Monday, December 16, 2013

A Cowl Is Not a Snood

I've been noticing this for a while on Ravelry, and it's time I mention something.  A cowl is not a snood.  Here are a few definitions for snood: 

1. the distinctive headband formerly worn by young unmarried women in Scotland and northern England; 2. a headband for the hair; 3. a netlike hat or part of a hat or fabric that holds or covers the back of a woman's hair.


 O[ld].E[nglish]. snod "ribbon for the hair," from Proto Germanic. *snodo (cf. Swed. snod "string, cord"), from PIE base *(s)ne- "to spin, sew" (cf. Lett. snate "a linen cover," O.Ir. snathe "thread;" see needle). Meaning "net or bag worn over a woman's hair" first recorded 1938.

Merriam-Webster online:

1 a Scottish :  a fillet or band for a woman's hair;  2 b :  a net or fabric bag pinned or tied on at the back of a woman's head for holding the hair.
First Known Use: before 12th century

They’re pretty consistent, aren’t they?  A snood is used on the head to cover the hair.  If the word has been in existence since the 12th century, and possibly hundreds of years before then, then why are people using it to refer to a neck covering, for which we have the words “scarf” and “cowl?”  

Let's look at the word "cowl."

Merriam-Webster online:

1 a :  a hood or long hooded cloak especially of a monk; b :  a draped neckline on a woman's garment;  2  a :  a chimney covering designed to improve the draft; b :  the top portion of the front part of an automobile body forward of the two front doors to which are attached the windshield and instrument board.

Origin:  Middle English cowle, from Old English cugele, from Late Latin cuculla monk's hood, from Latin cucullus hood.  First Known Use: before 12th century.
The word “cowl” has also been used since before the 12th century.  The definition doesn't quite go far enough to say that the cowl also became the academic hood worn around the neck and down the back of one's academic gown, after obtaining a college degree.  (Perhaps in some European countries another term is used.)  The academic cowl goes around one's neck, as well as a draped neckline. 
It is clear the snood refers to the head and the cowl to the neck, and that's what one finds when the words are looked up.  It seems to me some person in the recent past had difficulty either telling a hat from a scarf or a head from a neck, if that's really, truly possible.  Or, another thought, in some foreign country, has the similarity of words led to a change in meaning?  Either way, I think the designer will earn more respect if s/he uses the words "cowl" and "snood" correctly.  The customers will also be happier if it truly is a snood for the hair that's desired, and not the many patterns of misappropriately named cowl patterns they'd have to look through otherwise.

My apologies for the terrible spacing on this post.  I haven't found a way to  correct it yet on Blogger.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Creationism vs. Evolution

It has occurred to me why the Conservative right-wing element of the United States supports creationism.  Geneticists in their studies have backed up the archaeologists' findings that the human race originated and evolved in Africa.  As Svante Paabo in his TEDTalk Ancient Clues said, "we are all Africans."  The most visible, and seemingly most active, portion, of the Conservative right-wingers in the United States are Caucasian.  It probably bothers them a great deal that the scientists are saying that even they evolved from Africans, the dark-skinned race that has been so subjugated in the country.  Hiding behind their efforts to make creationism and conservative Christianity dominant in the country is their effort to keep the the controlling power Caucasian.  Behind the Conservatives are also corporations.  I wonder what the racial and political makeup are of the executive management of the Fortune 500.  Add one hundred more companies and you get the force behind ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). 

When President Obama was first elected, the Republicans publicly vowed never to cooperate with him.  We've all witnessed the crises that have occurred.  Support for people in the midst of financial crisis has been slashed, most notably SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Program).  I believe it was recently reduced to 20 dollars per week per person now.  Obamacare failed to control the corporations that are the most responsible for United States citizens paying more for health care than anywhere else in the world, the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations.  With the poor salaries being offered today, one has to make unfortunate choices, gas money or health insurance, or heat or electricity.  I sometimes wonder if the power elite are trying to kill off the poor people.  Following that argument, I have to wonder what is the ethnic makeup of the people suffering most from the financial crisis.  Is it why the financial crisis is continuing? 

A long time ago even in elementary school we learned that although the United States at the time was mostly Caucasian, eventually that would change through time.  I wondered then what would happen.  I believe it's happening now. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Interesting Reference in Movie

I just started to watch the movie Going Berserk with John Candy.  In the beginning of the movie, John Candy's character said he was from the Mellenville Bourgignons.  Mellenville?  It looks like there's only one Mellenville in the country, a tiny hamlet at the bottom of the hill from the village where I grew up in upstate New York.  I never heard of anyone with the name Bourgignon there, either. (Yes, I know it's actually a dish.)  It's really funny to start watching a movie to hear some little obscure place you know mentioned in it.  I wonder why.

This is almost as funny as an episode of the original McHale's Navy.  For some reason Tim Conway's character is in sick bay and his morale is low.   Unfortunately I can't remember it correctly, so it loses its humor in the telling.  Ensign Parker received a bunch of letters, a character mentioned a woman in Troy and he replied, "but I'm from Schenectady!"  I don't know if there was ever a reason given for the reference.  Currently there is a television writer from the Capital Region who occasionally puts in an area reference. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Oh Rats!

In cleaning up the newspapers I saw that Wal-Mart had digital cameras for extremely good prices, under $100.  I want a digital camera so desperately I'd consider buying one there.  However, it was still a good question whether or not I'd be able to pay the necessities coming up, so it was a good thing I didn't know about it until the great shopping weekend was past.  The way I view the economy, I'm not even sure I could sell enough online to pay for the camera.