"Neither highbrows nor lowbrows nor midbrows, but elastic-brows.” — George Orwell

Rebooting is no nostalgia trip — nor is it snarkily ironic.


Barbecue sauce doesn’t exist — but barbecue?

Early statutes of Vinegar Corp.

Reverse-engineering the lives of the vinegars.

The Vinegar Tasters

Vinegar’s secret history as a beverage.

Kircher's microscope from Ars Magna LucisBird doctor

The sine qua non of condiments: mighty, versatile, & vital.


Is Sherlock a semionaut, or just a brilliant bigot?


Which of the four hot sauces rules your personality?


The Venn Platter explains the culinary world.

NICCOLO NELLI: The Land of Cockaigne, etching 1564The anchovy

Umami is the savory opium of the people.

1970s golf snap1968 sports illustrated golf shoes

Alfred Lambert’s prehistoric golf shoes — from The Corrections.


Tom Nealon’s Foucauldian-condimental history of the West.


Chewie is middlebrow! Darth Vader is quatsch!


In his sunken city, the dead cutie-pie lies dreaming.

Fantastic Four, no. 2 (1962)Confessions_of_Felix_Krull

Skrulls hiding in great works of literature


Nope! A century-old literary mystery, solved.


1 …Otherwise this stone would seem defaced beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur: would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life. — Rainer Maria Rilke, […]


Teenage mutants…

1882 photo of Lou Salomé, Paul Rée, and Nietzsche.ff46-large

Nietzsche’s lonely­hearts ads went unanswered…


An abridged version of this essay appeared in the journal n+1 (Winter 2007). PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE I set out to commemorate the heroes of old who sailed the good ship Argo … in quest of the Golden Fleece. Muses, inspire my lay. The gentleman’s name is GORGON! ONCE UPON A […]


Psyche­delic revel­ations about the arti­ficial nature of reality


“Once I was an alchemist named Alec, of Holland”

Dirk Zimmer's illustration for Hughes's book

A hilobrow literary mystery…