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Smithson Thus Far... ·


Yeah, I lost a bet with James Rice. As he explains:

This of course is one of my all time favorite Narbonic strips, and the first Sunday strip I ever owned. I worked practically in the shadow of Angel stadium, and when the Angels made it to the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, I had to try and make some sort of a bet with the only person I knew in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Shaenon wouldn't bet. At least not right away. She waited until the Giants were up 3 games to 2 before she finally agreed. The bet was $20 vs. at some point one of her characters had to wear an Angels hat in a strip. When they won, I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this. Shaenon also sent me the original, uncolored strip. It is one of my most prized pieces of animation or comic strip art.

The silliest part of this is that the Giants aren't even my team. I support the Pittsburgh Pirates, who need all the support they can get, poor things.

Speaking of James Rice, what else have he and his gerbil Speedy been up to?

Well, they went caving in the Mojave, and Speedy helped a researcher from Berkeley collect soil samples.

Then they went to NASA!

James writes, "This is MARS dish control room at the Goldstone Deep Space Tracking Network. While this photo was being taken, the dish was talking to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and just about everything else currently orbiting Mars, too."

He adds, "Of course, if you're at Goldstone, you really have to visit Fort Irwin too."

Well duh.

James Rice (jhrice) says: I've got to add that the soil was being collected to test the idea that caves might preserve signs of life better than the surface does.  This is important of you're looking for signs of life on Mars.  Yeah, we were doing actual research for an experiment that might go to Mars some day.  There were some even cooler things about that particular set of soil samples, that unfortunately, need to be kept secret.
Michael Taub (otakuloki) says: Obviously James and Speedy helped find evidence of the elusive zombie giant sloth community living in the caves of the American southwest, waiting the day they can come out of their caves to wreck terrible vengenance on the descendants of the tribes that pushed the giant sloth into extinction.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Secret. Yeah. Right. Whaaaaaatever.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Oh, and Helen's expression in that last panel is ADOWABLE.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

You did pretty well at shifting the cap's perspective, given that logo's more detailed than poor Artie himself.

A superintelligent gerbil would indeed be a great help on an archaeology dig... but letting one into NASA sounds... hazardous.  "The Orbiter is demanding we send... alfalfa?"  ;-)


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

You know, there are so few good songs about superheroes.  The "Spider-man" theme song has been done to death, plus it really doesn't scan with Speedy's name.  I was about to fall back on the "Mighty Mouse" theme, when I remembered a more appropriate tune.  This one's for you, Speedy ...
(TUNE: "Superman" by Five For Fighting)

At first, he seems so small,
But soon, you'll be surprised!
In courage, he stands tall
With a heart that's super-sized!

This gerbil is fast!
This gerbil is brave!
On the land, or air, or ocean wave,
Thru danger and doom
He always can cope,
'Cause he's got his orange climbing rope!
He's the gerbil
Named Spee-dy!

James Wolf (wolfmanjames) says: Considering the Giants haven't won a World Deries since they moved to San Fran, can't you give them love too, Sarge?
Jason Summerlott (melkarion) says:

I find the "secrecy" of the soil samples eminently plausible.  When I was an undergraduate I got an internship in the course of which I gained access to "secret" things.  The government really likes making things secret, even when the people discovering said secrets have no idea why they could conceivably require secrecy.

 "What will 'the terrorists' do with the Higgs boson?"

"Publish first."

"And gain international credibility among experimental particle physicists?!  Those fiends!"

(That wasn't the secret part.)

James Rice (jhrice) says:

It isn't the government that wants the secrecy.   The details surrounding this cave need to be secret so that the cave is not disturbed any more than absolutely necessary.  This cave is unique in the area in that it has been entered exactly twice. 

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Preach it, Sister Helen.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile