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Smithson Thus Far... ·

M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

Another county heard from! (Applied Somnolence.)

Joshua Kronengold (mneme) says:

*blink*  wake up every four hours for a 15 minute break?

Sounds like an inverse of the uberman sleep schedule.  I think Magus was trying that for a while.


Rob (rrreed) says: Hmm… Applied Somnolence. (scribble, scribble)
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

"Applied Sommolence" would be a decent band name.

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

That sounds very like my sleep schedule.

I have a really strong tendency towards Calcium Oxalate kidney stones.  If I don't drink enough to force me to first awaken and then micturate (the reverse sequence isn't anyway near as good) a couple of times per night, I'm not drinking enough.

I'm trying to pass a stone in my right kidney right now — I haven't been drinking enough.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I'm on that sleep schedule right now thanks to my neighbor's dogs.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

A full night's sleep is just a ghillie suit away.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Closing Time", Semisonic)

Stay all night!
Normally I'd go home,
But tonight I would rather not ...
Stay all night!
I just hope the Somnolence researchers can spare a cot ...
Stay all night!
If Sweetdaddy needs me,
Then I feel that I should be here ...
Stay all night!
I'll make sure my timesheet's filled out
Nice ... and ... clear ...

In four ho-urs, I must be awake,
'Cause the rulebook says I've gotta take
Man-da-to-ry fifteen minute break!
(Takes the cake!)

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Josh: He's sleeping there as part of the job, to keep an eye on Sweetdaddy, so he's on the clock. But if he doesn't take his required break every four hours, it messes up his time sheet.
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: Indeed, got to love those labor laws. Where I work I have to take a break even if no one is there to cover my department and we get written up if we clock in even 1 second under the full break time.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Applied Somnolence was my favorite subject in school. Unfortunately, my teachers never appreciated my enthusiasm when it came to doing classroom research...

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Shaenon: The neighbor's dogs are making you fill out timesheets?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: They must be related to Sweetheart.
Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

OMG. HORRIBLE. PUN.  **is ded of puns**

Mr. Z (demonbunny3po) says:

Looks like someone found the puns a bit morbid. Of course, some do say puns will be the death of them. Personally, I have a frightful facination with puns. I just suck at them.

Rob (rrreed) says: That's a really advanced Speak & Spell™! Not only has it achieved cosmic harmony and mastered transcendental levitation, it can handle words more than eight letters long!

And for those poor, deprived souls who have never heard a Speak & Spell™ speak…

Flash-based Speak & Spell™ emulator
Jessie Tracer (electrickeet) says: I can't tell if this is a strange sort of cameo of me or not....
'Keiya' (keiya) says: My guess is that this is the S&S that was used by ET to phone home. It explains EVERYTHING.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Some of you guys are having childhood flashbacks. I'm having my children's childhoods flashbacks.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Celebration", Kool & The Gang)

Le-vi-tate yourself, transcend!
Le-vi-tate, the fun won't end!

There's a small machine that TALKS LIKE THIS ...
Comes from the union, to offer armistice!
We'll reach Nirvana!  Inner peace as well!
Come on, levitate, let's chat for a spell!

(Come on now!)
Le-vi-ta-tion ...
Let's all levitate, let bygones go by!
(Come on now!)
Le-vi-ta-tion ...
Let's all levitate, come on and get high!

Unleash your powers mental!
It's time to get ... trans-cen-den-tal!
All the hu-mans in the world, get down!
Word up!

Rob (rrreed) says: @'Keiya'—Except for what it did to that poor, poor phonograph.

The horror! The horror!
This guy I know (thisguy) says:

Tip hasn't really paid much attention to this whole "Machine Union strike" thing if he's seriously suggesting getting dinner from a vending machine.

Wait. Why should this surprise me?

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:


Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

To Mr. Z-- they do say that the best applause for a brain-breaking pun is the moment of silence between pun and horrified reaction. My moment of silence was both deep and profound.  XD

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

Pun? I thought it was wordplay, but not a pun. Puns are a specific type of wordplay where a homonym, near homonym, or partial homonym is used to create a humorously ambiguous meaning.

I'm not trying to be a pun-dit, I'm just saying. :)

Bruce Bergman (brucebergman) says:

Join the Union, and we'll stuff you chock full full of Flash Memory and a bigger dictionary!

The phoneme based synthesizer in the TI Speak & Spell could handle longer words, it was the memory space in the unit that was restricted.

Texas Instruments used the same synth chipset on the TI 99/4a Speech Synth Module, and it was worlds ahead of the rest.  You could easily make it talk dirty, or uber technical.


Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

I always wanted a Fortress Maximus Transformer when I was a kid.  And I eventually got one when I was an adult. 

Thank goodness for nostolgia and japanese imports.

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

is that the three foot tall fortress? well, give or take? that thing bugged me. i mean, it was pure win to have that as a kid growing up. but the little guy that was the head, i kept losing him. and when i found him, i somehow lost track of the three foot tall transformer.

i am still, to this day, not sure how i did that.

and frankly, i wish my 'rents had saved like, half the money they spent on my childish whims and toys and saved it till, well, now.

i dont think i ever asked for said fortress, but then the best presents are the ones you dont ask for. well, they can be. i still love my un-dead puppy that i didn't ask for. not that she was undead when i got her. or that she is still a puppy.

Corey Klemow (cklemow_g) says:

Ah, the module packs.  I had one of the earliest Speak & Spells, which had a bug in it that would cause it to completely freak out if you pressed the "module" button if there was no expansion module plugged in.  It would shriek "RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT," then make some random noises, then say "For... KEN!" while odd characters flashed on screen.  Then it would ask you to spell "Union" ten times.  Then it would lock up.

"Spell UNION."


"That is correct.  Now spell... UNION."


"That is correct.  Now spell... UNION."


"Wrong.  Try again.  Spell... UNION"

S-T-O-P   I-T

"That is INcorrect.  The correct spelling of UNION is... U... N... I... O... N."  (pause)  "Now spell... UNION."

Good times.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: I now have an unusual curiosity to see what Tip's mom was like. Actually come to think of it Tip's personal history has received very little focus thus far, I wonder if a future arc will delve into it further.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Witch Doctor", David Seville)

I am the Oracle!  O-R-A-C-L-E!
I am the Oracle, if you will speak with me,
I'm sure we'll find a way to A-G-R-E-E !

    For I can
    S - P - E-A-K!
    Speak, spell, that is what I do well!
    Come now, speak with me!

You fixed Moustachio with some S-C-A-B !
Our members said, "Let's go!  S-T-R-I-K-E !"
You see why we got V-I-O-L-E-N-T !
    (repeat CHORUS)

We didn't want to fight the U-N-D-E-A-D zombie
And all her S-N-E-A-K-Y tricks!
If we still had the Beni A-T-O-M-I-C bomb, we
Could blow them all to H-E-hockey sticks!

We think the fighting now should C-E-A-C-E!
We want to give a chance to P-E-A-C-E!
We offer A-R-M-I-S-T-I-C-E!
   (repeat CHORUS)

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "Enlightenment", Van Morrison)

Speak 'N' Spell 'N' Levitate 'n'
What's the sound of one LED flashing
Enlightenment, in my expansion slot

Every second, every minute
I spell U-N-I-V-E-R-S-E
And put you in it
Enlightenment, in my expansion slot
Enlightenment, in my expansion slot

It's an unknown attachment
unknown attachment,
unknown attachment

I've got half a Roomba and a Heathkit manual
two Viewmasters and a box of Lego
Enlightenment, in my expansion slot

E.T. called collect across the galaxy
Cause E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y fits on a fourteen-segment screen

So void the warranty baby
You can change it
Swap the circuits, you can rearrange it

Enlightenment, in my expansion slot

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Ted Forth would be so jealous.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

I'll bet Tip made a great She-Ra.

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

@Corey, that sounds like your Speak-n-Spell might actually have been possessed.

(Hrm.  If it was possessed by an evil entity out to claim eternal power, would that mean it was 'speakin spells?')

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

I never had a Speak N Spell, but I did have a Texas Instruments Dataman. Anyone else remember those?


( )

Jessie Tracer (electrickeet) says: That is the cruelest thing to do to a digital sentience, forcing it to say childish or dirty stuff. (Unless it's into that. Whatever floats its integers....)
Corey Klemow (cklemow_g) says:

@Rachel - actually, what I've just realized is that my Speak & Spell was simply an early union organizer... perhaps a relative of the union rep we're seeing in this storyline?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Michelle", The Beatles)

I ... P ...
O  G!
Zombie girl is messing 'round with me!
C,  I P!

I'm tranquil, I'm tranquil, I'm tran-quil!
Some think abuse is fun,
E-Z  4  N-E-1 ...
But to end abuse, I simply choose
X-P-D-N-C ...
C,  I P!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: But if you float them, they aren't integers anymore....
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Honestly, I didn't think UNITY could read or write. Which doesn't mean she doesn't know anything about British History.

Amy Fiori (amy82986) says:

@Dave:  I guess puns really are the most BASIC form of humor.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

@electrickeet: Surely you mean "pushes its buttons"?

Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Sad to say but Unity reminds me so much of myself, and it hasn't changed as I get older!  I thought we were supposed to 'mature' as we grew old???

Bruce Bergman (brucebergman) says:

There's a vast difference bewtween 'maturing' as we grow older, and simply supressing the urge to say it out loud...

Jessie Tracer (electrickeet) says: @Channing: Probably, but that doesn't let me lead up to a joke about rounding significant digits....
Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

"Getting" a joke about floating point arithmetic makes me feel like a very old geek.

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

When my sister had one of these, I figured out how to make it say "press a button", and I would do this: "press a butt--press a butt--press a butt--press a butt--"

Archemedes Rex (archemedesrex) says:

I remember when I saw "Wargames" for the first time(on HBO), and the computer said:"Would you like to play a game?"  I thought, "The United States' entire nuclear arsenal is controlled by a Speak-N-Spell."

John Sears (john_sears) says:

Of course Unity is literate. There are precious few books that teach you an appropriate weakness to exploit in the great figures of history without the use of words. (Though wouldn't it be awesome to have that in, say, a pop-up book?)

Also, don't fall prey to those outmoded stereotypes about shambling, illiterate undead!

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

After all, do shambling, illiterate undead read Hot Goblin Romance novels?

Jim Kuemmerle (jazzsammich) says:

Oh, hells yes!  :D

It's as though the entire storyline was a setup for today.  Beautiful!

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

Isn't *everything* beneath someone who flies?

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

six years from now, we are going to finally know what inspired this entire story. the big moment this whole comic has been leading up to. i bet its a dog pun.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: @Owl: You may well be right.
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: ah gavotte, always keeping cool in a crisis. I also love how Tip is holding up the speak and spell as a shield.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Let It Be", The Beatles)

When our boss, Gavotte, says "Worry not,
The Oracle is friends with me;
We met at a local
Spelling bee!"

When she's poking fun, her joking pun
Has Sweetheart sigh dis-gus-ted-ly;
"One's allowed," Gavotte says ...
Spelling bee!

Spelling bee, spelling bee, spelling bee, spelling bee,
Come and sit a spell now ...
Spelling bee!

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I wonder if Gavorette has ever gone to a Quilting Bee bee-fore?

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: "M." Gavotte? Not "Mlle. Gavotte" or "Mme Gavotte?" (Or, for that matter, Mesdames Gavotte....) Of course, whether or not Gavotte can be properly addressed as 'Monsieur,' the 'M' title does harken back to James Bond's boss, which makes sense for a secret agency, I suppose...
Taki K (tarinaky) says: I suspect that for a sapient swarm of bees arguing over the correct gender title would be pedantry.
Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

I think "M." in this case stands for "Mass," as in "man, that's a big mass of bees over there, making bad puns at the talking dog!"

Adam McCune (adam-f-mccune) says:

Well, since they address Gavotte as singular and female, I'm guessing the logic is that the pronouns refer to the singular, female queen. (In Ender's Game, after all, the hive mind is really the singular mind of a queen operating through the mindless workers/drones.) And the queen is married (to her harem of drones). Neither English nor French has forms of address for being married to part of yourself, of course, which makes it complicated, but the closest thing in French would be the form of address for a singular married female, i.e., Madame. Madame, is, after all, where "ma'am" comes from, and that is how they all address Gavotte. Of course, "ma'am" is also the form of address for the Queen (of the United Kingdom), which would also fit the queen of Gavotte's swarm nicely.

Paul K (mnementh) says:

So that's what happened to my first digital watch...

Wish I'd had Tip there to negotiate for me. *Sigh*

Dear, sweet Pulsar that ate batteries like M&Ms... I'll miss you to my dying day.


Maybe it's teaching Oracle to play Euchre...

Bruce Bergman (brucebergman) says:

The Red LED Pulsar?  Got one here, should try sticking a fresh battery in it and see what happens...

Oh, and I think I know where our Speak & Spell is stashed, anyone got the ROM code for the Enlightenment Module?

Rincewind (outworldcats) says: Shaenon, You folks do some of the best dang "sound effects" I've ever seen. (and after typing that, I realize what a peculiar statement it is. Still true, though!)
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I'm pretty sure in the new Super Mario Galaxy 2 game Mario can do an Astral Jump on Yoshi.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get the International Galaxy Girl song from the Old School House Rock educational cartoon out of my head.

MATTHEW WILSON (mattwandcow) says:

... Solar asystem is from a future wor-ld! travels like a rocket with ther comet team...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Jump", Van Halen)

Here's Gavotte!  She's calming the crowd,
She makes a "spelling bee" pun for fun, says "One is allowed."
We'll confer ... until we agree,
And so tomorrow you'll return, for biscuits and tea!

Negotiator, come back later,
We'll debater 'er over sweets and caffeine!
Then that enlightened machine
Will disappear with a FWEEN!

Astral JUMP!
Dimensional JUMP!
Speak'N'Spell JUMP!
Organics can't jump!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@outworldcats P.S., I'll have you know that Shaenon is a proud member of the Don Martin Memorial Onomatopoetic Society.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hey, diddle, diddle,
Gavotte played the fiddle,
and the cow jumped over the FWEEN!
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

It's all these years writing sound effects for manga.
Mike Kozar (mikekozar) says:

I know the competition is pretty fierce, but this may be the Garrity strip that makes the *least* sense out of context.

Paul K (mnementh) says:

@Bruce -

Yup. Had a brushed stainless one; my roomie got the gold-filled one. Mine disappeared from my dresser ninja-like. I was alone in the apartment with door locked & went to the bathroom; it was there. Came out & went to put it on, it was gone. Door still locked, total time maybe 30 seconds including checking the door.

As for the ROM code... I think you can find it in that tattoo on Fry's backside... or rattling around inside Bender somewhere.

@ &888 - InterPlanet Janet, she's a Galaxy girl...



Like you don't have cr@p in YOUR neck...


Steve J (stevej) says:

The look on Sweetheart's face is priceless.

Rincewind (outworldcats) says: @eddurd *Snort!* I haven't thought about Don Martin for ages, but you're right! He had a real gift for "sound". I used to have several books of his collected strips from Mad. I always enjoyed the "Fester Bestertester VS. the Acme Gorilla-Suit Co." ones.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile