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
JANUARY 19, 2011 7:15AM

Ear Worm



After several thousand opportunities to view this commercial (most often during NFL football games - I wonder who Apple's target audience is?), I have altered my opinion of its theme song. It is purposefully catchy, so much so that I often find myself waking in the morning with i/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 13, 2011 9:18AM

Coming out of the Dark

It was around the time I found myself sitting in my sister's closet, sandwiched precariously between my brother-in-law's suits and casual clothes, willing my body to remain silent and still, that I realized I have been taking myself far too seriously of late.


From the floor below, I heard occa… Read full post »

JANUARY 11, 2011 2:05PM

Let's Everybody Calm Down



The image above is certainly incendiary isn't it? The nation is aflutter, once again, over an unconscionable act of violence that took place over the weekend. On an otherwise lovely Saturday in the parking lot of a Tuscon, Arizona strip mall, a lone gunman, 22 year-old Jare… Read full post »

JANUARY 8, 2011 3:04PM

Somewhere Between Slim and None


Bears stink

This weekend, the NFL Playoff series gets underway. Although I always enjoy a competitive, well-played match no which team is on the field, there is really only one club whose run I will follow. As a lifelong Chicago resident, I was born and raised to be a citizen of… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2011 1:26PM

The Therapeutic Effects of Bar Trivia



It is no secret to anyone who checks in with my blog from time to time that I am going through a rough patch, to make a huge understatement. Long term unemployment and the psychological fuckery that goes along with the job hunt process, family troubles and insomnia have… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 4, 2011 2:21PM

Hope in 2011 for the Unemployed?


As a long-suffering member of the long-term unemployed community, I look for any sign that career fortunes are about to change, and grab on with the tenacity of a starving rat.… Read full post »

JANUARY 1, 2011 8:55PM

Dance It Out



Due to the toll insomnia has taken, I had more makeup on my face than RuPaul, and had to steer (mostly) away from the alcohol, to avoid the risk of falling asleep at the buffet table, but I made it. I rang in 2011, with my obviously very handsome… Read full post »

DECEMBER 31, 2010 7:56AM


This is going to be the most difficult post I have ever written. In fact I have been dreading this moment for several days. Not a word, excepting random, plaintive Facebook status updates, has escaped from my pen in a week's time. I am normally pretty prolific, but output of late… Read full post »

My friends, this is no attempt at satire. This is a straight-faced question posed to me yesterday afternoon during the course of what seems like the thousandth job interview since mid-October. The self-satisfied 27 year-old in an ill-fitting suit who formulated this query seemed very pleased with his… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 22, 2010 8:49AM

My Christmas Traditions


A few days ago, my Aunt Diane, a woman who has been like a mother to my sister and I, sought to clarify my positions on holiday celebrations. While she rejoices in the diversity of our extended family, she wanted to be sure that Jen and I were not… Read full post »

DECEMBER 18, 2010 1:43PM

The Lame Duck Shuffle

Whether I approve of the latest flurry of doings on Capitol Hill or not (usually not), the post-midterm election "lame duck session" has proved to be anything but.


From the will-they-or-won't-they suspense to ratifying the common sense START treaty, to the rise, fall and second rise of the Don'… Read full post »

DECEMBER 16, 2010 9:51AM

That's Not My Name

When my sister Jen suggested we collaborate on a blog in early 2009, I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge. An instantaneous and persistent fear of having nothing to say, of trying to sustain my creativity, but finding the well barren, almost kept me from trying.


On this point… Read full post »

DECEMBER 14, 2010 2:15PM

The Curse of the Class of '96

I am a fairly tortured soul, as is obvious to anyone who either reads my work regularly, or is personally acquainted with me. My childhood struggles were complex, painful and more than any kid deserves, but I have been pretty fortunate as an adult. The bulk of my psychological work these… Read full post »

DECEMBER 9, 2010 9:39AM

Separate But Equal?

I have to thank my friend Sara for alerting me to this development.

Can a website be both progressive and patronizing?

A sports news repository for women and by women seems, on the surface, like a fairly innocuous and inclusive idea. However, at second glance, I must pause and… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 7, 2010 8:07AM

Another Job Interview



This afternoon I will suit up and take the train downtown for yet one more job interrogation. I know precious little about the opportunity except that it's some form of copywriting contract work that will not get underway until after the first of the year. At 2:00, I am… Read full post »

DECEMBER 4, 2010 9:48AM

A Photo Anniversary Essay

Three years ago today, on a sweaty late afternoon in the central region of India,  a town called Raipur, I walked around the fire seven times with the man I had chosen as my life partner and soul mate:

I became a newly welcomed member of a family I had largely never met:… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 2, 2010 9:43AM

Winter Wanderlust



Yesterday Chicago experienced its first "measurable snow fall" of the season. The words in quotes are presumably the local meteorologist buzz terminology, since I heard them from no fewer than three weather people during an afternoon of channel surfing. Anyway, the old familiar routine… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 30, 2010 4:15PM

How DADT Makes America Less Safe


This morning as I booted up the computer, I took my typical perusal of the Yahoo headlines, and came across this feature from the Associated Press:


Pentagon Study: Gays Could Serve with No Harm


Ladies and gentlemen, we have just wasted 10 months and untold millions of… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2010 8:55AM

And In Other News: Today is Saturday!




Is there anyone left in the modern world who didn't know that Willie Nelson likes to toke up now and then? And for God's sake, an old 77 year-old hippie who buys pot for his own recreational use is no threat to society. The last place this iconic legend/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2010 12:58PM

10 Unusual Things For Which I'm Thankful

1. Getting Fired


Yes, though I remain out of work and the unemployment experience is often panic-filled and emotionally draining, I am grateful to have been let go. That's because the job I worked, under the thumb of an arbitrary and capricious narcissist, was wrong for me and my long-term goal… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 23, 2010 1:44PM

Ep. 2-From the Front Lines: the War Against Mental Illness

It may seem odd that it was hearing he now smokes cigarettes which hurt the most. In a twelvemonth which has brought repeated hospitalization, homelessness, hoarding and police activity, it would appear that a casual cigarette might not be worth my tears. But as crazy as it sounds (pardon the pun),… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 18, 2010 9:51AM

Dancing with the Stars Gets Palined



I am simultaneously awed and repulsed by former Alaskan Governor and 2008 GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's sway on the voting public. The former emotion is influenced by the undeniable statistics that underpin Palin's track record. Six of the 11 total Senate ca… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2010 5:55PM

Opposites Attract: A Story of Friendship



In the Fall of 1996, after a five week whirlwind summer tour of South Africa with the Chicago Children's Choir, I found myself amidst the cornfields and animal dung that comprise the sights and smells of the University of Illinois campus at Urbana/Champaign. A concrete jung… Read full post »


This canned, precooked meat product introduced by Hormel in 1937 and sold in 41 countries around the world turned out to be a literal lifesaver for the 3,300 passengers stranded on the Carnival Splendor. The ship was finally towed back to San Diego this week after three days adrif… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 9, 2010 5:08PM

The Bipolar Job Seeker



Yesterday, after four straight weeks of sending out oodles of resumes, using networking contacts, and applying for low paying internships without so much as a blip of interest from any employer, I scored a potential hit. Realizing that four weeks in this DOA job market isn't a long wai… Read full post »