Test Drive: Chevrolet Traverse draws crowds with its appeal

Our introduction to the fully redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse came during the Connecticut International Auto Show in Hartford last month. With crisp, straightforward lines and slightly larger dimensions than its predecessor, the white Traverse had loads of appeal and drew crowds under its black, white and gold bow-tie banner. Looking deeper, we learned the redesigned Traverse weighs about 400 pounds less than the 2017 model yet provides more passenger room and better fuel economy. Although its 310-horsepower engine has more muscle than the 2017 Traverse, the new version sports better fuel economy — 17 mpg city, 25 highway, compared with … Read more

Conscious Cook: The glory of a new year

“Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man his Son hath given; While angels sing with tender mirth, A glad new year to all the earth.” — Martin Luther New Year’s Eve is a glorious occasion to reflect upon the past year, to cherish fond memories, acknowledge important events, and be humbled and educated by challenging moments. With the new year comes new opportunity to prepare a delicious life. While many choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a sparkling soirée or decadent dinner party, many conscious cooks choose to revel in their own kitchens. New Year’s Eve at … Read more

Reel Dad: Frances McDormand tries to make sense of Three Billboards

This week, Jonathan Schumann — who co-wrote this column with his “Reel Dad,” Mark Schumann, from 1999 to 2006 — returns to Arts & Leisure to take a look at a new film getting a lot of buzz. Early on in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred (Frances McDormand) storms into a room and happens upon someone reading Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The storming in and out is something we’ll see, almost exhaustively, throughout the film. The nod to O’Connor, and this short story in particular, is anything but accidental. The rogues’ gallery of small-town … Read more

Did I Say That? Putting care into gifts

This year I decided to break with Christmas tradition and do something scandalous, at least in our family. I’m going to buy actual gifts. Yes, genuinely selected, paid for on a maxed-out credit card with excessively high interest rates and wrapped in my own inimitably terrible style with parts of the box peeking through, so that on Christmas morning I can experience all the joy and angst of the holiday when I hear my daughters, sons-in-laws, wife and/or dog emit a yuletide groan or growl that suggests, “Why did you waste your money on this?!? I wanted a gift card!” … Read more

Test Drive: Golf SE TSI more refined than standard economy car

Volkswagen’s compact hatchback, the Golf, is priced well above the baseline established by Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet and others in the economy-car business. Our latest test car, a 2018 Golf SE TSI, is priced in the mid- to high $20,000s, and even the base models come in around $20,000. A base Hyundai Elantra hatchback, well equipped with standard features, starts at about $17,000. Those extra thousands for the VW don’t add much in the way of function or even form; the Golf’s look isn’t dramatically different from that of its predecessor models going back to the 1980s. But it’s not as … Read more

Reel Dad: I, Tonya celebrates pop celebrity

  Years ago, before social media made it easy for opinion to swell, Tonya Harding was America’s favorite villain. This tough, talented and tormented figure skater dared to challenge the reign of the graceful Nancy Kerrigan as the sport’s leading royalty. And, somehow, she managed to find herself in the middle of the sport’s greatest controversy when Kerrigan’s knee got whacked one day after practice before the U.S. Nationals competition in Detroit. For the weeks that followed, between Nationals and the Olympics, people talked about few other things. Never mind what was happening in the world or with the economy, … Read more

Did I Say That? Snacking in the sheets

When we were kids, there were certain rules we would never break because the consequences were too dire. Our mother was a screamer. Our father, however, was a man of few words, but when you saw him taking off his belt, you knew Armageddon had arrived. The household commandments were pretty straightforward. No sassing back (but we did). No touching the cash in the cookie jar (but we did). No swearing (but we did). And no smoking (no comment). One commandment that begged to be broken was “No eating in bed.” On the occasions when I got caught, retribution was … Read more

Test Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium is a refined SUV

When automakers finally figured out Americans wanted their sport-utility vehicles in smaller packages, we found our early objections to SUVs in general — too rough, too thirsty, too inefficient in their use of space — finally started to soften. Today, we have come to like several compact SUVs, also known as crossovers because they handle more like passenger cars. Among the best are the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Chevrolet Equinox. Joining the panoply of likable compact crossovers this year is the redesigned Volkswagen Tiguan — a model we judged too small in past incarnations. Admittedly, our test … Read more

Conscious Cook: Cooking up a healthy, peaceful holiday

“Peace is the first thing the angels sang. Peace is the nurse of love. Peace is the mother of unity. Peace is the rest of blessed souls. Peace is the dwelling place of eternity.” —Leo the Great Finding peace and goodwill in your heart and towards our fellow men and women can be a challenge during the holiday season. Expectation levels run so very high during these few frantic weeks and patience levels can wane amidst the cyclone of activity. Traffic congestion, long lines in stores, banks and the post office and a multitude of social gatherings can be very … Read more

Reel Dad: Lady Bird spotlights mothers and daughters

She tends to her laundry with precision and care, never doubting her mission, never questioning her ability. This is her space. She owns this room. And if anyone dares to question her authority, the conversation will be brief. For people who remember Laurie Metcalf as Roseanne’s sister on television, her work as an overbearing mother with a heart in the film Lady Bird may be a revelation. Metcalf becomes the mother trapped by love she feels but cannot express, the fear she hides but will not confront. This lady knows her daughter, a wandering high school senior, needs a mother’s … Read more

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