One Hell Of A Ride!

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I have been doing a fair bit of reading during this Christmas break, and one of the most fascinating books I have read, ‘One Hell Of a Ride’ – How Craig Dobbin Built The World’s Largest Helicopter Company In the World” by John L. Reynolds.

This is the story of how Newfoundlander Craig L Dobbin, who came from a working class Irish beginnings in St. John’s Newfoundland, and rose to auspicious heights of success.  Now although these rags to riches stories are quite common, I guarantee you none of them has pulled the stunts this man has pulled.  It is entertaining, inspiring and jaw-dropping in places. 

Imagine being broke and wanting to buy another company.  When people told him he was broke, he replied ‘that’s your problem, make it happen’.   I remember reading this book and thinking the word ‘risk-taker’ is used alot, but this man’s picture should be next to the word in the dictionary.  When he was in risk of losing some of his planes to re-possession, he flew them around Newfoundland to avoid the people trying to take back the planes.

This is a great book.  I realize I too am a Newfoundlander and have met many of the people in the book, but I guarantee you will enjoy this book.    His friends included former U.S. President George Bush Senior who is interviewed for the book, as well as Canadian businessman Harry Steele.  One Hell of a Ride is One Hell of a Read!


2009 – A Year of Change!

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Happy New Year!  Are you ready for 2009.   I believe it is going to be a year of change!

I haven’t written in a while, considering my last article was entitled “39 Sleeps to Christmas”.   I didn’t take my own advice, and got over-whelmed in December.  Thank you Craig for kick-starting me this morning with your recent comment.    I had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing this!

I logged on to a couple of news sites this morning and after glimpsing headlines of uncertainty, I closed them.  Because I woke up this morning invigorated and excited about the coming year.  I believe in change, I believe change is the only constant we can count on!  And change is good.   After spending a quiet New Year’s Eve reflecting on 2008, I also spent some time reflecting on the coming year for myself personally.  I love New Years Day.  It represents to me 365 days of possibilities. 

I also like the ‘Out with the Old, In with the New’, that comes with each New Years Day!  Already this morning I have gutted out my spare room, removing clutter and boxes.  Why, I ask myself, would a self-proclaimed pack-rat buy a 1074 square foot COMDO!  Change of course.  It was January 2 years ago, and although I struggle sometimes with the lack of storage space, I do love condo life.  I have also started in on cupboards and drawers, stuffed to the max with ‘Stuff’!  I figure if I haven’t used it in 3 years, I probably dont really need it.

I am also excited about the coming year at work.  Working in the media means constant change as well, but I look forward to the challenges these changes will bring.  Change means growth in our business, and growth is always good.

So I wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I hope 2009 means change and growth both personally and professionally to all of you.   The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus wrote “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day.”  And that is something I will be bringing to my daily life in 2009.


Hope Won!

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For the people who know me, they were surprised when one day had passed and I hadn’t written about the U.S. Presidential Election and the fact that Barack Obama had won!  There were several reasons why.  Most importantly, in the early hours of Tuesday, November 4th, my good friend Al Best lost his battle with cancer.  I was numb.  By Wednesday, one of my co-workers commented that she was shocked I hadn’t mentioned Barack Obama’s name in two days.  That numbnes again.  I couldn’t think straight, let alone sit down at a keyboard and write something that made sense, let alone celebrate the man who I had rallied behind for 20 months.

I picked the title of my blog from the t-shirt Oprah Winfrey was wearing the day after the election.  And I thought “that’s it”!  Hope Won!  I am neither American  or African-American, but I too felt Hope had won.  This impressive young Senator from Illinois represented Hope from not only Americans, but people throughout the world!   He represented change from the ‘crooked’ perception we had of government.  And not only the American government but governments throughout the world.  He represented something different than the ‘same old, same old’!   And we were all cheering for him, because if the United States could bring forward this kind of change, maybe the countries we live in could do the same.  We too, are sick and tired of the ‘same old, same old’!

My good friend Gary Kelly, another Canadian, was fortunate enough to be in California on November 4th, and sat in a bar Election night.  There were people disappointed and people elated, but what a priviledge to be there to witness it all. 

And in my closing comments, I would like to say to the world, ‘be patient’.  This man has quite a mess to clean up.  It’s not going to be done in one month, and not in one year.   Confidence in the United States is already on the increase, and after January 20th it will be full force.  But remember Barack Obama is only human, and as smart and personable that he is, it will take some time to clean up the garbage.  After Bill Clinton left office, the economy in the United states was very vibrant.  In 8 short years, it’s in the toilet.  Be patient.  It will be done.

Congratulations Mr. President!

A Tribute To Al Best!

A good friend and co-worker of mine lost his battle to cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Al Best!  He didn’t garner national media attention trying to save the world like Bono of U2, but he made the world a better place for the people who were priviledged enough to know and love him.

I don’t know if I have ever met anyone with a sense of humor like Al Best!  Some Al-isms… “I’m so hungry, my gut thinks my throat is cut” is the first one that comes to my mind;  And on Tuesday when I didn’t think it was possible to smile, his good friend Todd Goodyear texted me with that saying, and Todd, you made me smile.  Thank you.  Another one of my favorites “There’s a big difference between scratching your ass and tearing a piece out of it”.   Al put everything into perspective very simply, and didn’t stress about too much.

He was a man who loved his family so much and they came first.  That was one of the great qualities about this human being.  One of them… Because there were many more.  One of the greatest gifts he gave the world is that everyone who came in contact with Al, left with a smile on their face.  How many people can say that about another person.

My thoughts and prayers and love go out to all his family and friends.  Al Best, it was an honour to know you.


The Audacity of Hope

With 12 days left before the American election, I thought I would share my insights into this powerful book.   In 2004 when John Kerry and John Edwards was running on the Democratic ticket, a young Illinois Senator was asked to give the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention that year.  If you want to be moved, go to and watch the 17 minute address.  The Audacity of Hope was the title of that speech, and went on to become the title of his second book, which became a best seller on the New York Times non-fiction list.

I would like to take an excerpt from that speech, which I believe gives us all reason to dream and hope.

I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

A man who is says he is inspired by the people he meets on his travels, Barack Obama talks about many of the topics that have become instrumental in his run for the United States Presidency. 

If you look up the word ‘Audacity’ in the dictionary, it is defined as “fearless, daring, and a bold heedlessness of restraints”.  Isn’t that synonymous with the man running for the position of Commander in Chief of the United States?   The Audacity of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes he has a place in America.  The Audacity of a man born of a Kenyan Father and a Kansas Mother to believe he could be President of the United States… the Audacity of Hope!  Isn’t that what dreams are made of…  To teach our children that they can be anything they want to be if they work hard and believe!

A great book about change, from what I believe is a great man who inspires change.  The Audacity of Hope is a must read.