😷 California dreamin’ had its consequences…

The Daily Reader

flew to California to spend Christmas with my family. Got out of town just before the frigid cold snap hit.

Felt kind of cocky about dodging winter’s misery. And then, wham, down I came with COVID-19. I’ll call it karmic payback for getting so cocky.

Pretty sure I caught it on the plane from the guy sitting next to me. He was wearing a Bulls hat. We were two guys on a plane wearing Bulls hats! We fell on each other like long-lost friends. Spent most of the four-hour flight passionately reciting the details of games played 30 years ago.

“Smith goes up for the shot. Blocked. Goes up again. Blocked. And again. Blocked . . .”

I was wearing a mask, but he wasn’t. And I let mine down to drink ginger ale. I suspect that’s when the contagion went down. In retrospect, I’d have been better off if he were wearing a Bulls mask—not a hat. Or if I had forgone the ginger ale.

While in isolation, I binge watched The Dropout, the Hulu show about Elizabeth Holmes. She’s the scammer who convinced a bunch of rich people to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at her fraudulent blood-testing company.

Holmes was especially good at luring in old, rich, white guys. She told them what they wanted to hear and made them feel special. 

I think a lot of these old rich guys had crushes on her. Like they were thinking, “I must be cool if this attractive young woman cares about what I say.” When they should have been thinking, “Why would this attractive young woman give a hoot about me?”

She talked former Secretary of State George Shultz into sitting on her board. 

In turn, Shultz talked Holmes into giving his grandson, Tyler, a job with her company.

Tyler wound up blowing the whistle on Holmes for falsifying test results. 

That pissed off grandpa George, who sided with Holmes. That’s right: Shultz chose Elizabeth Holmes over his flesh and blood. Clearly that crush caused him to lose his mind.

At one point in the show, Tyler tells his friend—another whistle blower—that his grandfather led the battle against Russia to win the Cold War.

And his friend gets snippy and says, “I know what the cold war was.”

And I said to the screen, “Well, apparently you don’t. And neither does Tyler.”

Because the Cold War was with the Soviet Union—not Russia.

Total Baby Boomer moment. Thank goodness there was no one around to hear me.

You reach a certain age where you realize the knowledge you take for granted are things only your generation knows. And it really doesn’t matter all that much. You just have to let it go.

Yeah, it sucked getting COVID. But looking on the bright side, I got to watch The Dropout. And now I know everything I need to know about Elizabeth Holmes.

Listen to The Ben Joravsky Show

What Ben's Reading

  The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan. Word of warning: this book is not for everyone. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t a Bob Dylan fanatic. He riffs on a bunch of songs and half the time I don’t know what he’s talking about. And I’m thinking, he’s just making stuff up cause he can get away with it. Every now and then, though, he’ll write a lovely sentence that makes it all worth it.
 All Power to the People: Reader staff writer Debbie-Marie Brown’s conversations with members of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
 Baby Steps by Ben Joravsky: trying to look on the bright side about 2022.

Best of the Ben J. Show

  Rummana Hussain: Illinois struggles with the politics of India
 Alderperson Sophia King explaining why she’s running for mayor
 Monroe Anderson on Kevin McCarthy & the MAGA lunatics

A potato-themed speed dating venture
Hot Potato Hearts is building a space for finding new friends and partners.

by Anson J. Tong | Read here

A whole mess of comedy
DePaul’s Theatre School and Annoyance team up for MessFest 2023. 

by Kerry Reid | Read here →

Chicago’s Sick Day make the scrappy indie rock of the pre-Internet era feel new again
by Leor Galil | Read here

Local improvisers Ken Vandermark and Tim Daisy renew their collaboration by composing new material for each other
by Bill Meyer | Read here

🥪 The snack time you don’t want to miss 🥪

Issue of
Dec. 22, 2022 –
Jan. 11, 2023 
Vol. 52, No. 6

Download Issue (PDF)

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