Shakespeare turned 450 years old today

William ShakespeareI don’t quite know how I’d missed this until the latter half of the day—I’m actually surprised Google didn’t do a doodle on this today—but William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago today (April 23).

(Okay, to be fair, nobody actually knows for sure that Shakespeare was born on April 23; however he was baptized on April 26, 1564 so the 23rd is as good a guess as any. It also holds an appealing parallel to the date of his death: April 23, 1616.)

But 450! That’s a milestone. Only 50 years until the big 5-0-0. It’s pretty amazing to think of the influence on the English language for so long—and no end in sight—that Shakespeare had. And I’ve said it before, but if you’ve never seen Shakespeare performed live—at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland would be my top recommendation—then you really should; it’s eye-opening and will change whatever opinions you might have about his works.

Not a Leap Year

We saw the new Die Hard movie last Friday, “A Good Day to Die Hard.” It wasn’t terrible—the action sequences were good and the concept was there—but compared to the last movie it was disappointing, largely because (for me) the dialogue was very stilted and cliché, focusing more on the one-liners than advancing the plot or anything. Plus it didn’t really give John McClane the “nobody else is here to do this” kind of role that the character is really known for… I ended up thinking the movie is begging for a fan fiction rewrite that could really tighten things up and make it 100% better. Or a Phantom Edit-style recut.

Of course, you always have to wonder about (yet another) sequel…

Earlier this month I set up my old Commodore 64 computer system for the kids to see, just for grins. Basically their computer desk in the office has been empty since the (older) Sony Vaio all-in-one system started dying (the integrated LCD monitor light was starting to burn out, which is a huge pain) so I figured, why not? I have to say, it is amusing as hell to see that old system set up again—but other than that first day we were playing around with it, it hasn’t been turned on.

Lots of beer things are happening, too: we’re planning this second year of Central Oregon Beer Week and that has been taking up a lot of time. Maybe I’ll do some “behind the scenes” type posts for that at some point. Suffice to say, there are a lot of good ideas floating around but trying to nail down details like sponsorship packages is a chore. Hopefully we’ll have that dialed in very, very soon and can get down to the fun stuff of drinking beer! Or at least planning out events where we get to drink beer.

Incidentally, Central Oregon Beer Week is taking place from May 20 through 27 this year—the week leading into Memorial Day Weekend. It’s going to be awesome.

Sherlock Holmes

At some point back I’d picked up an older hardcover copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, and since I’ve found myself watching (and enjoying) the series “Elementary” on TV (no, I’ve missed BBC’s “Sherlock” thus far but I’m quite sure I would love it)—as well as thoroughly enjoying the Robert Downey Jr. “Sherlock Holmes” movies where he plays Sherlock as basically autistically dysfunctional—I decided I needed to properly read the original stories. (I had previously only ever read two or three at most.)

They are as enjoyable as you’d expect, and I have to say, I can quite see where the “modern” interpretation of Holmes comes from: he’s (mostly) able to function in society, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pretty well nails the combination of bipolar/manic depressive behavior combined with the savant-level of genius that’s borderline dysfuntional. And he’s a cocaine addict. (Which I knew.)

It’s good stuff, but I have to adjust my mental model to account for the fact that (in the early stories, at least) both Holmes and Watson are no older than their early 30s. Which, to my mind, makes the Downey Jr. Sherlock movies actually… pretty true to form.