“Welcome to Weedstock”

I recently attended the National Cannabis Summit in Denver for a New York Times story. Caught up in the go-go-go entrepreneurial zest on display at the Summit, I went and visited a few pot dispensaries, telling one of them, “I want to feel like tiny wings have emerged from my nape and ankles.”



Should you be close friends with people who you work with? At the risk of sounding churlish, I argued “No” on this episode of the public radio show Q. (The opposing and more humane “Yes” is provided by “noted cozyologist” Elizabeth Bromstein.)


Newish stuff

-I recently wore pheromones for a month to see if it would make me more attractive to members of the opposite sex? (I’m using a question mark there to connote deniability.)

How some of use our pets to conduct our relationships/disputes with/through.

-Congratulations to Julie Schumacher, the first woman to win the Thurber Prize (for her hilarious novel, “Dear Committee Members”). I got to host the awards ceremony, held at Caroline’s comedy club. Here’s an article about it from the Guardian, and one from the San Francisco Chronicle.


The Aspirational R.S.V.P.

Saying “yes” when you really mean “no” has an ugly new (or not so new) iteration, as discussed in my column on the aspirational RSVP.

I got to talk about the article on the public radio shows The Colin McEnroe Show (I’m at 37:39) and Q.


Words o’ wisdom

I was hugely honored to give the commencement address at Simon’s Rock, which I attended as a wee lad.  Video here.



-I have a story in this week’s New Yorker for which I sat in the orchestra pit of the new Broadway production of “The King and I”

-My two most recent manners columns in the Times: the etiquette of asking someone if he’s gay, and the tyranny of being constantly reachable.



-I had lots of fun being a judge in the Piglet, the annual cookbook competition held by the website Food 52. I was asked to weigh in on–and cook from–Brooks Headley’s “Fancy Desserts” and Sean Brock’s “Harvest”. Here’s my judgment.

-In my monthly New York Times column about manners, I looked at the etiquette of being in therapy.

-When I hear that Apple’s new smart watch may have been inspired by cartoon character Dick Tracy’s two-way radio watch, I realized that lots of digital innovations had unexpected precursors.


“Alford to attend Alfordpalooza”

Oh, this is lovely: the Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend, Wa. is having an evening whereat three of my stories will be read aloud. It’s tonight! And I will be one of the three readers—or, as the local paper put it, “Alford to attend Alfordpalooza.”



-I’m not exactly technophobic; I guess I’d be more accurately described as techno-churlish. So it was a surprise to me when I realized that having Scrabble on my iPhone has improved my life greatly. I decided to spend three weeks using apps to try to improve my life in other ways, too: here’s the story that ran in the New York Times.

-In light of the Sony phone hacks, People magazine asked me to weigh in on the topic of apologizing to someone you’ve offended.

-Thanks to the munificence of Travel and Leisure magazine, I got to ride, herd, and wash elephants in Laos: never has my day-job been so thrillingly adorable.


Kale Scrivenings Get Some Love

The New Yorker’s Emma Allen nicely mentioned my kale story in her round-up of “not-to-be missed” humor pieces from the magazine in 2014. Thank you, crucifer gods.