Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Long hair in the big leagues

I was pretty impressed the other day when I glanced at the front Sports page of the Seattle Times and saw they'd published an article on hair.

Yup, columnist Larry Stone pontificates on how this year's Mariners team have shown up for Spring Training looking like: "The Titans of Tress. The Monsters of Mane. The Leviathans of Locks."

Pitchers in particular, Stone points out, can make sly use of their long hair.

"Certainly, the Mariners had an outlier in the button-down 1990s when Randy Johnson used his wild locks as part of a calculated mask of intimidation," Stone writes. And, a little further on:

For a pitcher, there might be a tactical advantage to having hair that whips back and forth, Willow Smith style, during delivery. One anonymous ballplayer told the Bergen Record last year that he was distracted by deGrom’s cascading hair.

“You can’t not look at it,” he said. “It’s everywhere. It bothers me when I’m trying to pick up the ball out of his hand. All I see is hair.”
Check out the full story here.

The Seattle Times also did a poll to learn what readers think on the subject. The results are in:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cowlicks and whorls

Cowlicks and whorls. Reminds me of the Lewis Carroll Jabberwocky poem:
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves.
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
Cowlicks, aka hair whorls are about as whimsical as Carroll's gyre and gimbel. A cowlick is actually a spiral, or whorl, of hair. We all have one. Blue-hair girl above is sporting her whorl/cowlick quite obviously, where it originates at the top center of her scalp. We have these whorls from the day we're born.

Since hair whorls are both clockwise and counterclockwise (more rare), research has been done to to see "if there is a genetic link between handedness and hair-whorls." People have actually studied this stuff. Amar J.S. Klar's research showed "8.4% of right-handed people and 45% of left-handed people have counterclockwise hair-whorls," indicating that "a single gene may control both handedness and hair-whorl direction." (from Wikipedia)

Thing is, other animals have hair whorls too, notably horses and cows. According to the "Word Detective,"
The first appearance of “cowlick” in print found so far was way back in 1598 (“The lockes or plaine feakes of haire called cow-lickes, are made turning vpwards”). (A “feak” is a dangling lock of hair). The cowlick is so-called because the disruptive lock is said to look as if it had been produced by a lick from a passing cow. It’s also commonly called a “calf-lick,” but in that case it may be a reference to the effects on a calf’s coat of grooming by Momma Cow.
That said, other languages do not appear to mention cows in relation to hair whorls, so the term is pretty much confined to English. (Again, the Word Detective.)

Anyhow, some of us have two (or more) cowlicks, which is where things get tricky. My second cowlick is dead center in front on my hairline.

It can look okay.

Or it can look silly.

Or downright weird, depending.

Hair stylists are always trying methods of making it disappear, but it never works. As far as I'm concerned, it's hair personality shinin' through.