Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, June 09, 2017

Four Things

1. Christian Pulisic seems well on his way to becoming America's first soccer superstar. A long article at Bleacher Report aims to impart his parents' wisdom to those interested in helping children develop their athletic talent. A big pro tip is to let them be kids:

Christian also had no specialized training prior to joining U.S. Soccer's under-17 residency program as a 14-year-old. Before moving to Germany, his weight training consisted primarily of body-weight exercises like pushups and pullups.

"I saw parents who after the games would allow their kids only fruit chips and water," Mark says. "I am all for teaching kids good nutrition, but if after a game Christian got handed a bag of Doritos, I wasn't the parent who ran over and said, 'Don't eat that.'" The lesson: Removing any semblance of freedom or joy from a kid's life leads to burnout more often than stardom.
The contrasting case of Todd Marinovich comes to mind, and for good measure, the article explicitly draws the comparison as it debunks a story about his father pushing him to become equally comfortable with using either foot to control the ball.

2. A question about cleaning led me to discover a web site you may find useful, Unfuck Your Habitat, whose "about" page explains itself in part as follows:
There's a weird sort of void in the "taking care of your physical surroundings" stuff, in the archaic "how to keep a home" and "how to be domestic" arenas. It tends to ignore single people, or people without kids, or students, or people with pets, or people with roommates, or people with full-time jobs, or classes, or other shit going on. It assumes everyone is married with kids and one partner is around a lot of the time, and has a lot of time to devote to "housekeeping."
Yes, Rachel Hoffman is given to the playful use of profanity, which you may enjoy or have to overlook. With that out of the way, she gives good advice, such as the following:
Take pictures! Your brain doesn't always "read" everything that's in a room when you look at it, but a picture will let you notice things you might have otherwise missed.
I plan to use her moving advice in the future, too.

3. And, while I'm on the subject of advice columnists, I've been meaning to mention Jennifer Peepas, better known as "Captain Awkward" for some time. Her blog covers a gamut including "family, friendship, mental health, dating, [and] awkward workplace situations" for those she describes as "late bloomers."

Rather than attempt to excerpt her, I'll simply link to a post that exemplifies how well she manages to capture every angle of a situation, help the reader understand how to think about it, offer some "scripts" to try (She's a screenwriter.), and make us laugh all at once. It's title? "Dance Class and Stranger-Sweat" or "How to Tell Someone They Are Stinky: A Review." It's long, but if you have time, do read all the way to the contrasting case study at the end in how not to deal with such a situation.

Even when I disagree with Captain Awkward, I learn something.

4. Should I ever decide to make money directly from blogging, I'll first consult this paper, by the Nielsen Norman Group, on "The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques." Most useful for that purpose is the section dealing with positive comments pertaining to some ad types. "Right-Rail" (a type that also had, by far, the lowest percentage of negative comments) is an example:
Right-rail and related links received a majority of positive comments.
  • "I like ads that do not obstruct content. I can glance to the side and decide if I want to open but am annoyed when I don't have that choice."
  • "I am fond of links to the side and at the end of my pages. I can't tell you why, but I like them and am much more likely to click on them and check them out than anywhere else."
Allowing your visitors to retain control of their own browsers seems to be a great way to retain good will.

-- CAV

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