From the sedulous to the surreal in cultural context


Senses of Place, MoS 2015

December 16, 2015

  Note: This is the fourth and final installment of our MoS Best of 2015    Matters of Sense covered the final season of Mad Men, the world of books and bookstores, and the sordid politics of 2015.  As we wrap up our annual review, we come to the sweet spot: our fascination with senses of place.  LG… Read More ›

A Trip to ZZ Top’s Tejas

Stepping into an album cover can be a surreal experience. One of my personal favorite ZZ Top albums is Tejas. Released November 1976, Tejas followed hit records Fandango! (1975) and Tres Hombres (1973), as well as earlier blues-rock offering Rio Grande Mud (1972) and the nearly eponymous ZZ Top’s First Album (1971). ZZ Top’s fifth long… Read More ›

The Museum of Mud: Sensory History and World War I

  Now the mud at Passchendaele was very viscous indeed, very tenacious, it stuck to you. The mud there wasn’t liquid, it wasn’t porridge, it was a curious kind of sucking kind of mud. When you got off this track with your load, it ‘drew’ at you, not like quicksand, but a real monster that… Read More ›


Sensory Issues in the News Fifty Shades of Touch On the blog of Oxford University Press, a cognitive neuroscientist interprets 50 Shades of Grey (both the film and the novel) in terms of the sense of touch: After all, isn’t the novel about the sensual power of touch? How arousing can a light touch on the… Read More ›

The Sensory Historian in the Jungle: An Interview with Adam Mack

  Author Interview Q: Your book, Sensing Chicago, has just been published by the University of Illinois Press, as part of a series, Studies in Sensory History. This isn’t the first time, however, that you’ve published scholarship on the senses. When and how did you get interested in the field of sensory history?   A: I… Read More ›

Steely Dan Postmodern: A Meditation on Sonic and Visual Artifice

“You go back Jack do it again Wheel turnin’ ‘round and ‘round You go back Jack do it again…”   Thus incants the first song on Steely Dan’s inaugural album, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill. “Do It Again” is a song about gambling and revenge and weary despair, but taken on its own this refrain… Read More ›

Ways of Seeing New York’s Future

In a magnificent essay for The Guardian, Jason Farago – accompanied by the photography of Vivienne Gucwa (of NY Through the Lens) – offers a richly insightful, sobering review of what’s been built in Lower Manhattan since 9/11. The story and its images are not to be missed, for reasons aesthetic and civic. Farago peers… Read More ›

 Out of Touch in The New York Times

Is today’s virtual dater and mater something like an updated version of Plato’s Gyges, who could see everything at a distance but was touched by nothing?        Richard Kearney, a philosophy professor at Boston College, will presumably build anticipation for his forthcoming book, Carnal Hermeneutics with his “Losing Our Touch” in The Opinion… Read More ›

Goldtops and Humbuckers

The Gibson Les Paul and 1950s Nostalgia in 1970s Heartland Rock  Growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s, I was under the impression that the greatest car ever made was the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Most of my family members who had a driver’s license at any point from the mid-1950s to the late-1960s… Read More ›

Tasting the Water in the Craft Breweries of “Beer City USA”

When an area rife with protected forests, wild rivers and smoky, layered peaks is also home to thousands of enthusiastic craft beer drinkers and an unusually high number of craft breweries, amazing things can happen – like when Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company and Oskar Blues Brewery all decided, within about four… Read More ›


Examining the surprising and weird ways that people engage with history in everyday life


ocean inspired porcelain

M.C. As Usual



We love the City. We hate the City. We live in the City.

Crafty Sauce

The Domestic Resourceress


Just another site

Who Makes Cents

A History of Capitalism Podcast


The best longform stories on the web

Beyond The New Yorker

Exploring longform, The New Journalism, creative nonfiction--whatever you want to call it

Too Fond

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." Louisa May Alcott

eyedrum :: atlanta

tales from the eyedrum bathroom

Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Atlanta restaurant reviews and food news with the AJC's dining team

My Girls On Tour

Fashion & Travel Blog by Abigail Royston