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Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

Sunday greetin’s, GN!

That clunk and surge backward sure felt good.

I found that a literally hair-raising tale, Mac…dayum!

A truck really picks up speed FAST when coasting down hill.

I remember my Dad explaining to me as a kid why they had truck ramps at the bottom of long inclines along some stretches of interstate (probably in PA). which extended a good distance up the next hill.

Already understood the basic concept of kinetic energy -- because junior physics geek-boy -- but found those ramps to be a visceral example of same.

Also had no idea -- until I read your comment -- that there was such a thing as a two-speed axle. Thanks to YT, I now understand the basic concept.

Clever, determined engineers are (mostly) a goodness.

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist
Reply to  Mac

Heya, Mac!

Had no idea semi tractors have such a narrow RPM range (although that makes sense, recalling how often they shift from a standing start and how slow they are off the line).

The runaway station wagon tale caused my ‘nads to relocate to the vicinity of my epiglottis; ho lee fook!

When I first got my license, the main vehicle I was permitted to drive was a ’71 Ford LTD wagon (which was a lease via Dad’s employer, as he’d have never bought one of those). Had a good bit of power, but the suspension and tires were not very stable at much over 70 mph (as I know from being a young moron.)

OTOH, we could cram a lot of music gear into that pig for getting to gigs…including drum kits, upright basses, PA systems, keyboards and other assorted amplification.

(I am exceedingly appreciative that keyboard instruments and amplification have gotten immensely smaller, lighter, reliable and “smarter” as I’ve gotten older.)

Paddy O'Furnijur
5 years ago

A blessed Sabbath, Gerbil Nation!
Good morning, Fatwa, and Mac!

My dad drove both single and dual trailer rigs for a time between the ages of 15 and 17. He lied about both his age and driving experience (he had none) to get a job driving box trucks. He was hired on a Friday with the job set to start on Monday. Over the weekend he got a friend to teach him how to drive. He eventually graduated to driving dual trailer semi’s in the hills of Georgia. He talked about how you could put the truck in “granny gear” while going up a hill, get out, and walk around the rig tightening up the ropes holding your load.

A friend of mine worked as a long-haul trucker for one of the big, national firms a while back. You didn’t always drive the same tractor and he found that more and more Volvo’s were being put in service. The Volvo’s all had automatic transmissions.

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

At one point, here’s what I used to schlep to gigs:

Rhodes 73 Suitcase piano (about 300 lbs. total in two pieces):

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Chopped Hammond B3 organ and Leslie 122 speaker (another 275 or so pounds total):

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Hohner D6 Clavinet (featured in Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” among other famous tunes); 95 lbs.

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ARP Odyssey synthesizer; about 20 lbs.:


Sometimes my gig take was a princely $40 or $50!!1! (And occasionally a good bit more, but still…)

With the reasonably affordable tech now (cheaper than the originals without adjusting for inflation), I could have all those sounds and greater capabilities (plus vastly better fidelity) with three keyboards totaling ~100 lbs in aggregate and a stereo amp in a single box weighing-in at 65 lbs.

Amazing technology, as it digitially recreates those instruments very accurately including all of the “quirks” which made the originals so expressive. Want that Hammond emulation to sound like all the soldered connections are a little -- or a lot -- corroded? Dial it in. Want that Rhodes to sound like the action hasn’t been regulated in several years? Dial it in.

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist
Reply to  Mac

It really is. That tech is way beyond “sampling” (which is digital recordings of real instruments which can simply be played back from a keyboard).

The current technology is -- in part: Meticulously analyzing such minutiae as the mechanical sound a Yamaha (or other manufacturer) grand piano key makes when you release it and the hammer drops back down. The mechanical “thunk” of depressing the key, including, including how both the volume and tone of the “thunk” vary depending on how hard you hit the key. The sounds of the mechanisms attached to various pedals. (Plus the sound of the actual strings and stuff…)

All of those details -- and their rather complex interactions -- are reduced to computer code and when you play a key on one of the digital emulations, all of those values are computed so quickly that the player experiences zero perceptible time lag.

For me, it’s an excellent example of Arthur C. Clarke’s adage “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

They can cram a half-million dollars worth of pianos into a forty pound box which sells for a few thousand bucks. (And provide free downloadable updates as they improve ’em.)

I have a basic idea of how it works, but the results are quite literally jaw-dropping to me. Would I rather be playing a Steinway than a Yamaha? Press a button or two and there it is.

Absolutely wondrous stuff!

TEH YAY for obsessive geeks!!

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist
Reply to  Mac

I also find it vexing that with all of the music-oriented technological marvels, the quality (in terms of depth and breadth of musical styles) of popular music has deteriorated enormously since I was a kid.

I fear I will always be a malcontent. 🙂

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

Heya, Paddy!

I cannot fathom driving such a large vehicle at that age myself; major props to your Dad!

Automatic transmissions for semis are another enormous goodness; yay Volvo.

Paddy O'Furnijur
5 years ago

Oh, before I forget -- L’shanah tovah!

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

Cheers, sir.