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Does WSD have a can of paint?

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Driving up Wall Street after dropping child the younger at her summer job, I've noticed that dreadfully dilapidated sign for Tec Voc on the east side of the road.

It looks like something you'd see on an abandoned store in a ghost town, needs only tumbleweed to complete the scene.

At the risk of my taxes going up, maybe Winnipeg School Division can find a brush and some paint?

And in another topic.....

I'm totally inundated with back-to-school stuff, generally Americans flogging products, and here's a pitch from someone in Waukegan, Illinois, for drug-free pain relief for kids who suffer injuries in any kind of activity from football practice to -- I am not making this up -- playground tag.

Here's the spin: "a flexible and durable elastic strap, is a convenient way to ease pain and inflammation while on the go. The patch uses a patented 'pulse massage technology' to deliver electromagnetic therapy that restores damaged cells. It's a safe, drug-free, and comfortable alternative -- perfect for kids!"

And she offers to send me one so I can try it out.

No mention about the cost. I assume there is a cost.

And I segue seamlessly, maybe aimlessly.....

We saw several posters during our vacation for a concert on a neighbouring lake, headliner being a certain senior administrator in a city school division. Poster said it's his third annual concert on the dock.

Sounded intriguing, but a suggestion for next year: listing a block and lot number for his lake may not be enough information for everyone.....would have been helpful to have a map, clarification whether this was road or boat access, and if there'd be somewhere to park.

Helpful as ever to people in the public school system.

Moving on yet again.....

We got an interesting piece of mail at home, inviting us to mark a ballot and send it to the provincial Tories. There's stuff on it about the NDP's supposedly guaranteeing provincial welfare to criminals on the run, and then a ballot with names and photos of Premier Greg Selinger, Tory leader Hugh McFadyen, and Liberal leader Jon Gerrard.

It urges you to vote, with a suggestive how-to arrow pointing to McFadyen, and across the top is: Who do you trust to get tough on crime?

And so now I'm waiting for the next one in the mail that says: Whom do you trust to get tough on the official opposition's lousy grammar?

Segue again.....(sound effects going whir, click, buzz, kachung)........

I saw the story about the unknown young actor who's been signed to play the lead in the Americanized version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, opposite Daniel Craig.

I won't be going to see it.

Pause while Hollywood collectively rushes to its therapist to try to cope with that devastating shocker.

Child the elder and I went to see the original, real version, when he was home a few months ago. It's in Swedish with subtitles, and it's a superb film. Similarly, a year ago at the cottage, child the elder and I watched the best vampire film ever made, Let The Right One In, in Swedish, with English subtitles.

I have absolutely no intention of watching the American version coming out this fall.

I gather that a lot of the comedies I don't go to see are American remakes of French films.

Yes, I know, I can be accused of artsy-fartsy elitism here, but our family has a long history of going to foreign-language films with English subtitles, back to when my wife and I went to the Fox and the Carlton in the centre of the universe back in the 80s. These are good, often magnificent films, and it's really not all that hard to get used to reading the subtitles. Really, it isn't. Try it.

Harumph.

Every few months it seems I'm getting an email from someone from the past who's stumbled across me on the web.

This week it was from a guy I knew at university, back at Glendon College from back in the day 40 years ago. He's a fed, in Ottawa now, with a long career in heritage conservation, including a long track record working on projects in Manitoba.

And it turned out he'd tracked me down on the web after reading a story I'd written on new St. Boniface College vice-president Gabor Csepregi, whom he knows.

So he contacted me, and a couple of email exchanges later, turns out that his elder daughter attends the same university from which child the elder just convocated, and is in a master's program in the field he majored in as an undergrad, that they've had the same profs and have played together in a summer volleyball league. And, of course, they'd been unaware that their dads knew each other.

Sometimes this Internet thing is kind of neat.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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