Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Question, part II

Jensen counters,

Your essay was well thought out, for better or worse, and well received. However, you may have painted The Penguin in too broad a stroke, much like the writers of the forms I have seen him in. I put it to you that under certain circumstances, he could succeed, although your report proves that the deck must be stacked mightily against the caped crusader for that to happen.

I put to you the following:

1. Harvey Dent has not yet "turned to the Dark Side," and is still working tirelessly to rid Gotham City of evil-doers. However, he and commissioner Gordon are distracted with massive corruption in the Gotham City police force, and are busy with internal affairs.

2. The Riddler is currently confined in Arkham Asylum, but for how long?

3. Amazingly, The Joker and Mr. Freeze are working on grand schemes independent from The Penguin, and each other, forcing the heroes of Gotham to fight on three fronts.

4. Alfred is, of course, Alfred.

5. Catwoman is giving Batman her I'm your friend ...or am I? routine like in "Batman Returns"

6. There are no porpoises!

7. He is working alone.

8. Robin is, well, Robin.

9. Batgirl is not around because she does not exist.

10. The Penguin's purpose is two fold: He wants riches. He wants to kill Batman.

11. There are no Blonde Bombshells, Buxom Beauties, or groupies of any kind.

If all this were happening; Will the Penguin's insidious plot succeed?


Jonathan queries,

I require clarification on two points:

Number 8: Which Robin?


Number 9: Does James Gordon still have a daughter?

The Question

Jensen writes,

1. Can you still smoke in bars in Nebraska?
2. Have you gotten my letter yet?
3. Will the Penguin's insidious plot succeed?


Jonathan responds,

1. No. O'Rourke's has a decent "open air" thing for smoking – with a heater and everything in the winter, which is awesome – but I haven't seen much else. Still, it's not so bad. Smoke less I suppose.

2. Nope.

3. Here:

by Jonathan Egan

Oswald Cobblepot – if that is, indeed, his real name – is an aristocratic career criminal. The Penguin, as he is most commonly called, spends his time funding, planning and executing criminal plots, largely towards one of three possible ends: either he will end up rich, or he will thwart Batman somehow, or both. These basketweavings of malcontent generally qualify as "capers," due to the Penguin's usual method of doing everything quickly, and in small doses. His preference for this is to his advantage since he, though he would never admit it, would have no idea where to begin.

The Penguin has known several incarnations, though he has never been ably portrayed by anything but a pencil. Cesar's friend Burgess added the endlessly annoying "quack"s, while DeVito's version was raised by actual penguins. To their credit, though, they didn't write that stuff, but nonetheless these episodes illustrate how two-dimensional, awkward and annoying the Penguin is as a character.

NOW. The question of whether the Penguin's insidious plot will succeed depends on several factors, namely:

1. Is Batman around, and if so, is he aware of the plot?

Of course he's around. Being around is what he does. Plus he's the world's greatest detective, AND has Police Commissioner Jim Gordon helping him out. (And Harvey Dent, too, if we're talking about a pre-Two-Face Gotham.) There's no way he's not onto this, it's not even a question.

2. The term "insidious plot" implies a far more elaborate scheme than a "caper." Does the Penguin have help?

The Penguin knows his limits, for the most part, and so if he were to embark on a "plot" then he is almost certain to have found help. However, the Penguin is too trusting in business and easily played, so depending on who's helping him, he might just as easily get screwed by them. Also there aren't a lot of people in Gotham who are willing to work with the guy since he's such a double-crossing coward. Do you really think that Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze), a brilliant scientist with incredible technology, is going to hang around with somebody like the Penguin? Not a fucking chance. So whatever help he's getting is probably doing him more harm than good.

3. What are his odds based on his record?

I submit to you the following scenario as the biggest thing that he has ever embarked upon, courtesy of Adam West and the gang:

The Penguin is holding Gotham City to ransom, demanding an absurd amount of money in exchange for not infecting them with some sort of disease. Bruce Wayne – wealthy industrialist and alter-ego of the Dark Knight – gets on the radio and announces to the population that all of their cash is infected with the virus and should be thrown away immediately. (It wasn't really, obviously.) This prompts every single citizen in Gotham – every last one – to dump all of their cash in the street, where the Penguin, thinking himself quite the genius, will come and scoop it up.

None of those Gothomites will ever, ever even think about trying to get their money back.

MEANWHILE, IN THE PENGUIN'S LAIR, the Penguin's blonde bombshell girlfriend wants him to start buying her stuff with all of his new money. (I should point out at this point that it is a widely-held consensus that Adam West used to get blowjobs backstage while in costume, and it's a pretty sweet bet that any time you see a hot girl around the Penguin it is only because Batman already did her till she didn't know what and what not.) The blonde wants diamonds, clothes and real estate. The Penguin then begins a delightfully fully absurd attempt to procure all of these items via the telephone, only to be turned down by all of the stores because they don't want infected cash. (I really do think there was a Real Estate store.) And then I think Batman and Robin trace his phone calls, show up and BAFF, ZAP, POW, CRASH.

As for his odds based on his record? I'll put it this way: even when the Penguin had the entire world practically turning itself inside out to help help him win, he was still thoroughly defeated by a plan that was only going to work as long as the Penguin used that one phone line. I don't think the millionaire playboy or even his young ward bothered to yank Shakespeare's head on that one.

In conclusion, based on what we know about the Penguin, his nature, his environment and what he's up against, it seems fair to say that no, his insidious plot will not, in fact, succeed. Likely he will be caught, beaten, tried to the fullest extent of the law and referred to Arkham Asylum, where Dr. Jonathan Crane will torture him with drugs until somebody accidentally lets him out again.

Dust and air.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Legend of Zelda

I am standing by the stove, cooking myself a small dinner of soup and a sandwich while I discuss with Joel the various pros and cons of not being able to keep the evil Skullfish in your fishing journal in Twilight Princess. (There is a subgame in every Zelda game that involves fishing all over the place.) Why he bothered to fish one up in the first place is beyond me, but he did.

Regardless, there were no pros, and chief among the cons was the fact that you have no way of, say, transporting the specimen to another location, such as Ordon Province (Link's home in the game) or, better yet, one of the springs that house the Spirits of Light.

Now, here's where it gets a bit sticky. While I am stirring my soup and thinking about all of the possibilities of such an act (the fish eating all of the native wildlife, killing children, etc.) Joel, in reference to what he would say if he could drop the fish into one of the life-giving ponds, yells "Take that! Let's see what happens faster: my hearts fill up or you die."

What confuses me isn't exactly his use of language, but rather the realization that he is, I believe, talking to the Skullfish. So instead of dropping a foreign object into the pond in the hopes that he will throw off an entire ecosystem, Joel in his fantasy has instead decided to go far, far out of his way just so he can more elaborately smite evil.

My faith in humanity increases by one point.