Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dumb 1

Writing hockey humor is oft times not an easy task. The words, sometimes, just don’t magically appear on paper in some sort of fluid motion going from brain to fingertips to keyboard to computer screen to printed copy; not ending in an organized hodgepodge of fibbery and convoluted fact for your reading enjoyment.

Sometimes the monitor or computer screen doesn’t work because I’ve kicked the cord under my desk and disconnected it from one end or the other.

Or sometimes the keyboard doesn’t work for the same ridiculous reason caused by my friggin little feet. I’ve even had an individual key go bad and have had to replace the keyboard – bucks outta my pocket with no reward for the free effort I provide.


This week, I even had the power receptacle on the back of my laptop go south and so you are getting this trashy tale from my seldom used desktop – hence the use of a plugged in monitor and keyboard, ehh.

Ah, yes … those fingers. Smashed from hockey, too cold and un-limber from being outside for too long without my mitts on, and Lord forbid arthritic conditions that might have set in due to my grand old age. These too might slow me down in my skill to weave a short tale for your delight.

But ….

Yes, but … the most debilitating factor in creating a fictitious pile of shit, my friends, is a malfunction of my puny little pea brain.


I blame it on my muse so much of the time. But you can only take that so far. It’s my brain’s lack of horsepower in the imagination department. Of course it could be that I haven’t been on the ice for some time now. Or it could be that I haven’t just totally gotten crunked for bit too.

So shit! What do you do when you’re having an intense duration of brain farts?

Ya reach for your trusty word book and choose some possible words that you could use for the theme or subject of today’s story.

I picked five different words to choose from for today. I figure that one of them, I’ll be able to horse up enough with humor and hockey to make it worth publishing. You know I’ve got to! That’s it, plain and simple, or I ain’t Jasper Wheats and I ain’t walking with wood. Ehh?

The five words that I randomly picked were:

1) Methodology – means: a system of methods or the underlying rules or principles of a procedure or system – Kinda like running the left wing lock the Devils were so notorious for using.

2) Atrium – means: the central room that an ancient Roman house was built around. Or the main chamber of the heart – Damned if I can think of how this could be the theme of a bullshit hockey story.

3) Satyrasis – means: abnormal or excessive sexual craving in a male – unfounded in my belief, the male of our species is a friggin horndog to the max all of the time – this is not abnormal nor excessive but could certainly be applied to any yarn spun by walking with wood Jasper Wheats. Ehh!?!?

4) Derogatory – means: tending to lessen the reputation or merit of a thing or person – Sean Avery gets in your face, knocks you off your pace and shoots a puck in your space behind that pissed off goalie’s back.

5) Tomahawk – means: a hand axe used as a throwing or chopping weapon; to cut, kill or strike with a tomahawk – yup, there’s a couple of those on the Blackhawks shoulder emblem ain’t there?

Ok, so I provided ya with some definition’s too. Nothing wrong with a little edumacation along the way to makin ya chuckle. I’ve taught a college class or two over the years and figure that you, my reader, could use some learnin once in a while.

Now for some donuts. A writer needs donuts … or cinnamon rolls … or cookies and coffee … or pretzels and beer to kick start the whole shebang, ehh. What’s your medicine? I’ll take any of the above besides a myriad of others.

Couldn’t find any donuts in the cabin so I settled for a bowl of chocolate flavored crisp rice. Brewskies later this evening while watching a game on the tube.

Speaking of televised games, I watched the Wild playing the Pens in Pittsburg earlier this week and got so pissed off at the main camera coverage that I had to fire off an email complaint to Comcast Sportnet. The fool was jerking around so much following the puck that I started getting dizzy. Ya know I like watching the game. I like watching the play develop. I like to see what’s going on on the ice. This blasted cameraman would zoom in so close that the only thing you could see, was say, Crosby and the puck. Damn dude, back off a bit, and you won’t have to move the camera so much. What do you guys think?

Back to my choosing one word from my five choices.

Dudes and dudettes – we’re going with tomahawk for $400 Alex.

As I mentioned earlier you can see the crossed tomahawks on the shoulders of the Chicago Blackhawks. It has been their alternate logo since 1964. What happened with the Blackhawks in 1964, I’m not really sure, but usually when a crossed object emblem is created it indicates the formation of a secret and oftentimes wicked clandestine society (remember the Outlaws Crossed Stick Society and that I’m still a member). Well this we do know, that prior to 1964 the Blackhawks had Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita playing for them. And in 1964 Bobby’s brother, Dennis, joined the team. This could certainly have had something to do with the new alternate logo and the implication of a secret society within membership of the Blackhawks. Bobby and Dennis together were quite the pair of party animals. I leave you to investigate that further – I don’t want to supposition any more than I have to to peak your interest any more.

It’s kind of interesting but the standard logo for the Blackhawks, that image of the Native American, with feathers and all, is quite often voted the best sports logo. I bet that you didn’t know that it was designed by the wife of the first owner. Her name was Irene Castle and she had been a famous dancer. Her husband, Frederick McLaughlin, had bought the team (then playing on the west coast as the Portland Rosebuds) and moved them to Chicago where he named them the Blackhawks after the military unit that he had served with. In their first game the Blackhawks won 4-1 over the Toronto St. Patricks on November 19, 1926. That’s just about eight-two years ago this week. Crazy, ehh? Where’s those losers now???

Do you own a tomahawk? How about a hatchet? An ax?

Me, I currently own a hatchet. It’s really more like an oversized lathing hammer and I’ve never used it as a weapon. Have you ever used yours as a weapon?

When I was kid I had one that was a toy with a rubber head. That was probably good because I know I used it to chop on my sisters all of the time. I was always trying to scalp them in some sort of misogynist attitude. Of course Mom and Dad whuuped on me each time and eventually the attitude went away and I became a fair lover of the opposite sex (Did someone say “Satyrasis”?).

Did any of you guys own one of those rubber headed tomahawks when you were a kid? You could get them at Wall Drugs or any other tourist novelty store. Shit you can still probably get them at Spencer’s, ehh?

So this year the NHL has started cracking down some of the stuff that I always took for granted as a necessary part of the play. I love to get my stick up on the mid section of a player. Not really a slash and not really a hook. Usually I’m going for high on their stick and gloves. Kinda lets ‘em know that I’m there, ya know. More a bit of chase factor than anything else when you’re an old fart like me and can’t skate as fast as your opponents. It looks like I’d get called all the time. I’m not trying to impede him and I sure as shit ain’t tomahawking the dude with a nasty slash or getting up high enough to be called for high sticking.

When I was younger (and you still see it today when a player can get it away with doing it) it used to be a nasty little ploy to tomahawk an opponent’s stick right below his lower glove hand when he had his weight on it; like during a face off. The intention was to snap his stick right below his glove and it often worked. He’d be stickless until he could get to the bench. Haha! Pretty expensive these days when you think of the cost of some of these shafts now used by the non-traditionalists (ya gotta be walking with wood ehh unless you’re fuckin rich).

The second year that I was coaching youth hockey an incident of tomahawking promoted my career. I had started the season as a Bantam AA coach. I was working with a good group of kids. All heart but really lacking the skills to be at the double A level. Second year skaters as Bantams and their parents always figurin that their kid should be playing at a level better than the skills that he or she really had. Yep, love is blind. We didn’t win many games that year though I gave them a good effort on my part. One of the grandfathers, Alex, was my assistant.

The Midget A team usually practiced right after us so I would stick around to help out. They were coached by a pretty good skater by the name of Sam Nation. Had a lot of hockey smarts and the skills to go with them. He didn’t have a formal assistant so I’d show up for games when I could to help out. These were usually just the home games. Anyway, at one of the home games while trying to get these yahoo’s to get their shit together for the next line change, Sam was having no luck getting one big lunk-head to pay attention. So he grabbed the nearest stick and tomahawked him right over the top of his helmet. I had to laugh. Didn’t hurt the kid at all. But he finally caught on what he was supposed to pay attention to while on the bench. The unfortunate thing for Sam was the fact that the kid’s dad saw him do this. The complaint went up to the team board and they let Sam go whereupon I took over coaching two teams for the rest of the season. The next year I coached Midget AA and off I went with my coaching career. Sam ended up in Flagstaff coaching Junior A. I’ve gotta say, he was a good coach – I learned a lot from getting to work with him. Most importantly, I learned, don’t tomahawk your players over their heads. Especially when their parents are around to see ya do it.

Okee –dokee, folks. Ya wanted fly under the radar. But keep your elbows up going into the corners, keep your sticks down, and skate your asses off. You never know, you might be the next Sidney Crosby, Dustin Brown, Alex Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin. Ehh??

Jasper here, skatin hard until next time and walking with wood always!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Plastered in Paris

Oh this is sure some kinda donkey doodoo – but what can I say. I’ve been out of it for a while and it’s gonna take a while for it all to come back, ehh.

You guys just need to hang on while I find a purpose for my being again. All I can say is that is that some where along the way I’m gonna be walking with wood again.

I’m getting a lot of my strength back – I think anyway – not real sure how much strength I had before the little boo-boo to my brain and hardshell skull. But the Hon says that I am and I ain’t about to fight with her over it, ehh. If she says it then it must be fact.

She told me last week that I’ve been talking in my sleep – talking some shit she says and usually it’s about hockey. So she sat me down last Saturday and tells me that we’ve got to dig into this. Get to the root of the changes in my sleep habit. So she got the doctor to order a sleep study. It got approved right away and I had a sleep-over for the study on Tuesday night. Oh and let me tell you guys – sleep studies are some kinda nuts.

The Hon drops me off at the sleep-over clinic at around 9:30 pm. I’ve got some jams with me, my favorite pillow and a paperback. They get me signed in, show me to my room and the bed I’m going to sleep in. I get into my jams and the technician comes in and puts twenty-four different probes on me. These wired up little do-hickies are stuck on my head, up my fool nose, on my chest, shoulders and legs. And I’m expected to sleep. Are they nuts or what?

I don’t think I slept a wink but in the morning I had to fill out a survey about my dreams. I was drawing a complete blank so part of the program was that I had agreed to an injection of fast acting sodium pentothal and their direct questioning if this occurred.


I really hate shots. But I had agreed to do this I guess, so off to the world of absolute subjected honesty.

They had to videotape this whole truth serum thingy and than provide me with a copy afterwards – otherwise I wouldn’t be able to relate any of the following shit to you. Apparently there is some amnesiac drug included in the serum, ehh.

Let me fill ya in on what transpired. Ya might find it just as stupid as I did.

Ok, so they start out asking me some simple questions like what is my name, how old I am and than dig a little deeper asking more personal questions to confirm my subjection to the concoction that they loaded me up with.

The tech, I’ll call her Joan, finally gets around to asking dream questions.

“Mr. Wheats do you remember dreaming last night?”

“Ahh … yup … sure”, I responded.

“Did you have more than one dream Mr. Wheats?” Joan quizzed me.

“Two vivid ones and a couple of maybe little snips of others. Oh and call me Wheats or Jasper, please, I really don’t like being called mister anything. Sounds too stuffy for me, like I might have my head stuck up my ass or something. Just don’t like it. Ok?”

“Ok, Jasper, I’ll make an effort to be more casual, though it goes against the professional nature of this study. Now let’s go over the first dream that you’ve remembered.” She made a couple of marks on the papers she had attached to a clipboard and looked over at me still sitting in my jams on the edge of the bed and said “Was this dream in color or black and white?”

“By golly” I said, “it for fuckin sure was in color! My dreams have been in color since the seventies. That’s when I used to do all them psychedelics. Whoa baby, those were some crazy times, ehh. How about you Joanie girl? You get colors too?”

She made another mark on the clipboard. “Mr. Wheats”, cleared her throat and continued “I mean Jasper, this session is about you not me. You need to keep your responses restricted to only what I ask. There is no need for you to divulge your personal history to me. Ok? Is this clear?”

“Um-huh. Sure. I gotcha.” Damn if I’m not smiling ear to ear in the video.

Ok, Jasper, back to the dream. Was it a good dream? Happy, fun, enjoyable? Or a bad dream? Scary, fearful, intimidating – maybe a nightmare?”

I responded really quick like, didn’t even have to think. “It was fun and exciting but I was scared in the end. It was a hockey dream and I got hurt.”

“Fun, exciting and scary? Was it a nightmare Jasper? Your heart rate and brain activity during your first REM was highly accelerated during this dream. That would indicate to us that it was possibly a nightmare. You also started making verbal attempts during this dream. It came out sort of like ehh, ehh, ehh on several occasions.”

“Sure, sure … maybe it was a nightmare. I was talking huh?” I said.

“Yes, you were trying to talk and yes we believe that this dream could be classified as a nightmare. Tell me some more about the dream. Were you in the dream?” she quizzed again.

“Oh yeah, I was in the dream. You can bet your bippy I was.”

“And where were you?”

“I was in Paris. Paris, France. Everything in the background was like from a Monet painting. So yeah, I’m pretty sure it was Paris where I was at.”

Joan now asked, “Have you ever been to Paris, Jasper?”

“Nope. Canada and Mexico a few times each. And Texas, too, a whole bunch of times if that counts.”

“Mr. Wheats, try to stick to the questions or we’ll be here all day. OK? Now what was the dream about? Was it sexual? The recordings indicated that you were aroused during this dream.” What can you tell me?

“Aroused? Hah, I had boner, ehh? No shit? What do ya know. The Hon will appreciate knowing that I can still get some wood after my brain injury, ehh. Whacha think Joan? She’ll be happy, huh?”

I couldn’t believe I was talking this shit – must be the meds making me a smidgen uninhibited.

“Yes, Mr. Wheats. Those are the indications but I can’t speak for you wife. Now back to the dream please.”

“Oh, yeah. Right. I was playing hockey. You know, ice hockey. I was playing in a game in the NHL for the LA Kings. Over in France. We were playing against the Islanders. I remember that Butch Goring was coaching the Islanders with John Lennon and Mick Jaeger as his assistants. Crazy – they aren’t even bitched up in hockey like Goring is. And me. I’m playing defense with some French-Canadian dude that I couldn’t understand. But he looked just like Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China. The movie, you know. My Dad was coaching the Kings and Rogie Vashon was our goalie coach. But he was all geared up and would jump up on the bench and jump up and down yelling at us in French and broken English. It was crazy but we were wearing our purple, black and white jerseys; but Rogie was in the old gold and purple uniform. He looked like one of those wind-up toy gorilla’s or monkey’s that spank cymbals together. You know?”

At this point she broke in and interrupted my recollection of the dream.

“Is ice hockey important to you, Jasper?”

“Oh, fuck yeah it is. Nothing but the best!”

“And these people in your dream, are they significant in some way to you?” she asked me.

“Well, my dad for sure is. And Kurt played the part of Herb Brooks, the Olympic hockey coach in that movie Miracle. And Butchie, he’s one of my all time favorite hockey heroes. And Rogie, well, my brothers named their dog after him when they were kids. Jaeger and Lennon – I don’t know about them. No real significance that I can think of. There’s other rock stars that I like better.”

This is kinda cool. I never remembered a dream with such vividness ever before. This cocktail that they shot me up with is something else.

Joan’s making her marks on the sheet and asks me “Do you feel that because your dad was the coach that this reflects his continued control over you?

Without a second of thought I snapped “Naw, ya gotta be friggin kiddin. He’s like a best bud. Been that way for years and years.”

“Ok, continue with what you remember of this dream.”

“Well, I’m still playing in the Paris hockey game, right. I don’t know who any of my other teammates are but we’re going about the business of playing. Skating, passing, shooting, getting in position, checking, getting checked. Being winded and being exhilarated. Resting on the bench. Yelling and getting yelled at. You know regular hockey stuff.”

“Jasper, were there people or fans watching the game? Did you see them?”

I had to think for a minute on that. “No, I don’t remember anybody watching us. I don’t remember looking into the stands at all. It was all on the ice. Inside the rink, you know.”

“Ok, continue”, she said.

“I get a shift with my partner and we seemed to be caught up in some turmoil deep in the opposing zone. All five of us are along my boards and the gloves are off. The Islanders are mixing it up with us. Right now I don’t know what started it but my feelings are that it was something I did. I got one guy holding me from behind with one arm around my neck; sort of in a chokehold. And some guy with fists the size of hams just pounding the shit outta my face. In between blows I can see the guy swinging on me is Keith Tkachuk. He skates for the Blues, not the Islanders. But what the fuck – it doesn’t seem to matter. Right? Ok, so I’m just getting absolutely plastered in Paris and I can’t get a punch in even sideways, ehh. This is the part of the dream that is both exciting and scary. Scary because nobody seems to be breaking up the donnybrook and I can’t even defend myself. This is pretty bad. I can feel every blow that lands on my face. I can taste the blood in my mouth and see it running through my eyes.”

She interrupts again, “So this was pretty violent at this point?”

“Well yes,” I respond, “but normally not in real life. Just exciting there. But here in the dream I can’t use my friggin arms. Right? So that’s what’s scary. Being incapacitated is scary but the fight is just normal old time hockey – no more violent that usual – but violent yes, I guess just the same if your not used to it.”

“At this point, reaching what you describe as the scary part”, she asks, “did the dream come to a conclusion? Did it end?”

“Shit no! Rogie jumped off the bench, skated over to the fracas and straight-arm slugged the bastard that was pounding me right in the back of his neck with his blocker, smacking his head right into the jerk holding me and they both dropped like a cow drops pies. I slipped out of the whole mess, picked up the puck skated toward the slot and threw into the Islanders’ net and we won the game. Completely illegal, but I won the game, shit for sure. That’s how the dream ended. Yup. What else do ya want to know?”

Joan was marking away on her clipboard, looked at her watch and said that I’d be coming out of the drug fairly soon and we’d have to end the session with just a study of the one dream.

“You were probably trying to talk in your sleep while you were getting beat up. I’ll give this report to the clinic’s doctors and they’ll make an evaluation. It looks like you might need some psychiatric help here, though. I’d say that you’re probably nuts Mr. Wheats, but I’m only a technician and, oh my goodness, I probably shouldn’t have told you that, I guess.”

Joan was surely disturbed over that faux pas. It didn’t bother me in the littlest little bit. I kinda appreciated the acknowledgement of my disposition, ehh.

So anyway, I’m waiting for the diagnosis from the docs and whatever follow-up might be required. Patience, they say is a virtue. I can wait. And the Hon is satisfied that I had this looked into. She’s not to worried about me being nuts – as far as she’s concerned I already was when I fell for her.

Jasper here, just walking with wood again, maybe.