Contraband cheese and other random jet-lagged notes from the road

1) In addition to the other advertised virtues of a three-day visit to San Francisco -- interesting conference, successful visa renewal, family-reunification, etc -- also got to see this evening a special screening of Kevin Rafferty's fabulous documentary movie, "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." Rafferty previously made very good political documentaries like Feed and Atomic Cafe. Even if you have no interest whatsoever in the subject matter -- no interest in Harvard, no interest in Yale, no interest in football, no interest in the year 1968 when the game was played - I predict that you will find this narrative gripping. Really high-class story telling and human portraiture. Among other benefits: fodder for wondering whether Tommy Lee Jones (lineman on the Harvard team) is poetic or merely hostile/aphasic. Also: the name Michael Bouscaren will not leave your mind once you have seen this film. Similarly J.P. Goldsmith -- but in his case, in a good way.

2) Huzzah and welcome to the Atlantic Food Channel! It is produced by the renowned Corby Kummer, known to the world as an expert food-and-living writer but known to me as the person who has edited my articles at the Atlantic lo these last 25+ years.  A fascinating array of articles for its launch -- and I say this as the most non-foodie member of the Atlantic's staff.

3) First impression of the vaunted Kindle 2: it needs a cover, and (unlike the Kindle Classic) it doesn't come with one. ("Needs" = to keep the screen from being scratched when you're toting it around.) I ordered the cheapest one available and will report back on all things Kindle-related.

4) Latest China-related travel tip: Word from the home office in Beijing is that the customs authorites at PEK airport have launched a new crackdown on contraband.... cheese. My wife and I always lug cheese back when we're coming to China from any other country, because practically everywhere else there is a better, cheaper selection. But now, apparently, the luggage-sniffing beagles at the airport are trying to sniff out any cheese secreted in a suitcase, and vacuum-packs or triple-plastic-bag wrapping are no protection. WTF!?!? But there is no point tempting fate. So we'll go cheeseless for another while, and hope that the beagles are not looking for ground coffee.

5) Media notes: interview this morning with KQED here, and on All Things Considered here. That is all.