Friday, January 13, 2006

Alien Christmas

Before Christmas, I went into D.C. with my cousin to see the tree in front of the White House. Fate conspired against us, so we only saw it lit from a distance. But we did see the tree in front of the Capitol. Apparently, the tree was from Arizona and was decorated with a rather interesting theme - Native Americans and aliens.

Here is one of the many UFOs that we saw on the tree.
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And here is an alien head, of which there were also many.
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You can also make out some of the god's eyes, but the dreamcatchers didn't show up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why Work for the Joker?

When I wasn’t playing sports this weekend, I was watching Batman: The Animated Series (well, 28 episodes of it, anyway). (This is not to be confused with The Batman, which is vastly inferior). As I brainwashed myself, I started to wonder about the thugs that always accompanied even the most psychotic and/or pathetic villains (except Catwoman, a true loner, though also probably the most sane of the Batman villains). Spider-man’s villains, who rival Batman’s as the most bizarre, numerous, and varied, rarely seem to have any flunkies. What could possibly motivate these people to work for their twisted employers?

One possibility is that it pays well, especially for the apparently economically depressed Gotham City. There are more abandoned warehouses, factories, and amusement parks in Gotham than there are total warehouses, factories, and amusement parks in many small cities. This can’t be a good sign for Gotham’s economy. Sure, the Ventriloquist may convey his plans for heists through his dummy, Scarface (who regularly belittles and insults him), but hey, the plans work (until Batman catches on) and the take is decent. The same goes for Penguin, The Riddler, and Two-Face, who aren’t usually so much out to destroy the city as they are out to get power and money.

Then there’s the “cult following”. Ra’s Al Ghul’s followers in particular fit this description. “Let’s destroy the world!” he says. “Hooray!” they say. Because presumably the world will be a better place after it’s over. Or something. A decent paycheck will not instill enthusiasm for that kind of twisted logic. Also, Harley Quinn is kind of a cult of one when it comes to the Joker. Talk about the ultimate fan.

Of course, there’s always the theory that it’s better to work for the crazy man than die with the rest of the city when he destroys it. Joker and Scarecrow have both tried to gas Gotham with their own signature psychotropic drugs. Their thugs got gas masks, while the rest of the city was left to go insane with laughter or fear. (If they gassed the city at the same time, would the toxins counteract each other?) So, really, your chances of survival may go up if you work for the bad guys. If the bad guys win, you’ll be one of the few left alive. If Batman stops the bad guy, he’ll kick you around a bit, but he won’t kill you. Either way, you live to see another day.

The Mad Hatter has it easiest of all. He just uses mind control to get whoever he wants to do whatever he wants, so long as he can initially get close enough to them to get his mind control chip on them. He doesn’t need charisma to get people to do his bidding and he doesn’t have to split the loot. And maybe that’s it. Maybe Jervis Tetch has created a lackey factory. For the price of a small jewel heist, you can have your very own set of lackeys. For the price of a museum heist, he’ll give you a whole gang! Lackeys are sold as is, with no warranty against incompetence or growing a conscience. Price is non-refundable, no returns accepted.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Flaming Mouse

It seems that someone found a mouse in his house and threw it into a pile of burning leaves. The mouse caught fire and ran back into the house, burning it to the ground. I wonder if he's related to him.