April 11th-Brought To You By the Letter 'K'
History of the World-Kublai Khan
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.
|"I may wear a goofy fur cap and |
look like that guy down at the China Wok.
But, trust me, I'm totally badass."
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 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 “no toilets”) Europe ran screaming through the mud like medieval Justin Beiber groupies just to keep their heads on their shoulders.
|"Okay, who's the Chinese guy?" |
"I'm not sure, but I think it's the one with the tooth."
Grandson of the great Genghis Khan (of the Lake Baikal Khans), young Kublai had historic shoes to fill (literally. Genghis’ yak sandals were 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." Which used to be called "Peking." After it was called "Some Place Whose Name I Can't Pronounce. Because It's Frikkin' Chinese, That's Why." (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, as smart as they were, failed to realize their horses couldn’t swim in the Sea of Japan.
|"Sushi, my ass. I'm cooking it."|
Europeans were fascinated by these.Then again, they thought the world was flat, Satan caused hemmorhoids,
and goat dung prevented pregnancy. Come to think of it...smear dung on your face and see how much action you get.
Likewise, Kublai was fascinated by these pungent visitors from lands he'd like to rape, pillage, or sell handcuffs to. Still, he was amazed that they had the audacity to show up without calling first. Or having the decency to at least bring 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 hundreds of fortune cookies on his camel), Marco returned to Venice where he was soon arrested for doing...something (once more, my memory fails me). 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 in the snow. (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:
Okay. Maybe you can't learn all that much at Penwasser Place.