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.

The Window at Molly’s, the street (Decatur) unusually quiet, with notebook, vintage Esterbrook pen, and Molly’s frozen Irish Coffee

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.

Specialized road bike on pole outside The Window at Molly’s. French Quarter, New Orleans.
Notice the green shelf for drinks. Sometimes the crowd on the sidewalk outside The Window grows.

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

Stone Sculpture on the Riverbank

“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.”
― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

I was walking along the strip of concrete along the top of the Mississippi levee that separates the French Quarter from the vast moisture of the Big Muddy. There was the path, a narrow strip of weedy grass, a band of riparian riprap rock used for erosion control and then the water itself.

I noticed a pile of rock in a peculiar arrangement, down right next to the water. At first I thought someone had simply piled them up, but as I looked closer, it seemed that they would not hold together in that formation by themselves. Gravity would pull them asunder. Someone had gone down there with some industrial adhesive or quick-set epoxy and glued the stones together. It was a sculpture, a work of art.

An Internet search failed to reveal any information about this impromptu pile of granite.

Who knows how long they will hold together under the assault of the elements, but if you want to check – it’s right there near the entrance to Jackson Square.

Riverbank Sculpture, Mississippi River, French Quarter, New Orleans

Seated Woman

“Every so often, a painter has to destroy painting. Cezanne did it, Picasso did it with Cubism. Then Pollock did it. He busted our idea of a picture all to hell. Then there could be new paintings again.”
― Willem De Kooning

Willem de Kooning “Seated Woman”
Nasher Sculpture Center

What I learned this week, May 21, 2017

Will Bike For Beer: The Five Most Bike-Friendly Bars and Restaurants in Dallas

On a sunny Sunday afternoon — one of those pre-summer days that’s hot but not quite the surface of the sun — cyclists have swarmed Deep Ellum. They may not outnumber the patio-seeking brunch crowd, but there are dozens of them. These are not the typical bikers who are mashing around White Rock Lake as fast as possible in head-to-toe moisture-wicking fabric.

These riders, dressed casually in jeans and peddling leisurely on cruisers, are going somewhere. And more and more, their destinations are Dallas bars and restaurants.

My Xootr Swift folding bike in the cool bike rack in front of the Cold Beer Company
Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas


Guy Sucks At Photoshop, Spends 10 Years Mastering Microsoft Paint To Illustrate His Book

Turns out, sometimes our resistance to learn something new and master a new skill can lead to something pretty amazing. Pat Hines, who couldn’t be bothered to learn Photoshop and illustrated his ebook using good old Microsoft Paint, is the proof. “I suck at Photoshop and other programs, and have worked exclusively in Microsoft Paint for over ten years… I honed my craft working long overnights at a hospital reception desk…,” the guy writes. That’s why when it came to choosing the program to create illustrations for his novel Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge, he looked no further and just went for something he was already good at.


15 Dallas Hiking Trails You Probably Never Knew About

Umm, I knew about all of these.

Wasps at the Trinity River Audubon Center


Map Shows How Much Land the Government Owns In Every State


10 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned About Street Photography

After shooting all sorts of things from 2011 to 2012 without ever finding myself and feeling my photography, I discovered my deep passion for street photography in the first month of my 365 project in 2013. Since then, I’ve not only spent almost every single day on the streets of the world to capture wonderful moments, but I’ve also built my life around it.

Vivian Maier


5 Things Cyclists Do You Didn’t Know Are Perfectly Legal

It’s true that city cycling is on the rise in the United States, and that has come with some backlash.  The mere sight of a bicycle can send some motorists into a fury — often due to drivers not knowing the law. This has caused an alarming number of injury accidents that were completely preventable. Odds are, that annoying thing the person on the bike is doing — is completely legal.

Bicycle Drag Racer on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge


For the world to be interesting, you have to be manipulating it all the time

Acoustic listening devices developed for the Dutch army as part of air defense
systems research between World Wars 1 and 2.

 


 

What I learned this week, May 07, 2017

Meet the device that could bring back cassettes

This is the coolest shit thing I’ve seen in a long time.


The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

I have just discovered frozen Udon – a new staple.


Beyond “Sissy” Resilience: On Becoming Antifragile


Solargraphy – Sun Trails and Long Exposures Like You Have NEVER Seen

Pinhole camera photographs with exposure times of several months. Oh yeah!

 


Just in case you haven’t already seen this:

I’ve always wondered what is the ultimate use of the internet. This is it.

They did the whole fracking album. The whole thing.

Now I’m going to have to go listen to Sgt. Peppers a few times.

Goodbye to the Starship Pegasus

“Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs,” I said. “We have a protractor.”
—-Neal Stephenson, Anathem

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

If you drive down I35 from Dallas to Waco, Austin, and San Antonio, you can’t help but remember the Starship Pegasus, at the exit to Italy. A bilious representation of the famous Starship Enterprise reimagined as a roadside attraction. At one time, it was a greasy spoon restaurant and entertainment venue, but for years it has been a weed-infested patch along the highway with a slowly deteriorating doomed spaceship made of concrete and galvanized sheet eternally earthbound.

A while back, I drove down there to visit the open house at the Monolithic Dome Institute (and realized that the Starship was made with one of their domes), stopped and took a few photos.

Now I read that the thing has been demolished – the plot bought by the McDonalds across the street and served up to the wrecking ball.

‘Starship Pegasus’ roadside attraction along I-35 demolished

It has been a useless eyesore for as long as I can remember – and wasn’t destined to be anything more.

Still, I can’t help but be sad at the loss.