2000 Mazda Millenia S: Coulda Been A Contender

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japanese automakers broadened their lineups with luxury divisions, to supplement their entry- and middle-class focused fare. Acura in 1986; Lexus in 1989; and Infiniti in 1990. Mazda also had a plan for a new luxury  marque to be called Amati. What debuted as the 1995 Mazda Millenia was originally intended to be the first of several Amati models exported to North America by Mazda. For better or worse, it didn’t happen, and Mazda’s answer to Lexus never happened.

Mazda was on a roll in the ’90s. The 1989 Miata had returned the small, sporty roadster to relevance–so successfully, in fact, that within a few years Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche all had two-seaters on their drawing boards. The 323/Protégé was a competent little compact (My friend Tony LaHood had a Protégé 5 he still misses), and the mid-size 626, while perhaps not as popular as the Accord or Camry, still held its own. My boss circa 2002 got a brand new 626 in a metallic bronze with tan leather. It was a nice looking, comfortable midsizer; I drove it several times. With production (at least for North America) of the Japan-built 929 luxury sedan set to end in 1996, Mazda began preparing to launch its own luxury brand: Amati.

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How Not To Recycle A Piano

NOTE: Another amusing article my my uncle, David Klockau. -TK

One of the fun parts of my job with City Carton Recycling is when I don my “Community Education Coordinator” hat to make environmental presentations at local schools. These student groups have ranged from pre-school to college. While the most fun groups are the 3-4th graders, a few times I have felt I was losing an audience. Let’s face it; recycling is not always the most exciting thing to discuss. When this has happened, especially with the younger audiences, I ask them if they would like to hear how I launched a grand piano out of a pick up truck. This usually gets their attention, since it involves an adult screwing up (that would be me), action, drama, and property destruction.

Before I joined the recycling industry, I worked in the waste business as a service manager for a local waste hauler. Every now and then we would get calls from people wanting us to haul and dispose of something a little unusual. These calls were usually directed to me. One day, I took a call from the local community theatre group. They were making their seasonal move from the local fairgrounds exhibit hall and needed to do a clean out. I started to quote them a price for a dumpster, when the caller cut me off to say that they needed to dispose of not one, but two big old upright grand pianos.

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