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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Sexy imbroglio on the horizon.
Justin Grubbs (jjgrubbs) says:


Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "Hernando's Hideaway," Richard Adler & Jerry Ross (The Pajama Game, 1954)

I blush, I flush, I need a fan
Because this man, so tall and tan
Spoke to me in Italian
He said . . . the word "imbroglio" (Oh, no!)

It means a complicated mess
It makes me want to shed this dress
Rip off his shirt, and shout "Yes, yes!"
Again! Please say "imbroglio"!

Do you recall the Addams Fam'ly, and how Gomez felt
When Morticia spoke in French, all he could do was melt
For me, it's Italy, where the lessico mi dá the hots
All he did is say one word, but still it made me plotz

Please don't discuss the rift all day
Please don't prepare a dossier
No papers in portfolio
Can save me from "imbroglio"

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

My first thought was to use the song "Torn" by Natalie Imbroglio ... sorry, "Imbruglia" ... but I decided to go all infotainment instead ...

(TUNE: "Maria", from The Sound Of Music, Rodgers & Hammerstein)

How do you say the word that's spelled "imbroglio"?
Asking around, just how the sound should go
In my vocabulary or portfolio ...
I wrote in my blog,
I think it's "imm-brog-

I'm gonna check the online dictionary ...
Google will show I'm right, I know, you'll see!
But doing a search, I find
That all of the sites online
Tell me it's not four syllables, but three!
Oh, how do you say the word that's spelled "imbroglio"?
What kind of stupid word has silent "g"??

P. Ipsum (vitupera) says:

Actually, it's pretty adorable to hear Artie refer to the "young turks."  And hats off to the filkers today, I am just all kinds of impressed.

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Calling it. The tiger's the one who did it.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Imbroglio. Emmmmbrrogleeohhhh... yeah; it WOULD sound good in a well-modulated, sexy voice.  :)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

That's Italian for you.  Not just silent Gs, but stealth Gs too, so we can all enjoy hearing NPR's Sylvia Poggioli purr "Podjoli."

Rob (rrreed) says: Artie's comment about "…the older beast-men like my… self…", along with Gold Bug's bio of him on the cast page and Sweetheart's recollections of rooming with him at Berkeley begs the question of how much of a time gap is there between the end of Narbonic and the beginning of Skin Horse? Several years would seem to be the minimum.
vicka corey (drbrain) says:

i kind of love it that artie uses the term "beast-men" :)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Rob: At the end of Narbonic, Artie travelled back in time to study violent tendencies in early childhood, becoming Mell's grade-school teacher in Li'l Mell.  (Also becoming white, from the look of it: Shaenon will have to explain that one.)  At any rate, he could have spent many years in the past, which wouldn't necessitate a big gap between Narbonic and Skin Horse.

Rob (rrreed) says: @Kay—The only problem with that theory is that if "Mutants United for a Transgenic Tomorrow" is what eventually became the "Chimeric Anti-Defamation League", then Artie was involved almost from the beginning anyway, and time travel wouldn't be required to explain his involvement. And we know some of the hamsters survived, so "Arthur Narbon's" identity could hardly have remained secret within the transgenic community, anyway.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Artie has never been white! It's just that not every artist is lazy like me and uses "lines drawn on face" as shorthand for "person of color."
Matthew Miller (mattdm) says:

Artie, I think you mean awesome priorities.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I'm glad there's no hell, because this filk would put me on the express train to perdition:
tune: "Pride (In the name of love)," U2 (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

Gerbil, he is a pacifist
Tiger, he rejects
Artie, following Dr. King
H.T., Malcolm X

The transgenic split
The young want their rights, right now
The transgenic split
The olds say, "don't have a cow"

By any necessary means
Justice cannot wait
Artie likes having human genes
He'd assimilate

The transgenic split
A diner that's full of smoke
The transgenic split
The rebels will go for broke

Tip and Sweetheart work as a pair
But their beaux are foes
One's like Xavier, except with hair
One's like Magneto

The transgenic split
They're caught in the midst of it
The transgenic split
The fan will be hit by s**t
(woh woh oh, woh woh oh, woh oh oh oh oh . . .)

Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

Is it bad or awesome that while I was reading panel 2, I was thinking "Oh, like Professor X and Magneto?"



Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Don't Fear The Reaper", Blue Oyster Cult)

Artie and H.T.,
They don't quite agree ...
Artie, well, he's a peacenik,
Unlike H.T., who gets vi-o-lent!

(Wanna be like Artie)
Keep it peaceful
(Artie's a peacenik)
He'll assimilate
(Artie's a peacenik)
At a vegan cafe
(Artie's a peacenik)
Talking to his date!

    (la la la la la ...)

Artie's quite polite,
H.T. likes to fight!
Magneto and Xavier
Had the same goal, but different means!

(Magneto and Xavier)
Conflagration or negotiation
(Like Magneto and Xavier)
Conflagration or negotiation
(Blame the ones who raise him)
Artie had a twisted education

(They had warped priorities)
He's embarrassed
(Artie's a peacenik)
He gets funny looks
(Artie's a peacenik)
Taking cul-tu-ral ref'rences
(Artie's a peacenik)
From comic books!

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

"When you're human, you're black?"

Tim Jewett (ryushikaze) says:

Artie, you're a hyperintelligent shapeshifting gerbil. He's a talking tiger with a prehensile tail. Prof X and Magneto is exactly the right analogy.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: See, I would have figured it had something to do with the hat monsters.
Mark Temple (mithril) says:

funny, my first thought was "like Booker T. washington and W.E.B. Du Bois?"

classic assimilation vs. action in a racial struggle for civil rights.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I hadn't really thought of it this way before, but I guess Dave is kind of Artie's stepfather.

Rob (rrreed) says: If Artie is Professor X and H.T. is Magneto, then who's Squirrel Girl?
Paul Lenoue (palenoue) says:

Dibs on Deadpool!

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: @rrreed: Unity, but more I cannot say.

@ampersand888: In case there's some confusion, Artie is bimorphic -- part of the time he's the Herculean black man you see here, and part of the time he's an iddy biddy gerbil. This is all drawn from Narbonic, though, so I do wonder if this is entirely lucid to the new reader...
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: @channing I didn't realize Artie was black in Narbonic until he showed up in color one Sunday. The heavy shading on the cheeks doesn't quite make the connection, I think.
JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Wow, Tip really is at his girliest ever here, isn't he? And I'm not even talking about his outfit.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Artie and Tip are perfect for each other.  They're the Nick and Nora Charles of an alternate universe.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: I believe a rimshot is called for.
vicka corey (drbrain) says:

...artie is not, imho, acting particularly seductive.  poo.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

@Kay: But they're both thin men, so which one is Nick?


@So It Begins:

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Joe: not sure--whoever drinks more

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

@joe and @kay:  Nick Charles was not the Thin Man; he was the detective who solved the Thin Man's murder.

It's a very common misconception....

Josh Shepherd (bergerjacques) says:

Such blatant oversimplification. Not all thin men are objects of murder. But then again, Artie's killing Tip softly....

N B (daveclone7) says:

@Joe: Isn't Nick the helicopter?

Neil Smith (usoki) says:

Reason I love this comic #2,396:  Artie is correctly using the subjunctive in that last panel.

Eddddd theawsome (eddddd) says:

Why aren't they having hot gay sex yet?!?

Isn't Tip supposed to be in bed with his new lover by the third panel?

Camille Dumas (camidumas) says:

Gosh Artie, aren't we being a tad judgmental?

Norman Thallheimer (normanrt) says:

The Prada's wouldn't have helped, Tip; you're dealing with a superior intelligence here.  Anybody who can tell last Friday what someone elses lines will be this Friday should have no trouble telling what someone's sexual orientation is ^_^.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Let he who is not straight when in gerbil form cast the first stone.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Aw, c'mon, Artie! You're a teacher, aren't you? There's your student right there in front of you! Broaden his horizons!  :D

Bernard Sheehan (smilodon) says:

This is going to be one of those really significant strips that you don't realize is important until several storylines later isn't it?

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

Lord knows why but I like 'em human.

Maybe its because

Gerbils are monogamous


Apes are in heat ALL THE TIME!

Elizabeth Carter (socks) says:

Wat no fan pandering?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: And there we have it.
vicka corey (drbrain) says:

nothing so smug as a gerbil turning down a hot guy.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

My apologies for missing yesterday ... my home internet was on strike.

(TUNE: "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught", from South Pacific, Rodgers & Hammerstein)

Although we're both hot,
And here today,
Although we're both hot,
I've got to say
That my type you're not
(Not bi or gay),
Although we're incredibly hot!

Though you want to get
So sexual,
It seems that you're het-
Too bad, but you'll get
No sex at all,
Although you're incredibly hot!

I know that each night, you normally date
A woman or six (or seven or eight) ...
I know that you're honest, 'cause you play it straight,
My type, you're indelibly not!

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

actually i'm pretty amused that here's tip, just dripping with lust, and artie's calling him straight.  is this our "identity politics" storyline or something?

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Maybe Artie sees him not just as straight, but straight and completely nontransitional. He would feel it's his duty to help him through the period of confusion with as little... pain... as possible.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

I just like Artie's expression in panel 2, the beginning of "Now how do I let him down gently?"

Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says:

@Vicka: Yeah, that's a might confusing. By definition, Tip is not straight if he's getting ga-ga over Artie. At "most" he's straight+Artie. (Unless this is like Mass Effect, where fem!Shep is NOT lesbian because Liara's technically not EITHER gender... Except, well, Artie IS male, if another species.)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Well, Artie could be thinking that Tip—even if he's bisexual—is "straight-identified" and will never choose a man for a permanent relationship.  On the other hand, Artie embraces sluthood as much as Tip does, and hardly seems to be trolling for a permanent relationship, so I don't see why that would be a deal-breaker.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I tried dating a Panda once, but all she did was eat, shoots and leaves.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Neko the Kitty introduced me to the perfect term for this: Bishappointment.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

If I told you which are the really significant strips that you don't realize are important until later, you wouldn't believe me.
vicka corey (drbrain) says:

@shaenon considering the first examples of leo's comic strip, you are quite likely correct.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

. . . or he may just be happy to see Tip.

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Honestly, I'd consider him more 'brain surgery' than 'rocket science.'

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Do animals even have a culture other than what they've copied from humans? They normally don't even have sentience!

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

Thats just the kinda propaganda i would expect from a Human!

Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

Is "rocket" just another word for "mad" in Artie's lexicon?

Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says:

JP Chalbot,

Culture has actually been proven to exist in several of the more advanced species on Earth. Monkeys spread food prep techniques, dolphins trade hunting secrets, and Orca calls come in distinct dialects. So, while it's rare in the overall scheme of things, it's definitely not unique to just our one species.

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Ah, yes, that does make sense to me! Thanks for enlightening me, Daniel!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Arguably, any set of behavior patterns in a species can be called its "culture" - canine butt-sniffing rituals, kitten play-fighting, etc.  Even supposedly-sentient humans largely pick up their culture by imprint rather than conscious thought, which leads to all kinds of problems when humans from different cultures collide: Most never sort out the difference between "The right way for people to act" and "The right way for people to act in my hometown."

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Tiff has the right of it, I think. The dividing line between humans and other specieseses is not as profound as we'd like to think. Sure, we're clever monkeys, with our ability to probe the edges of the universe and the invisible particles that comprise matter, but when it comes to relating to others, we're as instinct-driven as anything out there.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite", The Beatles)

The analysis of Artie N.
We're hoping now can soon begin
When dinner's through ...
We'll find the things we hope to find
As thoroughly we probe his mind
And body too!
His creator has imprinted on him,
So with humans he identifies ...
It's a shock, but now the Doc likes rocket science!

When growing up with humans near,
Then one absorbs things linear,
Though unaware!
To study psychometric'ly,
Below the surface, now to see
What's under there!
Now before your eyes, we'll analyze
And soon have knowledge (in the Biblical sense) ...
With Wilken in his silken lingerie!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: [snicker]
Daniel Dwiggins (dand) says:

I would argue that kitten play fighting does not count as culture, as it is instinctive.  Culture is behavior patterns that, are learned.  Intentionally taught or imprinted from surrounding people doesn't matter, but it is learned.

Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

I remember a story about a puppy who was brought into a house already owned by a cat.  The cat taught the puppy to play-fight like a kitten.  When the puppy was introduced to other puppies they didn't know what to make of the one that sat up on his hind legs and started batting at them with his forepaws.

Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

Rule of thumb:

Sentient: the ability to recognize yourself in a mirror.

Sapient: the ability to plan and communicate in abstract

(Not dictionary definitions, more like RPG)

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

The office I worked in in Asia had a pet goat that lived inside out compound and kept the grass and weeds eaten back. One day we acquired a German shepherd puppy. Within days, the goat had taught the puppy to butt heads as play.

The puppy grew to be much larger that the goat and was soon winning all the butt-fests. The goat would leap to a place of safety from the dog and bleat at us, complaining as we went in and out. Talk about culture clash. :)

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Joyce: There's a webcomic in there about an office goat and German shepard. I can even see the goat being brought about when someone is sacked.

Josh Shepherd (bergerjacques) says:

I'll be honest, it's a bit disconcerting to watch Tip trying so hard. I half expect him to cast the table settings aside, manners be damned.

Kirt Dankmyer (xiombarg) says:

He's never been with a dude. Probably hits his confidence a little.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

Still snerking over "psychometric analysis in the biblical sense," BTW. :D

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Tiff: I keep a database of the most meaningful quotations that I encounter.  Your comment is the latest entry.

Nick Lardas (voyager) says:

The difference between culture and instinct is that culture is reprogrammable. Basically, if you can change it by learning, or raising a generation in a different environment can easily lead to it being completely replaced, it is culture. If it sticks around, even without the original environmental requirements, it is probably instinct.

Yes, the lines are very blurry, but it is a huge advantage over the basic instinct system, allowing us to adapt to environments over a very short time period, while also permitting us to remain a single inter-fertile species whereas we would have diverged into sub-species had we needed to evolve new instincts for the various environments we've colonized.

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Ouch. Those glasses look like they'll need some fixing. Not that that's likely to stop Tip.

Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

Men who have kissed Tip count = 1

(Sorry Mr. Shive)

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

And now Tip gets to see what it's like for women.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

That may have been the hottest man to man kiss I've ever seen.

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Yeah, like Andrew Kunz just said, that was amazingly hot, and I don't even like the man-on-man action!

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

On the other hand, a few of us fangirls are dancing in the aisles. That WAS hot. Please don't let the hotel burn down or anything.

(and is it just me, or is the fandom for this series predominantly male?  Why?)

M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

@Ysabet: It might be a reporting bias; we might be more numerous commenters. I do not hang out in the fandom beyond these comments, though, so it's at least as probable that that's wrong. It might be merely that Shaenon writes strong-but-unusual male protagonists who end up having lots of hot sex in what is clearly a wish-fulfilment fantasy for geeky male readers; I know the disappointment of discovering that women do not find one to be nearly as sexy in a skirt as oneself does. :P

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Well now.
vicka corey (drbrain) says:

i guess that was "reverse psychology"....


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Black And White", David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson)

Now Tip is hot,
And Tip is straight ...
With Artie he's going on a date!
Now Artie's hot,
And Artie's gay,
And Tip wonders why he feels this way ...
Unusual way!

And Tip believes ... it might be time
To shift his sexual paradigm ...

Now Artie's gay,
And Tip is straight,
And intercourse now they contemplate ...
If one is gay
And one is straight,
Then bound'ries they must negotiate ..

Then Artie turns, and grabs his wrist,
And Tip is stunned, 'cause he's been kissed!
Slammin' kissed!

Now Tip is straight,
And Artie's gay,
And it's been a most peculiar day ...
When one is gay
And one is straight,
Well, what happens next?  We just can't wait!
The readers can't wait!

Gordon Douglas (albertanerd) says:

Tip's man-to-man kiss count is actually 2, because he snogged Konstantin that one time.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It's at least 3, if Leo counts. And if Artie counts, I guess Leo ought to.

Mav Grey (greymav) says:

I'll be in my bunk.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

@Kay, you made my day! :-)

gwen patton (ardrhi) says:

It's the pin against the wall that does it. Rawrr.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Ysabet: Are there ANY web comic sesries for which the fandom is not predominantly male?  It just seems like more guys use their time to read webcomics in the first place.

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

Which may have something to do with the fact that (here in the USA) the majority of comics are read by guys.  (And are, of course, aimed at guys.  But which is the chicken and which the egg, is unclear to me.)  So maybe it's just that once girls outgrow Archie they figure that they've outgrown all forms of comics. 

Or maybe not.

Eddddd theawsome (eddddd) says:


also: @ Carl: I think that there may be a larger community of comic-book-reading-girls than you realize

or a smaller community than I realize

since im a girl, most of my friends are also comic fangirls, so i may have a skewed view, though


Eddddd theawsome (eddddd) says:

also, on fangirls commenting less:

could be fangirls commenting under gender nuetral or male usernames

(i know on ... um .... certain sites... Im a 22-year-old man named Bob)

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