Blake Snow

I write sentences for a living: writer-for-hire, bestselling author, content creator

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Part-time vlogger: These are my most popular YouTube videos

I launched a YouTube channel several years ago solely out of curiosity.

To date I’ve uploaded 38 videos, half of which are songs from my debut record.

Most of my videos have a few dozen total views, but a few surprisingly have numbered in the thousands. They are as follows:

  1. Underdog swing fail. This is a six second video of my youngest son kicking the camera out of my hand after attempting an underdog. It has 123,000 views!
  2. Newfoundland road trip. This is a three and a half minute video of my road trip through Newfoundland with my brother-in-law Clay. It has 2,000 views.
  3. Utah Lake: We found the elusive Bird Island by jet-ski. This is a 30 second video of my buddy Garrit and I happening upon a bird filled island several years ago. It has 376 views.
  4. Backpacking the Uintas: 5 men, 1 mountain, lots of fish. This is a 3 minute video of a recent backpacking trip with friends. it has 354 views.
  5. Super Cover performing “Lonely Boy” by Black Keys. This is a 3 minute video of my cover band playing after only a couple of practices. It has 212 views.

Thanks for watching!

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This performance gives me chills and makes me smile every time I watch it


I get it. These guys are overplayed. The Old Navy of Rock ‘N Roll. Maybe even a bit pompous.

But if the above video doesn’t alter your opinion of said musicians, you’re a snob.

DISCLOSURE: U2 doesn’t make my top 10 or even top 20 band list. But I still believe they’re deserving of much of their success. This is my favorite song of theirs. And Achtung Baby is a ’90s masterpiece.

Click: A few of my favorite links this month


In an effort to reduce the spam I email to friends and family, take this:

See, I told you Provo is magic


Just watching this reminds me of Turk Malloy’s comment, “I think you’d dig Provo. You could do well there.”

It’s been 10 years since I moved to Provo. After seeing it from almost every angle, it still stops me in its tracks. This short video is no different.

I think that’s what happens when you find a place you truly fall in love with, wherever that may be.

Call that a yo-yo? This is a yo-yo


I like the part where he yo-yos. And slips knots. And wears really cool high tops.

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Clever ad: Turning the tables on obsessive geek culture


Using iOS is still less of a pain than using Android. That is, the form is still better.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the attached ad is incredibly effective in speaking to the majority of smartphone users who don’t appreciate, nor do they want to associate with, the millions of off-putting Apple fans parodied above.

In any case, wouldn’t it be great if phones could go back to being useful tools rather than modern day golden calves?

Humans do really cool things


I had a bit of a moment connecting with humanity last week. After taking in popular YouTube videos on Flip Board, I was impressed by all the random talent on display.

Not a cat video in sight.

For example, amateur acrobats eschewing the laws of gravity (shown). Surfers hitching a ride on mother nature’s back. Engineers constructing 100 year old dams in Washington,then blowing them up. An elite basketball star mingling with the hoi polloi of Stillwater, Oklahoma, where I lived for half my adolescence (and even used to buy Air Jordans at DuPrees, the small sporting goodies store where Durrant got his impromptu flag football jersey).

The list goes on.

Like Rémy from my favorite Pixar movie says, “Humans don’t just survive, they discover, they create.”

Group hug!

Rockstar endorsements make my religion slightly less peculiar


I’d be a Mormon even if one of the most poetic, influential, and “let’s bring keyboards and saxophones back” rockstars of the last decade wasn’t.

Plus, if I wanted to align myself closer with celebrity thinking, there are a lot more popular, less demanding belief systems in existence to boost my status.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to have Brandon Flowers of The Killers publicly casting his lot with mine. If anything, he rocks a religious promotional video better than other celebrities.

Of course, religion, following Christ, or believing in God will never be cool. Nor should it be. Depending on the community, persecution rightfully comes with the territory. (How else would deity test the faith of its followers?)

Nevertheless, it’s nice to have backup. Superstar DJs very much included.

We now return to regularly schedules jokes about magic underwear, big love, how religion (not greed) ruins the world, why educated people have a harder time believing in God than uneducated people, great and spacious buildings, how successful people often get prideful and turn into jerks, yesterday’s news that Joseph Smith was a controversial man since he was entitled to agency like everyone else (including other purported prophets), why neither atheist nor believers have faith-shattering proof of anything, and Christians calling other Christians non-Christians because the second group worships in a different way. Go figure.

See also:

Interesting perspective on overpopulation


I suppose the above is possible, but why might the Earth’s population decline after reaching 9 billion in 2050? Deficit fertility rates?

In any case, check out the follow-up shorts as well: Offsetting low fertility rates, Food: There’s lots of it, and Why poverty isn’t caused by overpopulation.

Pretty convincing thesis.

Good movie alert: The King’s Speech


Although I normally avoid “restricted” movies on principle, I make exceptions when referred to by friends with good taste, especially since the Motion Picture Association of America hasn’t always shown the best judgment when rating movies.

Like Shawshank Redemption and Schindler’s List before it, The King’s Speech is one of those movies I’m glad I excepted. It’s not as good as the aforementioned. But it’s a feel-good story with great acting. Recommended for Royal Monarchy and British accent fans everywhere.

Microsoft and Apple beware: Google on to something with new OS


I watched the Google Chrome OS demo today and came away impressed. The product won’t meet the need of power-users, producers, and mult-media creators. But for everyone else, including power-users when they don’t need extra power, Chrome OS is the first legitimate consumer rival for both Macintosh and Windows I’ve ever seen. Much more so than Linux ever was (at least in a consumer sense).

Some highlights about Chrome OS, which has a planned release of “mid-2011” in select Acer and Samsung laptops:

  • “Nothing but the Web.”
  • Chrome OS features a fast and simple setup process, remarkably fast boot times and an instant resume feature to minimize wait time when the OS wakes from sleep.
  • Unified experience across Chrome on netbooks, desktops and more.
  • Multiple user support and guest mode — everything a user does in guest mode is private and history is deleted instantly when a session is ended.
  • Verizon Wireless cellular data connectivity (international options are available as well) in every Chrome OS notebook/netbook — no contracts, no activation fees and monthly plans starting at $9.99.
  • Updates are seamless — no user operations are required to update the OS or apps.
  • Most secure OS in the world — security is a major focus of Chrome OS; all Chrome OS data is encrypted by default.
  • Verified boot — core OS components are in firmware that cannot be modified.
  • Enterprise options — Google is working closely with partners like Citrix to ensure the enterprise market is addressed.
  • Google’s Chrome OS PCs get faster over time, not slower like other PCs.
  • Initial manufacturing partners include Acer, Samsung and Intel.

Will Chrome OS overtake the world? No. But I could see it becoming as ubiquitous as Google’s own Gmail, if not bigger. Which is huge.

In other words, watch this space. Desktop computing is about to change. If only in how we store an access many of our files.

See also: Will Google Chrome OS change computers?

Think your clients are unreasonable? Imagine dealing with this on a daily basis


My brother-in-law works in a Manhattan commercial music studio, producing jingles and licensing original music for use in advertising. Apparently, he deals with this regularly. Favorite line: “That is insulting. We would go out of business if we agreed to terms like that.”

More proof that unrealistic buyers are everywhere. (Although I still think there is value in licensing consumer music in advertising, which this video seems to discredit in an effort to sell more commercial music. What’s more, if demand is this high for “rip off” commercial music, I imagine a supplying studio could really clean up.)

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

Remember when pro basketball was awesome?


It was the ’80s or ’90s. It moved at a faster pace because officials actually let the players play, unlike today. And uh, as the above video shows, it was a lot more physical. Good times. (Thanks, Tim).

My favorite scene from my favorite Kung Fu movie


The film: Iron Monkey. The scene: “Gone with the wind.” While most people panic when wind takes hold of loose items, these two stay cool, react quickly, and gracefully prove they’re not exactly who they appear to be (i.e. doctors).

In case you didn’t know, Kung Fu movies are to the Chinese as comic book movies are to Americans. Both are awesome. But instead of childish names and muscly tights, Chinese superheroes are ninja fast and averse to gravity.

Despite being 50 years old, my favorite jazz song makes $100k year


That’s what I call perpetuity.

According to Spirited Men by Brian Doyle, Dave Brubeck’s classic cool jazz track Take Five makes a cool $100,000 a year in royalties. Imagine how much it made at its height in the early ’60s!? Yeah, baby!

Cooler still, the beneficiary of said royalties is none other than one of my favorite charities: The Red Cross. Song writer and Brubeck saxophonist Paul Desmond left the rights to the song to The Cross upon his death in 1977, as opposed to some deadbeat son like Will from About a Boy.

Bonus link: Radiohead vs. Dave Brubeck mashup in 5/4 (Thanks, Lexi Sara).

The history of rap


This is really well done. Fallon’s delivery is impressive, especially for a night show host. The Roots on backup are phenomenal. (Thanks, Mark)

My first time sailing was everything I thought it would be

[youtube][/youtube]Now can someone lend me a few thousand dollars so I can take up the hobby full time? Either that or let me impose on your Cape Cod, Maine, or Southern Florida timeshare?

Seriously though, Lindsey and I had a wonderful time and plan to go again sooon. It’s a perfect way to slow down your life.

Thanks, Bonneville Sailing.

With exception to the corney caption at the end, I love this video for the following reasons:


  1. Observing people with a common interest in a moment of elation gives me goose bumps.
  2. National pride—something America could use a lot more of.
  3. Rudy is my favorite sports movie, so anything that uses its soundtrack gets high marks from me.
  4. It’s fun watching your country master one of the few things it has yet to master.
  5. Goonies never say die. And the U.S. soccer team is comprised entirely of Goonies.
  6. Last minute goals are awesome.
  7. Hollywood endings happen in real life.
  8. It demonstrates why the World Cup is such an exciting sporting event.

Go, USA!

My new favorite commercial: Cars and freedom

[youtube][/youtube] Appropriately making its debut during halftime of the USA-England World Cup game last Saturday, I love this commercial. Freedom aside, I also love all three American muscle car reboots: Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro very much included. Would probably buy the Mustang though.

I didn’t score a goal in a World Cup final, but I know someone who did

These videos profiling World Cup final goal scorers are awesome for the following reasons:

  1. They’re beautifully filmed.
  2. I love watching old people smile as they reminisce their proudest moments from the past.
  3. I love sports biographies.
  4. I love scoring.
  5. I love World Cup soccer.

Note: Smooth Harold will likely be overrun with World Cup-related posts for the next two months. You’ve been warned.

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I’m about to buy a swagger wagon


In preparation for a bigger car, Lindsey and I sold our beloved Jeep this weekend. As a replacement, we’re planning to buy a 2007 Ford Freestyle, which seats 6-7, but handles like car instead of a splashy SUV or van. After seeing the above commercial, I’m officially calling our anticipated new ride the Swagger Wagon. Only better because it’ll look like a Volvo instead of a paddy wagon.

Is anyone overwhelmed by Google search results?

[youtube][/youtube]Microsoft thinks so. And they’re newest commercial says so: “I can’t pick a restaurant in all these links,” an indecisive women using Google replies, when asked “What’s taking you so long?”

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve never felt overwhelmed by Google results. It’s not information overload if I find what I’m looking forward on the first results page, second at most. It’s almost as if Microsoft is confusing relevance with lack of choice.

I’m all for keeping Google on their toes through competition, but build a better mousetrap if you want to compete.

Reebok Pump documentary is form over function awesome

Although gimmicky, Reebok Pump became such a phenomenon in the early ’90s, that even Nike released pressurized knock-offs for a while. That being the case, the above documentary of Pump technology is well worth 22 minutes of your time. Featuring the inventor of the shoe, Dee Brown, Michael Chang, and urban collectors.

See also: Classic commercials: Reebok Pump vs Nike Air

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Top 5 new bands of the last decade (with video)


After much mental torment, I’ve decided to name the best new bands of the last decade. For one to qualify, they must have met the following criteria: 1) be awesome; and 2) formed in the year 2000 or beyond (which excludes Spoon, Muse, and The Strokes for example).

With the power vested in me, I hereby announce the winners. Continue reading…

Top 10 best Killers songs (with embedded videos)

killers 2008

Prediction: The Killers will end being the best rock band of the decade. They have a fresh sound without straying too far from their rock roots. They’re ambitious, hoping to knock bands such as Led Zeppelin and Nirvana “off their pedestal.” And unlike 90% of most promising bands, their albums have gotten progressively better over time (sorta like Led Zeppelin and Nirvana—go figure.) I expect many more great songs from them in the future, but for now, these are their 10 best.

Top 30 facts about The Most Interesting Man in the World


I’m a teetotaler. But I can’t stop laughing at The Most Interesting Man in the World, the fictional celebrity endorser for Dos Equis beer (similar to Chuck Norris Facts). As usual, the new ad spots are proof positive that beer advertisers are the funniest in the world.

But I digress. I’m not here to talk about beer ads. I’m here to name the most interesting facts about The Most Interesting Man in the World. They are as follows, according to reputable researchers, top scholars, and his contemporaries: Continue reading…

Video games bigger than their biggest expo


LOS ANGELES—Video games have finally grown up. As evidenced by this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the medium is no longer a boys-only club. And in an effort to appeal to all audiences, the race for a better user interface has officially overtaken the race for photorealistic graphics.

“The show was a bit of a turning point for games,” said George Jones, senior vice president at GamePro. “Games, products, and hardware are expanding like never before, and there was a lot of excitement for the future at this year’s show.”

Continue reading…

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DJ Hero, Beatles Rock Band to melt faces this fall


I had the chance to play both DJ Hero and Beatles Rock Band this week. Fully. Awesome. While my interest in rhythm games has waned recently due to overexposure, these two tickled all the right spots to get me excited again. Cannot wait.

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Best kissing scene ever


Lindsey and I watched Some Kind of Wonderful last night. Having not seen it since the mid ’90s, I had forgotten how funny, well-cast, and totally awesome it is. While there are numerous memorable scenes, this one, entitled “Kissing Lesson,” takes the cake for its effective use of music, humor, and one-liners (“Lesson’s over; you’re cool”). If only more movies were so well done.

Hackers having fun with road signs; traffic officials not amused

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This is hilarious!

Hearing this story still gives me goose bumps


The above story broke about 2 and a half years ago, care of ABC News. It’s a dinosaur when it comes to internet memory. While cleaning out my hard drive this morning, I stumbled upon it, and watched it again. It still makes me feel good.

Today, Jason McElwain works part-time as a grocery clerk in New York, according to Wikipedia. He wrote a well-received biography in February, and Columbia Pictures recently secured the movie rights to his incredible story. I can’t wait to see it.

The only thing I hate more than nuclear war is the national debt

We’re screwed. The time to secure our own oxygen mask before helping others is long overdue. Big government for the loss or bust, because there are no such thing as global bailouts.

China, Japan, others: “Hey America, time to pay up.” America: “Sorry, we can’t.” China: “Then we’ll crash your currency by calling in your debts. Have fun scrambling for a solution. You’ll soon be destitute, out of options, and out of international friends because you borrowed all their money and defaulted on your loans. If you won’t liquidate your remaining assets or sell them to us on the cheap, we may collectively do it for you (aka invasion).”

See also:

World of Goo is blowing my mind


I downloaded World of Goo yesterday on Wii, and it’s crazy good. Played for like four hours already. If you like clever writing, brilliant puzzles, Tim Burton visuals, or Danny Elfman music, you must get this game. Something special like this comes only once every 1-2 years — don’t miss it.

Amazingly, the game was created by only two people. It is available as a download on Wii for $15 or on PC for $20. A demo can be downloaded here.

First Microsoft, Seinfeld commercial is unfunny and ineffective


Behold, this is what Redmond is using to combat the effective and clever “I’m a Mac” ads. It’s bland, forgettable, and awkward — outside of the Spanish subtitles and quick shower scene.

I really like Seinfeld, and I’m a Windows XP user, but this is more Bee Movie and Office Paperclip style than anything else. Too bad.

Olympian Jason Lezak is money


Lindsey and I all but did synchronized cartwheels last night, after watching the U.S. men out-relay the trash-talking and heavily favored Frenchies. Anchor Jason Lezak’s full-body split was incredible — just one of the many reasons I love the Olympics.

If a coporation were charged with designing a stop sign


From this video we learn two things:

  1. (Most) People are terrible designers
  2. (Most) Designers have no balls. Rather, they collectively pander to client requests instead of imposing their professional will on customers much like a doctor or mechanic would. This is a disservice to both the client and the designer — everybody loses.

[via Nick Roussos]

Fighting stereotypes with comedy

Lindsey and I watched a PBS special on Arab-American comedians earlier this month and got cramps from laughing so hard. It was funny stuff filled with perspective and comes highly recommended. I can’t think of a better way to combat muslim stereotypes (or any stereotype for that matter) than with a hearty laugh, which is innately human.