What the Intarwubs spat out this morning

Like many folks, I enjoyed more than my share of the Doors as a teenager. And, like most, I outgrew them. One thing, though, that’s always sort of fascinated me about them was that Morrison’s father was an admiral, an in fact is Wikipedia notable in his own right.

Anyway, what popped up randomly this morning is this 9-minute video of Read Adm. Morrison and his daughter being interviewed about Jim at some point in the last several years. It’s clear the admiral really had no idea how big Jim was, or how influential, or really even what the appeal of the music was, but that’s more or less to be expected; the man was born in 1919.

Still: Interesting.

Dept. of Narrow Interests

I have, as most Heathen know, quite a few pix available over at Flickr.

Sometimes, I get an email notice that someone has made one a favorite. This is almost always a friend or relative expressing enjoyment of a photo of some other member of our extended family or circle of friends.


Today, I got a favorite notice from a name I didn’t recognize at all, for a relatively odd picture from a clown-themed fundraiser a few years ago:


The user has no photos of her (?) own to peruse, but checking her list of favorite pictures was, well, revealing:

Screen Shot 2012 08 10 at 2 34 01 PM

Very well then. Carry on.

Posted in Pix

This is awesome

So, here’s the sequence:

  1. The Obama campaign runs an ad that, perhaps unfairly, accuses Romney of being responsible for the death of a woman who, after being laid off due to a Bain buyout, lost her health insurance.

  2. A Romney functionary quite justifiably tries to deflect this by pointing out that, had the woman lived in Romney’s Massachusetts, she’d have had access to many more health care options thanks to Romneycare!

  3. The conservative base has a giant freakout because, you know, improving health care options for Americans is EEEEVIL.

I don’t think you need anything else to declare the modern GOP completely worthless. I really thought this Onion story was satire, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look exactly like this situation.

The cloud comes with risks. Behave accordingly.

First, let me preface this by saying “behave accordingly” doesn’t mean “eschew the cloud.” Networked, connected computing can give us far too many benefits to abandon as a concept. However, as is often the case, new paradigms mean new risks and new ways of protecting yourself.

Now, read this terrifying article. The subject of the hack is a tech journalists who should have known better, and could have ameliorated the damage done with some very simple steps. That he did not have backups of his primary machine is, frankly, mind boggling — especially when it was the only place his digital photos of his newborn daughter were stored. (Really? On a Mac, with Time Machine as an option? WTF?)

If you’ve read the whole thing, either now or before, you know the drill:

  • Bad guys got his Amazon, Apple, GMail, and Twitter accounts easily because all were connected.
  • They were particularly savvy at exploiting what amounts to an inadvertent security hole that exists only because of complementary policies at Apple and Amazon.
  • They locked and remotely wiped his phone and laptop.

They did all this because they wanted his Twitter handle, no shit. What they could have done, but did not, was extend their nefariousness to his financial life; after all, they had full control of his email.

Hey Chief Heathen, What Should I Do?


  1. First and foremost, if you use Gmail, enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. This sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Basically, after you configure it, you can’t log into your Gmail account from a random, other computer without ALSO having access to your phone, because Google will insist on texting you a security code you must provide as part of the login process from a non-trusted computer. This makes compromising your email WAY harder. (This may sound familiar if you bank with Chase; they do something similar. If your bank doesn’t, find another bank.)

  2. If you use a Mac, do NOT use “Find my Mac” until Apple secures it better. (Two-factor would make a big difference here.) This is not to say a stolen-laptop service like Prey isn’t a good idea; they are. It’s just that Apple’s combination of approach and (lack of) security here is what allowed the bad guys to remotely wipe the victim’s machine. Oops.

  3. DO NOT USE THE SAME LOGIN AND PASSWORD ON ANY TWO ACCOUNTS ANYWHERE. Yeah, I know this sounds onerous. Trust me. It’s important. Using a good password assistant program, and it’s much easier. The nice ones include browser plug-ins that will fill logins for you, so you don’t even have to remember passwords anymore. I like 1Password which, as a bonus, has a simple password generator built in. It costs money, but is well worth it.

  4. Finally: Backups, backups, backups. I’ve talked about this before, and my methods are still the same: Time Machine, Super Duper, CrashPlan, and Dropbox. Yes, all four. Trust me. I know things.

HOWTO: Catch up on a pop culture phenom you missed

Breaking Bad is racking up the praise at this point like nothing since the Wire, so I’ve been meaning to dive in — but, at this point, with four seasons in the can and another one in progress, that’s a rather daunting prospect. Especially when it’s exactly the sort of show (violent, bleak) that Mrs Heathen wants no part of. (We are sometimes accused of un-Americanism because we have only one TV.)

However, she’s out of town this weekend, and I have the first 2 seasons on DVD on loan from a friend. So, since Friday evening, I’ve watched the entire first season (only 7 episodes) plus over half (8 of 13) of the second season. It’s network TV, not pay cable, so each episode is only about 47 minutes, but that still means it’s been a pretty serious binge.

It started simply, which is fitting for a show about meth: I watched the first two episodes on Friday night before I stepped out for a party.

Then I went a little nuts. On Saturday, after lunch, I sat down and watched SEVEN EPISODES IN A ROW — over six hours of this bleak cancer-and-meth extravaganza. And I only quit because I wanted to go catch a band. Then, when I came home, I watched ANOTHER episode.

Today, I spent the bulk of the afternoon doing something really incredibly geeky with four other people, but I got back from that at about 7. It is now 11:47, and I’m still up because I have a con call with Abu Dhabi in 13 minutes. But for that con call, I’d still be watching Breaking Bad, but as it is it appears that I’ll have to content myself with only five episodes today.

For devoted fans, I’ll note that my latest episode is the 8th of season two, which is where we’re introduced to Bob Odenkirk‘s character, Saul Goodman. Who is AWESOME. Also awesome: the entire “wrong bald guy” sequence.

The show is not the equal of the Wire, but I can absolutely say that Bryan Cranston has deserved every nice thing said about him here — and more. The evolution of Walter from the first episode is astounding. His ability to channel that prior Walter becomes more and more unnerving as the choices he makes take him further and further into damnation.

Dept. of Amusing Statistics

I noticed earlier that conference realignment in the SEC has put an end to one of my favorite little stats: the fact that Alabama has a winning record against everyone in the SEC. Missouri and Alabama have played only 3 times, but Mizzou took 2 of those games.

I’m sure this is something Alabama will fix as quickly as possible (they play this year, which should at least even it up, but scheduling voodoo is such that it may take a while to get the third win), but it got me wondering: Who has a winning record vs. Alabama nationwide?

Turns out, not many folks do. This site and this site both have lists, but (somewhat amazingly) the first one misses Texas, and therefore makes a completely incorrect assertion by stating nobody who’s played Bama more than six times comes out ahead. Texas was for years 7-0-1 vs the Tide; they didn’t lose to Bama until the 2009 title game, but they’re still way out ahead.

Anyway, if we look at both lists and eliminate the 1-game-wonders (as statistically meaningless) as well as any team that no longer exists or plays football, we’re left with ten squads:

  • Boston College: 3-1 – last game was 1984.
  • Louisiana Tech: 2-3 – last game was 1999.
  • Michigan: 1-2 – last game was 2000.
  • Missouri: 1-2 – last game was 1978.
  • Notre Dame: 1-5 – last game was 1987.
  • Oklahoma: 1-2-1 – last game was 2003.
  • Rice: 0-3 – last game was 1956.
  • Texas Christian: 2-3 – last game was 1975.
  • UCLA: 1-2 – last game was 2001
  • Texas: 1-7-1 – last game was the 2009 BCS title game played in 1/2010

Alabama opens against Michigan; there’s a strong potential to even up the record there. As I noted above, they will play and probably beat Missouri on October 13. I can’t imagine Alabama scheduling any of the rest of these teams on their own, so those records, like the Michigan record after this year’s game, will likely stay where they are until the Magic Bowl-Scheduling Hoodoo produces another matchup. But it’s a pleasantly short list that’s pleasantly short of meaningful gaps. Perhaps Alabama should slot in a rebuilding Texas and perennially hapless Irish to fix those two records after all.

Sic transit gloria mundi

I’m sure Gore Vidal hated it when people called him gloria, though.

(Seriously, you don’t get many obituaries as much fun as this one. I’m sorry it omits the oft-repeated anecdote of Vidal’s response to Norman Mailer’s literally knocking him on his ass at some party: “Words fail Mailer again!”)

It begins.

The preseason coaches’ poll is out. LSU’s on top, followed by Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, and Oregon in that order.

FIVE of the top ten are SEC squads.

If Alabama wins their opener against #8 Michigan, look for them to slide into the top spot. LSU’s slate is front-loaded with serious creampuffs; they don’t play in-conference until Auburn on September 22. They also don’t play a ranked nonconference team all season.