Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Courses or First World Problems

I learned tonight that there is a company, which chooses some of the top professors in the world to record lectures and, then, sells these lectures. Now, I knew some schools did something similar - and often for free - and maybe it is the slick packaging, but I want many of the lectures sold by The Great Courses. No, no one paid me to say this, I have not received any copies of DVDs or CDs or digital downloads from this company and, as far as I know, I won't be. I just think it is super cool.

Here are probably the two things you need to know about me to understand why:

1. I love listening to old radio shows.  When I was little, one of my brothers received a set of audiotapes containing the story of the City of the Dead from the Adventures by Morse series. Not only did we have sleepovers listening to it (it was six hours long), but we also played it in the car during family trips to Florida.  Then, T and I had a long distance relationship for a number of years and I spent a good deal of my traveling time listening to a boxed set of Prairie Home Companion. Once I figured out iTunes, I downloaded classic radio shows, like anything with the Marx Brothers or the Great Gildersleeve or Abbott and Costello. One of my favorite holiday traditions is to listen to Stuart McLean's "Polly Andersen's Christmas at Home" from his Vinyl Cafe series and I downloaded many of his podcasts as well. I spent a good deal of time trying to get T to listen to these recordings whenever we took a long car ride together, but he wasn't as in to them, although he did appreciate the Car Talk CD I gave him after donating to a local NPR station.

"Dead men tell no tales ... especially after they've been incinerated!"

2. You might be saying, but, Mom in Progress, you are getting your doctorate - don't you think you need to step aside from academia in your free time? To which I say, "Radio Show!" except as a lecture about the year 1066. Now, these lectures could go one of three ways: (1) they are awesome and I love listening to them, (2) horribly boring, waste of money, (3) they are bad and I love mocking them.  Before moving and before children, my friends and I held "Medieval Movie Nights," where we would watch a, you guessed it, movie about the Middle Ages and we would mock it.  About a month before Q was born, my friends and I gathered to poke fun at the History Channel's miniseries about "The Dark Ages."  Ultimately, I feel like the odds are in my favor that owning these lectures would prove a positive experience.

The only trouble would be the cost (still in graduate school and CDs of lectures, no matter how entertaining, aren't really in the budget) and the fact that we don't take too many long car rides and, when we do, I'm now going to be up against T and Q. I assume, for the time being, that Z would roll with it. Maybe, when I start exercising (ha!), I can download them to my iPod?

Until then, a friend clued me in on the great (and free!) podcasts "Stuff You Missed in History Class." I listened to two today as the girls napped and I finished up holiday cards.

Anything you're really hankering for?

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