Words by Calasade


The very mention of the word makes the assholes of some authors pucker up so tight they get anal cramps. Not me, though. In fact you might think me insane were you to know not just how much research I do but how much I love it. Approximately seventy percent of my “writing” time is devoted to research. Or at least it has been thus far regarding Calasade. Maybe that will change after another couple of years, but as research now is so time-consuming, you can bet I’m always on the look-out for whatever will help shave that percentage.

Enter the Great Courses, a series of cellege-level audio and video courses produced and distributed by The Teaching Company. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is unlike other online learning platforms in that the courses here are produced for enrichment purposes only. The advantage to that is these are offered without schedules, homework, etc.

Say you want to learn Latin, as I did. First thought that came to me was, “Rosetta Stone!”

Which works all find and dandy…

For the most part.

But I struggled, see, because Rosetta Stone doesn’t get into the nuts and bolts of things and because English is so messed up with verb usage. Totally fucked up. Mangled. Butchered. I struggled with that. Really struggled. And unlike English, Latin is a language of high inflection. All I have to say is thank the writing gods for Learning Latin 101 from the Great Courses. It is the perfect companion to Rosetta Stone. The instructor, Hans-Friedrich Mueller, explained some true gems and was funny on the odd occasion. He makes learning fun.

The aforementioned regarding quality and entertainment is true of every course in the Great Courses that I’ve taken and because of that, I can’t recommend the Great Courses enough. I’ve purchased over a dozen from them (having to do with the Ancient World, of course) and have yet to be disappointed. Favorite course to date has to be The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. The amount of information relayed in so short of time is truly impressive. Professor Robert Garland was a delight.

Admittedly, some might balk at the prices, even on-sale, but the type of person who fails to invest in themselves will go nowhere in life. Too, they will enjoy life far, far less. Seems kind of silly not to, doesn’t it, since you have just the one shot at this existence on earth.

Good news is the Great Courses offer a course on most everything, not just history-related. Visit them if you’re looking to exercise your mind, pick up new skills, or just learn something new, whatever; they probably have something that can help you.



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