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False Flag

The first season of False Flag, an Israeli spy thriller about five ordinary citizens who wake up in Tel Aviv to discover they are all suspects in the assassination of an Arab leader, was loosely based on a real Mossad covert operation. It was terrific, but viewers don’t have to see it to enjoy Season Two, which involves new characters, a different set of murders, and even more feints, black ops, terrorist plots, Mossad internal rivalries, and overlapping conspiracies that touch everyday people living on the West Bank, in ultra-Orthodox communities, and in Tel Aviv café society, and deep inside the Israeli government. The 10-part season is suspenseful, brutal, and, in some moments, surprisingly funny, a little like Hitchcock on the Dead Sea. Britain used to be the unrivaled master of espionage fiction; on television, at least, Israel now has the edge. ( —Alessandra Stanley


The Pet Show

A podcast about pets, co-hosted by Dennis Quaid? The Pet Show launched only a couple of weeks ago, and like any show about animals, it’s a bit like your friend’s dog that humps your leg. In other words: its enthusiasm and desire to entertain make you overlook the strangeness. And, like a dog, it occasionally comes into your house with something crazy it found in the woods. If you listen to it for no other reason, check out the special episode on Operation Acoustic Kitty, which recounts how, in the 1960s, the C.I.A. trained cats for tradecraft by inserting microphones and transmitters beneath their fur, then planned to release them near the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. I kid you not. It’s a tale that seems Coen brothers–ready. ( —Michael Hainey


Ojai Habanero Apricot Jam

There are many reasons to visit Bob’s Well Bread bakery and café, in Los Alamos, California—that sesame sourdough, plus eggs in a jar with Gruyère and purple-potato purée, just for starters. But après meal, peruse their dry-goods section for some of the very best artisanal jams we’ve encountered. Like the Habanero Apricot variety from Ojai Jelly, which will impress even the most discerning disciples of Christine Ferber. Ripe, local fruit combined with spicy (but not flaming) peppers makes for an ideal companion to sandwiches and toast, but inspired chefs will pair it with fried chicken—or, better yet, give a jar to a friend. ($35 for a set of three, —Ashley Baker


Pendaflex File-Storage Box

One of the few things I really miss about the office: not being able to borrow/steal supplies. The injustice! I’ll admit when it comes to slipping into the supply closet and just kind of “helping myself” to all that gear, I’ve got a problem. But now that I’m working from home, I have a problem of a different sort: how to keep all this clutter off of the desk, formerly known as the kitchen table. That’s where the Pendaflex file-storage box comes in handy. At Air Mail HQ, in Greenwich Village, they make a strong showing, lining the conference-room bookcase. What’s great about them is they give all your scraps and papers the look of V.I.P.’s: Very Important Papers. Get a dozen or so and you’ll feel less like a hoarder and more like a researcher at the Bodleian Library. ($29, —Michael Hainey

Issue No. 55
August 1, 2020
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Issue No. 55
August 1, 2020