Saturday, August 30, 2008

SBC Ethics Committee President, Richard Land, Endorses Palin

Now this is funny. If it weren't so sad, it would be hilarious.

Richard Land is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Notice that again --- Ethics.

Here's what the Good Ol' Boy said about Palin:

"Governor Palin is a vice-presidential selection which shows that John McCain at the age of 72 today is still able to think outside the box. Governor Palin will delight the Republican base. She is pro-life. It appears that Senator Obama played it safe in picking Senator Biden and Senator McCain made the bold and unconventional choice in picking Governor Palin."

Now that's funny, right there. According to Richard Land, Palin is qualified to serve as the leader of the Free World & have command of forces that could destroy our entire planet with a nuclear arsenal at a moment's notice.

But this is the same guy that says no woman is qualified to serve in any pastoral capacity of any church no matter how small.

Just a wee bit inconsistent, wouldn't you say?

In Land's position, women shouldn't serve in any capacity of leadership. Since the text doesn't make the distinction about where women are allowed or excluded, is his position consistent?

I'm calling for a review of Land's posing a literal interpretation of the passages dealing with women in the ministry, =NOT= about women in a political office. In light of today's culture & acceptance of women in our cultural roles, how should we then interpret those passages in light of =their= culture where women were not allowed =any= positions of authority, religious or otherwise?

So let's be clear: the point is about women in =ministry= & NOTHING about his endorsement of a woman for VP. But in light of that, is our interpretation of the text in need of review?

Oh, & Mr. Land: I don't like you using your religious position as the SBC Ethics leader to endorse political candidates, but that is another topic.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Girl Kicker Kicked Off Football Team

High school freshman. Was public middle school kicker last year. Moved to new home. Private Christian school but no athletic program. So she joins a private football league for private schools & home schoolers.

Kid works out with the team. Everyone is happy.

Except the league's executive director.

There are no league rules that bars girls from the participating, but this "director" has decided there won't be a girl on any football team.

Mom wanted her in a Christian school, but I guess the league's director has a version of the Bible that says something like:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, thou shalt not play both male & female on the football field. Thou shalt not even have females on the sidelines in thy manly sport but thou shalt only allow the females to be thy cheerleaders. It is an abomination to thy sensibilities to have thy daughters playing the sport of football.
--- II Opinions 4:7-8

Give me a break.

AJC article.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ABC News Reporter Arrested at DNC in Denver

The video clip shows the reporter on the sidewalk, on a cell phone, when the cop tells him to move. The reporter & his attorneys claim he had a right to be there, on a public sidewalk, doing his job as a reporter.

Watch the video & you decide.

Here's the ABC News article excerpt:

"He and his news crew were standing on public sidewalks covering an event of public significance and performing a press function protected by the First Amendment," said a statement issued today by Eslocker's attorneys, Daniel Recht and Steven Zansberg. ... Video of the arrest shows a cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker's neck, then twisting his arm behind him to put on handcuffs.

"Frankly, we are outraged at the conduct of the individual officers. Their interactions with Mr. Eslocker are captured on tape. ... Denver police Lt. Ron Saunier told the Associated Press that "the Denver Police Department is committed to looking into each and every allegation of unnecessary force," Saunier said.

Saunier said authorities have tried to accommodate the news media this week. "One instance with the media shouldn't paint the entire event," he said. "

Here is the ACLU press release.

Here is the full statement by the reporter's attorneys.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Testing the Big Bang or Bust

Here is an interesting article that says the European Organisation for Nuclear Research has begun the process of actually testing the Big Bang Theory, the physical process that began the Universe 15 billion years ago. The tests will be conducted underground just as the preliminary tests have been done.

The article says:

The final tests involved pumping a single bunch of energy particles from the project's accelerator into the 27-km (17-mile) beam pipe of the
collider and steering them counter- clockwise around it for about 3 kms (2 miles). ... The LHC team now plans to send a full particle beam all the way around the collider pipe in one direction on September 10 as a prelude to sending beams in both directions and smashing them together later in the year.

Without understanding a single word of any of it, I do take it to mean that it is something highly technical & it is a good thing to be done under ground. That much I can figure out. It's big & potentially very bad.

Then the article says this:

The elusive particle, which has been dubbed the "Higgs boson" after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs who first postulated nearly 50 years ago that it must exist, is thought to be the mysterious factor that holds matter together. ... Higgs, a 79-year-old Edinburgh University professor who as an atheist angrily rejects the idea of calling the boson the "God particle" -- believes it will show up very quickly once the beams are colliding in the LHC.

Interesting. Surely
Higgs knows that you can't test for God. God is too big to be proven or even disproved by any test or experiment. Faith is not a matter for science any more than science is a faith matter. Science discusses the How. Faith discusses the Who & the Why. Let's leave the two fields in their rightful place.

Church - Politics Quiz

There is a Church - Politics Quiz from Christianity Today Leadership Journal. that looks interesting. Take the quiz & then plot where you stand.

Go to this link for the background info & click on Take the Church & Politics Quiz in the middle of the page. Then click on Take the Assessment on the page that comes up. Be careful: the click here links are hard to see.

I scored ...

Part 1 = 23 = Church ought to be politically disengaged.
Part 2 = 26 = Church should take a prophetic posture toward gov't.

That puts me square in the middle of the Quite Critic quadrant ...
Quiet Critics steer away from a direct role for the church in politics, instead emphasizing the church's purity by maintaining a separation from the state. From this perspective, the church best shares the gospel by being an alternative community that models Christian love.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm Alive

Last weekend I had to head down to a soccer tourney =early= Sunday AM. So while I'm half asleep -- only had one Mtn Dew at that point --- what do I hear my 16 year old daughter singing? Hmmm?

Well, she is singing I'm Alive by The Hooters. Here I am driving down the road at 8 o'clock in the blessed AM on a Sunday morning & she is singing I'm Alive.

Then it hits me --- that is a great song. I like it. I really like it. It speaks. It speaks loud & proud. No matter what, I'm Alive & He's the Rock in my Roll.

Dang. Not bad.

And when she's singing it --- just out of the blue --- I join in & at 8:05 AM we were starting the day off right. Smiling. Laughing. And singing.

A song that transcends generations & speaks Truth. Wow. Music is a truly powerful medium. Great band.

I hope my church's band can jump on this one some Sunday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Couple of Goofies

The more I know about people, the more I'm convinced people do goofy things & are often incapable of knowing to do any different. But if you really wanna see something messed up, just let gov't get involved.

Here are two examples I saw today:

Example #1 --- The Wheel is Spinning but the Hamster is Dead

Woman age 35, is married to a guy, age 25. They have an apartment.

By some really weird twist of reality, the woman's 21 year old boyfriend also lives in the =same= apartment.

Wife & hubby are in the bedroom --- you know.

Boyfriend is in living room. Evidently the jealousy center of his brain flipped on & he decides to go into the bedroom to beat the Hades out of husband.

Husband & boyfriend get into a fight. One smashes the other in the face with a vase & the other decides a knife is needed.

Police arrived just in time to keep the bloodshed at a minimum, but both did require hospital treatment & a trip to the jail house.

The reporter contacted the woman & she says neither of the suitors now live at the apartment & she is not all that concerned about any of it.

AJC article.

Example #2 --- The Button Works, but the Doorbell Ain't Ringing

A 12 year old girl in MO has been suspended for having pink hair. Is pink hair enough of a distraction that she should be suspended?

She was told. She did it anyway.

It is the policy she is challenging.

What if MLK or Ghandi had just went along with the status quo because "that's just the way it is."

Not being flippant.

If it is a distraction, I agree. 2 foot hair spikes would be a distraction. Pink har? Not so much.

Sometimes things have to be challenged because they are wrong & won't get changed unless they are challenged.

I think the clothes the kids wear are more of a distraction than hair color. Check that: I'd say it is the
lack of clothes that are more of a distraction. Uniforms would make sense.

Remember the movie Footloose? No dancing. That's the rule.

News article.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clothing Wars

It finally happened. This is a sad, sad day indeed.

There is something about women deep within their genetic structure that not only makes them very social creatures, but also very controlling creatures. Granted, the poets of all ages have noted this peculiar trait of the fairer sex, but when it hits home to the married male --- and he has to admit his weakness by giving in --- it is truly an humbling experience.

My wife has been overwhelmingly blessed with the genes that want to throw out immediately any piece of clothing that has the faintest flaw. A thread loop has arisen by a 1000th of a millimeter --- trash it. A perfectly good pair of tennis shoes is deemed to be a forsaken potsherd simply because there may be a small tear in the sole. What any male would consider a great pair of "grass cutting shoes" is dowsed with Lysol and unceremoniously taken to the curb.

Over the years I have noticed my bride also has another gene --- the Used T Resentment Gene --- that takes particular umbrage against the favorite T shirts so dear to me. Yes, the Doobie Brothers, Adidas, Atlanta Rhythm Section, WSB Radio, Champagne Jam, and even some old Braves T's, none of which have escaped her wrath. She seems to especially despise my old Shorter College T shirts, but I think that has more to do with the pictures of the coeds in the fraternity scrapbook who . . .well, er, uh, never mind.

These shirts may be a bit stained. Sure they are faded. Granted, they probably wouldn't survive the screening at the local Good Will either, but these are my shirts. They have meaning to me. They wear around the house just fine, yellow underarm stains and all. Moreover, those tears in the sleeves are my personal badges of honor, as I battled the evil hordes of shrubbery that had to be attacked with the pruning shearers. The blood stains from the soccer games when I was in college are considered Bronze Stars in my mind. And some of that blood is not mine either, but my kids' from their scrapes and falls and such --- progeny from my own loins!

Still, hardly a day goes by that the Carbon Based Shell for the X Chromosome doesn't want to toss out T shirts, shoes, caps, underwear, or whatever. And, invariably, I will catch a glimpse of the tattered clothing in the garbage, rescue it, and place it back in my closet for yet future battles with the world and the Woman Genes of Doom.

So, today the last of my college soccer shorts met their final rest. Oh She Who Must Be Obeyed said they were now officially "indecent" and nothing would save them from her wrath this day. Alas, she was right. The hem left about a decade ago. The draw string held out until the new millennium. But when the crotch seam unraveled and the safety pens looked more like painful body piercings, it was time to say farewell.

Today she threw the Last of the Mohican shorts away.

And I want to weep.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Packing Heat in the Pew?

In the 2008 GA General Assembly the er, uh, leaders under the Gold Dome decided that people who have a concealed weapons permit should be able to carry their guns to previously forbidden areas, like restaurants, public & state parks, & while on public transportation.

Then I see yesterday where a school district in TX wants its teachers armed while in the classroom.

While I am reeling in
disbelief, what do I see on my RSS feed from the Atlanta Journal? Now the GA General Assembly has decided that people should be allowed to carry guns into churches. That's right. The place where emotions run the highest, GA lawmakers want guns.

Ever been to a business meeting? Ever witnessed how emotional & contentious people can get when discussing such weighty matters as
the budget, personnel, the color of the carpet, or the office hours the pastor should set? And we want to allow armed people in the church building?

So, for Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica, GA), the King Goof Ball of Guns-A-Blazin', I have a message: just stop it. Will you be there to tell the family of the accidental shooting on the bus that your idea is gonna save lives? And when the bullets start flying in the restaurant, will you be there to tell the bullets to only hit the bad guys?

I swear: the wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead.

Court Says Jury Can't Use a Bible

Khristian Oliver was convicted of murder. During the sentencing phase, several jurors brought Bibles to the jury room.

The question is: did the jury prejudice the sentencing when they read passages like Numbers 35:16 that reads: "But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death"
Oliver's attorney explained: "This poor old farmer, he got shot and when he was lying outside on the ground, he was struck with the barrel of a gun. So he was literally struck with an iron rod. You could say God and Moses anticipated this exact thing if you take a literal view of it. And that's got a lot of potential for mischief." Attorney Sue Korioth, who handled an earlier appeal in the case, said there was no implication that jurors voted based on Scripture. She said: "Several [jurors]... carried Bibles in and out like my daughter carries her 'Seventeen' magazine. It was just their reading material." (Link.)

The Houston Chronicle reports the court decided that the Bible should not have been used, but there was no influence on the jury from the Bible. The court said:

Oliver argues that the jury violated his rights under the Sixth and Eighth Amendments by considering passages from the Bible during the sentencing phase of its deliberations. Although the jury improperly consulted the Bible, the state court found that the Bible did not influence the jury’s decision. As Oliver has not presented clear and convincing evidence to rebut this factual finding, we AFFIRM the district court’s decision to deny the writ.

So a whole bunch of jurors --- in TX, mind you --- just happened to be carrying around their Bibles for light reading when sitting on a jury. Yeah, right. How often do those jury members carry around their Bible the rest of the time, hmmm? Me thinks the court turned a deaf hear to reason on this one. I have no idea about the conviction & must assume the guy is guilty since he has been convicted. However, the sentencing leaves doubt as to whether the guy got a fair decision.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pope Bans "Yahweh" from Catholic Churches

This is remarkable.

Pope Benedict was a known "traditionalist" when he was elected as the Pope. We all knew he was gonna be a bit, er, um,

Now we know he is just to the right of the Spanish Inquisition.

First it was his ban on "modern" music, e.g, anything composed after the
Magna Carta was signed. No more tambourines and banjos during Sunday Mass. That would mean no piano, guitars or drums either. No Contemporary Xian music & definitely no Southern Gospel, though the latter was condemned as "worldly & Devil's Music" back 120 years ago when it first grabbed hold here in the South, though it never was accepted elsewhere. Still, I'm sure there were a few pieces written in the 18th century the Pope kinda likes; bet he doesn't want anyone to know that he taps his foot with those Baroque hits from the likes of Jacopo Peri & Domenico Scarlatti.

Now, he has decided that saying God's "name" during the mass is a no-no. That's right: saying the name is too, well, uh,

According to the article from Religious News Service:

Catholics at worship should neither sing nor pronounce the name of God as "Yahweh," the Vatican has said, citing the authority of both Jewish and Christian practice.

The instruction came in a June 29 letter to Catholic bishops conferences around the world from the Vatican's top liturgical body, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, by an explicit "directive" of Pope Benedict XVI.

"In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel's proper name," the letter noted, referring to the four-consonant Hebrew "
Tetragrammaton," YHWH.

That name is commonly pronounced as "Yahweh," though other versions include "
Jaweh" and "Yehovah." But such pronunciation violates long-standing Jewish tradition, the Vatican reminded bishops.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, (the name) was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: `
Adonai,' which means `Lord,"' the Congregation said.

There you have it, folks. The Pope has decided that just like Israel of 4000 years ago, the possibility of saying God's name in a flippant manner means we should ban even the pronouncement of the name. Never mind the a lifestyle that mocks the Name. Never mind an internal attitude that denies the Name. Never mind the callous actions that bring reproach on the Name. Forget all that. Just don't
say the Name & you won't have to worry about violating the 3rd Commandment.

Yesiree. It is all about external facade. Returning to the legalism is sure gonna make better disciples.

Monday, August 11, 2008

4th Circuit Ruling on City Council Prayer

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling in Turner v. City Council of Fredericksburg, that should put all gov't entities on notice: sectarian prayer is not going to be tolerated.

The issue came up when a Baptist minister, Hashmel Turner, was elected to the Fredericksburg City Council. The Council's policy is to alternate amongst the council members the duty of the invocation, an invocation that the council required to be non-sectarian.

The Good Minister decided he wanted to pray in Jesus' Name when it came his turn & he decided to sue when told that was a violation of the policy, claiming the policy violated his free speech rights.

The court agreed with the City of Fredricksburg, claiming the policy requiring non-sectarian prayer violated neither the Establishment Clause nor the
Council member/minister' free exercise.

The court concluded:

Turner was not forced to offer a prayer that violated his deeply-held religious beliefs. Instead, he was given the chance to pray on behalf of the government. Turner was unwilling to do so in the manner that the government had proscribed, but remains free to pray on his own behalf, in nongovernmental endeavors, in the manner dictated by his conscience. His First Amendment and Free Exercise rights have not been violated.

John Stevens, a former Chaplain for Congress, has an interesting take on this, saying that our gov't officials are nothing more than the Pharisees Jesus warned us about when he said they love to pray for show. What does that make the constituents who clamor for gov't to do the praying the represented population?

I view prayers and invocations at governmental meetings, particularly before the public, as hypocritical. It is professed Christians who claim to be followers of Jesus and therefore they must show their loyalty to their Saviour by praying in public.

In reality, if the council sought the guidance of God in their decisions why not have a private meeting before assembling before the public and pray, as it were “in secret,” like their Example exhorted His followers. Politicians today are the modern Pharisees and priests who are clamoring for recognition and many of them hiding behind a hypocritical facade. . .

If I had my way I would divorce prayers and religious exercises from governmental functions altogether.

One day I served as chaplain in the US House when Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House. Most of the Members were not even seated, they were talking and it was a farce. I decided then and there it was a formality and probablydidn ’t do any one any good and perhaps even did them some harm in that the lack of reverence for God probably carried over to disrespect for the people to put them there.

Alas. This is one nation under god. I believe that. Almost every thing tells us that. However, it is god spelled with the lower case in my humble experienced opinion. Both Jesus and Paul call him the god of this world. Those who serve him cannot get too much attention and those who do not, care not for that kind of attention.

This is another Godslinger problem. It has to do with the Bible, alright, but it has to do with Jesus talking about
prayer for show. Don't they pray at home? Why use gov't time --- public gov't time --- to pray?

Gov't needs to shut the closet door & keep prayer a matter for the faith groups. We elect civil leaders to handle civil matters. The Good Minister would do well to remember his role as a disciplemaker has to do with his church members, not the taxpayers.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Little Girl with a God-Sized Idea

The title is not original with me but I'm gonna use it anyway. I'm just so impressed with what happened at West Ridge Church in Dallas, GA, that I just had to share it.

West Ridge is a church not afraid to take chances & not afraid to dream big. I like it there. The people & staff are, in an overused by very true word,

So when a 9 year old girl named Waverly Gilcrease came up with the idea to make sure every needy kid had a book bag, guess who took the reigns & made sure it happened? 30 volunteers. Several hundred families from three different counties. And 917 book bags.

What an incredible ministry.

God works in the smallest of packages too.

Brian Bloye is the pastor & here is his blog. Great guy. Love him. He is for real. And in a world that seems to almost beg for authenticity, we need more guys like Brian. And we really need more churches like West Ridge.

Univ of CA May Refuse Some Christian School Courses

A district court in CA has agreed with the University of CA that some courses taught in Christian schools may not be recognized as valid. The court also agreed that the University was not discriminating against students coming from Christian schools since the University was not acting with particular animosity, & the University had a rational basis for not accepting the coursework.

Specifically, the court ruled that literature, history, government and world religions courses offered by Calvary Chapel Christian School & one Biology course offered by another school, did not have to be accepted as legitimate high school coursework. This would, obviously, be precedence to examine the quality of similar courses at similar schools.

The attorney for the Christian schools, Robert Tyler, reportedly said in an interview with The Californian: We're worried in the long term, Christian education is going to be continually watered down in order to satisfy the UC school system.

Well, duh, Mr. Tyler! Just because it has the label "Christian" on it doesn't mean it should be given a pass when it comes to quality. Faith & facts are two different things. All people of faith are allowed their own view of "why" things are as they are, but no one is allowed to produce their own set of facts to qualify their position.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New EEOC Guidelines for Religious Discrimination Complaints

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just released its new guidelines on religious discrimination in the work place. It is long. There is a LOT of material there. Though I've scanned it, I have not completed it yet. So far, it seems fairly straightforward & simply repeats what we've come to understand as reasonable accommodations under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Here's the link. Bookmark it for future reference.

As I glanced over it, I was struck by the complexity needed to explain the guidelines. It is amazing how detailed the examples have to be & the letter of law dictates in order to protect religious liberty.

It should be all so simple:
Treat others the way you would want to be treated & just be fair. Really. That's the jest of the whole thing.

It took all those words & countless man hours to compile something that should be so simple.

But application of even simple laws in a Fallen World is not so simple.

What makes me appreciate the complexity of the EEOC guidelines is the knowledge that once it was my spiritual ancestors who were on the receiving end of the discrimination. Baptists were
THE original Rebel Rousers on the whole separation of church & state thing. The very idea that the state has no place in the spiritual matters of one's conscience was one of the defining doctrines of Baptistic thought. We've held that doctrine for 400 years.

However, I do feel the doctrine is falling on deaf years; not because it is we don't hear it, but because we no longer understand it since we no longer lived it. Discrimination always seems to be what is done
to you & never what you do towards another.

Protecting all Americans from religious discrimination is a noble task. Here's hoping the new guidelines will keep religious in the work place for a long, long time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Farrakhan Thinks We Need "God" Back in Our Schools

He said it. Here's the link.

Farrakhan said that we have taken the separation of church & state too far by taking God out of our schools.

So I wonder: exactly what would it look like if we had Farrakhan's version of religion in our schools? Of course, he is saying the same thing the Dominionists, e.g., Godslingers, are saying. No difference. Same coercion. Just a different religion.

If one group can implement their "religiously informed values" onto the rest of the society by gov't edict, so can the next group --- & we may not like what the cat drags up next time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back from Vancouver, BC

Great trip. Had a blast.

Vancouver is gorgeous. Trees bigger & older than I've ever seen in my life. Mountains. Ocean. Streams. Wildlife. If you've got an ounce of Tree Hugger in you, this place is the Third Heaven.

Let's start with Stanley Park. It is 6 miles around the park with trees older than Shakespeare, so large around that they couldn't fit in my living room, & unbelievably tall. There is a garden there that employees 10 full time gardeners with another 30 seasonal staff. I've never seen roses that big. The rose garden was started as a service project by the Kiwanis Club in 1920 & has become a tourist attraction to rival any I've ever seen. Of course, there are bike paths & hiking trails all through the park & a bike path on the roadway around the park.

Naturally I did take in a soccer game. The Whitecaps took down the Carolina Rail Hawks 1-nil in an ugly game but the MLS expansion hopeful crowd knows how to have some fun. There was an ABBA impersonation group playing before the game & at halftime. I guess Elvis never made it to Vancouver.

Yes, I did have to work a bit. Had a delightful afternoon with one professor from a Wesleyan college in the North East, & several dinners with some folks who teach/have taught English as a second language to the Chinese.

For the most part, Canadians are very friendly. They are environmentally conscience & love their coffee. There is a coffee shop on every corner, sometimes 2 or 3. The food is good & I got a few ideas to try. You can imagine that fish is a mainstay for dinner menus but I betcha never would have imagined that soup & sandwich is the lunch meal of choice. Every place had a dozen or so sandwich choices & a handful of soup options, with a few other meals thrown in to fill up the menu page.

Weather defines a location & that is never more true than in Vancouver. Contrary to most Southerners perception, it is not that cold, even in winter, though Czaress TBAR would disagree. We were told the summers range from 55 - 83 or so. But you can bet that cool breeze reminded me of a GA seasonal change to Fall: it had a bite to it. Overcast & cool & everyone was wearing sweatshirts/jackets & then the sun is out & it is 80 degrees. An hour later it is back to being cool again. Felt great. Czaress TBAR is glad she brought a jacket. T-shirt & shorts were fine for me, except when we went up on Grouse Mountain. In 10 minutes the temp dropped 40 degrees atop the mountain. The grizzlies & wolfs loved it I'm sure (pics on those to come). They told us the winter rarely gets below freezing & only a couple of inches of snow each year as the ocean keeps the temps moderate. Of course, they didn't mention the wind so based on what I felt in the summer, I'm betting the winter wind is like a knife.

Saw two eagles & one eagle nest, the latter of which is amazingly large.

The most fun I had was driving up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway. The 2010 Winter Olympics will be in Vancouver so there is a lot of road construction turning the 2 lane road into something more palatable for the gas guzzling folks. We went up late Monday in hopes the Pemberton Music Festival crowd of 40,000 people would all be cleared off the highway & over their hangovers by 3PM. And I guessed wrong on both accounts. It only took 2 hours up to Whistler but it took almost 5 hours to get back to Vancouver. Oh, & thank goodness I decided to drive up on Monday since there was a rock slide on Wednesday whereby a side of a mountain crashed down over the road, narrowly escaped by a tour bus. The news paper said the rocks were a big as houses & will take 5 days to clear.

It is certainly more expensive there than I was expecting. Breakfast for two was a minimum of $20 for just muffins & juice. Lunch broke a $50 easy. Dinner was $100 depending on what you got with it, though it was cheaper outside the city proper. I will admit that I had a Bison burger that was the single best burger I've ever had in my life, though I'm not sure it was worth $15 --- & that did not count the fries & drink.

The whole place is ecologically friendly. There are recycle bins everywhere. Bike paths galore. Good public transportation. There was a special on the TV & some residents claimed to ride their bikes 50 miles a day to & fro work. A day. A DAY. As in 24 hours. No trash on the sidewalks or parks. There just wasn't any. I'm sure they had lots of maintenance folks but I never saw them. No one trashed the place. Any place. They just didn't.

I think much of the "no littering" is because of the population itself. See, you don't rent an apartment in Vancouver. There are no rentals. You buy into a Co-op. You sign the agreements & become a shareholder. That means 35% down to live in the city & the average 1 bedroom is $500,000. The shareholder agreement lays out upkeep, conduct, etc., while also stipulating no kids. That's right: no kids. You get prego & you have to moveo. The other shareholders can effectively force you to sell out so there is no option on this one. But the areas outside Vancouver are really nice & accommodating to kids; expensive, but accommodating.

My biggest complaint is that the parking spaces are about a foot more narrow than what I'm used to but the locals had, mostly, very small cars so it didn't bother them. Then again, with gas there equal to about $6 a gallon, no wonder they drive small cars --- or ride bikes &/or walk.

Yeah, I wanna go back. If heaven ever existed on earth, the doorway was in Vancouver.