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Thursday, September 25, 2003
Texas Murder Trial Begins for Millionaire
Tue Sep 23,10:04 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters
By Jeff Franks

GALVESTON, Texas (Reuters) - New York real estate heir Robert Durst acted in self-defense when he shot his neighbor, chopped up his body and threw the parts into Galveston Bay in September 2001, defense attorneys said on Monday in opening arguments of Durst's trial for murder. Prosecutors countered that Durst killed 71-year-old Morris Black in cold blood, then calmly hacked up the body on the floor of his apartment, accidentally cutting holes in the linoleum in the process, in attempt to get away with the crime. The frail-looking multimillionaire, 60, stood in the cramped, crowded courtroom and defiantly pleaded not guilty at the start of the proceedings. "I plead not guilty, your honor. It was self-defense, it was an accident," he told state District Judge Susan Kriss. Durst is accused of shooting Black on Sept. 28, 2001, cutting up the body, putting the parts into plastic garbage bags and throwing them into the bay that separates Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico from the mainland 50 miles southeast of Houston. A 13-year-old boy out fishing with his father found the body parts, except for Black's head, which is still missing. Durst's lawyers said he and Black, a seafaring drifter who lived across the hall had become friends, but on the day of the crime struggled over a gun that went off and shot Black in the face. Durst, Deguerin admitted, was a man with a past, too. He had been suspected in the disappearance of wife Kathy Durst 20 years before and was linked in the press to the execution-style shooting of best friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 2000. He had gone to Galveston in 2001 to get away from the allegations, which he denied. He rented his apartment posing as a mute woman and kept up the disguise until one day he caught his wig on fire in a bar while lighting a cigarette, Deguerin said. "He's shot with my gun, he's shot in my apartment, that I rented as a mute woman wearing a wig because I was hiding from an investigation in New York. They're never going to believe me," he said, quoting Durst's thoughts. Two days after the shooting, Durst wanted to move the body, but was not strong enough to carry it one piece. So, he cut it up and tossed it in the bay, another Durst attorney, Mike Ramsey, told the 12-member jury. "Is it bizarre, is it grotesque? Yes, but it's explainable," he said, calling the killing a "righteous murder." Durst, he said, suffered from a mild form of autism that helped explain his unusual behavior. After his arrest, Durst was released on $300,000 bail and fled to Hanover Township, Pennsylvania where on Nov. 30, 2001 he was arrested for shoplifting a sandwich and a Band-Aid, even though he had $523 in his pocket and nearly $40,000 in his car.

Thought you should know...

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Blackout from SpaceBlackout From Space Too Just a couple of pictures of the Great Blackout of 2003 (I know, it's old news, but these pictures are still kinda cool.) I've had the first one for a few weeks, Harry sent me the second one a couple of days ago. Amazing how dependent we are on the power grid, isn't it?

These pictures are copyright their originators. I'm not trying to rip anybody off, just share the opportunity. (I don't want the respective creators coming after me with big legal sticks...)


Sunday, September 14, 2003
Busy weekend so far. Been working like a fiend on a friend's website. Maybe I should put some of that time into my own stuff! Anyway, the revisions are done, and so it was time to catch up on the Pictures of the Week! I've got three new ones online now...enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2003
What's going on???, you're probably thinking. I get to leave a comment if I want to?

Yep, that's right. I've added commenting to the DanaLife blog. Thanks to the wonderful people at www.klinkfamily.com. I saw it first on Sara's blog, and I just had to have it. You know, it's sort of like that new cellphone your friend has, that's to die for. You don't need it...but you want it.

So, if you ever have a thought while reading through here, drop us all a line.


Random thoughts:
* * * * *
It occurred to me the other day that, for the most part, the Ontario political party leaders who are currently in a campaign for the October 2nd election aren't terribly interested in helping out the population, but seem far more involved in slagging each other in their commercials. They're constantly pointing fingers and going on about how So-and-So doesn't know how to do this, how they'll cheat you, rob you, and deceive you.

Meanwhile, I have yet to hear of an ad that says something along the lines of "Hi. I'm the leader of the BlatBlat party and I would like to help you, the people of this great province, have a better life. If elected, I will try to meet your needs, be responsible and help you out in these several concrete ways. Please consider me on election day, October 2nd." If only one leader did that, they'd have my vote in a heartbeat.

But as it stands, we have a bunch of squabbling kids in the political playground who are arguing over who has the bigger sand shovel. I suggest they take their shovel, along with their bucket, and start shovelling away the droppings from the current session of mud-slinging.
* * * * *
I started taking a voice/announcing course this past Tuesday and our instructor noted that we are bombarded by 15,000 messages every day. That's not a typo - no, not 1,500. Fifteen thousand.
* * * * *
For a few years back in the late 1990s, I was skeptical of owning too much. I'd just moved from a lovely house in Cabbagetown with all the acoutrements into a small bachelor apartment with basically nothing - I had to start from scratch again. I vowed, never again would I be overwhelmed by 'stuff'. This was my chance to start anew.

It doesn't quite work out that way. Soon, you start to accumulate trinkets and souvenirs, books and baubles. I did that for a few years, then once again ditched as much as I possibly could before I went on my around the world trip in 2000.

Something interesting happened on that tour, though. I visited some of the world's greatest museums and found the pleasure in exquisite work and art done so well. Not perfection, by the way, because there is really no such thing. But just good stuff that was appealing to the eye regardless of its century of origin. I guess I'd finally learned to appreciate "nice things." And more, I began to understand why people collect so much stuff. It's sort of like accessorizing your place, to make it less like a box, and more like a home, a place to live in, and to feel lived in. Hmm, after all those years of living in an intentionally self-imposed sterile box of an apartment, I began to figure out why people had all those knick-knacks lying around. And how they would get passed down from generation to generation. Austerity...or posterity?
* * * * *

Webstats for August are up (hmph, about time.) It's just been a really busy month with school ramping up and all. I upgraded my Handspring Visor Palm-thingmie to a nice high resolution Sony Clie, and its "to do" list doesn't work quite the same way as the Visor, so my monthly reminder to do the webstats kinda fell off the map, as it were. Oops. The usually silly search strings abound; my favourites this month are carrageenan mcdonald's canada; effect of dusting of a vampire; and egg mcmuffin miami price check.

I'll have more rants later on...

Thursday, September 11, 2003
SindySindy doll 'losing big breasts' in birthday makeover
Story filed: 18:47 Wednesday 10th September 2003 @ www.ananova.com

British doll Sindy is to celebrate her 40th birthday by losing her famous curves and becoming a 15-year-old. Designers say the new-look figure, known as 100 per cent Sindy, will lose her big breasts and swap her heels for trainers. Sindy has been a perennial favourite with children since being launched in the early 1960s to rival the US-made Barbie. Both dolls became renowned for their curvaceous figures, which drew derision from feminists who said they set an unrealistic example for young girls. Denise Dean, head of design and development at manufacturers New Moons, said they had decided it was time the Sindy dolls looked like the girls they were bought for. "She's lost the big breasts and very long legs, and we've completely changed her face," she said. "She's totally unrecognisable." Ms Deane said part of the aim was to stop Sindy looking like Barbie. "Sindy's still very popular, but she has been neglected over the last few years, and we don't think people are identifying with that look. "She's going to look like a 15-year-old, and we've designed her to wear trainers," she added. A six-inch version of the new doll will go on sale in Safeway on Monday in time for Sindy's official 40th birthday next month, with the full-size doll expected to hit shops next autumn.

Monday, September 08, 2003
Urk! Okay, Blogger's changed the interface again, so this is going to take a minute for me to compose. Just wanted to drop in and let you know I'm still alive since the blackout, just a little busy with school, which started back last Tuesday. Lots of great courses, the students are awesome, really looking forward to this year as usual. There's definitely a certain energy during Frosh Week, and, as an instructor, I guess I have two choices: try and push the energy in the background and ignore it, or sit in the middle of it, soak it up, and work with that seemingly infinite resource. Those of you who know me, know what my preference is! :-)

I think I have a perfect diet, which I'm dubbing the DanaDiet, since it just occurred to me the other day. When you're trying to lose "that extra ten pounds" the following truisms come screaming home: you can't "spot reduce" (i.e., you can't just lose weight around your abs or butt, you lose it all over); dieting alone doesn't work (you have to exercise, too!); and starving yourself puts your body into an "Ohmigod, I'm being starved, I'd better store everything!" mode. The only, repeat, only way to lose weight is to watch what you're eating (not how much, but what), and actually do some exercise. I've been doing the latter for about a year, but was drinking probably 'way too much beer. So, I'm cutting down on that a fair bit, and for lunch having a big salad (almost no calories, but great roughage and vitamins and other good stuff) and drinking my protein powder in half a litre of milk. That's it, that's lunch. So I get tons of protein for my weight workout, and I'm not hungry. I've lost about 10 pounds in the last several weeks, which isn't a rocket weight loss, but you're not supposed to shed more than about a pound or two a week anyway, so I'm basically on target.

Just thought I'd share.

I've got more I want to write, but let's see how this thing posts, first.

L8tr guys...