And the winner is…

The Grammys, the Oscars, the 7×7 Link Award, ’tis the season for giving folks swag and telling them you like them.

We at Caterpickles are joining in the fun with an extremely prestigious award of our own.

Some of you already know about the Great Blog Heist of 2011. For the rest of you, I’ll sum up: last December a Scurrilous Scalawag stole my Trunki Product Review and presented it on his own website as his own work. This was irritating. Even if he did preserve all my original links in the post so that it continued to link through (and theoretically drive traffic) to my blog.

No matter how many eloquent articles I read by Paulo Coelho arguing that piracy was at the heart of his own success, I couldn’t get past two simple facts:

1) I am not Paulo Coelho.

2) Someone stealing my words and posting them as their own really ticked me off.

There was no contact information on the website, naturally, so I left an angry note via the comment field for the stolen post requesting that the website owners either add my name as author of the post or remove the post from their site entirely. Naturally comments on the site are moderated, which being a savvy blog owner myself, I knew meant that my angry rant was most likely to be simply deleted.

And that’s where things would have stood, if it weren’t for David Bowles, an old friend of mine who just happens to be a lawyer.

David used his ninja web skills to track down the hosting service for the website (the owner of the blog itself being rather shy). He then set me up with a template for a Notice of Infringement and instructions for filing it in a manner that would hopefully spark the requisite amount of quailing on the part of the hosting service. He also drafted a lovely cease and desist letter, just in case my faxes failed to produce the appropriate amount of quailing (fortunately, we never had to release his letter into the wild).

And did I mention he did all this while his wife was in the process of delivering their second child?

For actions above and beyond what I had any right to expect, I’m pleased to offer David Bowles the 2011 Caterpickles Defender of the Realm award. David, I’m glad you’re in my corner. Thank you.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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