Oddly Enough - I love Reuters' Oddly Enough news. It's a good place to go to remind yourself of the weirdness in the world. Another source of weird news is Australia's The Other Side, from News.com.au. Aussies have their own oleasant brand of insanity, and it's a nice break to get away from the American brand of insanity once in a while.


Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? - I don't. But Substandard #6 is out. Maybe I want to be a cartoonist?


Substandard #5 : "Gag" - As Mike said in his blog, this cartooning thing is addictive. Kinda like blogging.
More Ari - It must be tough being the President's front guy. I have to give Ari a lot of credit for his effort. Check out this snippet of a press briefing where Ari makes very little sense. Some of what his boss, and his boss' buddies are doing have simply thrown him for a loop.

Here's a comic dedicated to you, Ari:
Substandard #4 The Evening Muse.

Expect a sequel to this sometime later today...


Substandard #3 - When deadlines attack


Substandard #2 - Apparently, I'm calling my new comic strip "Substandard." If I don't burn myself out, perhaps I'll get a strip in regularly. Who knows? Check out my favorites list at the bottom of the comic strip's page. PDragon616 is Chuck.
They're not attacking you. - This is a priceless exchenge between Ari Fleischer and reporter Helen Thomas:
Q At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.

MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.

Q My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends --

Q They're not attacking you.

MR. FLEISCHER: -- from a country --

Q Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?

MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then.

Q Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.

Q Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost.

Q And he thinks they are a threat to us?

MR. FLEISCHER: There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States.

Q The Iraqi people?

MR. FLEISCHER: The Iraqi people are represented by their government. If there was regime change, the Iraqi --

Q So they will be vulnerable?

MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has not dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq --

Q That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country.

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown.

Q I think many countries don't have -- people don't have the decision -- including us.

Full text:
Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer


- A cool website called stripcreator allows you to make your own comic strips and post them. Check out my first one. (Click to see the full strip)

Let me know if you make any!
Gas for Guns - This weekend I caught an episode of Greater Boston (just the tail end, actually) in which one of the subjects discussed was that SUV commercial story I mentioned last week. What struck me was that one panelist called the ads "offensive."

This took me by surprise. I expected people to disagree, but to call the ads "offensive" seemed, to me, to be quite a stretch. Apparently, some people are offended by the singling out of SUV owners, since we all in some way or another use petroleum products. But it's clear that the singling out of SUVs is simply a quick way of highlighting the decisions we make that either maximize or minimize our use of oil.

But, after some reflection I realized that these offended people are feeling something. I think they're feeling uncomfortable at being reminded of how their decisions fit into the greater scheme of things. We're happy in this country as long as we can maintain the fiction that our lives must go on without interruption and inconvenience, a fiction that our leaders see fit in the last year or so to reinforce.
We're at the point that any suggestion that we change the course of our lives is met with derision, offense, distaste, and eventually ignored.

It turns out my FIL had an article published in the local paper on this very subject. His opinions are often picked up by the New Bedford Standard Times.

He publishes his letter to the editor also on his own website: SUVs, if you please - Jan 10, 2003