Monthly Archive: February 2023

Play ball!

I love baseball. With players now in spring training, I begin to look forward to the season. I usually attend half a dozen Blue Jays games as part of a group with shared seats just six rows behind the Jays’ dugout.  But changes are afoot, and I fear for the game. In the last couple of years, Major League Baseball tried to speed up games by automatically putting a man on second base if the game went into extra innings. That was minor compared with this year’s numerous new rules. For example, pitchers and batters will have fifteen seconds to...

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Oh Canada!

A few years ago, I spent most of a day with six men huddled over a bank of computers and green-glowing radar screens deep within Cheyenne Mountain, 500 meters below a rough-hewn granite peak near Colorado Springs, Colorado. At one point, a buzzer sounded, a bell rang, and a wall light flashed red. An unidentified blip had popped onto a screen in the missile warning centre, a 10m by 10m low-ceilinged room at North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad). The duty officer snatched a beige phone from its cradle and was instantly linked to Norad command post, another nearby room...

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Ghosts in the pages

The first ghost-written modern-day book that I am aware of is the autobiography of Lee Iacocca, published in 1984. As CEO of Chrysler Corp., he resurrected the company. Right on the cover are the words “With William Novak.” Novak was reputedly paid $1 million for the collaboration. Every ghostwriter since has sought that same cover line “with.” Few have been paid in the seven figures. My first role as a ghost was for Sean O’Sullivan. At twenty, elected an MP in 1972, he was the youngest parliamentarian at the time. He won again in 1974 and then, in 1977, resigned...

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