Archive for January, 2009


Friday, January 30th, 2009

I don’t know who Nissam Nicholas Taleb is, but he sure has a nice set of rules to live by.

  1. Skepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be skeptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
  2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
  3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
  4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behavior. You will always have the last word.
  5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
  6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximize trial and error — by mastering the error part.
  7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).
  8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.
  9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
  10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Dan-dan and Camilla Photos

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009



What Would Google Do?

Sunday, January 25th, 2009


I haven’t read this book, but it comes out on Tuesday and I will be there to buy it. I haven’t anticipated a book this much since Freakonomics in 2004.

Jeff Jarvis writes a blog, in which he dishes out free advice to the news media on how to reshape their business, virtually all of it spot-on. In this book, he promises to expand the view to include all industries. Given the depth of the current shake-out of all businesses, I can’t think of a better time for a fresh viewpoint. I’ll review it once I finish it – probably next weekend.


Saturday, January 24th, 2009


Wow. Someone has ranked all 180+ Beatles songs from worst (Revolution Number 9) to best (I’ll let you look it up), along with YouTube presentations of each of the songs. And extensive write-ups of each and every song. Not a single one is without it’s set of individual anecdotes. Simply wow.

It’s here. I’m not a big Beatles fan, but it’s a shrine. Please treat is as such.

Hacking Road Signs

Saturday, January 24th, 2009


Oh, the teenager in me wants to do this so much! See here for full instructions.


Tuesday, January 20th, 2009


“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”


Superbowl: Ed and Andy

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

February First will see the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ed’s team) facing the Arizona Cardinals (Andy’s team). Woo hoo! It will be fun.

Gabi – Indianapolis Colts

Rich – New York Giants

Ed – Pittsburgh Steelers

Mom (Gene) – Carolina Panthers

Andy – Tennessee Titans

Cally – San Diego

Dad (Cal) – Baltimore Ravens

Ashley – Miami Dolphins

Ashley – Atlanta Falcons

Dad (Cal) – Philadelphia Eagles

Cally – Minnesota Vikings

Andy – Arizona Cardinals

Steussy Ranch Favorite Videos

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

We’ve had a few new visitors here, and I just realized we don’t have a central page for our favorite videos.

That can be fixed!



Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Last Friday morning, I bent over to pick up a bar of soap in the shower. Normally, this would not be worth a blog mention. However, I did something wrong in bending over and now have burning hot poker sticking out of my lower back whenever I move in any way that it doesn’t like. And forget sitting in comfy chairs – that doesn’t work either. It’s been five days now, and it seems to (on average) be getting better. But for five days, I have not picked up Baby Aaron, played Wii and have avoided doing anything that requires me to move from a comfortable sitting position in a chair with a good backrest. Playing Fallout 3 (great game) works fine, as does reading the Economist.

Please, no requests for meetings or travel over the next week or so. Give me some time to kill Super Mutants, errr, recover.

The year has started off quite well. Business is thriving, MacWorld was great. I do wonder what Mac people will do for a convention next year, if anything. With the demise of E3 in 2006 (done solely to remove Douglas Lowenstein from power), videogame veterans and fans have not had a convention dedicated to them and seem poorer for it.

Regarding Brother Christopher’s vote for movie of the year, I haven’t seen it. However, I note that he writes his positive review solely for personal nostalgic reasons. I suppose he is not alone in this, but nostalgia is completely personal. I have a Hungarian wife, whose nostalgia is for spices and recipes of Budapest and decades past, who looks at some of the things I watch (original Star Trek episodes come to mind) and says, “How can you stand that boring thing?” Sacrilege!

Kids are growing. Dan-dan came home with his normal assignment of six 3- and 4-letter words that he needs to spell correctly for a Friday test. Amazingly, he spelled each of them correctly on my Monday pre-test, without ever practicing the words before. Very good, Daniel, very good indeed. Surprised Dad, let me tell you.

I have a long post on memes that is finally coming together, which I’ll post here in the coming weeks. And we have a few announcements planned. 2009 will not be a boring year …


Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

poster_05OK so I know this is going to be a stretch but I just have to give it a go.  I am Ed Steussy’s younger brother who has a password into this blog (maybe Ed forgot!) and I just feel I hgave to make the case for the best movie of 2008, one roundly panned by nearly everyone who saw it; “Speed Racer”.  I think it was not only the best movie of 2008, but the best movie I have seen in a long time and I realize this needs some explanation.

As a kid growing up in small town central Indiana in the 1970s (born in 66 me) the original “Speed Racer” found occaisionally by spinning our 13 digit TV to the 3 or 4 digits that actually connected to reception, was an enchanting performance.  I remember searching and searching the TV guide to find when it might be on, and finally after years, I gave up.  It seemed it only existed in a memory.

Then a few years ago in the greatest video store in the San Diego area, “Kensington Video” i found the original episodes on DVD and shared them with my (then) 5(?) and 7 year old children.  The episodes were as brilliant as I remembered, though my wife coughed at their violence, she allowed this hallowed memory of my youth to intrude on our day to day experience of raising our young ones.  That X-mas she got bitchin’ replicas 1:33 scale of the “Shooting Star” and the Mach 5.

We now own two of the three DVD sets of the original cartoons and they are a Saturday or Sunday morning favorite still years later.  

   When we went to the movies a couple years ago we saw the trailer and…  I said, or thought…  “huh?”  I didn’t like it.  All wrong.  Then I read the reviews.  Piece of crap.  Too bad. 

Then shooting pool with my literary friend Andy the other night, who has kids the same age, he said, “hey man, check it out, something’s going on in that film”.    The next week back in Kensington Video looking for a X-mas movie we couldn’t agree on my kids grabbed SR, and I thought, “OK” .

Brilliant. To a child of 70s media pop culture, Kung Fu, The Green Hornet,  Johnnie Quest, Herbie the Love Bug, the Pink Panther movies and the 1980(?) cult movie classic, and my first R rated movie “Death Race 2000” (thank you HBO), Speed Racer the movie hits all the right buttons.  I know Ed will toss this post right out on the shredder or cover it with football statistics for saying this but the world invented in the film rivals Blade Runner.  You just have to watch it.

The cars are a brilliant contortion of the future, skateboarding, snowboarding, kung fu and Formula 1.   The world created is not the wonderfully dark distopia of the movie starring Harrison Ford, but is a brilliant, equally so really, interpretation, of the pretty bright cartoon world of the future riddled with darkeness.

Speed Racer is not as simple as good v evil, and this is part of its joy to me.  It works on many levels, but maybe not kid levels, unless they’ve been completely indoctrinated in Speed Racer lore, and maybe this is where the film missed.  Its for us.  Its for adults.  Even Spritle’s admonissions of “Cootie warnings” are more for me than my kids, and I must say, Spritle,Speed, Speed’s dad, Racer X, Inspector Detector , and Trixie, and Sparky are some of the best casting since Harry Potter.   

So see it for yourself.  If you are a child of the 70s and you remember long afternoons with nothing on but Gilligan’s Island and the Andy Griffith show grab this film off the discount shelf.  See  if you don’t like it for yourself.