If you like cars and you haven't seen the Mazda Miata Retractable Fastback (RF) yet, you really need to. What a gorgeous car.
Mazda generates a lot of wind about the Miata being the best-selling roadster of all time, which it is, but what they don't tell you is "not any more." At the end of the NC model (C for third iteration—the new one is coded ND), they were selling only around 5k a year and it was really just serving as an image car, a legacy product, for the brand.
Another misconception...that the Miata is a "chick car." That stems from the late '90s and early 2000s, in the early years of the NB, when the proportion of female buyers rose to around 50% or slightly more, to the great consternation of hysterical men who don't want to be seen being or doing anything that might be construed as feminine.
On the contrary, the typical Miata buyer for years now has in fact been a male graybeard—perhaps, like myself when I owned one, one going through certain standard mid-life rites of passage—who was a kid in the days when roadsters were hip and Triumphs, Alfas, and MGs were cool sports cars. (One thing that helped preserve those older cars' macho image: you almost had to be a shade-tree mechanic to keep one running.)
What Mazda did discover with the NC was that the still-hip mid-lifers who buy most Miatas liked the retractable hardtop version of the NC, to a surprising degree, even though the hand-operated ragtop was supposed to be one of the car's purist retro signatures. So the ND, introduced in 2016, was clearly designed from the ground up to have this distinctive fastback hardtop.
One more short point...when the ND was in development, Mazda stated that the ND would be the best-looking Mazda in the company's history. When the car arrived, many people kinda wondered what the heck they were talking about. Well, now we know—they were talking about the RF. This is also why the ND lost weight—so even the retractable fastback version is still not heavier than the outgoing car was with a manual soft top.
Being an actual roadster purist, I'd still probably go with the ragtop, but the RF is obviously what the car was meant to be right from the first sketches, and no doubt it will handily beat the regular roadster version in sales.
We've started over on training recall. Recall is the all-important "come" command with dogs, and my recall was "poisoned," in the term of art, basically by the fact that my dogs considered it optional and then sometimes I'd get mad at them for ignoring me. We've started over, using resources provided by HAWS in Wisconsin where Butters was held prisoner for several months in his youth (for his own good of course—better than being a stray). Lulu is just ornery at this stage in her life, not taking any sh*t from anyone; Butters is brilliant but naughty, with a mercurial, undisciplined mind. He's matured enormously since we got him, I hasten to add. Long, patient work cured him of leash reactivity, and, mercifully, his coprophagia stopped completely (look it up—or, better yet, don't). His only remaining problems are residual separation anxiety (much better than it used to be however), pretending not to hear "come" unless he feels like it, and going bonkers when the doorbell rings or people arrive. On the other hand he's tremendously considerate, highly loyal, gentle as can be, observant, and in many ways unusually well behaved.
Dogs are an adventure.
How's the weather?
Climate change science predicts shifting seasons—it will take longer for each season to give way to the next. Xander told me they had Winter weather throughout his "Spring vacation." Last year, September here at NY HQ was very much like August, with many days over 90°F. That's just the way it's going to be on Eaarth (look that up too—or, again a much, much better idea, don't) from now on.
The weather around here has been flat-out gorgeous. I saw a sky last Fall the likes of which I'd never seen before, and two weeks ago I had another weather experience that was new to me—the house was on the sharp edge of a rainstorm. It was astonishing. In the back yard, it was cloudy, dark, and raining, and, out the front windows, it was sunny and mostly clear, with sunlight, only a few raindrops, and large patches of blue sky visible. The storm must have been moving due north and I must have stayed balanced perfectly at the edge of it, because the odd weather held that way for ten minutes. A first in my life.
Yesterday broke sunny, then clouded over completely as I was typing and not paying attention. Then we had a furious rain squall for ten minutes. Then, as fast as it had come, the weather cleared, and the sun and blue skies returned. It rained and cleared several times, albeit much more gently, throughout the day. At one point, I was in the back yard serving as the ball-flinger for the dogs (an important part of my role in life, in their view), and there were billowy clouds all around the horizon but a great dome clear blue sky above—and it started to rain. Must have been a whole lot goin' on way up there in the atmosphere.
This morning—wow—Winter is back! After several weeks of Springlike weather. I did notice the heat kicking on multiple times during the night. Awoke to snow on the ground and swirling in the air on a vigorous wind. Too bad for the daffodils that have ventured up already!
MEanwhile, back on TOP, I have done a worse job with the comments over the past five days that I ever have before in the whole 11-year history of this blog. Yikes. I apologize. I'll try to catch up today and I'll try to do better. It just gets away from me sometimes.
Unfortunately, the job of hiring an intern from the college across the lake is something I would assign an intern to do. I never seem to get around to it.
Soup and salad
I'm becoming a great aficionado of salads. After a lifetime of not caring for them at all...go figure. Life is change!
I've taken enthusiastically to the "full calorie" movement—it's not a movement, and in fact I just made up the name—the idea that the best way to eat is simply to maximize the nutrition in every calorie you take in. Turns out that although I cannot cook, I can fix a mean salad. Consequently my standard dinner is now principally a salad, perhaps with cooked vegetables as a side dish (and meat used sparingly as a condiment, if at all). But not just any salad—the idea is to get in as many different nutrients as possible. I'll typically use three or four kinds of lettuce and greens, two kinds of sprouts, five or six different vegetables (all chopped), mushrooms, nuts, and seeds, and just enough lowfat dressing to taste, on the order of a few tablespoons. I fix a giant bowl of it, about as much as would feed six or eight people in conventional American cuisine. I eat it all immediately. It's easy to fix, and always varies with the ingredients—for instance, a salad based on onions, parsnips, and kale tastes very different from one based on butter lettuces, spinach, walnuts and dates. And I've started to crave it and look forward to it. Don't know how long this will last, but it's an interesting development in my ongoing experimentation with diet that I've shared here from time to time. So now I typically have fruit for breakfast, soup for lunch (homemade, but I try to make enough for four days at once), and salad for dinner.
So let me ask you, what are your favorite healthy additives for a salad? I'm keeping a list, and trying to expand it.
Have a nice Sunday, wherever in the world you are.
"Open Mike" is the editorial page of TOP. It appears often, but not always, on Sundays.
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Tom Duffy: "I saw the Miata at the New York Auto show yesterday and couldn't agree more. The gray metallic color of the car really set off the lines of the car beautifully. I wish I could fit in one. A quick anecdote—in 2010, I took my Pontiac G8 with its 6-liter engine and 4,000 pound curb weight to the Limerock racetrack in Connecticut for a track day with an instructor. On every straightaway I would blow past every Miata on the track as if they were standing still. But, come the turns, the Miatas would pass me in turn. Very frustrating. My instructor turned to me and said, 'See, Miatas aren't just for girls!'"
Keith B: "I've had a giant salad for dinner every other night for 25 years...and I never get tired of it. Suggestions: Add a small amount(level teaspoon or so or each) of freshly chopped ginger root and turmeric root, along with the freshly chopped small to medium clove of garlic you are already (or should be) adding."
Abazz: "As a long time rangefinder user, I must say that the Mazda Miata RF sounds better than the BMW i8 Mirrorless.... Cheers!"
Michael Martin-Morgan (partial comment): "I cringed at the thought of you making enough salad for six and then putting the rest aside for later—onions are well known to attract airborne nasties once cut and the vitamins in lettuce etc. disappear soon enough once they are chopped. Please remember: make salad, eat salad, make salad, eat salad...."
Mike replies: Sorry, I left a misimpression...I do eat it all immediately. A very large amount of it, as the main dish for dinner. I've added a sentence to the post to make that clear—thanks for pointing this out!
Miserere: "You know, Mike, I thought 74 photos of a single car was going to be overkill. Turns out it wasn't! Zoom zoom, indeed. As an aside, I note that the ratio of men to women at the auto show where those photos were taken was something like 30:1. But I'm secure enough in my masculinity that I'd buy that Miata even if all the remaining units sold in the US were driven by women; it really is a gorgeous car. Can't wait to turn 50 to have my crisis and buy it!"
Mike replies: Yeah, look forward to that.
I think the RF looks so good that the people who buy it will not care one tiny whit what other people think of them. It will be "want, end of discussion."