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Smithson Thus Far... ·

John Sears (john_sears) says:

Yeah.. *somebody* does.  And naturally, blame falls to the Zombie.

Personally I suspect Sweetheart is sleepwalking as her subconscious vents all those suppressed doggy urges.  Sniffing around, finding shallow graves, exhuming the contents and forgetting to bury them later.

So at least some of those rotting body parts might be the work of canine sleep-digging.

John Brown (werbluten) says:

Mind you, if it were rose-scented rotting body parts Unity's presence would not be a problem.

Rob (rrreed) says:
"Segueix el Camí de Maons Grocs!"
"Segueix el Camí de Maons Grocs!"
"Segueix el Camí de Maons Grocs!"

"Ens anem a veure al Mag!"
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I keep wondering if these thousand dollar toilet units are a myth that needs to be investigated.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Lemon Tree", Will Holt)

Maragda Building, what a waste!
Outrageous, but it's true!
With thousand-dollar toilet seats
And valet parking too!
But they won't let us transfer there!
The G.A.O. has found,
There's someone in our office who
Leaves body parts around!

     Body parts, decomposing
     In the break room, Annex One!
     But to work at the Maragda,
     How could that be any fun?

With tennis courts, a bar and lounge,
And Coke with free re-fills!
T.P., I'm told, is made from old
Re-cy-cled dollar bills!
For lunch today, there's caviar,
Best hurry 'fore it's gone!
The cooler in the corridor,
It serves Dom Perignon!
     (repeat CHORUS)

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

@Andrew: The "thousand dollar toilet seat" myth started roughly 25 years ago as "NASA's $20,000 dollar toilet seat". It was actually an entire toilet for the Space Shuttle or the Space Station (I forget which). Basically, some idiot (I think it was a elected legislator) did not understand that you can't just stick a $150 poopythrone from Home Depot into space and expect it to work. Nor did said imbecile understand that one-off design and constuction is much, much more expensive than mass production.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: There was also a similarly expensive toilet seat for a bomber jet, and it was expensive for about the same production run, nonstandard design and demands, etc. Possibly also overengineered a bit.
This guy I know (thisguy) says:

Is it odd that my first reaction to Ed's filk was, "Ooh, that toilet paper sounds comfy?" And my second reaction was to try to look up the composition of American paper money on Wikipedia? (It wasn't any help. Apparently it's a secret, which I suppose makes sense. I could have sworn I heard once that linen was a large part of it, though--hence my reaction.)

I did find out that the Federal Reserve shreds old currency all the time, which means that recycled-bill toilet paper, rather than being a waste, could be considered a good conservation measure!

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Although defense contracting in particular is prone to inflation, most of the "$500-dollar hammer" legends, as Tiff notes, involve bills for entirely new products that included R&D as well as production.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

Keep in mind that none of our core trio of protagonists is particularly good at research.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Jeffrey: None of them are good at research?  But Tip has a Ph.D.  Shouldn't he at least be good at the 'look stuff up and do lit review' part of research?  That's all that would be needed for something like this.

@Tiff & Dave: Yeah, it's funny how $50,000 in engineering and development costs vanishes on one million Koehler toilets, and yet the exact same amount looks really suspicious when added into the 'cost' of 25 high-tech bomber toilets.  Or 2 spacecraft toilets.  It's the excitement of bad economics.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

@Diane: He's *skilled* at it, but that doesn't mean he's good about making sure it gets done when a thesis isn't on the line.  This was the sense in which I meant "good".

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: we should also remember this is a casual conversation so they are prone to exaggerating and such so we can cut them some slack on it.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Diane Castle says: "It's the excitement of bad economics."

When I first read this I thought that it said "It's the excrement of bad economics." Then I realized that, considering the subject, it makes no real difference...

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I prefer to think the characters live in a universe where tax dollars actually do get spent on the world's most awesome toilets, and they're all in this one totally sweet tricked-out government building.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Sweetheart continues to not come across well -- this confuses and scares me, so I will hide from this fact and instead consider free coke refills. Mmmmmmmmm.
Rob (rrreed) says:
Ens anem a veure al Mag,
El Meravellós Mag d'_.
Trobareu que és un geni d'un Mag!
Si alguna vegada un Mag! que hi havia.
Si alguna vegada alguna vegada un Mag oh!
Allà hi havia el Mag d'_ és un, ja que,
Perquè, perquè, perquè, perquè, perquè.
A causa de les coses meravelloses que fa.
Ens anem a veure el Mag.
El Meravellós Mag d'_!
K C (spotweld) says:

Well... for a certain definition of "eat"...

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

An 'interspecies thinktank' with a name that spells TOTAL.

I predict this will end happily, with tea and crumpets for everyone!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@rrreed: "We're Off To See The Wizard" in Portugese?  (The blanks are where "Oz" would be ... if you'd left that in, it would've been too obvious, amiright?)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Beat It", Michael Jackson)

Gavotte is saying (well, she's buzzing in tune),
"The rep from T-O-T-A-L is coming soon!"
So Unity says, "If she comes around noon,
Let's eat her!"
(They deliver Chinese!)

Eat her!  Eat her!
I don't wanna friend or tweet her!
Hope that she's female, hope that she's chaste;
Chro-mo-some Y just ru-ins the taste!
Let's eat her!
Meet her, beat her, eat her!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Well, eat part, use the rest for replacement bits. Easier if the, negotiator is female.
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: If it is a her we shall get to see the status of Tip's superpower post funkyness, I predict much humor from this.
Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Don't you think Sweetheart brings up a good point in the last panel?  Gavotte must have had a reason for saying that.  Why would it matter whether it's a him or a her?

@natecull:  TOTAL!  Good thinking!  Call me dense but I didn't catch that!

@eddurd:  Portugese?  How the heck did you know that?

@10-0-0-1:  Yeah, but wouldn't it be a trip if it turns out to be our Dr. Jones????

Kenneth Graves (kag) says:

I was parsing it as TOTfAL, and thinking both vowels would be long.   Or we could end it as "Advanced Interspecies Learning" to get my reading.

Emily NotYourBusiness (emilygirl) says:

I've just realized that all the mad scientist-types we've seen have been female.  Dr. Lee and her superior, Tigerlily and her...parole officer?  Whatever, they're all female.  I wonder if there's a reason?

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: People like hot crazy girls.
Dominic Corbin (lnick) says:

People like Wells and Garrity

J/K we like them too!
K. Feete (katastrophe) says:

Sexist hive mind is (potentially) sexist!

On the other hand, it's only fair: part of her bee-brain *has* to be going, "Oh, why not. I'm sure the Techno-Organic Trust can spare us a drone."

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

Funk never dies, it just goes on mute for a while. It'll be back, Sugar.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

"Hurting our fee-fees?"  I'm not even sure what that means, and it's still milk-out-the-nose funny.  I hope Tip gets his mojo back soon, so he can sing this song: 

The moment I wake up
before I put on my makeup
I shag a sexy babe or two
While combing my hair, now
And wondering what dress to wear, now
I shag a sexy babe or two

Forever, forever, I'll stay in a dress
A stud in heels
Cross-dresser forever, won't mess with success
I'm sex on wheels!
I've got it together, my male and my female
Are integrated
A psychologist ought to know

I wind up Moustachio
File papers at Gavotte's say-so
Then shag a sexy babe or two
I love to do field ops
Because they give me some real opps
To shag a sexy babe or two

Forever, forever, I'll stay in a dress
A stud in heels
Cross-dresser forever, won't mess with success
I'm sex on wheels!
I've got it together, my male and my female
Are integrated
The therapy puppets say so!

Whatever you're wearing
You'll never be hotter
Than me . . .

John Brown (werbluten) says:

Heh. Your robot union can't stop the Funk.

Kaitlyn Bahn (caspianseamonster) says:

...and I cannot read that filk in any mental voice other than Wayne Brady.  Thanks, Kay.

Katie Powell (pencilears) says:

my mom occasionaly accuses me of  " Urting my ickle baby sister's peelings"

baby sister is 21.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: Tip's poor funk, think they make pills for that too?
Rob (rrreed) says: @Ed — You mean I'm the only one who bothered to cross-reference "Maragda" with "Baum"? For shame!

"Segueix el Camí de Maons Grocs!"
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Kay -- not too shabby (golf clap)

@rrreed -- OK, so it's Catalan instead of Portugese ... I knew it was something similar to Spanish, but after that I was guessing.  (For those wo didn't google it, "Maragda" is the Catalan word for "emerald", so Emerald City = Wizard Of Oz)

(TUNE: "What Do You Get When You Fall In Love", Bacharach & David)

"What do you do when the funk just dies?"
We hear as Tip pines for Dr. Jones now,
We're sick of his whines and moans and groans now!
We've ... gotta get his mind on tra-a-a-ack ...
We've gotta give his head a smack!

"What do you do when your mojo fades?"
While Sweetheart attempts to give a brief, he's
Sighing because they hurt his fee-fees!
We've ... gotta tell him "Get a gri-i-i-ip!
Get off your sh**ty pity trip!"

While Sweetheart tries to make a plan,
There's Tip reacting like any man!
Sitting and moping for Tigerlily,
Tip is still thinking with his willie!

"How do you act when you lose your cool?"
I'm betting Tip's power returns anew now,
In just an hour, or maybe two now!
He'll ... go seduce some random da-a-a-ame ...
But he'll forget to ask her name!

Josh Shepherd (bergerjacques) says:

(TUNE: "American Pie" opening, Don McLean)

Not so long ago

I can still remember How her afro

Used to make me sigh

And I knew if I had my chance

I could get in Dr. Joneses' pants

And maybe we'd be happy .. for awhile

But with the machine strike getting over

Sweetheart giving me marching orders

Sad memories run in my head

I couldn't take another step

 I can't remember if I cried

When she teleported from my side

But now my Galliano just feels like hide

The day the funk just ... died


Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

All of this filking, it's insane! Of course, it's Ed's fault!

Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

A fee-fee, as the Urban Dictionary has it, is a faux vagina used by men for masturbation. This would seem to be an angry slur when directed at Tip.

Caliban Loreseeker (caliban) says:

Given the context, I thin she means "fee-fees" as slang for "feelings".

Joseph W. (alberich) says:

It may also be an indirect reference to the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode of Mary Tyler Moore - at the funeral, the preacher talks about one of Chuckles' characters, "Mr. Fee Fi Fo," who, when knocked down by his archnemesis (whose name I forget), stood up and said, "You hurt my foo-foo." 

Rob (rrreed) says: @Ed — Between the name and Sweetheart's description of it, the conclusion that the Maragda Building is the Emerald City is pretty straightforward. Which just means that Shaenon and Jeff have naturally created some twist that blows this exercise in deductive reasoning completely out of the water. o_O

@Joseph — Chuckles' arch-rival was Señor Kaboom and his giant cucumber.
Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

Caliban >> "fee-fees" as slang for "feelings".

Is it? I'd never heard it, but that doesn't mean anything.

With that as a clue, I discovered that you're absolutely right:

Bobby Jindal’s fee-fees: Speaker Pelosi likes to call the Republicans the ‘Party of No.’ Some of us, we don’t like the way that sounds. It hurts our feelings. Dang! Live and learn...
Diane Castle (deecee) says:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. When Shaenon and Jeff turn out Skin Horse books, they have to include the filk songs!

BTW, thanks a lot, Josh. Now I can't get "American Pie" out of my head.  Mainly the Weird Al version, but still...

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Skin Horse books already exist, and they do not include the filk songs, but you should totally buy them anyway because they're awesome.
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Tune: Food, Glorious Food (Oliver!, Lionel Bart, 1960)

We only had a day
Fought the power and got away
With mad scientist Tigerlily!
What good is a Mainbocher
It's a schmatta without her
Oh, how I miss Tigerlily!
Sweetdaddy and I are bereft 'cause she left
'Cause she built a transporter of springs
Leaving only the sweet memory of her halter, bellbottoms, and, above all things . . .

Shoes, glorious shoes
Three inches of Lucite
I'm singin' the blues
She left me here, uptight

Full afro and Foxy smile
But she's not a relic
Just one word describes her style

Those shoes, hot platform shoes
What's up, Tigerlily?
Don't call me The Man
In this dress, that's silly
Please, 'Lily, bring back the funk
I'll never refuse you
Shoes!  Wild, groovy shoes!  Towering shoes!  Glorious shoes!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Sunglasses At Night", Corey Hart)

She wore those plat-forms of Lucite,
'Cause she can, man, she can
Make them work and jerk my heart around!
Those three-inch plat-forms of Lucite
Helped her plan when she ran,
When by the cops we both were found!

How she's bewitching me!
My eye is twitching, see!
But then she's ditching me!
She vanished with a VWORN ...

I must confess that I stole that dress!  It's just ...
I'm in distress 'cause I can't profess my lust!
But I digress!  Now I'm feeling stress, because ...

She wore those plat-forms of Lucite,
Better than, better than
Any man or woman has a right!
She wore those plat-forms of Lucite,
She wore those plat-forms of Lucite,
She wore those plat-forms of Lucite ...

Paul Lenoue (palenoue) says:

But what about the water cooler?  How will it deal with Sweetdaddy taking off like that?  I bet he never calls.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Wow.  Ed and Kay, let me just say that when Nate comes back from vacation (or wherever he went), he's going to have to step up his game.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: @Paul: I now have an image of the water cooler and Tip drowning their sorrows together.
Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

"How do you make that work," Tip?  Just like she does everything: with terrifying groove.

Kate Cunningham (katfairy) says:

Oh, as usual, dear.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: It is a female Tip... i am not sure if this is more frightening or amusing.
Rob (rrreed) says: "Oh yes, there will be blood…"
John Sears (john_sears) says:

For shame, Sweetheart, with the abortive Zom-comment there in panel 1.

I mean, leaving aside the stereotyping, she should know from personal experience that Zombies don't all stand around listlessly.  Unity's always up to something.  It's not always productive, or safe, but she's a very active individual.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

lazyfilk: Don't you worry 'bout a thing (Stevie Wonder, Innervisions, 1973)

Machine Union's got a beef
Wants some hard-fought autonomy
So I'm reachin' out to you
We'll find a way to reach parity, and

Don't you worry 'bout a thing
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, Skin Horse
Because my puppet team and I
Gonna help you out

Glad to meet you, Unity
And Sweetheart, hi to you
But who's that bishy man I see?
He makes me go gooey all through

Don't you worry 'bout a thing
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, Skin Horse
I'll see that Tip gets back on top
Gonna help him out

Naomi H (starbright) says:

Now I'm sort of expecting her to turn out to be Tip's twin sister.

Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 This smells like a setup. It simply MUST be.

Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

Oh my, why was the first thought to go through my mind...

"Dueling Banjos on therapy puppets."

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "Master of Puppets", Metallica)

Union dispute
Has brought you disrepute
With networked office automation

Enlightened Speak-N-Spell
Contracted T.O.T.A.L.
To supervise your mediation

And that's why I am here
Prepare to face your fear
Engage in dialogue
As zombie, robot, dog

'Cause I've got puppets!
They're shaped like Muppets!
I brought the puppets!
Therapy puppets!

Puppets will help us explore your feelings!
Puppets will give you a safe space to share!
Puppets resolve all misunderstanding!
Puppets make everything perfectly clear!



So It Begins (soitbegins) says: 1. We need Tip to see this.
2. @cyaegha: You know, when I think about it, it does seem a bit odd.
3. Does Tip know he has a double?
4. A gender-swapped double?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

"What do you want to do tonight, Tip?"
"Same thing I do every night -- try to makeover this girl!"

(TUNE: Theme to "Pinky and The Brain")

The cutie with the braid,
The cutie with the braid ...
Tip, when he meets her,
Depression will fade!
Her long and shining hair
Is hanging down to there!
The beauty,
The cutie with the braid, braid, braid, braid,

She mediates between
The Union and Skin Horse;
When Tip comes on the scene,
They'll have some intercourse!

The cutie with the braid,
The cutie with the braid ...
When Tip sees this maid,
His plans will be laid!
He won't be like a zom --
I mean, he'll be so calm!
This beauty,
This cutie with the braid, braid, braid, braid,
Braid, braid, braid, braid --

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Ed, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

William Chamberlin (valandar) says:

10-1 she's Tip's sister. >:)

Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

@drhistory: Banjo vs. Giggles?

Also, "dialogue" should not be used as a verb. A pox on corporatese and buzzwords and all such.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

@ampersand888: But where would we get a Death Spider Robot made from a 70s Cadillac? Oh, wait....

N B (davecloneseven) says:

Hell with sister.  I'm thinking doppelganger from a gender-swapped parallel universe.  Smeg.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: She looks a bit too rumpled to be a female Tip. Or, at least, not merely physical sex swapped...she has a typical guy's fashion sense.
fluffy <3 (fluffy) says:

I think part of being a female Tip involves being rumpled and not-very-fashion-conscious.

Rob (rrreed) says: @Andrew—Well, I think so, Andrew, but…
  • …I can't memorize a whole opera in Yiddish.
  • …Zero Mostel times anything will still give you Zero Mostel.
  • …if Jimmy cracked corn, and no one cares, why does he keep doing it?
  • …burlap chafes me so.
  • …how will we get a pair of Abe Vigoda's pants?
Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

> Tip's sister

Tigerlily took off in a transdimensional wind-up quantum wormhole generator, maybe she is Tip in an alternate universe. How do we know that Tigerlily didn't stand still while the Universe revolved around her?

W o o d (wood) says:

Does she like to wear men's clothes ?

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

"There is . . . another . . . Skywilkin . . . ."

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@kd7sov:  Hear, hear!  And a pox on general grammatical slackerdom, while we're at it!  (And to join "dialogue" in the "not verbs no matter how much some people seem to want them to be" category, I nominate "evidence," "reference," "reverence," and, yes, I'll say it, "impact.")

Note, however, that the (mis)usage of such words by fictional characters is acceptable insofar as it somehow contributes to their characterization, so the preceding comment should not be taken to imply that Shaenon and Jeff have committed some grammatical sin in this strip, only that the Disturbingly Tip-like Mediator is the sort of person who would use "dialogue" as a verb.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Verbing weirds language.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

@andy4hire Verbing nouns is an old Englishing pastime, and so is anti-punditing about it. :)

English grammar actually has grammar rules for how to verb a noun, or an adjective, or noun a verb for that matter.

Check in with us Language Nerds at:

Linguistics is engineering for soft science majors. :)

Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

@Shaenon> Verbing weirds language

And an excellent weirding was languaged there. Brava!

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@shaenongarrity:  I know, I just didn't want to be the one to say it out loud.

@halfelven:  Thanks for the link!  I checked out the site and was suitably pleased therewith.  I do tend to fall on the conservative side of language and usage matters much of the time, especially in academic or other more-or-less formal settings, and certain verbings do, er, cheese me off a bit.

But that doesn't make language not waaaay fun!

Don't you think that's totally spam?  It's lubricated!  Well, I'm phasing.

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

hrm, i kind of thought "brave little toasters" == "arc in which tip doesn't get laid".

i'm not sure i don't still think that, actually.

'Keiya' (keiya) says: Aww, two out of three... if only she was in men's clothes!
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

...Tactical Yunit. People died because some moron insisted that's not how to spell yunit.

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

...So, wait, she's annoyed about her acronym because people died?  That seems out of character for her.

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Heh, she's embarrassed because the commitee came up with an acronym, but never agreed on what it stood for - sorta like the S in Harry S Truman and Ulysses S Grant... Project U.N.I.T.Y. suffered from an ironic lack of same. :P

The Auld Grump

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: She feels bad about it because they died in such LAME ways.
W o o d (wood) says:

The Y is a tricky one, indeed :


JIM Evans (hydrogenguy) says:

People died and she didn't even get to kill them! HOW FAIR IS THAT?

John Brown (werbluten) says:

And we should never give out information on the budget meetings of Project U.N.I.T.Y.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

They say the pen is mightier than the sword.

It is when you ram it into someone's jugular and follow up with the Consolidated Declassified Proceedings of the Senate Intelligence Requisition Logistics Oversight Working Task Group, Volumes IX-XVI.

There was a struggle in the shadow government once between NSA, Wackenhut, and C-SPAN. When the intervention team finally blew open the chamber doors... there was nothing but Beta cassettes everywhere.

Nobody has made that mistake since.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: They died in ways that made them inedible.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I'll Be There", The Jackson 5)

U - N - I - T - Y stands for
Words that nearly led to war ...
Don't talk about my
Ac-ro-nym ...

For a clever name, they tried ...
In the end, some people died ...
'Cuz of that stupid
Ac-ro-nym ...

Acronym from the phrase that says
The "Upgradeable Necrotic
Independent" don't-know-what-ic!
Acronym I'll have all my days!
Understanding it is futile!
Those committee meetings, brutal!

It was purely jungle law!
On some skulls I had to gnaw!
'Cuz of my FUBAR

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

now every time unity talks about eating someone i read it as a double ententre.  esp. after gavotte's comment on gendered pronouns :)

Tom Powell (top1950) says:

@halfelven:  That's good!  It makes as much sense as anything!  (do you suppose Jeffrey and Shaenon have even decided what it stands for yet...???)

@drbrain:  Yeah, I have that same thought, too.  But then my wife keeps saying I'm still pretty juvenile, and I'll be 60 next week...

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

I love the 'upgradeable' part.  Self-upgradeable, in fact.  Right after a good dinner...

Miranda L (mirablu) says:

I notice that on the Cast page, it is noted that"the secret federal bioweapons program responsible for U.N.I.T.Y. was better at coming up with acronyms than super-soldiers," so I guess this was foreshadowed. Cool!

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