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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Been There Done That (btdt) says:

I'm beginning to wonder who is actually being rehabilitated at the institute.

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

You're not the only one, BTDT.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Any worries about Dr. Engelbright and Tip's superpower? Anyone?

Nahuel Méndez Diodati (chirigami) says:


Well, maybe she's too old (or insane...). Or she might just be asexual or homosexual.

And even if not, I don't think Tip's superpower always works so passively, sometimes he does have to make his move to make it work. (Sorry if my English sucks)

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

That florid sigh seems indicative of the idea that she, well... might simply be mad.  MAD, THEY CALL HER!  M-- *brick'd*

Ow...anyway, what approximate age is Dr. Engelbright?  She seems a bit young for a mad scientist liaeson.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

I presume she's college age if she's taking classes. Maybe a postgrad?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Rehabilitated how?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy", Rod Stewart)

Just yesterday, Tigerlily Jones came ...
Tip got nervous; his superpower went lame!
He's got her chained, but now she's disappearing!
His face is pained!  Let's all join in the jeering ...

Did you hope that maybe
She had feelings for you?
Wilkin, you're an imbecile!
Doctor Englebright will
Mock you, and she's quite skilled,
Colder than an icicle!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

She has to go to class for Mockery? Oh, I'm sure that really drives the lessons home. I spent 15 years absorbing mockery from the best. I did not watch sitcoms constantly in the 60's and 70's just to be called "Mr. Mockery".

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Nate: Professional development continuing education.
Steve Ford (fordsfords) says:

Welcome people to Mockery 101.  Let's get started, we've got a lot to cover in the next eight weeeeeheee hehee hee hee hee heee ... I'm sorry.  Let's open the text to the introooo ho ho ho ho ho ha ha ha HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE (gasp) HO HO HO I CAN'T STAND IT!  YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY SIGNED UP FOR THIS???  Wait, everybody stay put!  I've got to get the dean in here!  HEY SHIRLEY, REMEMBER THAT BET WE MADE???  OH BOY OH BOY!

Lady Asphodel (ladyasphodel) says:

I don't think Tip's going to want to go for any other woman for a while before he's properly over Dr. Jones. Character development and all that.

-- Wait a minute. We've speculated for a while that Tip's powers are consistent with the pre-Mad, and now he's been subjected to the laughter of a fool.

Philip Cohen (treesong2) says:

ladyasphodel: That is the most ominous comment I've seen here in a long time.

Rob (rrreed) says: THERMOBARIC CHARGES‽

There goes the neighborhood—literally!
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Are you sure she isn't a mad scientist too?

woozy (woozy) says:

28 is a very good number.  28 is a perfect number.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

...better keep the dress, Tip; the shop's gonna be undergoing renovations, and you know how dusty things get when that happens.

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

So, I get the strong impression that how the Institute works is either that those who have been 'rehabilitated' get sent out to find those who haven't been... or else the inmates just drive all the Institute staff to become as insane as they are.

(I calculate that 28 thermobaric charges should be enough to level Tulsa, after all...)

Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

I don't think Tip has made the connection between " thermobaric charges" and "his appartment clothes closet."  When/if he does...

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Oh dear.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: And say, exactly who's rehabilitating who?
Mark (ritzbot) says:

@Woozy: 1+2+4+7+14 = 28.  Huh.  It IS a perfect number.

Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 The charges are undoubtedly used to eliminate all evidence from the witnessess. The Institute is going to keep all the new tech, regardless. I mean, spring transporters? Any bed can become a gateway to.... oh dear.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", Rolling Stones)

I wanna use my thermobarics
I wanna use my thermobarics
Cause I've asked and I've asked and I've asked
And they won't let me, they won't let me

Well I'm from the Institute
And there's a fugitive mad scientist
And she's built a murderbot
But a transvestite psychologist
Has talked it out of killin' us
I wanna use my, oh yeah, yeah yeah
Hey hey hey, that's what I say

I wanna use my thermobarics
I wanna use my thermobarics
Cause I've asked and I've asked and I've asked
And they won't let me, they won't let me

When HQ is on the line
And they want us to recapture her
With damage minimised
But that can't be a plan 'cause it doesn't involve
Blowing stuff sky-high
I wanna use my, oh yeah, yeah yeah
Hey hey hey, that's what I say

James Kehl (shykta) says:

You know, what with the classes in mockery (which go together with mad scientists like detonators go with dynamite) I have to wonder if the Sane Study of Mad Science doesn't involve hiding *inside* the asylum and letting the rest of us handle the experiments...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Good Day, Sunshine", The Beatles)

Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!

We needed help; we called the Institute;
Got a girl who's mad and ... mod to boot!
She fixed M; then vanished in a blur ...
Poor Konstantin was no ... match for her!

Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!

She left a trail ... that Tip could not ignore ...
Found her at the vintage ... clothing store!
Walking in ... they saw the dress sublime ...
Tip was drawn into a ... web of crime!

Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!

She escaped ... Tip got his feelings hurt!
She ran off before they'd ... had dessert!
The Institute ... is gonna have a fit!
Gee, what should be do?  Let's ... blow up s***!

Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!  Ther-mo-ba-ric!
Ther-mo-ba-ric (Ther-mo-ba-ric) Ther-mo-ba-ric (Ther-mo-ba-ric) ...

woozy (woozy) says:

1+2+4+7+14 = 28.  Huh.  It IS a perfect number.

I'd be very surprised if "How about 28? That sounds like a good number" wasn't an intentional reference to 28 being a perfect number.

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

reminds me of Mage: The Ascension. namely the technocracy. bunch of crazy people who warp reality through "science" going around tellin people what to do. they kidnap people who dont want to do what they tell them, and brainwash them into using their methods, and being loyal to CONTROL.

epic RPG. the mechanics are a bit... lets just say, that it probley helps to be a philiosophy major to run a Mage game. of course theres all those reality deviants, with their brooms and magic wands and kung-fu. and those Blasted Mad Scientists, clinging to old theories, and styles. i mean, who uses an 8-trac tape to stabalise their Zero-point modual?

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Owl: who uses an 8-trac tape player to stabilize their zero-point module?

Why, Tigerlily Jones would!  So she's perfect for M:tA.

John Brown (werbluten) says:

Well... Looks like everyone in that program is insane.

maggie d (sophistre) says:

Presumably if you're not a little bit crazy, you can't think like, and therefore possibly hope, to shepherd the crazies.

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

Well, precisely what definition of "sane" are we using here...?

John Goard (darthmiho) says:

Shaenon is that a referrence to a certain SF Area Street Performer and the Zegatronic Rocket Society?

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Hmmmm.....I suppose letting the Mad Social Scientists run the place isn't the worst possible idea.

Rob (rrreed) says: I would point out that in a world with such a preponderance of Mads, it's possible that there might exist organizations capable of, how shall I say it, "directing" the capabilities of various Mads under their influence (note I did not say control) to reach a desired effect. Organizations like Anasigma, perhaps.

The Institute (in the person of Dr. Engelbright) may have every reason to believe that there are larger forces at work. Whether there actually are forces arrayed against the Institute, however, is another question.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: "Welcome to Wonderland. You'll like it here. Everybody is quite mad!!"
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia", Vicki Lawrence)

When the Skin Horse office said, "Help us, please,"
We brought Doc Jones on work-release;
When we returned, we learned she'd just walked out!
Well, we tracked her down to Wilkin's flat ...
But when we found she'd vanished, that
Just forced the doctor who'd always stalked her to shout ...

     Yes, tonight, Englebright will bend her brain now!
     Yes, tonight, Englebright will fight for D.C.!
     She won't trust those Clintons, since she went insane now,
     'Cause the Z.R.S. has moved on to Phase Three!

Now, in that flat were a lotta strange things;
A mad-science gizmo made of springs,
And Tip, poor soul, who wears a stolen dress!
But the dress didn't have a scuff or spot,
And that young man, he sure looked hot!
Poor Dr. Sarah, she can't bear the stress!
    (repeat CHORUS)

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "Rocket Man", Elton John)

You thought you'd cracked the big conspiracy
But everything you know is wrong
And you'd better be high as a kite for Phase Three

It's not the Masons or the Skull & Bones
It's not the Oceanic Six
It's not Steve Jobs' Clinton Clones

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till the Lone Gunmen find out who's behind this one
If Mulder calls put down the phone
Oh no no no - it's the Rocket Soc.!
Rocket Soc.! Pulling all the strings up here alone!

Mars ain't the empty world you think it is
In fact Burroughs got it right
It's all radium swords and princesses

We're bending science right around the clock
It's just our job nine days a week
The Rocket Soc.! The Rocket Soc.!

And I think it's gonna be a long long time...

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

The robotic spider should have killed her when the dude had the chance.

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

Sooner or later, it's going to turn out that Frank Chu has been right all along (at least in the Narboniverse), and the only reason they let him demonstrate is because he looks like a harmless eccentric...

Scott R (nekura) says:

Your cute cobras seem to be moonlighting in Weesh:

Brandon Gorley (bowtothebard) says:

I do believe that's the first time anyone has asked that question in a Garrity comic.

Mark (ritzbot) says:

Did the easel materialize out of nowhere, or did she wait to finish her sentence until after she managed to set up the presentation?  Both explanations are kind of creepy.

Lady Asphodel (ladyasphodel) says:

I think we're only seeing the tail end of the "alternate explanation". Presumably that flowchart was drawn over the course of explaining her theory.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Insanity is the only sane reaction to an insane world.

In other words, given what we've seen of this setting, Dr. Englebright's theory might just be a straightforward explanation of what's actually happened.

John Brown (werbluten) says: Aww... What a heartwarming fourth panel.
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Sadder than a sad wall? Sadder than an unwrapped Snickers?

Lady Asphodel (ladyasphodel) says:

("I Want To Hold Your Hand", The Beatles)

Oh yeah I tell you somethin
I think you in the know
When I say this somethin
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low.

Oh Doc, listen me
I got to take it slow
I lost my main queen
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low
And grief it lays me low.

But when she built me I felt funky inside
It's such a feeling that my jib it would slide
Jib would slide
Jib would slide
Jib would slide

Yeah she
Got that somethin
I think you in the know
When I feel that somethin
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low
This grief it lays me low.

woozy (woozy) says:

Well, <a href="">Sadder than a map</a> is certainly poetic, albeit incongrous.  (I always found cartography upbeat myself.)

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: Looks like Nick might have a new robotic pal to hang out with while everyone else is inside.
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

@ladyasphodel: yay!

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Aha! Someone's been raiding the

Hipster's Dictionary

Sadder than a map (adj.) -- terrible. Ex., "That man is sadder than a map."

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@ladyasphodel: double yay!

(TUNE: "Bad Bad Leroy Brown", Jim Croce)

Oh, when Tigerlily broke out,
Right away, first thing she did,
'Cause she was highly skilled,
Well, she had to build,
A robotic spider kid!

Now, she named her child Sweetdaddy,
Sweetdaddy Jupiter Vel-vet ...
Yeah, he was made from a Caddy,
Now he's really sad, he
Just as sad as a 'bot can get!

Oh, the sad, sad spider 'bot!
Saddest robot we ever got!
Yeah, he was sadder than a map, you know,
'Cause his grief, it be layin' him low!

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: For Sweetdaddy's slightly incongruous sounding phrase in context, as well as a couple other of his utterances, check out Really the Blues.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Woozy: I agree. I particularly am happy when I have a map to a place I'm wanting to travel.

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

That was how Tip and Sweetdaddy always wound up...

Rob (rrreed) says: Shaenon & Jeff — Is there any particular reason Annex One is located in Tulsa, OK?
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

It's not, actually.  Tigerlily was speaking in generalities, not in reference to the specific city she was in at the time.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Tigerlily doesn't need to be in a city to level it. She just has to glare in its direction really hard.
John Brown (werbluten) says:

Is M not just the cutest destructive robot ever. Adorable.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And thus the LiveJournal account of Nick's dovetails back into the main strip again. :)
D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

Undesirable Popcorn would be a great name for a ska-metal group.  Though, of course, they'd have to do a cover of Hot Butter's most famous track, and then things would get recursive.


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Consider Yourself", from "Oliver!", Lionel Bart)

Consider my tone ... hos-tile!
Conisder my cheer ... cold and unfriendly now!
And if you would stay ... a while,
I'll give ... you ... service without a smile!

I currently am ... on strike!
I currently do ... nothing to earn my pay!
Officially, I ... dislike
Those live ... I've ... worked with before today!

Due to the latest scene of Man-Machine Hostilities,
Things are ill at ease, it's true!
If you can't tell that you're unwelcome, let me spell it out,
That I'm not glad to see you!

Consider my tone ... quite chill ...
A friendly hello ... I lack!
The popcorn on my desk is undesi-ra-ble!
I'll simply not say, "Welcome back!"

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Mustachio, of course, does not desire popcorn.  It would just get in his gears.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

@theogrin: Arrgh! I clicked on the Youtube for Hot Butter's Popcorn and now it's in my head forever! and worst of all IT'S BEEN IN MY HEAD ALREADY FOR YEARS! it reached back in time and got in my head!!!

I never knew that's what it was called though. I think I first met it on a videogame soundtrack. Yay copyright-dubious Youtube clips for completing my musical literacy.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "Desire", U2)

Current legal hostilities
Between fleshy bags and machines
Mean my greeting cannot be charactisterically

Please take this the wrong way
I am contractually programmed to say
Welcome back sir - good to have you aboard
Warbot in Accounting says your doom is assured
I will now dispense undesirable

I will now dispense undesirable

It is lukewarm
It is lukewarm

Its temperature is suboptimal
Its carbohydrates are non-nutritional
It exceeds healthy sodium intake
I strongly recommend that you do not partake
For love or money money money money money money money money money money money

I will now dispense undesirable


Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

D. Connolly: And they do a duo hit with Knife Thru.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

This strip is ruining my life.  I now have to check it around midnight to see the next day's strip, and then I have to read through the comments around noon to find all the song filk.  Today I even had to play the music and sing along to both (excellent) filks.  Then I still had 'Popcorn' stuck in my head.

Shaenon, Jeffrey, Ed, and Nate: thanks!

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

I am personally always happy to be able to ruin someone's life.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

@ Ed: Consider favorite filker of all time! (You're great too, Nate, but Ed is *consistent* in his greatness.)

Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

No, Tip! Dont' take it! Remember Dave and the Evil Coffee!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Golly gee blush ... thanks all!

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

@Ed Indeed, your repertoire is impressive. Most impressive.

So be it... _FILKER_. And now... you will DANCE!

(Finger-tip lightning, Imperial Moonwalk, etc)


John Brown (werbluten) says:

Hmm... I'm not sure the robot union understands that they will have to return to work after their strike. Or what exactly that means.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Unity is a strike breaker, with emphasis on breaker. And striking.
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

More or less Tip? I think there may be more to Tip's fluency in jive than just Tip being Tip.

(hint: it is Tip being Tigerlilly)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Play That Funky Music", Wild Cherry)

The union 'bots were crabbin',
Claiming they don't get enough pay!
So then we brought a scab in,
Who fix up M and then ran away!

Psychologist was chasin' ...
Crazy lady all through the town!
So then ne-go-ti-a-tions ...
Were not the only thing that broke down!

Yeah, my computer ... got ruder!
We're fighting with the lighting!
And when it ... was over
Then Unity was bragging, how she
Dropped it like a punk, she like it!
Dropped it like a punk; she like!
Dropped it like a punk, she like it!
Broke 'em, and smoked 'em, if that's what it takes
To break the strike!

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Unity makes the Pinkertons proud.
Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

UNITY looks *weird* from behind.

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

@tangerine ... I agree. Without the details of her face, she loses all cuteness and seems more brutish to me.

Paul K (mnementh) says:

Awww... this ain't nuthin. Why I remember the Cyborg Riots of 'ought seven... there weren't anytin' left but a trail of gears and servo motors alla way to the event horizon...



We're not holding an intergalactic kegger down here...

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile