Don’t Know Much About History

This is the Kublai Khan from the TV show. He’s much scarier looking than pictures of the real Kublai, despite the fact his barber got a little carried away.

    To celebrate my release from Facebook Jail (screw them anyway), I thought I’d favor you with my version of a bit 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 educational system of Stratford, Connecticut. 

      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.  After all, The Masked Singer’s on.

      WARNING:  If you use any of what I write to prepare for a History AP Exam, you are truly an idiot. You didn’t go to school in Stratford, did you?

      Anyway, when I’m not doing anything constructive as I while away retirement (i.e., this is most of the time), I read a lot and watch a lot of TV (i.e., I don’t really read a lot).  For my viewing pleasures, I prefer reruns of The Twilight Zone and whatever historical dramas which happen to be on things such as Netflix.

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…Obamas own quite a bit of a service which is in thrall to Progressive ideals.  But, I’m not paying for it.  I’m using my daughter’s subscription so eventually, when I won’t be able to anymore (i.e., she catches on), I’ll assert my conservative ideals and…probably pay for it myself.

      Don’t judge me.

      I started off bingeing on The Tudors or, as I prefer to call it, The Power of Boners.  It was actually a pretty good tale of King Henry VIII and all his excuses to boink six women.  My only big kick about it was that he was never portrayed as the bloated, Jabba the Hutt lookalike that Harry eventually became.  Meh.  It was entertaining, nonetheless.
     

Then, I started watching The Borgias, the story of that horndog, Pope Alexander VI and his equally debauched kids.  A Power of Boners Lite, it was also pretty goodWith a fair selection of beautiful girlies and never a scene where we had to endure a naked Jeremy Irons.

      Now, I’m watching Marco Polo.  It’s a very interesting look at a Venetian (from Venice.  In Italy.  You’re welcome) merchant as he gingerly dodges the hazards of the court of Kublai Khan.    

      Kublai Khan was the founder of the Mongol Dynasty (or was it Genghis?  Well, at any rate, it sure AF wasn’t Marco Polo).  You know, those kooky Dothraki-like 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 “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 probably called it something Mongolian.  I forget.  If I ever knew.  I probably didn’t).

      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.

      Insert inevitable “Water Polo” joke here.

      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.

      NOTE:  See what I did there?

      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 may learn more of the European people and of the religion which flayed the skin off non-believers who did not follow the science that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

      Flaying, though?  This was right up Kublai’s alley.  That, and shoving wooden sticks up people’s asses.  And I don’t mean donkeys.

      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, memory fails).  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 inspired 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 because he lacked Map Quest.

      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 lead to a favorite among diners throughout much of the world:

      Mongolian Barbecue.

  Okay, my head hurts now.

      Think I’ll watch a little TV.          

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