Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a dystopian world where the government pays firemen to burn books. During one portion of the novel, the protagonist Guy Montag fakes an illness to stay home from work. His supervisor and fellow fireman, Captain Beatty, stops by his house and explains that over time, books became nearly meaningless to the public, because classic works were condensed to synopses and short blurbs to accommodate dwindling attention spans.

It is with solemn dignity that I present my own mutilated, abridged version of Fahrenheit 451:


Debunking 4 Gym Rat Myths

I may only be speaking for myself, but I’ll assume that a few hardcore workout enthusiasts feel like I do. The following myths about us aren’t always true:

1. We live for the gym.
I’m a human being, not a weightlifting robot. 5 or 6 times per week, I spend 60 to 90 minutes fully exerting my body and mind at the gym, but I also have a social life, 2 jobs, books to read, a house to clean, cats to feed, and a blog to maintain. It’s an understatement to say, “I keep myself busy,” and in the grand scheme of things, physical exercise is a small but important component of my balanced life.

2. We don’t eat ‘real food.’
I maintain a healthy diet, but because I usually don’t partake in greasy, overly processed garbage, it’s often assumed by others that I survive on lettuce, celery, and protein shakes. I gravitate gravitate toward foods that replenish what my body uses during workouts. My diet mainly consists of chicken, vegetables, fruit juice, pasta, rice, oats, whey protein, peanut butter, and almonds/almond milk.

For 2 or 3 meals every week, I eat whatever I want. I don’t call these ‘cheat meals,’ because I’m not cheating anything. I love pizza and beer, and while I enjoy them with moderation in mind, I won’t ever shame myself by saying, “Oh, I shouldn’t have eaten that.” I earn the opportunities to reward myself, so guilt has no place.

3. We’re on every crazy supplement in existence.
Every once in a while, someone will refer to supplements by asking me, “What are you on?” or “What do you take?”

I use whey protein and a fat burner that is made from tea extracts. The bulk of my nutrition/sustenance comes from food and nothing else. This is my personal philosophy, and I’m not here to badmouth anyone who uses more supplements than I do. There are countless individuals with countless fitness goals, so I won’t criticize anybody for not following a path identical to mine.

4. We’re shallow Neanderthals.
An effect cardio/weightlifting/diet program requires research and careful consideration. In other words, it takes thought, there is science behind it, and I’m not dumb or narcissistic because I choose to actively improve my body.

Even though I consider myself a gym rat, I’m also an intellectual and a dork. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who has a mental image of me wearing a letterman jacket as I give a swirly to a skinny kid in a Darth Vader t-shirt, but I didn’t pick on ‘nerds’ in high school, because I was and I still am a nerd. Star Wars is awesome, and I’ll challenge you to a lightsaber battle if you disagree.

I spend more hours reading and writing than I do running sprints or bench-pressing. I exercise for the physical benefits as well as the mental benefits. A sharpened mind and a clear thought process are extremely important in my busy schedule, and if you’re wondering, I don’t admire myself in the mirror or take shirtless selfies.

For the record, I am not a ‘bro,’ and I never will be.

Thank you for your attention and your understanding.

It’s Friday, Let’s Jam: How to Own a Cover Song

In general, cover songs are incredibly average or exceptionally terrible. However, not all musical artists disgrace the material of the original bands. Here are some exceptional cover songs.

Botch: “Rock Lobster”
Original Artist: The B-52s
Description: Imagine the B-52s through a hardcore filter with screaming and angry guitars. Now you’re intrigued.

Mr. Little Jeans: “The Suburbs”
Original Artist: Arcade Fire
Description: I should probably hate this, but I don’t. It is an electronic/chillstep rendition of “The Suburbs,” and to avoid confusion, Mr. Little Jeans is a woman. Weird, right?

Nylithia: “Super Mario Castle Theme”
Original Artist: Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack
Description: This is an instrumental, death metal version of a theme from Super Mario Bros. Even Luigi gets crazy.

Type O Negative: “Black Sabbath”
Original Artist: Black Sabbath
Description: Type O Negative slow down “Black Sabbath” and manage to make it creepier and heavier than the original.

Deftones: “Drive”
Original Artist: The Cars
Description: Deftones take an acoustic, ambient approach to this ’80s classic.

Johnny Cash: “If You Could Read My Mind”
Original Artist: Gordon Lightfoot
Description: While not a radical departure from the source material, this cover is done so well that it doesn’t need to be completely out of left field to work.

Fantomas: “Rosemary’s Baby”
Original Artist: Rosemary’s Baby Soundtrack
Description: Mike Patton and company put a sinister, heavy twist on this movie theme.

The Dillinger Escape Plan ft. Mike Patton: “Come to Daddy”
Original Artist: Aphex Twin
Description: This further proves Mike Patton can do no wrong, as he and The Dillinger Escape Plan annihilate what is already a spastic, caustic song.

Sanctuary: “White Rabbit”
Original Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Description: What would “White Rabbit” sound like with some thrash thrown in the mix? Oh, here it is.

Nevermore: “The Sound of Silence”
Original Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Description: Warrel Dane (also the lead singer of Sanctuary) really knows his stuff. This is an impossibly heavy take on Simon & Garfunkel’s folk classic.

Richwoods Student Achieves Mediocrity


PEORIA — At Richwoods High School, 15-year-old Nathan Bloom earns average marks. He plays no sports. He listens to middle-of-the-road radio rock like Hinder and Nickelback. Bloom achieves mind-numbing levels of mediocrity, and he meets this challenge with complete indifference.

“It started when I was in kindergarten,” says Bloom. “All the other kids wanted to be Superman or a fireman or a ballerina. I wanted to be plain, like lactose-free, gluten-free vanilla ice cream, which is coincidentally my favorite flavor.”

Bloom’s inspiration to blend in with the herd and never stand out comes from his father, Nicholas.

“He’s an alright dad,” says Nathan. “He has a decent, mid-management position at Caterpillar. He drives a 2008 Honda Odyssey. It’s white and doesn’t have too many fancy features. Dad’s a pretty big Michael MacDonald fan, but he doesn’t get too worked up over the music. He doesn’t get excited about anything, really. He treats Mom like she exists. That’s nice of him to do.”

Nicholas, who encourages his son to succeed at not finding too much success, isn’t impressed or disappointed with Nathan’s mundane pursuits.

“He meets expectations,” says Nicholas. “When he was born, I didn’t weep with joy or dread my newfound responsibilities. When Nathan graduates from a run-of-the-mill state university, then goes on to find an insignificant job, then marries a normal-looking woman, then has a few uninteresting children, I will definitely say my son is not better or worse than anyone else.”

Shaun Livingston Signs with Peoria Chiefs

Shaun Livingston

In a bold move that surely won’t bankrupt and severely debilitate the franchise, the Peoria Chiefs have signed NBA journeyman Shaun Livingston to an 8-year, $96 million deal. According to a Chiefs spokesperson, all of the money in the contract is guaranteed.

Even though Livingston, a Peoria native, recently joined the Golden State Warriors, he quit the team via text message and relinquished his possessions to cult leader and renowned shaman Norman Runningsparrow during a spirit journey in the Mojave Desert.

“Look,” said Livingston, “I think for myself on behalf of My Great Leader Norman Runningsparrow and the Brotherhood of Nomadic Bonsai Roots. I had mind-altering visions, and basketball isn’t for me anymore. If Lebron [James] can go back to Cleveland, why can’t I come back to Peoria? Stop blaming the peyote.”

Calling Livingston’s change in appearance ‘noticeable’ is a gross understatement. Psychedelic lizard tattoos cover his arms, and he wears a sleeveless robe made entirely from hemp. His Judge Dredd-style helmet certainly makes a fashion statement.

“This is who I am,” said Livingston. “I have a motorbike and a cot to sleep on in the house that used to be mine that now belongs to My Great Leader. With the way things were going, I thought I’d end up playing for every team in the [NBA]. I was saved from the traps of a successful career and being a multi-millionaire. It’s only when we give up everything that we gain something, you know?”

When reached for comment in his sinister underground layer beneath Dozer Park, Runningsparrow laid out plans for taking over the United States, North America, and then the entire universe.

“There I was reading 1984, and I realized that people are really stupid,” said Runningsparrow. “But who are the dumbest of the dumb? Professional athletes, of course. They’re also richer than most of our world leaders, and the average Joe pays attention to everything they say and do. Shaun Livingston and Peoria are just the beginning. My people are very close to signing Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Yu Darvish, Bryce Harper, Patrick Kane, Pau Gasol, and Cannibal Corpse to my sports agency, Worldcrusher Enterprises. Bwahahaha!”

When asked to clarify why Worldcrusher Enterprises signed death metal band Cannibal Corpse, who are clearly not athletes, Runningsparrow said, “Because they rock my socks off, and the power of their riffs compels me to rule and dominate all living things.”

While Livingston’s announcement has led to records for Chiefs ticket sales, several baseball prospects are calling foul over what they deem a publicity stunt.

“I should be on that team,” said local, drunken failure Larry Hugeldorf. “I was the third-string short stop for the IVC Grey Ghosts, and that means something. In 6 plate appearances over 4 years, I had 3 strikeouts and 3 walks. That’s a .500 on-base percentage. The stats don’t lie.”

Haiku Tuesday: Authors

I. Orwell
Telescreen informs
omnipotent Thought Police.
We love Big Brother.

II. Lovecraft
I call Cthulu,
abominable Old One
winged, tentacled, shunned.

III. Vonnegut
Ice-nine travels time
beside sirens of Titan
in Slaughterhouse-five.

IV. King
Gunslingers and clowns
retire to Salem’s Lot.
Rest now, vampires.

V. Burroughs
One more fix won’t do.
Junk merchants synthesize God,
an infinite loop.

It’s Friday, Let’s Jam: Excellent Instrumentals

Vocals are overrated! Maybe I’m lying, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with songs that include only instruments. Here are some of my favorites:

Sepultura: “Inquisition Symphony”

Cannibal Corpse: “Infinite Misery”

Animals As Leaders: “Tempting Time”

Death: “Voice of the Soul”

Explosions in the Sky: “Let Me Back In”

Radiohead/Tyler Humphrey: “Paranoid Android (Piano Cover)”

Aphex Twin: “Flim”

King Crimson: “Red”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: “The Dead Flag Blues”
*This one includes a spoken word piece, but it’s so great, I thought I’d make an exception. Rules are made to be broken.

Jeff Loomis: “Devil Theory”