The Best Part of 50th Birthday Parties

My essay in the Connections column of The Boston Globe Magazine, October 16, 2016: I’ve never been to a quinceanera — the traditional party given for 15-year-old girls as a sort of bat mitzvah/debutante/you-are-now-a-woman celebration popular in Latin America. However, I have recently been to several cincuentaneras (fetes for folks turning 50). And they are getting elaborate. My sister’s 50th…

The Roomnet

The Boston Globe Connections column yesterday printed my essay on my experience away from the Internet, forced to actually connect with the other people in my presence to learn anything — and enjoying it. I coined a phrase to describe the collected brainpower in a room: the Roomnet. Earlier this year, an archaeological dig took…

The Sudanese Hug

What’s more than a handshake and less than a hug? The Sudanese have the answer. From the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine (1/12/14): Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the Sudanese hug. While working on an archeological excavation in northern Sudan, I was fascinated by a form of greeting I had never seen…

Letter re: Wiffle Ball

The July 14, 2013 issue of the Boston Globe Magazine printed this letter: DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION Just a quick note to tell Jack Cheng (Connections, June 23) that he wrenched my attention away from the crossword with his first paragraph: “A 70-year-old man is blocking the base path .  .  .  . As he stumbles, I race toward…