Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11th-Brought To You By the Letter 'K'


History of the World-Kublai Khan

  As threatened promised earlier, I thought I’d favor you with my version of the history of the world.  Relying solely on what I remember from high school, I’ll just blast away at whatever topic I choose.  No encyclopedias, Google, libraries, or bathroom walls (“Here I sit, broken-hearted, the Romans shit while the Greeks just farted”) for me.  Meaning, this will probably be an indictment of the American educational system. 
  In keeping with the A-Z challenge (and the fact that I didn’t have a good topic for the letter ‘K.’  Hey, you can only say so much about “Kelp.”) I decided to talk about Kublai Khan.
  While I can’t promise that everything I write will be the complete truth, it’s at least my understanding.  Indeed, it may compel you to actually do a little research on your own.  Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen.  American Idol’s on.
  Kublai Khan was the founder of the Mongol Dynasty.  You know, those kooky dudes who rode in from East of Jesus to terrorize hapless peasants.  So, instead of arranging chicken bones into the image of a saint or dying from the Black Plague, the serfs of Pre-Renaissance (French for “lavatorial facilities”) Europe ran screaming through the mud like Justin Beiber groupies (if he lived in the Middle Ages) just to keep their heads on their shoulders.
  Kublai (not to be confused with “Kublai, Fran, and Ollie,” a popular Chinese children’s puppet troupe) grew up in East Asia sometime in the late 13th century, or what historians call “A Long Effin’ Time Ago.”  I’m thinking his birthplace was in Mongolia, but what do I know, he was only leader of the Mongols.
  Grandson of the great Genghis Khan (of the Lake Baikal Khans), young Kublai had historic shoes to fill (literally. Genghis’ yak footwear was passed down from generation to generation).  At first, Kublai sought the life of a businessman when he opened a chain of restaurants on the Asian steppes.  Unfortunately, the huge popularity of “General Tso’s Chicken” eclipsed his own “Kublai’s Kippers” and he was forced into a life of conquest. 
  Smarting from his culinary comeuppance, Kublai swore revenge on his Chinese rivals.  Making an end-around the Great Wall of China (via the Not-So-Great Picket Fence of China), he established his headquarters in what is now known as Beijing (although the Mongols called it something Mongolian.  I forget.  If I ever knew.).
  From the relative luxury of his capital (NOTE: Still without indoor toilets), he oversaw his vast kingdom which stretched from the eastern coast of Asia through Europe and into the smarty-pants Islamic world.  His only major setback was his invasion of Japan.  The crafty Japanese used their secret weapons of dinosaurs and sex robots to thwart the horseback invaders, who, incredibly, failed to realize their horses couldn’t swim in the Sea of Japan.
  Later in his reign, the great Khan was visited by Marco Polo, inventor of the swimming pool game.  The Italian merchant was awed by the beauty of the great khanate, the jeweled riches he beheld, and the exotic spices sure to spice up whatever dead thing was found floating in a Venetian canal.  He was especially intrigued by Chinese handcuffs.  In fact, Marco used one of these devilish restraints to help his father, Water, break his nose-picking habit.
  Likewise, Kublai was fascinated by these pungent visitors from lands he had just raped and pillaged.  Still, he was amazed that they had the audacity to show up without calling first.  Or having the decency to bring even a bundt cake.
  In an effort to get to know people he would eventually behead, he urged Marco to send back as many learned men and clerics he could find so that he might learn more of the European people and of a religion which flayed the skin off non-believers (which, basically, was right up Kublai’s alley).
  With a smile on his face (and dozens of fortune cookies on the back of his camel), Marco returned home to Venice where he was soon arrested for doing...something (once more, my memory fails me).  But, while in jail, when not fending off prison rape, he wrote a book about his visit, “How I Did It.” (which, coincidentally, was used by OJ more than 700 years later).
  Marco’s Jailhouse Journal was the catalyst for the insatiable European desire for more of what China and India offered.  It spurred Portuguese exploration around the southern tip of Africa so they could avoid having to deal with those showoffs in Genoa and Venice.  It even drove Christopher Columbus in his voyages of exploration.  However, he read Polo’s book backward and, so, went in a completely different direction (this will be the subject of a later post, “What The Frig You Mean This Isn’t China?”). 
  Sadly, Kublai Khan died of a cold he caught while waiting for the priests Marco Polo had promised.  Apparently, he failed to put on a coat and didn’t have the sense to wear his slippers.  (NOTE: I’m more than likely wrong here).  He also didn’t realize that Italy wasn’t just around the corner.
  So, what legacy did he leave the world?  Well, his masterful guidance of the Mongol horde brought death and destruction to much of the known world and played a great part in the persistence of feudalism in Russia.  Wait, that’s not it.
  No, I got it.
  His leadership of ferocious invaders whose torching of Europe through over one hundred years inspired a favorite among diners throughout much of the world:
  Mongolian Barbecue.

  Okay, my head hurts.          

10 comments:

  1. Al- You've just proven you can write about anything! You gave me a history lesson (sort of) and kept me laughing the whole way through. You really are doing an amazing job with this A-Z challenge. I know I wouldn't be able to.

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  2. There is a great Mongolian barbecue place right by my work.

    Oh and great post!!!

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  3. Love his "culinary comeuppance" and the inventor of the swimming pool game. You are funny.

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  4. Great post. My brothers and I played Marco Polo all the time as kids! Great game. By the way, my ghost hunting post is up. You can check it out here: http://lesliejmoon.blogspot.com/2011/04/ghost-hunt-crashers.html

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  5. His "empire" didn't last long. Great post, you would have made my history classes so much more entertaining.

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  6. Actually, Al, fortune cookies were first created in California. (Yep, that's the piece of info I'm calling out as wrong.) Thanks for the excellent history lesson! It reminds me of early Dave Barry, and I'd have been laughing my ass off if I hadn't already lost him whilst passing through Smackass Gap, NC.

    I love what you've done so far for the A-Z, and it's great to fins another Challenger with a sense of humor. I'll definitely be back.

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  7. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Creative Blog Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

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  8. @Eva: Alliteration. A lost art.
    @Leslie: I'll be checkin'
    @Antares: I would have loved to have taught history. Poor old Kublai died and his kids mucked it up for everyone else (except for the Polish peasants, I guess).
    @Nate: I didn't know that. Now everyone who reads this comment will know fortune cookies' true origins. And who says you can't learn something new every day? And thank you very much for the Dave Barry compliment.
    @Deidre:Thanks for the award! I'll be heading your way.

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  9. All those generations of passing down their footwear, I hope they knew about the benefits of urrea.
    xoRobyn

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  10. If their footwear DID contain urea, it would certainly make me yak.

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