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The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

Again, The Grim Reaper Does Not Rest

Remember last year, and the celebrities just dropping like flies?

Well, it is continuing unto 2017!

And how sad is THAT?  😦

BILL PAXTON, who went from bit player to fifth lead, to third lead, to romantic lead (!) to character actor.  (You KNOW how I love character actors!)

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bp2If you don’t follow Hollywood news, you will not have heard.  But, he passed away from complications after heart surgery Saturday at age 61!

And from all reports was a funny, decent, kind man.  (Sometimes, when these Hollywood folks go away, little is said about their character.  Because they are @$$holes.  Obviously, not in this case.)  He was married 30 years, and had two children.  Hardly stereotypical Hollywood.

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Stripes, The Terminator, Weird Science, Aliens, Miami Vice (TV), Navy Seals, Tombstone, True Lies, Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic, Big Love (TV), Hatfields & McCoys (TV), Training Day (TV) – just to name a few.

Word is the remaining episodes of Training Day are ‘in the can’ and will be shown.  Sadly, even if he had survived, word is also it would probably not have been renewed for a second season.

RIP, Bill.  You will be are missed!

 

Toy Gun Memories

As it states in the ‘about’ part of the blog, I’m a child of the 50’s.  Television, movies, play, were all about The Lone Ranger, Space Command, Warner Bros. cartoons, Forbidden Planet, The Untouchables, and all other manner of sanitized violence.

And my green, wooden toy box reflected that.

It was filled with cars, trucks, robots, construction equipment, tools, and yes, toy guns.  Including a multitude of cap guns and rifles-that-made-noise, play bullets and all manner of boy’s toys.  Not a doll in sight.

Sadly, when my Dad married my step-mother, the toy box was moved to the exterior of the house.  Wouldn’t want Guffaw’s toys to clutter the house, now would we?  😦

And, as I advanced in grade school, I played with them less.  This meant my Mattel™ Fanner Fifty (with left-handed holster!), Detective Special (both re-loadable with Matty Mattel bullets and ignited with Greenie Stickum Caps), the construction gear, cars, tools, and everything else were subjected to the elements.

And eventually discarded.  😦

(My friend Leigh’s parents did film me in full cowboy regalia once, reenacting some scene from a forgotten cowboy TV show, running, jumping, rolling into prone, drawing and shooting one of my cap guns.  Of course, the 8mm home movie is probably long lost.)  😦

This was when children played outside!

But, boys are nothing but ingenious!  🙂

My friends and I began constructing rubber-band guns, using scraps of wood we ‘found’ at housing construction sites.  (Hey, we had to have guns!)

a less-refined version of this

a less-refined version of this

Affix a spring closepin to one end, stretch a rubber band (or a series of them for greater distance) and viola’!  A toy gun with which we could play cowboy, or soldier, or spy, or whatever.

Of course, we were never happy with the limited distance or inaccuracy.  (Sound familiar?)

As we got into the 5th and 6th Grade, we clamored for more.

So we attached the rubber bands to the wood (ala a slingshot) and began looking for projectiles to shoot!  Obviously, after a few misadventures with pebbles and bent bobbie-pins, we made the universal decision to not shoot one another.

For safety sake.

Of course, escalation lead to model rockets, amateur rockets, BB guns, and eventually real guns.  Always something to shoot.

And, we still don’t shoot each other.

This isn’t South Chicago…

 

At The Movies

Regular readers know I love movies and TV.  What you may not know is, I rarely go ‘out’ to the movies.

Part of the reason is the technological shift in how we can view movies.  I get them directly on my satellite dish, or through services like NETFLIX™.  I even own a ‘few’ on DVD! (I know – OLD technology!)  😛

There are more than enough from which to choose.

And there’s this (from FB, in part – not me!):

Went to the H****** Metrocenter 12 …at the 01:30pm “Jupiter Ascending”…Me and 2 others of my party had to walk out!!!
Some trashy family with 3-4 kids sat right next to us and talked and talked ..and talked…and also they let their kid run up and down in front of us!

Then to top if off….the father had the nerve to pick up one of our parties drinks and hand it to his kid to drink out of ….then said sorry and handed it back “AFTER” his kid (& himself took turns slurping it down!).

I had to had have a friend get a manager…2 (Two) times….then finally got our money back and walked out!!

BAD!!!! I wont be back to the H****** Metrocenter 12…sad missed a film that I had been wanting to see for weeks!

Metrocenter used to be a family-friendly huge, upscale mall, wherein many weekends were spent window and actual shopping.  With my then wife and young daughter.  Now, with most of the brick-and-mortar department stores closed, it’s become a hang out for misguided yutes.

I remember even in pre-VHS days, attending a different theater and encountering rude people.  As the film began, three yutes (misguided teens) began talking loudly to each other and the screen.  Against my better judgment, I approached them and strongly suggested I paid good money to hear the movie, and not to hear them sh*** and j***. (Using a 40’s vernacular with which I’m certain they lacked familiarity).

They quieted down, and I spent most of the movie checking my six for some variety of retaliation.  Thankfully, none came.

While I sometimes miss the big screens and speakers (remember CINERAMA™ and Dolby­™?), it is nice knowing I can pause the film for bathroom and/or beverage, and even watch in my skivvies.

AH! Technology!

 

Robert Vaughn RIP

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(So, the Angel of Death (aka 2016) marches on.
And we are lesser for it.  I hate you.)
Robert Vaughn played Napoleon Solo, in the meme-changing TV show The Man From UNCLE.
Television was populated with ubiquitous cowboy and cop shows. Then Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond) approached NBC with a concept.
And stars and genre were born. (the other star being David McCallum – Ilya Kuriakin. David remains with us, thankfully, as Ducky on NCIS.)
Mr. Vaughn played many other roles, but never lost identity with the Solo role.

rv2Before UNCLE, Vaughn was one of the original Magnificent Seven. He was the last surviving of the seven.

By all accounts, he was a fine man.

He died of acute leukemia. He was 83.

Being a survivor of another blood cancer (lymphoma) this interests me. Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on my sidebar.

My youth keeps falling away…

RIP Mr. Vaughn

The 300

No, not THOSE 300 (the Spartans – “Molon Labe”, etc.)

Those of you who have read this blog for more than a week (poor bast***s) know me well enough to know I was raised on TV and movies.  I’m still hooked, and love nothing more than wasting my time in front of the idiot box selecting from either live television or the DVR.

Besides, I cannot afford to do much else.

And television has evolved from my childhood in the 50’s (3, 4 or 5 channels, shutting down at night with The National Anthem, followed by a ‘test pattern’ – youngsters, ask anyone born before 1960!) to a multitude of cable and satellite networks broadcasting 24/7, numbering in the hundreds, visible on flat digital TVs, tablets, PCs and even smartphones.  From pretty much anywhere in the ‘civilized’ world!

Of course, much of it is crap!  😛

Didn’t Steve Martin say, “147 channels and nothing’s on.” ?

Of course, I can watch Underwater Argentinian Curling at 0300, if I choose!  (just kidding, but not by much.)

I didn’t pay much attention to the actors of my youth (except the character actors – love them!), specifically, the number.

The few shows from Hollywood, those from NYC, how many actors were in that pool in say, 1956?

Fast-forward to 2016, with all this technology, with all these networks and shows, all these choices…

How many actors in this pool?

I contend it’s roughly 300.  Because of my largely unscientific but copious viewing habits, I’ve noticed actor A on that series (lead) when that series gets cancelled, shows up on a new series (as a second lead) almost immediately!

And if THAT series gets cancelled, they magically appear in a third, almost immediately.  As a special guest.  One week, the guy’s a federal special agent, the next he’s a city cop.  And in 13 weeks (or less) he appears as a metrosexual TV reporter.

Of course, most of these folks are extremely ‘talented’, (or at least pretty people!)

Look at Ted Danson.  He began as a murdered cop in ‘The Onion Field’, Went to ‘Cheers’, then ‘CSI’, then ‘CSI Cyber’ and now ‘The Good Place’.  With lots more in between.

It just seems I keep seeing the same actors in different roles on different shows in different seasons.  Sometimes, it’s the only way I find out the previous show was cancelled!

And watching reruns makes it even more confusing.  I just watched an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (2001-2011), with Michael Emerson (as the main bad guy).  He has an ‘affair’ with Cara Buono, whom he ends up murdering.  (Victim #3).

Move to Person of Interest (2010-2015).  Michael Emerson is now Mr. Finch, the creator of ‘the machine’ who spies on everyone, and Cara Buono guest stars as Martine, whose job it is to assassinate Finch and his agents.  While I’m certain Mr. Emerson put in a good word with the casting folks, it further acknowledges the almost incestuous nature of the 300.

And why there are only 300.

Well, back to the idiot box…

Cara Buono

Cara Buono

Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

I Agree With Bill Maher!

This makes two times!

Bill Maher said Donald Trump is right that the U.S. should have a profiling service that uses techniques employed by security guards in Israeli airports. The HBO host also said people already profile and that “all police work is profiling,” we just do it “stupidly.

BILL MAHER: He is for profiling, that’s what he said. But he said we should do it the way Israel does. And, like, every once in while Donald Trump says something right. Because we profile already, we just do it stupidly. All police work is profiling. Discrimination does not mean prejudice; discrimination means telling un-like things apart…

More with video @ Real Clear Politics

(from Free North Carolina)

And how weird is THAT?
Mr. Maher began as a ‘comedian’, claiming he is a ‘libertarian’, then skewed far left (one presumes to attract a bevy of leftist sycophants?)  Most of the time, he seems to agree with the progressives (“I think America needs to be dragged to gov’t healthcare, kicking and screaming if necessary.”).  He says he owns two guns, with which he practices, in case of a home invasion, but has come out for repeal of The Second Amendment!
But, as it is said of a broken clock…

Ray Donovan

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click for wiki

Yep, yet another TV show to which I am addicted.

A transplanted Southie Irish guy (played by Liev Schrieber), transplanted to L.A., makes his living by being a ‘fixer’ for rich Hollywood (and other) types.

Sometimes the fix is a simple contract negotiation.  Sometimes it’s more complicated – like involving blackmail, kidnapping and murder.  Or covering up his client’s crimes.  Like murder, robbery and prostitution.

He does very well with it, too.  Mercedes CLS 550.  Nice house.  Kids in private schools.

Of course, it’s never as easy at all that.  A history of killing the priest who molested he and his brother.  A wife with breast cancer.  Teen kids acting out.  Currently, he’s pissed off the Russian mob.  And he has an ex-con father (Jon Voight) who has his own criminal agenda and cannot seem to stay out of jail.

And the FBI is on his ass!

So, many times, HE becomes his own client!

It’s on Showtime, and next week is it’s 4th Season finale. (It’s also available on You Tube and other venues).

It has the usual extreme violence, sex and language.  If you are easily offended, you might stay away.  (FTC – Neither Showtime or the production folks give me anything.  I would accept a Mercedes from Mr. Schreiber, if he offered!  🙂  )

Hugh O’Brian RIP

Okay, 2016, enough already!

Another one of my childhood icons, Hugh O’Brian, passed yesterday…

He was 91.

For those too young to be baby-boomers, he was Wyatt Earp in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1955-1961.

When the Western was King.

(Yeah, he didn’t sport a mustache, and didn’t truck with hookers on the show, I know!)

(from Wikipedia)

O’Brian first attended school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then the (now defunct) Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. O’Brian dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At seventeen, he became the youngest Marine drill instructor.

(…)

Hugh O’Brian dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries. The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in an essay on the topic:

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.

— Hugh O’Brian, The Freedom to Choose[10]
When I get depressed, and think the Hollywood crowd consists primarily of self-centered leftist morons, I remember there are folks out there who have dedicated their lives not only to entertainment, but the betterment of others.
Hugh O’Brien is one of those folks.
And now he’s gone.
RIP, Sir!  And thank you!
hugh

Jon Polito RIP

(It’s said it comes in threes.  Guess it all depends on when one begins counting, and what the criterion are…)

You all know me and my love of character actors.  Mr. Polito first appeared on my radar in the wonderful 80’s TV show Crime Story, as a third lead mobster versus Dennis Farina and his major crimes crew.   (Any resemblance of the show’s character to Sam Giancana was purely coincidental, I’m sure…)

Later, it was Miller’s Crossing, Homicide: Life On The Street, Barton Fink, The X Files and many other shows and films.

Almost always playing some flavor of wiseguy.  Oh, he played in THAT, too!  He played cops, too (as mob-cast guys often do!)

Turned out he was distantly related to a friend of mine here locally with the same last name!  I’m sorry for your loss.

Your gruff voice and persona will certainly be missed!

jon polito

 

 

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…