Monthly Archives: January 2016

Everyday I Read a Book


I guess it is safe to say that what I will tell you today is not rocket science, nor is it anything new, it may have been something  that someone has already told you.

If you can find the time, you can do almost anything without sacrificing something else.

My case points to a pile of books that I have.  The books that are waiting to be read or have been half started…the main culprit to not having these finished is too much screen time. For me that mainly concerns screen time at my laptop, while there is always work to do, people to get in touch with or a greater frequency of blog posts, it does not mean that everything should take me away from a great book.

I finished Elvis Costello’s autobiography Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink this week. It ranks up there Keith Richard’s Life and Philip Norman’s Shout! as must read music books. Like Richards, Costello goes through his musical upbringing with his father, who was a vocalist and trumpet player for several bands in the UK.   Both Richards and Costello describe their influences for the music they create and the changes they go through in their musical growth. In books like these it is fascinating to learn influences for particular albums. In the case of Costello I am now determined to pick up his album The Juliet Letters, music made in collaboration The Brodsky Quartet, a collection of tracks considered to be letters. I was particularly moved by the story of the track The Birds Will Still Be Singing a song performed at his fathers funeral where Costello would not be able not sing the vocals. The Brodsky Quartet performed a new arrangement with the quartet “singing” Costello’s words. The story of his fathers death is moving as Costello finds out his father has died on the day of the funeral for his fathers last wife. The sadness of which he writes of the loss of his musical guide and early musical mentor is one I will not forget soon.

This interest to discover peoples motivations for change is not restricted only to music; I recently wrote a review of Fred Litwin’s Conservative Confidential, that book described Litwin’s political and social journeys (you find that review also posted in November here on #RedHeartBlueSign).

There is nothing like one good book to spur me on to another, so next on the list is Bob Rae’s What Happened to Politics, and from there I have Kevin and Alex Newman’s All Out ready to go. I don’t anticipate being disappointed by Bob Rae. I do expect my frequency of phone calls, coffee/beer meetings or online chats to decrease as I reacquaint myself with my hardcover and softcover friends that have been waiting for my reappearance.

I apologize in advance to everyone affected by this shift to be back ‘between the covers’.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

Windows of Opportunity


Riding the train on a frequent basis and passing through the seasons I am able to see the terrain change through summer, fall and now winter. The last few months have seen the land between Toronto and Ottawa change from green to brown to green and to white.

The changing of the colours reminds me that there is always a reason to change an opinion, an idea and allow a window of thought to alter how a person once perceived something. In fact many who might be opposite to a position do not like the idea that positions can change. But why can’t they? The world and the politics of the world are in constant flux; something is always happening that will change the ideals we once held.

Changing our ideals is not a bad thing it shows growth and maturity.

Provincially and federally, conservatives may be challenging some long held positions due to changes in leadership. In Ontario the change is taking place under the leadership of Patrick Brown and PC Ontario members will see more of what this may look like in March when the party holds its General Meeting in Ottawa. It is widely believed that the process to building the party platform will begin that at that time. It could be a time of challenging previously long held PC beliefs in Ontario. But perhaps it is time to rethink the party’s priorities for the betterment of all Ontario.

Federally the Conservative Party of Canada has already shifted with the selection of Rona Ambrose as the Interim Leader of the CPC and may inevitably shift again when the party members go through the Leadership campaign sometime down the road.

Provincially and federally there is a base of support for any political party. Where governments are elected lies in the platforms and ideas that attract voters to the party that best represent the good steps needed to govern fairly and honestly. As the weeks and months unfold everyone will be watching what governments do with budgets, what opposition parties do with positions and platforms. These are all windows of opportunity for PC’s and Conservatives to reach out to all voters with thoughtful responses and ideas.

When you see the window open, breathe in the air – take a big breathe and let it fill your lungs. As you exhale consider what you have just taken in and the possibilities.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

Welcome to the Pleasuredome (a.k.a. 2016)


Yes, as 2016 starts, everything starts at the Pleasuredome, a place where the positive exists and all adventures are a discovery.

Here is what to expect in the Pleasuredome of notable events in the year of MMXVI


950 Years ago, Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon King before the Norman Conquest was crowned King of England. The UN Security Council met for the first time in January 1946, 170 years ago. Happy 50th Bat Anniversary Adam West (Batman)!


200 years ago, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville was first performed at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. For most of us, our earliest exposure to the opera is from Bugs Bunny performing “Figaro”.


The Ontario PC Party Annual General Meeting takes in Ottawa March 4-6. It is Leader Patrick Brown initial AGM and what promises to be the start of the road towards the Ontario Election in 2018. In 2006 Jack Dorsey sent this tweet, “just setting up my twttr” as the first tweet.


The 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is celebrated on April 23rd. I expect Stratford Ontario and Stratford-Upon-Avon England will be central locales for the festivities. 70 Years ago, a young baseball player named Jackie Robinson suited up for the Montreal Royals of the AAA International League.


Carnegie Hall in New York opened 125 years ago. It’s the 60th Anniversary of Elvis Presley reaching #1 for the first time with Heartbreak Hotel. It’s the 50th Anniversary of classic albums by the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan, Pet Sounds and Blonde on Blonde.


The 150 Anniversary of the raids of 1866 along the Niagara frontier furthered the cause of Confederation by encouraging a united defence. The defence of the extensive Canadian border against Irish-American raiders was victorious and showed the devotion of Canadians to their nation.


Canada celebrates its 149th Birthday on July 1st. Why Bother? Because next one is the BIG one, 150! It’s the 20th Anniversary of Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal.


The Jeep turns 75 this month. Orville Wright was born 145 years ago August 19th. The Beatles took to the stage for the last time 50 years ago in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.


The XXXIst Olympiad, 2016 Rio Olympic begins September 5th. While we are all gushing over Episode VII of Star Wars, September marks the 50th Anniversary of the first episode of the Star Trek TV series.


Winnie the Pooh was published 90 years ago October 14th 1926. It is the 30th Anniversary of the premiere of The Phantom of the Opera in London. The first Billboard Album from an American artist to debut on the Top 200 happened 40 years ago, with Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life October 8th 1974.


The 175th birthday of Canada’s 1st French Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Wilfred Laurier, is celebrated on November 20th.  The world’s first television service, BBC TV went on the air 80 years ago on November 2 1936.  The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is held.


The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong will be remembered, especially Christmas day when Allied Forces were overrun by the Japanese. The 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbour attack is December 7th. On a lighter note, December marks the 50th Anniversary of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Canada became ‘independent’ with the Statute of Westminster 85 years ago on December 11th.


I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at