What unlikely source educated you?

We all learn things from school, from the paper, from TV, from Unca Cecil, and so on. But what about those random little nuggets of knowledge that you know from sources outside the traditional ones?

Me? I know the address of Wrigley Field and the name of Chicago’s county thanks to The Blues Brothers.

Rock of Gibraltar, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Burbank? I first learned of those through old Carl Barks Donald Duck comics.

What unlikely sources have given you semi-respectable knowledge about things you probably never woulda learned about otherwise?

My love for food has led to learning a surprising number of words in Italian, Spanish, Japanese and, well, whatever language Indian menus are usually written in. I know a lot of food French, too, but I had formal training in that.

It’s amazing how much of my vocabulary came from reading Calvin & Hobbes.

I learned quite a bit of chemistry and physics from reading old DC comics written by Gardner Fox.

I’ve picked up amazing amounts of Japanese naming systems (suffixed terms of endearment and such) from watching Inuyasha.

As a kid I learned that homosexuality existed from Three’s Company.

I know caribeen geography from Pirates.

Ditto, except mine was from Urusei Yatsura

Well, both me and my sister found the Reader’s Digest and Kentucky Courier Journal to be a great help in our lives. We learned from them that if we had just arrived in a town 2000 miles away from home and a strange man came up to us asking if we had a job and a place to live, we’d better run like hell. My mother didn’t teach us that. She should have, but maybe it didn’t happen in her day.

I read a real biography of the man later, but my first impression of Norton the First, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, was from Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel Sandman.

Tons of stuff from games of various kinds:

  1. Planar coordinates and negative numbers from the Starflight games.
  2. Probabilities and tons of vocabulary from Role-playing table top games.
  3. History, wonders of the world, government and economics from Civilization type games.
  4. City management, micro and some macro economics, urban and suburban zoning and city policies from Simcity games.
  5. History of ancient lands, mythology and ancient armor and weapons again from RPGs.
  6. Tons and tons of vocabulary, reading comprehension and syntax from King’s Quest series of games.
  7. Not to mention how to summon demons, conquer the world, build New York from scratch and explore the galaxy!

All this and more can be bought for the low, low price of your soul!
In stores now, subject to availability, soul non-refundable.

All I’ve learned from Inuyasha is that during the Warring States Era Japan was filled with demons. :smiley:

I first learned about him from the back of a package of Emperor Norton Sourdough Snack Chips (which are delicious by the way).

And that some of the half-demons are very attractive, and some of the kid demons are adorable. I want my very own little Shippo-chan to love. :smiley:

So that’s what causes it!

As a sports fan, I learned a lot about US geography by reading biographies of famous athletes as well as learning the divisions for each major sport. I also learned about foreign countries from the Olympics.

Ah yes, I forgot about SimCity and sports.

I learned a lot of US geography and time zones through baseball.

And I must say it’s good to see my Emperor is known throughout the land.

Naval ranks and the chain of command from Star Trek is the only thing jumping immediately to mind.

I learned the story of Alexander the Great from an Iron Maiden song.

No, really.

And a little bit about the Ryme of the Ancient Mariner, too (different song).

“My son, ask for thyself another kingdom…for that which I leave is too small for thee.”

I learned the 50 state capitals from Animaniacs.

Mad magazine and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

The Bugs Bunny cartoons exposed me to great quantities of classical music. I also learned who a lot of old timey movie stars were and a little bit about pop culture from that earlier time.

Mad magazine now, taught me oodles about pop culture that was all over my head at the time. I’m currently renting movies from Netflix that I read parodies of way back when I was very young and innocent. I also specifically remember learning what Newton’s three laws of motion are from a cartoon in Mad magazine.

I’m not recommending Mad magazine as a learning aid, though, because I think a kid can do without the negativity. I sure could have.

Bugs Bunny though, there’s gold in Bugs Bunny.

There’s also lots of good vocabulary in Bugs Bunny. “Pulchritudinous pachyderms” comes to mind.