Rod-a, he ride him and he jumped a ditch,
He ride-a, he rode him, and the pony did pitch.
The pony, he felt a little bit shy,
‘Cause he’s bitten by that blue-tailed fly.
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care.
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care,
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care,
My mastas gone away.
When I went down in Louisiana,
I stayed a little while in Texarkana.
Every once in a while, I felt a little bit shy
‘Cause I was bitten by that blue-tailed fly.
—-Leadbelly, Blue-Tailed Fly
Tag Archives: decatur
Desire Not To Desire
“ Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.”
― Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
The Lights Are On
“you got all these miserable people with problems you can’t believe…and look, the lights are on.”
I was eating lunch, grabbing a slice, at a place where a lot of tech types eat at (near, but not too near, my work). Mostly men, mostly in groups of four.
One guy at another table was expounding. A bit full of himself, enjoying the attention, I still liked listening to him. I made a note on my phone.
“The diagram looks fractal, like a Mandelbrot set. But nothing worked. It was like a fractal of suck – no matter how much you drilled down or blew it up, it still looked the same. It still sucked.”
A System of Concepts Worked Out In Steel
“That’s all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel. There’s no part in it, no shape in it, that is not out of someone’s mind […] I’ve noticed that people who have never worked with steel have trouble seeing this—that the motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon. They associate metal with given shapes—pipes, rods, girders, tools, parts—all of them fixed and inviolable., and think of it as primarily physical. But a person who does machining or foundry work or forger work or welding sees “steel” as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not. Shapes, like this tappet, are what you arrive at, what you give to the steel. Steel has no more shape than this old pile of dirt on the engine here. These shapes are all of someone’s mind. That’s important to see. The steel? Hell, even the steel is out of someone’s mind. There’s no steel in nature. Anyone from the Bronze Age could have told you that. All nature has is a potential for steel. There’s nothing else there.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Morning on Decatur
“there was something about
that city, though
it didn’t let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
it let me alone.”
― Charles Bukowski
The Window At Molly’s
He presided, he directed, he ruled, he snarled. From his perch at the Window of Molly’s which is where I mostly saw him, he listened indulgently to the speculative thrusts of the Window Gang, paid slightly more attention to opinion derived from inside info, and gave his full ear to inside info itself. Like everything that went by the Window on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, including a variety of humanity that would have made both Goya and Picasso shriek with delight, on couldn’t be sure of the exact percentage of B.S. Monaghan alone seemed to know. People vied to be in the Window Gang, but few could stand the Chief’s tests, which to the innocent must have often seemed rough, illiberal, crude, or so deliberately provocative as to preclude any rational response.
—-Andrei Codrescu – The Passing of Jim Monaghan, New Orleans Bar Owner, from New Orleans, Mon Amour, Twenty Years of Writings from the City
The best place to write… or to sit… possibly to drink… in the French Quarter is the window at Molly’s. Take my word for it.
A machine will squirt out Molly’s frozen Irish coffee (caffeine, ice cream, alcohol – three of the four major food groups) into a plastic to-go cup and you can sit inside the window, outside the window or even mill around on the Decatur sidewalk.
Today the bar was packed with a dozen young women, obviously a bachelorette party, all wearing identical denim shorts and t-shirts emblazoned with “I LIVE TO BE DRUNK” in glitter. They handed me a phone and asked me to take their photos lined up at the bar. I arranged them and took some shots, they were particularly giggly happy with the landscape photo.
There are bikes locked up all over the French Quarter, mostly to the wrought iron columns supporting the ubiquitous overhead balconies. Most of these are heavy, beater bikes – in deference to New Orleans’ rough streets, giant potholes, and flat-as-a-pancake geography. Every day, though sitting in front of me, well-locked to the pole on the sidewalk was a nice Specialized road bike – looking fast standing still, if also well-used. One day, I arrived early enough to watch the owner arrive and lock up – he was obviously a worker in a nearby bar or restaurant. That day someone else had already locked up to his pole, but he maneuvered around and managed to lock on the other side, sharing the pole. It was his spot and he was going to use it.
One would do well, as I have done many times, to investigate a single place over time, at different times of the day. Molly’s on Market, for instance, is home in the early afternoon to a lively Window Gang consisting of a varying crew of journalists, men-about-town, women-about-town, writers of fiction and poetry, mysterious characters either larger or brighter than life, led on by Jim Monaghan, proprietaire extraordinaire, Irish wit, and provocateur. Monaghan’s extravagant personality imbues the day, but the night belongs to the tribes of the tattooed and pierced young. At night a sloshed picture gallery displays itself with sensual impertinence.
—- Andrei Codrescu, Solution: Enivrez-Vous: The Bars of New Orleans, from New Orleans, Mon Amour, Twenty Years Of Writings From The City
Hipster Talking to a Girl on Decatur
“The beauty of Molly’s is that it is not, whether in the daytime or at night, the exclusive preserve of an age or income group. Unlike the sterile night scenes of pretentious San Francisco or New York, Molly’s (and most other New Orleans bars) welcomes all ages, all colors, and all sexual persuasions, provided they are willing to surrender to the atmosphere.”
― Andrei Codrescu, New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City
Halloween in the Quarter
I knew a queen of toil with a crown of silver hair.
Garland of valour and sorrow, of beauty and renown…
—-Robert Louis Stevenson
Yeah, I know the Stevenson poem is about age… and the woman in the photo isn’t old. I still like the crown of silver hair… even if the queen of toil is stumbling through the French Quarter desperately clutching a to-go cup half-filled with some vile alcoholic fruit punch.