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In my day job I am a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service. I am also a parent. As a parent I tried to teach my children how to be safe in this world. I used every opportunity to dispense my words of wisdom as my children grew. We’ve all said things to our children like “Put that down, you’ll put your eye out” or “Don’t go in the street, you’ll get run over.” We say these things without realizing how our children might be interpreting what we said. I recently had an encounter that brought that home to me.
I was delivering mail to an apartment complex. This apartment was about one block away from a busy main street. You know the type, two lanes each direction and one center turn lane. Across the street was a bakery outlet store. My mail truck was parked directly behind me.
The apartment had a bank of mailboxes located in the parking lot. I had a bank of mailboxes open and was putting mail in when I saw this little girl approaching me. She was maybe 3 and a half or four years old. She walked up to me and punched me in the leg. When I looked down she pointed her little finger up at me and said, “Mommy and me are walking to the bread store. Don’t run us over.” I broke out laughing and promised her that I wouldn’t.
And no, she wasn’t wearing headphones.
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With this year being an election year, I’ve decided to go on a rant. I do not belong to any political party. I fiercely maintain my independence when it comes to voting in elections. In the past I’ve voted for both Democrat and Republican candidates. I voted for Reagan and I voted for Clinton. I voted for Bush senior and I voted for Obama. I vote for who I think is best for my country.
However, this election is different. This time I will not vote for any Republican candidate at any level of government. Why? It seems the Republican Party has declared me the enemy. What did I do to deserve this?
First some background. I retired from the United States Army in 1994. I spent nearly 20 years of my life defending my country, putting my life on the line every day, willing to die to protect what I hold dear. For the last 12 years my day job has been a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service . Together that is over 30 years of serving my country in uniform. And as a letter carrier I belong to the letter carriers’ union. According to the GOP, this is a double no-no.
In 2006, President Bush signed a GOP bill called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. What this bill did was force the Postal Service to fund 75 years of health benefits in only 10 years’ time to the tune of 5.5 BILLION dollars a year. No other government institution, no other public or private company is required to do this. Because of the economic downturn, the USPS has not had the finances to meet this onerous obligation and has defaulted on this payment twice. If not for this egregious raid on the Postal Service treasury, the USPS would continue to be a profitable institution. The Republican led congress is totally responsible for the financial instability of the USPS; not lower mail volume, not the internet, not the union, and not high gas prices.
Now, the GOP has made it part of their official party platform to destroy the United States Postal Service as it exists today. The reason is the “financial instability?” facing the Postal Service; that same instability I described above. The Postal Service is the oldest running and most trusted institution of the US Government. It delivers the mail to nearly EVERY address in the country and now the Republican Party wants to gut it by laying off workers, “busting” the unions, and eventually privatizing mail delivery. Republican legislation caused the financial problems facing the USPS, and now Republicans are using the current financial problem as a reason to divide and destroy it. What did I do to deserve this?
My night job is owner of a mail order website, www.MyBestHeadphones.com. As a business owner, I rely on the Postal Service for me to be profitable. Anyone who has ever tried to sell retail on the internet knows the profit margins are slim to start with. Mailing my headphones through the US mail system is cheaper than the alternatives and allows me a small margin of profit. If I had to use a private company whose rates are higher, I could not compete. Thousands of other businesses would face the same scenario. When Republicans say they are the party of business, they mean “Big Business”, not us little guys. What did I do to deserve this?
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Earbuds, those small in-ear style of headphones, have made great inroads in the area of audio reproduction. They are everywhere and everyone (it seems) is wearing them. But how many people know the proper way to insert these ubiquitous sound generating devices? That is what this article is for.
Earbuds have basically three styles of earpieces; hard plastic (included with most portable MP3 players), soft plastic and foam. Since the insertion techniques are similar for both hard and soft plastic earpieces, they will both be presented here.
First, determine the left and right earpiece, if applicable. Hold the right earpiece in your right hand. With your left hand, reach over the top of your head and grab the top of your right ear and pull up slightly. With the wire from the earpiece pointed towards the front (parallel to the ground), insert the earpiece into the ear canal opening and rotate the earpiece ¼ turn so the wire is hanging straight down. Repeat the procedure for the left earpiece. A good seal is critical to experience the full stereophonic effect. Some people moisten the earpieces a bit to ensure a tight seal. Additionally, opening your mouth while inserting your earbuds may help.
Earbuds with foam earpieces are a little easier to insert properly. Squeeze and roll the earpiece between the thumb and forefinger, compressing the foam. Place the earpiece into the ear opening and hold it there until the foam expands to fill the ear canal. Repeat for the other earpiece.
There you have it, the proper way to insert earbuds. Just remember, a good seal is your main objective. And don’t be surprised if one ear opening is slightly larger than the other. Now go jam with the best of them, because music always sounds better with headphones.