As you inhale like a breath of fresh air

There has been a bit of a stink in some circles, because President-elect Barack Obama wants to add, as many Presidents have, “so help me God” to his swearing in today. Back in school, I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance because of the “under God” line. I stood up and put my hand over my heart, don’t get me wrong. I am allegiant. I just didn’t dig bringing God into it. In all the years of my doing it, I don’t think anyone even noticed. I wasn’t trying to make a statement, it was simply a personal thing for me. Speaking the Pledge was my choice, and I chose not to, because that one line didn’t mesh with my personal beliefs. But if we went back to the original Pledge, before that line was added in the ’50s, and I wanted to tack on a “so help me God” at the end? I don’t have a problem with that. That’s a voluntary postscript. So you folks out there who are all “Blah blah blah, separation of Church and State, yadda yadda…” Yeah. I get you. I hear what you’re saying, and I’m on your side. Trust me. But you’re MISSING THE POINT. Mr. Obama is choosing to keep God by his side during this rather momentous occasion. If you don’t allow that, you are joining your enemies in forcing your own beliefs on someone else. So back off, would you? Thanks.

Now, on to the glee:

Today, we get a new President. TODAY, WE GET A NEW PRESIDENT!

Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To all the people who can Quest like A Tribe does
Before this, did you really know what live was?
Comprehend to the track, for it’s why cuz
Gettin’ measures on the tip of the vibers
Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug
Afrocentric living is a big shrug
A life filled with *HORN* that’s what I love
A lower plateau is what we’re above
If you diss us, we won’t even think of
Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove?
This rhythm really fits like a snug glove
Like a box of positives is a plus, love
As the Tribe flies high like a dove

[Phife Dawg]
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers
Right now, Phife is a poem sayer
At times, I’m a studio conveyor
Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor
Boy this track really has a lot of flavor
When it comes to rhythms, Quest is your savior
Follow us for the funky behavior
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, jack your hey-ya
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you’ll savor
Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major
Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air

Dim-Out Anklets

Hi! Remember me? I used to post 5 days a week. Now I seem to post twice a month. It’s something I will try to get better about. I think perhaps I need to get out of the house more.

Okay, so if you know me at all, you know that I collect, among other things, vintage clothing. Always have. Well, as long as I’ve had money to spend, I have. My mom had a beautiful, I’d guess late-1800s jacket that I used to adore as a girl. It was too fragile to atually wear out, but I would put it on, and wonder about how to fix the worn and frayed bits. I have no idea what ever happened to it, or to the gorgeous, ’40s-era ivory satin wedding dress (tea-length, therefore not a gown) that I bought on Canal Street in NYC back in 1990. I spray-painted a pair of pumps to match. I kid you not.

All of the collecting that I’ve done over the years has been with a huge amount of luck, and a small understanding of what it is I’m looking for. I recognize silhouettes and colors and fabrics from the photos I’ve always admired, and as a graphic designer, I can guesstimate an era by the typeface used on the label, but I’ve never done any serious studying. I could be wrong a lot of the time. In fact, I’m sure that I am. So from time to time, I do a little online hunting to brush up and maybe learn a thing or two.

This morning, I was scouring the LIFE archives on Google Images (boundless thanks to Ryan Cochran over at The Jalopy Journal for pointing me there). The image search feature is capped at 200 matches, so I kept finessing my keywords based on intriguing hits. Some magical combination of words let me to a series of photos of a woman’s ankles, wrapped in a variety of large white cuffs. There was a mention of “dim-out fashions.” Of course, I know what a dim-out is, but it inspired a fashion trend? And what on earth could it have to do with these giant anklets? My internal research alarm was buzzing madly, so I went about finding out.

If there is an online archive of LIFE articles, I don’t know about it and can’t find it. I know that these photos accompanied an article that ran in the March 22, 1943 issue. And while I couldn’t find a LIFE archive, I sure know where to find the New York Times archive. On January 16th of 1943, the Times ran an article which explained,

White anklets, which would make New York women pedestrians visible to motorists 100 feet away on the city’s dimmed-out streets, were suggested yesterday by the Public Safety section of the Greater New York Safety Council as part of a five-point program to reduce the mounting number of fatal traffic accidents here.

Ah-ha! Now I get it! There’s also a mention of “college girls” being asked to “help out” which only strengthens my belief that the entire concept was thought up by a bunch of ankle fetishists. I mean, c’mon. Take a look at these photos.

Aaaaaand, exhale.

When our elections were declared four years ago, I received an email from some acquaintances I have in Germany. “That’s okay,” they said. “We know it’s not your fault. We have room over here, if you’d like.”

Last night, through the magic of the Internet, I was celebrating with friends across the country, and once again, the globe.

I am greatly disappointed that three states voted against gay marriage, as if it is somehow more of a sham than straight marriage. But that is overshadowed, for me, by getting my country back. I am patriotic. I do support my troops. I am pro-life. BUT… I fear my President. I oppose the war in Iraq. And I am very strongly pro-choice.

I know that things won’t change overnight. I know that SEVEN YEARS of war have left our country scarred, perhaps not physically, but economically and emotionally. I know that President-elect Barack Obama (my first opportunity to write that) does not have all the answers. But I know that things are looking up.