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.

Monday, November 29, 2010


He called it "gifting". As in "I'm gifting today". Once in awhile, when the mood struck, he would call in a group of vendors of the best things. Gold lighters. Silk ties. Custom shirts. And he would let all his pallys just pick things for themselves, on his tab.

He didn't have to do it for them to be there. He was Sinatra. They would have been there anyway. He did it out of basic generosity and a sense of fun. To make them feel special.

I love spontaneous "gifting". The other day, I was in the local Brooks Brothers store looking for a shirt. I stumbled upon this beautiful small cut glass bottle of BB cologne for women that comes with a little scented travel candle. Twenty bucks. In a very nice box too. I bought it and gave it to the Irish Redhead that night as a little surprise. She loved it. Even if she had not liked the scent at all, the fact that I was thinking of her was the real gift.

It really is the thought that counts. Pick someone. Do a little gifting. It will make their day that you took the time to think of them. It won't matter what the gift might be. Go ahead. Be your own Chariman of the Board.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Epic Lexicon: Mithridate

Mithridate, mith-ri-deyt, noun;

A confection believed to contain an antidote to every poison.

The emotional poisons anyhow. Kingsley Amis was a firm believer in this notion. Sinatra was too. That's good enough company for me.

Attribution Note: Definition from dictionary.com; Photo taken at China Grill, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Whoever You Were

Whoever you were, last night. At a hopping jazz joint. In the wee small hours.

My age. In your tailored jeans and aubergine long sweater. Your pretty hair a "don't give a damn" length. Drinking martinis with a well turned out man. Laughing and talking.

There was a fellow sitting alone by the band. Nicely dressed. Generally happy. But one day too long and five hundred miles too far away from home. A bit sad despite the verve of the room.

On your way toward the door, you tossed your arms around the fellow sitting alone. A hug and a big smile. The slightest brush of your lips over his cheek. Then you were out the revolving door and into the cold night. Taking all of the fellow's alterity with you.

Thank-you. Whoever you were, last night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A crusty Marine Corps Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college. There were many lovely young ladies present, one of whom approached the SM...

Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man, is something bothering you?

Negative, ma'am, just serious by nature.

The young lady looked at his medals and decorations and said...

It seems like you have seen a lot of action.

Yes, ma'am, a lot of action.

The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said...

You know, you should lighten up. Relax and enjoy yourself.

Without reply, the SM just stared at her in his serious manner.

Finally, the young lady said...

You know, I hope you don't take this he wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?

1955, ma'am.

Well, there you are. No wonder you are so serious. You really need to chill out! I mean, no sex since 1955!

She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to "chill out" with him several times. Afterward, panting for breath, she leaned against his chest and said...

Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1955!

The Sergeant Major said in his serious voice after glancing at his watch...

I hope not, it's only 2130 now...

Attribution Note: Thanks to my pally Big D for sharing this joke. I really needed a laugh today and this arrived out of the blue. I hope it makes you laugh as heartily as I did upon reading it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Fifty years later, they still came back. Old men now. To look at the places they could not have imagined in their worst nightmares. To think of friends. To remember. If you find a copy of Gene Smith's wonderful book, you should buy it. Look at the photos of the battlefields of the "Great War" and the photos of what half a century had done to repair them. Take the Loos Ridge, for example, in 1915 and 1965 (a British war memorial in the new foreground)...

Or the Menin Road in Belgium. Hell Fire Corner. Where the opposing gunners knew the range to a yard. Walking across this intersection was the equivalent of suicide. Smith posits whether the auto drivers in 1965 have any concept that they are driving serenely over a spot where hundreds of thousands of men went to their deaths...Probably not. Fifty years is, after all, a long time. Especially in war years.
Or consider Belleau Wood, where an outfit called the United States Marines first fought for the rest of the world on European soil. They fought so well that France gave the land to us and it is now United States soil, paid for in blood from Wisconsin, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, everywhere...

This map tells it all. The entire Western Front. Each dot signifies a British burial ground...

After, the mothers and widows came. Not so old. But aged. They wanted to see the spot where it happened. Where one particular light was extinguished. They saw, and like the old men, they were never the same...

Once upon a time, they thought there could only be one war like this. A global cataclysm. One horrid set of years and everyone would learn. And not repeat the lesson. Once upon a time, a king would say that America "could never be of significance" in war. A top British general would say that the machine gun was a "greatly overrated" weapon. And a generation would simply vanish into the mud and the mist.

But we cannot let them vanish. Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S.A. When we stop to consider the incredible sacrifices that were made for us. Some still wear the red poppy as an emblem of this consideration. And we go about our daily tasks. And we look at the sky. And we say a quiet thank-you. The people that served for us, and died for us, can never be forgotten. Whether the service was ninety two years ago. Or yesterday. You see, once upon a time, they called it Armistice Day. Signifying "the" armistice, the singular and final end of hostility. Perhaps, one day, it really will be.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Be A Pyrat

Have you ever had one of those waiters? The ones that know everything about the menu. And about everywhere you've ever been. And about how they have been all the places better than your places. And about how this year's number of days of sunlight will just wreak havoc with the Bordeaux. In fifteen years. That sort of waiter. The fellow who feels the need to constantly inject himself into the conversation you are trying to have with your dinner companions.

One evening not long ago, I was attempting to have a fine meal in fine company at one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants. A place where cocktail mastery rules. Where I had not once had anything less than exquisite food. And great service. Until the night in question. I honestly did not know how to handle the intrusive gabbler assigned to our table, so I ignored him as best I could and concentrated instead on the [again] lovely meal and great company.

But, a central Epic principle holds that even negative experiences can result in superb discoveries. Consequently, even the biggest blighter of a waiter can produce a very pleasant surprise. When the cheese course came around, he asked if anyone wanted a companion beverage. Always up for a companion beverage, I voted in the affirmative bracing all the while for yet another exposition on great hotels in Thailand, Aboriginal cheese, or some such other topic. Sayeth the waiter...

I'm going to just bring you something and you can try to tell me what it is.

I mean, really. Had the man no limits? Injecting a game of alcoholic trivial pursuit into my meal? One that I could not possibly win? I considered rejecting the whole notion and sending him away with a pronounced look. But there was this point of the companion beverage, you see, so I checked my wrath. I am told that the checking of one's wrath is a sign of the developed social animal. Except, perhaps, when in the presence of intrusive waiters.

In any event, a snifter soon arrived born by the increasingly smug looking man. Amber. I peered suspiciously into the glass, although the liquid inside smelled very nice. It tasted even better. And it was the perfect compliment to the cheese board. The blighter smiled ever more smugly...

Well? Any guesses? [You Philistine, he was no doubt thinking. I mean, I've never spent a week in a hut on the beach in Bali with a Vogue model...]

I posited an old Calvados. Very old. He smiled benevolently and showed me a bottle of rum. A new bottle. Pyrat was the funny name on it. I was astounded. And overcome with new-found respect. As the warm, Caribbean glow of the rum folded itself around me, I realized that I had totally misjudged the fellow. He was, in fact, a truly fine man and a benefactor to all gourmands fortunate enough to appear in his presence.

I have since become a true lover of fine rum. Pyrat will set you back between $35.00to $50.00 [U.S.] and you will never be sorry you spent the money. Also, I have ordered it neat with a cheese or dessert course in several very nice places, and the servers have consistently stopped, raised an eyebrow, and allowed just the slightest hint of surprise. The sort of thing [like ordering Hendrick's gin on the rocks for that matter] that garners well deserved respect. I, for one, am proud to be spreading the word about this wonderful spirit.

Comparative Imbibery Note: Another very fine rum that I enjoy is Ron Zacapa. Armed with these two choices you are now able to baffle and impress. You are welcome. Just send the bottles of Pyrat and RZ to me at the address listed in the margin. ML

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

Trader Vic's. Atlanta, Georgia. 10/10. A total original and a VERY cool place.

Island lighting.

The famous Trader Vic's Mai Tai. The original, and the best.

Crab Rangoon. In an elegant silver tray with its own heating element/candle.

Most excellent glassware.

A fine sentiment.