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Our participants: Our participants:
-Bobbie Dooley-Rutherford, private investigator.+''Bobbie Dooley-Rutherford, private investigator.''
-James Levine, reporter on organized crime in Gotham+''[[James Levine]], reporter on organized crime in Gotham''
-Felix Q. Freeblood, federal criminal profiler for 27 years, author of "I Didn't Do It!: Inside The Mind of The Criminal Mastermind"+''Felix Q. Freeblood, federal criminal profiler for 27 years, author of "I Didn't Do It!: Inside The Mind of The Criminal Mastermind"''
GCN: Bobbie, James, Felix, thank you for joining us. Why don't we start with the obvious: Who is Batman? GCN: Bobbie, James, Felix, thank you for joining us. Why don't we start with the obvious: Who is Batman?

Revision as of 00:28, 4 July 2008

Lifestyle is a subsection of


June 9, 2008


The Desmond family of Gotham Heights spent over $20,000 on a high-tech protection service for their million-dollar home. And they're not alone.

As crime continues to rise throughout Gotham City, the home-security business is booming. "Crime's terrible for the city, but great for business," according to Theo Smytheson, one of the owners of Acme Security Systems.

"If this keeps up, I'll be able to retire by 45. And I'll know I helped protect our families," said Smytheson

So how can you help guard your home or apartment from Gotham's criminals? There are a variety of options, and not all of them are budget-busters.

Worried families can choose from fully customized systems that involve electronic "trip wires" and motion sensors to simpler, cheaper options.

Alarms that trigger when a lock is broken with notifications instantly sent to both the police and a private security company are especially popular.

"You don't have to be Bruce Wayne to protect your family," Katie Tyler of Acme told GCN. "Our entry-level system is based on a monthly fee of only $49.95… that's even cheaper than basic cable."

Some consumer activists in the city aren't so high on many of the security options, however. They claim they offer Gotham citizens nothing more than a false sense of peace of mind.

"These so-called security systems do little more than alert the police, and the security companies charge thousands of dollars for that," according to Nina Rona Touchstone, a reporter for The Gotham Consumer Advocate, a free publication found in many local supermarkets.

"In most burglary situations, the homeowner or resident could simply dial 9-1-1 in the same time it takes a system to do the same thing," said Touchstone. "These overpriced gadgets simply do not keep your families or possessions safe."

The Gotham Police Department also has qualms about home security systems. Some in the department say proliferating home alarms could end up making us all less safe.

Spokesman Randall Dandridge explained that "more often than not, these things trigger too easily and result in over 100 false alarms a month. That's time wasted that could have been spent doing real police work."

Despite such warnings, sales of home security systems have risen by a whopping 35% in the past three months in the city with no sign of a slowdown in sight. For many Gotham citizens, it's better safe than sorry.


Forget Paris or Milan. For high fashion, the new big name - is Gotham!

If you've been seeing the most beautiful women in the world walking around Gotham City lately, it's not your imagination.

For a few days, Gotham has become the style capital of the world when the 14th Annual Gotham Fashion Week took over downtown. Fashion fanatics from all over the globe joined a coterie of Gotham's own design stars and thousands of fashion fans for a wacky and wild celebration of popular and couture design.

Spirits were high as the weeklong festivities kicked off at the famed and fabulous Seville Hotel. The charity gala ball was hosted by legendary Gotham clothing designer Anita Toulane.

And fashion may be frivolous, but this party wasn't - all the money raised went to a local charity which clothes Gotham homeless citizens.

The event drew the cream of Gotham society - from politicos such as Mayor Garcia to business tycoons like playboy Bruce Wayne. According to observers, Wayne paid less attention to the models on the runway than to the two models that accompanied him to the event.

The following day, Gotham resident and world-renown fashion designer Oglethorpe stunned onlookers with a collection that "blends a 1920s retro chic with synthetic fabrics and a Communist Bloc space-race aesthetic."

And the party isn't over yet. Hundreds of models will strut their stuff on Gotham catwalks in 30 different fashion shows over the next few days. Critics are looking forward to cult favorites like Tokyo designer Takara Yokokawa and London designer Oslow Jones.

But the most crowded show is expected to be Gotham's own Morris Shulstein with his collection of children's clothes inspired by the works of C. J. Muttonchop.

So if you want to be on the cutting edge of fashion, get yourself to a runway show. And remember to dress fabulous - everyone else will.


Where does the richest man in Gotham move when his house burns down? For Bruce Wayne, the answer was easy - find the priciest luxury tower in town and buy the entire top two floors.

With seven bedrooms, six baths, marble flown in from Italian rockyards, two ballrooms, and panoramic city views, Wayne's new residence represents the ultimate in city living.

Wayne Industries is using the apartment to test out radical new technologies for home use. It's a "digital home" where your every whim - from music to lighting to video and games -- can be granted via fingertip access points.

Wayne gutted the interior and invested millions in a renovation. And today was the move-in date.

Curiosity seekers and photographers jostled for a view as Bruce Wayne moved his belongings - thinned out from the fire -- into the penthouse suite at Gotham Century Towers.

But not everybody is bowled over by the tower's most high-profile resident.

Things got off to a bad start for one of Wayne's new neighbors, Clarissa Dolls. when she returned home after a spa treatment to find that Wayne's movers had limited access to all three of the building's elevators.

"This is against building regulations. Only one elevator is supposed to be used for moving in and out."

But her husband, Federico, was more worried about the potential noisy parties that might be thrown by the notorious hedonist.

"I don't like noise. He better be careful, because I have no trouble calling the police," said Alfonse. Other residents expressed concerns about the unwanted scrutiny that Wayne might bring to their posh surroundings.

Not all tenants are displeased by having a celebrity neighbor. "Bruce Wayne is the hottest thing around. Can you believe he's living here?" gushed 16-year-old Monica Ferrell. "Could he be any cuter?"

June 13, 2008

"MANURE KING" BRINGS LIFE TO GOTHAM GARDENS You can smell the gamey, rich scent from blocks around Jefferson Wileston's one-acre plot in the outskirts of Gotham. It's a smell that reminds one of the earth, of Mother Nature, and of country air. But what really matters to Wileston is not the smell but the shape - of the tomatoes.

Wilesont says the huge size, cartoon-red color, and perfect roundness of his beloved tomatoes is really due to the "golden soil" he grows them in.. "I can't really take credit. It's the king's doing."

The "king" Wilestone is referring to is Jayson Berghoffer, better known as "the manure king of Gotham."

For over 40 years, Berghoffer has supplied Gotham gardeners with "the finest manure at the finest prices," as the slogan outside his Sheal storefront proclaims. "I offer all kinds of manure. I got your basic horse, goat, cattle, and sheep manures, but what really knocks your socks off is my own secret blend."

"The secret blend is the best," says gardener and long-time customer Maggie Lynn Peepers. "I don't know what Jayson puts in the stuff, but it has just the right combination of nutrients. My carrots love it, and it smells pretty good, too."

Peepers isn't alone in this feeling. Wilsetone's shop, "Fertile Fields," sells over 30,000 pounds of the blend each year. And the golden manure is not just a local market. Wileston gets his fertilizer shipped all over the world via the Gotham docks.

Wileston developed his secret formula after failing to find a fertilizer that worked well in the nutrient-poor soil of his Gotham garden.

"That was almost 50 years ago. I started experimenting out in my shed. Those fumes really got my head spinning sometimes and it drove my wife crazy that I was always back there mixing up the stuff," said Wileston.

But not even his wife's concerns could stop Wileston's quest for garden gold.

"I finally found the perfect combo for Gotham gardens, and the proof, as they say in my trade, is in the pooping."

June 20, 2008


Is it the constant noise of horns, sirens, and 24-hour bustle? Or is it fear of violent crime or Fear Toxin outbreaks?

Whatever the reason, Gotham beat out Cairo for the title of the Most Sleep-Deprived City in the World according to an annual study by urban experts.

All the coffee, caffeine-laden soda drinks, and energy drinks in the world can't solve the problem of sleepy Gotham citizens, said Dr. Henry Rechter of the National Institute for Slumber Research.

"What we're facing is a sleep crisis," said Rechter. "And sleep-deprived people are more likely to get involved in car accidents, violence, and drug and alcohol abuse."

The average Gotham citizen gets just 6.3 hours of sleep per night, according to the study. Many residents report less than 5 hours of sleep a night. Experts say that most people need 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep a night.

Dr. Stephanie Hart-Loveless, from Gotham General Hospital, was a local consultant in the study. "There's been a lot of sources for increased stress in the past year, and we're starting to see the effects," said Hart-Loveless.

"It's a vicious cycle. People who haven't slept properly go to work, or come home, and they've got short tempers, or they can't remember things, and they just create more stress."

But do the bleary-eyed Gotham masses think they are sleep deprived? The answer is no. 78% of those who slept less than 6 hours a night felt that they were sleeping as much as they needed to.

Again, Dr. Rechter: "People won't admit to being sleep-deprived. But they're hitting the snooze bar repeatedly, taking daytime naps, show dark circles under their eyes. They just don't make the connection."

And who might the most famous victim of sleep deprivation be in Gotham? Dr. Rechter says the most weary of us might be Batman himself.

"When he should be sleeping, he's out fighting crime," Rechter said. "That's got to harm his sleep patterns."

June 27, 2008


Bruce Wayne put down millions for his hyper-luxury penthouse looking out on the skyline. But will he be forced to sell?

Complaints by his neighbors have reached a critical mass, and some angry residents are considering suing Gotham's richest playboy to force him to leave.

Longtime resident Ramona Cella-Picoma told GCN that Wayne's raucous lifestyle had ruined her quiet one.

"Half the time there's some car parked cockeyed in my spot. Or there's a string of floozies congregating in the lobby. I can hear his parties all night long, and I'm ten floors below him!" said Cella-Picoma. "This is a home, not a rock concert!"

Residents are trying to take action against Wayne without resorting to the legal system at first. 23 tenants signed a grievance letter detailing noise violations, unruly crowds, and a crush of paparazzi that have disrupted their lives,

The letter was sent to the tower's managers and demanded that Wayne be removed.

Mr. Wayne moved in to the building six months ago after the legendary Wayne Manor burnt to the ground - the result of a catastrophic fire that Mr. Wayne himself is rumored to have started in one of his notorious drunken parties.

The night of the fire, Mr. Wayne interrupted his own birthday celebration to kick all of the attendants out of the house in an alcohol-fueled tirade. The fire began mere minutes later.

The self-proclaimed "ringleader" of the angry tenants, Donna Bones-Yeardly, said that she felt it was just about impossible to try communicating with her most famous of neighbors.

"He keeps odd hours. Alfred, who's very sweet, won't ever put me in touch with him. At some point, if we can't address these issues with him face-to-face, we'll have to take further action," Bones-Yeardly said.

Wayne's massive wealth makes any type of eviction a difficult try. Already, there are rumors that Wayne will buy the entire building if push comes to shove.

July 3, 2008


It's the biggest topic of conversation in Gotham City.

In offices, kitchens, barbershops and beauty parlors, everyone's speculating on the real identity of Batman. Who could this masked man really be?

"We talk about it all the time," said secretary at Wayne Enterprises Janice Greetear. "It's definitely water-cooler conversation."

"Everybody has their own theory," said Todd Sieviersky, owner of Todd's Gotham Barbershop. "Usually it's the first thing people talk about when they sit down."

So GCN is joining the conversation. We've put together a round-table discussion on the question.

Our participants:

Bobbie Dooley-Rutherford, private investigator.

James Levine, reporter on organized crime in Gotham

Felix Q. Freeblood, federal criminal profiler for 27 years, author of "I Didn't Do It!: Inside The Mind of The Criminal Mastermind"

GCN: Bobbie, James, Felix, thank you for joining us. Why don't we start with the obvious: Who is Batman?

FREEBLOOD: That's the question, isn't it? Well, I think we know several things. First of all, this is a very intelligent, physically fit man. He's smart enough to get away with this type of outrageous vigilantism for a very long time. That requires organization - execution - lines of entry and exit into very high-trafficked locations. It requires an intelligence reminiscent of an engineer, or another profession that requires detailed planning.

DOOLEY-RUTHERFORD: I agree, he's certainly a college graduate or higher, but someone who is not living up to his potential. He's frustrated, very frustrated. His life hasn't gone as well as he planned. One of my pet theories here is that he is a highly-educated man unable to get a job in his chosen field. He may live at home, and be considered a bit odd by neighbors. A narcissist who has grown up expected to do great things, but is filled with anger that he hasn't been as successful as he was expected to be.

LEVINE: It seems to me that there is a bit of pathologizing of Batman going on here. Batman does not strike me as a mad man or motivated by any psychopathic concerns. Perhaps he is a regular Gotham citizen, like the rest of us, who saw violent crime destroy someone close to him. Perhaps, his genesis began when he himself was victimized.

DOOLEY-RUTHERFORD: This is a man consumed with frustration, rage really. Rage at a world where, as he probably sees it, scum, trash, and criminals are more successful than he is.

FREEBLOOD: I would imagine that this is a man, perhaps, who has tried his hand at crime. Perhaps a mugging, or a burglary, but that a brittle psychological structure and a type of authoritarian morality prevented him from continuing down that path. In his guilt and shame, he turned to stopping crime.

LEVINE: Batman's existence does not need any grand explanation. The violent crime rate on the streets is reason enough for a phenomenon like him to exist.

DOOLEY-RUTHERFORD: Any man who puts on a costume and attacks criminals has to be motivated by some deep childhood trauma.

FREEBLOOD: I agree. I believe that this is a man who looked for an outlet for his white-hot rage. Perhaps he tried crime first before he became the caped crusader he is now.

DOOLEY-RUTHERFORD: We should also not forget the exquisite physical conditioning that Batman has shown. Flying, gliding, fighting - he does it all. I suspect that we may be looking for a physically-obsessed loner, perhaps a "gym rat" who spends all this time working on his body. There is a bit of the exhibitionist about him, showing off in front of all of Gotham. Perhaps he is a frustrated bodybuilder?

FREEBLOOD: I see him as painfully shy without his costume.

DOOLEY-RUTHERFORD: Yes, I have considered that as well.

LEVINE: I think we may be on the wrong path. What do we know about him? We know he is an extremely intelligent, elusive man who is very physically fit. That's all we know. The rest is, excuse my language, hooey.

FREEBLOOD: I'm not so sure. I think it's safe to say he is frustrated with his own job and often thinks himself better than other people. You may not hear him talk much, but he will often talk about crime and about the latest Batman sightings.

GCN: Thanks much to the group.

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