One Finger Per Fret System & When You SHOULDN’T Use It

(Originally posted on Mar 11, 2016 as /archives/10854)

Scott Devine from Scott’s Bass Lessons created a video lesson about why you shouldn’t always use one finger per fret. He gives us some advice on when to use it, and alternatives, for when you shouldn’t.

Here’s the video:

Here are my thoughts:

For myself, on a short scale bass, one finger per fret is fine.

There is an optimal amount of tension that the strings should have. If the neck is too short, then they will flop around when the bass is tuned correctly. Even with that in mind, the 34″ scale neck is longer than it needs to be.

I suspect that Leo Fender measured the scale length of a standup bass, and that was that. (Standup bass necks, and bass guitar necks, are the same length. The standup bass neck only looks larger, because it’s bridge is in the center of the body, and a bass guitar’s bridge is at the end.)

I had a professor that insisted that I push with the ends of my finger bones, use one finger per fret, and not slide my hand at all. He believed that this would help me avoid tendonitis. He was incorrect. My hand’s bones aren’t even long enough to do that at full stretch. A full scale bass isn’t a plastic-stringed classical guitar, and different techniques are needed. Which are discussed in Scott’s video above, and other videos by Scott.

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Train Snow Bomb

(Originally posted on Jan 28, 2016 as /archives/10709)

I lived immediately next to the tracks in Potsdam NY (30 Larnard St. Potsdam NY). The driveway was next to the tracks. The end of the driveway was where the road and the tracks intersected. When the train came through the newly plowed street’s snow would explode. I made sure I was there when it did. It looked like this.

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So that’s what a tank slapper is…

(Originally posted on 2007-06-21 as /archives/22)

I experienced my first tank slapper on 2007-06-20.  That’s when a harmonic instability causes the handlebars to swap from side-to-side as far as they can go (AKA full lock).  I purchased a Suzuki SV650SA7 one month earlier (2007-05-19), and I already have over 1200 miles on it.   Anyway, I was coming out of the parking lot on the NE corner of Iowa and 23rd in Lawrence, KS after lunch.  These cars were coming at me pretty fast so I wanted to accelerate out-of-there.  I gunned it while I was leaned over.  First the rear wheel starts spinning, or I hit a false neutral, or who knows what (VROOOOOOM), and then the handlebars are doing a high speed dance (JIGGY-JIGGY-JIGGY), and left foot comes of the peg.  Afraid?  HAH!  Danger is my middle name!  Embarrassed?  You bet.

Here is a video of a tank slapper that looked like mine:

Here is a much-worse-ending one:

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Rockwell OV-10 Bronco

What a beautiful, powerful, airplane.

I hate violence, but I love military vehicles. Planes are always cool!

I am currently reading Da Nang Diary: A Forward Air Controller’s Gunsight View of Flying with SOG. The OV-10 Bronco is one of the stars of the story. Here are some cool photos.

I remember my father building a model of this plane. The instructions claimed that it could carry five troops. But Tom Yarborough, who flew the plane, and wrote the book, never said anything like that about that much luggage space, and too much weight in the back of an airplane is dangerous. (Although you can find drawings on the web showing five people back there: four sitting, and one standing. Maybe with no weapons, and no external fuel tanks?)

By USN (Official U.S. Navy photograph [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Jakub Haun (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Jakub Haun (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Jakub Haun (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Target Shooting: Members Only? All Are Welcome.

(Originally posted on 2015-11-15 as /archives/10597)

NRAI was on a shooting team with Brian Kubricky. The NRA included Brian in one of their advertisements. I was there when they took Brian’s photo for the ad, so I want a copy. The only copy that I could find online was this little photo that Dr. David Serlin included in his “Members Only” essay for thefeministwire.com. Members only? Punny.

In it he talks about how “preserving the status of heternormative masculinity – is one of the more familiar tropes of industrial modernity” and stuff. I think that he believes that gays, disabled people, and women, are only welcome in certain sports if they can look manly while holding a enormous rifle in front of a lake. Nothing could be farther from the truth in the case of this particular sport.

You should probably go read his essay first. [Jeopardy theme plays in background.] OK? All done? Here goes:

I sent an email to Dr Serlin with my thoughts below. He sent a very nice reply. I won’t quote it here, because it’s not appropriate to quote another person’s email publicly.

Dr Serlin also sent a hi-res copy of the ad.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

Brian Kubricky and Beth B. were two of our top shooters. Their scores were some of the highest in the United States. The sport is inclusive: men, women, wheelchairs, or not: we were all equals.

Beth wasn’t in the ad campaign, but as Dr. Serlin mentioned, it did include another woman. It’s a sport that had equal opportunities for women, and disabled people, before Title IX.

MASCULINITY?

Your job is to slow your breathing, and slow your heart. You shoot between breaths (at first), and between heartbeats (as you get better). You must completely relax under pressure. It’s the least violent sport that I know of: even bowling involves throwing something. This does not.

I used meditation to improve my scores.

There are shooting sports that simulate tactical situations, and there are shooting sports that simulate hunting (such as skeet), but this isn’t one of them. There is nothing particularly masculine about it.

The photographer took the photo in the high school basement. It’s an indoor sport, but that’s the best background that the photographer had on hand. Brian wore the clothes that he wore. The symbolism wasn’t intentional

ENORMOUS RIFLE?

The rifle looks big because it’s designed to be stable. It’s only a .22 caliber: one of the smallest. It has soft recoil (no kick). The competition involves shooting pieces of paper at 50 feet. It’s challenging, because the center of the target is the size of a pencil eraser. I didn’t realize that the rifles look big until [Dr Serlin mentioned it.]

HERE’S ANOTHER WOMAN

Here’s a video about shooter Amanda Furrer. Her sport is a has a different distance, and more shots, but otherwise is very similar to what we did:

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Are emergency rooms really that big a drag on the medical system?

(Originally posted in 2009 as /archives/2634)

By Thierry Geoffroy (Thierry Geoffroy) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

My how things have changed since I wrote this essay in 2009. Governor Romney pandered to the voters in the 2012 Presidential Election—by continuously insulted the President of the United States for adopting a national health care plan—that is almost exactly like Governor Romney’s plan for Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ plan works, and Romney knows it; that’s why he signed-it, and that’s why the United States adopted it.

Our country has adopted Governor Romney’s and Massachusetts’ health care plan, and Governor Romney pandered to the Republican voters by insulting the

This is a new version of my contributions to Are emergency rooms really that big a drag on the medical system? on The Straight Dope board (A message board for fans of The Straight Dope).  I highly recommend The Straight Dope.   If your favorite newspaper doesn’t carry it, then go here. Everyone knows Snopes.com. The Straight Dope has a different purpose, but it is Snopes equal in the fight against ignorance.

Emergency rooms shouldn’t be free, but they must help everyone, and some never pay the bill. If a patient doesn’t pay her bill, then who ends up paying it? The hospital does at first, but ultimately we all do. As Shodan said, “If you are mandated to treat everyone whether they can pay or not, you have to charge those who pay more to cover for those who don’t.” We now have a national health care system without a detailed policy for those that cannot pay. The patients, the insurance companies, and the Physicians have little means of controlling those costs.

I was in poverty for many years. I am certainly not against care for the poor. Being “against” national health care is meaningless. We have had it for some time (whether we are talking about Medicaid, Medicare, or yes, those that simply don’t pay). The question is whether we want control over what is happening, or not, and “not” is just bad business.

How bad is the problem? Go here to read Malcolm Gladwell’s Million Dollar Murray. Here is a teaser quote: “Culhane estimates that in New York at least sixty-two million dollars was being spent annually to shelter just those twenty-five hundred hard-core homeless.”

Being against national health care is unreasonable. We have it, we just do it really badly. Lets stop doing it badly.

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Wal-Mart Employees In Cages!

(Originally posted on 2008-02-08 as /archives/137)

101 Dalmations Halloween Costume
101 Dalmations Halloween Costume

Only kidding!  I used to sit on the other side of this contraption.  It’s part of a 101 Dalmatians Halloween Costume, that someone thought was a good idea, but I thought, “It looks like they have those poor office workers working in cages.”

A lot of what you probably think about Wal-Mart is wrong.

My “quotes” (below) are paraphrases of things that I have heard or read recently.

“Those Walton Family members made [insert number here] dollars and they are not giving anything back.”

You see Wal-Mart people giving back to society a lot in Northwest Arkansas.

“But they give nothing back to my state.  All of that money goes out-of-state, and none of it comes back.  There is this guy named [insert name here] that goes around and talks about this.  He holds up a [insert brand name here] sweater and says, ‘This sweater has $0.75 of labor, and $1.00 of materials, and Wal-Mart sells it for $20.00.'”

I don’t know what Wal-Mart’s markup currently is, and if I did, then I couldn’t tell you.  Let me say this though: back when I was training to be an Ames manager (My training store’s picture is on Wikipedia!) I was taught that discount department stores typically shoot for 10% markup in aggregate, and that large chain grocery stores typically shoot for 3% markup in aggregate.  You can bet that Wal-Mart is shooting for the lowest number possible.  The above sweater example isn’t close to either of those numbers.  Also, materials and labor aren’t the only costs of doing business, but all of any given retailer’s costs of doing business are typically covered by a small margin.

“But Wal-Mart is making all those products.  I know, because you can see their name on them in the store.”

They buy the products from all of the same vendors that every other company does.  Each mature industry typically only has a few big players.  That’s where Wal-Mart gets the products from: mature companies in mature industries.  The folks that work in the Wal-Mart distribution centers could probably tell you who those companies are if they weren’t so loyal, and/or didn’t all sign non-disclosure agreements.  And no, store-brand products aren’t lower quality.  It’s not like factory foremen are running around saying, “We gotta do a worse job on this batch of soap: it’s going in a store-brand box!  Do worse work!”

Another aspect of “they buy the products from all of the same vendors that every other company does” is that Wal-Mart is the wrong target for your anger about how things are made.  If you don’t buy a given company’s product at Wal-Mart, then you will probably end up buying it somewhere else, because there are very few large companies in any mature industry.

“But Wal-Mart uses price pressure to force those companies to lower their quality!”

Price pressure begins when a product becomes commoditized.  This happens with, or without, Wal-Mart.  That’s why XBOX 360 games have almost the same exact price at every retailer.  Xbox 360 games are not a commodity.  Yes, I know that Microsoft sets the price of Xbox 360 games, but that just proves my point.

“But companies like Wal-Mart have made it so that manufacturing is moving overseas.”

Wal-Mart cannot have stores overseas, but refuse to purchase products oversea, and yes, Wal-Mart does have stores in China, Mexico, and many other countries.

Besides: manufacturing is not all moving overseas.  In 2005 the U.S.’ share of global manufacturing was still 21.1%.  That’s right: more than 1/5 of manufacturing revenues world-wide go to the U.S.A.  How much does China manufacture?  8%  (source: FP Quiz, Foreign Policy Magazine September/October 2007)

As a matter of fact our trade deficit shrunk by $100 Billion over the past year.  That means that US exports are increasing dramatically relative to imports.

But what about all of those closed textile mills in North Carolina?

The jobs are somewhere else in the U. S. of A.  Obviously: that’s no comfort to the folks that want to stay in their current hometowns.

To be continued: next I will talk about the stock market and how the money made there has nothing to do with any company’s markup: they are two separate and distinct things.

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