Friday, March 28, 2008

“Model T – Revisited”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: The following is a two-act play based on our current woes with high fuel costs. It is offered as a glimpse into the world of high finance and corporate competition.

PRELUDE: Secret tests were recently uncovered at selected Wal-Mart locations. In a pilot program, this mega-retailer had begun to sell new versions of a Tata microcar made in India, under the ‘SAMS-CAR: Model T’ designation. Then, customers were surveyed to determine their overall satisfaction. This activity sent shock waves throughout the headquarters of every car manufacturer in America.


SETTING: A boardroom in Detroit. Coffee cups and water bottles litter the table. Half-empty trays of festive snacks are everywhere. Binders filled with research are piled in front of each participant. Yet their mood is raucous. The group engages in foolish squabbling and mischief before their conference begins. No one is really glad to be participating in this discussion.

THE PLAYERS: Auto executives from the ‘big three’ American auto companies. Moderator of the meeting is Lee Iacocca, the former Mopar CEO.

LEE IACOCCA - “Friends, I’m glad we could meet here today. What lies ahead is a challenge like none of us have ever faced before.”

GENERAL MOTORS - “Ten hut! Everybody snap to attention!”

WALLY CHRYSLER - “The General is right! Quiet down!”

HENRY FORD XVI - “Hey, you’ve lost your German accent, Wally! What gives?”

W. CHRYSLER – “Ja und mein name isn’t Hans anymore… I mean, my name isn’t…”

GENERAL M. – “Never mind, pilgrim. We get your drift.”

FORD XVI – “You got sold by Daimler-Benz.”

W. CHRYSLER – “Ach du lieber! Uhmm, I mean, right! We’re one-hundred percent Yankee again!”

L. IACOCCA – “Alright everybody. We are here to discuss an unexpected new plan by Wal-Mart, the giant retailer based in Bentonville, Arkansas.”

A packet of information is given to each participant in the meeting. There are gasps all around. Their mouths hang open with disbelief.

GENERAL M. – (shuffling papers) “Boys, this is insane!”

W. CHRYSLER – “I’m gonna be sick!”

L. IACOCCA – (continuing) “Wal-Mart’s explosive idea is to begin selling automobiles. Their version of the Tata ‘Nano’ is already in a few stores across the nation. The chain-wide rollout is coming soon. At a base price of $2,500 it represents an incredible bargain for their customers. What effect do you think that will have on the industry?”

FORD XVI – “They’re calling it the ‘New Model T?’ This is an outrage!”

GENERAL M. – (laughing) “Doesn’t that just chap your saddle?”

W. CHRYSLER – “Don’t tell me they’ve got a smiley face in the TV commercial.”

FORD XVI – “Yep. He’s bouncing all over the place. Gahhhh!”

W. CHRYSLER – (covering his mouth) “I mean it! I’m gonna be sssssssick!”

GENERAL M. – “Well anyway, I think it’s a bunch of hogwash. Who wants a little tin can on wheels when you can pull a tour of duty in one of my tricked-out tanks? Folks in America want to drive a Hummer, not an Easter Egg on wheels!”

FORD XVI – “Gasoline is nearing four bucks a gallon, Generalissimo. Can you say ‘market collapse by fall?’ The times are changing.”

W. CHRYSLER – “Brave talk, Henry. All you sell are trucks and SUVs. Nobody wants the Focus.”

FORD XVI – “Give it a rest, Wally. If it wasn’t for Jeep, you’d be bankrupt!”

L. IACOCCA - “Gentlemen! Please! This petty infighting won’t solve our dilemma. We need answers here!”

Grumbling fills the air.

GENERAL M. – “Okay, sorry Commander. Keep talking.”

L. IACOCCA – “Wal-Mart isn’t happy with a share of the pie, my friends. They want it all. Every last bite! And they know how to get it.”

W. CHRYSLER – “Okay, sure. They’re great at selling gadgets and toys. But what do they know about cars?”

FORD XVI – “Careful, Wally. That’s the way we used to talk about the Japanese!”

L. IACOCCA – “Don’t underestimate the bunch from Bentonville. They can sell everything from peanuts to pogo sticks. It’s in their blood.”

GENERAL M. – “So what’s our battle plan, sir?”

L. IACOCCA – “The Wal-Mart strategy seems to be based on exploiting consumer unrest over the high price of fuel. Everybody is hurting at the pump right now. It’s a plan that makes sense. So we’ve got to think of something better.”

FORD XVI – “Maybe a car that runs on something other than gasoline?”

W. CHRYSLER – “Hah! We’ve tried that before, and gotten nowhere. Propane? Hydrogen? Bio-diesel? Take your pick. America still depends on petroleum.”

GENERAL M. – “We just need a better idea, soldier. Something that will keep the whole platoon moving for pennies a day!”

FORD XVI – “That’s it - but what’s the magic fuel?

L. IACOCCA – (looking inspired) “Magic fuel… wait… I’ve got it… I’VE GOT IT! hang on, gentlemen!” (He takes out a cell phone and eagerly punches in a familiar number) “Hello, Ronald? Hey, you old clown! I’ve got a proposal for you…”


SETTING: The corporate offices of Wal-Mart Incorporated, Bentonville, Arkansas. The room is furnished in an austere collection of gray furniture. Each V. I. P. wears an oversized name tag like those used in their discount stores. Their mood is decidedly sour.

THE PLAYERS: Those in charge of the late Sam Walton’s empire - Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott, Jr.; Board of Directors Chairman S. Robson Walton; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer William S. Simon.

H. LEE SCOTT – “Welcome everyone. We have gathered here today on a very serious occasion…”

Mr. Scott passes out a series of memorandum envelopes. There are crude exclamations of surprise and dismay.

S. ROBSON WALTON – “Dang it, has that hamburger-hawkin’ clown lost his mind? My daddy will be spinnin’ in his grave!”

WILLIAM S. SIMON – “Lee, is this some kind of joke??”

SCOTT – “Look hard at this information, my friends. It is no joke. The big three are about to introduce a trio of cars that run on a mixture of French fry oil and burger grease… refueling will be handled as a meal add-on at any Mc Donald’s in the Untied States… and eventually, the world!”

WALTON – “Thunderation! Look what you started with the SAMS-CAR, Lee! Nice work, bonehead!”

SIMON - “We are doomed!”

SCOTT – “Gentlemen, please! Calm down!”

WALTON – (reading from the Mc Donald’s literature) “New from your friends under the Golden Arches - The Motor City Mac Attack! Get your fill-up and fries today. It’s a meal deal that will keep you rolling, at the table and on the highway!”

Angry curses fill the air.

SIMON – “I say it again. We’re doomed!”

WALTON – “Lee you better think of somethin’ fast! Ronald is breathin’ down your neck!”

SCOTT – (looking flustered) “Yes. Yes. Yes! I’m on it, Robson!! Gentlemen, THIS MEETING IS ADJOURNED!!!”

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Friday, March 21, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Fire

On St. Patrick's Day, mugs of green beer and Guinness were being tipped all across Geauga County. But in Chardon, the mood was dampened by an early-morning fire that claimed nearly all of the city's snow removal equipment.

The municipal road garage on Park Avenue was gutted by a raging fire which destroyed a dozen vehicles.

Officials estimate the damage may be well over one million dollars.

The fire took three hours to extinguish. Firefighters in Chardon were assisted by their counterparts from Concord, Burton, Montville, Kirtland, Chester, and Willoughby Hills.

For this writer, news about the tragic blaze came from my wife. After watching a live report on WKYC-3, I drove to town for a few on-the-spot photographs. By that time, the emergency was under control, and those at work were finishing their difficult task.

WOIO-19 was busy producing their own report as I snapped these photos.

“Lesson in Liberty”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All Rights Reserved

It was late in the Icehouse home office. The rest of our family had long since surrendered to blissful slumber. But with the help of a last pot of coffee, I eluded the grasp of fatigue.

Alone in the night - this would be my most creative hour.

I was in the midst of reviewing the political season - speaking with reverence about our national ideals and habits, while spotlighting the unruly weather that seemed to test our citizen resolve:

“Mother Nature seemed determined to set a serious tone for Primary Day in Ohio. Freezing rain made the local landscape slick and difficult to navigate.
With a boisterous campaign being waged for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, her tilt toward meteorological bluster and bombast was unnecessary. Voter turnout set records across the state. In Geauga, debate over potential candidates and local issues was spirited. No one needed a reminder of the powerful forces being summoned at ballot boxes in our region.

Still, the atmospheric tantrum served to highlight an important point about American politics: On Election Day, anything can happen!”

From controversy over livestock at the Geauga County Fair, to wonder about the local effect of current issues, it was a season of excitement. Wrathful winter weather made the moment even more intense. I wanted to effectively capture that energy in print:

“The March 4th contest left this writer with a variety of different emotions after voting had concluded - a decidedly complex mix of thought-impressions. I was struck by a need to opine on the importance of this greatest of citizen duties. But expressing these spur-of-the-moment impressions in honest prose required more than simple concentration. I had to seek shelter from an ice storm before reflective thoughts would appear.”

Eventually, I settled on a short list of points to ponder about the day. They offered a condensed assessment of voting as a ritual cherished by free people around the globe:

ONE: Local volunteers make the miracle possible

At the polls, I saw neighbors, friends, and even a local pastor’s wife exercising their patriotic duty as defenders of democracy. Such cooperation is a visible sign of healthy principles at work.

TWO: The right to choose is sacred

We often interpret the routine of voting as a tiresome habit from yonder days. Yet only military service or action as a community volunteer can equal its importance.

THREE: Voting happens only because of sacrifice

The free election of representatives may seem to be mundane to many Americans. But in fact, it is a right won through dedication, faith, and bloodshed. To be ignorant of that history is a tragic mistake. By shunning the ballot box, we may allow unfriendly forces to decide our fate.

FOUR: Words without deeds carry no meaning

Brave words are not enough to sustain the existence of democracy. Citizen action is needed to keep this way of living from being extinguished by apathy. Maintaining our liberty is an ongoing process. So long as we believe, it will never die.

FIVE: Liberty is the root of human progress

In America, we have achieved so much because of our grand experiment in individual freedom. Success and opportunity are inseparable. One can’t enjoy positive results without the latitude to make them happen. Oppressive governments quash the human spirit and hush ideas for improvement. Democracy is a natural partner to innovation.

The column was almost complete when our telephone rang with rude indifference to my task. I nearly jumped out of the chair!

“Hello?” I wheezed.

“Hey, Rod,” a familiar voice intoned. “I knew you’d still be awake!”

It was P. C. Tompkins, an erstwhile friend from central New York.

My surprise was evident. “I haven’t heard from you in months, Tommy. How are things back there?”

He paused in reflection. “Great! But… crazy. Do you understand?”

I nodded. “Of course.”

“So, any good hits on eBay, lately?” he said, quizzically.

I grinned with embarrassment. “Yeah, a few. Discs by the Japanese punk rock band ‘Guitar Wolf.’ Three different releases, all in the span of a week.”

He was impressed. “Wow! So, what did your wife think of those?”

My eyes narrowed in reflection. “Liz shuddered when I played a few tracks from ‘Missile Me.’ Their raucous sound sent her running for an emergency dose of cowboy tunes from Toby Keith!”

Tompkins chuckled. “Oh well, load them on your MP3 player.”

I changed the subject. “So… it’s great to hear from an old friend. But what really made you pick up the phone tonight?”

He turned serious. “Okay, I’ll confess. It’s all the media chatter about Governor Spitzer and the prostitution ring. I’m still reeling from that…”

“Yes,” I said. “The story is everywhere. Even here in Ohio. Thankfully, our governor isn’t likely to make such headlines.”

My friend was in obvious pain. “I passed out leaflets for Spitzer, across the county. He was a zealot. I respected him. And now…”

“Now you feel betrayed.” I said.

“Well, yes!” he shouted. “Wouldn’t you?”

My response came in a whisper. “As one of my newspaper bosses used to say – the players change, but the game goes on.”

Tompkins was flabbergasted. “Right, Mr. Wordsmith. That’s it? That’s all you’ve got to say?”

“Look, Tommy,” I began. “If you put your faith in political leaders, that’s a wager that often yields disappointment. I prefer to put my faith in the people. That seems to have been the viewpoint of our founders.”

He went silent.

“Humanity is often given to arrogance,” I continued. “We like to bask in the glow of our feigned superiority. But we are frail creatures, in body, mind, and spirit. We are prone to fall short of glory. Especially when affectations of righteousness have clouded our judgement.”

“I get your point. It’s just that I never expected such carelessness from Governor Spitzer,” he replied. “He was a lawgiver! A crusader for the masses!”

“It is better to be humble before the creator,” I said.

He grew agitated. “Give it a rest! This isn’t time for Sunday School!”

“Conceit and pride fill the belly with emptiness,” I said. “Eventually, a soul can starve from within by living on such things.”

Tompkins growled. “The bottom line is he broke our trust.”

I took a deep breath. “Yes. But not our faith. Not our endurance. Not our hope.”

A moment of nothingness passed. Finally, he agreed.
“Not our hope…”

I finished my column after our conversation had ended, just past midnight:

“Results at the ballot box may vary from year to year. The American electorate has a predictable tendency to change its mind over and over again. But the liberty to vote remains undiminished. It is our sacred right to be heard – and, our duty to speak.”

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


A massacre is being perpetrated as I write this - in the ancient land of Tibet. Chinese brutality is ripping through the nation, while it's brave citizens are rising up in protest.

Our cozy relationship with China is baffling to many. Not only does the communist government engage in political repression, censorship, and torture, but they have also flooded the west with unsafe products. Deadly toys for children? Toothpaste laced with poison? They've got lots. And we are buying it by the boatload!

There isn't a partisan angle to this terrible reality because both Democrats and Republicans have been friendly to China. Be it Clinton or Bush, our national leaders have been bought and paid for by the Chinese hierarchy.

The solution here won't be easy - we of this nation need to rise up like those brave souls in Tibet.

Our best bet is to remain vigilant... and pray. Like those who are right now offering Buddhist chants in response to the invaders, we need to focus our thoughts on a higher power.

Pray for America to be freed from the axis of greed and oppression. And pray... for Tibet.


These guys were propelled into Rock 'n' Roll stardom on the strength of their Laurie Records 45 "Little Bit 'O Soul." But I remember my brother having one of their other cool releases - "What You Want" b/w "Roadrunner." The A-side of this platter had a knife's-edge guitar hook that carved an everlasting notch in my brain. The B-side sounded cool and trippy, sort of an anthem for smoked-up, long-haired kids eluding the police.

YouTube didn't have "What You Want." Just several versions of their big radio splash. But this nugget appeared after a search for material by the band:

It's 1967 all over again!

Friday, March 14, 2008

“Ten Cent Testimonial”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Wal-Mart holds the template for modern retailing.

With good effect or bad, the discount giant has provided an example that is being echoed across the industry.

Yet in yonder days, there were different ideas of how to vend consumer goods. Other places to shop - with a diversity of styles that matched their varieties of merchandise for sale.

Like the old Woolworth’s on Water Street, in Chardon.

This bygone place provided a unique shopping experience, with racks of oddball items that were colorful, tempting, and out-of-the-mainstream. Offered was a last, glorious breath of Consumer Americana, unspoiled by modernity. Because of their notable in-store snack bar, one could enjoy the company of a bustling crowd, particularly during lunch-hour activity. Reflecting on shopping conquest was easy over a grilled sandwich with Cole slaw and fries.

Still, for this writer, Woolworth’s greatest asset came from something more – its tantalizing selection of ten-cent books.

In the summer of 1984, I discovered printed relics of all sorts at Woolie’s. Curious and arcane material remained plentiful in their inventory. A newsprint copy of the Patty Hearst kidnapping story surfaced during one productive visit, for example. Funds for such exploration were in short supply, so I relished the opportunity to buy without breaking my budget.

One hardcover tome from that buying season was particularly fascinating – a book called Proceedings of the Rabble by Mark Mirsky. An air of mystery seemed to exude from its pages with each reading. It was a hippie novel of particular distinction.

The volume had been published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1970. A dust-jacket synopsis spoke of the story as being a fulfillment of satirical work by eighteenth-century writer Jonathan Swift. Unfortunately, meaningful information about the author was non-existent. I could only guess about his true identity.

The story itself opened with cryptic prose from another, less inhibited era:

“Yes, everybody loves a parade. Don’t you? All kinds, too. Let me hear the cry of the horn, the shrill of the pipes, the bugles blaring, stirring the brass in my head! Ah, I could march off and murder millions. Small towns, cities, wherever the procession starts, there am I. Even at its most ludicrous, in some God-forsaken village of our country as it comes by the dozen or so citizens gathered on the road, there is the distant echo of the great march, its terror.”

I was struck with the feeling that Mirsky would have been better served by joining a Rock ‘n’ Roll band to express his youthful angst. It seemed likely that he had augmented his creative powers with hallucinogenic compounds, or intense bursts of alcohol therapy. Still, the manuscript provided an entertaining snapshot of cultural rebellion:

“It was undeniable that only one organization was putting on a parade worth being in, that strange unfathomable group, the Continentals. Suddenly, their black uniforms seemed to be everywhere. On the surface there was nothing to really frighten you away: the usual potpourri of patriotic oratory and military paraphernalia. It wasn’t hard to attend one of their scheduled meetings, salute the old red, white and blue (along with their black) and sign up to march. Still, there was something going on underneath. A kind of magic that had gone stale in the old organizations, the Masons, Kiwanis, Odd Fellows, Lions, something to really set you tingling… none of the hocus-pocus finger flipping and handshaking, but the real thing. Know what I mean?”

My silent response to the author’s question was of course – no. I had no idea what kind of statement Mirsky was attempting to make with his tale. But it didn’t matter.

Eventually, the book found a home with other artifacts from the period, in a battered, green footlocker. The large container had been my only source of continuity while moving from place to place as a young drifter in New York. As life continued, the boxed collection was forgotten. Until…

Recently, I re-discovered this time capsule, while moving household furniture. After skimming through newspapers and diary notes, I found Proceedings of the Rabble again. The book fell open to a description of the Continentals’ leader, Commander Star:

“William Star, his shadow fell across the sunny day. The Commander of the Continentals was not in the parade. He had not attended one of them. Star was rarely seen in public, anonymous behind his dark glasses. He was known to show up, unannounced, at small meetings. Suddenly the lights would dim, red candles were lit and in the flickering atmosphere he stepped out to say a few words to startled members. One heard differing reports of these appearances. He made an astonishing impression, but the purport of his speech was hard to make out. His men were mesmerized. They could remember a few phrases… Yet all maintained they had been deeply moved and sworn absolute loyalty to his principles.”

The rambling prose made me smile. But puzzlement remained after years of intellectual neglect – who was Mark Mirsky?

Through a quick Internet search, I learned that he was Professor of English at City College of New York. Born in 1939, he attended both Harvard University in Massachusetts, and Stanford University in California. His books were numerous, including non-fiction studies of Austrian writer Robert Musil, and William Shakespeare. His wordsmithing also included works such as Thou Worm Jacob, Blue Hill Avenue, and The Red Adam. He co-founded Fiction Magazine.

Rabble had been his second novel:

“Circus! Circus! Circus! Everyone out of the way. Make room. A world is dashing in. Here come the tigers, lions, elephants, huge gray beasts, striped cats, roaring kings and queens, all stampeding through acres of sticky pink sugar candy, clouds of it billowing in the dust of the arena…Sideshows, shills, freaks, what are they doing here? Is this a child’s entertainment? What is going on? Why bring the little ones to a spectacle where they are continually shrieking with fear or gaping, amazed, encouraged, at the forbidding sights, the grotesques… why bring them then through alleys filled with freaks, monsters, misshapen horrors?”

Some of us common folk might have been tempted to ask – ‘Why make them read this book?’ Yet such a reaction could be viewed as rude… and unsophisticated.

Upon investigation, the author’s credentials were undeniably impressive. Mirsky had become a celebrated figure amongst the intelligentsia. His status as a scribe beloved by philosophers and literary experts was solid.

Still, my own conclusion remains as it was in 1984… ‘Dude, you should’ve joined a Rock ‘n’ Roll band!’

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Sunday, March 02, 2008


Remember ALF?

He inhabited network airwaves at NBC from 1986 to 1990. The program was a particular favorite of my sister's children. Numerous collectable 'Alf' figures and related items passed through the household. Eventually, this stuffed doll came from the Goodwill store in Ashtabula harbor district, for a buck.

Alf was grumpy and liked to eat cats - his real name was Gordon Shumway, and he came from the planet Melmac.

“In the Shadow of Bubba Ho-Tep”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to readers: ‘Coast to Coast AM’ provides a wealth of controversial, yet entertaining radio fare. Guests are open about discussing wild conspiracy theories of all sorts. Yet such programming is powerfully able to influence subconscious thought. I experienced this again recently, after falling asleep during a ‘C to C’ broadcast…

Midnight came with a rush of stillness in the Icehouse home office.
There was no clear divide between waking consciousness and slumber as I nodded off in my chair. On a radio nearby, George Noory was busy with a guest who passionately discussed how the U. S. government had faked our lunar landings. But I couldn’t maintain focus. Oblivion tempted my surrender.

The workday was no more.

Suddenly, I heard another familiar voice. With thundering tones, each spoken word seemed to ricochet inside of my head until I felt dizzy, and exhausted.

It was the beginning of a cerebral flight through Dreamland…

ANNOUNCER: “Welcome… to Art Bell Theater!”

ART BELL: “Greetings to you, be it morning, noon, or night wherever you reside.
Tonight… we are going to engage in a bit of ‘remote viewing’ as part of our broadcast. Our story begins… in the City of Cleveland, Ohio. At a secret location, ranking members of the Democratic Party have gathered to consider their future… and find… consensus…”

The room echoes with anxious conversation.

HOWARD DEAN: (banging his gavel) “Friends and dignitaries, let me bring this meeting to order!”

HILLARY CLINTON: “Ssssh. Be quiet will you, Bill?”

BILL CLINTON: “I wasn’t the one complaining.”

MICHAEL MOORE: (looking groggy after a flight to Ohio from Europe) “What’s with the two of you? Pipe down!”

JOHN EDWARDS: (glancing sideways at the pair) “He’s right. We’ve got important business to discuss here – like how badly do you want my delegates??”

BILL – “Whine, whine, whine! All over a rented movie!”

HILLARY – “A terrible movie! It wasn’t a bit funny!”

MOORE – (startled) “A movie? One of mine??”

EDWARDS – (with a smile) “Easy, Mike. Go back to sleep.”

BILL – “Naw, it was a comedy. ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’ directed by Don Coscarelli.”

MOORE – (grinning) “Hey that was better than any of my stuff. What a film! It was a three-bagger!”

HILLARY – “A three-bagger?”

BILL – (knowingly) “Yeah, three bags of Cheetos!”

Both men laugh out loud.

HILLARY – (fuming) “Well, I couldn’t take it seriously. Elvis chasing an Egyptian spirit? That would have been enough. But an African-American John F. Kennedy? It isn’t believable!”

MOORE – (wide-eyed) “I’ll wager that Barack Obama would disagree with you…”

BILL – (trying not to giggle) “Aw Mike, shut up before she loses her temper!”

HILLARY – (with a sneer) “How dare you!”

DEAN – (swinging the gavel for emphasis) “Everyone! May we bring our session to order?”

BILL – “I wish they were serving snacks at this meeting. Some of those crunchy, orange cheese puffs would really hit the spot.”

EDWARDS – (flustered) “Isn’t one heart attack enough?”

DEAN – (trying to continue) “Friends, we’ve reached an important moment in the history of this party…”

HILLARY – (standing up, suddenly) “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I gladly accept the nomination and promise that victory will be ours in November!”

BILL – (whispering with embarrassment) “Sit down, honey. He wasn’t talking to you!”

DEAN (clearing his throat) “Uhmm, as I was saying, this is an historic moment…”

EDWARDS – “It’ll take more than Cheetos to get my delegates! That’s all I’m going to say!”

MOORE – (covers his eyes) “I should’ve stayed in France.”

DEAN – “Today, we must make difficult choices. And plan for the future…”

BILL – (looking bored) “I’d like to plan getting a brew and some peanuts. Anybody with me on that?”

MOORE – (salivating) “Come on Howie, get to the point so we can break for refreshments!”

DEAN – “To win in the fall, we need a united effort. Every member of the team must be ready. And we’ve all got to use the same playbook…”

HILLARY – (standing up again) “Thank you, Mr. Dean! I am proud to be chosen as your candidate for the nation’s highest office!”

EDWARDS – “Sit down, will you? This isn’t a queen’s coronation.”

BILL – “Hey, watch your mouth, Johnny Boy!”

DEAN – “Everybody! Please!”

MOORE – “Howard is right. This is our best chance to take the White House in a long time. Let him finish!”

DEAN – (shuffling his notes) “The Republicans are in disarray. Their conservative base has been unimpressed with the 2008 field of candidates. So ‘true believers’ in the GOP have stayed home. As a result, John Mc Cain is their presumptive candidate. Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Pat Buchanan is irritated about this situation.”

EDWARDS – (looking defiant) “They’ll get no sympathy from me!”

DEAN – (nodding) “Indeed! But we can’t squander this opportunity. We must win – here and now!”

HILLARY – (getting to her feet) “How many times do I have to repeat myself? I am ready to lead this nation, on day one!”

MOORE – (frowning) “You know, Mrs. C is right. It’s her turn. We had this decided years ago!”

DEAN – (bows his head) “Something amazing has happened in the primary season. A sort of groundswell like my parents saw in 1960. When time moves the nation, no one person can stand in the way…this might be the restless cry of a new generation coming of age…do we dare to deny the call of history?”

BILL – (shuddering) “Whew, who’s your speechwriter, Howie? I can whiff that bull from a mile away!”

HILLARY – “So, what is this… a ‘kiss off’ from the party?”

DEAN – “This contest isn’t over. But your opponent has done well across America. All we need to know is… that you’ll respect the process. No matter what it delivers.”

MOORE – (nods in agreement) “Well, he’s right. Obama is a ‘rock star.’”

BILL – “Dang it, the media used to hang that tag on me!”

EDWARDS – (sarcastically) “Your time has passed, Bubba Ho-Tep. Get over it.”

HILLARY – “Watch your mouth, junior!”

DEAN – “After everything we’ve done to prepare for 2008… it would be foolish to sacrifice our advantageous posture. I only need your pledge…”

MOORE – “Sure, I get it. Just play fair, right? C’mon, that isn’t a lot to ask. Whoever wins outright gets all the Cheetos. That’s fair.”

DEAN – “Well said. Promise us that you will be a good citizen of the Democratic Party…and that we can meet our challenges together.”

HILLARY – (with disbelief) “You mean, be a good loser?”

BILL – “We haven’t heard from the super-delegates yet. And there is still the issue of what to do about Michigan and Florida!”

DEAN – “That strategy would divide us at a crucial moment. Think about it! History would be your judge…”

HILLARY – (swearing under her breath) “This was my turn! Myyyyyyy turn!”

MOORE – “Don’t sweat it, Mrs. C. I’m working on a film about Dennis Kucinich. There’s a place for you on my team…”

BILL – “Dang it, Howie is right. Just say yes, honey!”

DEAN - (banging gavel) “So be it. This meeting is adjourned!”

EDWARDS – (shrugging) “Yesss! Let’s celebrate with a beer!”

BILL – “Okay!! I’ve still got the DVD of that movie in the limousine. It’s a weird one, I’ll tell you. Ossie Davis is a hum-dinger as JFK…”

DEAN – (with satisfaction) “What do you think, Hillary? A drink to seal our bargain?”

HILLARY – (pouting) “I think you can…kiss my Cheetos!”

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