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, January 25, 2011

Aye, Robert

This is the day devoted to the honor of the great Scotsman, the poet Robert Burns. As I have admitted elsewhere in these "pages", I have a rather short background in poetry. He did "Auld Lang Syne" I believe. But I do know a thing or two about good cocktails. The Bobby Burns is the best of whiskey cocktails...

Simple and effective. Equal parts Scotch and Italian Vermouth. Right before you shake it you add three [no more, no less] drops of Benedictine liquor. The Benedictine is the stroke of genius. Smooths out the whole recipe. Shake the mixture vigorously while thinking Scottish thoughts. Strain into a cocktail glass. Sit by a roaring fire. Sip. Auld Lang Syne, indeed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Target Interlude

The other day I saw a documentary on television about the American department store chain Target. One commentator posited the notion that Target had succeeded in becoming a destination store. This was no news to me.

When I was a teen, my family spent a large part of each summer at a cabin on the shores of a lake in northeast Minnesota. An idyllic spot really if you are in love with the lakes and woods as I was. And am. There was a Target store in Duluth which we would occasionally visit when making trips to get provisions and to see my grandparents. Other than the Glass Block department store downtown [with its brass escalators] the Target store in Duluth was the most glamorous place I had ever been.

Snow falls and melts in its brumal cycle. Years pass. Families move to warmer climates. Boys grow up and begin traveling on expense accounts. New York comes into view. One lazy Friday afternoon I was sitting at P.J. Clarke's bar in Manhattan enjoying a late lunch. Nearby was a group of city folk. Three cute young ladies and a young man. Well dressed. Probably co-workers. I was amused by the fact that the three ladies were talking excitedly about something while the young man ate his lunch in a resigned sort of way. As someone from the hinterlands, I assumed that the excitement was due to a new gallery opening or some other typical New York weekend event on the social horizon.

As I cozied up to a half of Guinness and a neat glass of Powers whiskey (it may have been cold outside) the female conversation reached a pitch that could be heard without (completely overt) eavesdropping...

Ok. I've rented a car. I'll pick you guys up at seven. Then we are going out to Jersey and we should be at the NEW TARGET RIGHT WHEN IT OPENS!!!!!! [Excited squeals and noises from her pals]. David, you are going with us aren't you? David?

At this point, I had to see the young man's reaction. I glanced toward their table. He looked my way, apparently knowing I had heard most of the conversation, and rolled his eyes with an otherwise expressionless face. The longest non-teen eye roll in the history of man. An image of the human male in full "how exactly did I get into this" mode. A situation which transcends all historical epochs and all cultures. I almost fell off my bar stool laughing to myself.

I looked away from them and toasted young David in the ancient bar mirror. Better him than me. As Jerry the barman extraordinaire refilled the Powers, I considered the majestic power of young love. And of a destination store. I just hope David got a new coffee maker out of the deal.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Epic Dictionary: Engram

Engram \EN-gram\, noun: The supposed physical basis of an individual memory in the brain; a presumed encoding in neural tissue that provides a physical basis for the persistence of memory, a memory trace.

I don't know if this is true or not and from the use of "supposed" and "presumed" in the definition, it all seems well into the theoretical ether. At least for a literary type like me. But think about it. The notion that nice things we do and say create a permanent, physical, impact on others. At a cellular level. Without physical contact. The idea that we can make others permanently better with a kind word. Or a big, bright smile. I love this concept and I hope that it is true.

Of course, the opposite is also true. A book I like a lot says that the words that come from our mouths can be more damaging than what we do with our hands. We need to keep that in mind too.

Lets make positive engramming a part of the Epic Manifesto for 2011. We can all go out and make a happy, lasting impact on the people around us. And on the world as a result. It is certainly worth a try.

Attribution Note: Definition from dictionary.com.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fuzzy Photos From Great Bars

The Flying Saucer, Kansas City, Missouri. An amazing selection of brew and great food as well.

One of my favorites. But not the best one I drank...
...oh yes. Skull Splitter. From Orkney Island. Perhaps the best brew I have ever had. Aptly named. Not for the timid.