The developing world converges

jeepneyJeepneys are the main way people get around in the Philippines. In East Africa, people ride in Matatus. I liked them so much I featured them a fair amount when I lived in Nairobi.

So I came across this photo of a Jeepney in a missionary magazine* — and I was struck by how the artwork was so similar to what could be found on Matatus in downtown Nairobi! It’s just amazing that the influences that shape how artists do their craft are similar, even 6,000 miles (9,500 km) apart!

Not only does matatu art reflect the latest trends in society, it always shows the cutting-edge of young artists’ creativity. (However, some matatu artists are better than others!) Often the several random sayings on one matatu provide a good laugh. One of my fantasies while living in Nairobi was to hire a photographer to take a million photos of matatus — and then I would create a coffee table book out of the best pix. Any angel investors out there willing to chip in?

* (Sorry, there was no credit given to the photographer, or I would have passed that on.)

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Base decisions in reality

boettcherSunday’s Denver newspaper had an article about how Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall is in need of repair. The photo at left (courtesy of The Denver Post, taken by Joe Amon) shows water stains on the ceiling. (It’s not a shot of the shroud of Turin.)

The article describes how the plan was to spend $100 million on a new symphony hall. The recession stepped in and caused the current plan, which is to use $1.5 million to make “stopgap fixes”. But officials still would like to spend $50 million to “renovate and expand” the existing facility.

Reality? Open your eyes, officials. Taxpayers do not want to spend another $48.5 million to have an amazing new symphony hall. The vast majority would be happy to have an improved hall — without going fully in the direction of buying a new top-of-the-line Rolls Royce.

I have seen a few concerts at Boettcher. It’s fine. I felt like I was going back in time to the early 70s, but what’s wrong with that? The acoustics are not quite up to the standards of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, but I could hear alright, even in our cheap seats.

Solution? Go for a more modest plan — spending maybe $4 million. Fix up the old hall without giving her a complete revamp. She’ll serve us fine. And I would propose that solution will work for any number of other plans civic officials come up with, worldwide. Using the car analogy — if you have a 2001 Toyota Corolla (which we do) and it’s showing its age, you might consider getting a 2008 Honda Accord, rather than a 2010 BMW 550i. (Thankfully, our Corolla is not showing its age — so we will be able to keep it for a while longer!)

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Root woman

root-womanI had to share her with you. We went on a family hike yesterday near Boulder, Colorado. (That’s about an hour from our home.) I saw this little lady sitting by the edge of the trail. She was begging to be photographed. I obliged.

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