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Columns

March 3, 2009

Travels with Uncle Chet: Another year of recession

COLUMBUS _ ``I think it's the end of the beginning,'' said Uncle Chet, who was sitting in his favorite rocker, sipping a Saranac.

``The beginning of what?'' I leaned back on the eight-foot ladder, dragging a 12-inch knife along a Sheetrock seam.

``The depression,'' he said. ``Like everything else, economic cycles go faster and faster. We've been in a depression for six months, and it'll probably last another 12.''

``Then what?'' I asked as Spackle slipped off the knife and landed on my glasses.

``Nice shot,'' he said.

``Careful.'' I climbed down the ladder with the mud pan and knife. ``There's enough for two.''

``Don't get belligerent, or I'll send for Blackwater.''

I went to the kitchen sink and washed up. Round the corner on the couch, Buddy, our second-grader, was using the laptop.

``Whatcha doin'?'' I asked.

``I was going on YouTube,'' he said.

``Let's hear Esmee sing `Stop and Stare,''' I said.

``You love that Esmee,'' said Uncle Chet. ``You've been talking about her for months.''

``She's good,'' said Buddy, and hooked the computer to the television to put YouTube on the big screen.

``Is that a Dell?'' asked Uncle Chet.

``Yes,'' said Buddy.

``Does it have Ubuntu?''

``No. XP,'' he said.

``The machines with Ubuntu were more expensive,'' I said as the young Dutch singer launched into OneRepublic's hit.

``She's pretty good,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Turn that up a little louder.''

``Told you,'' I said.

``How can radio compete with this?'' he said. ``A jukebox with a million songs and no commercials.''

``And tons of other stuff,'' I said.

``Why don't you take a break before you blind yourself,'' he said. ``Drink one of your beers so I don't feel like I'm imposing.''

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