Critters, Culture, and Küche

January 2, 2007

Happy New Year to all! Diane and I stayed at home for New Year’s Eve, but we did quite a bit on Saturday. I have divided today’s posting into the three topics mentioned in the title.

Critters

Just for kicks, we began with a late morning drive to Lake Worth Nature Center and Refuge. Located near the Fort Worth suburb of the same name, the refuge has a variety of creatures. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much. Just one or two cardinals flying alongside winding Broadview Road, as well as a few squirrels scurrying away from Diane’s car on Shoreline Road. As you might have guessed, the latter road pretty well hugs Lake Worth. With a speed limit of 20 MPH, Shoreline is even more untamed than Broadview, especially as one heads south and east.

After passing a pickup truck parked a few hundred feet south of the fork off Broadview, Diane and I were the only humans on skinny Shoreline Road, with woods to our right and water to our left. After several minutes of driving, we turned around near a landbridge that leads to Greer Island. A map claims that the road continues, but we only saw something that resembled the remains of a trail.

Diane actually went to the refuge herself several months ago. She had a strange feeling about driving there, though having company seemed to help on Saturday. The refuge is not inherently forboding, but I could imagine how the ancient trees and various twists on Shoreline could spook the uninitiated.

Oddly enough, when she made her first visit, Diane had not yet heard the story that made Lake Worth somewhat famous almost 40 years ago. In 1969, many people claimed to have seen a tall, hairy, bipedal creature wandering the area. According to many witnesses, the “Lake Worth Monster” had a goat-like appearance. A few even thought that it had scales like a fish.

All kinds of theories revolve around sightings of the creature. Some believe that overactive imaginations mistook a conventional animal (such as a bobcat) for the Lake Worth Monster, or that teenage pranksters were running around in a gorilla suit to frighten people. (Being the late 1960’s, I suppose certain substances could have been responsible for heightening a sense of freakishness.) Whatever the case, hardly anyone has claimed seeing the creature since that time.

Whether you believe the legend or not, it sure makes a good tale for chills and laughs. Weird Texas has a story about the Lake Worth Monster on pages 106-08, while several websites have additional details that may or may not be true.

I report. You decide…

Culture

Within a half hour of leaving “Goat Man” territory, Diane and I arrived at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. With no cryptids in sight, we had lunch at the museum’s Café Modern. Our table for two overlooked the reflecting pond, with a tall pane of glass just barely separating us from the water. After dining, we went into the museum itself to see End of Time, an exhibit of photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

All the photographs in the Sugimoto exhibit somehow transform the ordinary into works of art. Of course, one could say the same about the work of many famous photographers. However, something about Sugimoto’s style consistently seems to transcend what one sees in the everyday world. The brochure for the exhibit says that the photographs “explore the themes of time, memory, dreams, and history,” which is probably a good starting point for explaining my perception. Somehow, he managed to make near-realistic photographs of human ancestors in action, as well as of Henry VIII and his wives (actually wax figures from Madame Tussaud’s). Other themes include blurry photos of modern architecture, with a 1997 photograph of the World Trade Center underscoring most strongly the themes outlined in the exhibit’s brochure; representations of mathematical forms; various bodies of water throughout the world; and movie theaters with films running on the screen. For the last group mentioned, Sugimoto would bring a camera to a theater and leave the shutter open for the duration of a film. In the end, the photographs would show the architectural details of the theater, but with a brilliant “explosion” of light in the area of the projection screen. (Try doing that in these copyright-sensitive times.)

After leaving the museum, I felt inspired to do some “artsy” black and white photos with Richard Serra’s Vortex. I hope to get those up sometime soon, once I figure out how to upload photos to the blog, or if I begin a flickr account.

Küche

For dinner, Diane and I visited a German restaurant in Fort Worth called Edelweiss. We had visited a number of German restaurants before, from quite a few in Fredericksburg, Texas, to Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan. However, Edelweiss distinguishes itself with an extremely gemütlich atmosphere. A fellow with a handlebar mustache greeted us and asked how many were in the party, while a large genial fellow with a bald head, glasses, and goatie joked with us before we were seated. (As an extra touch, he also wore lederhosen.) En route to the table, the greeter escorted Diane and seated her.

As we began looking at the menu, we noticed a kid dancing around on a wooden floor in the middle of the restaurant. After ordering the sausage plate (two wursts, cabbage, and potatoes), we saw the bald guy appear on a bandstand near the wooden floor. We figured out later that he is the owner, a fellow named Bernd. Accompanied by an accordionist, Bernd joked with the audience, wished “happy birthday” to those claiming birthdays that day, and sang a number of songs. Bernd began with the restaurant’s namesake, followed by “Laura’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, and a number of other songs.

I remember several other songs, including a couple by Elvis that sounded convincing with a German twist (“Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”), as well as “Im Himmel da gibts kein Bier” (In heaven, there is no beer). Here’s a translation, though I suspect some verses are updates on the old song. A few couples braved the dance floor for the slow Elvis songs, but a good number of others came out for the chicken dance. Bernd has apparently done this for many years, but he makes one feel welcome with the restaurant’s congenial atmosphere.

The food is excellent, too.

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One Response to “Critters, Culture, and Küche”


  1. […] wife Diane piping in here.  My husband recently blogged an excellent summary of our Critters, Culture, and Kuche day, during which we saw End of Time, an exhibition of photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto, at the […]


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