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Column: I just spent 45 minutes on hold, and here’s what I thought of the music they blared at me

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#Column #spent #minutes #maintain #heres #thought #music #blared

My objective right here is to not carp — a lot — about being mistreated by Lufthansa’s customer support system. Why hassle? My current expertise with the German airline was no worse than what I or anybody else is often subjected to by large corporations.

Sure, I needed to name repeatedly simply to get placed on maintain. Once I lastly made it to carry, I waited between 20 and 40 minutes every time — making certain that once I was lastly related to a human being, I used to be in a low-level rage that I needed to suppress if I hoped to attain something in any respect. It took various these calls to resolve my flight issues, and on two events, a consultant lastly picked up after which unintentionally disconnected me, so I needed to begin over.

It’s customary stuff. We’ve all been by way of it. And as I stated, that’s not my topic right now.

Opinion Columnist

Nicholas Goldberg

Nicholas Goldberg served 11 years as editor of the editorial web page and is a former editor of the Op-Ed web page and Sunday Opinion part.

No, what I wish to discuss is the “maintain music” that I listened to whereas I waited. I spent a number of time questioning about it as a result of, you understand, what else may I do?

The rationale I used to be on maintain within the first place was that my spouse examined constructive for the coronavirus on the very day I used to be to fly to Germany for my father’s ninetieth birthday, so my plans have been scuttled. To keep away from dropping greater than $1,000, I hoped to cancel and rebook regardless of having, characteristically, purchased the most affordable obtainable ticket, which technically didn’t enable adjustments, refunds or vouchers.

Sadly, Lufthansa was “experiencing a very excessive name quantity.”

So I waited, and listened.

Let me backtrack for a second. The thought of taking part in music whereas individuals are on maintain may be traced again 60 years to a Lengthy Island manufacturing unit proprietor named Alfred Levy. Apparently Levy in all fairness well-known among the many slim circle of people that care about phone maintain music. He came upon the idea unintentionally, the story goes, after an uncovered wire in his firm’s telephone system got here in touch with a metal girder and picked up the published of a close-by radio which callers on maintain to his enterprise may hear.

Eureka!

Whether or not Levy acquired wealthy from mixing music and telephone traces I can’t say. However his patent application foretold the long run: He stated he hoped to play music to individuals on maintain “to pacify the originator of the decision if the delay turns into unduly lengthy, and likewise to whereas away the idle time of the caller who’s awaiting connection. …”

These have been the times when Muzak and different corporations would pipe insipid, easy-listening instrumental music by way of shops, eating places and elevators. Levy needed to pipe that music into individuals’s telephones as effectively.

Companies lined up.

They appreciated maintain music partly as a result of it was a strategy to reassure clients that their calls hadn’t been dropped. Everyone knows the sensation of sitting on a silent line questioning foolishly whether or not we’re nonetheless related.

Additionally they appreciated it as a result of, as they prefer to say, “Your name is essential to us” — and research confirmed that music made clients keen to carry longer earlier than slamming down the telephone in disgust and calling the competitors. Apparently music alters our notion of time, and “occupied time” moves more quickly than “unoccupied time.”

Some studies even suggested that music saved clients completely satisfied and calm and in a temper to purchase. Play it at eating places and so they stick round for one more drink; put it on their telephones and their anxiousness and anger ranges go down.

I don’t have the information to refute that. All I do know is that I’ve by no means met anyone who likes phone maintain music or feels soothed by it.

The issues are apparent. Maintain music sounds terrible due to the distortion that comes with listening to advanced or multi-instrument music over a crummy telephone line. In its effort to be upbeat, it’s too usually only a conflict of beats and blares. You not often hear precise “songs” as a result of corporations don’t wish to pay the required licensing charges, and apart from, consultants warn they may have adverse associations. So as an alternative you too usually get unfamiliar, banal, instrumental non-songs.

And it’s a must to pay attention to each second as a result of at any second somebody may decide up.

Lufthansa, for its half, is making a primary maintain music mistake — one so apparent I figured it out myself even earlier than studying Dr. Jim Will’s “The Psychology of Telephone ‘On-Hold’ Programming.”

Will wrote within the Eighties concerning the “put on out” that comes with extreme repetition. An excessive amount of repeating and “caller anxiousness is prone to be elevated.”

Lufthansa’s hold theme — a proprietary piece of “audio branding” the corporate additionally makes use of throughout boarding — is unbearably repetitive. It’s not melodic or euphonic or catchy or soothing. It’s simply wildly monotonous.

Hey, Lufthansa (and all the opposite corporations similar to you) — there are options! You possibly can interrupt the monotony by sometimes letting clients know the way lengthy their wait will probably be. You possibly can supply a civilized beep to point out clients they’re nonetheless related slightly than blaring distorted music at them. You possibly can range the music. You possibly can spend money on the know-how that permits you to name your clients again.

Or — gasp — you might rent extra customer support representatives and lower the wait occasions.

(By the way in which, you’re not the worst offender on this regard. The Australian airline Qantas as soon as reportedly saved a person on maintain for 15 hours.)

Alternatively, you may persist with the plan and play an infinite loop of pseudo-music and hope clients will dangle on indefinitely.

If they’ve $1,000 at stake, they in all probability will.

@Nick_Goldberg

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The Times’ high school football rankings

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#Instances #excessive #faculty #soccer #rankings


A have a look at the highest 25 highschool soccer groups within the Southland:

Rk. SCHOOL (W-L); Final week; Subsequent sport; rk. final week

1. MATER DEI (6-0); def. JSerra, 21-13; vs. St. John Bosco (at Santa Ana Stadium), Friday; 1

2. ST. JOHN BOSCO (6-0); def. Servite, 49-3; at Mater Dei, Friday; 2

3. CORONA CENTENNIAL (5-1); def. Chaparral, 70-28; at Eastvale Roosevelt, Thursday; 3

4. LOS ALAMITOS (4-2); def. Newport Harbor, 61-21; at Corona del Mar, Thursday; 4

5. LONG BEACH POLY (6-0); def. Millikan, 42-0; at Lengthy Seaside Wilson, Friday; 5

6. MISSION VIEJO (5-1); idle; vs. La Mesa Helix, Friday; 6

7. EDISON (6-0); def. Huntington Seaside, 42-8; at Newport Harbor, Friday; 7

8. CHAMINADE (6-0); def. Alemany, 43-8; vs. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Friday; 8

9. ORANGE LUTHERAN (5-1); def. Santa Margarita, 28-26; vs. Servite (at Orange Coast Faculty), Friday; 10

10. GARDENA SERRA (4-2); def. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 13-7; vs. Bishop Amat, Friday; 11

11. SANTA MARGARITA (3-2); misplaced to Orange Lutheran, 28-26; vs. JSerra (at Saddleback Faculty), Friday; 9

12. JSERRA (3-3); misplaced to Mater Dei, 21-13; at Santa Margarita, Friday; 12

13. BISHOP AMAT (5-1); def. Sierra Canyon, 31-28 (2OT); at Gardena Serra, Friday; 13

14. INGLEWOOD (6-0); def. Hawthorne, 37-0; vs. Compton Centennial (at El Camino Faculty), Friday; 14

15. WARREN (4-1); def. Mayfair, 54-7; vs. Paramount, Friday; 15

16. YORBA LINDA (6-0); def. El Dorado, 24-21; vs. Esperanza, Friday; 16

17. OAK HILLS (6-0); def. Ridgecrest Burroughs, 55-0; vs. Hesperia, Thursday; 17

18. CYPRESS (6-0); def. Tustin, 44-20; vs. Backyard Grove Pacifica (at Western), Friday; 18

19. APPLE VALLEY (5-1); def. Serrano, 50-0 (Thursday); at Sultana, Thursday; 19

20. OXNARD PACIFICA (6-1); def. Channel Islands, 72-0; vs. Rio Mesa, Oct. 14; 20

21. CITRUS VALLEY (5-1); def. Beaumont, 28-0; vs. Cajon, Friday; 21

22. NORCO (4-2); def. Vista Murrieta, 69-28; at Murrieta Valley, Friday; 22

23. RANCHO CUCAMONGA (4-2); idle; at Etiwanda, Friday; 23

24. MURRIETA VALLEY (5-1); def. Eastvale Roosevelt, 48-17; vs. Norco, Friday; 24

25. WEST RANCH (7-0); def. Hart, 20-14; at Valencia, Friday; 25

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Barabak: Why House is likely to flip but Senate’s a toss-up

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#Barabak #Home #flip #Senates #tossup


With election day now simply over 5 weeks away, we peer into our crystal ball — which is foggier than a summer season morning in San Francisco — and reply questions.

Let’s get proper to it. Will Republicans take management of Congress?

I’ve completely no clue.

So what good are you?

That’s one thing my bosses have been asking for years.

Significantly. Are issues that unsure?

Sure and no.

With the proviso that politics, like life, is stuffed with surprises, it appears fairly sure Republicans will take management of the Home for the primary time since they misplaced the bulk in 2018, within the final midterm election.

Defying polls and plenty of, ahem, pundits, the GOP gained 14 Home seats in 2020 at the same time as President Trump misplaced the White Home. (For those who nonetheless insist on believing that election was stolen, you could need to stop studying right here and go re-up your membership within the Flat Earth Society.)

Go on.

With that appreciable head begin, Republicans want solely 5 seats to take again the Home. The GOP is poised to select up 4 seats simply by means of the partisan drawing of congressional districts that adopted the final census. In order that they’re virtually there.

Heck, Republicans may achieve 4 seats in Florida alone, the place Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the handiwork of the GOP-run Legislature to push by means of a political map that’s much more egregiously slanted within the get together’s favor.

After all, Republicans are additionally defending quite a lot of seats, including several in California. However it will take one thing near a miracle for Democrats to hold onto the Home.

What in regards to the Senate?

That’s far much less clear.

The chamber is break up 50-50, with Democrats having fun with nominal management because of Vice President Kamala Harris, who’s on permanent standby to interrupt ties. That’s how President Biden has managed to go a great deal of his agenda.

Sure, however what in regards to the election?

For a time, it appeared Republicans would choose up three or extra Senate seats, simply regaining the bulk they misplaced in January 2021. (Two Georgia contests went into extra time after the November 2020 election, and Democrats won both runoffs.)

However immediately the battle for management looks as if a toss-up.

A pair of uber-Trumpy nominees, Blake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, might have eliminated these states, which backed Biden in 2020, from the aggressive class for Republicans.

Democrats are additionally faring higher than anticipated, for the second anyway, in Republican-tilting Ohio and North Carolina.

So all of it comes right down to the Buckeye and Tar Heel states?

In all probability not.

Management of the Senate will most definitely be determined by 4 states: Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden carried every of these, however not by a lot.

In Nevada and Georgia, respectively, incumbents Catherine Cortez Masto and Raphael Warnock are defending Democratic-held seats, whereas Republican Ron Johnson is searching for his third time period in Wisconsin. The Senate race in Pennsylvania is for an open seat held by retiring Republican Patrick J. Toomey.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are wanting higher for the GOP than they’d been, as Republicans more and more lean into the crime challenge. So it may come right down to Nevada and Georgia.

Effectively, no less than we’ll know someway on Nov. 8, or quickly after.

Not essentially. If no candidate wins a majority in Georgia, there will likely be a Dec. 6 runoff. So there could also be one other month of campaigning earlier than management of the Senate is understood.

Oy. What do polls present?

Surveys recommend a lot of the key Senate races are exceedingly shut. However keep in mind, it is a extremely uncommon midterm election, which suggests any forecasts ought to be taken with an additional dollop of warning.

Uncommon how?

There are all types of never-before variables.

Nobody alive has ever seen something just like the Jan. 6 rebel. The Supreme Courtroom’s June resolution overturning the 50-year-old proper to abortion can be with out fashionable precedent, and has already reshaped the political panorama by energizing Democrats. Normally it’s the get together out of energy in Washington that’s higher in a position to rally its supporters.

After which, not least, there’s the congenitally attention-seeking Trump. He’s saved himself brashly within the information like no different ex-president, drawing no less than a number of the focus away from Biden forward of the midterms, that are usually a referendum on the incumbent and his insurance policies.

All of that has boosted Democratic hopes that November will convey one thing extra akin to a crimson wavelet than a tsunami. However there’s nonetheless a substantial methods to go.

Isn’t there a cliche that goes right here?

The one about so-many-days being a lifetime in politics?

That’s it!

Uh, go.

The rest value noting?

There are 36 gubernatorial races. Most, nevertheless, are like California‘s, the place Democrat Gavin Newsom is waltzing to reelection — which is to say they’re unlikely to lead to a partisan shift in energy.

Two probably exceptions are Maryland and Massachusetts, blue states that appear destined to flip to Democrats after Republicans nominated Trump loyalists.

One of the best hopes for Republican beneficial properties seem like in Kansas, Nevada and Wisconsin. Within the meantime, an uncommon three-way contest in Oregon has raised the prospect that the Democratic-leaning state may elect an impartial as governor, or perhaps even a Republican for the primary time in 40 years.

A lot of the main focus has been on Congress.

True. And that overlooks the rising significance of state races, as insurance policies on abortion, weapons and different points are coming increasingly to rely on which get together holds energy at that degree.

Considerably, you even have a number of states the place election deniers are operating for governor, together with Arizona and Wisconsin — the place Republicans Kari Lake and Tim Michels, respectively, may trigger all types of bother in the event that they win, gaining sway over the 2024 election in these presidential battlegrounds.

On the similar time, you have got Trump foot troopers operating for secretary of state in a number of key states — amongst them Arizona, Michigan and Nevada — the place they might immediately management the election equipment in 2024, threatening additional chicanery and chaos in service of the previous president’s Massive Lie.

Scary!

It’s. We may insert some crack right here in regards to the flat Earth, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and different fictive issues folks imagine in.

However it’s no joke.

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Commentary: I’ve seen how reading banned books can enrich kids’ education

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#Commentary #Ive #studying #banned #books #enrich #children #schooling


My children and I started studying banned books collectively after they have been simply studying sight phrases. Snuggled with my children on the sofa, I’d learn aloud from a slim paperback quantity of the “Captain Underpants” collection. My son, 6, and my daughter, 4, adopted alongside by trying on the photographs.

We giggled by way of the antics of fourth-graders George and Harold as they conspired towards their imply faculty principal. I’d attempt to preserve a straight face whereas studying dialogue in a personality voice: “Assist! Wedgie Girl is within the instructor’s lounge. She simply drank all of the espresso and now she’s giving the health club instructor a wedgie!”

I’d somewhat have been studying a youngsters’s poetry guide by Jack Prelutsky than such raunchy humor. I’d hoped my children would be taught to like phrases as I did whereas listening to the sounds melding collectively rhythmically as I learn them poems, however poetry in the end failed to interact my children. As a substitute, my son was so fascinated by “Captain Underpants” that he started creating his personal collection of comedian books. He spent hours drawing and writing the tales of “Captain Hypnotizing Man” and “Adventures of Tremendous Canine” on plain printer paper, stapling or taping his creations collectively. Quickly, my daughter was additionally composing and stapling collectively her personal image books.

This burst of creativity in my residence occurred as Dav Pilkey’s collection topped the list of books most ceaselessly focused for censorship in 2012. I didn’t realize it on the time, however complaints tallied by the American Library Assn.’s Workplace for Mental Freedom cited offensive language and inappropriate materials for the age vary as the reason why individuals requested that “Captain Underpants” be pulled from faculties and libraries. These have been amongst 464 complaints lodged towards books within the U.S. that yr.

Quick ahead to 2021, when the library affiliation recorded almost 1,600 guide bans or challenges, essentially the most because the group started compiling its record greater than 20 years in the past. “Captain Underpants” was the second most challenged guide within the decade from 2010 by way of 2019. It’s disheartening {that a} comedian guide character depicted by a bald man sporting a pink cape and white briefs that cowl almost half his physique has impressed so many individuals to censor books.

We’d wish to suppose that California, with its many well-regarded educational and cultural establishments, is free from the oppressiveness of censorship. The will to suppress uncomfortable concepts is present in all communities. In 2020, the Colton Joint Union College District removed “The Bluest Eye” by literary big Toni Morrison from its record of books that may be assigned by academics over its controversial subject material involving rape and incest. The district lifted the ban after six months, as a substitute giving dad and mom the selection to have their children decide out of studying the guide. Controversy over books typically arises from overprotectiveness. On the Burbank Unified College District the identical yr, the superintendent eliminated 5 basic novels from the required district studying lists. The books, which included John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Males” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” have been nonetheless allowed in school rooms and the college library after dad and mom protested that the books have been dangerous to Black college students. The transfer successfully implies that most children received’t be studying the books.

A couple of years in the past, a mother or father in my Southern California neighborhood complained on a neighborhood Fb web page {that a} guide her child had borrowed from the elementary faculty library contained mature themes inappropriate for younger children. She posted pictures of guide pages. Mother and father complained. Some demanded that the guide be faraway from library cabinets. One mother supplied a certain resolution: Report the guide as misplaced, then burn the guide.

We dad and mom ought to notice that we received’t at all times know which books are finest for our children. I discovered that out the day my son introduced residence “Captain Underpants,” a guide I might’ve by no means picked out by myself. But these puerile comedian books helped my children develop their studying and writing expertise. “Captain Underpants” led to “Magic Tree Home” books, which led to the “Harry Potter” collection, which led to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Definitely, dad and mom ought to have the best to decide on the books their children learn. However dad and mom calling for books they discover offensive to be pulled from library cabinets, or to be completely faraway from the curriculum, are claiming overly broad rights. They’re deciding what all children can learn, not simply their very own children. And lately, it’s not simply dad and mom demanding guide bans. Elected officers, political activists and spiritual teams are additionally clamoring for censorship.

No less than 50 groups nationwide are engaged on an area, state and nationwide stage to censor books, with a lot of them working collectively in a concerted effort to take away books about LGBTQ matters or race, in accordance with the nonprofit literary group PEN America. The books below assault are prone to function LGBTQ matters or characters, or characters of shade. These harmed essentially the most by these bans are children who’re LGBTQ or youths of shade, typically each.

What’s the studying loss for youths disadvantaged of books that may join them to the fun of studying? What’s the cultural loss for youths who received’t see themselves commonly depicted in books, or see individuals completely different from themselves humanized by way of the artwork of storytelling? Banning books causes an infinite ripple of losses for society. And sometimes it begins with only one mother or father, only one guide.

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