Sunday, April 11, 2021

Three Beautiful Things 04/10/2021: Matsuyama's Torrid Back Nine, Steak Soup, Dark and Sweet Comedy

 1. When a player catches fire and plays extraordinary golf on a testy golf course like Augusta National, it electrifies me. Today, returning to the course after a rain delay of just over an hour, Hideki Matsuyama completed his back nine in an astonishing 30 strokes, with four birdies and an eagle. His torrid streak catapulted him to a four stroke lead. It will be dramatic on Sunday to see how Matsuyama performs with this lead and, should he stagger at all, whether the four players challenging him four, five, or six strokes behind can overtake him. 

I have no prediction. My sense of history tells me that, at Augusta, it's very difficult to shoot a low score one day and repeat it the next. So, let's say Matsuyama shoots even par today. That would mean his challengers right behind him would have to shoot a 68 just to tie him, a formidable challenge. But, should Matsuyama shoot a round over par, it would open the way for a chaotic and exciting second nine at the Masters. 

I'm rooting for everyone. In other words, I'm rooting for drama.

2. I got to thinking around dinner time.

I had another petite sirloin in the fridge. It wouldn't take long to thaw out a quart of chicken stock. I had a nice supply of vegetables on hand and a steak soup started to take shape in my mind. 

So, I chopped up an onion and minced both a plug of ginger and a couple cloves of garlic. I heated olive oil and simultaneously browned bits of steak and sautéed the onion, ginger, and garlic and soon added chopped celery to the pot. I had put a mostly frozen quart of stock in another pot and when it was fully thawed, I added a couple of chopped carrots and some chopped baby potatoes. Before long, I poured the stock over the steak, onion, garlic, ginger, and celery and added some frozen corn and frozen green beans to the soup. 

I brought the soup to a boil, turned it way down, and let it simmer until the potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery were tender. As a last move, I seasoned the soup with a few splashes of Bragg Liquid Aminos.

It worked.

3. When Jessica Walter died last month, her obituaries piqued my curiosity about the show Arrested Development. Walter plays Lucille Bluth, the matriarch of the terribly broken Bluth family. So, I tuned into the series' pilot episode on Netflix. 

I don't know that I'll ever return to this show. Yes, if I'm in the mood for outrageous characters and situations and for some grotesque satire, I could see returning to it, curious to see just how shattered this family becomes -- and, to see if, as the show develops, the writers develop some more tender plot lines, if they explore the genuine suffering that underlies the screwed up nature of the Bluth family.

But, I'd be surprised if I do return to this show unless my current mood changes.

I'm much more in the mood for sweet, but not saccharine stories. I will keep watching episodes of Midnight Diner. If I'd been able to stream it, today I would have watched the 1996 Japanese movie, Shall We Dance?. I ordered a used copy of it from a guy selling off his dvd collection to finance his retirement and it will arrive in a couple of weeks. If I could have streamed it, I also would have watched Shower, another Japanese movie from 1999 about a successful business man who has to step out of his life in the world of commerce and pay new attention to his elderly father and mentally challenged younger brother. 

These were among the many movies I watched at the Bijou Art Cinema in Eugene and I've been in the mood to relive the experience of seeing these and many others.

It's just a matter of finding them. 

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