Category Archives: Social Media


I have reached the milestone of writing my 300th post for this project called #RedheartBlueSign. I began this October 2011 following Ontario General election that year and it has allowed me to comment on politics, music, books and what was happening around me.  The name comes from a profile on my campaign written that election,

Image from Three Angry Nerds Podcast

There have been posts that have resonated with you the readers of RHBS and others not so much.  Some posts that I have been very proud of did not get many reads, and others have led to other opportunities.  

The post “Y2KXX a new normal’ was written about a recent vacation that took place just as COVID-19 shutdown Canada.  It described a wedding we attended in BC and how the pandemic was going make all of us adjust to a different reality.  COVID continues to do that 5 months later.  That post led to being asked to expand the post to be included in a book being compiled of stories of kindness and hope in a pandemic.  Honestly, it was a huge moment for me, I will forever be thankful to Heather Dawn and Wintertickle Press for the opportunity.  It has opened the door to doing more long-form writing of longer than a 700 words blog post.  The book “Not Cancelled: Canadian kindness in the face of Covid-19” not only includes my expanded reflection, and 48 other stories that show the kindness from across Canada. 

I took the blog on the road last fall to Barrie Ontario and wrote a series on the election that was not political (well maybe a little) and gave a glimpse into campaign life.  The nine posts during written between August and October and through those posts shared my campaign experience.  If I do it again, and I know there will be more campaigns, I’ll bring more of campaign life to #RHBS. 

There have been many books read and reviewed here. I have purposely read books I would never pick up for recreational reading; these books were all about learning from others.  Books by Naomi Klein and David Moscrop confirmed what I thought about some left leaning writers, especially Moscrop whose ‘Too Dumb for Democracy” is one on the worst and most left partisan books I have ever read.  Happily, that same post in March of 2020 was mostly about the best book I’ve read in a while; Beyond the Trees by Adam Shoalts and a completely partisan book in the favour of our nature and the beautiful and unforgiving terrain of Northern Canada. 

One book review that continues to get views is from Ottawa’s Brian McGarry, posted May 2012. The book was his life and the life with the McGarry Funeral Home, which has, as the book title suggests “From Paupers to Prime Ministers: A Life in Death.” It is a fascinating look at his life and service to his community.

Some of the older posts are also good reads; there is December 2011’s “Collective Benefits of Ending Homelessness”, sadly we still haven’t solved that.  My post on Canadian music “CANCON: The Making of MAPL Music” from May 2017 still gets attention.

Politics remains a topic of interest to write about, and thankfully still being read.  Focusing on Ottawa I’ve written on a few municipal cycles that receive a good response.  Another municipal election is here in a short two years, next month.  With a Ottawa ward boundary review now upon us the 2022 election presents some unique situations and decisions by our local elected officials.

I have enjoyed sharing my music with you.  I’ve reviewed new music by many and looked back at music and the part it plays in our lives as I did in the September 2017 post “No Music No Life” written after seeing a movie on Tower Records.  I’ve also written about music in my family with the post “Ode to my Father” September 2016 and the influence of having music in my home from a very early age.  The last two weeks I’ve shared a playlist with 60 years of music, I now have the playlist of  those songs on my Spotify profile,  take a listen and let me know what you think.

As I wrap up post 300, number 301 is already swirling around in my mind; thanks to all the readers, especially those that follow #RedHeartBlueSign, your ‘likes’ and comments are all appreciated.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading this, please leave a comment and if you like what you’ve read please click the follow button.



Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

60 Years On, Music of My Life 2

Some milestones just scare the crap out of you!  30, 40, and even 50 didn’t worry me but 60, oh my!  While I wonder if this birthday will be the birthday where in my head I feel the age me birth certificate says I am, I know I can look back at the last 60 years and know that there has been so much music that I have loved!

In Part One, I shared the music of my first 30 years, today I reveal the music that has been part of my second 30 years.  My music influences have changed in these three decades, they were shaped by the music I was playing while DJing, something I started with great regularity after my move to Ottawa in 1990.  In the early years I worked for Bytown Boogie, by 2000 I moved on to be a part of the Professional Entertainment Group where I have formed a great friendship with Helen and Steve.  It’s with the ProDJ Team I’ve learned more about music and got a much better understanding of the technology of the mix and and sound we can create.

Another factor that shaped the music I’ve listened to in the last 30 years is technology and how we access our music.  I did grab music from Naptser but evolved eMusic.  Here eMusic provided access to music that was up and coming or was released on smaller labels. From there it was iTunes and then now onto Spotify.  Working in Radio, I have always appreciated that artists rely on royalties from the sales from their music and have advocated, and sometimes berated friends who ripped music for free.    This applies to how I stream in 2020.  

Before I list the music from 1990 to 2020, here are the Top 10 songs and 10 most listened to Artists:

1Cut to the Feeling – Carly Rae Jepson207
2Slow Burn – Kacey Musgraves110
3I Got You – Olivia Lunny (from The Launch Season 2)95
4Butterflies – Kacey Musgraves73
5Space Cowboy – Kacey Musgraves71
6We are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift68
7Criminal – Lindsay Ell67
8Roy Rogers – Kacey Musgraves65
9Delirious Love – Neil Diamond with Brian Wilson57
10The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey57
1John Mayer555
2Carly Rae Jepson422
3The Beatles408
4Ryan Adams326
5Kacey Musgraves319
6Elton John318
7Lindsay Ell285
8Michelle Branch269
9Ruth B209

Here you are…my second half of my 60 years of music, 1990 to 2020:

1990Freedom 90George Michael
1991Lovers in a Dangerous TimeBarenaked Ladies
1992CourageTragically Hip
1994All I wanna DoSheryl Crow
1995Made in EnglandElton John
1996Dark HorseAmanda Marshall
1997Calico SkiesPaul McCartney
1998You Get What You WantNew Radicals
1999When you say Nothing at AllRonan Keating
2000I won’t back downJohnny Cash
2001Set Me FreeMichelle Branch
2002Somebody Like YouKeith Urban
2003Find Your way backMichelle Branch
2004Pieces of MeAshlee Simpson
2005Delirious LoveNeil Diamond w/ Brian Wilson
2006Me and Mr. JonesAmy Winehouse
2007BelieveSuzie McNeil
2008Lovers in Japan/Reign of LoveColdplay
2009Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (Live)John Mayer
2010I BelieveNikki Yanofsky
2011The AfterlifePaul Simon
2012Call Me MaybeCarly Rae Jepsen
2013Give You What You LikeAvril Lavigne
2014Gimme Something GoodRyan Adams
2015Runaway with MeCarly Rae Jepsen
2016CloserThe Chainsmokers
2017Cut to the FeelingCarly Rae Jepsen
2018SlowburnKasey Musgraves
2019I Got YouOlivia Lunny

You may have noticed that there is no song for 2020. I have plenty of new music to listen to, including Bob Dylan, Dua Lipa, Lindsay Ell, Tennille Townes and I’mm excited to hear the new Alanis Morrisette and Kathleen Edwards, so the 2020 song is yet to be determined. It could be a song that took me completely off guard as Olivia Lunny did last year.

All my songs from 1960 to 2019 will be put into a playlist on Spotify, follow me there if you would like to follow and listen to that playlist. 

I appreciate the likes and comments from last week’s post, I hope you enjoy this post as much.  Thank you for letting me share these musical moments in my life. 


Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

60 Years On, Music of My Life 1

Some milestones just scare the crap out of you!  30, 40, and even 50 didn’t worry me but 60, oh my!  While I wonder if this birthday will be the birthday where in my head I feel the age my birth certificate says I am, I know I can look back at the last 60 years and know that there has been so much music that I have loved!

I remember riding my bike in ’75 at the age of 15 and singing “Someone Saved my Life Tonight” out loud.  People hearing me as I rode past might have thought they should call for help or ignore crazy kid.  It never occurred to me what others may have thought when I did that because it was such joy to be able to it!  Even today I’ll close my eyes, listen to John Mayer’s live version of “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” and imagine trading guitar licks with my nephew Brad (who is a very good guitar player) in my brother’s backyard.

Elton John’s Greatest Hits

Music has always been a constant in my life, from my first vinyl; Elton John’s Greatest Hits in 1974  (thanks for the BEST Christmas present that year Mom and Dad) to the latest purchase; Lindsay Ell’s new album “Heart Theory” (which will be arriving in the mail next week). 

Another piece of evidence that music has been part of me is that I have years of the weekly 1050 Chum Charts cut out and filed away.  I also have CFTR 600 music charts and years of the annual music charts published by radio stations in newspapers at year end.  I would go on a hunt on December 30th, 31st and January 1st looking for these charts. It still saddens me that these charts are no longer published, to be kept as mementos of the past year. Sometimes going digital just sucks!

Kasey Musgraves – Golden Hour

I’ve decided to create my “life playlist’ with my favourite song for each year from 1960 to 2020.  My methodology was simple, using the number of plays on my iTunes library the song with the highest number of listens determined the song for that year.  As an example, my song for 2018 is Kasey Musgrave’s “Slowburn” from the Album “Golden Hour”.  I’ve listened to that song 110 times since it I bought it.  In fact that album is my favourite of that year with other songs from it “Butterflies” (73 listens) and “Space Cowboy” (71) getting the 2nd and third listens for that year.  Kasey also took the #4 song of that year with her version of Elton John’s “Roy Rogers” from the Elton John ‘Restoration’ compilation having 65 listens.

Putting this together, there were some years where I didn’t have any song in my digital library, there were 8 years like that.  I researched the top songs of those years and just picked my favourite. It is not very scienttific, but it works. My starting point is September 5, my birthday and by default I put the #1 song on the Billboard chart on that day in 1960.  The song is “Walk don’t Run” by The Ventures. 

Today I’m giving you the first 30 years in music; next, I’ll post the following 29 years and my song for 2020.

1960Walk, Don’t RunThe Ventures (#1 September 5, 1960)
1961Shop AroundThe Miracles
1962Hey! BabyBruce Channel
1963P.S. I Love YouThe Beatles
1964Oh, Pretty WomanRoy Orbison
1965Like a Rolling StoneBob Dylan
1966Ain’t Too Proud to BegThe Temptations
1967A Whiter Shade of PaleProcol Harem
1968Hey Jude The Beatles
1969Suite: Judy Blue EyesCrosby, Stills & Nash
1970What is LifeGeorge Harrison
1971One Fine MorningLighthouse
1972(Make me) Do Anything You WantA Foot in Cold Water
1973Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies BleedingElton John
1974You ain’t seen Nothing YetBachman-Turner Overdrive
1975Lucy in the Sky with DiamondsElton John
1976BreakdownTom Petty and the Heartbreakers
1977Loadout/StayJackson Browne
1978Girl’s SchoolPaul McCartney and Wings
1979Fool in the RainLed Zeppelin
1980TragedyBee Gees
1981Hold on TightELO
1983Let’s Stay TogetherTina Turner
1984I can Dream about YouDan Hartman
1985Feel it AgainHoneymoon Suite
1986DreamsVan Halen
1987Somewhere Down the Crazy RiverRobbie Robertson
1988Roll with ItSteve Winwood
1989Something Happen on the way to HeavenPhil Collins

Thank you for letting me share these musical moments in my life. As I mentioned earlier, the follow up #RedHeartBlueSign will have the next 30!


Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

My best laid plans for a vacation…

I am going in a different direction with this week’s post, mainly because I went in a different direction personally this week – I took a few days off work.  I had a few thing things that I had aimed to accomplish in my few days away from the ‘home office’, but even the ‘best laid plans’…you know how the saying goes.

For this short staycation, we planned to spend a day or two with the grandkids, J & J, as Mom was working, and Dad was away on a fishing trip in Northern Ontario. I wanted to get the podcast in good shape for a September launch and I has books I wanted to read.  It all seemed very doable.  All this would take place after one day of working to clear up some issues, this because the idea of taking some time off was late coming to me.  This would be the first vacation since our time in BC for a wedding which appeared in the post Y2KXX in April (and which I have chronicled for the book Not Cancelled: Canadian kindness in the face of COVID-19 from Wintertickle Press).

Our two day stay lasted four. We cooked, cleaned, continued the build of a LEGO research boat at a pace and attention span that a 7-year-old can give you.  We play ‘Lava’, this involves putting cushions on the floor and on the count from three you have to get off the floor (of lava) and get on a cushion before the lava gets you.  This game can go one for quite a while. Days were filled with games, an excursion to a water pad and many walks where we were chasing scooters and bikes.  We even squeezed in a shopping trip to Costco.  We just couldn’t leave but had to as I have a hair appointment late Friday afternoon.

The last 20 weeks has had me do so much, I’ve taken up a few things outside of working hours.  Here is a break down.

Since the end of March, I’ve read 6 book, 20 weeks for 6 books.  The bulk of that time, about 7 weeks was dedicated to reading Margaret Mitchell’s two volumes on WW1 and the Treaty that followed the war.  I read the books in the reverse order they were written, starting with “The war the ended peace” and then on to “1919’.  My reasoning was that “Peace” really outlined the issues that brought war on that would play a role in the treaty negotiations. This order of reading the books gave more ink to the Leaders of the UK, France, Germany and other nations.  It was insightful to read about these leaders and how things would play out in 1919.

I’ve started reading the Stephanie Patrick series of books written by Mark Burnell; I’ve read ‘The Rhythm Section’ and ‘Chameleon’ with “Genesis’ and ‘The Third Woman’ waiting to be opened. Liz has also been reading a lot, we don’t normally share books, but she insisted that I read ‘Where the Crawdad Sings’ by Delia Owen. I loved it!  Maybe I loved it too much as there were a few passages that just might have had a few teardrops dampen the pages.  I have also started reading the ‘Bones’ books written by Kathy Reich – this started due to the fact that Liz and I have been watching episodes of the TV show recorded from the CTV Drama channel. The shows are aired chronologically.  While we started late, we watched the end of the 12-year series and then immediately moved to episode one season one.  As of today, we’ve watched the first 5 seasons and the last 2.  We’re working through the series, but that’s how I turned to reading the books that the TV show has been based on. I’ve finished the first book “Deja Dead” and have another ready to go.  I’ve selected Adam Shoalts’ “A History of Canada in Ten Maps” is next on my reading list.

Hopefully you’ve read my post on my upcoming podcast, the good news is the test episode is complete I’m comfortable with the editing and now I’m writing new episodes.  I’ve been calling the podcast ‘Red Heart Blue Sign – The Podcast’, well now I have finally come up with the moniker for it, it is based on my years in Stratford.  I would spend hours talking with a friend about music and more in his record shop ‘Laughing Gnome Records’.  I am looking forward to sharing with you this new and exciting project. 

Musically, I’ve complied a new playlist called “60 years on” (a nod to Elton John) as a celebration of my 60thbirthday in September.  I have selected 59 songs representing the years 1960 to 2019.  There will be a 2020 song, I haven’t discovered or ‘felt’ which song from this year that should make the list.  I’ll be writing about this in the next few posts.

My song for 2019, “I Got You” by Olivia Lunney

Finally, this is post is number 297 of #RedHeartBlueSign, I’ll be posting the milestone 300th post written since I started the blog in October 2011 in a few weeks.  I don’t know what that will look like as a finished product, but I have a few ideas swirling around, I am just waiting for them to land.

Thank you for taking time to read #RedHeartBlueSign, stay safe, wash your hands and protect your social circles. If you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19 get tested.


The Boys and Girls are Back in Town

This weekend marked the return of the NHL and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Other major league sports teams have already returned are or are making their plans to return.   COVID-19 interrupted the NHL and the NBA, it stalled the return of baseball.

Sports is a huge part of our of our pastimes, we argue over it, we come together is moments of celebration and we play sports together.  With the return of the NHL I invited a Humber College Radio Alumni to answer a few questions about his views on big league sports returning to our social circles.

Steve Kee is the host of the #Kee2Travel podcast, is the Director of External Communications at the Insurance Bureau of Canada – but more importantly for the purposes of #RedHeartBlueSign readers, he is a sports fans and a great observer of sports.  Steve lives and breathes Toronto sports.  I asked Steve five questions about the return to action of big-league sports.

The NHL, MLB, NBA are all coming back from a COVID induced break in the season.  Who has managed this the best, the worst and why?

Steve Kee: Baseball has been a joke.  Unnecessary travel is just a recipe for disaster.  I’ll be surprised if the season ends.   As for the best, I have to say the NHL.  They chose Canadian hubs – areas with fewer cases than any of the major markets in North America. 

Red Heart Blue Sign: Though I haven’t mentioned it, the MLS soccer has done a good job in their return.  I’ve read a lot about the National Women’s Soccer League, they just wrapped up well run ‘Challenge Cup Tournament”.  I agree with the comments about MLB, I have high hopes for the NHL ‘City Hub’ return to play.

What can North American sports leagues learn from European and English soccer leagues who have just wrapped up their seasons after pausing their seasons?

SK: Appropriate social distancing….no fans….and a commitment to safety.  Also, the European markets seemed to have a head start on the recovery from Covid, something we are just starting to see trend better here in North America. 

RHBS: They has a couple of situations that almost ended the comeback, but the teams and league prevailed.  Our North American leagues will need to diligent and strict with the teams and the players if any of the big three will have a successful season.

After the Stanley Cup is (hopefully) handed out in October when can we expect to see hockey back?  Will the league have to take a break until 2021?

SK: You can’t wait too long.  So, if the league is back December 15 is that enough time for those players who have competed to recover.  I imagine 2020-2021 will be a strange year with more injuries as a result of the starts and stops of this season. 

RHBS: Can the league afford to have a shortened season in 2021?  Don’t even get me started on the sham about the NHL Draft and a playoff team getting the #1 selection.

Then there will be football, how can the NFL or CFL possibly play in an empty stadium?

SK: They would dress the stadium like they have done for NHL and NBA.  You shoot football for what’s on the field.  I can see the NFL starting…because of the TV money…but can the CFL really justify these costs?

RHBS: It would be like the Argos playing The Rogers Centre (before BMP Field was built. 

Which sports league may be in danger of not surviving 2020-2021?

SK: Of any, the CFL could be the one to die.  They aren’t in the best of financial shape…period.

RHBS: I am I agreement here, if the CFL can’t pull off the planned Winnipeg hub city season this fall they are in trouble.  Best case scenario is the league taking a year off.  Worst is the league folds. If the CFL folds, does that mean the NFL can finally make a shot at a team in Toronto or Montreal?

Which Toronto team walks away with a championship this year?  The Leafs, the Raptors or the Blue Jays? 

SK: Optimist in me says all of the above.  Pessimist says better luck next year. 

RHBS: Of the Toronto pro teams, The Raptors have the best opportunity to win and recapture the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

My thanks to Steve for taking some time to assist with this week’s post.  You can follow Steve on Twitter and Instagram at @Steve_Kee.  If you love and miss travelling, follow Steve and his wife Cynthia on the #Kee2Travel podcast,

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, it is the 296th post I have written for the blog since October 2011! 

Stay safe, wash your hands and protect your social circles. 

My COVID projects – Part 2 – The Podcast

Rode Mini-USB Microphone and Marley Headphones

More than 100 days of COVID19 and I have listened to almost just as many podcast episodes.  I wrote in May on RHBS Post #286 about the podcasts that I have been listening to. If you missed it, “Watcha Listening to” can be found here:  In that post I provided a review of some podcasts that have grabbed my attention. Here I am today telling you about a podcast I am going to launch in the coming weeks.  I have decided to put out there for you Red Heart Blue Sign: The Podcast. 

Even before that post in May I have been putting together the pieces of what a podcast would sound like.  I have taken a few steps along the way.

The Equipment.  I purchased the equipment in May, I ordered it in April.  COVID must have had caused many people to want to start a Podcast as what I originally ordered was on backorder.  The supplier in Montreal called and made a few other suggestions that they could ship right away. What you see in the cover photo for this post is what I ordered, the Rode USB-Mini Microphone.  I decided on this model after watching a review on You Tube.  This choice may present limitations down the road, but for now I think It will be good.  I have a set of Sony headphones I’ve used for DJing that will work and Marley Headphones, the set in the photo, that I’ve been using during the testing. 

The Software. The choice of the Rode Mini USB microphone allowed me to plug and play very easily onto Garage Band on my MacBook Air.  Here as well I have watched some You Tube Tutorials on the basic use of Garage Band for podcasting.  Recording, editing, mix and saving the final product.  This week I’ve recorded a test episode, making sure I understood the processes of Garage Band.  Getting comfortable with the technical processes will take time.  I’m getting there and I am sure the final production value of the podcast will improve with each episode posted.

The Time.  Putting together the idea, concept and the test podcast have shown the time commitment needed for each episode of the podcast.  Unlike this blog where I may not know what I am going write about until I sit down and start clinking on the keyboard, the podcast will need to be planned out.  I am sure that a natural schedule will develop as the weeks go by, but before that a production schedule is needed and kept.  I’m confident that a natural schedule will develop as the weeks go by, but before that comes a production schedule is needed and kept.  An episode script or outline will have to be developed weeks ahead.  The production schedule has to be adhered to as will the schedule for posting the podcast.  I realize that in the beginning there can’t be any vacations form working on the podcast.  What this means to me is that wherever I go, so does the MacBook Air and the microphone.  I know that getting into the groove of having a weekly podcast is going to require adjustment and commitment.  I am looking forward to putting the podcasts out there for you.  

The Episodes.  Waiting for the equipment to arrive allowed me the time to start planning the episodes, coming up with an episode guide.  This is helping with the process of what RHBS: The Podcast will really be about.  I have developed 7 topics into podcast ideas.  As I was coming up with these episodes, it became clear to me that the podcast should become an extension of what this blog is about.  I know that some of the posts have not resonated with readers, but I also know what posts readers have really liked.  The podcast will give me the time I need to go deeper into the discussion of what have been successful blog posts. I’m pleased with how the first seven shows are going to sound.

Finally, I look you to, I’m interested in your thoughts, what do you want to listen to and when do you listen to podcasts?  Please email me at or DM me on Twitter at @RedHrtBlueSign.

As always, I appreciate the time you take for reading, look for episode 1 of Red Heart Blue Sign: The Podcast (or whatever it ends up being called) soon!  Stay safe.


Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

How do you Protest?

This week’s post will cut close to the bone for many, but it comes after almost two weeks of protests around the world and closer to home in Canada and Ottawa.  Millions of Americans and 10’s of thousands of Canadians marched because of racism, police brutality and needless deaths.  One name was the centre of the protests this week, George Floyd.

Discarded Ottawa protest signs, photo by Danno Saunt-Videoman Ottawa

The Parliamentary Protective Services released a statement that more than 7,000 people protested with very little disturbance.  That number is very impressive, they gathered, marched went down on their collective knees in an organized demonstration against racism.  They shared a collective voice in silence in that act.

I have friends who march in the demonstrations and many others who don’t. There is a common thread through my circle of friends though, we know we can all do something to make change take place.

I have run for office three times, each time I did because I felt that it was the best way, I could form change – with policy and legislation.  The process of good policy and legislation is not difficult; listening is pivotal as is understanding why and how good policy can lead to effective legislation.  

Today I work to research, investigate and understand how a policy has been helpful or a hindrance.  That leads to new policy, questions to ask the experts and an opinion that will form a solution that will become legislation.  Understand, that the entire last sentence does not include the rigour of debate, counter opinions and disagreements that take place to form the what is hopefully a key to good public policy.  This is how I can be effective in having good public policy. 

I didn’t walk in the protest in Ottawa.  I posted once on social media, on #BlackoutTuesday, regarding the injustices of the death of George Floyd and racism. I’ve seen posts from social media influencers who have chosen to post often and others that have posted very little.  I read one post that suggested that just because they didn’t post on the issue that they didn’t agree or support that cause. I understood where that person was coming from when they posted it and I supported them by liking the post.

If your means of protesting is walking, carrying some very creative signs then I support you.  If you choose words to protest, choose them wisely, select words that can go miles to making change effective and good, for your positive message will go further than anything negative can.  If you chose silence, then make the silence effective by listening. If you choose to question, ask questions that help you understand.  If you make your protests personal, act in a way that creates good.  If you teach, show kindness and when you act, make your parents proud.

Our global village is gathering its voice asking for change, there may be more turbulence as the change comes and is eventually achieved.  The turbulence will come out of frustration because those that NEED to hear haven’t. 

We all have a voice, use it as you must; chant loudly, pray silently, ponder wisely and write with profoundness.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.


—Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

I stopped shaving – a COVID update

Like so many people, staying at home has The allowed many of us the opportunity to start projects, explore new ideas and go back rediscover old joys.

The sun during the “Golden Hour” hitting the tree tops along the Rideau Canal

Last week I stopped shaving, I’ll let you decide I this was a project, new idea or a rediscovery of an old joy.  However, that’s not the only thing that COVID has allowed me.

COVID has opened the door to a new opportunity.  On Friday May 22nd the book, “Not Cancelled, Canadian care mongering in the face of COVID-19” was released.  I was asked to be a part of this collection of stories that showed the care, love and nurturing of Canadians after COVID-19 caused most of our lives to come to a screaming halt.  Published by Wintertickle Press, stories from across Canada demonstrating the Canadian spirit.  Visit your local book shop in person or order the book online at and purchase a copy.  There is so much more, likely better, in the book than my 2000 words. 

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know I gave a list of podcasts that I have started listening to.  You haven’t read that post?  No worries, here is the link for you,  Out of our discovery of enjoyable podcasts, Liz and I discussed starting a podcast.  To want to do this is the easy part, “what” the podcast should be about is the real challenge.  It can be about so many things, but what is it I can talk about knowledgably that would make a credible podcast?    Recently I thought of turning the blog into a podcast, it has a broad spectrum of topics; books to music and politics.  Is that something we can pull off?  It certainly allows Liz the chance to contribute regularly, she is very smart, speaks well and has strong opinions – leaving her off the podcasts doesn’t serve the podcast well.  Stay tuned…more to come on this.

It’s taken a while, but I have started to pay attention to the Conservative Party Leadership contest.  My opinions on the race are mixed; I’m glad the party paused it but in the same breath I am frustrated that the party Leadership Committee didn’t give the candidates that preceded the party’s decision to suspend their campaigns because of COVID an extension to raise the money and memberships to make it onto the ballot.  I supported Rudy Husny, while I had a realistic view of his winning, he was a candidate that reflected my ideas of being a conservative and he would have been marked on my ballot. I also believe that MP Marilyn Gladu should have been given the same opportunity to reach the benchmarks after suspending her campaign because of the coronavirus.

There are four candidates that will be on the ballot.  As I write this, I do not have a candidate to fill that number one slot.  This contest has had errors and missteps from the frontrunners.  Of the perceived leading candidates, I have voted for both of them at one time for leader; Peter MacKay to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003 and Erin O’Toole in the 2017 Conservative Party leadership. 

I am now engaging in what the candidates are saying about leading the party.  I will not permit the negative campaigning be a part of my engagement.  The next few weeks as I wait for my ballot in the mail will be my time to hear from all four candidates (some more than others).  I have made one decision about my ballot; I will only be marking one name.  Realistically, with apologies for the 3rd and 4th persons on the ballot, my number two would become the next leader if my number one doesn’t get 50% +1.   I just have to confirm my #1.

One final thing…

Today I shaved, the facial growth provided some balance to the growing hair on top.  Now that balance is gone.

What are your new projects that COVID has opened the door to?  

One more final thing, this is post #301 of Red Heart Blue Sign. Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your day and supporting this blog since October 2011.


Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

Keeping COVID-occupied

staying busy

This first image appeared in  

A question for you, readers of #RedHeartBlueSign.  How are your spending your time inside? I know many of you are working from home and likely putting in longer hours that you normally might at the office.  This list does not include the usual things we do: laundry, cooking, grocery shopping (once a week) etc.

For 30+ days now we’ve been asked to self-isolate; work from home; try to teach our children; and minimize our time shopping and non-essential trips.  When we’re outside we have to practicing physical distancing, keeping a hockey stick apart.

Today is a sunny Saturday and when I go for a walk with Liz, I’m sure we’ll see the trees bursting with buds ready to go full foliage.   We’ve been walking every day; an hour out does wonders for the mind, even 30 minutes is a benefit.

I’m impressed with what I’ve been able to get done since we’ve self-isolated.  I have completed 4 books and started my 5th book since the start of March.  I’ve kept up on a 30-day song challenge; today I posted day 28.  I’ve altered the challenge to be 30 days of Elton John songs.  I’ll have to consider what challenge I’ll take up next to post on Instagram and Facebook.

I was asked to contribute to a collection of stories for people getting through this COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of a speech, this was my first long form (2000 word) composition in a long time.  I think it will be published; I’ll keep you updated on this – it is very exciting to think this might happen.

I recently thought that I should start to reduce the number of CD’s I have; this has led to a new project of reviewing my collection of 1500+.  I’m listening by artist by artist daily to CDs and rethinking if I think it was a wise purchase or not.  I’ve been posting on this each day.  After 5 days and 12 CDs I’d keep 9 and could do without 3.  Based on this ratio there could be a number of CDs heading to a used CD shop.  Doing this will be  much more difficult than saying it.

Because of my work, I am attuned to the news a lot, even recreational TV watching is centred around the news.  I realize that I have watched too much news when I recognize the cycle of live/taped newscasts on CTV and CBC.  Radio gives me a huge reprise because almost all of it is live.  I recently re-started receiving the Globe and Mail at my door daily, this has given me so much to read, more about international affairs as our TV is really focused (as they should be) on Canada.  The capacity of TV and radio to present stories from around the globe (pun intended) is very limited.  Getting the newspaper also prevents me to searching and scrolling websites to find these stories – the stories are handed to me.  I recognize the newspaper is a small joy I am glad to have back.

We’re always on the search for different opinions; podcasts and live streaming have given us access to this.  Once a week we’ve dedicated an evening to listening to 2 or 3 podcasts.  The world of podcasting seems endless, so many options and so many streaming services offering everything you could possibly want to listen to. Trying to find interesting podcasts still is an overall challenge.

Some of what we’ve been listening to includes the Munk Conversations, a new live stream that airs weekly, it’s an extension of the quarterly Munk Debates.  The first in the series featured Malcolm Gladwell as a guest a couple of weeks ago and discusses what a post-COVID world looks like.  TEDtalks have a YouTube series of interviews that have had interesting people and topics.  We listened to Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Love Pray talk about how “it’s OK to feel overwhelmed” and have subsequently recommended it to others.

In the traditional podcast format, Peter Mansbridge’s “The Bridge” is a good listen. It’s like having Peter in your living room talking to you for 30 or so minutes without letting you stop and ask a question.  I have become a regular listener of the “And Another Thing” podcast with former MP Tony Clement and Broadcaster Jodi Jenkins.  Guest have included Tony’s barber Johnny Awesome in a very entertaining episode and MP’s, Senators, journalists and comedians.

Another I really enjoy is the “Herle Burly”, with former Ontario Liberal campaign manager David Herle.  The podcasts tend to be longer and run an hour or longer so this is a good one to listen to while while sipping on something.  For fun political jousting David has former Conservative Campaign Manager Jenni Byrne and Liberal strategist Scott Reid regularly join in.  It’s like being a fly on the wall in a political backroom session.

Right now, my list of podcasts seems limited and I’m looking for something new to listen to.  Send me your recommendations, please. It will be another way I will stay COVID occupied.

I know that there’s so much more to stay busy beyond books, music, the news and TV.  I haven’t decided how much I want to diversify the free time I have but I am always on the lookout for it.  Tell me what you’re doing in your #quarantime.  As always thanks for reading.  Stay safe.


Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at

Social Media is back and its kinder

kindA social crisis helped bring social media back to its origins.  I hope you have noticed that social media is much more social than it has been in months.  Have you seen the requests for book, movie and TV series recommendations?  I bet some of the replies to these requests went onto your watch and read list. Have you replied to the requests to share games for a family game night and how about those free online concerts- have you been watching?  It is the way social media was meant to be, we are kind, helpful and compassionate.

Social media has become great again, so great that we have started drinking online with friends. This is huge because if you fall down drunk you won’t have far to travel to you bed.  The downside of this is that the online wingman doesn’t have the same impact as they do in person.  I also haven’t minded the online shaming directed at TP and hand sanitizer hoarders, that’s well deserved.

We’ve been asked, actually we’re being instructed to stay indoors avoid other people (or least give them space of 2 metres), but at the same time we’re told that being outside is good, so that’s what we’ve been doing.  I am in Vancouver writing this and have been here for the last week for a family event.  We’ve logged 10’s of kms in downtown Vancouver and never ‘bumped’ into anyone, walked in parks, we’ve been a solitary twosome on an Aquabus going from the old Olympic Village to Granville Island (which was even emptier than downtown Vancouver) and back.

sharingSocial media has also been kind, for the most part for the last two weeks.  We’ve helped friends celebrate birthdays in self isolation.  Parents have traded tips on becoming home teachers and cooking, my goodness, the sharing of quarantine mealtime dinners has been mouth-watering.  Kids of all ages were getting crafty with scissors, papier Mache, glue and paint.  It has all been so good to see.

With the CBC shutting down local newscasts, Twitter and Facebook keep us up to date with the coronavirus in our own cities, towns, neighbourhoods and streets.  Streaming services rushed movies to their live stream; Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit the small screen well before they were originally scheduled.

TV even started airing good stuff; I saw that TSN the other day re-played the epic collapse of the Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins in game 7 of their 2013 NHL series.  The historic playoff run of the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA Championship is being rebroadcast at a time when NBA and NHL playoffs would be starting soon.  CBC is airing the best of Canada at the Olympics. Today I watched this amazing race, down a 500-foot racecourse carved in the sand that saw the lead change several times as dozens of marbles raced to the finish line.  I was hypnotized!

This truly is a better social media than we have had in a long time; we’re helping people, thanking frontline workers, we’re SHARING.  Of course, we have opinions and should hold our leaders to account, but we’re not so “in your face” about it, we are just happy to see politicians from all parties and all levels of government working together as they try to guide us through the next few weeks and months of the coronavirus.

Enjoy this incarnation of the new kinder and gentler social media, it won’t be long before the US Presidential election is front and center again the mudslinging starts up right where it left off.  So I ask you to consider this before you might go back to your old social media habits (we all have them); we felt good about what we were posting and sharing during the isolation of Covid-19 – it was a good feeling, remember that feeling and think twice before you hit enter and sling that mud once again.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at  If you prefer email, please contact me at