Well, I finished the knitting on the cowl this evening ... I made the neck a little shorter but otherwise followed the pattern. When I started it I remember thinking, Wow, this is stockinette. It's going to curl. Because that's the nature of stockinette. It curls. I know this. And yet I knit it anyway.
Of course, now it's curling like a mofo. I have minimal faith in blocking to uncurl it. I did a crochet border around the bottom; upon completion, I realized I hated it and pulled it all out. I might try picking up stitches from the cast-on and doing a purl row -- which I should have done from the outset, but I followed the pattern instead of my instincts.
Lesson learned: instincts. Trust them.