Showing posts from September, 2009


Not Far From the Kingdom

“Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell… give… and follow me.”

Mark 10:21

Jesus loves every one, but there was something in this young man that specially drew out His affection. He saw in him many amiable qualities, many elements of beauty of character, many things that by divine grace could be made into great loveliness and power. There are many thoughts suggested by this statement. Here are a few of them: — Christ loves those who are not His disciples; some people think He loves only those who have begun to love Him. Christ is deeply interested in every young man; He beholds the possibilities in every young life. He sees lovable things even in the unsaved; but amiable qualities are not enough to save one.

Our Lord’s answer to the young man’s question is very instructive. What is the one thing which, besides all we can do for ourselves by obedience and cultivation of character, makes one a Christian? It is impo…

This Blogger Loves Grisham

Did it! Finished the recent Grisham novel just before I finished a week's holidays. Back to his excellent multi-layered law office art in "The Associate". This time taking on a top level Yale Law graduate and editor of the Law Journal hired by the biggest firm in the Big Apple.

But Kyle the protagonist did not show up there by choice. A mysterious cloak and dagger meeting with an extorter named "Bennie" brought up a cell-phone video from a drunken fraternity bash five years or so back, confirming the double-rape of a co-ed by two of Kyle's buddies, in the presence of a drunken Kyle and others. The incident led to formal complaint, police investigation, but no fixed charges because of the questionable track record of Elaine, the girl with the snap-button pants.

Kyle is about to complete his final year at Yale and one of his prospects is the targeted New York mega-firm. This Kyle's father, a small-town Pennsylvania general practitioner cannot understand. Bu…

Beaver Valley Wanderings

On Friday Hilary and I drove up to Beaver Valley. North-east of Markdale, home of the Chapman ice-cream people. Due south from Thornbury. Quaint little harbour town on Georgian Bay complete with Fish-ladder project to help migrating Chinook salmon and rainbow trout. Centred on Kimberley, skiers' holiday spot beside the Talisman resort.

I remember years ago taking the family in our old and lumbering Pontiac to Kimberley. Seeing the shockingly vertical service road beside Talisman. Hearing Hilary say, "Let's drive up there and get a good view of the valley from the top".
Poor old Pontiac almost didn't make it in whatever gear. Once begun, we couldn't stop, couldn't turn around. At the overlook, after fresh water for the radiator, we had a spectacular view. Thereafter on this high westerly side we drove past cattle pastures and beautiful chalets to Markdale.

On Friday we had some doubts about weather, but skies cleared as we headed north through Fergus, home of…

King of Hot Peppers

Bob came to our factory from a placement agency. A couple of years my junior. An interesting and diverse work background. Experiencing a gap in placements. Carpenter. Curling club ice-maker. Ski-club snow-maker. Professional photographer. Shift foreman at heat-treating plant. Outdoors man. Vegetable gardener. Wood carver.

Apparently a good position in industry had gone south because a second generation in management remembered earlier testy days with Bob. All of his good work was forgotten and he was made to be replaceable. A bitter man? Perhaps. Seriously ill father (a long-time city bus driver). Indomitable mother (the region's matriarch in Boy Scouts-Cubs for years and a line-dance teacher). Runaway sister. Irish and German. Unmarried. Childless. Selling part-time photo and dark-room efforts to calendar companies and stripper club promoters and dancers.

Working alongside me in shipping at a steel fabricating shop, he released to me details only slowly. I began to see his vast res…

A Nasty on the Narcissist

I want to be straight with visitors to this blog. Numbers are clicking in. Few are commenting. It is a creative release for an aging man. It is a record for friends and family. It is a communication of faith and hope. It is a celebration of verse. It is a recollection of acquaintances of helpful influence. It is a wandering together on the sea shore, picking up and examining beautiful shells of God's creation.

But this Christ follower has made mistakes. The one which I wish to share concerns my family. All loving, fun, generous and supportive.

Back in 1987 Hilary and I were living in Chatham, observing a law practice going down the tubes, conducting a home school for seven year old Lauren, preparing to abandon our little rented house on Queen Street, changing diapers for a new baby boy, feeling misunderstood by family in our religious experience, feeling set aside in the community where talk traveled fast.

There had been arguments with both sets of parents about our religious "f…

MacLeod's Scottish Shop

This has been a holiday week for Hilary and me. Simple day trips. Time together. Toronto Museum. Wedding anniversary. Novel reading. A funeral. A visit to an allergist. Matinee movie (Chick-flick special afternoon for a bunch of young mothers and their babies. Hilary spent more time grinning over the babies.) A drive up to Beaver Valley, ski hills, early autumn colour and waterfalls. A visit to main street Stratford and the Festival Theatre park by the lake.(See the blog post entitled "Ships of State")

This time we had a really good look at the Scottish gift shop. Delightful. Tartans everywhere. Ties. Coats of Arms. Geneologies. Gift picture books. Scottish cook books. Jams and preserves. Shortbreads. Music C.D's with tenors, the pipes, country fiddles, accordians. Books of Robbie Burns' poetry. Histories of Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Some very classic kitchen ware. Beautiful art prints. Some very stylish fashions. Jokes, stickers, and posters a…

Numbers Dave

Close to 100 people attended his funeral at First Baptist Church in Waterloo. He had had about ten months of really critical condition with cancer in the intestine. His foster parents Jim and Ruth Ann Reist thought that they were going to lose him last November and here it is September of the year following. He was only thirty-five.

My family had lived in his neighbourhood for eleven years and we had struck up an acquaintance with Dave Faulkner walking , on the bus, at the corner store, at the malls, at the Dairy Queen. He was quick to engage in conversation, monotone voice, slightly blunted affect, socially awkward, child-like in ways. But sincere, without guile, giving honest friendship, loyal to his Christian upbringing and Church family.

Occasionally I would hear of a part-time job, perhaps a girlfriend, numerous foster-care siblings, a Jewish mother and sisters somewhere in the U.S., numerous R.V. trips to warm, exotic places. Dave had an uncanny aptitude with arithmetic and memory…


To the investigative journalist W5 will provide all the answers to his search. Who? What? When? Where? Why?

To the Christian W5 will bring life and its story, and that more abundantly.

WORD - It is the Word of Life which impregnates the inner man with the hope and nature of Jesus. We are begotten by the Word of God and particularly the Gospels. No other testimony, argument or example of behaviour will suffice. It is a fine surgeon penetrating the superfluity of flesh to the very cancer of sin and deftly excising it. A mess is cleaned. New blood is introduced.

WAITING - Not all of God's blessings are immediate. He reveals Himself and His purposes to the persistent waiter. I am reminded of Jacob wrestling overnight with the Angel. "I will not let you go except you bless me." In the painful interval of suspense, the eager soul is exercised with the repeated confession, "He must be good. He must be good. This delay must work out for the best. There is a bigger picture.&quo…

Nature Tales for Youth

"When the shadows grew long and luminous, toward evening, the ram, following some unexplained instinct, again mounted the topmost point of Ringwaak, and stood like a statue gazing over the vast, warm-coloured solitude of his new domain. His yellow eyes were placid with a great content. A little below him, the white lamb wobbling on weak legs at her side, the ewe pastured confidently, secure in the proved prowess of her protector. As the sun dropped below the far-off western rim of the forest, it seemed as if one wide wave of lucent rose-violet on a sudden flooded the world. Everything on Ringwaak--the ram's white fleece, the gray, bleached stumps, the brown hillocks, the green hollows and juniper clumps and poplar saplings--took on a palpitating aerial stain. Here and there in the distance the coils of the river gleamed clear gold; and overhead, in the hollow amber-and-lilac arch of sky, the high-wandering night-hawks swooped with the sweet twang of smitten strings.

Down at th…

Nature Man of New Brunswick

The Potato Harvest

A high bare field, brown from the plough, and borne
Aslant from sunset; amber wastes of sky
Washing the ridge; a clamour of crows that fly
In from the wide flats where the spent tides mourn
To yon their rocking roosts in pines wind-torn;
A line of grey snake-fence, that zigzags by
A pond and cattle; from the homestead nigh
The long deep summonings of the supper horn.

Black on the ridge, against that lonely flush,
A cart, and stoop-necked oxen; ranged beside
Some barrels; and the day-worn harvest-folk,
Here emptying their baskets, jar the hush
With hollow thunders. Down the dusk hillside
Lumbers the wain; and day fades out like smoke.

Charles G. D. Roberts (1860-1943)

(Painting by Camille Pissarro)

Explosions of Orange

Now is just about the time. Monarch butterflies by the hundreds of thousands will be arriving at Point Pelee near Leamington Ontario. Trees and structures will be covered in orange.

For the last two or three weeks it has been easy to spot isolated specimens with their beautiful patterns of orange and black doing a sort of procrastinator's dance throughout Southern Ontario. Lazy, unhurried, wandering circles, as the autumn sun brings on the richer hues and the cooler nights.

The Park at Point Pelee, the southernmost part of Canada has been an age-old gathering place. If you time it right you will see the immense collections, and then the puff of wind, the unspoken signal and the shocking simultaneous release of the Monarchs to the air, their crossing of Lake Erie without food or rest and their subsequent miraculous excursion to Mexico.

The following spring a trip northward, a depositing of eggs and death.

We love our routines, don't we. To the little child they mean security. To th…

A Single Word from Jesus

I have noticed four occasions where Jesus has spoken a single word. Four words in red in the text. They are filled with significance:

"Go." (Matthew 8:32) The demon possessed man has crouched at the Lord's feet. He is at cross-purposes. Wanting to be free. Feeling the seductive draw of the numerous powerful evil spirits within. Jesus' single word sends the "Legion" into a herd of swine who scramble to their destruction. Jesus shows here His absolute authority over the dark world. Is anyone having difficulty with evil influences? Let him focus on the Lord and avail himself of "the expulsive power of an over-riding affection."

"Come." (Matthew 14:29) Jesus has just miraculously fed the five thousand and He dispatches the disciples by boat to the other side of the Lake. They encounter overwhelming stormy conditions and their master comes to them walking upon the water. Peter blurts out, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the …

Covenanter Prophet-Fugitive

Alexander Peden (1626-86) alone seemed
to bear a charmed life. He is the Prophet of the
Covenant, and, in some respects, its most romantic
figure. Ejected in 1663 from his Galloway parish,
outlawed for his complicity in the Pentland Rising,
imprisoned on tho Bass Rock (1673-7), banished to
Virginia, and conveyed on the outward voyage to
London, where he was for some unknown reason
liberated, he spent his remaining years in Ireland or
Scotland, "going," as he says, "from the one bloody
land to the other bloody land." Dogged by spies, and
hunted by dragoons, he yet died in his bed. A man
of great personal strength and activity, his escapes
were so hairbreadth as to seem miraculous. Peden
himself would have been at no loss for an explanation.
So long as God had work for him, no harm could
befall him. Dogs snuffed at the entrance of the cave
in which he was hiding, and still he was not discovered.
Soldiers stabbed the beds or heaps of unthreshed corn
under which he lay concealed ; yet th…

The Full Israel of God

We have not seen it yet. People in line with the unfailing faith of Abraham gathered with joy in Jerusalem, unharassed, restored in every sense, enjoying the benevolent administration of their eternal King.

The Apostle Paul, a meticulous Jew, spoke in his letter to Galatians of the ultimate fulfilment of God's promise to Father Abraham in "a seed" whom he took to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He confirmed that Christians in the Body of Christ are in that seed. He also rejoiced that his beloved people were coming to the realization that Jesus of Nazareth was and ever shall be Messiah. Hence he saw the Israel of God consisting of people who had come to God through Christ, both Jew and Gentile, one day living in harmonious community.

What a wonderful coup on God's part. Take a crusader for the laws and ways of Moses, a persecutor of the new and bothersome sect of Jesus, breathing out threatenings and slaughter in a round-up of these presumed rebels. Knock him off his horse on…

Love in Shoe Leather

The following comments are from Henry Drummond in his classic "The Greatest Thing in the World" (a sermon of thoughts on 1 Corinthians 13):

As memory scans the past, above and beyond all the transitory pleasures of life, there leap forward those supreme hours when you have been enabled to do unnoticed kindnesses to those round about you, things too trifling to speak about, but which you feel have entered into your eternal life. I have seen almost all the beautiful things God has made; I have enjoyed almost every pleasure that He has planned for man; and yet as I look back I see standing out above all the life that has gone four or five short experiences when the love of God reflected itself in some poor imitation,some small act of love of mine, and these seem to be the things which alone of all one’s life abide. Everything else in all our lives is transitory. Every other good is visionary. But the acts of love which no man knows about, or can ever know about—they never fail.


Thirty-five Years Thankful

Today Hilary and I celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. Have a short holiday from work. Will be dealing with a contractor about a busted hot water heater. Will be celebrating together later in the day. Good wishes from my parents, children, friends. Heads bowed together in thanksgiving, remembering both good and difficult times, and God's sustaining comfort and power throughout.

As per my custom on milestone days in the year, I checked out Mr. Bagster's devotional entry in "Daily Light on the Daily Path". Give it a look:


We know that all things work together for good to them that love God - Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.--Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.

All things are yours; whether . . . the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.--All things are for your sakes, that the abundant…

Miracle: Eleven by Five Inches

It was under the casement glass, eleven by five inches, effectively sewn back together, in one of history's greatest jigsaw puzzle achievements. Psalm 102:

10Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.

11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

12But thou, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

13Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

14For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.

15So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

16When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

18This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.

19For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; fr…

Old Retail Ways

I can still see George standing by the restaurant cash register and looking out his big picture window on Dundas Street. Three piece suit. Gold chain watch. Ever present cigar. Diagonally opposite the old Hotel London. This was his street.

My Dad's sporting goods store was around the corner and he would often cut through the back parking lot and George's rear kitchen to go to the restaurant. Cooks. Waitresses. George's two sons, Gus the number two restauranteur, and Gary the high school teacher. "Nice boys." Mrs. Kerhoulis, short, neat, smartly coiffed and keeping an eye on the table service. Addressing many of the customers on a first name basis.

Often when I was working youth program or the swimming pool at the YMCA I would join Dad there for a lunch or Friday night supper. Meals were prepared to your specifications and the waitresses got to know "the usual" for many of the patrons.

This was retail as it used to be for those like George and my Dad. Big o…

In His Hands

The spiritual says, "He got da Whole Worl' in His hands"
You an' Me Brother...
You an' Me Sister...
Da little bitty baby...
He got da Whole Worl' in His hands.

I am reminded of that passage in James' letter where he chastens his correpondents for being so certain of plans for the morrow. Eugene Peterson's rendering in The Message is interesting:

James 4:

13-15And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."

For a long time the phrase "Lord willing" thrown in at the end of a statement was irritating to me. It sounded insincere, "relig…

My Chest Got Excited

This morning on a re-broadcast of a James Dobson radio program I heard a most interesting testimonial from an upper Amazon tribal chief named "Shoemaker". (Yanomamo tribe.)

This man in a clicking dialect spoke through an American missionary and friend to give an account of his journey to Christ. Presently the majority of his village are Christian. Coming from a culture of violence, drug abuse, tribal raids, brutal sports, feats of endurance, abuse of women and children and overwhelming involvement in witchcraft.

Shoemaker acknowledged that he had studied the arts of the shaman to gain power and advantage in this violent society. A senior shaman encouraged him to become a heavy drug user and to spend hours chanting for the arrival and input of evil spirits. Entire nights were given to this process and he began to have visions which were both seductive and terrifying.

A sick uncle called for his healing power, but he found that the more he chanted the closer the man got to death.…

Decorated Constable

Today driving through the heart of Galt at the Grand River I was reminded of a sad event which occurred there eleven years ago and had a very moving effect upon the entire Region of Waterloo. A young boy had been playing precariously at a water control wall and fell in and was sucked under by the formidable current. In the rescue attempt a diving specialist police constable also lost his life.

Hear the commendation read posthumously in awarding a Governor-General's Medal of Bravery:

Constable David Rodney Nicholson, M.B. (Posthumous), Waterloo, Ont.
Senior Constable Curtis Rutt, M.B., Belwood, Ont.
Constable Robert Sauve, M.B., Kitchener, Ont.
Medal of Bravery

On August 12, 1998, Curtis Rutt and Robert Sauve risked their lives trying to save David Nicholson who had become trapped underwater while attempting to rescue a twelve-year-old boy at the Grand River's Parkhill Dam, in Cambridge, Ontario. Responding to a call, diver Nicholson jumped into the water and was searching among th…

Three Hundred

In the battle of Thermopylae (Hot Gates) in the Second Persian Invasion of Greece (480 BC) three hundred Spartans under King Leonidis distinguished themselves by holding off the massive armies of King Xerxes for two full days while a larger Greek Army of united city states re-grouped for the ultimate rebuff of the enemy. The defensive coup had been made possible by virtue of the extraordinary battle capabilities of the Spartans and the strategic advantage of holding a narrow mountain pass by the sea. Ultimately the three hundred were destroyed.

In the recent film starring Gerard Butler and about a dozen others in the midst of thousands of computer generated images, the Spartans are given almost super-human capabilities. The audience thrill to panoramic views of rugged crashing coast-line, immense armies on the march and skies darkened with storms of arrows.

Today I thought of the spiritual parallels. We wage a war against unbelief, oppression, lust, confusion, self-doubt, deprivation, d…

Huge Lesson from Bethany

(Today's devotional from J. R. Miller)

The Sister’s Message

“His sisters sent unto him, saying, Jesus Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.”

John 11:3

In their trouble the first thought of the sisters was of Jesus, and they sent at once to Him. This lesson we should not overlook. No doubt they sent for the physician; but they sent also for Christ. We should never fail to send word to Christ when anything is wrong in our home. We should want Him always in our sick-rooms when our loved ones are suffering. We must notice also the message which the sisters sent to Christ. It was very short and simple. They did not beg and plead with Him to come, — indeed they made no request whatever; they merely told Jesus that His friend was sick, and left to Himself to decide what He would do. They knew that He would do the right thing from the prompting of His own heart. Notice also the plea. They did not say, “He who loves thee is sick,” but, “He whom Thou lovest is sick.” They made their appea…

Pentecostal Palette

We visited a local Pentecostal church this morning. Wonderful praise. Sense of anticipation of God's presence, input. At one point a message in tongues was given and the interpretation. But strict adherence to the clock, and a sense that the real happenings were all professional, the technical ones at the back and the ministry ones at the front. And this on a Sunday when ministry outreaches and programs for the fall were being introduced and described. The Presbyterian in me looked for a good taste of the Worrrd of God. There was no message or sermon.

As I watched announcements and program logos projected upon the screen, I noted the passivity of it all for the larger number of attendees. The movie theatre sense of it made me disinclined to take action or to engage with the people on either side of Hilary and me.

Now listen to the scriptures describing fellowship in the early Church:

1 Corinthians 14:

26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, ha…


Seems like a good time to repeat an earlier post.

Possessing All Things

It’s a story
That came to me,
Late spring, early one
Thursday evening.
We were walking
The university grounds.
(Still hoofing it
Or busing or taxiing-
No car in the driveway.)
We had been to the
Main Library.
Hilary dabbling in Huguenot history,
Celtic folklore,
Charles G. D. Roberts’
Animal stories for the kids.
I, following the canoe
Of Grey Owl,
Or the letters of
My beloved Rutherford
And Scottish Covenanters.

The evening was
Lazy-warm and the
Leaves on the maple and oak
In full splendour.
The little campus stream
Was trickling toward
The duck pond,
And the two of us
Leaned on the aluminum
Bridge rail,
Arm-in-arm, silent, contented.
Watching Mother Mallard
Convoy her paddling brood of nine
Toward overhanging bushes.
No students passed.

What About Prosperity?

In that wonderful musical film "Fiddler on the Roof", the protagonist, Tevye, milk merchant, husband and father of three daughters is heard to say, "Ah, Lord, I realize that it is no shame to be poor, but it is no great honour either...". He then goes on to sing "If I Were a Rich Man". By this time the audience realize that they are watching one of the movies' all-time greats.

The question of the prosperous life is addressed in Psalm 112. (To the Jew prosperity meant well-being in all areas of life and not just at the bank.):

1Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

2His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

3Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

4Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

5A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he …

The Brazen Serpent

A few posts back I referred to the Old Testament story of the brass image of a snake forged at the direction of Moses. When talking to Nicodemus in John chapter three, Jesus had referred to this incident:

14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus likened himself to this representation of sin, which in some strange fashion rescued the chosen people of God from death. A brass serpent. Not something overlaid with gold as in the case of the holy items in the tabernacle. But something appearing common, even ugly. Something brought through the fire. A rescue not requiring the logical understanding of one's mind; not requiring payment of money or service; simply a look of faith and a tenacious holding on to …


"The Germans were bad, but the Russians were worse. I was at least given a choice. Fight with the Nazis. Prison camp. Work crews. Naturally I chose the last option. Roads. Bridges. Storage buildings. Temporary camps. Our poor Latvia. If we could just wait it out. But then things turned against Adolf, on several fronts. Russians were in the wings, and stories of bloodshed, fire, humiliation. We could see the growing disillusionment in the squareheads. The fleeting looks of fear when they thought no one was looking. So one night after lights out a few of us headed for the trees..."

This was the most I had ever heard Rudy talk. Carpenter and general handyman at the London YMCA. He had come up to join us in summer pre-camp. Beausoleil Island. Georgian Bay. Together four of us had rebuilt the trolley incline from the docks to the Main Lodge and Dining Hall. Basically we carried the materials. Rudy built the track. Firm, resolute use of his hand tools. Big hands that would dwarf mi…

Christ Knows His Own

(Today's devotional from J. R. Miller)

“I… know my sheep.”

John 10:14

The Oriental shepherds had certain marks by which they knew their own sheep. Even in this country the farmers put marks on their sheep, — their own initial, or an “ear-mark,” or some other particular sign by which they will know them anywhere. Christ knows His people by certain distinguishing marks.

He knows them by their faces. There is something in every true child of God which shows where he belongs, — some family likeness, some feature of the Divine image shining out. The prodigal’s father knew his son when he saw him a long way off. In his rags, his beggary, amid the traces of dissipation, the eye of love recognized the child. Christ knows His own, however dim the likeness, by their faces. The crowds do not recognize heaven’s princes in the humble Christians they meet; but every angel knows them. Not only does Christ know His own by their faces, but also by their voice. The mother knows her child’s voice anywh…


In a couple of weeks Kitchener-Waterloo will host Oktoberfest, North America's largest continuing Bavarian harvest festival. Regrettably it is the event most recognized in our region by outsiders. Beer tents, sausage and schnitzel counters, Thanksgiving Monday parade featuring Oncle Hans, singing, dancing...Excess!

Most residents flee the event. Recently arrived college students think that this is what we are all about. Bus drivers, police and para-medics scramble for holiday spots so as to avoid the sad nights of fights, drunkenness, vandalism, collisions, over-capacity crowds in public halls, etc.

Many over-night coffee shops close rather than face the disturbances and damage. Free "drink responsibly" buses are strewn with garbage and vomit. Emergency rooms are over-taxed. Whole sections of the city are avoided by motorists.

But we constantly hear from the organizing committee that the event is crucial to the hospitality industry- pubs, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops…