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February 8, 2011

Cheney's chum about to get his walking papers

The snow piles were becoming tall white walls, and the paths between them were narrowing as we cleared the driveway again Sunday morning.

I was on the tractor, and Uncle Chet had taken out the snowblower but was making little progress against the heavy slop.

"This thing's useless with sleet," he hollered. "Piece of junk!"

"Yeah," I said over the motors, gliding by him, watching the orange bucket in front of me, making sure the tires didn't spin.

When I got to the edge of the yard and deposited the load, I told him, "Take it back to the barn." And he did, then went into the house, for this was heart-attack snow, not a mixture to move by hand. But the little four-wheel-drive tractor, outfitted with chains, was up to the task, and I was done in an hour.

I felt a blast of heat, smelled coffee as I opened the door. Everyone was at the table, where I saw the remains of scrambled eggs and toast.

"Want me to fix you something?" Hon asked.

"I've got it," I said. I heated up an iron skillet, poured a cup of coffee, put two slices into the toaster and sat down.

"May I be excused to play the Wii?" Buddy asked.

"Your father just sat down," Hon said.

"That's why he wants to go," Uncle Chet said.

"What are you going to do?" his big sister asked him.

"Wii Fit," Buddy said.

"It's OK with me," I said. "He's finished eating, and he's working on getting in shape."

"Thanks, Dad!" he said as he pushed his chair back and headed into the living room.

"May I be excused, too?" our 17-year-old asked.

"No, you stay," I said. "I haven't seen you for a couple days."

"That's not fair," she said.

"Unless you want to do the dishes," I said.

"I could stay a little while, but I have a lot to do," she said, smiling wanly.

"The car's almost out of gas again," I said, getting up to grease the frying pan and drop in two eggs. "But you're supposed to fill it when it gets down to a quarter."

"I don't think that gauge works right," she said.

Buddy turned on the Wii, tuning in the news, where the crowd in Tahrir Square was the top story.

"The gauge works fine," I said. "When you turn on the car, the needle takes a little while to move up from empty. But if it still reads empty after you've been running for a minute, guess what?"

"It's empty," she said.

"Which can be dangerous, especially at this time of year," I said.

"Speaking of dangerous, look at that Tea Party in Cairo," Uncle Chet said as he pointed at the TV. "I think Mubarak better leave sooner, rather than later."

"It looks like the Shah, Part Two," Hon said.

"A lot of parallels," Uncle Chet said. "Look at that headline: `Cheney considers Mubarak a good friend."'

"That's how you know he's bad," Hon said.

"Maybe he'll take him hunting," I said.

"Remember, Cheney loved Saddam before he hated him," Uncle Chet said. "Cheney loves every billionaire he's in cahoots with."

"That guy won't go away," I said.

"That's because he's a real player, like the Koches and Murdoch," Uncle Chet said. "He's one of the puppeteers. And if he were still in office instead of pulling strings, he and his front man, Georgie Porgie, might be facing the same kind of eviction as Hosni Mubarak."

"A revolution, here?" I asked.

"People are people," he said. "When their government is too repressive, too dishonest, too onerous, when people think they have nothing to lose, then watch out."

"Even through the fog of `fair-and-balanced?"' I said.

"Lots of regimes use propaganda, but news flies around the Internet," Uncle Chet said. "It's when they clamp down on the Internet or block out an honest broker like Al Jazeera, you know they're on the run."

Cooperstown bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week. For more of his columns, visit

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