Week of 6 June 2011
Update: Sunday, 12 June 2011 10:40 -0400
- Happy Birthday to me. Today I turn 0x3A.
Some of the folks over on the messageboard seem to think that I have it
wrong, and that it's the US that will suffer more from the coming
economic apocalypse than Europe and elsewhere.
They're badly wrong.
Despite the government elephant on our backs, the US is strong, young,
and extraordinarily productive. We are still the manufacturing champion
of the world, and that's not likely to change any time soon, despite
speculative reports to the contrary. The EU is weak, old, and can't
hold a candle to US productivity, which has continued to grow at an
incredible rate even since the 2008 economic debacle. Note that that
doesn't imply that the US is creating jobs. We're not. We're producing
much more with many fewer jobs.
I should also note that fears of
China are grossly exaggerated. China is in much deeper trouble than the
US. If the US is looking for an economic boogeyman, China's not it.
India, perhaps. China has had no success in overcoming its reputation
for shoddy goods, and isn't likely to do so any time soon. I'm old
enough to remember when a "Made in Japan" label almost guaranteed
that the product was inferior. The Japanese were smart enough to
realize they needed to do something about that, and they did, in
spades. The Chinese don't even seem to realize there's a problem. The
Indians aren't up to Western manufacturing standards, but they're
generally a good step above the Chinese, and their prices are
Meanwhile, we're starting to see a trend in
on-shoring. Companies, particularly small and mid-size manufacturers,
have discovered that using Chinese manufacturing has huge hidden costs,
not least of which are quality-control and time-to-market issues. These
companies are learning that paying a nominally higher price for
locally-manufactured products pays big dividends in product quality,
timeliness, reduced inventory carrying costs, lower shipping costs, and
flexibility. IP issues are also significant. Companies that transfer
their manufacturing to Chinese plants often find that they're in
competition with cheap knock-offs of their products, often produced in
the same factories that they've contracted with.
Many small and
mid-size manufacturing companies have converted to using US-made
components whenever possible, and even auto companies and other
manufacturing behemoths are taking steps to reduce their dependence on
off-shored components. And even those that aren't are looking
increasingly to India rather than to China. Again, none of this means
that US manufacturing jobs will be returning, because most of these
forward-looking US manufacturers are depending as much as possible on
robotics and other automated manufacturing technologies.
- It took a bit longer than we'd hoped, but as of now we're accepting orders for The Home Scientist, LLC CK01/CK01M Standard/Honors Home School Chemistry Laboratory Kits,
which will start shipping next week. The original target was mid- to
so it didn't slide by much. I wanted to give my regular readers--at
least those in the US; we can't ship outside the 50 states--first shot
at the kits. Our first production run was only about three dozen kits,
although we'll be reordering components and assembling kits
constantly, and are set up to assemble kits in batches of 100. Still,
there are a lot of vendors and a lot of components, so vendor lead
times may sometimes cause the kits to go out-of-stock.
Before you order
a kit, please download and review the manual (linked to on the product
page) to make absolutely sure it's what you're looking for. (Hazardous
material shipping regulations make it impossible for us to accept
returns on these kits, so all sales are final.) The manual is in
essentially finished form, although we'll continue to tweak it over the
coming weeks and months, based on user feedback.
Also, note that
THESE KITS ARE NOT TOYS. They are designed to provide an intensive
introduction to high school chemistry laboratory work. They are not for
children. They contain hazardous chemicals, and are not intended
for use by students under age 15.
At this point, we have no idea
what sales volume to expect. We could sell tens, hundreds, or thousands
of these kits per year. We're expecting sales to ramp up slowly, but
with the autumn semester starting in about three months it's quite
possible sales will ramp up faster than we expect.
One thing is
sure: we're in this for the long run. We're already planning several
other science kits, including a biology kit that we're writing the
manual for now. That will be published by O'Reilly/MAKE late this year
or early next. We're also talking to O'Reilly/MAKE about reverting the
rights on the never-published Home Forensics Lab book, which we'll also
design a kit for. We'll also eventually design and produce kits for AP
chemistry, AP biology, standard/honors physics, AP physics, earth
science, and others. So, this is just the first shot in our attempt to
return rigorous, hands-on laboratory work to high school science
Hooray! I got my first kit order this morning. The problem is, the
buyer is in California, but PayPal still added North Carolina sales tax
to the order. I think I've fixed that problem, but I'm not entirely
sure. If you read this before 10:30 EDT or so and you're in one of the
other 49 states, I'd appreciate it if you'd visit the product page,
click on the button to buy a kit, and see if PayPal adds sales tax to
the transaction page. (You can abandon the transaction without actual
buying a kit, of course.)
Thanks to everyone who tested the kit page for me. It appears that it's
working properly now. The problem was that when I set up the
add-to-cart buttons, there was a field for sales tax. I entered 7.75%,
assuming that it would charge that tax only for North Carolina buyers.
Nope, it charges it to all buyers. So I went back and created a tax
table in my profile and modified the buttons to use the profile value.
That appears to have fixed the problem.
The other problem is
that Firefox just went all wonky on me and won't allow me to access the
PayPal site. There were about 20 different PayPal cookies stored, so I
first tried deleting all of them. No joy. I tried using Konqueror (a
Linux browser) and it worked fine. So, it looks like I'm going to have
to close Firefox, which I hate to do. Right now, I have about 60
Firefox windows open, with probably an average of 5 or 8 tabs per
window. I generally keep it open for months at a time, and eventually
it loses its mind and starts doing weird stuff.
At any rate, I knew there'd be glitches, and I'm getting them worked out as fast as I can.
To my surprise, kit orders are already starting to come in. I expected
a lag of at least a week or so following the announcement before people
actually started to place orders, but apparently there's some pent-up
I got an interesting email asking about the different
lab kits we intend to produce and how to fit those into a four-year
high-school curriculum. The short answer is that it's unlikely, albeit
possible, that any one student will take all of these courses. By ninth
grade, it's usually pretty clear if a home-school student has the
inclination and ability to go on to major in STEM in college. For such
students, I would strongly advise allocating two full slots per year to
science over the four-year high-school curriculum. With eight full
slots allocated over those four years, and particularly if science
topics are covered on weekends and summer sessions, it's possible for a
student to get a real jump-start on his or her science education. I'd
recommend something like the following:
9th grade: Forensics (a good cross-discipline introduction to science and scientific techniques) and Biology I
10th grade: Biology II (AP) and Chemistry I
11th grade: Chemistry II (AP) and Physics I
grade: Physics II (AP) and an advanced science elective: Biology
III (microbiology, histology, etc.) and/or Chemistry III (organic,
analytical, physical, etc.)
That's two slots per year spoken for, and of course another slot
allocated to math (algebra II, plane and solid geometry, trigonomety,
and calculus/differential equations, with an elective slot in 11th or
12th grade allocated to a real statistics course). But with that
preparation, the student will enter college and hit the ground running.
other thing to keep in mind is that traditional subject slots were set
up for the convenience of schools rather than what works best for
students. There's nothing magical about a one-year chemistry I course
or an AP biology course. For example, a first-year biology course
typically attempts to cover biology broadly but superficially, with the
second-year (AP) course covering a narrower range of topics but in more
depth, and a third-year course being even narrower and deeper. For some
students, this works adequately or even well. But for many students, it
makes more sense to explore topics in more depth from the first day,
and gradually expand the breadth over the full three or four years.
taking the latter approach with the organization of the biology lab
book I'm currently writing for O'Reilly/MAKE (although it can also be
used for the traditional approach merely by doing only selected easier
lab sessions in the earlier years). Students who go through this lab
book in the order it's presented will spend a significant amount of
time on the tiny stuff, starting with biologically-important molecules
and life processes, and working their way up through cell structures
(organelles), microorganisms, tissues, organs, and eventually
organisms. In other words, we'll look at the raw materials of life
first, then the building blocks that are assembled from those raw
materials, and eventually the structures that are built from those
What that really means, of course, is that
students won't be taking discrete courses in particular sciences over
the years; they'll be taking heavy science courses that incorporate
elements of biology, chemistry, and physics each year. In practical
terms, they'll probably still be nominally taking the individual
courses, if only because college admissions departments want to see
those courses listed on a student transcript. But integrating those
topics provides a superior learning experience.
that's what I did myself as a teenager back in the late 60's. I took
the structured courses in public school, but those served mainly as a
framework. I took my first biology, chemistry, and physics courses in
9th, 10th, and 11th grades, respectively, with advanced courses
following those, but the whole time I was running experiments at home
that crossed all of these disciplines and tied everything together.
particular, the public school biology class suffered from taking a
top-down rather than bottom-up approach. In 9th grade, we were
dissecting frogs before we knew anything much about cell structures,
let alone the biochemistry. And, believe it or not, many first-year
biology courses are taught the same way today, mainly because frogs and
dissection kits are inexpensive and easy for teachers to handle. That
doesn't make it the best way or even a good way to introduce students
to biology. The same thing is true of the survey elements of first-year
biology courses. Sure, it's fun to look at a wide range of organisms,
but if you don't have the basic grounding in theory it's not a
particularly productive use of time.
The first chemistry kits will ship next week. Today or tomorrow, I'm
going to do a torture test on an actual kit. Well, an
almost-actual kit. Instead of the actual kit chemicals, the chemical
block will have containers of water, but otherwise the kit will be
actual and complete. I'll put the kit in the clothes dryer and run
it without heat for 10 minutes or so. If the kit survives that
undamaged, I'll feel comfortable that the real kits will survive real
about an epic fail. The more I read about the German E. coli situation,
the more it's clear that the German authorities failed completely to do
what needed to be done. This situation is now more than a month old,
and the German government is trying to close the barn door not just
after the horse escaped, but after it disappeared over the horizon. The
German authorities basically stood by doing nothing for literally
weeks, when they should have been desperately trying to isolate the
source of the outbreak. Although epidemiologists haven't said much
publicly about the failure of the German government to act, I'm sure
that privately they are all stunned at the ineptitude.
one example, incredibly, no one at the time thought to ask early
victims what they'd eaten and where they'd eaten it. So now, a
month later, they're asking people to try to remember what they ate a
month ago. In a pointless and almost surreal attempt to do now what
should have been done weeks ago, the Germans now have scientists
testing current product streams. As should be unnecessary to point out,
anything they discover now is meaningless in terms of determining the
cause of the outbreak. If they find contamination now, all that
establishes is that the current products they test are contaminated; it
says nothing about whether earlier products from the same source were
contaminated. Similarly, if a current product tests clean, that says
nothing about the status of earlier products from the same source.
- Ars posted an interesting article about probability and intuition.
The part about someone doing five coin tosses interested me. In an
audience of my peers, I'm betting that most or all audience members
would predict the same result, T-T-T-T-T, and by the same reasoning.
Well, here's the reasoning that flashed through my mind: (1) all
of the 32 possible outcomes (excluding the tiny probability of the coin
landing on edge) are equally likely, unless (2) by analogy with loaded
dice, the coin is biased; (3) a small bias is possible, but a profound
bias (in the most extreme case, a coin with two heads or two tails) is
more likely, in which case (4) there is a higher probability that the
result will be either H-H-H-H-H or T-T-T-T-T, depending on how the
coin was biased. Demonstrably, people are more likely to choose H for
any coin toss, so (5) a biased coin is likely to be made to favor T.
Therefore, there is a (presumably) small but very real increased
probability that the outcome of five coin tosses is likely to be
I was also interested in the discussion of the Monte
Hall problem, which we've discussed recently in some detail. In
particular, I disagree with the article's statement that, "[...] the
answer remains counterintuitive—even for those with an exceptional
grasp of math." Really? The solution certainly seems intuitive to me.
Depending on the location of the prize, when Monte opens one of the two
unchosen doors, his decision about which door to open may be
constrained. Without even running the numbers, it seems a no-brainer to
me for the contestant to change his initial choice. The initial
probability of the prize being behind each of the three doors was 1/3.
Monte opens one of the doors, reducing the probability of the prize
being behind that door to 0/3. Monte's action had no effect on the
probability of the prize being behind the chosen door, which remains
1/3. The probability that the prize is behind one of the two remaining
doors is 1/1. It's not difficult to calculate the changed probability
that the prize is behind the remaining unchosen door.
Arrrrrghhh. As it turns out, I'm not going to be able to ship kits by
USPS Priority Mail. The reason is at once simple and complicated, and
comes down to a miscommunication between me and the USPS people. It's
no one's fault, really. Some of the chemicals included in the kit
make it ineligible for air transport, which I've known all along. The
USPS allows shipping under regulations called "Consumer Commodity:
ORM-D (Other Regulated Materials - Domestic)". There are two types of
ORM-D: standard ORM-D for packages that cannot be shipped via air, and
ORM-D-AIR for packages that can be shipped by air.
When I was
discussing all of this with the USPS experts on hazardous materials
shipping, we talked in detail about small-quantity exemptions and
ORM-D. They told me that if the package was eligible under 49 CFR for
air shipment, I could apply an ORM-D-AIR label; otherwise, I had to use
an ORM-D label, which specifies ground-shipping only. So, I thought I
would be able to use Priority Mail, and that applying the standard
ORM-D label rather than the ORM-D-AIR label would indicate to the USPS
that that package must be transported by ground only.
Somewhere in the literally hundreds or thousands of pages of regulations I read--here's one example--it
said that Priority Mail packages were routed via ground and/or air
transportation. I took that to mean that any particular package,
depending on its type and destination and labeling, might be
transported by ground, by air, or by some combination, and that
Priority Mail packages with a standard ORM-D label would be restricted
to ground-only transport. Not so, as it turns out. Any Priority Mail
package may at some point be transported by air, which means packages
that do not meet the ORM-D-AIR requirements simply can't be sent
Priority Mail. I'll have to send them USPS Ground, unless I want to
switch to UPS Ground or FedEx Ground.
Whatever I do, I
can't use the existing Priority Mail boxes, which the USPS supplies
free. Well, I could, if I wrapped them in brown paper or something, but
I'd still be breaking the law. So I just ordered a bunch of boxes from
U-Line, which increases my costs by about $1 per kit. That's no big
deal. There's no flat-rate USPS Ground; it's all based on weight and
distance. Just eyeballing it, it looks as though I'll probably about
break even, because for the packages I'm sending USPS Ground should
average a bit less expensive than Priority Mail. The downside is
delivery time. Priority Mail packages from here in North Carolina to
the west coast typically takes 3 or 4 business days, while USPS Ground
typically takes 6 or 7 business days (although the USPS promises only
Ultimately, I guess this doesn't change much. Instead
of red, white, and blue PM boxes, the kits will ship in standard
corrugated cardboard boxes. Shipments to nearby destinations will still
take 1 to 3 days, although shipments to addresses west of the
Mississippi may take a couple or three days longer than they would have
with Priority Mail.
None of this changes my intention to begin
shipping kits next week. The U-Line boxes should arrive tomorrow, I'll
pack kits over the weekend, and begin shipping them Monday.
Incidentally, if you're thinking about ordering a kit
and you want it to go out with the first batch, if you order it no
later than Sunday evening it will ship on Monday. Orders received after
that will not ship until the following Monday.
Barbara is taking Colin to the vet this afternoon for his final set of
vaccines. We're supposed to wait a couple weeks for his full immunity
to develop, and then we can take him out in public. So far, we've been
restricting him to the yard, and not even allowing him to get too near
the street. In a couple weeks, we'll be able to walk him, which we're
hoping will help get him house-trained.
As things stand, I take
him out in the front yard for a few minutes every time he asks or wakes
up, which is usually two to four times an hour. He considers going out
in the yard to be an opportunity to play tug-of-war with the leash and
chew sticks. He does urinate outside maybe one time in three--that is,
one time in three that he urinates, not one trip in three outside--but
he hasn't defecated outside in more than a month. He can hold it a long
time. No matter how long we keep him outside, he holds it until he gets
indoors, where he can shit in the hall bathroom. At least the floor in
there is ceramic tile. We keep old towels and a bucket full of water
with Lysol and a mop handy. Some days, I end up mopping the floor
literally 15 or 20 times.
had several requests for information about how to get started in
self-publishing. I'm actually not the right guy to ask, because I've
never self-published a book. That said, here are a few sites that may
help you get started:
J. A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
- Novelist Joe Konrath is the poster boy for self-publishing. Until
2010, he was a big proponent of traditional publishing, recommending
that his readers steer clear of self-publishing. A year or so ago, he
dipped his toe in the self-publishing waters and quickly realized that
he could make a lot more money doing it himself. By autumn 2010, had
done a 180, and began telling his readers to avoid traditional
publishing in favor of self-publishing. Compared to the really heavy
hitters among indie authors, Konrath's success has been modest; he's
earning self-publishing royalties of $30,000 or $40,000 per month.
That's probably enough to put him in the Top 100 indie authors but
probably not enough to put him in the Top 10.
Your next stop should be a husband-wife team of authors, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathyrn Rusch.
Both have been authors for decades, and also have broad experience in
all aspects of publishing, including running their own publishing
house. Dean and Kris are also big proponents of self-publishing, both
ebooks and print, although they also consider traditional publishing to
be a viable choice.
is not an author, but runs a small publishing house. She quit her day
job some time ago in order to concentrate her efforts on publishing and
marketing her husband's novels. Her publishing house now has a small
stable of accomplished writers, most of whom seem to be enjoying
significant success. Incidentally, Robin's articles are sometimes full
of typos and misspelled words. I've mentioned this to her, and she says
she'd rather get posts up quickly than worry about typos. She reserves
her editing attention for her books. Don't let the typos turn you off.
She posts some articles that are worth reading.
One of the
biggest problems that indie authors face is getting their manuscripts
formatted properly for ereaders. It seems almost a black art. In fact,
it's relatively straight-forward if you know what to watch out for. Guido Henkel has posted a very useful guide to the correct way to format ebooks for the various ereaders.
two largest markets for indie ebooks are, of course, Amazon's Kindle
and B&N's nook. An indie author needs only standard accounts on
Amazon and B&N to start publishing. Both Amazon and B&N
provide detailed guidelines about how to publish ebooks to their
platforms. Overall, Amazon has two or three times the market share in
ebooks that B&N does, but that varies from genre to genre and even
from author to authors. Most indie authors sell more, sometimes much
more, on Amazon than on B&N, but there are authors who do literally
ten times the volume on B&N that they do on Amazon. No matter what,
you want your ebooks on both of these platforms.
Amazon and B&N account for probably 95%+ and possibly 98% of ebook
sales, so many indie authors get those two covered and don't worry
about the tiny market shares of Kobo, Sony, Apple iBooks, and so on. (A
ton of people read ebooks on their iPhones and iPads, but hardly any of
them actually buy those books from Apple. They buy directly from Amazon
or B&N and use the free iOS reader apps for those devices, so
limiting yourself to Amazon and B&N doesn't mean that iPhone/iPad
owners can't buy your stuff.) Until yesterday, the future of Kindle and
nook ebooks on Apple platforms was in doubt, because Apple was
demanding that Amazon and B&N pay Apple 30% of retail. That wasn't
going to happen, because Amazon and B&N make less than 30% margins
on ebook sales, so they'd have had to give Apple more than their actual
profit on each book. As of yesterday, Apple caved, so things will
continue pretty much as they have been.
If for some reason you
want your ebook to be available in the Kobo, Sony, and Apple
bookstores, the best bet is to do it through Smashwords
rather than jump through the hoops that Apple and Sony require (such as
buying ISBN numbers, which aren't cheap). You can publish your
manuscript to Smashwords, which runs it though an oddly-named
formatting program--Meatgrinder? Mangler? Something like that--and
outputs ebooks formatted for the various devices they support. Frankly,
I don't think it's worth the trouble. The market share of all vendors
other than Amazon and B&N is just an asterisk anyway.
want your self-published book to be available in print as well as ebook
form, you'll need to do a bit more work, but not all that much more.
The two big names in POD (print-on-demand) self-publishing are Amazon's
CreateSpace and Lightning Source. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and which is right for you will depend on many personal factors.
if you intend to get into self-publishing, it's worthwhile to follow
some of the blogs and forums that focus on the nuts-and-bolts of
self-publishing or track the constant changes in self-publishing. There
are tons of those available. Two that I follow are Kindle Review and Kindle Boards, although there are many other good ones out there.
of this has been off the top of my head, and I'm sure I've forgotten to
list many good resources. But these sites are at least a good start,
and if you start following them you'll soon find yourself clicking on
links to dozens of other good self-publishing sites.
Well, this is embarrassing. When I ordered the components for the first
36 chemistry kits, I knew that I'd sell them with or without a digital
multimeter. I expect most buyers to choose the version without, so I
ordered only a dozen or so DMMs. So far, every order has been for the
kit with the DMM, and I'm rapidly running out of DMMs.
called my wholesaler for that item, American Educational Products, and
my contact there tells me they're out of stock on that item and don't
expect it to be back in stock until 30 June. AMEP is one of a group of
companies that includes eNasco, which does have a similar product
in stock. Well, nearly identical, except for color and brand name. So,
my contact at AMEP is checking now to see if they can get a case of 24
DMMs shipped to me from eNasco. Just in case they can't, I've already
which is eNasco's source for the M-1000D DMM. Unfortunately, I don't
have a wholesale account set up with Elenco, and doing that might take
some time. If worse comes to horrible, I'll just order them at retail
and try to get at least a small price break for ordering a case lot.
I get a flood of orders over the weekend, I have enough DMMs to meet my
shipping commitments for next Monday, but I really do need to get more
DMMs in stock before next Friday if I want to be able to ship orders
that include DMMs by the following Monday.
We took Colin to the vet yesterday for his final set of vaccines. Sue
said it'd be okay to walk him around the neighborhood now, but to keep
him away from woods and other areas where wild animals are likely to
be. He's still not immune to leptospirosis, and won't be for another
couple of weeks.
Colin doesn't turn four months old until
tomorrow, and he's already up to just over 35 pounds (16 kilos). That's
not fat, either. Colin is scrawny looking, like most healthy pups. Sue
estimated Colin's adult size as at least twice his current size, and I
don't remember either Duncan or Malcolm being this big at this early an
age. It looks like we may have another Duncan on our hands, a true
giant among Border Collies.
Duncan stood about 4 inches (10
cm) taller than most male Border Collies, and weighed about 75 pounds
(34 kilos), versus 50 to 55 pounds for a typical large male. Barbara
used to take him to events where there'd be 50 or 100 Border
Collies running around in a field. Ordinarily, it'd be just about
impossible to pick out one's own dog in a group of other (mostly)
black-and-white BCs, but we never had that problem with Duncan. He
stood literally head and shoulders above all the other dogs. Except
one, who was actually noticeably larger than Duncan. That one was a
Godzilla among Border Collies.
UPS showed up yesterday with my order from U-Line (whom I strongly
recommend for anyone who needs packing/shipping supplies). I now have
all the boxes, mailing labels, and packing tape I need to start
shipping kits. In fact, I probably now have a lifetime supply of
packing tape. They had a sale of packing tape at less than half-price
and threw in a nice dispenser for free. So now I have 36 110-yard rolls
of 2" packing tape, or 3,960 yards of the stuff. Or 3.621 kilometers.
Or 2.25 miles.
Barbara just rolled her eyes. But in my defense,
if I'd ordered what I'd originally intended to order, I'd have bought
one roll of tape and a professional-quality side-loader dispenser for
about $18 or $20, which would have barely sufficed to pack the first
batch of kits. Instead, I ended up with 36 rolls of tape and a
dispenser for about $60.
We'll be packing the first two dozen or so kits this weekend. We start shipping Monday.
Baby pictures. Here's Colin at 17 weeks old today. Sue Stephens, our
vet, tells us that Colin will "grow into" his ears. They're quite
mobile. Usually he holds them with the inner edges flush, making it
look like he's wearing a peaked cap. (They're not quite flush in this
image, but you get the idea.) Sometimes he holds them both vertical,
with noticeable separation between them. Other times, he holds them
angled away from each other. Once in a while, he crosses them, which
looks really odd.
ears are apparently under individual control. Usually, they're both
pricked, but sometimes he lets one flop over. They also operate like a
submarine periscope. The other day, I was sitting on the sofa with
Colin asleep next to my Ottoman, his ears laid back flat against his
head. There was a noise outside, and I watched one ear stand straight
up and rotate, trying to locate the source of the sound. Apparently, it
wasn't anything to worry about, so Colin gave the down-periscope order,
and the ear again lowered flat next to his head.
Today we took
Colin on his first walk outside our yard, just down to the corner and
back. He seemed to be excited about going for a walk, not bothering to
fang the leash or pick up sticks, of which there was an abundant
supply. We also started training him to come. Until now, he's pretty
much ignored the come command, but things worked out better on the
walk. He actually came every time Barbara or I called him, and each
time we rewarded him with a small piece of Alpo Snaps dog treat. Oddly,
until now, he didn't seem to care much about Snaps. I'd sometime give
him one while praising him for doing something right. He'd usually take
it, but not always, and sometimes when he did take it I'd later find it
lying uneaten in the hall or den. On the walk, he seemed very motivated
to get those small pieces of Snaps.
you can see, he's quickly starting to look more like a dog than a
puppy. Colin's a smooth coat, so we're not sure if his tail will
eventually develop "feathers" or not. There is one tiny tuft of
slightly longer hair at the tip of his tail, but that's all so far.
afraid of the yardstick, so I had a tough time measuring his height. As
best I could determine, when standing he's now about 18.5" (47 cm) at
Barbara's parents had tickets for the local minor-league baseball game
last night, so she headed over about 5:00 to pick up her parents and
take them to the game. We were a bit concerned about the weather, with
thunderstorms in the forecast, but as it turns out it wasn't the
weather that was the problem. During the 7th inning, Barbara left her
seat to get some drinks. While she was waiting in line, her dad was hit
in the head by a foul ball. She returned with the drinks to find the
stadium first-aid people rolling her dad away in a wheelchair.
his head was bleeding, they decided it wasn't serious enough to call
911, but the first-aid people recommended he go to the hospital and get
checked out. So Barbara hauled her dad and mom to the emergency room,
where of course they had to sit for hours before being treated. The cut
was fairly minor, but they did want to do a scan. Barbara's dad is
close to 90, so they probably thought it was better to do the scan even
if it turned out not to be needed.
I'd sat up with Colin,
who couldn't figure out what was going on, until about 0130. I finally
called Barbara, who said her dad had finally gotten in to be
checked. The scan turned out negative, and her dad seemed to be okay,
so Barbara took him and her mother home. She finally arrived home,
exhausted, around 0230.
Older people tend to have more accidents
than younger ones, and Barbara's dad is no exception. He's had numerous
minor injuries on bus tours and so on. But being struck by a foul ball
is the most unusual one yet.
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,