steam organs

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at
Tue Nov 9 13:28:47 EST 1999

Hah! Thanks to the low traffic, I have finally caught up on all the old list 
digests... whooo. Hours and hours of reading. But fun.

Seriously, though, are there technical problems or just minimal traffic for 
no apparent reason?

Alexandra wrote:
>And what irks me is that this kind of honourableness
>has been described as "male" by even very intelligent writers like
>Robertson Davies (Canadian gentleman)--let alone the people who commit
>screenplays/stories for so many adventure movies, in which the hero's
>girlfriend/wife spends all her time urging the hero not to risk either
>himself or his family for the sake of honour.  (Not that I don't
>understand her point of view; but to label honour as male and personal
>motives as female motivation seems ... well... inaccurate and unjust in a
>particularly annoying way.)

Don't remember which prominent child psychologist - perhaps Piaget? - built 
up a whole theory of moral development in children, which is based on asking 
children questions like whether they would steal a rare medicine in order to 
save someone's life, and rating their reasons. The highest level of morality 
is supposed to be adherence to a principle or law, over personal reasons and 
reasons of self perservation. And women are born morally inferior to men, 
according to this theory. thbbbthpth (me doing a raspberry at said 
psychologist). I really should look up a source instead of quoting vague 

My most recent dwj reread is Charmed Life, which made me think of two mildly 
interesting things to post:

1. About a year ago I was somehow roped into a visit+lecture at the home of 
some man way up in the north of Israel (Kiryat Shmone) who collects ancient 
musical instruments, plays all of them well enough to demonstrate, and 
lectures about how these instruments may have been invented and developed in 
time. To get to the point, he talked about various organs, and how having a 
constant flow of air in the pipes was always a drawback of organs. He 
mentioned various ways that organs have been powered: pumped by hand, 
electric, etc. I specifically asked if there had ever been organs powered by 
steam, and he said that to the best of his knowledge there hadn't. And he 
knew and owned more variants of ancient instruments than I had ever dreamed 

Anyway - if indeed there never have been steam organs in our world, that's a 
clever little conceit of dwj's. Something that could and should have been 
invented, but wasn't. There's a big famous one in the Dalemark books and one 
on the paddleboat right at the beginning of Charmed Life.

2. Here's another thing I should have checked before posting, but I'm 
writing from work and none of my books are here: I think that in Frank 
Baum's "The Marvellous Land of Oz", when Glinda take's Mombi's magic away, 
she winds it up as a skein of thread. Which is what Chrestomanci does with 
Gwendolen's magic too. Do I detect an influence?


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