is to fool people.

In any event, some of these days for this Epic have not been amenable to clothing preparation.  Other family issues have been intervening and have pushed my clothes down the priority list.  As a result, on a day like today, when I have ironed nothing and it shows, I go to my sartorial lifesaver rule.  I put on the most expensive blazer I have.  This gorgeous Brioni single breasted number is the one. Perfect fabric.  Buttoning and unbuttoning "surgeon's" cuffs.  A soft, buttery color.  Got it for a couple hundred on Ebay.  It fits me like it was tailored for my "physique".  

This way, when I wrinkle my way into a shop on an errand for my wife on the way home from work, they will at least look at me and think that I knew what I was doing at some point in the not too distant past.  And that I carried a reminder of that time along for the ride.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hangover Tips From Men's Health Magazine

Every so often I get an email from Men's Health magazine with tidbits of information designed to enlighten me.  I am not sure to what age group these emails are directed but one recently caught my eye.

"The Eleven Best Ways To Escape A Hangover". 

I was suspect of the title right off the bat.  Every tippler knows that there are only two ways to "escape" a hangover and that neither of them are acceptable.  Abstinence or moderation.  Abstinence deprives the drinker of one of the most potent weapons he or she can array against the seemingly endless slings and arrows of daily life.  Out of the question.  Moderation is generally accepted as a fine notion in most quarters and also with alcohol of course.  Definitional issues aside regarding what constitutes "moderation", the problem with moderation in this context is that it needlessly limits your intake while providing absolutely no guarantee of "avoidance".  The vagaries of metabolism, diet (another horrid word when taken out of context) and the impact of your psychology of the moment can turn even a "moderate" consumption of alcohol into a personality-rending hangover sixteen hours later.  With all this in mind, I cocked the eyebrow and sat down to examine the "Eleven Best Ways".  After making a martini.

1. Water.

I am no scientist.  Call me an experiential observer if you must.  But it is obvious that hefty consumption of alcohol depletes the little water cells or whatever.  This could be proven empirically (and disgustingly) by measuring the volume of booze intake during any given evening out and comparing it to the measured...um....outgo...during the same period of time.  There is a lot more on the expense side of the ledger.  It has to come from somewhere.  Case closed.  As a result, you have to replenish water.  The issue is when to do it.  Drinking water while cocktailing is absurd and tedious to everyone else.  Also, it violates Sinatra's famous dictum regarding a water back placed by an unsuspecting server near his Jack Daniels..."Take it away. Water is for washing. I'm thirsty, not dirty."  Drinking water in large quantities after you get home and are readying for bed is a grand idea, and as effective as anything else to ward off the next-morning issues, but as Kingsley Amis sagely said if you can remember to drink a gallon of water before bed you probably aren't drunk enough for it to make any difference.  In the tippling context I call this the Prophylactic/Consciousness Paradox.  The only sensible choice remaining is to drink as much water as possible the "morning after".  Of course at this point it is literally impossible to "avoid" the self-brutalizing hangover you already have and the water consumption is only to allow survival to the end of the line.  A wee dram of whisky, particularly Irish whisky, added to the water at this stage is said to help smooth out the turbulence a bit.  I wouldn't know.

2. Sports Drinks.

No.  Please, I will tell you the number of the bank deposit box.  Just do not make me drink one of these.  For one thing, they usually involve sports of the sort that require massive activity levels and are consequently contrary in spirit and practice to sitting on a bar stool for extended periods.  Second, they taste like Hawaiian Punch with a battery acid chaser.  No way I would drink one of these hung over.  Even if it cured me.  Which it won't. 

3. Coffee.

Nope.  I pride myself on having many bartender pals, and one of the best told me "coffee just turns a drunk into a wide awake drunk".  It doesn't even have that effect on me.  Although I love the aroma of coffee at any time and perhaps that may help the hangover a little.  I don't recall ever hearing of someone wanting to vomit after smelling coffee, so that is something of an endorsement.  And, the last time I checked, coffee was all water anyhow.  I am told that a dot of cognac in the coffee might help too.  I wouldn't know.

4. More Alcohol ["Hair of the Dog"].

Yes, the Men's Health author (a lady by the way) put the term in quotation marks.  As if assuming the reader had not heard it before.  Or as if it is not a valid theory perfected over centuries of use by the discriminating drinker.  No other commentary on this is needed.  See the above.  And the following.

5. Toast or Crackers.

What?  Really?  How about a nice plate of spaghetti? This recommendation by the author was for food consumption once the hangover phase sets in.  My dining preferences after a large time out are nonspecific other than for the mandatory inclusion of high levels of salt and grease.  Pizza is good.  So are burgers and tater tots.  It doesn't matter.  As much as you may not want to put anything into your stomach during a hangover, you have to stay vital, if only to allow for deep reflection on all the things you don't like about life.  I refer to this as the Nausea/Survival Conundrum. You have to stay alive until the harpies leave your skull.  No avoiding a hangover here.
If moving your jaws is an overarching effort during this phase, then you can turn to the lore of any one of many ancient and sensible cultures on the planet holding that a beer, particularly dark beer such as stout, is a restorative reaching of the potency of a mystical elixir.  I wouldn't know.

6. Greasy Food.

The author says that this doesn't matter after you drink (patently untrue, see 5 above) but that you should eat greasy food BEFORE settling in at the bar to DELAY the body's absorption of alcohol.  Good heavens.  Final proof that the author may not drink at all and certainly has never had a hangover.  The lunacy of this notion should be immediately apparent to anyone over the age of six.  Delaying absorption only PROLONGS the hangover phase, allowing the theory's stumbling victim to wander headlong into what is commonly known as the Sustained Release Poison Anomaly.  Please. Send us writers with real world experience. Please.

7. Vitamins.

I won't take them when I'm SOBER.  Not happening.  They won't "avoid" a hangover.  Plus, there is the oft-mentioned although somewhat thinly documented green tinting of the countenance which can occur when a person slogs down a hand full of these natural elements and then buries them in booze.  Cocktails are chock full of vitamins.  Ask anyone.  Those are enough.

8. Exercise.

See 7.  I can't imagine anything worse than running a few miles with a hangover, can you?  Exercise is dangerous enough without the conga line dancing in your head and without being blinded by hypersensitivity to light. As a penance perhaps it would do but personally I feel the hangover alone is more than sufficient in that regard.

9. Sex.

Hm.  See my thought about exercise.  I don't recall ever having sex, or wanting to have sex, while hung over but if there was a time when I would have wanted to have sex while hung over I assure you it is long past.  Plus, it would probably require removal of the icy cloth from my eyes...

10. Pain Medication.

Also not a hangover "avoider", merely a symptomatic treatment.  I am not against a few mild analgesics since the hangover intrinsically involves pain and lowering pain is what pain medicine is for.  Personally, however, the well documented dangers of using almost any sort of pain medicine (especially the ones that really work) after substantial consumption of alcohol have put me off the notion.  I would rather suffer through, penance or no.  I earned this hangover.  I want to feel sorry for myself as long as possible. 

All in all, then, this latest list of ways to "avoid" a hangover ia no better nor worse than its many predecessors.  The open point is whether a sure-fire method of avoidance would be a positive thing.  Again, I am no scientist, but it seems to me that any absolute prophylactic for a hangover would of necessity also prevent the imbiber from tipsiness and if that were the case, cocktailing would provide no gaiety, no separation from la vie ordinaire, no release. The effect on raconteurism alone would be devastating.  To say nothing of the production of poetry and song lyrics.  And what then, I would ask (as I gaze into the shaker to see if a refill lurks inside) would be the point?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Haiku For Tessa

Gifted lover of vodka.
Where is she today?

Without a trace or shadow.
My glass now empty.

So fill the shaker.
Prepare a tray of scoffing.
Wait for her return.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 And Counting

Passport, check. Airline ticket [Business Class], check.  Perfect hotel researched, found and booked, check.  Pull out battered copy of Liebling's "Between Meals" and carry it with you everywhere you go, check.  Deep restaurant, cafe and locale reading, underway.  Preparation for the life of the flaneur.

Seven months to go.  I am beside myself with excitement. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Few Good Reds

I love wine but I know little about it.  My Epic wine philosophy comes from the great cajun chef Justin Wilson who famously said "You drink what you like, you".

I do have this odd sense of humor though.  Some years ago, I was at table with a good pal who is a real wine man.  An oenophile.  Along with several other people. One of whom, in a sort of didactic manner, was going on and on about "wine".  At one point, the didactic fellow glanced down the table my way and asked in what I thought was rather an arched manner what I thought of the really great wine we were drinking.  Everyone else at the table had been making smart sounding comments about the wine while I was primarily occupied with consuming it. 

At a loss and on the spot, everyone looking at me, I ventured

"It has a subtle dryness which is at the same time rather wet."

Silence.  Emboldened I pressed on...

"A near flavor which is somehow distant".

A few chuckles including thankfully one from my pal the host who was stifling a howl.  I went for the trifecta...

"The taste of this bottle has a strong undertone of...grapes."

The D.M. returned to his more worthy audience.  I returned to drinking the wine.

Perhaps I am not the fellow to invite to your next wine tasting.  Or perhaps I am.  Either way, I always enjoy looking for cheap [read sub-$10] bottles of wine that I love to drink.  The two bottles shown above fit the bill nicely.  Both have great flavor and can be purchased almost everywhere.  I find them both to have bold grapiness which is near yet somehow far away.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

AZ88, Scottsdale, Arizona. April, 2011
Martinis that defy gravity. Have a couple and you will too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Little Booth In The Back

Tonight I had dinner at one of my favorite places. At the back of the place is a little booth. Where, at age 5, we took the Future Rock Star out for dinner. His first "good restaurant". We sat there, in the back. He wore a double breasted off white linen blazer. Back when he actually wanted to dress like me. He ate a bowl of kids' spaghetti. Charmed the very cute waitress. Then slid over on his side and fell asleep with his head on my knee. A perfect evening.

Last night, I sat up all night. Waiting for dawn. Then, about eight in the morning, I started the car. And drove him to his first day of High School. My wife reminded me there are only four years left. Then he flies. My heart is crumbling. The bottle of very nice white Bordeaux I had tonight barely touched the pain. As I sat there. In the little booth. In the back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Epic Book Shelf: A Feast At The Beach

In the deep swelter of my summer, I dream of Provence. Imagine. Being a young American boy with grandparents in St. Tropez. And being able to spend summers with them on a regular basis. Learning about the War. About family. About food. About love and life. William Widmaier has written a most lovely small book with a collection of these memories. Every one is touching in its own way. Opening windows into a world the rest of us can only imagine. Like this rumination about meeting a young love years later...

...people we love in childhood we love forever...we will always love who they were then; what they meant to us then. That time, that place, that little universe lives forever in our hearts, outside the stream of time.

The vignettes and the wonderful art contained in this book would be worth running out and buying it. But there is more. Each chapter concludes with an easy to do, tantalizing Provencal recipe. There is even a short primer on the wines of Provence. Listen to the names of the recipes...

Lemon and Olive Chicken with French Green Beans

Le Pesto et Le Pistou

Jaques' Grilled Shrimps Provencal

Meme's Sleeping Potion

L'Aioli de Provence

If you were not hungry for Provence before this review I certainly hope you are now. If so, when you read this charming book you will be satisfied in quite a few ways. Pack your bags. Dream. And come along for the feast.

Source Note: Thanks to the wonderful blogger and author Vicki Archer of French Essence for suggesting this book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

Falcon Pub. Davie, Florida. August 2011.

I learned long ago not to make snap judgments. About anything. Particularly based upon an exterior view. Judging a book and all that. Take a recent summer day, way down South. I was headed to an event which could only be described as horrid. A drink and some lunch were in order as fortification. Driving about aimlessly in a town I didn't know, I saw a pub sign in a less than well kept shopping center. Strike one, the word "olde" in the name. Also, I admit that the sign on the door precluding sleeveless shirts after 5:00pm was daunting. Momentarily. But since my shirt had sleeves and I was in great need of fortification in anticipation of the rest of the afternoon, I pulled open the door and sallied forth.

The first person I encountered was a black-haired, blue-eyed bartender. Corinne is one of the best ever, but no one to be trifled with. "We aren't really open yet but you are sitting here so I'm going to take care of you." And she did. With great pub food. And, off to the left of the photo, a tartan pull with unlimited draft of Belhaven Scottish Ale. All of which adequately set me up for the remaining events of the day.

Be brave. Try out the Falcon Pub. Tell Corinne the guy in the suit sent you. If you are nice she'll show you her flamingo tattoo.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Epic Listening: Indian Summer, Dave Brubeck [2007]

My experience as a pianist began and ended early on. I hated practicing my lessons as much as most boys do. Until one day it dawned on me that the Young Minister's Wife sitting close to me on the piano bench was more than fetching. Much more. She also smelled quite a bit like Ivory soap. These epiphanies not only inspired me to great rehearsal effort but introduced me to the brutalizing concepts of tactile and olfactory Attention Deficit Disorder.

In the event, my YMW eventually told me that I had to develop my own way of playing the notes. My own "voice". Dazzled with Ivory soap, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then my family moved. Sold the old upright piano. I never played again. It was only ten years of lessons expended. Nothing, really.

Much later, I became a jazz fan. The idea of a player's "voice" came to me anew. Via fellows named Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, and others. The way a master musician can play the same instrument as a million others. In a completely distinctive way.

Sometimes the "voice" can be circumstantial. A reflection of the player's life and mood at the moments the notes are struck. That sort of voice can be downright awful. Or transcendent. Opening a window into the hearts of both the musician and the listener. This wonderful sort of voice is demonstrated throughout Dave Brubeck's "Indian Summer" album.

Brubeck made this album at the age of 86. And that is in large part the beauty of the work. Both the selections, and more important the voice of these songs reflect the thoughts of a man whose life has been well lived. Looking back.

Haunting music. Not ponderous but rather pondering. Thoughtful. Longing. Sad. The play list says it all starting with You'll Never Know. Memories of You. So Lonely. Georgia On My Mind. Thank You. Then, at the end where it should be, Indian Summer. Which leaves you sitting staring into space. Looking back.

The entire album is wonderful. Evidence of a man playing, and seeing, the music in the lovely slanting light of Autumn.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars: Dessert Edition

Tommy Bahama Grill, Sandestin Florida. The drinks were cognac and soda. I think. The dessert is butterscotch pudding made with Scotch. Dark Chocolate lines the glass. Real cream. Amazing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Epic Cinema: Midnight In Paris (2011)

I just saw it today. Do yourself a favor. If you are a fan of The Epic, you will love this movie. It is my new favorite movie. Ever. Displacing the hitherto undisplacable The Quite Man.

Do yourself another favor. This movie deserves a fine meal. Before. Not after. After, you want to be sitting by yourself, having a Calvados, listening to Cole Porter. Wondering about yourself. And about whether all times really do coexist. Having seen this movie I certainly hope they do.

I've made up my mind. In the early months of 2012, I'm going.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Random memories from many Northern Wisconsin 300 person home town Fourth of July holidays...

1. Kids decorating our bikes for the parade.
2. Old fellows wearing hats from the American Legion.
3. Pumpkin ball games [where the men would play baseball with a ball the size of a pumpkin].
4. Watermelon [available only one day a year].
5. Contests to see who could spit the watermelon seeds the farthest.
6. My Swedish grandma having my grandpa nail spinning fireworks to the pole that held up the laundry drying line in our back yard.
7. Waiting breathless for my Dad to come back into town from working far away, his auto trunk loaded with fresh yellow corn that we shucked and boiled in a big pot.
8. The sun setting long into the northern evening as bratwurst sausages cooked on a charcoal grill.
9. Fireflies dancing in the fading light, the only fireworks our town could afford.
10. Hearing a phonograph record in our small living room playing "Hooray For The Red White and Blue".
11. The odd feeling, even then, that those sort of days were rapidly dwindling in number.
12. Freedom, glorious freedom.

Happy Fourth of July to all freedom seekers everywhere.

Photo Credit: Marthastewart.com

Saturday, June 11, 2011


In a recent interview, Jerry Seinfeld was asked to describe the moment when he knew he had "made it" as a comedian. Without hesitation, he said that the moment was the first time he got up on stage behind a mike and tried to tell jokes. Because at that moment he became "one of them". A stand up comedian. Whether he ever succeeded or not. The mere act of crossing that Rubicon of footlights was all that mattered.

I have always fancied myself a singer. The classic song book. Plus a few others that take my fancy. I've sung at some Christmas parties in highly partisan environs where a pally was playing the piano. But there is a huge difference when you are handed a microphone. In a town far away. During "sit in with the pianist" night. In front of total strangers.

I have written before of my favorite bar anywhere. The Whitemarsh Valley Inn. West of Philadelphia. One of the great features of this bar is that it has live music every night. And the performers let people sit in with them between sets. A hack's dream, no?

Well a few nights ago I happened to find myself stationed at my usual table at the Whitemarsh. In the bar. In the back. Now the thing about this bar is they have singers here. Not the paid entertainment. Many of the customers who sit in with the pianist can really sing. Not all of course. But enough to make you take notice.

On this particular night, I had a fine meal (one facet that makes this the best bar anywhere is that they have great food) and was working on a post-nosh cocktail when I made a mental list of the amateur performers I had seen so far that evening. One fellow walked slowly up to the piano. Wearing a tartan shirt and jeans. Probably in his fifties. Who amazingly asked the pianist for "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. He sang it softly and with some timid hesitation. But he sang it through. I have a notion that, no matter how good a person's voice may be, some songs are just not singable by anyone other than the original artist because that person's manner of singing and presenting the lyric makes them iconic. They are the "uncoverable" tunes. Vintage Steve Perry songs fall squarely into this category. Nobody can do them. Perhaps nobody should even try and sing them. Except that fellow the band found covering Perry perfectly in a bar in the Philippines. Anyway, I wouldn't attempt it. But this gentleman did. I clapped loudly for him at the end. Although he had proven my point regarding uncoverable songs, I had all the respect for him in the world. He sat down without talking to anyone and resumed drinking his drink.

The next two performers were very good. Both ladies who were very comfortable up in front of a crowd singing. And doing great material in stylish fashion. At one point, one of the ladies came to my table...

"Who are you, anyway? You seem to really like the music."

I felt like Kwai Chang Caine in the old television series Kung Fu at this point. I felt like saying "I'm just a man..." Instead, I said

"Um...just a guy from out of town that likes to hear people sing."

"So, do you sing?"

"Um, well, I, um, well a little I guess."

"Are you going to do a song tonight?"

"NO WAY. I am NOT doing that."

"Ok....well thanks for paying attention and clapping. Have a good evening."

Whew. Dodged a bullet that time. After another round, the pianist took another break. Leaning into his mike, he looked out my way and said...

"Say, I'm told we have a visiting singer from way out of town....[M.L.]....back in the back there.....he's going to do a song now, lets hear it for him." Some random bar applause ensued.

Frozen, I just stared at him. But at that point, what choice did I have? Sometimes fate just grabs you and tosses you out into the game. I got up and moved toward the piano. Scanning my mind feverishly for a song that I knew well enough to try to sing. I know lots of songs by heart, but it is a different thing when you spontaneously have to pull one up and just go with it. And, by the way, not make a fool of yourself. In what appeared to be a room populated with singers.

"So what song do you want to do?"

I fell upon a tune I had been listening to on my MP3 on the airplane into town that afternoon.

"Um.......I guess Walking In Memphis.......Marc Cohn?"

"Good song. Do you need me to help with the words?"

I've got the words. Hell, I've lived the words. He started playing a little intro. I could hear my blood pressure rising in my ears. Don't stick the mike too close to your mouth...try to remember the first line...

The listeners clapped politely when the pianist announced what song was to be my victim. I thought a joke might be in order.

"Thanks. I want to tell you I am what is called a Three Drink Singer. Unless I've had at least three drinks and unless every one of you has had at least three drinks, I sound lousy. I'm good on that score but if any of you has had less than three belts, you had better get with your friendly bartenders right now. For your own good."

A Dean Martin line I think. It got a laugh. Then the pianist looked over at me. My heartbeat sounded like the ocean. During a storm. Show time.

Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded a plane.
Touched down in the land of the Delta blues
In the middle of a pourin rain

W.C. Handy, will you look down over me
Yeah, I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be

I made it through. With no muffs in the words. A little late starting the second verse. Probably because I couldn't believe I made it through the first verse. Even a little gospel flourish at the "Reverend Green" part that got a soft chuckle from the pianist next to me.

When I was finished I wanted to sing it all over again. The bartender said it was great. The ladies who were the real singers gave me high fives as I strode back to my table. In the bar. In the back. "One of them". At last.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

La Cote bar, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, February 2011. If Goldfinger would have looked up while cheating at cards he would have seen Bond looking down at him from one of these center balconies and saved himself a lot of troubles.

This is one of my favorite hotels anywhere and one of the few outdoor bars I love.

If one were up in daytime while staying at the Fontainebleau, the view would look like this:

From this elevation, you can just make me out at La Cote, mid-right in the frame, in an off- white linen suit. Appropriately wrinkled. Drinking a Myers dark and soda. Planning the evening's escapade.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You

From the First Five at Boston Common:

Crispus Attucks
Samuel Gray
James Caldwell
Samuel Maverick
Patrick Carr

To the Five Most Recent:

S.Sgt. Kristofferson B. Lorenzo
Pfc. William S. Blevins
Pvt. Andrew M. Krippner
Pvt. Thomas C. Allers
Sgt. 1st Class Clifford E. Beattie

From all the rest of us. Thanks. Today. And always.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Haiku From The Road (at 52)

Some people chase girls
Some people pursue women
I'll just have a drink.

Attribution Note [As Always]: She gave me the inspiration to write haiku. She knows who she is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yesterday, I was performing one of my regular errands when I met a new hero. I was standing at the counter of my neighborhood pharmacy picking up some prescriptions when a gent walked in on a similar task. Eighty if he was a day. Perhaps eighty-five. Big sun glasses rather typical for the fellow's age in Florida. I think the government hands them out once you mark a certain number of birthdays. Moving with the deliberate yet unencumbered gait required by lower joints that won't respond to commands in the manner expected from decades of experience.

There, at this little pharmacy in an out of the way town, the man was dressed to the nines. Straw hat with madras band. Pale blue pin-cord suit. White dress shirt. Yellow bow tie. White buck shoes. I almost applauded as he walked in.

As he slowly conducted his business with the counter clerk, I tried to imagine what his life had been about. What his days were currently like. I wondered how old his crisp outfit might be. Finally, as he turned to leave, I introduced myself and said I thought he looked just great. He grinned, saying "Oh, this outfit is just something I threw on to go to the pharmacy." Then he made his way carefully from the room.

When I related this event to my son, the Future Rock Star, he said

"That guy is a hero to us, Dad. Because he never let his age take his youth away."
Precisely. Your youth can't be taken. You can only give it away. My new hero may have only been able to accomplish the one task yesterday of a trip down the street to the pharmacy. But he did that task as well as it could be done. An example to us all.
I hope I see him there again sometime. I want to ask him to lunch. Or to happy hour.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Donde Esta?

The marrow of a strong marital relationship lies in shared and remembered laughter. I am the recipient of many Epic gifts in this way because the Irish Redhead and I have the same sense of humor. Some might call it an odd sense of humor. In any event, one facet of my SoH is that bored M.Lane has a highly refined ability to entertain himself. Particularly on the road. Particularly a long way out on the road.

Ten years ago in San Francisco, for example. I was on a business trip and found myself staying a day after the rest of my party went home. It was a beautiful day and I decided to walk around this wonderful city and head to China Town. After wandering past the twentieth little store selling what looked like dried, skinned chickens, I started thinking of ways to enhance the experience.

Now, I admit, I have always had a bit of a fascination with Tonya Harding. As I strolled about in China Town it occurred to me that it would be a kick to have someone teach me how to say "Do you know where Tonya Harding is?" in Chinese. A willing, although mystified, older woman helped me out with a phrase I could not repeat now to save my life. Thus armed, I spent some highly diverting time asking random people if they could locate the only notorious figure skater in history.

The reactions I got were hilarious. One fellow in a little shop produced a Harding trading card for my perusal but that was as close as I got to the real item. I would have liked to meet her and have a drink or two. I would not have wanted to get her mad at me. When I got back to the hotel and told the Irish Redhead of this adventure she laughed so hard she dropped the phone.

A decade passed. Last week I found myself in San Antonio, Texas. A place new to me and one which I greatly enjoyed. In a free spot of time, I went to tour The Alamo which was very interesting. I had previously sent a text message about my location to the I.R. since she is also very interested in history and in historical places. I had been to a magnificent Mexican restaurant the previous evening and had once again become aware of my rather significant deficit in Spanish which I had also mentioned to the I.R. A few minutes after the start of my Alamo tour, text messages with useful Spanish phrases began arriving on my phone. Such as "Do they sell beer at the Alamo?" [No. Pity.]. "Where is the bathroom at the Alamo?" And, then, this...

Donda esta Tonya Harding en el Alamo?

Now it was my turn to laugh so hard I dropped my phone. We were many miles apart. But very close. Retain the laughs. The funny moments. Even if odd. Approaching our twenty fourth wedding anniversary we still laugh loudly. And a lot. The marrow of strength, indeed.

Post-script: Yes, I asked. No, she wasn't at the Alamo. I read today that TH has married, settled down, and had a baby. I wish her peace and a long history of shared laughs with her husband. She certainly owes herself some quietude.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From The Epic Valet Box: The Timex Dress Watch

Late night. 1982. A Walgreens store in rural southwest Virginia. A boy from the Wisconsin woods, armed only with a better education than he probably deserved, is preparing to head out on his first paid out of town interview trip. And he has no watch. Not one good enough to wear into the offices of an August Law Firm.

He has insufficient funds to go to a jewelry store to look for a watch but he has seen a display case of Timex watches when out buying tooth paste, shaving cream, the usual things. So, when he realizes at midnight that he has no dress watch to go with his one navy blue suit and white shirt from Lands End he panics. And heads to the only watch display he can remember. Up there in the mountains where he lives.

Most of the watches were pretty awful. But there was this one watch that seemed singular. Lonely among its compatriots. Wafer thin. Plated with several hefty "microns" of real gold. Roman numerals. Black synthetic carbochon on the stem. It seemed to be begging the boy to arrange its escape from captivity. To give it one shot at peeking out from under the cuff of a nice shirt. The boy knew it had to be. The purchase was made, the escape from a rotating plastic display accomplished. For the grand total of twenty-four bucks.

The interview trip was a monumental disaster. Seemingly, the boy was considered too much of an artist for an August Law Firm. But the watch remained. Thirty years later, the boy, now impersonating a man, found it in the back of his valet box. Battery dead as a doornail. The "microns" still glowing in the sultry way of a real gold case. A few dollars spent and it is back in business. Except now the boy can afford to give it the alligator band that it so richly deserves. Because, you see, the boy and the watch have been through the professional wars together. From way back. Before he married a woman that would give him a vintage Rolex, just for fun. It still gets compliments. And, in an odd way, every time the boy puts this watch on, it transports him for a moment or two to to a time when everything was bright and shiny. When opportunity flashed on every horizon. When victory and defeat were just abstract concepts.

It is good to keep things from our past times. To preserve them. And to let them preserve us as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Little Paris

It is clear from these archives that I am an unabashed, and unrequited, Parisiophile. I read books about Paris. Especially about dining there. I look at maps. Photos. I even look at luxury real estate ads from Paris on line. Just to prepare myself for the day when I set foot in La Ville Lumiere.

To that end, I also get a few email newsletters about and from Paris. My Little Paris is a wonderful one. It is written for the lady Parisiophile, but it is equally enjoyable to all.

Take, for example, the text of the most recent MLP effort, entitled "Good Morning Paris":

Sunday morning, 8:30 a.m. The baker is ravishing his first client, snorers are winding down their purring and Paris is slowly waking up. And you? As you enjoy those first, soft sunbeams, you're just on time for a secret ride around town on an electrical bicycle.

If anything could make me take a ride around town on an electrical bicycle, this paragraph is it. I may well do it. Once I arrive. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the mailings from MLP which, for a few minutes, transport me there. Meanwhile, there is great French music on the internet, poems, photos, maps, and the wine and cheese of course. In the immortal words of Johnny Mercer...

Just watch the smoke rings rise in the air
You'll find your share of memories there
So dream when the day is through
Dream and they might come true...
Just dream...dream...dream.

Lovely web sites like My Little Paris help us to do just that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quotes From My Luggage

While packing for a trip tomorrow, I found a scrap of paper in my suitcase with two great quotes on it. I do not know when or where I wrote them down and I did not write down the author who created them. They are too good to be mine. In any case, I share them for your entertainment.

"For adults, romances are variable and friendships are the constant. Privileged youth reverses the equation: love affairs are constant and it is the friendships that vary."

"Pettiness and cruelty, like long hair and short skirts, look better on a younger, more supple, frame."

If I keep finding notes to myself like this, I will make this a regular Epic feature!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy Hour at TGIF

I was there alright. TGI Friday's. A Wednesday evening, just before six. Mid-week happy hour. Actually I was ordering take out. With a pop on the side for the wait. If you want to see a genuine selection of characters, check out this scene sometime. Remote control trivia gaming using some sort of satellite keyboard is a blood sport. With hard questions, too. Such as "mint is in the same family as which of the following...?". As I ordered my drink, I braced for Happy Hour Hell. I made a mental note to revisit my Dante to see if this is one of the circles. If not, I thought it certainly should be.

The young lady behind the bar was cute but not too cute. I wouldn't try to ask for an old school cocktail here. This is definitely a highball joint. The old-ish fellow to my immediate left was wearing khakis, a gingham check shirt and a Crocodile Dundee hat. Suspiciously, he seemed to be drinking water which deflated his outback image. He stared grimly at the screen as each question and set of answers appeared, occasionally calling out "Who could know this?". The rather old fellow to the left of Dundee was drinking coffee from a mug he must have brought in himself because it had "I [heart] Nuns" printed on it. In red. He got more answers correct than Dundee but also loudly agreed with Dundee that most of the questions were too hard for anybody to answer. Sipping my Jack and water, I had to agree. Although I didn't verbalize my opinion like my neighbors.

Ultimately, it didn't matter if Dundee or Nun Man got one right every so often. Because across the bar was another older fellow wearing a Greek fisherman cap and drinking very large Margaritas. I noticed that his drinks come out of a shaker, not a freezer/blender, so I began to revise my opinion of the bartender.

One rule I have consistently found to be sound is to beware of men in Greek fisherman caps. Particularly older men. They know things. Not pleasant things. Have been places. Not pleasant places. Sometimes they carry small wicked knives. Trust me. I know. Once I saw this gent, drinking large, real drinks, I knew where to put my money. Dundee and Nun Man never had a shot.

The Greek Fisherman was a large man, with weather hardened skin and a fringe of white hair curling out from under the edges of his cap. He would watch as each question came up on the televisions over the bar, take a long pull at his Margarita, and stretch a finger out toward his response keyboard. Almost bored. Then he would almost unfailingly tap in the correct answer. Sort of like Auric Goldfinger playing Chemin De Fer. At TGI Friday's. On Wednesday evening.

Finally, defeated, Nun Man threw up his hands and walked out of the bar to have a smoke muttering how nobody could get the answers right and how SOME people are just damned lucky. The bartender grinned, refilled his Nun mug with coffee, and waited for his return.

While Nun Man was out calming himself with a Marlboro Red, I noticed an odd thing. The bartender referred to all of the older folk at her bar by name. Asked about their families. Knew their drinks. Many of the customers raised a hand to each other as the came or left. Some hugged. When Nun Man returned to the trivial arena, the Greek Fisherman was paying his tab and preparing to leave. Leaving the field of play to lesser men. The bartender glanced sideways at Nun Man and asked if he had remembered to take his medicine that day. He muttered that he had, grinned sheepishly, and returned to his keyboard. I sipped my drink and tried to remember if I had taken my medicine that day as well.

Kingsley Amis held that, prior to degradation by corporate ownership, music systems and television, the English pub was an important social institution because it provided patrons with an extended family network. I believe that Waverly Root said much the same about good little Parisian bistros. The point being that pleasant communal activity is essential to human social existence despite what certain well-read hermitic sorts may espouse. What I learned that Wednesday evening at TGI Friday was that a good bar doesn't have to be located in a discrete location or even have very good drinks. A good bar can be found in a mall parking lot behind rather loud red and white striping. Because a good bar comes from the people inside it. At happy hour. Or any other time. Dundee, Nun Man, the Greek Fisherman and their bartender deserve my honest thanks for reminding me of that simple truth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Old Timers

A week into being fifty-two, I ran into a fellow I know who is a professional contemporary. Not an easy sort of person to meet these days. Maybe they figured out something I didn't. More likely, in the words of Duke Ellington, I "don't get around much anymore". In any event, we fell into one of those "old timer" conversations about people we knew who are even older timers than us. Guys from way back. Legends. We shared some great memories and had a few good laughs.

One gent in particular was a total character. In the manner in which only small American southern town courthouses can produce total characters. Not your Atticus Finch sort of lawyer by any means. This guy rolled into court one day thirty years ago resplendent in a suit...and a turtleneck sweater. The judge was a senior man. An even older time, Southern, small town courthouse man. As the attorney got settled behind the counsel table, the judge stopped whatever else was going on and froze him with a look...

"Mr. [S] did you forget your necktie this morning?"

"No yah-honnah. As you can see, I am wearing a turtleneck sweater. No necktie required."

"I can see very well and I know what a turtleneck sweater is. What I want to know is what a turtleneck sweater is doing in my courtroom, sir."

"Yah-honnah, the turtleneck sweater is on the cutting edge of business fashion. Endorsed by the highest authorities of men's style."

"Oh? Such as who?"

At this point, the O.T. clicked open his new Samsonite briefcase and plunged his hand inside. Triumphantly he played his trump card...

"Why yah-honnah, according to no less authority than Mr. Hugh M. Hefner in this month's issue of Playboy magazine. I have a copy right here, as you can also no doubt see."

What may be described as a pregnant pause occurred at this juncture. The judge peered down from the bench at the O.T. The bailiff chewed his lip to keep from bursting out laughing. The court reporter and clerk slid slightly down in their respective chairs waiting for the brimstone to fly from the judge's direction. Then...

"Mr. [S], give me that. The Court will give it a full review in chambers at its leisure and I will rule on the topic at an appropriate time. In the meantime, you have ten minutes to get your butt back to your office and get back here wearing a shirt and necktie."

The judge took possession of S's copy of Playboy and gave a strong rap with the gavel. Next case.

I miss those old characters. I guess the burden is on us, who have defaulted into their places now, to carry on. But I still don't think I would try wearing a turtleneck to court. Playboy magazine or no Playboy magazine.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I know this is several days too late. That is the way the Epic life has been running lately. Suffice to say, the world is rather the less elegant for her passing. The lady who wore jewels because she liked to bask in their glow. Like those gems, her radiance will never really fade. Au revoir.

Friday, March 18, 2011


My fifty-second birthday today finds me feeling a lot closer to the beach than my fiftieth did. A lot more tired. Probably because my fifty-first year was nothing short of a maelstrom. Accounting for the infrequency of posts here. The good news is that smooth sailing seems to be ahead. Which should allow me to tend to the dozens of draft posts I have in various stages of completion.

Thanks to all of you who find The Epic worthy of a few moments of your time.

So, back to today. There is plenty of iced Champagne in the bucket still. If you will, raise a glass with me. A fifty-third year has begun. I hope that you will each come along for the ride and that we can make it more Epic than ever...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fuzzy Photos Of Great Bars

The Palm, Tampa, Florida. 12/??/10. A very fuzzy evening in a great bar. Tell Kevin the barman that the fellow who always has a Sidecar up with no sugar sent you.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The War Is Over

Frank Buckles, America's last known veteran of World War I, died today. There are no known remaining veterans of Germany, Austria, France, Italy, or of any other combatant army. They are all gone "over there". I wish them peace. And that we, following behind, remember a few of them come Armistice Day. Now, they are all poppies in a field...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Make Mine Mead

No. Not THIS Meade. [Robin of CNN].
THIS Mead is what I am talking about. Sort of like a dry Sauternes with the Viking kick of over 12% alcohol. I have a certain pastime which.....let us say...is oriented toward Lord of the Ring-type adventuring. After eighteen months of effort, I achieved a certain distinction. I was saving a bottle of Ragnar's Reserve for the occasion. Perfect for celebrating overwhelming victory. I am putting in a case order. Today. Who knows when the next overwhelming victory may occur?

Procurement Note: Check out http://www.honeyrunwinery.com/. The photo of the vintners proves without question to me that they are some of my favorite people. If I make a wine pilgrimage trip, no Napa Valley bastion of me. I'm sailing my longboat to this place!