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Ego absolvo nobis

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on January 14, 2019 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (399)

Gobsmacked in November 2016, I fell silent.  Well, not silent exactly.  Spoke a lot (often in a shout), over the next 2 years, to the TV and Yahoo News, and around my head the air turned blue. 

Do young people (i.e. those under 50 years old) know what "the air turned blue" means?  I know what it means but I don't know where it came from, the saying, and apparently neither does anyone else.  See https:/

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May Memories

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on May 27, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (52)



MAY 1971


May 27, 1971

“Dear Madam: Will you please mark X to vote for the following resolution? Resolved: Build a 100,000 seat auditorium with a 100,000 marked on the one hundred thousandth seat at the place where humanity breaks so that everyone is included in Congress and nobody excluded. Please used the inclosed return stamped envelope and ballot A for such purpose.

“Sincerely yours,

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Marching Backwards

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on April 9, 2015 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (76)

I read a story in the New York Times yesterday about an apparently growing issue with Orthodox Jewish men who do not want to sit beside women who are not their wives on airplanes.  I guess they're just afraid of us, our boundless power to seduce, contaminate, corrupt and otherwise destroy them, or afraid of themselves, because the proximity of an unrelated woman (and "proximity" is the word in Economy these days) will cause them to lose control of themselves, think lustful thoughts, get ...

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Raw Material: The Diary, 35 Years of April 7s

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on April 7, 2015 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (78)

April 7, 1959 (Houston, TX; age 12)

Dear Diary, I wonder what has happened to me lately. It is funny but all of a sudden I feel so odd and almost excited inside whenever I see a handsome man.

I read so many frightening things about teen-agers, that I don’t know if I can live until twenty.

My back feels better today. I hope it’s all right for summer. 


April 7, 1966 (Colorado Springs, age ...

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Raw Material: The Diary, 1958

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on April 6, 2015 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (66)

The totality of diary entries for 1958, the first year I wrote it, age 11.

January 1, 1958

At Cornelia’s house. Cornelia and I stayed awake and went downstairs at midnight. It was snowing when we went to church. A beautiful church called Saint Peter in Chains.


January 2, 1958

At Cincinnati it snowed heavily. We went sledding and I lost my glasses! Our airplane flight was delayed until tomorrow.


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Posted by rebecca.mcswain on September 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (71)

           “This is Lord Peter Wimsey, my dear,” said Theophilus mildly.

            She was unimpressed.

            “Ah, yes,” she said, “I believe you are distantly related to my late cousin, the Bishop of Carisbrooke. Poor man! He was always being taken in by im...

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Why do old women wear hats?

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on June 28, 2013 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (136)

Old women, at least in the sunny climes and seasons of these United States,wear hats.


I’m not talking about clever cloches and stunning Stetsons reimagined, for example, by Chapellerie Tesi in Cannes. Don’t let your mind’s eye wander to the fabulous flying saucers perched on the aristocratic noggin of the Duchess of Cambridge.


No, I’m talking about the puzzling millinery sported by over-50 women who belong only to the aristocracy...

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Sure I'm Sure

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on May 27, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (65)


He was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea and that was wrong." - Benjamin Disraeli


About 24 years ago, on a sunny California morning, I was driving a blue Subaru station wagon down the Costa Mesa Freeway (California Highway 55) headed for Irvine. I worked there, transcribing medical reports for a company that contracted to LA County Hospital. In the back seat was my 4-year-old son, properly restrai...

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Petty crimes present and past

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on May 5, 2013 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (71)

About 10 days ago I suffered the minor (in the great scheme of things) annoyance of being burglarized. About 10 in the morning, while I was at work, a stone was flung through an aged slider, and off went my grandmother’s silver charm bracelet bearing the names of all her grandchildren, and the turquoise necklace with the mysterious silver inlay and heavy chain that my father gave my aunt 60 years ago, and the silver bracelet and ring my husband bought me during a vacation in Florida, an...

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Posted by rebecca.mcswain on April 21, 2013 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (223)

The terrible events of this past week in Boston have evoked a kind of helpless fury. Again. Just 4 months after another, even more horrific, slaughter of innocents.

Four hundred years ago the English essayist Francis Bacon warned against anger that can destroy its bearer, as some bees, stinging, are destroyed when the stinger lodges in the victim and tears out the insect's abdomen. But what other response is possible? What else could possibly be felt, for example, 12 y...

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