The London 2012 Olympics ~ A personal foreward

The 2012 Olympics

let the games be gin keep calm meme parody remix

Swig that spirit

At the 2012 Olympics in just a few hours from the time of this article being published, the world watching the Summer games will heard the sentence that starts a frenzy of games, competitions, and events celebrating the spirit of *cough, cough* humanity.

“Let the Games begin.” ~ So goes the traditional opening expression of the Olympics supposedly dating back to Ancient Greece, where the ultimate pagan celebration of sports and competition was born.

Are You Ready for the London 2012 Olympics?

london 2012 olympics official logo low-resolution graphic

Faster, Higher, Stronger

It starts tonight. The London Olympics. The 2012 Summer Games. Where world records have already been broken, before the opening ceremonies. Sound interesting yet?

The opening competitions of the London 2012 Olympic Games started off with a couple of world records being broken at Lord’s cricket ground by South Korea’s Archery Team, one of whose athletes is a legally blind man.

Im Dong-hyun, who is a legally-blind archer, broke his own individual record for 72 arrows while his teammates Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek helped them set a team record for 216 arrows.

It certainly makes for good media fodder, that in the Olympics, anything is possible. It helps the ratings that human achievement pushes itself beyond all known limits, for about three solid weeks in mid-Summer, even if those laser-focused athletes have other personal obstacles, like physical handicaps to overcome.

These Olympic Games got off to a full media blast in the past few months. As the torch made its way from Mount Olympus to London, a great deal of coverage was made about the efforts being made by the host country, England. Great Britain is eager show the world that it provides the best, safest, most pageant-filled “Biggest Show On Earth” celebrating sports in an unprecedented fashion.

This, despite huge failures by the security establishment, allowing for the main contractor to the Olympic Games, G4S, to provide only 70% of the contracted security personnel, with the company being forced to pick up the tab for the cost of the British military picking up the slack. Rest assured, the English will do everything to make these games as safe as possible. Still, it will be a stressful week for anyone involved in the short-term security operations and logistics, especially as they now have to practically improvise about 30% of the security efforts, which would otherwise have been performed routinely, in a scheduled, carefully rehearsed manner.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

These Olympic Games are also happening on the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, where 11 athletes and coaching staff of the Israeli team were held hostage and then brutally murdered by terrorists in the name of Palestine.

This year, there was a public effort to hold a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies in London, to commemorate those lives taken too early, at a previous Olympics. The moment of silence was publicly rejected by the IOC. After all, they did not respect the victims with any moment of silence at the time of the attacks or anytime since then, so why would they succumb to such public pressure now?

In the politically-challenged world of the International Olympic Committee, honoring its own athletes lost in geopolitical conflicts that erupted in their own facilities, is simply not something they wish to do. And let’s not mince any words here: The moment of silence was rejected because the victims were Jews and the killers were Palestinian Muslims, and in the IOC, Jews – and especially Jews from Israel – are unpopular, while the Muslim populations control more than twenty nations of the sporting world’s elite body, even as they are considered outside of the main by the powers that be. Simply put, these two people are not important enough to the IOC to move the IOC to reflect upon its own history.

To be clear, if, heaven-forbid, a team of Americans, British, French, German, Russian, Chinese or Japanese athletes had been so inhumanely murdered at an Olympic event, you can bet your Official London Games Memorabilia that there would be some kind of official recognition of their sacrifice.

Okay, that’s enough ranting about my favorite human sporting event. As the Ancient Greek showman and philosopher said in I, Claudius, “The theatre never was what it was.”

The show must go on

We hope everyone participating in the Olympic Games of 2012 will have a safe and wonderful experience. The games are always memorable, and this year should be no exception to that fine tradition. World records broken by a sight-challenged competitor striking the target with a bull’s eye have assured that. Now it’s time for sports fans everywhere to enjoy a little pomp and circumstance before the meat of the events begins.

Personally, my athletic experience gives me a bias towards rowing, fencing, and the classic track and field athletics. Horribly elitist sports, I know. Well, that was a long time ago.

What do you like most about the Olympic Games? Sound-off below in the Comments section.

Jon Lord, R.I.P.

fan portrait of jon lord deep purple keyboard player

Jon Lord R.I.P.

It has been reported that Deep Purple co-founder Jon Lord (9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012) passed away today, age 71.

Mr. Lord wrote many of the rock band’s greatest hits, including the fabled song “Smoke on the water”.

That song, as the story and the lyrics go, was written by Jon Lord after seeing the aftermath of a Frank Zappa show in a venue in Switzerland, across the lake from the hotel where Deep Purple where staying.

The venue was the location where DP where booked to play the next night, and the band was simultaneously trying to write the last song of their next album. That venue had burned down during the Zappa show, due to a fan in the crowd who set off a flare gun under a flammable roof, which caught and spread quickly.

The smoke on the water was literally the smoke seen rising above the ashes of the concert location in the morning, when the band was rehearsing, early in the day.

What the story makes me think of is the way that such random flare-ups can cause such massive creative success.

Mr. Lord will be missed by his family, his friends, and his fans.

Ten great websites you can publish on for free

“Publish or perish.” ~ Publisher’s Proverb

illustration of an old gutenberg style printing press

What did you publish today?

Of course every blogger that likes to publish online knows about Blogger and WordPress, as well as Facebook and Twitter for social posting. Those are all terrific platforms, if you really take the time to maximize their potential. But there are a host of other sites where you can post, which also have terrific features, and are well indexed by the major search engines.

As explained in an earlier post on this site, tapping into existing resources is an important part of any business’ strategy, and a key step to building up your own digital network of information. Knowing which distribution points to use is a key tactic for the strategy.

Here, in no particular order, is a quickie run-down of some of the top sites you can (and probably should) post to, if you’re an active publisher of original content online.

Ten great websites you may publish on for free


A top notch gallery site. Red Bubble features fast uploads, easy comments and link code, fast indexing in the major search engines, and has fantastic built-in shop features, so you can make your original artwork available for customers on demand. If you want to increase your digital reach, and you don’t already publish your original materials and writings on RedBubble, then you should.


Deviant Art is one of the earliest major social networks, and it was built with artists and their artwork in mind. DeviantArt features a wide variety of product offerings you can create on every item you upload, from posters to postcards, to coasters, mugs, mouse pads, puzzles and more. DeviantArt also has a very fun social art feature, which lets you create, share, save, and publish interactive art work, created right on their site. DeviantArt also lets you enter straight html in your item description, making it extremely efficient for publishing your web-ready content to your profile on their web site. Deviant Art also gets indexed very quickly, and has a very high ranking for a gallery site, thanks to its enormous user base who actively use and promote it through social media, blogs, and other fresh link posts.


Anyone who knows anything, still might not know that FAA is one of the best kept secrets in the online art world. Fine Art America lets you create galleries, join group / open galleries, build your own white label artist portfolio (including a feature-rich, easy to use shop), and gets indexed very quickly, so whatever you upload now is in the search engines within hours. When you publish on FineArtAmerica, you benefit from the power of using one of the most highly respected art sites online. As for links, you have a link in your profile, and you can publish long texts with links in your profile’s blog section, which is also quickly indexed.


Probably one of the lesser know sexy blog sites, Behance offers full support for French and English language patrons. Behance lets you create very slick sites quickly without any programming knowledge. You can embed any media with a click. You can post text with html code or use the visual WISYWIG gui editor. Behance pages have a fair amount of authoritativeness by the engines that crawl them, and with good reason. There are a plethora of content-rich pages built on behance, which look great, are very informative, and are easy to use.


Back when Google+ went Beta in the Summer of 2012, Facebook was doing a major aesthetic overhaul of itself (ever heard of Timeline?). On the surface, the two gorillas of internet content seemed to be vying for a slicker look, while at the same time, violating your privacy as if they were vulgar Western tourists looking for a “good time” in Bangkok. That’s when I first heard of JoinDiaspora – the pro-privacy social network, where you share what you want with who you want, and you own your own content. JoinDiaspora makes no claims over your content. Like the other social networks, sharing on JD is extremely easy. You can add any media you want, including text with links, pictures, audio, video, etc. It has a good, high-quality audience, posting original content.


If you know who Seth Godin is, then you know who started Squidoo. Squidoo (now defunct) was one of those rare blends of a blog site that is very easy to use, while reinforcing high quality postings, and nobility – through voluntary contributions to good causes. Squidoo pages (or “Lenses” as they call them in their lingo) take a little time to create. My fastest lens took me about a half hour to create and publish. Squidoo pages are considered highly authoritative by the major search engines, and that means whatever you post on Squidoo, if it’s well made, is probably going to be well ranked, or at least very well indexed. There was a huge social component to Squidoo. Commenting, giving points, receiving points, contributing to charities, etc.


Skyrock is one of those mega content sites that has hundreds of millions of pages in its volumes. The page layouts may seem a little dated at times, and they’re always showing off some sort of appeal to a younger audience. That makes for a strange conflict of interest, since generally speaking, younger audiences tend to want the latest and greatest features, and skyrock looks and feels a little more like a weird hybrid of myspace and facebook back in 2009 or so. But, they have a great overall ranking on their content, they are quickly searched by the engines, and the sheer volume of activity makes them a great free blog site to use, at least as an auxiliary distribution point for your information.


ToonPool offers one of the busiest audiences interested in cartoons, comics, editorial illustrations, caricatures, and other visual art. It doesn’t have to be funny to be on ToonPool – but it can’t hurt, either. ToonPool images get viewed by a lot of people, and you can see your traffic views and comments quickly pile up whenever you add new art – if it’s compelling enough, of course. Toonpool is well indexed, offers the ability to your items as products, and has a nice, easy interface to use. The comments are straight up text, no links, but that’s ok, because the link in your profile is good, and if you get a lot of traffic on your works, then you’ll get plenty of visits through to your site from your TP profile.


Weebly is a site that takes no programming skills, and is almost fun to use. Their publishing platform is fairly intuitive, looks great, and allows you to make unique layouts and site designs very quickly, even if you never took an html course or don’t know what .mpg stands for. Weebly pages are well read by search engines, web crawlers and auto-feed directories, and like all of the sites listed in this article, weebly sites are free to set up, which makes them enticing just as supporting sites to promote and hawk your wares online.


Wix allows you to build and publish very slick looking sites that are fully featured with modern tools to show off your works in gorgeous templates and layouts made by professional visual designers. There have been (and still are) many such sites, but none of them that I’ve seen have really thought about the crucial elements a slick site needs, as well as Wix does. It’s as if they literally thought of the artist, the performer, the musician, the DJ, the entertainer, and any other sort of theatrical talent before they created their templates.

Tapping into existing resources

Tapping into existing resources

h20 tap color illustration


The web is filled with false promises. It is also rife with useful information, neatly organized it and ready to exploit – in the very best sense of the word. To know how to sift between the great the the awful requires savvy, and an understanding of tapping into existing resources. So many real opportunities fall by the wayside, simply because of a failure of communications between the supply side and the demand side.

Consider the (now) old gripe that these days, all you have to do to find the answer to any question, is to “google” it. While it is not true, it still makes some people feel a certain lost naivete about life. All the same, it should not be misread: You really can find a great deal of information online.

Of course, anyone reading this, already knows that the web has the world’s largest public collection of data ever created by mankind. The challenge is: What do you do with that sort of access to so much knowledge?

Tip: The quality of the life you lead is often associated with the quality of the questions you ask.

Think about that for a minute. If you spend your life asking questions about one subject, you may well end up knowing quite a substantial amount about that subject. If you tend to ask smart, thoughtful, probing questions, you will tend to get responses in kind. If you tend to ask really simple questions and stick only to those, you will tend to get only simple answers back.  This concept is very much what the half-joking phrase “Garbage in, garbage out” expresses, in so many words.

So, how do you know what’s useful and what’s garbage?

How do you know how to ask your questions?

What method do you use to sort out good information from bad information?

If these seem like very basic questions anyone should know, then congratulations. You have a leg up on all the people alive right now that have no idea that these questions about questions even exist.

When it comes to information retrieval on the Internet, you should know these are the very basic free resources most commonly used for all nature of general information processing.


Of these well-known sites:
1) Three (Google, Yahoo, Bing) of them are mainly popular as search engines
2) Two of them (Yahoo and Bing) are essentially merging more and more into one entity.
3) One one of them (Facebook) is (at press time) mainly known as the world’s largest social networking website.
4) The other mainly social media entity among them is Twitter, which, while it may contain vast amounts of time-sensitive useful information, also is the cause for some of the largest amounts of junk information. About half (or more) of all Twitter accounts are believed to be non-human accounts, robot accounts, spam accounts, fake accounts, throwaway accounts, etc.
5) The last one is a major storage database of historical and current content published online.

Note that I am not linking to these above sites, except for The Internet Archive,  because for those other sites, you can typically just type their names into your browser, or probably just click a button in your browser somewhere, to get to them.

Also at press time, about half of the world’s searches were conducted on Google, and Facebook and Twitter amounted for a huge chunk of the remaining half, mostly dwarfing even the largest search engines that compete for a slice of Google’s market share.

What makes these giant repositories of information so useful? Well for one thing, they are free. What’s more, they each offer their own flavors of organizing and presenting information, even if they all have some similarities. Their user experience with their interfaces are built since many years, by professional information designers, webmasters, graphics designers, and unfortunately too many people in board rooms with no clue about design or form or function. Luckily, the people who actually code the site are often much smarter than their bosses who order them to carry out their plans. And so it is that many of the best web sites, are those where the engineers, db administrators, coders, designers, and other technically savvy people actually put together useful resources that anyone can exploit and contribute to, freely.

Hello world!

Hello. This may not end up a shmog.

yasha harari drawing in black and white

Yasha Harari – comic self portrait

What this is, is the very first posting on

Kinda pointless, isn’t it?

Where you go from here, well that’s up to you.

If you’re curious, check around. You might discover a secret that we haven’t publicized.

So far, on this site, we have published pages about the following topics:

Home / Shmog – The main index page of this website, which displays the most recent blog posting with links to other posts, pages, categories, search, etc.

About – information about this site

Books – books written, published by Yasha Harari

Cartoon Portfolio – The visual online portfolio of comic cartoon caricature editorial illustrations by Yasha Harari

Music – Music, music videos, written, performed, produced, published by Yasha Harari

Press Releases – Our media center – official communiques to news distribution outlets, and back channel discussions with the Lords of Information.

Web Sites – Other domains on the interweb either produced by Yasha Harari or covering Yasha Harari in their own site.

earthians or marslings cartoon

What would you say?

So for now, hello goodbye. See you later. Stay tuned.