Oct 27, 2011
Oct 26, 2011
When I was in the 5th grade my class took a trip to Washington D.C., and part of the trip included a visit to various Smithsonian museums. Since we had a large class we were split into groups to visit different museums at the same time.
I was part of the group who toured the Holocaust museum. The tour was great; very illuminating for a 10 year old to be packed into a train car and see the horrifying images of the atrocity, but the tour was the shortest of the three groups so we ended up in the large open lobby/bookstore of the museum while we waited for the other groups.
During this wait I got bored, and knowing me, I tend to get in trouble when I'm bored, so I looked for something helpful to do to keep me out of trouble. I found a rag and started dusting bookshelves.
That lasted for about 2 minutes until I ran out of things to dust and we were still waiting. Then I saw something I'd never seen before; a fire-alarm with a very dusty plastic cover on it. I wanted to be helpful so I went over and dusted it, but most of the dust was on the inside of the cover, so I lifted it...
... and all hell broke loose.
The sound echoed through the entire building, and I was frantically trying to get it to shut off when this ENORMOUS security guard came over, and slammed the cover shut, then stood over me looking like he was about to eat me. Several people ran for the exits, and a few women I remember screamed at the sudden VERY loud noise. Everyone was looking at me when it was shut off. I have never since been so absolutely petrified. I have also never been more relieved than when one of the chaperons of our group hurried over to claim me.
My teachers were already stressed out with the logistics of keeping so many kids together and safe/fed/watered/etc. on this trip that when they called me into their hotel room that night to talk they all agreed that they wouldn't tell my parents if I didn't, and just left it at that.
When we got back home, my parents were excited to tell me that I had received a letter from President Bill Clinton which basically said, "heard you were in town, hope you enjoyed your visit." Since I was the only one in my class to get a letter like that, I asked my teachers if they knew anything. They told me that they had been interviewed by Secret Service agents at the museum, and were informed that the President was in an office in the building meeting with heads of the museum and had to be evacuated when the alarm sounded.
My parents didn't find out until I told them the story; 12 years later.
Oct 25, 2011
Oct 20, 2011
Oct 17, 2011
Oct 14, 2011
Oct 11, 2011
Bjornsdottir took notice of the attention the couple routinely paid to an abandoned, tiger-striped cat in the neighborhood, and eventually grew close (or at least closer than most) to Greig [Whitey's girlfriend]. It was that bond, over the cat, that ultimately led to the fugitives' capture, according to the paper.
she saw a CNN report on the FBI’s latest effort to track the 82-year-old Bulger and his 60-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Bjornsdottir recognized them immediately as the Gaskos, her former neighbors—Tiger’s benefactors—an ocean away on Third Street.
Oct 6, 2011
Oct 3, 2011
And so when it came to anything of a practical nature [Grandma] was perfectly helpless, and probably always had been. Until she had gotten too old to drive, she had continued to tool around Whitman in the 1965 Lincoln Continental, which was the last vehicle her husband had purchased, from Whitman's Patterson Lincoln-Mercury, before his untimely death. The vehicle weighed something like six thousand pounds and had more moving parts than a silo full of Swiss watches. Whenever any of her offspring came to visit, someone would discreetly slip out to the garage to yank the dipstick, which would always be mysteriously topped up with clear amber-colored 10W40.
It eventually turned out that her late husband had summoned the entire living male lineage of the Patterson family--four generations of them--into his hospital room and gathered them around his deathbed and wrought some kind of unspecified pact with them along the general lines of that, if at any point in the future, the tire pressure in the Lincoln dropped below spec or the maintenance in any other way lapsed, all of the Pattersons would not merely sacrifice their immortal souls, but literally be pulled out of meetings or lavatories and dragged off to hell on the spot, like Marlowe's Dr. Faustus. He knew that his wife had only the vaguest idea of what a tire was, other than something that from time to time a man would heroically jump out of the car and change while she sat inside the car admiring him. The world of physical objects seemed to have been made solely for the purpose of giving the men around Grandma something to do with their hands; and not, mind you, for any practical reason, but purely so that Grandma could twiddle those men's emotional knobs by reacting to how well or poorly they did it. Which was a fine setup as long as men were actually around, but not so good after Grandpa died. So guerilla mechanic teams had been surveilling Randy's grandmother ever since and occasionally swiping her Lincoln from the church parking lot on Sunday mornings and taking it down to Patterson's for sub rosa oil changes. The ability of the Lincoln to run flawlessly for a quarter of a century without maintenance--without even putting gasoline in the tank--had only confirmed Grandmother's opinions about the amusing superfluity of male pursuits.