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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

Hey, I partially called it!

 Hmm, the name Gavotte makes sense now, bees communicate by dancing, doing a little waggle dance to indicate direction and distance.

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: But when she vocalizes, is it every bee talking?  How does that work?!
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: AUGH THE BEES!
Terry Smith (tjlsmith) says:

WOOT! I was right!

 However, the sentient peanut would have been - different...


So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

I guess I was right, more or less.

Side note: Anyone remember 'A Hat Full of Sky'?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Yes, I remember "A Hat Full Of Sky"; I'm re-reading "Wintersmith" right now.  For those of you who haven't read Terry Pratchett's work ... well, your lives are sad and incomplete.

I suppose that, since the group already has a member named "Sweetheart", they couldn't call the leader "Honey".

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

SIB and Ed:  Yeah, Hat Full Of Sky is cool, but sentient beehives are certainly older than that! 

Martha:  Think about all those vibrating, buzzing wings... then consider an intelligence capable of coordinating all of those vibrations, combining and modulating them -- "easy enough" to form a voice there....  (Note that we're back to "animal spirits" again....)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: PS: "Her real name can't be performed by anone with less than 20 bodies..."  And in what conversational circles might that "real" name actually be used?  Just how many other hive-minds are there for her to chat with?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Well, there's Douglas Hofstadter's Aunt Hillary.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Moustachio and Gavotte
sat in the western atrium,
though perhaps 'sat' is strong
for Moustachio lacks legs.
The lady once remarked upon
his lack as they enjoyed their tea.
"Nonsense," he replied
with customary brassy cheer--
"Your surplus more than balances
any absences most singular."
He reclined then,
hissing tea scented steam
and the lady delicately settled--
a dozen bees or more alighting
upon brass epaulets and fixtures.
She must be careful--
so many Thinkoium bits are hot,
and apis andreniformis
can burn so easily.
Moustachio, it seemed,
could sting Gavotte,
and not the other way around.
But both remained unstung,
and as they were wont to do
they spoke of the price of corn,
the decline of manners,
and public figures economic
and celebrated.
Which is to say
they enjoyed their tea,
for some value of enjoyed,
and some value of tea.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Eric, could you please try and be a little less awesome in the future?  My pride thanks you in advance.
Andrew Perron (ununnilium) says:

"And in what conversational circles might that "real" name actually be used? Just how many other hive-minds are there for her to chat with?"

Now I'm imagining the entire cast of A Miracle of Science doing a sort of Suzumiya Haruhi-ish dance.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Eric -- most excellent.  I must now go and put on a hat, solely that I might take it off to you.


Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

When I was little, I used to be able to pet bumblebees. But then I made the mistake of trying to catch one, and it stung me.

I feel Tips pain. 

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says:

I'm bringin' home a baby bumblebee,

Won't my mommy be so proud of me?

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: You know, Scraps the Patchwork Girl's travelling companion, the Woozy, eats honey bees.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Three things flashed through my head with this one. (Tuesday)

1. Real honey?  ...I don't want to know.

2. Note that Tip wears earrings.

And, 3:

...say, want a mint? ;)

Jordi (jordik) says: Honey is bee vomit... no wonder Trip feels more than a little weirded out.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Imagine talking to the cow who provided the milk you're drinking. ;)
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

SIB:  So, would Tip gender-flip into a drag king?

I'm amused that Gavotte has a desk -- with a calendar-book on it, yet!


Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Now you have me wondering whether the calendar book is written in English or Bee.

"Take a note," she thinks, and thirty bees dip their feet in ink and dance on the book. 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Dave -- even worse, imagine your own real-life job, and your boss offering you some candy that you know was excreted from his/her body.


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: The desk is probably full of honeycomb.  Which is bound to get the files sticky.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Of course it is,  You catch more files with honey, you know.
David Palmer (viadd) says:

No you don't.

(I've never tried it.  Maybe we should ask Mythbusters.) 

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

You know, it almost seems like Gavotte is coming on to Tip...

Or maybe she just likes tweaking at his insecurites. 

bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says: Has anyone else twigged to the many African artworks? Are Gavotte genetically-altered African (or Africanized) Honey Bees? In other words, KILLER bees? Makes sense: to have an intelligent weapon that swarms would be harder to disable or destroy. Anybody read Crighton's PREY?
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Jordi says: Honey is bee vomit... no wonder Trip feels more than a little weirded out. 

Tip is trippin' alright. (I once had a weird friend named Charlie Tripper. He was.)

Honey is nectar mixed with bee-spit, vomit, and in the case of fir-tree honey, aphid feces. Considering the crap many bosses make one take, this one is easier than most. 


Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

See, the problem here is that you *just KNOW* that that toffee is *delicious*. Have you ever *had* real honey toffee?!

On a side note, Why yes!  I would love a mint! 

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: In response mental_mouse- no, I don't think tip would identify as a drag queen.  Drag queens are much more over the top traditionally, and they're impersonating the other gender.  Tip isn't, as he has hairy legs and isn't stuffing a brassier.  He's not trying to fool anyone, he just thinks he looks hot in ladies clothing.  So I think Transvestite would be appropriate; Action Transvestite doubly so.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: God I love this comic.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Martha:  You're surely right, but "my poor little joke, you squashed it!"  (I'd only just just lent it out from keyboard duty.  Really, Gaxotte... Gawotte... Gafotte... whatefer, she'd empathize!  ;-) )
Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says:

(I've never tried it.  Maybe we should ask Mythbusters.)

 I'm fairly certain they did that one, and the vinegar attracted more flies.

Quentin Long (cubist) says: You know, nobody has yet speculated on which Oz character Gavotte might have been inspired by. She doesn't seem to be a close match to any of them, but there is at least one sentient insect in the Ozian canon: Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T.E. Yes? No?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I like how Gavotte says, "an organization knows". Unusual wording, but intriguingly appropriate for someone who is herself an organization.
Dan Knapp (dankna) says: .... so, very sneaky ants are stealing their glasses of water and pills and hangover pills?  Or something vaguely like that.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: David Harmon- I apologize for squashing your joke.  I'm a sex educator in my spare time, I wasn't reading your comment carefully, didn't notice the joke and just sat on you with massive amounts of sex educator nonsense.  It's a knee jerk reaction that comes out when I'm reading sleepy.  Gosh.  Your comments are wonderful and entertaining.  Sorry!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: To Aaron Shades, AKA prof_tinker: you are now female. Ha.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Martha:  Oh, it's OK, I totally understand the urge to infodump!  (Besides being half Aspie myself, I hung out with some "exceptionally diverse" crowds in college.)  I only teased you about it because I spotted a lead-in to the hive-at-a-keyboard joke.

In the same vein, it's amusing that a talking dog and a zombie are both so blown away by a mere wandering waterglass.  I assume they'd notice if it were bees moving the glass, so now I'm wondering just where the aqueous ambulator is headed!


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Mustachio has clearly gotten his Infra-Aetheric Telelocational Movulator functioning again, at last! The World's Fair Exposition will now rue the day!
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

However, the artists have earned a bit of teasing for panel 3!  Did the moving waterglass leave a black mark over Sweetheart's vitamin-C pill?  :-)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Nothin' wrong with panel 3 ... it soot c me just fine.

Soot soot soot c, goodbye ... soot soot soot c, don't cry ...

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Hmmm... Sweetheart's response suggests that in certain non-obvious ways, she's far more human than animal.  (An animal response would be more like "YIKES!  Look at that!  What's going on here?")
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Even the sound effects are hung over, mouse.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: DvD:  Yow!  I don't usually go for karaoke, but that must have been some night!
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

::snicker:: Aqueous ambulator!  I love it! And that's the first scoot with dropsy I've ever seen, but then Unity is the first cute zombie I've ever seen...

 RE: Dragging.

Kid: Dad, I'm writting a report for school. What did you like to do when you were young?

Dad: I loved to get with my buddies and go drag racing!

Kid (writing): When my Dad was young, he and his friends would dress in women's clothing and run down the street....

Typhin Reynard (typhin) says:

Gavotte makes me think of "Guy Made of Bees" ( ), but that's probably because I play way too much Kingdom of Loathing...  ^_^;;

 Besides, Gavotte's a lot nicer than GMoB.  Gavotte doesn't go around saying, "We are Bees.  We hate you."

(Oh, and wow, no bbCode, eh?  Well, that's one way to stop a spammer...  Is there another way to make links, though?)

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Damn you, So It Begins! You realize that we are mortal enemies now, right?

VENGANCE WILL BE MINE!! And why is my hair longer now?! How does *that* work?! And my goatee is gone . . . 

On that note, 'I don't have blood, it was all alcohol' FTW. 

John Campbell (jcampbel) says: So am I the only one whom "bust out the Raid in an office where the boss is bees" strikes as a bad idea?
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Probably.  I suspect that Govotte signed the requisition.
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says:

I suspect that Govotte signed the requisition.

How many of her did it take to lift the pen? 

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Gavotte probably just has her bees walk over inkpads then dance on paper.

Panel three looks like Tip is at least partially doing the "oh sure, you expect the guy to deal with the bug problem" bit which leads nicely into the reversal in panel four.  I likes.

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Now there is a slave to fashion


Rockphed (rockphed) says: One other question:  Why don't they just have Govotte deal with it?  Surely a bee swarm would be more effective at killing ants than a Mad man with a can of raid.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Rockphed, you DO realize that bees DIE when they sting something, right? Hence, multiple ants means losing a LOT of weight, generally NOT a good thing for as hiveminds generally have exponential brainpower.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Aren't small icky things allowed to look pretty too? Let 'em have the lipliner.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: I used to work with a small icky thing. Lipliner didn't help.
Eric (erichamion) says:

Oh, that's how it is, is it?  The team will risk life, limb, and hair for an engineered mammal (or a machine that resembles one), but they're prepared for genocide against engineered insects?  Gavotte should be ashamed for fostering such blatant and deadly classism.

Or perhaps, despite here "an organization should know," she's unaware of the team's hostile activities toward insects.  If that's the case, they had better hope only Unity and Moustachio are around when she finds out.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Flashback to the Narbonic line "Also, there may be spiders that need killing."
George Olive (geoolive) says:

NigaiAmai Yume - actually bees can sting insects without dying, it's only when they sting thick-skinned animals like mammals that they leave their stingers imbedded.

John Vertical (tropylium) says: Nevertheless, ants can do ranged attacks (acid spray), have better jaws, and generally have more numbers than bees, so I'm not sure if Gavotte would want to engage (assuming there is some sort of hostility involved).
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: -isms are always more virulent the closer the excluded group gets to one's own group, actually. A hivemind may be indifferent to mammals but really hate those stinkin' ants, always taking jobs and pollen away from hardworking bees, etc.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: prof_tinker: Hit me with your best shot.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Sweetheart didn't ctually say they were ants, you know.  It might be invisible rats or such.


Watanabe Jones (preferredusername) says:

"Sweetheart didn't ctually say they were ants, you know.  It might be invisible rats or such."


No, but she DID say they were "bugs."  And one doesn't generally go adter rats with a can of Raid... 

Watanabe Jones (preferredusername) says: Oops:  "after," not "adter."  And it was Unity who said "bugs," but YNWIM.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: What I'd like to know is: Why is a *Government* lab enhancing vermin???
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Um, do we even know that Unity is correct in what she claims it is? If I recall whatever was acting up yesterday was unseen to us.
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Mr. Ed says: Flashback to the Narbonic line "Also, there may be spiders that need killing."

Fourth panel flashback: A very Dave-looking Tip

Enhanced Vermin. In Lip-liner. Sounds like the Raid may not bee enough.

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Are you kidding? Do you know what ant's *eat*? I wouldn't want *my* lip-liner anyway *near* their mandibles!

. . . . what? It's the *nice* kind.

So It Begins: Would you care for a cough drop? 

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I suppose the fact that Sweetheart hasn't got opposable thumbs might be why she can't use the raid. But notice, and I predict, they have not said definitively what it is. I bet it's nanobots.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: Raid first, ask questions later...
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: Mark my words, a couple will end up having sex on Floor 12 before this comic ends.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Wait, they have at least 12 floors, but only 5 people?  (counting Gavotte as one person)  Since they're a government organization, the other floors must be filled with paperwork.

Mutant ants ... everyone's favorite Perversion of Nature!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Aaron Shades AKA prof_tinker: Yes, I would.

*takes cough drop and runs it through the chemical analyzer*

What, you thought I was going to eat it?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Operation: Skin Horse shares space in a very bizarre office building, Ed. Hmmmm...maybe, if you zoom in really close, so you can see the 0.001 point font, you'll see "DESTROY!" over and over again....
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Ed and Dvandom: Obviously, OSH has been shoehorned into the same building which houses all the government's other "Mad Science" departments. 

Kinda like how Indy's Ark Of The Covenant gets stashed in the Big Room Of Seecrit Stuff.

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says: It's time for the next comic to go up, and I only just figured out the Borrowers thing....Tiny invisible dudes running off with stuff. Yeah. I should get more sleep.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

Shaenon, would you please, please, please, tell us all what those door say? I am curious beyond all reason.

P.S. How many ways can an eyeball really melt? 

James Rice (jhrice) says: Most days at my job aren't all that special, but some days are just like that.  I don't melt eyes, but I do get to play with fire, and heavy machinery.
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

Bureau of Precambrian Defense

 Always gotta be on guard for those velociraptors.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
The first one is "Clerk of the Clerk of Clerks," the second is indeed "Bureau of Precambrian Defense," and the last two are, I think, legible enough.

We have Jeffrey and his years in the civil service to thank for all of these excellent department names.
Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says: "Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

Bureau of Precambrian Defense

 Always gotta be on guard for those velociraptors."



Velociraptors are the FAR, FAR future from a pre-cambrian viewpoint. Only toward the last bit of that era did multicellular life even evolve, and hard bits (shells only in that era, skeletons didn't come until way later) only at the very tippy-top end.  Life wouldn't hit land for nonks.

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

yeah. Velociraptors indeed.

 Obviously the Bureau of Precambrian Defense is there to be on guard for Graboids. :)

Incog Neato (ghede) says:

"Clerk of the Clerk of Clerks"?

 Better check the spelling, I think you did a Write-o.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Clerk of the Clerk of "Clreks"?

"Doc-tor Tip is an en-e-my of the Cl-reks ... De-fen-es-trate, de-fen-es-trate..."   (Well, "destroy" was already taken...)


John Wells (johnwwells) says:

Hells yes? 

HELLS yes?



Hardy Sharla (yllaria) says: I assume the Department of Redundancy Department is down the hall.  I bet it has two doors. 
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Saw an "Office of Official Officers" in NYS's Dept of Env. Cons. once.

I've always been sorry that I didn't steal that sign.

Their job was appointing game wardens.




Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

"I assume the Department of Redundancy Department is down the hall.  I bet it has two doors."


Yes, one mark "Enter" and the other marked "In". 

Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says: With as small as those creatures are (as I would assume Untiy and Sweetheart described them) - I wonder briefly what Tip plans on doing with that net.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: "Clerk of the Clerk of Clerks"?

Oh, yeah. I meant to fix that in Photoshop, and then I forgot.
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

1) I am currently doing battle with Illinois' unemployment office.  Their official name is Illinois Department of Employment Security.  That's right- IDES.

2) While Narbonic never did crossovers, and Skin Horse doesn't seem likely to either, I still can't shake the feeling that Gav Van Darin is behind that door.

Michael Taub (otakuloki) says: The question I have is:  "Just who is being traumatized?  Are the felines being traumatized?  (In which case, I wonder if Leo has his new job, already.)  Or are the felines being used to traumatize other beings?  (Which might also be Leo's new job.  Maybe Leo alternates - traumatizer on even numbered days, and traumatized on odd numbered days?)"
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

Talking about Velociraptors, when I was in student congress I remember one bill that had to do with them. It involved cutting all militairy funding except to recreate killer velociraptors with teleporting armor. "They will be trained by a clone of Hitler to kill minorities with Nazi-like proficiency. Once we have a sufficient number, say seven, we will send them to guerilla camps in Panama to kill women and children. Any extra funding needed will be taken by taxing cripples and orphans extra heavily."

I've still got it somewhere. 

Nathan Walters (psychomarionette) says: Feline Trauma Project...I wonder if there are any kittens boiled in oil?  Oh Sir Pounce, how we miss thee...
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says: Velociraptors are the FAR, FAR future from a pre-cambrian viewpoint. Only toward the last bit of that era did multicellular life even evolve, and hard bits (shells only in that era, skeletons didn't come until way later) only at the very tippy-top end. Life wouldn't hit land for nonks.

Yeah, like you were there :P


Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

1) I first heard "Department of Redundancy Department" in college in 1978 or 79 from this guy: Anyone have a prior reference? If not, we can award him primacy.

2) Real Secret Government Doors (SGDs) have arcane project names (PNs). The four doors in the strip would be labeled MEN(OUT OF ORDER), ARCANETRAPPER, KITTYBOUNCE, and GAMMATOASTER.

3) We may pity Tip for having to do things that "normal" people never have to do, but the flip side is that Secret Government Jobs (SGJs) let you do things most people never get to do! Who hasn't watched Torchwood or X-Files and said "Sign me up!"

Heh. Heh. Heh. 

sharon (sharonopolis) says:

>[Tip's an] Action Transvestite doubly so.

No, an *executive* transvestite!

>...doing battle with the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

>That's right- IDES.

Well, hopefully you can get it wrapped up before the end of February... (groan)

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: Whoops. Stupid wikipedia and their chart of the Periods of Earth's history going from newest to oldest...
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: Wait, I think I just got it. The cambrian explosion sure sounds like there may be a bomb involved. Very suspicious, better set something up to keep an eye on that.
Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: Man, how does one go about applying for jobs in these offices? *L*  Precambrian Defense sound either way too fun or really boring but well paid.  ;P   Maybe the file-name story might say eventually. 
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile