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Friday, November 30, 2007

MagBoy Rues His Performance

Last Monday, November 26, 2007, MagBoy weaved his magic in the Strawbs' net, surrendering 6 soft goals on 7 shots. Here he is pictured on Wednesday, November 29, 2007 at the Terminal Tavren seeking solace in the only object in the universe empathetic to his plight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Failed Experiment A Huge Success

Game Report
November 26, 2007

Thrashers 6 Strawbs 3

Machiavelli once said “Tutti fan tutti, dar es saalam” which, in English, translates roughly to either “Your hair is on fire” or, what is more likely, “ Set the bar low enough and your success is guaranteed.” Well, last night, the bar was set so low, it was buried under a sea of barely visible expectations.

After an earlier thrashing of the Thrashers by the Strawbs this month, The Vice, in his infinite wisdom, autocratically appointed himself Interim Supreme Tactician For The Advancement of Mediocraty in Hockey and came up with a game plan to make last evening’s tilt a more interesting one: to wit, put MagBoy in nets, let Jesse The Leak patrol the right wing, move the best offensive players to defence and switch the hapless Dmen to forward. This was, on paper, a brilliant strategy worthy of John Ferguson Junior. Yet….

Disaster ensued. Of the 3 goals scored by the Strawbs, 2 came from off the sticks of relocated forwards playing defence under the Vice’s master plan. Pyjama Man and Warrin’ Peace, normally hard-nosed, hard-drinking centers, both found the back of the Thrashers’ net from their new positions. The only recently promoted forward of any consequence on the evening was Shiny Shone Brightly who tallied the Strawbs’ first goal of the game on a superb screen shot from the top of the circle. The rest of the offence was truly offensive.

In nets, MagBoy, despite giving it his all, looked like a beached whale on bad coke. He did more writhing on his back than Xaviera Hollander at an out of town Shriners’ convention. Each of the 6 goals he allowed was less spectacular than the last. He might have done better had he bothered to stop constantly ogling his girlfriend, the coquetish MagGirl, every 10 or 15 seconds, desperately seeking her stingy approval, which approval never did come. Historians of the Killer Strawberries will certainly recall that it was only 2 short years ago that MagBoy was banned from skating within 10 feet of his own net as a punishment for his shoddy substitute goaltending in a game of consequence at the time. The Vice, one of the most forgiving of men on the planet (thanks mostly to a very poor memory), wanted to give MagBoy a chance last night to redeem himself. MagBoy did not. The 10 foot ban is now a lifetime ban.

For weeks now, Gumby has been pleading his case to play forward where, in his opinion, he would outshine anyone else on the ice, even if he were forced to play using only half his brain. While he was moved to forward for the tilt and allowed to play on his full brain, he failed to live up to his own self-inflated press. At the 10 minute and 37 second mark, he was unceremoniously tossed from the match for his third boneheaded infraction, thereby eclipsing Butcher Brophey’s dubious record setting penalty performance perpetrated earlier in the season. Hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct and slashing were all he shinily contributed on this evening. “I didn’t do nothin’” he whined on his way out the door. “It’s gotten so you can’t even tell a referee to go screw himself with his girfriend’s strap-on without the dimwit getting upset. The game ain’t what it used to be.” Gumby was so incensed by the whole affair that, rather than take his lumps and an unnecessary shower, he found himself a perch in the stands so that he could continue to berate the zebras in his own inimitable fashion. He was summarily asked to leave the arena by both referees, his own teammates, and the Zamboni driver.

Now, an astute reader might ask how this ill-conceived experiment could be termed a success. Here is how the Vice spun it in the dressing room after the game.
“What I was looking for tonight was to have everyone gain an appreciation for the difficult job each of us has in our regular positions. I also wanted to make the game more interesting. I think both objectives were met.” Since most of the Strawbs are acutely aware of the futility of arguing with faulty logic put forward by a faulty mind, they all agreed wholeheartedly with the Vice. To his face. Unfortunately, it was the Ice Marshall who had to contend with the disgrutled Guinea pigs at the Terminal Tavren. He managed to smooth the ruffled feathers by promising that the Vice’s team duties in future will be limited to party planning and ordering new hats, two tasks at which he excels. Tutti fan tutti indeed.

The only winner on the evening was the sagacious Dr. Thug who, upon learning of the proposed game strategy, suddenly developed a temporary case of epilepsy, dipthteria and Aids, rendering him unavailable for the horror show which was to come. Get better soon, you friggin’ baby!

6 Guinness, 4 Stella, 1 Kilkenny, 2 Bass, 2 Bud Light, some lame Zowie wings and some low expectations were consumed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Starting Line Up to Tonight's Game

If all Strawbs attend, here is the starting line up. If there are some absent players, there will be a juggling act.

GOALIE - Mag Boy

DEFENSE - Ice Marshall & Dr. Thug

Warrin' Peace & Archilles

CENTERS - 444 Freight Train & Whoarny

WINGERS - The Leak & Shiney

Butcher & Gumby

Pajama Man & Vice

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sominex on Ice

Game Report
November 22, 2007

Strawbs 8 Thrashers 3

As Billie Shakespeare, the Strawbs' publicist, scandal extinguisher and poet laureate, so aptly put it after dozing through last night’s yawner : “ It was a tale told by an idiot, unfull of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The game was so dull, so lifeless, so excrutiatingly stultifying that the puck left the ice after the first shift. The referees refused to blow their whistles under any circumstances and instead spent most of their energies imploring the timekeeper to remove all but 2minutes from the official game clock. The opposition yawned and lazily braided each other’s hair while the Strawbs listened half-heartedly to the Ice Marshall as he tried to rouse them with selected excerpts from Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. The narrowcasting of the match to the Aloha Baby Compound in Oahu did not reach its intended destination because the electrons carrying the signal gave up just outside Vancouver, paralyzed, like Buren's Ass, between Apathy and Indifference.

The air stagnated under the unbearable weight of the overbearing boredom. Planets ceased moving and Lindsay Lohan checked into the Betty Ford for the seventh time this week, her will sapped by an uncaring universe. Aqualung, our friend, started away uneasy. Supertramp took the long way home. It was the day the mu…sic died.

The Strawbs profoundly apologize to its fan, the constant Samara Desert, victim of icehockeynarcolepsy, who had to be revived after the game by using a Stunner 500, the cardiac zapper recently installed in the lobby of Pete Palangio arenas for just such an eventuality.

At the Terminal Tavren, 2 kegs of Guinness refused to be tapped. The preternaturally irritating Mair, Devil’s Spawn,Brat Extraordinaire and Waitress From Hell, could not even be bothered to curl her upper lip. Management shut the lights out at 11pm without so much as a “by your leave”. The team went home sober for the first time in Strawbs’ history. But who cares?

Los Lost Hombres

Saw these wayward directionally challenged misfits hitchiking down a dead end street yesterday; what the heck does that tell you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Freight Train Feted On His 50th

A handsome bunch of Strawberries guide Freight Train 444 into his second half century. If he had stopped talking so much, he might actually have benefitted from some really good advice from his elders and juniors.

Thanks to Warrin' Peace and the beautiful Samara Desert for letting us desecrate the Garage of Bad Ideas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gumby Gives Notice

Game Report
November 19, 2007

Strawbs 6 Jet Rangers 2

It was a question which occupied over 3 hours of intensive, and at times, heated debate at the recent Executive retreat at the beautiful Aloha Baby Compound in Oahu. As all interested fans are acutely aware, there has been a recent rash of goals scored by careless Strawberries on their own goaltender, the puck-smacked Jesse The Leak, a man who does not need any more stress in his pathetic little life. In last night’s tussle with a chippy team of Jet Rangers, Gawdawful Gumby served notice that he has set his sights on catching up to Shiny Shone Brightly, the Strawbs’ current leader in goals against his own team. Not only did the pumpkin-socked picaroon put the puck into his own net, thus putting his team down 1-0 early in the game, he did it with such reckless vehemence that his follow-through almost decapitated his own pipetender. Shiny Shone 2, Gumby 1.

There were various theories propounded and examined in an attempt to understand this less-than’stellar behaviour. While all theories had merit, especially those which questioned the dubious psychological makeup of the 2 players involved, the Executive has concluded that, in all likelihood, the errant behaviour can be attributed to presence of Whoahorny in the lineup. The evidence is damning. All goals scored by Strawbs against themselves have occurred when Whoahorny deigns to show up for a match. The team’s physician and astrologist, Dr. Ura S. Hole, MD, PhD, XYZ, is of the opinion that Whoahorny’s pre-game self- prescribed combination of A535, nitroglycerin and orally ingested Aqua Velva is reacting to produce a little understood noxious gas, CH4CH4NO7. This gas, known colloquially on the street as “The Stupifactor”, causes long-term dementia in people of low self-esteem who sit too closely to its source. Whoahorny, whenever he has shown up, has always been flanked closely by the wayward goal scorers. Dr. Hole has proposed several antidotes to the problem. The most likely to be adopted is to have Whoahorny dilute the Aqua Velva with one part vinegar and 2 parts Smarten Up before each match.

The evidence and its concomitant theory may also explain the continued on-ice shenanigans of the once dependable Butcher Brophey. In the previous game, the good doctor was tossed for getting 3 penalties in 11 minutes. In this game, he quickly picked up 2 penalties, which in his objectively subjective opinion, he did not deserve. With one more infraction, he would be sent to the showers once again. As he served his second penalty of the evening, he leaned over to the Strawbs’ bench and pleaded to be put up to forward. “I can’t play defence with these referees” he vociferously proclaimed. “They’re calling me for phantom infractions. I gotta play forward or I won’t make it to the end of the game.” What a dilemma for the coaching staff: keep The Butcher in the game at a position he can’t even begin to comprehend or let him stay back and get tossed. The staff chose to get him tossed; a wise decision which resulted in victory.

There were a couple of other instances of note. The Vice, slugged unexpectedly at center ice by a misbehavin Ranger, performed an emergency sphincterectomy on the offender, thereby depleting the opposition ranks by one asshole. Dr. Thug, who self-concusses for the advancement of science, once again became inexplicably mesmerized by the puck. As soon as the biscuit hits his stick, he stops, looks skyward, invokes some kind of weird Sanskrit chant and then lets the other team skate away with an unearned scoring chance. CH4CH4NO7? Dr. Hole is looking into it.

After the game, most Strawbs ventured home to finish the day’s dusting and to clean up the supper dishes. Freight Train 444 and the puck-challenged Dr. Thug repaired to Leo’s, Freight Train’s preferred pre-class imbibery. What they discussed is anyone’s guess.

1 shared Stella and some very strange chants were probably consumed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Garage of Bad Ideas

Game Report
November 15, 2007
Blades of Steel 2 Strawbs 1

As usual, Dr. Bonehead Butcher Brophey set the tone early. Not only was he late arriving, he also managed to compound his poor start with matching poor play. At around the 5 minute mark of the first period, he sauntered up the stairs leading to the ice surface, Slurpy in one hand and a scalpel in the other. As leisurely as Bhudda groovin’ on a hookah, he surveyed the rink, scratched his nether regions and somehow managed to convince himself that it was time to make his way to the Strawbs’ bench. On his first shift, he was called for holding. On his second shift, he was called for holding. On his third shift, he was called for holding and much to the satisfaction of his own team mates, was summarily tossed from the game. Eleven minutes of game time, 9 of them penalty minutes: a new personal record of ineptitude. “I have no idea why he bothered to show up” said an exasperated Ice Marshall. “I know things aren’t great at home or at work or in any part of his sordid life for that matter, but one does expect a certain level of professionalism, even from our weaker-minded players.”

Speaking of weaker-minded players, how about Jesse The Leak? How anyone can go from brilliant to abysmal in the span of 1 minute is anyone’s guess. The hapless tender went from robbing a Bladed Steeler on a sure goal to handing one to the opposition on a platter. The Leak will be spending the coming week in the company of the Butcher as the Butcher teaches him how to properly manipulate a hockey stick, for carving and for moving the puck.

Fortunately, there was little lamenting of the tough loss. After all, Freight Train Laronde would be turning 50 at midnight. In the dressing room post game, Freight Train was presented with a fine bottle of 10 year old Aberlour to mark the occasion. Before you could say “open it”, the nectar was making its way down the aging veteran’s gullet. A tasting lineup formed in front of him and the libation soon suffered serious volume depletion. Cans of Labatts 50 mysteriously appeared in everyone’s hands and the party was on. Not wishing to break any more rules than absolutely necessary, the team quitted the arena fashionably early and set out for a rendezvous at the home of the perpetually partying Warrin’ Peace. And a good party it was. The team was not allowed to actually enter Warrin’s house, on the orders of his new spousal unit, the gorgeous Samara Desert, the team’s #1 fan of all-time. “It’s not that I don’t like you boys” she noted “but I haven’t had time to dust since June, what with Warrin’s libido and my penchant for laying about.” It mattered not. The garage had already been meticulously prepared for the continuing festivities.

Freight Train was toasted at every available opportunity or, rather, between the jibberish-infused rants of the team’s self-appointed sage, Mr. Gawdawful Gumby. For a guy who can barely tie his own skates without instruction, he sure has a lot of opinions, which, of course, he is compelled to share ad nauseum, ad infintum and ad shutupum. It’s not that his observations are worthless. They are. It’s just that their value is almost always surpassed by the vehemence with which they are delivered. Thank G*d we can all turn a deaf ear when needed.

The best moment of the evening occurred at 11:45, 15 minutes before Freight Train was to begin life in his sixth decade. Somehow, the 40 gallons of hooch ingested to that point by Freight Train had made its way to the exit end of his digestive system. In an effort to heed his screaming bladder, our soon-to-be quintagenerian left the garage to make a liquid deposit in the backyard. The ever-alert MagBoy, immediately started a very loud countdown to midnight, in the full knowledge that Freight Train would be in mid-stream, unable to stop the inevitable flow he had started, thus making him unavailable at the magic moment when he crossed the half century mark. “30..29..28..27..26..……..4..3..2..1…Happy Birthday!” we yelled, a full 14 minutes before the birthday boy really turned 50 and way before he could make his way back to the inner sanctum. As he busted his way through the garage door, a full 10 seconds after countdown ended, he looked absolutely crestfallen that he had missed his own birthday milestone. After the boys stopped peeing themselves with laughter, Freight Train was let in on the joke and properly feted as the true midnight arrived. To mark his entry to the downside of life, he booted Gumby off his soapbox, and launched into what can only be described as the “One Hundred Worst Ideas of All-Time” tirade. There were more gaps in his logic that a Bryan McCabe-led defence or a Vice Marshall’s grammar lecture. It did not matter. With Gumby’s shrill diatribes and Freight Train’s oral performance, the garage was christened, for time eternal, “The Garage of Bad Ideas”. We’ll be back.

1 bottle of Aberlour, 50 Labatts 50, 24 Bud-Lite, 3 Guinness, 4 Groelsch, a mountain of nachos and cheese and some really really bad ideas were consumed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A select group of Strawberries, guests of the executive, relax at the East Aloha Baby Compound.

Blades Bend Then Break Under Strawberry Barrage

Strawberries 6 Blades of Steel 0
Game Report

November 8, 2007

It was the fastest of times, it was the slowest of times, it was a day of incredulity, it was a night of wondrous belief, it was the season of scintillation, it was an epoch of hope, it was the winter of despair, it was the era of blissful incompetence. We had the whole schedule before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to the OHL Cup, we all going direct to the standings cellar. There was a godless gypsy on defence and a true disciple on left wing-in short, the game was so far like a dream, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on it being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of exposition only. We, of course, will be nothing but totally objective.

While some of the Strawbs players were ramping up their games, others continued to be mired in the muck of their own lassitude. Let us begin with the Ramper-Uppers. Freight Train 444, demoted to defence for previous offensive infractions best left undescribed, brought his game up 3 notches, scoring twice from the point using a modified version of the wristshot he perfected as a shy yet petulant 6 year old in the slums of Sudbury. He could have scored more goals ...many more goals… but discretely chose instead not to embarrass his bosom buddy, the taciturn Archilles Perron who, for the last 336 games, has been struggling to find the form which first endeared him to the Executive. Goal-less since 1998, and precariously positioned on a secret trade bubble, Archilles broke out his slump. What must have been going through his head as he streaked magisterially down the left wing, his manly mane struggling to keep up with the rest of his speeding frame? We’ll probably never know but we can only imagine what daemons he must have shrugged off as he broke loose across the Blades’ blueline, deked left, then right, then left again, stopped to tie his lace and smooth back his late arriving hair. Refreshed, he carried on unmolested to the net which must have seemed to him smaller than the shadow cast by Gumby’s current bundle of morals. With great precision and care, Archilles whistled the rubber toward the minuscule opening to the goaltender’s left. The puck hesitated for a moment, gathered courage and thus fortified, rammed itself ecstatically into the mesh.

Freight Train and Archilles were not the only ones to distinguish themselves on this night of nights. The Vice Marshall, hobbled at home by the unrelenting demands for perfection perpetrated upon his august self by the beautiful Madame LaChaise Lounge, dug deeply into his checkered past to regale his unsuspecting team mates with a move he had only used once before, inadvertently, in a championship PeeWee hockey game against the Losers of Zwiebrucken, Germany, captained at the time by the redoubtable and diarrheatically prolix Kernal Grant, retired. (More about the dubious Kernal later). Now, some players travel at the speed of light. Not the Vice. Not his style. He prefers to go with his strengths, one of his strengths being deception. On this evening, he was at his deceptive best. As he floated aimlessly between the blue and red lines, humming obscure Bob Dylan tunes to himself, the puck suddenly presented itself at his feet. Immediately, he sprung to half-life, and entered his snake charmer mode. While slowly weaving back and forth, cuddling the puck in successive long sweeps of his hockey stick, he bored into submission the only Blades’ defenceman between him and the net. Moving at warp slowness, he moved the biscuit forward between the somnabulant defender’s legs, picked it up again about a day later on the other side of the blueline, and made a beeline for the net. With the dexterity of a young Houdini, the Vice slid the puck under the goaltender, much to the delight of a screaming Dr. Thug. The whole affair was like watching a slow motion Swahili version of “Waiting For Godot” . Painful to watch but good for the soul.

Speaking of Houdini, there was more legerdemain to be had. Well, not exactly legerdemain…more like “What-the-hell-is-doing-now-demain”. Our air-conditioned hippy gypsy, Gawdawful Gumby once again distinguished himself by scoring on a breakaway. How did it happen?

There was a faceoff in the Strawbs’ end. The Vice gained control of the puck as it was dropped and flipped it to center ice to a waiting Gumby, whose real job it was to remain in his own end until it was safe for him and his defence partner to leave. He left the zone early to pursue one of his inexplicable whims. He whimmed himself to center ice, grabbed the Vice’s offering and deposited it smugly into the Blades’ net. With his best “I could do this all the time” look, he glided blithely past his team mates as they lined up to congratulate him, grunted a few syllables of reluctant thanks and took his place at the end of the bench, as content as a wild mouse in an abandoned catnip factory.

It would seem inappropriate, in the light of the excellence noted above, to point out the low points in the game. There were a few. But then again, too few to mention. Most could be attributed to the lack of support the Strawbs have been receiving in the stands lately. True, the reliable Samara Desert was in her usual post, willing her new husband and slave, the slick Warrin’ Peace, to greatness. Unfortunately, there was no hide nor hair to be found belonging to Magnesium Girl, Miss White Go Go Boots, Madame La Chaise Lounge, Pamdaemonium, Glasgow Glamour or Mrs. Lucky, current squeeze of the Ice Marshall himself. What will it take to secure their fickle affection?

Elated by the victory and disappointed by the dearth of adulation, the team met up after the game at the usual watering hole. Backs were patted, egos stroked and mild oaths uttered. Brilliant plays were described with the greatest care. It was the best of times.

6 black and tans, two “here’s what your getting”, 4 Budlight, 7 Stella, 2 jugs, 2 pounds of wings and the best, most excellent, superlative and acme scratching comraderie was had.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fickle Fans Abandon Strawberries

Game Report
Strawberries 6 Tequila Thrashers 1

November 1, 2007

One would have expected more from a fan base which, only a few short months ago, was carried along with the fabled Strawberries to its first exhilarating Intramural World Ice Hockey Championship. Every night last season, the Strawbs came to play, hell bent on securing the prize which had so tantalizingly eluded them for years. In the 06-07 season, Butcher Brophey played through tremendous lower body pain self-described as bordering on unbearable. Gumby was frequently short on medication; the Vice was dealing with painful daemons of a personal nature, and Dr.Thug was experiencing a lot of difficulty with his son’s grade 12 math, an endless barrage of quadrilateral nomenclature, 4th level derivatives and right angled triangles with no hypotenuses. He almost failed his son’s course but pulled out a pass at the last minute by studying all night before the final exam and transmitting his knowledge to Little Richard through reverse data osmosis, a technique he perfected while on sabbatical in South America. YET these obstacles were only the tip of the iceberg. Despite the mountain of roadblocks facing them at virtually every turn, the Strawberries clawed their way to the top; not for themselves so much as for their athletic supporters in the stands: truly a case of unadulterated selflessness.

And how have they been rewarded this year? Spottily at best. Up to game four of the new season, the fan base had been growing as rapidly as the fungus in Mag Boy’s helmet. Unfortunately, game 4 was a stinker. The Executive believes that large doses of Valium were surreptitiously snuck into the bench’s water supply. It was a sloppy affair, best forgotten. The fans, spoiled rotten by consistently superb play over the last 17 years, scurried from the building before the post game handshakes were completed. What a fickle bunch of feckless fans.

Without the droves of supporters which have helped carry the team in recent years, the team was not at its best in this game. There was no flow, no grace, no heart to the match. Not once did Gumby question the integrity, intelligence or manhood of his sworn enemy, Mr. Stupid Referee. Pyjama Man's 3 goal effort went unrecognized. The Ice Marshall sulked and Freight Train pouted. Archilles Perron glided about aimlessly, a small shell of his former competitive self. Shiny Shone Brightly refused to rally his teammates by scoring on his own net, leaving management no choice but to question his commitment to the team. On the lone goal scored by the Tequilers, The Leak lay flaccidly in his goal crease, too unmotivated to make the short 6 inch slide to his left to secure a shutout. Warrin' Peace just plain sucked.

In the end, the Strawberries, true professionals in every sense, pulled out win number 4 of the new season. It was a joyless victory. Fans, please come back. We are only doing what we do because of you.

6 jugs of flat beer, a tainted water and a sea of self-pity were consumed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Killer Strawberries 2004-2005

The Killer Strawberries in happier times.