Contemplating The U.S. Navel

Me, Chicago, Hollywood and The Federal Government

Becky Sarwate

Becky Sarwate
Chicago, Illinois, USA
December 31
Communications Manager
Insurance Brokerage
I am about as liberal as they come, and please don't expect to change me, though I do sometimes sneak up on you with a surprise (pro-death penalty, for instance). Although gainfully employed as a full-time Marketing Manager, I keep my toes in the freelance pool as a journalist, theater critic, blogger and proud President of the Illinois Woman's Press Association. To read my work on this page is to find vignettes about Chicago, Hollywood, my own turbulent life, and of course, my number one passion: local and national politics.


Becky Sarwate's Links
DECEMBER 26, 2012 11:30PM

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Zero


I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Zero

In 2003, at the age of 25, I had to admit that I often struggled mightily to catch my breath after climbing just one flight of stairs. I had no cardiovascular strength of which to speak and everytime I looked in the mirror, I saw an image reflected… Read full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2012 5:03PM

Seasonal Attitude Disorder


Seasonal Attitude Disorder



I am really trying to be enthusiastic about the holidays this year. On November 30, 2011 Eddie and I signed our final divorce papers and I was just emerging from a bout with cervical cancer. The complicated and conflicting emotions involved included being grateful for my… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 5:39PM

Citizen Cane (and Doughnut)


Citizen Cane (and Doughnut)

Many kind, regular readers are well aware of my affinity for riding my bicycle, affectionately nicknamed L'il Red, as I traverse across the great city of Chicago. These same readers also recognize a predilection toward illness, mishaps and other accidents. When these two charact… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 13, 2012 5:35PM

"Don't Trust Anyone Over 30"


Don't Trust Anyone Over 30

Jack Weinberg issued these words of caution during the heady, tumultuous and revolutionary 1960s, a period of American history that witnessed the explosion of the Civil Rights movement, popular rebellion against the Vietnam War and post-World War II economic growth that provided memb… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 6, 2012 12:12AM

T’was the Night Before the Election


T’was the night before the election, and all through Ohio
Margaritas were flowing like Cinco De Mayo.
Because Buckeye State residents were confident no matter who won,
Read full post »

OCTOBER 30, 2012 5:40PM

Massage Masochism


Massage Masochism

Several months ago I wrote this post about my ongoing battle with alopecia. The hair loss which follows the line along my left temple turned out to be an aesthetically horrifying side effect of chronic cluster migraines, the condition with which I was finally diagnosed in mid-Au… Read full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2012 5:25PM

Stone Cold Rhymin'


Stone Cold Rhymin'

The gift of a child so adorable, good memories lessen the horrible.
My eardrums are bursting, my dry throat is thirsting, your timing is just so incorrigible.

Sinuses strained and throbbing, nocturnal weaving and bobbing.
Normally a machine but you got between. Now I'm weak to the poin… Read full post »

OCTOBER 11, 2012 4:55PM

The Passion of JC


The Passion of JC

When we began dating several months ago, my boyfriend Jean Claude and I wondered aloud what shape that tell-tale first argument might take. As the early throes of faultless infatuation begin to fade, a couple's first skirmish can say a lot about the pair's respective communicati… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 5:17PM

Cleaning Out My Closet


Cleaning Out My Closet
 "You've got your ex-husband's bathrobe hanging on the door, the pajamas, shoes and books of another estranged boyfriend and an office chair donated by yet another former lover. Why are you holding onto all of this stuff?"

Such was the incisive observation and inquisition from my ma… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 5:20PM

Desperately Seeking a Dream Catcher



Taking a break from sweating the upcoming Presidential election, and now that the Chicago Teachers' Union has settled its war with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and returned to the classroom, I would like to explore another nagging plague in my current existence: bad dreams.

In college, new… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 5:05PM

CPS Teacher Strike 2012: Unarmed Kids



 Throughout my primary school and junior high years, I attended a little hole-in-the-wall Lutheran school called Pilgrim in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood. Though I don't have much use for these skills now (notwithstanding the occasional drunken parlor trick), I memorized the… Read full post »




No matter on which side of the ideological spectrum you sit, it's difficult to avoid political engagement this week. The Republican National Convention, which resulted in the official nomination of the Romney/Ryan ticket, has been followed thus far by the blinding spectacle… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 28, 2012 4:48PM

Fantasy Football Fraud


Football Charlie Brown

 There are numerous forms of sexism which irk me: the assumption on the part of some that we are mentally and physically the weaker gender, the presumption that women should be overruled when it comes to decision-making power over their reproductive cycles, the corporate gl… Read full post »

AUGUST 21, 2012 11:51PM

A Cry in the Dark

On a late summer's eve I sat at my kitchen table typing away, the sounds of chirping crickets my sole companion. I am not an individual who works well against a backdrop of white noise: no music wafting from Pandora, no CNN anchors relaying the day's events. Just me, my work… Read full post »

AUGUST 14, 2012 5:43PM

Enamored With Enamel


Enamored With Enamel

When I was six years old, I was involved in a controversial radiator accident that remains the stuff of family legend. While engaging in a spirited Sesame Street dance routine with my younger sister Jenny, was I pushed into my grandmother's low-rising living room metal unit or d… Read full post »

AUGUST 9, 2012 1:06PM

Desert Rose


Desert Rose

I am not a botanist. I possess the opposite of a green thumb. I can kill the most resilient of houseplants like cacti and bamboo while meaning them no harm. This woman just doesn't speak their language.

I am also the proud resident of a concrete jungle. On a… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2012 5:17PM

Vaudeville and Ramen Noodles



I have legitimate stressors. For the past two months, my hair has been falling out and I've been suffering intermittent migraines with attacks of vomiting that seem impervious to mitigation. My symptoms defy logic, appearing at random times of day, regardless of whether I have e… Read full post »



 During the 2008 Presidential race, then-candidate Obama showed his competitors how to leverage the Internet and a variety of social media platforms to reinvigorate the notion of a grassroots campaign for the 21st Century. It was largely upon the shoulders of individuals wh… Read full post »

JULY 17, 2012 4:10PM

The Reflex

"Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark"

    - Duran Duran

On Sunday evening, my boyfriend and I were walking back from a quick dinner at the local Wendy's franchise. It was t-minus two hours until the Season 5 premiere of Breaking BRead full post »

JULY 10, 2012 12:47PM

Scenes from a City Run

Scenes from a City Run 

Act I: The First Half Mile

Toddler Boy: (Holding onto his mother's hand as he drunk-walks wistfully in front a public park like only the young can do.) "Mommy, why is she running?

Patient, Smiling Mother: "For exercise."

Boy: "But why?"

Mother: "Because adults don't move as much as…

Read full post »



I am a nearly 34 year-old woman with the finely developed humor sensibilities of a 13 year-old boy. Give me your bodily function jokes, your politically incorrect puns and a dash of gallows guffaw and I am a happy camper. Throughout the years I have counted such animated… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 26, 2012 11:14AM

Bald Insecurity



Boyfriend/Hairdresser 8 weeks ago: "Come on! It's always something with you. I can't see anything!"

Sister 4 weeks ago: "Is it because you dye your hair too often?"

New Boyfriend/Hairdresser 3 weeks ago: "Ok, now I see what you're talking about."

A woman historically known for her… Read full post »

JUNE 12, 2012 5:04PM

An Ode to Cancer: One Year Later

You came to my door
When I was getting divorced.
You couldn't have picked a messier time.

I walked around in a daze
Feeling crazed,
Because even after she said the words I felt fine.

Surgery was scheduled,
Estranged spouses bedeviled,
Unable to work together.

Recovery alone
In my studio home.
Thought I'd be "th… Read full post »

JUNE 5, 2012 12:57PM

The Wrong Way


Wrong Way

True confession: I am not the most useful person. I hate to cook and have never excelled at it anyway. Please don't ask me to fix or assemble anything. It's like I have hands made of stone. I ride my bike upwards of 75 miles a week… Read full post »

MAY 29, 2012 4:12PM

Motown Meltdown



I want to talk about something in a politically non-partisan way. It's true I am a liberal Democrat by stripe and spend part of my freelance writing life as a hard blue columnist for a popular left website. But I am a human, a woman and an American… Read full post »