Unhappy Trails To You

Todd Trickle awoke one morning in the Happy Trails Nursing Home in a cold sweat. He had yet another nightmare in which he reflected on his past. When he first started having them he thought nothing of it. After all, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given at least six months to live. Six months of which were almost up. Now he was beginning to realize that karma was finally catching up to him.

Many years ago, Todd used to be a schoolyard bully. He used to beat up other kids, take their lunch money, steal their lunches and various other nasty things that cannot be described here. Even after he got out of school, he had not changed his ways. He had been in and out of jail almost more times than he could count over the years to the point where the prison authorities practically gave him his own cell. No woman in their right mind would marry him so he harassed them too. He was frequently fired from jobs because of his bullying ways. And it would seem to everyone that he would never change.

That was until he was diagnosed with the brain cancer. Normally a person with Todd’s history would have just been left to die because he was just a lousy pathetic excuse for a human being. However someone must have believed that Todd was still a human being and still deserving of some type of compassion so they put him in the nursing home.

As he was getting ready to come down to breakfast that fateful morning, Todd collapsed suddenly. He was rushed to the hospital where he was told by the doctors in the Emergency Room that there was nothing they could do. So they hooked him up to a life support system and had a nurse come in to check on him periodically.

The days passed and Todd’s condition showed no improvement. He lay there hooked up to the life support machines and had more recurring nightmares about his past. Was this God’s way of telling him to atone for his sins before he died? If it was, he was not buying it for a second. Not even when the nightmares became about the day he set fire to a local church. Ironically it was the last time he was put in jail. They blamed the arson on the cancer and since the authorities could not keep incarcerating Todd on account of his advancing age, they decided to have the nursing home take him in.

Still Todd would not repent.

Then one morning a pretty dark-haired nurse in her mid-thirties walked in to check on Todd. She was wearing hospital scrubs with Hello Kitty emblazoned on them. Todd was barely conscious.

“Can I ask you something?,” the nurse asked.

“Sure, toots,” Todd replied weakly.

“Did you know a woman named Lucille Edgars?”

Todd searched his fever-wracked brain for any recollection of a woman named Lucille Edgars. “I don’t remember, sweetheart,” Todd replied. “I’m an old man. I’ve known so many people over the years that I can’t keep track of them all.”

I bet with all that time you spent in jail, the nurse almost said but stopped herself because she had to be civil no matter how much she hated it and how much this man’s reputation sickened her.

“She was my grandmother,” the nurse replied. “She died about two weeks ago. She used to tell me stories about you.”

“That so?” Todd asked. The life support monitor started to beep erratically.

“Yeah,” the nurse replied. “She especially told me the story of how you used to pick on her for wearing granny glasses in school and stuff.”

“Aw, come on,” Todd replied. “I was a kid then.”

“And there was also the time that you let her pet gerbil out and fed it to a stray cat that was in the alley behind the school,” the nurse continued bitterly. “She never forgot that. And I can go on and on about all the other things you did to her.”
Suddenly Todd started to convulse and the life support system started beeping excessively. The nurse lingered for a moment. Should she call a code blue or not? After all, she knew this guy was a very bad guy and even on his deathbed it was clear that he would not change.

However Todd was not about to go out into the cold dark night without one more for the road. He tried to grab her breasts but she was quick enough to dodge him.

“What the hell are you doing?!,” the nurse screamed. Her mind was finally made up. He had to go.

The nurse walked around the bed, even though she was not fast enough to avoid Todd smacking her ass, and walked over to the life support machine. She pulled the plug on it.

“That’s for calling me toots, you evil old fart!,” the nurse screamed angrily.

It took Todd a couple minutes to stop convulsing and then he fell back on the bed, dead as a doornail. Then she called a code blue. The doctors came in as quickly as they could as they attempted to revive him using the defibrillator to shock him repeatedly. There was no response at all.

“What the hell just happened in here?” the head doctor demanded.

“I don’t know, Doctor,” the nurse replied sheepishly. “He must have pulled the plug on himself.”

“Then why didn’t you call a code blue sooner, Missy?,” the doctor replied angrily.

“I don’t see what difference that would have made,” the nurse replied. “It all happened so fast. By the time I called it, he would have been dead anyway.”

And with that, she walked out the door. However she turned back to the doctor. “Oh and by the way,” the nurse added. “My name is not ‘Missy.’ It’s Lyla.”

And so Lyla Edgars walked out the door, smiling wickedly and not caring about the reaction the doctor was having at that moment. All she did was the one thing people should have done a long time ago: She put Todd out of everyone’s misery. So the way she saw it, it was a mercy killing. And it was just like the old saying goes: “What goes around comes around.” That was karma to a T.

And if you have been a bad person all your life and did not show any repentance for it, in the end, karma can be a real bitch.

An Ode to My Childhood

See if you can guess who the cute kid is? Hint: This was taken in 1980.

See if you can guess who the cute kid is? Hint: This was taken in 1980.

At some point in their lives whenever one reaches adulthood, one does have a tendency to be a little nostalgic for their childhoods. They tend to reminisce about all the good times they had; of all the things they did as kids; of all the toys they had; movies they saw and so on. Well today I am going to be that person as I am feeling a bit nostalgic. Today we’re going to talk about my childhood growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in Red Hook, NY, specifically some things I did and some things that were around when I was growing up. And even though it hasn’t really shaped who I am today it still makes for a really good essay.

As you know, I am 36 years old which means I grew up during the 80’s, which as I also mentioned was the best time for movies, TV shows and music. There was no Internet; computers were not as everywhere as they are now and even if they were, they were too expensive; camcorders were a lot heavier and were VHS-based instead of digital and more compact like they are now; there were no reality shows polluting the airwaves; and video game systems were actually on the rise and not as sophisticated as your garden-variety Playstation 3’s and Xbox 360’s, which meant you still had to go to the arcade to play video games. So due to the lack of the technological advances that we now have (meaning your iPhones and your Internets,) kids normally played outside and there were a lot of outdoor activities to do and places to go. Growing up in Red Hook, the one place where people went during the summer and still do is the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck. It was a real staple of my childhood and I went there every year until I moved up to Central New York in 2002. It’s one of the few things I miss about living downstate. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to go back, although it might be a little more expensive now than it was when I was last down there. The last county fair I went to was back in 2005 and it was the Herkimer County Fair and it does not even hold a candle to the Dutchess County Fair.

Another place I went to as a kid was the Catskill Game Farm. I’m pretty sure a lot of people downstate remembers that. I remember going there on field trips and sometimes with my family. I had been living in Central New York for several years when the Game Farm closed up in 2006. However, during its heyday, it was fun to see all the exotic animals without having to go to a faraway zoo like the Bronx Zoo, which I also went to when I was a kid. I haven’t been to the Utica Zoo yet, but it is on my to-do list. Then there was the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which was a nod to airplanes that fought in World War I. They had shows every weekend during the summer where people flew replicas of planes to reenact World War I aerial battles. I even got to participate in one of the show one time where I got to shoot down the “Black Baron” which was a nod to the Red Baron and I’m not talking about Snoopy here. I’m talking about the real deal. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie about him someday.

Let’s see where else did I go as a kid? Well I also went to the Jersey Shore a couple times as a kid. This was long before it was associated with Snooki, The Situation, and Pauly D. In fact, I didn’t even go to Seaside Heights. I actually went to Wildwood and Cape May for the summer. Went swimming in the ocean, went out on the boardwalk. I also went up to the Thousand Islands a couple of times as well. It was also during my childhood that I traveled as far west as Missouri for a rabbit show. Yeah we raised rabbits when I was a kid. For class trips in school, one summer we went camping for the weekend as well as going on a class trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York City in fifth grade and one fond memory I had while being on the bus is having a whole bus full of fifth graders ogling the hot city chicks on their way to work.

Then when we got into junior high, specifically in eighth grade, we went on a class trip to Washington, DC in the spring of 1993. We didn’t go in the White House or anything (this was during the Clinton era) but among other things we went to Ford’s Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was shot and saw the house where he died. I specifically remember the tour guide at Ford’s Theater when we got to the house. I remember him saying “The bed! The pillow!” when he was pointing out the bed where Lincoln died and the pillow that still had his blood stains on it. Then, as we were leaving, he was saying “Remember, New York is number 1!” To which I replied sarcastically, “Yeah and don’t you forget it.”

We also went to the Smithsonian, Union Station, Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home), and a variety of other places too. All in all, those were fun trips that I went on. Well at least until Puerto Rico but that’s for another time.

I discovered my creative side very early on like when I first started going to school. That was where I first started getting into writing. Back then I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a writer or an actor. If people could only see me now, especially since I am doing both on the Internet right now. In fifth grade I had done a series of filmstrips where I did public presentations to my classes. And look at me now, doing videos that are seen all over the web. Yeah, my creative imagination still is in top form.

Now let’s move on to some other childhood memories like what I grew up with like favorite TV shows, movies, toys I played with and other stuff that I remember. Of course some of these are items that kids today probably will never grow up with. Let’s start with TV shows. I watched cartoons just like everyone else. We had Saturday morning cartoons and we even had cartoons after school. Good times.. It was always a fun time in a kid’s life back then. Now the only cartoons we see on Saturday mornings are crappy educational cartoons on NBC or anime stuff on the CW. Like everyone else, I watched shows like He-Man, Transformers, Garfield, Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, and basically any cartoon on Nickelodeon that was on during the 80’s.

Hottest cartoon character. Ever.

Hottest cartoon character. Ever.

I also watched She-Ra which actually got me lusting after girls. I’m sure at some point in people’s lives they find themselves fantasizing about a female cartoon character. After all, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I always got turned on whenever she transformed into She-Ra. Even though some people would still say April O’Neil is still the hottest and I would agree she is. But I just put She-Ra a lot higher.

But I didn’t limit my TV watching to cartoons. I watched some TV shows in the prime-time hour as well and back then, TV shows weren’t as gratuitous with the sex and violence as they are now, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. But there weren’t any reality shows polluting the airwaves like there is now. Anyway, as far as grown-up shows go, I watched shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, ALF, the 60’s Batman TV series, Star Trek (both the original and Star Trek: The Next Generation),The A-Team, T.J. Hooker (partly because being a Trekkie obligated me to watch Shatner’s cop show,) the original Battlestar Galactica (the cheesy one where Starbuck was a man and not a hot chick,) and so many more to name that I would be here all day mentioned and I don’t really want to do that.

I am to this day a huge fan of 80’s music and when I was growing up, 80’s music was king. The radio stations I listened to at that time were WBPM- 94.3 FM in Kingston (it has long since abandoned the Top 40 format) and WSPK 104.7 FM in Poughkeepsie also known as K-104 which still plays Top 40 hits. Some of my favorites from that era were Madonna, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and so many others that I can’t really think of them right off the bat. In later years, I found a new appreciation for 80’s music and prefer that to a lot of the music that is out today.

As far as movies go, I’ve quite a bit of the biggest movies to come out of the 80’s. Like I’ve also said before in other videos that I saw my first movie when I was 2 years old and that was in the summer of 1980. Also like I said before, that movie was The Empire Strikes Back. Usually the theater of choice for me when I was growing up was the Lyceum Theater in Red Hook.

When I first saw E.T.- The Extra-Terrestrial there in 1982, it was a one-movie theater. It got an extension in the mid-80’s so they can show two movies there. However, I also went to the Hudson Valley Mall (at the time it was a six-movie theater but has since evolved into a multiplex) even though it was a bit expensive and there were also drive-ins where you can go during the summer. I saw The Empire Strikes Back at the Sunset Drive-In in Hudson and I went to see several more movies there afterwards, including Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Back to the Future before it closed down in the late 80’s. The other drive-in I went to was the Hyde Park Drive-In and the first movie I saw there was Return of the Jedi and a few weeks after that I also saw Superman III there as well as the original Gremlins movie. The last time I was there was back in 1998 sometime after I graduated from high school and I saw the asteroid movie Deep Impact there. To this day, the Hyde Park Drive-In is still in operation.

But anyway, back to the Lyceum. The original theater continued to be in operation until 1991 when it became a multiplex that showed six movies (It now shows eight movies and includes 3D movies. The last movie I saw in the original theater was Terminator 2: Judgment Day before it closed down and while the main theater became an antique store, the extra theater they had reopened as the Lyceum Annex some time afterward. But anyway, even then going to the movies was fun and exciting.

Remember this, everyone? By the way, I had this movie on video disc.

Remember this, everyone? By the way, I had this movie on video disc.

And during my childhood, we were starting to come into the video age. If you’re as old as I am, you’ll definitely remember video discs. The video disc back in those days was a prototype that would become what DVD’s are in today’s world and the original video disc was basically the size of a record album that you have to play one side and then flip it over to watch a movie. The video disc was basically how I first saw the original Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then later we upgraded to video tape and VCRs. My family never owned a video camcorder even though they were popular as well so I never got to make videos growing up. So you won’t see any embarrassing videos of me growing up on the Internet anytime soon.

The McDLT: A sandwich McDonald's definitely needs to bring back.

The McDLT: A sandwich McDonald’s definitely needs to bring back.

Okay, what other childhood memories are there? One memory recently came to me while I was watching a show on the web called 80’s Dan where in one episode he buried a McDLT in a time capsule. For those of you who don’t know what that is, McDonald’s put out a sandwich that came in a Styrofoam container with two sides. One side had the top of the bun including the lettuce, tomato and cheese while the other side had the burger and the bottom part of the bun, hence the tagline: “The hot stays hot while the cool stays cool.” I used to get the McDLT pretty much all the time during its heyday. McDonald’s should really consider bringing that back.

And I could go on forever as far as talking about my childhood, but I probably should call it a day. I’m not doing a movie here (well not yet anyway.) But if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and remember a lot of the stuff I mentioned here today, then your childhood was awesome. They say that as you get older, you start appreciating your childhood a bit more, but at the end of the day, you have to move forward. But there is nothing wrong with nostalgia.

Lake Effect Snow Hits Herkimer

The other day I was preparing to clean out my Yahoo Contributor Network contributions since I am losing that account next Thursday (July 31) because Yahoo decided to discontinue the site which sucks because I was just getting my writing career started again. I managed to obtain most of my photos that I had as slideshows, including this set of photos from 2010. And before you start, yeah I know it’s summer so why am I posting photos of snow? Well, primarily because I cleaned out my Yahoo Contributor Network account. So far I have already reedited the posts that linked to articles I had published back in 2010 including two photo posts and a review I did of a TV show. So anyway, the links to them will be below before I show off my photos.

Hawaii Five-O Reboot Review:

  • http://blackcatloner.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/hawaii-five-o-reboot-review
  • Halloween Decoration Photos:

  • http://blackcatloner.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/halloween-in-herkimer
  • Central New York Fall Scenery:

  • http://blackcatloner.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/some-of-central-new-yorks-fall-scenery
  • And now here are the photos featuring the snow for all of you that are wanting to beat the heat and are longing for the white stuff (I’m not by the way.) So hope you enjoy it.

    Ol' General Herkimer gets a new snow coat.

    Ol’ General Herkimer gets a new snow coat.

    Snow plows driving through Main Street over by the old Glory Days building.

    Snow plows driving through Main Street over by the old Glory Days building.

    My sidewalk after I shoveled.

    My sidewalk after I shoveled.

    Chupacabra Takes Alli at Walmart

    And here is another Throwback Thursday video for you from 2009: It’s the other surviving Black Cat Weekly video which involved a side effect of the notorious diet pill Alli (made famous by a blog rant from AngryAussie); two Texas farmers find a dead animal that resembles the fabled chupacabra; and I was also there when the news reported the unveiling of the now-popular website People of Wal-Mart.com where people post photos of the worst-dressed Wal-Mart customers.

    The links to the stories are below:

    Alli side effects:

  • http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Drugs/wireStory?id=8401977
  • AngryAussie’s famous rant about Alli:

  • http://angryaussie.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/miracle-diet-pill-with-teeny-tiny-side-effect/
  • Chupacabra story:

  • http://living.oneindia.in/insync/2009/chupacabra-corpse-030909.html
  • People of Wal-Mart:

  • http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090901/us_time/08599191940100;_ylt=Ao99rzVss45xY4wudLiMWoR0fNdF
  • http://peopleofwalmart.com
  • Gay Teen Sues Mohawk School District

    Starting today, I think I’m gonna jump on the bandwagon as far as doing some Throwback Thursday posts on the blog. And what I plan to do is to post some videos from early in my YouTube career that I did not initially post to the blog when I first uploaded the video to YouTube. It’s an opportunity for newcomers to see my earlier work and might offer some nostalgia to longtime viewers as well.

    For my first Throwback Thursday video, I am posting the first of two surviving videos from when I first attempted to do news videos back in 2009. It was to be a news segment that I called “The Black Cat Weekly” where I told the news basically like normal Internet people tell it: Report the news then follow it up with snarky remarks. I had done five videos in all but unfortunately my venture into news proved to be unpopular and I took down all except for two videos.

    Among some of the stories I talked about in the video included a Tunisian woman made an outrageous claim that she was pregnant with twelve kids just to get on television that was ultimately proven to be a hoax as well as a piece on the Pan Am Flight 103 bomber being released from prison on account of the fact that he was dying and so on.

    But the one story that actually ended up becoming the main story of the video was a local story I did on a gay teen who sued Mohawk School District (it has since merged with the Ilion School District) because the faculty there did not do enough to protect him from bullies. In the wake of the story, my video got circulated and there were other videos made about this topic. I even got a comment from the kid thanking me for getting his story out. I originally did the story simply because it was news and gay rights is a pretty important topic these days. But when you get comments like that, it makes you realize that you made a difference. And that’s a good thing. He won his suit against Mohawk and changed schools.

    So anyway, hope you enjoy the video and next Thursday I will be posting the other surviving Black Cat Weekly video.

    In the meantime the links to the stories I used are here:

    12-kid pregnancy hoax:

  • http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/08/19/Womans-tale-of-carrying-12-babies-a-hoax/UPI-63811250703129/
  • Gay teen sues Mohawk School District:

  • http://www.uticaod.com/breaking/x1886172198/NYCLU-files-lawsuit-against-Mohawk-Schools
  • Pan Am Flight 103 Bomber Released:

  • http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/lockerbie_bomber_to_be_release.html