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Sunday, February 3, 2013

With 26 leaden soldiers I can conquer the world



When I was a kid I said endlessly, and surely annoyingly, “I read in a book,…” and would add my morsel to the conversation.  I don’t recall the point at which I put it all together and derived my own opinions.

I still read endlessly.  On line magazines, newspapers and blogs have saved me from subscribing to more newspapers than I could conveniently recycle. 

Our childhood library contained books with stories of famous people and events, or historical turning points.  They arrived monthly.  I have no idea how my parents subscribed to them.  They were bound with green dimpled covers around inexpensive paper.  In retrospect, American people, events, history. 

I read about Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, The Santa Fe Trail.  Flatboats on the Monongahela, Alleghany and Ohio Rivers.  Paso por aquí on a rock face in the southwest. I found even more books in the library.

For a long period I devoured histories of the settlement of the Western Reserve and the Ohio Valley, and the spread into prairies of Indiana and Illinois.  In a book that must have been about the movement of newspapers into the west, I read that line, “With 26 leaden soldiers I can conquer the world.”  It was put into the mouth of a newspaper editor, who ascribed it to someone whose name I could not remember.

I recall in the history the printing equipment crossed the Kankakee River.  How strange I can recall that, but not the person who owns the line.  My friend Google tells me it must be Benjamin Franklin: “Give me 26 lead soldiers and I can conquer the world.”  I was struck when I read it, and even now, the verb is “can,” not “will.”  Sorry, the auxiliary verb.  No arrogance, but ability.  I’ve read a lot by and about Franklin, and that was his style.

The news last night had a piece on sleep being essential for moving short term memory from the front of our brains to the hard drive, long term memory at the back.  Now that is a new problem for me, and I need to read more about it.


15 comments:

  1. Worst thing is, less and less and less wellintentioned people control those lead soldiers....

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  2. I think my hard drive is running out of disc space...and I don't even read that much.

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  3. You learn something new every day......I'm going to take a nap.

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  4. I'm a mine of useless information...until someone needs the information...then it's worth remembering.
    Jane x

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  5. Hi Joanne,
    There is something to that sleep business! I had to laugh at your opening, because when I was young people got tired of hearing me say, "I rad that..."

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  6. I'm with fly in the web, a soldier made of lead would be strong enough but not willing to follow those leading.

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  7. reading and sleep are both important. The balance is key.

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  8. I love to read and before we got so busy with work (yay!) I read 12 - 14 books every three months. fiction. genre doesn't matter so much but I love sci-fi. Magazines and newspapers, not so much. Articles on line, yes, depending on the time.

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  9. It does have a nicer ring to it than what we'd have to say today: "With twenty-six plastic keys ..."

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  10. I tend to read several books on holiday and not much the rest of the time - that does say something about how I prioritize my time !
    My children are avid readers now having struggled with and overcome Dyslexia.
    My mother doesn't have a computer & reads a great deal. She looks things up in books instead of clicking Google a raretiy these days.

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  11. i must admit--as a child i wasn't much of a reader--i only became one as a young adult--interesting blog!

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  12. Like you, I devoured books. Biographies were my favorite in 4th grade. Mysteries in 5th. My parents subscribed to Reader's Digest Condensed book club. Three or so stories per book. I could not read them fast enough.

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  13. Those twenty-six lead soldiers have amazing power when they are put to good use. Also, "the pen is mightier than the sword." Education is essential and we are so fortunate to have so much information available.

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  14. Oh, Joanne! I forgot to write that I am mentioning your blog on my tomorrow's post!

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  15. We never had our own books when I was a child but my parents bought us a set of The Book of Knowledge. Looking back, I realize that the cost must have been a burden but it expanded my horizons so much, I can't imagine growing up without it.

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