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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Moody (gusuri) says: Is it just me or is Dr Lee taking off her jacket before Tip offers his "services"?
Eve Elliott (stroth) says: It's not just you Moody. i think that officially makes it a superpower.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: We hafta say bye to Dr. Lee? :(
fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: Tip, you dog.
Eff Macadhaimh (macadhaimhs) says: Hmm, so that's why Unity was so keen on a new hat. I knew it couldn't just be a fashion statement.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Any plan where you keep your hat is a gooood plan. :D
Megalomaniac Robot Labmouse (mrl) says: Adam - It's not 'good-bye', it's 'until we meet again'...
Bauke Schildt (tephlon) says: Cue Ed doing a filk of "You can keep your hat on" (I'd do it if I wasn't so bad at writing lyrics...)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Except that in this situation, there's no way I could improve on the original lyrics.
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: So does this count as make-up sex?
Andrew Willett (awillett) says: I dunno. Is either of them wearing make-up?
Philippa Fearn (pippaf) says: Well bye for now but considdering Dr. Lee's specalty.  It wom't be for long.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Is the Anasigma orientation video still running?
Rob (rrreed) says: Shaenon and Jeff:

PLEASE tell us that you'll be revisiting Dr. Lee in the future!

(And who's driving the car back if it's not stowed in Nick?)
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: I, too, would like Dr. Lee to show up again.  Also, it is good that Tip is learning to start connecting with others a bit better.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Bring Dr. Lee back? Plz? (gives Shaenon the anime eyes)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Garden Party", Ricky Nelson)

I met a neurosurgeon
Named Virgina Lee;
She was cute, so we knocked boots

I think I've learned a lesson;
I don't feel the same!
Had to run, but I sure had fun
With lovely Whatzername!

Well, we ... all learned now!
The chapter's run its course!
See you ... can't please all the fans
Who will comment on Skin Horse!

NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Ed, the problem is, they DID please us. And now we expect more of the same.
Krid OCaign (krid) says: Dr. Lee will show up again, of that I have no doubt. I just hope that it's sooner rather than later, and that she hasn't been victimized by mad science in the interum.
Jennifer Rutherford (jenfullmoon) says: This is my favorite Skin Horse ever.
Jennifer Rutherford (jenfullmoon) says: Er...the life lessons one, I mean. Way to clarify that on a weekly archive of comments...
Mark H- (eyeharvester) says:

And I learned that sometimes you can trust the evil shadow government!

Paul Lenoue (palenoue) says:

Just because a shadow government agency has a secret agenda doesn't mean it's a _bad_ secret agenda.


"We have the authority to reduce cavities by 20% and by God we're going to do it!" 

shui lung (draconautus) says:

To the tune of "Poor Old Horse." (it's a sea chanty)

The old man says that Nick can fly
And we say so, and we hope so!
'Cause his brain's inside an Osper-ey
Hurrah Skin Horse!

The old man's really Dr. Lee
And we say so-heck we know so!
Hot Asian neurologist who created Unity
Hurrah Skin Horse!

Dr. Lee and Tip made sweet sweet Love
And we say so-and we KNOW so!
'Cause Tip is shouting it to the skies above
Hurrah Skin Horse!

We say old man, Skin Horse will fly
and we say so-and we know so
('cause we can see it in the last panel)
'Cause now a member of the team controls an Osper-ey
Hurrah Skin Horse!

Erin Palette (palette) says:

Dof I?

Joe Glow (joe_glow) says: Dept. of Irradiation!
Rob (rrreed) says: They're the guys from the Department of Irradiation. And I can just see the basement silverfish using the Hogwarts model for their version of the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Stop In The Name Of Love", The Supremes)

STOP!  Don't use Annex One!
Or you will break Hogwarts!
STOP!  You just spoiled our fun!
We're left with tiny parts!
Move your landing gear ...
Get it off my rear!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ohhh dear.
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Didn't he just use that one?
Terry Smith (wcfan) says:

Yes, once the silverfish discover Harry Potter - provided they don't eat the books first, we can expect a cycle of epic operas!



Paul Andinach (anobium) says:

I think it's probably safe to say, now, that this isn't going to end the way that I thought, early on, it might.

I had a theory that when Nick took his first flight, one of Doctor Lee's evil superiors would take him down with some kind of secret built-in destruct mechanism. (What kind of evil conspiracy builds an intelligent weapon and doesn't secretly fit a built-in destruct mechanism?) And when they were cleaning up the mess it would be discovered that the brain controlling the Osprey was only a cloned brain after all. So the evil superior is technically not guilty of murder - but he finds himself up on charges for the federal offense of making an obscene clone fall.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Rockphed:  Did who use what one?  The song that I used, or the substitute-swear that Nick used?

@Paul:  Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch.  And ouch.    ...also, ouch.

Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: Actually, these guys deserve to have their 1/35th scale model of Hogwart destroyed. The idea of a Harry Potter opera is just plain wrong.
Erin Palette (palette) says: Ohh, the D of I. You see, I was reading that as "Dof Roman Numeral I" and it made zero sense to me. Perhaps more space between the D and the of would help.
shui lung (draconautus) says:

@Paul: The self destruct was disarmed by Edgar Allen Poe using tiny steam powered robots.  He has plans for Nick, plans that don't involve huge explosions . . . um, well huge explosions with Nick in the center of them anyway . . . And besides if that had happened it would have made Nick cry and no one wants to see the tears of a clone (yours was better, but I had to try).

 My collection of 1/35th scale tank models are available for an assault on what's left of Hogwarts after Nick finishes with it.

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Hey, this can't be the end! We still don't know who Goldbug is.
shui lung (draconautus) says: Gold Bug is E.A. Poe and his Amazing Steam Powered Babbage Calculating Engine Raven. And their secret army of miniature steam Homunculi . . . They have Rocket Packs!
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Every woman in that age range. It's a superpower.
Rob (rrreed) says: Hey! If Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are 1/35 scale, Nick's the perfect size to cosplay Mighty Jack!

On a more serious note, it's a good thing the Department of Jetpack Suppression is there to handle the maintenance on Nick. Helicopters are bad enough, and the Osprey is supposed to be worse.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Given that Nick probably has a pretty darn impressive sensor suite, I bet he could help them rebuilt it with perfect accuracy.
Martin Weld (ikari_gendo) says:

Mighty Jack?! I finally managed to repress that memory!

Now I have to go soak my brain in bleach again.

Rob (rrreed) says: @Martin Then my work here is done.
Rose Thatcher (locura) says: Those two have the possiblity of becoming good friends or worst enemies.  Nothing like a rival geek, telling you you're doing it wrong.... :)
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Yeo... it's a superpower.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Tip as a Death Eater?  Well, if we're talking about Death from the "Sandman" comics ... I think, yeah, Tip would ...

...and she could teach him the cuneiform alphabet trick ...

Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:
  1. Do I even want to know what Mighty Jack is?
  2. I'm beginning to think we should call Tip's sexual superpower the Bond factor. (As in James Bond. License to thrill and all that.)
  3. How are they going to get fuel up to Nick?
Gregory Rihn (ggrihn) says:

I refer to the "Bond factor" as "the power to cloud women's minds--".

vicka corey (drbrain) says: nota bene: tip already knows marcie's name.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Is it really Marcie's mind Tip's clouding?
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Oh, ObRef: IMPUDITE! TOTAL IMPUDITE!
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I dunno...I believe Marcie's thinking very clearly here.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

It's not a super-power; a good-looking, confident man, even one in a dress, is going to be very sexy. It's rare but it's not a superpower. :)

It applies to women, too. Confident people, who are reasonably good-looking are very sexy. 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Yeah, but with James Bond you get into the whole small hands, small feet thing. You'd think the man must have really big hands, but if you've ever tried to actually fire a Walther PPK, you can tell the man has little hands. I'm talkin' Jonathon-from-Buffy-little.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: And I don't want to know how the guy from the Department of Irradiation ended up with three out-of-scale broomsticks, either. :-)
shui lung (draconautus) says: I would say that Marcie's primary interest in Tip is fashion tips given what she's wearing vs. what he's wearing . . .
shui lung (draconautus) says:

Hogwarts! Mini Hogwarts!
What kind of Nerds build mini-Hogwarts?
Geeky Nerds, Freaky Nerds, Nerds who read the books
Irradiating Nerds Tip-Dating Nerds
Even Nerds Nick thinks are kooks!
Build Hogwarts, Mini-Hogwarts!
The kind Nick likes to crush!

If you don't know what tune this one is, you've probably been kept in a small box since 1945 . . .

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: I love Marcie's Tip-eating grin in panel 2. :)
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: We are Devo?
James Rice (jhrice) says: Goldbug?   Hummmmmm. 
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says: Goldbug? hehe. Gavotte is more manipulative than we thought! She got her team a chopper!
Decalon Gryphon (decalon) says: Species-ending? Harsh punishment. Here's hoping Dr. Lee can get out with her Genus intact.
Joe Glow (joe_glow) says: ha!  I figured we wouldn't be reminded of goldbug again for years.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Who is Juana Sal? My brain does weird things. I couldn't figure out for the longest time why the General made me think of Ayn Rand. It's her name. Juana Sal translates as Jane or Joan Salt. Now is that oblique?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Goldbug... wait... "Gold" ... + "Bug"...

Gavotte? Or someone else...
shui lung (draconautus) says: Someone like . . . Edgar Allen Poe and the Babbage Re-Analytical Version II ENgine? Dun dun dun!!! He'll make sure General Sal eats Crow (or possibly devolves into one) for this!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Joyce:  I thought of that weeks ago ...

Does General Sal have a sister name Eunivere?  Who works as a tour guide for some movie studio?

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:


shui lung (draconautus) says:

Tune: 15 Miles on the Erie Canal 

Got a General whose name is Sal
Runs Groom Lake, she's quite a gal.
Called in Skin Horse to solve her trouble
Called in Skin Horse, now her trouble's double!
Well Nick is flown to Annex One,
And Sal's career is come undone!
She owes her woe to E.A. Poe
And soon ol' Sal will be a crow!

Mark Orr (agentoracle) says:

I think this window is missing a T and an I before Juan~a...


Tijuana Sal?


Who the heck names their kid after the place they were concieved?

John Wells (johnwwells) says: But Gold Bug can't be Gavotte. Bees are hymenopterans, not hemipterans.
Joseph Osako (schol-r-lea) says:

<i><b> Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:</b> It's not a super-power; a good-looking, confident man, even one in a dress, is going to be very sexy. It's rare but it's not a superpower. :)</i>

If that were true, I would be the least appealing male on the planet. Oh, wait, that's about right. I guess you're on to something. 

Actually, all I need to do to know that this is the case is watch my father in action. That man is seriously <i>scary</I> when he's on the prowl... which is to say, all the time. 

Dave Corbett (mr_dave) says: Whether Gavotte is Goldbug or not, someone has been Dupin the folks at Groom Lake...
Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

I was thinking about the 'Codename Goldbug' thing and I wondered idly if it might be an anagram for something.  It turns out that it's an anagram for about a million things, so that's not useful.  Here's a few I thought were kind of evocative:

Bacon Edged Mogul

Badmen Cudgel Goo

Banged Coed Mogul

Beagle Condom Dug

Becalm Gouged Don

Blame Doggone Cud

Bodega Cloned Gum

Bologna Ceded Gum

Canoodle Dumb Egg

Daub Monocled Egg

Decagon Bug Model

Decal Bugged Moon

Doggone Mud Cable

Educable Mod Gong

Good Gun Becalmed

Lumbago Edged Con

That's skipping all the anagrams involving bondage.  'Skinhorse' is itself an anagram for 'Kosher Sin', by the bye. 


Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:

Jacob, you have way too much time on your hands.

So, the next time we see the General, she'll be a flying monkey?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Hmmmm...ex-boyfriend? Mother? School chum?
Lawrence Delaney (ohtar) says: "Great Humbug?" Guess we'll be meeting the wizard soon.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: For some reason, I think she is talking to Goldbug.
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: Wouldn't it be a lot easier for her bees to just hit the speakerphone?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Blowin' In The Wind", Bob Dylan)

How many bees does it take for a swarm
To dial or pick up a phone?
How does Gavotte know this strange entity?
Has "Goldbug" its true colors shown?
How long will Shaenon and Jeff make us guess
Before the answers are known?
To find out, of course,
You gotta read "Skin Horse" ...
To find out, you gotta read "Skin Horse"!


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: AH. This explains everything.
Grant Gould (ggould) says: According to the Littlefield interpretation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard represents anti-Free Silver politicians -- those preferring the gold standard, or "Goldbugs."
Rose Thatcher (locura) says: Hey, since Nick is stuck outside, does that mean he doesn't get to meet Gavotte?  That would be sad.  EVERYONE should meet Gavotte.
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Today it's the other way around - only Ron Paul-like nuts want a gold standard. Too bad.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: In the words of Nick Danger, who is she talking to?  And how does she make her voice DO that?
vicka corey (drbrain) says: i would imagine gavotte can go outside if she likes.
vicka corey (drbrain) says: rather few swarms of bees have private offices, after all.
Naomi H (starbright) says: On the other hand, Nick probably won't get to meet Moustachio... which, all things considered, might be for the best.
Rafe Saltman (rafe) says:

Terry Smith:  Nah.  If you're on the gold standard, you can't keep the price level very stable.  For example you can't commit, as the central banks of Canada, Britain and the EU have done, to targeting a certain rate of inflation.  The Bank of Canada has stuck to 2% inflation for 20 years now, and they couldn't have done that if we were still on the gold standard.

When you're on the gold standard you don't get to decide what CPI will be.  You're at the whim of the price of gold.  If gold gets more expensive relative to other goods, your economy will experience deflation and there's nothing you'll be able to do about it.  Look at how the price of gold has behaved:  if we'd stayed on the gold standard, we would have experienced massive deflation.

Bear in mind that, while inflation is bad, deflation leads to unemployment so it is bad too.  The best thing a central bank can do is keep prices stable.

Brian Rogers (billionsix) says: I imagine Gavotte sounding like Mary Poppins with some F/X to make her more buzzy. Maybe Julie Andrews can play her in the movie. ;)
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Rafe: The fact is that both inflation and deflation have their benefits and their disadvantages. No matter what you will have that disadvantage. The really important part about keeping a solid economy is having a stable dollar. What makes people buy more? Knowing that stuff is cheap for now, or knowing what things will cost no matter what. That's why gold standard makes sense, because gold is sturdy and doesn't change its price very often.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: And the feedback ad at the top of the page is now advertising gold.
shui lung (draconautus) says: Gavotte is speaking to Poe of course . . .
Rafe Saltman (rafe) says: Justin, that's not true.  Like any other commodity, gold responds to market information by appreciating or depreciating relative to the price level.  The price of gold can be quite volatile, much moreso than consumer prices in aggregate.  Thus, gold can't really be treated as a proxy for the price level.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile