The unboxing.

Our favorite — OK, my favorite — cheeseburger place is one door down from a vacuum-cleaner shop. Lately when we walk by I say, “I am Dyson-curious.” The newfangled ones, the battery-powered stick vacs that are super light, cordless and work really well.

Do I need to tell you what I found under my Christmas tree this year?

But not a Dyson! Alan, our household’s shopping ninja, did the usual exhaustive research and reported that Consumer Reports — Consumer fucking Reports! — has blackballed Dyson stick vacs because the batteries give out after two years and aren’t replaceable. So mine is another brand, recommended by Wirecutter. It has an app. It’s very light. And it sucks like (insert vulgar expression here). I love it.

I also got a lovely scarf from Alan, and some new clogs. The vacuum was from Wendy, because Alan says he knows better than to give me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, but when you really want one, who would mind? This is the time of year when, on clear days, the low winter sun blasts through the front windows like a spotlight and finds every stray dog hair and dust bunny in our house. I do not have to drag out the old one, plug it in, find the right attachment and the hose and all that. I can just zap it. So it’s a highlight of the holiday, in my book.

The other big highlight was just being able to see everyone again. We blew down to Columbus for an 18-hour visit, minus Kate, who was staying away because Covid is bouncing through her circles like a pingpong ball. She’s masked more than a surgeon, but it’s popping up in the clubs where she’s doing live sound, among her friends — everywhere. She tested every day last week and came up negative, but given that her uncle has COPD and another uncle isn’t in the best shape, she did the abundance-of-caution thing and stayed home. But she came over here for Christmas Eve and Day, and we had a wonderful time. I did minimal cooking, moderate baking and we all got plenty to eat and of course, to drink. We watched “Don’t Look Up” together, and I watched “The Courier” while Alan and Kate worked on a guitar-restoration project in the basement. I made this cake. (It’s easy and great, although mine looked like someone cut their finger over it, rather than artfully impressionistic peppermint swirls.) I recommend “Don’t Look Up,” even though it got some blistering pans. “The Courier” is best saved for Russophiles like me. Oh, and we watched “Lamb” because Iceland, and it kinda blew our hair back in the end, although very slow-moving in getting there.

So. Some of you are off next week, you lucky dogs. Some are in a very slow-moving workplace. Almost everyone is trying to vacuum up all the year’s dog hair, so to speak, before another one sneaks in. Maybe you’d like to take a break from closet-cleaning to read some longform journalism, and if so, I can’t recommend this piece highly enough. It’s about three January 6 defendants and what happened to them as a consequence of invading the Capitol. It’s very readable, very smart and very good. Enjoy. It’s from New York magazine, and if you’ve used up your article quota this month, do an Incognito window or whatever. Totally worth it.

I’m going to try for three appearances this week, so here’s hoping.

Posted at 2:39 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

46 responses to “The unboxing.”

  1. Ann said on December 26, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    That’s quite the article. Thanks for the link.

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  2. LAMary said on December 26, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    I got a no name pseudo Dyson stick last year and it’s great. Dyson products should cure cancer and bring world peace for what they charge.

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  3. alex said on December 26, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    We’ve got a Dirt Devil rechargeable for those little zap jobs. No dog hair here, just a bumper crop of spaced-out stinkbugs this year. And they get caught in a mass of cobwebs on their way in. Wish it sucked like a vulgar expletive.

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  4. David C said on December 26, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    We got about twenty minutes into “Don’t Look Up” when Mary said she didn’t like it. I’ll have to finish it on my own.

    I put central vacuums in all three houses we’ve owned. It seemed like a neat idea at the time but lightweight vacuum technology has passed it by from all I can tell. Now dragging around the hose is a pain and marks up the trim even with sock on it. We haven’t changed because sunk cost but if it burns out or we decide to repaint the trim we’re done.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Always listen to Consumer Reports. For years I read how easily ice makers break and now I live in a house with two of them. Never do both work at the same time and they are a pain.

    My mom bought a pricey Roomba, but didn’t work very well on her thick carpet so she stopped using it. A couple of years later she decided to try again, and you guessed it, the battery was dead. Extensive research and a call to customer unservice and we learned the battery couldn’t be replaced. We had bought it at Costco and they lived up to their full refund policy, so that was the only good thing about the situation.

    79° again today and sunny too. How can I be so lucky?

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  6. Suzanne said on December 26, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    I read the NY Magazine piece a couple of days ago. Amazing how none of them seemed to think any of it through. Good for the guy’s son for turning him in.

    I have had a Dyson for about 10 years, paid way more for it than any other vacuum cleaner I have ever had, and it’s heavy, but it still works great. At the time I bought it, there weren’t many lighter weight similar models available but when it croaks, I am definitely looking into something similar but lighter.

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  7. Sherri said on December 26, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    It’s 24 degrees and snowing here, but I have nowhere to be, so I’m just enjoying it.

    There’s a podcast diving into one of the subjects of the NYMag article, Rosanne Boyland: American Radical, reported by MSNBC journalist Ayman Mohyeldin, who grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia and knew Boyland’s brother-in-law.

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  8. Heather said on December 26, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    I have a Dyson that’s specifically for animal fur, and the amount of the stuff it sucks up from a 5X8 carpet (from one cat) is truly horrifying. It’s heavy but I love it.

    Had a pretty good Christmas. Mostly managed not to rise to the bait from my conservative cousin and uncle. We did a family Zoom and one aunt in Minneapolis tested positive that morning. I checked on her today and she is feeling better. I’m very sneezy myself, but my cousin has a dog and I suspect I’m just having a late-breaking allergic reaction as I feel OK otherwise. If symptoms keep up, I have a bunch of home tests here.

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  9. Deborah said on December 26, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    We have small fantastic Miele vacuum cleaners in Santa Fe and Chicago. I love them, especially the gizmo that retracts the cord when you’re done so you don’t have to wind them clumsily.

    I bought a home Covid test during the summer for LB to use after she might have been exposed by a visiting friend. They met outside and it turned out the friend didn’t have it after all. As I recall the one time test cost $30 from CVS. Are they all still that expensive? I should get a couple to keep on hand just in case, I hope they’re cheaper now.

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  10. David C said on December 26, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, I bought a two test BinaxNOW package for $24.

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  11. kayak woman said on December 26, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    So glad Kate is being responsible and staying home. My two daughters did BinaxNow tests before coming here. The grocery worker also did a PCR test before the home test. She has a co-worker that has refused to be vaxxed and, duh, now has COVID. My daughter has not been exposed to her. I can easily afford BinaxNow tests and have ordered them several times, but of course now they are not available online. Sigh.

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  12. Jeff Gill said on December 26, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    “I don’t believe Biden is a clone, she told me.”

    From the article; her proof of sanity.

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  13. Mark P said on December 27, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I’m off all week, but then I’m off all the time.

    We have a Bissell, basically an upright, cordless vacuum. I go over most of the house every day and collect a big handful (at least) of hair, dust, and cat litter from two dogs and a cat. I get two or three days use out of a charge. It isn’t the suckiest vacuum in the world, but it’s good enough.

    I was happy to see one of the insurrectionists get five years in federal prison. He deserved more, but it’s my understanding that federal inmates serve essentially their full sentence.

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  14. Deborah said on December 27, 2021 at 10:31 am

    One of the places I worked gave us American Express cards for travel expenses and let us collect the points. I got a Dyson with some of my points, it was an early no bag model and it turned out that I hated it. It was enormous and heavy, the cord was unwieldy. It came with a million different nozzles that I never used. I had to keep it in our storage bin on a lower floor since there was no place for it in our tiny place in Chicago, every time I needed to vacuum I had to go down and haul it up the freight elevator. That’s why we got the small Miele which is, as I said, fantastic and it fits in our one and only closet easily. I vacuum much more often because it’s so convenient.

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  15. Suzanne said on December 27, 2021 at 10:39 am

    “Against stupidity we have no defense. Neither protests nor force can touch it. Reasoning is of no use. Facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved — indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied. In fact, they can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make them aggressive. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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  16. JodiP said on December 27, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with our vacuum. It does a pretty decent job but is unweildy and doesn’t pull along well in its holder. But until it burns out, I will probably keep using it because I don’t want to create needless waste.

    A few years ago we bought a carpet cleaner. I am sure it’s not the same quality as the ones you can rent, but it’s tons lighter and makes a notable difference. I cleaned our living room rug this weekend…and I have to do that more often.

    I cancelled an indoor get together with a friend and his (adopted) son because the son is in school and they get together with the son’s siblings and former foster sibs…sure we could do tests but I don’t want to put my friend thru the hassle. I suggested we do something outdoors.

    We are hosting a gathering on Sunday with 2 other couples who have a similar level of caution as we do. I suggested we all get tested, and I am sure this will be accepted by all.

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  17. Deborah said on December 27, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Nancy, would you mind telling us the brand of your new vacuum? I just realized I could really use a good battery powered vacuum that has excellent suction in our cabin without electricity. I bought one at Target when the cabin was finished and we moved stuff in but the suction turned out to be awful so we never used it, I don’t even know where it is anymore.

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  18. Sherri said on December 27, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Ad targeting meets evangelism.

    (Sorry for the long url – necessary to make it free)

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  19. nancy said on December 27, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    It’s a Tineco. S11, I believe.

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  20. tajalli said on December 27, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    My canister Electrolux (c. 1960) with HEPA filter is still going strong although it’s a bit of a drag, literally, but it cleans so well, I praise it like you would an old dog. The canister weighs 16 lbs so it’s within the range of the new corded models and has a magic retractable cord that just zips into its housing. Not so bright and shiny, but so loyal. I had a wheel replaced years ago and have more recently wrapped the hose along its entire length with turquoise duct tape to improve the suction.

    We’re having a break in the rain – 48°F and sun’s even out – so I’m going out for a walk to check out the local creeks’ water levels, the big excitement for the day.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on December 27, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Way back in the dark ages when newspapers were strong, D was put in charge of a competition for school kids to design ads. One youngster had a really cute ad that could not be published due to its motto: “Our vacuums really suck!”

    Jodi, we bought a carpet cleaner and I think it was better than the rentals, plus we were more likely to use it frequently since it wasn’t a hassle to rent/all the cleaners were rented/had to kill yourself to get all the floors done in one day. It went to friends in Fort Wayne because carpet is not a good idea in Orlando. We have a few small area rugs but the floors are terrazzo, bamboo, or tile.

    If ever there was a time not to get on a cruise ship, this is it. The local paper is full of horror stories about no masks, rampant infections, infrequent testing, not being informed about the infections, on and on. One half of a couple tested positive and was quarantined, but his partner, who was in the same cabin, was not. They didn’t test her for three more days and she was still waiting for the results by the time the cruise got over. All these people are getting off the ship and getting on planes, and who knows how many spreaders are among them. And when one group gets off the ship, the next group gets one, despite infected staff. Shudder.

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  22. David C said on December 27, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Even before covid you couldn’t have paid me enough to get on a floating norovirus breeding colony.

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  23. LAMary said on December 27, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    David C, I think I have used those exact words myself. Maybe I said rotavirus,but the sentiment was the same.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on December 27, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Cruising lost its appeal to me long ago. Now that I’m retired and live where I do the appeal has gone from zero to negative.

    No test kits anywhere around here and you have to get in line by 6 AM at local sites. We’ve used up the ones we bought so I’m hoping Biden’s distribution plan is swift and efficient.

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  25. alex said on December 27, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Speak of the Dirt Devil…

    I just heard a mild roaring sound and wondered what mechanical thing in the house might be failing. The ice maker? Or maybe there’s a man in my house groaning in agony with stab wounds? Very disconcerting sound.

    Then there was a loud plap and a stinkbug landed on my desk. It was the wings on that thing making the masculine groaning noise. I ran to get my mini vac, only to find it completely without a charge and the blue light doesn’t come on when the charger cord is plugged in. Guess it just bit the big one. (Can’t very well say it bit the dust because I can’t remember the last time it bit dust. I just use it for bugs.)

    Maybe I’ll try Nancy’s new toy and see how that goes. I recently rediscovered one of those electric tennis racket fly swatters in my garage, but I’m saving that for summer and those hard-to-catch bugs like flies and yellow jackets. These lumbering, slumbering stink bugs need to go into a clear plastic dirt receptacle where I can watch them fight to the death if I’m bored with what’s on TV.

    There’s a pair of them on my crown molding at this very moment, one of them hobbling along bound up with cobwebs. And my fucking mini vac is shot. They keep rendezvousing, then walking in opposite directions, then back to do another do-si-do. It’s fucking grossing me out. May have to just bust out the big vac.

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  26. susan said on December 27, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Alex, I’m curious. Are these the bugs you are dealing with? People here call all sorts of non-stinkbugs stinkbugs. Mostly any black beetle that sticks its butt up in the air when you get too close. But I have a few actual stinkbugs that show up in my garden every year, and ick, they stink up stuff. I can smell them when I move through my raspberry thicket.

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  27. Mark P said on December 28, 2021 at 12:43 am

    Susan, those are the bugs we have here in Georgia. They were much worse earlier in the year, but we still see a few now and then.

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  28. Dorothy said on December 28, 2021 at 5:03 am

    I grab stink bugs with a tissue and dispatch them to the toilet if they are within reach. If they’re high up on the wall near the ceiling (which is their usual location) I use a fly swatter to slide under them, knock them down and then try to find them again with a tissue. They’re good at disappearing themselves once they’re knocked down, but I’m determined to expose and kill them.

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  29. ROGirl said on December 28, 2021 at 5:20 am

    I have a cordless Dyson stick vacuum, which has some disadvantages, (small canister, have to hold down the button to keep it operating), but it’s very light and powerful (good for pet hair). The Wirecutter recommended it.

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  30. basset said on December 28, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Tajali, I remember Mama Basset buying an Electrolux sweeper from a door so door salesman in about 1960, lasted for many years.
    Too much driving to the family gathering over the long weekend, 1511 miles round trip.

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  31. Jeff Borden said on December 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    We spent a few days in the suburbs of Cleveland with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew, who are all vaxxed and boosted. But, man, what a difference between Ohio and Chicago. Someone without a mask around here is notable, but in Ohio, I was the oddball. Some guy with a long beard and a tRump 2020 hat gave me the evil eye at a liquor store, where I was buying Scotch and wine, but he said nothing. (He looked like a brawler, so I’d have had to ignore him.) Employees at a bookstore in Shaker Heights asked all patrons to mask up, but in most places, this was not done. We have zero plans this week and will continue our tradition of many years by ignoring New Year’s Eve and retiring at our usual early hour. If we develop symptoms, we won’t hurt anyone else.

    Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post today writes that Joe Biden has finally given up on the unvaccinated and that’s good. The president is framing this as “not a federal problem” but one that must be dealt with at the state level, which dumps it into the laps of the red state morons doing everything they can to help Mr. Coronavirus take more lives. When did conservatism become nihilism?

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  32. David C said on December 28, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    “When did conservatism become nihilism?” Probably around the time the John Birch Society decided Eisenhower was a communist.

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  33. Carl R said on December 28, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Don’t Look Up gets a rave review from Bob (First in Music Analysis) Lefsetz: “Watch it. It’s not hah-hah funny at first. And then there are moments when you split a side, when you laugh hysterically, at the inanity of modern life.

    Best picture of the year, hands down.”

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  34. Brandon said on December 28, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    The Chicago Tribune: “The Best Bug Vacuum.”

    Now there are even no-kill options:

    No-kill bug vacuums trap the bugs inside safely. This allows you to release the insects outside to crawl off and live another day. Many people prefer these vacuums because they like to catch and release spiders, which keep their area free from other insects.

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  35. Brandon said on December 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    Probably around the time the John Birch Society decided Eisenhower was a communist.

    Not so much a Communist as a tool of the Communists.

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  36. Deborah said on December 28, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    We have been back in Santa Fe since early this morning, we left Abiquiu very early because it was a long noisy night with the damn wind. Scary gusts again. We almost packed it all up and left last night but didn’t want to be out on the highway blowing around dangerously. This is new and not fun. Thanks Exxon Mobil and Peabody coal etc for making it unpleasant like that.

    We’re going to watch Don’t Look Up tonight and laugh while we’re cursing.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on December 28, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Don’t Look Up got high praise from our son, too. We’ll have to carve out an evening soon.

    Two family members are still planning on flying here on the 31st AND going to Disney. The mom is a super worrywart so I can’t believe she hasn’t cancelled. Apparently there are Disney points involved that must be used.

    The other family members that live here are bailing and I’d like to also. D will probably feel obligated. Ugh, family.

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  38. alex said on December 28, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Susan, those are exactly the bugs I’m dealing with. There was also a bit of a resurgence this year of orange ladybugs, another non-native species with no natural predators that loves to spend their winters indoors. The stinkbugs don’t generally emit stink, or maybe I’m just inured to it. They’re supposed to be in hibernation and are sort of dazed, so perhaps they’re just not primed for fight or flight and aren’t skunking the place up like they might if it were summer. I can’t recall having ever seen any outdoors.

    I might just hit Best Buy on the way home for a new cordless vac. I see they carry Tineco.

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  39. Suzanne said on December 28, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Oh, Indiana. We are doomed. This from the Attorney General.

    “I stand by the concerns of a significant number of Hoosiers and Americans about the politicization of COVID reporting. Also, there are examples from across the country that I hear daily as I travel the state… …where non-COVID illnesses or deaths are inappropriately categorized as COVID, which further creates fear. Dying with COVID (where the primary cause of death is some other co-morbidity) is not the same as dying of COVID, for example.”

    Read the entire thread. Utter nonsense.

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  40. alex said on December 28, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Our state’s attorney general has an incredible knack for playing the rubes while being absolutely shameless doing his schtick in front of normal people. That’s one asshole whose hubris is going to do him in, and if it doesn’t, karma surely will. He’s almost as utterly grotesque as the charlatan whose coattails he’s dragging on.

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  41. Deborah said on December 28, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    We watched Don’t Look Up tonight, what an entertaining send up. The failson of the president, her nepotistic chief of staff was a gibbering Trump Jr type, to a T. Hysterical.

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  42. Dexter Friend said on December 29, 2021 at 12:09 am

    Deborah, I was wondering how you women here thought of casting Meryl Streep, the queen of current actors, as what was certainly a dingbat crazy lady politician who only cared about the polls and herself. Weren’t you infuriated that the first woman POTUS was just a fucking goofball? I was. It wouldn’t have hurt the plot to show the first female President to be an articulate human being instead of a Marjorie Taylor Greene send-up. Jonah Hill is great at playing these smart-ass characters, true, but he’s irritating at the same time.
    It seems Jonah Hill and Jesse Plemons are getting all the work they can handle.

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  43. Dexter Friend said on December 29, 2021 at 12:19 am

    We got surprised with lake effect snow late Tuesday afternoon. It was raining and quickly turned to snow and just covered everything and piled up a little. It won’t stick as we will be over freezing for like 4 straight days. The city crews are great here and scraped the streets but just to practice my dormant winter driving skills I cruised the streets for 20 minutes, got a little slippin’ and a-slidin’ in for fun. The Odyssey van handles totally differently than the Chrysler vans do, meaning harder to control.

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  44. David C said on December 29, 2021 at 6:16 am

    Our Sonata was a handful in the snow until we got winter tires. Now it handles like a dream. Also now I have to risk my fragile back loading the mounted tires into the car to be switched over twice a year.

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  45. alex said on December 29, 2021 at 8:02 am

    More good reading from NYMag:

    “I hate to say this, but if you’re not willing to go full retard in a Republican primary right now, it’s hard. The expectations are what they are,” said a MAGA operative involved in the Pennsylvania race.

    There’s that word again. It’s how Republicans speak of their own.

    (If you’ve run out of free articles, just use a different browser that you’ve never used to view NYMag articles.)

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  46. susan said on December 29, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    (If you’ve run out of free articles, just use a different browser that you’ve never used to view NYMag articles.)

    Or trash your cookies.

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