Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hats to Habits: Following the Links

There are so many links in Wikipedia articles. Rather than finding this overkill annoying, I like to follow them. Quickly I drift far away from the subject I was originally researching. But I am a drifter.


Rudeboys were (are?) from the poorer sections of Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1960s, they dressed "sharply" in nice suits and those narrow ties. They wore HATS, commonly "Trilby" or "Pork Pie" hats.

Trilby hats and Pork Pie hats are both of the fedora family.

A fedora is a felt hat, worn mostly by men, with a crease in the (round) crown and pinched at the front.

A Porkpie hat has a flat-topped crown. The crown is not as tall as a regular fedora. Sometimes Pork Pie hats are made out of straw, like "boaters."

A Trilby hat is like the ones men used to wear from about 1958 on through the mid 1960s. Elvis Presley wore a Trilby around his house. The detective in the original Psycho movie wore a Trilby. They were everywhere.

A boater is a straw hat with a hard flat lowish crown and a hard brim. Think Gay 90s. Think Maurice Chevalier. Boaters were worn by liberated women as well. Think suffragettes. Think Gibson Girls. Women often held their boaters (and other hats) in place by "hatpins."

"A hatpin is a decorative pin for holding a hat to the head, usually by the hair." [I boggle: "usually" by hair? An option is to simply drive the pin directly into the skull??] "In Britain, demand eventually outgrew the number that could be supplied by hand-making, and they began to be imported from France." [Where they did NOT have to be hand-made?? He wonders.]

The hatpin was invented to hold wimples and veils in place. Wait for it...

A wimple (as you all know, of course) is a garment worn around the neck and chin, which usually also covers the head. Worn by medieval women because it was unseemly for a woman to show her hair. Also, even today, in some cases, part of a religious habit.

A "habit" (never to be confused with a "hobbit") is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order, especially those leading an ermetic or anachoritic life.

Ermetic derives from "hermit" which denotes "seclusion" - a secluded life. An Anchorite is one who "departs to the countryside" or "withdraws." [Digressive psychobabble begins here] When Max connects religion with the "habit" of withdrawal, his doggie-mind harkens back to Biblical times (as I'm sure yours does too) to the story of Tamar and Onan. Not the famous Tamar, King David's unfortunate daughter, but an earlier Tamar before the King David era. (King David's daughter Tamar was the one who was raped by her half brother.) So... this guy named Onan was given the assignment to impregnate his dead brother's wife, the EARLIER Tamar. You'd think they would use different names. In those days, not sure why, it was the thing to do for the brother to do his dead brother's widow until "he gave her a child." This is true. Swear to God. May God strike Adullamite down if I am lying about this. So it came to pass, verily, that brother-in-law Onan became the widowed Tamar's unwilling fill-in husband. Now, Onan gave his name to the practice of Onanism - unfairly, because Onan did not choke his chicken but rather, umm.... "withdrew" much like a later Anchorite might do, or, as the Good Book puts it, he spilt his seed. But not where God wanted him to spill it so God was pissed. It occurs to me that God participated in the daily intimate affairs of men back in those days more than He does now.

Pork Pie
Choke the Chicken

That about covers it, I think. Thank you for your attention.


  1. I've noticed how you drift, frequently, but you do always have a tendency to drift towards the same place.

    1. No, I drift aimlessly. You always give me too much credit. :)

  2. You do have a rather twisted way of thinking. But I like it :)

    Tamar of Onan fame disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced Onan's father Judah. She wisely wrangled Judah's staff and seal in a deal over a goat. When it became apparent she was with child, Judah ordered her to be burned to death. Ha. Tamar produced Judah's staff and seal, thereby 'sealing' his fate as the father of her unborn child.

    Only 5 women are noted in the genealogy of Christ and Tamar, a gentile, is one of them.


    1. oh, I meant to add, 'Hats off to Tamar' ~ just to tie it all back together with your theme ...

    2. You know a lot. You must have gone to that church more than just to burn a record. :)

      I think I answered your comment by replying to the notification email from blogger. I don't know where those go. Sorry. It was better than this one probably.

    3. Ummmm....there was a time when I was very interested in biblical studies, especially women in the Bible.

      I really only know just enough to be a liability to myself.

      Oh and to argue with Soub. Well, that's not true. I refuse to argue biblical matters with him ~ his logical reasoning drives me crazy. There is no logic to the bible (in my opinion).


  3. The Onan incident was to do with land. By giving his wife a son and heir for his brother the man's name would not die out, and his share of the land would continue giving the wife a home. Or something.
    I think I will withdraw here, although this was interesting, sort off.

    1. I don't think anyone would believe your version. It's pretty far-fetched.

      What would have happened to the land otherwise - Judah would have auctioned it off? He could have kept it in the family as long as he wanted since each tribe had land assigned to it for life. I think. He could have given her a home for life. But NOOOOOO! That would be too easy.

      God just wanted an excuse to bash Onan's head in.

  4. The requirement was quite specific. When a brother died, leaving a widow but no male heir, then it was the duty of his brother to marry and impregnate the widow.

    Onan is often quoted in reference to chicken-choking, but there is no evidence to state whether he did or did not strangle domestic fowl.

    His 'sin' was not masturbation, nor the spilling of seed, but rather his choosing to partake of most of the act of coition, while seeking to avoid impregnation. The circumstances as described in the bible are somewhat unclear. Perhaps it was Tamar's choice? Maybe she said, "Look, Onan, I've just got all these slinky skinny designer dresses, with your brother's insurance pay-out, and I'm not willing, absolutely not, right now, just yet, to expand to the size of a small planet and wear a f***ing maternity tent. So pull out before you come or I'll stab you!".

    1. Hmmmm. You seem so authoritative. For an a-religious person. Especially about the chicken choking part.

      I think not about the unwilling Tamar speculation.

  5. My boss has just bought some chickens. And this week I built a chicken-coop. No choking involved.

    As for Tamar, Isambard Kingdom Brunel built a rather nifty rail bridge over her, you'll recall.

    1. Odd you should mention Brunel. I had done considerable research on him some time ago, mostly about early steam-powered passenger ships. I was doing piece about the history of steam and the golden age of passenger steamliners.

  6. Replies
    1. After a while, hundreds of blog posts sort of merge together in my mind and I can't remember what was simply researched and what was actually blogged. :)

      More recently, though, I was reading that one of his inventions (that he soon dropped as impractical, but not until it was actually constructed and tested) was a vacuum thing to move trains. As I recall, he had a big pipe or tube installed between the tracks (I think between the tracks) which was about 15 inches in diameter with leather valves of some sort. He somehow sucked the air, or a lot of it, out of this big tube and the vacuum "sucked" the train along the tracks. I think there were pumping stations every two miles or so. Obviously there must have been some connection between the bottom of the carriage and the tube. Maybe a slot in the top of the tube, and that was where the leather flap valves came into the picture. Anyway, as I recall, the flap got stiff from the elements and stopped giving a good vacuum seal, and when they rubbed tallow on them to make them supple, rats would eat them.

      A picture just entered my mind of rats inside the vacuum tube when the air was sucked out and they floated up to the "ceiling" of the tube and then imploded. Exploded, I guess. But I'm guessing the whole tube would not have been vacuumized at one time, or else the rats simply ran along the top of the tube munching on tallowed leather.

      Mr. Something Kingdom had the good sense to discontinue this idea after a year or so. I mostly studied his steamships rather than his main railway and bridge doings. I do know he was a heavy smoker and died in his 50s. I expect the two had something to do with one another.

  7. I do exactly the same sort of thing when I am on Wikipedia - or looking at obscure books or old newspapers online, too. My favorite way of doing research! ;)

    1. I thought I was alone in my wanderings. :) I love to do that though. It's like reading an encyclopedia, only with better pictures.


    Sadly, not free, but for instance, in my home area, they have scanned copies of The Leeds Intelligencer back to 1754.
    You can register and receive some free credits though.

  9. You are not alone in your wanderings. I do that, too.

    Though I've never tracked this particular thread myself.



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