Not There Yet

Not There Yet

www.ntyessays.com
Short essays podcasted from the second decade of the 21st century.
The Comet
Mar 20 • 20 min
The MacRobertson Air Race of 1934 marked the beginning of modern air travel and the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Aviation. It was a time when daring—or simply dangerous—aviation events were concocted for the slightest of excuses. In the case…
‘F’ for Freddie
Mar 7 • 24 min
It wasn’t supposed to end this way. "Eye-witnesses to the crash told how F-for-Freddie's rubber dinghy dropped out, inflated automatically and landed, as neatly and naturally as though something had gone wrong over the North Sea" so the local newspapers…
How Himalaya Should Spend the $100 Million
Feb 20 • 18 min
They didn’t ask me but here’s what I think anyway. I had to reread the headline at least a couple of times: Podcast Platform Himalaya Raises $100 Million, Launches Apps With Tipping Function $100 million? What on earth is Himalaya going to do with all…
Story First, Everything Else Last
Feb 6 • 20 min
We need the willing suspension of disbelief to sell shoes? "How is corporate storytelling different from other kinds of storytelling?" I was stumped by the question. I have to thank the interviewer who found the bullet point in my LinkedIn profile and…
The Arrow
Jan 23 • 24 min
The path not taken 60 years ago has a nation still wondering what might have been. On February 19th, 1959 Wladyslaw "Spud" Potocki was test flying the sparkling white Avro Arrow RL-201 in the fair but chilly skies near Malton, Ontario. On that particular…
Fat Kid with a Cello
Jan 9 • 16 min
Why you should probably make your child play a musical instrument. The autobiography you won't read is the one I won't write because nothing short of Mitty-esque imaginings could make it interesting. I am vain enough, however, to know what the title of…
Legalization
Dec 17, 2018 • 16 min
I really hope this isn’t the one thing for which Canada is known. When travelling, and the answer "Calgary" to the question "so where do you call home?" draws the fairly common blank stare, there are two things which can usually be relied upon to locate…
X-15
Nov 21, 2018 • 22 min
Inspired by its feature role in First Man, a closer look at the first aircraft to fly into space. In the annotated screenplay for First Man, author Josh Singer was asked “why start with the X-15?” for the gripping opening scene in the movie. His answer…
Dad Was a Traveller
Oct 11, 2018 • 21 min
Thoughts of my father on the occasion of his passing. Some say you spend your entire life preparing for the inevitable moment when you have to speak at your father’s memorial service. Today is that day and now is that time. Given that lifetime of…
The Third Third
Apr 30, 2018 • 16 min
Notes from a life well underway but nowhere near over. I had breakfast with a friend of mine not too long ago and our conversation turned to, as it often does with those hovering around the 60 year mark, to the subject of retirement. That started with a…
Plus 15
Mar 8, 2018 • 22 min
Building an off-world colony a few feet above the street. The science fiction staple of abandoning a less desirable place for another, more desirable one has been around almost since the beginning of science fiction itself. After all, who can deny the…
Gutenberg on Broadway
Feb 13, 2018 • 17 min
Observations from the arrival of the Information Age. I had a part time job at the ComputerLand store on West Broadway in Vancouver, British Columbia in the early 1980s. Mostly it was to teach an introductory programming course in the BASIC computer…
Listening to Diana Krall in Nizhnevartovsk
Jan 20, 2018 • 14 min
It’s surprising what connects you to home. “Why don’t you just go there and see for yourself?” my boss asked me, back in the Spring of 1998. I was working for an international petroleum well service company at the time. “What…go there?” I asked, first…
The Future of Warfare is Lighter Than Air
Jan 11, 2018 • 16 min
The airship hangars at Tillamook trigger a cascade of memories. My family first visited the Oregon Coast in the early 1970s. My mother picked Rockaway, seemingly at random, from the motor club guide and we stayed at the Silver Sands, an old-fashioned…
Mexico City, 1969
Dec 21, 2017 • 16 min
While there is still time, take your kids on a long road trip. Memories are like roadside scenery glimpsed from a car hurtling down the freeway at 78 miles-an-hour. The driver sees the least, preoccupied by the task at hand. The passenger in the front…
Grand Designs
Dec 7, 2017 • 12 min
The quirky charm of a British homebuilding show. It seems to happen every time. The affable Kevin McCloud, host of British television’s Grand Designs, describes the house project he will cover in the upcoming episode, and fairly predictably I find myself…
At Work in the Garden of Good and Evil
Nov 23, 2017 • 12 min
It is time we realized there’s a little bit of each in all of us and in all that we do. I have a smoky old eighties sports car which I drive, usually too fast, for a few weeks during the shoulder seasons. Any other time of year I park it lavishly,…
Rosetta Stone
Nov 9, 2017 • 19 min
An ancient idea that is more relevant than ever. The metaphorical rosetta stone is better known than the real Rosetta Stone. In any explanation of how one critical document deciphers and unlocks the meaning of all others, that document instantly becomes…
The Tyranny of a Happy Accident
Oct 26, 2017 • 9 min
Although I didn’t know it until now, how one great month in my early twenties pretty much ruined my career. For one brief, shining moment when I was in my early twenties, the sun and stars and all the planets aligned and I was able to bill $5,000 in one…
Artificial Ignorance
Oct 12, 2017 • 17 min
Could machine intelligence enable our darker impulses? The judge, even in traffic court, sits on a raised platform that ensures that you look up at him and he looks down on you. It’s majestic and intimidating. This was my impression as I entered the…
When the War Came Home to Oregon
Sep 27, 2017 • 19 min
A 75 year old true story of courage, atonement and forgiveness. Nobuo Fujita was determined to bring his family’s katana with him 5,000 miles across the Pacific. The samurai sword had been passed from one generation to the next for over 400 years and…
Return to Rocky Knoll
Aug 31, 2017 • 7 min
The simple joy of slope soaring. We had just about given up on a return to Rocky Knoll. Since our arrival on the Oregon Coast the wind had been blowing steadily from the southwest, which does not favour the slope which is about 10 minutes south of…
Mustang
Aug 23, 2017 • 19 min
The burden of a name that has come to mean so much. The word derives from the Spanish mesteño, which is defined as “wild; untamed; ownerless”. By letting the tongue dwell on the roof of the mouth you get to mestengo, a “stray beast”. From there it’s a…
The Best Answer Ever
Aug 10, 2017 • 6 min
The answer to a casual question at lunch, 35 years ago, taught me everything I needed to know about choosing a career. I knew my father’s cardiologist for a dozen years before my father needed him. In the early 1980s the medical community was just…
Apple’s Big Move in Podcasting
Aug 3, 2017 • 12 min
An unsolicited prediction of what The Big A will do next. Well, even if they don’t, then they really should. Despite what you might think, not one second of Apple’s podcasts are actually hosted by Apple. “But how can that be”, you may ask, “when they…
Seven Tours: The Corrosive Effect of Cheating in Sports
Jul 27, 2017 • 9 min
I didn't realize what had been stolen from me. I was stunned to hear, a couple of days ago, that Chris Froome had just won his third Tour de France riding for Team Sky, which has won four of the last five. Stunned not by the achievements so much —…
The Wicked Problem of Healthcare
Jul 20, 2017 • 12 min
There will never be as much as we want to go around. Take any population, large or small, and imagine creating a spreadsheet with one row for each woman, man and child. Now, imagine the first column in that spreadsheet for a given row contains the amount…
We All Love to Travel
Jul 13, 2017 • 7 min
Eliminating the use of fossil fuels depends on kicking our addiction to just tooling around. The absolute single best day—no, the single best moment—of my entire year is sitting in the parking lot waiting for the Starbucks® to open on the Friday before…
Net Zero Hero
Jul 7, 2017 • 10 min
Musings on Residential Solar As I consider residential solar…I’m wondering—maybe for the first time in my life—if my early adopter shields should be up and whether I should let others pave the solar highway. There is a significant difference in this case:…
The Lethal Right Hook
Jun 30, 2017 • 9 min
Taking the bête out of urban cycling’s bête noire. In a good month, I cycle 500 kilometres on city bike paths and roads. For that reason alone, you would think I would be thrilled the City has moved forward with an aggressive program of protected, green…
The Other Bugatti
Jun 22, 2017 • 18 min
The star-crossed history of the most beautiful aircraft ever. The prospects for the 1939 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe air race did not look good. Suzanne Deutsch de la Meurthe, the widow of the “Oil King of France” Henri, had revived the competition in…
The Unbearable Heartbreak of Coming Close
Jun 15, 2017 • 7 min
What can you learn about life from a car race and a basketball game? Turns out quite a bit. After 23 hours and 57 minutes of the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota Gazoo Racing had reason to feel good about their chances of winning the legendary car race.…
Self-Driving Cars: Have We Completely Lost Our Minds?
Jun 8, 2017 • 10 min
Imagine for a moment you get to the airport, boarding pass in hand and you line up at the gate ready to board your flight. You do the March of the Penguins down the centre aisle, find your row, take your seat, buckle up and don’t pay attention to the…
Who Will Be Our Fred Terman?
Jun 1, 2017 • 7 min
Why Calgary (or your home town) will not be the next Silicon Valley. In the Eighties I had an inflection point in my career—clear only in retrospect—where I had a choice. I could have set out for Silicon Valley not all that long after it started to be…
The Collapse of the Cornish Tin Mines
May 23, 2017 • 9 min
Who would think it wasn’t going to last forever? The mines of Cornwall, England operated for over 4000 years. Then, after these four millenia of continuous human endeavour, the entire industry became extinct in little more than a single generation. When…
Where Did All Those Drones Come From?
May 17, 2017 • 9 min
One of my earliest memories — I must have been five or six at the time — was when my father decided it was time to pass along his lifelong love of all things that fly, and bought us a Guillow’s Javelin model airplane kit. My brother and I were absolutely…
I Can’t Wait to Buy an Electric Car
May 11, 2017 • 8 min
A couple of years ago I walked into the Tesla store in Washington Square Mall in Portland, Oregon and I was instantly and abjectly in love with the Model S. It sat shining — almost glowing — in the modern, minimalist showroom and attended by staff…