1. I don’t envy those construction workers. It seems they’ve got an utterly unlikeable job.

    Ba-dum-dum! KSSSH!

  2. Just to check if I’m getting it: The assignment was to take your vocabulary item, in this case the word “big”, and put up on the board some basic facts about it, like the spelling, a synonym, and an antonym. The child who did the one we see is in fact named Frank. His “pseudonym” line is meant to assert that Big is his real name and Frank just a pseudonym. The teacher is considering giving him extra credit for … sheer cleverness? For being big?? For finding a way to pretend to be big, though in fact he is a small kid?

  3. There is some careful phrasing in that, too. Calling it “polished concrete” forestalls us suggesting “well, embed it in the concrete while its still setting”.

  4. @Danny Boy – The joke is simply that the child added another “nym” to synonym and antonym. Since Frank is as good a pseudonym for big as anything else it can be considered correct – maybe the teacher should give extra credit for the extra work?

  5. Yeah, Bliss’s dog(s) seem to be getting more capabilities all the time! 🙂

    But they aren’t surpassing in tech sophistication the broadcasting cats of Breaking Cat News or the texting cats of Texts From Mittens.

  6. My first thought in the “Frank is a pseudoymn for ‘Big’ idea” was that it had something to do with the family being in the Witness Protection Program, but I couldn’t make that work. (Nor can I make any other joke-like outcome work there, for that matter.)

    If father Frank really is the notorious Mr. Big under a pseudonym, I don’t think the teacher would want him to know that she’s discovered his secret.

  7. Thanks, Brian and Shrug. I felt confident at least that the kid was Frank, your suggestion that it’s his dad is a surprising twist but plausible.

  8. “I don’t envy those construction workers. It seems they’ve got an utterly unlikeable job.”


    “Ba-dum-dum! KSSSH!”

    The rimshot doesn’t help.

    “Just can’t resist how he draws those dog face expressions!”

    Agreed! They are adorable and almost make the cartoon.


    But not quite… so the dogs are using elaborate scaffolding and planning to paint a picture of a bone on a wall and … huh…


    And not getting the grammar one either. I suspect the logic is backwards and might “Big” is the pseudonym for “Frank” and not the other way. I first thought that the kid Frank, is going around calling himself “big” as a s rapper name or something but… it doesn’t really work on any level.

  9. Oh… and Ventriloquism is easy for the dummies… It’s the ventriloquists who have it hard.

  10. The “elaborate scaffolding” may just be Utility Shelving from Sears.

  11. OK, let’s say you are a cartoonist, and have the setup involving the terms “synonym”, “antonym” and “pseudonym” (because, you know, it sounds similar), what would your punchline be? How could we make the comic better?

    Also, I think the construction site comic is missing several steps between the two stated in the instructions. 🙂

  12. I don’t think there is a color version of Andertoons, but the greyscale is I think doing the job of showing us there were parts of this set up by the teacher, and parts added by the student.

  13. I read Stan’s comment as “an utterly unl-ikea-ble job.” As in, Swedish do-it-yourself furniture.

  14. Would I be too nitpicky then to point out the job is actually quite l-ikea-ble?

    ” I think the construction workers look like minifigs.”

    Okay… what’s a minifig?

  15. “what would your punchline be? How could we make the comic better?”

    Well, our not being able to make it better doesn’t mean its good enough as is.

    And as it should be the pseudonym for a person whose real name is “Big” rather than “Big” being a pseudonym for a person named “Frank”, I’d start by making the pseudonym more comical and obvious. Perhaps “Erasmus Schmoop” or “Notorious B”.

  16. “Would I be too nitpicky then to point out the job is actually quite l-ikea-ble?”

    No, not nitpicky, but certainly just as clever and hilarious as I am! (That is, if you like putting Ikea furniture together. Do you? I think you’d be the only person I’ve ever met who does.)

    Where’s your rimshot?

  17. It’s not a matter of liking it; it’s a matter it being l-ikea-ble. Having something in a million little pieces that you must assemble with a two inch allen wrench and align through nuts while inside the joust is extremely unpleasant. It’s very l-ikea-ble. Somethin unl-ikea-ble would be something quite different. Perhaps buy Louis XIV armoir at auction in cut from a single piece of mahagony. That’d be a unl-ikea-ble as it gets.

  18. When it comes to technical sophistication, nothing holds a candle (LED flashlight?) to the pair of unnamed house cats in Dog Eat Doug.

    And minifigs sounds like a specialty hybrid fruit.

    Ba-dum-dum KSSSH!

  19. That’s the spirit, guero!

    And “populate” sounds like a father who needs a new watch!

    Ba-dum-dum KSSSH!

  20. Still waiting for the rimshot.

    Is there a standard transcription for a rimshot? Is there a term designating what “Ba-da-Bing!” is supposed to be? Is that just something people say vocally, or is it meant as an ono..ono..otto-ottomanapedia?

  21. We’ve never put together Ikea furniture, but we (read: Hubby) has put together all sorts of furniture, including electric fireplaces, book cases, tables of various sizes, without any problems or frustration. Does he LIKE to do it? I’ve never asked; I’ve just assumed that what I order, he’ll put together ‘-)

  22. A friend of mine had to play Edgar Bergen in a play, and actually called the publisher and asked “Do you have ‘Ventriloquism for Dummies.'”?

    After ensuring the person on the phone that he wasn’t kidding and why he needed it, she said “No, we don’t. Would you like to write one?”

  23. I don’t get the “Pseudonym” joke either.

    James, did any of the profferred explanations come pretty close to working for you, and you might accept it if tweaked to cover your objection? Or you just would like to note that it’ll be a “hard no” from you 🙂 ?

  24. Good story, Ignatzz!

    If Edgar Bergen appeared as a character, was it a based-on-real-life dramatization? I’d like to think it had Candice on to voice her complaint that Charlie McCarthy had his own room and got treated better than she did. :-0)

  25. By the way, speaking of written SF, I was hoping for either some confirmation or maybe correction to my recollection commented in the St. Patrick’s Day thread, that:

    Andréa, you reminded me of the Heinlein novel Double Star in which there is a world government in the form of a constitutional parliamentary monarchy, and the royalty are the House of Orange somehow!

  26. Mitch4: I didn’t remember, but this page confirms your claim:

    “The political system depicted in the book is a constitutional monarchy, with the House of Orange elevated to the role of providing an Emperor of the Solar System.”

  27. Ah, thanks for that reference!

    Reading their summary of the political system reminds me of some ideas I picked up first of all from Double Star, in this case that a parliamentary system could have non-geographic constituencies. I seem to remember “non-affiliated university women” as one.

    Also that for a quick disguise when travelling in public, your goal cannot be to fully look like a different person, but can suffice that someone who knows you might think “Hunh, looks a little like So-and-so, but no, it isn’t him”. And that putting a tiny pebble in your shoe will give you a bit of a limp, and will save you from forgetting which leg you are limping with (if you tried to enact the limp without aid).

  28. My favorite ‘disguise with a limp’ was Kevin Spacey in ‘Usual Suspects’ [SPOILER ALERT!] . . . I never understood what the movie was all about, but I’ve watched that ending again and again . . .

  29. 1- I figured the dog was telling on his sibling dogs for painting on the walls – something children do and sometimes their siblings tell on them and, for some reason, parents get upset about.

    2- On an episode of the Jack Benny show, he goes to Edgar Bergen’s house to talk to him. Edgar is not home, but should be home shortly and Frances (Mrs) Bergen tells Jack to wait for him and they are sitting and talking in the living room. Charlie (short person in a costume it is presumed) comes in and is walking around and talking and Jack is shocked – it is like he is Frances and Edgar’s son. He is followed by Mortimer Snerd coming in with a similar situation.

    3 – Ikea – their stuff is not hard to assemble, certainly not harder than other KD (knock down) furniture. (Much of our house is KD that we assembled, especially bookcases and our bedroom night stands, plus chests of drawers in our studio. First things we bought and assembled at Ikea were a computer desk and office section table to replace Robert’s old desk as it was too small for what he needed to do when he quit his job and we planned to expand our craft business. Computer desk – no problem. Table – well, it is one of the many items which can be assembled in various ways depending on add ons. Unfortunately the way we planned to assemble it was not one of the ways they had thought of to do so and we had to figure it out ourselves. But since then we have become experts at Ikea furniture (and their cafeteria including, in normal times, their 3-4 times a year seasonal smorgasbords). It does stand up to use. Also since things can often be assembled in more than one way, one can figure out what to do to make it work in unusual situations. Robert had bought a set of 3 shelves with glass doors (doors purchased separately) and legs (also separate purchase) in which to display his James Bond figures and cars. When “Pop” figures came along he needed more space for his Pop James Bond figures. After dinner at their cafeteria we walked back to the section where a number of years before he had bought the shelve set, and bought two additional matching shelves to attach to the top of the others – the setup only allowed for one shelf to be added (no way to add an additional shelf to an additional shelf – so he took out his drill and we were able to add both shelves. I have a plastic shopping bag hanging from a closet door in our office with Ikea tools and spare parts which helped greatly with this project. When Robert hurt his back/neck/arm (varied which hurt) back in 2018 he had noticed that the chairs in the cafeteria in Ikea and the chairs at Wendys were much easier on his back. We went to the chair department and right now he is sitting next to me on the chair we bought – I carried the package to the car/house and assembled it myself. They also have very nice, reasonably priced picture frames, lamps, closet organizing stuff,storage items, Christmas decorations, candles, plants kitchen items (dishes, glasses pots…), rugs, plants, etc. – even kitchen and bathroom redos are available.

  30. In the early 2010s my niece moved here to do her Ph.D., and my sister’s whole family of 4 actually drove her here and stayed a week to set her (and her cat) up in an apartment in a University-managed apartment-dorm building. They are very organized. While still getting her place set up, the cat stayed with me, sister and b-i-l stayed at a hotel, and both nieces stayed at the elder one’s new place, sleeping bags on floor.

    They brought a U-Haul type trailer with her personal possessions, but no furniture. They had already bought and reserved several pieces at a “nearby” Ikea — there aren’t any actually in the city of Chicago, but the suburban shopping center ones are about 30 miles out. So the U-Haul went out to Ikea and back with the bed, kitchen table, bed table, desk, in-the-corner bookshelves, two sections of sidewall bookshelves, small telephone table (for Internet modem/router, not a desk-type phone of course but that’s how the little table was catalogued), etc. And we spent the next few days carrying the stuff up in an elevator and assembling it all in Alex’s apartment. Even though the assembly could in principle be done with the Ikea-supplied manual tools, it was much speeded up because b-i-l brought his little Dremel tool and his bigger battery-powered drill with ratchet head and useful bits including a match for Ikea’s Allen or hex key.

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