Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maine Minutiae: Part Time Mainer Travolta Is a Goofball

Nice People, But Dumbasses.***
I come praise John Travolta, not bury him. By all accounts, John Travolta is a nice man and his wife, Kelly Preston is an equally nice lady. However, being a nice person does not preclude one from being a goofball. And the Travoltas are goofballs of the first order. They are Scientologists. Enough said. I am not here to blast Scientology, but I must tell you that I think it's a bunch of crap. A big steaming pile of crap. I felt it necessary to make that disclaimer, so you understand where I am on Scientology. In a minute you'll see why.

The Travoltas, who are part time residents of Maine, are expecting a new baby and I am very happy for them. There's nothing quite as exciting and to me, as holy as the birth of a child. I have witnessed the birth of two of my kids, Trey (31) and Bailey (3). To see such a miracle as child birth first hand is a humbling and profound experience. Truly a gift from God. I think it's safe to assume that the Travoltas feel the same way about their new baby, Benjamin. Considering the tragic death of one of their other children not so long ago, Benjamin will certainly be a special arrival for John and Kelly.

Here's the goofball part of this story. Baby Benjamin is coming into this world in vacuum of silence. Say what? The newest Travolta will enter this world with nary a sound around him. No shouts of joy. No sounds of happiness and not an "I love you" to be heard. Why? The Travoltas are following Church of Scientology doctrine by having a "silent birth". A family friend says, "The couple will follow the church's guidelines during delivery," a family insider tells me. "No music, no talking and no screaming will be allowed during the pains of labor. Also their new son cannot be prodded for medical tests or spoken to for the first seven days of his life. You don't want to do anything that will haunt them for the rest of their lives." Yep. I can see how all that love and attention a newborn might get from adoring parents, grand parents and siblings could haunt him for the rest of his life. And it would be horrific to run some medical tests that could predict or detect a health problem and the treatment of said problem that could save the baby's life...I mean haunt him for the rest of his life.

I guess I have been celebrating the birth of babies in my family for over fifty years. Had I only known of the Scientology "silent birth" before today, I could have been spared the joy of a newborn crying for its supper. And those pesky 3AM feedings would be a burden, not something to look forward to. I'd hate like hell to bond with my baby in the middle of the night because it might "haunt him for the rest of his life". Seven days of "No music, no talking and no screaming will be allowed during the pains of labor. Also their new son cannot be prodded for medical tests or spoken to for the first seven days of his life. You don't want to do anything that will haunt them for the rest of their lives." I am glad the Church of Scientology straightened me out on how to act at the birth of a child. Without them I might have had, you know, fun, welcoming my son into this world. God bless you, Church of Scientology. Dumbasses.

***Photo from popeater.com***

Texas Tidbits: Central Texas and Glass Bottom Boats

Glass Bottom Boat for Shark-hunting and Spongebob Spotting
I don't know how I could have been writing on this blog for five months now, (five months?...wow!) and not mention once one of my fondest child hood memories. It involved traveling south on I-35 to Austin, San Antonio and San Marcos. I can't recall what we did in Austin, but I think we went to the Capitol Building, which was real cool for a kid my age. I was maybe 6 or 7 at the time. In San Antonio, we of course, went to the Alamo. I still remember being that most sacred of Texas monuments and replaying the Battle of the Alamo, probably recalled from the John Wayne movie about the battle. In my little boy mind, I was Davy Crockett, fighting off the attacking Mexican soldiers with Old Betsy, my trusted long rifle. Bang! I shot one of the bad guys. Smack! A rifle butt to the chops! Davy (me) saves the day! Then reality sets in when my Dad calls me over to look at another exhibit in the mission. From the Alamo went up to San Marcos to visit something called "Aquarena Springs". I wasn't very enthused by having leave the Alamo before Davy Crockett (me) could save the day, but this was my fate. Aquarena Springs it was. I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that the boat we were getting ready to board, had a glass bottom! From Davy Crockett, I was now a miniature Jacque Cousteau, exploring the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River. Through that galass bottom I could see all manner of fish, soft shell turtles, giant squid and man-eating sharks! I made up the part about sharks and giant squid, but a kid can pretend, can't he? That glass bottom boat was one of the best things I have ever seen in my life! I almost forgot about the diving pig! They put a pig on a diving platform way up in the air and a pig actually dived off of it! Way frakkin' cool. Here it is, almost fifty years later, and I remember that boat ride like it was yesterday, giant squid, sharks and all.  :) My family and I are tryin' like hell to get a trip to Texas to fit into our summer plans next year. Maybe my two little girls will see the magic in that glass bottom boat that I saw on that summer day so long ago. I get this sneaky feeling that Bailey the 3 year old will say something like, "Daddy, I just saw SpongeBob!" And that will probably be her memory of the glass bottom boat fifty years from now. I know I'll believe it. After all, I saw that giant squid and those man-eating sharks.

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