Serial Killer Calendar Website Review

Serial Killer CalendarAs regular readers know, I have a greater than average interest in serial killers. It isn’t so much the killing. I just find psychopaths really fascinating. And recently, I wrote an anniversary post about Dennis Rader. He’s a classic psychopath. In a sense, I feel sorry for the guy. As a psychopath, he’s certainly missed out on what I consider are the greatest joys of being a human. I compared him to a grizzly bear, but that’s unfair. I don’t think grizzly bears kill just for the thrill of it. But who knows? Maybe I’m the one who’s missing out with all my meekness (others would call it cowardice).

Anyway, I got a comment on that post from a guy named James Gilks who, among other things, runs a website called Serial Killer Calendar. It’s kind of your one stop site for all things serial killer. The primary purpose of the website is to sell Serial Killer Magazine and other assorted books and DVDs. But the website is also filled with tons of information. Of course, that doesn’t make it unique. There are a lot of websites that specialize in serial killers. But none of them do it with the great style that Serial Killer Calendar does.

The site has the requisite serial killer biographies. But the serial killers are subdivided into categories. For example, if you want to spend all weekend reading about female serial killers from all over the world, Serial Killer Calendar makes it very easy for you. Or if you were wondering just what serial killers Belarus has to offer, look no further! (Actually, Belarus has only one serial killer listed, but he’s an impressive one.) There are also movie reviews and articles on various related topics like, Serial Killer Good Deeds and How to Survive a Serial Killer. The latter article includes a list of things that might indicate if someone is a serial killer. It might be good information to know, but it might also cause you to suspect some of your friends.

Serial Killer Trading CardsYou might remember the scene in the film Addams Family Values, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Joel are sitting behind the bleachers going over Joel’s serial killer trading cards. I have no idea if these things have always been available, but Serial Killer Calendar offers three different sets. The focus is on the illustrations, which are done in a variety of styles by a large number of artists. Each set contains duplicate serial killers. But really: how could you limit John Wayne Gacy to a single card? Each one of the cards shows him in a different light: all the way from from pure menacing clown to dumpy middle-aged man. I’ve posted the best from the first set on the right.

There are things to be aware of regarding the site. It’s header changes images very rapidly. I’d prefer they change slower, but I suspect a lot of people will like it. It’s like being in Serial Killer Las Vegas. And obviously, if you find the concept of serial killers disturbing, you should stay away from Serial Killer Calendar. The site is also a bit difficult to navigate. But this is a sign of what is absolutely the best thing about the site: it’s activity.

The worst thing on any site is digital death. Serial Killer Calendar is a vibrant site. It’s interesting to check it out on Archive.org to see just how much it has changed over the years and even over the last month. So you know there will always be new, probably creepy, content for your reading and viewing pleasure. In my day job, I spend a lot of time looking at different websites, but Serial Killer Calendar is one of the most interesting that I’ve seen in the last year. And I’ll bet you know someone who would enjoy a pack of serial killer trading cards!

Minnesota Advice for Those Suffering the Cold Weather in the East

Cold Weather in St PaulWhen I moved to Minnesota, it got below 30°F or so. I called my mom in Oregon, to complain about the cold weather. But she was a Wisconsin native and did not take my discomfort all that seriously. “The day will come,” she told me, “when you think of zero as warm.” I did not believe her. But she was absolutely right.

As it gets below zero, and lingers there like God has a grudge against you, your best friends are layers. Lots of layers. Put on warm clothes. Then put warm clothes on over your warm clothes. Then put on a coat.

Real Cold Weather

My first winter in Minnesota, I was standing at the bus stop. A group of attractive women were across the street lined up to get into a happening bar. Most wore pantyhose. It was perhaps 5°F outside. I commented to the other person waiting at the stop, “I don’t care how great my legs look, I would not wear pantyhose in this cold weather.”

The other person responded, “Seriously? You’re not from here, are you? They’ll wear that when it’s 30 below!”

And, indeed, this is so.

The worst thing about cold weather is living in a ratty, broken down apartment building. My building dates back to 1908. It’s charmingly archaic — the first hotel in Saint Paul to feature electricity. Alas, this doesn’t mean quite as much as it did a century ago. And that means the storm windows also exhibit the high tech efficiency of the Edwardian period.

Every winter, I have to caulk up the windows and apply a layer of plastic film over them. It’s quite the process. For some reason, you need to run a hair dryer over the plastic film until it shrinks so every last plastic wrinkle is gone. This makes it warmer, I am told.

It’d be better if I lived in a newer building, of course. But apartments in the Twin Cities are crazy expensive. So, if you get an affordable one, you hang onto it for dear life — from 1908 onward, if necessary.

Cold Sweat

You can compensate for this with very thick blankets. That’s how the pioneers did it. Unfortunately, you start to sweat underneath those warm blankets, so now you’re wet. If there’s one state of being that you don’t want to inhabit when getting up and getting ready for work, it’s wet and cold.

Maybe that’s why pioneers all died from dysentery.

Oh, well — could be worse. I could own a car. Warming up a car in awful cold weather takes forever, it never gets comfortable. Compare this to the bus, which is perfectly nice the moment you step on board. I tell car owners how sad my life is, walking in lots of layers to a bus stop. And I am completely lying. I’m fine walking.

But my apartment is still cold! And don’t I deserve a little sympathy for that?! All you on the east coast will be warm soon enough.

Morning Music: European Son

The Velvet Underground & NicoProbably my favorite song on Velvet Underground & Nico is “European Son.” I like its relentless energy. It is the very definition of punk rock. I had forgotten that the song was dedicated to Delmore Schwartz. The song is clearly angry and it seems to be saying, “Screw off!” Schwartz was at that very time dying close by at the age of 52.

Schwartz had been a teacher of Reed’s at Syracuse University. And in interviews, Reed always made a big deal of this because Reed wanted the world to see him as a real poet. Reed probably would have been a much better human being if he had just accepted that he was a real poet. I’ve always thought the center section of “Street Hassle” to be amazing, especially this:

Some people have not choice
And they can never find a voice
To talk with
Or even call their own.
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be
They follow it.
It’s called “bad luck.”

But it now makes me wonder if Reed didn’t spend all those years talking so fondly of the man to make up for “European Son.” Apparently, during the end of his life, Schwartz would not see Reed. But the song is everything that Schwartz was not. I never cared for his poetry, but I’m thinking I would be more open to it now. When I was younger, I liked surreal poetry, which Schwartz definitely wasn’t. He wrote about more mystical subjects — the kind of stuff that I find more interesting now.

Anniversary Post: Human Shield Action to Iraq

Ken O'KeefeOn this day in 2003, as part of Human Shield Action to Iraq, 50 volunteers left London for Baghdad to act as human shields in order to stop the impending invasion of Iraq. The group was led by Kenneth O’Keefe — an ex-marine who has since been involved in many similar political actions. By the time of the invasion, the group is thought to have been several hundred strong. Because of their small numbers, they decided to spread themselves out at strategic locations around the country. The whole thing got very complicated, in part because the volunteers wanted to stop the war but were in no way supportive of the Hussein government.

I have two thoughts about this. The first is that those involved in Human Shield Action to Iraq are the most heroic people in the world. I’m constantly amazed that people think serving in the US military is a sign of bravery. Why don’t these people serve in tiny militaries that have little hope of winning? The US military is roughly the size of every other military on earth combined. Signing up to be on the most powerful team isn’t an act of bravery, although I don’t put down people who join the military. There are reasons to do so. But we shouldn’t talk of heroics.

My second thought on this matter is just how naive Human Shield Action to Iraq seems. I don’t know what the people involved in the effort actually thought. But they did get attention. I do remember hearing about the group at the time. But did they really think that the likes of Bush and Cheney cared in the least about killing these people? This was a war of their choice to make them feel brave after being so clearly cowardly during the Vietnam War. None of the men who have sat in the White House cared about all the people they killed. They justify it as being part of the greater good. But for those two, it’s a whole other level.

Regardless, they were brave people. And of the 80 who spent the entire war there, none were killed. The same, of course, can’t be said of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who were killed in that cowardly war.