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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Nice hat!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Three Little Maids From School" from "The Mikado", Gilbert & Sullivan)

Three little Skin Horse wonks are we!
Unity, Sweetheart, and Tip will free
Chopper with censored profanity!
Three little Skin Horse wonks!

Cogidubnus (cogidubnus) says: Iz nize hat!
ysabet hasuko (ysabet) says:

Suuure hope they won custody of a lot of chopper fuel as well... and it IS a nice hat. The bite out've the brim's a particularly nice touch.  XD

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: Aw, the swearing font was fixed. I was hoping Nick was becoming one with his new verbal modality. Oh well.

The other part of my comment which was erased along with the old comic was about now having a craving for French-style dill pickles, which was unquestionably cruel given I'd just gotten back from a late-night grocery run. Thankfully, the craving has since passed.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: An error? Wow, never even considered it. :)
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Sorry about the missing comments. I accidentally erased them when I uploaded the corrected strip.
Eff Macadhaimh (macadhaimhs) says: I never had Unity down as the Fashionista type. It must be Tip's influence wearing off on her...
Warren Terra (warren_terra) says:

Will the eventual dead tree version of Skinhorse include some hints towards deBowdlerizing Nick, for those of us who are Curious But Lazy (or lack imagination)?

And will said version include Ed Gedeon's ditties?

Also, Unity is clearly wrong: that is not a new hat. It is in fact a used hat. Still, an outfit assembled from previously used garments is clearly more appropriate for Unity, and I understand that the hat had only one previous careful user, who only wore it to go to church on Sundays battle a zombie. Although, having written that, I'm now curious about what Unity (and Tip, naturally) would in fact wear to church on Sundays, not to mention what sort of church Unity would attend.

Sam Setter (eraser820) says: Unitarian Universalist :-)  Hey they made Artie an ordained minister, so they obviously must accept members who are the products of mad science...
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

Sam beat me to it. :) As for Tip, he's probably a Methodist, as in having a method to his madness. With a little madness in his method, too. (Hey, you got method in my madness! Well, you got madness in my method!)


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Unity's simply been hanging out with the Jagermonsters, Eff.
Dov Mittelman (silentspeaker) says:

But then wouldn't she have a bigger hat?

K. Feete (katastrophe) says: See? The trick is to have a really low threshhold for rewards.
Erin Palette (palette) says:

Me, I'm going nuts here trying to figure out if Nick is using "French" as an adjective or a verb.... french-kissing dill pickles sounds sinfully kinky!

Naomi H (starbright) says:

"I came out of fugue, and there was a vacancy on the team."

 Now I'm curious as to whether there was a vacancy before they went to contain Unity...

(gamerbj) says: Checking Sweetheart's cast page suggest there was not a vacancy.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: I rather doubt it.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Awwww... cute!
Peregrin Walker (peregrin) says: Unity's new hat reminds me of the Golden Helmet of Mambrino.
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: With so illustrious a past? Too long hast thou been lost to glory? Thou rediscovered now, at last?

THAT golden helment?

Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Saw that show live with Richard Keely at the O'keefe Center. Awesome.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Unity isn't "quixotic" so much as "quicksandic".  People come into contact with her and disappear.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Hah -- I hadn't noticed the new work on the cast pages!  Preety cool, but Gavotte and Mustachio still don't seem to have pages... neither does whoever wrote them (which Unity's page indicates is none of the known team members).


Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

"You'll like working for Gavotte! She's a real honey!"


 been waiting months to use that line...


Eric Burns (ericburns) says:

A problem placing Nick? Oh come now. He'd be the best drive-time traffic copter ever.

"And now, here's Nice -- our eye in the sky -- with today's traffic. Nick?"

"Hey Gail. There's a FRESH BUN of traffic on the I-5 corridor 'cause some LOOPED NUT was doing her SLACK DOOR makeup while drive and cut off a tractor trailer. It went SQUALLS IN THE FALL jackknife and all lanes are closed..."

Dov Mittelman (silentspeaker) says: I just spotted something really bizarre and funny. In the last week before this storyline began, someone in the comments said, "Maybe you could have a new character who's a car!" And now we have  Nick, who's a new character who's a helicopter, which is almost the same thing (in an unrelated note, does anyone know why nobody ever lets me drive them places?) because both are mechanical apparatuses not normally making it to the character page, which Nick isn't on either technically but it's a figure of speech damnit. Anyway, you get what I mean.
Sam Setter (eraser820) says: Speaking of coincidences.  Maybe someone has suggested this before, but evertime I think back to the fact the hacker that crashed the VR nick was in was named "Gold Bug" I have to wonder.  Now who do we know on the skin horse team that could be called golden colored and could be described as a "bug" ehh? Could it be Gavotte has been pulling the strings behind the scenes here?  OTOH I would think "she" would more likely go for something more ostentatious, like Queen Bee or Hive, not to mention I would think Gavotte would consider being called a "bug" demeaning.  Then again, the reason hackers choose aliases is to obfuscate thier identity, so who knows...
K C (spotweld) says:

Is it just me, or does it seem that Unity is devloping some sort of a crush...

And, is anyone else terrified by that?

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

She'll probably get over it once she realizes that Biscuit's serious about not wanting a machine gun.

Naomi H (starbright) says: I don't think it's a crush exactly... more like a kid with a new puppy. A giant, metallic, wrongswearing puppy.
shui lung (draconautus) says: I only just tuned in here so let me start by saying BUTTERSCOTCH EGG TOASTERS what a great comic!  Of course Unity is a Unitarian-it's right there in her name.  In regards to the hat, what I'm really curious about is why the security team at Groom Lake is still wearing the 1917 style "Tommy" helmets that the rest of the US Army discarded in 1942?  But it is a Nize Hat. And Unity's left foot should totally be played by Pamela Anderson
Andrew W (mrandrew) says: Gnap.
Rob (rrreed) says: No wonder Unity is smurfy all the time. But she'll be even smurfier after some smurfy waffles!
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Oh yeah, didn't they say that she had a thing about the Smurfs?
Josh MacLeod (alcar) says: Smurf would also make a great insult for Nick... "Oh, look, it's been Smurfed!"
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Ah - that Smurf episode was The Zombie Apocalypse scenario 9 years before Night of the Living Dead...


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ah.
William Hostman (aramis) says: Why am I not surprised that the Smurfs would figure into Unity's programing?
shui lung (draconautus) says: Funny, Menage a 3 just had  a segment that also dealt with that Smurf episode.  Go check it out!  I helped sacrifice a Smurf once . . .
shui lung (draconautus) says:

Get your rotors running, fly out on the skyway

workin' for the Skin Horse and whatever comes our way

Reborn as Biscuit, feed me a triscuit!

Brain's in a big jar hear my rotors thundar!

Don't want no Machine gun

See Unity's hair it's in a bun

Reborn as Biscuit, feed me a triscuit . . .

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(A) @shui: It's Dr. Lee's hair that's in a bun.

(B) The obvious choice for a song parody would be something from the Beach Boys, with the "Surf / Smurf" substitution.  But I seem to recall a TV commercial for a Smurfs music album that already had several songs like this ...

(C) Anyway, I seem to be on a Beatles kick today ...

(TUNE: "In My Life", The Beatles)

I was built by Anasigma,
I was programmed ... to fight and kill!
Now I'm cursed with mental stigma;
Can't forget it, and never will!
Oh, the vi-de-os I was force-fed ...
But one episode ... had major fail!
Can't erase that image from my head;
They bit Papa Smurf ... right on his tail!

Mark Orr (agentoracle) says: Gosh darn it, now i know i NEED to see this episode of the smurfs.  i've tried googling GNAP, but alas, the algorythim has fialed me.  Anyone who can link to the episode?  it *must* be on youtube by now.
Joseph Charneskie (mutantsentry) says:  I think this is it, but watch it quick...I found a lot of dead links saying the content was removed for breach of content rules.  And here I always thought the Smurfs were communist.  This should belong to the people.  Viva la revolution!
Joseph Charneskie (mutantsentry) says: smeg, disregard my last post, that is some rap video someone made out of the zombie smurf episode. 
shui lung (draconautus) says:

True, but Unity's hair on the left side looks like a bun. A sticky bun full of homicidal goodness. And maybe some icing. How about this: (to the tune of "Modern Major General" from G&S if it isn't blindingly obvious (to quote Maya))

  • I am the very model of a homicidal maniac               they programmed me to kill using Apple II's and ENIAC
  • But Papa Smurf's untimely end was the thing that really made me crack.                                                      And now on Doctor Lee's tasty brain I think I'll go and snack!
  • In the Skin Horse Agency I've found me quite a decent Home, Although they hide the axes and the chainsaws when I want to roam.
  • I've chopped and diced up all of my foes from Pinky to the Brainiac. I am the very model of a homicidal maniac!

Couldn't think of any good Beach Boys lyrics, but Gilbert and Sullivan never go out of style ("Look Gilbert it's the Captain of the Pinafore!" Leg sweep!).

shui lung (draconautus) says: By the way Ed, how do you get your lyrics to come out all nice and tidy?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@shui:  Method 1 - compose my verse in Notepad, then copy-and-paste to the comments box here.  (Also makes it easy to save on my hard drive.)

Method 2 - if you hold down shift and hit enter, it will do a single-spaced return instead of double-spaced.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Method 3 - HTML tags like
break (br in angle brackets) and

paragraph (p) are supported.

shui lung (draconautus) says:


shui lung (draconautus) says: I am still wondering about the Tommy helmet tho' . . .
Also, I think I know the identity of the hacker and it's not Gavotte.  With a code name like "Gold Bug", it can only be that master of mystery and deception . . . (drumroll here) Edgar Allen Poe! Clearly Poe, using an advanced Babbage Calculating Engine found the solution to Time Travel and has hacked into Anasigma's computers at Groom Lake from the past. He used the code name "Gold Bug" from his classic story of 1843 as a red herring, knowing that most readers would connect it with Gavotte rather than himself.  What are Poe's ultimate intentions in this web of mystery and deceit? Only time will tell . . .
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Shui Lung, in most comics I think it would be possible to dismiss that theory out of hand.  With this comic, I'd say it was plausible.
Gregory Freeman (gbfreeman) says: With the way nick speaks I would say that you can't order "snickerdoodles"
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Uhoh.
shui lung (draconautus) says:

I can just see Unity and Nick at the drive through . . . Unity trying to remember if it's the sausage & egg biscuit she can't order, or the ham & cheese croissanwich while Nick's rotor blades keep chewing away at the roof of the restaraunt.

And in the background, Edgar Allen Poe rubs his hands with glee . . .

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "We Didn't Start The Fire", Billy Joel)

Breakfast burrito BOOM!!!
(...crap, got it on the first try...)

NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: I have to say, Thursday's strip alone proves pure awesomeness in the team of Shaenon and Jeffrey. Pure awesomeness and win.
K. Myers (bassetking) says: My DVD copy of the "He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special" was purchased only after my family wore out the VHS recording we made of its original run. It is a treasured holiday tradition. Specifically FOR the horror it brings.
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: I'd go with a strudel myself.
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Why is the He-Man christmas special so horrible?
Eric Burns (ericburns) says:


Let's review.

Doctor Lee didn't want to take away Nick's self will.

And in order to safeguard it, she's going to give the override code to that self will... that will that causes Nick to insist upon a pacifist way of life.... Unity.

Doctor Lee sucks as much at good as she does at evil.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Unity is making in nearly the same pose in Friday's last panel as Dr. Lee in Thursday's last panel.
Erin Palette (palette) says: Can Nick the Osprey do in-flight refueling? 'Cause if so, he'd probably find a way to turn it into sex.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Ms. Lee looks very Carla Speed McNeil in panel three.

Yes that is pretty high praise from me.

Christopher Heiny (clheiny) says: Oh dear. It would seem that I have passed from the "Dr. Lee is pretty hot" stage to the "Oh crud I've got a crush on a comic strip character" stage. My sweetie just doesn't quite understand the "Honey, can you put on a lab coat and cackle like a mad scientist" aspect of romantic role playing.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Really, if they could get the VR working again, they could probably rig up something that could satisfy that particular urge.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ohh my.
llearch n'n'daCorna (llearch) says:


... it's all in the mind, you know.

Bo Lindbergh (blgl) says: It's called PSL, Mr. Heiny. ;-)
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Basil: That is high praise indeed. I am not remotely worthy.

Carla Speed McNeil, incidentally, is the first person I showed Skin Horse to who recognized the title as a "Velveteen Rabbit" reference, rather than some kind of sex thing.
James Kehl (shykta) says:

Heh, if Nick's override code works as well as the rest of the Homunculus program/flight sim did, I doubt his free will has much to worry about. More like "why do I have this giant green MISSION OBJECTIVE box floating in my vision?"

Or, on the other hand, it could demand obedience by punching him in the virtual STRUDELS repeatedly.

 When mad science is this much fun, it's a wonder they find enough doctors to staff the hospitals... and people who'll willingly go in :)

Sietse Brouwer (esteis) says: Ah, the perks of controlling being the environment.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

Eric B., from yesterday...

I think Lee's desperate enough for bonding moments that she'll talk about just about anything.  OTOH, there actually are worse people she could choose to tell, viz., people who have the consistent ability to commit things to long-term memory even if distracted by shiny objects.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Y'know, I honestly tried to come up with a song for today, but after looking at Dr. Lee in the third panel, the only thing that's going thru my mind is the guitar solo from Bob Seger's "Main Street".  And hair cascading in slow motion.  And dark liquid eyes.  And damp blouse clinging to luscious ... excuse me, I have to go spontaneously combust now.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Unity's final statement implies she has a scale of expectations for sweary helicopters.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Erin:  Can Nick the Osprey do in-flight refueling? 'Cause if so, he'd probably find a way to turn it into sex.

I'd think that would fall under the old joke:  "Q.  How do porcupines make love?"  "A.  Very carefully...."

Erin Palette (palette) says:

Ed Gedeon will be in his bunk.

eNoob (boonead) says:

"Can Nick the Osprey do in-flight refueling? 'Cause if so, he'd probably find a way to turn it into sex."

If he doesn't mind receiving. But Nick's cool with being a helicopter, so he could get on top of that. Oh wait, he couldn't.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

Yeah, that would be weird.  I mean, assuming the probe-and-drogue method, it would start out approximately the same, but... then it would get *weird*.

The two or three of you still following this discussion who have not watched the opening quarter of Mystery Science Theater 3000 #0612, "The Starfighters" up through the first bumper segment are hereby assigned to do so immediately, by whatever legal means at your disposal.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Somehow, I read Unity's last word balloon as "sweaty helicopter". I can't think why but it seemed appropriate. :)
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

To Ed:

Spontaneous Combustion!
What! No compunction?
Hooking up mad doctors and helicopters.
Spontaneous Combustion!
Got no compunction!
There's some favorite scenes
Will get the job done.
Spontaneous Combustion!
No need for fustian.
Just a sweaty Doc Lee
In a translucent tee! 

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Jeffrey Channing Wells says: "The two or three of you still following this discussion who have not watched the opening quarter of Mystery Science Theater 3000 #0612, "The Starfighters" up through the first bumper segment are hereby assigned to do so immediately, by whatever legal means at your disposal." 

One could also watch the opening sequence of "Dr. Strangelove", wherein a KC-135 scr...*ahem*...refuels a B-52 to the tune of "Try a Little Tenderness"... 

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Hm. Mostly, I just feel kinda sorry for the copter in this one. Despite Dr. Lee being kinda distracting.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: "Real" life is, of course, purely an advisory term here.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: The Doc says she's not hot, Nick... maybe you ought to turn your thermostat up a couple more notches.
Quentin Long (cubist) says:

(tune: DIRTY LAUNDRY, by Don Henley)
When he's in VR, he's a thin, nerdy guy
In meatspace, he's a battle cyborg that flies
(it) Turns out, much to his surprise
Real Life is Awesome!

No more moldy cola -- no more teeth, mouth, or tongue
Gene-tailored algae keeps his brain tissue young
His body's fuel tanks are well-hung
Real Life is Awesome!

VTOL in the sky, VTOL on the ground
VTOL in the sky, cruisin' all around...

Rob (rrreed) says:

"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."
Oscar Wilde, L'Envoi, 1882 Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Oh, come on, folks. Who here really /leads/ their own life, rather than following it around like Mr. Winslow does Marmaduke?
Rob (rrreed) says:

You only live twice
Or so it seems,
One life for yourself
And one for your dreams.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Yes, she's hot.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Quentin:  not bad, not bad at all ...

(TUNE: "Beauty And The Beast", Menken and Ashman)

Man, my life is strange,
Stranger than I thought ...
Wasn't Doctor Lee
Old and geezer-y?
Turns out that she's not!
Blob becomes a babe ...
This is flapping weird!
VR was hirsute;
Real life, young and cute!
Beauty versus Beard!

John Breckenridge (jbrecken) says: Does Nick have any "eyes" in his interior, or is he missing the show?
Chasing Darkness (chasingdarkness) says:

*wipes eyes from laughing so herd*

...aaah. thank you, Shaenon and Jeffrey, whoever's that was. I reeeealy needed that.

and is just me, or did that feel like this whole storyline's sole purpose was to work that in? and that it'll all go downhill from here? darn, I hope not.

Rob (rrreed) says: I wonder how Nick will feel towards Tip once he realizes that Tip gets all the babes?
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile