Panel 2: Iris, he was just repeating the last word the guy said.
Panel 3: Okay, first of all, calm down. Second of all, he said "Yes" in the first panel, which was also in context. Third, when he said "Go" to Mike, he probably MEANT "Go."
Panel 4: Hi, Lynn. Yes, as someone pointed out, it was also mentioned in the letters, but it's still likely to be a shoutout to us. Either that, or they're just that predictable, and would have started beating the boxcar joke to death with or without us.
I suppose one could make the argument in favor of Jim and Iris being portrayed alone on the grounds that they have their own lives and are not merely Patterson appendages. Still, it bugs, in light of how much jaw music the Pattersons make about family. Especially Liz, who, IIRC, cited Jim as one of the reasons she had to get back to Milborough or she'd die. Hey, Lizardbreath: why don't you spend an afternoon with Jim, while he's awake, and then tell us how badly your life sucks.
And it makes me ill that this leaves Saturday's strip as the last word, for a while, on Liz's romantic life. The problem is M.E.N., not L.I.Z.
Meanwhile, ellcee has graced us with a new foefic: Windjammer! http://ellcee.livejournal.com/