Monday, November 19, 2018

Seattle layover

My current view, just after sunrise, at SeaTac airport. I arrived here after my 5:45 am flight from Victoria. My gosh, that's early. Well, really, it's the 3:30 am taxi. I ended up not going to bed, so the only shuteye I got was a snooze on the 20 minute flight.

I awoke to the coolest view, of either Mt Baker or Mt Ranier silhouetted against the lightening sky, the oranges reaching up to meet the deep blues. It was stunning.

Then I remembered that my goal for this trip was to get to know my camera more, and get back in the habit of taking pictures. 10 years ago, I was taking hundreds a day. Now, it's rare.

So, I reached for my camera, but by then the mountain was behind us, and we didn't circle back.

So, I did the next best thing... my impression:

I like how it feels, but in actuality, the orange band was narrower.

And the mountain needs to be less like a chopped off pyramid, or an Aztec monument, and more like a dormant volcano.... maybe I'll play with it.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Whitey Bulger meets his end

Because odd things interest me...

The other night I heard the breaking news, that "former mobster, FBI informant and fugitive Whitey Bulger was brutally murdered, in custody, just one day after being transferred to a different prison...".

Hmmm.... I'd heard that name before, and am always intrigued by clandestine goings on, so went to refresh myself. It turns out I only knew part of the story. Here it is, in a nutshell:

The headline

James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger Jr., the Irish-American organized crime boss and Boston gangster, serving two life sentences after 16 years as a fugitive, was brutally murdered on Tuesday, at age 89, one day after being transferred to a federal prison in Virginia.

Bulger's Alcatraz mugshot

Early crime and punishment

Bulger first went to jail for armed robbery and truck hijacking in 1956. He spent nine years in prison, including a stint at Alcatraz.

After his release in 1965, Bulger worked as a labourer before becoming a bookmaker and loan shark under Donald Killeen, the leader of the dominant Boston mob, The Killeens.

In 1971, the FBI approached Bulger and attempted to recruit him as an informant, initially as part of their effort against the Patriarca family.

The fugitive

In December 1994, Bulger was informed by retired FBI Agent and former handler John Connolly that the FBI was set to make arrests during the Christmas season. In response, Bulger fled Boston on December 23, 1994, and began his life as a fugitive.

In 1997, while Bulger was on the run, criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger were exposed by the media, causing the FBI great embarrassment. Disgraced FBI agent, John Connolly, was convicted and jailed in 2002.


In the ensuing years, FBI agents chased down sightings, both confirmed (London) and unconfirmed (Sicily, Uruguay).

An off-duty Boston police officer spotted Bulger at a San Diego screening of The Departed, the 2006 Martin Scorsese film in which the character of Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson, is loosely based on Bulger, but he eluded capture.

The FBI also initiated a number searches based on Bulger's interests.

FBI agents staked out 60th anniversary Battle of Normandy ceremonies, looking for Bulger, a military history fan.

In 2010, in their pursuit of Bulger, a known book lover, the FBI visited bookstores in the Victoria (British Columbia) area. FBI agents questioned employees and distributed wanted posters.


Bulger lived as a fugitive for 16 years, spending 12 years on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The US$2 million reward offered for information leading to Bulger's capture, was second only to Osama Bin Laden's capture reward.

Bulger was featured on America's Most Wanted more than a dozen times.

In 2011, the FBI ran a successful media campaign featuring Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Greig, that broke the case.

The tip came from Iceland. Anna Björnsdóttir, a former model, actress, and Miss Iceland (1974), who had lived in Bulger's neighborhood in Santa Monica, recognized Greig when CNN ran a story on the campaign.

On June 22, 2011, the FBI used a ruse to lure the 81 year old Bulger, out of his apartment and arrested him, along with his girlfriend (Greig remains in prison for harbouring a fugitive).


Bulger visted Alcatraz twice: once as a prisoner, and again,
as a tourist, while he was a fugitive. He and his girlfriend
even had their photos taken "behind bars".
Following his arrest, Bulger revealed that rather than living as a recluse, he had in fact traveled quite a bit, including frequent trips to Mexico to buy heart medication.

He even returned to Alcatraz as a tourist and had the obligatory souvenir photograph taken behind bars, wearing a striped suit.


At his trial, Bulger pled not guilty to 48 charges, including 19 counts of murder, extortion, money laundering, obstruction of justice, perjury, narcotics distribution and weapons violations.

In November 2013, Bulger was convicted on 31 counts, including 11 murders, and received two life sentences, plus additional years.

Murder (aka THE END)

Bulger was moved to the Federal Penitentiary in West Virginia on October 29, 2018. Just 1 day later, on October 30th, he was killed.

Three prisoners were captured on a security camera, pushing Bulger's wheelchair out of the frame. The grisly murder, using a smuggled weapon concealed in a sock, took place shortly thereafter.

Related resources
Grim New Details About Whitey Bulger's Death Revealed - Huffington Post
Whitey Bulger’s Fatal Prison Beating: ‘He Was Unrecognizable’ - New York Times
Whitey Bulger's attackers tried to cut out his tongue, federal official says - CNN
What Inmates Are Saying About the Brutal Prison Hit on Whitey Bulger - Vice
Ex-con claims feds wanted to get rid of James Whitey Bulger - New York Post
Juror who helped send Whitey Bulger to prison is deeply saddened by killing - NY Post
This man may have waited 38 years for his revenge on Whitey Bulger - NY Post