August 21st, 2012


My Road Trip - Day 344

It's Day 344 of the road trip searching for my long-lost twin brother who had been kidnapped at a young age by Amish gypsies. I had heard a rumor he was making a comeback on the Amish Rake Fighting Circuit and, with my good friend, Pinto, at my side, we were heading out to Cleveland where we heard we could get into the secret Amish games if we dressed in suspenders and wore black hats.

Now, however, Pinto and I sat facing each other across a booth in some seedy greasy spoon named Joe's Armpit and I'm on my fifth bottle of vanilla flavoring.

"Well, Pinto," I said, "Ol' buddy, ol' chum, we just might be at the end of this quest." I downed the rest of the bottle and motioned for the waitress. As usual, Pinto, being the silent type, just sat in the booth across from me and stared at me stupidly. He was a man of few words, but had an overpowering presence, normally, because in the 344 days he had been with me, I had never seen him once shower or shave.

The waitress came over. "Hey," she said. "I need to know if you're driving. You're hitting this vanilla pretty hard."

"Not to worry, pretty lady," I slurred. "My friend's driving."

She gave Pinto the once over. "Sir, you do realize your friend is a sheep?"

I reeled back in sudden anger. "Lady, I'll have you know Pinto and I have fought side by side against octogenarian Harley-Davidson riders and shared the same bunk in Baghdad! He ain't no coward."

The waitress rolled her eyes. "I didn't say he was a coward. He's a sheep. A Merlino. A woolly quadruped. Technically a ewe."

I pointed at Pinto and laughed. "Hey, Pinto! This pretty lady's got all metaphysical on me. She says I'm you!"

At that, Pinto rolled out of the booth and wandered away on all fours. I never saw him again.

The angst hit like a ton of bricks. "Well then just walk away!" I blearily screamed at his receding woolly back. "Go ahead! Just ... walk or ... trot or ... or whatever." I burst into tears. "Ya think ya know a guy," I wept to the waitress. "You share everything: your toothbrush, your eyeliner, and then your best friend turns out to be a sheep and he leaves ya in some dive!"

The waitress looked at me, pity in her eyes. "Here," she said putting a bottle of vanilla flavoring in front of me. "This one's on the house, but you should know we only serve imitation here. There's not a drop of alcohol in it."

She turned and walked away.

I wrapped my fingers around the bottle, my knuckles whitening in my fury and determination. I was going on to Cleveland. I was going to find my long-lost twin brother.

Suddenly, the front door burst open and about twenty beautiful women somersaulted into the diner. They parted and another woman walked through their midst, her sequined cheerleading outfit blazing so brightly I had to squint against the glare.

"We are the Victoria's Secret Cheerleading Squad," she announced loudly, "and we're here to take a hostage!"

Every man's hand shot up and the diner was filled with cries of "Me! Me!." but the pretty lady was having none of it. She saw me in my booth and pointed at me. "You!"

A blow from a pompom sent me into darkness.


Now this is why you read this blog and so here you go.

Imagine serving your family Loewen's D*mn Good Gruel this evening, sweeping into your dining room in a swirl of skirts and saying, "Tonight, we're all going to eat like pathetic, medieval peasants." and plopping tasty gruel into the earthenware bowls before them.

Well, this recipe is an authentic gruel recipe and is exactly how poor peasants lived under the crushing boots of their feudal overlords.

(serves 1 pathetic peasant)

  1. Boil 1 pint of water.
  2. While coming to a boil, mix 4 heaping tablespoons of the flour of your choice (wheat, rye, cornmeal) into COLD water, making a paste.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add the paste and stir.
  4. Throw in a handful of raisins (we may be pathetic, but we ain't masochists)
  5. Add a dash of salt to taste.
  6. Reduce to simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve with the sweetener of your choice to taste, and nutmeg and/or cinnamon. (Milk, soy milk, or rice milk is optional).
Now everybody knows that a good meal must have a good presentation, so it's best to give everybody a cue card with authentic medieval peasant conversation (updated) as follows:

  • "Now this is d*mn good gruel."
  • "We (burned/hung/rode out of town on a rail) a (witch/Puritan/Popist) at (work/school) today."
  • "Scurvy? Let me tell you about scurvy!"
  • "I'm so glad that gruel doesn't require teeth."
  • "I made 3 pence begging in front of the church today!"
  • "You know, modern science says that demons are behind all headaches."
  • "Today, Old Lady Henicle turned me into a newt!"
  • "The plague only took two of our neighbors today!"
Yes, I am a sick puppy, but the recipe does work. I'm eating cornmeal gruel even as I type this, and it tastes rather good, thank you very much.

Alan Loewen's Guide to Magical Girls

A big fan of the mahou shoujo (magical girl) genre of Japanese anime, I've learned a lot over the two years I've been collecting the DVD's and have since come up with a survival guide for those individuals who come into contact with magical girls:

  • If you are a parent of a magical girl, you are either unbelievably stupid or unbelievably smart. In either case, you will be ignorant of your little girl's true nature, ignoring the fact that she is continually being hunted down by multidimensional demons, prone to lengthy transformation scenes, that her bedroom has become a cosmic battleground, and she is prone to fits of crying.
  • If you are the brother or sister of a magical girl you are automatically a pain in the neck and you continually mistake her Pretty Pretty Purple Star of Atomic Blasting for a toy and her cute alien sidekick as a plushie.
  • If you are a boyfriend of a magical girl, you are simply toast. She is sure to develop an unbelievable crush on you that will automatically result in your being possessed by her deadliest enemy, Mango Gorgo of the Seven Abysses, causing your eyes to glow and you will then destroy whatever city you live in (which always looks like Tokyo) until she blasts you with her Lovely Lovely Amber Wand of Hideous Agony and then she will weep over your crushed and mangled body whereupon you will painfully gain consciousness and ask her out to the prom.
  • Girlfriends of a magical girl don't get off easy either. Most likely you will become green with jealousy and spend your high school years in ineffective attempts to thwart her every desire, or, heaven forbid, you will become her sidekick prone to being hunted down by multidimensional demons, lengthy (and embarrassing) transformation scenes, your bedroom becoming a cosmic battleground, and developing a strong tendency toward fits of crying. You will also die horribly at the hands of Dark Queen Usihgoruymnyu, your friend's worst enemy, though be assured that she will certainly avenge your death. You will also never get the guy. He belongs to your friend.
  • If, worst of all, you become the worst enemy of a magical girl, you're a dead man walking. There are certain things you can do:
  • Leave her friends and relatives alone. You will only succeed in making her cry and make her really, really mad. This is a bad thing.
  • If she corners you, remember you have one plus in your favor. The kid has a lengthy transformation scene, at least five minutes long, coming up. Depending on your inclinations you can either:
  • run away as fast as you can, or
  • blow her into next week. Bad guys spend way too much time standing around and tapping their feet while the girl magically changes her clothes and turns her lipstick case into the Cutey Cutey Emerald Staff of Painful Beating.
  • If you have captured her, eliminate her right away, mail her sidekick alien to Outer Slobovia and, for pity's sake, take away that cheap dimestore ring that is actually a Lovely, Pretty, Cutey Baton of Skull Crushing.
  • And always remember one very important thing .....

    Never, ever possess her boyfriend or her Unspeakably Cute and Beautiful Sparkly Sword of Disembowelment is the last thing you will see in this world.