Sunday, January 11, 2015

253 Quiz Answer

They tell us that Marco Polo returned home in 1295, which would make the 13th century the correct answer.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "A" is for "arrival")

Here’s a modest story of a guy who’s just returned from a long trip.  The myth has it that he brought some little explosive packages with him.

“Manny, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you again.”
“And am I glad to see you! You’ve been gone so long I thought you went somewhere and fell in. What took so long?”
“Well, the roads were in awful shape. And of course I stayed there quite a while; I wanted to see everything I could.”
“Meanwhile, back here, like the good agent I am, I’ve been working my tail off for you, lining up interviewers, book publishers – the whole nine yards. Everyone's been awaiting your arrival.”
“Wonderful. I have a lot to tell. Most people seem to have some funny ideas about that country. I can straighten them out.”
“Terrific. What’s the most important thing you learned, the thing you’d emphasize in an interview?”
“Well, most people in our land think of that place as ‘way around on the other side of the world, a backward land of poverty and ignorance where there are many citizens who don’t even speak Italian.  I was surprised to learn that in lots of things they’re genuinely very advanced. They have this ancient culture, yet technically they’re a century or so ahead of us.”
“I see. That’s great. But you know, maybe that’s not the point you should start out with. Our folks don’t usually want to hear that there are other places better than ours. What have you got in that package?”
“Oh, something I brought back with me; I thought everyone would find this of interest.”
“It isn’t – uh – you know, sex toys, or anything like that? The Vatican really comes down hard on that stuff.”
“No, no. These are called firecrackers, a good example of something they invented.”
“I’ll bet they’re delicious.”
“No, you don’t eat them. They believe they fend off evil spirits so they use them at births, deaths and birthdays, as well as during the New Year celebration.”
“Use them? How?”
“Well, you set fire to them and they explode.”
“They – explode, you said?”

“Right. They’ve got what they call gunpowder in them and off they go with a big bang. When you’ve got a lot of them going off, the racket is tremendous.”
“And that’s it? They just make a racket?”
“Yes, but that racket is part of the celebration.”
“H’mm.  You’ve really got me thinking. Suppose we were to put a lot of that stuff, what you call gunpowder, not just in little packages, but in huge packages. I bet you could blow up a building.”
“Well, actually, I was sort of hoping this would be used just for peaceful purposes.”
“Sure, sure. But there’s not much money in just making a racket. Don't let yourself be distracted.  Think of the potential! We should be able to use this gunpowder in rockets, cannons, guns – it will mean a whole new era in warfare. You’ve done a great thing!”
“I guess so. Though I was thinking more of peace…”
So here’s the quiz question: in what century would the above conversation have taken place?
(The answer will be posted Saturday)

30 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, I think Marco Polo, whose life straddled the 13th and 14th centuries. I'll go with the former.

Berowne said...

Well done, Rog! Roger Owen Green has given us the right answer.

naturgesetz said...

A bit of a twist, asking century, rather than individual. The one I'm thinking of could have had the conversation toward the end of the 13th Century.

The Blog of Bee said...

Nineteenth century.

rel said...

13th century?

Kathe W. said...

Well it has to be Marco Polo in the 13th Century!

Berowne said...

The correct answer has also come forth from Kathe W, rel and naturgesetz

Altonian said...

This will be Marco Polo, and the century would be the 13th.

Karen S. said...

I'm thinking firecrackers first came from the Orient to Italy in 1292 so about the 13th century.

Berowne said...

Karen S and Altonian have just provided us with the right answer.

The Blog of Bee said...

Going back to rethink because I was sure I was right!

Old Egg said...

I read somewhere that Marco Polo brought some back from China so the conversation must have been in the mid 13th Century.

Anita said...

I think this conversation is before the Renaissance when the Vatican was dominant.
I'll go with 13th Century :)
Gunpowder use in cannons began then.

Berowne said...

The correct answer from Anita and Old Egg.

Kutamun said...

I think it was a deleted Ape Scene in " 2001, ...turns out there were two Apes !

Marie said...

Sorry...posted comment on the wrong post. I'm guessing 13th.

Lmkazmierczak said...

No idea...since today is the 13th I'll just go with the thirteenth century♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/artsy-folks/

Photo Cache said...

I have no clue.

My ABC WEDNESDAY

ChrisJ said...

Marco Polo brought them back from China in the 13th century.

Berowne said...

Chris J, Marie and Lmkazmierczak all have the right answer.

Truedessa said...

Well, the Chinese invented them and I will take a guess the 7th century.

Trubes said...

16th Century when the writer Francis Bacon allegedly wrote a play for Shakespeare called 'Loves labours lost'.
the line appears with reference to 'the whole nine yards'.
That's the best I can do, still a bit puzzled though !

Regards,
Di. ABCW team

Sheilagh Lee said...

really not sure of the actual date though it came to the Old World in the 13th century. I think they didn't think of it for weapons until the 14 century and full scale weapons until the 15th century.

The Blog of Bee said...

13th Century?

Trubes said...

Tch ! I though my answer was a bit of a shot in the dark, well and truly stumped, can't wait to see the correct answer tomorrow

best wishes,

Di x
ABCW team,

Berowne said...

The Blog of Bee and Sheilagh Lee have both given us the right answer.

Trubes said...

I've had a re-think and could it be 1605 the year of Guy Fawkes Gun Powder plot, so the answer would be The Seventeenth Century ?

best wishes,
Di.
ABCW team.

The Blog of Bee said...

I said 19th century because I was thinking of Nobel who invented dynamite. The last line `I was thinking more of peace` connected to gunpowder made me think of Alfred Nobel.

Truedessa said...

Well, I am glad that mystery is solved. Thanks Berowne

Trubes said...

How wrong can one be ...twice !

felicitations my dear friend,

Di ..

 
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