What’s in a name?

Of all the crusades under way, surely the silliest must be the one against the names of certain teams. Native Americans and their supporters complain about Chief Wahoo, the cheerful image of the Cleveland Indians. This season, such forces made progress – if it can be called that – when the Chief was officially replaced on batting helmets by the most mundane C ever designed. For the time being, his grinning face still appears on the shirt.  Now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has dubbed the name of the Washington Redskins “disparaging.” What next? Will someone try to outlaw the war...

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Flagged out

With the World Cup starting today, excitement has reached such a fever pitch that the New York Times Sunday Magazine couldn’t decide which soccer star to put on the cover. So they printed three versions using Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Neymar of Brazil, or Lionel Messi of Argentina. (I got Ronaldo on my copy.) I must admit that soccer is lost on me. It’s down there with cricket, a game that can go on for five days without declaring a winner. In soccer, sixty minutes can drone by without a goal. And don’t get me started on the corruption. How can...

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The clinical view

I had occasion recently to see a doctor at a clinic. (Spoiler alert: I’m fine.) Because it was a teaching hospital, the doctor was accompanied by another doctor and four residents, all eager to learn. You feel like a bit of a guinea pig, sitting there in your socks and hospital gown that’s impossible to tie up, while the doctor uses you to show the residents symptoms you do or do not have. Finally, he gets around to what you came for: the diagnosis. Afterward, I got thinking, why don’t other institutions and corporations follow a similar methodology? We have...

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The newest billionaire

Canada’s newest billionaire is Frank Hasenfratz, founder and chairman of Linamar Corp. Linamar share price at the close of trading today was $65.41 which means his 15.3 million shares are worth $1 billion. The number is all the more remarkable given that those shares were worth $750 million just three months ago. Hasenfratz, the focus of a book written in 2012 by Susan M. Papp and me, Driven to Succeed, founded Linamar in 1966. He had a lathe, for which he paid $1,000, that he operated in the basement of his home. As the sole employee his first contract was...

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Globe trotters

As a former winner of the National Business Book Award (1997 for Who Killed Confederation Life?) I always keep a close eye on the annual prize. The award has been around since 1986 and the belief always was that it was rigged in that you couldn’t win twice. This year’s winner proved that old shibboleth wrong. The award went to Jacquie McNish and Jim Leech for The Third Rail, a book about pensions, not the sexiest topic ever. McNish previously won in 2004 for Wrong Way: The Fall of Conrad Black. She had a collaborator then, too, in Sinclair Stewart. It’s...

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Staying put

I’ve had occasion this month to travel to two different cities in southern Ontario. The names are irrelevant, the stories are the same as a lot of other places. Let’s call them B and C. After I’d parked my car in a municipal lot in B and was walking to my destination five minutes away, the first person I passed said, “Good morning.” I thought, “Well, I’m not in Toronto any more.” When I checked out of the automated lot two hours later, I knew for sure I was somewhere else. The total charge was $2.  In city C I...

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The power of pushy

The appointment today of Anne Marie Owens as editor of National Post, the first woman ever to head a Canadian national newspaper, raises the question: how will a member of the fair sex fare in the role? It’s hard not to think about the recent firing of Jill Abramson as editor of the New York Times. Media specialist Ken Auletta, who wrote more knowledgeably about the dismissal than anyone else, said one of the reasons was because Abramson was seen by management as “pushy.”  Pushy. What a word. It’s only used about a woman, never a man. Owens, currently deputy...

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And a child shall lead them

I recently attended an open house at my granddaughter’s school. There was a fascinating tour of the school conducted by my granddaughter, who is in Grade Four, that included the library, art room and a computer facility where they can make their own videos. I also saw her math notebooks, heard poetry, inspected a history project and heard a lot of unfamiliar wordage such as “unit of inquiry” that seemed to mean an essay or project. Some of the units of inquiry looked pretty complicated for her age, but she pulled everything off with aplomb. What an education our young...

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