Somewhere between the All-Birdville Marching Band and the skateboarding SuperFrog, the Tournament of Roses Parade featured a flowered float of Mayan families from Central America.
"This is very touching," said Joe Rhodes, a California magazine writer guiding Texans in Pasadena.
"I guess it's their last year in the parade."
We've heard for years how one Mayan calendar ends in 2012.
Now, a California televangelist has moved up the date to 2011.
Getting the jump on end-times predictions, 89-year-old Harold Camping of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio Worldwide is urging Christians to "save the date" May 21.
"He is Coming Again!" Camping's billboards proclaim in cities across America. Apparently, details are available not at church but solely on his radio show, broadcast over about 60 stations, including three in Texas.
A young follower in North Carolina is taking Camping's message to the streets and also to Facebook on pages named WeCanKnow.com.
So far, the Facebook page has 281 "likes." (That may not guarantee Rapture.)
Camping told The Associated Press: "Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment."
Wow. I'm definitely filing an income tax extension.
Problem is, Camping has already been wrong once.
In 1994, Camping said Judgment Day would come Sept. 15-17. (I guess that was technically Judgment Weekend.)
Afterward, he explained: "Wonderfully, I was wrong."
Camping's website claims he has an engineering degree. By calculating from the Bible, he says, he has figured that the 23-year Great Tribulation began in 1988.
To cross-check his work, I phoned our local end-times vendor, the Rev. Irvin Baxter of Plano-based EndTime Magazine.
"I don't believe it at all," said Baxter, 65, a Pentecostal minister.
"There are several things that must happen before the Rapture. I don't see it yet."
Baxter said the prediction "does a lot of damage."
"After people cry 'wolf' so many times, people begin to lose faith."
Baxter agrees the end is coming. But not soon.
He sells a six-year subscription.