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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

Does this mean that Gavotte is GoldBug?

E.T. the Eccentric Type (et_the_eccentric_type) says:

No. That would be an absolutely ridiculous display of jumping to conclusions from the slightest prod.

It means the Cypress is Goldbug!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Startled track-skip! Oddly, the one person in the room who could actually MAKE that sound, instead chooses to say it. Must be sarcasm.
W o o d (wood) says:

Wasn't Gavotte on the phone with Goldbug, that one time ?

Just Here (justhere4coffee) says:

I love the way Sweetheart's eyes are fixed on the bee on her nose... I guess talking to a gestalt is easier if you pick a single point of reference.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Or it might just be because gestalt entity or no gestalt entity, a bee that's on your nose gets your attention.

Especially when it's part of your boss.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Harrigan", George M. Cohan)

M ... E ... double D, L ...
I - N - G spells med-dl-ing!
What The Cypress did is quite unnerving,
Now it's time for Skin Horse to be serving!

M ... E ... double D, L ...
I - N - G means thus:
All of you
Going to
Southern Lou-
is-i-a-na, for
Med-dl-ing!  That's us!

Ciara Cole (ciara) says:

I would totally pay money to see Gavotte take on Mary Worth in a meddle-off.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@ciara: I would pay money to see Gavotte sting Mary Worth into the next century.

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

I fear Unity's meddling stick.  Its probably large, and may well have the words "MEDDLE" in raised letters on it, spelled backwards so as to leave a lasting impression on those things which she will, for lack of a better word, meddle into submission.

Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Oh, I love that, Derek!  And I can just picture Unity smiling as she joyfully meddles something into submission.

casimir (casimir) says:

"Meddling stick" could be a pet name for her favorite automatic weapon. Unloaded, of course.

E.T. the Eccentric Type (et_the_eccentric_type) says:

@Sweetheart (panel 3): Dog, meet Rule of Funny.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I'm still eagerly awaiting my Book 2 package, but in the meantime I've read JCW's delightful "The Final Rites" online.  Jeff, I've always loved Sweetheart, but your story gives me a sneaking, horrible suspicion that I am Sweetheart.

Ben N (mittfh) says:

Given Unity and Sweetheart appear to be Skin Horse's only two field agents, even if she wanted to, Gavotte probably couldn't find anyone else to do the deed.


So, The Cypress. A sentient tree? Hopefully with deeper roots than the one our Firefox called home...

Q. Pheevr (q-pheevr) says:

Or a whole sentient cypress swamp. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: . . . .
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Thanks, Kay. There are a lot of times that I feel like I'm Sweetheart too.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I think we could all use a meddling stick.

Martin Hellberg Olsson (the_somewhat_knight) says:

May I return to an issue from last week?

Why would Gavotte be Goldbug? I don't quite get it.

Also, something, I'm not sure what, established it as almost fact in my mind that Goldbug was Dr. Lee. Maybe I just somehow started getting Goldbug and Virtual!Lee mixed up? 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I'll Never Find Another You", The Seekers)

We've a brand new mission for our top fi-eld team,
If we somehow do it, then competent we'll seem!
To the Cypress we'll deliver these papers for divorce,
Because service is the goal, for ol' Skin Horse!

To Lou-i-si-a-na, that lovely southern state,
We must go and hurry, because we're five years late!
We will use a lot of tact now, and very little force,
Because service is the goal, for ol' Skin Horse!

We'll complete our mission,
Efficiently and quick!
Because Unity, this time, has got a stick!
Got a stick!

We'll let nothing stop us, not swamp or mud or slime!
We'll we do our job and we'll do it right this time!
If you ask "What could go wrong?", then I know we're doomed, of course!
'Cause those magic words spell doom for ol' Skin Horse!

William Tracy (afishionado) says:

I love how chipper Unity looks in panel one.

woozy (woozy) says:

Ah.  Cypress is married and divorced but *not* to and from Gavotte.

Guess she/he *really* didn't take the news well... what with ripping Unity to pieces (to Multiplicity) and toss her onto a pile of rotting corpses and all... 

Shouldn't kill the messenger.  But then the messenger shouldn't taunt and threaten the recipient of bad news.

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

Shouldn't that just be "Bad dog! Bad dog!"

Joseph W. (alberich) says:

No, because the reference is to stupid, stupid rat creatures from Bone.

Martin Hellberg Olsson (the_somewhat_knight) says:

Very nice facial expressions, especially Tip asking "Where?".

I find myself really interested in what he'll be wearing. Did a google image search for new orleans dress:

woozy (woozy) says:

Okay, now I get the fourth panel of Sweetheart isn't talking about any horticultural knowledge but about the proper way to serve papers. 

Euel Ball (euel) says:

"National Council of Lonely Sorority Girls"?  Our favorite cross-dressing shrink just hit the motherlode!  I'd be tempted, and I got no social chops!  Of course, it would kill me, but it would take the embalmer -days- to get the smile off my face...

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

But will Tip be able to commingle with the LSGs?  Isn't he still Jonesing for Tigerlily?

And *why* are they lonely?  Sleepysense tingling...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Only The Lonely", Roy Orbison)

(Phi Mu and Pi Beta Phi ...
Chi Omega ...
Oh, Delta Gamma ...
Greek girls are lonely ...
Greek girls are lonely ...)

Greek girls are lonely,
Hear them sob and sniff and bawl ...
Tip's goal is only
Satisfying them all!

Poor girls are crying,
Blowing their nose ...
Now Tip is flying,
Packing his clothes!
Soooo ... many outfits,
To wear ... down there ...
Greek girls are lonely!

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

The National Council of Lonely Sorority Girls?!?

Oh..... my. Tip's gonna need physical therapy after this trip; happy, happy physical therapy.

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Same thing happened to us back in '83 (except that it was a convention of Black Southern Baptist Preachers) at the NoLaCon WorldCon in New Orleans.  Got bumped from the Sheraton to the Monteleone.

The air comditioning in the Monteleone would only cool about one picoBTU per hour.  Found out later the the gerbil running in the wheel (maybe one of Artie's g'g'g'g'g'great-grandparents) was lame.

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

Just got back from a LARP convention in New Orleans a few weeks ago.  Awesome town, the hotel was weird.  And cold.  They managed to bump the temperature down by a good 20 degrees versus that outside.  Outside: Wall of humid heat that will knock you on your ass.  Inside: I'm waking up frozen in the morning from their mega-AC.

Tip and New Orleans is a bad combination in any case, even ignoring the convention.

...oh, and someone offered to give me their silver crucifix in return for my top hat.  Its a strange town.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

The weather's easier to bear if you grew up in the South.  And the best part of N.O. is the food!  I must have gained five pounds (and really dented my bank account) the last time I went there.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

National Council of Lonely Sorority speaking from experience, Shanneon?

Tony vonKrag (vonkrag) says:

Ummmm, I so miss <a href="">Angelo Brocato's</a> in NOLA. IMO THE BEST ices I've ever had. Their lemon ice just makes surviving the summers in NOLA bearable.

Corgi (corgi) says:


Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I went to a college that has no sororities. We had a capella groups.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

*googles Peyrehorade*

Unless Cypress married a commune in France, I'm stumped.

...and this means that "Cypress" is an entire swamp's worth of trees?  Bald or Pond?

woozy (woozy) says:

Is Peyrehorade an anagram?  Perhaps for apery horde?  Wait.  That's not how you spell appary... 

Hey!  Raper Doe.

Ye Opera herd?

Okay, it's probably not an anagram...

woozy (woozy) says:

Man, the Internet is fantastic:



Mérimée's short story "La Vénus d'Ille" is, on the other hand, a perfect example of the fantastic's particular way of problematizing figurative language. A short summary of the main events will help the reader to appreciate Mérimée's mastery in developing the fantastic phenomenon. The narrator, a well-educated Parisian traveler interested in archeological discoveries, visits the small town of Ille in Southern France where he is invited to participate in the marriage of Alphonse de Peyrehorade, his host's son.(3) The visit is overshadowed by the discovery of a bronze statue of a Venus which, as the narrator tries to convince his reader, takes on human features over the course of the story. This process begins when one of the workers, who helped to unearth the statue, describes her look as "malevolent." His aversion to the statue can easily be explained by an accident in which the statue fell on and broke a friend's leg. The next day, the "idol," as it is called by now, is charged with "throwing back" a stone which a young man had thrown at it. One plausible explanation is that the stone simply ricochets from the statue, sending the stone back to where it came from. Yet even the erudite Parisian narrator cannot refrain from attributing human qualities to the statue when he sees it for the first time: "Ces yeux brillants produisaient une certaine illusion qui rappelait la réalité, la vie" (Mérimée 739) ["Those brilliant eyes produced a certain illusion that recalled reality, life itself"]. As the day goes on, M. Alphonse takes off his diamond ring and places it on the statue's finger to play a "jeu de paume." When he afterwards tries to take back his ring from the statue, he is unable to do so because it seems that the statue had purposely bent its finger to keep the ring. The final "turn of the screw" occurs when the young husband is found dead in his bed the morning after the wedding, his chest seemingly crushed by a ring of iron."

chic geek (onechicgeek) says:

I read that story! It's in an old series of three short story collections. Mystery, Ghost, and..I forget the other. My brooks are pretty old, I think from the 20's. Now I need to dig them back out...

Rob (rrreed) says: Twelve million bees, hmmm? That's almost three orders of magnitude greater than the size of a typical honey bee colony. Is Gavotte composed of some kind of heretofore unknown type of bee super-colony, the result of emergent behavior from many, many, many individual colonies interacting, or something else that's using or "riding" bees as a convenient carrier mechanism?
M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

@Rob: I don't think The Cypress is bees; presumably it's the cypress trees of the Mississippi delta swamp.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

12 million trees and two banjoes.

casimir (casimir) says:

Well the Cypress probably didn't marry him for sex, if, as in Gavotte, sex is going on all the time. I wonder if he isn't another gather of eusocial insects, like maybe termites, living inside the trees.

The divorce may already be final, if Mr.P is the figure hanging in the swamp.

So many questions, you devils! 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

We are Cypress Trees,
Twelve-million-strong ... gestalt thing!

Hey, you want more?  Tell the "Flintstones Vitamins" guys to write a longer jingle.  OK, let's try something else ...

(TUNE: "Five Hundred Miles", Hedy West)

Now, the Cypress is a friend,
But I cannot comprehend
How one weds an entity twelve million strong ...
Twelve million strong, twelve million strong,
It just somehow seems so wrong,
How one weds an entity twelve million strong!

If you can, ask Mister P.
And his spousal entity
How the dickens did they ever consummate?
To consummate, to consummate,
Complications must be great!
How the dickens did they ever consummate?

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

"Oh, let me tellya 'bout the birds and the bees
And the flowers and the trees
And the moon up aboooooooove--
An' a thing called looooove!"

Can't recall who did that song, but it's sure stuck in my head as an earworm right now...

woozy (woozy) says:

>>We are Cypress Trees,
>>Twelve-million-strong ... gestalt thing!

That was "Flintstones Vitamins"?  I that it was "We are Family"

>>  I don't think The Cypress is bees; presumably it's the cypress trees of the Mississippi delta swamp.

I don't think Cypress is just the trees (12 million trees?  That'd be pretty big) but the entire swamp as an ecosystem.  'Course I'm not really sure how "gestalt beings" work.  I'd have assumed the components act as they would naturally but, assuming Cypress *is* the Swampy Mrs. Havisham messing with a bisected Unity, we've seen vines and tree trunks moving on their own.

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says:

Thanks Ysabet:


Let me tell ya 'bout the stars in the sky

And a girl and a guy

And the way they would kiiiiiiiiiiiss--

On a nigh like thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis

ggg ddd (mbtshoes) says:

the <a href="">mbt safiri shoes</a> and <a href="">mbt sneakers</a>are special shoes in the <a href="">mbt shoes</a>,the shoes are well used to do the sport.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

I do believe we have a spammer. **gets out the spammerhammer** Oh, and you're welcome, Andy! Just spreading the looooooooove.... :3

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: Poor sweetheart, when will she ever learn?
Ben N (mittfh) says:

Just wondering...

Does Sweetheart actually have any "well-honed shadow agents"?  :)

Martin Hellberg Olsson (the_somewhat_knight) says:

Björk would have been interesting... but Jackie certainly seems more Tip.

Euel Ball (euel) says:

Hate to disagree, but I'd like to see Tip do Madonna.  (Knowing Tip, he'd like to do Madonna.  I don't think her age would even slow him down...)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: [sigh]
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Take A Bow", Madonna)

Go in drag as Jackie O. now,
I'll be starring in a show now!
Overture, and hit the lights ...
This night of nights!
(This night of nights, I'll wear my navy tights ...)
Keep it cool and keep it classy!
All those poor lonely hordes of sorority girls,
Needing love, needing booze,
I can do two!
(Yes, two by two, that's who I'm gonna do)

I'm gonna go as Jackie O. ...
I thought that Sweetheart ought to know ...
Not Bjork and not Madonna, no oh no,
Find lonely girls and say hello
Here we go, say hello!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Well, he did do "Like a Virgin" at Karaoke, way back when.

And at least Tip won't have little flappy bicep wings.

casimir (casimir) says: Also known as "bar mitzvah arms".
Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

He also threatened the crystals at one point with his "killer Madonna set."

David Toboz (professor_zobot) says: I'm not sure if people have noticed yet, but Skin Horse now has it's own Fan Art thread on the Comics By Shaenon forum. Feel free to post stuff there! Let's fill it up with fan art! In regards to this comic, all I'm going to say is: Thank GOD Tip didn't go as Lady Gaga. Some things were NOT meant to be seen.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Which Madonna?  She could dress as herself for Halloween, and be unrecognizable!


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: [snicker]
Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Oh, that really is funny! 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "You're So Vain", Carly Simon)

They're off to
See the Cypress,
To where the weather is damp and hot!
We're sending Unity, Tip, and Sweetheart too,
Let's hope they advance the plot!
Moustachio says, "Off they go,"
While talking with Gavotte!
Sweetheart, it seems, has a bee in her bonnet,
Bee in her bonnet now!

It's Pavane!
I think so, but I might be mistaken!
It's Pavane,
I fear it, but I might be mistaken!
Well, then!  Well, then!

casimir (casimir) says:

A beeing would use dance to impart information.

Peni Griffin (penig) says:

Hmmm....Whereas a gavotte is an individual dance on six beats (think of it as a jig with two extra beats), a pavane is a couple-changing line dance on -- you know, I never did count beats?  Pavanes are so slow and stately you don't bother counting beats, focusing on whether you're doing double or single steps, crossing, turning, or whatever.  And on not quite touching your partner's hands, which is what, paradoxically, gives it it's edge as a courting dance.  You have all that time to look at your partner, talk if you're at a ball rather than performing, moving in perfect synch with them, but can't touch them.  And then one of you passes up the line and the other passes down.

Man, it's been way too long since I did this.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

I checked to be sure and yes, a pavane is in duple time, 2/2. This is similar to 4/4 but generally played more slowly.

Oh! And nice meeting Jeff and Shaenon at A.P.E.! :)

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