How Big is Your Thumbnail?

"Fox" (C) Leslie Hawes 

“How have Pinterest and search engines displaying full-size images instead of just thumbnails affected the way you publish your work on the internet?”

This is a question posed on Creators Against Pinterest  blog,  in the recent post,  “Copyright Infringement Becomes Too Burdensome”,  

The following is my opinion.

The combined effect of Pinterest and Google Images and Bing Images is more vexing to me than the introduction of larger size images. It has all but put an end to my ability to promote my artwork on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong…I think the larger images are stink-o*, and a total end run around the ‘thumbnail’ safe harbor argument of Kelly vs Arriba Soft that Google and Bing and Pinterest try to hide behind.  Equally stink-o* is the tiny, faintly colored text on the larger-than-thumbnail images on Google that says, “Images may be subject to copyright”, and the addition of the ‘pin it’ button Bing Images, and the fact that Bing Images is now reviving those images of mine that I had long ago had removed from Google Images….

…but, I think that the one-two punch of Pinterest and search engine webcrawler robots is the bigger problem.

Pinterest and Google Images and Bing Images are collectively effecting the publishing of my artwork on the internet by perniciously negating links from my images to my website.

When a ‘pinner’ pins an image of mine to a board, let’s use “Fox” as example,  it creates a URL (web address) to that fox image on that Pinterest pin board. That URL differs from the URL of my “Fox”  image on my website.

When Image webcrawler bots find the ‘pinned’ image on Pinterest, it adds that pinned “Fox” to its Image Search pages with the Pinterest URL attached to it, instead of to my URL.

When that image, “Fox” , was re-pinned over 400 times, and the Image Search bots ‘found’ those pins there on Pinterest, each with a new URL, the search bots added those images with those URL’s to the Image Search Pages.

In no time flat, the Image Search pages containing “Fox” only had URL web addresses directing people to Pinterest.

In effect, links to “Fox” on my website where I was promoting it for sale as an original artwork, was squeezed off the Image Search pages by my own image, because all links lead back to Pinterest boards.

Marketing my artwork online used to be fun and felt productive and creative.  Now…not so much.

I used to be able to direct people to Google Image Search pages, tell them to type in the search words ‘Leslie Hawes’ and they would see an entire two or three pages of  my artwork with links underneath the images that led back to me and my blogs. It was great.

Pinterest appeared on the scene, webcrawler robots collected URL’s to Pinterest rather than to the original copyright holder, me, and the rest is quickly becoming history.

Even after installing ‘no-pin’ code to all my blogs, Bing Images now offers a “pin it” button on all images on their search pages, which circumvents any no-pin code I have installed on my blogs. It renders it moot to have the code installed if the image search pages add the pin it button.

Here are some ways in which I have made my presence known on the internet for the past 7 years:

  •  I  administrated  three WordPress blogs and one Google Blogger blog where I displayed my original art, photography and writing.
  • My Drawing A Day project produced over 400 drawings since August 2009.
  •  I had a Flickr Photostream with over 3000 of my photos, and I participated in dozens of photo sharing Groups on Flickr.
  • I contributed original work every month to the Virtual Paintout for over 3 years.
  • I participated in online artist groups…Different Strokes From Different Folks, Virtual Sketch Date, Studio Atelier, Monthly Painting Challenge.
  • I created and contributed 2 sketchbooks to the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project.
  • I  created and published books of my art online using Blurb Books.
  • I  had a membership to Fine Art America, a print on demand website, and a CafePress page.
  • I established a Leslie Hawes Art Facebook Page

Here is how Pinterest and the ‘Pin it” button, Image Search pages, image scraper websites and general copyright infringement  has affected how I have altered my online presence, all most recently:

  • I removed all viewable sized original artwork from my Google blogger, “Leslie ‘s Drawing A Day”, and dismantled the blog, which has 240 ‘Followers’.   I now only display ‘thumbnail’ sized images that serve to redirect traffic to my only art blog, Leslie Hawes Art .
  • I resized all images to much smaller size and reloaded all my images to ‘start fresh’ on Leslie Hawes Art.  Over 400 images were changed.
  • I have  removed all of my photographs and years of writing from my blog, “Black Dog Diaries”.  Image search pages have made it impossible to prevent misuse of my photos. I have sent hundreds of email ‘takedown notices’ to blogs, newspapers, websites, scraper sites, and forums misusing photos of my dog at the dog park.
  • I have removed most original art and photos from this writing blog, “Leslie’s Blog”.
  • I have deleted numerous image files from my database to prevent image scraper sites that utilize ‘inline linking’.
  • I installed ‘no-pin’ code on all existing blogs, only to have Bing Images add the “Pin it” button that negates the code when someone ‘pins’ from Bing Image Search pages.
  • I removed all my photographs from Flickr.
  • I no longer ‘share’ art with the Virtual Paintout and other online artist challenges, and have requested that all images of mine be removed from their sites.
  • I cancelled my Fine Art America membership and deleted all my materials from the site. I requested all art files be removed from the database to prevent Google Images from gathering the images and making them available on the Image Search pages to Pinterest.
  • I have removed all images from Facebook , and no longer post images other than what appears automatically as ‘thumbnails’ when I add a link to Leslie Hawes Art.
  • I  submit numerous DMCA notices and send emails to copyright infringers. I have spent more time doing that than I do making creative content to add to the internet milieu. I stopped counting how many notices I sent to Pinterest after finding more that 400 re-pins of “Fox. My estimate is thousands, but who’s counting?
  • I am more obviously and obnoxiously marking all my work with the (C) symbol and stating copyright warnings in the sidebar (I used to not be so aggressive with my copyright notifications).

And with all that, I still find the creative energy to occasionally make drawings.

* stink-o:   a term used to describe something that stinks, as different from stink-ish, which is less offensive.

X marks the spot…

If you look through my posts on this blog, you will notice a growing number of big, blank squares with an X in them.

In pirate lingo,  X marks the spot where there should be treasure.

In Leslie’s Blog lingo, X marks the spot where there  used  to be treasure….my artwork and photos.

Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that images scraper sites have created a nightmare for me, and I am in the process of disassembling my blog.


Purple Cow … A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time, as most stories tend to begin, there lived a Farmer and his Wife in a tiny wee cottage on a tiny wee farm with a tiny wee barn near a small village in a viridian green countryside.

For the most part, this was an ordinary farm, with a tiny wee garden and a good number of apple trees.

But that is where the ordinary part ends, and where the story of the Purple Cow and Purple Bull and the Purple Calfies begins.

Now, the Farmer’s Wife, being of Unusual Ancestry, was imbued with the ability to conjure. She was able to make  colorful things from thin air and bits of other stuff, just by concentrating, but not too much, and blinking her eyes, but not too hard.

There wasn’t a single thing on the farm that didn’t carry a mark of her colorful conjuring and blinking.

The Farmer asked that she not fiddle and daub at the apple trees or the potatoes, seeing as how he wanted those to keep their original appearance, but he was very happy to have her fiddle and daub anything else she chose.

Her choice was to fiddle and daub and conjure the Cows. They were regular brown cows, and she thought they needed a wee bit of color.

So she concentrated and blinked, but not too hard, and made one of the brown cows into a Purple Cow, and, to go with it, one Purple Bull. The Cow and The Bull were both lovely shades of grape and aubergine and plum, with amethyst highlights, and a delight to admire.

The Farmer and his Wife were tickled to have the Purple Cow and the Purple Bull.

They put them in the wee pasture next to the wee barn, and fed them lots of sweet hay. The Farmer’s Wife conjured up a little Purple Calfie to keep them company, and all three Purple Creatures were very happy together in the wee pasture next to the wee barn.

The neighbors heard about the Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfie and came to admire them.

“Brilliant!” and “Amazing!” and “Colorful”, were what the neighbors said in admiration.

“I would be proud to own that Purple Calfie,” said one neighbor, and a deal was quickly struck with the Farmer’s Wife. The neighbor bought the Purple Calfie for a small bag of gold coins, which would help the Farmer’s Wife to buy more sweet hay for her Purple Cow and Purple Bull.

As the Farmer’s Wife took the bag of coins from her neighbor, she gave him a stern warning, saying, indeed it was a special Calfie, being purple and all, and that he could have the Calfie to admire, but that she was the only one ever, allowed  to make another Calfie. If he wanted another, she was the only one to make it, and he would have to come back to buy it from her.  Only she could make the Purple Calfie right.  The Wizard Himself had made that rule, and everyone was to follow The Rules.

And to remind the neighbor, who was buying the Purple Calfie about the Wizard Himself’s Rules, the Farmer’s Wife added a special circle shaped mark with the letter “C” inside it, (which is the first letter in Calfie, right?) which the Wizard Himself had given her, and she put the mark on the Purple Calfie’s ear where the neighbor could see it.

The neighbor agreed to never make another Purple Calfie, and proudly walked his Purple Calfie with the special mark on his ear home to his own wee pasture and wee barn. The Neighbor stood and admired his Purple Calfie every day, except for the time when he was busy tending his own apple trees and potato garden.

Word quickly spread around the small village about the Purple Cow and Purple Bull that belonged to the Farmer and his Wife, and villagers began to travel to see the magically colored animals that lived in the Farmer’s tiny wee pasture. Soon people were coming from many miles away, and even from other countries, to admire the Purple Cow and Purple Bull and to tell the Farmer and his Wife how clever they were, indeed.

It soon became apparent to the Farmer and his Wife that the tiny wee pasture near the tiny wee barn on the tiny wee farm was not big enough, being all tiny and wee, to accommodate the throngs of Admirers happy to travel to the tiny wee farm to lean on the tiny wee fence around the tiny wee pasture to admire the Purple Cow and the Purple Bull.

The Farmer and His Wife decided that they needed a much bigger pasture with a nice long sturdy fence for Admirers to lean on while admiring the Purple Cow and Purple Bull, and which was closer to the village and easier for Admirers to find.

“I have a large and lovely very green pasture,” said their neighbor, Mr. Wardpresser,  to the Farmer and His Wife, “ that I would be very happy to rent to you for a very small fee, where you could keep your very admirable Purple Cow and Purple Bull. The pasture is very green and is surrounded by red and orange colored trees, and I think your Purple Creatures would look splendid there. The pasture is right by the road, and there is much cart traffic that passes by and plenty of places along the very long fence for Admirers to prop themselves against while they do their admiring. “

The Farmer and His Wife agreed that indeed the Purple Cow and the Purple Bull would look splendid on the green grass, surrounded by red and orange colored trees, with lots of room along the fence for Admirers to admire them, and the Farmer and His Wife also thought that the possibility of selling another newly conjured Purple Calfie would increase due to the amount of extra cart traffic and Admirers that would see the lovely Purple Cow and Purple Bull and a newly conjured Purple Calfie.

A deal was struck with Mr. Wardpresser, the rent was paid, and the Purple Cow and Purple Bull went to stay in the big green pasture. There was, indeed, lots more cart traffic and more Admirers. The Farmer’s Wife conjured not one but two new Purple Calfies, as Purple and lovely as little conjured Purple Calfies can be.

One of the newly conjured Purple Calfies was quickly purchased by an Admirer from the next village for a small bag of gold coins.

As the Farmer’s Wife took the bag of gold coins from the Admirer from the next village, she gave him a stern warning that, indeed, it was a very special Calfie, being purple and all, and that he could have the Calfie to admire, but that she was the only one ever, allowed to make another Calfie. If he wanted another, he would have to come back to buy it from her.  Only she could conjure the Purple Calfie right.

And to remind that Admirer who was buying the Purple Calfie about the Wizard Himself’s Rules, the Farmer’s Wife conjured the same special mark as she’d put on her first Purple Calfie, a circle shape with the letter “C” inside it, (which is the first letter in Calfie, right?) and put the mark on this Purple Calfie’s ear, too, where the Admirer and everyone else could see it.

And off went the Admirer with his new Purple Calfie to his own wee cottage, where he could admire his Purple Calfie to his heart’s content.

Years passed, and the Farmer and his Wife sold other conjured Purple Calfies from time to time, all with the circle shape mark in their ear, and they received enough gold coins from selling them to buy sweet hay for the Purple Cow and Purple Bull, and sometimes even enough for a night of dancing and a wee dram at the local pub.  Life was good, thanks to the Purple Calfies.

One sunny day, as hundreds of Admirers leaned against the long fence that surrounded the very green pasture, admiring the Purple Cow and Purple Bull and the three newest Purple Calfies that frolicked in the very green grass, a big man in a very expensive carriage stopped on the road. As he stepped from the carriage, he unrolled a Long Parchment, and nailed it to an interesting Pine tree that stood at the edge of the very big green pasture.

“How very interesting,” said an Admirer. “I wonder who that man is and what’s on that Long Parchment?”

“I am Mr. Nipperest, “ said the very big man from the very expensive carriage, “and I see that all of you are admiring this colorful Purple Cow and Purple Bull and the frolicking Purple Calfies. Wouldn’t you like to have them at your own wee cottages to admire whenever you’d like and not have to inconvenience yourselves by having to travel many miles to do your admiring?”

“Oh, certainly,” said all the Admirers. “We would all like to have them at our own wee cottages, next to our own wee barns, but they belong to the Farmer’s Wife, and while she does sometimes sell the lovely Purple Calfies, not all of us have small bags of gold coins to part with in exchange for a Purple Calfie to admire at our own wee cottages.”

“What if I told you there was a way,” said Mr. Nipperest,” for you to admire the Purple Cow, the Purple Bull and all the Purple Calfies at your own wee cottages, and you would NOT have to pay the Farmer’s Wife any gold coins at all, and besides that, you could do your admiring without having to leave your own wee kitchens and cozy hearths?”

“Not possible!” exclaimed one Admirer.

“Can’t be done,” grumbled another.

“Ah, but, Yes it can!” said Mr. Nipperest, “All you have to know the Secret Word!”

“But we don’t know the secret word,“ said one Admirer to the other Admirers.

“I know the secret word,” said Mr. Nipperest, “And I will tell you All!

“All of us?” questioned an Admirer.

“That would be very nice”, exclaimed the rest of the Admirers. “Please do tell ALL of us the secret word! “

“First, “said Mr. Nipperest,”you each should mark this little square at the bottom of this parchment, agreeing to what is written, and I will immediately tell you the secret word!  Then all you have to do is just look at the Purple Cow, or the Purple Bull, or the Purple Calfies, or at ALL of them, say the secret word, and a Purple Cow, Purple Bull, a Purple Calfie, or ALL of them, as you choose, will be in your own wee barns near your very own wee cottages, no matter how far you live from here! Aren’t you amazed?”

“Amazing!!” said all the Admirers.

It took only a moment for all the Admirers to rush to the interesting Pine tree and all make a mark in the box at the bottom of the long Parchment.

“Did you read what’s on the Parchment” asked one Admirer of another?  “Nah, it’s all the same to me”, was the reply from the other Admirer.

The Admirers finished marking the box on the long Parchment, and crowded around Mr. Nipperest in eager anticipation.

“We have all marked the box! Now tell us the secret word! We all want a Purple Cow and a Purple Bull and maybe even a Purple Calfie…yes,why not ALL of them?…in our own wee pastures, so that we can admire them whenever we want without having to travel all the way here where the Farmer and His Wife own them and let us admire them.

“Tell us! Tell us!! We ALL want a Purple Cow!”

Drawing himself up full height, Mr. Nipperest   proclaimed in a booming voice, “The secret word is…  NIP!”

All the Admirers looked at one another in amazement. “That’s it? That’s all we have to do to have our very own Purple Cow? Just say Nip?? How easy can it be?”

The Admirers then turned to the Purple Cow and the Purple Bull and the Purple Calfies and began to shout, “Nip! Nip! Nip!”

“Nip! Nip! Nip!”

When every one of the Admirers had shouted Nip at the Purple Cows, they all hurried home to see if they actually did have a Purple Cow or Purple Bull or Purple Calfie of their own.

Sure as certain, when the Admirers arrived at their own wee cottages and wee barns and wee pastures, there stood their very own Purple Cow or Purple Bull or Purple Calfies, and in most cases, ALL of them, to admire whenever they felt like it. It wasn’t the original Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfies, but they looked exactly like them, some even had the special circle mark with the letter “C” inside in their ear, so that was as good as, plus you didn’t have to travel to admire them.

The Admirer’s Neighbors came to see their Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and proclaimed that they wanted some for their own to admire, so the Admirers told them about Mr. Nipperest’s  secret word, and how if they just marked an x on his Long Parchment, no need to read what was written, really, just mark the x, and then look at any purple Cow, and say the magic word, “Nip”, and that Purple Cow or Purple Bull or Purple Calfies, or all of them,  they would instantly appear in their own wee pasture, too.

“That’s it?,  the Neighbors asked. “Just say Nip and I get a Purple Cow, too?”

“ Just say Nip”, replied the Admirers. “That’s all you have to do.”

So the Admirer’s Neighbors tried it, and as quick as you can say Nip, sure as certain, More Purple Cows appeared!

Nip Nip Nip Nip Nip Nip Nip nippity nippity nippity Nip

The Farmer and His Wife visited the Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfies every day, bringing them sweet hay, and all seemed well with them, but they couldn’t understand why no one was there leaning on the long fence admiring the Purple Cows “Where are all the Admirers? “ The Farmer asked his wife. “I don’t know,” she replied.

Many months later, one lone Admirer stopped by at the very green pasture where the Purple Cow and The Purple Bull lived with the Purple Calfies. The Farmers Wife, who was there feeding sweet hay to the Purple Cow, asked the lone Admirer, “Where are all the other Admirers?  These are some very admirable Cows, but no one seems interested.”

“Oh, they are Very Interested,” answered the lone Admirer, “but they all have their own Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies at their own wee farms to admire now!”

“Their own Purple Cows at their own wee farms?!” exclaimed the Farmers wife.  “How can that be? I am the only one who can make and sell Purple Cows,” said the Farmers Wife, “and I’ve only sold a rare few of the Special wee Purple Calfies, and certainly none of the Purple Cows or Purple Bulls! The Wizard Himself made the rule that I am the only one to make and sell the Purple Creatures, and everyone is to follow The Rules! I even put the special mark on the Calfies, right?”

“Oh, but the admirers do have their own Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies.  Not these original Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies that you own, but ones that look exactly like these, except the admirers don’t care as long as they don’t have to travel to admire them. “

Mr. Nipperest  told us all the secret word, and when we say “NIP”, Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies  just magically appear at our own wee cottages! Everybody has a Purple Cow now! Your Purple Cows are so wonderful and colorful that everyone wanted one and now they have one! Aren’t you happy to share the Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies with everyone and get all that nice exposure for them?”

The Farmer’s Wife was rendered speechless, which was actually saying something.

And sure as certain, Purple Cows, Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies were everywhere!  People had them in their own wee barns, wee pastures, and wee yards. People gave them to their neighbors who gave them to their friends, who then gave them to their cousin’s friends, and so on, until everyone had their own Purple Cow. There was no need to ever visit the original Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfies ever again.

The Farmer’s Wife became distraught. What was happening? Only she was supposed to make Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies! The Wizard Himself had said only she had permission to make Purple Calfies, right? Hadn’t he given her the special circle mark with the “C” in it for just that reason?

How was she going to feed sweet hay to her own Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfies if no one came to admire them and no one bought the occasional Purple Calfie, because they were all at their own wee cottages admiring their own Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies and didn’t need to admire hers?

What could she do to stop this?

She decided to go to talk to Mr. Nipperest herself, and see what could be done.

So off she went.

“Oh, there is nothing to be done,” said Mr. Nipperest  to The Farmer’s Wife.  “Everyone is doing it, “Nipping” Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies. They are very popular. They make people very happy to have them. Don’t you want all these Interested Nippers to be happy? And, by the way, I call them Nippers, not Admirers”

“I want you to stop it this instant!” stormed the Farmers Wife. “Stop telling people the secret word and encouraging them to nip my Purple Cows! The Wizard Himself said I was the only one could make Purple  Cows and he had me put a special mark on them to remind everyone that it was only me to make them” exclaimed the Farmer’s Wife. “And if Admirers keep nipping my cows, and no one buys a Purple Calfie because they already have one they’ve nipped, then I won’t be able to buy sweet hay for my own Purple Cow and Purple Bull and the Purple Calfies that live on my wee farm! And the Admirers will forget who I am, and they will forget that it is me alone that can make these Purple Cows!!”

“Not my problem, really,” said Mr. Nipperest. “Oh, indeed, they will know who you are because I asked the Nippers to leave a magic trail of breadcrumbs behind every Purple Cow and Purple Calfie when they were nipped from your large and lovely very green pasture.  Granted, some of the breadcrumbs have been eaten by crows, and run over by carts on the roads, and lost to the wind, but it’s not my problem, really.”

“And furthermore, “said Mr. Nipperest, “if the Nippers want to find you, I feel certain that they will give it a try somehow, though it’s not my problem, really. When the Nippers put their mark on the Long Parchment, they agreed to find you themselves, and not bother me about it, so it’s not my problem, really.”

“But I insist you stop the Nipping!” shouted the Farmers Wife.  “Those are my Purple Cows and Purple Calfies and Purple Bulls and you cannot have them without my permission! The Wizard Himself has said so!”

By this time, Mr. Nipperest was becoming agitated at all the Farmer’s Wife’s insisting.

“How would we know that the Wizard said it is YOU who are the only one to make Purple Cows?” he snarled at her. “What right do you have to say you are the real one? It is up to you to Prove Yourself to us! You can’t just say it!”

“I am the only real one that can make the Purple Cows, and I will prove it! ”declared the Farmer’s Wife. “And I am going to tell the Wizard Himself! Maybe he will convince you to stop all this nipping of my Purple Cows!”

Mr. Nipperest snorted as he looked down his nose at the Farmer’s Wife. He looked only slightly worried.

Then he handed her a Shorter Long Parchment.  “If you make all the Marks necessary for me to believe you, I will show this Shorter Long Parchment with your Marks to my denizens, and maybe, just maybe, if all the Marks are in the right place, and we are satisfied that you are who you say you are, and you show us where you think your Purple Cows are, then maybe we will take them away from the Nippers that have them.  We won’t take all of the Purple Cows away from the Nippers, mind you…just the ones that you find for us and prove by marking a Shorter Long Parchment.”

“If what you want to do with your good time is to find ALL of the Purple Cows and have us Un-Nip them ALL, then you will have to keep looking all by yourself” Mr. Nipperest continued. “We won’t do that for you.”
“And if you choose to do this, you will make quite a few Nippers very angry with you, you know that, don’t you?” he sneered.

“If you need more Shorter Long Parchment,” continued Mr. Nipperest, “we have plenty here. That should make the Wizard Himself very happy about us”.

“That’s all.” he finished.  ”You must leave now. You are not my problem, really.”

And with that, the Farmer’s Wife found herself holding the Shorter Long Parchment.

The Farmer’s Wife returned to her wee cottage and began following the magic breadcrumbs to find and un-conjure her Nipped Purple Cows and Purple Bulls and Purple Calfies that were all over the place.

The Farmer’s Wife wasn’t able to find all the places where people had placed her Nipped Purple Creatures.  Most were lost and wandering deep in the hills and forgotten.  Some days she thought she’d found them all, and then another herd would pop up. It became very tiring, marking certain that all the necessary marks on Mr. Nipperest’s Shorter Long Parchment were correct.  Un-conjuring Nipped Purple Cows was a far more exhausting magic than conjuring them in the first place, and definitely harder than just Nipping.

And because Nippers just kept nipping each other’s cows over and over, over time, everyone who had nipped a Purple Cow forgot who the Farmer’s Wife was, and that it was she who conjured the original Purple Cow and Purple Bull and Purple Calfies in the first place. The breadcrumbs were long gone. And anyway, there was no need for the Nippers to remember the Farmers Wife, because there was always a Purple Cow handy to nip from another Nipper whenever they felt the need.

To this day, the Farmers wife finds lost herds of Purple Cows wandering the wee villages, lost deep in the hills and long forgotten.  They are her Purple Cows, really, and she loves them, so she fills out Mr. Nipperest’s Shorter Long Parchment every time she finds a lost Purple Cow or Purple Bull or Purple Calfie, or ALL of them in a little herd, making certain all the Marks are in the right place to Prove Herself to Mr. Nipperest that she is indeed who she says she is, and that the Wizard Himself gave her the right to make Purple Calfies and no one else unless they asked, and gets them un-nipped so they can stop being lost and wandering or totally forgotten.

The Farmers wife doesn’t conjure Purple Cows or Purple Bulls or Purple Calves anymore. There is no need because Nippers have grown tired of admiring something that everyone has already seen. They seem more Interested in other things.

These days, the Farmers Wife contents herself with conjuring thalo green goats with pink tails and cadmium yellow legs, and chickens with stripes of alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue. But she keeps them to herself in her own wee pasture, by her own wee cottage, on her own wee farm near a small village in a viridian green countryside.

The Farmers Wife is hoping that one day soon a Magician will weave a spell that she can place on all her Colorful Creations before she shows them to admirers, that will keep them all safe and hers and not able to be Nipped, ever.

Until that time, the Farmers wife is a content creator, but does not conjure for anyone but herself, and the world is a bit less colorful because of it.

~the end~  or…to be continued




I find myself driven to distraction by the common use of the “high five” in lieu of a traditional handshake .

I have always viewed the exchange of a handshake as a display of trust and goodwill.  Seeing people using the high five instead leaves me irritated.

Learning how to shake hands was a right of passage.  It was high up on my list of childhood accomplishments, along with looking both ways before crossing the street, tying shoelaces in a bow, and riding a bicycle.

My Grandfather taught me to shake hands when I was about 5 years old.

“Stick out your right hand. No, your other  right hand. (giggles)  Grab hold of my hand, nice and tight. No, not that tight! (more giggles) Just like this…  Now shake our hands up and down… one…two…three!  There you go!  Now try it again…”

Shaking hands with Grandpa didn’t preclude exchanging big hugs during our first moments of greeting, but after those initial squeezes, he would indulge me with plenty of handshake practice. His was a firm, exuberant handshake, and I saw that he used it liberally for greetings, leavetaking, agreements, and for general display of affection toward other people. I learned by osmosis when a handshake seemed appropriate, which is pretty often. I reflexively extend a hand to whomever I meet.

Why don’t I like the high five?   I think it has a few intrinsic flaws.

For starters, its slapping.

Teaching our little ones to slap at us can’t be good.  Youngsters tend to ‘slap’ anyway, and aren’t coordinated enough not to knock Granny’s glasses smooth off her face when she tries to say hello. The kid thinks he’s giving Granny the ‘high-five’, and promptly gets ‘what for’ for slapping Granny.  It’s just too ambiguous a set of rules for a small human being to absorb. Slapping is a no-no unless you are slapping someone to show happy agreement with them. Huh? It even confuses me.

The traditional handshake is pretty unambiguous. Take hold of hand, pump up and down a few times. Done.

Plus, if you don’t want to kiss Granny hello, you can conveniently keep her at arms distance while still showing respect.

In addition, high fives have greater potential for embarrassment than does the traditional handshake. I have seen too many high fives go unnoticed, leaving one person with their arm conspicuously up in the air like they are requesting a bathroom break or are a crossing-guard-in-training.  A handshake, if unrequited, goes virtually unnoticed, and can easily be redirected to appear as if choosing an hors d’oeuvre from the buffet table.

Or, while trying to complete the high five, lack of coordination on the part of one or the other ‘high fiver’ creates a flailing mess of hands way up in the air for all to view the inherent ineptness. If it devolves into more than two attempts…well, it’s devolved.  Not pretty.

In addition, it doesn’t have the interchangeable quality that a traditional handshake does.  Somehow, asking a stranger to ‘high five’ me upon first meeting just seems too familiar.  And I can’t see ‘high fiving’ a potential employer in a conference room, or using the high five as a means of expressing condolence to someone at a funeral.

Missing the opportunity to teach our children a traditional handshake, something that will better serve them all their lives, seems remiss to me.  It’s like forgetting to tell them that “please” and “thank you” are the magic words, and that sometimes shoes don’t have velcro.

I will go so far as to say this… if you feel that you must have your children do the ‘high five’, teach your children the traditional handshake first.  Once they learn to lead with that  upon greeting strangers, then  go ahead with the ‘high-five’.

Granny will thank you for it.