Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Thank You letter to a Professor I have never met

I thought i'd share this email I sent recently:

Rick Albright
Harrisburg Area Community College
One HACC Drive
Harrisburg PA 17110

Dr. Albright,

I wanted to send a note of thanks for your series of podcasts entitled "English 202: Major English Writers" that I have listened to via iTunesU. I really enjoyed it, and I was impressed because many times, content that is engaging in a classroom can fall flat when read into a microphone. You managed to inject a conversationalist style that kept me very interested. I thought I'd share the quick story of how I came upon your course.

I usually read the Sunday New York Times review, now via my iPad. I read about Daisy Hay's new book, titled "New Romantics". The beauty of the iPad (and the bane), is you can hop onto the internet and download a book sample via the Kindle iPad app. Her book is on my ever-growing reading list. I am now in the happy and unfortunate position of rationing my book purchases until I finish to 40 or so items in my queue. It's just too easy to acquire information now.

I was struck by the mention of Lord Byron and what a selfish shit he apparently was. I was also mesmerized by his natural talent. I remembered visiting Portovenere back in 1995 and seeing a small plaque mentioning "Byron's Grotto". This is the point Lord Byron was supposed to have begun his long swim across the Gulf of Spezia to meet Shelly at Lerci. Thus the nickname "Byron's Grotto." I thought, "whoever this Byron is, for the Italians to have given him a plaque, he must have been one interesting cat". My kind of guy. I made a mental note to learn more about this interesting set of people.

A few days later, sitting in my car before departing to work, I pulled out my iPhone and searched iTunesU for "Lord Byron", and I found your lectures. I have been listening to them when I can during most stretches of driving. I now look forward to massive traffic jams. My only regret is that I live a few miles from work here in Minneapolis. It is going to make my long journey into reading that era of literature that much more enjoyable. Thank you.

The next phase in literature experiences will be the ability to have every place mentioned in every favorite book, including biographical places related to the author, mapped via your mobile phone. I cannot wait until I am traveling in Venice to have my phone nudge me to the fact that Byron's final stop was on that monastery nearby.

With gratitude and encouragement to keep posting lectures,

Robert Stephens
Chief Technology Officer
Best Buy

The Geek Squad


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