Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Tagged editorials

The exact moment I fell in love with soccer

Paramount

Paramount

In honor of the World Cup, which starts next week in Brazil, here’s how I fell in love with the game.

The year: 198X. I was at a friend’s house in a remote part of northern Oklahoma. We were watching Victory, a so-so Sylvester Stallone movie about a POW soccer team playing Nazi Germany during World War II. My buddy and I were no older than five or six at the time.

Not wanting to endure the feeble character and pre-game drama, we fast forwarded the VHS “through all the boring stuff” to get right to the climatic game. While the build up to said game will likely keep most adults engaged — more for its interesting plot than acting skills — the last 20 minutes of the movie is most triumphant.

Continue reading…

The secret to life is working to death, experts say

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

PROVO, Ut. — Want to get ahead in this world? Work lots of extra hours — even nights and weekends — experts say, and it will all be worth your while.

“It’s easy to forget what’s most important in life,” says Bill Loney, a certified life coach who hasn’t quite made it in life yet. “Family, friends, and social activities that can often inspire and enrich the life of an individual… these are all distractions in getting more work done,” he adds.

Emma Royds, who hasn’t stopped looking at her smartphone every five minutes for three straight years, councils that most people actually die wishing they had spent more time — not less — working. “People never regret working too much,” she says. “My neighbor opted to do adventurous, social, and fitness-related activities with family and friends in his spare time.

“Now 80, he told me recently he really wishes he would have spent more time on TPS cover sheets, obsessively trying to turn his company into the next big thing, and reading email during every waking hour of his life. It’s kind of sad, really.” Continue reading…

No turning back: How FiveFingers replaced cushioned running shoes

vibram fivefingers classic black

In 2009, I started running in the ugliest shoes ever. The first time I did it, my calves and feet ached in places they hadn’t before. The second time I did it, I knew I’d never run in cushioned shoes again.

With the exception to select frozen days of winter, in which I run in Nike Free 3.0s to stave off frost bite, I’ve run in Five Finger Classics (pictured) or KSOs ever since. Here’s why: Continue reading…

My favorite music of 2010

Those who know me well know that I love music. In terms of audio/visual entertainment, nothing compares. Not movies. Not games. Definitely not TV.

When opening it up to all forms of entertainment, music is right up there with books and dancing. In other words, if an armed man asked me which I’d prefer, I’d have a really hard time and probably die trying. What’s more, the latter is virtually impossible to enjoy without music.

That said, this is the new music I most enjoyed last year. New to me, at least. Call it my top bands, whatever. I had this stuff in heavy iTunes rotation last year: Continue reading…

10 reasons my dad is awesome

dad

I forgot my Dad’s birthday yesterday. Maybe I should start consulting my calendar on weekends again. Or plan accordingly when something important doesn’t fall on a weekday.

In any case, here are 10 reasons I love my Dad. Yup, I said love. But I say that in a man-to-man sort of way. If that makes any sense. Which it doesn’t. So just read on. Continue reading…

World Cup teams with foreign coaches are going to get bit, if they haven’t already

I’m no conspiracy theorist. But I do believe in conflicts of interest. Which is why if I would never hire a foreign national team coach, like many modern soccer nations do.

I understand it’s faster to import coaching talent than to develop it yourself, something which can lead to immediate improvements. But let’s suppose England faces Italy in the World Cup final this summer, which is what they will do if both teams win their groups and go all the way.

England is led by Italian coach Fabio Capello. I’m sure he’s an honest man and all. And it’s doubtly he’d sabotage his employer by somehow jeopardizing said game. But the possibility of temptation is very real, solely because he is not a home grown coach. Never mind his proximity to Sicily.

With so much on the line then, why would a national team (of any sport) ever risk that?

I’m sorry we can’t make a deal. Please don’t heckle me.

As a self-employed individual, I’ve closed a lot of deals. Seven years worth, in fact. Enough to make me a thousandaire. But I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won, something that’s expected in business.

What isn’t expected, however, are the rare occasions when a prospective buyer ridicules me for not meeting his terms. It usually happens like this: Buyer probes, likes what he sees, and then starts asking questions. We talk. I name my final price. He doesn’t like my final price.

But instead of walking away, like most sane buyers do, this buyer hangs around, and suddenly decides he no longer likes the free market. Continue reading…

Top 5 reasons video games don’t look as good as you think they do

From doctored screenshots to recorded animations, in-game graphics often underwhelm

madden-2005-bullshot-comparisonLeft: Screen capture of a Madden 2005 trailer. Right: The final game, which looked noticeably worse.

Video games are a delight. In my eyes, they’re better than television, and right up there with books, movies, sport, and music as pastimes. But since their beginning, games have held a dirty little secret: they never look as good as advertised. Here’s why: Continue reading…

Americans react to congressional passage of unpopular healthcare bill

_imageDemocrats in the House of Representatives last night approved a controversial healthcare bill, written and approved by Senate democrats in December. The president is expected to sign the bill into law on Tuesday, “then hit the road to sell it to a reluctant public,” reports the Associated Press. Here’s how those in favor of reform have responded to the unpopular bill:

  • Why would any damage control be necessary if this bill is so good and will do so many good things? Why did it take a year to pass and why was it passed without any Republican input or votes? How come the people in the party that crafted it needed to be bribed and bought off to vote for it?
  • This bill should have been broken into smaller single elements, each being its own bill, then voted on.
  • I want reform, but smart reform. Not this.
  • The reason we think Washington is dysfunctional is not that nothing gets done, it is because Washington does not listen to those who put them there. Had they scrapped the bill and fixed the things that are broken, no damage control would be needed.
  • And how does passing this make Washington functional? They passed it when nobody wanted it (in its form that passed). Wouldn’t that make it dysfunctional?????
  • It’s amazing the arrogance of the House to force this atrocious legislation through despite all the public resistance to it. Anyone who voted for it has no business even being elected again.
  • Congress ignored the people and now must suffer their wrath in November elections.

Of course, many Americans are elated with the bill, even though most agree it’s “imperfect.” And the bill is a step in the right direction on reigning in ridiculous health insurance policies. But it’s frustrating to see our politicians pass imperfect legislation just to get something passed. Why not wait until we get reform right before passing something? It boggles the mind. Good thing legislation isn’t reversible.

Remember when I almost killed myself running?

I like running.

With exception to an injury hiatus, I ran several times a week over the past two years. And since reading Born To Run, I do so enthusiastically (not begrudgingly like I once did).

I normally run continuously for 45 minutes to an hour. On occasion, two hours—whatever I feel like really. I don’t time myself or track miles—an act that makes running feel like work—I just run.

Two weeks ago, I was feeling especially light on my feet. When I left the house on an empty stomach that Saturday, I didn’t plan on running for three plus hours, but I did. I also didn’t take water or food with me, and nearly put myself in the hospital as a result.

Continue reading…

Actually, defense doesn’t win championships, dummy

soccer kick“Defense wins championships” is the dumbest thing you’ll ever hear in sports. Winning requires scoring and damage control, regardless of the competition. To prioritize the latter over the former is absurd. In fact, offense might be more important—not to mention more exciting to watch.

Pelé, the world’s greatest soccer player, also made this point in his biography (p. 280). Although his comments are directed at soccer, the same can be said of just about every other sport. “Why do I find fault with defensive football, when it obviously is the style preferred by many coaches throughout the world?” he says. “For one main reason: The only way—or certainly the most possible way—to score goals is if your team is in possession of the ball. Continue reading…

Incredible: Unread email actually waits for you on your computer!

gmail

OREM, Utah — After four convenient but usually bad-habit forming years, I canceled my Blackberry email/data plan with T-Mobile last week. To my surprise, I was amazed that my email would actually wait for me on the computer, as opposed to following me around wherever I went. Now, if I’m away from my desk, my email will tell me how many unread messages I have upon my return, so as not to overlook anything. (Some fancy email programs even support audible alerts, such as “You’ve got mail!” Really neat stuff.)

In a flurry of discovery, and in search of more answers, I asked a representative of ARPANET, the inventor of email, for comment. “The great thing about email is that it’s free, provided you don’t give money to your cell phone provider for the same service,” the spokesman said. “And unlike the Post Office, you don’t have to put a hold on your mail if you’re away, say on nights and weekends. If it fits, it ships—which is all the time.”

Continue reading…

You’re never too busy for people

I have found, as many before me, that with age comes added responsibility and a much larger to-do list. I’m arguably busier than I’ve ever been in my life with managing a marriage, a new baby, a company, and working on several other projects. Opportunity surrounds us, and I want to take it all in. I hope to learn, experience, and do as much as I can (or even can’t sometimes) throughout my life. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, learning new things, and finding other ways of applying the little that I know.

While pondering all of this on my way to Salt Lake City this morning and after catching myself saying “I’m so busy,” to those around me, I couldn’t help but think how this claim might sound to the receiver. Does that phrase add any value to the person listening? Does that make them feel important? If it doesn’t, then do away with it. Continue reading…

Don’t retire, vacation several times a year until you die

I have never believed in traditional retirement, the complete withdrawal from one’s occupation, business, or office near the end of one’s life. It’s a pipe dream. As millions of ex-retirees quickly realize after an uneventful year on the beach, idleness never was happiness.

But leisure and periodic breaks from work are an important part of life. When used properly, regular vacations can inspire and rejuvenate a willingness to work harder. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be rich or wait until the end of your life to vacation. Here’s how: Continue reading…

Would SSN verification fix U.S. immigration?

social_security.jpg

I think every hard-working individual who desires should be able to live in the United States. Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it should be for people trying to get in by the book, because illegal immigration is so rampant. Call it the emigrant’s plight: they want to get into the country, but our system is so broken, they either abandon (or postpone) the American Dream or risk deportation by going undocumented.

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Let’s call the stock market what it really is: speculation

The British had it right at one time. During the 19th century, their culture viewed stocks and securities exchange as a less than noble venture, according to the writings of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens—like how you and I look upon multi-level marketing companies today. Appropriately, the stock market was widely known then as “speculation.” A theory. A guess. An unverifiable promise or conclusion.

At some point, investment sharks (don’t call ’em bankers) hijacked the accurate description of “speculation” to mean “investments,” “stock market,” and “Wall Street”—prestigious terms that sound nothing like the conjecture they represent. Smart people made money on changes in the fickle market, giving hope to uninformed individuals, who blindly followed and still lose the majority, if not all their money, every few decades. Some are lucky. Most are not.

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Three easy steps to getting your point across

(April 23, 2005) A message—whether an email, voice-mail, sticky note, or blog post—is just a mini presentation. It’s a way of conveying information to an audience. To effectively do so, I try to adhere to the following 3 principles.

  1. Be brief. Say what you need to say and nothing more. Keeping it simple will allow your audience to understand and remember what you want them to.
  2. Be detailed. In what you do choose to say, tell the audience specifically what they need to know, including quantities, hard deadlines, and delivery.
  3. Have structure. Write, record, annotate, say, or outline your message in an organized manner, so there is no confusion.

If you are brief, detailed, and structured when conveying information to an audience, your message will be loud and clear. Just be sure you have something important to say…

Boycott companies that beg for bailout money

They can take away my representation, but that can’t take away my purchasing power.

I’ve said it before, but it’s been frustrating to watch the ballooning growth of our national debt, after eight years of unprecedented ballooning. For a long time, it seemed as if I was powerlessness to what was going on—like I couldn’t fight back.

Not anymore.

Continue reading…

I’m sickened as an American taxpayer today

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I have been against any type of taxpayer bailout or “stimulus package” since Congress and America’s most liberal-spending president first passed the $700 billion one in October. I even asked my representative not to vote on the bill, which he did anyway.

As the majority of Americans predicted (60% in both a CNN and Gallup poll), the bailout didn’t work, according to today’s report in The Washington Post. Banks aren’t lending the $200 billion they received from taxpayers back to taxpayers. How kind of them. Continue reading…