The Not There Yet podcast is a ongoing series of short essays covering a wide range of subjects from the perspective of the third decade of the 21st century. They are intended to be thought provoking, challenging, skeptical and hopefully funny once in a while. They are sometimes conventional in nature and others are a little more experimental. They cover science, history, sports, technology, philosophy or just about whatever subject comes to mind. Sometimes they look forward, other times they look back. They will not, however, take up a lot of your time and will be told in an interesting and accessible way.
The Return of the Golden Age of Air Travel
Getting back on a plane may look more like the past than the future.
I originally wrote The Return of the Golden Age of Air Travel in April of this year and published it on May 1st. It was a visceral response to the early days of COVID-19. As the summer wore on, I felt that maybe the piece was a reflection of a relatively short period which was, for the most part, behind us. Sadly, that's turned out not to be the case. Things might already be worse than they have ever been. So I dusted off this stream-of-conciousness jumble of reminiscenses of travel gone by mixed with an argument that the nature of travel in the future is forever changed. Furthermore, future travel might well more closely resemble travel of the past. I hope you enjoy the essay and that it gives you pause to think about your own relationship with travel. Thank you so much for listening.
— Terence C. Gannon, October, 2020
Listen to the essay with the play button, above. The text can be found on Medium where it was published on May 1st, 2020. They key image for this episode shows passengers on a Trans-Canada Airlines DC-8 have pre-dinner drinks in the lounge. (image/caption: AirlineRatings.com)
Transcript: The Return of the Golden Age of Air Travel — The complete text of the episode which was originally published on May 1st, 2020 on Medium.
Shooting Craps with the Grandkids’ Cash
Some thoughts on a failed Olympic bid and what it tells us about the shocking randomness of how we build our cities.
Although it has been many years since I last wrote computer code ‘to save my life’ I still vividly remember the five basic phases of the Cost of Change Curve associated with software development projects. While the fine details are now dim and distant the basic idea is this: the cost of making a given change rises exponentially as we work our way from the first phase, Requirements, through the intermediate Analysis, Coding and Testing phases and then finally to the Production phase. Plot the costs on a graph and the main characteristic is the skyward-to-infinity spike as we get to the latter phases of the project...
Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. They key image for this episode is of Pacific Electric Railway cars awaiting destruction on Terminal Island, California in 1956. (image credit: UCLA Library Digital Collections)
A remarkable life and the enduring mystery of her tragic death.
The late arrival of the inbound flight she had piloted from Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, prevented Amy Johnson from departing Prestwick, Scotland any earlier than 4.00 pm on that afternoon in early January of 1941. Darkness was already beginning to fall. The most direct route from Prestwick to her eventual destination of Royal Air Force base Kidlington, near Oxford, took Amy Johnson right over Blackpool where Amy’s sister Molly and her husband Trevor lived in nearby Stanley Park. The thought of a meal, spending time with family and a decent night’s sleep must have had a lot of appeal rather than slogging further southeastwards in thoroughly awful conditions and at night. She landed the Airspeed Oxford twin-engine trainer at RAF Squires Gate just south of Blackpool proper, and secured the plane for the night. It was just another ordinary day in her life as a ferry pilot working in the dark midst of World War II...
Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. They key image for this episode is Amy Johnson at the controls of ‘Jason’ in Australia in 1930 at the conclusion of her record setting flight. (image credit: Ted Hood via State Library of New South Wales)
Champion of Something
Dad did his fair share of dreaming big. Particularly when it came to his kids.
On a whim in the summer of 1976—no doubt in part because he wanted to drive his shiny silver Alfa Romeo on the twisty and dangerous road through the mountains—my father suggested I have a stab at the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada National Championships held that year in Calgary, Alberta. This was on the strength of some spotty success at similar local model airplane competitions. Dad did his fair share of dreaming big. Particularly when it came to his kids.
For my part, I thought it was a perfectly fine idea, and duly registered to compete in the ‘Standard Sailplane’ category. These were models of around eight foot wingspan, without any sort of motor, controlled by the pilots located safely on the ground and connected to their plane by radio link. The gliders were towed aloft by a winch which spooled up the towline and the small, graceful aircraft rose into the sky like a kite...
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Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. They key image for this episode Barron Shurn preparing to launch his model sailplane at a Seattle Area Soaring Society contest in June of 2008. This would have been very similar to the competition described in the essay. (photo credit: Bill Kuhlman / RC Soaring Digest)
Alas, Kawhi, We Hardly Knew Ye
The blessing and the curse of capturing lightning in a bottle.
The news landed with an apocalyptic shudder on an otherwise beautiful Saturday morning. Just 23 days after the Raptors handily dispatched the Golden State Warriors in six games, the enigmatic Kawhi Leonard announced he had signed a four year, $142 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Predictably, the interstitial period became #KawhiWatch for fans of NBA basketball around the world. Nowhere more so than in Canada. Over the course of a single season, for Canadians, Leonard went from ‘say who?’ to being the leading candidate for pope if the position suddenly came available. We just couldn’t get enough of Kawhi which included, embarrassingly, chasing a lookalike in a black SUV through the streets of Toronto with a news helicopter. We were collectively transformed from diffident admirer to deranged stalker over the course of a little more than a week...
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Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. They key image for this episode is Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry double team Tim Frazier, then of the Washington Wizards, on March 2, 2018. (image: Keith Allison via Wikimedia)
Some unsolicited—and probably unwelcome—advice on where Twitter should go from here.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Mark Twain’s life did not overlap Twitter’s by nearly a century, but he still managed to provide the single best commentary of what Twitter is, and should continue to be. Brevity is Twitter’s essence and that should never change. Any idea which takes more than 280 characters clearly needs more work, a modern day Twain might have said. Twitter’s enforced brevity is not a constraint. It’s liberation. Forcing my verbose, disorganized thoughts into 50 words or less makes them better, not worse.
Apart from that one thing, however, almost everything else about Twitter needs to change...
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Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. They key image for this episode is Twitter Headquarters on Market Steet in San Francisco, California. (credit: Shutterstock)
Customer ReviewsSee All
Incredible storytelling hope to hear more
Just listened to Mexico City 1969. It's not just a podcast, it's a story and journey! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to listening to more. thanks Terence C Gannon.
Love Terence's essays. Great delivery. I look forward to more!
Terence has made a wonderful show here. Can’t wait to hear more!