Most Sincere Flattery

It’s Done By Imitating

This is going to be a rather different kind of post for this blog, barely Chuck related. But I’ll make the connection this way, right up front.

Most of the time, I want to believe that Chuck and Sarah are fairly realistic. Not their abilities, of course – not in supercomputers embedded in the brain and spies who can beat up half of Asia while picking locks. I want to believe in them, in people who are competent, good, loyal, intelligent and beautiful like me like my friends and family! I find that easy to believe, actually, and maybe that’s my big blind spot. If so, I’ll live with it.

It’s the world around Chuck and Sarah that I find harder to accept. Evil supervillains who won’t die? Predator missiles commandeered by one mastermind with a lap-top and then by Buy More employees? Rings and rogues and suburban subdivisions dedicated to doing EEEEVVVVIIILLLL??? I rather like the idea of island-nation communist dictators having a change of heart, myself. But, really? They expect me to believe this?

Probably not. But sometimes the difference between fantasy (you know – supercomputers in the brain… hot spies…) and reality (standing in supermarket lines… paying bills…sigh…) becomes surprisingly thin. Let me ask this. Have you heard about the Stuxnet worm?

If you’re a techie the write up may strike you as taken from “The Dummies Guide to Computer Viruses”, but you’ll recognize what’s going on. If you’re not a techie, then you want to note that only one of the problems someone solved here was to infect highly secured (Iranian) government computers that were totally isolated from the Internet. When I read about it, I did a “Butch Cassidy”. Who *are* these people???

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

Read more:

[I rather enjoyed this blogger’s reaction too.]

Clearly, this is something that Chuck and Sarah would have a hard time doing and would make for a great episode. It would require the aid of Morgan and maybe even Jeff and Lester, those “Mac Artistes!”, to accomplish.

Kidding!!! But you see my point. There are real spies out there dealing with nuclear weapons and the highest of high tech in ways that save (and cost) lives. The write-up hints strongly that this is beyond the ability of any one government to pull off; It took international cooperation. Whether you believe that or not, it was not a small deal, and in fact, was rather astounding.

But that was yesterday’s news. If you’re not convinced that, for all the silliness, the extraordinary dangers depicted weekly in Chuck are only a minor stretch of the imagination, I have two more words to say – Kim Jong-il. Makes me kinda wish that Chuck, Sarah and Casey weren’t fictional characters. The world is a dangerous place (DUH!) after all.

Then again, who needs a supercomputer in the brain when you have Wikileaks?

Wikileaks began on Sunday November 28th publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.

Not Sarah - Anna Chapman

Ack! The Intersect has been compromised! Quick! Get Gen. Beckman on the line!!!

Sheesh. The line just got thinner, again. Maybe that totally unbelievable, exaggerated, disjoint and plot-hole filled world of Chuck and Sarah shouldn’t strain my credulity so much.

I take solace in the fact that the physically beautiful people playing spies on TV aren’t really so adept at the martial arts, throwing knives and providing tactical support. It would be really unfair if spies actually led glamorous, exciting lives and were so good looking too.


– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
This entry was posted in Found On-Line, No Spoilers, Off Topic. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Most Sincere Flattery

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    Hey Joe, I’ve been following the story about the stuxnet worm with great interest. I work with some unique and valuable computers that are firewalled off fron the rest of the world, for the most part, and I have to say that I kind of freaked when I saw one of my people re-charging their cell phone with a USB port. Flash drives have been verboten for years, but humans being human there always seems to be someone who’ll leave the door unlocked. I always find it fascinating just how unbelievable what we do know about such things seems, making the possibilities for what we don’t know even more mind bogglingly fascinating.

  2. atcdave says:

    It is amazing how often real events are just as wild as fiction. Even as a non-techie things like the Stuxnet worm are pretty amazing, and terrifying to think about the implications to our own national security.

    The good news is, this should lead to some great television and movies in the years ahead, as long as the world is still around…

    • joe says:

      Heh! A real silver lining! 😉

    • thinkling says:

      We’re probably much happier thinking that all that stuff that happens in the movies is only in the movies.

      This reminded me of an older movie (with Michael Caine) called “The Whistle Blower.” A translator learned a lot of dark things that went on in the shadow world and he said that it blocked the light for him in the real world. Something like that. It’s been a long time, and I have no idea why it came to mind. I guess I flashed on it.

    • Michael says:

      > The good news is, this should lead to some great television and movies in the years ahead, as long as the world is still around…

      Here’s one…

      Remember Viktor Bout and his extradition on an Interpol red notice just two weeks ago? I smiled when I read about his exploits, he’s a real-life Alexei Volkoff.

      He makes that Daniel Shaw cartoon look like one of the three stooges!

  3. Michael says:


    Odd, I always thought the spy stuff was a tad mundane compared to what I thought was going on in the real world. OK, the giant blonde She-Male blew me away. Best episode ever. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Heck, just think 9/11 to picture baddies worse than anything Fedak or McG have come up with. They make Volkoff look like a grumpy Uncle. Um, wait, isn’t that what he is now? hmmmm….

    I just have to think back some twenty years ago when a friend of mine disappeared one night, only to return a few days later. His Mom was freaked because she figured some of it out. We were in a comfort Mom mode, watching TV when the reports of the Panama invasion started coming out. “We know where is…”.


    • Michael says:


      The line; “We know where is…”.

      Was supposed to read “We know where –redacted– is…”.

      But, the site doesn’t like stuff in the GT, LT symbols…

      Oh well.

      • joe says:

        Sorry ’bout that, Michael. You can use (ampsand symbol)LT or GT followed by semi-colon, though. I use square brackets habitually to pretend I’m showing html tags, myself. 😉

    • joe says:

      I started to say that you have a great imagination if you thought the TV spy-stuff is mundane, Michael.

      But I see you have some very interesting friends, IRL! Wow!

  4. atcdave says:

    One stray thought from looking at the picture of Anna Chapman above (actually, this will be about the OTHER stray thought…). She looks like a girlie girl to me, not that she couldn’t hurt me, most 4 year olds could; but I find myself wondering if she could even meet Sarah Walker’s standards for a “real spy!”?

    • Michael says:

      I suspect that she is the type they send in when they want someone seduced. A hired prostitute trained to deal with some intel basics but is not a spy.

      • atcdave says:

        Wasn’t she mainly a deep cover spy living as an American? Obviously she’s well qualified for gaining information from men. But my point was the way, on the show, they’ve blurred the lines between “spy” and combatant to the point someone isn’t considered a real spy unless they can quell a revolution with a fork.

    • Michael says:

      > Walker’s standards for a “real spy!”

      Aren’t Sarah and Casey members of that elite club of ‘super-spies’, that includes Bryce, Cole, Carina and Daniel, not just a spy like Justin Sullivan ( Chuck Versus the Subway
      ) or an analyst?

      Sorry for so many posts today, but I am waiting for jobs to finish running ( Nerd here ).

      • atcdave says:

        Hey never apologize for posting here, the discussion is the fun of it!
        I just thought Sarah’s expectations based on Fear of Death were a bit excessive; and I doubt many real spies could live up to them. As you said, she’s a super spy, and apparently she thinks that’s the only kind!

      • JC says:

        Its offensive to compare Daniel ” I screw up every mission” Shaw with the likes of Bryce, Cole and Carina. 🙂

    • jason says:

      dave – a friend of mine married a secret service agent, she is blond, demure, cute, funny, outgoing, but very ordinary looking 5’5″ tall, maybe 115lbs – my friend did 3 tours in iraq, he is john casey essentially, talks just like him, is about his size.

      At a golf tourny around the time they married, said if any of us could last ten seconds, we might have a chance to survive a fight with his wife, but she knows so many ways of disabling large men in seconds, that we wouldn’t even want to know what she could do … so don’t judge that book by its cover.

      It was his 2nd marriage, her first, any guess on where they went on their first date???? A hint, she won.

      • joe says:

        I’m guessing not bowling, Jason? 😉

      • Michael says:

        We need some clues, man!

        Somewhere in Thailand? 🙂

        But, I want to know, are they still married? And more importantly, does she watch Chuck?

      • jason says:

        ha ha – picture john casey and sarah walker going out on a real date – where might they go and actually have a blast?

      • herder says:

        Come on guys, it’s obviously a shooting range.

      • jason says:

        you guys are too good – that was fun – yep – shooting range

      • jason says:

        @micheal – I don’t know if she watches chuck, I am pretty sure if she did, she would love it, the similarities are certainly obvious.

        Last time I saw her was in their home in houston texas (a bonus quiz – any guesses what her assignment was at the time – they told me, I am guessing it is not a secret?) which was some time ago, although her husband and I golf once or twice a year, she usually does not come along.

        They are still married, I’m guessing either of them would be afraid to upset the other – do you blame them?

      • atcdave says:

        That’s an awesome story Jason. Most of what I’ve seen indicates size really is the most significant advantage; but obviously speed, skill, experience and smarts all play into it as well. I would however bet a deep cover spy like Anna Chapman likely had minimum training in combat skills. Her skill set likely has far more to do with social skills. Admittedly I don’t know her specifically, but I know for a fact most historical spies are not trained killers; that is a completely different skill set.

      • atcdave says:

        Houston? Would it have to do with NASA? Satellite/signals work of some sort?

      • jason says:

        bush 41 secret service detail

      • JC says:

        If I’m not mistaken Bush’s ranch in Crawford Texas is close to Houston. Was she part of his protective detail?

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, a Secret Service agent I would expect to be very dangerous.

      • Paul says:

        LoL…. good story.

        My last time downrange, I spent a good deal of time on Camp Union III in the Green Zone. It’s across teh street from teh US Embassy and has a lot of folks running around both in uniform and not. But even out of uniform you could almost always tell which agency they belonged to by the gun they carried. Anyone carrying a Baretta was likely military. Anyone carrying a Sig Saur was likely CID or any of the various US intel agencies. Glock carriers tended to be contractors. One day I saw this rather attractive older woman walking around the FOB with a stainless steel Colt .45 automatic strapped to her hip. I didn’t want to know who she worked for lest ninjas fall from the sky and kill me….or she’d just do it herself. 😉

    • Faith says:

      I thought that was Kaylee from Firefly!

  5. Michael says:

    > Come on guys, it’s obviously a shooting range

    Nah! That’s where they met.

  6. herder says:

    I guess that this is tangentally related to the topic. I had a spec last year that Chuck would find out about how many times the General had ordered him killed and would take it badly, he would want revenge.

    I had figured that Chuck would use his computer skills to have the General declared dead. Completely dead: id, security, clearance all voided, no banking, credit cards, nothing. apartment and car leases terminated and reposessed. Leave her locked in her office without the password to open the door or acess her computer.

    Not fitting with Chuck’s forgiving attitude and his status as employee, but I thought it did fit his non-leathal idea of revenge. Not going to happen now as Team Bartowski seems to be the General’s go to team. But your virus story made me think of it.

    • atcdave says:

      That is one of those stories that would have been so much fun. Quite a few fan fiction writers have tackled the idea of Chuck and/or Sarah getting some measure of revenge against Beckman/Graham for their various bunker/kill orders. As you indicated, Chuck’s idea of revenge is generally less physically damaging than Sarah’s.

      You’re also right the show has moved past the point where that matters.

  7. Bellatrix says:

    I had allways seen the spy world as something more fictional than reallistic (of course, my country is nothing compared with the US at spies and national security) until wikileaks showed the cable that requested infornation on our president’s mental health. I was really surprised! It felt like being part of it in some way. 
    Here in Argentina there were many different reactions towards this. The curious thing is that most people didn’t find it hurtfull or negative (exept, of course for some extremists and politicians who were/are in her favour). Some people were somewhat embarassed about it but most were just glad this will prevent her from taking more bad desitions or at least prevent her from being reelected. 
    In my opinion, I feel that the US had the right to ask. Our president has acted in an unpredictable or unbalanced way in many ocations and this obiously called their attention. 

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