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Swine ’09

These days, we are over-saturated with news 24/7. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish facts from hype. There has been plenty in the news about H1N1 (Swine Flu), but I honestly didn’t pay much attention to it. Remember all the hype surrounding the Bird Flu? Then all of a sudden, some sort of flu-like virus started spreading like crazy at Grafton High School where the twins go to school.

Every day last week, more and more kids and teachers were out sick. My boys were out Wednesday with upset stomachs, which I think had more to do with my cooking than any type of flu. By Thursday, 236 students (about 36 percent of the total student body) were out sick. Friday, 46 percent of students and 43 percent of the faculty were sick.

Since the regular seasonal flu was nowhere in the area, it seemed pretty clear that it was the Swine Flu spreading throughout the high school. The school had to be closed early at 11am on Friday and will remain closed until at least next Wednesday. During these four days, the school will be thoroughly cleaned and the students were told to not mingle with other students in order to try to halt the spread of this virus.

On Friday, two students tested positive for H1N1 flu, which means that this is the most likly cause of all the absenteeism.

Grafton High School is the only (or at least the first) school in the entire state that was forced to close because of the Swine Flu. What are the odds that we would be right smack in the middle of this epidemic? So far all three of my boys are fine.

I also got a call from the collaborative where Anthony goes to school. They asked me not to send Anthony to school on Monday and Tuesday, because his brothers attend Grafton High School. So, all three boys will get a mini-vacation. Well, it will be a ‘vacation’ assuming that they don’t get sick…

It is so strange to see our small town the focus of all the local news surrounding Swine Flu. Here are some links to some of the stories coming out of Boston and Worcester:

Suspected H1N1 Outbreak Closes School WCVB-TV 5 Boston

Possible swine flu cases close Grafton High School Boston.com

Grafton High to close Monday and Tuesday Telegram.com

Videos from NECN.com:

New video from News 7

Oh and this was all going on while President Obama was visiting Massachusetts. He got back to Washington and declared a national emergency!
New Oct 24: Obama declares swine flu national emergency

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Rock & Shock

We took Aaron and a couple of friends to Rock & Shock 2009 at the Worcester DCU Center last night. Rock & Shock is a Horror convention that mixes artist and vendor displays with rock music. We didn’t do the music part, we went primarily because Aaron is a huge horror/thriller movie buff. As I’ve mentioned before, he does his own thriller show on local cable TV, so he just loves dressing up and going to events like this.

Where he got this interest in horror movies, I have no idea. Rich and I are not fans of this genre. In fact, I avoid scary movies as much as possible. Real life is plenty scary enough for me! Rich tolerates them for Aaron and usually takes him to the movies he wants to see. I decided to come to this event since it’s the Halloween time of year and also brought Eric along. I figured, if it was too much for him or I, we could just leave. As it turned out we all had a great time. Eric loved all the action and especially enjoyed the people dressed up in costumes.

There were lots of horror film actors, directors, make-up artists, costume designers, film makers and distributors there. You could get an autograph and photo taken with lots of horror celebrities (usually for a price). I was excited to meet Malcolm McDowell who was the villain in Star Trek Generations among other films. I confess, I’m a Star Trek nerd and I would surely fit in better at a Star Trek convention.

Malcolm McDowell
Malcolm McDowell

Some people actually thought that was my real hair!

In addition to actors, there were also tattoo artists, toy and model makers, costume contests, horror industry professionals and vendors, comic book artists & vendors, film screenings, CD and DVD vendors, models and actors in costume, and many other artists and vendors. Aaron came home with lots of new props for his movies and also did some networking with a couple of local film makers.

Aaron, Katie, Eric and Ryan
Aaron, Katie, Eric and Ryan

Aaron, Katie and Ryan are big fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Here is Aaron as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Ryan is Brad. Eric is wearing his prisoner Halloween costume. Hey, must always keep a sense of humor!

Katie was thrilled to meet Jason Mewes.

The highlight for Ryan was meeting Adrienne King from the original Friday the 13th.

Eric grabbed Gunnar Hansen around the collar and wouldn’t let go! He was very nice about it, except to say, “You’ll be next!” Gunnar Hansen played Leatherface in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. LOL!

More Photo at Flickr.

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R.I.P. Ted

The last time I say Ted Kennedy was at a rally for Deval Patrick when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts in October of 2006. Here is a photo I took of Kennedy speaking at the DCU Center in Worcester. Behind him is Tim Murray, Patrick’s running mate and current Lieutenant Governor of Massachussetts, President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern.

“For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.” –Edward M. Kennedy

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Ted Kennedy dies at 77

The Kennedy’s, arguably the most prominent family in American politics and government, suffered another sad loss with the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Ted, was the patriarch and cornerstone of the Kennedy legacy. He held the family together through so much personal tragedy, sometimes called the “Kennedy Curse”. So much tragedy for one family to bear, but through it all, Ted continue to be a champion for Democrats and also earned the respect of Republicans.

Ted has left very big shoes to fill here in Massachusetts and will be missed in the Bay state, as well as the U.S. Senate.

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