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, August 31, 2010

Chelada Countdown

Light Beer + tomato juice + clam juice + lime juice = ???????

All it lacks is dairy to be a complete food group in one can.
I suppose one could add a cheese stick.
Or a milk chaser.

To be reviewed this [U.S.] holiday weekend. I am delaying the tasting because I am assembling a panel of experts. Any Epicurian wanting to participate can buy a can of their own and send me their impressions. Or not.

Until the weekend, I am in training. Gargling with water from the Gulf of Mexico.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Red and White

Last Thursday night, thirty-six years ago, was the night I saw my first High School football game. It was my third school in four years. I didn't know that it would be my third of five schools in six years. It was the best place in the world.

In that locale, football at night in the last week of August was a harbinger of Autumn. The night was clear with a full moon rising over the lights of Lumberjack Stadium. Yes. Lumberjack Stadium. That was the culture of the area where I was born. The temperature was in the crisp mid 50s [F.] and was ideal for one's debut as a High School Man. The combination of cool air and moonlight was the perfect transmission vehicle for the sound of drums from a marching band. And for cheers.

I nervously dressed in my one pair of home-starched and ironed khakis, a long sleeve shirt and sweater, a jacket. I was nervous because of Kim. Kim occupied the hallowed position of Love of My Life that year. The first in a long, glorious, line of holders of that title. I didn't really know her. I just saw her in the school hallways every day between classes. The mere sight of her was enough to tie me in knots. My mom and dad offered to walk with me the eight blocks from our motel apartment to the stadium, but I demurred. What if Kim saw me with an escort? No thanks.

I could see the glow of the lights and the sound of the drums before I got to the stadium. The cold air was thick with the scent of leaves and the oncoming change of season. I showed my Freshman ID card and climbed up the bleachers on the "home team" side until I found a seat by someone I knew. The game got under way to the thunderous cheers of our fans. The Lumberjack faithful. I have only random images from the rest of the evening. Boys clapping each other on the back after our team scored. Hot dogs. The crackle of the stadium announcer's voice. The band. The cheerleaders dancing in their school colors of red and white. Clouds passing by the moon.

I stayed on alert for Kim but did not see her. It was a disappointment. As I walked out of the stadium exit after the end of the game, I rounded a corner and there she was. Talking with girlfriends. I remember the next five seconds like a slow motion sequence. My glance and thrill at seeing her. Then. She caught me looking. And she didn't look away. Black hair. Blue eyes. Pink cheeks. White teeth. Big grin. A cheerful "Go Lumberjacks!!". All I could manage in reply was a sheepish grin and a wave. My life was over. There was nothing more to accomplish. It was all gravy after that.

Last Thursday, we lost the first game of the season. I say "we" because even though I only spent one year at the school I feel like I belonged there. One year as a Lumberjack left me with a rich store of fond memories. Memories that become particularly piquant when August is on the wane and football is in the evening air. Every year when opening night comes around, I feel like I'm cheering for the red and white again. Fifteen years old. Scanning the crowd for a certain pretty face.

Maybe I'll go to a reunion of my class one day. Maybe I won't. But I know this for a fact. In that stadium last Thursday night, there was a shy boy experiencing his first Big High School Moment. I just hope that his first football game was as glorious as mine.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chelada: Strike Two

Light beer + Tomato juice.

Visiting Epicurians have put forth two strong votes against even opening the can. But what am I if not your dedicated imbibery laboratory? Anyway, my favorite comment so far was from Tintin who said this product is only an excuse for people who want to drink beer in the morning and he needs no such excuse.

Eight days to go.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Epic Experiments: Chelada

Spied on the beverage shelves of an upscale grocery chain. I am giving this a ten day count-down to tasting day while I build up the courage to try it.

Strike one against it: light beer. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Looking back on it, he had not accomplished all that much. Still, he had come up with four or five great lines. And he had enough from that to buy Calvados and fresh flowers.

--From: The Putative Autobiography of ML

I read once that Sir Elton John spends something like $100,000 per month on fresh cut flowers for his Atlanta, Georgia penthouse. Upon learning this, it became my benchmark for really making it big. Say what you will for Bentleys, jets, and jewelry, once this blog effort takes off, I'm blowing my money on a valet and fresh cut flowers. Lots of them. Delivered all the time. I can't imagine anything more elegant.

Until then, I am very pleased to say that my local Huge Discount Store has lovely bouquets like this one at such a low price that I can regularly buy them. Put something pretty in your own path. It will make you feel like a million bucks. Even if it only cost five.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

Coco, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Also a very fine Thai restaurant. Ask for the Samosas and the whole fish with red curry sauce. Tell them the guy that ate there five meals out of the first six they ever served sent you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Of Booze And Babies: Late Night At The Palm

The second time the commuter jet appeared to move in three directions simultaneously, I quit praying long enough to recall a distant memory. At the age of ten, I became violently enamoured with learning to fly. Too young to obtain even the rudimentary license required for lessons, I hung out at a tiny local airstrip until the owner took pity on me and let me look at all his ground course training tapes for free. That was where I became acquainted with the theoretical planes of motion that aircraft encounter. Pitch [nose up/nose down], roll [wings tipping side to side], yaw [plane twisting on its center vertical axis, nose right/nose left].

I never took flying lessons. Thirty-five years later, on that evening flight in bad weather, I re- encountered my old pals pitch, roll and yaw. In a practical, not theoretical, manner. Repeatedly. In an aircraft lacking a bar. Perfect.

Impending doom aside, it seemed like this trip had all the seminal indicators of being a less than satisfactory excursion. Away for most of two weeks, I was dearly missing my wife and seven year old son. I had been rain-wet during the flight boarding process in the podunk place from which I departed. The flight had been delayed due to bad weather. And then launched into it anyhow. The business traveler knows the signs. As I sat, damp, scared, too sober, pitchyawrolling in the dark sky, I felt about a hundred years old. And I entered an unusual place for me. The little room with the "I don't want to go out this way" sign on it.

We landed later. At full throttle, probably on one wheel. A real Red Baron job. But landed all the same. Too late to make dinner with a friend whose company would have balmed the jangled nerves. As I drove toward the hotel in the (still) pouring rain, I felt more lonely than I have felt in my entire life.

At least I had time for dinner at the Palm steakhouse. A chain, yes, but one of my favorites. And, in various locations, the site of many Epic occasions. I arrived a bit the worse for wear, a bit wrinkled, a bit damp still. I usually do not like dining in the bar portion of a restaurant, but the Palm has small booths in the bar and I took one rather than wait for a table. Besides, in the booth nobody could see how disheveled I looked. I stared into a very good martini and glumly pondered the day.

From the corner of my eye, I happened to notice an attractive young woman in the only other occupied booth. Not because she was pretty, but because her date was in a baby carrier. One of the sort that you can snap into a stroller or carry about with you. You just never see a baby in the bar of a great restaurant. I'm not sure that it is legal. Anyhow, I was too tired and blue to pay the issue much mind. Until she appeared at my elbow and said...

"You look like a fellow who needs to hold a baby."

She gave me a big, beach-tanned grin and held out the child who seemed similarly pleased at the notion.

I goggled. A vague reference from my wife about not letting anyone touch the baby floated through my increasingly fatigue and Stoli clouded mind. Along with glimmers from old episodes of "The World's Greatest Con Artists".

"Um, uh , well, I could have Hepatitis, or the flu, or......"

The same sparkling grin from both of them.

"Well, DO you have Hepatitis or the flu?"

Well, no. She pushed the baby into my arms. Despite my reservations, it was as if I had been plugged into some form of cosmic battery. I was instantly renewed. Reinvigorated. Re-inspired. Tactually transported to a time seven years earlier when my son, and my fatherhood, were new. I held the child for about five minutes as his mother and I chatted. It turned out she was in college, working at the Palm as a server. That five minutes was one of the most memorable times of my life.

Afterward, I would always ask for one of her tables. Over a couple of years, we would show off photos of our (ever larger) babies. Finally, she graduated college and moved away to start a promising career. I never saw her again.

A book I like a lot says that we should remember to be kind to strangers because by doing so we may unknowingly entertain angels. I think it works both ways. During some of the darkest, lonely nights, when the skies are tempest tossed, the clothes not water resistant, the family too far away, a couple of angels may just decide to put themselves right in the middle of your life and fix everything in an instant. I know. I met two of them.

Endorsement Note: The Palm did not pay me to write this or to mention their establishment. I wish they had.