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9 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler Without Using a Smartphone

crying toddler
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

You’re in a public place — say a restaurant or a doctor’s waiting room — and it’s taking longer to get your food or have your name called than you expected. Your toddler is starting to get restless. And cranky. Real cranky. She’s whining and teetering on the edge of a crying fit, and the other folks around you are glancing over with irritated, disapproving looks.

You don’t have any toys or books on you, making it extremely tempting to just shove your smartphone into your tyke’s pudgy little hands to instantly shut off the waterworks.

But, the idea that you should turn to your phone whenever you feel unhappy or bored is not exactly the kind of lesson you want to teach her; you want her to grow up to be able to entertain herself, absent a technological device. So you think about busting out some pen and paper games like hangman or tic-tac-toe, but she’s preliterate and only understands strategy in terms of figuring out how to poop so no one sees her.

What to do?

Well, with a few completely accoutrement-free games in your metaphorical back pocket, you can easily improvise some games that’ll keep your little one happy and engaged before her chicken nuggets finally arrive. Here are 9 fun, brain-boosting ideas to keep on deck; some work better depending on age and ability, many can be modified to meet your toddler’s level of cognition (which is right around that of a golden retriever), and some will be equally enjoyed by the preschooler set on up. Experiment and see what captures your kiddos’ attention.
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The United States of Guns

gun
This series of news articles—clearly made up—appears on the Onion web site. They have captioned each: “”No Way To Prevent This,’ says only nation where this regularly happens.” Read More...

Men and Status: How Testosterone Fuels the Drive for Status

stare down
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Welcome back to our series on male status. This series aims to help men understand the way status affects our behaviour, and even physiology, so we can mitigate its ill effects, harness its positive ones, and generally get a handle on how best to manage its place in our lives.

In the last post, we discussed the way in which a desire for status is hardwired into our neurology, and how losing and gaining status affects the brain.

But status is not only woven into our brains; it’s also tied into our bodies. And the main driver behind the physiology of status is testosterone. Exactly how this hormone impacts our desire to gain and hold on to status is what we’ll delve into today.
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Sweet Jesus! President Quesada is Back! I hope you're wearing Depends-You'll need 'em!

fox_expresidente
I found this video clip through my favourite blogger, John Gruber. He quotes Vincent Fox saying “If that worn out baseball glove tightly gripping a turd can be president, then amigos, anyone can.” He says “Vincente Fox has Donald Trump’s number. More like this, please.” You have to watch this. It is hilarious.

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The Best Way to React When Someone Is Shouting at You in Anger

yelling
Yelling is a topic relevant to every person on this planet because everyone has raised their voice in anger during their lifetime. Some people yell on a regular basis, but we are all guilty of yelling at some point in life. There are ways to react to a yeller that will help diffuse them, rather than continue to escalate the situation.

Yelling is not healthy for relationships and its results do not yield long term positive results. A person may acquiesce to a yeller at the moment to get them to stop yelling, but once things get back to normal, they typically revert back, because the yelling hasn’t changed their mindset long term. For example, a Mom who yells at her kids to pick up their toys may actually result in the kids picking up their toys in that moment. However, it won’t change their mindset that they should pick up their toys consistently. Kids will learn to pick up if they have been conditioned with a reward or punishment system and they recognize the importance and value of picking up their toys.

Yelling is damaging to relationships. It is not a constructive way to deal with a difficult situation, yet every person engages in yelling. Some more than others. You should be aware of your own yelling, understand why some people are constant yellers, and also know how to deal with a yeller.

When someone is constantly yelling at you in life, they are displaying emotional tyranny over you. Their goal is to gain an upper hand in the situation and the yelling is their means of gaining control over you. It is a form of intimidation. The yelling may work temporarily. However, the long term sustainability of the results from yelling is not good, because it is a way of bullying someone into getting them to do what the yeller wants done. Yelling is not healthy for relationships, in fact it breaks down healthy communications and the closeness of relationships.
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Make Whole Remedies And Good Faith Crucial To Mitigation

mitigate
A recent decision of the BC Court of Appeal provides a cautionary tale for BC employers seeking to remedy a potential wrongful dismissal. Read More...

How to Cut Toxic People Out Of Your Life

toxic
The following is a reprint of an article by A. J. Harbinger that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

There’s an old myth that frogs will pull down other frogs trying to escape a pot of boiling water. That’s likely the stuff of folklore, but the dynamic is real: in everyone’s life, there will always be people who will resist, threaten, and sabotage the possibility of self-improvement.

This general group of people — whom we can safely call “toxic” — might resent your progress for any number of reasons. Perhaps they think you’ll no longer be in their life if you improve too much. Maybe they feel like your improvement exposes their own shortcomings. Or perhaps they’re just threatened by the idea of change.

The causes are less important than the effects, which can take the form of anger, resentment, frustration, manipulation, or cruelty (or a debilitating combination thereof). At any given moment, you might be finding yourself dealing with toxic friends, family members, or colleagues who — consciously or unconsciously — are sabotaging your happiness and growth. Identifying these individuals and understanding how to manage them is absolutely crucial to your well-being, success, and happiness.

So in this piece, we’re going to discuss how to recognize toxic people and navigate the often difficult and emotional process of removing these toxic people from your life.

Because in a very real way, your future depends on it.
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Men and Status: This Is Your Brain on Status

fmri
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Our brains are constantly scanning our respective social worlds to figure out how others perceive us and where we fit into the hierarchy at any given moment. We’ll talk about why that is in a later article, but today we’re going to take a look at what this activity looks like neurologically.

The reason we know that our brains are constantly gauging our relative status is because scientists have put people in fMRI machines, subjected them to various social situations, and recorded the resulting neurological activity. For example, in one experiment, two people were asked to lie in an fMRI machine while taking part in a cooperative computer game. One player was in fact a confederate of the researchers and was instructed to become uncooperative or simply start ignoring his fellow participant. Researchers then observed the rejected player’s brain activity.

Granted, these kinds of experiment are very artificial; participants must lie inside bulky machines and cannot move around and talk with others face-to-face. But while measuring neurological activity in actual, day-to-day social encounters is not yet possible, the current research does give us a good idea of what goes on in our brains when interacting with others and how we evaluate our status in those encounters.
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A Kind of, Sort of Eulogy for the Declarative Sentence

unclear
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The use of “kind of” and “sort of” to moderate the degree of what comes after (“I was kind of afraid but not really”), or to describe something of a nature that can’t be pinpointed with exactness (“The device was sort of shaped like a sphere”) has been around since the 19th century. But the popularity of these colloquial phrases, especially “sort of,” has grown exponentially over the last few decades.

This is true both of the written and the spoken word. The rise of “kind of/sort of” in the former can be seen when one runs these phrases through Google Ngram – a feature which scans Google’s vast repository of books and charts the frequency with which any word or words appear within it. Here’s how “kind of/sort of” tracks over the last two hundred years:

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The Libraries of Famous Men: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham_Lincoln_O-77_matte_collodion_print
The following is a reprint of an article that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The eminent men of history were often voracious readers and their own philosophy represents a distillation of all the great works they fed into their minds. This series seeks to trace the stream of their thinking back to the source. For, as David Leach, a now retired business executive put it: “Don’t follow your mentors; follow your mentors’ mentors.”

While many of America’s presidents came from prominent, educated homes, one of our most famous — Abraham Lincoln — did not. Growing up in the backwoods of Kentucky and then Indiana, Lincoln rarely enjoyed the privilege of full-time schooling. His formal education, in his own words, came “by littles,” “did not amount to one year,” and was thoroughly “defective.”

And yet Honest Abe rose in society to become a shop owner, lawyer, and of course, President of the United States. How did he do this without much in the way of formal education?

He taught himself, becoming the consummate autodidact.
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What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

vacation
Have you ever felt burned out at work after a vacation? I’m not talking about being exhausted from fighting with your family at Walt Disney World all week. I’m talking about how you knew, the whole time walking around Epcot, that a world of work was waiting for you upon your return.

Our vacation systems are completely broken. They don’t work.

The classic corporate vacation system goes something like this: You get a set number of vacation days a year (often only two to three weeks), you fill out some 1996-era form to apply for time off, you get your boss’s signature, and then you file it with a team assistant or log it in some terrible database. It’s an administrative headache. Then most people have to frantically cram extra work into the week(s) before they leave for vacation in order to actually extract themselves from the office. By the time we finally turn on our out-of-office messages, we’re beyond stressed, and we know that we’ll have an even bigger pile of work waiting for us when we return. What a nightmare.

For most of us, it’s hard to actually use vacation time to recharge. So it’s no wonder that absenteeism remains a massive problem for most companies, with payrolls dotted with sick leaves, disability leaves, and stress leaves. In the UK, the Department for Work and Pensions says that absenteeism costs the country’s economy more than £100 billion per year. A white paper published by the Workforce Institute and produced by Circadian, a workforce solutions company, calls absenteeism a bottom-line killer that costs employers $3,600 per hourly employee and $2,650 per salaried employee per year. It doesn’t help that, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is the only country out of 21 wealthy countries that doesn’t require employers to offer paid vacation time. (Check out this world map on Wikipedia to see where your country stacks up.)

Would it help if we got more paid vacation? Not necessarily. According to a study from the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm, just over 40% of Americans plan not to use all their paid time off anyway.

So what’s the progressive approach? Is it the Adobe, Netflix, or Twitter policies that say take as much vacation as you want, whenever you want it? Open-ended, unlimited vacation sounds great on paper, doesn’t it? Very progressive, right? No, that approach is broken too.

What happens in practice with unlimited vacation time? Warrior mentality. Peer pressure. Social signals that say you’re a slacker if you’re not in the office. Mathias Meyer, the CEO of German tech company Travis CI, wrote a blog post about his company abandoning its unlimited vacation policy: “When people are uncertain about how many days it’s okay to take off, you’ll see curious things happen. People will hesitate to take a vacation as they don’t want to seem like that person who’s taking the most vacation days. It’s a race to the bottom instead of a race towards a well rested and happy team.”

The point is that in unlimited vacation time systems, you probably won’t actually take a few weeks to travel through South America after your wedding, because there’s too much social pressure against going away for so long. Work objectives, goals, and deadlines are demanding. You look at your peers and see that nobody is backpacking through China this summer, so you don’t go either. You don’t want to let your team down, so your dream of visiting Machu Picchu sits on the shelf forever.

What’s the solution?

Recurring, scheduled mandatory vacation.
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