Chapter 82
The Cathedral of Junk
01a - Introduction
01b - The Mysterious Ski Rack
01c - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
01d - Scorpions Scorpio
01e - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
02a - Can I Get a Diet Soda
02b - Riding Into the Sunrise
03 - Modesty at Any Price
04 - Driving Down to Houston
05a - What Does That Sign Say
05b - The State Tree
05c - They Call It the Sunbelt
05d - Just Follow Your Nose
06 - The New House
07a - Billboards
07b - Billboards Again
08 - Stereo Upgrade
09 - Local Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals We Have Known
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings To And From Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie Al Fresco
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What Was That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston Through Small Towns
37 - Shoe Story
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live Music in Austin But Not in Clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47 - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48 - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House is That-A-Way
57 - CSI Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2
80 - Sure We Got Culture
81 - A Message to Gyno-Americans
82 - The cathedral of Junk

Art, not junk

Now this is uniquely Austin. Down in south Austin, a gentleman has built in his backyard a sculpture from found objects. Not a normal sort of sculpture, but a giant. It started small, just a few hubcaps hanging on a fence, and then it started to grew in place, and I suppose it just got out of hand.

The Cathedral of Junk's sign

It includes pieces of cars, bicycles, appliances, buildings, computers; cookware, tools; pipes and bottles and fans and gears; washers and stoves and fridges; toys and toasters and typewriters and tennis rackets. You name it.

Welcome to Trash Vegas

So, what's really unique about this? First, it's more than fifteen feet high. Mainly metal, but there is lot of plastic and glass, too. Second, it contains *thousands* of components, probably tens of thousands. According to one sign, it includes more than *eight hundred* bikes alone. I could see only a few bikes on the outside, so most of them must be structural. There are a couple hundred compact discs hanging from portions of it as kinetic elements or maybe wind chimes. Third, it is really built as a structure. There are tunnels underneath, ladders to climb, paths around and through it. Fourth, it actually is decorated as a structure, maybe even a cathedral. There are a dozen or two mushroom ventilating fans like the ones on top of restaurants, which look vaguely reminiscent of the onions on Russian churches.

Junk tower with onions

All in all, an astonishing structure. What's not to love? Well, just after we saw it to take these pictures, one of the neighbors was unhappy about the constant flow of strangers and their cars, and complained to the city about its being an unsafe structure. Might hurt someone if it falls down. Is this thing up to code? Does he have a building permit for that structure? For a couple months, while city engineers and inspectors vacillated, there was a threat that it might have to be removed. A couple city engineers quit. But wait, if you wanted to tear it down, was there a demolition permit? After all, the thing weighs about *twenty-five tons*.

The controversy petered out eventually, probably because something else distracted the politicians and the press.

PS: as of mid-2014, it was still standing.